Call Me Lill – Part 1

This short story is a spin-off from my sci-fi series. Book one, Lone Wolf, is currently available from Second Wind. In the novel, Wil, the main character, reveals a little bit about his past. The character of Lill is introduced. Though not in the story itself, she’s discussed and is of major importance. I felt it was important to explore her and her past,how she met Wil, etc. Call Me Lill does just that.

Lillian Simpson hefted her duffel bag over her shoulder, wondering again at the perversity of Fate. Who knew that loitering was a crime punishable by imprisonment on Wercha? It was such a backwater planet in the middle of Vandaran space, it hadn’t occurred to her to worry about it. However, she’d been arrested, tried, prosecuted and convicted in record time: four hours and forty-two minutes. At her sentencing, two minutes after her conviction, she was given the choice; go to prison or go into the Galactic Marines.

Ironic, since her entire life had been on the run in one way or another – from anything and everything. First her drunken, abusive step-father, then a string of the worst boyfriends ever. Most recently from an press gang who had been trying to force her to join the military. Ironic.

Carrying the duffel that was damn near as big as she was, she stumbled to her new quarters. She was surrounded by her fellow recruits, all volunteered rather than doing jail time. Amidst the dregs of humanity, she carried herself aloof. Smarter, faster, more agile, she knew she would excel. Even if she was forced to join the military in the anus of the universe, she would do her best.

Finding a bunk was easy. She took the one furthest from the others. As the room was less than half full, she was able to stake her claim and keep others at bay. One glare from those cold, blue eyes was enough to discourage even the most persistent. No attempt was made to separate men and women, a fact that made the other recruits complain. Even the shower and latrines were co-ed. The complaints continued until the sargent came in, calling for attention.

Lill ran to the end of her bunk, taking the proper posture. She knew the drill even if the others hadn’t learned it yet. Surprise ringed the officer’s features, but he said nothing until he got down to her end. The others stood huddled together closer to the door.

“Any particular reason you’re down here, Marine?”

“Yes, Sargent. May I speak freely, Sargent?”

“Go ahead. But if I don’t like what you’ve got to say, you drop and give me fifty.”

Nodding, she lowered her voice. “I don’t feel particularly comfortable with the others. They’re mostly Wercha natives. I’m off-world.”

“You think you’re better than them, Marine?”

Lill met his penetrating dark eyes with her pale ones. He loomed over her, dwarfing her with his greater height and massive, muscular body.

She replied honestly, “Yes, Sargent, I do.”

His laughter boomed out, echoing in the barren, concrete barracks. “Good answer, half-pint.”

“Does that mean I can stay down here?”

“I got no objection. Keep in mind, we got others coming in soon. Not all from Wercha. Asshole of a planet. Whole place stinks like last week’s dirty socks.”

Lill wrinkled her nose. “Yeah, another reason I want to be down here.”

The sargent leaned over, sniffing next to Lill. He smelled great.

“You smell pretty damn good, Recruit,” he murmured, glancing over his shoulder. “Too bad they got rules against fraternization.”

“I guess I’ll just have to get myself promoted.” Her bright blue eyes twinkled as she tossed her short, curly red hair.

His laugh boomed again, tapping her knuckles where no one else could see. “Oorah,” rumbled deep in his chest. “See you at chow, Private Simpson.”

Turning away from her, he bellowed at the others. “Chow in twenty minutes. Stow your gear, make your bunks. Report to Private Simpson when you’re finished. Simpson!”

“Sargent!”

“Here is the list of assignments. Go by the numbers. Inspect everything before making assignments. I want it perfect.”

“Yes, Sargent!”

 

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