Dan Larson is on his first sortie in three years, sent out to survey a massive conical object approaching the Earth. I use small passages like this written at random to discover a character's voice, since I'm pretty bad at thinking it up on my own.
An expanse of blackness stretched out infinitely, lit by octagonal displays outlined in amber light, the uniformity of the darkness broken by a scattered star or two. Dan stared out in awe; the sight of outer space in the Earth’s atmosphere always took his breath away no matter how many times he saw it running sorties at twenty thousand feet.
“Come on Danny; pay attention, you can go sightseeing later.”
The sudden explosion of static the ICOM message sent through his headset made him grit his teeth, interference at such high altitudes was common for SPIRE pilots, who normally communicated through a simple text based interface, similar to how cell phones worked down on the surface. Dan punched the blinking TALK button with his thumb, a small five by five image of his squad leader, Wade, flashing onto the screen.
“I’ll go sightseeing whenever I damn well please, and don’t call me Danny either, you fucking bastard.” he said growling, switching the communication to MUTE as another burst of angry static prepared to fill his ears. God, I’m tired of that man’s shit.
He wasn’t kidding either, twenty minutes before launch he nearly tore the man’s face off with his teeth, position or rank didn’t matter, Dan Larson was a man, and a real man didn’t take another man’s shit. At least, that’s what he thought, anyways. Cringing he stared at the text display on his ICOM, an angry red dot signaling a response from Wade.
WADE: GRUMPY :-)? Y/N
Twenty minutes pass, and a two second beep brought Dan back to reality, they had broken into orbit at last and where hastily approaching object “Delta”. It was a conical figure checking out at twenty miles across on their SPIRES’s instrument panel, solid black and lined with several odd white stripes each perhaps a mile across themselves. Their mission was simple: Survey the object and/or destroy it should it get too close. Though it had easily been ten years since the last major polyform activity had broken out, the Earth’s defense grid was still on high alert for anything out of the ordinary. This conical piece of pinstriped darkness was no exception, taking into consideration that anything that large moving towards the Earth certainly wasn’t natural.
Dan blew a strand of brown hair that had gotten into his face out of the way, contrary to popular belief, the dress code for SPIRE pilots was far more lax than the common military howdy-do. Besides a standard issue pilot’s suit designed to keep them from dying should they be exposed to hard vacuum, nothing else was standard, even the designs on their personal armors were different depending upon the pilot themselves, Dan wasn't afraid of his own individuality in the military, going as far as painting his pitch black, with a single white stripe down the center so he didn’t blend in too well with the background darkness. Throttling the pedals he accelerated, wings stretching open to reveal particle jets spewing geysers of red dust into space as he approached his squad leader, begrudgingly of course. Motioning for him to stop he triggered his ICOM, fingers gliding across the smudged amber.
DANIEL: WE THERE?
WADE: YOU KNOW IT, BABY.
DANIEL: WHATEVER, MOVING TO V-PATTERN, DON’T GET IN MY WAY.
WADE: WOULDN’T DREAM OF IT :-).
God I fucking hate that man he thought as his SPIRE unsheathed a long, octagonal tube that was broken in half at the center from a hinged holster on it's hip, spreading it's sharp metallic legs wide while moving in negative burn to slow it's momentum. The weapon was simple, a Lakshmi-class critical assault weapon, the standard issue long ranged gun given to artillery units who, provided everything went accordingly, supplied the opening one-two punch to a skirmish with the Polyphors. With a twenty thousand mile effective range, the flashes of high intensity energy it emitted could instantly bore a ten inch hole through fifty feet of solid steel, perfect for punching through the hardened carapace of the gigantic machine creatures.
Several other units lined up with Dan’s personal SPIRE similar to how the British would line their musketeers up during Revolutionary war. Despite the advanced technology responsible for the energy lances, their barrels could only house three separate flashes before needing to be replaced, volleys of three short bursts before a reload common practice while in combat. The range was so far that it didn’t matter if someone was slow on the draw, the real danger came when enemy units approached proverbial knife fight range. That’s where you got killed, where you got your unit cracked open like a boiled lobster shell and your throat ripped out by one of the beasts, where boys became men and men got their scars.
Real men didn’t need guns to kill a mother-fucker, after all.
Several moments pass before an armature broke the uniformity of the object, pausing before twitching rapidly. Dots, swarms of angry red broke the quiet blue of their radar as a uniform message was sent out to every active SPIRE unit.
UNIT: CONTACT HAS BEEN MADE, FIRE AT WILL.
His first sortie in over three years had already gone to shit.
I’m already a man; I can kill a motherfucker without a gun he mused quietly as their line was broken fifteen seconds later, clutching the control panel of his SPIRE as he armed his THANATOS close combat weapon, ready to slay for his own honor, and most importantly, his survival.