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Worth Fighting For; CH 2: Enlistment
Posted By: DevilsInjector<mj-power@hotmail.com>
Date: 15 December 2008, 12:11 am

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1140, November 13, 2545
UNSC Enlistment Office, Chicago portion of The Zone,
Planet Earth

      Arther opened his door and stepped out of the car. The first thing he noticed about the office was the lack of people there. He'd thought that there would be more, he was wrong. The moral level of the public has been dropping since the Harvest incident, and the lack of successful space conflicts, has led the population to believe that they are in fact losing this war. Well they are, they just don't know it yet. The Covenant are slowly, but surely making their way to Earth. The only thing that's stopping them is the Spartans.
      Arther pushed on the door to the enlistment office, and stepped inside. "Hi Steve, I didn't know you were working today." said Arther as he sat down at the desk. Steve shuffled some papers and gave him a worried look. "What brings you here Arther?"

"I'm signing up, I want something more."
"The only thing that your going to get here that's more; is your ass blown off."
"Your obsessed with some getting their ass blown off."
"Only because it happened to my granddaddy."
"Well, I don't care, just sign me up."

      Steve pushed the sheet of paper across the table, and gave Arther a pen. "I'll just get you your enlistment pay." Arther glanced up from the paper, "What pay?" Steve walked out from the back room with a checkbook, and wrote something on it. He slid it across the table, and Arther picked it up.
      $5500, Arther was shocked. He was currently working minimum wage, and this would really help get that ring. Arther signed the paper, and gave it back. Steve muttered something about a quota and put it in a file folder.       "Congrats Arther, you leave in one day, we got a shuttle coming in tomorrow. Ten o'clock sharp." Arther hesitated. He'd been expecting more time. Oh well, he thought, I only need to say goodbye to one person. He shook Steve's hand and walked out.
      He saw a jewelry store about 50 yards down the street, so he'd stop in on the way by. He started the car and pulled up to it.

      Arther knocked on the door, with no answer. He'd use the spare key. He fumbled with his keys and finally found the right one. He slowly opened the door, and eased inside. He heard the water running. Must be in the shower. So he sat down and waited. A half hour passed, and Arther got nervous. Ten more minutes and I'll check on her. Ten minutes passed, and he opened the door to the bathroom.
      There was blood everywhere. He picked her up, and saw them. The cuts. He'd cursed himself for not noticing it in the car. The sudden calm then the gentle goodbye. He started to cry. He ran to the phone and called the ambulance.
      They were there in minutes. They took her away from him, he hadn't moved from her since he'd called. He was right when he thought it. I'll never see her again. He threw the ring out in the trash, and left.

      Arther stumbled along the sidewalk, drunk. He bumped into a man, who swore as he walked away. Arther flipped him off, and kept going. Arther turned to see what the sudden commotion was. The teens were back, and they were harassing the man again.
      Arther grabbed a piece of broken concrete and rammed Rings in the back; he lunged sideways and cracked Knifes in the stomach, and pointed at Knuckles.
      "If I fuckin' see you around here again, I swear to god I'll kill you!" The teens picked themselves up, and ran off. Arther walked over to the homeless man. "That's two times son, I think I owe you something more than a thank you." Arther shook his head, and motioned for the man to follow.
      Arther lead him up the stairs to The Dead End, and walked inside. "Steve, I got a change of clothes in the back, give them to buddy here." Arther handed the rest of the money from the check to the homeless man. "There's a cot in the back," Arther said, "Steve will let you use it." Steve walked out and handed the clothes over, then whispered to Arther as the man went to the washroom, "Who's he?"

"I see him everyday, and I've helped him twice, give him my job and a place to live."
"Why should I?"
"Because it's the decent thing to do."

      Steve walked off muttering, but overly accepting the fact that he'd need a new bartender. The homeless man walked out and shook Arther's hand. "Thanks son." Arther nodded and turned to leave. "The names Frank by the way," he said as Arther walked away.
      On the way out the door, he heard Steve say something to the man about a job. The wind had picked up, and it had started to snow. Arther started to walk slowly up the street, and watched the cars go by, thinking of the last thing he said to her; "You're the only purpose right now." He was glad he'd said something nice, was glad he'd gotten to say goodbye.

      The doors to the shuttle opened and Arther, along with 17 other recruits, stepped inside. Once they were all strapped in, the shuttle took off. A voice crackled over the speakers, "Hang on folks, this might get bumpy." The voice sounded cool, like a surfer. The shuttle broke atmosphere and picked up speed. "We'll be on board "Reach to the Stars" in about 20 minutes folks."
      A man was already up, floating in zero gee. He floated over to Arther. "Hi, my names Charles, but you can call me Charlie." Arther reached up and shook his hand. "Nice to meet you Charlie, the names Arther." He looked older than Arther, maybe 27, with a goatee and short shaved hair. He had bright green eyes, and when he smiled, his cheeks puffed a little. Arther could get to like him. "So why'd you sign up Arther?"

"I wanted more out of life, this seemed like the place."
Charlie laughed, "That's a pretty good reason!"
"So what about you?"
"They said it was either this or three years."
"What for?"
"They said I held up a jewelry store, which I didn't."
"Why three years then?"
"Because my lawyers an asshole, said I pleaded guilty when he didn't even ask me, I think he might have been paid to do it."
"Sucks to be you."

      Charlie laughed again; he had a friendly laugh, "Damn straight brother!" Across the cabin, Arther locked eyes with a woman. She has nice eyes. They were hazel, with a bit of blue splashed in. He unbuckled himself and floated over. "Hi, I'm Arther," he held out his hand. She looked at him, sized him up. "The names Ashley, nice to meet you." She sounded very proper, and had a sort of natural beauty to her; she reminded Arther of Meredith. He tried to strike up a conversation, "So why'd you sign up?"

"Seemed like a good idea at the time."
"What about now that you're going?"
"The fact that there's two woman on this shuttle, and the rest are men, not to good."
"I see…"
"Don't take it personally, I just thought there would be more women in service."

      Arther turned to float away, "There's probably more, just not here." He floated back to his seat, and strapped in. Charlie was already getting excited, while most of the recruits onboard looked nervous. Sure, Arther had been off planet before, but not for this. He wondered where they were going to be trained at; if it would be hard, and most of all, if he could make it. He didn't want to wash out.
He glanced in Ashley's direction, and noticed her looking at him; he blushed a little and turned away. He looked back and she smiled, he smiled back. Hey, this might not be that bad.