He laughed. “Happy now? Come on, Supertech. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
The day flew past as she collected background information and read up on fighter control systems.
After work she bounced into the apartment she shared with Brad.
“Hey. Had a great day, lover, how was yours?” She threw off her coat and flung it onto the nearest chair.
Brad grinned up at her from the couch and turned off the holovid. “That’s a change. Tell me about it.”
She pirouetted, landed on his lap and engulfed him in a kiss.
“I have to create a control system for a new fighter called the SU-43,” she said when she came up for air.
The arm around her waist loosened. “Oh yes? What’s an SU-43?” “Don’t tell me you’re interested? You’re never interested in what I do.”
“In fighters, sure. That’s what I do.”
“It’s a replacement for the K-11.”
“I’ve flown K-11s. Quite a few times. How’s it different?”
“Totally reconfigurable wings. Forward slanting with canards when you want manoeuvrability, backswept when you need stability, wing length can be changed, wings and canards can be kind of joined together to create one smooth delta-wing surface. Wings and canards are retractable, so the craft can be stored in a smaller space. That’s an improvement for a star destroyer.”
“I guess. Weapons?”
“Laser cannons forward and aft and missile tubes under the fuselage.”
“Are the missile launchers Techwares?”
“I don’t know. Does the manufacturer matter?”
His hand stroked her back, up and down, but absently. “Guess not. But Techwares are solid, problem-free and accurate.”
“I can find out for you.”
He grinned and hugged her shoulder. “I know you can, babe. But let’s not bother right now. A celebration is in order. Let’s go out for dinner and then on to the dance club. We can show each other some moves.”
She sat up. “Sounds good. And then we can come home and practise some more horizontal moves.”
He laughed. “That sounds even better. Go get changed, then.”
She skipped off to the bedroom and pulled out her red dress while Brad changed into grey pants and a dark blue jacket. She liked his body, fit and strong. The scar still showed on his left leg, a long white line but he hardly limped at all and the injury certainly hadn’t stopped his ability to dance. Vertically or horizontally.
Gens Brasna may be the armpit of the Fleet, but at least she’d met Brad here. Nothing was irrevocably bad. And Captain Jorvik could put that small fact wherever he’d like it, with her compliments.
She slipped on dancing shoes, the heels high enough for elegance without causing nose- bleed. “What did the doctor say?”
His fingers stopped in the act of buttoning his coat. “Another month and they’ll consider sending me back to my squadron.”
A month. Her heart almost stopped. But he was a fighter pilot, only here on Gens Brasna to recuperate, regain his skills flying refurbished ships as a final check before they went back to active duty. She knew that. Now the knowledge transformed into a hand around her heart, squeezing.
“Hey.” He crossed the few steps between them and took her face in his hands. “This new assignment is a good sign. Do a good job and you’ll be out of here, too. Love you.”
He kissed her lightly then pulled her into his arms and clamped his mouth over hers. She moulded against him, eyes closed.
He pushed away at last. “Come on, we need to eat first.”
She managed a laugh. “Guess so.”
“And who knows? Maybe they’ll post you to Leviathan.”
Yes, maybe they would. She’d been a good girl so far, hadn’t put a foot wrong since she landed here. The last thing she wanted was to lose her commission. If Gens Brasna was bad, the prospect of going home to Sal Moneo with her tail between her legs... No. She’d never do that.
Morgan almost skipped into work the following day, bubbling with barely suppressed joy. A job, a real job. She connected with the computer, called up the schematics for the SU-43 and began to design the control system. She’d spent some time yesterday checking the controllers for the K-11s and a number of other fighters and reading up on the literature. The system would be a closed-loop neural network, collecting input data from sensors within the machine and modifying the flight characteristics accordingly.