UR-3601, MONSUA NEBULA ----
Republic assaults enemy stronghold
Photo, Courtesy of Republic High Command
A battle to remember
I write this staring at the skies below. Skies that, a few hours ago, were filled with comet-like drop pods, barrage of anti-air fire and zooming starships. I write it standing on the Viewing Deck of the Gav Daragon, in the safety of its metal embrace, and the warmth of its heating. I write it knowing full well that the snowy planet below was washed with Republic blood, sweat and perhaps even silent tears. Thus this piece will not be one of the puff pieces of warlike nature that people far from the front lines like to write about. It will be one that presents truth and gritty detail of what happened.
An explosion, a shot, or instant darkness and pain await those who die in space, or those who die fighting on the ground. It is either a momentary hit that takes a life, or a time of intense agony while one’s soul slips into the everafter. Either way, the result is the same.
Metal coffins await the lucky ones whose bodies have been retrieved. Metal coffins who are launched into the darkness of space with nary an engine or a way to see within. It seems as if the Orbital Drop Marine Corps’ drop pods have based their design on the funeral practices of the Navy, for as I saw the men and women in white armour lock themselves willingly into these flying space bullets, I thought to myself that this is what it must feel like, knowing you are finite, knowing your death will eventually come.
And then I thought perhaps these same men and women are lucky. Perhaps they come to terms with the grip of loss of brothers, sisters, and self long before it actually comes to them. Perhaps they have met Death, have felt the Force embrace them as they speed, catapulted from a ship in Geosynchronous orbit onto a hostile planet below. Their durasteel cocoon, thin and delicate compared to the armour and armament of a starfighter, plummets ever downwards, towards a hostile planet, deep behind enemy lines, for clandestine missions, while under heavy fire.
I rarely get emotional, since soldiers can usually defend themselves and fight, but those drop pods, their design, it foregoes the self-defence part, it foregoes free will, and it leaves most of it up to fate and skill, to destiny and courage. In a starfighter, you can fight back, you can do something to help you and yours. In a Drop Pod, a Marine can only hear what I heard through the communications I was hooked up in.
Reports of life signs going out. Reports of pods being hit, exploding, veering off course, crashing into nothingness below, perhaps their occupants still alive as they once more greet the eternal dark. And in that personal Hell, in that durasteel coffin, these Marines went Feet First, as their motto says.
Without regret. Without question. Without fear.
*Balentin Sarago is a writer and war correspondent for GNBC News. He graduated from the Coruscanti University of Journalism three years ago and has been attached to several active Fleets in the past, both in combat and on patrol. He has been nominated for the prestigious Grulitzer Prize for his piece on “Sith Empire Defectors: Why are our Armed Forces letting them in?”.