Every Marine A Rifleman
Posted on Sun Aug 23rd, 2015 @ 10:44pm by Captain Oliver Lee PhD
Episode 0 - Semper Fidelis
Location: Marine Firing Range
“I’m probably the best shot in the entire company,” Lance Corporal Miguel Garcia bragged.
There was a small gaggle of Marines outside the shooting range waiting their turn for qualifications. Although a good number of them had qualified prior to boarding it was the Marine Commanding Officer’s wish to see fresh scores. It had been rumored the boss was a fairly good shot himself and had little tolerance for marines who couldn’t properly handle a weapon.
“I’m sure,” Corporal Tholos Shran’s voice rang with sarcasm, “And I thought he’d let you off the hook Shakaar.”
Leeta looked up at the Andorian, “Boss wants everyone to shoot and told me that I wasn’t an exception, something about being able to handle a rifle as well as I handle a pen,” She shook her head, “He’s an interesting character.”
“The Prince does need a body guard,” Garcia leaned further into the stack of crates.
“It certainly isn’t me; you see that tank of a Gunny? I’m sure he’d be able to rip out airlocks no problem,” Leeta shook her head.
“Gunnery Sergeant Shrestha,” Tholos remarked, “Rumor has it that during the Dominion War he once served the head of a Cardassian General on a silver platter to his Brigade Commander. Seriously, head on a platter.”
“I heard that Lieutenant Delbruck doesn’t even need a body guard,” A quiet Orion Private spoke up, “My sister was with him on New Nambia. He’d be on the firing line with the rest of his Marines, only moving to go where the fighting was heaviest.”
The door to the range opened up and let out the previous group of shooters, some obviously pleased with their performance and others not so much. The acting range master waved the new group in.
“Well, I guess only time will tell how our new boss fares,” Miguel stood up, “He’ll probably be just like every other lieutenant out there, a friggin’ moron.”
“I’d be careful you say that to Garcia, I hear a few of the officer’s here have a real nasty streak when it comes to their pride,” Shakaar remarked.
Expecting to find only the range master in the room most of the people filtering in paused when they saw the other two people joining them, “Shakaar, why didn’t you tell us they’d be here.”
Joachim and Dipprasad stood off in the back of the room, saber clearly hanging off the MCO’s belt. That image of the stoic figure was the impression they had actually expected from hearing the rumors. Taking their places at the firing line Leeta shot back, “He didn’t tell me, he’s supposed to be doing paperwork.”
“Marines,” Joachim’s voice rang, “It has been said that every marine is a rifleman, today is your chance to prove that to me. We shall be going through standard rifle qualifications and your goal should be expert; however, do not be discouraged if you do not meet that goal. Just adapt and overcome.”
Joachim turned to the range master, “Sergeant, You may proceed.”
Each marine took up the rifle in front of them, following the range master’s instructions. There was an added pressure now that the boss and First Shirt were watching. None of them were really aware that was the point of the leadership’s presence, that short from being fired upon themselves it was the best way to evaluate the Marines’ reactions under stress. Also Joachim wanted to observe their shooting first hand, let the troops know he cared about their skills.
As the shooting began Joachim made his way up and down the line, making mental notes of everyone’s stances, how fast they shot and how comfortable they seemed. It was becoming clear who had seen a fight and who hadn’t, what sort of personalities he would be dealing with. When he was younger his father would say to him that you can find out quite a bit about someone just by looking at how they moved be it shooting a rifle, handling a sword or moving on the dance floor. Were they stiff and precise or were they more fluid and flexible? Did they display confidence through bold moves or were they more timid and cautious?
A few minutes later the shooting stopped and the range was cleared. The scores were transferred to each station and the range computer in the back. It had been Dipprasad’s suggestion that the only score each marine should see is their own, it would be their business if they wanted to announce it. Some inevitably would, intentionally or not.
“333!” Garcia shouted, “Damn I’m good.”
The shout caught the ear of both the MCO and First Sergeant. Joachim looked at Dipprasad who gave a quiet nod of approval, knowing what the Younger Delbruck was asking. The Officer continued down the line, giving some quiet feedback and congratulations to each Marine before he returned to his position he had spoke from previously.
“Job well done to all of you. I need Corporal Shran and Lance Corporals Garcia and Shaakar to stay behind. The rest of you are dismissed,” He looked at his watch, “Take an extended lunch and report back to your supervisors at the end of your standard lunch hours. Range master, delay the next group by five minutes.”
The three marines left behind stood in an awkward three person formation. Joachim looked at each one of them, the Bajoran was hanging her head slightly, the Human beamed with pride and the Andorian was as stoic as he expected. Talking low with Dipprasad he returned to the marines.
“Garcia, please take your position on the firing line. Shran and Shaakar, Gunnery Sergeant Shrestha will have a word for both of you,” Joachim ordered, moving to the opposite end of the range.
The Andorian and Bajoran walked up to the Nepalese man, the stupid grin still on his face. The First Shirt could tell Leeta was not at all pleased with her performance and Tholos was confused as to why he was being held behind. This was where Joachim would judge his performance, a test of his leadership abilities. That was clever.
“So then Leeta, what was your score?” Dipprasad asked.
“303,” She replied meekly.
“That is respectable,” The First Sergeant observed, “But you aren’t happy about it.”
“Lieutenant Delbruck was expecting better,” She answered.
“That’s true and he knows you can do better. How confident were you on that firing line?” He asked.
“Honestly Gunny I was really nervous, it had been a while since I handled any sort of phaser and with the commander watching…” She trailed off, realizing she was just rattling off excuses.
“Range master,” Joachim interrupted, “I want a series of targets at random distances and intervals across the entire range beginning on my mark lasting one minute. Pick up your rifle Garcia, we shall see if your claim of the best marksman in the company is true.”
Miguel was dumbfounded, was the boss actually…challenging him? “Sir?”
“You and I will compete to see who can hit the most targets in the time allotted,” Joachim readied his weapon, waiting for Garcia to do the same, “Hurry up.”
Garcia quickly shouldered his weapon and the Officer gave the signal to go. Garcia was attempting to track the targets, most of the time seeing them just before his boss knocked them down. It was hectic and unexpected.
Joachim on the other hand was calmly taking in the whole situation. Each shot a methodical process: find, aim, shoot and follow through before moving on. The buzzer went off and the score was processed on the big board. The lance corporal had been obviously smoked.
“I just taught you a lesson in humility lance corporal. Do not brag if you cannot back up your claim to be the best. This is a lesson I preferred to give in private before your mouth caused you any trouble,” The screen cleared, “You are an excellent shot but your situational awareness needs work. Gunnery Sergeant Sherstha, have you talked to Corporal Shran yet?”
“Just waiting on you to finish with Lance Corporal Garcia sir,” Dipprasad replied.
“He is all yours,” Joachim was already moving to talk with the range master.
“Call this a quick mentoring session Shran. As the senior marine in that group the Lieutenant and I think you have a unique opportunity to show your leadership skills. We’re going to work on boosting Lance Corporal Shakaar’s confidence; I want to see her trained as a fire team leader. Put her through the ringer,” Dipprasad turned to the Bajoran, “We want to put a little swagger in your step every time you enter a range and get you ready when you’re done serving with these dacoits.”
“As for you Garcia, talk less and observe more,” Dipprasad’s words were short and to the point, “You have the potential to be a fine Marine, you just need to have sense. No one likes a braggart, but confidence is alright. Not a word of this leaves here understood?”
“Yes Sergeant,” They said in chorus.
“Good. Now if there is nothing else you’re all dismissed,” The two Lance Corporals departed, leaving just Tholos.
“If I may ask a question Gunny,” Tholos’ eyes briefly went to the large knife, “Is it they true what they say about you? The whole Cardy General thing?”
Dipprasad’s grin grew a little sly, “Get to the chow hall before someone scoops up the entire peach cobbler Corporal.”
With that the Andorian left, the range once more empty. Dipprasad strode over the Lieutenant who was now fiddling with the range programming, “What did Corporal Shran ask for?”
“Just asking about a rumor,” Dipprasad shrugged, “So, why the girl? From what you’ve told me she makes an excellent admin assistant but it’s not like we’re going to be throwing her into battle.”
“She needs the sort of confidence Garcia thinks he has if she wants to grow,” Joachim looked Dipprasad in the eye, “And as I said, every marine a rifleman.”
1LT Joachim Delbruck
Marine Commanding Officer
USS Bunker Hill
GySgt Dipprasad Shrestha
Marine First Sergeant
USS Bunker Hill