The project started with the system duke and the new system rear admiral. The enrollment for people into the marines was always low. They decided to raise their own soldiers, train them from a very young age and bring them into the service. It was never sanctioned by the fleet sky marshal or the emperor.
Quietly volunteers from across the fleet donated eggs and sperm and the first batch of children were born. There were several thousand in the first hatching as they called it. It was two years before the sergeants started teaching them. In that time two more hatchings had taken place. They called our school an orphanage military academy.
We learned the normal things but there was also martial arts and combat fighting. There was knife fighting and weapons classes. As we grew older the classes became more advanced. The few children that failed were found new families and left. Year followed year as our training grew harder and more advanced.
I was sixteen and a cadet company commander when the rogue worlders struck. There were ten thousand cadets from thirteen to sixteen and six thousand marines on the planet. They had picked their time well and we did not even have a warship in the system. I jerked up at the siren and leaped to my feet and ran for the door.
Each company had an automated armory and I reached ours and placed my hand on the screen. I stepped into the middle of the equipment issue platform. A second later a dozen robot arms were putting the exoskeleton on with my unpowered body armor and weapons. I caught my mask and command glasses as I ran off the platform.
I snatched my rifle out of the rack and kept running. I put both the mask and glasses on and headed to the CIC. The rogue worlders were still skipping in but the numbers of possible troop shuttles did not look good. I murmured into my company net to keep my people informed. My executive was already moving them to the transports.
As soon as we knew where the enemy was landing we would move to stop them. A thousand cadet fighters were being armed. Finally the first shuttle hit the atmosphere and my battalion received orders. I ran for my transport while barking orders. The fighters were in the air and would be engaging in moments.
From the orbital sats we knew the bastards were going to make multiply landings. I ran into our transport and yelled, "LIFT!"
The transport lifted hot as the hatch began to close and I turned to face it, "first platoon you have the center, second the left and third the right. Fourth you are in reserve but watch for an opening to strike their heavy weapons."
I switched channels to speak with the pilot, "put us down on the edge of the spaceport."
"Copy. Good luck Wolves."
I nodded and switched channels back to the company. It was not long before we heard the explosions and the transport began to twist and weave to avoid the enemy fire. It dropped and the red light on the hatch went yellow, "on your feet!"
The transport settled as the light went green and the hatch suddenly dropped away. I leaped through while bringing my rifle up, "FOLLOW ME!"
I could see destroyed shuttles and others that were down as I ran towards the port building. I slowed and went to a knee, "positions!"
I aimed at enemy soldiers that began to fire at us while the company spread out. The platoons did like we had been training for years. They went to their belly and fired into the enemy. I stood, "first platoon move!"
It was chaos as we began to leap forward by platoon, squad and teams. The fighter company over us was reaping havoc. They took down a third of the shuttles before the enemy killed them. Our battalion killed thousands while striking into the heart of the regiment we faced. I lost people as we took the high ground.
The whole fourth platoon died with the enemy regiment heavy weapons. I combined second and third as more people died. I continued to shoot enemy and direct my company as the battalion shrank and the number of cadets facing this group of enemy became smaller. I did not know they had landed ten thousand at each of six sites.
My company ripped one of their battalions apart and then started on a second. I kept fighting when the last of my people fell and began to take serious risks. When I saw the command center I knew it was for the regiment and threw the last two grenades. That killed the guards as I rushed towards the huge armored vehicle.
I fired into a soldier as he opened a hatch and dropped my rifle on its sling and pulled my knife. I slammed into the soldier behind the one that was falling and stabbed and began to fight. I killed ten before I was fully in the command center and flipped the knife and threw. An officer was lifting a pistol and my knife slammed into his throat.
I yanked a tech up and in front of me as another officer fired. I felt the tearing burn in my right shoulder as the bullet went through the tech, my armor and into my shoulder. I shoved the man and knelt as I brought my rifle up. I fired and killed the officer and then two techs lifting weapons. I moved to the controls and grinned as I began hitting auto destruct sequences.
I knelt and took the two officer pistols and a grenade. I ran to the door and armed the grenade and tossed it back. I ran out and into a bullet that struck me in the left side. The whole command vehicle screamed before a fuel cell ruptured and it exploded. I was tossed away and rolled before I came to my feet.
I used the pistols to shoot the enemy until they were empty. I shoved them into my belt and took an enemy soldier's rifle. Weapons came and went as I kept fighting. I finally ran out of enemy to kill and sat and stared almost blindly at the carnage out on the huge port landing field. It was dark but fires burned everywhere.
Buildings in the city around the port were rubble and that was very similar to the other landing places. The rogue worlders lost over fifty thousand men. We lost over seven thousand cadets with another two thousand wounded. The marines lost four thousand marines with another five hundred wounded.
This was one of the largest attempted seizures by the rogue worlders. I had been shot in the right shoulder, left side and left thigh. They also dug out sixty pieces of shrapnel from both my front and back. We stopped the bastards but it cost us and for us the worst was to come. The emperor and the sky marshal were livid with what the duke and system admiral had done.
He was almost executed and the admiral, now a full fleet admiral who had not been in the system during the attack was retired. The emperor disbanded and shut the academies down and those that had been to young were sent to special homes. Those that had fought were treated extremely well, we were giving awards and retired like we had been marines.
I walked off the shuttle and into the small port building. I could almost taste the salt air from the ocean. Before I had boarded the shuttle I had looked at job listings. I cleared customs and took a public shuttle to the Breakwater Keys. There were five islands that made up the main keys and the harbor.
The one at the tip was the largest and where I bought the fast submersible. I put the two large duffles in the back seat and sat in the front. I turned on the power and checked the systems before I released the grav mooring anchors. I pulled back on the throttles and moved away from the dock slowly.
Once clear of the docks I went faster. When I cleared the other islands I slipped under the water and moved the throttles to the stop. I turned and followed a course I had set and dove to fifty meters. I watched the undersea scan and the large predators I sped past. An hour and I saw the signal for the salvage dome.
I slowed and just before I reached it a warning beacon went off. I opened the comm, "Junkyard Dog this is submersible seven eight seven delta two."
"You lost tourist?"
I smiled slightly, "you advertised for a certified level two environmental suit operator?"
There was a pause, "dock on the port side. Follow the green beacon and after you dock cross to the crane bay."
I checked as a second beacon came on and slowed even more and went deeper. I looked up through the canopy as I went under the huge dome. I saw the two large bays and began rising on the left side by a green light. I broke water not to far from several slips and turned and moved towards one and docked as I slid the canopy back.
I shut down and set the grav mooring anchors and then stood and jumped out. I left my things as I looked for a hatch and walked out. There were direction boards so getting to the crane bay was not hard. Six men turned when I entered and they shook their heads. I ignored that as I walked towards them, "Mr Andrews?"
One that looked ancient shook his head, "sorry kid but I was looking for someone with real experience."
The others snickered and I held out a data stick, "you can check my certification and listed experience."
He sighed as he took it and pulled his comp. A moment later he stiffened while the men continued to smirk and make comments. He hissed, "shut your holes!"
He looked at me, "you are ... they made you retire and..."
I shrugged, "the emperor and the fleet sky marshal could not keep us because of our age."
He cleared his throat, "you have a level five certification with five years working experience?"
I nodded, "they had special combat suits we trained in. Unfortunately we did not have enough when ... things came apart."
He nodded, "yeah supply fucked a goat with that one."
.... There is more of this story ...