Continuing the story, they are about to get down to the planet
Ziko was by default the group mule based on his strength, but on raw speed no one could touch Philira. For a moment her bright pink hair became visible, as did her youthful body as she disabled her camouflage to readjust some equipment. Soldiers had specific natural hair colors based on their Class: Female Scouts were pink, female Supports were bright orange, male Supports were light blonde, Leaders had black and so on. They could be manually overridden, but was rarely done. Almost all combat was conducted in combat suits or stealth fields so this issue did not matter. For most soldiers, their class was a mark of pride.
“Damn, I thought a saw an angel there for a moment,” Agrest said.
“Of death?” Raist asked, slamming an energy clip into a pistol and watching the counter read ‘full’ before the text dissolved into the number ‘100’.
“Maybe, I don’t know. I was a little confused though…”
“Why?” Ziko asked. Raist smiled, and tried to hide his laugh that Ziko fell right into a trap.
“Well, aren’t angels supposed to be hot? I thought she’d be a bit bigger if you know what I mean.”
“Agrest…” Ziko started.
“Bigger?” Philira asked. “But I am not the shortest here.”
“Bigger like Leio over there.” Agrest disabled his cloak to hold his two hands out in front of his chest.
Raist was snickering while he watched what shimmer was likely Ziko trying to catch Agrest while he was shouting, “Why the hell do you always fill her head with your perverted shit?!”
“Everyone has at least three-range cover in their weapon choices, right?” Leio was updating a graphic overlay showing the positions of the squad, with colored ovals representing the effective range of their weapon choices.
Philira, being the lead, naturally had a powerful, short-range weapon; the graphic showed a dark red oval that covered a short distance in front and behind, covering from Ziko up to Raist in his middle position. Conversely, at the back of the formation, Agrest’s personal Rail Rifle had by far the biggest range, but in an intense close range firefight could not keep up, and thus his main oval was less colored; nevertheless the vast coverage could still assist any of the team in a fight.
“Raist, you are a little weak on the close range,” Leio said, looking over the constantly updating data. “Not sure the pistol will cut it in these quarters.”
“Throw me the SSAW.” A strange looking blue weapon was flung through the air and caught by something invisible. “I’ve been meaning to try this out.”
“It’s slow on the recharge,” Philira commented easily. “Here, let me show you something.” A Vibro-Knife was picked up off the table, and Raist handed the SSAW over to the invisible tug. She revealed herself and walked next to Raist, her hips touching his as she held the gun to show him. “You can store a knife here in the lower duct. Useful on the downtime,” she smiled at him and stepped away. It was a slightly flirtatious or sensual move, but given her naivety in relationships, likely didn’t understand what she was doing.
He held the weapon in his shoulder, pretending to fire it then letting it drop while he drew the knife from where it was held. “Damn, that is a pretty nice trick. That really is a good place to hide it.”
“Saved my life before.” Raist wondered what creature or alien had a Vibro-Knife stabbed through its head to save Philira’s life.
“I’ll show you a trick later, how’s that sound?” Raist asked her slyly.
“What kind?” Philira asked, totally innocent.
“One that will leave you feeling real good.”
“Not Raist too…” Ziko moaned.
“Survive first, and I’ll show you.” He only did those jokes because he enjoyed how defensive Ziko would always become.
“I will,” she said firmly. “No matter what.”
“Okay, looks good.” Leio showed the planned formation to everyone, leaving comments open for anyone to input. The unspoken rule they had acquired over the battles was that you made no recommendations about anyone’s main weapon, but you could request a change in either of their two sub-weapons, since it was often your ass that depended on it.
“Agrest,” Ziko began, “can you swap that inductor for something with a bit more range? Maybe the Silvershot?”
“Aww, feeling lonely near the front, lil’ buddy? I think Philira has enough firepower for both of you. But even that still leaves my little angel up there out of range.” Agrest gave Ziko a hard time, but swapped his weapon without protest. Upon further review Ziko was indeed a bit bare on the covering fire. Philira had him supported heavily, but only Raist had him within range of powerful rapid fire support.
He had finished, and at this point it was mostly small things others were finagling with. “Orbital Sync in five…” Raist said. Everyone stopped their banter, and shoved any supplies or extra energy cells in, packed up quickly, and went to the launch bay.
“Synch up?” Leio asked.
Yes – Everyone responded on the Inter-Connect System, an implanted communication system that could reduce talking to a near-psychic level of communication.
Launch in three – Leio’s voice played in all of their minds while the air in the ship was pressed back into tanks, leaving the room they were in devoid of atmosphere, their suits protecting them against both the low pressure and the lack of air.
Two – The door opened up, the huge planet’s blue, green, and purple forests standing defiantly against the black of space. At this distance the beauty defied the danger.
One – Each of them could feel their suits change as they prepared for entry. The first change was the locking in with the launch system.
She didn’t have to say ‘zero’ or ‘go’ as the moment they were pulled out of the ship with by the launching system was obvious enough. The catapult system was designed to ensure the even spacing of the entire team, as even the most trained jump could result in a vast dispersion pattern from orbit. A pentagon shape of the five of them fell through space towards the planet.
“…what creature or alien had a Vibro-Knife stabbed through its head to save Philira’s life.” Just love the concept of the Vibro-knife! So many potential uses…