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   Chapter 18 No.18

High Steaks By Christina Engela Characters: 5558

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

She mounted the saddle appreciatively. This one had been someone's pride and joy! The bike, resting on the anti-grav units that kept it off the ground and propelled it forward, sank down just a little under her light frame. She rested the loose pulse-rifle across her knees, then, pointing the bike in the right direction, she opened the throttle – and the hover-bike surged forward with a powerful roar!

* * *

The Celeste was, obviously, not a new ship. She was a Rotanga Class loderunner, first commissioned in 2068, and was certified to carry cargo and passengers. After too many repairs, refits and disasters to count, and at nearly a century and a half old, the battered old ship had for many years been steadily spiraling downward in terms of condition and capacity. After what Jonn Deire described as 'an extra-special refit' the old ship had been given a new lease on life! Her new engine thrumming with power, the old ship lightly lifted off the tarmac, landing skids retracting, and hovered just feet over the heads of some very excited D.R.A. troopers who seemed to be running this way and that – bumping into each other in the dark and confusion!

Bubba's skilled fingers worked the helm controls, and the ship edged forward, turning toward the terminal building. Troopers started shooting at the ship, hitting the underside of the hull plating and whooshing harmlessly away! The hull plating of a starship – even a loderunner – was thick and durable, built to withstand meteorite impacts and the general bumps and grinds that came with space travel! They would need something a lot bigger than that to stop this ship!

Presently, the space port

another bout of renewed, muffled mooing below. A few seconds later, the last crumpled aluminum roof trusses and clear plasti-steel roof plates fell out of view as Celeste finished bull- er, cow-dozing a very large trench right through the building – bursting through a very light brick wall at the far end, free and clear! Suddenly a dark, empty car-park lay before them – and beyond that, the muted lights of Atro City! Free of the shield, the ship became more buoyant, and lifted slightly.

"Up, up, up!" Deire urged. "Make for orbit!"

Bubba prodded the throttle again, and the Celeste quickly soared skyward, hungry for altitude!

* * *

The Slipped Disk was something of an alternative club, catering for various minority groups in Deannan society. Situated in an upmarket shopping mall in Atro City, the club worked as a night club by night, and a coffee shop-pub during the day. It was open most of the time, having staff on duty on rotating shifts round the clock. Tonight was the first time it had ever been closed since it had opened, which – well, was a long time – and several owners ago.

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