Twelve Kilometers Up

Battlecruiser Persephone

Low orbit above Actium, class D world.

 

“Prepare for orbital drop in thirty seconds,” the ship’s computerized voice said through the pod’s speakers. The tone of voice made it sound like she was talking only to me, warning me of what was about to happen. That was ridiculous though, I knew she was simultaneously doing and saying thousands of different things. No single soldier was worth the entire focus of a battlecruiser like Persephone.

I tried to shift the barrel of my rifle, although I knew it was a useless gesture, locked in like it was. Even without a round in the chamber and the safety on I wasn’t entirely comfortable with how close the muzzle was to my face.

An image appeared in the corner of my visor, a miniature picture of Second Lieutenant Mara. “For those of you who have never done an actual combat drop, just keep calm and remember your sims. You’ll be fine.” She switched tones, becoming more authoritative, and continued, “I want a perimeter established on touchdown, teams of two. Anybody who is rattled by the drop stay out of the others’ way. Any questions?” Silence answered. “Good. See you on the other side.”

Her image disappeared and the radio cut out. I could hear the vibration’s of Persephone’s engines through the hull of my pod. “Twenty seconds until drop,” she said. The pod started to shake as the whole bay was rotated out into space. For a sickening second the pull of the ship’s artificially generated gravity was spread out unevenly. My feet, then my legs, became weightless, and when part of my gut was trying to float and the other half was being pulled upwards by gravity I was glad they had told us not to eat for the last five hours. My lungs were next, and my heart felt like it really didn’t appreciate the gravitational shift. Then it was over. We stopped shifting and our launch arm locked into place. I had watched enough training videos of other drops to know how we must look from the ship, almost like the legs of an ancient Earth insect reaching down towards the planet below. I wondered if any of the crew back on the ship was watching us on the external feeds, looking at our tiny little black capsules suspended hundreds of kilometers above solid ground. Not a one of them would ever have to actually set foot on an enemy planet, much less be fired towards it like a human torpedo. Continue reading

Hellion

I kept my attention fixed straight ahead, ignoring the sweat that dripped down my face and the heat of the sun on my bare back, concentrating just on the ground, the knife in my hand, and the person in front of me. Derrick, I thought his name was. But that was irrelevant, a thought from the world outside the rough circle scratched in the sand. A dangerous thought. A distraction.

His feet shuffled towards me, a feint. I reacted instantly, leaned left, then springing to the right when he lunged. A feint to counter a feint. I leapt towards him but he had already turned and faced me, jumping aside just as I had done moments before. The sun was merciless. I shifted my weight, watching carefully for any sign of what my opponent would do next; a shift in his balance, a twitch of his eyes, anything that might give him away. Continue reading

Spy Thriller Short Short

“Fortress, where the hell is our helicopter?” Eric screamed into his mic. Next to him, Sato fired a few rounds at the security guards who had followed them up to the roof. Bullets thudded into the AC unit they were crouched behind.

Static crackled on the comm bead in his ear, “Raptor Actual this is Fortress, wait one.” He paused and in the break Eric fired his pistol blindly towards the roof access door. “Looks like they got held up by local air traffic control but they are on the way now, over.” Continue reading

There is a Mess in the Kitchen

Eve hummed tunelessly as she whipped together a pad of butter and a large lump of garlic. She reached for a bottle of white wine and splashed it onto the mixture as well. She closed her eyes as she stirred, well lost in the simple ecstasy of being home alone for the weekend. When her daughter was around things were always a crazy mess, not to mention that the child would never eat Eve’s favorite food with her. Continue reading