Friday, June 1, 2012

Scout's Honor - Chapter 3

< Chapter 2                                                                                             Chapter 4 >

 When his escape pod loses all lift, our hero plunges toward certain death. 

           My eyes slid over the controls, desperately searching for a solution.  Almost on their own, my eyes slid back to the fuel gauge.  There was hardly any fuel left, but it might be enough to fire the maneuvering thrusters for a few seconds.  If I could nudge the escape pod toward level flight and add some forward momentum, maybe...  I fired the thrusters.
            One second.
            Two seconds.
            The thrusters cut out, all fuel depleted.  But the escape pod was moving forward again, slowly generating lift.  I wrestled with the controls, trying by force of will to make the pod glide.  The pod was slowly leveling out but it was quickly losing altitude.  I yanked back on the controls, trying to bring the nose up.  It was going to be close!
            With a bone-jarring impact, the pod hit the ground.  Skipped into the air.  Hit the ground again.  Skipped again.  And suddenly, there was a lake below me.  The pod splashed into the lake and bobbed to a stop.  With all the holes and rips in the pod's skin, I didn't think the pod would stay afloat for long.  Slapping the harness release, I grabbed the standard issue survival pack.  The pod was sinking faster than I'd hoped, so I popped the canopy and dove into the water.
            The cold water.  Teeth already starting to chatter, I struck out toward the shore, about a hundred meters away.  A couple of freezing minutes later, I staggered out of the water.  At that moment, a man's voice cried out in pain and then cut off abruptly.
            The cry was followed by a woman's scream.

Find out what happens next in Chapter 4, coming on Monday, June 4.