Spyder: Thank ye’, Meioa Johnson. It’s a pleasure t’ be ‘ere. Heh, sure beats bein’ shot at by th’ frogtopusses, eh?
Jean: Yes, indeed. The Salik are a menace to all sentientkind. Sergeant, that’s…an interesting accent you have. Very lyrical. Could you tell us something about your background?
Spyder: I come from a long line o’ miners, see? From th’ coal mines o’ Newcastle all th’ way to th’ gas mines o’ Jupiter, mining’s in my family’s blood. I grew up on New Lunnon Mining Station in th’ L4 orbit of Io, which is one o’ Jupiters moons. Y’ don’t wanna actually try t’ park a station in Jupiter’s atmosphere, since th’ turbulence gets a bit too wild f’r livin’ there. Spills th’ milk an’ all that, eh?
Jean: So you grew up the great-plus grandson of a mining family. That’s an impressively long heritage. What made you choose to join the Marine Corps, Sergeant?
Spyder: Heh…wasn’t ‘zactly my choice, meioa-e. See, I got a bit woild as a youth. Pulled a few too many stunts onna Nets—whatchoo call th’ Internet—an’ around th’ station, like. Got caught, see? But since it weren’t too ‘armful-like, they tossed me int’ Psych Evaluation, an’ th’ shrinks said I jes’ needed a bit o’ “purposeful redirection of all those high-spirited energies.” In other words, I was given a choice: be chained t’ a pea-patch like a criminal, or join up in th’ military azza grunt, an’ learn some discipline.
Jean: I see it took.
Spyder: Heh, yeah, guess it did. Some gobbo ratted on me when I done sommat good, so ‘ere I am, a right-regular non-com. Go figger, eh?
Jean: Tell me something about what it’s like to serve in the Space Force, Sergeant. A lot of our viewers really have no clue what military life is actually like. They just base their impressions on shows such as Space Patrol and the like. So what is it really like?
Spyder: It’s kinda a mix o’ things, really. Some ‘f it’s pretty borin’, some ‘f it’s pretty dangerous, an’ y’ hafta stay in shape, ‘cause a lotta it’s hard. I mean, we get force multipliers like our mechsuits, nifty guns, fast drop shuttles, stunner grenades, all sorts o’ neat tricks an’ th’ like, but th’ suits only amplify our movements, so we gotta stay in shape b’neath—I’d tell you loads more, but a lotta this stuff’s classified, particularly when it comes t’ somma our neater gizmos.
Jean: That’s understood, don’t worry. Tell me about your Company, in specific.
Spyder: That’d be Ferrar’s Fighters. I’d give you th’ exact military designation, from Cordon an’ Division all th’ way down to Legion an’ Platoon, but I dinna want anybody’s eyes t’ cross. Anyway, Cap’n Ferrar wasn’t my first Company commander.
Jean: Oh? Do tell—wasn’t it with Gaskin’s GroPos that you earned your current rank?
Spyder: My first assignment post-Basic was Gaskin’s GroPos, also Marines Company—unlike my friend Ia, I haven’t jumped Branched yet; I like th’ Corps. Anyway, in Gaskin’s Company, I actually earned my Corporal ranks wi’ ‘em pretty quick, demonstratin’ calmness unner fire an’ plenny o’ leadership whatsits. But corporals aren’t non-coms, ‘less you count ‘em as what has trainin’ wheels, heh.
My first actual non-com rank, Buck Sergeant, came onna planetary pirate ‘untin’ trip what went sour. When we got ambushed, it were two of us Squads—‘bout tweny men an’ women. One Sergeant bought a star, God rest ‘im, an’ th’ other ‘un broke, so I jes’ stepped up an’ lead th’ rest, calmly-like. Got us outta there wi’ only one more casualty on our side, an’ a whole bunch more on th’ pirates’. Then I got transferred t’ Ferrar’s Comp’ny, an’ earned my Staff stripes ‘n rockers in short order—th’ ‘ard way, o’ course, through combat. But I survived, eh?
Jean: I’m glad you did. I also can’t imagine it was easy to remain calm in the midst of such lethal violence.
Spyder: Eh, it’s jes’ a matter o’ lookin’ at th’ situation like it’s a Net game. Wi’ real people an’ real consequences, arright, but wi’ plenny o’ practice, you can narrow yer focus down, an’ think ‘f the things what need doin’, in what order ’f priority.
Jean: Well, I am impressed, and I’m grateful that there are plenty of men and women like you in the world. Soldiers who are willing to defend the rest of us.
Spyder: ‘S’a pleasure t’ serve. I think th’ psych boys were right ‘bout me. Once I got used t’ th’ discipline, it turned out t’ be jes’ what I needed in my life.
Jean: You mentioned a friend named…Ee-ah?
Spyder: Yeah, that’d be my mate fr’m back in Basic Trainin. Ia. She joined up at th’ same time what I did, along wi’ a few others I still chat with fr’m time t’ time—you might know ‘er better as Bloody Mary. That’s ‘er Service nickname, an’ she lives up t’ it. Wadin’ innit up t’ ‘er ‘airline, iff’n it comes t’ that.
Jean: She sounds…tough.
Spyder: Heh, you ‘ave no idea, meioa-e. She once got trapped inna collapsed emergency tunnel on Oberon’s Rock—tha’s th’ one inna GS 138 Star System—an’ she kept diggin’ even when th’others wanted t’ give up. I’ve seen ‘er survive bein’ shot at’, slammed int’, nearly bein’ eaten by th’ local wildlife on ‘Askin’s World—Gliese 505 System—an’ sev’ral other tough assignments. But th’ one she’s most famous for is bein’ painted in bloody goo from ‘elm t’ boot. She’s pretty nice outta combat, though. An’ it’s really noice t’ be on ‘er side in combat, iff’n y’ know what I mean, heh.
Jean: Heheh, I’ll keep that in mind. Between the two of you, meioa-o, it sounds like you have a lot of wild tales to tell. Do you have a Service nickname as well?
Spyder: Eh, no’ really. I mean, I’m called Itsy Bitsy Spyder from time t’ time, but it’s kinda obvious, eh? As f’r stories, I only gotta few. Ia, though, she gots plenny unner ‘er belt, an’ most of ‘em are spectacular. Like vidshow stuff, ‘cept she does get ‘urt, an’ risks her life each time she goes out.
Jean: I’ll see if I can interview her, too, then. For our last question, Sergeant, what are you plans for the future? Are you going to continue your career in the Space Force Marine Corps for several years more? Or do you plan to retire into civilian life at some point soon?
Spyder: I’m thinkin’ I jes’ might stay inna Marines. I like th’ discipline, th’ camaraderie, an’ o’ course th’ toys. Dunno what I’d do inna private sector, really. I mean…it’s like what Ia says. I’d rather be useful doin’ sommat I’m really good at, sommat what makes th’ universe a little brighter an’ better—even if it risks my neck—than sittin’ ‘round on my asteroid all day, whinin’ ‘bout things getting’ worse, an’ not doin’ sommat ‘bout it, y’know?
Jean: Yes, I think I do… Unfortunately, we’re out of time, but I’d like to thank you for these few moments of your time.
Spyder: My pleasure, meioa-e.
Jean: …My thanks again to Staff Sergeant Glen Spyder, for being willing to take some time out of his duties just so that the rest of us can learn a little bit more about the real life of a soldier in the Terran United Planets Space Force, Branch Marine Corps. Stay tuned for future interviews, when I just might have a chance at interviewing the elusive Marine, Ia, the woman even her fellow soldiers have nicknamed Bloody Mary.