Lol, I dunno Hbrb, mine's reaching up to be 40,000 words pretty soon, :P
(We’re going back in time here, but only a little, :P)
Boarding that dropship this morning was a complete pain. I had been utterly exhausted from the night before. It took a damn long time to get to the facility, and for some reason the trip back to base seemed much longer…perhaps I was subconsciously slowing myself, trying to stay as close for as long as possible. It had only dawned on me how much I’d actually miss Jay as I had been walking away from the facility, leaving her hanging up in the window.
This feeling only grew when I was walking out the door of my quarters one last time. I had my duffle bag packed up from the night before, but just as I was about to walk out the door, I heard a clattering on the floor. Something must have fallen from my bag, I thought. I quickly turned around to snatch up what I’d dropped only to freeze for a moment. It had been Jay’s psi knife-the small silver handle shined back up at me from the floor.
It took me a while to wake myself from that stupor. I had just about forgotten about the special knife Jay had traded with me. I must have also spaced off my own thought of it as I had packed it in my duffle the day before. It surprised me how attached I was to this knife too, as I picked it up. Instead of returning it to my duffle, I fastened the knife hilt to my equipment belt.
Not a moment too soon, and Brash walked past my door after I had made sure the knife was secure. He seemed tired himself, it didn’t really occur to me until later that he mustn’t have slept well. He maybe wasn’t going to miss it around here for the same reasons I would, but he would miss it here too-it had been his home ever since he enlisted to the Raiders after his colony was liberated from the Dominion.
“Hey,” he said, a groggy tone to his voice.
I only nodded, not sure of what to say. I adjusted my duffle a bit to hide where I put the psi knife.
He looked me up and down, and chuckled slightly. “All packed up and ready to go then?”
“…Yeah,” I said, gazing back at what used to be my quarters.
Brash followed my gaze, and subtly put his hand on my shoulder. “We’ll be back, I’m sure.”
I nodded again, frowning. It would be a long time before we’d come back, that was for certain. Getting rid of Zerg was something easier said than done. If this planet was truthfully infested, the operation could take months-maybe even years. It all depended on how much time the Zerg had to settle…and how much time it took to start pushing them out again.
…and if things went wrong, we probably wouldn’t come back at all.
I shivered at this thought. The thought of dying was something I didn’t care to think about. It only brought anxiety, worry. Both were enough to screw up my head enough to make me unfocused and clumsy, two things that definitely weren’t good for a Ghost on the field.
Brash squeezed my shoulder. “Let’s get going. Echo Squad is probably waiting for us.”
I shook my head, clearing my mind. I turned to face Brash, and gave him a nervous smile. With that, Brash returned it, and we both headed up the stairs and out the metal double doors of the building.
Just across the field sat a drop ship, but there was something a bit off about it. A large device was stationed on the vehicle’s top, something that appeared to be struggling to stay attached to the ship. It seemed like a fussy thing, for it let out a bit of steam once in a while, the parts of it moving every once in a while.
I frowned at the ship. “What did they do to it?”
Brash pointed. “That device is made to hide the ship when coming in and out of the planet’s atmosphere. That Dominion Facility has some strong sensors for detecting ships, but ships with this device added onto them can’t be detected by the Dominion’s sensors. Think of it as an oversized cloaking emitter-that’s pretty much what it is.”
I stared. “…Why does it look like it’s about to fall off?”
“It will, actually.” Brash said, his gaze following mine. “You see, these emitters are very similar to what we put in banshees these days. Banshees though are quite a bit smaller than these drop ships we got here, so the cloaking emitter we make for the ship needs to be considerably bigger to give a big enough cloaking field. Sadly, the device can’t fit within the ship, so they have to put it on the outside. Half the time, these things fall off when they’ve been used too many times-It’s from entering and exiting the atmosphere all the time, something banshees don’t do-this one appears to be on one of its last flights.”
“Huh,” I said, taking in the device a bit more.
We finally reached the door to the drop ship. A marine looking pretty grim stood just at the end of the ramp leading into the side port. His armor was scratched considerably, creating silver stripes where blue would normally appear. He had a similar scratch down the side of his face, looking pinkish and fresh-he must have just come from the planet we were going to.
“Sgt. Brash and Pvt.-“ The marine started to say.
“Shadow.” I finished.
“Right,” He said, looking between us two. “Echo squad’s already good to go. I suggest you two also get on in and ready for liftoff.”
I nodded briskly with Brash, and we both tromped up the ramp and down a narrow hallway. There were two doors, one of them open. We went into the open one, and packed our bags in a compartment just by the door. The room consisted of a bench that lined the walls, and a single window. Brash settled himself down on a seat by the door, and lied down.
“Wake me up if I fall asleep for too long, I could use just a bit of rest.” He said, grogginess still detectable in his voice.
I smirked slightly, but nodded. I myself took a seat at the window, looking out it. There stretched the entire encampment-buildings, people, and all. I could hear the hum of the ship’s engine overtake the noise outside subtly as they readied the ship for takeoff. A few soldiers, some I even recognized as those who me and Brash sometimes played poker with late at night, stopped for a while and waved as we started to hover slowly into the air.
A mechanized voice sounded through the ship’s comm system. “Estimated time until course completetion-13 hours.”
I groaned slightly. I never really cared much for space travel-at least not in such a small ship. And being stranded on one for thirteen hours really didn’t appeal to me…
It wasn’t long until the base was below us. Soon we were flying skyward, clouds blocking most of my view outside for quite some time. It wasn’t too long until we broke through the cloud layers and started reaching the upper atmosphere. It got darker and the stars appeared, as if waiting for us. We were now floating just out of the planet’s orbit, and I couldn’t help but stare.
The planet was very green, the exception being the blue oceans, lakes, and rivers that also shared the planet’s surface. Clouds wisped around the sphere, like huge white patches. I smiled as I could just hardly make out the dot that was the base we just came from with the help of my suit’s eyepiece. Not far from it, I also found the dot of the Dominion Facility…
I frowned. It dawned on me how much Jay would have enjoyed seeing the planet. She probably hadn’t seen it yet-unless she saw it when she first came to the facility. That was quite unlikely though, we knew they stored the recruits in stasis until they were brought within the facility. The planet was so pretty…too bad I couldn’t have taken a picture to get to her when we got back.
I sighed and sunk down in my seat, lying down in the same fashion as Brash. It was silly of me to think of her still…I started thinking again. How long would it be until we got back? Would we come back? If we are successful, would the base still be there for us to go back to? Would the Dominion discover it before we’d get back? Would it be just fine? If we came back-what would I do? Would Jay still be there-it hit me finally.
Jay would certainly be completed with her training by the time we got back. She said she had been fourteen the last time I asked her, though she couldn’t remember her birthday. It had been a few months since I first saw her, so currently she was either halfway or nearly fifteen. It only took someone to get to seventeen to be able to enlist into the Dominion’s army-only two more years for her.
I knew with a horrible sinking feeling that it would probably take a long damn time to flush out the zerg…what if it did turn to be years? And if so, how many? Would we be able to get back, for me to be able to see her again before she’d be off and enlisted into the army? What would become of her-
With a start, I realized Jay wouldn’t be Jay when we got back…even if we did make it in time. She had just gotten plenty adjusted to the facility-it was about time they would start treating her more like a soldier rather than just child sense. They would try to change her, and as much as I hated to admit it-they would probably be successful. They would make her tough, emotionless. The expressive, innocent, kind and energetic Jay would be locked away and never even thought of again as soon as they got her to that stiff, stone-cold way most Dominion Ghosts portrayed.
I found myself grasping where I put Jay’s knife only a while ago. I unhooked it from its place on my belt and played with it for a moment. This was the last piece of the real Jay I would have…
I stared at the ceiling for a very long time, just thinking. Later, my thoughts finally slowed and my mind found itself tired. Sleepiness now taking its toll, I finally let myself rest.
Edited by Mockingjay on 7/28/2012 5:15 PM PDT