A short story: Mathew's tale
Posted By: Helljumper<Pittklipse@aol.com>
Date: 24 December 2003, 8:47 AM
"No I won't let you go!" Mathew's mom screamed at him angrily. She walked away from him into the living room. He followed close behind holding the small pamphlet in his hand. "It's my life and I can make my own decisions. I want to go and you can't stop me!" His mother turned around shapely, "I've already lost two of my children in this war, they won't get my last." Her strong words caused her to collapse onto the couch and start crying. Mathew was quiet as he looked over to the fireplace where perched on a shelve were two triangular folder United Nations flags. He lowered his head and began to think of his older brother Kevin and his older sister Lisa.
Lisa had been in the UNSC navy for three years before the war had broken out. She served as a communications officer abroad a UNSC destroyer that was destroyed protecting the outer colonies. Kevin had joined the Marine Corps slightly after his sister's death and was assigned to an ODST battalion serving in the outer colony of Emaul. He died when the planet was glassed by the Covenant.
The eighteen year old turned to his mother. He spoke softly and chose his words carefully. "I'm doing this for you." The pamphlet found itself on Mrs. Lockman's lap. She looked down at the words UNSC Marine Corps and the eagle globe and anchor in gold on a red background. Tears formed uncontrollably in her eyes and began to drip down her face. With the strong feelings building up inside of her, crying was the only thing she could do.
Mathew climbed the stairs to his room. Inside he made his way over to his desk and sat down on a small chair facing his computer. After typing in a few commands he spoke, "Dial Sergeant Stillman." The sound of dial tone was heard and then the strong, firm voice of a male. A video of the middle age marine appeared on the screen. "Hello this is Sergeant Stillman, United Nations Space Command, Marine Corp recruiting office." Mathew positioned a microphone in front of him and adjusted the micro camera that rested on the monitor of his computer.
"Hello Sergeant, it is Mathew Lockman, I stopped by your office yesterday."
"Yes Mister Lockman, so have you decided to serve the human species."
"Yes, but my mom isn't happy with the idea."
The image of the marine, leaned back in his chair and rested his hand on his chin.
"May I intrude and ask why?"
"Well, my older brother and sister served and died in the UNSC."
"I see why she is worried, but Mathew, it all comes down to what you want with your life. My father always told me that a boy does what he can, while a man does what he wants. I joined the marines to defend my family and friends. Just remember, it is your decisions."
"You're right, I just don't know how she would survive if I died."
"Mathew, do you watch the news."
"We have already lost the outer colonies and the Covenant is working on the inner colonies now. Without the brave men and women of the Marine Corp and the Navy, there might not be the question of how your mom would survive, or how any of us will survive."
"Will I make a difference in this war?"
"That's not a question to ask me son, that something you should ask yourself."
Mathew sat in silence as the pros and cons of joining raced through his head. He knew that the recruiting sergeant was right. Everyday the news reported the destruction of UNSC ships and the deaths of everyone who died that day. The lists were long and would run for twenty minutes straight some days if not longer. He started wondering if his name would someday be on one of those lists. Before he could think for too long, he snapped back to reality.
"Sergeant I decided that I want to enlist."
"You've made the right choice son. I'm going to email the enlistment papers to you. At the bottom of the contract, all you have to do is click the button that says I agree to all the terms listed above, and I'll contact you with the rest of the information."
"Thank you Sergeant Stillman."
"No thank you Mathew."
The video connection disappeared. Mathew sat back in his chair wondering if he had made the right decision. Moments later, the familiar voice from World online (WOL) spoke. "You've got mail." Mathew maneuvered the white mouse over to the picture of an envelope and clicked on it. The enlistment papers appeared on the screen. He scanned through the contract until he reached the end. Like the sergeant had said, the button was there. The mouse found itself on top of the button. Mathew hesitated at first but clicked it. The screen flashed and the contract disappeared. A new window opened with the words 'Welcome to the Marine Corp'.
The four months of basic training seemed more like an adventure than actually boot camp. Everyday he learned something different. Drill Sergeants turned his once boyish body into a fine instrument of warfare. Mathew became an expert with the assault rifle and the other various weapons employed by the marines. His performance surprised his Drill Sergeants to the extent that at the end of his training he was promoted to private first class and was recommended to continue training with the Orbital Drop Shock Troops.
Another three months were spent training to be a Helljumper. The training camp was located at Reach and covered five square miles. Entire sections were reconstructions of Covenant spaceships. His training platoon spent countless hours practice to gain entry to the mock up vessel and to handle the close combat. Even more time was spent with exercises, parachuting from Pelicans, and advanced combat simulation. Mathew adapted well to every situation. His platoon leader, a young officer right out of military school appointed Mathew as a squad leader.
Graduation was simple for Marcus's platoon, no friends, no family. The commanding officer of the ODST training camp shook everyone's hand and pinned the Helljumpers' emblem onto their berets and handed them back. Relaxing didn't last long. His platoon was assigned to a combat company stationed aboard the UNSC carrier Twilight. Another five months went by with little to no action as the carrier was stationed deep inside of the inner colonies to defend a planet called Tectron.
Mathew died a few days later trying to save a family from a small town as the Covenant over ran his platoon. It took another four weeks for the UNSC to gather the names of the dead and prepare the proper services for their families.
The doorbell rang as Mrs. Lockman was preparing dinner for one. She turned the stove off and made her way to the door. She opened it slowly before collapsing to the floor. The naval Chaplain and Sergeant Stillman rushed to her aid. She lay on the floor as if she had just been shot. The sergeant didn't need to speak in order to relay his message. He felt kind of guilty for the young man's death, but pushed the feelings aside. The two men carried the woman to the couch and sat her down. She started to cry uncontrollably as the Chaplain laid the folded flag onto her lap. Sergeant Stillman walked over to the shelf above the fireplace. He picked up a picture containing Mathew, Lisa, and Kevin. The war had claimed too many daughters and sons, when would it end.