Our shuttle was small, fast and agile. It was cramped with the four Navy techs (myself included) in the E-Combat team and a squad of Marines in battledress. The pilot was jinking all over the place as she headed dirtside in a maniacal power dive through flack, decoys and what was left the COAAC defenses. One of the chaff dispensers was located right behind my head. I use to count the number of times it fired on the way down. I stopped when I started thinking about what would happen when it ran empty. Now I just enjoy the ride down and promise to pour a tankard of mead to Odin if we get dirtside in mostly one piece.
There was no explosion or smell of fire when the nose suddenly flared and the shuttle shook. We must have landed. There was still swaying from the landing legs when our harnesses released and the first Marines where out the hatch. We got the go ahead signal two seconds later and ran out. It looked like we were in what used to be a building. What was left of the walls provided cover from stray shrapnel, but I still felt nearly naked in a Combat E-Suit, flack jacket and helmet. I know that I didn't have the training for the BattleDress units. Besides they tend to draw fire.
My HUD started displaying a map with a highlighted route. I looked where the directional pipper was flashing and saw the Marine we were to follow. The HUD highlighted his armor, making him easier to track when his chameleon circuits cut in. I got a better grip on my Gauss carbine and joined the rest of my team in following him. Mindful of our intervals and keeping an eye out for any threats our Combat Harness didn't pick up.
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