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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