Ann pulled the ship around sharply as the planet occluded them.
“The B ring is thickest. Aim for it,” Flynn ordered.
“Right,” Ann said, giving the helm her full attention. Despite their pursuers being at least an hour away, they didn’t have much time if they wanted to disappear. “I’m going to come up underneath into the B ring, then we’ll push our way gently into a better position.”
“Hank,” Flynn commed his engineer, “you go the new shield geometry ready?”
“Um, almost. The projectors have a recommended distance from the hull, but I can bring them down to the minimum, but the coverage won’t be as good.”
“Not a problem. We won’t be looking at high speed collisions, so if the hull gets dented, we’re okay.”
“You hope,” Ann said as she brought the ship parallel with the system’s plane.
Flynn hit the control to react the sublight engine nacelles. Ann, using only thrusters, brought Calypso up into the debris of the rings. Composed mostly of ice, the shields registered the impacts all over, but instead of the shields dropping as in the case of weapons fire, they merely dropped a little in intensity. From there Ann used the thrusters to nose the ship even deeper, but at an agonizingly slow pace so as not to disrupt the debris more than necessary. A rapidly flying piece of ice that ricocheted off the hull would be a dead giveaway to their position.
Flynn shut down the reactors, switching them to emergency power. Immediately the hum of the ship disappeared, and most of the lights darkened. Flynn shut down the rest of the nonessential systems, killing even more of the lights. Only three systems still operated on the ship at the moment, passive optical sensors to Ann’s console, the air circulators, and the gravnets. The cockpit door opened to admit Hank, looking stressed from his last minute work. Eltie and Reese were right behind. Both of them carried several blankets. Even the heat was off.
When everyone had a blanket and strapped themselves in, Ann switched off the gravity.
“You better hope this works, Flynn. It’s not like we’re going to have a lot of time to avoid getting blasted, otherwise.”
“It’ll work,” Flynn tried to project confidence. “People see what they want to see. And we disappeared. They’ll probably think we went into orbit to keep the planet between us and them. After an equatorial and polar orbit, they’ll give up, thinking we made a run for it for the edge of the system. Trust me. I’ve done this maneuver before. Now, settle in. We may be here for a few hours.”
“Hours?” Hank looked distressed. “Um, Captain, I might have to, um, y’know.”
“Hope you remember how to use the zero-g equipment in the head,” Flynn said.