"Toly, I love you," Gabriella Stoessel told her husband.
"I love you too, Gabby." Master Sergeant Stoessel responded to his wife just before he ended the call. The ship was leaving soon and he still wanted to check on the troops. He knew he woud miss her, but he was more concerned with how much she would miss him. He was indeed worried about her.
Since Master Sergeant Anatole Stoessel was under arms, he wore his garrison cap aboard ship. It has been tradition for many centuries for unarmed soldiers to remove their caps inside and armed soldiers to wear headgear.
"Sergeant Major!" a voice from down the corridor yelled. "Sergeant Major!" the voice belonging to a British Colour Sergeant by the name of Stewart ran towards Master Sergeant Stoessel. In the five years that he has been with the IEF Venture project getting accustomed to being called sergeant major has been a difficult one. He would have preferred Stabsfeldwebel, but only the soldiers of Germanic descent called him that. The IEF preferred the term Master Sergeant and he had become accustomed to that title. But soldiers are inherently stuck on tradition and some of the old terms remained in organic units from native countries. He was glad there were very few Americans in the Company. He didn't care for the term, First Sergeant.
"Yes Sergeant Stewart, what can I do for you?"
"Sergeant Major, the Captain is returning to the ship soon, did the First Officer mention a formal reception? Were we supposed to provide a formation of troops available for him upon his return? I mean, this is the ship's Captain we are talking about. Shouldn't we put on the show?"
"No, Colour Sergeant," Anatole Stoessel responded to the platoon sergeant. "There will be no show. Is your platoon on watch right now?"
"Yes, Sergeant Major."
"Do you have anyone to spare to meet the Captain?"
"No, Sergeant Major."
"And neither do the other two platoons. Sure, the FIST Team is available. But there was no FRAGO put out about a reception. Why cause a problem where none already exists. Check on your platoon, Colour Sergeant." The company NCOIC referred to a Fragmentation Order detailing a need for a reception committee hand picked to meet the Captain. But since there was no order to do so from the First Officer, then there would be no reception.
"Roger that, Sergeant Major," and the two senior NCOs parted company. Toly knew the British platoon sergeant meant well, but the Company NCOIC knew if there was to be a formal reception for the Captain, a memo would have been sent out on everyone's PDAs.
'I may as well head to the docking bay to greet him when he arrives.' The XO was asleep and the acting Chief Security Officer was with the Captain. He would need to be prepared to brief the CSO on the company's current status. All 66 MWCSs and twenty Vindicator suits were packed in stasis on Deck 9. All were operational. The Deck 9 amoury also housed the security company's small arms, mostly Laser Rifles and pistols, but a few .50 caliber sniper rifles. A separate armoury housed grenades and spare ammunition packs for the rifles and pistols.
When he arrived at the docking bay, he found two soldiers from Sergeant Stewart's platoon walking around checking locks and making sure everything was secured to the decking. They checked doors as well to insure all was secure. Anatole was happy to see something was going well. That's what's funny about the troops. If you leave them alone, they may surprise you and actually do their job.
Duty uniform aboard the Venture was a standard set of grays; a black and gray camouflaged uniform with matching patrol cover and thigh holster for the laser pistol. In the event the company was to be deployed to the surface of some yet to be seen planet, they would strap on shin guards, knee pads, Assault Vest, kevlar polymer ballistic armor, magnetic field laser absorption armor, a kevlar composite helmet with breathing apparatus and Heads Up Display (HUD) for the non-firing eye, med kit, nano kit, water, 2 dos food, spare ammunition cells and primary weapons. Half the company fought mounted in Mech Warrior Combat Suits or Vindicators while the other half moved on foot. There was still a need for infantry.