The three of them huddled closely in the airlock, waiting for Ann’s countdown.
Flynn said a silent prayer to the Celestials, first for his safety, second that he not embarrass himself by screaming or vomiting . . . like last time.
Eltie checked their tethers one last time, then had Flynn and Reese grab onto her suit and she disabled the gravnet in her boots.
“Insertion in four,” Ann commed, “ . . . three . . . two . . . one.”
The ship shuddered as kinetic struts adjusted for the shift into the atmosphere.
“We are coming over the target zone. Drop in three . . . two . . . one. Drop.”
The airlock door swung open, and the decompression blew the three of them through the open hatch, and then they were in free fall.
Eltie detached the tethers, then gave Reese a thumbs up. He let go. She gave Flynn a thumbs up, and he let go. All three dove straight down. Flynn didn’t scream. He didn’t even feel nauseous as he plummeted through the atmosphere. Instead, he focused on the mission. He brought up the sensor data in his goggles, zooming through the city to the target building, and his landing zone directly outside the front doors. The HUD in the goggles projected a path to the landing, and counted down the altitude.
He glanced over, seeing Reese focused on the dive. Eltie was unreadable in her combat armor, a one-woman tank.
Flynn went back to the rapidly approaching ground, nervous as the numbers ticked down. He had already reached terminal velocity of 56 meters per second, and that felt entirely too fast. That was a nothing speed compared to flying in a ship, where they easily reached fifteen percent of the speed of light, and that was nothing compared to how fast they were at sail. But in an atmospheric suit with nothing but a grav harness to prevent him from dying, 56 meters per second was much too fast.
The HUD flashed into red, and he activated the harness. The ground had gone from far away to much too close too quickly, and then the grav harness kicked in. Eltie and Reese moved off to their own landing zones. Landing with the grav harness was about the same as landing with an old parachute. He landed, then rolled, bleeding off the momentum to prevent the impact from doing real damage, and it was anything but soft. They could have set it to land them feather soft, but it would have taken too much time. Human beings didn’t come equipped with the necessary inertial compensation to deal with that kind of rapid deceleration.