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   Chapter 51 No.51

High Steaks By Christina Engela Characters: 4772

Updated: 2018-06-30 19:02

"Are…" Garfner began, realizing his mouth had suddenly gone quite dry. "Are you – a Ruminarii?"

"I would l-hike to volhun-teer!" Said Mark in his trademark baritone, trying his very best Terran.

"Erm." Garfner faltered. "I'm not sure if hostile aliens are eligible to - "

"Something the matter, Coporal?" A voice of authority boomed over his shoulder from behind. Garfner jumped slightly.

"No, Sarge!" The old man muttered to the higher-ranking and slightly older NCO standing behind him. "Wish you wouldn't sneak up on me like that! Not as young as I used t'be, y'know!"

Sarge bent down closer to Garfner's head while he slowly and thoughtfully chewed on his cigar stub.

"Any reason in particular why you don't think this recruit is suitable, Corporal?" Sarge asked.

"Well Sarge, " Garfner explained in hushed tones, "I've nothing against aliens y'see – it's just that Ruminarii are supposed to be our enemies? I mean, didn't one of their ships bomb us last year?"

Sarge listened, nodding every other word as Garfner continued.

"And where'd this one come from? There aren't supposed to be any Gimp on Deanna, are there? This fella might just be an illegal alien! And what if we let him enlist – how do we know he's gonna fight for our side?"

"Wellp." Sarge said straightening up, making a little play with his cigar between his clenched teeth. "I don't think those fellers wearin' the snappy gray unif

the Terran convention of first names and family names to him. It wasn't entirely unfamiliar to the former Ruminarii warship commander – his own people did something similar – but he wanted to leave all that behind him, so he decided to do exactly that.

"Grauff-hisss!" He said.

"Mark Grauffis?" Garfner repeated. Mark nodded.

"Well, okay then!" Garfner sighed. One name was as good as another, he supposed. Under the circumstances. "Sign there please!"

Mark accepted the pen, and made an odd-shaped squiggle next to his name that could've been anything. "Okay then! – just head over to the tents, find a pozzy, and standby to standby!"

* * *

The barnyard was almost empty, save for the fifty or so volunteers that were standing in a line leading up to the porch, where a very bored-looking Corporal Garfner was now sitting on the top step, taking down details. He took a break every few minutes to shake life back into his fingers.

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