It was late in the morning by the time they took flight for the mining colony by the Mantou Islands with their cargo of people and equipment. No one seemed to have been any the wiser about what was going on, but Hans couldn’t help but obsessively worry. He kept thinking that there had to be some small detail that he was forgetting about.“Okay, stop it already. You’re going to drive me crazy.” Honora snapped at Hans bringing his attention back to the present moment.
“Stop what?” he asked.“Drumming your fingers like that. Out of all us I didn’t think you’d be the one with the case a case of the nerves. I’m worried too, but there really isn’t much good in worrying at this point. We’re as committed as we can be.” She smiled and placed her hand on top of Hans’. “Just chill.”
Hans let her hand rest on his for a moment before pulling his own away. “I’m sorry. I just keep going over and over the plan in my head. I can’t help but feel that I may have forgotten something. I know I’m being silly, but it’s just the way I am.”“That’s cool, but try to keep your head in the now.” Honora smiled and turned her attention back to her console. They were nearing the wind belt and it was going to take both of their attention to make sure everything went smoothly for the landing.
Once they were on the ground, Hans put all his attention back into their plan. He put on his most flirtatious smile as he approached the hangar manager for the colony. “Hey Nance, we appear to be having some sort of issue with our systems here. Mind if we sit for a few days and run some tests before taking it back up into that hellish wind?”“Hans, well darling, you can sit here all you like. I have no problem and we’ve got no one and nothing else coming in this way for a bit.” She smiled back and gave Hans a little wink. “And if you need a place to stay, don’t be afraid to ask.”
“Thanks Nance, but I’ve got to look after my crew first. Glad we can sit for a bit. I’d hate to have an issue especially with a junior pilot at the helm. It’s her first time out this way.” Hans nodded towards Honora who was doing a good job of looking worried as she ran a fake diagnostic test.“Aw, poor little chicky. Well I’d really hate for anything bad to happen to anyone. Just let me know if I can help out at all.” Nance smiled and turned her attention back to her machines.
Hans shook his head as he walked away. Sometimes people were just too easy to manipulate, but he was pretty sure he had managed to give them a few days with no questions. Nance was a good sort of person and he hated the idea of putting her in a tough spot.“Okay guys, we’ve got a couple of days without questions at least, but let’s not waste too much time. I’ll book us some rooms so that no one expects anything and I know a rental place that takes cash and doesn’t ask questions. I’ll meet you guys at the west portal in about an hour.” Hans gave Duke the address for the rental place and waved good bye.
With rooms booked and do not disturb messages set up on all three, Hans made his way towards the western edge of the protective dome. He waited there, watching the wind kick up dust debris. It was a particularly nasty day out there, but that just meant there would be less of a chance of them being spotted. He wasn’t waiting long before Honora and Duke arrived.“All set?” Hans asked as he put on his rebreather for their short walk to the docks.
“Yeah, but he said there’s an advisory out for all non-essential craft right now. Wind is the worst it’s been all week.” Duke handed the keys over to Hans so he could get his own rebreather in place.“No worries.” Hans gave Duke a thumbs up sign as he opened the door and grabbed hold of railing. They made their way out to the docks and happily removed their rebreathers once they were inside. They would have atmosphere suits for the boat trip out to the island.
It as a rough ride out and on a few occasions Hans was beginning to wonder if they would even make it to the island. He could only pray that the wind would be a little less intense for their trip back when they would be heading into the wind. It was relief to get into the tunnel and out of their suits.“That was quite the boat trip. I don’t think I’m looking forward to the trip back.” Honora leaned against the stone wall and took a deep breath.
“Come on you two, we don’t really have time on our schedule to rest. Get your gear ready and your hoverboard ready to go.” Hans didn’t want to admit that the boat trip had even left him a bit queasy, but he kept his focus on the goal. They didn’t have a lot of time to spare.“Wow, Duke, handles?” Honora giggled as she saw the hoverboard that he had unfolded from his pack. He glared at her as he attached the handle to his.
“The guy at the shop said this would make it easier for me because I tried and I suck at it. Okay?” Duke got on his and had to bend right over to not hit the top the tunnel. Even Hans had to crouch down quite a bit to fit, but Honora had no problem at all. It wasn’t long before they could all stand comfortably on their hover boards.