Chapter 18: Rachel

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595th sol- 13:07

Matt and John were the last one's to enter the tent. They were silent as they entered and went to stand around the holo-table.

"Alright Seth, tell us all what survived in the hangar." I told him.

"Well, the blast took out most of the ships. All the ones in the front of the hangar were crushed and most of the others looked to damaged. The Exos have that whole place covered too so I'm not sure we'll be able to get any ships from there even if they did work." He told the group, looking a bit disappointed.

"Don't worry about it, John found us some ST-33's and if we need them, a few Stormfliers too." I told him looking at John; he wouldn't meet my gaze.....

"How many? I've always wanted an ST!" Seth said, not seeming to notice my lapse of concentration.

"John?" I said in one of those ways that sounds like a question but is more like an introduction.

"There were four ST's on the runway and around like a dozen Stormfliers. Two of the ST's looked like they were in working condition. If we attack from the Western ridge, They'll be the two closest to us. The other two were completely dismantled so they're out. If the ones that look like they work don't, we'll have to bolt for the Stormfliers before the Exos realize we're there." John said.

"Woah, sounds like you already have a plan!" Lily said.

"Lots of time to think while inventorying." John responded. "Among other things." He added with a half-hearted smirk.

"Ok, sounds like that's the plan, when do you want to carry it out?" I asked him even though he still wouldn't meet my gaze.

"We carry out the plan at 20:18, right as the sun's going down. That way the watch tower will be blinded. They'll only be blinded for about seven minutes before the sun disappears, then we'll have about eleven of dusk where we'll be able to see but it'll be nearing dark and they won't be blinded any more.  After that, we better be in the fighters otherwise we'll need flashlights and that'll give away our position." John seemed to have really thought out his plan and was confident in every word he said. I was glad he had all this so figured out, it would save me a ton of energy.

"Well John," I said and he finally glanced up at me and for a second, we made eye contact before he looked back down again. "This mission is all yours, thanks." I told him, not to sure of what to say.

"What do we do until then?" Tom asked.

"There's plenty more inventorying to be done..." Matt said with a grin half joking.

"Tonight, we leave so gather everything of importance and get ready to move. We'll have to be mobile so ONLY the essentials." John said. "Everyone come get MRE's at 14:00. We'll need them for the trip. Dismissed." He said the last part as more of a second thought than anything.

595th sol- 19:30

"Everyone got what they need?" John asked. He was briefing us on his plan. There was a murmur of yes's and agreeing words. "Ok, everyone synchronize armbands to read 19:31 on my mark. Three, two, one, mark." Everyone hit the buttons on their watches at the same time. They all blinked once then read 19:31. "There, everyone has the time. We lift off the ground at 20:31. We'll be silent on comms. until we're airborne so they don't pick anything up in the tower. Got it?" he asked everyone. Again, everyone nodded.

"Who's in what ship?" Tom asked.

"Glad you asked. Tom, you're the pilot of the first ship. Seth, you're the navigator and comms. officer for that ship and Matt, you're the rear gunner. I'll pilot the second ST, Lily will be the navigator and comms. officer and Rachel, you protect our back. Questions?" He asked. I was glad the light was already going weird because when he said I was in his ship, I blushed a little...

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