-Local hour 0547, location unknown-

We are here.

On the ground of an unknown alien world.

You can say that we made it, just barely.

”Deman, couldn you have made the landing any softer than that? ” Mont complains, followed by a slight uncomfortable growl.

”Negative, dampener snapped halfway through. Restoration impossible. ” Deman replied with his usual short and straight sentences while checking his gear.

”So we free fall like 100 meters from the ground? ” Doc asked. His full name is Johan Tiedemann, sergeant first class. He takes the role of a combat medic and a biologist. And being a member of a tier 0, he is equipped with some of the latest medical technologies. Technologies that even the tier one and two special forces don have. Such as stem cells technology and organic fabricating technology. Although most of the high tech ones are still in their experimental prototype phase. Thats one of the benefits of being the elites, you get to play with the new toys fresh out of the R&D labs.

”67 meters to be exact, but our chance of surviving that drop was high. ” Deman provides the exact height where the landing pods gravity dampener broke down. He has a very realistic personality. The kind of personality you would expect in a professional scientist who is way to serious about their job. Truth be told, he really is a scientist. And a good one at that, with 3 PhDs hanging on his wall back home. He trust numbers, calculations, mathematics and logic. In fact, he worships them, like some sort of religion.

”That much wouldn have even scratched us. ”

”He is right, Mont. Its just your size and weight that made you suffer some extra minor buttock injuries. ” Doc remarks as he unlocks himself out of his seats lock, a slight chuckle can be heard coming from him.

Doc is not wrong, Mont is massive even with modern human standard. Standing at 7 feet 9 inches or almost 2.4 meter, he absolutely towers above everyone else in the squad. In fact he towers above almost everybody within the armed forces. Weighing at around 149 lbs or 149 kg he is also one of the heaviest combatant as well. Though those numbers are indeed impressive, they are not all natural. He is, similar to to us, a member of an elite special force belonging to the top tiers. We are basically the best warriors humanity have, the rare few hundreds among the hundred billion. And so naturally we are heavily modified with a slew of augmentations, bio-engineering and body modifications. They includes body growth and muscle mass development procedures. Monts body react to those modifications much better than ours do, which is why he out grow us in terms of size.

I do the same as my comrades. Pulling two small levers on the lock on both sides of my shoulder. With a familiar mechanical clank, the bolts from behind the back of my seat fall off and the lock springs up away from my chest. We are all used to these procedures. Because we have repeated it so many times. Almost every one of our deployments start with us being inserted by specialized assault pods. Whether that mission include us assaulting a ship or doing covert planetary insertions. But none of us has had any experience doing it in a standard emergency escape pod. I can not remember what was the last time I actually got onto one of these. Aside from training and simulations, I believe I have never use them for extraction or escape, ever. Since we almost never need them to begin with anyway, every one of our missions so far have been successfully completed. But nevertheless me and my men still remember how these pods operate. We have got the memory modification implants to thanks for that.

After unlocking myself out of the seat. I check my gear, my pack and my weapons. Making sure that nothing got damaged during our reentry. As always, I do the usual load out check up that was imprinted into my everyday life thanks to rigorous training. First is my weapons, one primary and one secondary, the usual load. Next is my pack, which includes ammunition, nutrients MRE packs, filters, medical kits, various batteries and other miscellaneous supplies. Finally my suit, I check its integrity, built-in systems, energy, life support and many of its special functions.

Once done, I then open the emergency storage underneath my seat to take the pods own emergency supplies, every seats has one of these. We each takes from our own seat and share the other 4 because the pod has 10 seats, arranged in a circular shape around a main control panel in the center. There are also the emergency suits among the supplies but since we are already donned in our combat suit, we will be leaving them behind.

”Talon 4 what is the condition outside? ” I asked Deman. Concerning about the environment outside. For all we know, we could be on a planet with atmosphere unsuitable for normal human.

”Statistics from atmospheric measurements suggest the environment is within human habitable condition. No abnormalities, ” After reading through the result showed in the monitor, Deman speaks up. That means we can breath and live normally even without our life support systems. But caution is still advised. Theres no telling what will be floating within the air so we will still keep our life support up. At least until we have clear confirmation that the air is indeed clean and safe.

Glancing through the pods external cameras, it seems like we have landed in some sort of forest. The flora looks surprisingly similar to that of Earths. The pod is currently residing in a rather clear part of the forest, with few trees and plants in our vicinity. And of course, there are pieces of debris all around us as well.

Seeing that my squadmates has completed their gear check and is readied, I turn my head behind me to them and receive everybodys nod. Signaling that its time.

”Alright, team. Here we go. ”

I pull a red lever at the bottom of the pods pressurized hatch and unlock it. The air from outside immediately seeps in, making a sound similar to spraying a paint can. Now that the pressure is stabilized, sound of mini explosions can be heard coming from the rim of the hatch. Within seconds, the hatch got busted open and flies off away from the pod. Light from the systems suns immediately shines through the hatch door. It looks rather bright and warm, but we can feel that because of our helmets visor and full body suit.

Without a second wasted, me and my squad immediately rush outside with inhuman speed and coordination, weapon sight point forward. We then quickly form a circle around our drop site, crouch down, making sure all direction are covered, eyes and systems scanning for any movement in our surrounding. Looking through my HUD, I can see that the scenery is not so different from many other habitable planets. Everywhere I look, nature is teeming with life. From the greenery of the trees to the sound of animals echoing all around.

Deman backs up into the middle of the formation then pulls out a white circular donut with propeller in the middle and throws it into the air. Thats a drone, a personal medium altitude surveillance drone. It flies high above the tree branches and hover at a height of about 30 meters in the air.

”CSD deployed, scanning. ” Deman reports. We stay in our current formation for a few minutes as the Combat Surveillance Drone scan immediate region.

While sweeping my vision left and right, I spot a small head of an animal poking through a hole in the ground. It looks like a rather large weasel. More like a meerkat to be exact, but with two antenna on its head. Like those found on insects head. A quick scan of the animal suggest that it is an entirely new species, along with the plants here as well. There are new species all around. Doc must be having a field day scanning all of these new discoveries, being a biologist and all.

”Scan completed, local alien settlement at your 5 oclock, designated Site A. ” Having finished the regional scan, Deman report to me via comm. ”Updating direct feedback to all Talons HUD. ”

On the top left of my screen, a screen showing the image feedback from the CSDs cams pops up. It shows live recording of the top of the forest foliage and shapes of what seems to be houses in the distance. We dropped right next to an alien settlement. Which means theres a chance of the local witnessing our crash landing and might be moving toward us to investigate.

”Well move near it and observe. Keep your vigilant up. Theres no guarantee that the local do not know of our rather majestic entry. ” I give out an order to my squad and receive their confirmation through comm.

”Move. ”

Right as the word left my mouth, the whole squad turns around toward the settlements direction and start moving. The view of our landing pod slowly fade away behind the trees, we will be back to retrieve it one day. But now, we must press on forward.

Everyone move in a unified manner. At any given time, there would always be someone walking backward and two more walking sideways to cover our back and flanks. We switch position every thirty second to ensure that our eyes are scanning at all directions all the time, even from above. We walk among the bushes, through the lower foliage of the forest. For six minutes we kept walking. Nothing out of the norm, no hostiles, yet.

”Talon 4 to Talon 1, two heat signatures approaching. From direction of Site A. Dubbed T1 and T2. ” Deman reports. Me and my other squadmates can see it as well, through the display screen on our helmet. ”They are approaching a larger signature, thats T3. ”

”Prep your cloaks and keep your eyes out for movements. ” I give out an order for my team to prepare their suits cloak plates. Specialized nano plates that disperse scan rays, radars and can even hinder up to 99% visual imagery.

”Alright, double time. Well investigate them. ” I urge my squad to hurry up. And we start to speed up our approach. Well be keeping distance and observe these individuals first. And base on the situation we will consider doing first contact.

From the display, it seems that T1 and T2 have come into contact with T3. And then T2 start to move away from T3 with T3 closing in.

The suits audio systems start to buzz. Picking up and distinguishing inaudible noises from very far away into individual audible sounds. All of our suits are equipped with this.

And we hear it.

A sound. No, a vocal voice. An extremely familiar vocal voice at that.

As the system finished processing it. We all realize what it is.

A very feminine scream of a young human female. Followed by a broken and cracking cry.

I was confused at first but then quickly realize. This must be one of the survivors of the crash. They are nearby and they are in trouble. But why aren they broadcasting any signals? Within this distance they should be able to communicate with us, Did their communication systems broke down or something?

”T2 heat signature is fading. ” Doc remarks, ”Sir. ”

My squad waits for my order. So I give them one.

”Battlestation. Kick the boots. ” A word slipped its way out of my mouth. And in response, sounds of weapons safety switch off is heard and the unmistakable humming of our suit agility systems coming alive.

This technology is the one piece of gear that distinguish us special operatives from your typical grunt marine. It can boost our agility and speed up to an unimaginable magnitude. However only modified people like us can use it, due to the great amount of G-force the system induce to the users body every extremely rapid accelerations, decelerations or changing direction. The user must also have enhanced eyes and brain in order to see the environment quick enough and process whatever the eyes sees quick enough to give out bodily commands. unless of course you want to smash head first into obstacles at cannonball velocity because you are too slow to react and change direction. It is one of the most advanced piece of technology in our suits. The technology that shaped our signature fighting style.

Now then.

”Triple time. ”

A few seconds later, we leave sound behind.

Dashing, dodging trees and switching direction every millisecond at seemingly mach speed we rush our way toward our destination. Visual start to come in from the drone overhead. Our target is clear, two small figures resembling humanoid shape and a large beast like figure with six limbs, that is definitely 100% the reason for the scream earlier.

My squad quickly spread around the combat zone while I charge my ER4 Railjack. They all know what to do even without my order. We are basically professionals when it comes to dealing with large and aggressive alien faunas. I switch my scope to 1x and stabilize my weapons crosshair toward the targets thermal signature even while approaching at near sound speed, keeping the dot almost still on its center mass. A near impossible feat if you ask me.

My weapon is fully charged.

I pull the trigger and let loose the tungsten alloy slug.

Bullseye

The slug hits its mark and completely decimated the targets arms, making it drops its victim to the ground.

I set the small grenade launcher on my left shoulder to load a 9-bang and shout out loud to get the beast attention.

”TALON 1, TANGO HIT, 9-BANG OUT. ”

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