The airlock slid shut with a heavy thud.  


Colonel Odea surveyed the 5 members of his team as they prepared themselves for high-velocity orbital insertion.

Sergeant Vance was ensuring the other members of the squad were properly restrained in the insertion vehicle. The squad was a well-oiled machine and extremely capable.  They had completed drops like these both in training and during actual missions hundreds of times before. The Sergeant wasn’t checking because he thought they might have made a mistake, he was checking because that was what he was trained to do. That’s what keeps you alive.


Sergeant Vance carried an Mk19a HEP (high-energy plasma) rifle, the standard issues for the HEL/DIV squads.  His composite armor was molded on the flexible body suit that he wore.  The composite armor pieces could withstand direct impact from most weapon systems on the battlefield and the flexible body suit not only had a chameleon-effect capability, but it also had an impressive impact rating.  Woven into the various parts of the body suit were sensors and displays, along with first aid pharmaceutical reservoirs capable of diagnosing and stabilizing most battlefield injuries.  

Colonel Odea slide his helmet on and locked it into place.  As the subsystems were powered on the helmet went from a dark room with a window to a view of everything around him.  Augmented reality displays meant that he had an almost 360’ view with magnification and image mode sensors available ona command.  It was state of the art and since this was the command version it included a highly-sophisticated suite of communication capabilities as well.


Colonel Odea checked his weapon, the same Mk19a HEP, and synced it to his helmet.  A reticule appeared in his field of vision indicating where the weapon was aiming, the range to nearest target, firing mode and ammunition remaining.  Odea placed the weapon into the restraint next to his seat.

Sgt. Vance finished his pre-drop check and signaled to Odea that the squad was ready for drop.  Col. Odea voiced over the communications channel to the Bridge “Gold-Four, ready”.

“Gold-Four, this is ClearHorizon Actual, initiation complete. Have a pleasant flight.”

The weightless sensation and the sound of the outer-hull doors opening told Col. Odea that he had 10 seconds before the exit thrusters would fire and he would be clear of the ship.  Then another two minutes of high-orbit descent and six minutes until the retro-thrusters would fire and they would be on the ground.

The exit thrusters fired.



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