The silver arrow head streaked the whole length of the continent, trailing thunder across a clear sky. An S-curve manoeuvre decelerated it and it dropped out of the sky above its target.
No man-made runway was yet big enough for the shuttle to land on. But this expanse of flat hard packed earth was smooth enough. The nose wheel still collapsed, but not until the shuttle had almost stopped.
Vehicles under various forms of propulsion raced across the plain. A section of the fuselage fell away and crashed to the ground as askew steps. Three figures faced the collection of junk that greeted them. The two men descended first. The woman followed at a distance, arm locked tightly by her side.
“No-one has shot us yet.” the short man commented.
“Give them time. Maybe we’re just not in range of their weapons.” his companion answered. The taller man glanced back at the woman, walking sideways so they wouldn’t be between her and the main group of vehicles. “How badly would this mission go if she killed the first batch of natives we met?”
“Try not to think of it.” They raised their hands as an armed group advanced on them.