Catch

Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 30th.

No one knows for sure when it happened. Sometime between when it was written in the 20th century and when the USSC’s officer training program was created in the late 21st century, the book Catch 22 was adopted as the formal officer training manual.

Since that time, some NCOs and senior NCOs have expressed their suspicion that Catch 22 was included in classroom literature either by an NCO as a joke or by an officer as a how-not-to manual. However, the current caliber of decision made by USSC senior officers demonstrates that whatever the intent, it has since become viewed as a hot-to instead.

Injured

Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 29th.

There are many injuries a space marine can endure on a battle field. The suits are designed to withstand most and keep the trooper in battle. However, the most severe injury a space marine can received on a battlefield is injured pride.

As the knights waded deeper into the battling forces, many a space marine was emptying a magazine of flechettes and replacing it with the next one while the opposing demon who’d taken the full load seemed to merely stagger. That was not the source of the marines’ wounded pride.

Instead, it started as awe, before escalating into incredulousness, and finally shifting in exasperated disbelief as they watched pairs of knights wipe away pairs these demonic beasts with a chant and a wave of their hands.

The views before us supported the idea these guys were on a mission of a higher calling.

Ride

Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 28th.

As the Knight Templars came riding in behind us to join the coming battle, some road the traditional horses long associated with knights. Others had a more unique ride.

It looked like a mechanical horse. It was horse shaped except for the absence of legs. It was a cross between some kind of hovercraft and a motorcycle. These paladins still rode two to a horse, whether it was flesh and blood or mechanical.

Our front line began firing into the approaching demon and vampire forces. The knights speed up into a full charge. As the front rider drove the horse into a mass of enemies, the rear rider would do battle from a seated position until they’d gathered a significant number of enemy troops. Once that was achieved, the two knights jumped from the horse, stood back to back, and fought together against the encroaching force.

As my platoon moved up to secure the area behind a pair of knights so fighting, one of the pair spoke up, “Thought you guys could use a hand on your first triple new moon.”

“You mean it’s always like this when the three moons go dark?”

“Aye, but if you find this crazy, just wait until you witness your first triple eclipse.”

The idea that the battle that was opening before my eyes was small was not a comforting thought. As I got the platoon ready to hop forward on the knight’s heels, an imp[lied thought hit me. I turned to face the one who’d spoken.

“Um.. I take it you guys have been here a while .. sir.”

“The name is Andrew and not all Knight Templars remained in France for the king’s raids. Some of us had other orders.”

Coat

Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 27th.

There is rarely a problem in the USSC that can’t be solved with a coat of paint.

For the occasion where a coat of paint can’t solve the problem, the most reliable solution is Plan B. Plan B involved hiding whatever item can’t be painted over and hoping some junior enlisted troop happens to come along and find it.

It’s also helpful if the junior enlisted troop is not yours, otherwise you might feel guilty while standing next to that troop in the commander’s office.

Dark

Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 26th.

The dark tends to be where most military operations take place. But we’d never experienced true darkness until we experienced the rare three new moons on Themis.

Because of the three moons that orbit Themis, total darkness is a rare event. The three moons tend to rotate and phase in such a way that at least some sliver of at least one of them is in the night sky. Around our sixth month here, we discovered what real darkness was.

The night had started as all the others with a sliver of one of the moons still visible. I think it might have been the blue one. But two hours later that sliver vanished. The stars still shone, but the light was not enough for you to see far beyond.

Shortly after that, we got our first homebase glimpses of the demon-like creatures we’d seen facing off with the knights and our first glimpses and encounters with some vampire-like creature, which we later learned were from a planet called Weber. Before the large groups approached Outpost Sparta, we heard the sound of a large group of mounted troops approaching from behind.

I turned to see what approached and saw the now familiar armor of the Knights Templars as we recognized the tabard symbols of the central party, or paladins as most had referred to themselves.

Tasty

Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 25th.

One term that is rarely used to describe a meal in the military is tasty. Whether describing the food cooked in the chow halls or the food in the rations of previous centuries, terms like cardboard, saw dust, shoe leather, and “needs more hot sauce” were far more likely to be uttered to describe a military meal.

Fortunately for the military units in prior centuries, no one had figured out how to create ration-type meals to feed hundreds to thousands of military troops at a time. Unfortunately for the military members onboard the Aldrin, someone had deemed it a priority R&D project to create unit-sized rations.

For obvious reasons, that individual’s identity has been heavily classified and sealed within a safe within a scif in a limited access building on the most heavily classified military base. Which means everyone knew his name was somewhere within Area 51 should anyone ever convince the security folks there that they have secret credentials like Bob Lazar and should be given access to it too.

Dizzy

Prompt and DeviantArt link for the 24th.

One would think that the use of the von Brain ring on spaceships would result in a lot of dizzy space travelers. The reality for the USSC military members on the Sheppard-class ships, like the Aldrin is that the number of dizzy crewmembers tends to remain around three per voyage.

Fortunately for the rest of the crew, the gravity field generated by the ring makes any movement of the ring feel negligible. Unfortunately for these three crewmembers, they are usually the lowest ranking members of their respective ship teams and as a result spend the most time watching the von Braun ring turn.

The first one is the member of the command center crew who gets assigned the task of monitoring the cameras aimed at the von Braun ring and watching for any sign of problem. The other two are members of the ship maintenance team that have to don the spacesuits and maintenance exoframes and repair the exterior of the ship.