Bill gracelessly tumbled into the Battle Wagon’s command center, barely catching the hand hold that would stop him from barreling into the back of ensign Cornell, who was in her seat monitoring some kind of thermal sensor.
Usually gliding down the dropship’s corridors in zero-g was easy for a seasoned veteran such as Bill. However, lingering effects of transit disorientation syndrome left him feeling like he had drank an entire case of Glengoolie Blue the night before.
Normal people typically didn’t have this problem, and described the momentary feeling of travelling through space-time as being harmlessly and existentially turned inside out, or becoming one with the universe. To Bill, it just felt like the worst hangover in the universe. Or one the size of the universe. Or one that began at the big bang and would continue until the heat death of the universe. In short, interstellar jumps sucked for Bill and he hated them.
After steadying himself, Bill looked across (or was it down? He tried not to think about it too much, lest he relieve the contents of his stomach into the command center. That would be embarassing) the room at the primary monitor.
It looked like a battle was just wrapping up and a new one was about to begin. Bill realized he should have been in this battle. How did that happen? Why was he up here, and not down there. Oh, right… A vague memory of The Commander telling him to get his shit together and in his ’mech by the time phase 2 started percolated through the grogginess.
He was vaguely aware of the conversation happening in the commander center. Someone was saying how this battle had gone really well for their side, despite a few of those Alshain Avenger ‘mechs almost getting outside of the ECM bubble. Then, someone else was saying how the Dracs weren’t going to appreciate the Omen coring out three of their ‘mechs. Then, Lieutenant Graff was saying it was worth it just to watch Klaus make that amazing Hail Mary PPC shot to the back of the Avenger Battle Hawk before it got away. Then, ensign Cornell made a comment about how Otto really didn’t need to target the back of that Kintaro, but that it was probably unavoidable. The same going for the Daimyo that just wouldn’t die. Everyone also seemed to be agreeing that Dargo firing all of the missiles at the Urbanmech had been totally epic, despite being totally overkill.
Then the battle damage reports started coming in. Harry’s commandeered Charger had taken a couple hits, and Kim’s Nova was getting thin on leg armor. Klaus’ Lynx hadn’t taken any additional damage and everyone else was just peachy aside from some potential ammo shortages (Dargo!)
Bill was suddenly aware of someone looking at him. It was Ensign Cornell. She was staring at him, like she was expecting an answer to a question. Oh right, she had asked him something about 10 minutes ago…or was it 10 seconds?
He blinked, and could not for the life of him account for the time that had apparently passed. It was like people who said they got abducted by aliens. Shit! Have I been abducted by aliens? Bill thought. No, that’s crazy! Pull it together!
“Can you repeat that please, Ensign Cornell?”
“Sir, the advance team is in position and about to engage. Shouldn’t you be in the ’mech bay? The rest of the company is about to launch.”
“Yes Ensign, I am going there now. Keep up the good work!”
With that, Bill spun on his heel (or whatever the zero-g equivalent was) and propelled himself down the corridor to the elevator. Good thing his Thunderbolt’s ‘mech bay was next to the elevator. He would be there in no time at all! Good thing he wasn’t the poor schlub piloting the company’s Stormcrow. That ’mech bay was like a mile away!
Feeling pretty optimistic and good about himself, Bill floated into the elevator and slapped the button for the ’mech bay.
Phase 2 was going to be great! Good thing they wouldn’t be combat dropping! Bill didn’t think his inner ear could handle that.
“All personnel, general quarters. Two minutes until combat drop. Repeat, two minutes until drop” a voice said over the PA system.
Oh shiiiiiiittttttt, Bill thought.
In the middle of the elevator, Bill curled up into the fetal position and moaned softly. Phase 2 was going to suck!