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MCaptain Raisillius (PNPC) -- In the Still of the Night

Trellis Vondaryan

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((Atmosphere, Tilanna V))
::He was falling. Thin, white clouds turned to rust-colored sky, back into puffy white mist.
::3000 feet.
::Falling next to him, nine others were wearing high altitude jump suits.
::1500 feet. A red light flickered in his helmet, warning of the low altitude.
::The ground, merely a hazy grey outline moments before, was beginning to become clearer. Skyscrapers were taking shape. Vehicles, looking like a long row of ants, made a line of traffic.
::700 feet. In his mouth, he could taste the bitter, acidic flavor of adrenaline.
::Sweat dripped into his eyes, momentarily blinding him. Blinking it away, his display showed 600 feet. Getting close to the pull point.
::500 feet. The line of vehicles came into focus. Distinct shapes were visible. Larger ships were bulldozing their way through lanes, pushing aside smaller ships.
::He reached to his shoulder, checking to make sure the ripcord was ready. More sweat dripped into his eyes. Blood drained from his face. There was no pulley for the cord! His heart, already beating quickly from the exihiliration of falling, spiked its rate.
::He looked to his right and left. The other nine figures continued to fall. 200 feet. Pull, now, pull!
::Reaching to his shoulder, he frantically tried for the cord. It still wasn't there.
::100 feet. The other figures continued to fall. Traffic swerved to avoid them.
::A green phaser bolt passed by his head. Too close! He heard a distant rumbling, like a bomb exploding. Smoke filled his helmet, obscuring his vision. He felt a searing pain in his thigh, like a hole had been ripped through his leg.
::50 feet. Still no chute. None of the others had deployed theirs, either. 40 feet. 30. The smoke cleared from his helmet, only to be replaced with the face of a screaming driver. 20 feet. His heart was pounding, threatening to spill from his chest.
::10 feet. Deploy your chutes, deploy your chutes! Phasers continued to scream past his head. The other nine figures were not so lucky. He saw bolts rip through the bodies. Screams of agony filled his helmet.
::Help us! Why didn't you help us!?
::The bodies crunched with sickening thuds.::
((Raisillius Quarters, Starbase 118))
::He awoke with a start, sitting bolt upright. He was covered in a cold sheen of sweat. His sheet was drenched. His quarters were dark.
::Next to him, just perceptible in the darkness, Jandara dozed, the spots on her neck and back visible where the sheet left her body exposed.
::Quintus swung his feet out of bed onto the cold, metallic floor. The biting chill brought home the reality of the situation.
::He was back on the base. In his quarters. The engagement in Tilanna had been over a week ago. The phaser shots were over, the rumbling explosions completed. His HALO jump had been a success; he'd landed. His fallen friends were dead, their families notified, their funerals conducted.
::Quintus went to the bathroom, reaching for a towel to dry the sweat from his bare chest and arms. He let out a long, deep sigh. His head was pounding.
::Quietly, so as not to wake Jan, he stepped to the replicator, ordering a cup of warm jestral tea.
::He sat down, sipping his tea, staring into the darkness as his heartrate returned to normal and his headache dissipated.
::Looking at the chronometer, Quintus saw that it was 0200 hours. Corporal Korek would have been on duty in the CIC, had the Klingon survived the battle. Alas, he had not. Quintus swallowed the last of his tea, a bitter taste forming in his mouth.
::He wondered how he had been lucky enough to survive such a dangerous mission -- twice over, in fact -- when nine of his fellow marines had fallen. Why did he deserve to live? He'd killed. He'd been wounded. What made him any better than his fellow servicemen and women? Why hadn't the phaser blast hit him higher, in the chest, killing him?
::A tear dripped from his eye. He got another cup of tea from the replicator. Sitting down again, he stared out once more into the darkness of his quarters, watching Jan breathe as she slept. Sipping his tea, he sobbed to himself, passing the night away.::
MCaptain Quintus Lucius Raisillius
Alpha Company, Paladins, Marine Leader
Simmed by:

Lieutenant Trellis Vondaryan
Chief of Intelligence
StarBase 118 Ops
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