Another morning for Ralph

Port Moseby, Lyran Commonwealth
Laker Field Airbase
Technician Ralph Sherman's Journal: July 3028

Thump, "Ow!" My eyes snap open, while the rest of my body remains motionless. I can barely make out the form of the kid hopping on one leg. That's it. I'm signing him out a set of low light goggles. For the last two weeks, TsuWing, my roommate and assistant, has woken me up before fragging dawn, in his attempts not to wake me up. He's a good kid, so I keep quiet as he stands there perched on one leg, making sure he didn't wake me. He slowly puts his other foot down, carefully picks up his bag and slips out the door, with only a few more shin bruising bumps. Nice kid, but running himself ragged living in his uncle's shadow. Not to mention Quinn's.

Oh well, oh Hell. I'm awake anyway. I turn my head before flipping on my bunk's overhead light. I've got enough of a headache without shining bright lights in my eyes. Perhaps I conducted a bit too much Quality Testing last night. Everyone agreed that it was a good run long before we called it quits. That's probably the reason why Tsu was so noisy today. Hope he doesn't hurt himself on that weight machine outside the barracks. Oh well, he's a full fledged Spartan's Technician now. Gotta learn to cope on his own. I've got my own problems, like hauling my hung over carcass out of this bunk. Sadly, I don't have the time to properly sweet talk my self out of bed. So I kick off the covers and swing my bare feet to cold floor. The shudder scares the sleep outta me. It also makes me tug on socks and running shoes before taking the few steps to the room's mini-chiller. Sighing, I pull out a bottle of fruit juice rather than a beer. I drain it, hoping to speed the hydration process. I grab another bottle to down the half dozen pain killers I'll be reaching for next. There is no use putting this off. I toss down the PKs, and follow 'em up with a megadose of B-Complex. There is an old comfortable Harrier's sweatshirt lying on the floor that not trying to drag it's self to the laundry, so I pull it on. It even matches the sweat pants I slept in. Then it's out the door and down the hall to the floor's fresher.

As I drain fluids I can't afford to loose, I hear a familiar grown from one of the running showers. It's Dana Bean. Lord and Master of the company's Astechs. Seems he was a bit more concerned about the Quality Test than I was.

"Hey Bean! Up for the morning klicks?"

My friendly shout was answered by another groan. "No fragging way! My head feels like you added Mech coolant to the mix."

"You're just getting old. There should be some of Vinnie's patented "Dog Hair" shakes in the rec room's chiller. Down one of those and you'll be fine."

"I already did! I swear you'll get yours Sherman."

I try not to chuckle as I splash water on my face. A man in his position of authority should show some more decorum. Bean let out another groan as I headed out the door and down the stairs to the front door. The guard outside nodded to me as I started stretching out. It was Jarahavo Dvo, one of our fresh, eager, and way too young Techs. He's also the nephew of our CMO. The bulky combat armor vest and helmet he wore hid his general skinniness. It was just getting light enough out for him to push the IE goggles up. His SMG was hanging from its assault sling. Both of his hands were wrapped around the mug of coffee someone must have brought him. The smell of it had me considering the chance of taking him out without spilling any coffee. I took another sniff as I tried to convince my hamstrings to loosen up. This was real coffee. Not what's brewed in the Spartan's Mech bays, or the base's Enlisted Mess. Real coffee. His uncle must have gotten it last time he was in town. Oh Hell, I decided to let him keep it. Even though we technically are in a combat zone, having the poor kid stand graveyard guard duty outside our barracks, in the middle of a Lyran military airbase, was a bit much. Besides I had to get my klicks in.

Ignoring that wonderful smell, I headed off on my morning run. I started off by passing the Admin/Command building for the unit. The guard at that building was Trooper Gates. One of the Amazons Grex hired to beef up our ground security. A big strapping girl from a 1.25 G planet. She did not return my smile as I ran by. Oh well, oh Hell. Her loss. With all the females Grex has been hiring, he must be looking to grow the unit, long term like. That thought keeps me going as I run down toward the hardened Mech bays were the unit's on call Mechs are kept. With all the young bucks strutting around, an old man of twenty-six like myself had better keep in shape.

I can feel the aching in my calves as I weave my way through the bays. It doesn't get any better during the long stretch to the Coven's docking site. At least my lungs don't feel like bursting at this point like they did when I started this madness.

It's time like this I wonder why I was so fragging happy when Grex vetoed Quinn's proposal for daily unit PT. That was the kind of Mickael Mouse stuff we expected from Quinn when he was made XO. I won't underestimate either of them again. With six hours of the word of the required PT being deep sixed coming out, Quinn had a new set of unit orders posted, complete with Grex's signature at the bottom. Instead of a daily PT, we have a monthly physical requirements test. If we fail the test, it's a month of mandatory PT at 0430 six days a week. No, we don't get the seventh day to rest. That as Trooper Patton put it, is for the Good Lord. Grunts like us just get sleep in till 0600 on the Sabbath. I hated that first month, as did most of rest of the Spartans. On the plus side, everybody passed the next PT test with flying colors. A group of us vowed never to go through that Hell again. Which is why I'm running my sorry behind around this damn base at a time I should be snoring my way through a hangover that would mostly gone by the time I got up.


Story and characters © Copyright 1998 Mark Urbin
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