"John Darro clutched his small carry-on bag as the military shuttle fell toward the vast white of the planet's surface, whispering curses as turbulence shook the vessel. John couldn't see very far from the shuttle as it descended through what looked like the beginning of a massive snow storm, but as the craft cleared the lower clouds, the outline of an extensive fortress system became evident.
Battle armor bunkers, turrets and towers dotted the landscape around the small landing area beneath the approaching transport. Half a dozen other such bases were spread across the planet, enough living space and services to support every single active marine, simultaneously.
The trip from Gregorov had taken the Republican frigate less than two Gregorovian standard days at full speed, making maximum velocity jumps into 3 systems. The frigate hadn't been much larger than the courier that had delivered him to the Gregorov system. It had whisked John Darro from the Space Station Forge to the frozen world of Semper, far from the core of Human civilization, but at least he'd been provided with proper quarters and a bed. And the translations between systems had gotten less painful as well. Each jump seemed to get successively easier for John to handle, a fact that most of the naval officers took for granted.
And the pilots had the audacity to arrive so very early in the morning.
“Mister Darro,” a Marine Second Lieutenant with long blonde hair was waiting at the bottom of the landing ramp, waving him off of the transport. The Viking-11 star had not yet risen and the lieutenant was bundled up in a vast duster, complete with a full fur liner. Faux-fur most likely, but still much warmer than the blazer John wore. “This way, we’re expecting a snow storm any minute, and dressed like that you won’t last five seconds.
John shook with cold as he hurried after the marine, his luggage in tow on anti-grav carts provided by the base. They were running toward a small hatch in the side of a concrete shelter and John wondered just what the Lieutenant’s ass would look like if she weren’t wearing the insulated coat."