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(Part 3) M31: First Blood
Posted By: Greg and Wes Foutch<hockey0935@yahoo.com>
Date: 7 May 2003, 1:27 AM

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16:35 hrs.

      "I have hand selected a crew. I just need approval," the Secretary of Defense said to the President. "I'm confident I have made accurate selections."
      "Okay, let's go over the officers, see if we agree," the President replied.
      "Yes, ma'am, that sounds good. The crew I speak of is not the flight crew. I'll leave that to NASA/SEC. I wouldn't have a clue. What I have put together a list of our top personnel just in case this "species" are of hostile nature." Under his breath he added, "Lord help us if they are."
      "I see, go on."
      "The commanding officer is going to be, if he agrees to come out of his recent retirement, four star General Russell McAllister. He prefers Russ," he added as an afterthought.
      "McAllister? The McAllister?" The President sounded shocked.
      "Yes, the McAllister. He led us to victory of Russia, during the World War IV. He's the perfect man for the job." In this case, age definitely brings wisdom; At 49, his knowledge of the T1-40 is unmatched, second only to his bravery, the Secretary thought
      "Will he come without being pushed? He's getting old, maybe too old for this. He may want to kick back on this one."
      "If I know Russ, he'll be there, with all his go-to-war-shit on his back."
      "Okay, next."
      "Senior Airman, Richard A. Turner, a.k.a. 'Rat', will be leader of the Melee fighter squadron. He's reasonably young, 38, and he's a hotshot pilot, but he's the best we know of. Dangerous with a fighter, just the kind of man we need, if things turn hostile."
      "MELEE!? Kind of putting the cart before the horse, wouldn't you say?"
      "I'm not sending anyone in without protection. We don't even know if they want peace," the Secretary of Defense replied. "To our knowledge, they started this thing, and I'm not letting our people go in there without the means to finish it. If the aliens want war, we'll give it to them."
      "Great. We're trying to work peacefully, but we're going in armed with a Melee squadron, and a let's kick ass attitude," the President said sarcastically.
      "I know, I know. Next?"
      "Sergeant Major Turk Keller, a.k.a. T.K., is going to be the second infantry leader. He's 51 years old, but he's never lost his fighting spirit. He's refused to retire, and he's the one man I know that wants to die with a gun in his hand. A true die hard Marine. Tough, hardheaded, he's the true meaning of Jarhead. I bet this son-of-a-bitch would drown puppies just for fun, but he will, I'll bet you a dollar to a donut, come out alive and bring most of his men with him. His second in command is First Sergeant Tara Nicole. She's 34 years old, one of the few women going on this mission. She came to us through Special Ops a few years back. You might remember she was part of the insertion team that went into the U.K. Carried her commander out on her back., if I remember correctly. There's really no one better, she's one of the best."
      "I sure hope so," the President said.
      "We have Private First Class Jake Dade. He's 25, still new to the marines. He's the team's demolitions expert. He's somewhat of a pyromaniac. That's what makes him good, and he'll get the job done, especially if it involves blowing something up."
      "So, whom are you leaving out?"
      "The last person aboard, besides Battalion commanders, is the Master Chief. He's Navy, but he is one of the greatest military minds alive, the greatest living mind known, military or otherwise. A great strategist, and he's not afraid to act. If it has to be done, he does it, not relying on others to do his bidding for him. He's the infantry commander, and he's the most important person on this mission. Should things go hostile, the Master Chief will know what to do, without calling back here to Earth.
      "Sounds like you have it pretty well covered. How many are going?" she asked.
      "Four full battalions with a covert, Special Ops Division."
      "Great. I'll leave you in charge of everything. We will have Congressional approval. Now, if you don't mind, get General McAllister down here as soon as possible, please. I need to speak with him."
      "Yes, ma'am, right away. Though, I can assure you, he's been briefed. And it may be a while. He's still in California." The Secretary of Defense left the Oval Office.
       While he was away, the President played the message again. The commander seemed calm, not distressed. It was like he knew there was no hope; he just wanted to notify the people back on Earth of what had happened, notify them of alien contact. That's what he meant, she thought. By, I only hope you can get here in time. Not in time to save them, but in time to make contact with the aliens and try to make peace. Maybe she was naive to even remotely consider this a rescue mission.