The Marine, the Rebel and the Sangheili: Kilgore's Tent
Posted By: QuantumSheep<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 9 January 2009, 8:37 am
"What kind of place is this?"
Kilgore stood in the doorway of his tent, looking around with some contempt at the interior. The red-shirted director, Kyle, walked in sweating and exhausted, placing the Major's luggage in the tent with a sigh of relief. As well as that, the cameraman was still filming everything.
Corporal Walther didn't particularly care what Kilgore had to say about his accommodation, he just knew he had better things than act as a tour guide to the Major. Stepping into the tent, he failed to see what was so bad about it; after all there was a bed, a table with chairs and pretty much everything else someone needed. If he was expecting anything more than he had obviously set his expectations too high.
"What were you expecting?" The Corporal asked, frowning, "an en suite bathroom?"
Where is that?" He didn't seem to be serious in the way he said it, although he obviously didn't like his tent.
"The toilets are the wooden buildings outside, well out of the way of everybody's tents," the Corporal explained, "after all, they do smell like shit, for obvious reasons. You were lucky enough to get a tent to yourself; everybody else has to share
"You have to share because yer a shit-ass Corporal, that's why," Kilgore interrupted bluntly, turning to look at the Corporal, his usual stern, 'no-shit' expression on his face, those cold, hard eyes hidden behind the sunglasses he wore, "idiots like you don't get tents to themselves. They have to share with the rest of the idiot marines so you can watch each other get dressed in the mornings
The Corporal stood listening as Kilgore ranted on about how much of an idiot Walther was as well as the other marines at the base and how his presence here was only because of bad luck since he hadn't been planning on coming down anytime soon.
Corporal Walther glanced at the three-man camera team and then back at the Major, who had walked over to his two large suitcases and propped one open. Looking at the changes of clothes inside, all consisting of different sets of shirts and trousers, the same types he wore now, albeit in slightly different colours, he bent over and found a smaller compartment in the top half of the suitcases, unzipping it and pulling out a bottle of old whiskey. This whiskey dated back from 2490 according to the sticker on the bottle. What got the Major's attention, however, was the fact the bottle cap had come off and part of the drink had spilled inside the suitcase, leaving a large brown stain on one of Kilgore's green shirts which was much the same as the one he wore now, just lacking the desert colour.
When Kilgore saw what had happened to his beloved shirt, his expression changed to that of anger and he turned to Kyle the director and who had been the very man who had been handling the two suitcases.
"You fucking moron, Kyle!" Kilgore snapped, placing the now topless bottle of whiskey on the table to his right and picking up his ruined shirt, "do ya know how to handle a pair of fucking suitcases ya sissy? Huh?"
Kyle stood still, sweating and shaking nervously.
"Don't even bother answering my question," Kilgore said, shaking his head, his sudden outburst having seemingly ended as quickly as it had begun, "I don't have time for idiots like you. If you ever fuck up like this again, I'll be sticking that bottle of whiskey up ya ass, do yer understand?"
Kyle nodded but didn't reply verbally, preferring to stay silent.
Kilgore, satisfied with the result of his outburst, threw the ruined green shirt onto the bed and closed the suitcase, frowning with some noticeable annoyance.
A thought occurred to the Corporal, something of which he decided to ask the Major about.
"Hey, Major," the Corporal said, Kilgore looking towards him, giving him a look that communicated that he didn't have time for stupid questions, "tell me, why the hell would anybody want to make a documentary about you?"
Kilgore stood up and thought for a moment, not for too long but just long enough for him to form a credible answer, smiling as he did so.
"Because I'm so fuckin' good," he replied, sounding pleased with himself, "that's why. I got me one-hundred and seventy-two dead rebels once, all of them confirmed. And fifty-seven deer too." He raised an eyebrow, sensing some doubt in the Corporal, who obviously didn't believe a word he said. "Why? You think I'm not as good as I make out to be?"
The Corporal simply nodded, unconvinced about Kilgore's validity in the matter. Either the man was telling the truth about his impossibly high kill amount or he was an excellent liar.
"You city boys don't know shit," Kilgore replied, "ya all come out here, expecting war to be some sort of video game and then yer the ones who end up running away to hide when the shit starts happening. Have ya ever run from a fight, Corporal?"
The Corporal shook his head.
"Then maybe yer different, but that's just a maybe," Kilgore replied. God, this guy was moody, the Corporal thought, the Major seemed to have a habit of changing from some really nice guy to some extremely angry fifty-something year old.
The Corporal realized the camera was trained on him, the camera crew obviously expecting some sort of answer from him. He racked his brain for something to say, just so he didn't look like an idiot in front of it.
"So, Major, are you actually going to fly a Shortsword?" Walther asked, knowing that this probably wasn't the case, "or are you just going to walk around and tell dull anecdotes to the camera?"
Kilgore frowned when he heard the last part of the question, although he wasn't at a loss for words, he was the kind of person who always had some sort of reply.
"Dull anecdotes, huh?" Kilgore said with a smile, unfazed by the Corporal's little remark, "well, now that you mention it, I am going to tell a few anecdotes to the camera, which would allow future viewers of the documentary to relate to me better.
"Oh yeah, about the Shortsword," Kilgore continued, pausing to think over his answer for a moment, "you see, I stopped flying Shortswords a few months back. Hell, I prefer being on the ground where the real shit actually is. I leave all the flying to the rest of the squadron."
The Corporal frowned with some uncertainty, although he wasn't surprised to hear that the Major wouldn't actually be flying any Shortswords.
"So, you're just here to film a documentary about yourself?" Walther asked. Kilgore nodded with a slight grin but quickly lost it when he realized that the Corporal was still in his tent. Frowning, he nodded towards the door.
"Why the hell are ya still in here bothering me for?" He asked, sounding annoyed. The Corporal simply got his message and headed out of the tent, able to hear Kilgore going off at Kyle some more about his ruined shirt. That guy is REALLY moody, Walther thought, stepping out into the heat again, squinting in the sudden sunlight. A few marines shuffled past, talking amongst themselves. His eyes following them along, he saw a certain group of people he had been looking forward to seeing again, the group standing outside the mess hall tent, their uniforms dirty and their moods weary and in need of excitement. Being out in the desert heat for hours can get on someone's nerves.
As he approached the rest of his squad the group looked up, relieved to see a familiar face although Private Layman didn't even manage a glance at him, preferring to fiddle with that submachine gun of his, taking care of it like it was some sort of child. Hell, Layman probably couldn't look after any kid of his own, even if he tried.
"Henry, you actually came out to see us," Reynolds said, starting for the entrance into the mess hall tent. Reynolds was sweating all over, the uniform underneath his armour almost drenched in the stuff. The same went with the other squad members, all of which were in no mood for expending anymore energy.
"I would have come out sooner if I wasn't stuck with Major Kilgore," the Corporal replied, following the rest of the squad into the mess hall. As usual the place was occupied, although not crowded, with only two groups of marines sitting at separate tables, the cooks themselves nowhere in sight as they dwelled somewhere round back in the kitchen tent. Hawker was the first to sit down at a table, the rest of the squad following suit. Walther sat down next to Lawrence, who seemed to be as subdued and quiet as he normally was.
"Major Kilgore? Who's that?" Private Reynolds asked, looking towards the Corporal.
The Corporal realized that hardly anybody knew about the arrival of the Shortsword pilots and their prick of a leader Kilgore. He sighed and told them from the beginning, mentioning the arrival of the Spartan soldiers
"What are they like?" Lawrence asked, always the one with the most questions, "especially the crazy one. What's he like?"
"He doesn't like me, that's for sure," the Corporal replied, "hell, I don't like him either. The other one, the girl
" He trailed off, trying to remember what the female Spartan was like. "Well, she's definitely more likeable
But, being a genetically enhanced killing machine I doubt anybody on this base is going to be interested in her."
"Is she good looking?" Reynolds asked, having been intently scraping the dirt from underneath his fingernails. Corporal Walther merely shrugged, unsure of what to think concerning the matter.
"I don't know
It's hard to say, really
" The Corporal trailed off, he had no idea what to think of the female Spartan. She was far too young, not even twenty years old judging from her looks.
"The pair aren't even twenty," he said, "they're in their late teens; they just seem older than they are. It's what they have in them, like their enhancements
"Those enhancements are pretty much an insult to God," Hawker interjected, having been silent up until now. This comment got the attention of the rest of the squad, Hawker continuing with his point.
"He created us the way He thought we ought to be," Hawker explained, Layman rolling his eyes when he heard the religious mumbo-jumbo creep into the conversation, "in His image. And now we have people altering themselves in such a way that they're not, you know
"Human?" Reynolds suggested.
Hawker nodded in response.
"I don't think you'll be getting along with these 'Spartans' very well, then," Layman said matter-of-factly, "I can't blame you. I haven't met them and already I hate them, it's like some sort ah, whaddya call it?" He paused, thinking for a moment. "Some sort of impulse, ya know, like ya feel yeh have to hate them
There was a brief silence among the group as they each dwelled on these thoughts. Surprisingly, Lawrence was the first one to speak up and break the silence.
"The very fact they exist makes me feel alienated somehow," Lawrence said, "because, it just seems to make sense that they'll be the ones replacing us marines
The Corporal noticed the familiarity of this argument, relieved to hear that it wasn't merely the Lieutenant and himself that thought the same on the matter.
"That makes sense," Layman said, nodding in agreement.
"So, I guess you guys won't be taking too kindly to these 'Spartans'?" Corporal Walther asked, glancing around at the rest of the squad. They all seemed to be thinking the same thing.
"If they want our respect," Layman said, placing his submachine gun on the table, making sure the safety was on, "then they're going to have to kill some rebels for us. A lot of rebels. And maybe then we might like them a little better
"That reminds me," the Corporal said suddenly, remembering something important, "we're actually going to attack a rebel supply depot tomorrow morning. Can you believe that? After all this time, we're actually going to do something."
There were some mixed reactions from the squad members. Hawker kept a straight face, Lawrence went a little pale, Layman grinned with some satisfaction and Reynolds shook his head.
"Really?" Lawrence asked, "are we actually going to attack the OCPLF, after all this time of inaction?"
The Corporal nodded, feeling a little excited himself.
"According to the General we are. He'll probably tell us later tonight what it's all about."
"Good, I've been waiting for this kind of thing for ages," Layman said, grinning still, "after all this time of sitting around on our asses doing nothin' while those pansy-ass rebels run around digging holes in the dirt, we'll finally be going off to blow some of them away."
"Yeah, maybe so, but we might not even be selected to attack," Reynolds said, keeping a calm tone as he always did, "I mean, we aren't exactly the best marines here
"I think we'll be the ones leading the attack, after the Shortswords soften up the OCPLF positions," the Corporal said, "hopefully there will be some people left to shoot after they've done their jobs
"No pilot can do a marine's job," Layman said simply, making it sound as if it was holy truth, "and that's a fact. If you want a job done well you have to send in the ground troops, give 'em some tanks and some air support and you'll have an easy battle, unless the enemy has the same sort of thing as you."
There was a brief silence before Layman continued, noticing how everybody in the squad seemed to be listening to him.
"I know who Henry will be standing behind the whole time we're out there," he said with a grin, "staring at Lyssa's ass like he usually does
The Corporal felt himself going red-faced. It wasn't often the others teased him about his obvious liking to their female squad leader, but when it did happen it really got on his nerves.
"Don't think we don't see the way you look at her," Reynolds said, "sure, she's hot and all, but you really have a habit of making your liking to her noticeable
The Corporal shook his head, feeling flustered but otherwise not answering. He couldn't tell them he didn't like her in that way, they would know he was lying.
"Maybe you should actually tell her," Hawker said, "after all, you've known her for months. It can't be that hard to tell her
"Henry's just a chicken shit, that's all," Layman interjected. This remark got Henry's attention, causing him to turn and shoot the Private a nasty glance. Layman wasn't fazed by it, sitting where he was in his usual cool manner, hardly noticing the Corporal's reaction.
"He'll never tell her," Reynolds said, "he'll only make it obvious when some other guy takes her, and by then it'll be too late
" He shook his head, as if it was some sort of tragic story. The Corporal knew this made sense, but deep down he knew he could never bring himself to tell her, all previous attempts having either ended in him choking or the Lieutenant interpreting what he told her wrong, usually making a joke out of it. Maybe he was a chicken shit after all
"You'd better get to expressing your love for her soon," Hawker said with a slight smile, "otherwise you'll regret it when she's involved with some other guy. It's now or never
Maybe it was now or never, but he knew he could never bring himself to do it. He could shoot rebels, he could keep his wits in the middle of a firefight but when it came to the opposite sex he always went wrong somewhere. Thinking about this reminded him of where Lyssa actually was and whether or not she was talking to the pilots. Why would she be spending any amount of time with a bunch of cocky flyboys anyway?
Maybe the others were right about him needing to tell her he felt about her. Usually such romances were looked down upon in the marines for a multitude of reasons but his squad didn't seem to be showing any doubts, they were actually telling him to do something about this crush he had on their squad leader.
"Yeah, like we've said, the only time you'll end up telling her is when some other guy is fucking her up the ass," Layman added bluntly, "although I doubt a woman like her would let any guy near her. Yer could just look at her and know she ain't the type guys fuck around with. If ya really do like her, chicken shit, ya better be good at getting her attention. Otherwise it's all just gonna backfire on ya and she'll want to beat the crap out of ya."
Usually Layman wasn't one for such wise words, but this time he actually made some sense. Lyssa wasn't the type who let very many males near her, probably with her reasons why. It would take a lot to get her to like him as more than just a friend or squad-mate, especially since she talked off every compliment she received with some sort of smart remark. Yes, it would be very tough indeed to get through that tough exterior and into the presumably softer, lovable interior.
"This would have to be the fifth time you've almost dehydrated yourself in the last two months," the camp doctor said, frowning down at Lyssa who lay on the hospital bed, having only just woke up.
Lyssa couldn't remember much of what had just happened, but it was getting to be a familiar thing, having done it in the past before.
According to the Dr. Gunther, she wasn't drinking enough water compared to the amount of time she spent in the desert. Looking around, she seemed to be the only one lying on one of the beds, with Gunther the only medically qualified person in the tent. He put a hand to his chin, thinking for a moment, while Lyssa gathered her bearings.
"You're going to say that you drink enough water, am I correct?" He asked, sounding as if he knew the answer. Lyssa nodded, although there was something she wanted to know first.
"How long have I been out?"
"About ten minutes," Gunther replied matter-of-factly, "but as I was saying, are you going to tell me how much water you consumed today? Or do I have to guess?"
"I had enough
Gunther shook his head, almost in pity. Lyssa failed to see what he was
in pity about, although she did have some slight idea as to why.
"That's where you and I always disagree, Lieutenant," Gunther said, his white hair shining in the light inside the tent, "you always say you have enough, when in fact you obviously don't. Unless, of course, there's something you're not telling me
Lyssa shook her head. She was telling him everything, she knew it, but as usual the doctor was always in disagreement.
"Tell me Lyssa, did you kill anybody today?" Gunther asked bluntly, "as in, shot someone so that they actually died?"
Lyssa was a little taken aback by the question and the matter-of-fact manner in which Gunther was asking it, but she nodded in response.
"What about the previous four times? Did you kill anyone then?"
Lyssa thought back for a moment, trying to remember. It was hard enough to remember such insignificant happenings, but she did remember maybe shooting a few rebels, but never in full scale firefights. It had been months since the last big shootout had occurred.
"I think I might have
Gunther nodded, thinking over this for a moment. He managed a smile when he came to his conclusion.
"I think you're having a delayed response to the killing you've done, and coupled with the heat of the planet you're actually getting sick when
" He trailed off; trying to think of how he should explain it. "I'm no psychologist, but this killing you've done is making you sick. It probably just takes some time for what you've done to sink in."
She gave a disbelieving look, unable to even fathom the idea. After all her time in the marines, it was only now she was beginning to have an adverse affect to what she did? Killing people was actually making her sick? The idea seemed stupid, but then again it also seemed quite probable.
"Are you saying I'm going to get sick every time I kill someone?" She asked, "Because if that's the case
Then maybe I shouldn't even be on this planet
"Don't be like that," Gunther said, managing a noticeably fake smile,
"I've dealt with plenty of other cases like yours before. Everybody reacts differently, and you just take some time. Maybe you should find out what triggered it and when you do, have a good talk to our psychologist
"I don't need to talk to any shrink," Lyssa replied. That was the last thing she wanted to do.
Gunther shrugged, unsure of what he should do to help her. He took a step towards one of the medical cabinets nearby, opened it and took out a plastic jar with a white sticker on it. Turning back around, he held it out to her, Lyssa taking it and glancing at the sticker.
"Something which I think would help you not react in the way you have been," Gunther said, "it's a relatively new drug, made for military use."
Lyssa frowned, unsure of what to think of it. Taking drugs hadn't been something she had wanted to start doing, but if this was going to help her she might as well do it.
"It was created to help soldiers under pressure, such as you," Gunther said, "helps someone to concentrate and keep their cool. Hopefully it will help you from getting sick again, but it does have its side effects."
Lyssa raised an eyebrow.
"You have an overdose and you can react in one of two ways," Gunther said, frowning, "you can either go into cardiac arrest or you can go berserk, thinking everyone's an enemy. Either one isn't very good for you, so I would stick to the recommended dosage."
Gunther paused, thinking for a moment.
"If you're going into a combat operation, you should take two of the capsules. No more than two a day, I would think, otherwise you mightn't have the helpful reaction you would want."
Lyssa nodded, although she wasn't sure about taking this drug. If Gunther was right about her not being able to react very well to killing anymore she might as well just quit the marines. Being stuck on this planet wouldn't easily allow that, so she would have to put up with taking this new drug, even if she could have a heart attack. She shook the plastic jar, heard the rattle of capsules inside and glanced at the label, covered with the ingredients list which was full of long, chemical names which were hard to pronounce.
"You think I should give this a try then?" She asked, glancing up at Gunther, sitting up on the bed. The doctor gave a carefree expression.
"I'm saying that you should take it if you want to stay in the marines," Gunther replied, "I'm not saying you have to take it. It's up to you."
Lyssa nodded, placing the small jar into her trouser pocket, although it did bulge a little.
"Can I go now?" She asked. She had never liked being in hospitals, even a field hospital for that matter. Gunther nodded, allowing her to do as she pleased.
Lyssa left the medical tent feeling a bit annoyed at the fact that she, all of a sudden, seems to have an aversion to killing. Sure, she didn't feel that way but her body did. Maybe the doctor was wrong; she didn't have any idea why it was starting to happen to her now and the doctor's explanation just didn't seem probable to her. She would be taking the pills just to make sure, but otherwise she would stay adamant that it wasn't her that was screwing up. It was merely the heat, that was all. The heat was finally getting to her.
She decided to head to her squad's usual meeting place inside the mess hall tent and was on her way towards the entrance when a mildly familiar figure stepped in front of her. Funnily enough she didn't try anything to avoid the pilot, stopping and looking towards him.
"Are you feeling alright now, Lieutenant?" Rick asked, sounding only slightly concerned, "what did the doctor say?"
"It's nothing," Lyssa lied, "just the heat, alright. I don't know why you would be concerned, we only just met
"You can't blame me for being concerned about a pretty lady like you," Rick said innocently, giving a slight shrug, obviously trying to appeal to Lyssa. She wasn't too convinced, although she had to admit, he was quite good looking.
" Lyssa paused, trying to think of something that could end the conversation and get her into the cool interior of the tent and out of the sun.
"The tent we got isn't very good," Rick said, a little more downbeat this time, "I doubt there are many luxuries around here
"Not really," Lyssa replied, deciding to play along with the pilot. He seemed to be having a good look of her from what she could tell.
"Another thing, Lieutenant," Rick said, remembering something, "I just heard there's going to be an attack tomorrow morning, and me and my Shortsword pals are going to be involved. Did you know about that?"
Lyssa nodded, realizing how quickly word spread around the camp about such matters.
"I knew about it," she replied casually, "why? Don't you want to get shot at?"
Rick managed a smile, unfazed by this little remark.
"I enjoy getting shot at," he said, "gets the adrenaline going, you know? I don't know about the other pilots, but I think there's nothing more exhilarating than a bullet passing by you without result
"Winston Churchill said that, you do realize?" Lyssa interrupted, unimpressed. Rick merely gave an innocent look, something of which he did a lot. There was a brief silence between the pair, Rick scratching at the back of his neck before speaking.
"We really didn't get to find out more about each other, since you fainted," Rick said, "and since we'll be seeing each other around, I think it's good if we know at least some things about each other, doesn't that make sense?"
Lyssa knew what he was trying to do but contrary to what she usually did, she decided to play along.
"Go ahead, flyboy," she said, "tell me more about you and maybe I'll tell you a little about myself."
Rick nodded, deciding to start on the more obvious points of interest.
"Well, I was born on Reach with only a mother as a parent and I
"Really Captain, I think you can tell me something a little more interesting than that," Lyssa said, knowing now that she was caught up in this conversation with him, which probably wouldn't be finishing for a while. What she really needed right now was a drink.
Rick stopped talking and looked at her, surprised at the way she had interrupted.
"What do you want to hear about then?" Rick asked.
"I want to know whether or not you like me," Lyssa said, smiling with satisfaction. Rick looked a little nervous when he heard this but kept his cool manner and replied.
"I like you," he said, "I think you're hot. Why?" He was smiling and Lyssa, no stranger to this kind of comment, merely laughed.
"You're not the only one who thinks that," she said, Rick managing a weak smile in response.
"Do you like me?" He asked, causing Lyssa to frown as she thought this over for a moment.
"Hard to say," she said, giving him a good look over, "you seem nice, but you're a pilot and pilots have never been the type I'm interested in. After all, you're all just a bunch of cocky idiots who think they're better than everyone else
"Bullshit," Rick interrupted, annoyed at her comment. He had to be, he was one of the pilots in question. "Maybe the ones you've met in the past are, but you'll probably find me and the rest of my group different."
"Because we're not cocky idiots, as you say," Rick replied, taking a more casual tone, pausing for a moment and taking a glance down at her chest, "and you'll find that I really think you're quite the looker. Trouble is, you seem a bit, uh
"What?" Lyssa wasn't sure what he was trying to say but didn't like the way he was dragging out this sentence of his.
"How should I put this?" He said, "you're a little
you're a little hard for any man to get to, if you know what I mean
Lyssa didn't know what to think about this comment, although she did know what he meant. She knew that plenty of other men thought of her as a 'tough bitch', as one of them had so put it. It hadn't been in a good way, either.
"Usually someone like you would be a little softer," Rick continued, a grin forming on his face, "so, tell me Lieutenant, about one thing
"When was the last time you were fucked?" Rick asked, grinning wildly. It took a second for what he said to register in Lyssa's mind and she immediately shot him a fearful glance.
"You asshole, what kind of question is that?" She asked, furious at him. She decided to turn around and leave the conversation at that, leaving the Captain laughing quietly to himself as she stepped inside the mess hall, suddenly feeling very angry at not only him but everyone else. It had been three years, after all.
Note: Okay, okay, this is one chapter I'm not too happy with but without it the next one probably won't make much sense. Anyway, I was thinking of putting this story on hold after I finish posting what I've done so far and moving on to something else to further my creativity. I was thinking of something to do with Mass Effect maybe...
Yeah, I'm the kind of person who starts things but doesn't finish them. It's an awful habit of mine.