"Drop in t-minus ten, nine, eight…"
I tried to calm myself down before the dropship I was in fell out of the Nevada, a Continental class destroyer that was currently in orbit above Tau Citi, a recently colonized planet that had sent out a distress beacon to Earth about two months ago. The transmission had said something about a xenomorph outbreak, so I personally expected little to no survivors on the surface.
"Four, three, two, one, drop."
I was slammed into the upper part of my restraining harness, the g's that everyone else in my squad was experiencing sending blood straight to my head.
"So, el-tee, what happens when we get down planet-side?"
I looked over to the speaker, who in this case, was one of the most recent additions to the squad. The tags on his chest plate identified him as Private (Pvt.) Jorgensen. He looked to be fresh out of high school and boot, young enough to have me question if he was old enough to have even gone through jump training.
"Simple, soldier, we do our jobs." I looked at everyone else in the ship as it rocked, a sign that we had at least gotten into the planet's atmosphere. "Listen up. When this bucket gets to thirty thousand feet, we jump and land close to the command center." A holographic display of the area in question materialized before my troops. "Once, we land, we secure the complex and eliminate any hostiles we find. After the Marines secure the residential area, we will rendezvous with them over here at this outpost. Any questions?"
A hand was raised. Looking at the person, I saw that it was yet another green trooper. "Fisher, this not frakkin' kindergarten, put your hand down and talk," I said sharply to Pvt. Fisher.
"Sir, what if there are Xenos on the planet?" the girl asked, fear clearly evident in her voice. I closed my eyes and sighed. Here I go again with the lecture.
"I will say this only one more time for those of you who refused to listen the first time." I looked at all of the fresh soldiers in turn, starting with Fisher. "If you see a Xeno, shoot it. Do not let it come close to you. It is probably going to be stronger than you are in a hand to hand fight, and it has more weapons on it than we do. If you do end up getting up close and personal with one, be sure not to get hit by its blood. Molecular acid is a bitch." I pointed to my left forearm guard, which had miraculously survived a blood-splash from a Xeno and now had a TACPAD on it. Thank God for large bodies of water, I thought.
"If you see eggs or facehuggers, back away and toss a grenade or two. Never go anywhere alone and watch your backs. Finally, never, under any circumstances, should you try and engage a Praetorian or Queen alone. You do not have the firepower to take them out. Am I understood?"
Everybody in the squad sounded off together. "SIR, YES SIR!"
I nodded. "Good. Now pack up and get ready to jump." I released the catch for my harness, watching as the others did the same. I got up and started attaching my gear to hardpoints on my armor. M38S pulse rifle, check. My fifteen one hundred-five round clips for the pulse rifle, check. Fourteen 40 mike-mike grenades for the pulse rifles grenade launcher, check. M1911 with twenty clips of extended .45 ACP ammo, check. Four Mk. 12 fragmentation grenades, check. M7 Urban Plasma Rifle, with five extra batteries, check. Survival kit, check. K-Bar knife, check. Tiny Victini model, check. And last, but certainly not least, helmet.
I smiled as I picked up the helmet. It was a Driftech Active Combat Helmet (ACH) Bravo model, a fairly standard helmet as far as it was concerned. But what was special about this helmet was the fact that was my first helmet, not to mention the first one of its kind to be made. Sure it close to a hundred and fifty years old, but it still worked.
I put the helmet on just as the pilot spoke over the intercom. "We are approaching the drop zone. Drop in t-minus sixty."
"Alright people, buckets on! I do not want you to be asleep when we hit the dirt. We drop on my mark," I yelled out to my troops as they put on their jump helmets, checking each other's seals to make sure that they didn't fall unconscious during free fall; if there is one thing I despise (or if it was a civilian, hilarious), its people getting themselves killed through their own stupidity.
I stood by the switch for the ramp, waiting for the pilot to tell me when to open it.
"Twenty seconds till we reach the drop zone." Good. It took about fifteen seconds for the ramp to open up after I hit the switch. I turned to the soldiers behind me. "Ladies, how do we go to war?" I asked them innocently.
As one, they all yelled at the top of their lungs, "Head first into Hell, Sir!"
"Good," I said, as the pilot announced that we were in the drop zone. "Monnot's Marauders, fall out!"
That was the last order I gave them before I stepped off the ramp and into the air. I have to admit, the way the Marines went into combat didn't fit into their attitude. We Airborne guys knew how to get into a combat zone; head first at a few hundred miles an hour, popping the chute at one thousand feet, and then blast the living hell out of every hostile on the way down and on the ground.
I smiled to myself. Damn, I love raining death from above.