Kurt sighed. Such recycling of fallen soldiers and sailors was all too common. Worse in that it would come to bite them in the ass forty years later in Laurel's case.

Placing a bookmark, one of hundreds, he decided he would return to it later. Meanwhile, he went back to the case of Jason Harris.

* * * * *

July 4, 2159

1 Year into the First Contact War

Planet "Hope"

By the time the guns quieted we did it. Every damn Turian was dead. We only had less than six hundred after our reenactment of the Light Brigade while storming their headquarters but by god we did it.

But still, out of fifteen thousand, six hundred. The birdies were damn tough. Those fancy guns cut through our armor. They knew where we were day and night. We lost the general on day 22. I lost Olivia on day 1. Dave went down with his ship to kill most of the enemy. He told me to take care of Katrina, something I damn well planned to. If she survived pregnacy first. Seriously, angry MG gunner plus bearing a kid is not a good combo.

The worst part of all of this is the weight on my shoulders. General's badges, even acting ones, weigh a solid ton each in responsibility.

Through our newly captured inter-relay radio, we transmitted a message to Earth telling them everything that happened. They showered up with promises of medals and promotions and even let me keep my general's badges for real. At the time, I was just happy they said the Liberty Star was a month away, not caring about anything else.

I had no idea what was coming for me when I got home. Not a single clue.

* * * * *

August 25, 2159

1 Year into the First Contact War

Planet Earth

My old training sergeant once told me that "No matter where you go, you always end up where you began." In my case, it was Earth. And it didn't help that my old drill sarge was on the Liberty.

Despite it still recovering from WW4, there would never be a more beautiful sight in my eyes. Despite the wars that burned it, tore it up, and bled it, it was still there. And now we could get back to healing it and letting our old grievances die.

That was a quote from President Irons by the way. Word for word.

And then she let fall the Liberty Policy.

Major cuts in defense spending, shutdown of almost every hidden military installation and half the military shipyards. According to her "It is time we put down our guns and talked." By that she meant sending probes to the Turians to beg for peace.

The hardest part was shutting down the space marines. A single space-borne soldier's training, feeding, equipping, and maintaining was worth a year's worth of Alpha-level rations and medcare for a family. And so, under subsection 42b dash three-five-nine-nine, we were steadily discharged from military service and given quintupled pensions. Except me.

I, was a hero. According to the media, I single-handedly held off a entire company of Turians with nothing but a rifle. According to the press, I led the charge on the orbital batteries, uncovering a traitor doing so. According to the historians, I would be remembered for hearing the last words of my inspiring general telling me to save what was left of the army under fire and then leading them in a daring last stand until I made the hard choice of sacrificing our only way home.

Except none of that happened. It was either all lies or truths twisted and stretched beyond belief. I held off a company with a rifle, with a hundred other men and heavy fortifications. I didn't lead the charge, I was at its rear, with the general. I didn't find a traitor, Windsor did, and died doing so. I didn't hear the general's last words under fire. I didn't do half of what the media said I did.

And then came the speeches and the holo interviews and the press. God, it could simply be spoken as "Hey soldier, we thank you for fighting for us despite losing all your friends, family, and girlfriend, would you please now tell everyone about peace, joy, and happiness now? Thanks!"

It sure didn't help things in that almost every one of the army force sent out was composed of orphans, men and women from far-out colonies, and people who nobody cared about. Who cared about not having touchy homecoming scenes? We'll just stage a few!

Almost made me happy when the Turians came back.

* * * * *

September 7, 2159

1 Year into the First Contact War

Planet Earth

There is one day I will never forget, and it is when my whole parade came crashing down on me. By then, I was beginning to have second thoughts about the whole media parade. No matter how much the governors and politicians and generals told me how needed my efforts were in returning the world to normal, I didn't like it.

So I signed my Liberty Policy retirement sheet, left the army, found a new girlfriend, and had a happy family til the end of my days. The End.

At least, that was the plan. Then 'they' caught on to it. Apparently, they'd though I'd do it sooner and they brought out a my file and added a few things. All my dark secrets plus the crimes of a few others. Drug abuse during boot camp (One prozac III, got exempted due to family loss), fraternization in a combat situation (My moments with Olivia onship), treason (A book offer from a big holo-star director, come on!), violation of the Geneva convention and Articles of War (COME ON! They're aliens! They didn't sign the damn thing!) plus a lot of others. It wasn't public, and my trial was suspended for a unknown duration of time. In the meantime, under the Liberty Policy, I couldn't leave until that was over with. Woop de frakking doo.

And so, unofficially demoted to lieutenant (still officially a general for the posters) I was forced into more interviews, more magazines, more speeches I then wholeheartedly disagreed with. All under the threat of having the entire world turn on me for things I didn't do.

Then the Turians came back and guess who had to be lock-stepped at gunpoint by the military police to attend the emergency defense meeting?