A Dream of Flying….
Every night when I go to sleep, I can only hope I have a dream of flying. Not personally flying, like a bird. Rather flying some sort of craft/plane/ship……something.
The other night I had a dream. (The good ones, like the bad ones, stick with me. They are as real as the waking world. Sometimes moreso. I am afraid one of these days I will choose not to come back….. But I digress…)
The dream started with me in a flightsuit. (Always a good sign.) As I rounded the corner, I saw my ship. Standing on three supports, it was 70 ft nose to tail. Around 45 foot wingspan. It was mean looking. Glimmering black and blood red, it stood there in the night, shining in the midst of rising gases from the fueling process. Ignoring the acrid stink of synthfuel, I climbed into the cockpit and fastened my five-point harness.
When I close my eyes, I can still see the controls. The left hand controlled a T-stick throttle with HUD selectors, while the right hand rested on a flight stick. Made for my hand alone, it wrapped back along my wrist and plugged in to the bio-ring I wore on my wrist. This allowed the ship to monitor my vitals as I flew, and take appropriate action should they begin to fluctuate. I slid my feet into the flight pedals and made sure they were secure and then hit the ‘authorize’ switch on the left side of my cabin. I felt the flight band snug itself down across my right thigh and wondered if I would feel the needles that controlled glucose, morphine, and adrenaline( and other things) slide into my veins… Nope. Nothing but a slight twinge and they were in place. Finally, the helmet came down and clamped itself around my head from the sides. When fastened, it provided everything I would need for the next 15 or 16 hours in the way of breathable air or input. With its final click, I was ready to lift off.
Keying the thrusters with the left hand, I lifted ship about 15 feet off the ground and slowly edged my way into the launch cradle above me. Once in place, all I could do was wait for the shipboard command to give the launch signal. I settled back into my harness for what might be a long wait. After all, one doesn’t spit out warships unless one is pretty confident that there is going to be fighting….
After a ?short? while, ((I’m unsure how long (the drugs see to that,)) my head clears and I hear the launch tone warning me that thrust is imminent. Less than 15 seconds later I am slammed back into my harness as the launch cradle hurls my ship into the cold of space. As soon as I clear the main hull, I jam my thrust control forward and feel my ship leap out into the dark.
Around me screens and sensors come alive.
“Fifteen clicks at 6 o’clock.”
“Weapons armed and ready”
“13 raps up and flying”
“Interception in two minutes”
Flicking my left thumb, the screen goes to FLIR and I can now see a swarm of sparks heading my/our direction. They are the enemy. Small, fast, and deadly. They can outfly us on any given day, but we outgun them 4 to one. I warm up the weapons pack and let loose a few beams to bring the temp into operative range. Then the fight begins in earnest….
For an hour or more I dance with death amongst the stars. Sometimes near my home ship, sometimes farther out. I fly like my hair is on fire at speeds that, except for the protection of my flight suit, would turn my body into red jelly. And I am GOOD. I weave, spin, pull out and dive, all the while chasing down and being chased down. Enemy after enemy falls before me. When my beams are too hot and must cool, I use missiles. Or ion clusters. Or my thrusters. Whatever works.
For a brief time I am ALIVE! The belt around my thigh pumps in just the right combination of drugs to turn me into a merciless killing machine! I revel in the gunfire! I’m in love with the trace of my missiles! I adore the exploding plasma before me!
The battle falls planet-side and we cut through and around mountain canyons and peaks at speeds that lift and lays back down the snow in newly drifted patterns behind us. They continue to come and we continue to cut them down, blow them up, and tear them to pieces with our weapons.
And then, in the midst of a screaming roll-over, I wake. Disoriented, I reach down for my bio-controls and the pain slams me gasping back to the mattress. I’m back.
I lay in the dark silently weeping; wishing to have just five more minutes in the cockpit of my ship.