Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Stan's Journey...

It isn't always fighting that keeps the Grymn army busy...sometimes there are more mundane tasks that they have to is one of many...

Stan was standing, bleary eyed, in a hangar bay; gazing at the row upon row of makeshift beds that were strewn across the floor. He rubbed his eyes, looked at his watch and realised that there must be further delays to the transport schedule. He had been on the go for over eighteen hours. He had travelled by grav-carrier from his home base for over nine of those hours and had been expecting to arrive at the terminal and jump straight on the shuttle to the orbiting cruiser. Stan was feeling a little let down because the original shuttle was cancelled and his regiment had been told that there was a five hour delay…that was nine hours ago. Most of the assembled Grymn had unpacked their sleeping bags and mattresses and were chilling out waiting for further news but some were bustling about in various states of anger or despair; impatience was bound to be a problem.

“Attention” A strong female voice spoke through the loud speakers “the shuttle bound for Orin’s Dagger will be arriving in thirty minutes for a departure one hour later…end of message”.

Stan’s shoulders drooped at the prospect of another hour-and-a-half delay but he Knew he had no control over it so went to a food dispenser to grab a snack. He was now very tired and just wanted to get up to his new bunk; ready for the journey to begin properly. He was due to travel to a distant planet to help colonists defend themselves while the terra-forming could be completed and even with inter-space drives, the trip would take the convoy nearly seven months.

“And they couldn’t even get the shuttle here on time” Stan thought to himself.

After the hour-and-a-half was up and a further hour delay had passed, Stan’s regiment were loaded onto the shuttle in orderly lines of marching troops. He was in amongst them; being just a trooper and was happy to be boarding at long last. As they all filed up the boarding ramp he looked left and right as they entered the shuttle; marvelling at the size of the ramp-struts and pistons and the vast array of pipes and conduits that decorated the inside of the shuttle walls.

“EYES FRONT TROOPER!!!” Shouted Bargil; senior leader of Stan’s platoon.

Stan quickly stopped looking around and snapped his gaze forward.

Once inside the shuttle, the troops were halted and directed towards their respective seats. Once they were all seated, various vehicles, containers and pallets were loaded into the hold and the huge doors were finally closed. After a couple of minutes, the engine noise began to grow and there was a jolt as the shuttle lifted off the deck and began to ascend to the waiting cruiser.

The trip to the cruiser was uneventful. There were no windows in the cargo area where all of the troop seats were fitted so there was no chance of seeing the outside. The assembled Grymn just sat and chatted together while they waited to arrive at their new home. Fortunately, the shuttle trip was only forty minutes long so there wasn’t too much time to wait before the shuttle landed inside the waiting cruiser and began to offload all of its cargo. As soon as the Grymn were all off-loaded, they were hustled into a briefing room where they were welcomed, had a role call read and were issued with rooms and orders for the following day. Once they were all dismissed, they dispersed to their rooms to get settled and bed down for the night.

Stan found his room, went inside and found that his kit-bags were already waiting for him. He was in a four Grymn room so there was a pair of bunk beds. Each bed had a name, barcode and serial number and Stan found his and began to unpack his kit into the associated locker. He was the first to arrive so had a little time to take in his surroundings without too much interruption. It was a relatively small room but there was enough space for four lockers, the bunk beds, two small desks with chairs and a separate area with a sink. On the whole, Stan was quite impressed with the room but was holding judgement until he knew who his room-mates were. He needn’t have worried because they were three of his squad members who had been chosen for their weight and also because they had a similar psychological and social profile to Stan (in other words, the top brass asked the regiment commanders…who asked the platoon commanders…who asked the squad leaders to make a list). He was sharing with Jooks, Norm and Gunnar and they had always got on like a house on fire. When they arrived, they were all talk and the lights eventually went out at almost one in the morning…the following days briefings started at six…it was going to be a long day.

The morning brief was a general repeat of everything they had been briefed, prior to boarding the cruiser. After a few extra bits of safety and warning information had been passed on, it was time for the midday meal. Luckily, the briefs were all finished and the whole regiment were stood down for 48 hours to relax, recuperate and find their way about so after they had eaten their meals, Stan and Jooks wandered off to do a bit of investigating while Norm and Gunnar went back to their cabin.

The Cruiser was vast. The shuttle that they all flew up on was only one of a dozen in the hangar and the shuttle was big enough for a regiment! Stan thought that he could happily fit his entire settlement inside the hangar and still have space for a strike-ball stadium. As Stan and Jooks wandered around the passed biospheres that contained plants, grazing animals and even aquariums filled with various types of fish. Along other corridors were shopping areas, entertainment areas, a dentist, barbers, doctors surgery and many more interesting things to see…and there were a small number of drinking establishments that served alcohol…but in limited quantities. There was also a library, armoury, gymnasium, stores area (for uniform related equipment) and a school. The further the two Grymn walked, the more in awe of the cruiser they became.

After their brief stand-down, the Grymn troops were all required to report for duty. Once they were all in position and had been set their tasks, the cruiser began preparations for the journey ahead. After that, the engines fired and off they went…into the void of space towards the new planet they were going to settle.

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