Sergeant Ronan Clarke impatiently waited for General Shepherd, leaning back in his chair and ran a hand over his buzzed sandy hair. He was exhausted after previous nights of restless sleep. He couldn't remember the last time he actually slept longer than two hours. Ever since the death of his mentor, he's had nightmares. He was practically the only family he had left and now he was gone because some kid wouldn't learn the basics for begging a spot on the mission.
It made his stomach churn and his face grew hot with anger. Why did they even let that damn kid onto the battlefield? He clearly wasn't ready for that! Sure, he was one of the best soldiers logically, but he didn't have the smarts where it mattered. Ronan knew that it didn't matter how many books you read or how many tests you passed with excellent grades; the same red blood shed on the battlefield.
Ronan growled at himself angrily when he felt the appearance of a tear slide down his cheek. His face burned with embarrassment and quickly looked to see if no one had caught him. He looked up at the receptionist at the desk who peeked at him under her glasses, the light from the monitor beaming down on her pale skin. The bright light illuminated her crystal-like blue eyes that hesitantly, yet sympathetically stared down at him.
When their eyes met, she immediately casted her eyes back on the screen; embarrassed that the man had caught her staring. Ronan could tell that she had caught him in his tearing act, but said nothing. That seemed rare now-a-days, for people who caught him always crowded him and treated him like a little child who got their favorite toy taken away. He hated it with a passion.
The receptionist tried to curtain her face from him by the use of her long auburn hair; also hiding her reddening cheeks as she began to type again, hoping it looked like she was immediately back to her work. Ronan couldn't help but scoff at the woman.
He jumped softly when he suddenly felt something vibrating wildly in his back pocket then realized it was his cellphone. It was probably his cousin, Kingston. He rolled his eyes and ignored it. Ever since his mentor died he had been calling him what seemed like every five minutes. He knew he was just trying to help him, but why now? Why not before when he was practically kicked out of his own home by his judgmental father? Was it because now he had money? The thought made him angry again and he let out a breath. How much longer did he have to sit here?
He turned back over to the receptionist that he had shared an awkward moment with minutes before and asked, "Is it going to take any longer?" He didn't mean for it to come out harsh and rude, but it did. It was beyond his control now anyway.
She was taken aback slightly by the Australian's harsh voice and looked up at the clock, "No, it shouldn't take much longer. The meeting should be over in no longer than five minutes," She assured him, trying not to meet his thoughtful blue eyes.
Ronan just nodded but wished that he could meet this man he was getting his new orders from sooner. He had been dying to get back out on the field for months! He didn't like trying to live like a normal person. Now, it was impossible. He wasn't normal anymore. A normal human being wouldn't have nightmares about being out in war, watching their team murdered before their very eyes. No, he wasn't normal anymore.
He sighed and rested his head back against the wall behind him. How he wished he could just close his eyes and sleep! How hard could it possibly be? Just relax and close your eyes…Apparently, it wasn't so simple for him. His eyelids were so heavy with exhaustion, though. Maybe, just maybe, he can try and rest after he got his new orders. Wishful thinking…
His poor excuse of rest was interrupted when the receptionist called out the name of the man he was supposed to be meeting. His eyes immediately flew open and he looked around to see the man who General Shepherd had told him to meet to gain information on his new squad. He still couldn't believe he was given the honor of commanding his own squad. His heart leaped with a weird sense of joy at the thought of ordering his squad around…He couldn't understand why he thought it so wonderful.
"Ah, Sergeant Clarke! I was wondering when you were going to show up! So glad you could make it!" The middle-aged man greeted him once the young Sergeant was on his feet.
Ronan shook his firm hand and took note of his appearance. He seemed like the normal business man which made him wonder why he was part of this organization anyway. Well, he was just showing him files and documents; he guessed it wasn't some world-tragedy if a file was out of place.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mister…" He greeted back, stretching out his words in order to learn the man's name.
"Oh, sorry, name's Anthony Butler, but you can just call me Tony. Let me be the first to say that I'm sorry about what happened to your mentor, Captain James Smith, if I'm right," He answered the young man's question and then gave him a sympathetic grin.
Ronan's warm smile faded softly at the mention of his name, but he tried to keep it hidden, "Thanks, Mr. Butler," He said simply trying to think of something to say before he created some big awkward moment between the two. He jokingly thought that he was too late.
"Hey, kid, like I said; call me Tony," Anthony joked warmly with a smile.
Ronan just grinned and followed the man as he turned around to the halls and motioned for him to follow. He could tell that he would learn to like this man, if given the chance. He seemed like a friendly, normal man, but Ronan felt as though this was going to be the only time he'll really even see the man. Either way, he was glad to have met him. It was definitely better the sour and bitter people he was forced to meet in the past.
They were both silent as they quickly walked down the long and surprisingly spacious hallway. It was rather vacant at the moment which gave him the impression that no one really came down this way. They probably thought it was useless since they had new files stored in computers now. Ronan enjoyed the "old-fashioned" way and found this to be much easier than searching for endless files on a machine.
He glanced up at the company medals and the portraits of several men and women. He guessed they were honorary people, but he couldn't tell where they had earned their place from. Military, perhaps? He wasn't sure. He could also spot Presidents of the past and other men that helped mold America along the way. He remembered looking some of them up when he was about twelve when he and his father moved to America after his mother died. It was definitely different to him since he was used to learning about Australia's upbringing, but it was interesting.
Anthony noticed him searching the walls and grinned, "Besides our Presidents, these are men and women who had made differences. Some are from America and some aren't. I tend to get far too into the whole 'making a better tomorrow' thing, but I thought it'd be something interesting to look into," He explained the unknown pictures to him.
Ronan really didn't know how to respond, so he just let out a fake-interested 'huh' and continued following the man. He didn't want to be rude, but he really didn't care about getting a history lesson at the moment. He just wanted to learn some of the names and the backgrounds of his new squad mates.
Anthony could tell this by the younger man's vacant expression and decided to keep quiet. It was useless to try and hold up a conversation with someone who refused to participate in one.
They finally made it to the room Ronan had been waiting so impatiently for. He could already see four documents laid out for him on a single metal table. Matching filing cabinets lined the walls and surrounded the table like water around an island. The room was well lit and, surprisingly, there were no pictures mounting the walls. He guessed Tony decided not to decorate the room more if no one would really be in it. He honestly couldn't blame him. Two chairs sat opposite of each other and Ronan took the closest once given permission by Tony.
"I think you'll find your new crew most interesting. They've all been through their share of tragedy so you might have something to converse about. You may not find this necessary, but I always thought that those who get close together end up fighting the best. Confusing, I know, but maybe one day you'll understand my little theory," Anthony said as Ronan grabbed the nearest tan-yellow document in front of him and began reading, partially ignoring Tony's words.
He was met with the face of blonde-haired woman. She looked young, maybe in her early twenties. He could see that her name was Mallory Gestring. She was a Corporal from the SEALs. She was about twenty-two and born to Tiffany and Koby Gestring. She was the sister to a twin, but the baby had died a month after it was born and their mother during child-birth. She was raised by her father and grew up in his home town in Arizona. When she turned eighteen, she had joined the army and was recruited to the SEALs. She had been serving for four years and earned the title Corporal just recently.
Ronan was pleased with this; he knew he would've gone insane if she was just some kid dragged out of high school. He couldn't understand why he was so interested in this Mallory girl. She seemed skilled and strong. Something he desperately wanted ever since he heard he was given the honor of instructing his own squad. He wanted the best, as anyone would.
He looked up when he heard Tony's voice in front of him, unable to keep it in anymore, "I heard that she was related to one of the others. It may just be a rumor, but I thought it'd be interesting. Also, that girl there, Mallory, she's a tough little thing. Kind of surprising, too. You meet her and she seems like that girl who goes to the mall everyday and can't stand dirt, but you get her out there and she's just like one of the guys. I like that one," Tony said with appraisal. He seemed to be more interested in his squad than he was.
Ronan just scoffed and barely acknowledged his trivial facts and picked up the next document in front of him. He wanted to read more of hers, but he wanted to basically know everyone's military background.
He flipped open the page slowly and was met with the face of a shaggy-haired brunette with dark brown eyes. His name was Shaun Blakely: Lieutenant. He was a British man with a wife and a newborn boy.
'Well, that's new,' He thought sarcastically at the basic information.
He had previously been a part of the S.A.S. Before being recruited by General Shepherd to join his special squadron. There wasn't much on his information which surprised him. He was used to seeing a full list of accomplishments and background, but there was only where he was born and raised and some of the achievements that gained him the titles in his life.
He just scoffed and grabbed the next document, opening it hesitantly for he wasn't sure what was really there for him to read after reading Lieutenant Blakely's document. He wished there had been more, but he figured that he shouldn't really be expecting some "ultra" soldiers.
The next was a man named Private First Class Steven Parks. He looked rather young, maybe in his early twenties; most likely, no older than twenty-four. He had short bronze hair and blue eyes and was built rather average. He had been trained under the regular boot camps and bases around his area and participated with both the Marines and the Seals. One of the best on his squad, but lacked one thing from really leading: He never spoke out against anything. Reports would say that he would speak loud enough for you to hear, but never really seemed like he made decisions. He just did whatever his leader commanded. That should be good news for him, he supposed.
He had a sister and a young brother back home, but it didn't say much about his parents. It said there was a sibling-adoption when he was about seven, but there was nothing saying what lead to it. Ronan guessed that there was a tough situation with his biological parents that the children just couldn't live there or they were dead. He couldn't help but think of how much the death of a parent really turned everything around.
With him, he had lived with his parents in a small town in Australia, but after his mother was diagnosed with cancer they moved around, what seemed like to him at his young age, every month. He remembered his mother and father sometimes arguing about her health and how they were going to afford the bills and how they were always moving around. His mother constantly worried about Ronan and how all of this was affecting him since all of that had started when he was about six years old.
After she finally lost her battle, his father said that he had an old friend in Arizona that was looking for some extra hands at his factory. He had said he would need the work to make sure he could get their own house and food, but as Ronan grew older, he could see that that was just his father's excuse to say that he didn't want to be in Australia anymore. Too many sad and painful memories for the man. They had been everywhere when they were younger because they loved to travel before they married and had Ronan.
Ronan decided to skip over to the last document, getting far too into the memories of his mother and wanting something to go through his mind. He could tell that this was the last one. He was hesitant, yet excited about this one. He hoped that this one would give him some encouragement instead of the previous ones. They seemed like skillful soldiers, but he had honestly expected more since hearing General's words.
He was surprised when he saw the face of the young woman when he opened the folder. She looked relatively young and had long, brown hair and matching dark brown eyes. He read over that she weighed exactly one hundred and twenty pounds and was five-foot-five.
'Well this is certainly promising,' He thought sarcastically feeling nervous about this girl already.
Her name was Melody Johnston. She was the daughter of a retired General named Benjamin Johnston and a woman named Melanie Johnston and by the looks of it she was deceased. She had a younger sister who had been taken in by an old friend of their mother's. Apparently, she had the knowledge of war and battle tactics, being raised by her father in some discipline academy for unruly kids. He figured it was some boot camp that you threatened to send your kid to if they would take out the garbage or wash the dishes like you told them to.
She had been under the General's thumb for the longest time and had been under Shepherd's eye since she was fourteen. He couldn't help but wonder if there was anything normal this girl actually did besides being thrown in obstacle courses and being yelled at twenty-four-seven.
He had been considering her alright until he came across her military background, which was absolutely nothing. She was eighteen and a recent graduate who hadn't even enlisted properly. She was scheduled to be taken under Shepherd's care and trained even more to suit her new squad, but she could have been with Shepherd her whole life but that wouldn't have mattered to him.
The fact that she hadn't seen real war angered him. He didn't want this immature kid on his squad. He just knew that'd be the death of him and the others. He refused to read more and looked up at Anthony.
"Where the hell is Shepherd now?" He demanded through gritted teeth.
Anthony was taken aback at the younger man's harsh words, but decided to answer him quickly then make him wait, "The last I heard he was taking that Melody girl back to his base for training before she was recruited with you and the others," He said trying to remember all he had overheard of this strange task force.
"Dammit," He muttered under his breath, slamming his fist on his knee.
He then stood up from his chair, making Anthony jump as he made his way towards the door.
"Wait! Sergeant Clarke! Where are you going?" He called, stumbling over his feet as he tried to chase him out the door and into the hallway.
Ronan was silent at first but answered the man, glaring forward at the door they had entered minutes ago.
"Contacting Shepherd. I refuse that this damn kid is put under my squad. She hasn't had any experience or knowledge of what it's like on a real battlefield. She'll be dead in seconds," He said quickly stomping through the hallway, long legs making swift strides along the carpet underneath him.
Anthony furrowed his brow at the man, "I'm afraid that won't be possible. He's in a classified area. Only those with his codes are able to contact him and he's given those codes to few that he supposes will need them most. One of them not being our building," Anthony quickly explained, grabbing the man's arm and forcing him to look at him, hoping to calm him.
Ronan could his anger just boil even more in the pit of his stomach, but tried to hold it back. The last thing he wanted to be was some tantrum-throwing kid who didn't get his way. He was already known as so many other things, this he wouldn't have.
"Fine, but you be damn sure I'm not holding back when I see him and the kid. This is absolute bullshit and he knows it. The last thing I need is some dumb kid thinking this to be some kind of field trip and end up killing us all!" He said rather loudly, adding venom to his words as he suddenly dashed around and stormed out the hallway, quickly escaping the building.
Anthony remained there, letting out a breath he didn't know he had been holding. Sweat was beading at his brow and he rubbed his temples.
"General, what have you gotten me into?" He muttered to himself, suddenly desiring a visit to the nearest bar.
Yeah, sorry it took so long to actually get this chapter up here. I know I had promised to update during my Thanksgiving break, but my dad had other plans. We were pulling up some of our carpets and putting down new flooring so that occupied us for a long while. I was also sick that week so all that saw dust was just wonderful for my coughing/chest cold!
Then, the week after that...I don't know. Guess I just got really lazy and didn't want to write. I've been getting really obsessed with the show, game, and comic The Walking Dead, so my mind's been elsewhere besides the Call of Duty world, but I'm still loyal to it! I could never stray from it.
So, earlier today I was like 'Holy crap! It's almost been two weeks since I said I would update!' So, I forced my lazy ass to sit down and write or else I'd just be a mean fanfiction author. Hopefully, this turned out well. I'm honestly proud of it and thought it really met with what had been in my mind for weeks and I hoped you guys enjoyed Ronan's chapter debut. If not, then...Well, I don't know. Sorry? I guess?
Anyway, I'll quit bothering you and let you get on with your daily plans. Thanks for reading and please stick around and don't be afraid of the review section. It can be your best friend... :D