Letters of a Corpsman: Fate and Cold Death
Posted By: (ENS) Rabid_Gallagher<email@example.com>
Date: 23 January 2009, 5:56 am
Hello. My name is Randall Farrior, Retired Colonel for the United Nations Space Command Marine Corps. I served with the man who you talked about in your last article, ‘A Man with Honor: The Story of Lieutenant John Lancaster’. My response to it was very good, you had all of the details good and you had his character right smacked down.
However, why I’m writing is not about Johnny, but about my deceased wife, Sergeant Major Michelle Farrior.
Michelle served with the 501st ODST division, a medivac Pelican Crew Chief who saved lives each time she went out on the battlefield. She originally wrote letters to me when I was serving as an Intelligence Analyst at the Marine Intelligence Bureau on Epsilon Alphanus, and I cherished each one of them. However, I began to worry when she was often pulled to act as a platoon’s medic for any particular mission.
This is one letter I received from her, detailing her time on Earth before the Ark Event.
I just hope that you understand why I’m re-writing this letter for your magazine.
Randall Farrior, UNSCM Retired
The snow is terrible. Each time our units try to make head-way against the fortified Covenant positions, we continually are pushed back each time. But it isn’t always the aliens that do so; We had to retreat at one point from the weather, moving back to the foxhole line because some of the men were losing the ability to use limbs again. A man by the name of ‘Steven’ told me that he couldn’t feel his foot, and when I and Corpsman Jacobs managed to treat him, we were horrified.
The man told us that he had not taken his boots off since he arrived in combat here. That was three days, and he told us ‘he loved his socks’. We took off his boots, and then I tried to unpeel the socks off of his feet, but I stopped immediately when he screamed. The skin cooked under his socks, so I got a stretcher and we took him to the rear. The doctor in charge told us that in three years he’d be back in duty due to the skin having to re-apply itself.
I don’t know, that sounded like horse-crap to me. I’ve seen worse injuries come back one hundred percent, but it shows how easily this war is taxing us. I’m tired, not only of the war but all of the dead.
I saw a man today I haven’t seen in a year. I saw him on Valasis II, where I tried to heal Sergeant Halloway. Lieutenant Jacob Riley, at the time, was a man who was the embodiment of the Corps. He was headstrong, polite, but he could be serious when the challenge demanded it. He was funny, and charming, but he was too chivalrous to engage in activities that were below his rank.
Today, I saw him commanding a platoon near the border of the combat. He was haggard, slumped at the shoulders, tired. He was commanding, definitely, but that charm was gone. It was a bloodlust. Something that only developed through tireless combat. He had the air that he could kill a man just for disobeying an order on the grounds of moral conflict, something that normal soldiers do. When I talked to him for a minute, he was cold, distant, nothing like the man I knew before.
This war is more brutal in the fact that it hasn’t taken so many lives as it had so many innocent souls.
At least you’re still my shining hope, Randy. Nothing more keeps me warm and sane by thinking of you in this cold, dark weather here in Alaska, and I still long for you simple yet elegant touch. You always had a way of calming me and keeping me grounded when I needed to be.
Our love, it seems, grows more than the refugees from this damn war.
Today, I saw an Alaskan Native walking through the forest, leading Jacob’s men to a wounded man who was by himself. I was sent along with Lieutenant Riley, and I could tell how harder he was. He wasn’t comfortable with being soft, not anymore. He was giving out hand signals, never talking once trying to get to him. Each step was forced silent for me, but Riley developed SFS.
Special Forces Syndrome. You know how that affects people.
He was quiet already, but his feet seemed not to even touch the ground, moving extremely quiet, keeping even time with the rest of his men, all of them struggling to keep up with the naturally quiet Native leading us to the wounded Marine, one Gunnery Sergeant Thompson.
He was screaming, and losing a lot of blood, as me and Tara could tell. His screams were not ones of guilty reasons or pain, but he was doing his duty; He was screaming the amount of troops he thought the Covenant had nearby.
Riley wasn’t a fool, he knew that area was a booby trap, and he warned Tara and me not to go, but I didn’t listen to him, Randy. I have a duty as well, and his duty was to protect him. My duty is to help those who need it, and protect them.
But I should have listened. I’m as guilty as the Covenant.
When I ran out, a Jackal tried to snipe me, but he missed. I don’t know why the Covenant thinks they’re sharp shots; this alien took almost three shots before he was even close to hitting me. Corpsman Gardner followed me, holding her pack of supplies, and Riley and his platoon opened up on the treeline. It was a symphony of gunfire and plasma, bullets penetrating the trees and erupting the Covenant sappers who were nearby. Two Brutes decided to jump nearby, and a pack followed, with Covenant support troops.
I was lucky, I think. Gunny Thompson was behind a natural barricade of logs, and the way he was lying on the ground he was covered to a degree. This, too, allowed us to be under cover as well as myself and Corpsman Gardner treated him.
Riley’s men were getting killed, but my priority was this man.
It was his leg; we needed to seal the wound up and get him to a medical station where they could transfuse blood, but the rate of him losing it meant we didn’t have much time. The wound couldn’t be dressed properly, not with the conditions around me. In a flash, I looked at the Gunny, and I said two words to him to prepare him for what I had to do.
“Forgive me.” I said, and then I took a lighter.
I don’t want to describe what I had to do to cauterize the wound.
But he didn’t give in. He winced, grinded his teeth, moaned very loudly, but he never screamed. Riley’s platoon Sergeant grabbed him and threw him over his shoulder, and he ran out of the area with him over his shoulders, the Gunny firing pot shots with his pistol, but they were blind and wild. He was in too much pain to make clear shots, and I was praying he wouldn’t cause a friendly fire accident. Gardner was pulling a nameless Private out of the area, wounded by a stomach wound. Riley and his men pulled us out, but they remained to sanitize the area.
Riley, later in the evening, came up to me and told me how stupid I was. I was the reason three Privates and a Corporal didn’t make it through the engagement. I told him that it was my duty, but he didn’t listen.
He changed too much to care anymore.
Gunny Thompson, unknown to me at the time, had internal bleeding, and it was a good thing we saved him in time.
I need to stop writing. I can’t see the pad anymore through my tears.
I love you, Randy, but I need you to hold me again. Please.
Your love forever, termina ex cadre;