A reminder that these are still a rough first draft of the story and set after PKWars. All feedback is welcome.
Baby, Hit Me Part 8
There was no resistance as the Marauder entered the planet’s air space at maximum velocity, following the high, tight vector they were jamming for their approach.
She felt the anxious anticipation that had been building within and around her begin to shift as they approached their target. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the pilot turn his head.
“Two hundred microts,” he called.
She watched her team going through their silent, individual rituals of preparation, saw the fine sheen of perspiration on each of their faces glisten in the cabin light.
The pounding in her head threatened explosive decompression and a spasm shivered through her full-body ache. She was burning up. There was fire in her veins making her sweat heavily in body armor that felt as heavy as the crush of sudden deceleration.
A simple hit and run.
The ship slowed just as she finished her own final run through. Putting on her gloves, she flexed her fingers and reached for the packet of battle stims that was standard issue.
Cover your target window. Hit the Lukythian.
The pilot turned around and yelled again. “One hundred microts.”
She stood, and with the rest of the team slowly moved to stand next to the bottom hatch. Once they were in position, they braced against the further deceleration of the ship.
Grab the package and run.
Again the pilot’s voice roared back to them. “Fifty microts.”
Cracking the packet, watching the others do the same, she brought it up and inhaled deeply. It hit like a hammer and cut through the haze in her head. Everything sharpened in vivid relief.
She became acutely aware of the rise and fall of her chest, the air hissing into and out of her lungs, the beating of her heart, and the adrenaline surge in her veins.
Looking around, she tapped her helmet with two fingers, made sure faceplates came down, and then lowered her own. She braced as the ship flared. Silently counting down, she felt the initial rush of the drug back off and settle her, giving her heightened senses and reflexes just as she heard the pilot’s final screamed instructions.
“Go. Go. Go.”
The bottom hatch opened as the ship settled, the grab ring descended, and she followed her Lieutenant as the team dropped from the ship, landing in position, weapons ready.
Dust-off complete, they were moving even as the Marauder lifted off.
Her point man was using the jammer to scramble communications within the building. Reaching the hatch leading to the inside, he disabled the exterior sensors, tore off the cover and then they were inside.
She took point as they moved in formation down the main hallway, scanning for resistance in their target windows. At the last cross hall down, she dropped suddenly and rolled back just as pulse fire danced across the intersection.
Her Lieutenant held up a grenade and she held up three fingers. On the count, she popped up from cover and began laying down suppression fire. He rolled from cover and hurled the grenade. Coming up on the other side, he began firing just as the grenade exploded.
She was up and moving through the smoke, haze, and heat of the explosion, following her Lieutenant.
Ten microts later they were in position at the double doors and she was putting the shaped charged in place before pulling back to a safe distance. When it blew she followed the blast inside, firing at the guards as the rest of the team entered the meeting chamber.
Her people took up their positions off to her side, began firing at their targets. She heard their shots as she took out one guard in her window. Her eyes raked the room, looking for her objective.
Shots from the side alerted her to the fact that someone had missed a target and she quickly rolled, seeking cover under the conference table.
Running the silent count in her head, she knew they were almost out of time and that they needed to move. Popping up from cover, she sprayed continuous fire covering her window as movement in her peripheral vision grabbed her attention.
There he is.
He had the case and was on the run through the ruined chamber toward the open hallway.
As pulse fire lit up the chamber, Aeryn stepped and took a stance, raising her pulse rifle for the only shot she knew she was going to have. Snugging the weapon to her shoulder, she sighted, fired, and watched the back of his head explode as he dropped like a stone.
She was moving before he hit the ground, oblivious to the scattered shots still coming from the two remaining guards pinned down by the others.
Reaching the body, she quickly rolled it, grabbed the case, slipping the strap over her head and settling it against her hip as the last of the pulse fire faded.
“Time,” she yelled. “Let’s move.”
And then she was running out the door, rifle in her hand, scanning for targets and threats as the team formed up in the hallway.
“Out the way we came in,” she said roughly. “Ready?”
They began their retreat to the extraction point, again moving in formation down the hallway. There was no resistance as they worked their way back, leaving the silence and smoke of the battle hanging heavy in the air behind them.
Kicking open the door at the end of the hallway, she was the first one through, climbing for the light of the roof and their extraction point.
Suddenly she was there and saw the waiting Marauder, hatch open and ramp down, guns covering their escape, ready and waiting to take them home.
She ran up the ramp, the others hard on her heels. The hatch was barely closed when the pilot took off and the ship screamed for open space.
Settling into the jump seat, case in her lap, she looked at her team and wondered how long it would be until they were all dead.