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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2059894
Revised version.
Three assault teams were being loaded into dropships aboard the Valentove Defense Force heavy cruiser Flaming Dawn. Jonah’s squad checked each other’s armor, making sure the seals and biometric systems were working properly.

Jonah Degal pulled his helmet on and flipped the seals. He activated his HUD display, his vitals appearing in the bottom left-hand corner, the radar up in the top right. Twelve green blips each with a code name and vital signs surrounded him, these where his squad mates. He then checked his equipment, making sure his guns where loaded and ready for use. He turned on the intra-squad radio, and watched as his men did the same.

Once geared up they entered the dropship and prepared for a hard insertion. The craft shook as they hit atmosphere and immediately took evasive action to avoid the plasma burst anti air defense systems that were online below. Through view screens mounted around the cabin they could see the super-heated bolts whizzing by. If the shuttle was even grazed they would be gone in the blink of an eye.

Almost as one they stood and grabbed onto the bar running along the ceiling. The lights in the cabin turned off and a single read light began flashing. Suddenly the light turned green and the ramp at the rear lowered. Jonah ran forward and lept out of the shuttle, diving in pure freefall. They were going for a HALO, High altitude low opening drop from thirty thousand feet above their target.

Jonah barely felt anything as his suit began to quickly heat up. Looking up he saw his squad fanning out behind him, along with a special package. A type 37 Assault Mech. Not much more than a walking weapons platform it sported dual rocket launchers, a chaingun, and a multipurpose grenade launcher. And despite its thrusters, it was still going to make one hell of an impact.

He watched as it barreled past his squad to slam into the ground about a mile from their target, leveling everything in a three hundred foot radius and sending a column of debris high into the air. Once he hit around four thousand feet he activated the thrusters built into his armor, slowing him down enough that he could hit and roll without strain.

Releasing the magnetic lock on his assault rifle he crouched low, leveling it as his squad landed all around him. One of his men, Victor popped the cockpit of the mech and clambered inside bringing its systems fully online. They splayed out around using it as their vanguard. Once they were within striking distance Jonah thumbed his com unit and addressed his squad.

"Alright men, this is nothing like boot camp, these guys are just as well trained as we are. Our objectives are to crush all resistance and capture their command center at all cost. You are some of the finest soldiers I've ever had the honor to lead, but remember, you're no good to me dead. Now let's go kick some ass Marines! Oorah!"

"Oorah!" His squad mates echoed.

"Boomer, Ghost, circle 'round back. Janet, Charlie, take the left flank and lie low. James, Alice, and Peter, you'll storm the main entrance. Victor, just start raining hell on them. The rest of you on me, we'll take the right flank, intelligence shows that there is a hidden entrance on that side. Janet, on my signal you and Charlie start launching grenades, be sure to use some smokes to cover our advance. As soon as the smoke is up Ghost you'll need to lay down cover fire. James you'll take your men in straight, try to capture the gate, then just hold the enemy off, as soon as my men capture the command post we will catch what remains in a crossfire. Alright, move out men!"

The squads moved to their assigned positions. He gave the signal in the form of three clicks of his tongue. He saw grenades arc into the compound, several releasing a thick blue smoke. He heard the sharp cracking of rifles, and the bursts of automatic fire. He brought his hand down sharply and started to sprint low to the ground, running through the thick smoke, as soon as he cleared it, he dove to the ground. He quickly took in the situation, he saw a lone sentry not twenty feet away.

He aimed and shot the sentry in the center of the chest, he fell over as the bolt struck him, dark crimson burst into the air and ran down his chest. He looked about once more and saw no one, he cut a hole in the fence with a small plasma cutter pulled from his belt, laying it down gently out of the way.

He motioned his men to take up positions on either side of a door he had spotted in the side of the building. He leveled his pistol and tried to kick open the door. He was surprised to see the door fly open, and his foot caught a female soldier in the chest knocking her back, he quickly recovered his balance and shot her in the head.

He moved in and his men followed, they followed the corridor, checking every room they came upon, finally they came to the end of the hall. He crouched down and held up his hand to stop his squad. He looked right into the command center, three techs stood at a console, while six soldiers covered the main entrance.

Jonah plucked a grenade from his belt and loaded it into the under barrel of his assault rifle. He aimed right in the middle of the six guards and pulled the secondary trigger, the grenade arced and exploded on impact, sending them flying. He and his men stormed the room and took the techs prisoner.

As they got ready to hack into the com unit a hail of gun fire rained down the corridor striking Jonah in the shoulder, at the same time the blips on his scanner showing the men he had outside, all but one, dying. Dropping behind a terminal he fired a burst from his rifle, a scream told him he hit his mark as the rest of his squad laid down suppressing fire.

Crawling around the terminal he plucked off another grenade and rolled it down the hallway. When it went off the sound of gunfire ceased. He peaked around the corner, rifle at the ready and saw that the enemy were finally down for the count.
Erick, the only tech in Jonah's squad walked over to the console and started to download all the information onto a small disc. Two men herded the techs into a corner and covered them with their rifles. Jonah took three men to the entrance, leaving the remaining man to protect Erick.

“All information downloaded, the virus has also been uploaded, and their planetary defense network is now down, we've won!" Erick said excitedly over the com.

Jonah and his men took off their helmets and cheered, then herded the prisoners out of the building. Suddenly high explosive shells began raining down on the compound. Pulling his helmet back on Jonah called out, “Counter attack! Get to cover! Victor we need you in here ASAP.”
A loud roar rang out as the mech vaulted over the wall of the compound fire all it’s weapons into the surrounding tree line, leveling entire sections of the forest. The whole compound shook as it landed just inside the gate.

With his men taking up position on either side of the gate Jonah climbed onto the mech, and using it as cover began to return fire. Black armored men and women sallied forth, blasting holes in the wall and ground only to be batted down by a hail of gunfire and rockets.

After several minutes of heated fighting three more of his men lay dead, and the firefight had ceased. Now that things were calm he noticed a small fleet of dropships descending. They had done it, they had cracked the rebel world wide open to a full invasion.
"Congratulations Marines, you've completed the mission despite taking heavy casualties. You took down everyone inside, and held off a massive counter attack. You gained valuable intel, and took down the Rebel's planetary defense network. Cetal is ours." They all turned at the sound of Brigadier General James Perry's voice.

"You have graduated advanced training at the top of your class. Jonah you and your men have broken just about every record in the book, you are the finest cadets I've ever had the privilege to train. Let's go home Marines." A shuttle approached and landed in the courtyard of the compound.

Jonah and his men climbed into the shuttle. Just before the doors closed he saw the fallen soldiers stand and line up in front of the admiral. The doors sealed and the shuttle rocked slightly as it took off. They flew to the station orbiting Cetal.

They had done it, now they were members of the most elite fighting force in the galaxy. They were finally Alliance Marines.
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