The flyer rushed toward a great rend in the ground. A mechanical recording warned of the approaching surface.
They plunged a quarter mile into the canyon before Lev pulled out of the dive. The flyer shuddered while they dropped another five hundred feet. The fans screamed as the control system trimmed the craft just above a dry riverbed. Rafe let out a breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding.
The channel twisted through the limestone and shale canyon. The tan and gray layers of the walls rushed past Rafe’s window.
“There’s the starting line. Clock us,” Lev said.
“I’m not here to play games.”
Lev chuckled and started the dash-mounted timer. They raced between faded red stripes painted up the walls. The manager flashed down the dangerous route, the fans screaming as he bounced the craft within inches of the encroaching walls on every turn.
“Your dampers can’t handle the resonance oscillation,” Rafe warned.
“Keep talking. I’m still gonna break your record,” Lev replied.
They roared into the next curve. With a bump and a screech, the back left nacelle brushed the wall, slewing them sideways until the control unit compensated. The near miss didn’t slow Lev.
Sweat broke out on Rafe’s face despite the cool air blowing from the vents.
“Pull out or slow down. She isn’t ready. Another brush like that and they’ll be picking us up with a sponge.”
The first of the stone bridges stretched across the canyon, providing a comfortable space beneath it for the flyer. Rafe glanced back at the flyer’s high tail fins and wondered whether the craft had enough clearance for the later arches.
Lev hurled the flyer under the bridge without easing up on the throttle. Turbulence rattled the cockpit.
“Guess I should have brought a case of wine and a couple of broads. Then it would be like old times out here. Me chasing skirt, and you drunk on your ass.”
“Take us back now,” Rafe ordered.
“Can’t. Haven’t finished the test run. Two seconds under your time already by my reckoning.”
The flyer shimmied through an S-curve into a short straightaway. Lev opened the throttle, his rugged face a study in grim concentration, his eyes shining like an addict’s after a hit.
Ahead, another crumbling stone arch spanned the canyon. The flyer tore under it and aimed for a landslide beyond. Lev yanked the stick back and applied braking, but the craft responded slowly. A puff of smoke erupted from the front left nacelle.
The flyer pitched up over the slide with a rattling that shook Rafe’s teeth. For one long moment, he thought the manager might try to run under the next bridge despite the loss of the braking fan.
In desperation, Rafe reached across and gave the stick a vicious pull. The nose rose, but not fast enough.
Author: K.S. Ferguson
Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Sci-Fi
Rafe McTavish, security expert and new CEO at interplanetary mega-corp EcoMech, and his undercover ally Kama Bhatia, hacker and corporate spy, continue their pursuit of a ruthless blackmailer in the sequel to Calculated Risk.
When Rafe’s arrival on EcoMech’s frontier colony world ruins their adversary’s plan for supremacy, events take a deadly turn. As tensions amongst the workers rise and unrest turns to violence, Rafe and Kama must race to unmask a killer before Rafe and his family fall victims to a murderous hostile takeover.
K S Ferguson has published three novels, Calculated Risk, Hostile Takeover, and Touching Madness, and one critically-acclaimed novella, Puncher’s Chance (co-written with James Grayson,) which appeared in the June 2006 edition of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, America’s longest-running science fiction magazine. She enjoys writing suspense and murder mysteries in futuristic and fantasy settings, and also writes fiction in the guise of technical manuals for unfinished software—otherwise known as help documentation.
K S Ferguson website: http://www.ksferguson.net
Hostile Takeover at Smashword link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/455719
Hostile Takeover at Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LLP9LTY
Win a set of print copies of the series.