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UNSC Chronicles: Soldier Girl, Book 1, Chapter 1
Posted By: Adam Stark<Xvash2@sbcglobal.net>
Date: 7 November 2007, 4:09 am

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Chapter 1: Happy Birthday

She watched the clock closely as it ticked, tocked, ticked towards midnight. August the twenty-fourth was coming to a close. It was soon to be August the twenty-fifth, her birthday. The door to her home in Anchorage, Alaska, Earth, was still undisturbed, even though her father was supposed to be home hours ago. She sighed, he had promised that he would be home, but deep inside she knew he wouldn't make it back for another five, maybe six hours. It was typical of UNSC marines getting back from their Outer Colony posts. She hadn't seen him in over a year, since before her seventeenth birthday. Her mother walked into the room, dressed in a nightgown.

"Go to bed, honey. He'll be here in the morning." Melissa took notice of her mother, but did not like the words she had to say.

"He promised, mother. He promised he would be back by midnight."

"I know, sweetie, but sometimes this happens. Just go."

"Ugh, fine. I'll see you in the morning." She got up and left her chair that faced the door, passing her mother and entering her bedroom.

"Ok, good night."

"Night!" she shouted, as she was in her bed. Her mother shut off the lights in living room and went back into her own bedroom. Melissa turned off the lights in her room and drifted to sleep quickly; she had already been rather tired. She dreamt that night, but it was cloudy, she had little understanding of it.

The door was disturbed later that night, a man crept in through the door, the temporary silent alarm being triggered before he turned it off and rearmed it after closing the door. He carried in his left hand a plastic bag, and set it down on the server table in the foyer. He extracted a medium-sized box from the bag and proceeded down the hall to the bedroom of his daughter. The door was just barely ajar, so he easily pushed it open with a finger, the normally squeaky hinges remaining silent this night. The box was wrapped in a shiny foil wrapping paper, with ribbon tied around it. He placed it on the foot of her bed as she slept, before kissing her on the forehead and leaving, going to his own bed.

She shuffled late into the night, and was awakened suddenly as something heavy fell off of her bed and collided with a few things on the floor before coming to a rest on the carpet. She sat up, rubbing her eyes, before flicking on a bedside light. She looked around to see what the clatter was, and spotted the wrapped box lying on the ground. She moved over to the foot on the bed and reach down, picking up the box, which was oddly heavy. However, a present's a present, and she quickly tore through the wrapping to see what it was. But as she gazed upon the front, she stopped.

"For UNSC-Personnel Issue Only," it read in the top left corner, "WST Manufacturing" was printed in the top right. In the center, was printed "M/7 Caseless Submachine-gun." She couldn't believe what it was, this gift, was, unexpected. She snapped back to it and quickly removed the lid of the package, running her eyes over the black curves of the beautiful weapon. Her right hand delved into the box and grabbed the firearm by the pistol grip. It was pretty easy for her to lift. She then realized what this was truly about.
She had made her father, her family a promise. It was a tradition in their family, since the eighteenth century. The eldest son would serve in the armed forces. But after three tries, they had only daughters, and so, being the caring elder sister, she elected to serve in combat, to make sure her sisters would not have to. And now she knew her father was going to keep her to that. It would be her destiny.
She placed the gun back down in the box and closed it up. She set it on the nightstand and clicked off the light, trying to fall back asleep.
She woke the next morning, not by her own accord, but the person singing "Happy Birthday" to her as he walked in. It was her father, once more. She smiled, her eyes fluttering. She rose and jumped out of the bed, running over to hug her father, who had been gone for the longest of times. Her mother, unnoticed, watch from the hallway, as the two conversed. He brought up the M/7, and the service, fighting the Covenant, and Melissa listened. She made it her duty to listen. But just for this day, she wouldn't have to refer to her father as "Sir". She sat in bed, watching the news, and what colonies had fallen in the past weeks. Her father had left, and returned with a tray. Coming from the kitchen, he had brought her breakfast in bed. He hardly ever did it, if he had ever did, but he treated her like the daughter of a king, not the daughter of a military man. She ate, and enjoyed. It would be a good birthday.