“This day is totally fucked!” Chief Warrant Bosun Guster Johansson swore to himself as he put his Anvil class assault dropship into a steep dive.
The controls were glitchy, and they bucked wildly when he hit the towering thunderhead over the extraction zone.
“Warning, external environmental conditions are exceeding operational parameters. Initiating pilot restrictions,” a calm feminine voice sounded in his ear.
Gus shouted, “Annie, override all operational restrictions. Command code Gusty Joe.”
“Operational restrictions removed. Command code override logged.”
A panicked voice sounded over the comms, “Joe, you coming? We are getting our ass handed to us down here! Too much lightening to move, pinned down. The whole landing is FUBAR.”
Gus said, “Hang on, Marine! I’m dropping in hot. I’ll have you back to base in time for evening milk and cookies.”
The storm had appeared out of nowhere just after the patrol dropped. The ship they landed in was out of commission from a direct lightning strike. “I want you moving when I hit the LZ. No time for souvenirs.”
“Rodger that, just open the door and keep the engines running,” the comms rang out.
Sweat poured off Gus’s forehead as he fought for control. His haptic feedback gloves were slipping despite a death grip on the controls. The forward view was fogging, and rain beat a furious tattoo against the glass. A silver Mjolnir medallion swung on a chain from a switch. Time slowed, and the medallion blurred. A nagging feeling grew between his shoulder blades. The old Bosun could barely see the landing zone and was relying on the heads-up-helmet overlay to guide him in.
Gus shook his head and flared the ship at the last minute above the patrol’s position, then punched the landing ramp release. Lightning was popping all around and the thunder was deafening through his helmet.
The squad leaped from their positions and ran hard. When the last of them were exposed a tremendous blue bolt fell from the sky and danced from one Marine to the next. Puppet jerking as they screamed. Then it flared at Gus…