They banked the flying boat away from the smoke of battle, reassessing their route to shore. “They are probably aiming for the same landfall as we were.” Gim pointed to the ships forming a staggered line in the distance.
“We can still be there before them.” Bobb pointed out.
“But we would need a bargaining chip sooner than we had planned.” Sheel added.
“Perhaps some of their people are still in the water. Drop down and head back toward the battleground for a while.”
They banked and dropped height, heading for the oils slick where there had previously been a ship. The debris field was being stretched out along the tidal path, just beginning to arc away from the distant shore. There were barrels, shards of planking, bodies and, finally, a yellow life raft.
The figure in the raft spotted the plane and stood to wave their oar in the air.
They circled the dinghy twice. “She has the same uniform as the fliers earlier,” Gimm decided, “and she expects us to rescue her.”
“Well let’s not disappoint her then.” Bobb flew a distance away then banked to line up a landing. With the flaps down, the plane flying as slowly as possible and the nose pointing upward in near stall, they settled toward the uneven surface of the sea.
The plane landed, and the nose pitched forward and a wave of water washed over it. For a moment the windows were green as it seemed they must continue diving. Then they bobbed up again, wallowing in their own swell until the propellers gained purchase and they began moving.
The woman in the raft shouted greetings as they drew near, but her expression was confused when Sheel opened the side hatch. She took the grappling pole when it was offered her, and accepted Gimm’s helping hand when she was alongside, but obviously knew this was no ordinary rescue party. She knew better than to argue when Sheel lifted the gun from her belt.
“What is your name?” Gimm asked, his accent a jumble.
“We go ashore. Where your people head.” He pointed out of the cockpit window, though there was nothing but grey haze in the direction he indicated. “Sit. We are taking off.”
Jayn belted herself into the indicated seat. Her captors, or her rescuers- she still wasn’t sure, turned their attention to the view ahead as they lined up for take off.