Here you go, part two of The Ghosts of Piscium Valley. It's an expansion and edit of the teaser.
It could also be the minute changes that occur in the retelling of a story.

I'll also admit that I haven't been giving writing this the attention it deserves. Between 44/3 and writing an emotional piece that occurs later in this tale, I got a little bummed out and wrote something else... 37 pages of something else.

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 learned 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 vibration of the massive bay doors slamming 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 Private Henthorn, you hang on to that," she replied.

The small talk continued on in the background as his thoughts turned back to 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.

"TSE exit confirmed. Beginning decent, thirty seconds to drop,"

Because the helm had dialed the HFM back to get a good feel of the ship, he could feel it begin its plunge. Despite the rarified atmosphere at 30K up, dropping out of a TSE directly into reentry and plowing through atmo at trans-hypersonic speed, the air piled up fast against the hull. The howl below built as the ship continued its descent deeper into thicker atmosphere. The tone changed and intensity of it increased as the main outer bay door began to open.

"Fifteen seconds to drop."

"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 distinctive high pitched scream adding to the still growing howl. Many helmsmen had mixed feelings about using the Airfoils. While they did cause drag and a loss of some control that made the ship faintly unstable in the vertical axis, they did help to push the dropships rapidly away from the parent ship which prevented turbulence from bouncing them back up into their belly. They were also torture to the crew of a dropship, the transition from drop bay to open air often gave whiplash to those who failed to brace properly.

He felt a thump shudder through the ship and a change in the sound of the wind that indicated Echo Three Four was away. Another… and another. Their turn would be in moments.

After a brief groan of mechanicals and hydraulics, 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, violently pushed down and away from the ship. The crew were shaken hard enough to make them feel like their teeth were rattling and anyone who kept their eyes open would have been also subjected to rather disorienting blurry vision.

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 One-One, we're on the glide path five by fi…"

Sudden flashes of light interrupted the pilot and shone through their own 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. Echo One-One is down… I say again, Echo One-One is down. We've got AA missile, plasma batteries, flak… We are nowhere near the city C&C. Intel was wrong, this place is crawling with Consort… this valley is a damn shooting gallery," their pilot responded, too focused on evasive maneuvering to think about turning the intercom off.

More flashes shone through the windscreens, again illuminating the cabin interior.

"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."

Sergeant Huygens felt the wrench of the ship as it turned its nose up, slamming him sideways into his seat as the pilot pointed it back into space, going for full burn. The impact and engagement reports continued to stream in, building to a crescendo of gibberish.

"Echo One-Three, Three-Three and Three-Four, respond. We've lost your IFF"

"Negative on Three-Four… I've got visual, he's going down."

"Two-One, countermeasures! You're locked, Do it NOW! SHAKE IT!"

"I CAN'T! It's got m…"

"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 a very generous understatement."

"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 his legs through the straps of his ruck and was finishing the straps of his E-chute as he reached for his rifle when the ship was slammed again and a blinding light flashed into the interior of the ship. What happened in milliseconds instead seemed to take an eternity, time passing in slow motion as the fuselage cracked wider and started to peel open. With a massive screech of twisting and tearing metal and composites, the craft snapped in half amidships. First Squad spilled out into the open air and the bright orange-yellow midday light of the star 54 Piscium. He had managed to get a hand on his rifle, the retaining straps briefly bearing his weight before they gave and he was dumped out into the sky as well. The sudden rush of air filled his nose and mouth, causing him to gag and forcing him to turn his face from the direction of travel.

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 early in panic. Only a few he thought… he then 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, the anti-aircraft batteries were 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. He tried to see if there were any dropships that made it out of the kill zone, that made it to higher altitudes. He saw none and hoped he couldn't see them owing to their small size and distance, making them hard to spot… not the horrifying alternative that was causing a panic to rise in his gut.

Looking down again, he decided it was time to pull the chute. With a yank of the release, it whooshed out. It jerked him hard through his hips, compressing his spine and making his head feel like it would pop off while making him involuntarily grunt 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. Should I find one, I should be able to make it there, he thought to himself. 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.

The branches clawed at and scratched him as he broke through the top layer of the canopy, easily snapping the slender limbs at the top. After passing several feet down, his feet connected with a thick branch that caused him to suddenly lurch to the side, cracking his head on another thick branch. If it weren't for his helmet, it surely would have knocked him out. As it was, he still saw stars and his peripheral vision dim. The now collapsing parachute canopy was no longer held his weight and the two impacts, first his feet and then his head, send him cartwheeling through the tree. The next impact was across his chest, knocking the wind out of him and causing him to fully lose control of his decent. Suddenly, the parachute harness yanked him to a stop, making his head bob yet again and causing him to succumb to shock, passing out.