Captives DesireBy: Natasha Knight
Livvie rolled her aircraft onto the runway, listening to the heavy steel doors slide closed behind her. She forced in a shallow breath and gripped the throttle with sweaty hands.
“Officer Jenkins requesting permission for launch,” she spoke into her headset.
Her heart raced. Today’s mission was the last of a series of tests. Just one more to pass before earning her place as a pilot of the Hunter-Killer Squadron of Magnus One, one of the last two remaining cities on Earth. At twenty, she’d be the youngest woman ever to join such an elite group and, although proud, she couldn’t shake the anxiety she felt today.
“Request acknowledged, Jenkins. Hold position,” came the hard voice of the controller.
She turned her face to the bright blue sky, knowing for all its beauty, the contamination it contained.
She’d flown this route several times over the last year of her training and each trip had been uneventful. It was just the thought that today she’d be doing it solo, without any assistance at all, should she run into trouble.
She straightened her back and looked straight ahead, annoyed with herself. She was a soldier. Hunting the resistance fighters outside the city was what she was trained to do. Yes, they had weapons of their own, but nothing as sophisticated as what she had access to.
Still, something made her feel uneasy and she didn’t normally feel uneasy.
She counted to ten as she inhaled deeply, trying to calm her nerves. But when she was given the okay to take off, she was a mess again.
Get it together, Livvie.
After pushing several buttons, she took the throttle with both hands. Acceleration was loud and fast and she was quickly airborne. In no time, she was far beyond the domed, protective walls of her city.
She checked her controls and sat back. The first part of the trip would be unremarkable, dead land. This part of the country had been so used up that all its resources were depleted. The earth here had nothing left to give and was considered uninhabitable at this point.
She would be stationed at Magnus Two, which stood on the western coast of the country. Although Magnus One was the larger of the cities, Magnus Two was the more beautiful, the terrain offering variety in mountains and oceans, desert and rougher country. She was glad for the change, although a part of her didn’t want to leave her twin sister behind.
The first hour and a half passed without incident. She watched out the window as she now approached the mountainous region that covered a good portion of the western half of the country. This land was beautiful and wild. She wondered if she’d ever get to set foot on it, but imagined not. Not with the poison she’d become exposed to.
She was thinking what a shame it was when, out of nowhere in the clear blue sky, a burst of light jolted her aircraft. She screamed when the plane shook violently and didn’t have to see to know that she was falling, something that frightened her to her core. Always had.
“Mayday, mayday,” she called out. She opened her eyes, but her vision had been impaired by the bright white of the light. She knew her ship and worked from memory, trying to right the aircraft. She pushed buttons and pulled levers but nothing worked; the ship had lost power. She wasn’t even sure if her distress signal had been received at Magnus One—she didn’t have the acknowledgement that should have come. She released her seatbelt, sure the earth was fast approaching, and hit the button to eject.
What happened next was thankfully too fast to process. She could make out nothing around her as she was launched high into the sky and away from the sound that signaled the crash of her plane. She held tight to the cords that carried her and only opened her eyes when the sensation of falling had passed and was replaced by one of floating. Her vision was blurred and dark and she kept squeezing her eyes open and shut, trying to clear them. She landed with a hard thud near the heat of the wreckage that was her ship. She heard a popping first and tried to scramble to her feet, to pull herself free of the parachute that had just saved her. That would become the cause of her death if she couldn’t free herself of it. But with her vision as it was, the effort was futile. The popping noise she heard was likely the fuel tank about to blow and if that was the case, she had to get away fast if she had any hope of surviving.