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- "That's a clean-looking ride, Guardian. How about we get her scuffed up a little?"
- — Amanda Holliday
Time slowed for Amanda Holliday as she saw a squadron of Cabal fighters break through the atmosphere high above her. Muscle memory kicked in, and she sent the ship screaming down to the hard deck. She buzzed the treetops and cranked her ship around the Cosmodrome's rugged mesas. If they wanted to chase her down, they'd have to prove they had the chops.
She blazed a tight circuit around a spire of rock, weapons hot, expecting to light up the pursuing squadron. Instead, she watched the fighters continue off into the distance. Likely on a bombing run to soften up known Hive nests. They probably hadn't even noticed her.
Holliday throttled down, gained altitude, and slowed her breathing to counteract the adrenaline still coursing through her veins. She realized with sick amazement that she was actually disappointed.
It's better this way, she thought. Let someone with lives to spare clean up the Cabal.
Despite Amanda's self-reassurance, her disappointment lingered. Since becoming the Tower shipwright, her combat sorties had become less and less frequent. She hadn't realized how much she missed them. They made her feel like she was doing her part.
But even after all she had achieved, after all she'd survived, she still felt like she was missing out. Not doing enough. Falling behind. The people of the Tower saw her as an engineer and a pilot. But in her dreams, she was still a malnourished little girl, trudging toward the Last City as jumpships shrieked overhead.
Her brooding was interrupted by a small flashing indicator on her dash. Huh. She must have overloaded a plasma converter during her evasive maneuvers. Something else to fix. It was always something.
Amanda smiled and set course for the Tower. If I only have one life to live, she thought, then I'd better get on with it.
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