Approx. 1600 words
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
written by SJ
Sergeant Shannon let out a triumphant bellow as he and his best buddy stomped noisily into the Camp Cheyenne weight room. “See Bull...the place is all ours!”
Bull entered first, but then stopped, hearing a sound like someone was in trouble, struggling, the clanging of free weights followed by a long, feminine, desperate-sounding, grunt.
Rushing over, Bull was first on the scene. Grabbing the free-weight bar with one hand, he helped the young woman finish her bench press. “Whoa, there little sister...that weight’s bigger than you are.”
The young, dark-haired, woman got up quickly, her blue-grey tank top soaked with sweat. She stared, wide-eyed at the two large men standing over her, then spoke with frustration. “Oh...I had it. Then you two big bozos come in and scare the hell out of me.”
Shannon laughed, then spoke, his voice evidently, naturally loud, “yeah...we have that affect on people. Sorry for that--”
The other man cut in...his voice almost as loud as the first man’s, but more gruff. “That’s too much weight for a little thing like you. Why do want to lift something that heavy–-you gonna be a Marine or something?” He jested.
“Yeah. I start in a few days.” After looking around unsuccessfully for her towel, she used the ends of her tank top to wipe the sweat off her face as she caught her breath.
The two men looked at each other a second, then Shannon assumed the obvious. “Scout Marine...”
“Yeah.” Bull agreed, then faced the woman again, trying to explain, using his new nickname for her...which apparently was going to stick. “But...Little Sister, you don’t have to lift that much weight. You’re not going to be carrying any heavy weapons. For a Scout–-it’s endurance. Get on the track and run–-“
The woman interrupted. “Yeah...I do. I’m almost up to five kilometers–-“
”FIVE KILOMETERS!” His loud, gruff, voice drowned hers out. “You only need three kilometers for Scout qualification. And that’s by the end of the second forty days.”
Shannon agreed. “Yeah,” then concluded. “You only need five kilometers for Special Ops.”
“Yeah...I was thinking about that also.” The woman stood up and smiled. “I been working with that guy on the hill...Major Taliaferro. I’ve been reading--”
Bull disagreed right away. “No...no, you don’t want to do that–-“
Shannon cut in. ”For Special Ops you’ve gotta be really smart–-and if you’re smart, you won’t do it.”
“Why?” She looked back and forth at the two men...waiting for an answer.
“Well...” Bull was hesitant to answer.
“Well...” Then Shannon tried to delicately explain...but did so in his own way. “...the last guy is Ork poop.”
The woman responded, unperturbed. “Yeah, so I’ve heard. But he was a level 3. I think that’s going to take me awhile...assuming I want to go that high.”
“She’s right, Bull. Not a bad choice–-“
”And level 1 is an automatic SM5.” Bull added.
Shannon began thinking, recalling. “Hey...I think I remember you...or someone looking just like you.” He almost laughed. “...out there on the track...puking her guts out–-“
”I wasn’t puking my guts out...I swallowed a bug.” She snapped back quickly.
Bull couldn’t resist his comment. “Next time take a little ketchup with you--they taste better.”
The two men chuckled, the young woman mockingly joining them.
Afterwards Shannon spoke with all joking aside. “Well...glad to have you with us.” He looked at her barely 5 foot 5 inch, slender frame. “You’ll probably be the smallest Marine we have.” He was going to ask her name, but decided to introduce himself instead. “My name is, Archibald ‘Gannon’ Shannon. I prefer to be called Gannon--but not at the same time as Shannon...you understand.”
“My name is John ‘Bull’ Hodge. Just call me, Bull.”
The woman smiled. She was beginning to like these two big bozos. “My name is Lana Lyu LaFong.”
The two men looked at her...seemingly a little confused.
“LaFong.” She repeated...then spelled it out. “Large ‘L’, small ‘a’, large ‘F’, small ‘o’, small ‘n’, small ‘g’.”
When there was no immediate response, she said, “just call me, LuLu.”
Gannon smiled. “Hey...I like that. LuLu.”
Lana looked around, searching, then, from under the bench found her towel. After using it to wipe off her bench, she took the weights off the bench-press bar and placed them in their proper places, quickly making the area look as though it had not been used. Finally she faced the two big men again. “Let me guess. You guys are...heavy weapons specialists?”
“Yep.” That was Bull.
“Indeed.” Gannon agreed, then continued proudly. “We are two of the biggest, strongest...”
“And Dumbest...” Bull added in.
“...Marines on the whole damn Cheyenne Ranger Marine base.” They finished together, then stood grinning, ear to ear.
Lana frowned, looking at the two men, then put her hands on her hips. “Why do you say--you’re dumb?”
Neither man could come up with an answer.
“Yeah...just like I thought. You’re NOT dumb. Don’t ever tell me you’re dumb.” Her voice was obviously sincere. “I think you’re smart. You’re just as smart as me or anyone else. Got it!” Her voice crescendoed.
The two men didn’t know what to say. No one had ever said they were smart...especially someone that really was smart.
Lana didn’t know it yet, but she had just make friends of two of the biggest, strongest, Marines on the whole damn Cheyenne Ranger Marine base.
Bull had just taken a couple steps and was ready to set up one of the bars for weight lifting, when Lana noticed it. She darted over. “Hey...hey...what are you doing. NO! This weight room is closed in less than five minutes–-and I got it clean.”
The big man looked at his buddy and grinned, apparently thinking she wasn’t completely serious. “Isn’t she the sweetest thing.”
“Yeah...little miss sweetness herself.” But the woman was very serious. “In a few days this place will not be my responsibly anymore and you can come in a mess it up all you want.” Her voice became more emphatic. “Until then...you are NOT touching nothing!”
Bull looked at the 5 foot 5 inch unmovable object in front of him, then back at Gannon, grinning again. “She’s gonna make sergeant in no time.”
Gannon nodded his agreement.
The situation dealt with, Lana tossed her towel over her shoulder and began walking out of the weight room with the two men. “Well...have you guys got any suggestions for me...for my first couple days when I start basic.”
There was a delay before Gannon said, “well...” He was going to say, something like, why does a smart girl like you want advice from dumb guys like us, but, thought different. “Well, just remember. The first forty days are the toughest. If you are going get fired, that will be the time.”
“And do everything they tell you. Don’t get smart, uh...or think you’re smart, or...” Bull stumbled with his words...knowing how smart she must really be if she’s going into Special Ops, not wanting to mock her. But she just listened...showing no sign of offense.
Seeing that the young female Marine trainee-to-be was listening intently, the two men continued to make suggestions as they walked out of the weight room. Lana locked the door, and placed the key card in it’s proper place, then continued on. Most of the suggestions were obvious ones, but some made very good common sense. Like...go to the PX and get yourself at least one pair of good boots--the best you can find. And good comfortable underwear. Bull mentioned getting a good jock-strap...then corrected himself, by saying...or whatever you wear...or need....in that area. Lana understood, then laughed with the two men. They also mentioned hooking up with a someone named Melinda Dion when she got to Scout school; all they knew was she came in from some branch of the Federal Government...but, weren’t sure.
There were many space Marine bases all over the Sol Frontier. They were formed in Chapters. The Cheyenne Rangers were a sub-chapter of the Blood Ravens, same as the Omicron Rangers. Overall, they were different than Federal Marine units, which had mandatory service periods, usually about a year, but which provided the enlistee with most of their own equipment and training. The Space Marines expected an enlistee to be reasonablely physically fit before they joined, and they had to purchase most of their own clothing, and some of their own equipment. Lana had already done that...and then some.
Outside the physical fitness building, before the two Marines went north, to the barracks, and Lana, south, to the on-base, civilian, living quarters, Gannon remembered one more suggestion. “Oh, yeah. LuLu...make sure you have sex a before you start training...”
She put her hands on her hips thinking maybe that suggestion was a little too personal.
Bull attempted to qualify his buddy’s statement. “Because...you won’t get a day off for forty days...”
“And forty nights.” Gannon finished his buddy’s statement.
“And even then...you’ll only get two days off before you start Scout training.” The big man bellowed again. “And that’s another forty days...”
“And forty nights!” Gannon grinned.
She had to laugh. No matter how blunt they put it, they made good sense. And they mentioned several things she didn’t think of...the later more so. “You see guys. You’re smart. Those are smart suggestions.”
After saying their goodbys, they parted ways.