Personal Log: United Nations Marine Gunnery Sergeant Quentin Norton Steele

My sixty-three hours UN Orbital Station Thomas J. Kennedy had been productive. I had managed to contact several other Marines and Naval personnel assigned to the Drake. A very interesting mix. Top shelf, each and every one. That's the sort of folk you would expect for a plum assignment like the Drake, but everyone? Out of the batch there was not one obvious political appointment or Geneva staffer on a ticket punching tour. That doesn't mean we won't pick any up when we reach Alpha C, but those particular military animals tend to stay inside the Sol Asteroid Belt's orbit. Perhaps some of those barracks rumors about the Commodore might prove to be true.

I had also managed get a fair amount of EVA time in. The Marine running the training equipment was First Sergeant Ohara. He and I had served together in the Shanghai Pacification, back when I was an over eager E4. The Officer in charge was a fresh O1, whose father was alive because a Corporal Ohara had hauled him out of a bay rapidly loosing atmosphere. The First Sergeant told Lieutenant Katsaounis I was "OK", so I had a rapid training rotation.

I spent most of my EVA time in the new model UN Marine Vacc Suit. This was the model we would have on the Drake. I had yet to see one. Spending the last three weeks devouring the tech manuals was helpful, but not the same as putting my hands on one and spending hours familiarizing myself with it's capabilities.

I made some modifications to the training schedule I had worked out for shaking the troops out on the Drake. The finish on this model was much more light absorbing than the previous models. We would have to take extra precautions with safety beacons during EVAs. If a suit's radio were to fail on a wounded troop, they would be very, very hard to find. The outer layer not only didn't reflect very much light, it was Radar Absorbent and ablative once the frequency got up to weapons grade. That was on top of a fine mesh of very hard plastic rings. All that was over the actual pressure suit of Ballistic Weave. Most of the suit electronics were built in to the torso hard shell. That meant a smaller PLSS, and thus more room for gear. Standard gear included extra propellant tanks for the built in maneuver jets; reels of cable attached to jet propelled boarding harpoons, larger batteries for the laser rifles; and all the other standard gear Marines use to board and pacify hostile space vessels.

One of my favorite additions to the new suits was a standard retractable, Crystaliron spike built into each forearm. In tight airless corridors, they were more efficient than a boarding axe.

I would have loved to take a suit along with me on the Jump to Alpha C, but even my good graces with the First Sergeant didn't extend that far. As it was I managed to repay his favor by letting him and his Lieutenant spend range time (and my entire ammunition supply) with my .45 ACP revolver. Lt. Katsaounis had never fired a firearm that used Brass cartridges before. Like many officers in the UN Military, he had never handled a firearm before he joined up. He was very interested in my reloader. He had read the specs on a model similar to this one that the UN Military was evaluating for our caseless rounds. The Lieutenant displayed a rather non-officer like ability to scrounge metal scraps that had some how managed to fall off the books even a tightly controlled resource environment like the Kennedy. I was shipping off with my fifty rounds restored. They were a mix full metal jacked lead round nose, and jacketed hollow points. The JHPs wouldn't do much against modern armor, but they would make an exit wound the size of my fist in an unarmored human.

Story and characters © Copyright 2002 Mark Urbin
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