SK HercBase #3
12 hours before the storm...
It was going to be a short, simple and private ceremony,
held in the close confines of Chief Instructor Hanuman's
office. Consisting of nothing more than one desk, two
chairs and four walls, the room now held four
StormKeepers officers who had to jostle a little for
CI Hanuman cleared his throat, "Greetings to all. Today
we are gathered here to officiate the promotion of one
of our finest officers to the next rank level."
"Ravager [SK] Lollipop G3W, please step forward."
[SK] Louie G3L grinned inwardly to himself. Step forward,
huh. There wasn't room enough here to do a little salute,
let alone a full officiation ceremony. Ah well, it was
the usual war-time constraints all over again. Louie
did recall the official lines though, since he'd heard
it said out for himself quite a few times in his career.
The words themselves varied a little over the years, but
the formalities never changed. He recalled how proudly
he stood in front of [SK] Hanuman himself, so long ago,
listening to the very same lines that would be read out
Pulling himself to full height (with no small amount of caution,
trying not to bump his head against the low ceiling),
[SK] Lollipop stood at parade attention. Right behind him,
peering over his shoulders, Louie and Jeffr did their level best
to do the same.
"In recognition of your piloting abilities, leadership
skills and the honour that you have brought to the squad,
you have been promoted to the Fire-Rage level..."
[SK] Jeffr managed to stop himself from turning his head
and looking around, remembering at the last millisecond
that his team-mate [SK] Sinclair was on PERIHASP (PERImeter
Herc Active Standard Patrol) and was probably enjoying
himself quite a bit stomping around in his
Minotaur and kicking up the characteristically-red martian
sand outside the base.
"You will serve with your new rank with all the honour,
integrity, and sense of justice that this position commands."
Louie's short-attention-span, computer-like, *impatient* mind
wandered around a bit, going over missile targeting elevations
ELF weapon ranges, waiting for the final part...
"... and all who are present, and all StormKeepers, past,
present and future, shall henceforth recognise you as
Fire-Rage [SK] Lollipop G3W. May the
Aldur watch over you, and may the Omni-Factor grant its
blessings onto you."
"FOR THE DARKSTAR!!"
The room fairly rattled with the StormKeepers' customary
greeting / salutation / battle-cry.
Released from the formalities of the official ceremony,
Lollipop, Louie and Jeffr poured out of the cramped office
into the bright lights of the hallway.
[SK] Louie grinned his trademark grin/smile/smirk (if you
didn't know him well enough, you really couldn't tell which)
at his friend and counterpart of fifteen years.
"Welcome to the Fire-Rage Club, Lolli, and bla, bla,
bla... [8-) Come on, we'll buy you a drink at the bar."
Which was a joke really, since all on-base drinks were free,
and there was no such thing as a bar with real alcohol in there.
But it *was* a standing joke, so everyone grinned and sauntered
over to the mini-canteen and grabbed a can of orange juice.
Three hours and twelve card games later, it was time for
Lights Out. Presently, the deep rumble of an approaching
Herc signaled the return of Sinclair from patrol duty.
Taking the next watch, Hanuman stomped out in his own
forty-ton war machine.
Outside the fortified structure, after the footsteps of
Hanuman's Herc had died down, the air was windless, and
the night was silent, but it spoke of impending doom...