The Armourer's Chamber was a large environment with chunky, man-sized cylinders hanging from the ceiling. Each Echelon participating in the initial stages of the Offensive were Suited Up in order starting with 1st, ending with 9th. It took almost half an hour for 4th Echelons turn.
Everyone was standing in formation near the chamber's center. The Armourer, a Gunnery Sergeant, Had made the roll call and began the process of activating the long, thin orange cranes set into the walls. They lurched forward in a mechanical cacophany and clamped their vice-like pincers down on the handles atop each cylinder. Each of the containers was lowered gently to the floor, where they touched the ground with a dense thump.
"Alright Ladies and Gentlemen", said the Armourer as the cranes returned to their dormant state, "Let's get you Suited Up."
Each cylinder cracked open with a snap, the side which faced the assembled troopers peeling back like the skin of a fruit.
inside the containers were the Echelon's Battlesuits, The latest advancement in infantry gear. Rigorous training was required to handle the suits amplified reactions to the wearer's movements, and mastering them was tricky.
At about eight feet in height, each suit was an impressive shell which protected the wearer from the elements, vacuum and enemy fire. They had the strange appearance of the physique of a body builder and the bulkiness of a tank.
Each suit had an initial and a surname emblazoned in white glaze upon the right breastplate. They had been re-coated with a Khaki Camouflage pattern suited to asteroids.
"You know the drill", called the Gunnery Sergeant, " climb onto the pedestal and let me do the rest."
They did as they were told. John glanced around at his fellow troopers. They were all dressed in grey overalls. At the Top of the pedestal, he turned so his back faced the suit, and a mechanical arm secured around his midriff. The floor around him parted as a dozen arms rose up. john was lifted into the air as the suit behind him as divided into it's individual parts. The leg armour peeled open, rested around john's legs and feet, then folded back to their original position, encompassing John's lower limbs. he was placed back on the ground as the same scenario played out with the other suit pieces, until he was fully enveloped by his suit. With this complete, he stepped down from the pedestal with resounding thuds.
Everything appeared to be lightly tinted from behind john's helmet's visor. He could still clearly see that the rest of 4th Echelon was Suited Up. He saw the master Sergeant symbol on Duvatt's Shoulderpad, and realised he himself must also have it. As 4th Echelon's leader, he strode to the front of his men and turned to face them.
"We deploy in twenty minutes. 1st to 3rd Echelon's of 103rd Division have already deployed. No contact with enemy forces have yet been made. This does not mean that they are not here. 4th Echelon has been divided into the folowing groups. 4A, recon squad led by Carter. 4B, command and 2nd squad led by me. 4C, 3rd and 4th squads, led by Duvatt. 4D, 5th and 6th squads led by Oscars. We'll all be dropped on the same rock, people, but at different locations. Report to me via the Command Frequency if you encounter any hostiles or Nasty situations."
That was the longest speech John had ever given in his military career.
"Any questions?", He asked, surveying the troopers.
"Very well. Proceed to Weapon Storage."