|This article, Falling with Style, was written by Lieutenant Davis. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
June 14, 2558, former Covenant frontier world Memkhat'hau
The Pelican shook violently as another plasma charge detonated off its port side, and while the pilots both looked at each other nervously, the shockwaves barely reverberated through the armored occupants of the troop bay. The Spartans of Fireteam Valiant stood almost still despite their dropship being buffeted by the heavy artillery fire from below. All but one. Corin Davis was sat in one of the Pelican's seats, legs outstretched, looking about as casual as one could in full MJOLNIR.
In the cockpit, the pilots began to move vocally protest the incoming barrage, "Someone's gotta do something about those cannons or we might have to abort the drop."
Leon Sikowsky, leader of Valiant, spoke up, "ONI's listed 'Uhmrhatai as a priority one target, escape is not an option. We have to get to the ground."
"You're not going to get anywhere except a fiery death if one of those guns hits us, Spartan."
The conversation went back and forth for another minute, with both pilots and the other members of Valiant chiming in, all the while Davis sat silent, listening to the explosions outside the hull. Eventually the pilots decided that the area was too hot and that they were going to abort the landing, much to the protest of Sikowsky and the other Spartans, who began to move towards the cockpit. Before anything could be done, Corin groaned and stood up, moving towards the controls for the bay ramp. He quickly punched the release button, causing the ramp to open and exposing the troop bay to the harsh winds and explosions outside.
"Corin, what the hell are you doing?"
"Getting shit done. See you at the bottom." And with that, he took a running start and threw himself out the back of the Pelican.
There's very little to prepare you for the sudden jump from standing on solid ground to a free fall, feeling both weightless and infinitely heavy all at once, but over twenty years as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper helps a fair bit. Once free of the Pelican, his Jumpmaster armor began a million calculations and processes simultaneously, scanning and highlighting debris and obstacles, and more importantly, the incoming fire and the alien cannons several kilometers below him. He angled himself down and activated the suit's built-in thrusters, rapidly accelerating him towards terminal velocity. As he fell, several plasma rounds soared past him and exploded dozens of meters above him, singeing his armor as they went past. He had no idea if they were still aimed at him or if the Covenant gunners had decided to target the free-falling supersoldier instead, not that it mattered, as whenever a shell got to close, he would burst his thrusters and push himself away, though not too far as to send him off course.
Sometimes he liked to have fun and would shut off the onboard targeting computer and bring himself in manually, 'eyeballing it' as he referred to it as. It was risky and dangerous as all hell, but the sheer rush of it more than made up for it. He was nearing the ground level now. 100 meters. 75 meters. 45. 20. At fifteen meters, he flipped himself in mid-air and activated his thrusters full-burst to the point he could feel the sudden deceleration threatening to pull his stomach up through his throat. He slowed down enough not to turn into paste on impact, but still enough that when he hit the ground, it caused a mini-shockwave that knocked everything and everyone nearby to the ground.
When he stood up, he saw himself surrounded by a dozen aliens frozen in place, fear in their eyes at what they just witnessed. In an instant, he grabbed his SAW from his back and began firing.
This is what he lived for.