The Amazon Fell was dead in the air.
A hatch opened away from them onto the landing bay where she had come into the ship less than an hour ago. The hopper was buzzing; ready to flee the destroyer. The pilot was back in the cockpit. At least, she assumed it was him.
Ngasi put her into the passenger seat, shouted at the pilot over the roar of the hopper’s engines and the din of explosions coming from the world around them. The hangar doors opened in a belch of smoke as Ngasi leaned away from her to shut the door.
“Ngasi, the Amazon is dead,” she said.
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied quietly. She opened her mouth to say something more but the deck shuddered, whipping her breath away as she was thrown into her seat.
Ngasi held the door in one arm, ready to slam it shut.
“Ma’am, please don’t let them kill my parents,” was all he said as the door swung shut. He came close to the window as he checked it was secure. He banged twice on the metal fuselage then stepped away.
“Hold on, ma’am,” said the pilot, pulling back on the joystick. The hopper lifted itself off the hanger deck and slid out of the Amazon in one fluid movement. Ngasi stood at the entrance to the hangar watching, making sure, as far as he could, that they had safely left the destroyer. Helena could see his eyes in the clouds of smoke pouring in through the open bay doors. She lost sight of him before he left the hangar.
Title: A Family War
Author: Stewart Hotston
Genre: Science Fiction
Helena is one of the Oligarchs, genetically-enhanced, centuries old families who rule the world. As a new world war begins, she is ordered to find a boy who could save the human race from genocide. Yet all is not as it seems; Helena’s finds enemies on all sides, intent on bringing about the war with all its horrific consequences. To make matters worse, Helena’s own integral AI, accidentally freed from its constraints, challenges both her motives and her identity, yet she has no choice but to accept its treacherous aid if she is to have any hope of surviving those who need her dead.
Stewart works in the city but was once a quantum physicist who always liked his science fiction to have actual science in it as well as the thrills and characters that make great stories. Oh, and he likes fighting with actual steel swords.