LUCY Ellinson's unnamed pilot lives for the vertiginous thrill of flying her F-16 through the wide expanse of what she calls 'the blue'.
But on return from maternity leave, she finds herself ejected from the skies and plonked at a desk in the Nevada desert to remotely pilot the 'future' of warfare - the drone.
She struggles to balance the daily emotional grind of modern warfare with family life back home, as the drone she is meant to be controlling worms its way silently into her mind.
Ellinson's outstanding performance means we feel the full G-force of the battles being waged both thousands of miles away in the Middle East and right between her ears.
George Brant's rapid-fire psychological drama never lets you out of its cross-hairs as it subtly questions the ethics of judging and killing pixelated victims at thousands of miles' remove.
Ellinson's pilot records each silent death sentence cast on the nameless 'guilty' with a whispered 'boom' as she pulls the trigger.
At first these kills bring a sense of satisfaction, especially when a woman who loves being in control realises she can combine her home life with the buzz of warfare.
But as the human wreckage over which she is forced to hover accumulates in her mind, it takes on a haunted quality. It becomes gradually less clear whether she is controlling the drone, or whether it is controlling her.
Soon the distance between her life and the distant desert landscape she patrols each day via her small screen evaporates.
It is as if she is hovering above herself, watching her own life through a lens and casting judgement as she does on those the other side of the earth.
Hers is a guilt in which the audience shares, thanks to Oliver Townsend's clever set design, placing Ellinson in a three metre square gauze-covered box from which she cannot see out.
We become the judges, sitting increasingly uncomfortably in silent acceptance of what is happening before us.
When the pilot's pursuit of the enemy's no 2, The Prophet, takes on an obsessive nature, the boundaries between her alternate realities become blurred, setting up a gripping conclusion.
Brant's hour-long, one-woman play raises questions about the use of remote warfare, made all the more pertinent following the recent opening of the UK's first drone base, in Lincolnshire.
But he has craftily avoided the lure of polemics to create a pulsating and unsettling psychological drama about watching and being watched, judging and being judged.
* Grounded is at the Gate Theatre, in Notting Hill, until September 28