Brent really hated giving these kinds of speeches. They seemed boring,
pointless, and most of all tedious for him and his men. However they
did need to be kept informed as to what the rest of the ship was doing
and how they were supposed to fit into that little niche they had carved
"Oh by the way all of your inventories are terrible. They look like my
youngest sisters coloring jobs out of kindergarten. Since you all seem
to be so damn remedial when it comes to forming coherent sentences and
proper notation, I have called in a specialist. Savant?"
he asked turning to his left, and the computer complied. A hologram
appeared beside the Brevet Lieutenant, an image of Savant in Marine
greens, with tough black combat gloves and the sort of shiny mirrored
sunglasses that are exactly not what the Marine Corps consider part of
the battle dress uniform. The hologram smiled a winning smile at the row
"Savant is a new addition to the crew, as such I expect you to behave
yourselves and listen to what she has to say regarding your inventories."
The hologram nodded once to the Lieutenant before turning back to the
assembled Marines, at ease. "Each of you has Equipping Schedule E9A and
B, and Personal Maintenance Schedule MSA-1 waiting for you to complete.
I expect the equipping schedule to be completed today, and the MSA-1 to
be completed by the end of the week."
"Cursory inspection shows that you've been a little lax in the
maintenance of your battle kit. Given how deep we are in uncharted
territory, this can't be allowed to continue. I am going to arrange
surprise inspections with the Lieutenant, beginning next week."
"None of this should be difficult - you all show as having excellent
records. I'm sure that it's all nothing more than a little brush-up on
the basics. Questions?"
"Man now the computer gets to give us orders? What the hell is this,"
one of the privates in the back of the room muttered under his breath to
a fellow marine. The words and the following snickering drew Brent's
attention. "Well if there's a joke to be told kids then lets all hear
it," Brent said eyeballing the private who he knew had given lip.
"Nothing sir no joke. It's just a Marine's life to take orders from
everyone here. Evidently including the computer now," he said motioning
over at Savant.
The hologram smiled, one of those big, broad, toothy smiles that a drill
instructor could conjure up at a moments' notice. The sort of smile that
preceeded a horrendous fate. Her tone was sweet. "You've got it quite
wrong, Private Millebank. I'm just an advisory program. I don't give
orders. He does. I just relay them to you."
Ah, heightened levels of seretonin, increase in autonomic synapse
activity. The Private was starting to doubt himself. Savants' synthetic
smile widened, to make him squirm a little more, and then she glanced at
Warren. "I believe the Private has a problem with your orders, Brevet."
"Apparently since Private Millebank here thinks that the Computer is out
to steal his job perhaps he should prove his worth so I dont replace him
with someone like Savant. 10 laps around the ship Millebank. Savant
will be running along side of you. If you fail to keep ahead of her for
the entire lap you will have two more added onto your total," Brent said.
The private apparently didn't quite believe Brent was serious and didn't
get up. "Something wrong Private? On you feet get your boots on.
Start thanking your gods that I don't make it with a full goddamn pack.
Now double time it!" Brent yelled at the Private who got up immediately.
Savant let her smile mellow and flexed her hands; apparently that was
all the stretching she needed before a jog. "Don't worry, Private. I'm a
wimp. I'm sure I won't be a challenge." The rest of the Marines seemed
to avoid looking at the offensive private, less they get themselves in
more trouble. "Now. The rest of us will work on your inventory forms.
Any questions," the Lieutenant asked casting his eyes about. There of
course was none.
Savant saluted to the Brevet, already jogging on the spot as she
generously let the Private have a broad head start. She would
communicate with him to see how hard she should *actually* be on the
poor soldier, but for the moment let the illusion ride that he was
racing against an implacable, tireless, imperturbable opponent.
She caught up to him in a burst of speed, snapping her knuckles against
his flank playfully as she ran. The holoprojectors' integral pressor
beams provided just the right amount of a prod to make it seem real. She
could be heard as they exited the brief, "Come on, Millebank, we just
Brent grinned as he watched Millebank run off into the corridor.
"Alright! Now that the fun is over with shall we get back into the
inventory?" he said looking back between the men as they all withdrew
the PADDs from in front of them and began to work on their inventory now
in earnest. Less they wind up on the wrong end of the Lieutenants wrath.