Another instalment in LJ Goulding’s growing body of Scythes of the Emperor stories, Terminal Velocity is a micro-short story that tells an unusual tale. Told from the first person perspective of an unnamed Scythe, it’s a dizzying depiction of a Space Marine’s absolute dedication as our nameless protagonist survives the destruction of his transport ship only to freefall from fourteen thousand metres. To say too much more would spoil the fun, but suffice to say his options are limited, without a functioning jump pack or any way of calling for support from his embattled brothers.
In hindsight it’s a wonder nobody’s thought to ask before about what happens to a Marine when his aerial transport is hit, but now we know. More happens than you might expect while our narrator drops, punctuated by his strangely insulated perception of falling, and the ever-decreasing altimeter readings. It’s a trademark Goulding story, looking at something from an odd angle and making it work, and even in such a very short story he throws in plenty of juicy little morsels – like the idea of Marines having ‘correct procedures’ for this sort of thing. It really is short and sweet, but it’s bleakly entertaining nonetheless.