That's what the navy boys call you. Small stuff.
Makes sense. I mean, you can see the rest of the squadron on any view screen in your ship. There's the Denton, an Allosaurus-class meson ship with a gun big enough to drive a dump truck into. Doesn't matter where you are or what you're wearing, it'll boil your brains right out of your cold skull and turn any boat into an instant ghost ship. And over there is the Makaasda, a Kurashk-class outfitted with the largest particle gun the Imperial Navy has. Uses it like a sniper. That particular boat holds the Jewell Regional Fleet record for longest-range called-shot bullseye under combat conditions. And then there's the cruiser, and the scout ships, and the Cherry-class recon boats with their big battery banks of lasers. Even the Alice's, the please-don't-shoot-me boats that hauled the cargo and carried the fuel and that toted you and your company around, even they have more firepower than you.
One company. 'Tsall you get in the whole squadron. Sixteen infantry squads, all of you stationed aboard the Roxanne, another Alice-class general hauler. Ain't fair. All those navy boys and girls (<smile> - is there a difference?) with their acceleration couches and their computers and their screens, and all the big toys.
Well, one thing you get that they don't. You get to see your enemy before one of you dies.
Join the marines, meet interesting aliens, shoot them. 'Swhat they said. Fact of the matter is the marines get sent in when there's a target the navy doesn't want to kill, a target the admiral wants alive more than he wants you alive. Well, that's OK. If that's what the Emperor or his appointed officers want, that's what they'll get.
It's empty in the ship's chow hall 'cept for your squad at its table. You've got the duty, 2nd squad, 1st platoon, company 073, Two Corp. The rest of the company is liberty down on Vilis, even the officers. As if there was anything to see there. Half the Roxanne's crew is down too. Nice and quiet. A dozen view screens surrounding the hall offer the only relief from the silence. On one there's a view of constantly rotating Vilis, on another there's a view of the Pris, your squadron's cruiser, in orbit above the starport. The Pris's holiday lights are on, makes it colorfully visible to anyone below who cares to look up in the right place. A third has some news program broadcast from Vilis, the accent of the readers is thick but you can understand it.
The food is local, sent up by the port authority. Something called "mush duck". Join the navy, see the worlds, eat their food. Ain't bad.
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