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Free Falling

Posted on Fri Jan 14th, 2022 @ 6:06pm by Major Cornelius Tremble & Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Edited on on Fri Jan 14th, 2022 @ 10:49pm

Mission: Episode 12 - Risin' To Risa
Location: Above Risa
Timeline: MD005 0830 hrs


Jayna laughed at the rush of Adrenalin as she followed Neil into the open atmosphere. It wasn't her first time parachuting, but that was much lower to the ground, and several years ago. The view was incredible. She played around by spreading her arms and legs, then curling into a ball for several seconds, then spreading out again.

As they launched, Neil streamlined his body letting the boost from the atmosphere bursting and rocketed into Risa's atmosphere. He had a mission camera dedicated to keeping an eye on Jayna, but didn't really think he'd need it.

She was too experienced an operator and he'd wired in the safe-guards required by the Risian authorities and then some into their gear.

So, took delight in speeding through the atmosphere, the jewel that was Risa rising larger and larger as he experimented with moving about, getting onto the course he wanted. As they closed, he reorientated and got his feet pointed toward the planet. As they the timer in his helmet wound down, he called out over the comm. "First grav chute will deploy in fifteen seconds for me Jayna. You're about three seconds behind me..."

"Got it. Thanks!" She immediately adjusted her position to be ready for deployment.

As the counter wound down, Neil bent legs and triggered the chute. Out of the suit's legs, two panels deployed and formed under his boots, and he felt the adhesive lock in and he began falling faster, the gravity panels pulling him faster toward the planet’s surface.

Whooping, he felt like he was in an elevator dropping so fast his stomach flipped and he could feel his legs shiver. "Elevator ride," he called out, "Hang on Jayna!!"

She had just enough time to watch Neil before her own panels positioned themselves. Elevator ride or roller coaster, she wasn't sure, but the rush was intoxicating. She gasped as she plunged faster, then began to laugh. "This is amazing!" She alternately watched Neil, watched the planet rushing to meet them, and looked around, not wanting to miss anything.

She'd come through the atmosphere on a shuttle or small ship on numerous occasions, but she'd never done it like this before. Being outside, in only her suit and helmet, was...personal. It was as close as she'd ever get to feeling like she was one with the sky and she loved it. Below her was a vast ocean of blue with the island far below. She kept herself above and a little to the side of Neil so she could learn from his expertise and maintain a safe distance.

His first chute burned away after fifteen seconds and the atmosphere flowed over his suit, transferring to his skin giving Neil the true feeling of falling.

Six seconds later, the second chute popped and he felt it under his feet, much like a surf board as he began falling even faster. "Oh yeah," he replied over the comm. "We'll hit max velocity in the next chute, mimicking a meteor entering the atmosphere. We don't use this very often, but it's a clandestine way to enter an atmosphere looking like meteorites." He said off hand, running through his checks and enjoying the rush as they slid through the atmosphere on the near edge of being out of control.

"I've only done two drops like this when I was in the Pathfinders...," fun ain’t it?" His chute bucked under his feet as he hit colder pockets of atmosphere and he felt a twinge in his left knee.

"I will never look at meteorites the same way again." Jayna's laugh cut off with a gasp as her chute burned away and she felt the rush of air. "It's a clever ploy." Although she doubted, she'd use it for anything but recreation. In her job, she generally found ways to walk in the side door without drawing attention. In fact, she'd spent most of her life trying not to be noticed. She hit a bit of turbulence and felt like she was losing her balance. She made a mental adjustment. "Is it sad that I want to try somersaulting through the atmosphere?"

Grinning, Neil replied "It's not sad at all. It's part of why I actually decided to go on vacation. Anyone can beam down or take a shuttle... The suits have patagium membrane wings once we get lower, so we can glide about. That's one thing we don't use on combat jumps."

Neil watched the atmosphere streaming past him, the gravity-chute pulling them steadily into Risa's atmosphere. As the chute disintegrated below him, he bicycled his legs, slightly slowing before the next chute popped and pulled them deeper into the planet’s atmosphere.

"No, if the Marines came in this way, they'd be slow enough to become a target, or get distracted," Jayna replied. "Rappelling will be nothing after this." She wasn't sure how often she'd be able to do a zero-g jump, so she wanted to enjoy every moment. She decided to try a quick flip between the second chute disintegrating and the next deploying. She carefully straightened after so she'd be in the right position.
* * * * *

After ten minutes, they'd penetrated Risa's atmosphere and entered free fall. Neil watched his air speed indicator clime to 193 kph and he could feel the air ripple around his suit. As he and Jayna transitioned, he whooped and popped his gliders. The inline wings grabbed the air and he began rocketing through Risa's atmosphere, spiraling enough to keep their LZ within range, but taking time to loop and spin through the air.

With the gliders deployed, he felt kind of like a huge squirrel, arms and legs spread as he flew.

"Of all the things I miss while serving aboard a ship," Neil commented, thinking out loud more than anything. "It's this. Interacting with real environmental conditions and not depending on technology to mitigate it."

"Yes. As much as holodecks try to simulate reality, you still know you're in a program." She watched Neil for a minute to see how he handled his wings, then turned her focus to the planet and the view. She felt like a giant bird and wondered, briefly, how the legendary Thunderbirds navigated stormy weather. Not enough to try, of course. She knew how dangerous a sudden down-draft could be. But she'd always enjoyed a good thunderstorm from the ground and couldn't help wondering, briefly.

The sky today was perfect. She could see from horizon to horizon. As she spiraled just below terminal velocity, she turned her attention to the sea below and the promise of a tropical island.

As he burned through his last grav-chute and commenced free fall, Neil felt truly alive. They're now well within Risa's atmosphere and he maintained speed as they burst through Cirrus whips of clouds. Using the wings, he guided himself toward thicker layers of clouds once he hit 2000 meters.

He allowed himself to slow slightly and enjoyed gliding through the thick layers of Nimbostratus into Cumulous clouds, which served to make him feel insignificant in size as he spiraled toward their LZ.

Minutes into their jump, Neil broke through the last layer of clouds and began setting up to deploy his parachute. Glancing at his HUD, he saw Jayna's relative position to their LZ and him and said, "Coming up on 1500 meters. Up to you when you want to pull your chute, Jayna."

He'd been wrestling with that himself. He was enjoying the free fall, and was zeroing in on the LZ. He could feel adrenaline still coursing through himself, he decided to continue the drop down to 650 meters.

She'd been following Neil, more or less, fascinated by the experience of being lost in the clouds and the occasional bump from the wind. Free falling was intoxicating. When she heard Neil's voice, she checked her relative position on the HUD to determine where she had to be to deploy her parachute. "I'll have to do it sooner or later," she quipped. She was still a safe distance from him. She'd have to adjust her fall after her chute deployed, but she was going to make the most of these last few seconds.

A joint post by:

Major Cornelius Tremble
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer
Commanding Officer, The Cure


&
Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer

 

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