I've been fiddling around with science fiction a bit lately- and have been having a blast! It is a close second to writing fantasy, and leaves expository essays light years away! I might do more with this piece later, so it might just be the start of something. Or it might just be a short short story. ;-)
The pebbles flung up from the transporter reminded Sam of the rains, the harsh pelting on the vehicle’s thick sides. She didn’t know how long they’d been on the road, long enough for her backside to be sore from the constant bumping of the potholes. She was almost praying for another attack when the humming in the back of her skull and throat told her they were switching to Hov.
“Jeremy, Jem, wake up,” she shook her sleeping partner awake. He must have snuck something from the Doc’s station, there’s no way anyone could sleep on roads that bumpy, she thought to herself as Jeremy wiped his eyes with the heels of his palms.
“What now,” he moaned.
“We’ve gone to Hov, we should be there soon.”
He peered over her to see the canyon they were floating over; it glowed red with the sunset. The white pockmarks where the grenades had blasted its interior looked like stains.
“We should probably head up to the captain; he’ll want to deploy us soon,” Yawning one last time, Jem unbuckled himself and stood up hunched under the low roof and made his way to the front.
The captain was a short man with a voice like thunder. He had appointed Jem and Sam as his scouts two years ago; they had been fresh out of training. He brought up a map up on the holo-screen and gave them their drop off spots.
“Any questions?” he bellowed.
“No sir,” they answered simultaneously.
“Good now get to the loading dock.”
With their parachute harnesses on, they went to the loading dock and waited for the door to open.
The jump was probably her favorite part, the wind rushing through her hair, and the feeling of her stomach dropping to her toes when she pulled the ‘chute.
They rode the thermals up out of the canyon and scanned the horizon with binoculars. They couldn’t see anything so they dropped to land on the canyon’s far side. It was only desert out here. Sagebrush dotted purple on yellow for as far as the eye could see. It was deceptive though. Jem and Sam knew this desert; they knew it was full of caves and holes, places that could easily hide a troop of numbers greater than a thousand from a bird’s eye vantage point.
Sam dropped her pack and pulled out some water, only allowing herself a few gulps before putting it back. Then she reached back in and pulled out a synth-leather pouch, and dumped the contents into her hand.
“Wakey, wakey,” she told the shiny silver orbs in her palm. She did it with infinitely more gentleness than she had with her partner. She then whistled three-note activation code and felt the Burrowers tremble in anticipation in her hand.
The scouts walked on, dropping one orb every half-mile. When they finished their five-mile hike, they settled down on top of a rocky hill to wait. Jem set up a small antenna on the stones, and Sam imagined that she could feel the signals it was sending the Burrowers, keeping them in touch with where to report back with their data.
The hot desert sun had set and instead of feeling like she was frying in her own jumpsuit, Sam began to shiver.
“This is the worst part,” she said.
“It is,” Jeremy agreed.
The waiting. She had always hated this part the most. The hiatus between actions. The breath before the storm. Not knowing when exactly it would end.