Re-Entry by Ronald Faltus

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SUMMARY: Gareth Kahle arrival on Minaras is a touch more difficult than anticipated. Part of a longer story I was working on a while back, but really liked this section. Enjoy and all comments welcomed.

"I repeat this is Officer Henzel of the Galactic Protection and Security at Minaras Station One. You are approaching the system at an unauthorized vector and at excessive velocity. You need to alter your course and speed or I will be forced to dispatch GPS patrol craft to your location and have your ship disabled and boarded. Please comply!"

Gareth Kahle felt his ship shudder as it slammed into the thicker layers of the atmosphere, and thought to himself that even if the GPS forces were dispatched right now, they would make it just in time to see him and his ship get splatter across the lower exosphere. If the myriad of warning light across his counsel were any indication, a safety citation from GPS was the least of his worries at the moment. Hull temperature exceeded maximum tolerances by at least fifteen percent, which the fact that was as high as the display would register was quite troubling. Structural integrity was shot all to hell, showing at least five different hull breaches, each of which would cause explosive decompression if he tried to pull The Scry back into orbit. Not that longitudinal control was much of an issue any more since the friction of his rapid approach into Minara's atmosphere had already sheared off the ships two horizontal wings.

"I heard you the first four times you've made that threat. Please dispatch someone to arrest me; I would like to see it." Gareth screamed into his headset. It wasn't the ground control that he was upset at, but at the moment Officer Henzel would have to do. "I'd love to comply, but at the moment I'm kind of busy trying to keep myself from getting killed!"

Gareth was a good pilot, one of the best you could find that wasn't employed by a major shipping firm. He knew all the proper procedures and was qualified in all aspects of space travel. He was also cautious; wise enough to know that proper flying techniques could prevent getting ones self into trouble. Being foolish was the quickest way for a pilot to find himself dead. So when it came time to make his approach to Minaras he gave himself more than ample time to engage the breaking thrusters so he could make a nice steady landing on the surface.

As he toggled in the braking system, it flared up for one second, then burnt itself out, frying the circuitry between the his controls and the engines. The forward cabin filled up with smoke from the burnt insulation and by the time Gareth was able to clear his vision to see out of the forward view plate, all he could see was the dusty beige surface of Minaras. He instantly tried to pull The Scry out of its suicidal dive, but the planets gravity had already caught his ship in its grip. The small personal transport was still traveling at its normal interplanetary speed, much to fast to encounter the atmosphere. Like a comet blazing across the sky, Gareth was plummeting downward, and there was very little he could do about it.

"Unauthorized craft, this is your last warning, please comply immediately. Alter your course and proceed to Minaras Starbase on an approved vector.

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