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Winters

The Republic Rangers - The Beginning - Act Three Scene Three

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Winters

Dramatis Personae

Major James Brehm

Captain Thomas Anderson

2nd Lieutenant Claire Lieussink

I sat in his room, waiting for something to happen, waiting for my "get psyched" routine. I knew better than to go visit everyone, checking how they're doing. When commanders did that, people freak out sometimes because everyone gets ready for war in different ways. Some people pray, some people look themselves in the mirror, others go over the plan of attack, looking for flaws or problems that should be fixed, others clean their weapons and make sure they're sighted properly, some write letters to their loved ones just in case, and finally, others listen to loud, rage filled music designed to get them pumped. I listen to several strong and power opera arias and movements. Not exactly what most people expect from crack troops, but what do they matter? They shouldn?t be allowed to judge, I'm only fighting for their freedom!

I pressed a button on my music player, starting my playlist. It started with a very fast aria of a mother demanding her daughter to avenge the man that wronged her.

I started to gather my weapons; my beloved DC-15S, a DC-15s, the pistol version of the DC-15, a small set of fragmentation grenades, a couple smoke grenades, and a few flash bang grenades.

The song changed to a long duet of two women, singing for a dead warrior. I started to array the grenades all over my body, a strap across my chest for my grenades, the flash bangs on my belt toward the back of the belt, and the smoke grenades on the left side of my belt.

The song changed to an amazing scene of a man's ghost demanding that his son repent from his bad ways, but the son refuses several times, thus the father drags him to the underworld to die for his refusal to give up his wicked ways.

I got the spare ammunition magazines, putting in all my pockets that were arrayed all over my pants. They might have been a bit bulky, but having the extra ammo was more than enough to make up for it. The aria ended, and I was done.

There was a knock at my door. "Come in." I commanded to both the door and my visitor, the door opened, admitting them. I turned around, suspecting who it was, but it was someone else entirely. "Blast it Tom!" I said, turning to take out my playlist and place it in my left breast pocket. "Oh yes, forgive me, I forgot that it was you that was the one who accompanied me to the transport."

"Odd, you always expect to see me usually." Tom said dryly.

A slender body popped in carrying caff cups. "Here you go Tom, one caff, careful, its hot." Claire Lieussink said. She walked toward me and handed me a marked cup, checking it was the right one before handing it to me. "Hot chocolate, since you don't like caff." Claire said with a twinkle in her eye and a large smile.

"Why are you doing this Claire?" Tom asked, looking at the cup as if it was dangerous.

"Something I did for good luck when I was in my old squad."

"But this is the army... we can't just go in our space suits, they don't make diapers big enough! And since we don't have fancy diapers, we have to stop everything we're doing, and drop our rifles and pants. Worst way to die." Tom argued as I nodded.

"Oh..." Claire wispered. "Well, this is for good luck; it brings me good luck, so it'll bring you good luck as well." Claire was firm this time.

"Are you packed?" I asked.

"Yes, I've cleaned my rifle, taken my nap, packed my ammo, wrote my just-in-case letters, went over the POA three times over, and did my prayers." Claire said, counting them off on her hand.

Tom, who was behind Claire made the "I like her? motion.

"You did a lot in the few hours since the last meeting." I commented.

"We'll, I had some extra time." Claire turned to Tom, "What do you Army guys do?"

"We usually do the same as you, but I fo--" Tom was saying before I interrupted.

"Sleep." I simply said.

Tom gave me a withering look. "Yes, unlike most, James actually sleeps a lot, too much of my dislike."

"Because he hates doing datawork..." I quickly added.

"Anyway, I have to deliver the rest." Claire said with a flasher of her smile, attempting to salute us as she held the caff tray in her hands.

After a minute of awkward silence, Tom spoke, sure of Claire?s absence. "You know the rules."

I walked over to the other side of my room where my bed was and fell on it, facing up, feeling the sharp pain of random munitions. "Ow, and I know. But... Ah well. I'll see how it plays out..." Tom shook his head. "You're right, blast the rules! If I get court marshaled, I can become a historian!"

"You only have your B.A.!" Tom said. "From the Imperial Academy at Caridia... You can't be a Historian right off, you need more school."

"I have the money." I said, rising. "I can certainly support us both..."

"And what if you two don't work in the real world..."

"Stop Tom, we'll talk about this later, we have..." I said rising.

"No." Tom said, rushing to stand in front of me. He grabbed my arms, "James, you're one of, if not the greatest infantry leader that exists, you have the mind, you care for your soldiers, you have the skill, and the personality. I've been with you since Hoth, and I would hate to see you toss that aside for a girl under your command..."

I lifted a hand and put it on his shoulder. "I know what I'm doing, trust me."

"But when the time comes, tell me, are you going to choose her over the Republic?" Tom countered.

"Nothing can make me choose a girl that may even be the love of my life over the Republic..." I started to move away from Tom. "Tom, I may not be important to the New Republic in a direct manner, but I have given my life for it." I paused to give what I was about to say more weight. "I could have stood aside and found a peaceful life, have a real, non-war job, have a wife and kids, friends that do not serve in the military. I could have all of it, but I never will, because I will give my last breath to the Republic." I said, staring.

"Yes, a real life." Tom said, falling on my bed, sitting up.

"Sorry to bum you out." I added.

"Nah, I know you're speaking from the heart." Tom commented. "But that was a mighty fine speech...heh."

"You pick up a thing or two when your dad is in politics.? I said, offering a shrug. Finally, I pulled out a box from a chest in front of his bed and laid it on his bed.

?What?s that?? Tom asked, getting close.

?This, my worried friend, is one of the greatest inventions in the world.? I said, unlatching the box and opening it, pulling out a set of goggles.

?What is it?? Tom asked, looking at it in a weird way.

?That, my unlearned friend, is a set of goggles that is synched with my DC-15S. It?s specifically synched with my own DC-15 and it has a set of crosshairs that I can use to aim my DC without having to actually aim down the sights.?

?Nice, but are they??

?Yes, they?re sighted already.? I smiled and looked at Tom.

?You really have too much time on your hands.? Tom sighed. ?I should give you datawork.?

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