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A Marine's Story Part 2

"The Captain Says What...?"

10 months earlier...

If there was one thing about joining the marines that didn’t appeal to him, it was them shaving off his hair. He loved his long brown hair and didn’t like the idea of growing it out for so many years and now having it all shaved off. It stopped just below his light blue eyes which was good because if anyone was giving a boring lecture he just fall asleep and no one would notice a thing. That was over now. School was over now. He was a citizen of the Terran Dominion and planned on defending the thing that had defended him growing up.

At least the machine that did this mundane task was a painless one. It kind of vaped the hair off his head. It was kind of cool but Joe still didn’t like it. When he sat down it moved over his head and a warm sensation filled his skull. “Alright done. Get outta here!” The operator yelled grumpily. He did as he was told and moved into the sun. Jon Rulli, his best friend since the first grade, was waiting for him. He used to have long, curly black hair, longer than Joe‘s. He could stretch it past his brown eyes and put it into his mouth. Jon was about an inch or two taller than Joe, who was six foot one. “What took you so long?” He asked with a smile on his face. “Shut up.” Joe replied. “I can’t believe you talked me into this.” Jon said. “I could be doing something better with my life.” “Like what”, Joe asked with a laugh, “ You almost flunked out of school. What would you have done that was better than this?” “Well…I…could’ve…. You know.”, Jon said, seeing the smile on Joe’s face ended with, “Never mind. Where do we go now?” “Our barracks I guess.” Joe replied. On there way there Joe remembered the screening before the “hair cut” and asked Jon, “Do you know what you got on the screening?” “What screening?” “The screening they put us through before the hair cut.” Joe explained. “That was a screening?” “Yes.” Joe sighed. “Oh, I knew the thing the lady said didn’t make sense.” “What did she say?” “She said that she never met anyone before me with lower brain activity than me.” This little bit of information didn’t surprise Joe. From what Joe understood, the screening that he, Jon, and all other recruits went through tested their physic ability. It was to see if any of them were good enough to become the most lethal agents in the Terran military: Ghosts’. “Why? What did she tell you?” Jon asked, struggling under the weight of his heavy pack. “She said I had normal brain power but nothing to get excited about.” “Hmm, bummer.” “Not really. I’d rather know that there’s someone behind me. You know, to help me out. Ghosts’ always act alone.”

Joe lead the way to the barracks. It was a kind of cube on six legs. Why they couldn’t have just built it on the ground Joe couldn’t figure out. They walked up the ramp and found two cots that were open and started unpacking. “ Joe? Joe Tarn?” came a voice from behind. Joe turned around and saw a bald headed, tan guy about six foot with blue eyes and a higher than normal voice. “Yeah” Joe stared, “Who are yo-”he broke off. He remembered, “Brent? Brent Hoffman?” “Yeah. Good to see you here. Hey Jon.” He added seeing Jon. “Hey,” Jon replied getting up, “what are you doing here?” “Basic duh” Brent replied. Brent was an old school friend of Joe and Jon. More so Joe than Jon. “So what are you guys gonna do?” “We’re going into infantry after this. Kill some Zerg up close.” Joe said. “Yeah, kick some alien ass, literally!” Jon replied, “Hard core! And you?” “I’ll be becoming a pilot.” Brent said. “Pilot?” Joe said raising his eyebrows, “You’re gonna have to be good. What are you gonna fly?” “One of those CF/A-17G Wraith fighters. It’s gonna be good.” Brent replied. “Those are sweet.” Jon said, “Do you know what we do now?” seeing the room fill up. “Wait for out C.O. I think.” Brent said looking around. “I hope he’s not a hard ass.” Joe said. “He’s not.” came a soft voice from behind them, “But he’ll get mad if you can’t do what he asks.” They all turned to see a very hot girl with long blonde hair that went to her shoulders. She had green eyes and a nice form. She was maybe five four, five five. “Who are you and why are you listing to us?” Brent demanded. “I just thought you’d like to know, and my name is Tiffany.” she replied in a Fro Saraen voice. “You know him?” Jon asked. “Yeah, he’s a friend of the family.” Tiffany shrugged. “What are you here for?” Joe asked. “I’m going to become a marine!” she responded with enthusiasm. They all looked at her for a while until Joe said, “Why hasn’t your head been shaved?” “Because I’m a girl and girls don’t have to get there heads shaved unless they want too.” Tiffany said. It was true. Joe looked around and saw five full heads of hair that all belonged to females. “Well that sucks” Joe complained, “They don’t have to shave their heads but we do? That’s gay.” “It’s not a matter of what’s gay or not it’s that you have to do it. Fallowing orders is what a good soldier does.” Tiffany said as a matter-of-factly. “Sounds like you were brought up by a military family.” Brent finally said after a tense moment of silence. “Yeah my grandfather and father were both in service during the Korhal Wars. My grandfather was a talented general who fought for the Confederacy and for Mengsk.” Tiffany explained. “Who was he?” Joe asked. “General Edmund Duke.” she said. Just then the door opened and then came a yell, “ATTENTION!”. Everyone ran to their bunks and stood at attention. A tall white man, in his mid thirties, with long extremely long and equally curly black hair walked into the room. “Hello scum bags, you, unlike many other citizens of this Dominion, have chosen to join the great marine core. Since you have volunteered you will not have to go through our social reconditioning.” he said, walking around, “And it is my job to train you in the ways of a marine and my way is hard. I am Captain Drake Pitynski, you will refer to me as sir. When you address an officer the first and last words out of your mouth will be ‘Sir’. Do you understand?” “Sir, yes sir”, Rang across the room. “Good. These are desperate times for the Dominion and we need marines. We don’t need any pussies who when they hear a gun shot flinch. When need hard core killing machines. Do you understand?” “Sir, yes sir.”, rang across the hall again. “Good. Now I want to make one thing clear. If there is one thing that I can’t stand it’s discrimination. So I’m making you all one color. You are no longer black, white, yellow, brown, or blue. You are now green. A color that you will soon love. I have only eight short months to train you into the fiercest killing machines alive. Any questions?” At first the room was completely silent then someone said, “Sir isn‘t there a faster way to train marines?” “Ahh, excellent question. In short, yes, there is a way to train marines that only takes an hour. But it is very painful and lacks many of the qualities that you earn from just regular hard core training. Besides, I’m not a big fan of the method. It’s main purpose is to train civilians into marines to help in attacks and it does it’s job well but I like to say ‘good things take time’. So the first two months are a learning period. You will learn the ways of the marines and their history. Next two months we will be teaching to fire weapons. All kinds of weapons too. The last four months will be devoted to teaching you special talents which you will elect from. It’s getting late so we’ll do a lap around the base for starters. Get into lines of four and we’ll start.”

They did as they were told. To Joe’s right was Brent and to his left were Jon and someone he didn’t know. Tiffany was right in front of Jon. “Lets move dirt bags.” Captain Drake was at the front and stared running the rest fallowed suit. It was about one mile from start to finish around the four corners of the base. Surprisingly everyone kept a pretty even pace and no one straggled behind. When they got back no one seemed tired but all went to sit at their bunks. Captain Drake walked into the room and said, “Well since none of you seem too tired I guess another lap will do. Now!” Everyone got up and hurried outside and got back into there ranks and went for another lap.

Everyone was a bit more tired when they got back luckily the captain let them rest for a while before calling them to attention again. “You will be with me for eight months. I hope I will get to know a little before we part. I will be leading marines into battle against the Zerg. If you have other interests other than coming with me you will be told at the end of the eight months. Well until then I bid you good night.” And with that he turned heel and left us in the dark.

The next morning captain Drake woke us up early and had us run five laps around the base complex. When we finished he brought us over to what looked like a playground. “This is an obstacle course ladies” he said, “you will make it threw, in a reasonable time, and wait for everyone to finish. Do you understand?”, “Sir, yes sir.”, rang across the field. “Good. Alright. Form a line, two in a row.”, he commanded. Joe and Jon found spots in the third row and Brent was in the row in behind them. “Alright, Demaria, Patterson GO!” Drake shouted. The first two guys in line took off. They cleared an obstacle hurdle and climbed up the wall to reach the top and then- “ Johnson, Debanardo GO!” Drake shouted. The next two guys ran forward and cleared the hurdle. Joe lost sight of Patterson and Demaria they must have jumped off the top of the obstacle. “Rulli, Tarn GO!” Drake Shouted. Joe ran forward with Jon at his side. He cleared the first hurdle and stared climbing the wall. He reached the top before Jon and saw the rope. He grabbed it and started to slide. It burned his hands and he let go prematurely and fell in to mud. Joe quickly got up and raced for the next obstacle it was another wall but it was made out of boards with spaces every board. He went up about the first few and looked up. Jon was half way up the wall and Joe climbed faster to catch up. They meet at the top, flipped over it and started climbing down. His muscles were starting to ache.

He jumped down the last few landing on his feet he raced toward a ramp which ended at a pit of mud. There were cables like monkey bars over the mud and Joe grabbed the first ones and started swinging. His arms were feeling weak and he would have liked to let go but he didn’t know the consequences of falling so he kept going. There was only one more obstacle. He could see the first four guys ahead hands on there knees, panting. One more hurdle and he was finished. He sprinted. His lungs and legs were screaming they wanted to stop but Joe didn’t. Joe leapt a lot higher than he needed to clear the hurdle and tripped a little as he landed. He was done.

Jon was close behind him and he looked like he was going to be sick. Joe gave him a weak smile and Jon returned it. “Damn dude you did that fast.”, Came a high pitched voice behind Joe. Putting his hands behind his head he turned around. A short five three guy with freckles and what would have been red hair was looking at Joe. “Me?”, Joe panted. “Yeah bro-ha you finished that in like a minute or two you were on top of the wall when we finished.” He replied, “Michael Patterson.” sticking out his hand. Joe shook it and said, “Thanks, Joe Tarn. This is my friend Jon Rulli.” Indicating Jon. “Hey.” Jon said waving. “Charmed.” Patterson said with a nod. “This is Joey Demaria.” He said stepping aside to show a six foot even man with what would have been black hair and brown eyes. “The captain will definitely say something to you about your run.”, he said. “Joe here has a bro in the fleet. A commodore on one of those Battlecruisers.” Patterson said. “Said if we ever need transport anywhere he’ll fly us there.” “Cool.” Was the only thing Joe could think to say. Brent was coming over the last hurdle looking sick as well and covered head to toe in mud. He bent down for a minute or two and stood up putting his hands behind his head. “ I feel off the monkey bars” he said with a laugh, “I ate some mud too.” “Gross.” Patterson cried. Joe introduced Brent to Mike and Joey. Neither of them shook his hands considering Brent’s were caked in mud. They all waited a while talking about what there plans were. Joey wanted to serve with his brother and Mike wanted to go infantry like Joe and Jon. When the last two finished(Tiffany and some small puny looking kid) captain Drake came to talk to them. “Not bad, not bad” he said, “ we have room for improvement but our third and last group finished the fastest. Joe having finished the fastest of you all is in my good graces along with the rest of you I mentioned. Alright lets do some laps and you can end your day.” They ran ten laps around the complex because most of the recruits were too tired to do anything much less run. When they came back all went to there bunks and tried to sleep. “Don’t fall asleep” Drakes voice came, “ I want you all at dinner none of you ate anything all day and I want my recruits looking healthy. Joe, Tiffany, Jon come with me a moment.” Concealing a groan Joe, Jon and Tiffany fallowed captain Drake out of the room and along the hall.

He lead them to a room marked ‘Captain Drake Patinski’. “ I know they spelled my name wrong.” Drake said, “So…enjoying your fist day?” “Ya” Jon said. “Oh yes.” Tiffany replied. Joe, having noticed their mistake, said, “Sir, yes sir.” Drake smiled and said, “Good I was testing you too see if you remembered. Obviously Jon and Tiffany didn’t. Good Joe.” Joe felt his face growing hot and smiled. He never got much praise from anyone but Jon. “Anyway,” Drake continued, “We’ll be taking it easy tomorrow so don’t get disappointed. I know you want to run that course again.” They all gave a little laugh. “I am making you three the commanding officers of your class and promoting you all to privates. That alright?” “Sir, yes sir.” They said in unison. “Good. You’ll be leading them trough exercises unless I say otherwise. I’ll assign your squads in the morning. Ok that’s all I needed so unless you have any questions you can go.” He turned his chair to his computer and began typing. Joe turned around, opened the door, and walked out. The next morning, as they were promised, captain Drake assigned them there squads. In Jon’s squad he had Mike, Joe had Brent and Joey, and Tiffany had no one that Joe knew but she was smiling and winking at a few people in her squad. The next two months went slowly. They ran and drilled and took tests and study the history of the marine core. But all of them were some what more happy when they got issued there weapons. They all stood in three rows and waited for captain Drake to arrive.

When he did he ran them to a supply depot, picking up a rifle he said, “Based on your test scores we have decided what weapons would fit you best. I will model them and show you how to clean them so pay attention. The 8 millimeter C-14 “Impaler” Gauss rifle with standard fragment grenade launcher. Carries a 150 round drum. It has three modes of fire. Single shot, three burst round, and fully automatic. If you put on the last setting be sure not to hold down the trigger very long it‘ll overheat and that won‘t be good. If that does happen the gun it will shut down automatically to cool off. This weapon needs a power supply to operate. You‘ll get it by plugging it into your suits power supply.” He held a very cool looking black gun that was about three feet long and fired it. “The plasma-based Perdition Flame Throwers.” putting down the Gauss Rifle and picking up a large tank and put two nozzles on his hands. “ I’m not going to fire this weapon because I would lose my hands to the heat. You always wear your armor when you fire this weapon unless you want to whined up in a world of pain.” Putting that one down he pickup up a three and a half foot long rifle and said, “The 25 millimeter C-10 Canister Rifle has a ten round clip and is a bolt action rifle. It can also fire napalm canisters and frag grenades.” Firing the weapon, cocking it, and laying it back down. He then picked up a short two and a half foot long tubular weapon. “The Hellfire anti-tank-air-and large creature rocket. I won’t show this one either because we’re not on its designated firing range.” he said putting that down and picking up a pistol. “ The colt. 95 pistol. It carries a 12 round clip and is a semi-automatic weapon. It is standard issue to all marines.” putting that down he picked up a two and a half foot long single barrel shotgun. “The S-11G Wide Spread Combat Shotgun. Carries 12 shells and is lethal to anything within 15 feet so be careful when you fire it.” He finished and put the last one down. “You may learn to use all of these weapons and more in a few months if you choose so. We’ll start with our squad leaders shall we. When I call your name come up here and take the weapon that I say. Jon Rulli.”

Jon walked up. “ Gauss Rifle” Drake said. He took it and returned to where he was first standing. “Tiffany Duke. C-10 Canister Rifle.” She Walked up and picked up her rifle and returned to where she was standing. “Joe Tarn. Gauss Rifle.” Joe walked up and picked it up. He never felt anything like it. He had held a gun before but nothing like this. It felt like a part of him. Holding it tight at the handle he walked off back to where he was standing. It was a lot lighter than it looked. Captain Drake continued to call names but Joe wasn’t listening. He was feeling every nook and cranny of his new weapon. It felt like an extension of his body. Finally Drake finished and Joe looked around. Everyone had either a Gauss Rifle, a C-10, or a shotgun. “Now if fallow me back to the barracks I’ll show you how to clean each of you weapons.”

The next day they were all out on the firing range. A few men left to go to the flame thrower or rocket firing ranges but the majority of them stayed and shot there targets. The targets varied in distance, at 100 yards, 200 yards, 250, and 300. Joe was next to Jon and Tiffany. She was a surprisingly good shot for a girl. Jon on the other hand wasn’t. He had shot a lot of rounds, few of which even hit the target much less the killing zones. Joe had put most of his rounds threw the head, legs and torso of his targets. “Remember single shot only. We don’t put it on automatic until I think your ready. I’m coming around now to score you on your results. If you don’t score high enough you’ll be coming for a “little” run with me.” Drake said. “Shit.” Jon said, “I’ll be out till midnight running.” Joe didn’t want his best friend to be running until he collapsed, so with the remaining bullets in his rifle he took aim and unloaded the rest of his rounds on Jon’s targets. He sent 24 of his rounds threw its heads and 31 threw its hearts. Jon laid there mouth hanging open until Drake came by and said, “Hmm nice shooting Jon didn’t know you had it in you. Good Joe I expected no less and you too Tiffany.” He walked down the rest of the line. “Nice,” came Tiffany’s voice. Joe’s heart sank. “You won’t tell him anything would you?” He asked her, raiseing an eyebrow. “No”, she replied, “of course not, but I would request to Jon that he gets his shooting up. You won’t be there to cover his ass all the time.” “Yeah, thanks.” Jon said. They were all heading in when Joe heard, “Joe walk with me.” It was Drake. “Yes sir.” Joe replied. He led them along the firing range. “I’m starting to take a liking to you Joe. You’re in good shape, you’re a good leader, and you’re an excellent shot.” Drake explained. “Thank you, sir.”, Joe said. “I’d like you to come to my other training courses with me when the time comes.” Drake continued, “I’ll be teaching tank and walker driving skills, advanced weapons, recon training, and tank and large creature killing. Ok?” “Sir, yes sir.” Joe said. “Good.” Drake said with a smile, “It’s up to you, you don’t have to I just think that you’d benefit greatly form my courses. Alright I hope to see you there, I got to go lead the failures.” he started running off. Joe started think about what would happen if he chose those options. Learning to drive and kill tanks and walkers would be a real rush. Learning about different weapons would mean he was that much more deadly on the battle field. Though the only one he seemed to have a problem with was recon. If he took this it would mean him and four or five other guys would go ahead and look for the things that were trying to kill him.

“Hey, Joe, I almost forgot to ask you something,”, Drake was running up to Joe. “Yeah, what is it sir?”, Joe asked “I hope you can show Jon the ropes of shooting, and from now on keep your sights on your own targets.” And with that, he ran off.

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