“Hey! Cherry! Wake up!”
Jeanne rolled over in her cot. She was having such a good dream. She had been at home, she and her brother were hanging out in the family pool. Her mother was sunbathing on the beach chair nearby and her father was grilling burgers. She smiled. It had been so long since they’d been all together.
“HEY! Greenie! Wake the fuck up!” Someone kicked her bunk, and she jolted awake. Damari stood over her, his arms crossed with a sour look across his face.
“What the fuck is wrong with you!?” she shouted.
“It’s wake up time!” he growled. Jeanne groaned, and swung her feet over the rack and stretched.
“What time is it?” she yawned.
“0500,” replied Damari, “The rest of the squad already left for the mess.” She heard the woosh of the door as he left. 0500? Damn. She still was recovering from jump-lag. She drowsily pulled on her trousers and boots, stepped outside. She was blinded by the bright morning light. There is no way it’s 0500. He must have lied. She wandered in a daze to the module marked ‘Mess Hall’.
The food was the usual military issue stuff, though this had a distinct metallic taste to it. She sat with her new squad and ate quietly while the rest of them talked amongst themselves freely.
“Hmmm?” groaned the SL.
“Have you heard what’s the next patrol schedule like?”
“Amkell, I just woke up. At least let me have my coffee please, until then, shut up!”
“You don’t have to be a bitch Liz,” chuckled Zephor. Jeanne looked up, unsure of who he was referring too.
“You know I’m not a morning person…” grumbled Aesgir into her mug, "To answer your question, Amkell. No."
Jeanne returned to her tray and toyed with her food. Her thoughts drifted back to her dream. Suddenly she couldn’t remember her brother’s face. She racked her memory, trying to conjure an image. Unable to, she tried to retrieve the image from her pocket, but realized she had left in in the barracks. She swore silently and finished her meal. She got up, deposited her tray in the receptacle and hurried back to the barracks module, hoping to get a few moments of rest before she was beset upon by Damari or one of the other members of the squad.
She sat on her rack and pulled out the image. She didn’t know why but she wished even more to be home than here. I’ve never had felt homesick before. Serving the Pan-Human Concord is something I’ve wanted to do as long as I can remember. Something about this place…
Her thoughts were interrupted as SL Aesgir poked her head inside the barracks.
“I thought you would be here. Come on, we need to get to the command module for briefing.”
Jeanne tucked the image back into her jacket and pulled it on. She followed Aesgir through the rows of barracks. Drones and other troopers milled about doing their tasks. No one paid her much attention, though she felt as if everyone knew that she had just arrived.