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Governor Snippet #7

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Governor Snippet #7
Post by GraysonLady   » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:47 pm


Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:34 am

“Am I in the military or a prison with strange rules?” he asked and went out the office's other door. It led to a narrow stairwell and up to a bar-lined walkway with four colored lines running down the middle.

The walkway extended over an open space where spacers and Marines waited inside painted squares, their bags piled in one corner. Drill sergeants in bright yellow berets barked orders as they prowled between the squares.

Callum felt self-conscious as he made his way down the walkway. He was an officer, yes, but being so high above the enlisted personnel made it seem like he was lording over them. He passed over a square where a drill sergeant gave specific and high-volume instructions on the proper way to walk in a single file line. Callum stopped, noticing that several had their hands cuffed in front of them.

“Hey, one of our lords and masters is playing spacer!” a man in the line shouted up at him. “Don’t worry, Sir, we’ll be good little sheep!” He snatched up a water bottle and hurled it at the catwalk. It struck a bar and broke open, spraying Callum across the arms.

A drill sergeant tackled the protester to the floor and a dog pile of military police followed on.

The man let out a "Baaa," and the brays spread to more and more draftees. The drill sergeants promised dire consequences trying shut down the chant, but the noise only spread and grew louder.

Callum shook water off his hands and increased his pace. The noise level behind him dropped as he went down another stairwell and found himself in a lounge that extended several hundred yards, with numbered gates on either side. Benches spread across it, filled with other officers and senior enlisted spacers and Marines who glanced at him, and then back to the walkway where the farm noises had settled down.

He passed a kiosk where a pair of elderly ladies offered cookies and coffee and found his departure gate, halfway down the concourse.

The benches were nearly unoccupied at Gate 37. A single woman in dark green Marine fatigues with a corporal's stripe and medic's caduceus sat next to a pile of long gun cases. Uniform tops were draped over the bench beside her.

"This is . . . the Ishtar, yes?" he asked her.

She raised her gaze slowly. A row of tattoos like shark teeth stood out along her jaw, one eye was a pale green, and the other was a dark prosthetic orb. Her sleeves were rolled up above her elbows, and pale patches of replacement skin with dates inked to them stood out against her naturally olive complexion.

"Yeah. Ishtar, Sir."

"How long have you been waiting? Don't know if I have time to —"

"Nine hours." She stretched an arm over her head and leaned to one side. "Maybe we were waiting for you." She lowered that arm, raised the other one, and leaned to the other side. "Maybe we should check and see if the shuttle's here now."

"Nine? That's ridiculous."

Callum went to the gate and grasped the handle, but the door flew open and knocked him back before he could open it. He landed hard on his rear and winced in pain.

"Oops," a deep voice said. A massive man in a sweat-drenched undershirt and fatigue pants stood in the doorway. His craggy features and a nose left crooked by one too many breaks gave him an atavistic air. Another pair of Marines in a similar state stood behind him. "Best watch yourself, mate."

"He's a zero," the woman on the bench said.

"I mean . . . Sir," the big man said as he read Callum's name tag but made no effort to help him up. "Murphy but not Murphy. Not our principal."

"The secondary?" a whip-thin man with a tight beard asked from behind him.

"Suppose." The big man picked up a uniform top and wiped his face and neck.

"The secondary," the woman said. "Same ride."

Callum got up and brushed himself off.

"Any of you want to clue me in?" He glanced through the open door and saw an empty landing pad with three puddles of sweat on it.

"You're up." The big man slapped the woman on the shoulder and she stripped off her blouse, jogged outside, and began doing a round of calisthenics. "I'm Sergeant Major Logan," he said to Callum. "Chief of the Hoplon detachment assigned to Murphy, Terrence. One each."

"Hoplon? I thought you guys had the mech armor and all that," Callum said.

"We don't wear it all the time," a fair-haired man said as he plopped down next to Logan and looked over the weapon cases. "Steiner. Ugly there's Chavez." He tilted his head to the man with a goatee. "Faeran's out there, if she didn't say hi. She's like that."

"All that —" Callum gestured to his jawline. "That's a bit nonstandard. Right?"

"She's from the Fringe," Logan said. "Incorporation laws let her keep any religious markings. She was a shaman in training before she got drafted."

"Oh. Pleasant. Why are Hoplons assigned to the Ishtar? You guys are high intensity ground combat troops."

"You mean why are we assigned to your father?" Logan leaned back.

"He is my father, yes," Callum said a bit stiffly, and Logan's mouth twitched into a brief sneer.

"We were with our cohort to deploy to Beta Cygni," Steiner said. "Then we got 'Hey you'd' to be a personal security detachment for some Five Hundred princeling —"

Logan grunted and Steiner went silent.

"Seems the brass are worried your daddy needs some extra muscle around him," the sergeant major said. "The Fringe Worlds have been a bit restive these past few years. We'll be along to keep the locals from doing a Gobelins."

"Gobelins. That's where the planetary government declared independence from the Republic a few years back," Callum said.

"And where the locals built a guillotine for all off-world officials." Logan nodded. "Got messy. Got messier when we got things back in line."

"You sure? The planet was brought back into the Republic through negotiations." Callum sat down on a bench facing Logan.

"That's what the news told you." Logan shrugged. "I've got scars that say otherwise, but don't you worry, Sir. We've got you." He smiled.

"Six months busting our chops training in Australia," Chavez said. "And two days before we're supposed to go break League skulls in Beta Cygni, we get this duty."

"Why's your old man so important?" Steiner asked.

"I doubt he requested your . . . services," Callum said. "More likely it was someone else's idea."


"Because he's a Murphy." Callum shrugged. "Maybe you've heard of Henrik Murphy? Father of the Republican Navy?"

"We only care about the Navy when they're taking us somewhere or providing orbital support," Chavez said.

"Okay. What about the hero of the Battle for Steelman's Star?"

"Lots of heroes out there," Logan said.

"My grandfather is Kanada Thakore," Callum offered.

"What's a Thakore?" Chavez asked.

"One of the Five Hundred," Logan said. "Big one, too. You got an uncle in command of a task force out in Beta Cygni?"

"Rajenda Thakore. That’s the one."

"Makes sense now," Logan said. "But who'd we piss off to get a babysitting tour?"

"You know I'm his son," Callum said, his cheeks flushing with anger. "You figured that out on your own."

"What's he going to do?" Logan raised a palm. "Send us to war?"

"Terrence Murphy doesn't need 'babysitting'," Callum said. "I doubt any Fringe World is that bad. Though I did just have a water bottle thrown at me."

"Ooooh, a water bottle!" Logan stifled a laugh. "You need a hug? Granny back there with the snickerdoodles might oblige you. Wouldn't ask Faeran. She bites."

"He's not kidding about that," Steiner said.

Callum got a whiff of the Marines' body odor and noted that there weren't any shower facilities readily available.

"Two hours to the chow cart," Logan said to his men. "Clean weapons, then we can rack out." He slid a case from the pile, opened it and removed a heavy machine gun. He flipped the breach open and puffed air into the receiver.

"I'll just . . . wait here, then," Callum said.

No one replied. Nor did any of them speak to him while they worked.
Re: Governor Snippet #7
Post by Robert_A_Woodward   » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:10 am

Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 346
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:29 pm

GraysonLady wrote:“Am I in the military or a prison with strange rules?” he asked and went out the office's other door.


I believe that the answer to your question is "Yes".
Beowulf was bad.
(first sentence of Chapter VI of _Space Viking_ by H. Beam Piper)
Re: Governor Snippet #7
Post by George J. Smith   » Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:31 am

George J. Smith

Posts: 863
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:48 am
Location: Ross-on-Wye UK

Robert_A_Woodward wrote:
GraysonLady wrote:“Am I in the military or a prison with strange rules?” he asked and went out the office's other door.


I believe that the answer to your question is "Yes".

Or possibly both :lol:

A man should live forever, or die in the attempt
Spider Robinson Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (1977) A voice is heard in Ramah
Re: Governor Snippet #7
Post by csantana183   » Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:43 am

Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:57 pm

Sooo would those be the pre-cadre?
Re: Governor Snippet #7
Post by isaac_newton   » Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:34 am

Rear Admiral

Posts: 1107
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:37 am
Location: Brighton, UK

I'm getting to like this book already :-)
Re: Governor Snippet #7
Post by Fox2!   » Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:13 am


Posts: 763
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:34 am
Location: Huntsville, AL

csantana183 wrote:Sooo would those be the pre-cadre?

Sounds like proto-cadre. We'll just have to see what happens in chapter 20. :)

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