Y200: Star Base One, Main Ship Bay

As the Admiral stepped from the base VIP shuttle onto the entry port gang way he gave a heavy sigh. Mentally he felt young despite his seventy-five years of age. Physically he felt good as well as he always made the effort to stay in shape. Oh, he wasn’t nearly as strong as he was in his prime of course. Then he’d been exceptional. But for his age, well, maybe he was still pretty exceptional he thought with an inward smile. None of that was the reason for his sigh; rather it was what was to follow this late night trip to this ship…his ship, the USS Federation NCC 2100. It was an old Dreadnaught; in fact it was the oldest in Star Fleet. Like himself he thought. Refitted, upgraded and overhauled multiple times in its distinguished history. Again, like him. And soon, this proud piece of Star Fleet history was to be decommissioned. Finally, like him.

He looked up ahead to the primary docking entry port to the saucer section of the vessel as it remained motionless inside the Star Bases enormous bay. There he saw a half dozen Marines on duty guarding the entry to the vessel. As he approached, every Marine became as rigid as stone in their position of attention. Not out of fear of the Admiral, but out of profound respect. The man that approached was Rear Admiral Alan Greymaine and he was the most respected Officer in Star Fleet and a living legend. He was the Admiral every Marine in Star Fleet respected wanted to serve. And he was in fact the only Admiral to have once been one of them, a Fleet Marine!

One of the Marines stepped out from the rear of the ranks and approached the Admiral with a wide grin. This Marine was older than the others, though not quite the age of the Admiral. He was bald with dark ebony skin and was unmistakably powerful. He wore the uniform of a Command Sergeant Major, and not just a CSM, but ‘the’ CSM of Star Fleet which was the top enlisted rank in the Corp. The CSM walked directly up to the Admiral and with a sharp salute said with a smile, “goooood MORNING Admiral”, despite the fact that it was nearly midnight. Greymaine broke into a hardy laugh and placing his hand on the CSM’s shoulder returned the greeting saying, “Thanks for coming Frank”.

“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world Admiral” replied the CSM.

The two men stared at each other with the eyes of men who had been in countless battles together, faced death and impossible situations and lived to tell the tale. It was the bond of the Corp. Command Sergeant Major Frank James stood there with his Admiral, his friend and thought back to their first meeting…

Y170: Federation Frigate USS Graf Spee NCC 0313, Marine Enlisted Quarters

“Private James!” yelled the burly Marine Sergeant at the top of his lungs.

Frank James…lowly PRIVATE ‘NO CLASS’ James sat on his lower bunk looking into his foot locker, ignoring the Sgt. In his hands he held his uniform tunic, looking at the spot where there was once stripes and now nothing but red fabric.

“James!” yelled the Sergeant again, “you hard of hearing!?!”

“No Sir” replied Private James.

“Well get your ass up to the Captain’s ready room. Lt. Gibbons is already there with the Captain waiting for you”.
Great thought James, Captain’s Mast again. I’ve already been busted down twice. What can they do to me this time? Take away my friggin birthday? He slipped on his red security tunic and headed out the door and to the turbo lift. Why was trouble always finding him? He didn’t look for it, but he didn’t back away from it either. And this last time at the enlisted lounge on base station 14, the four loud-mouths from the Destroyer Saladin just wouldn’t let up on him. Yeah, he’d thrown the first punch. Yeah, he threw that one guy across the bar into the mirror. Yeah, base security had to stun him with a phaser to get him off that other guy. But what was he suppose to do, let them all jump him? He arrived at the Captain’s ready room. He clenched his fist tightly in preparation of the ass chewing he knew was coming. Then he had a brief glimmer of hope. The Captain was brand new to the ship, a Lt. Commander Greymaine or something. Maybe he’s see why he had to do what he did; maybe…he cut off his own thought. Right! And I’m sure pigs will sprout wings and fly at warp speed. This clown is probably just like all the other snobby officers just waiting to bust on those that actually fought in the trenches. Friggin officers he thought, piss on all of them. He entered and saw the Captain and his own commanding officer sitting behind the desk looking at him as he stepped in and assumed the position of attention.

“Private James reports as ordered, Sir!” he spat out.

The Captain of the Graf Spee, Lt. CMDR Greymaine called ‘at ease Marine’. Funny thought James, he was expecting a young snot nosed officer. This Greymaine looked twice his age, probably mid-fortyish. Great, probably a lousy officer that’s been held back for years waiting to take out his frustrations on the grunts.

Greymaine began, “I’ve reviewed the base security reports, the testimony of the others involved as well as the manager of the lounge and took a long hard look at the security camera tapes.” Wonderful thought James, here is comes. “In my opinion”, continued Greymaine in a very direct, business like tone, “your preemptive actions were completely justified from the perspective of properly defending yourself. Therefore as your Captain I’m formally dropping all charges against you, effective as of now.”

James thought his jaw was about to hit the floor. Did he just hear the Captain correctly?

“Uh…yes sir, thank you sir.” Was about the only thing he could force out of his mouth. He was stunned.

“Now that is out of the way, perhaps you can help me with a recommendation Marine,” stated Greymaine forcefully. “As you are no doubt well aware, this vessel is newly under my command. As such I’m looking for key people in key positions since our orders are to patrol on the border. At the moment I’m looking for a bridge Marine. Now let me be clear Marine,” said Greymaine as he arose from the desk to come around and stand directly in front of James almost nose to nose. “I’m looking for the toughest SOB on the ship for MY bridge Marine. A Marine who can take out four attackers. A Marine who isn’t afraid to do what it takes to get the job done. A Marine who isn’t afraid to strike first and ask questions later. If an enemy suddenly beams onto MY bridge I want a Marine that is going to ram his fist down the alien’s throat, pull out his spleen and feed it to him! Do you know any Marines like that on MY ship…Marine!?!

“Sir, YES SIR!” shouted James. He’d never met an officer like this before. He was intense and no nonsense to the extreme.

“Outstanding Marine, you’re hired. I expect you on my bridge at 0700 with a cheery ‘good morning’ to greet me as I arrive. And I also expect you to defend my bridge with the ferocity of a Star Fleet Bridge Marine.”

“Yes Sir!”

“And one more think Marine”, said Greymaine as he turned to his desk. “I expect you to be in proper uniform when I see you on duty in the morning”

Uh Sir? James WAS in proper uniform. One think he’d always prided himself on was maintaining a strict appearance.
Greymaine simply turned around and pointed to the empty space on James sleeve and stated, “MY bridge Marine is an NCO position. When I walk onto the bridge in the morning I’d damn well better see Corporal stripes on that uniform is that understood?”

“Yes Sir!”


As James returned to the Marine quarters he was met with his fellow Marines and a hail of laughter and pats on the back as they all new ahead of time what was going to happen at the Captains Mast. “I’m still not sure what happened up there” Corporal James stated candidly.

Buddy Rodgers who was one of Bravo Squads Corporals grinned and slapped him on the back, “Frank you’re an idiot! You’re probably one of the few Marines that don’t know about Greymaine!

“Know what about him” James blankly responded

“He was a Fleet Marine for ten years you sap, made it up to Gunny before he was sent to OTS by his Captain for actions above and beyond. Guys a hard charger and never forgot where he came from,” answered Rodgers.
No, I guess he really didn’t forget where he came from thought James.

Y200: Star Base One, Main Ship Bay

As the two men stood there another VIP shuttle arrived at the ships gangway. As they turned to look its sole passenger stepped out of the shuttle and onto the gangway. Admiral Kromm of the Klingon Imperial High Command stood there looking at them…