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Unbeknownst to him she has escaped her imperial captors, released by her former friend Totho, and carries with her the precious blueprints of the new snapbow.
One Coasting at a hundred feet above the clear waters of the Exalsee, Taki threw the gears of her orthopter's engine into place with a tug of a stubborn lever. She listened for the rhythm of the two wings as they suddenly picked up pace from a mere thunderous beating to a steady buzz. Satisfied, she leant on the stick, throwing the Esca Volenti into a low, wide and, above all, swift turn that the fixed-wing giving chase could never match.
She caught the brief glitter of bolts shot from its rotary piercer, but they were far off now, no more than specks above the glitter of the waters. Below her the two ships were still locked together, but she had no chance to determine whether the crew of the Ruinous was still putting up any resistance, or whether the pirates had already begun their looting.
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She flicked the smoked-glass lenses over her goggles and looked towards the sun. Sure enough, the little heliopter that was her other worry was trying to hide there, now a stark silhouette against the sun's muted sepia glare. She continued executing her turn, dragging the stick back to gain height. The fixed-wing craft in pursuit had cast itself across the waters too fast for its own good, and was making a ponderous business of turning itself around, arcing high over the distinctive white-walled retreat of the distant isle of Sparis.
The heliopter suddenly stooped on her, cutting its twin rotors altogether to drop like a stone and then, as she sped past, spinning the left blades a second before the right ones in order to sling the machine onto her tail in a remarkable piece of flying skill. A moment later she felt the Esca Volenti shudder under the impact, but the heliopter was a tiny thing, barely more than a seat and an engine, and she had to trust that whatever crossbow it had mounted before the stick would miss any vital part of her own craft.
Thinking of her flier, Taki became aware of an ominous clicking from the engine. Running down again - always at the worst possible moment! The fixed-wing was now coming back, fast, swooping low over the waters and then pulling up hard, trying to barrel in for her.
She climbed and climbed, so that, with his rotary letting loose in a blaze of wasted ammunition, he passed in a blur below her.
They had both left the heliopter well behind. Whilst it could balance and hover on a gnat's ball, as the saying went, it had nothing for speed.
She had to wrap this up quickly and then get back to the ships, but at the same time she had to do something about the warning noises her engines were making. Time to do the usual. Taki yanked the stick back one-handed, so that for a second the Esca was pointing straight at the apex of the sky, and then she flipped the craft on its wingtip and turned into a steep dive.
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She saw the fixed wing flash past her again, unable to compete. After all, the Esca Volenti was one of the nimblest machines over the Exalsee and she could even give dragonfly-riders a run for their money on the turns. Releasing a catch, she felt the wood and canvas of the flier shudder as the parachute unfurled. This was her second, so if she didn't close matters here before the engine ran down again, then it would mean a forced landing at best.
Taki listened anxiously, above the rushing of the wind, and heard the clockwork mechanism that sat immediately behind her screaming with spinning gears as the drag of the 'chute rewound it. Sometimes, not often, that failed to happen, and at that point she really would have had a problem, for the world before her eyes now was already a sheer expanse of sea. She pulled the stick back again, putting all her weight on it, and heard the struts and frame of the Esca give all their familiar protests.
Another catch flicked and the 'chute was gone, billowing away into the ether, and the Esca Volenti levelled out over the Exalsee, no more than ten feet over the wave tips, speeding past the jutting Nine Fingers crags.
The flash of piercer bolts zipping past told her the fixed-wing had found her again, and she led it sideways in a turn easy enough for it to manage, banking left and right erratically to avoid its aim, until, and too late for the fixed-wing to avoid it, they were heading straight for the wooden side of the pirate vessel.
And then the fixed-wing's rotary was punching holes in its own ally, both above and below the waterline. She pulled up, dancing past the white sweep of the sails, and a glance over her shoulder told her that the fixed-wing had flown wide of the ship's stern.
The Esca could turn like nothing else in the air. Most orthopters around the Exalsee had four wings, some had two, but she had her secret: And now she was following the fixed-wing, which had slowed down to match her speed to accomplish the turn. She lined the Esca up directly behind it, with one hand on the trigger of her rotary piercer, the weapon that had so revolutionized air-fighting over the last ten years.
Like an infantry piercer it had four powder-charged barrels with spear-like bolts, but these discharged one at a time, not all together, rotating as they did so while the feeding gears pulled through a strip of gummed canvas that fed new bolts into the machine.
It possessed the speed and power of a repeating ballista fitted neatly below the nose of her craft. Bang-bang-bang, and the fixed-wing faltered in the air.
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A moment later it was smoking, the mineral oil in its fuel engine catching fire. She pulled out from behind it, seeing it dip lopsidedly towards the waves.
The heliopter was right there, over the ships, puttering towards her, and she saw the repeating crossbow loose and loose again, its bolts falling short at first, and then flying wide. It was jinking sideways, trying to throw her aim off, and she missed with half a dozen shots before one, by sheer chance more than skill, struck near the left rotor, sending the wooden blades flying into pieces.
The little craft spun wildly for a moment, and she saw the Fly-kinden pilot make a jump for it, darting off under his own power and doubtless hoping she would not follow him.
Behind her a plume of fierce black smoke began to rise from the waters where the fixed-wing had crashed. She took the Esca right over the two ships, and noted that there was still fighting on board the grappled Ruinous. Slinging her machine into another tight turn, she opened up with the rotary again, punching holes down the length of the pirate's decks.
She had been trying for the foremast and, as she pulled out of her strafing dive, she saw it sag slightly against the stays. Down below there was confusion, and then the pirates, with their aircraft downed and their ship damaged, were fleeing from the Ruinous under archery from the surviving defenders, cutting their grappling lines and trying to get underway.
Rinzler hurtles readers back in time for a one-of-a-kind behind-the-scenes look at the nearly decade-long quest of George Lucas and his key collaborators to make the "little" movie that became a phenomenon.
No matter how you view the spectrum of this phenomenon, The Making of Star Wars stands as a crucial document, rich in fascination and revelation, of a genuine cinematic and cultural touchstone. Video may not play on all readers.
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Rinzler draws back the curtain to reveal the intense drama and magnificent wizardry behind the hit movie, arguably the fan favorite of the Star Wars Saga. Following his The Making of Star Wars, the author has once again made use of his unlimited access to the Lucasfilm Archives and its hidden treasures of interviews, photos, artwork, and production mementos.
The result is a comprehensive behind-the-scenes, up-close-and-personal look at the trials and triumphs, risks and close calls, inspiration, perspiration, and imagination that went into every facet of this cinematic masterpiece.
Punctuating the epic account is a bounty of drawings, storyboards, and paintings by Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Ivor Beddoes, along with classic and rare production photos.
An added bonus is a Foreword by acclaimed director Ridley Scott. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
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Rinzler's trio of fascinating behind-the-scenes books celebrating George Lucas's classic films. Once again, the author's unprecedented access to the formidable Lucasfilm Archives has yielded a mother lode of extremely informative, vastly entertaining, and often unexpected stories, anecdotes, recollections, and revelations straight from the closely guarded set of a big-screen blockbuster in the making.
Brimming with previously unpublished photos, production artwork, script excerpts, exclusive intel, vintage on-set interviews, and present-day commentary, The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi chronicles "how George Lucas and his crew of extroverted artists, misfits, and expert craftspeople roused themselves to great heights for a third time" to create the next unforgettable chapter in one of the most beloved sagas of all time.Running down again - always at the worst possible moment!
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He wore close-fitting civilian clothing of a somber black, very much in the style his celebrated father had made famous. The fixed-wing craft in pursuit had cast itself across the waters too fast for its own good, and was making a ponderous business of turning itself around, arcing high over the distinctive white-walled retreat of the distant isle of Sparis.
Author Steve Perry has expressed his support of adapting the story as an animated film.