An original story
by Lone Wolf
2394, March 16th
The soldiers waited. Today was the last day of boot camp. Today was their day of destiny.
The drill sergeant entered, followed by the corporal.
On command, all five hundred solders stood at attention. The corporal watched them as she stepped up to the stage.
"Today marks the end of your five month training. You've worked hard, been pushed to your limits and beyond. But there is one final test before you can be awarded full Citizenship."
Not a single recruit said a word. No eye twitched; no shoulders slumped. The corporal almost smiled.
"It is a simple test, but a crucial one. It asks for you to put your trust entirely in the hands of your superior officers, your country, and your leader."
The corporal waited, watching the crowd. Once again, the solders merely stood, almost as if they were carved of stone and not flesh and blood. The corporal merely watched.
"Anyone who is unwilling to die for an order, to give up their family, their friends, their life for the military, I ask nothing of. Anyone who is willing to die if I tell them to, to surrender their past, their history, their hopes and dreams for the burden your country asks, step forward."
All five hundred stepped forward. The corporal did smile this time, the smile of one who has come before, seen terrors to harden the soul, and has passed on that knowledge to those who asked for it. They came to her as civilians, and left as Soldiers. It was a good feeling.
The drill sergeant didn't let himself smile. He was proud, yes, but still no smile crossed his face. He only said a few words: "YOU WILL REPORT TO THE SHUTTLES AT O-EIGHT HUNDRED HOURS WITH ALL OF YOUR EQUIPMENT! DISMISSED!"
Well… perhaps more than a few words…
The soldiers filed out, each rushing to their respective barracks to pack as quickly as possible. It was, after all, O-seven fifty.
"I can't believe it's actually over," the soldier grinned at his compatriots, "We did it! We survived Camp 23! The toughest camp out there… and we actually got through it!"
Another soldier shook his head. "Camp 23 ain't the toughest. Ya know the military. They say EVERY camp is the toughest. Improves psyche ratings."
A third soldier laughed. "Who cares if we didn't take the toughest! We're in! Just five years of service and we're sitting pretty as Citizens."
The second soldier looked at him. "Is that why you joined? For the Citizenship?"
The third smiled. "You won't catch me with that question, Res."
A fourth soldier, considerably larger merely watched the three. "Humans"
The assembly was massive.
Of course, when over one hundred camps, each averaging almost five hundred cadets, are expected to attend, the assembly had better be massive.
There was some small talk, but very little. The cadets had only the most general idea on why they were brought here, and as a result, where very nervous. Their training led them to express that tension as silence. Very few bothered to overcome that training.
Finally, something happened. The lights went out.
Then, something else happened, as a lone figure walked across a stage that most, if not all of the soldiers, would've sworn wasn't there a second ago.
The figure turned to the fifty thousand assembled. He watched them for a time, not waiting for them to be quiet, as all had stopped talking when the lights shut off, but waiting for something else.
The figure finally began to speak, and every soldier immediately knew just how important this time was. They were in the presence of the Emperor of the Terran Imperium, Alexander Overfiend.
"All of you have undergone great hardships to get this far in the military. You've overcome personal fears, trained your senses, and heightened every conceivable aspect of your very essence in preparation for the future. All of you have carried on under situations that would reduce lesser people to gibbering madmen. All this preparation has been geared up for on purpose, and one purpose alone."
He paused, letting that set in.
"You are the Terran Military. You are the Fighting Arm of the Terran Imperium. You are its strength, its backbone, and its soul. You are the guardians of the civilians. And you will have to guard them from enemies you could not imagine."
The area behind Alexander flickered to life, revealing a huge assembly of war scenes. That did not disturb the soldiers. What was being fought, however, did surprise them. Life forms that had never been imagined by most of them, much less seen fought against the black armored warriors that are the Terran Infantry.
Alexander watched the assembled. There was some surprise… some interest… some admiration… but no shock, no fear. They had been trained well.
"The Universe is far from empty. The Terran Imperium already has over five hundred different sentient life forms within it. And contrary to popular belief, we have far to go. Everyday, brave members of the Terran Military fight a silent war against the unknown enemies of humanity. You will now be part of that war. As a result, all communications between yourself and civilians will be monitored."
"The price of stability is eternal vigilance. If the civilian populous discovered some of the things we fight against, they would panic, resulting in not only internal turmoil, but an inability to hold off the forces we must defeat."
The smile vanished.
"As of this moment, you are no longer an individual. You are what we make you. If we say you are a soldier, you will become a soldier. If we say you are a pilot, you will become a pilot. If we say you are an ESPer, you will become and ESPer. But above all, you are the first, last, and only line of defense we have against the terrors of the unknown. You are the fighting arm of the Terran Imperium. You are the Terran Military Forces, and I salute you."
And he did just that.
This resulted in something that would've never been tolerated anywhere else. The soldiers cheered. They applauded, they clapped, and they hooted and hollered. After all, when the leader of the most powerful force in the Universe salutes you, it would be rude not to acknowledge it.
To be continued?
Author's Note: Another prologue; this one also promises to take forever to finish. Expect a loooong time before a real update for this one…
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