A Rough Landing
The humming and rattling of the engines, the buzzing of electricity coursing through thick wires, other than that complete silence. Tension grew with every passing moment. As the air became thicker, the men and women breathed heavier and heavier in the dark hold. The quiet was disturbed when the craft briefly lost altitude, the equipment hanging loosely from the walls started to tremble and shake. Heavily muffled thuds could be heard from outside, some seemingly close by, others further away. "They know we're coming" warned a voice calmly, as if it had done this many times before. The alarms rang, a deep but dim red light illuminated the soldiers' unsettled faces. "We'll be touching down soon, marines!" yelled the sergeant. The bars pressing everyone in their seats sprung open.
"Get a move on, gear up!” Hulking soldiers rose up from their seats, grabbed their rifles and distributed ammo. The clanging of gear and the cocking of rifles, then an ear shattering silence filled the hold once again. "Private Eli, open the hatch!" the sergeant commanded. While he took a quick, inspecting look over his soldiers, Eli went past him. "Ladies and gentlemen of the GSA, get re..." A sudden roar sundered the hull, interrupting his sentence. A blinding flash, hails of sparks and debris, then thick black smoke briefly restoring the low visibility.
Scraping himself off the floor, the sergeant jumped back on his feet, picking up his fallen squad mates left and right. "He's gone!" one of the soldiers yelled, pointing at the gaping hole where private Eli stood seconds ago, smoke and embers gushing past him. "Give me an extinguisher! There's no time!" yelled the sergeant while pressing the intercom on his helmet. "Pilot, there's a fire in the hold! Lower this burning bucket and get us on the dirt at once! The rest of you, hold on to something!"
As fast as sergeant gave the command, the craft tilted to an almost vertical position, plunging it into the cloudy depths. The crew clung on for their lives while the craft quaked and crackled, as if it could tear itself apart at any given moment while the wind shrieked through the perforated hull. Like rag-dolls hanging from a string, everyone grappled onto something while their feet slowly suspended off the ground. "They've got us targeted with flak!" Explosions engulfed the craft on both sides as shrapnel skittered on the hull.
The rapidly increasing speed with which they fell down quickly blew out the flames. The craft, now no longer identifiable by the flames, became cloaked by the darkness of the night sky again. “Everyone still here?" the sergeant inquired. “Yes sir!” answered the soldiers concurrently. "Do you hear that?!" asked the sergeant. "Hear what, sir?" “Exactly!" replied the sergeant. In a rampage he made his way to the cockpit door. "The engines are out!” He peeked into the cockpit and, while standing in the door, he turned around ordering everyone back into their seats. The pilot was skewered to his chair by carapace-like spikes that penetrated through the cockpit window. The sergeant clambered through the spikes while making his way to the craft's controls. After pulling the perforated pilot out of his chair, he took what was left of the seat.
Pulling the craft up and raising the intercom, the sergeant urged his crew to hold on tight. Violently rocking and shaking, the craft plummeted toward the dense jungle below. Pulling with all his might, the sergeant was eventually able to level out the craft somewhat. Still losing altitude, the bottom of the craft scraped across the tree tops. Wood was little to no match for metal and as the craft lowered, the trees in its path snapped like matches. The deeper the craft fell however, the denser and sturdier the trees became, forcefully slowing it down and ripping it apart. The craft came to a sudden stop and all the chaos of the last couple of minutes faded away as everything went dark and silent.
A constant dripping woke the sergeant up. Electric sparks coming from loose wires briefly lit his surroundings and as he looked up he saw one of his squad mates impaled by warped and distorted metal from the hull. He got up, trying to get a sense of direction. Failing to turn his broken shoulder mounted flashlight on, he heard gunshots echoing down the dark, damp cavern. Grabbing a pistol from a wrecked gun rack nearby, he made his way out. Determined to regroup with his squad, the sergeant followed the source of the gunshots. Grabbing his suit's radio he called for his squad to respond. But to no avail. He stumbled through the darkness, with one hand tracing the wall, the other clenching his pistol. The muffled gunshots started to fade and darkness enveloped him, with no sense of direction.
His eyes were starting to adjust to the darkness somewhat and he could vaguely make out the contours of his gloves. The sergeant, undaunted by the absence of light, strode further and further into the abyss. As he grew more aware of his surroundings, the sergeant was alerted by clawing and scratching sounds echoing throughout the cave, seemingly coming his way. Fastening his grip on his pistol, he continued until he saw a glimmer of light coming around a corner. The closer he approached the light, the more static his radio emitted. "Gro..d t.am com. .n." Instantly, the sergeant grabbed his radio. "This is Ground Team, do you read?" The static did not answer.