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Authors: Jonathan P. Brazee

Recruit

BOOK: Recruit
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Recruit
Number I of
The United Federation Marine Corps
Jonathan P. Brazee
Semper Fi Press (2014)
Rating:
★★★★☆

Desperate to escape a life of poverty on his desolate home planet, Ryck Lysander enlists in the United Federation Marine Corps, hoping to make a better future for himself. However, Ryck soon discovers that the Corps is more than a means of escaping his former life as he is pushed beyond the very limits of his strength and willpower. From bootcamp brawls to skirmishes with galactic pirates, Ryck's new life presents him with unimaginable adventures and forces him to prove his mettle as he forges his new identity and fights to earn his place as one of the Brotherhood of Marines.

**

THE UNITED FEDERATION MARINE CORPS

 

BOOK 1:  RECRUIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colonel Jonathan P. Brazee

USMCR (Ret)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 201
4 Jonathan Brazee

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

 

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

 

Acknowledgements:

I want to thank all those who took the time to pre-read this book, catching my mistakes in both content and typing.
A special shout out goes to my comrades at VFW Post 9951 in Bangkok for their help and to the Royal Marines at the Once A Marine website for teaching me about British Royal Marine traditions and slang.  And most of all, thanks to my editor, Anne
Gentilucc
i for making me a better writer.  All remaining typos and inaccuracies are solely my fault.

 

Original Cover Art by
Panicha Kasemsukkaphat

Atacama

 

 

Sergeant John Nbele barely glanced at his heads-up display as he climbed the huge rise of tailings leading to the open pit mine.  Small green triangles being projected onto his visor represented each of the men in the squad, and all were moving in the squad V formation, two fire teams out front, one trailing between them.

This was the sergeant’s fifth campaign, but his first as a squad leader.  He’d risen up through the ranks quickly, with two meritorious pr
omotions, the last one a battlefield promotion for valor on
Case’s World
.  He knew he was on the fast track, and this operation would cement his reputation as not only a fierce fighter, but
also as a leader of Marines.

He didn’t really expect this campaign to amount to much.  Atacama was sparsely populated, and the miners didn’t have a military as such
, only a small police-slash-guard force (the type of guards Marines and Legionnaires called Jimmylegs) that was formed to protect the mines.  They had no heavy weapons.  John had bet a bottle of Jack, the real stuff from Earth, not the fake shit that most people drank, with Royal Teristry, a sergeant in B Company, that the Jimmylegs would bolt at the sight of the platoon’s Marines in the assault.

His suit
subtly shifted to remain vertical as he started up the tailings.  Wearing a suit was pretty easy.  Most recruits could walk, run, and jump within 30 minutes of being introduced to them.  Still, there were a few tricks.  Sgt Nbele’s body instinctively wanted to lean into the hill as he climbed, and he had to relax and let the suit take over.

The suit was
the 980 kg mechanical monster each of his Marines wore, the
PICS, or Personal Integrated Combat Units.  With its sandwiched Ceramic Array and LTC (Lutetium Tungsten Carbide) armor, it was impervious to all small arms and most larger weapons.  While the Corp’s PICS were not the modern Rigaudeau-3s that that Legion and some world militias had, or even the Brotherhood’s Saul line of combat armor, it was more than enough proof for the poorly armed miners.  Naval intelligence had assured the Marine command of that.

“Bentley, close it up,” he sent to the PFC in First Fire Team.

Corporal Kim should have caught his lagging Marine.  He, as the squad leader shouldn’t have to be getting after individual Marines.  He’d have to have a one-on-one with Kim when all this was over.  He stared directly at Bentley’s triangular avatar, blinking his eyes once long and hard to initiate a full data dump.  The Marine’s data filled his visor.  Heart rate, respiration, suit dynamics, all were within normal range.  Bentley’s nerves were fine; he had just lost focus.

That was a bad precedent.  While this mission should be a cak
ewalk, losing focus on a more dangerous battlefield was a recipe for disaster.  Nbele’s battlefield promotion on Case’s World was a result of his squad leader on that mission “losing focus.”  Three Marines had been
KIA
, and Nbele had had to jump into the breach to save the rest.

He blinked away Bentley, then brought up Kim. 

“Cpl Kim, monitor your Marines.  I don’t need to be keeping Bentley in line,” he said on the direct
person-to-person comms.


Aye-aye, Sergeant,” was the reply.

Sgt Nbele’s Second Squad was the point of main effort.  He and his 12 Marines
were the heavy squad, the ones with PICS.  First Squad had taken a blocking position at a crossroads on the other side of the mine, some 15 kms out.  Third was providing security for the platoon headquarters back at the
LZ

Normally, 13 Marines, even suited, would be too few to be operating like this, but no one expected much if any resistance.  Third Platoon had taken its objective, the mine headquarters at the planetary capital, over an hour ago without a fight.

His leading fire teams crested the tailings, ready to descend
into the pit.  He switched to monitor Cpl Kim’s view, which showed up to the right of his visor.  There were the same pieces of heavy equipment in the pit as he had seen on the satellite photo, but it was still good to get confirmation.  There wasn’t any sign of miners.

As always, the projected display was somewhat transparent so he could
still see the real world through the image.  He wanted a better view, so he picked up his pace from inside the V formation.  His suit’s servos adjusted.  While it didn’t take any more effort from him, the motion of the suit swung into a higher tempo as he went up the rest of the incline.  Cresting the hill, he could see down into the pit, and he closed Kim’s feed.

The pit was huge, maybe
1,500 meters across and 400 meters deep.  Unlike the open pit mines he’d seen elsewhere, this one had several smaller sub-mine heads, holes leading deeper into the ground as they followed veins. From the plans they had downloaded, he knew those mine shafts went on for kilometers underground.

He held up the squad as he linked to the eye in the sky.  The drone circled somewhere out of sight, but the feed was clear.  There was no sign of any movement
in the pit.  It was possible that the miners had bugged out, but a leader who wanted to live a long and prosperous life didn’t assume anything.  He checked all his data feeds, but everything was quiet.  He considered sending out one of the two dragonflies housed in his sleeve to get a close-up look, but the threat was pretty low, and he wanted to save them in case he might need them later.

“Zipper-six, this is Zipper
-two.  There is no indication of any enemy activity. We are commencing our descent into the mine, over,” he sent to his platoon commander, careful, as always to keep the Houseman slums out of his voice when on the radio.

“Roger than, Two.
  Keep your heads down.  Six, out.”

Sgt Nbele gave the command, and the squad started moving down into the mine pit.  Their
march discipline remained tight with good dispersion and they descended.  Unless the mine was abandoned, there had to be eyes on them now, and the more professional the Marines looked the more intimidating and the less likely that any Jimmylegs would want to tangle with them.  Loyalty to an employer could only go so far.

He glanced to his left for a visual on Kim’
s team.  The icons projected onto his visor gave him an exact picture of their movement, but human nature sometimes took over, and he wanted to see them with his eyes.  He could see three of the four Marines as they made their way through the rocks and dirt of the pit slope.

He blinked at Kim’s icon to bring him up on a direct comms when with a flash, his visor
’s electronics went blank and his suit came to a sudden halt.  His PICS had failed, something that had never happened to him before.  He thumbed the emergency reset, but nothing changed.  He tried it again, but with the same result.  Of all the times for this to happen it had to happen now, on his first assault as a squad leader!   He cursed CWO2 Slyth, the company ordinance officer, the man in charge of keeping the suits operational.

His Marines were well-trained.  They would continue the mission, but he would be out of it.  Cpl Castallano would have to take over the assault. 
It was only then that he looked out at Kim’s fire team.  While the projections on his visor were gone, he could still see through it.  The three Marines in sight had also stopped, one in mid-stride.

Sgt Nbele’s heart sank.  This wasn’t a simple malfu
nction.  Something had taken down all the PICS, not that he could imagine what could possibly do that.  But he couldn’t ignore the evidence before his eyes.  He kept hitting the reset, hoping against hope that it would finally work, but his suit remained a quiet prison. He started calculating.  Third Squad was 15 km away, and with the lone company Stork, they could get there in a couple of minutes.  But he didn’t know where that transport was.  It might take 30 minutes or more to get it to Third’s position, then another five embark, reach the mine, and debark.

Sgt Nbele felt his frustration threaten
to take over.  He took five deep breaths to calm himself.  They would just have to wait there for however long it took for rescue.  It wasn’t as if the miners had any heavy weapons with which to attack them.  With the power of the suits out, the kickbacks, the tiny jets that went off when a projectile hit the skin of a suit, thereby slowing down the projectile, wouldn’t work, but the inherent protection of the sandwiched armor would still be effective.

Something stirred in his peripheral vision.  He leaned forward, pushing his face closer to the clear visor, trying to see to the right.  At the edge of his field of vision, several men came out of one of the mine shafts, hugging the rock walls.  One took out what looked to be nothing more than a folded umbrella. 
Sgt Nbele had no idea what it was until the miner pointed it at the sky, and with a flash, a rocket-like missile took off.  The men ducked back into the shaft.  Whatever that rocket was, it was certainly homemade, and if its target was the eye-in-the-sky, that drone had countermeasures. 

His cheek was pressed against the visor as he tried to watch.  A few moments later, the m
iners hesitantly came out again.  They were searching the sky.  They were a long way off, but with his electronics dead and zoom non-functioning, it seemed as if they were arguing on what to do.

More men came out, several pointing to where the Marines were.  One man had the controls of an industrial mule which
towed a piece of equipment out of one of the mine entrances, and with that in trace, he started guiding the mule up the slope, following the other men as they approached the Marines.

Sergeant Nbele kept hitting his reset, but
still nothing changed.  His suit was dead.  He wasn’t sure what the miners could have done.  The suits were hardened against
EMP
attacks, so as long as they were intact, the suits should work.  Obviously, though, the miners had managed to disable them somehow.

Halfway up the slope, several miners grouped together.  Arms were pointed, then three men split off to move towards Cpl Kim’s team.  Two, including the guy controlling the mule, came forward towards Sgt Nbele, and another three started to the squad leader’s right, most likely heading to Second Fire Team.  They were out of his field of view within moments.

As the mule trundled forward, its six tires having no problem
purchasing the rough ground, the sergeant’s heart sank as he suddenly recognized what it was towing.  It was a powerful industrial drill.  As a boy in the Houseman slums, the young John had dreamed of working in the road construction on the planet, where crews were blasting tunnels in the mountain ranges.  One of their pieces of equipment was this type of drill. Sgt Nbele wasn’t sure if the hardened LTC bit could penetrate the LTC in his suit’s armor, but he knew he didn’t want to find out.

With all power gone from his suit, the first blast actually rocked him.  A cloud of dust rose up from where Cpl Kim’s team was frozen.  Sgt Nbele
stared as explosion after explosion sent more plumes upwards. 

“Get some!” he shouted
as he realized the explosions were supporting artillery from his unit.

The incoming
rounds started walking across the slope towards him.  He glanced back to see the two miners who had been approaching him run pell-mell back down the slope to save themselves.

“Fuckin
’ A, I owe you bastards,” he said in awe as round after round landed.  “Screw Teristry, that Jack is comin’ to you guys!”

Shrapnel pinged as it hit his suit.  It didn’t do any harm, as the arty Marines firing the shells would have known.  But against unarmored miners, it would be devastating.  Sgt Nbele looked back over to the left.  The three Marines he could see were still standing, but at leas
t one of the miners was down, a bloody mess heaped in the dirt.  He couldn’t see the other two miners, but they had to be down as well.

It looked like the two men who had been approaching him had made it to safety, but the drill
seemed to have taken a direct hit as the rounds were walked from his left to right.  He wanted to shout out with joy each time a round landed.  Too soon, though, the rounds stopped.

The platoon only had one tube, the old but venerable M229.  It fired a 155 mm shell that packed a powerful punch. 
Some shells were anti-personnel, such as what had just been used, some were anti-armor, some were EMP and other pulse-type rounds.  The gun was a great piece of gear, but even with advances in shell-casing technology, the rounds were still heavy and took up space.  A mere Marine squad could only carry so much.  They weren’t some planet-bound militia that could stockpile huge stores of rounds ready for use.  They had to carry in whatever they thought they might need.

Sgt Nbele thought the platoon HQ had most likely expended all their anti-personnel rounds in that fire for effect.
  The question was if the miners knew that as well.  Nbele hoped that the threat of more rounds would keep them in their hidey-holes until the rest of the platoon could come and get the squad out of this mess.  Then the miners would find out what it meant to face the Marines.

Motion back at the entrance to the mine shaft caught his eye.  The miners had to know that time was limited befor
e reinforcements could arrive.  If they were going to do something about his squad, they would have to act fast.

BOOK: Recruit
4.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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