Never a dull moment on Mars, that's for sure. Well... no I guess there are dull moments, long quiet nights listening to the superstructure of the outpost creaking, wondering if it's D'naa trying to tunnel in, longer hours in the hangar on maintenance duty, that sort of stuff. But the little moments between all that of adrenaline induced pandemonium seem to even it all out to a constant average.
A little firing range soiree with Dart turned into just that - Some lost colony settler or nomad or some such wanders in out of the dunes like he owns the place, next thing I know smoke grenades are popping off, shots fired, shouting over the commlink. Any ambivalence you might have about pulling the trigger on someone else evaporates rapidly when they are gunning for you. Capped off a whole magazine without even realizing it while I was scrambling for cover behind one of the outpost pylons. Didn't hit shit either, helps to aim. Mental note. Aim next time. We started taking sniper fire from just about everywhere at once it seemed like, hostiles on the sandstone mesas to the north. Hauling ass to beat hell, trying to return fire. Dart even gave the 38 his gun back to help put some lead down range, after which he up and vanished, naturally.
Or this past morning, Leftenant Poole informs me its time for drop pack training, in that rather "this is not optional" sort of way. I was assured pants were optional for this however. After a brief intro and instruction in operation of the drop pack I had a little 'incident'. My report on the matter states I had a boot lace untied, tripped and fell through the open hangar doors. Pack kicked in and slowed my fall enough to land in a mostly sensible heap. Given that pressure suits don't have boot laces you could possibly read between the lines and infer that I was unceremoniously shoved over the edge of the hangar bay by certain parties, however I'll stick with the report if asked.
The Martian sunrise looks damn pretty from 5K meters in the sky, just cresting over the mountains. I was more focused on the very rocky looking ground underneath. Never jumped out of a perfectly good aircraft before. Turns out, I had no idea what I was missing out on! That is fun! Best use of gravity yet. Wind whistling past at terminal velocity, flying with pure body english, kick in the gut when the landing pack kicks in to slow descent. After a couple jumps I felt I had a pretty good hang on it, even said I'd race the Leftenant to the ground in a flippant moment. Naturally she had to pull the jetpack card and show you can fall faster. Insert colon - P tongue sticky outy emoticon here.
I took the controls of the shuttle for the last drop, couldn't resist throwing it sideways in some high-G loops around the mesa pillars we'd been sniped at the day before. I may be the FNK, but I know what I know, and putting flying things through their paces is what I know best. Not sure Poole appreciated it much, but hey, at least my boot lace wasn't untied this time. We were a fair peace out from the outpost after that last drop, and the shuttle returned on autopilot. I'm used to pressure suits and all, for the most part, but a two klick hike in wonky gravity I don't relish.
The spot where we landed was the ruins of an older colony. Lots of rubble, bits of twisted walk ways, even whole sections of street all churned up. I spotted something interesting under an overhang - not quite sure if it was one of those funky native trees or what, but it was glowing a bit. Poole said it was, quote "D'naa shit" end quote, literally or figuratively. I had to have me a look see of course - found something else interesting, a heavy bulkhead hatch in the ground. It wasn't quite covered with sand yet, looked like it had been used recently. No way it was coming open for me though, not without a shaped charge at any rate. Could be part of the old colony foundation or access tunnels. Bears some further snooping.