IS THE CHUTE GOING TO OPEN?

작년

Many questions had gone through Mouse's head that day: Waffles for breakfast, or eggs? How to get the smeared eyeliner off her nose? How the hell did she end up with last nights' eyeliner on her nose? All the regular things that accompany spacer life, or girl life, or whatever. But that this precise moment, the most important question of her ENTIRE life was:

IS THE CHUTE GOING TO OPEN?

skydive.jpeg
Courtesy of Jhonathan Flore.

The day had gone as expected, that is, most of the plan had gone out the window upon first contact with security. Jessica had handled the situation in her standard manner, by launching into a venomous tirade against the wait-staff in the space-elevator cafeteria, long enough for Mouse to access the maintenance elevator shaft in the kitchen to get past the checkpoints.

After dropping by the officer's galley to pick up the anti-radiation/thermal websuit and supplies that Gino had secreted there, hauling all that crap into the ventilation system, activating her modified O2 rebreather-helm, fighting with the goddamn chem-sniffer so it would lead her toward the spaceport rather than the waste-treatment plant like last time; and ending up having to take a half-kilometer detour around a blocked duct on her HANDS AND KNEES, she finally made it to the shipyard.

Olaf didn't pay her enough for this shit.

She squirmed around in the duct long enough to get into the mechanic's coveralls, slung the "lunch-bag" with the rebreather tank and glide-chute over her shoulders and left the rest behind. And if Olaf tried to take it out of her bonus, god help that overblown jackass.

The shipyard itself was surprisingly clean. This space-elevator wasn't exactly top of the line, probably 600 years old, from the look of it. It must have been acquired and renovated sometime in the last 5 years though, because the shrieker-mold in the vents was relatively undeveloped. That had been a plus. Then came the "hard" part, getting across the shipyard to that fancy new transport. It really wasn't that difficult for someone who looked like they knew what they were doing, and she did. Getting relegated to the engine-pool back in Academy had broken her heart, but she got over it, learned the trade, then skipped out when opportunity came knocking.

Down the main central chassis, past the reactor-blocks, and finally.. FINALLY to the site overseer's portable. Probably the goofiest thing about these portables was how insecure they were. A padlock? Really?

Considering the value of the schematics that were laying on the desk inside, they should have had armed guards posted at the door. But they never did. She wasn't complaining, it was just kinda disappointing that people always thought things like blueprints were secure from folks like her. Oh well... Rinse, Repeat.

She took extra care placing the forgeries on the desk, because Olaf wanted them to go a few days before realizing something was up. On that, at least, he was smart. She went ahead and raided the overseers fridge for iced-coffee and a sandwich, because she'd been going for about 16 hours without a break. Cracking the safe, she grabbed some cash and other files, dropped some propaganda pamphlets to make it look like a break-in by those Earthseeker weirdos, then stashed the coveralls in the trash.

A couple more breaths of the sweet conditioned air, and she was onto the easy part. As easy as falling off a log. A log thirty kilometers from the ground. She waited til she saw a clean line, took off running like a maniac toward the breach, picked up enough speed for a solid exit, and then she was in the atmosphere, just as the alarm system started blaring in the shipyard, getting farther and farther away as she plunged toward terminal velocity.

The acronym HALO for these High-Altitude-Low-Opening jumps wasn't wasted on anybody. If something went wrong, you were gonna be getting a halo all your own. Now all she had to do was wait til the buzzer, deploy the chute, and the ground team would ferry her to a safe-house. Rinse-repeat. The worlds were always pretty from this height.

And then the ripcord came off in her hand...

Olaf didn't pay her enough for this shit

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