241 From Inside the Storm
"ATTENTION! ALL PASSENGERS PREPARE FOR POTENTIAL TURBULENCE!"
The Stella Tenebris was bustling with activity as everyone's Eves loudly called out warnings of what was to come. Now that all available crew were back on board, Zoey was preparing to take her cruiser through the turbulent storm that encased the flying city. Their exit from this place was long overdue, and Zoey was eager to see an ordinary blue sky again.
At this moment the sleek shape of the Stella Tenebris could be seen drawing an arc across the sky as Zoey piloted her ship up and away from the flying city of metal. The crew quickly secured themselves in their protective quarters and waited for what would happen next. Most were even watching the events taking place on the bridge through displays brought up on their Eves.
Those that were watching could barely take their eyes off of the heroic image of Zoey in her captain's chair as she confidently piloted her ship. Next to her was the floating silver sphere of Custodian 704, supporting the captain as it monitored the cruiser's internal systems.
The protective shutters over the bridge windows had been lowered and locked into place already, but that did not prevent Zoey from seeing what was going on beyond the safety of the armored hull. The imagery being received by the cruiser's external sensors was being holographically projected onto the inside of the bridge windows, making it seem as if the windows were still uncovered, therefore allowing Zoey and everyone watching to have a clear view of the outside.
The view itself was remarkable from a purely visual standpoint. The boiling turbulence of the clouds was highlighted by the flame-colored lights that flickered and danced underneath the surface while blueish-while lightning forked angrily along the inner lining of the clouds.
As the cruiser approached the storm, the onlookers huddled together inside could finally appreciate the ferocious power that was on display. The winds that caused the clouds to churn and boil were howling along at incredible speed, and the closer they got, the more violent and terrible the strength of the storm seemed to become! Seeing it from a distance was one thing, but once you got up close, it was hard to avoid feeling like a speck of dust about to be swallowed by a tornado.
The observing crew had their collective breaths stolen by the violent beauty of the scene, and they looked on enraptured by the sight, right up until they realized that Zoey had to somehow bring them safely through that chaos and out of the storm. Was it even possible to survive going through all of that?
The captain of the Stella Tenebris however, had no trepidation about her task. She was focused and already had a plan to bring her ship and crew to safety.
"All calculations for the escape vector are complete, prepare for acceleration," Zoey said to 704.
"Confirmed. All systems ready captain," came the reply from her silver copilot.
Zoey nodded and started to align her cruiser with the escape vector that had been calculated with her interface. The swirling storm that encapsulated this place rotated like a hurricane, and the wind speed within the boiling clouds was almost a thousand kilometers an hour. If she was not careful her cruiser would be torn apart by the force of the gale.
Thanks to her interface's capabilities however, Zoey had no need to worry. All she had to do was pilot her ship along the prepared vector, and they would be able to get through safely.
Against the backdrop of the sunset colored storm and the flashes of lightning, the Stella Tenebris looked small and insignificant. The crew on board collectively held their breath as the cruiser accelerated, drawing closer and closer to the storm.
Just as the Stella Tenebris was about to come into contact with the storm, Zoey pulled on her controls, effortlessly moving her cruiser to be vertical from the horizon. The gravity arrays integrated into the ship kept everyone and everything where they were supposed to be, but many of the crew were overcome by vertigo by the sudden change in perspective.
Zoey had performed this maneuver so that she could fly into the storm with the proper angle. If she had attempted to fly in with the tip of her wing being the leading edge, it would have been a rough trip. Now that she had the Stella Tenebris orientated so that the storm was directly 'above' them, she just had to pull back on her controls.
Like a swan diving into a lake, the sleek profile of the Stella Tenebris angled itself towards the storm and penetrated into the angry sea of clouds.
From the view on the bridge, it was as though the ship had flown into an entirely different universe. Swirling currents of flaming clouds raced alongside them like river rapids, as if their cruiser was but a piece of debris being pulled along in the current. Blueish-white lightning arced along the Stella Tenebris's hull in brilliant flashes, the light illuminating the surrounding clouds with an eerie glow.
Zoey had her eyes fixed on her virtual heads up display, skillfully piloting her cruiser through the turbulence. She was guiding her ship along the path her interface was plotting in real time, making adjustments as needed to stay away from dangerous areas within the storm.
Luckily, the inner section of the storm was the most violent, so as Zoey piloted her cruiser closer to the outer edge, the easier her job became. Eventually the lightning strikes became less frequent, and the wind speed started declining as well. The beautiful, yet deadly visuals of flaming clouds and flashing lightning that they had seen slowly became an ordinary thunderstorm.
As Zoey's crew felt relief flow through them, they looked at each other and saw the same happiness and excitement in each other's eyes. They were finally free from that horrible place. What seemed like a lifetime was only a few days in reality, but they had all had enough of that damned metal city.
The relief her crew was feeling was also being felt by Zoey. She sighed gently as she looked over the information being displayed for her. In a few minutes they would be free of the storm and would be able to see where they ended up. Gods knew where they were after being hauled around by the flying city for several days.
Wherever they ended up, Zoey had her cruiser and her crew, so regardless of what happened, she was ready to take it on!