The Breezes of Heaven
Matt Snyder as Jordan Macree
Posts : 188
Join date : 2009-02-05
|Subject: Matt Snyder as Jordan Macree Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:40 am|| |
The GSS Ambriel had been doing patrols for eight months, and Jordan Macree was tired of it. The only thing worse than patrols during peacetime were patrols during peacetime on the Orion Border. It was a disheartening thought that only an actual alien invasion or a total collapse of the Global Administration would let the ship see action. Still, peace was better than war, wasn’t it?
Jordan looked blandly at the nav console in front of him, realizing that it wasn’t a preference of war to peace he was feeling, just nostalgia for his life during wartime. Things had been good then. He had been young, talented, brave…and sober. He had been a Marine, then, a real one. A golden boy. Then the war had ended as quickly as it had begun, and things fell apart. He watched his beloved military become obsolete, and merge into the Global Armed Forces. He had to march beside people he had been shooting at the day before. There were no more daring maneuvers, no more turning exploration vessels into war ships solely by virtue of his navigating and Lincoln’s piloting.
Harlan Lincoln. The best pilot the military had. And he’d abandoned ship.
Macree didn’t hold any grudge. He knew why Lincoln did it – he wanted to get away from the upheaval, the slow decline of what used to be a thrilling existence. Lincoln was angry at the military for taking away his chance for glory, and he knew there was no future with the GAF. Jordan had wished him luck, but Jordan hadn’t gone with him. He was a Marine, and he’d die a Marine. Most likely of cirrhosis of the liver, the way things were going.
If he had been a violent or sloppy drunk, it would’ve meant discharge. But he was quiet and didn’t bother anyone, and he’d been a war hero, so it was overlooked. Mostly. There was one person in his life who wasn’t the overlooking type.
“Sergeant Macree.” The voice came through crisp over the comm. at his console. There she was.
“Yes, Captain.” He wondered if she could sense that he’d been just thinking about drinking. Wouldn’t put it past her.
“Please report to the conference room.” The comm. clicked over.
Jordan worried his mouth, then shrugged and rose, leaving his station and making his way through the small corridors of the compact ship to the conference room. It held only table for six and a small desk – and two people. One he knew, the other he didn’t. The latter was a slender man, balding, with glasses that balanced on an implant in the bridge of his nose. Only he rose when Jordan entered. Captain Crane remained seated.
“Sergeant,” the Captain began, “this is Mr. Cary Tyler, the CCO of Isely.” Typer shook Jordan’s hand and reclaimed his seat. “He’s putting together an expedition to the Carina Arm, and it’s been decided you’ll be part of the crew.”
“Sir?” That was all Jordan could manage.
Crane went on, nonplussed. “It’s a survey of an unidentified anomaly. The trip shouldn’t take more than two weeks, and Isely has offered to compensate the team very generously.”
“No more generously than you deserve, Sergeant Macree,” chimed in Tyler. “We’ve been authorized to collect the best for this excursion and, well, your reputation as a navigator is stellar, if you’ll forgive the pun.”
Jrodan regarded Crane intently. Her face was expressionless, but after eight months serving under her, he knew when something was up. Her eyes were hard – well, harder than usual. Finally, he just nodded to Tyler. “Well, if that’s where they’re sending me, that’s where I’m going. Who’s your pilot?”
“It hasn’t been decided,” Tyler replied.
Jordan felt a small flicker of excitement. “May I suggest you look into Corporal Harlan Lincoln, sir? He’s not with the military any longer, but if you want the best, he’s it. Hands down.”
“We’re looking outside the GAF, yes,” Tyler mused, and Jordan could tell he was scrutinizing Macree. “If he’s as good as you say, it’s a possibility.”
“Good. You won’t be disappointed. I served with him during the Campaign and we made a pretty fine team.” That was an understatement. They were unstoppable, the two of them. And what he wouldn’t give for another chance at that feeling of invincibility.
“Thank you for coming to see us personally, Mr. Tyler,” Crane intoned, and it made Jordan wince inwardly. It was never a good sign when she was this polite. “It’s appreciated.”
Tyler knew a dismissal when he heard one. “We’ll see you at Port Alhambra in two weeks.” He took his leave.
Jordan was about to do the same, when Crane nodded. “Keep your seat, Macree.”
There it was. He knew there was more to this than Crane was willing to reveal in front of the suit. She wasn’t a demonstrative or warm woman, but she was good and reasonable. She wouldn’t leave him in the dark. “He’s a character,” was Jordan’s opening comment.
“He’s Isely, through and through. Shrewd, careful, but not necessarily ambitious. He has the company’s interests wrapped tight around him.” She leaned back in her chair, and Jordan realized with surprise that she actually looked tired. Avery Crane never looked tired.
“That bad?” he asked. “Sir, you can do without me for two weeks. You might crash into a planet, but -…”
“I’m going with you.” The words stunned him, and she went on without waiting for him to toss together a coherent reply. “They’re sending the Valdosta out there.”
Jordan stared, comprehension dawning. That was her ship. Oh, sure, she had captained the Ambriel, and the Insight before that, but everyone knew about Crane and the Valdosta. It wasn’t the biggest ship in the fleet, or the fastest, but Avery Crane had done amazing things in command of it. They’d even named a planet or something after her while she was on the Valdosta. “Sir, I -…” he began, but she cut him off.
“It’s not just that. I owe someone at Isely a few favors. Not Tyler, but a good friend who, for some reason, prefers business to the armed forces. He called them in for this expedition.” She glances at him, expression unreadable. “You’re the best navigator I’ve ever known, Macree,” she told him simply. “They made the right choice.”
Jordan rose and started for the door. “Macree.” He turned and looked at his Captain. “You won’t be going through the motions on this. And the Valdosta does have a brig.”
It was a caution, a warning and a promise. Jordan looked at her a long time, then just nodded and left the conference room.
Posts : 188
Join date : 2009-02-05
|Subject: The End Arrives Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:09 am|| |
The base’s rec hall was crowded – the station was only meant for two hundred or so, but almost double that had poured in after the battle to congratulate one another and to take what few precious hours of leave they could before climbing back into their ships. Only small ale was available, but the soldiers were so happy they drank it down without complaint.
Jordan was at a tiny, makeshift table constructed out of some crates and a flat-top cargo lid, wedged into a corner of the hall. It was cramped, but it also near a window and he could look out at the ships docked at the base. The one he had called home for sixteen months, the Vigor, was partially visible. He noted that the damage it had incurred seemed far less than the other ships near it, which were battered and scraped and burnt. It was a good ship. But, he mused, all crewmen must feel that sort of loyalty to their vessels.
“Macree!” the voice was piping through the crowd and Jordan turned his head to grin at Harlan Lincoln. “Hey!”
“Hey,” Jordan greeted in reply. Harlan claimed the crate-seat opposite Jordan, setting down his plastic mug of small ale. “It’s all over the news, man. Did you get the feed? They’re saying this and the six skirmish victories are gonna be the turning point in getting Veritas and Modest. That’s two more planets and eight more colonies. We’re kicking their asses, Macree.”
Jordan smirked and took a quick drink of the beer. “We sure are. They were doin’ okay at the beginning, but they’ve got nothing on us now. Wait’ll we get over to Neville.”
“Oh, that’s not even gonna be a fight,” drawled Jordan with a smile. “Please. Prezchek’s long gone and Ilia’s on its way out. We’ll get there in time to ram them on their way out to get ‘em going a little faster.”
“Fine by me,” shrugged Harlan. “Just so long as we stay in the air. I’m useless on the ground.”
“You’re pretty much useless anywhere,” replied Jordan, and managed to duck away from the punch Harlan threw half-heartedly. As he straightened, he looked over Harlan’s shoulder to see some sort of scuffle going on at the other end of the hall. “Hey,” he murmured. “What gives?”
Harlan twisted in his seat to look. “I dunno. They’re getting excited about something on the news feed. Bet we stomped some more ships.” He turned around noncommittally and went back to his beer.
But Jordan rose, slowly. “They sound angry,” he said, his mood going shadowed. The crowd was yelling at the monitors, and he saw a plastic mug go sailing to strike against the screen.
A soldier pushed passed them on his way to the crowd, and Jordan grabbed his arm. “What happened?” he asked. “What’s going on?”
“It’s over, Corporal, sir,” the young man said. “The Campaign. It’s over.” He broke free and made his push with the sudden swarm of soldiers toward the monitors.
Jordan and Harlan stared at each other for a moment, then both added themselves to the tide of people who were surging up to get a look at the news feeds.
The hall was too full of shouting to hear, but there were captions provided under the sober and plastic-looking face of the news anchor. Jordan read them in shock.
“- press release forty minutes ago. President Cleary, Prime Minister Ferris, Emperor Ki, Administrator Havan as well as fifteen others that will now be part of the Global Administration Council are calling for an immediate cease-fire on all fronts. An address this afternoon will be made by the council, as well as the initial announcements concerning the new Global Administration and the Terran Nation. This morning –“
“Holy shit,” breathed Harlan. Jordan couldn’t speak.
He heard one of the soldiers bellowing angrily at the screen. “Hey, fuck you! I’m an American, not a fucking Terran, or whatever the fuck they’re calling it now. Fuck those assholes! I’m a God-damn American and I’ll always be an American!” His cry was rewarded with a wild cheer from the masses.
“We ain’t even gonna be in the US Marines no more,” a Private said pleadingly to Jordan, who could only stare at him. “They’re gonna make us join up with all those guys we’ve been fighting. We don’t get to be American soldiers, Corporal. We’re in the GAF – Global Armed Forces. What a crock! Ain’t that a crock?” His voice was brokenhearted rather than furious. Jordan could only nod, mutely. These men weren’t equipped to handle this. Most of them were just kids, war and patriotism beaten into their heads so fast and hard that it was all they knew now. They couldn’t just turn it off like switch. He remembered the line in a poem by Stephen Crane; it had stayed with him all through Basic and his tours:
Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them…
“What the fuck are we gonna do?” The cries were angry, but they were also keening and anguished. “I’ll be in Hell before I serve ‘longside one-a them.” “Fuck the GAF!” “There’s no way I can join a new army.” “Are gonna have to give back our stripes?” They were done for. They were seeing their own lives being broken down. They had no idea how to handle it, because they’d been trained to be the exact opposite. They’d been conditioned to resist everything that was happening now to them.
“ ‘These men were born to drill and die’,” he murmured.
“What?” It was Harlan’s voice that brought Jordan back to himself. Jordan glanced over at the pilot, and saw instantly that Harlan Lincoln was not going to make it. His expression of despair and shock was proof enough. In a week, maybe a month, he’d quit the service and run from it, betrayed and confused.
Jordan wasn’t going to run. For these others, being a soldier was something woven into their minds and hearts. For Jordan, it was in his blood. He couldn’t be anything else.
“Let’s go,” he said to Harlan, who just nodded and began trying to shoulder his way back out of the crowd.
Matt Snyder as Jordan Macree