Ready for Part 2? We left Juno, Paul, Mitch and L. in the briefing room…
Not read Part 1? Read it here!
“…to answer to your questions, in order…” said Mason, “yes, you will be flying today, yes, it will be boring, yes you won’t be guarding the president just yet, and you should all learn to be more positive about our esteemed leader, anyone might be listening to you and he has men everywhere.”
They all looked a bit sheepish, lesson learnt.
“There won’t even be a briefing for you as your first day is such a nice easy one” he continued, “you’ll each go with one of us to Dome 27, do some patrolling, do some flying, then if you don’t kill a senior officer… maybe we’ll let you come back tomorrow.” He said it in a way that suggested he wasn’t joking, either about the coming back tomorrow, or killing a senior officer.
Juno was to go with Lt. Radzikowski, Paul with Lt. Andrews, Mitch with Lt. Snyder and Mason himself would be with L. Juno immediately realised that although L had attained the highest scores; Mason had decided she was the one he wanted to observe. On top of this Mitch would be with Snyder, and Juno knew that Lt. Snyder was Mason’s most trusted pilot, she was also the most celebrated pilot in G-Police Dome 28. Juno was impressed by the presence of Snyder, they had watched training videos taken from the cockpit of her ship. She was lethal.
“It’s not all dull though”, Mason continued, “on your way upstairs, take a firearm from floor 43, then ammunition from floor 46, then flight suits from floor 48 and you’ll find the changing rooms on floor 51” For the moment they would only carry a weapon on duty, but when they were full G-Police pilots they could carry at all times. Similar situation with the flight suits, they would not be issued with their own personal flight suit until they were trusted not to die straight away.
There was an awkward silence. “I said there was no briefing, so get going. We’ll meet you on floor 60 and don’t forget to go to the toilet first, children.” Juno was starting to feel nervous.
Getting everything and doing everything took longer than she expected. Even though there were plenty of lifts in the building (and they all worked!) there was a lot of documentation to be filled in for taking the firearm and ammunition. Paperwork was bandied around for them to sign and she must have put her signature down ten or twenty times. As for the flight suits, the staff took some time getting decent approximate sizes, so she guessed she shouldn’t complain – better than when she had been bowling and been given stupidly over sized shoes. In the changing rooms she felt a bit insecure next to L’s lean, athletic figure. The changing rooms were empty as it was late, so all the officers would be out by now, but she wondered what it would be like when the place was full of pilots? Hey! She remembered that on the floor above there was a gym and steam rooms. That would be awesome, steam rooms were super lux.
They met the boys outside the changing rooms. Paul was eating from a bag of chocolates which he offered around. Mitch and L took some, but Juno couldn’t stomach them at the moment. “Well then dick heads”, said Mitch, “let’s get to floor 60 and start shooting things.”
“I’ll use the toilet first” said Juno.
Then take the lift up to floor 60, which was a fairly empty dark space, with no windows. They saw Mason stood with four pilots next to a metallic caged lift.
“Where the hell have you lot been?” barked Mason, “We’ve been wasting our time waiting for you.”
Juno already guessed this was a routine Mason would do with all recruits. She tried not to smirk. He would have known how much time it would have taken them to get everything. She glanced at Paul who she already knew would not have seen through the ruse. L and Mitch would barely care, even if they believed Mason or not.
“Here are the officers you’ll be flying with” Mason beckoned to the other pilots stood near him. He introduced Radzikowski, a tall, rangy man who was looking at something on his phone. Then there was the famous Snyder, a woman with cool sunglasses perched on top of her brown hair. Then there was Andrews, a large imposing man, statuesque. Juno was looking forward to knowing more about these pilots.
“Well that’s enough pleasantries” Mason said dryly, “Let’s see if you can be trusted with a gunship.” And with that he went off with L.
The remaining three of them stood looking at the officers who remained impassive. Juno wasn’t going to fall for this one. She walked confidently straight up to Radzikowski. “Sir?” The thin man sighed and put his phone away. She could see through his act as well. He smiled a surprisingly friendly smile at her, “let’s go to our training ship.”
The top 20 floors were sealed off from the floors below for obvious security reasons. Floor 60 acted like an air lock. It was an empty floor where the normal lifts finished. It was both a meeting place and a security checkpoint. To go up from here you needed to use the service elevators; a cluster of dangerous looking grilled cages based around the centre of the floor. Juno followed Radzikowski into one of these and he used his black pilots key to activate the lift and he selected floor 65 from the panel. The lift rumbled into action and slowly ascended. It passed the ‘dead floor’ of 61 which housed the equipment for the lifts, boilers, tanks etc. When the lift reached floor 62, a smell of diesel, exhaust fumes and heat struck her. She saw two gunships. There was a loud buzz of drilling. The real maintenance was done at a specialised site not far from here, but ground crews would need to carry out quick repair work and top up shells and missiles. Probably this week would include at least one trip to the maintenance facility.
The lift continued up, floors 63 and 64 were empty of ships. The lift stopped on floor 65 and they got off. There were eight spaces on the four sides for gunships. There was one gunship parked. A ground crew technician was stood by the gunship, drinking coffee from a plastic cup. The bay door was already open to the outside, ready for launch. She could feel the cold on her face already. The gunship was sleek and black with a large cockpit and heavy weaponry. This wasn’t Radzikowski’s ship of course, this was a duel control training ship. She wondered on what floor his own was parked on. She supposed the four officers on training duty had all parked on the same floor, that would make sense. She also wondered what his gunship looked like. Pilots were allowed to decorate their gunships (within reason), it was a perk of the job to counteract the everyday risk of death. If they passed this stage of training she shuddered at the thought of what L and Mitch would do with theirs.
“Come look outside” said Radzikowski, he took her to near the edge of the bay door. The fall barrier protected them, but it was a vertigo inducing sight to look down 65 stories. She saw tower blocks below her. The 6-lane road seemed a dim blot, or like looking through a microscope. “Are you ready?” he asked her, “to fly above the city, over thousands of people, and if you crash, the deaths you could cause?”
“Yes sir,” she nodded humbly. The responsibility was scary, but it was better to feel that pressure, to stay sharp. She decided to say this. He just nodded.
“So this is what we will do; I’ll fly us to Dome 27 and we’ll do some patrolling. Then we’ll set down and you can take controls. I’ll see how you handle her. We can do some scanning and see what else we can do while we’re there. Then we’ll try to come back alive. OK?”
“Yes sir.” They put their helmets on.
Radzikowski used his black key to open the cockpit. They climbed up and the ground crew guy took the ladder away. Obviously, she was in the back seat, but there was still a set of controls for flight and weapons for later, when the trainer would be in there.
Radzikowski powered up the gunship which thrummed into life, buzzing with power. He radioed Control to ask permission for launch. They kept him waiting for 5 minutes of so, maybe one of the others had already left. When he was cleared for take-off the barrier in front of them withdrew. Radzikowski de-activated the electro-magnetic holds, slowly increased the power of the engines and the gunship passed slowly out of the bay and out into the air…
Stay tuned for Part 3!
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