Chapter Forty-five

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Kita appeared high above western Russia. She tucked in her wings, and the world went silent as she used her berserking state to push herself through the sound barrier and far beyond. Tapping into the EUS Defense Satellite Communications System, she connected to the NORAD computer system and located the nuclear weapon climbing into space.

The edge of space was beautiful—the curvature of the Earth, the blue atmosphere, and the blackness of space all in one picture. Ahead of her was the exhaust trail. She followed it and flew alongside the gray missile with CCCP painted on the side.

Kita stopped berserking and blinked tears from her eyes. Years of training turned the sobs following an episode into a few small tears. The emotional turmoil she felt hadn't lessened, but her ability to handle it increased.

She searched for an access hatch to the navigational computer. I don't want to have to push this thing out of the way. She found several hatches, one was engine access, another was for fuel lines, a third revealed a receptacle with a twenty-pin port. Kita groaned. It was wider than her thumb. Let's see if I can do this in parallel. She pressed both thumbs against it and connected via the fibers in her skin.

And, my Russian dictionary is six hundred years too late and from the wrong universe. Kita translated enough to talk to the computer. She needed to break the encryption. Not a difficult task, but time-consuming. I wonder how much time I have. They were still in space, and the missile was level. She forced her way inside the guidance computer and ran through the flight instructions. I could shut it down and let it fall or...

The missile's coordinates couldn't be changed mid-flight. Kita needed to reboot the computer and restart the engine. Luckily, I come with my own way to light this candle. She shut down the missile, reprogrammed the destination coordinates, and restarted the computer.

Lights on a panel lit as the computer went through its startup sequence. Once it reached launch, Kita disconnected and dropped down to the missile's base. She lit a fireball and threw it into the engine nozzle. The missile ignited and lurched forward, leaving Kita behind.

Kita spread her wings and caught herself. She and the missile had fallen back into the atmosphere. Kita hurried after it.

"NORAD, Princess Kita. Can you hear me?"

"Yes, Your Highness. This is Colonel Hickman. What can we do for you?" said a male voice.

"The nuclear missile—did it change course?"

"It is deviating from the projected course, Your Highness. Should it be?"

"Yes, thanks. I'm going to watch it and make sure it hits the target."

"What's the target, Your Highness?"

"Write this down and get it to Princess Roosevelt. Are you ready?"

"Yes, Your Highness."

"Kimmy, a special engagement gift from me to you, love, Kita. You're to put little hearts around it and get—preferably a female officer—to kiss it leaving a set of lip prints. Think you can handle that?" said Kita as she caught up to the missile. There was a click. He hung up. Kita called back.

"This is General Borland, Commander of NORAD."

"This is Princess Kita."

"What the hell is going on?" he snapped. "Why are you wasting my people's time in a crisis?"

"The crisis is averted," said Kita. "I retargeted the missile. Now, please give my message to Princess Roosevelt. If you ruin my gift, I'm coming to Colorado, and you get to explain to her why you felt so damn important that you would ruin my engagement gift to her and I will make you write it out in front of her. I—Whoa!"

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