Chapter 3: Family Connections

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3rd July 2309 16:12 EST - "Absolutely not, I forbid it! There is no way you are joining the military!"

Jason frowned as the words from his father echoed around the hallway. Having carefully made his way out of the underground with Aurora without further incident he was passionate about his decision to sign up for the military and had done nothing but talk about it all the way to his home high in the clouds.

Aurora shared his enthusiasm and had already planned to meet him at the recruitment station tomorrow, a new adventure in the stars was what awaited both of them. The encounter with the gang earlier had done nothing to discourage them.

His father, though, thought very differently on the subject.

"But father, I can make a real difference, I'm skilled, intelligent, fit, everything the military needs, can't you see that!?" Jason responded exasperatedly.

This argument would have been good if he wasn't arguing with Yulrian Scharn, one of the top Generals in the United Solar Military (USM). One of the youngest and smartest Generals that had ever donned the uniform and was renowned as a superb tactician.

"What makes you special Jason, what makes you think that you can make more of a difference than the person next to you?" Yulrian demanded a response.

Jason was slightly disappointed he was being asked the question having expected his father to be supportive of his decision. "My grades are the highest in the school, I am far fitter than most if not all my classmates, I am highly skilled in seven forms of martial arts and my marksmanship is exceptional. I am more than capable." he replied with a tinge of arrogance.

Yulrian frowned furiously, something which Jason had not expected. His father was generally a calm and collected individual who very rarely lost his temper. It appeared this discussion was taking a turn for the worse.

"Here's a few numbers for you. Seventy-four. That's how many people before this day I have unfortunately ordered to their deaths. Some of them were even more capable than you. Another number, thirty-two thousand. That's how many soldiers we lost on this day alone. Twice as many civilians! Eight thousand, the minimum number of hours those people spent training to be the fighting force they were before they lost their lives. One! The total number of times it takes for your luck to run out and your life to end!"

He continued clearly agitated by Jason's demeanour. "Some of our special forces undergo years of training, become the best soldiers the USM has to offer and then get shot down and die on route to a target before they even get the opportunity to use those expertise. They thought they were the best, they understood their roles, their target, their objective and yet they still died. It was not because they were not prepared, or they were not trained. Sometimes it's just because the enemy trained harder, prepared better, or sometimes it's just plain old bad luck! We are now fighting an enemy which we currently know very little about! How do YOU think you can make a difference against something like that?" He sternly commented while pointing a finger directly at his face.

Something stirred in Jason. He wasn't sure if it was his arrogance, his pride or his determination, yet what he was certain of now was that he was definitely joining the military.

"I'm 18 and I can make my own decisions!" He responded defiantly. As he was about to turn and storm away, a realisation hit him that he wasn't only talking to his father, but also to his potential superior. Despite his mind and body screaming at him to turn and walk away, he remained stationary, determined to prove to his father that he was as mature as he had just claimed to be.

Yulrian smoothed down his uniform, his damning blue eyes focused on Jason's at all times. "Fine." Yulrian responded.

Jason had half expected the argument to continue, instead, he had just gained an unlikely and unnerving victory.

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