Please consider this a work in progess, rated T for language and innuendo (ooooh la la :P) if it offends I can always rate it up.
Crucis March, Federated Suns
February 26th, 3035
0500 hours local
"RISE AND SHINE MAGGOTS!" Gunnery Sergeant Morten belted at the top of his lungs. Sixty of the newest recruits of the Federated Suns leapt from their beds and began to hastily square-away their racks. Uniforms were donned in another sixty seconds and roll call began. Morning inspection quickly commenced.
"What's your name recruit?" the Gunny asked gruffly to the man…no the boy situated nearest the Drill Instructor's office.
"My name is…" was all the kid got out before the grizzled sergeant bellowed.
"MY MY MY MY MY MY WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE RECRUIT?! BACK ON THE BLOCK WITH YOUR LITTLE GIRLFRIEND?! HELL NO, DROP AND GIVE ME 50 NUMBNUTS!"
The boy immediately dropped and began pushing, even as the veteran walked past him down the line.
"one two three, ONE…one two three TWO…" the boy counted out and kept pushing, knowing that stopping would only make it worse.
The gruff voice only raised itself a half dozen more times. The boy was just struggling to finish the last five push ups as the Gunny made his way back to the top of the squad bay that the recruits shared. He approached the boy again.
"On your feet Recruit." He said in a menacing whisper. The boy immediately complied, hopping back to his feet and standing at the proper position of attention.
"Now tell me what your bloody name is." The Gunny commanded again.
"SIR, Recruit Kurtz, New Avalon! Serial number 295-58-147, SIR!" the boy barked.
"Good Kurtz, very good seems you aren't as stupid as you look. You are gonna be my guide Kurtz, you know what that means? That means any time anyone, and I do mean anyone, faffs off and I catch them, and I will, you're gonna push all night, every night, until I get tired of watching you push. Then I'm gonna run you til you pass the hell out. Do you understand me Recruit?"
"SIR YES SIR!" the boy responded, his eyes widening.
"Good…now get the platoon formed up outside Kurtz."
With that the Gunny walked back into the office and sat behind his desk.
Crucis March, Federated Suns
August, 10th 3035
1500 hours local
Gunny Morten and Staff Sergeants Vicker and Montrose had made the past five months a living hell for the recruits of 2nd Platoon, Baker Company, 1st Training Battalion, Albion Military Academy, but every single last recruit from the quiet and reserved Sven Larson to the massive frame of Sully Clark was in the best shape of their lives. Baby fat was long gone from their frames and even the least of them had long lean muscles, a testament to the miles that they had run since starting Basic Warrior Training. A passing knowledge of infantry tactics and how to shoot straight was pounded into them in the second phase of their training, at one of the many rifle ranges at the Academy. Now as they entered the third and final phase of their training, they would learn where they would spend the next two years of their life.
"Come up to me when I call your names: Langley, Kristoffven, Harris…" SSgt. Montrose's brusque voice called everyone destined to serve in the Federated Suns Navy, a baker's dozen all told. They were handed black tabs to place on their uniforms indicating such.
"Form a line in front of me when I call your names: Sanchez, Darjel, Parker…" Gunny Morten's deep voice called just over a third of the platoon to whom he handed sea-green tabs. "You lot are gonna be Infantry. Poor bastards." He remarked.
And so it went, til just three recruits remained.
"You three step into my office," the Gunny ordered. "Shut the door you're letting the air out." He barked as they filed in. Recruit Larson quickly closed the door but didn't let it slam. "You three I'd have never thought…you're going to be MechWarriors." The recruits gaped at each other and then snapped back to attention as the Gunny approached them.
"You three are gonna embody death incarnate. You will pilot giant war machines as the ultimate enforcement of the Prince's will. You will bring honor and glory to us all…or die trying. All three of you are gonna be shipped to Robinson to attend the Robinson Battle Academy on the next transport out. Don't ask me why Robinson but that's where you're headed." As he finished his speech he handed each recruit a blood red tab with a certain amount of reverence.
Kurtz spoke, "Sir, a question." He asked quietly, awed by the way the Gunny was quietly staring at the tabs.
"What is it?" The Gunny asked, uncharacteristically quiet.
"Were you a…" the words died on his tongue as the Gunny turned and Kurtz swore he saw a single tear roll down the Gunny's craggy features.
"No, but my wife was…and I never thought I would be training three. You boys stick together ya hear me. No idiotic dreams of heroism, that's what gets people killed. Do what you have to do to get it done, but don't let some hot-head get you killed an early death." He turned away, "You're dismissed Cadets. Stow your gear, the next transport will be leaving in a week and you've been authorized a four day pass to visit your families."
New Avalon System, Crucis March, Federated Suns
August 24th, 3035
2200 hours Zulu
Joe Kurtz, former guide for the 2nd platoon of Baker Company and slated to be one of the newest cadets at the Robinson Battle Academy, looked around the aging Union class DropShip with eyes full of wonder. It had taken then a whole week to get to the recharging station and dock with the Invader Class JumpShip Summer's End. If they were lucky they'd only spend a little more than a month before finally landing on Robinson itself. Sven Larson and Sully Clark had accompanied Joe up to the observation deck where the capital of the Federated Suns was little more than a blue, cloud streaked marble.
"Yo, guide, what is that weird ass looking ship up there?" Sully asked, gesturing to the blade-shaped prow of a WarShip in orbit above the recharging station.
"I dunno Sully and I've told you to just call me Joe til we get to Robinson, don't need to stand on ceremony when it's just us." Joe replied gazing out at the stars. It's so empty out here…he thought to himself. His reverie was interrupted by Sven Larson.
"Hey Joe," Sven started then stared slack-jawed at the WarShip "holycrapholycrapholycrapholy cra…," he rambled off as he stuck his face to the viewing pane. "Joe that's a bleeding Davion-II Destroyer man, how could you NOT know what it is?!"
Joe smiled at the energetic outburst from his normally quiet friend. "Sven, maybe because I generally like to look at what I'm gonna be piloting instead of what's gonna be transporting me." He answered with a laugh and slap on his friends back.
The three Cadets turned from the observation lounge on the JumpShip and made their way back to their respective cabins aboard the DropShip, Sven chattering endlessly about the massive WarShip's capabilities while Joe rolled his eyes and Sully elbowed Sven in the ribs joking about how the normally quiet Sven was a closet nerd. Joe made sure that his travelling companions had made it back to their quarters first before heading to his own. It's a helluva time to be alive he thought to himself as he hummed a nameless tune and opened up the small computer console in his cramped quarters. He brought up the ComStar Mail program and recorded a short message to his mother.
Just thought you'd like to know we're about to leave…I miss you and Aly a lot but everything will be just fine, even though I know you'll worry anyways. I'll try to contact you when we get where we're going, but I can't really promise anything. I know this is hard but we knew it was coming. Please try to take it easy on Aly; I know she's probably crying somewhere right now. I'll contact you as soon as I can.
Satisfied with the message, Joe added it to the ship's queue to be delivered when the next batch of messages went out. After checking his remaining time balance on the computer, he decided to shut it down and head to the small recreation room located midship. "Might just have time to catch the news before the jump," he smirked as he walked out of his small room. Turning left and using the handrails mounted on the walls he pulled himself down the accessway towards the rec room.
Nadir Jump Point
Robinson System, Draconis March, Federated Suns
November 10th, 3035
0900 hours Zulu
Joe floated out of his bunk, UGH, I don't think I'll ever get used to jumps…he thought grimly as his insides tried to unfold themselves. Finally straightening himself from the ball he had unconsciously curled into, he made his way to the frighteningly small lavatory and splashed tepid water onto his face. As he looked at his face in the mirror it shocked him a little. He knew he had always been somewhat thin growing up but he looked downright menacing. The regulation high and tight hair cut accentuated a sharp widow's peak, thick dark eyebrows shaded his hazel eyes, green today he noticed off hand, slightly drawn cheeks and a strong cleft in his chin made him look utterly terrifying, at least to himself. Man, I am NEVER gonna pick up a chick at this rate. He thought dismally to himself.
In the seven weeks since they had boarded the Summer's End Joe had met and chatted and generally made himself amicable to all those of the feminine persuasion on board, but when it became clear that he wasn't gonna get anywhere he avoided the rec room like the Plague. He sighed "Oh well, at least we made it to Robinson without any fuss." With that thought in mind he pulled his way to where Sully and Sven were staying, with the intent of hauling them down to the fitness center next to the rec room. As he approached Sully's room he heard voices…which in and of itself was a feat considering the walls were fairly thick.
"Don't you stop God don't…" Joe quickly hauled himself away blushing. Christ is there anything that guy CAN'T do? Sully had regularly showed up both Joe and Sven in the weeks since they'd been on ship, both in the gym and with the fairer sex. Several times Sully had intercepted the better looking girls on board before he had even worked up the courage to talk to them. Hauling him self along the corridor,Joe tried to clear the mental image from his head but to no avail. He pulled himself up to Sven's door and knocked.
"Hey Sven its Joe open up!" he yelled as he knocked harder.
"Go away, Joe you know these jumps are hell on me." Sven replied sounding pained.
"C'mon man you know we've got to hit the fitness center soon otherwise it'll be too busy. Now get up!" Joe was getting frustrated. Sven normally wasn't too bad about the jumps. But the last two seemed to have been getting to him.
Sven opened the door red-faced and slightly woozy looking. "Ok I'm here lets go" he said grumpily.
"No need to get mad…Sven are you ok man?" Joe asked as Sven leaned heavily on the handrail.
"I think I'll be better once we get underway again and have some semblance of gravity. Urph…I'm going back to my bunk Joe, one day isn't gonna kill me." Sven looked at Joe turning slightly green as he swayed back and forth.
"Alrighty then…guess I'll be exercising alone for a bit." Joe mused aloud, watching his friend drag himself back into his room. Turning from there Joe made his way to the "fitness center", a small gym with a couple of treadmills, a weight bench and a few more esoteric exercise machines.
The center wasn't even occupied when Joe arrived there. It was quiet with most people still asleep at the early hour. Unless you count Sully and whoever he managed to shack up with this week, Joe thought and then immediately regretted it. With more force than needed he began to heft up plates and walk them over the the bar. Deciding on something a little bit less than his own body weight. "Here goes..." he said and laid down on the bench. Without so much as a struggle he lifted the bar and began his repetitions, being careful not to overextend his arms in the near zero gee.
Near the end of his workout he heard the door swing open and turned to look, and saw Sully with a big grin on his face.
"Yo Guide, whats up?" he asked as he began to set the bar up.
"Not much Sully, just finishing up...did you enjoy yourself this morning?" Joe asked with a neutral voice.
"Don't know whacha mean by that Guide, nope couldn't have been that hot babe you were eyeing last week..." he finished setting his plates and shot a toothy grin at Joe. Joe for his part showed a good bit of restraint...but not quite enough. As Sully grabbed the bar Joe 'bumped' one of the ends and sent it spiraling out of Sully's hands to land softly on the deck in the low gravity.
"My bad Sully, next time don't be in such a rush to get started...might get hurt..." Joe smirked and walked out of the gym just as an announcement was made that the dropship would be detaching and powering towards Robinson in the next five minutes.
Planet Robinson, Draconis March, Federated Suns
November 17th, 3035
1900 hours Zulu
A crackle, "Attention all hands, Attention all hands. This is the Captain; we will begin our descent to Robinson shortly. Please make your way to your cabins and prepare for landing." As the message repeats, Joe, Sven, and Sully go over their orders one last time.
"Ok Guide, it says here that there should be someone waiting to meet us in the terminal…what are we supposed to look for?" Sully asks still miffed at Joe for what happened earlier in the week.
"I think an AFFS officer will be pretty easy to spot Sully, and for the last damn time stop calling me Guide! Seriously man it's been forever since we graduated Basic." Joe snaps back, still upset that the big hunk of idiot can't seem to figure it out.
"Well I think we got it all figured out…" Sven says as he turns to leave, "I guess we'll meet up once the mad rush to get off this deathtrap of a DropShip is over huh?"
"Yeah sounds good Sven, see ya 'round." Joe stands up from the small crowded table in his cabin and shoos Sully out to his own cabin. Buckling in and watching the progress on the viewer he sits back. And naps.
With the roar of an archaic god, the Union Class DropShip descended from the heavens…and no one on the ground even bothers to look up. Live close enough to a Starport long enough and you get used to these things. Five minutes later the massive egg was landed, three struts sunk deep into the recesses of the concrete pad designed for the class. As the ramp lowers, the lone AFFS officer in the Terminal checks his PDA. Three names on a list of over thirty. With the names come a picture, and a short psych history.
Kurtz, Joseph – Average IQ, above average endurance, loyal to a fault, excellent candidate for Officer Training, raised by a single mother, one sibling, a sister; fiercely protective.
Larson, Sven K. – Higher than average IQ, average endurance, curious and inquisitive expresses interest in experimental weapons testing, middle child of a family of 3, strong family ties.
Clark, Sullivan A. – Lower than average IQ, immense endurance, brash and arrogant most likely to get himself killed trying to do something heroic, only son, father was career AFFS Infantry til KIA. Mother is an alcoholic. Nicknamed Sully.
Leftenant Carl Weaver shakes his head. Great, just what the Cadre needs…gonna be plenty of angst with this group, he thinks to himself. If this is what we pulling from we must be getting desperate...or cheap. With a resigned sigh, he picks up his briefcase and head towards the growing crowds of people leaving the DropShip.
This will most likely be the end of the prologue...I think. Any further background will probably be done in the main story.