Infection / Destruction / Hope

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surviver5

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Jericho VII (Inner Colony Planet A17)

In atmosphere above Continent III

Monday, July 11, 2525. 9:00 AM (Earth Standard Time, or EST)

14 years after Schism

 

            “Ten minutes!” Corporal Matthew S. Stevens of the 707th gritted his teeth as the pilot yelled over the tumultuous sounds that burst in from outside the dropship’s heavy fuselage. The howl of burning atmosphere as the dropship barreled its way planetside, the roar of the engines as they struggled to obey the pilot’s steep expectations, and the boom of explosions that rocked the seemingly fragile ship in all directions assailed the men of 2nd Platoon, Foxtrot Company; the only thing the troopers could do at this point was to count mags, recheck gear, and try to control their rising apprehension as the coming battle drew closer. Matt’s head shot foreword before whiplashing back onto the gritty steel plating of the ship’s sides as a particularly close explosion detonated seemingly directly against the troop carrier; there were yells of surprise and pain from the cramped men, many trying in vain to find some hint of comfort among their bulky gear. The pain quickly disappeared from Matt’s head as he confronted a new kind of fear that temporarily dispelled any pre-battle jitters. What if they never even made it planet-side? Teeth chattering from the vibrations of the ship and his own mounting fear, he turned his head and stared out through a small but thick glass porthole; the atmospheric lens curved along his line of sight, a delicate strip of white that separated sky-blue from black space. He could see other troop carriers, pinpricks of grey steel that denoted a portion of the massive invasion force that had left the protection of several unseen naval destroyers to storm Continent III. But something had gone wrong; the pre-invasion orbital bombardment had obviously missed more than a few anti-aircraft guns, and the Navy’s mistake was being heavily repaid. Small puffs of smoke and fiery light began to increasingly gather around the dropping ships, and Matt’s troop carrier began to shake and buck even more. To his horror several of the dropships detonated in midflight, outlines briefly illuminated in a fiery halo before being reduced to burning hulks that tumbled towards the surface far below. It was a marine’s worst nightmare, to die in space; Matt remembered the usual sadistic face of his boot camp instructor cloud over with harsh memories as he had retold green recruits of the paralyzing inability to do anything more than grip safety straps and trust an anonymous pilot.

            The helpless death of so many of their brethren caused consternation in Matt’s troop bay, but before anybody had a chance to react to the helpless terror that  threatened to consume them all, the ship suddenly jerked into a steep sideways spiral and accelerated downwards. “We just got orders to fuck formation and proceed to drop-points with all possible speed! Better tighten up, this is gonna be hot!” The pilot yelled hoarsely as he and his co-pilot frantically punched the controls and forced the ship into further gut-wrenching evasive maneuvers. Explosions, yells, and his thundering heartbeat all drummed against Matt’s ears as the bay’s sickly yellow lights turned to dull red; a siren wailed, a needless reminder for the scared and helpless men to hold on.

            As the dropship continued its harrowing descent Matt gripped his rifle and stared at it, wondering how he would react when the time finally came to use it. How the entire company, most draftees like himself, would react when they got their first taste of “the shit”. The current situation seemed so unreal to him, a feeling he had grown used to over the past several months. Matt was not a real soldier; he had never felt overly patriotic, nor had he ever had the drive to seek adventure; neither had he ever wanted to kill another man. The surreal-ness extended as far back as the moment he received the manila letter; the lens that seemed to feed his mind a false reality had dropped over his eyes the moment he read the official draft notice, and had solidified into place when his drill instructor at Basic Training slapped a rifle into his hands.

“fuck fuck fuck” breathed the man besides Matt, another draftee that he barely knew besides his nickname, “pukebitch”. In some small sarcastic part of Matt’s brain that seemed immune to the horror of falling through thousands of feet of hostile atmosphere, he contemplated the embarrassment of dying not gloriously on a battlefield but stuck in a troop bay covered in another man’s puke. This absurd train of thought was cut off as a massive explosion, larger than any other they had yet experienced, punched against the side of the craft and forced them violently to the side; almost immediately afterwards pukebitch let loose with a surprisingly large amount of detritus, showering the men within a three feet radius. Matt spat and cursed and tried to control his rising fear as several of the untested marines wailed, the explosion convincing them that they were either about to die or already dead.

“shit shit shit we gonna die we aint getting outta here!”

“cut me loose, please!”

“Shut your fuckin’ mouth you sonofabitch!” roared our platoon sergeant, Daniel Ortega, at the marine who had lost his head. “you and anyone who cuts you loose will die today, if the enemy doesn’t see to that then I personally will!” the man stared at him with wild eyes before hitting his head against the back bulkhead and whispering crazily to himself; Daniel’s outburst had stopped the panic from spreading but many of the green men stared nervously around them, panicky eyes popping as the craft continued to take punishment as it twisted through the atmosphere, pilots vainly trying to evade the shellbursts and energy explosions that can slice through a dropship’s armor with ease. Matt could do nothing but hold on as g forces built up on him and the other men; the ship rocked back and forth increasingly but suddenly the nose pulled up and the ship began to de-accelerate, the dive angle noticeably decreasing as well. They were close to the drop point.

“We’re 80 seconds out and closing!” yelled the pilot in a strained voice. “I can’t guarantee you much support, most of the other dropship’s assigned to this sector were either taken out or too damaged to land with accuracy! the LZ is hot, I repeat it is-” his voice was cut off as a terrific blast smashed into the ship from the rear left; the steel structure groaned and joints popped and buckled as the pilots wrestled to keep it from spiraling out of control; a host of red warnings popped up around control consoles, and Matt closed his eyes as the ship listed crazily to the side. A part of his brain not consumed by fear faintly registered the words “-lost engines 2 and 3- we’re sitting ducks without maneuvering capabilities!” coming from the cockpit before an energy burst exploded directly against the back of the ship. A five by five foot hole was drilled neatly through the armor plating close to the rear of the ship, fiery plasma instantly melting both iron and man alike. For a split second there was complete silence in Matt’s brain before a second explosion ripped open that entire part of the hull with a tremendous roar; the plasma had ignited the fuel tanks, and the dropship was completely gutted. The ship spiraled out of control and the men lost all rationality, their terrible yells mixing with the roar of the open sky and the claxon of emergency sirens to form a sound from hell. Matt stared numbly at the strip of exposed blue sky, his mind finally registering what the gaping hole meant.

“My God…I’m going to die here.”

 That thought rang with a final clarity throughout his conscience, coldly cutting through his sanity and loose mental control. Shutting his eyes, Matt opened his mouth and let loose a scream of terrible, undulating fear as the ship plummeted towards its destruction.


thanks for reading! its been over a year since ive visited or even posted on this site, but i got the writing itch, as i guess you can call it, and this is the best place that i know of to share my concept stories and get good feedback. theres more to come, just gotta write it first.

surviver5

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Jericho VII (Inner Colony Planet A17)

In atmosphere above Continent III

Monday, July 11, 2525. 9:13 AM (Earth Standard Time, or EST)

14 years after Schism


            “mayday mayday mayday, Talon3-4 is going down, I repeat we are going down!” Pilot Michael Forrestor yelled in his mike, a vain attempt towards being heard amid the static and panicked voices that washed all over the BattleNet. A six year veteran of piloting dropships in and out of combat zones, it took all his mental strength not to panic as the ship tumbled uncontrollably through the air towards an impact that would surely kill them all. “Tell me what we got left!” he yelled at his copilot, a rookie named Carl who was fresh out of flight school.

“uhhmwe’ve lost all our engines and gasoline major hull fractures and breach at several points fires in bays 1 to 3 controls have been compromised by 56 percent flight integrity is at 45 percent and dropping at, at, 3 percent a second!” Carl gasped the sentence out as he frantically tapped controls and attempted to stem his rising fear. “Sir! We got only 1300 feet of altitude left before hitting dirt!”

“Alright, let’s see what this baby’s still got” Michael muttered. His mind took all the fear and doubt and placed it in a dark corner of his mind; the time to go over them would be later, and if there was no later than it didn’t really matter anyways. His hands flew over the controls as he switched piloting to jet thrusters and air fins; while the thrusters were designed and used for maneuvering in orbit, it was the only thing he had left to aid in what would essentially be, if his plan miraculously worked, a rough glide towards an even rougher landing. His first priority was to stabilize their flight integrity, to stop the dangerously accelerating spin that threatened to rip the crippled dropship apart. Although saving the remnants of the platoon in the troop bay while they were still airborne was a possible, if unlikely, scenario, Michael grimly knew that with no engines he had no way to slow their descent to anywhere near a safe crash landing. “On my mark I want you to shoot 80% of our thruster capability at a 90 degree angle from our rotation! Adjust as necessary, just get us stable!”

“Flight integrity at 27%!” was Carl’s terse affirmative. Michael ignored the fear of his copilot and instead focused on calculating the right time to shoot the thrusters; if he was off he would waste the now-valuable supply of compressed gas that the thrusters used, and possibly put too much strain on an already ruined hull. He again cursed whoever designed this version of dropship, the Talon Series, for not including at least a low-grade Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist with any in-flight calculations; instead he had to rely on the onboard computers and his own stressed logic.

“Mark!” Michael yelled hoarsely. Fuck calculations. If the flight integrity dropped any lower they would be dead, good math or not. Carl punched the button and released highly pressurized jets of compressed gas in the opposite direction of the ship’s uncontrolled spiral; the remains of the hull shuddered and groaned, what few warning lights that had remained unlit began blinking earnestly, but the ship began to noticeably lose its tumble and the flight integrity meter slowed, stalled, then began a tentative climb.

“Thrusters holding, but only enough gas to sustain blast for 6 more seconds!”

“Hold blast for as long as possible, then plot our trajectory, find out where we’re gonna end up crashing this bitch!” Michael gritted his teeth and grabbed the flight controls; proposing to try to pilot a ship this bulky with only air fins and the 20 percent thruster capabilities he had left himself would have brought him raucous laughter and incredulous stares from the other veteran pilots in his combat wing, but he simply had no other choice. The air roared around the cockpit from the hull breach and the horizon line that he could glimpse through the thick cockpit windows jerked crazily up and down, but with an expert touch born of experience, skill, and desperation he slowly brought the crippled craft under some type of control. “fuck ya!” a small part of his brain yelled triumphantly at the incredible feat, but the momentary elation at doing what had seemed impossible disappeared as he glimpsed the ground.

“Sir we have 200 feet until impact!”

“What’s our landing zone look like?!”

“mostly fields, some rolling hills but sir, we’re gonna be landing right into the middle of somethin’, the dropships that survived are scattered as hell, groundtroops are taking a beatin-”

“At 2 seconds to impact I want you to give all your remaining thruster capability to the foreword units!” Michael yelled. He didn’t know how much it would contribute towards decreasing their impact force, but it was all he could do besides….

Michael’s eyes briefly grew wide as he realized what had to be done to possibly give the remaining marines in his ship a chance at surviving. He looked at the countdown that Carl had set up towards impact; 17 seconds. Just enough time. His hands literally flew over the controls, an agility born of desperation and a new sense of purpose, one that was final. He programmed the controls to angle the ship in order to impact nose first at a medium angle; what thruster capability he had left would fire a split second after impact on the top rear thruster cannons, to slow the turn at which the ship would be forced into by slamming into the ground at such an angle. He spent a precious 4 seconds on a rough check of his mental calculations on the computer; the results made his face break out into a grim, tight smile. Most of the force of impact would be absorbed in the bottom front section of the ship, and the ship would then, hopefully, pivot over the nose and crash topside into the soil. It was the Marines’ only chance. The downside? The cockpit was in the bottom front of the craft.

            Michael Forrestor glanced at the countdown clock. 5 seconds. He smiled, grabbed the small wallet in his flight suit that held a picture of his wife and son, and closed his eyes. 

Raccoon_City_Survivor

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