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Descent

Just a Minute challenge entry

By M. A. Mehan Published about a month ago 3 min read
Top Story - April 2024
18
Descent
Photo by superneox lightsaber on Unsplash

“60 seconds.”

Aris tightened her grip on the overhead handhold. The troop transport shook like a leaf in a windstorm as it battled through the atmosphere. Dim lights flickered on and off as the ship’s systems were battered by pelting rain and narrowly dodged blasts from laser cannons on the surface of the planet.

59.

The countdown continued in her head, her breath coming short and shallow. Her heartbeat drummed erratically, outpacing the seconds in a wild tattoo. The rumble of voices rose as the men began to brace themselves for landing.

58.

“Deep breaths, Aris,” she chided herself, “This may be your first field mission but you certainly can’t act like it. This is life or death now, and these men’s lives will be in your hands.”

57.

A heavy hand dropped on her shoulder. She glanced up, the tall, grim-faced man beside her staring stolidly at the sealed blast doors. “They are looking to us, little one.” He still used that phrase, regardless of the fact that she reached nearly to his broad shoulders. “Eyes up. Don’t give them a reason to fear.”

She did not need him to speak it to hear the proverb he’d instilled in her since the very first day of her apprenticeship. There is nothing more deadly than fear.

50 seconds.

Her stomach lurched into her mouth as the floor seemed to drop out from under her. The ship jerked and swooped, dodging blasts and lasers as they dropped closer and closer to the conflict. Her weighty metal weapon slammed against her thigh with each sudden change in direction, grounding her even as her insides threatened to revolt.

Her best friend’s green eyes sparkled with excitement, momentarily drowning out the worry that scrabbled at her thoughts. “You have a sword made of pure energy,” he reminded her, “You’ll be fine.”

40.

From the very beginning, the temple teachers had taught her that her weapon was her life. But she’d never quite understood the saying. Weren’t they supposed to be peacekeepers? What good was making peace when you still had one hand on a sword?

But today she wasn’t a peacekeeper, or maker. Today, she was a soldier. Aris reached down to steady the hilt at her side, playing her fingers over the frayed grip. She should’ve rewrapped it before she left the temple.

Sweat broke out on her palms, making her white-knuckled grip on the handhold tenuous.

30.

“Men, you have your orders.” Master Herron’s voice was calm, unaffected by the chaos just beyond the shuddering transport walls. “Keep comms open, I’ll be right beside you.” He nodded to a man to his right. “Breaker, keep an eye on the medics.”

The man under the stark, expressionless helmet nodded.

“Aris,” Master Herron lowered his voice. “Keep close to the medics as well. I can’t watch out for you as I have in the past. Help where you can, keep them alive.” He hesitated, then a ghost of a smile crossed his grave face. “Keep yourself alive too, hm?”

15 seconds.

In spite of the nausea roiling in her stomach, a small smirk tugged at the corner of her mouth. “You too. It was hard enough for the temple to find me one teacher. Can’t imagine the fuss finding a new one would be.”

“I do believe you relish the fuss and bother you cause those poor masters.” Herron tsk’d disapprovingly, though his crinkled eyes betrayed the sarcasm beneath. “You’re incorrigible, Aris.”

“Learned from the best.” She retorted as the transport reared up and the landing gear slid into place. She unhooked the saber from her belt and, with a deep, slow breath, ignited the bright yellow blade.

Herron followed suit, and the blue light of his saber cast an eerie shadow across his features. “Courage, little one.”

5.

Blasters whirred and clicked.

4.

The transport landed heavily on muddy earth.

3.

The blast doors whined as they unlocked.

2.

Aris clenched her jaw.

1.

The doors flew open, and the battlefield chaos roared in their ears.

//author's note: never try to write sans headphones in the same room as your brothers while they watch Star Wars: Clone Wars- any creative writing attempt with an open prompt will instantly turn into fanfiction xD//

Short StorySci FiFan FictionAdventure
18

About the Creator

M. A. Mehan

"It simply isn't an adventure worth telling if there aren't any dragons." ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

storyteller // vampire // drink goblin // arizona desert rat

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Comments (7)

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  • Christy Munson3 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Lizz Chambersabout a month ago

    Excellent. Great Read!

  • Alexander McEvoyabout a month ago

    Loved this one, M.A.! Always a sucker for anything that reminds me of the combat deployments in Clone Wars :) Congrats on the top story and very well done!

  • D. D. Leeabout a month ago

    The buildup was nice. Congratulations on Top Story.

  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    Superb excellent story 🎉🎉 keep it up

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    Super good tension building here, great work!

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