Chapter 27: Reinforcements
It was rare for any craft that LTJG Jenny Hanmore was flying to experience so much as a shudder on landing, yet this had been one of those times. While she always saw herself as cool under pressure, she had the self-awareness to realize that coolness wasn’t the same as being completely unaffected. Not that it mattered much for the time being. “We still don’t know what we’re dealing with down here,” she muttered.
If Jenny’s unease troubled him, Drew kept it to himself; truth be told, there was more to occupy the mind than a rough-edge to an otherwise flawless pilot. “Well, we’re not exactly loaded for bear, but we could at least hold our own if the need arises.” He set to unfastening his harness.
“At least we’re not under fire. For the moment, anyway.” Jenny could overhear their four passengers, three from Security and one from Operations, make a plan to split up. Two security officers would remain to respond to another drone attack, if it happened. The other two would head to the nearby building to check on the away team.
Levering himself out of the seat, Drew rested a hand on Jenny’s shoulder. “Keep the engines warm; we’ll probably be fine, but it never hurts to have a quick escape.”
“Be careful,” Jenny ordered, although it was more of a plea. Her top enlisted man could fend for himself, but that didn’t make him any more invincible than she… any more invincible than… Meryn. Her friend’s condition was affecting her more and more, and, now, was intruding when there was business to attend to.
Drew squeezed gently before heading back to join the team preparing to head out.
Keenly aware of the state of the shuttle’s sensors, and any movement outside, Jenny attempted to link to the first shuttle brought to the planet. Telemetry subsystems were able to log into the shuttle’s exterior comms array, yet the data was gobbledygook. She was able to gather some information, utilizing it to determine that the shuttle was highly compromised, with systems failures across the board. While it was easy to chalk it up to battle damage of some sort, she couldn’t escape the troubling notion that something else was at work – maybe even the nanotechnology that USS Lorrensz had reported. “Anything but that,” she muttered.