5 | LOCKED AND LOADED
TCD-112 Austin, MAXIM OMEGA SYSTEM | 0400 HOURS ZULU
Anthony Gordon snapped shut the last clasp of his Aegis body armor over his combat fatigues. The lightweight reactive starium plates provided excellent overall protection against laser missions and heavy caliber small arms fire. The plates covered his front and back torso as well as shoulder and thigh plates. For everything in between, his fatigues were designed with flextitanium weave to stop smaller caliber weapons, mostly the standard 5.56mm caseless rounds that were used by both Confed marines and Pegasus Royal Guard.
With his armor secure, he donned his helmet and fired up his wrist PMA unit and synched it with his HUD display on his helmet and then to his aegis body armor. A flood of information scrolled across his HUD as the Personal Military Assistant uploaded the mission specs to his helmet and ran a diagnostic to make sure all programs were running correctly. Ten seconds later the PMA connected him to the TCD Austin’s Command and Control bridge and then routed his connection down to the platoon holoserver and then lastly, down to his squad’s holoserver.
A new series of information scrolled down his HUD showing each member of his squad that had already linked in. A quick glance down the list showed that everyone had joined and their status showed as battle ready. Anthony then made his way out of his bunk and down the hall to the landing deck where his squad was already lined up in formation along with the 2nd and 3rd squads of Delta platoon.
Though his HUD told him that everyone was suited and ready to go, Gordon always made a visual inspection of his squad to ensure that there were no false readings from his PMA. After walking down the line of his troubles, he once again was unable to prove the PMA wrong. It was like a little game for him and it was a game that he had yet to win.
Once the inspection was complete, he called out to the squad to secure their weapons from the locker and take their combat seating on the Falcon troop transport. A flash of memory from their last foul up with the old class of transport went through his mind, but he quickly pushed it aside. That mission was in the past and a new mission was at hand.
“Move it marines!” he called out as his squad gathered their weapons, mostly R-92 carbines with a few AP200 grenade launchers for Yamoto and Daniels. The R503SU, or Razor as it was commonly called, went to Wells. The .50 caliber, belt-fed autocannon platform was a nasty piece of weaponry that could lay waste to an entire forest at four thousand rounds per minute. They were great for close quarters firefights, but in the open terrain, they were the very best at laying doing suppressing fire. In addition to their rifles, each marine was issued four flash-frag grenades and a G-10 .45 pistol.
Gordon was the last one to the locker, just after Karzarian who was checking over his V-10 Viper Sniper Rifle with a frown on his face. “Is that thing still having trouble synching to your PMA?”
Karzarian looked up and nodded. “Yeah, seems to be a glitch in the new software they installed. I’ll get it fixed by the time we touch down.”
Gordon took a R-92 for himself and then holstered a G-10 into his leg holster. “Better grab a spare 92 just in case. I wouldn’t want you to stuck with just a .45 in fight with the Guard.”
“Roger that Sarge.” he replied and slung a R-92 over his shoulder.
With their weapons obtained, Gordon made his way to the Falcon transport and made his way up the loading ramp. The Falcon was a standard marine troop transport. It could carry a full platoon of 30 marines into drop zone fast and quiet, or it could fight its way in with its twin mounted particle cannons and a full payload of Phoenix missiles. They were not the roomiest of vehicles, but the military was always more about efficiency rather than comfort.
The inside of the Falcon had a row of acceleration seats lining the edges of the rear hold. Each of his marines were taking their seats and stowing their rifles in front of them. Anthony made his way to his customary seat that was second from the landing ramp. In addition to his squad, the other two squads that made up Delta platoon were already seated and ready to go.
As he strapped himself into his seat, Captain Josh Herrera made his way onto the transport with his standard G-10 sidearm and an expanded PMA pad in his hand. “Status report Gordon.” he ordered as he turned his gaze to Gordon.
“1st squad primed and ready sir.” Gordon said.
“Goddard!” he called out to the other side of the hold as the impulse engines of the Falcon came to life. “Status report!
“2nd squad locked and loaded sir.” Master Sergeant Goddard said.
“Yars! Status report!” Herrera called as the transport began to vibrate from the upsurge in power.
“3rd squad is ready to go sir.” Gunnery Sergeant Yars said.
Herrera nodded once and then slapped the control panel to close the landing ramp. “We drop in five marines!” he called out to the group before strapping himself into his acceleration chair.
Gordon sat back in his chair and pulled up his mission specs onto his HUD to review one more time before they reached Mendel station. The Falcon was to ferry the platoon from the TCD Austin to the space station that was two hundred kilometers off her starboard bow. The transport would then make a soft seal attachment to the outer hull and what should be Deck 3. They would then fan out by squads and make their way to the command and control deck of the station on Deck 1. From there they could the station sensors to scan the rest of the station, find the scientists and any hostiles and then begin the rescue operation. It was a simple enough plan, but even those could go horribly wrong at first contact with the enemy.
The flight to the station took only about fifteen minutes. Five minutes before docking, the interior lights to the transport turned red, signaling that it was time to prep. Anthony unstrapped himself from his chair and stood to his feet as the other squad leaders did the same. “This is it marines! 1st squad gets the glory of going in first! Prep for combat entry and make it clean!” he called out over the roar of the engines.
The marines of first squad moved methodically like a well rehearsed dance of moving weapons and people. Gordon took his R-92 in hand and knelt down next to Captain Herrera, “We’ll make you look Cap, don’t you worry none.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” Herrera responded with a hint of a grin. He then slapped the shoulder plate of Gordon’s armor, “Good luck.”
“Roger that Cap.” he said and then stood back up and looked over his marines. They had assembled in record time, not that he was worried. He made his way down the line quickly as the red lights flashed twice signaling that the transport was two minutes out. Daniels was in the lead and would take point on entry. Wells was right behind him and would cover with the Razor. Barrington and Rustovich would hit the breech next and provide supporting cover to the opposite flank. McAdams and Yamoto would follow and secure the forward arc. Karzarian and himself would enter last to clear the room.
Gordon took his place at the back of the line and double clicked his mic to test that it was working. Multiple clicks responded as each team member double clicked in acknowledgement. The red lights flashed once to signal that they were one minute out.
“Keep it tight and check your corners marines.” Gordon said into his mic to the squad. No one responded. There was no need to. They knew their jobs and they did them well, but some reinforcement never hurt to keep it fresh in their minds.
Squads two and three assembled behind Gordon in their own standard breach formation. If entry room ended up being hot, it was 2nd squad’s job to reinforce Gordon’s squad to make sure they weren’t bottlenecked at the entry hatch.
A jolt rocked the transport as it made contact with the station’s emergency hatch. The hatch in front of Daniels began the automated process of making an airtight seal around the station’s hatch. Thirty seconds later the light above the hatch switched from red to green signaling that they had a good seal. Daniels then moved forward and opened the transport hatch to reveal the white emergency hatch of the station. He went to the control panel on the side of the hatch and punched in the override code to open it. The panel beeped in compliance and Daniels took a slow measured breath before opening the door to Mendel station.