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Thread: Story: Just a Standard Operation

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    Story: Just a Standard Operation

    I got bored and wrote this.

    Willing to remove anyone who doesn’t want in, and add anyone who does want in.

    Or something.
    Nicholas Dean Roberts (AKA Nich ‘Burnin’ Bob’ Roberts) is an albino who dabbles in medicine, engineering, and fire, god help us all if he ever does them all at the same time.
    “Get back here! I’m not done healing you!” Medi Roberts
    “Inflammable means flammable.” Pyro Specialist Roberts

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    Chapter 1: A Morning Like Any Other

    The initial sensations Bob felt upon waking from cryogenic sleep were ones of slipping from one dream-like state to another. Surreal and unimaginative imagery generated by his subconscious was replaced by a groggy awareness of the droll surrounds of the pod bay. Sliding thumb and forefinger under his prescription sunglasses, he rubbed sleepily at the aching dryness he found there. His tongue slid over his teeth in a rough yet vain attempt to remove the aftertaste of the gasses that had assisted in placing him into stasis.

    The sounds of grumbling, as well as that of a few dry coughs, brought him fully to his senses. Gripping the edge of the cryo pod tightly, Bob hauled himself into a sitting position. His neck cracked as he swiveled his head to look at the other sleeper units. One occupant was already standing, and the two locked eyes from across a few meters.

    “Good morning Sergeant Roberts,” Harry said. His voice was even and measured, the result of the swarms of subroutines and algorithms that regulated the synth’s actions. Bob was well aware that Harry’s actions were governed by coding and complex computations. But the appearance of an ever-so-slight smirk at the corner of the android’s mouth had Bob’s questioning whether Weston-Yamada’s vehement denials of emerging sapience in artificial persons was as accurate as they’d like everyone to believe.

    Harry’s overall appearance was as unremarkable as his voice, both points that actually spoke to the talent of his designers. With a deeply tanned skin tone, as well as brown hair & eyes, complimented what could only be called an “average” build.

    “‘Mornin Harry,” Bob replied, in a voice hoarse from dehydration. “I swear Harry, you jump out of bed this fast just to be up before me.” He was only half joking.

    “I’m not sure what you mean,” Harry said, that damnable smirk creasing his mouth again.

    Bob let out a small, humorless laugh through his nose. He then vaulted from the pod, both of his feet landing on the ice-cold floor. “Harry, after we hit the bunks and get dressed, I need you to go make sure ARES brought us to the right destination. I’ll be busy setting checking squad req to make sure High Command actually allotted us sufficient equipment for this OP.”

    Without waiting for Harry’s inevitable acknowledgment, Bob walked from the cryo bay and into a hallway. As he made his way to the bunks, he could hear that Staff Sergeant Grimes had fully awoken, and was loudly proclaiming absurdly upbeat motivational statements. Bob was glad to have gotten out of there before one of the new recruits pissed the man off.

    With only a few short strides down the hall, Bob reached the squad bunk area. Approaching one of the communal sinks, he removed his glasses. Wincing in pain at the standard-level illumination, Bob swiftly hung the eyewear in the waistband of his shorts and turned on faucet. As he splashed his face, the icy sting of the frigid water quickly drove away any residual exhaustion that he had been feeling.

    Looking in the mirror, Bob checked his eyes, first left, then right. The irises were a light blue, but due to their transparency, appeared to be a shade of violet in the harsh shipboard lighting. He ran a hand through his close-cropped, platinum-white hair, leaving it slightly damp. A quick check of his pasty-white skin showed no new blemishes, and no enlargement of existing ones, much to his relief.

    Bob had lived with albinism for all 37 years of his life. The condition left him with barely any pigmentation, and a severe propensity towards both sunburn and skin cancer. The burns tended to show up immediately after any operation where he didn’t wear sufficient sunscreen, but the little cancers he had experienced during his service were a little more insidious. Despite the slowing of his metabolism in hypersleep, that tended to be the time that new moles and melanomas decided to present themselves.

    The sound of voices in the hallway stirred Bob from his small reverie, and prompted him to head towards his locker. As much as he enjoyed the company of his squad mates, he had things to do. Thirty minutes organizing now, would save hours of prep time later. He’d have plenty of time for banter then.

    “Nicholas Dean Roberts,” the nameplate on Bob’s locker read. He opened the modular wall unit and removed his uniform and boots. Stepping into the military jumpsuit, donning socks, and strapping up the regulation footwear was second nature, taking him only a few moments. Once dressed, he fished in his uniform pockets and withdrew a pack of Executive Select cigarettes.

    “Motherfucker,” Bob said softly as he shook the empty package. He knew he’d left at least four smokes for himself before hitting the freezers. He looked over to the rest of the squad as they entered the room.

    “Seriously, people?” Bob’s harsh tone caused the majority of the squad to freeze in their tracks. The thought of having to inventory the squad’s requisition area without a smoke already had him edging towards a nic fit. One of his eyes may have been twitching. He threw the empty pack into the center of the bunk area with a flick of his wrist, and heel-turned to storm into the equipment prep area.

    Bob’s agitation sustained him as he worked diligently to verify that the regional requisitions officer hadn’t shorted the squad on any standard equipment, weapons lockers, or cases of ammunition. He actually finished the process of sorting everything in twenty-three minutes, beating his own record by two whole minutes. It might have been a point to boast about if he weren’t dying for a cigarette.

    Swinging back through the bunks, Bob made his way into the canteen. Upon entering, he strode directly over to the cigarette vendor, frowning as he saw the selections. A quick glance showed that the machine hadn’t been restocked for a few trips, and that the only thing left was—

    “Lucky Strikes,” Bob said, failing to hide the irritation in his voice. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said, pushing the selection anyway. “May as well smoke month-old underwear.” His ID card swiped through the payment reader, and with a series of metallic thunks, a battered package landed in the dispensing bin at the bottom.

    Grumbling, Bob tore at the packaging foil and withdrew a plain white roll of paper. He checked his pockets, swore when he found them empty, and then swore again when he saw that the vendor was sold out of both lighters and matches.

    Bob took a deep breath in an attempt to calm his nerves. He was probably going to break something.

    “Hey Bob, catch!”

    Turning to face the familiar voice, Bob reflexively raised a hand, catching something shiny out of the air. A cursory glance revealed the object to be a zippo lighter with an “M” etched onto one side. Wasting no time, he flicked his wrist, opening the top, and the thumbed the flint wheel, the resultant sparks igniting an orange flame. He held the lighter to the cigarette and inhaled deeply, savoring the odor of burning naphtha more than the old-sock flavor of the artificial tobacco.

    Holding his breath for a moment, Bob then exhaled a cloud of smoke from his nostrils. “Thanks Mira,” he said, returning the lithe, marine’s lighter with a light toss.

    Catching the zippo from the air, Mira spun on the balls of her feet, whipping her long, neon-green hair around. As she came to a stop, she slapped a hand down on the back of one of the new recruits, knocking a lit cigarette from his mouth and into his coffee. “Just saved your life, Lil’ Jimmies!”

    The diminutive marine turned, his heavily tanned face reddening underneath short black hair. “Damnit,” Jimmies said, “I hate that nickname!”

    A booming, yet jovial voice smashed through the rest of the canteen chatter like a dropship crashing into a Saint Patrick’s day parade. “You don’t choose your nickname, Jimmies.” Scrub’s dark-brown eyes peered out from a chiseled, ebony expression. “You get it the same way as the rest of us, and everyone teases you with it at first.”

    “That’s not fair,” Jimmies whined, pointing an accusatory finger at Bob.

    Bob walked around to the table opposite of the new recruit, trying his best not to grin.

    “How come,” Jimmies paused before restarting his complaint, “how come he gets a cool name, huh? ‘Burnin’ Bob’ doesn’t sound like a name you get teased with!” He pulled a pack of cigarettes and a cheap lighter from his shirt pocket. Grabbing a fresh cigarette with his mouth, and stuffing the pack back into his shirt, he began to flick the flint wheel several times, struggling to light up.

    “Hey Bob,” Mira said devilishly. “Why did they call you ‘Burnin’ Bob,’ hmm?”

    There were a few chuckles from the squad veterans.

    Bob smiled around the burning cancer-stick in his mouth. It’d been years, and he’d long since gotten over both the name and the circumstances of its origin. He even made a point of recounting the story personally. He spared a glance over to make sure that Grimes was paying attention and wouldn’t miss the show.

    “How I got my name?” Bob mused aloud, walking a short circle and sucking on his cigarette, turning to face Jimmies and pursing his lips to blow smoke towards the ceiling.

    “Yeah man,” Jimmies said around his own cigarette as he continued to fail to light it. “C’mon, man, it had to have been something awesome, for a name like that!”

    “Oh, right,” Bob said, the dramatic revelation having been practiced over years of new recruits. “During my first week of boot camp, I had this awful bout of gonorrhea.”

    Jimmies had finally gotten his cheap plastic lighter to ignite, but he involuntarily released his thumb, allowing the flame to sputter out. His mouth hung open, allowing his new cigarette to join its predecessor in his coffee. “W-what?” Jimmies stammered.

    “Yeah,” Bob said, ignoring the others as a few snickers inadvertently escaped them, taking another long draw from his cigarette. “I think it became official one morning a few days in, when I was stuck in the bathroom. The Drill Sergeant was screaming at me to get the hell out and get to reverie, and all I could do was cry out in pain ‘it burns! Oh god, it burns!’”

    Laughter tore through the canteen while Jimmies just sat there with a shocked and confused expression on his face.

    Bob reached across the table and slapped a hand down on Jimmies’ shoulder. “We all come from nothing before we enlist, Private.” He gripped the shoulder and gave it an encouraging shake. “Wear your nickname with pride, Lil’ Jimmies, you’re a marine, damnit!”

    Jimmies received several other pats on the back as the other marines grabbed trays of food, dropping them more or less evenly around the canteen tables.

    “Ok,” Grimes said, looking down at his watch. “Hurry up and eat, people, briefing is in fifteen minutes.”

    Everyone who hadn’t already, grabbed a seat and started to chow down.

    “Hey,” Bob said, “pass me some of that—” He paused when he saw the questionable comestibles. “—whatever the hell it is.”

    “Tray said ‘cornbread,’ on the label,” Scrubs said, with a fair amount of doubt in his voice.

    “Can’t believe the Corps feeds us this shit,” Leper said, his blue eyes scrunched in disgust. He tossed part of an uneaten slice of spongy starch back onto his plate.

    “Eat up,” Bob replied, pointing at the artificially corn-flavored nutrient block that shared its dirty blonde color with that of Leper’s hair. “Anyone who doesn’t chow down now isn’t gonna get the special MREs I got from req.”

    There were a few gasps, followed by hushed whispers of “tendies?”

    “Yeah,” Bob said. “Chicken tenders for all the good little marines who eat their dinners.”

    “Shit,” Leper said, picking up the cornbread he’d temporarily abandoned and taking another bite out of it

    Looking around, Bob allowed himself a smile. “Works every time,” he muttered to himself. He took a bite out of the cornbread someone had tossed him.

    The smile immediately vanished.
    Nicholas Dean Roberts (AKA Nich ‘Burnin’ Bob’ Roberts) is an albino who dabbles in medicine, engineering, and fire, god help us all if he ever does them all at the same time.
    “Get back here! I’m not done healing you!” Medi Roberts
    “Inflammable means flammable.” Pyro Specialist Roberts

  3. #3
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    Feel free to put me as the one of the engineers, or where ever you think I would fit in.
    Last edited by Jackson T. Murphy; 06-02-2020 at 07:24 PM. Reason: had to avoid a 'self-burn' on myself.
    Characters: Jackson T. Murphy - Bravo SL, Engineer and Mini-Engie Main

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson T. Murphy View Post
    Feel free to put me as the one of the engineers, or where ever you think I would fit in.
    He have a nickname?
    Nicholas Dean Roberts (AKA Nich ‘Burnin’ Bob’ Roberts) is an albino who dabbles in medicine, engineering, and fire, god help us all if he ever does them all at the same time.
    “Get back here! I’m not done healing you!” Medi Roberts
    “Inflammable means flammable.” Pyro Specialist Roberts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moosetasm View Post
    He have a nickname?
    Yeah, nickname is gonna be "Steelwall", a play on "Stonewall" Jackson.
    Characters: Jackson T. Murphy - Bravo SL, Engineer and Mini-Engie Main

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    Jackson 'SteelBalls' Murphy lol

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