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A Marines Tale: Getting the Feel of Things
Posted By: pj-NYkr90<phantomf4@earthlink.net>
Date: 20 July 2003, 9:27 PM

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Friday, September 18th, 2551

      It took nearly five days to reach the base that we are to train at, St. Hope. The ride wasn't all that bad, but it was long and tiring. We had about twenty drills. They wanted to start training us early. They told us that we would be happy to have the experience later on. They kept us on our feet all week, asking us questions when we woke up at 0400AM in the morning. If we got it wrong, they'd make us do ten pull-ups. If we couldn't do that, they'd make us run the length of the ship twice. I have had to do that three times in five days. Mind you, this is all done while we're groggy in the morning and just waking up. They say, the mind is what keeps you alive, not your weapon. So, we need to get ready to be 'powerful thinkers'. I better get used to being hurt and being painfully beaten.
      I've won fifty bucks in my poker game. I lost twenty in the first round and then won seventy in the last. I am happy sortta. I'll have enough to pay for a couple of months of utilities. This sucks though. How could I have been so stupid, so na´ve to join. I didn't even get to say goodbye to my parents. Well, I have to move and get the stuff that I do have like my uniform and toiletries into my only suitcase that I had to buy from the Corps. Life sucks a lot. The ship is stopping now so that means we got about ten minutes to get ready and packed before she docks and we gotta go shuffle off to Buffalo.
       "Warning! Warning! Enemy forces in the area! Move to the armory, gear up, and move to the nearest dropping vessel! I repeat…" Well, I guess not. My little break just has to be cut short now doesn't it. Now that I think about it, maybe I'll meet up with Bynam in the armory; the only friend I have here. I run down the hall in some Marine issue fatigues and an A-undershirt. In about a minute, I reached the armory. There were a bunch of armor-sets and bangles, but none of the new assault rifles. That sucks. I pick up a chest-plate and back-plate, strap on my shoulder guards and shin guards. I pick up a helmet, plug in a PDR (Personal Data Recorder), and finally, a beloved assault rifle. I look the MA5B over and stroke her sleek panels. For the first time in my life, I have my very own gun.

       "Boy, what the hell you doin' daydreamin' with a fuckin' gun in your hands. Man, you gotta get to gettin'. Shape up boy and get to the damn DV!"
       The ship's Sergeant Major isn't the nicest dude in the galaxy. He was scarred up and has a messed up beard.
      "You heard me ya stupid fuck; Move!" I pick up a handful of grenades and three extra clips. My sidearm, which I always have handy, is strapped to my leg and contained in its holster.
      The DV isn't much different from the Bumblebee except in the fact that it was used in force deployment as a dropship would be used. When quick, rapid, force-deployment is needed, we look to the DV. But unfortunately, it can only be used within a planet's atmosphere. I got into DV-A6, and here is where I meet up with Bynam. He has a big smirk on his face…and a M19 SSM Rocket Launcher in his lap.

       "What's up with the gun dude," I ask.

      "Man, we're gonna need to have some fun aren't we," he replies.

      "Hehehe." I pull the seatbelt straps down over my shoulders and think to myself about my first contact with the Covenant. I have no training, any way of knowing what to expect; I don't even know what they look like and what they're called. I'm about to say a quick Hail Mary and hope for the best.
      I could feel the power of weightlessness take over. It felt good. My hair, what little of it I have, flew in all directions like static electricity had shocked me. My stomach flew up into my throat. I'm having fun somewhat. I've always liked heights and flying. I thought about my family on Earth. I hadn't seen my mom in two years. The first thing that I'm gonna do when I get to the base will be E-mail my mom and dad. But I have other things to think about that are more important, much more important, to think about now; like the inevitable battle that is right before me, right in-front of my eyes.

       "We've got about another minute Ryan," states Bynam.

      "Yeah, I know man."

      "You scared?"

      "Yeah, just a little."

      "Me too man. Our first time out, no training, no support, against a tough and determined enemy."

      "Man, now that you say it like that, it makes me feel like we ain't got no chance."

      "Hehehe! You're probably right dude. Let's face it; we're you, untrained, and undisciplined. We're all gonna die."

      "Well, we can only hope for the best. I mean, if it's our time to go, then God'll let us go. Then, we will meet our creator."

      "That sounds...um...Okay I guess. I've always wanted meet God."

      "Alright, we're about to go in. Let's brace up!" The pilot informs us that we need to get ready to hit the ground. Sounds like fun.
      Turbulence rocks the DV a little but not enough to throw her into a mountain or anything…I hope. Pinging and ponging from rain hits her hull as I'm sitting here gets to be annoying. It's like a time bomb is ticking down to the very last seconds. I look out the windscreen and see ground very close. We hit the ground hard and quick. A lot harder and quicker than I anticipated. But we all react quickly. I unbuckle the belt and stand up first. I run to the door and open it. I run out, rifle poised like a snake ready to unleash its deadly venom. I scan the terrain and see nothing move around. I signal for the others exit the DV. Most of the other guys are already out, but a few remained. We form a defensive perimeter around the DV and wait for the others to come down, seeing as how we were the first to leave the ship.

      "Where do you think they are," asks one of the recruits behind me.

       Another replies, "I dunno."

      "Look, over near that hedgerow! They're here!" I turn to see where the guy is pointing at and then see it. A plaster wall, about only two feet tall, is providing cover for these bastards. We all turn and unleash hell on the hedgerow. Bynam fires two rockets and then kneels to reload. We all stop at about the same time to reload, because we all started firing at the same time, roughly. But then I hear sounds behind me. I turn and see rifle barrels sticking out of a bush. They all start firing. I duck and dive for cover behind the DV. Bullets ping off. I'm scared shitless. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. But no. Not yet.

      "Die you bastards!" I prime and toss a grenade in the threat's general direction. Before it explodes, I run into the brush.

      "Let's get'm!" I hear voices behind me. But they sound oddly human. I run like hell to get out of the area. Briars scratch my face. Thorns pierce my skin. Ivy burns my face. I reach a clearing and see a small stream. I run to it. Upon further inspection, I see that it is deep, not wide. I go in.
      This water is cold as hell. I'm in awe that it hasn't frozen over. There are little fish swimming by me. And, now, a foot is in the water. The thing looks down at the water, seemingly stunned that it was that deep…and then, it sees me. I have to survive. I grab the thing's leg and drag him down. I punch him twice in the face, underwater and then knee him in the gut. Using a strategy seen many a time in spy movies, I raise him up above the water line, then put my arm around his throat. There are two others on the shore. They are stunned at my sudden appearance. I let a hail of fire hit the things. They are tall and weird looking with weird rifles and blue skin. The two of them fell. I take out my pistol and whip the one in my grasp over its head. I continue on.
      My instinct tells me to turn around and save my friends. But, I don't wanna die. But it's my duty. I turn around, and head the other way. I read the gun's ammo count and see that I have only nine rounds left. I release the clip and reload. I hear a stick crack behind me. I turn and try to spray the area behind me, but I'm hit in the face with a rifle but.

      "Gottcha!" I can't see anymore. I feel hands touch me. I'm about to go. I black out. I feel no more.

Two hours later…

      I wake up on a cot and with a gargantuan lump on my forehead. Then, a familiar face looms over my head.

      "Hello my track running friend," greets Bynam.

      "Yo to you too," I reply. "What time is it?"

      " 'Bout, 1853PM. Well, you got the best score."

      "Confused man, whadaya mean dude?"

      "In the exercise man, it was all an exercise, a training course."

      "You mean, that was all fake, just make-believe?"

      "Yep. They all were ODSTs in some costumes of Covies."

      "Okay, now I'm pissed. Alright, what was my score, and what happened to the guys I shot, and what happened to you guys?"

      "Right, score…um…30, 10 for each 'Elite' you 'killed', and 50 for your evasiveness. The guys you shot are just out for a while; you shot 'em with stun rounds. And as for us, we got shot up with stun rounds. You got bashed in the head with a rifle."

      "Oh. All right, so, where do I sleep? Oh, lemme guess, the barracks?"

      "The only cot left in the barracks actually."

      "Right, well anyway, where do we find out what we're supposed to do?"

      "Just what I was waitin' for ya ta' ask. Get up."

      "Man, that's wrong, I get bashed over the head and now they want me to get up."

      "No, what's wrong is you bailing on us like that man. Now com'n dude." I rise from the cot and walk over to the door. Not to my surprise, I see everyone standing at attention in front of the CO.

      "Nice of you to join us Private Dunbar. Now would you like to get in your ranks?"

      "Yes sir." I walk over to the ranks and get in one with fewer people; Bynam trails close behind.

      "Nice job out there today Dunbar. You've just made Corporal. Now get in front of the line."

      "Yes sir." I walk to the front of the line. The man at the podium is black and is wearing sunglasses. He has a black beret on his head, the symbol of a Helljumper. He is short and stocky with the build of a bull. He looks to be a promising guy.

       "For those of you who don't know me, I'm Staff Sergeant West, I'm in charge of the training at this godforsaken base. You will go through rigorous training in the next few weeks. There will be physically, mentally and morally straining. Starting tommorrow morning, you will train from dusk 'till dawn for two weeks. No sleep, well, maybe a couple of hour's worth, but no where near enough for any normal man to get by on. But you're not normal men, now are you. Helljumpers, are not normal men, my Helljumpers are Gods. Can I get a ho-ah Sergeant?"

      "Ho-ah Sergeant," we all reply in unison.

      "Now, get some chow, get a lot of sleep, and make sure you have all of your gear next to your cots, 'cause tommorrow morning, we will not budge. You ain't got a rifle, then you gonna be punchin' my Gods. And my Gods will not hesitate to kick your asses. Is that clear? Lemme get a ho-ah Sergeant."

      "Ho-ah Sergeant!"

      "You're dismissed!" The crowd disperses and we all head to the cafeteria. I need somethin' to eat. I'm starvin'.

      "Ryan, race ya to the cafeteria?"

      "You're on!" I ran towards the cafeteria closely trailed by Bynam, then following, now leading, then following, then side-by-side, then, following him. He beats me.

      "Money," he states, while motining his hand the way one does when they want something.

      "Aw, hell naw man. We ain't agree on any money!"

      "So, it's implied." We argued the night away.

Next up:
A Marine's Tale: Boot