<> U.S. Interstellar Marine Corps, Forward Operating Installation SMMC Micheal P. Barrett
<> Interstellar War I, Argo-Vela Constellation Combat Zone - "Op. Untamed Fury", Vibora Report
<> Interview with Capt. Jamie Pearson, Staff Sgt. Larry Jones, PO1-SWO Gordon Boudreaux
<> Reporter - Craig Freeman, CNN-BBC News Affiliate
<> Recorded Data Archives, 2095.11.10, Nova-VII
Three Naval Infantry soldiers, two Marines and a Navy SEAL, walked the United States Interstellar Marine Corps, FOI SMMC Michael P. Barrett Walk of Remembrance. I quietly followed their march around the barracks, through the fields and onto the shiny black deck where memorials were placed for Marines both missing- and killed-in-action during the First Interstellar War.
Around the base, groups of recruits were being run right into the ground by their drill instructors as they chanted cadences from the Marine Corps years' past. The drill instructors barked the cadence lines and recruits sung along.
"A-lo right, a-lo right lay-o,
Lo' right, a-lo right lay-o,
Mama told Johnny not to go downtown,
The Marine Corps recruiter was hanging around,
But Johnny went downtown anyway,
To hear what the recruiter had to say,
The recruiter asked Johnny what he wanted to be,
Johnny said; 'I want to join the Infantry!'
A-lo right lay-o,
A-lo right lay-o,
So, Johnny caught a plane out to Vietnam,
There Johnny fought the Viet Cong
He killed a hundred men with his rifle and blade,
Only God knows how many lives he saved,
Johnny was bad and he was brave,
Johnny jumped on a hand grenade,
He saved the lives of the men he led,
But, now poor Johnny, he was dead,
Singin' lo' right, a-lo right lay-o,
Lo' right, a-lo right lay-o,
Lo' righty, lo' righty, left-right lay-o,
Lo' righty, lo' righty, left-right lay-o,
Before he died, this is what he said,
To tell his mother, when he was dead,
Momma, momma, don't you cry,
The Marine Corps motto is SEMPER FI!"
The senior Marines, and one Navy SEAL, saluted the D.I.s as they went past a platoon, ringing loud choruses in their wake, which brought a smile to the men's faces. They were proud of the next generation of Interstellar Marines. The three middle-aged men were succeeded by the drill instructors that were training the new recruits. Three generations of Interstellar Marines stood on hollowed parade grounds this day, and most of them would never be recognized by the civilians back where I come from for their heroic actions in wars past, present or future. The first three generations ever produced for Interstellar Warfare.
Not a word was spoken between the three as we walked the parade grounds, walking up and into the Marine Corps IWI (Interstellar War I) Museum. We all gathered at one of the consoles in the center of the room for a moment, but the Marines' memories came flooding back with the sight of photographs and weapons in cases, with the accompanying names of the men --- living, MIA and KIA --- who were in them and used them.
"I hate to bitch, but I think we had it worse. I mean, yeah, our boys fought the Japanese back in the Pacific, and then Charlie in 'Nam, and those places held some pretty bad bush, but I think we had it worse," an elderly, salt-and-pepper haired Gordon Boudreaux opened the conversation. "They weren't fighting aliens, monster snakes and shit on the most adverse planets man ever set foot on."
A taller Marine, standing over near one of the weapons displays, nodded his head in agreement, still staring at one of the old assault rifles the Interstellar Marine Corps (USIMC/USMC-I, but still formally known as the USMC) and U.S. Navy SEALs (Sea, Air and Land) used in the 2040s and 50s. Jamie Pearson turned back and walked over to the holographic projection table, switching between the helmet-cam feeds of his fellow Marines and UAV cam-feeds from above; tracking everybody's movements on the battlefield of Vibora in 2049. The feed started rewinding after he motioned once with his hand.
"I don't think anybody had seen it worse than that, even with all the battles after that. And, boy," Pearson looked up at me, pointing. "We had some battles."
"It was like a fuckin' nightmare that never ended." Staff Sergeant Larry Jones growled deeply.
"Yeah, but they were fun times, War Scribe. Don't doubt it for a second. It was a kick-ass experience, and we wouldn't trade it for the fucking world." Boudreaux said, jabbing a thick index finger in my direction.
Boudreaux was the only one here that wasn't a Marine, other than myself. He had been a petty officer, first class with the U.S. Navy SEALs, attached with the 1st Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion during in the Argo-Vela Constellation Combat Zone (AV/CCZ) during IWI. SEAL Team Three still retained joint-operations billets with 2nd Batt even after the war moved out of the AV/CCZ.
"Well, Captain. You're the commanding officer here who can tell the story from the beginning. Why don't you begin?" I offered, placing the tip of my pen on paper for taking notes. I turned the tape recorder on with my free hand.
Captain Pearson grunted quietly, but nodded as he focused the play-parameters of the holographic projection system, typing in his own name so that we could watch the recording as he told the story, to increase the accuracy of his own memory.
Larry Jones started chuckling. "War Scribe, you might have a hard time believing it, but we rolled into battle in fifty-year old Hueys and Humvees, blaring 'Ride Of The Valkyries' over loudspeakers like we were in Apocalypse Now," he said with a toothy grin.
Pearson and Boudreaux started laughing, but it was Boudreaux who spoke next.
"Wait, so you were dreaming? I thought you had spent your seven-years beating off in that cryo-tube." Boudreaux taunted.
"Alright, you shit-birds. Can the chatter," Pearson ordered, pausing to let a sigh loose before speaking again. "Walker, I begin this whole journey in a Marine Corps recruiting office in Dallas, Texas..."
<> U.S. Interstellar Marine Corps, MARSOC Space Command - 2049.12.24, WAR-0304-5589 "Vibora"
<> E. Pearson, Jamie, Gunnery Sergeant - Recorded Data Archives, 2049.11.6 - 2049.24.12
["Operation Untamed Fury"]
<> Recorded Data Archives - Audio Log, 2049.11.6
Nobody thought it was possible, making a modern-day "super-soldier" so early into the 21st-century. But, there we were graduation day, standing in formation waiting for the D.I. to dismiss us. I was so weary and tired standing there I had to check and make sure I wasn't already dead. It had been the longest, hardest eight-months of my life.
The Marine Corps was given the go-ahead on a special project in 2020, a semi-secret reform of the old Marine Raiders from World War II, but the missions weren't supposed to be heard of 100-percent of the time. Five-years later the Marine Corps disengaged itself from the Navy and three-years after that, in 2028, the Interstellar Marine Corps branch was formed for defense of off-Earth U.S.-owned installations, both military and civilian. Our training was combined from only the Elite of the Elite of planet Earth's finest warriors, that being from Marine Force Reconnaissance, Navy SEALs, Green Berets and the Army Rangers. My name is Gunnery Sergeant Jamie Pearson and I'm apart of the 1st MARDIV's, 1st Marine Regiment, 2nd Battalion (2/1 - "The Professionals").
Well, that was five-years ago, anyway. Back at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island in Beaufort, South Carolina on Earth where we trained. I know what you're thinking, but no, we're not genetically-altered. Save that for the video games of past and present. You don't need to become a lab-experiment to become a super-soldier. For now, we're the definition of that phrase.
Our first year after training was spent mostly in Afghanistan hunting for Osama bin Laden's successor of al-Qaeda: Ayman al-Zawahiri. The hunt for him lasted just as long as bin Laden's had, and al-Zawahiri was just as hard to catch, but we got him. Buzzed an MQ-8D Ripper right up his ass, M240 machine-guns ablaze. The hell if I was going to sacrifice anymore men that day by sending them into a cave. Ol' Hajj wasn't getting one more drop of Allied blood.
Some of my share of the bounty was put into the replacement drone that we had to get for the fireteam. But, that day was just two years ago. We were just redeployed to a U.S. territory planet called Outpost Warrior two months ago, from Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California. The civvies call this place Vibora, Spanish for Viper. Outpost Warrior was an Earth-like planet about the size of Jupiter; founded as WAR-0304-5589 and colonized by a Texan by the name Leroy Samuels in 2038 after the NASA "Space Exploration Jump" in 2021.
SEJ was the next step in space travel. Space ships were built that could open up gates or portals, some call them space detours, thus making them able to cut space travel time and distances in half, or something like that. Wasn't taught any of that, I'm just another dumb grunt, as it goes. Taught me how to kill, they just use the ships and SEJ to send me to the next hellhole.
When we got to Outpost Warrior it changed everything about warfare, except for the basics of jungle warfare that dated back to World War II in the Pacific. Man, I'll tell ya, thought the Amazon was some bad bush. The bush itself was about the only thing that was defined as "friendly", unless you fell out of a tree. But what the bush held was a different story.
Nights were the worst. The goddamned bats scared the hell out of everybody for the first months, especially when we held post outside while on recon patrols, they were about twice the size of the largest bat species back on Earth. The snakes were monsters, as well, from which the planet got its name. The Amazon was nothing compared to the Viper Rainforest. Viper had three times the size in forested area alone, and it had a river system, the Vibora Labyrinth, that just absolutely dwarfed the Amazon River. We didn't dare fathom on what creatures of the depth it held past the fish that we caught sometimes.
But, of course, the civvies on Earth saw a tourist hotspot, mostly because of the surf and year-around summer-temperatures. And so it became the number one tourist destination indefinitely, mostly being confined to the city of Vieux Carre. The name was Cajun, meaning 'Old Quarter', the name came from Leroy Samuels' roots. The city was a cross between New Orleans with it's Southern Louisiana atmosphere and Gold Coast, Australia for the city being right on the beach. Both cities' also have a nice compliment of canal systems, or bayous.
Civvies, gotta give everything a damned name like it's a pet... well, "Vibora" was their hissing, spitting bitch-kitty.
We were tasked with holding Firebase Fury, a joint Marine Corps/Army Special Operations Forces (SOF) base allocated fifty-miles inland from the city district for its defense and as a primary offensive deployment area. We were the most elite of the Elite for the job and weren't getting reinforcements for six more months. It still took eight-months to go from Earth to Outpost Warrior through the portals... And we still couldn't be certain if we were the only sentient beings on the planet. But, that was about to change, and only the Gods of War were smiling down on us this time around.
First contact with the alien species was November 6th, 2049. I was literally point-man for the war, as the fact I was leading the first patrol that was hit. We had been moving through the ferns and bush when I bumped into the six-and-a-half foot tall humanoid.
The creature and I each jumped back, each of us raising our weapons. My platoon quickly formed a skirmish line and searched the jungle for more tangos while O'Reilly, Boudreaux and I started shouting at the humanoid. I had a clear sight-picture through the integrated GruTech reflex sight on my Colt-McNally M3A1 assault rifle, I just hoped the big bastard didn't have some sort of invisible shield, otherwise the 7.62x51mm FMJs would do exactly what I wanted it to do.
"Put your fucking weapon down!" O'Reilly shouted, pointing to the deck. His bullpup M-20 SCAR's (no relation to the MK.16/17 SCAR series) barrel swayed with the movement.
Three of the humanoid's comrades came out of the brush slowly, their own alien-tech raised and shouting at us in their own language. Boudreaux started shouting in French, loss of temper resulted in loss of passive English for the rest of us to understand.
Boudreaux charged his Remington-225 12-gauge shotgun and checked each target. "Se mettre à genoux!" He roared.
I was shouting, but heard everyone's shouts instead. I was jabbed my index finger at the deck, wanting them to put their weapons down. Maybe I was paying more attention to remembering on whether I had hit the selector-switch and taken my weapon off of safe, I don't know.
"Flankin' party, two o'clock, bearin' down fast!" First Lieutenant James Cooter shouted.
Someone from 3rd Platoon hollered that there had been an enemy grenade thrown. I can only reminisce on it all now; maybe one of their grunts got jumpy and thought his buddy had gone down in hand-to-hand combat thanks to one of my men. Guess it doesn't matter now though, that grenade went off and only the screams of three of my fellow Marines covered the racket that damn thing made.
Our scientists said the grenade had the burn capability of our white phosphorous, but there was no shrapnel---per se, but instead there was a thick gel like that of napalm. Only without the harsh after affects that left newborns fucked up.
After the grenade went off it didn't matter if it was a misunderstanding. All that mattered was the enemy that was still standing in front of my boys and me. Stevenson, an Alabama boy, took a plasma round to the head. Boudreaux paid Stevenson's killer back with some 00-ought buckshot to what passed as the creature's ugly mug. I squeezed the trigger as quick as I dared, so as not to jerk it and I felt the weapon's recoil slam against my shoulder. Guess I had put it on full-automatic after all, and the big bastard knew I had too, for about five seconds before the 7.62mm rounds tore through his armor plating into his upper chest and neck.
The peaceful jungle was rocked with gunfire and explosions as all sorts of rounds hit their intended targets. Our explosives and the alien techs' plasma burned the trees trunks and brush. I took cover behind a tree, which had been taken down from our tank fire, with Boudreaux and O'Reilly. We didn't fire at first, to be honest, but instead we watched and learned from the carnage.
It was very obvious that the aliens had just landed on Vibora. I turned my thermals on just in time to see one particular patrol wasn't treading the terrain carefully enough, as they followed our old trail up to our position; one of Vibora's signature black vipers was sitting in the branches above the trail and it found a source of food. That was the one time I won't talk down about the snakes. The alien's three squad-mates turned about to help him and we took them out with a thick cover of rifle and machine-gun fire. The second patrol that came up the trail was a bit savvier about it, and shot the viper before walking under the tree it had been in. Then they turned the spotlight on us and kicked off the rodeo.
But, anything that landed on Vibora learned damn quick about being careful in the bush. But, these suckers hadn't been here more than a month, and had been lucky they hadn't run into the bush vipers in that time.
I heard the radioman call for Close Air-Support before sticking a smoke round into the chamber of his M32 Multiple Grenade Launcher and firing it at an angle up through the canopy. The round would float down on a parachute, get stuck in the trees---with any luck, right above the alien sons-of-bitches.
Because of thick jungle the Navy said they wouldn't deploy fighters or fixed-wing bombers with us when we deployed to Vibora, it was easier and cheaper to deploy heavy gunship helicopters with extreme loitering capabilities instead.
One particular helicopter gunship that we had on standby was a quad-rotor MH-156L "Ragin' Cajun", officially it's the Falcon, Heavy Direct Action Penetrator. The payload capacity was one-hundred-forty tons, just enough to carry two of the old M1A3 Abrams MBTs. So, some pogue in the back storeroom of the Sikorsky Aircraft & Armament Corporation suggests mounting about two-dozen heavy weapons, and then two-dozen light weapons to this thing. Medium, heavy machine-guns and Automatic Grenade Launchers, y'know; that type of firepower---and then add up all the ammo it could carry and you've got an official party-wagon. Ha-ha!
We were getting our asses kicked left and right when the Ragin' Cajun showed up. By that time 3rd Platoon was gone and the aliens were working 2nd over pretty good. We sure got a helluva surprise when the "Truck Drivers", from the 3rd Aerial Bombardment Wing, showed up. They had a new 150mm Rheinmetall L100 smoothbore gun mounted on a turret that made it look like they'd disassembled an M1A2, added the new gun and hung the turret on the Cajun's belly.
The Ragin' Cajun was brought to a halt not far from the red smoke and then spun 30-degrees, thus showing all of what the flying fortress had to offer. Heavy Browning machine-guns, Gatling-cannons and a number of Bofors guns were just sitting on every inch of the side of that machine. At first everything just stopped, all the fire and mortars just stopped as every pair of eyes watched this thing.
"Enemy tank at one o'clock!" The platoon leader out of 2nd bellowed.
All we heard was the roar of the 150mm punctuate his sentence, and then the roar of the following explosion.
"What fuckin' tank?! I don't see no fuckin' tank!" I had shouted back.
There wasn't Marine who hadn't laughed before the fire picked back up. There was no point in wasting our ammo with the MH-156L H-DAP watching over us, but there wasn't one of us who didn't start pourin' it on the humanoids regardless. If you wanted to talk about a crowd-pleaser, then you'd always turn to the Cajun. That was for damn sure.
"They're retreating! Don't let them get away!" Cooter's shout was heard down the line.
Machine-gun fire from our forward-most units picked up, catching the enemy's rearguard. The lead rounds impacted hard against whatever kind of armor the aliens wore, slowly weakening the armor before the rounds tore through. Bright green tracers disappeared and the bodies dumped out bright orange blood all over the jungle floor.
Second and Sixth Platoons moved up on their right flank, AGLs launching grenades left and right, the rounds explosions flinging the alien bodies around like rag-dolls. Fourth Platoon wasn't getting on as easily as the platoon sergeant probably would've liked to.
"Four, we're moving up on your right, push forward! One will assist!" I ordered.
"Wilco! Four is moving to prosecute!" Staff Sergeant Gutierrez shouted.
The tempo of the fire picked up on the left to match Second and Sixth's on the right. Some sort of alien rocket, or something, shrieked overhead and hit the tree behind us as we moved forward. The enemy fire took Johnson from Third and Stevens from my First Platoon, the aliens just splattered them all over the bush with whatever ammunition they were using. More of the same probably happened, but only the screams of my fellow Marines could be heard.
The sight picture on the GruTech was clear, when there were enemies a red 65-MoA ring and 1-MoA dot showed up, when the subject was friendly it showed up green thanks to the tech in our armor. Anybody or anything not wearing our armor turned it red and was classified as enemy because of the thermal readings. To correct for any parallax error the front post sight was left up to correlate with the MoA dot's position, and thus correcting any error in the rifleman's aim.
The sight picture went from clear to red in an instance, and I watched the figure, pulling the trigger as the ammo counter in the upper-right corner relayed what ammo I had left. The target went down without even firing off a plasma shot.
I saw a Marine jump up onto a down tree, firing his Springfield M7A2/E3 battle rifle at his targets as they appeared. The Marine was like a raging bull, pissed off, maybe because his fellow Marines had been hit. He was shouting at the enemy, as well.
"Teufelshunde!" The Marine bellowed. "Now I'm gonna rip your throats out!"
We chased them back for a few miles, being covered by the Ragin' Cajun before Brass called us back. Lieutenant Cooter tried to get Brass to let us "kick this threat's ass all the way off of the planet". It was a no-go though, too dangerous apparently. Not that you would've heard any of my Marines complain about it.
<> E. Pearson, Jamie, Gunnery Sergeant
<> Recorded Data Archives - Audio & Video Log, 2049.24.12, 0300 Hours
It was a short-lived victory, for us though. Six months of getting our asses whooped later and here we sit, just outside of a small fort by the name Dulac, about five-miles from Vieux Carre. We were having AUH-156s drop the 3rd and 11th Forward Interstellar Suit Troopers in to assist us today. One of the tank battalions was taken out yesterday from enemy fire, now today Brass is tasking us with a support-by-fire mission. They're deploying us downstream with a clear line-of-fire on the alien big-guns on the opposite side. Corporal Larry Jones is my spotter and explosives specialist.
We're setup in a small camouflaged hide along the river, about five-meters behind the main tree line, which would serve as our defense against small arms and tank fire, for the most part on the latter anyway.
"Hey, Gunny, pass me them 14.5mm rounds over yonder. I'll load the rest of these mags up, Sahr." Jones drawled.
I passed him the rounds without replying, he would probably start jaw-boning about this or that. But, he didn't deviate from loading the ten-round magazines for the semi-automatic Martinsburg Mk.70 anti-material rifle I was using. Jones would guard the area and use the M138 Hammer fire-and-forget/disposable (FFD) missile system, with HEAAT and WP (White Phosphorus) missiles, on the armor across the river only when someone called for assistance.
To shoot those rockets was suicide if one of the alien long-guns spotted us, so Standard Operating Procedure dictated the ROEs. The Corporal would have to move back upstream to fire them off, away from any other friendlies so as not to draw fire on them. Rules of Engagement stated as soon as Jones did that and got the call he was free-to-fire.
"When y'think they'll kick this bitch off, Gunny?" Jones drawled, chewing on a piece of jerky.
I thought about it for a moment. "They'll probably send a few Pythons over to rile-up the enemy camp with machine-guns and that early-century rock n' roll, Corporal. But, if you keep jaw-boning they're going to figure out we're already here, so shut the fuck up." I ordered.
"Aye, Gunny." Jones said shortly.
The silence only held for thirty-mikes. I could hear 3rd FIST trooping in as quietly as they could muster, but neither of us could pinpoint where each individual mechanical was. Eleventh FIST would show up further downstream probably. We would know the fire too. Their 120mm anti-armor guns, 30mm Gatling-cannons and 57mm Bofors Assault-Cannons could take down enemy cities in hours.
Now it was time to see what kind of new shit they could fuck up.
The Lieutenant opened up COMMs with the platoon, but he was checking on us. "Blue-Five, this is Blue Actual. Combat will commence in five-mikes. I repeat: zero-five mikes. Watch for infiltrators and hit 'em where it hurts the most. I've got FIST set to distract a little further down for y'all."
Jones decided this would be a good time to open his mouth. "Don't worry, Lieutenant. They'll line right up, and we'll mow 'em right down."
"Stay frosty, Blue-Five. Blue-Actual, out." Lt. Cooter said before severing COMMs.
I turned to Jones as he was loading his Fury M312 Modular Assault-Shotgun System under-slung on his M7E4, loading it with the dreaded 00-ought buckshot. He stopped and looked up at me.
"Jones, they may line up, and we may mow them down, but it's like the grass out-front my house in Mississippi. It always comes back; just like how they're reinforcements will come. Now, do us both a favor, before we're spotted, and shut the fuck up." I ordered; in a low, dangerous voice.