When a ship carrying diplomats and a member of the Arisani monarchy are captured by Vestalian pirates, the Galactic Alliance must make a choice. Meet the pirates demands or send in Special Forces on a desperate and deadly rescue mission.
Enter the Nighthawks. Newly promoted Lieutenant, junior grade, Helga Ate and her crew must fight against a ticking clock to track down the stolen ship and rescue the hostages undetected. With only 5 active members left in the Nighthawks and in the middle of an ongoing war, Helga’s first test of leadership may be her last.
The Nighthawks, however, have a reputation for pulling off the impossible. With innocent lives on the line, will they risk it all to live up to their legacy?
The trees grew denser, some trunks fusing together, it seemed, causing Helga to have to veer off track to keep on moving in the direction she was running. Suddenly the ground became an incline, and she found herself running downhill.
She cared not for the brush, branches, and vines that threatened to snatch her up and throw her off her feet because she was encased in the armor of her PAS.
“Whoa,” she exclaimed over her comms. “Any of you men on this incline?” But no one answered, and for the first time she became worried. “Not the jamming thing again,” she muttered, then tried them each on private comms, yielding nothing each time.
Helga thought of what to do next, trying her best not to speculate on what was happening. She pulled up her HUD and checked their life signs. Everyone was healthy, though their fuel gauges looked dangerously low.
Maybe it’s just me, she thought. They all seem to be alright, and maybe that concussion blast knocked out my comms.
Taking to the air, she slipped up past the top of the trees, then flew down the hill past where it dropped off into the basin. Seeing the cliff face gave her a sinking feeling. She had known that it was coming from memory, since she’d flown over it when they made their approach. The exit near the transports would’ve made it difficult for the others to remember, however, and it was possible that one of them could have taken a fall.
The PAS had rockets, but they were difficult to master, and for someone that wasn’t trained to fly spaceships, it could feel as if the suit had a mind of its own. Quentin was still clumsy in his, and Helga worried that if any had fallen, it was bound to be him. She dipped low, into the mist, hoping to see his signature, or anything really, to put her wandering mind to rest.
The winds picked up, pushing the trees sideways, and Helga found herself suddenly unable to maintain control. She pulled her legs up to her knees and performed a front-flip while powering her rockets off. She came out of it into a glide, angling down past numerous branches before grabbing onto one of them. The momentum caused her to wince but she held on. It felt as if her arms would come out of their sockets as she hung there, swaying like ripened fruit.