Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the TV-Programme 'Space: Above And Beyond' depicted in this story are legal property of Glen Morgan and James Wong, Hard Eight Production and 20th Century Fox Broadcasting and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement intended.

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The 7th Force Recon
Book 1:
Unit, Corps, God, Country


Anne Schjerven


Gunnery Sergeant Victor Azaria Corporal Patrick Stratfurt Lance Corporal Roberta "Robbie" Hammer PFC Benjamin Wakefield PFC Craig Cummings)

Ship: The USS Saratoga

To Billy and the rest of the brave men and women who so proudly serve their country in these times of War.

"Marines are about the most peculiar breed of human beings I have ever witnessed. They treat their service as if it was some kind of cult, plastering their emblem on almost everything they own, making themselves up to look like insane fanatics with haircuts to ungentlemanly lengths, worshipping their Commandant almost as if he was a god, and making weird animal noises like a band of savages.
They'll fight like rabid dogs at the drop of a hat just for the sake of a little action, and are the cockiest SOB's I have ever known. Most have the foulest mouths and drink well beyond man's normal limits, but their high spirits and sense of brotherhood set them apart and, generally speaking, of the United States Marines I've come in contact with, are the most professional soldiers and the finest men I have had the pleasure to meet."
    An Anonymous Canadian Citizen

The USS Saratoga had seen very much action the last two years. Still, it would never end. For some it seemed the war would last forever. Some cursed it and others loved it. Gunnery Sergeant Victor Azaria didn't love nor curse it. War had become a part of him. As a Recon Marine he lived for war and fought for peace. As a human being he hoped for it all to end. Now, standing in the office of Colonel Stunner, he hoped for nothing more than a chance to fight.

"Sir. We need a replacement. The 7th cannot be functional without a radio operator, sir" he said, standing in attention.

Colonel Stunner looked at the Gunny. "Look. People are joining the Marines by the numbers in this war and still we are short-handed. I can't help you"

The Gunny looked at him coldly. "Sir, may I speak freely?"

"Put the cards on the table, Gunny" Stunner replied, looking up at him.

"You have plenty of good Marines here working as pencil pushers. I am sure you can spear one Marine. I can make a good marksman and recon Marine out of anyone, including you. Sir" he placed his hands on the table in front of him, his dark eyes locked with the Colonels. He was a relative well build man in his early 40's. His hair cut in a high and tight, it was easy to see that he was indeed a United States Marine. But despite the spit and polish and the eyes he actually looked younger. It was easy to imagine him smile or even laugh.

Stunner looked at him for a moment before taking off his glasses. "I'll give you a name. Lance Corporal Robbie Hammer" he said and wrote down an order. "Give this to the Petty Officer. He will get Hammer and make the necessary arrangements. You'll have your Marine in no time"

Gunny got into attention. "Aye sir. Thank you, sir"

"Get out of here, you are giving me an headache" The colonel snapped and Gunny left his office.

The 7 Force Recon was waiting outside. Private First Class Wakefield grinned. "He made it, that son of a bitch. When do we get our new man?"

Gunny held up the order. "ASAP, ladies" he said with a smile and walked over to the Petty Officer.

Cummings scratched his chin thoughtful. "You know. Even if we get a new RO that won't make a difference. Everyone can call for extraction," he said in his Boston accent.

Stratfurt shook his head and grinned. "It is more to it than that. A good Radio Operator in a Recon Unit can fix the radio no matter what, make a new one out of reserve parts and doing all this while providing cover for the rest of his Unit" he grinned, his blue eyes sparkling.

"You are seriously starting to scare me, you two" Wakefield grinned and nudged his friends.

Gunny returned, smiling weakly. "Okay. Everything is fixed. Lance Corporal Robbie Hammer will arrive at our quarters in less than a hour"

Wakefield nodded, a worried look on his face. "What if he doesn't like us? What if he is mean? What if he actually love this war?" he eyed the others. "What if he doesn't clean up after him?"

Gunny chuckled. "Then he would fit right into the group. And one more thing, guys. It's a she"

The 7th looked at each other in total shock. "A female? A Female Recon Marine?" Stratfurt asked.

Gunny looked at them. He hadn't expected it to be a woman either but after reading through Hammer's files he was sure that she was good for the job. She graduated as the best in her class, had seen action and knew about radios. The fact that she was a woman would not really matter as long as she followed orders. "Yeah. Got a problem with that?"

"Is she a dog?" Cummings asked.

Gunny had no answer for that one. "Let's just get ready to greed our new member and then we can worry about other things"

"I knew it" Cummings said as they walked down the corridor. "She is a dog"

Dog wasn't actually the word to describe Lance Corporal Hammer. She was a slim build female in her early twenties with long curly hair and a rather arrogant smile. She would be considered pretty in many ways. She wore camouflage and had her hair in a high ponytail. She also had the reputation of being what some call macho. She was just as good as any male but had to work double time to prove that. And she was ready for anything. Yet as she entered she was a bit surprised. All the people in the 7th were men. Every one of them. The Gunnery Sergeant, the corporal and the Privates. The Latino male stepped forward. "I am Gunnery Sergeant Victor Azaria. I am Unit Leader of the 7th"

"I am Lance Corporal Roberta Hammer. You can call me Robbie" she said and smiled wryly.

Gunny looked at his wrist communication watch as it beeped. He scowled. "We need to move out. They are sending us out"

Cummings eyed him and walked to his locker. "Where?" he asked as he got dressed.

The rest moved to get dressed as well. Hammer was already in most of her clothes and put on her battle gear. Victor took his combat gear. "The Planet 2063Y. We are gonna take a look around"

"I hate it when he says that" Wakefield moaned and got his ammo. "It means we are gonna get stuck down there for some time"

Robbie didn't day anything, just got dressed and got her pack. It seemed strange to be back in the saddle after a year. She had been on recon before. Yes, with the 9th on one small mission. No other survivors than her because she had been shield out from the rest. Because she was a woman.

They headed to the ISSAPCs, getting looks from the flight crew. They always seemed to eye those who left on missions, as if to say that they would remain onboard, safe. Always the same thing.

Report: 2063Yankee

Planet in the Ceres region. Breathable O2 but over 40 degrees Celsius. Uncategorized life forms. According to the reports made by the 58th Squadron, the ISSCV crashed at the co-ordinates seven six niner four six niner North-Northwest of bullseye.

The weather today is hot. Hot and damp. 43 degrees Celsius and some rain.

Now I recall the Recon Marines ragged, filthy cammie shirted young men in green paint who move silent like the fog with deadly purpose in their eyes. Swift, Silent, Deadly. I smile.
    --GYSGT Correll, USMC, Retired-- Recon Marine


"Normally I love rain but this is ridiculous" Robbie muttered as the 7th Force Recon slowly made their way in the jungle. Her hair was sticking to her forehead and she brushed it way, cursing herself to hell for not cutting it.

Gunny looked around; his M590 cocked and ready. He agreed with the Lance Corporal. "Let's keep an eye out for the Chigs, shall we?" he whispered, making sure everyone was still there.

"Okay, Gunny" Cummings took a deep breath and moved a few steps past him, taking the lead. "I hear something"

They all went down, holding their weapons ready. "This planet has unclassified life forms" Stratfurt marked, his voice low. "And in my survival manual that goes under 'deadly'"

"You are a volunteer. The Corps doesn't give shit in your survival manual" Wakefield pointed out, shuddering. It was so incredible hot and damp. He almost felt like he was going to pass out.

A bird moved from the bushes, flying over their heads. They all let out a tight breath, having expected Chigs. "Let's move" Gunny said and got up.

They all dragged their tired and hot bodies up from the mud and started walking again. Cummings took on his goggles and looked over the hill. "I see a camp. Three klicks away"

They hunched down and went over the map. "Intelligence says it is a POW camp," Gunny said, pointing at the location.

"If the pilots survived, you can bet your sweet ass that they are down there" Hammer stood up and brushed her hair away from her face.

The guys looked at each other, not sure what to say. Her choice of words was strange. It hit them that she was not aware that she expressed herself that way. Gunny nodded. "You are right. They must be down there…" he got a thoughtful look. "They are most likely being tortured. I say we go in and get them out"

"We don't have a plan," Stratfurt said, his voice almost shaking.

"We don't need one. We have our training and our weapons. We are Marines and Marines do more with less" Gunny smiled encouraging to them.

"If we don't do it we lose two Marines" Robbie eyed them. "If we do this, we save two and we are heroes. I'll volunteer"

The boys looked at each other. If a girl was going to be more macho than them then…slowly they all nodded, unsure but willing to give it a try. "Like our code" Cummings said, his voice cheerful. "Unit, Corps, God, Country"

"Great. But no one is gonna help us but ourselves" Gunny got up as well. "We assault and get our Marines out. Surprise is the best way. Everyone get in, everyone get out" he looked at each and every one of them, memorising their faces. "Good luck"

They looked at each other in silence for a while as people knowing that they might die do. Slowly they dragged themselves to their feet and started splitting ammo.

"Let's make it happen" Gunny said, smiling cocky. The truth was he was worried but they had to do this. And if they could see that he was up to it, maybe they would do a good job and be okay. Now he just had to put his faith in their training and God.

His eyes wandered again over his men. Craig Cummings, 23 years old and from a nice family in Boston. The African-American could have gotten a nice job as a pencil pusher but decided to join Infantry instead. Ben Wakefield, 19 years old joined the Marines after High School and hadn't regretted that for a second. He always looked worried and talked a lot about surfing. Patrick Stratfurt was 27 years old and married. He had given up his job as a clerk to join the Marines and eventually volunteer for recon. And finally the last and newest member who he only knew through her files. Roberta Hammer from New Mexico. A slender female with a lot on her mind and a lot of heat. Their eyes were locked with his and he felt proud.

They started to move down the hill, getting out of the jungle. In the dark they crawled, thankful for the rain that drowned the sounds they made. Hammer managed to override the system and open the hatch and like that, yet like dogs, they entered. Their eyes were only open to the enemy, taking in all what they needed but nothing more.

Gunny winced at the smell. It smelled bad in here. Most camps did. The smell of Chigs, urine, sweat, dirt and blood hang in the air. He pointed at a hatch and Robbie and Wakefield moved to it, opening it and going inside, covering each other.

Wakefield held a hand to his mouth to cover the smell. Robbie seemed to ignore it as best as she could as she moved in. She knelt down beside a body, checking for a pulse. The body responded, wincing and pulling away. "S'okay. I am with 7th force recon. We are here to get you out"

The woman turned, looking at her through red eyes. A narrow wound ran from her chin to her ear. "Help…Please help" she murmured.

Hammer frowned slightly and contacted Gunny. "Gunny. I have one survivor. Female Caucasian, roughly 25 years old. 5th Air wing and stationed on the USS Saratoga"

The soft buzzing of the comlink until Gunny's clear voice broke through. "That's Vansen. She is with the 58th. Take her with you"

She was about to ask Vansen if she could walk but the woman looked too weak to even talk. She picked her up in a fireman's grip and walked out of the room. "You better cover my ass, Wakefield" she marked to Ben who just grinned to her.

Gunny moved in lead, slowly taking out the AIs as they went. He froze for a moment, seeing re-enforcement for the enemy. "Fall back! Move it!" he yelled over his shoulder as he and Cummings opened fire.

Robbie headed back with Wakefield in the lead. Stratfurt fell back as well. Gunny started moving but suddenly he fell with a cry. Stratfurt turned and fell on his gut in front of Gunny. "Where are you hurt?" he asked, yelling over the din.

"My leg" he said between gritted teeth.

Stratfurt got up and started firing while Cummings hunched down beside Gunny. "I'll carry you out" he picked the man up in a fireman's grip and started moving. He still heard the firing as he went out in the rain.

"We need extraction now!" Wakefield yelled and fired at the enemy.

"Air Cover will be here in ten mikes" Hammer replied, checking over Vansen who was unconscious.

Cummings eyed her. "There might not be anything to cover by the time they get here! Do something!"

"Do I look like a miracle worker to ya?" Robbie yelled back and grabbed her M590, firing at the Chigs and the AIs. "Get some you mother fuckers! Damn you to hell!" she cried as she fired.

"We are low on ammo!" Stratfurt yelled and loaded again.

"I'm out!" Hammer said and got another clip from her bag.

Wakefield checked up on Gunny, who was in great pain. "Just a flesh wound, Gunny. But it is gonna hold you awake tonight"

"Great. After hours of work I get to lay awake" Gunny said sarcastically to the private. Suddenly there was a thunder and they looked up. "The ISSCV"

The ISSCV landed and an Army Special Forcer stuck his head out. "Come on, Jarheads! We have 30 seconds!"

The Marines started moving, picking up the wounded and running to the ISSCV. As soon as they got in the hatch was shut and the vessel took off. Robbie moved to the woman. "She needs medical attention" she said to the doctor who checked over Vansen.

Gunny looked at the doctor as she started to cut up his pants. "Maybe we should get a room, honey"

The doctor, a big redhead, hissed at him. "Leave your remarks at the hatch, Gunnery Sergeant"

Gunny chuckled. "Only in America" he muttered as the drugs started to work, taking away the pain.

"The man who will go where his colours will go, without asking, who will fight a phantom foe in a jungle and mountain range, without counting, and who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to Democratic America. He is the stuff of which legions are made. His pride is his colours and his regiment, his training hard and thorough and coldly realistic, to fit him for what he must face, and his obedience is to his orders. As a legionary, he held the gates of civilisation for the classical world...he has been called United States Marine"
    Lieutenant Colonel T.R. Fehrenbach


They were sitting in the Tun Tavern playing poker. Five hours after the mission they were all together again. The boys had bugged Robbie for not playing poker, saying that Marines gamble. But they had quickly regretted saying that. They had made a poker monster that took their money with wits.

Robbie took her winnings, knowing that they would come to her for money the next week. Just to keep the other Marines calm she bought them drinks.

"A toast" Cummings said, holding up his beer.

"To the roughest of the toughest" Wakefield cut in, a small smile touching his lips.

Hammer raised her glass. "The coldest of the coolest"

Stratfurt smiled weakly. "Unit, Corps, God, Country"

"The United States Marine Corps! Hoo-RAH!" they all said in unison before downing their beers.

From a distance, the Bartender watched the recon Marines down their fifth round. He grimaced, knowing that Marines were loud when drunk and often got into brawls. But of some reason these seemed to be very pleased with themselves. He wondered why…

To be continued ...

Next : Book Two - Muzhestvo

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