Chapter 40

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Dry savanna rushed past in a yellowish, brownish blur, dotted now and then with clusters of trees. They were now in the continent that was once called Africa, snaking their way down to Sector 45 in an attempt to avoid any larger populations.

The pilot looked across to Luka, "we've got four bogies on the radar."

"What?" Luka exclaimed, offended, "it wasn't me."

"Sorry?"

Ignoring him Luka stated, "I can't even see them, the screen looks clean enough to me."

"Can't you see those four dots approaching?"

"They're not bogies, they're planes or something."

"Yes, I know, hence the term bogies, it's a military term."

"Oh, yeah...erm...I have told you about using jargon."

"Anyhow, there are four bogi...I mean unidentified objects approaching."

"So what are they?"

With exasperation the pilot replied, "that's the point of the term bogies, it means I don't know what they are."

"Oh."

"So, what should I do?"

"I don't know...fly casual, and hope it's not Princips."

"I think we can safely say it's Princips."

The pilot responded with a low, thoughtful hum. Silence made its appearance in the cockpit, assaulted by the conversation in the room behind. Soon dots appeared in the distance, far to the west, they were doing well to keep up whilst moving closer. Princips had also been working on increasing the speed of aircraft, something important to their work after g-force issues caused research into individual pod travel in underground tubes to be halted.

When the airships came close enough to see from the cockpit, Luka and his pilot observed four craft, smaller than they were in. Only big enough for two people, they were fast, nimble fighters.

Deviation was not an option, the rebellion craft holding its course, ignoring the fighters' presence. A once dormant screen burst into life, 'incoming communication' flashing on it. Without hesitation, Luka swiped the screen. An authoritative voice commanded, "this is Wing Commander Sutton of the Princips Flying Corps, you do not have authorisation to be flying here, identify yourself."

"We...erm...we're taking an escaped prisoner back to their slum."

"That's a job for Princips."

"Yeah but..." A call on his watch distracted Luka, "not now Du Puteron," he muttered under his breath. Composing himself, Luka continued, "she was in an independent state so the bosses thought it best to send someone not associated with Princips, to stop any friction."

"Right....erm....which slum are you taking the prisoner to?"

Finally, a question Luka was able to answer, "S45-D5."

He heard some low chattering from the craft, then childish sniggering. "What's your code?"

"Code?" Luke panicked.

"Yeah...erm," the voice only just kept control, almost snorting in an attempt to contain the laughter. "Your...you know..." the voice trailed off, only to return a few seconds later with, "your transfer code."

Luka was glad they could not see the fear on his face. He looked at the pilot, who simply shrugged back. All Luka could do was say something with confidence, "TR45618."

"Let me check that," more muffled giggling bled through the speaker. "Yep, all looks fine. We will follow you on your mission, just in case."

The call ended abruptly. Luka asked his pilot, "what do we do now?"

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