A Lesson In History

Rapier7Rapier7 Join Date: 2004-02-05 Member: 26108Members
<div class="IPBDescription">Mark Deux</div> "Miss Felman!" Jane snapped her head up as she looked around for the source of the noise. In front of her, Mr. Gail was wearing his usual scornful expression. "Would you like to join our class?" Why does he even try, thought Jane. It's a boring class with a boring teacher with a bunch of kids who don't care. It was true enough, most of the people in the class were only glancing in the teacher's general direction, pretending to listen. Jane mumbled a hasty apology at her desk and the teacher walked away, scanning the class for other inattentive students while lecturing, "Now, can anybody tell me the immediate cause of the collapse of the Inter-System League?" Silence. He let the question hang for a few more seconds before continuing, "So. Nobody knows the answer?" A yawn punctured the previous silence. It was time. Gail was getting ready to put on his show, "I didn't expect this class to be full of historical savants, quite the contrary. But your appalling lack of knowledge of important historical events prevent you from later on becoming a useful citizen of the Empire. An indifference of the past leads to an indifference of the present. I don't expect many of you to fully appreciate what the Empire has done for the galaxy, but you should at least be aware of it." Jane felt her eyes droop. It was Gail's usual rhetoric, "However moronic this class may be, I expect you to at least listen and at least retain a minimal amount of knowledge of Galactic History by the end of the course." A few more yawns followed this comment. One particularly loud yawn caused a few people to giggle silently. Frowning, Gail continued the lesson, "The withdrawal of the Collective of Forinth was the immediate cause of the collapse of the League. After that, inter-system relations steadily deteriorated in within a mere three years, sector Alpha, humanity's origin, was at war. Economic depression was rampant, as many governments diverted more and more resources to an arms buildup. The Intergalactic War itself lasted for over a millenium, as massive fleets engaged each other in a bitter, and ultimately futile war of attrition. However, in this time, many governments also poured massive amounts of resources into scientific research. Hyperdrive and nanite systems were particularly important." As he droned on, the class was steadily losing focus. Jane yawned herself; she hadn't gotten a lot of sleep last night. Gail continued, "Governments spent quadrillions on scientific research and a new war began. Military strike teams slipped past enemy lines and raided research facilities. These strike teams, what we would now call terrorists, were instrumental in the War."

First Sargeant Mike Thaiden fingered his rifle's safety absentmindedly as he surveyed his team. The eight other marines were checking their weapons, talking and joking with each other, but Thaiden wasn't fooled. They were tense. His team had successfully completed ten missions so far, and when they were the best squad in the division, there was only one way to go. They really were the best of the best, he thought. They were all determined enough to complete the mission, but also sane enough not to look forward to it. Mjolnir Squad of the Strategic Assault Division was ready to roll. Thaiden stood up, a gesture for silence, and the eight other marines ceased talking, looking intently at their leader. "You guys know why you are here. We've done well in the past, and we'll continue to do so on this mission. Just follow your orders and don't do anything stupid, and we'll be okay." The others nodded. They had heard his pre-mission speech ten times before, but it was still just as important to listen to as it was on the first time. "ETA is three minutes. You've all studied the facility's layout. Go straight to your objectives and don't **** around. Every second is precious." That was an understatement. One second meant the difference between life and death. "In and out, smash and grab. Let's do this." He put on his helmet and flicked off the safety of his rifle. The others did the same. "Kelmaria!" roared Thaiden. Eight marines shouted back in unison, "Far may we reach!" and ran towards docking bay.

She had been caught again. As students filed out of the room, Jane had to stay behind. Her friends lingered at the door, looking at her. She mouthed the words "just go" and her friends left reluctantly. Mr. Gail was walking back towards his desk and sat down on his chair. "Have a seat, Miss Felman." She sat down on a chair in front of his desk, looking down at the floor. He studied Jane for a few seconds with a calculating expression on his face before speaking, "Miss Felman, you have a chronic problem of falling asleep in my class." She was still staring down at the floor, silent. He continued, "I know that many students find my class boring. But I still expect them to listen." She stayed silent. "What do I have to do to make you listen, Miss Felman?" She looked up; this was it. Gail paused for a moment before speaking again, "You have an eight page report due next Standard week on Monday. The paper will be on the short and long term political consequences of the Interstellar War. You will present the report on Monday in front of the class. No holograms. This paper will be worth three test grades. That is all." And with that remark, he got out of his chair, and strolled out of the class room. Jane was momentarily stunned. She went over his statement, it had not quite registered in her mind the first time. Eight pages! And no holograms. That was a crime! She stood up and walked out of the classroom.

"Blast that sucker." Private First Class Jaeger hit the button and an EMP charge swept the complex, disabling almost all system functions within the space station. They docked into the facility's docking bay and streamed out of the ship. Thaiden barked out his orders, "Raker, Shinseki, Jaeger, head to System Controls, disable their grid. Mallon and Thompson, head to Communications, make sure nobody gets in there. Everybody else, head to R&D." Nine marines ran in different directions out of docking bay. Thaiden's team headed up a corridor, so far they had encountered no opposition. "Report in." "Raker here, we're almost at system." "This is Thompson. We're guarding communications." Thaiden grinned. They ran into R&D. They found a group of scientists at the corridor. Thaiden's team gunned them down. "Search 'em." Two marines stood guard as the others rummaged through the pockets and coats of the scientists. "We're under fire! Heavy opposition encountered at System Controls!" Thaiden's voice comm was flooded with noise as his marines exchanged fire with the scientists. An explosion was heard. Thaiden thought fast, "Raker, Shinseki, head to Mallon's position. Jaeger, come to R&D." There was a chorus of agreement and then a marine rummaging a scientists' pockets found an access keycard. He inserted it into the blast doors and then walked to the terminal interface, "Jaeger, ETA?" "Twenty seconds." After a few seconds, they could hear a person's lone footsteps ringing towards them and then Jaeger appeared. "Crack that ****." "Roger that." Jaeger sat down in front of the terminal interface and started hacking the system security.

Jane was walking down the school's hallways as she thought about her assignment. Eight pages, that's entirely unfair, she thought. Her week was ruined. She had planned on going to the big Aerogame match on Thursday, but with the report in the way, it looked like she would be stuck in the library for the entire week. Her harbored increasingly large resentment towards galactic history as she walked towards the lunch room.

Thaiden grew more anxious by the second. He looked around the room while Jaeger's hands were flying across the keyboard. His gaze was fixed upon the bodies of the seven scientists, scattered across the floor. Bad omen, he thought. He tore his eyes away from the sight and fidgeted with his rifle. The other four marines guarding Jaeger were tense as well. "Report in, Thompson!" "We've managed to hold them out of System Controls, they're going elsewhere." Thaiden didn't like the sound of that. Then he realized his mistake, he had pulled the team guarding communications. Masking his horror, he gave out his orders in a calm voice, "Double back to Communications and make sure they haven't called for help." The other four marines stared nervously at Thaiden, they realized he had made a mistake too. "It's done! I'm going to copy the files." Jaeger inserted a blank datadisk and started copying the files from the mainframe to it. Thaiden looked at two marines; they nodded and started setting explosives around the mainframe. Mallon's voice blared through Thaiden's voice comm, "They've activated the distress signal. Torellian strike teams are headed here right now!" "Get your team to R&D, we've almost completed our objective." Jaeger popped out the datadisk, stood up, and said, "Right, let's get the **** out of here." Twenty seconds later, Thompson, Shinseki, Mallon, and Raker ran into R&D. "Let's get outta here right now." Not another word was spoken as the nine marines ran full tilt towards the facility's docking bay.

She entered the lunch room and saw her friends wave her over. Jane walked towards her friends and they looked at her, curious to know what happened. She sat down, let out a loud sigh, and said, "Well, I've got an eight page report about the Interstellar War, due next week." Her friends' expressions turned grim. Cameron spoke, "Gail's such a bastard. We haven't even covered the War yet." Jane smiled cynically as she spoke again, "Yeah, and I have to present it in front of the class without holograms." Her friends looked at her disbelievingly while she ationed for confirmation. "God", one of her friends remarked, "history sucks."

The nine marines of Mjolnir squad were running as fast as they could. So far they had encountered no resistance. Things are looking good, thought Thaiden, maybe those Torellian bastards are a little slow on the uptake. No sooner had he thought that when Shinseki gave a grunt and fell to the floor. Thaiden looked behind, "He's dead. Keep moving. They're right behind us." Adrenaline was pumping in the remaining eight marines as they put on an extra burst of speed. They could hear the plasma burning holes in the walls they had been in front of a second before. They turned on another corridor and saw two Torellian marines guarding the entrance to the cargo bay. They didn't even hesitate. Eight rifles rang out simultaneously before the two Torellians had a chance to respond. Their bodies had just hit the floor as the eight marines streamed past them. Jaeger and Mallon ran up the ship's ramp and prepared the coordinates for their jump. Thaiden pulled out a grenade and primed it. He heard the footsteps grow louder and louder. Finally, he released it, and it soared in a wide arc into the cargo bay entrance and exploded. He saw four bodies flying out of the corridor and twelve Torellian marines immediately followed them. The six remaining marines opened fire. The Torellians exchanged shots with twice the ferocity. A fierce firefight ensued for thirty seconds, and when Jaeger's voice sounded in Thaiden's voice comm, three Mjolnir marines had already fallen. The other three ran up the ramp and into the ship. A second later, the ship's hyperdrive system engaged and they were gone in an instant.

"Oh wait, I forgot. Do you think you'll still be able to make the Aerogame match?" asked Denise. Jane replied, "I'm going whether I finish that essay or not." Her friends gave her an appreciative smile and the conversation gravitated towards the upcoming Aerogame match. It was the game of the season, the Sunfire/Sentinel rivalry was legendary in Sector Arcturus. As she listened to her friends talk about the game, she was still thinking about her paper. Why do we even have to learn about history, anyways, she thought. It's so useless and boring.

The five remaining Mjolnir marines were headed towards the Kelmarian Republic. On their ship, they were just finishing up their little, unofficial ceremony. They were staring down at four unopened beercans while clutching their own. They were all silent until Thaiden spoke up, "To our fallen comrades. Citizens. Soldiers. Defenders of Kelmaria." They all downed their drinks and ejected the four cans into space. The marines watched silently, somberly, as the four cans drifted out of sight. It was a long time before anyone spoke again. Finally, Raker broke the silence and said, "Our comrades." The four others responded in unison, "Far may they reach."
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