T-minus 30 seconds
She hated grav drops, hated them with a passion. It wasn’t the drop itself, 120km up from a suborbital spaceplane is one hell of a distance but after the first dozen everything had fallen into a simple routine. No what Jana couldn’t stand was the view. From this high up the world appeared as it truly was, dirty, polluted and spoilt. The ‘shopped landscapes, Corporate sponsored jungles and managed nature reserves were impossible to spot; sprawling city complexes, barren open cast mines and lifeless wastelands constituted the modern, industrial environment.
The plane itself was little more than a cigar tube strapped to a SCRAMjet, its stubby wings retracted almost completely into the body, minimising both drag and cross sectional size. Despite this Jana and her partner Ajax faced an unpowered grav-glide into the enemy territory, one of the few remaining options for a rapid yet covert tactical insertion. ‘Systems are go, life support is in the green,’ Ajax’s voice chimed in her head, her sub dermal comn unit cutting through the background whine of the engines. ‘and the pup is dreaming of steak. See you on the downslide.’ There was the slightest of vibrations as his pod detached, though it too would break apart once it had protected Ajax from the punishing ordeal of re-entry. Ten seconds and an unknown distance later it was Jana’s turn. As the pod began its descent she thought about the dozen or so decoy pods which were also being let loose, a further attempt to conceal the location of their mission. It was comforting to know that a heartless mega-corporation valued her skills enough to spend that sort of money on her, it ensured a sense of loyalty most employees would never understand.
Within the hour she’d be on the ground of another Corporate city, lining up her scope over the face of some nameless executive while Ajax secured their exit strategy. If everything went to plan they’d be back on home turf within 6 hours.
It sure as hell beat a desk job.