Draco Air Base, Training Hanger Three
Private Slow held on to a yellow strap that was hooked to a cable overhead as he stood in a queue behind several of his platoon mates. "30 SECONDS!" The Platoon Sergeant yelled and everyone echoed after him. "Standby!"
An overhead red light switched to green followed by a buzzer and the Platoon Sergeant yelled, "GO GO GO!"
The first man walked out of the wooden frame door and hopped off the platform, before moving out of the way for the next person behind him. Slow shuffled up as his platoon mates in front of him hoped off the platform one by one.
When his turn came, the Sergeant gathered the yellow static line and Slow hopped off and landed on the ground before he gathered next to the rest of his platoon.
The weeks long exercises had started off with lectures and videos on parachuting off an aircraft before moving on practical motions like what Slow and his platoon was doing. They had been practicing hopping off a fake aircraft hatch to doing jumps off a tall platform similar to a fly fox zip line to how to do a landing by rolling on the wet ground as the snow melts.
Slow heard from the Sergeants that once the weather clears up, they will move on to doing real jumps off an airplane! Slow had nearly panicked when he stood on the top of the several stories high platform and the hooman Corporals screamed and yelled in his ear to jump.
He had closed his eyes and leaped off the platform, and felt his heart at his throat before the sudden jerk of his harness against the zip line nearly made him bite his tongue. The first jump was scary but the following other jumps, he actually found it quite fun and thrilling zipping down the line!
Master Sergeant Pike stood at the side with Major Frank observing the men training for the parachute wings. "What do you think?" Frank asked.
"Looks good so far, but it's only practical," Pike replied. "But I say they should be ready to do their first jump next week."
Frank nodded, "Once 2nd Battalion finishes their training, start on 1st Battalion. 3rd Battalion we will leave it to the last."
"So it's confirmed? You are using the 2nd to hit Orwell's Point?" Pike asked.
"Yes, 2nd will take point on the attack, 1st Battalion will be on standby, while 3rd will hold the fort back home," Frank confirmed.
"Damn, we need more troops," Pike shook his head. "Two thirds of our troops committed to an attack, and with spring here soon in a couple of weeks, those damn feral goblins will be raging all over the place."
Frank smiled, "We are way better than before now that all workers at the outposts are required to be trained and part of the LDF or Local Defense Force."
"They can hold off the goblins easily behind fixed defenses and mortar support, till the Airforce comes in with air support," Frank said. "The 3rd will act as the hammer while the LDF acts as the anvil."
"You saw their performance," Frank pointed out. "They can do it."
Pike nodded grudgingly, "Those LDF troops might not be crack troops on the field but yeah, they should be able to hold their own till support comes."
"We won't have to worry so much about the homefront," Frank continued. "I only worry about the 2nd not able to take over Orwell's Point before the rivers are open for the Empire boats to be used."
The rivers leading to the inland sea from the Empire would normally be frozen or the water levels drop below safe depths for their river barges and ships to travel. Once winter ended and spring comes, the melting ice in the mountains and surroundings will raise the water levels of the rivers and open the channels for ships to travel.
The plan was for the 2nd Battalion to air drop in 20 km away from Orwell's Point at the open plains and once the whole 2nd Battalion has landed, they will move in to capture Orwell's Point before the river recovers.
This will ensure that no ships from the Empire will arrive till the 2nd Battalion was well established and dug in in the city and also no news of the attack could travel by ship back to the Empire. The attack will be in complete surprise to the enemy and any ships coming down to Orwell's Point will have both the ship, crew, and cargo seized and impounded by the 2nd.
The next phase would be 1st Battalion reinforcing the city if needed via the float planes which will land on the docks with supplies too and the planes will return with slaves who are willing to work under the UNM.
The Air force will also be sending Blue Thunder and Rastraz along but they will travel at a slower pace as they will be carrying extra equipment along for the Marines. The dragons will take the role of observers and reconnaissance duties for the Marines on the ground.
The logistic of this operation normally would be easy to handle back on Earth. But with limited air capacity and lack of proper roads, it became a challenge for Quartermaster Chen who was ensuring his team has calculated the weight of every equipment to bullets to fit onboard the aircraft!
"Three combat companies and one support company," Frank said. "Think they can handle anything that comes their way?"
"Sir, I personally trained these men," Pike proudly declared. "I can ensure they will take Orwell's Point without any trouble!"
The cold air of winter slowly gotten replaced by the warmer air currents that swept in from the east. The dull grey cloud skies were no longer seen as the clouds dispersed and the striking clear blue skies revealed themselves once more.
The heavy droning roar of engines resonated deep into the very bones of Slow as he sat on the edge of the seat. His bulky fieldpack hang at his knees and on his chest sat a reserve chute while the main parachute sat on his back.
The men's M1 Magelock were secured snugly against their belly just below the reserve chute. The buttstock of the weapons was removed and kept in one of their pouches. While for Slow, his MG-1 was stored with his ASAG, Asagi, and he only had a revolver strapped to his thigh. On his sides, sat other men of his section, shorter by more than a head to him as some of them dozed away or exchanged nervous jokes.
Slow tried to sleep but the constant drone of the engines made him hard to fall asleep so indeed he sat there and listened to the batter between his section mates. Suddenly a buzzer buzzed and the interior of the modified FB - 1 Mariner glowed red.
"MAKE READY!" The Platoon Sergeant roared over the drones of the engines. "10 MINUTES!" He held up ten fingers.
The men roused themselves up, and those asleep were jolt awake. "STAND UP!"
The troops lumbered to their feet as they were heavily burdened down by equipment and gear. "HOOK UP!" The Sergeant made a hooking gesture with his finger.
Slow reach over and snapped his static line to the overhead cable.
"EQUIPMENT CHECK!" He patted his harness as he yelled.
The men including Slow double checked their gear and harnesses, making sure their buckles and straps were properly locked and in place before checking the backs of their buddies before them.
"SOUND OFF FOR EQUIPMENT CHECK!"
Slow's section called out as they finished their checks while the other sections in their platoon did the same.
An aircrew hit the hatch controls and the door slid to the side. He leaned out checking the exterior of the plane before running his hands all over the hatch to ensure there were no sharp edges. The Platoon's Lieutenant did a follow up check before he ducked back into the plane.
The co pilot sat on the controls of the FB - 1 Mariner and looked over his gauges. "Wind 210, prepare for drop!" He spoke to the crew at the cargo bay.
"ONE MINUTE!" The pilot called out to the bay while the Marines echoed.
"MOVE UP!" The air crew waved for the Marines to step to the hatch.
The jump lights turned green and the air crew yelled, "GO GO GO!"
The first man stepped off the plane and kept his hands to his sides while the wind whipped him away from the fuselage. His static line ripped his chute open as he left the plane and his chute deploy seconds later.
One by one the men stepped off the plane and finally it was Slow's turn. They had done two practice jumps already and he loved it. He grinned with excitement and eagerly stepped off the plane and his chute deployed once he was away from the plane.
Dozens and dozens of dark grey parachutes that were made from spider ant silk floated gently down from the sky. If locals not of Haven, saw this spectacular they would be stunned and shocked as they would not understand nor comprehend what was going on.
The drop zone was an area of arid grassland, where the grass has frozen and yellowed from the cold. Slow hit the ground in a text book roll and he grunted as he rolled over a stone. He ignored the pain on his side and quickly collected his billowing chute.
Soon the field was filled with the platoon's chutes and the men quickly packed their chutes together. Several others headed to the air dropped crates to retrieve the weapons and supplies stored in them.
Slow quickly headed to the squarish object that had landed. He quickly removed the straps and restrains and Asagi happily unfolded itself out. The little golem stretched its limbs out in a manner like a dog before it rubbed itself against Slow who patted it on its head.
Next, he retrieved the package secured to its back and removed the MG-1 stored there and popped out a box of ammunition and loaded the weapon.
The men came over to Slow with their loads of parachute and they piled it all on the back of Asagi which made it look comical as the pile of parachutes were like three times its size after they tied it down securely on its back.
"Alright, boys!" The Lieutenant said. "Spread out and dig in! We are the first wave, the second wave won't be here in another ten hours! So make yourselves comfortable!"
"Radio operators! Set up your comms and put it under cover!" The LT continued to give out orders as the men went about their duties. "Sergeants look after your men!"
The Sergeants took over and they assigned the men to cover their sectors while digging in. The endless plains stretched out as far as the eye could see and somewhere in the distance is their objective, Orwell's Point.
UNS Singapore, Command Bridge
"Sir, Operation Freedom has begun, the First Wave of drop troops had touched down and the Mariners are returning for the second wave in five hours," The operator reported.
Blake nodded as he looked over the region on the tactical plot. "Any reports of contacts?"
"Negative Sir!" the operator replied.
A radio relay system had been set up by having the dragons drop a relay antenna down on the canopy of the Uncharted Forest as a temporary measure.
"What's the ETA for the dragons to rendezvous with the dropped Marines?" Blake asked.
"Another 4 hours, Sir!" Major Frank reported from his Operation Center located at the Marine's Camp Alpha.
"Alright keep me update of any changes!" Blake said to Frank's image.
"It high time we kick some Empire Monday blues away!"