Previous: part 6
"Get your gear and get in the Gravitycraft," The alarm beeped with a unsettling pulse. "We have contact with unknowns at one of their communications arrays. I want us in the air and inbound for that position in five minutes. Am I understood!" The men and women of the Sergeant Kandrini's squad called back with a renewed energy, "Yes Sir!"
Four and a half minutes later they sailed out of the sprawling colony, into the clear air of the alien world. Large winged creatures wheeled through the unnaturally colored sky and screeched in atonal defiance as they soared. Strangely colored vegetation of unnatural shapes and sizes spread and creeped across the hills and valleys that zoomed by beneath.
The Gravitycraft moved about as gracefully as a 10 meter long brick of grey-black metal, plastic, and glass could move. Which is to say not at all. The steady thrum of the gravity jets seemed to rattle everyone's bones.
Everyone was silent, even Jacobs for once. They were going into battle they knew. And, the enemy was largely unknown.
Sure they had all been briefed on the files of these men of the Corp Survey team. But, what sort of men might still be alive after living in the wilds of this strange world for more then a year. What secrets were worth protecting that had driven them to these extremes, and what might it drive them to still.
Waters called to the squad from the pilot's seat as the ship began to descend, "I can see the tower over the..uh...treeline. Looks like there is a clearing nearby." The Sergeant loosened her safety straps and moved to see over his shoulder.
Winged creatures erupted from the tops of the things that mostly resembled trees as the slowing Gravitycraft began disturbing their roosts with its gravity jets. There on the bank of a small river where the plant life seemed to not grow as heavily was a gated facility holding a large assemblage of metal and wires that formed a structure, protruding up above the vegetation into the alien sky. A pulsing light blinked relentlessly at it's peak.
"Where are they Waters?" asked Anna. "I don't see what set off the alarm." The area looked peaceful enough.
"There," he pointed to a shabby looking buggy parked near a hole in the fence line. "They must have spotted us and hid in the trees."
"Set us down Private. Everyone else, I want these men alive. Fire in self defense only. Straugh, I want you and Jacobs to secure the tower. Make sure there aren't any more of them hiding over there." Corporal Martin Straugh was a reliable man, and Anna trusted him to handle Private Jacobs.
She turned to the others, "Sheng and Timball." They snapped to attention, "You two are with me and we are going to find these rebels. I want a their trail found."
She nodded at them all and tried to project her confidence into them, before turning back to Waters in time to watch the final descent into the clearing. "Waters, once we're off, I want you back in the air. We can't afford to lose our ride home. Keep your channel open in case we need to lift off quickly."
With that they touched down. The doors opened and the gravity pulses from the still running engines were causing ripples in the dirt. Their boots hit the ground and no one hesitated. In moments the Rectangular-cube shape of the Gravitycraft was gone from site and the sounds of the alien jungle became all they heard over their own breathing.