The universe was not big enough for Sgt. Grant and the big shadow Bitch from Aleutin, Sgt. Ma.
In his mind’s eye, he imagined booting her out of the lander still short of planetfall by 50 kilometers or so.
But, with his luck, the giantess would survive sudden decompression, the fall, and the stop.
He had no idea how to trick her to move over to the emergency port, how to open it during planetfall, or if he could muster enough strength to move that big ass out.
Finally, he was not sure if he achieved all of that if he would not just fall after her.
He had already tried to suffocate her, by removing the filter in her breathing tube and reversing it. Who knew she could hold her breath for the 10 frigging minutes it took to take her space military gear off and fix it?
When she shook her head, he knew she thought it was her fault and she had installed it wrong.
Damn and double damn!
She was an Aleutinite, he a Terraen.
Her skin was as black as coal, and she could easily touch the ceiling if she wanted.
Neither was true for him.
Indeed, he was actually shorter than average of his race from Old Earth. And, with his bright red hair and pale skin, he knew that solar radiation was tough on him.
Even in kindergarten, he was known as the ‘wee’ one.
In his growing years of school, classmates, male and female seemingly shot past him.
His lack of height gave him an attitude, as did his name,
“Ulysses Frederick Grant.”
He hated Frederick, as it was too easily changed to Freddy.
Behind his back, or in groups, the other kids would taunt Little Freddy.
‘Little Freddy’ sat on him like a stink he could never wash away.
His namesake, the more famous Ulysses S. Grant, was a commanding general in the Civil War, and in 1869 became the 18th President of the original United States on Old Earth. That Grant was known for valor, military tactics, and statesmanship.
Little Freddy was certainly long on valor or guts, but quite short on the other attributes.
In his youth, he worked with heavy weights to build up muscle. He tried to run further and faster than the other kids. During any sport, his competitive spirit was the strongest on the field.
When he lost, he lost very poorly, sulking, and hating the winner. When he won, he made sure to rub it into the competitors face to prove his superiority.
He shielded himself with quick anger, ready to fight anything or anyone, anytime.
He was always right, even when he was wrong, and would get red in the face when challenged.
He found fewer and fewer people would challenge him over the years.
Rather than losing people, he was proud he had forced them to see his logic with their silence.
He rather liked having no friends in his life. It gave him stature he believed.
A leader, he thought, surrounded by the lesser crowd.
He joined United Army Services barely out of his teens and proceeded to show everyone how tough he was.
Promotions came quickly, which probably followed the military formula,
“if you can’t work with them, promote them out of the way.”
In a battle on any planet, he was usually first to jump off the lander, whether wearing a breathing hood or just battle gear.
He was not afraid of anyone or anything, he proclaimed to anyone.
At first, Sgt. Grant had a squad of 8 soldiers or so.
He drove them, more than led them.
He forced the squad into more military campaigns than other squads. He volunteered his squad for more dangerous jumps than others.
He told them openly, that his squad would be the meanest, toughest, on all of the settled worlds, or they would die.
They hated Sgt. Little Freddy.
Though transferring to another squad was rather difficult, his squad of the last three years turned over, one by one, to freshly minted Space Soldiers filling the spaces left by the old guard.
In his mind, his original squad was soft and hard to direct.
The newer chunks made getting his way easier.
About a month ago, Major Haskell, called Sgt. Grant into his office.
Grant came in, brought his right boot into quick contact with his left boot, and quickly shot his right hand up, thumb tucked behind, just over his right eyebrow.
He knew he looked good, with his sharply pleated service blouse and pants. And, every part of his service uniform that should be shiny, was.
He was the poster child for the UAS Space Soldier.
The Major began,
“At ease, soldier. You have to wonder why I asked you in. Well, I have a few purposes.
There have been steady complaints from your squad since you joined my company.”
The Major noted Sgt. Grant was filling his lungs with air to loudly defend himself.
With both hands quickly extended he continued,
“Now, don’t say a word. Because, at this moment, I do not care!”
Sgt. Grant visibly relaxed, though the tell-tale red skin of his face said he was still disturbed and likely angry.
“My next reason for asking you here is to ask you to volunteer for a dangerous assignment! You are the best choice, since you never ask for a furlough to go see family, nor do I ever see you have a friendly beer with friends. So, my assumption is you are quite comfortable on your own. ”
Major Haskell paused just for a bit, and then said,
“Lastly, I want you to know that I have chosen a teammate for you that is also quite comfortable on her own!”
Sgt. Grant’s skin started turning red again.
“Her? It’s a woman? Major sir, I must protest. With all due respect, I do not feel comfortable putting a female on the front lines. I will have to protect her and take my attention away from any assignment! We might both die. Give me a guy, sir!” Grant was obviously working up a full head of steam.
The Major seemed to be somewhat amused by this.
“Sgt. you will meet her in the next few minutes, you will train with her for the next 7 days. Your next port of call is Acadia on an outer planet two Solar parsecs from here.
There is an Elantian Scientist that has been taken hostage, and the Acadians are demanding 40K Tolerans to get him back alive.”
Major Haskell let that soak in for just a few beats and then continued.
“I expect you, and Sgt. Ma, to reconnoiter, find out how many are involved and where the Elantian is. Once you have sufficient knowledge, you are to dispatch all hostiles with extreme prejudice. Save the Elantian if you can. But, destroy all evidence. And, I mean, all evidence. We have to send a signal to these thugs that they cannot hold any citizens for ransom.”
Again he paused.
“Do you understand Sgt.?”
Sgt. Little Freddy was seething but knew there was nothing he could do right now.
“Yes, Major, I get the picture. I think the quicker I meet the little lady, the better off we will be. We have a lot of work to do!”
Major Haskell could not stop the sudden grin that flew on his face.
“Well, let’s do just that!”
Major Haskell turned back to his desk and touched one button on his hologram hovering above his desk.
“Sgt. Ma, come in here please!”
The door behind Sgt. Grant began to open, and as he turned to see what the little lady looked like, he was quite confused by what was happening in the doorway.
A black form in a Fuscia UAS uniform had bent down to move through the doorway, taking care that head, ears, and shoulders were low enough or twisted enough to come through the doorway.
As she entered the room, she began to straighten, and when fully erect, gave a sharp salute to the Major, just as Sgt. Grant had earlier.
“Sgt. Ma reporting for duty, as ordered!”
Major Haskell returned the salute and turned to Sgt. Grant to make the introductions.
Sgt. Grant was spellbound.
Haskell noted that Grant’s head barely came to Ma’s breast area, his entire body was shaking, and that he seemed to be wetting himself.
“Here, here, Sgt. get control of yourself!” Major Haskell boomed.
Sgt Grant’s face seemed to be red enough to put off a glow, as he slowly became aware his crotch was soaked.
“Well, sir, can I be excused?
I, I, I must run to sick call.
I believe I must have a Perovian bacteria attacking my gut area.
I think I am coming down with something very serious, it might lethal.
Hell, it might be contagious!”
All the time, Sgt. Grant was looking almost straight up at Ma, while moving towards the door and finding a way around Sgt. Ma. All at the safest distance the room provided.
Ma watched him maneuver around her without any emotion showing on her face.
As a matter of fact, she was quite used to Terraens and their reaction upon first meeting her. Though, wetting one’s self-was a new one.
Major Haskell seemed to be containing some convulsion in his gut with his left hand while his right hand was over his jaw, which was clenched so tightly his lips appeared to be one thin line.
“Yes, Sgt., you tend to sick call. You are released!”
Finally, Sgt. Grant had made it to the door, opened it, and shot through.
At the same moment, the Major could not contain himself anymore.
He laughed out loud, trying to contain it, trying not to offend Sgt. Ma. His laughter evolved into coughing and sputtering, and still he laughed.
“Well, that is the last time Little Freddy will refer to you as the little lady I think!”
Laughter was again threatening to break out, but the Major had military training and was determined to keep it in check.
No doubt, all would remember this meeting.
The Major was so proud of his tactics and knew he had to put this event in his memoirs.
“Now, Sgt. Ma,
let’s you and I discuss what can be done about this situation. I believe that metal chair will hold your physique. At least, my flight surgeon thought so.”
He thought he saw anger in her face and went on.
“Oh, I do hope I did not insult you, but you Aleutins are quite a bit taller and denser than Terraens, so I have to cover my bases.”
“Now, rule number one, try not to get so mad at Little Freddy that you could or should, squash him like a piss ant! OK? You need him for this mission.”
Sgt. Ma started to respond, pulled back,
pondered and asked politely,
“What is a piss ant, Sir?”