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    Red Shirt's Avatar

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    Apr 2012
    Nashua, NH
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    Gamertag: AnotherRedShirt Steam ID: AnotherRedShirt

    The Ghosts of Piscium Valley (A rough draft teaser)

    Well, here we go. This segment could/might be called "Chapter Two." I wanted to jump right in with something on the exciting side, so I apologize for skipping ahead.
    Conversely, you could call it a cold open and "Chapter One" may very well be a flashback of sorts. We'll see.
    It is within the realm of stories that take place in the Interplanetary Republic and it is a brand new story that I have just started writing.

    If you are so inclined, I recommend listening to something orchestral and intense while reading... perhaps something from Two Steps Rom Hell's catalog.

    Sergeant Huygens could feel the whine of the hydraulics as a vibration through his seat in the dropship. Having been on so many combat drops in the past few months, he had gotten to know the sequence of events leading up to a drop well. At this point in the sequence he knew that the deck plates in the main bay would split down the center line, opening the drop bay. All four of the dropships from his platoon, one for each squad, would be lowered down and sealed in.

    Far above, he felt the massive bay doors slam shut and they were sealed in, ready for drop. The pilot up on the flight deck activated the intercom, providing the audio feed from the bridge and the C&C.

    "All stations, this is the C&C. All stations have reported go for drop, I say again we are go for drop. Standby for countdown to TSE exit and secondary countdown to drop."

    Around the cabin, there was murmured small talk as the helm began the countdown from one minute to the RSS Collins exiting the TSE bubble.

    "So, Sergeant P.... What are the odds the Consortium cut and run when we make contact like they did last time we hit 'em?" Henthorn, one of the newest privates asked.

    "Doesn’t seem likely. Don't forget, we're going to have them cornered between us and Delta Bat. Four. Could get ugly or might end up with a whole shit-ton of POW's," Staff Sergeant Peterson replied.

    "Either way we're gonna fuck some shit up, right Sergeant?"

    "That's the spirit kid, you hang on to that," she replied.

    The small talk continued on in the background as Sergeant Huygens was thinking about the drop process. The Four ships for Third Platoon… Echo Three One through Four would drop in reverse order starting from the back… a countdown to his own drop on Three-One.

    "All Stations, this is the C&C, thirty second warning."

    "Final check everyone. Check your restraints one last time people," Sergeant Peterson called out.

    After a check of his own restraints, Sergeant Huygens did a quick visual of Sergeant Peterson to his right and Specialist Sullivan to his left. He finished in time to hear the C&C finish the primary countdown.

    With a jolt and a slam, the RSS Collins exited the TSE bubble and started to punch downward into the atmosphere. Because the helm had dialed the HFM back to get a good feel of the ship, he could feel it begin it's plunge. Despite the rarified atmosphere at 30K up, plowing through atmo at trans-hypersonic speed, the air piles up fast. The howl below built as the ship continued its descent deeper into thicker atmosphere.

    "TSE exit confirmed. Beginning decent, twenty seconds to drop," the C&C stated as he heard the main outer bay door begin to open and the howl intensified.

    "Alright, bracing positions everyone," Sergeant Peterson shouted.

    Sergeant Huygens crossed his arms over his chest, grabbing the restraints with his hands and tucked his chin to his chest and arms. He could now hear the Slipstream Deflector Airfoils being lowered into place, their high pitched scream adding to the still growing howl.

    He felt a thump shudder through the ship indicating that Echo Three Four was away. Another… and another. Their turn soon.

    After a brief groan of mechanicals and hydraulics, with a thump, Echo Three-One was in freefall. The rushing of air seemed to quiet for a moment as it began. Just as suddenly, the dropship passed the threshold of the slipstream of the still hypersonic Collins and was suddenly slammed by the onslaught of air.

    Once their inertia had equalized, he was able to release himself from the bracing position

    "C&C, this is Echo Three-One, we are clear," their pilot stated.

    The massively thunderous roar of the Collins could be heard above and forward of their position as it boosted back into orbit.

    "All units, C&C, this is Echo Three-One, we're on the glide path five by fi…"

    Sudden flashes of light interrupted the pilot and shone through the flight deck windscreens, illuminating the cabin behind as the ship suddenly wrenched over in a hard roll.

    "We are under attack, break and evade, break and evade. Deploy counter measures," their pilot shouted in to his mike, "C&C respond!"

    "Echo wing, this is the Collins, what the hell is going on down there?"

    "We are taking effective heavy fire. AA missiles… plasma batteries. We are nowhere near the city C&C. Intel was wrong, this place is crawling with Consort… this valley's a shooting gallery," their pilot responded, too focused on evasive maneuvering to think about turning the intercom off.

    "Abort the drop Echo wing, abort. Return to orbit and abort," the C&C replied.

    "Too late! Echo Two-Two is going down… Collision, Two-Three is going down."

    He felt the wrench of the ship tuning it's nose up and a slam into his seat as the pilot pointed it back into space and went for full burn as a couple more impact reports were called in.

    The radio chatter built to a crescendo of gibberish as more pilot called in impact reports.

    "Clear the net and ABORT! All units abort," the C&C screamed.

    A sudden slam wrenched them sideways and the ship began to list and yaw to starboard.

    "C&C, Three-One is hit. We're going down. C&C? C&C respond."

    "Lieutenant Ahumada, Sergeant Peterson… We're hit. Comms with C&C are out. I can keep it level for a while but you might want to get off early. With the control I have left, calling it a hard landing would be very generous."

    "Alright people," the Lieutenant shouted jumping to his feet after hitting the emergency release, "Emergency chutes, we're getting off this boat. Now."

    Much like in the emergency drills they had practiced, there was a flurry of synchronized movement. Everyone got out their E-Chutes and started strapping up. There was little talk except for a few, 'take this,' 'give me that,' and 'let me helps,' muttered around the cabin.

    Sergeant Huygens had almost finished his straps when the ship was slammed again and a blinding light flashed into the interior of the ship. It grew as the fuselage cracked wider and started to peel open. With a massive pop, the craft snapped in half amidships. First Squad spilled out into the open air and the bright orange-yellow light of the star 54 Piscium. The rush of air forced him to reflexively turn his face from the direction of travel as ship was still trans-sonic when it cracked open and it felt like the wind would rip his face off.

    He managed to shield his face and get line of sight on the ground and he saw he was still a fair ways up. Testing his lungs, he felt that he was deep enough into the atmosphere that oxygen wouldn’t be a problem. Now having slowed down, he scanned around, searching the sky. The first thing he saw was the pilot eject out of the front half of what was left of Three-One. Not a moment too soon, as it promptly exploded. Continuing his scan, he saw the sky over the valley was filled with contrails and billows of black and gray smoke, marking where a dropship had been hit and started to go down… or exploded in the sky.

    Around him, he saw the occasional chute pop open. A few… scanning some more he realized he couldn’t tell the debris from a soldier in free fall. With his heart racing, he wondered if they all got their chutes on... did they get out?

    To the west, past the anti-aircraft batteries still peppering the sky with plasma and missiles. Beyond that, he could still see the glowing drive plumes of three of Echo Companies frigates climbing higher into orbit. Far lower and nearer, his stomach sank when he saw the silhouette of the fourth, struggling to gain altitude. After a blinding flash, he saw a now smaller silhouette begin to plummet, which stunned him into numb silence.

    Looking down again, he decided it was time to pull the chute. With a yank of the release, it whooshed out. It yanked him hard through his hips, compressing his spine and making his head feel like it would pop off while making him involuntarily groan in discomfort. The open chute was a tiny step of reassurance, but he now felt exposed. He tried to orient himself, trying to gauge direction and distance to what he thought might be crash sites, places to head to after landing.

    He scanned the area directly below now, looking for a possible site to put down. E-Chutes didn't have much maneuverability, but they could be steered some. In this region though, he didn't find one, the forest covering the valley floor was thick and spread for several kilometers in every direction.

    "Well, shit," he exclaimed, as he plunged through the thick canopy.
    Last edited by Red Shirt; Mar 30th, 2014 at 03:10 AM.
    "I've got tons of great ideas. Trouble is, most of 'em suck." George Carlin
    "I've got the guns, the radio and the water for the Zombie Apocalypse, but you gotta have a yo-yo." Chris Boden

    Hey, get a load of this. Guess who started writing again and has a spot in the fan fiction subforum?



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