Chapter 21 (1)
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Our pilots prove to be loyal ones.

They push the plane to its limits, barely taking two and a half hours to make it to the estimated encounter point between Siron and her children. We circle over nearby farmland, searching for a place to put the plane down. I'm told it's possible to land on flat terrain rather than a runway, but if we can avoid it, we need to.

I get my first glimpse of Siron as we patrol the area. Her head peeks over the horizon like some celestial body—another moon perhaps. She only rises further as the pilots announce they've spotted a small, rural airstrip.

The runway barely looks big enough for a crop duster to land on, let alone our C-17. It's just a dusty stretch of land on what appears to be a farm. We use every i...

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