Sunday, 9 May 2010

Drop Zone


Agnar sat with his eyes closed, listening to the drone of the anti-gravity motors. He could feel the motion of the drop-ship as it fought its way through the turbulent air currents that surrounded their objective. His stomach lurched with every bounce and he longed for the feel of the ground beneath his feet. He opened his eyes to see how the others were coping and noticed that one of the seats was empty. He looked around and noticed that Karla was leaning against the frame of the cockpit access aisle, talking to the co-pilot whilst holding her unfastened helmet on her head. Karla was one of the lieutenants on the trip and was currently asking for an estimated time of arrival to the drop-zone. After a few moments she turned to face the troops in the cabin.
“Drop-zone in three minutes; prep your kit” she said flatly. Without looking around, she wove her way to her seat and began to strap on her jump-pack. Agnar was already prepared so he watched her as she fastened the straps on her helmet and began to check her pouches to make sure she had enough ammunition. She bent down and started to rifle through her satchel and Agnar couldn’t help but marvel at her shapely physique.
“Seen enough yet?” came a voice from his left. Agnar turned and saw Ana looking in his direction.
“...And I thought I was your sweetheart!” she said as she feigned a hurt look.
Agnar grinned broadly “you know you’re the only one for me Ana” he retorted.
Just then a klaxon sounded and a red light appeared over the exit ramp.
“Places everyone!” shouted a heavy set, gnarled veteran who everyone knew through personal acquaintance, action and deed.
“I expect no mercy and I will give no mercy!” he shouted while looking into the faces of all the Grymn present “the spilt blood of our brothers and sisters will be avenged this day!” He paused for a moment and finished “today we will fight like wild tigers!”
From behind him a booming voice roared “WHOSE TIGERS?”
In answer to Thor’s question the cabin was filled with the cries of every single Grymn present “TORGE’S TIGERS!”

Torge stalked to the back of the drop-ship. He closed his eye-shield and thumbed the button on his power-axe; making it glimmer to life as the energy played over its metal surface. Thor, an OGrymn of immense power, followed him doggedly. He had to crouch as he walked because the drop-ship wasn’t really designed for his giant size. Either side of them, so as to make a diamond formation, were two more heavy set, veteran Grymn. All four of them were wearing the colours of the white tiger and all four of them had glowing power weapons. Once the four of them were in place, two lines of Grymn made their way towards the rear of the drop-ship to join their leader and his retinue. In amongst the lines of orange painted tigers there was the occasional white of a sergeant or lieutenant who also had a powered weapon. There were now forty Grymn; poised for battle.

The light flashed amber as the ramp began to lower. The smell of the desert rushed in, along with the heat and the dust. The drop-ship was at about two hundred feet above the ground when the ramp finished its traverse and the light switched to solid green. Without a single word or shout, Torge stepped off the ramp and was gone. His retinue were gone a heartbeat later. In a rushing stream of boots and silence, the two columns of Grymn dashed towards the rear of the ramp and disappeared. The ramp rose to a closed position and the drop-ship returned to base.
Agnar felt alive again. He felt the rush of the wind against his face as he plummeted towards the ground. He kept his arms crossed and had a pulse-pistol in each hand. He gripped them tightly and rejoiced as the freedom of falling engulfed him. Suddenly he was brought to his senses as his jump-pack fired to position him in a feet-first drop. Then a longer burst meant that the ground was nearly ready to meet him. He braced himself as he watched the closing ground and a second later a violent burst from his pack slowed his fall to a standstill and his feet touched the earth as lightly as a feather.

On landing, Agnar immediately took up a defensive position and looked around the drop-zone to locate the rest of his squad. In the centre of everything was the towering form of Thor who bellowed “RE-ORG!” With that all the Grymn began to reform their squads and again take up defensive positions. Once the squads were united and everyone was accounted for, the leaders went to meet Torge and get a briefing. Agnar tried to listen but instead of hearing what they were saying he heard a humming sound. The sound was getting louder and Agnar shouted “ENGINE NOISE TO THE SOUTH”. With that, the briefing ended and the squad leaders returned, forming their squads into the correct positions.

The Grymn waited...

They were in a gully but that meant nothing as their jump-packs could put them on a hill instantly. Agnar looked over at Thor. He looked terrifying. He had a set grin on his face and he was flexing his huge, gauntleted hand as he glared at the rise of the dune, in the direction of the engine noise. The power hammer he carried in his left hand was three times the height of a normal Grymn and Agnar watched the little sparkles of energy dance around its head. Thor suddenly looked towards Agnar and winked. There was a keen glint in his eye and it meant that the enemy were really going to meet their makers today.

The first of the buggies crested the dune, broke hard when the driver noticed the awaiting Grymn, steered to one side and promptly rolled; throwing the top gunner from the vehicle as the driver was crushed when the roof collapsed on him. Three more light buggies followed over the crest but gunned their engines when they noticed the Grymn and began to fire their weapons as they sped towards them. Following the buggies was a caterpillar-tracked, armoured vehicle with two others just like it.

The squad leaders barked orders and Agnar heard Karla’s order to assault the left buggy. He was about to fire his pack when a huge battle-cry was heard and Thor took to the air, with Torge and the two veterans in hot pursuit. Agnar fired his pack and followed his squad towards the buggy. It was destroyed before they’d even got there as a lucky shot from Ana’s pulse-pistol had pierced the fuel cell and ignited the vehicle; taking the crew with it. The squad landed close by and noticed that all the other targets were being successfully engaged so they took up a defensive stance and watched for further threats.
Without warning a huge explosion erupted from the earth behind the squad, throwing debris high into the air and scattering it far and wide. Agnar snapped his head around and looked towards the rise in the dune. Where there had been nothing before, a huge armoured vehicle crested the rise. It had a massive battle-cannon and a multitude of smaller weapons mounted in little armoured turrets. As Agnar watched, the cannon fired and everyone hit the ground as the massive shell hit the wreckage of one of the buggies, spitting molten metal fragments in a wide arc. Amongst the Grymn, Agnar could hear the sounds of grenade launchers firing but he doubted that their small munitions would penetrate the armour of this enemy behemoth. His doubts were answered as the grenades hit their mark but barely scratched the paintwork. The position looked bad and Agnar expected to receive the order to fall back. Instead he heard the scream of a large jump-pack as it roared over head...closely followed the lesser roar of three more, normal sized, packs.

“Agnar, keep the squad defensive!” Shouted Karla as she fired her jump-pack and roared after the veterans. All around, other squad leaders were doing the same. It was like a small snow flurry as the white tigers from all the squads fell upon the enemy vehicle, amidst the crackling of small arms fire from the small turrets. Agnar set his squad to ground and watched as the cream of Torge’s Tigers landed on top of the huge vehicle and began to cleave at its armour with blades wreathed in energy. The battle-cannon fired again but was just as inaccurate as before as the shell whizzed overhead and exploded a fair way from their positions, in an empty patch of desert. Slowly the smaller turrets were being destroyed but the big gun remained a threat. Torge realised this and pointed at it. In moments the hulking form of Thor was next to the barrel. With a mighty bellow and a face of absolute wrath, he swung his mighty power-hammer. When it struck the barrel there was the sound of thunder and an almost unbearable peal, as if from a massive bell. The weapon was no match for the power of Thor and the barrel split along its entire length, rendering it useless. Thor hadn’t finished and swung again, this time at the base of the barrel; smashing the mantle and opening a rift in the front of the turret. The white tigers saw their opportunity and began throwing grenades into the stricken vehicle before firing their packs to get clear of the expected explosions. They soon came and the hulking form of the enemy armour heaved as the power of the grenades ripped through the superstructure, killing all those poor unfortunates inside.

After the explosions had ceased, there was silence.

“WHITE TIGERS!” roared Thor.
“Torge’s Tigers!” roared the Grymn army.
“RE-ORG!” shouted Torge.

The flight back was a buzz of excitement. Torge had ensured that every Grymn now had a mug of mead and was currently stood in front of them all, in preparation for the toast. He raised his mug and silence followed.
“The fallen” he whispered.
“The fallen” was the whispered response from all those present.
Torge turned and walked towards the officer’s cabin. He looked tired and full of woe. He walked inside and was followed by two of his veterans. Thor stood watch at the door and looked towards the rest of the Grymn. He spotted Agnar and grinned “well met Agnar” he said.
“Aye, well met sir” Agnar responded.

Agnar strapped himself in as the drop-ship bubbled across the turbulent sky. He was looking forward to walking on the solid earth. He looked over to where Karla was sitting cross legged on the ship deck. He smiled inwardly as he watched her press a power pack into the hilt of her pulse pistol.
“The chance would be a fine thing” he thought to himself as he closed his eyes and tried to ignore the nausea that the flight was causing.


  1. Very enjoyable read as always, wish I had the talent you have for words and paint. Great job.

  2. Thank you.

    Although I would definitely say there are many people out there who far excel anything I come up with.