They handed me the mission papers and waved me along, just another cog in the machine. My eyes scanned over the papers for a moment before they went into the briefcase. A standard mission on a boring planet. Continuing along the line, I watched for my container, then boarded and waited for the transport to pick me up.

While I waiting I pulled out the mission papers and gave them a more thorough look. The planet was inhabited, no native sentients to worry about, just the normal colonists. Observe. That was the basis for the mission. Should be simple enough.

I felt the container shudder as it was picked up and finished strapping myself in. Moments later the feeling of weightlessness had me tugging at the straps. Glancing around at the container, I realized with a panic that my meds weren’t around! How was I supposed to survive the jump while I was conscious? Then the world blacked out.

I swam to consciousness, hanging against the straps of my harness. The world blurred for a moment before suddenly snapping into focus. The container was on its side. My briefcase lay open on the opposing wall, my supplies dislodged. Fortunately it seemed that none of them had smashed into during the drop.

Unbuckling from my harness, I managed a somewhat controlled fall that only added a pair of bruises to the ones I would no doubt find later. I gather up my supplies, my mission papers, my briefcase, formed them into something resembling a pile, then made my way to the door of the container.

The door to the container snapped open, bright light burning into my eyes before I should shade them. Staggering into the harsh, daytime air, I noticed my container was already surrounded by curious colonists.

So much for quietly observing.

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