Jayne tapped the butt of her service issue shotgun impatiently. Three minutes out from drop and she was stuck with a 'Throne be damned' pea shooter as protection. After training for so long with the many and varied 'real' weapons her regiment had access to the simplicity that was the combat shotgun felt absuredly light and fragile in her hands. Like it would break over the first skull she would try and crack.
She missed the familiar and comforting weight of her stubber. The muscle jarring 'chug chug chug' of high calibre fire.... Anything less than a 50 calibre round just didn't have the same satisfaction when pulling the trigger. Her thickly muscled arm flexed as it gripped the overhead handle, keeping her steady as the Valkyrie pitched sharply to the left then levelled off again. She was proud of her physique. One of the strongest soldiers in the regiment bar none. And she would (and did) happily take opportunities to prove that honour on and off the battlefield.
Feeling a momentary press on her shoulder, Jayne knew that Geralt was fiddling with his grave-shute straps. He was a good kid, strong as a grox which was great in a heavy weapons teammate. But barely eight months out of his cozy PDF tour back in Elysia, the pressure of a true, honest to god battle was beginning to mount. And the tell tale giveaway of a green recruit was fiddling with their safety equipment. Checking and rechecking it a hundred times over again. Jayne hoped to see him through this fight and plenty more. He defiantly had a good future with the guard once he got some real experience under his belt. And a good year of routine and repetition of drops like this should see those nervous tell-tales become less and less common.
Jayne would never admit to feeling anything of the sort, Even to herself. Despite the fact that the ever familiar flutter in her stomach, that dull gut feeling that combined the worst parts of a wild imagination and a tinge of uncertainty and dread that built up before every combat drop. That was the worst part about a combat jump, the waiting before hand always felt ten times longer a wait than it really was. And the mind hand all that time to wander. It was easy for such an unoccupied mind to slip into imaginings of death and catastrophic injury.
Even if she refused to show the signs, her brain was still acutely aware that she was about to willingly leap out of a moving aircraft, some hundred or thousands of kilometers off the ground and dive headlong towards any number of unknown dangers that could be waiting for them on the ground. To say nothing of the likely hood of being shot out of the sky during the jump by some flak shell or stray round from some heretics autogun. Her brain was also aware that this was a very, very, very, very stupid thing for any human to willingly do. And yet somehow there were entire regiments worth of people just that stupid. And she was one of them.
Gripping the over hand rail tighter she fought to regain control of her thoughts. Better to clear the mind and think of nothing than continue down that thought path.