“I guess it’s time, Sarge,” said Private Billy Gilroy when he saw Gordon Miles exit the lift onto the shuttle deck. Sergeant Mike Brackett turned and waited for the captain of the Genesis I to reach them.
“I just came down to tell you we’ve achieved orbit and you can leave whenever you get ready,” said Gordon, when he reached the group. “You going with them?” he added, seeing Brackett dressed in his combat gear.
“Yes sir, I am.”
“You thing that’s wise, Sergeant? You’ve already lost Major Grayson.”
Brackett looked at his men, then back at Miles. “We adapt, Mister Gordon, and besides, I wouldn’t send my men anywhere I wouldn’t go myself. Corporal Hodges is perfectly capable of taking care of anything that might arise while I’m gone.” Hodges touched his finger to his forehead and smiled.
“We’ll leave within the hour,” said Brackett.
Planet C1789 slowly revealed itself as the outside door to the shuttle deck lifted. Sergeant Brackett pushed the throttle forward and propelled the shuttle into the vacuum surrounding Genesis I.
Private Billy Gilroy occupied the seat beside Brackett. Seated behind them were Doc Hunnicutt, Private Renita Cortez and Private Charlie Two Sons. They all watched with anticipation as the shuttle neared its destination.
The shuttle cleared the cloud cover and hugged the top of the dense jungle canopy as Mike Brackett searched for a suitable place to land.
“There,” said Billy Gilroy and pointed to a break in the canopy that suddenly appeared below them.
Brackett turned the shuttle and throttled down as they closed in on the canopy break. Hovering the shuttle, he took a quick look at the clearing below. “Looks as good a place as any.”
He throttled down the engine and began a slow descent through the canopy. The shuttle dropped through the light starved treetops and settled on the jungle floor below. Brackett shut down and secured the engines and they all sat for a moment listening to the sounds of the jungle.
“Welcome to your new home, people,” said Brackett and unbuckled his seat belt, breaking the silence in the shuttle.
“You got to be kiddin’ me,” said Billy Gilroy, straining to see as far into the jungle as he could.