Saturday, April 25, 2009

Visitors New and Old

26 April 1881

The RTS Santa Fe battle group arrived once more today after five weeks. We received some expected and unexpected guests. We had the pleasure of receiving new marines as well: Lieutenant Miguel Soto, Colour Sergeant Michael Standowski and Corporal Fredrick O’Hara.
Lieutenant Soto is our new commanding officer and Mr. Griggs is taking the executive officer billet, as well as command of Second Platoon. Mr. Soto is a Naval Academy class of ’77 with two years in grade as a lieutenant, which will put him as the third-highest ranking officer on camp as he is senior to the Army lieutenants. He is from Los Pines, Sonora Province.
Colour Sergeant Michael Standowski and I go way back as we were corporals together (his second time at being a Corporal) but he always seemed to get into trouble and I think has been busted twice. Once was an altercation with the RSM’s daughter and the last was striking an officer. He is an experienced boxer, with the nose to prove it. He was the All Pacific Fleet Champion when we were stationed in Guayamas Naval Base, but that was twelve years ago and these days he has calmed down and is assuming the role of platoon sergeant for Second Platoon. For the record, he is still the biggest man I have ever seen in a Marine uniform. He is all of 6’8” in his stocking feet, and weighs a good 300 lbs; he stands a good seven inches over my head.

Corporal O’Hara is new to me as well but Colour Standowski says he is the best maintenance NCO he has ever seen. Seems Corporal O’Hara has a knack for anything mechanical and also works as a brick mason. So his squad will be performing maintenance and masonry/rough carpentry work as needed. We are now officially a company of Marines and should not expect any further growth for a while.

The Army battalion received another officer as well, one Subaltern Williams. As we get new officers fresh from school, Mr. Griggs keeps smiling because he outranks all of the other subalterns on Venus. The Army also received a troop of dragoons, the infamous "green legs." As mounted infantry they will ride the Pachysaurs on patrols but are by no means 'real' cavalry. The dragoons act as the infantry attached to cavalry and camelry units. The Square did not want to part with any of their precious cavalry, so sent the dragoons instead. It will be interesting to see how they get along with the black and red legs. Subaltern Williams graduated just three months ago, and had just finished Camelry School before volunteering for this assignment.

On the strange side of the house, we have the dubious pleasure of the appearance of the famous big game hunter, Mr. William Jameson Struthers III. He is an arrogant but very rich man, because his family owns the Struthers Ranch, the biggest ranch in the Chihuahua Province. And if you didn't know, he'll be the first to tell you about it. He had enough money and influence to hitch a ride on the Santa Fe, carting along five servants and more luggage than an entire squad of Marines. His money has put him in the guest quarters, while his servants will sleep in the junior enlisted berthing with the Army.
Struthers spends all of his time sipping martinis, complaining about the accomodations here on Venus, and shooting game for sport. He claims to be the best shot in the entire world, claiming to have killed a lion running full speed at five hundred yards. He seems to be not much more than a huge bag of hot air. The man even wears a monocle! Maybe we should introduce him to the Orca!
Struthers even has two pet news reporters with him, "to record his astonishing adventures on Venus," as one of the fawning idiots phrased it. One is from the Guayamas Gazette and the other from the Williamsburg World. I hope they last longer than the one who disappeared in the jungle two months ago. He got swallowed up so fast, I can't even recall his name. You should have seen the looks on the two scribblers' faces when I told them about that! I'll bet they won't set foot outside the walls of Fort Humid until it's time to go back to Earth.

Chief O’Malley was as jolly as ever and hand delivered some fine Sonoran wine to Father Flannigan for Sunday Mass.

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