The solitary window of the escape pod did not offer any comfort. Instead, he looked out to watch the remnants of the fleet try desperately to stop the onslaught of the crab-like ships that cracked open armoured hulls like a chef would crack an eggshell. Great bursts of flame could be seen clearly, even as the pod raced away at great speed from the battle, and he knew those flames were the deathknell of his comrades.
He felt a pang of guilt. There he was, fleeing to safety whilst his friends and colleagues burned. Mighty warships broke apart in several pieces; some vapourised as their power sources detonated. All the while, his little pod got further and further away.
A low-pitched beeping noise alerted him to the small computer display. The pod was about to enter earth’s atmosphere, and the ride would get distinctly bumpy. He braced himself for it, but was still nearly bounced out of his seat when the pod finally made contact with the air. From the window, he could see the lick of fire, a display brought on by unbelievable friction. Down the pod fell, and only the heavyset straps held him in place, though they were constricting so hard he thought his chest might cave in.
It was impossible not to cry out, but it was as much in anguish as it was pain. He would return to earth, only to be patched up and sent right back up to fight again – assuming there would be any ships left to fight. If not, he’d be pressed into frontline service with the ground troops, as they resisted invasion one final time. Either way, his lifespan could probably be measured in days.
The screen told him he was now well and truly on approach to land, and the parachutes automatically deployed, quickly arresting the pod’s momentum and snapping it apparently upwards so hard it made him bite into his lower lip. He was coming into land near London, England, and as he looked out the window, he could see other escape pods on similar courses. Briefly, he wondered if the souls in those other pods were gripped by as much anger as he was. He had not joined the Navy to be a pawn in an unwinnable war.