Chapter 8 - Dire Straights

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Date and time unknown. - "Wake up!" A muffled sound could be heard only faintly as Jason was starting to regain his senses.

An ache took control of his body and he could feel his muscles shake uncontrollably due to shock. Memories of the nauseating spin started to flood back to the forefront of his mind.

"Jason, wake up!" He heard the voice again, a recognisable voice. He slowly opened his eyes, adjusting to the brightness the clouds produced from various reflections around the planet. As he looked around his blurred vision eventually started to focus on the dented and scratched helmet of a soldier. Only the helmet was upside down.

He tried to take his mind off the aches his body was exhibiting.

"Corporal Scharn is awake!" The voice in front of him shouted with enthusiasm.

He recognised the voice. It was Aurora in front of him. Why was she upside down? As he examined his surroundings and as the intense feeling of blood rushed to his head, it dawned on him, that he was still strapped in his seat and the dropship had landed inverted.

He reached for his arm, the aching throughout his body was uncomfortable, but not significant enough that he found it difficult to reach. Pressing a button on his suit he felt his body start to relax as liquid oozed into his spinal cord. Within seconds the shaking from his muscles gradually subsided along with the aching. Apart from a cracked rib that was reasonably uncomfortable, he was quite fortunate to be relatively unscathed.

"Jason are you ok?" Aurora asked, holding his head in her hand.

"Yeah, get me down." he mumbled, frustrated by the blood rushing to his head.

Aurora steadied her posture to hopefully try and reduce the fall that Jason was undoubtedly going to experience. "Ready?"

Jason nodded.

She released the strap.

He landed with a great thump. "God dammit." He winced as he got up holding his chest. Despite the improvement in technology, the painkillers couldn't completely remove the pain.

Now he was in a position to assess the situation.

Looking around he realised quickly that the only light was coming from the massive hole sustained during the rapid descent to the ground, though most of it was embedded deep into the dusty surface. Someone had managed to push the exit ramp open, not fully but enough to get considerably more light in.

No light was coming from the cockpit. It was just a twisted mess of metal and rocks. It was certain that the two pilots were dead, likely crushed by the impact into the ground.

Apart from it wasn't the ground.

Taking a closer look outside it had become apparent that they had landed heavily on the side of a mountain.

Looking back inside he then realised how fortunate he had been. He spotted four lifeless bodies, one directly opposite him. A couple were even missing limbs as parts of the twisted hull had pierced them in several ways.

He looked away quickly as he could feel an uneasiness in his stomach. Fortunately, stims had once again automatically administered themselves to stop him from re-examining his previous dinner.

He looked once again remembering what his father had told him about the unfortunate nature of war. Some of these soldiers had trained these past few months to become an elite fighting force only to fail at the first hurdle. Whether it was fate or a higher power or simply bad luck, it didn't seem fair to take the life of these people so prematurely.

"You ok?" Aurora asked knowing that he was trying to stop himself from being sick. The same feeling she had been experiencing moments before.

"Yeah," Jason responded but with little conviction "we need to assess the situation."

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