A five-shot metalstorm-ish railgun.
Moments like this are a part of why it is good that I am a solo operating mercenary and not a rank and file merc. There are two kinds of mercenaries that you are likely to encounter on a daily basis. There is the first sort which has been around for as long as there has been war. The soldier for hire, an all around skilled warrior that was useful wherever you put him so long as you fill his wallet. However this sort of warrior wasn’t really appreciated at that time; it was more numbers than outright skill that determined the earliest battlefields. This brought the second sort of mercenary, who appeared the day that either a canny king or perhaps a clever merc of the first sort came up with the grand idea of organizing. Round up a bunch of mercs under a banner, and then sell that! They didn’t have to be the best, they just needed to have enough numbers to be worth buying. This type of mercenary dominated in the long run all the way into the pre-spaceflight age when technology finally caught up to it. Suddenly the idea of a single heavily armed, armored, and trained operative could be potentially more destructive than an army. Then the first sort of mercenary became useful again. Or at least that is the way I see it, historians may disagree.
Why does this matter? I’m not getting paid and I don’t have any of my gear, so what does it matter what sort of mercenary I am? Training. Your rank and file type two mercenary is trained to be a well oiled machine, part of a bigger unit, operating in group tactics. He is trained specifically for his role, how to be the very best with his weapon with his squad in his specific terrain. But a type one mercenary works alone and has to be above average in as many fields as possible. He needs to be flexible and dependable, that no matter where you drop him he can get the job done. So as I drop in a lifepod towards a planet that I know nothing of beyond that it is supposedly habitable. So breathable air, but what then? Is it frozen? is it scorched? Am I wandering into thick plantlife or barren wasteland? But this is a moment I have already trained for in order to be a well rounded solo merc. Emergency survival is just a part of the job when it involves a high number of situations that are likely to end in crash landings.
So which is it?
A frozen planet could be tricky. Habitable doesn’t always mean it has game to hunt, especially on frozen planets. You can hope the whole planet isn’t frozen, many planets have frozen portions somewhere. You can hope there is civilization, which isn’t always guaranteed. Generally speaking, if you are crash landing though you aren’t that far out from established trade routes, which means you’ll find one or the other. There will be people, animals, or other climates, likely more than one. Your best bet is to conserve heat as best as possible while moving until you encounter one of those three. Desert planets are the same, just conserve water instead of heat. Jungle planets are easier, but more dangerous. There you are better off staying near your crash. The challenge with lush jungle planets is that there are lots of things to eat, but just as many things which will want to eat you. Temperate forest or plains are rarely found as a whole planet climate, but as regions present on diverse planets, and they tend to be the most ideal for survival. You hope for a jungle, and if you get a frozen or desert you pray that they are just a part of a planet that has cozy temperate somewhere.
So with these thoughts I prepared myself for what might lie below as my pod shook as it began the trip down to the surface.
(Comments and notes are welcome)