Bearer of Bad News.
Mission 2: Heaven On Earth
Location: Gary's Office
Gary sat in his office. The situation with Lia as well as Liselle was in a state of flux. He honestly didn't know how they would turn
out and he was tired of trying. It seemed the harder he tried the worse the situation got, so rather than keep beating his head
against the wall he stopped and returned to the business at hand. He looked at the file in front of him of one Madelaine "Maddy" Rainbow
Masters and smiled. She was senior cadet and just weeks from graduating. However one final component of her schooling remained.
"Madelaine, it looks like I'm to be the bearer of bad news." He said to himself as he tapped his combadge. "Cadet Masters report to
the XO's office at once." That done he sat back and awaited for the cadet to arrive.
Madelaine moved quickly to the XO's office after hearing his summons, a maneuver Gunny called 'double timing it.' Quickly re-wrapping her hair, she stepped through the door and came to attention, something else Gunny had helped her to perfect, "You needed to see me, Sir?"
Gary chuckled silently at Maddy's rigid posture. *was I ever like that?* He wondered and then got to the business at hand. "Have a seat Miss Masters. Can I get you anything before we begin?"
"A cup of strawberry white tea would be nice, Sir." Maddy replied, she'd really enjoyed the brew at Dr. Hertz and Liorga's place.
"Certainly." Gary answered as he walked to the replicator and got Maddy the teas she requested. Walking back he handed it to he, "Here you go." before moving to sit behind his desk. Once he was he spoke again, "I was looking over your file Miss Masters, quite impressive."
"Thank you, sir." She replied, taking her tea and sipping it slowly as it was still piping hot.
"Yes quite impressive however I see you are missing one final component to complete your schooling before you graduate." Gary told her.
"Which is?" Maddy asked.
"Survival training and basic rifle marksmanship and proficiency." Gary answered.
"I, uh, actually recently had some survival and marksmanship training, Sir." Maddy replied, shuddering a little as she thought about her brief tenure as a rifleman, though it probably should've been rifleperson.
"Is that a fact?" Gary leaned back in his chair. "Do tell Miss Masters. Regale me."
Maddy set her tea down on the end table beside her, her hands were starting to get shaky as she recalled the events, "We were in a bunker with some civilians, mostly children, a couple of older people. Me, Mark Robeson, and Milla... I can't remember her last name, the Ops Manager's sister.... BRETT! Milla Brett. Gunnery Sergeant Rhodes, he came and started banging on the door, told us to come out, put a weapon in my hand, told me I was a rifleman now..."
Gary nodded, "A stressful situation to be sure."
"That's one way of putting it." Maddy sighed, "Especially when my basic training consisted of 'Stock tight against the shoulder for accuracy, this end towards enemy, squeeze the trigger.' Gunny Rhodes is not a very patient teacher, I'm afraid." She managed to still her hands long enough to get another sip of her tea before setting it down again, "Or maybe I just annoy the hell out of him and he just wasn't going to waste too much time on me. I mean, I get it, as a soldier I'm pretty much a lost cause."
"Gunnery Sergeant Rhodes is first and foremost a Marine. So by that very nature he isn't very patient. Which is why you need the basic marksmanship course and survival training Miss Masters." Gary replied not unfriendly.
"I'll admit, my marksmanship is not great." Maddy giggled a little, remembering the Gunny telling her 'It's okay, Granola. You might not have hit anybody, but I guarantee you made them shit their pants.' "But I think I must challenge the need for a survival course, with all due respect, sir. Not to brag, but it's hard for me to imagine anything harder to survive than what we just did."
"Really? I can assure Miss Masters there are things much harder then what you experienced. Which is why you'll take the outdoor survival course and learn how to live off the wilderness if the need should ever arise." Gary replied solemnly.
She hadn't expected that type of response, but she figured something was eating the XO, "I was actually referring to all of us in that statement, sir." She began, turning to face him, not realizing she'd just stopped shaking, "If you want to talk about it, I'm happy to listen. A compassionate ear and all that?"
Gary looked at Maddy. "I appreciate your offer Miss Masters but no or at least not now." He answered gently not wishing to upset her or have her feel rejected.
"In your own time." Maddy smiled, "Oh, and in case you're wondering, the first thing I did when I got back to my regular duties was put Chief Liorga back into the game. All the way back."
"I'm glad to hear that. A question an you are under obligation to answer." Gary began, "Did your recent 'combat' experience have anything to do with your decision?"
"Yes, sir." She nodded, looking down into her half full tea cup, "Being in that situation, people actually shooting at us, no talking, no reasoning, just shooting. When the blasts started hitting around me.... I don't know, I changed, became someone else. All I wanted in the galaxy was to survive and... I think I might have been willing to kill to save my own life. I've never felt it before."
Gary nodded in understanding. "Yes someone shooting at you usually changes your perspectives." He acknowledged. "I hope you never have to go through something like that again and I want you to always remember how it made you feel." He steepled his fingers in front of him. "In light of that, I'll grant you a waiver for your rifle marksmanship. As far as the survival course, I'll waive that as well if you promise me you'll go to the holodeck and familiarize yourself on the basic survival skills."
"Actually, with respect to your gracious offer, Sir, I'm going to decline the waivers." Maddy decided on the spot, "I never expect to be in that situation again, but I also didn't expect it the first time, so I want to be prepared just in case. Besides, Gunny Rhodes told me he's assisting with the survival course and that it's a blast, kinda want to see how I can do. I want, I need to challenge myself."
Gary nodded, secretly pleased by Maddy's refusal of his offer. Maybe there was hope for the girl yet. "As you wish Miss Masters." He replied. "I think you will find a strength you never knew you had."
"That's exactly what I'm hoping for, Sir." Maddy replied, finishing her tea, "I try to know other people, to know their minds, their hearts, their souls, that's my job. I found out when Gunny put that rifle in my hand that I had all this book knowledge, but I didn't even know Maddy, time for me to see what else is hidden inside here."
"Good for you Maddy." Gary said using her first name. "I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Remember not to judge a book by it's cover. Not all hawks are war mongers."
"And not everyone can be protected by protection." Maddy nodded, she'd learned now that the worst thing she could've done to Liorga was what she was trying to do for Liorga.
"Well said and exactly right." Garry said with a smile.