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Platoon F is a comedic sci-fi series that’s intended for totally immature adult audiences. There are pervy situations, innuendo, sophomoric humor, and so on…and it’s all wrapped around a deeply-threaded storyline that spans many missions.
Everything from ridiculous physics, military politics, social issues, robotics, and space exploration fill the pages of Platoon F.
But the primary goal is to make you laugh.
Chapter 1 from The SSMC Reluctant
Sure, there were hundreds of casualties and more than a few deaths; and sure, there was a lot of property that got destroyed; and sure, it had all happened in the blink of an eye, but it only happened because he was following orders.
He tapped on the wall pad and pulled up a copy of those orders.
“To attack or not on Primus-12? That is the question! Your orders are to answer that question, Lieutenant Murphy.”
How the hell was he supposed to know that it was some kind of test? Wasn’t it the job of space marines to attack, defend, and/or destroy?
He looked down at the patch on his shirt. It said it right there!
Segnal Space Marine Corps — Attack, Defend, and/or Destroy!
So he did what he was trained to do, and now he was going to be “hanged until the hanging has done its job.” Whatever happened to the good old firing squad from fifty years back? Fast, effective, and there wasn’t much time for feeling anything.
“Murphy?” one of the guards said as he approached the cell.
“You’ve got a visitor.”
“I don’t suppose she’s good looking?”
“It’s a he,” the guard said.
“I don’t suppose he’s good looking?”
“Not to my way of thinking.”
The force field buzzed a bit louder for a second and then dropped.
Murphy followed the guard through the winding hallways that ended up in a grouping of offices. The entire place was a dark, dismal gray color. If things hadn’t been depressing enough for Murphy, the lack of pop from paint would have solidified his poor state of mind.
At least they didn’t resort to cuffing and shackling him like they’d done with other prisoners. Even though he was on the executioner’s list, he was a soldier, and soldiers did what they were told—which is what got him in here in the first place.
Years had gone into making a soldier like Murphy. The powers-that-be took training seriously in the Segnal Space Marine Corps (SSMC).
“Lieutenant Murphy,” said Rear Admiral Parfait, Murphy’s direct-to, “have a seat.”
“Yes, sir,” Murphy said, sitting, but doing so at full attention.
“At ease.” Parfait crossed his arms. “Murphy, I’m disappointed in you. You have all the makings of a rising star. You’re smartish, you’ve got excellent reflexes, powerful biceps, a nice chiseled set of abs, and a butt you could bounce a 50-point credit off of.”
“Uh…what I mean, Lieutenant, is that you’re the kind of man that can really make someone reconsider…I mean, you’re a solid soldier.”
“Thank you, sir,” Murphy said as he shifted uncomfortably.
“The problem is that you failed the simplest test of them all! Everyone knows that the answer to the question is to not fire. Everyone! Hell, even the new batch of recruits that have just come through this morning, a fine looking bunch, too, I have to tell you, yes, yes, strong and virile—and, well, anyway, even they know better than to fire when asked that question.”
“But, sir,” Murphy said, pointing at his Segnal Space Marine Corps patch, “it says right here that our mission is to attack, defend, and/or destroy.”
“That’s correct, soldier, and that’s why it’s all the more important that you not actually do those things.”
“The difference between a soldier and a civilian,” Parfait said helpfully, “is that a soldier has a choice to kill or not.”
“Doesn’t a civilian also have that choice?”
Parfait pursed his lips. “Come to think of it, I suppose they do. I’ve never been asked that question before. I guess it’s just been assumed that soldiers kill people and civilians don’t, or shouldn’t anyway. Maybe that’s the point I’m trying to make. Yes, yes, that makes more sense.” Parfait squared his shoulders and said, “The difference between soldiers and civilians is that soldiers are supposed to kill people.”
“That’s what I did, sir.”
“Right, and it was wrong.”
“But, sir, I’m a soldier.”
Parfait pursed his lips. “I don’t see your point.”
“You just said that soldiers are supposed to kill people.”
“Well, sir, I’m a soldier and I killed people.”
“Yes, and that’s wrong.”
“Which one is it, sir?”
“Both and neither, Lieutenant, as anyone with even a modicum of intelligence could tell you!”
Murphy was starting to wonder if maybe he was a bit too smartish to be in the Segnal Space Marine Corps.
Rear Admiral Parfait tapped on the desk and a holographic user interface popped up. Murphy watched as the Rear Admiral swiped this way and that until he was in the SSMC indoctrination system. Jumping from page to page, Parfait kept mumbling until he finally said, “Aha…yes, this is it.”
Murphy pulled himself closer to the screen.
“Right here,” Parfait pointed at the display. “Read that out loud.”
Murphy cleared his throat and said, “To attack or not on Primus-12? That is the question! Your orders are to answer that question, insert name here.”
“That ‘insert name here’ part is where we put the soldier’s name that’s being asked the question,” noted Parfait.
“I gathered that, sir.”
“Good, good. Now, read the next line.”
“The soldier is to answer that question with an emphatic ‘no’.”
“See that?” Parfait said with his hands up. “It’s right there in digital, Lieutenant. You screwed up. Big time.”
“With all due respect, sir, I’ve never seen this before.”
Parfait’s face scrunched slightly. “You haven’t?”
“But you were indoctrinated on 2/2/9042, were you not?”
“No, sir. I was indoctrinated on 2/2/9041.”
The Rear Admiral turned the screen back away from Murphy and started typing as quickly as a Rear Admiral could be expected to. He was saying “hmmm” and “huh” a lot.
The man’s eyes glazed over and his eyebrows wiggled a number of times.
“Now, that’s a nice tush,” Parfait said at one point.
“Hmmm? Oh, sorry, got an email from a, uh, colleague. Had to respond to it. Let me pull up your record, Lieutenant.” Parfait worked on the screen for a moment and then said, “Hmmm. Well, what do you know about that?”
“I fear that we may have made a mistake, soldier. It seems that we asked you the wrong question.” Parfait spun the screen back toward Murphy and said, “Answer this: If you were to fire on Xapecious-12, a peace-loving world that has no weaponry at all, would that be wise?”
“The answer is no, sir.”
“Correct,” Parfait said, triumphantly. “If only you had been given that question instead of the one meant for a graduate from 9042, you wouldn’t be in this mess.”
“So, does that mean I’m free to go, sir?”
“No, sorry,” Parfait answered with a sad grimace. “We can’t have the military look bad because of one lousy mistake. I’m afraid you’ll have to take one for the team, soldier.”
“I’d rather not, sir.”
“I understand. I wouldn’t either if I were in your shoes. Such is life, I suppose.”
Murphy was torn. On the one hand he was a soldier, and soldiers sometimes had to suffer the consequences of the choices of their superiors; on the other hand, this was his life they were talking about, to be sacrificed due to a clerical error. Murphy was fine losing his life in the line of duty, but this was insanity.
“I would like to appeal this decision, sir,” Murphy said.
Parfait stopped from packing everything up. “On what grounds?”
“Uh…that I didn’t do anything wrong, sir.”
“But the military did, soldier,” Parfait said with a tilt of his head.
“Right, that’s kind of my point. It wasn’t my fault that this happened.”
“I see,” said Parfait, tapping his lip. “I’m sorry, but I’d have to say that your defense about it being our fault doesn’t hold much water.”
“Shouldn’t it, sir?”
“Probably. Anyway, I think that pretty much clears up the appeal process. I’m sorry it had to come to this, Murphy, but things are what they are…unless…” Parfait stopped at the door. “No, you probably wouldn’t want to do that.”
“Well,” the Rear Admiral said, turning back, “it’s just that we have a new division that’s being started and nobody wants to take command. It’s a horrible unit.”
“Better than being executed, sir.”
Murphy was still young. He had his entire life ahead of him. Even if this was some difficult unit that the military wanted to dump off on someone, it’d only be temporary.
“Sir,” he said, standing, “whatever it is, I’ll take it.”
“I don’t know,” Parfait said with a faraway look. “You’ll have to change your name, your identity, and you’ll need to undergo some face-altering surgery. We’ll have to stage it as though you were executed as planned. Your real name has to be dragged through the muck and all of that.”
“Due to a clerical error,” Murphy said with a nod.
Murphy had a thought. “Will I still remember who I truly am, sir?”
“Of course you will. What kind of people do you think we are?”
“Right, well, either way, I think I’ll chance running this new troop, sir.”
“So you’re volunteering, then?”
“If that’s what you want to call it, sure.”
“Good lad. Fine, fine. I will have everything prepared.” Parfait stood and saluted smartly. “Come tomorrow, Lieutenant, you will awake to a new life, with a new name, a new face, and a new job.” Then he leaned in and said in a conspiratorial tone, “Don’t worry, though, we’ll keep that rock-hard physique of yours intact. Wouldn’t want to lose that!”
“Uh, thank you, sir.”