Copyright 2013 Ian Pattinson
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The blimp was an exclamation point against the pure blue of the sky. Taller than it was long, it sailed along its route guided by satellites and ground stations, needing no crew. So the three stowaways in the bottom-most cargo container had been undisturbed for the whole trip.
The three slim figures became bulky and clumsy as they put on their outfits. Short burn warm-suits went over their one pieces, to be covered by layers of insulation. Then they pulled on their wing-suits, and had to start shuffling around the cabin. Finally there were chutes, oxygen bottles and the goggles and full face helmets. They checked that everything else was stowed in the mini lifting body which would follow them down and locked it shut. Then they each went over the other two's kit and gave them a thumbs up. The rear quarter of the container sealed itself off and they sat around the lifting body awaiting the countdown.
One green light, two, three. Then a red light as the floor opened under them and they started falling.
The area below them had been its own country for about ten days once, but few remembered its name. Before that it had been in northern Romania. Now it was home to wildlife, old soldiers and worse.
From this high up the target zone was an almost uniform carpet of green, cut with the occasional wavering line of a river and scabbed with fuzzy grey and brown patches which had once been towns. The lifting body slipped nose first into a dive to gain speed, then pulled up and slid away in an arc which became a corkscrew. The girls tumbled into terminal velocity dives, their arms tight against their sides and their legs together.