Feb. 22nd, 2010

hallelujahpilot: (didn't sign up for this shit)
Chief?

The darkness is receding.

Chief, y’right?

Trudy swallows blood, and for a (brief, entirely selfish) moment, she really fucking wants the darkness to come back.

Her lower leg feels broken, and she is fairly certain that that isn’t sweat soaking her pant leg. Head heavy, neck aching, gravity pulling on the left si-

Oh.

Fuck.

“Chief!”

“Here,” Trudy says, dragging her eyes open. The window has fractures running through it, but the cabin isn’t leaking yet (she’d be dead if it was). The window and her view is sideways, never a good sign. Twisting her arm around to grab a handhold next to the window, she pulls herself straight as she can and peers up at Wainfleet. He’s covered in dirt, with blood running down his face, but if he got himself into the cabin’s back, he can’t be that hurt.

Still hanging onto the handhold, Trudy looks down to the other side of the cabin. Ingrid ‘Valkyrie’ Schmidt lies slumped in her seat, eyes open and blank. Even though she knows, she knows her co-pilot will never answer, she says, “Schmidt. Ing, c’mon, talk to me.”

But the Valkyrie doesn’t move, and her eyes keep staring.

“…Wainfleet, how’s everyone else?”

“Dislocated my shoulder. Walker’s fucked up, rest are dead.”

“...great. Okay, I’m gonna try and raise command, then I need you to help get me out. My leg’s broke-” Trudy stops, stares out the window. “-en,” she finishes, eyes wide.

Samson One Three had landed on the edge of a large field, and she still has an excellent view. This happens to be an excellent view of Jameson’s Scorpion, lying twisted on its side at the other end of the field. This also happens to be an excellent view of the Dragon presently tearing the gunship apart. As she watches, it picks up a squirming figure from the cabin with its mouth, throws it up in the air and eats it.

As she watches, a second Dragon circles and lands.

...holy mother of God,” Trudy breathes as Wainfleet swears, and with her spare hand, she touches the Bible locket around her neck.

That’s when the radio starts to crackle.

Samson Three One, do you copy? Samson Three One, do you copy?

“Shit, shit, shut up,” Trudy mutters, bringing her hand up to her mike. “Command, this is Three One. Be advised, I’ll talk to you after the Dragons have gone, over.”

Three One, did you mean plural? Over.

“Affirmative. Two Dragons, they’re…engaged with Scorp Nine Seven, but I don’t want them to notice us, over.”

Roger that.

Trudy keeps her hand on the mike. “Walker, Walker, y’hear me?”

Yeah, Chief.” Her voice sounds high and breathy even over the intercom, which Trudy doesn’t like at all.

“I need you to not make too much noise, the two Dragons are still out there.

Oh, shit. Yes, ma’am.

Trudy takes her hand away from the mike and goes to grab her filter-mask. But she doesn’t put it on, not just yet. The light’ll flash a warning if the Pandoran air starts to get in, and no sense in wasting what oxygen she has left.
hallelujahpilot: (flipping switches)
It takes twenty minutes for the Dragons to decide there is nothing (and no one) left in the gunship to eat, and it’s one of the longest twenty minutes of Trudy’s life. She also waits another two, just to make sure the beasts have actually gone. Twenty-two minutes hanging in her downed Samson, in a cabin rapidly filling with the smell of Schmidt’s blood. This is the smell of war – blood, metal, dull smoke – and Trudy had thought she’d left it behind on Earth.

(then again, there is no war here, not really, not even with the wall back at base, etched with the names of the fallen.)

Schmidt herself – normally a striking woman with black skin and a bright smile – is looking grey, and dead.

(the sky is turning pink with the approaching sunset. Trudy’s trying not to let it bother her)

The process of getting herself out of the cabin is as awkward and painful as she fears. The high air density on Pandora makes it feel as if she is trying to push against a wind – an effect that isn’t entirely cancelled out by the lighter gravity, and is rarely mentioned in dispatches back home. Trudy cries out twice as the fractured bones in her right lower leg move and grind against each other, and nearly passes out as Wainfleet finally pulls her free and drags her to the back of the Samson. She swears for almost the entire time; in English, Spanish, and all the other bits and pieces of other languages she’s picked up over the years; low, under her breath, using whatever language best fits what she wants to spit out.

Finally, she drags herself across the ground to a gap between the side of the downed Samson and the dirt, her rifle next to her. The view from here is not as good as the cabin, but it’ll suffice. It’s a good enough view to fire anything coming, and that’s all she wants.

Wainfleet is braced against the floor of the Samson, trying to see how much the door-gun will swivel. Him, Trudy doesn’t really know – his first day with her crew, and she suspects his first day out of base. Big, typical Marine from Earth – seen shit, done shit, but all in cities. Hopefully he won’t flip on her. Charmaine Walker is in the opposite corner to Trudy. She’s been on the crew of Samson Three One for over a year; a delicate-seeming redhead who looks about thirteen and has, as per standard operating procedure, a weapon that almost dwarves her. Trudy really doesn’t like the laboured way the sergeant is breathing, nor that sheen to her pale skin that she can see even through the mask, but there’s fuck-all she can do about it at the moment.

Giving Jameson’s gunship another long look, she brings her hand up to the microphone.

“Command, this is Samson Three One reporting in, over.” Pause. “Command, this is Three One, do you copy?”

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Trudy Chacon

November 2011

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