*That's Bolling Air Base in there,* Sam told Jolinar. *I don't have any credentials on me, of course, so we better hope it's as deserted as it looks. There's no guard at the gate, in any case.*
*Yes, we must also hope it has not been as badly damaged as the first appearance indicates, because if that is the case, I doubt we shall find a flight-worthy vessel in there.*
*True,* Sam admitted, looking bitterly at the large holes in the road. There were plenty of ruined buildings everywhere - some of them still burning. Corpses lay scattered here and there. She tried not to look at them. *The road is too damaged for us to drive any further. We'll have to walk the rest of the way.*
Their journey through the city had been mostly uneventful. The bombardments had stopped shortly before they located a car Sam could break into, so that had not been a problem.
They had seen a very few people who tried to escape, terrified, but mostly the streets were empty. People were too frightened to go out.
During the first part of their drive, the city had looked mostly like itself, but they had not driven long before they saw evidence of Cronus's bombardments.
The road, sidewalks, and any open place were littered by holes, or oftentimes deep craters. Many of the buildings they passed had been damaged, some of them reduced to rubble.
Smaller and larger fires burned in the ruins. Here and there they had seen corpses.
It was all heart wrenching. Sam had seen the results of several Goa'uld attacks, but never on such a large city - and never on her own planet. Jolinar had seen countless Goa'uld atrocities - and Sam suspected she had committed a few before she turned Tok'ra - but she was still deeply affected by the devastation.
*We should hurry,* Jolinar suggested, when they had exited the car. *It looks like a large fire is sweeping the city. It is still some distance away, but...*
*Oh, God!* Sam noticed the very strong glow, now when Jolinar called her attention to it. It stretched over much of the city. *The gas pipes must have broken!*
*It's actually completely undamaged!* Sam stared, almost disbelieving, at the F-16 fighter jet. *I thought all the ones they hadn't gotten into the air had been destroyed on the ground, but I guess this one escaped destruction.*
*Very fortunate for us. How quickly can you get it in the air?*
*They've already fueled it and prepared it, so we can go immediately.* Sam pushed the camouflage net off the jet.
*Good, then we should do so. The longer we wait, the more likely we are to be discovered.*
A very short time later, Sam/Jolinar sat in the cockpit, strapped in. Sam was finishing up the pre-flight checks.
*Okay, we're good to go!* She fired up the engines, and they started rolling out the runway, picking up speed quickly.
When they took off and flew up at a steep angle, the G-forces pressing them back, Jolinar tightened around Sam's spine.
*You are sure you are qualified to pilot this vessel?*
*Yes - and stop squeezing me like that. It's a really odd, and not particularly pleasant sensation.*
*I apologize.* Jolinar slowly relaxed her grip, as the plane continued rising, then levelled out. *I would not normally react like this, but you are a new host, and our blending is not complete. Holding off from doing that means I am not as completely a part of you as I otherwise would be.*
*Yeah, yeah...* Sam sighed. *You mean you - subconsciously - think of my body as yours, when you're fully blended?*
*Yes, I suppose that would be the right way to describe it, but not in the sense that I do not also think of it as yours. More like... a shared body, but I do feel as if the host body is a part of me. All symbiotes do that. Of course, I would only let myself become... synchronized like that with a willing host.*
*I do understand. It makes sense, if you are to function. You can't think of the host's body as separate from you. As for the part about willing... well, while I...* Sam looked at the display. *Damn! We've been made! Death glider coming in!*
*Do we have weapons? Can we outrun it?*
*An F-16 like this can do Mach 2, but not sustained.* Sam armed the missiles. *We've got two sidewinders... missiles, and a 20 millimeter cannon. Not sure I'm going to be able to hit him with that, though - damn, he's fast!*
She made a hard turn, evading the enemy. The death glider flew past at high speed. Sam made another hard turn, and came up behind him, and immediately pushed the button that launched the missiles.
*How much is Mach 2?*
*About 2000-2100 kph,* Sam answered, her attention on the missiles and the enemy death glider.
*I do not know your measuring system.*
*Kilometres per second. Lightspeed is 299800 meters per second... oh, just take it from my memories, for God's sake! Can't you tell I'm busy?* She watched as one of the missiles struck the death glider. It was a direct hit. "Yes!" she exclaimed loudly, as the enemy vessel went down.
She went to maximum burn, getting them out of there as fast as possible.
*It was fortunate that you managed to shoot it down. We would not have been able to outrun it,* Jolinar told her, after a few moments. *In your terms, the... death glider, as you call it, have a maximum speed of about 12000 'kph'. Of course, that is the standard. Cronus may have enhanced them.*
*That's... a lot.* She checked the various displays. *No other enemy vessels approaching. We're clear.*
*Right now, Cronus is more interested in his immediate task of conquering this world. One fighter escaping is not important to him, and he will most likely not pursue us.*
*He came here just to capture you. Why does he even care about this planet?* Sam asked, throttling back their speed.
*He is here now, and will take the opportunity. It is a large investment of resources, and doing anything else would also mean the other System Lords will laugh at him. Especially if I escape. Then there is the matter of Apophis failing to take this world. It makes it even more attractive to Cronus to succeed, since they are mortal enemies. Regardless, Cronus is now dedicated to conquering your planet.*
*Wonderful.* Sam groaned.
*Why did you slow down our speed? We should get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible.*
*Oh, I agree, but I can't maintain such a high speed for long. This plane is not made to withstand it, and we will use up all the fuel in no time.*
*I see. How unfortunate.*
*In fact, we used up a good deal of fuel during the escape, and some more while we were fighting the death glider. We'll still be able to make it to Colorado Springs... but only just barely.*
*How can that be? I saw in your memories that you have flown a plane such as this for much longer distances.*
*Yes, but that was with drop tanks. Without those, our maximum range is about 1600 miles. The distance from Bolling to Peterson is approximately 1500 miles, so without the fight and the subsequent escape, we'd have gotten there with no problems. Now... it's going to be close.*
*That's it! We're out of fuel. It's Colorado Springs we can see over there, but we'll have to eject and walk the rest of the way,* Sam told Jolinar.
*Uh... eject?* Jolinar asked, warily.
*Yes.* Sam pulled the seat ejection handle that was located between her knees.
The canopy jettisoned, and immediately after the seat with Sam/Jolinar was ejected at high speed.
*You are crazy!* Jolinar exclaimed when they had landed - hard, but safely. She gave back the control she had snatched when she panicked during the jump.
Sam stretched her body and grinned. *Relax, Jolinar! I've done it before! There's nothing to it!*
Jolinar mentally grumbled, but decided against complaining further. *How far away is Colorado Springs? It looked like an hour's journey at a fast pace.*
*I'd say ten to twelve klicks. It's certainly doable in about an hour - if we run and the terrain is reasonably open and flat.*
*Then we should do so. The crash of the 'F-16' will draw attention.*