Author: Iain Macleod

Drop pods are not made for comfort. They are made to launch a soldier at supersonic speed from a dropship, fly him into position and decelerate fast enough to prevent impact from killing but at the same time not so fast that the g-forces from deceleration crushed him into soup. It was a fine line and only 92 percent of launches were successful. Earth Gov Military called that an acceptable loss rate, at least it was acceptable for the 22nd Britanic Company, a unit comprised of poor working class people, ex-cons and other detritus from the lower rungs of society.

Eivan’s breathing was fast as the restraints closed down on him. Six thousand men would be launched in the next 12 minutes from hundreds of bays along either side of the ship. Eivans number was 2895 which would put his launch time at about 5 and a half minutes or so. Sweet Mary, the AI that would guide every pod through its journey, was loading his flight path and any relevant visual info of the area he was to land in, obtained from the pods that had gone before. The carnage was unbelievable. Smoke billowed everywhere, ragged lines of Earth Gov soldiers engaged in furious battle, some pushing forward, some being pushed back.

Roughly three minutes until go and the horrendous roar of constant launches was deafening. Pods were being fed to the launchers like bullets in a magazine and the rough lurch every time the launcher fired and moved him closer to the front was jarring. Eivans heart rate was high. Approx 160bpm and rising according to his HUD. Eivan closed his eyes as the stim package meant to help with the severe g-forces involved started flowing into his veins through the restraint system. Once he hit the ground he knew that the flight stim package would change to the combat stim package and he would come out of his pod a screaming maniac with nothing in his mind but bloodlust.

Tears started to well up in his eyes as the fear of what was to come gripped his heart. Thirty seconds until go. They said in training to count down from ten to one in your head to control the panic but Eivan couldn’t do it. He was in full panic mode as the restraints spread out their micro tendrils across his whole body rendering him completely immobile. He tried to scream but it was muffled and almost inaudible over the hellish orchestra of pod launches. One last lurch. Eivan tried to fight against his restraints but it was no use. HUD changes from white to red. Launch in 10. The pod shifts as the launcher grabs it and orients it for the best angle on his flight path. Horrible whine starts to build as the kinetic energy builds in the launcher cells. Three, two, one, Launch. Eivan feels the huge impact and crushing force like a building has been dropped on him. Even the panic in his mind is subdued by the intensity of the crushing g-forces as his pod hurtles to its destination.

Just another soldier into the meat grinder.