Chapter 32 - 17th Special Operations Unit

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21st September 2311 13:32 EST - 'T minus sixty seconds' a muffled voice could be heard over the tannoy system.

Despite being strapped in securely, Jason rocked side to side as the Beetle, he and the other Ravens were in, hurtled across the rocky landscape. The trip to the F.O.B had been uncomfortable, this was something else entirely different.

This was not his first time, however, as he had practised this manoeuvre several times. His stomach was up for the challenge even if his body ached for freedom.

"T minus thirty," the voice over the tannoy spoke once more. As he did, each of the Blue Ravens was positioned into a standing pose, upright in the enclosed space of the APC.

"Remember," a second voice spoke, one which sounded like a distorted version of Major Elijah Turner, "we have no intel on what is on the top of this ridge, keep your heads on a swivel and expect resistance."

Despite facing forward and staring at another member of his team, his thoughts were of Donnelly who stood by his side. She had been quiet and solemn for the hour leading up to this adventure. As they prepared their kits for the task at hand, she was distant and cold, yet just before they placed on their helmets, she took the time to place her soft gentle hand on Jason's cheek, leaning in to kiss him once more. As her soft, strawberry flavoured lips parted from his, she looked away and mumbled "Sorry" before proceeding to place on her helmet for one more time.

The apology bothered Jason. Had she apologised for her behaviour, for the kiss, or simply being aware that she was endangering the mission? The thoughts rubbed coarsely through his mind, like sandpaper against the skin, yet one thought stood out among others. Whatever will happen on this ridge, he will ensure that she will get through it unscathed.

"T minus Five. Prepare for disembark." the voice over the tannoy called.

As the voice spoke, each of the Ravens instinctively crossed their arms across their bodies, placing their ankles together, ready for what was to come.

"Three," the roof above the heads of the Ravens sprung open, creating a hatch just big enough for each of them to exit.

"Two," the Beetle still travelled at speed but provided a rushed glimpse of the ridge and the dark cloud that enveloped it.

"One, good hunting" the Bettle abruptly stopped before almost instantly catapulting the Blue Ravens simultaneously into the air.

Jason could feel the compressed gases being released beneath his feet before being hurtled high into the sky. Looking down, the Beetle seemed to be shrinking to the size of its namesake before he watched it hurtle away back to the F.O.B. The ridge wall, only metres away, was flying anxiously past him before he eventually entered the dense cloud and was surrounded by complete darkness.

The unnerving feeling of the surrounding dense fog and its ability to blind him was quickly alleviated as his heads up display spurred into life, creating an illusion of what the ridge wall looked like. In moments, the wall had disappeared and his ascent into the stratosphere had quickly turned into a controlled fall onto the dusty ridge ceiling.

Placing his feet firmly on the ground, immediately, Jason reached for his rifle, placing it hard against his shoulder and pointing it towards all who could be considered an enemy.

As the other Ravens skillfully bounced onto the surface, their weapons held high, they had all succeeded with the first and most simple part of the mission, yet taking a glance behind, realising that all there was, was a drop of at least three kilometres to a rocky surface below meant that there was only one direction they could head. They had to succeed in their mission or die trying.

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