I was born to join the marines. Actually, it’s more like I was made to join the marines. They made me. In a test tube and shit. Mixed up a bunch of junk from the best of the best, the strongest, the quickest, the healthiest…supposedly, the smartest too, but I guess the jokes on them on that score! Naw, I ain’t dumb. I just like acting that way. The way I see it, the more people think you’re a dumbass, the less likely they are to ask you to do shit that you don’t want to do in the first place. Act dumb enough, and don’t nobody ask you to do jack shit.

So anyway, they mixed me up in a test tube, popped me in an oven, and baked me at 98.6 for nine months. Then they handed me off to a local farmer and his wife for the actual raising of me. You wasn’t expecting that, was you? In stories like this, people like me are supposedly raised in some lab where they can keep an eye on you. I’m not sure why they didn’t do that with me right from the start, but they didn’t. All that would come much later. They let me have a mostly normal childhood.

I grew up on a farm in East Texas, and like I said, my childhood was fairly normal. Most everything went according to plan. I was stronger than the other kids, faster, healthier…all that stuff. I was meaner, too. Got in a lot of fights cause I couldn’t keep from mouthing off…plus I just loved fighting. My daddy once said that I’d punch a bear just to see what it would do, and I reckon he was right about that.

He also said that I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. I told him that was stupid, because everyone knows that the hammer is the best tool in the shed, and it ain’t sharp at all. That made him laugh. He liked to laugh, my dad.

Daddy taught me a lot. He taught me how to hunt and fish. He taught me about hiding, sneaking around, and camouflage. He taught me how to be patient, how to think like animals do, and how to outsmart them. He taught me about surviving out in the woods on my own, about tracking my prey, and about killing it with whatever weapons I could find or make on my own. He taught me all about poisonous plants, and which ones could be used as medicine, too.

Mama tried to balance all that out and make me civilized, but it never really took. Oh, I reckon she did alright. She taught me history and exposed me to all kinds of books, music, art, and whatnot, but it never interested me much. She did teach me how to cook, though. She said it was the difference between just surviving and really living, and I agree with her.

Mama and Daddy died in a car accident right after I turned 18. I never knew if them doctor bastards that made me had anything to do with it or not, but I suspect they did. It just seems a bit too convenient. My parents weren’t necessary after they was finished raising me, so then they died. Seems to me like everything got tied up in a nice little bow, right when it needed to be tied up the most.

Plus, it had the desired effect: with nowhere else to go, and no other family to take me in, I enlisted in the marine corps. I did some basic training, then I did some advanced combat training, and that’s when shit got real. I was all set to get shipped out for my first mission, and some officer dick pulled me aside, and told me I wasn’t through training yet. Told me I had been selected for some special forces nonsense. I told him I didn’t have no intentions of being a special kind of stupid, but he told me I didn’t have no choice. I started to tell him just where he could go, and just what he could do with himself, but then I had a second thought (along the lines of why the fuck not), and so I kinda sorta volunteered for that shit, too.

First came the injections. Strength serums. Agility and reflex serums. Bone strengthening serums. Immunity enhancers. Injections to make me heal faster. Injections to increase my tolerance for pain. Injections to make me think quicker. React quicker. Increase my senses. Injections that did things they never bothered to tell me.

Then came the surgeries. My bones were hardened with metal plating. Flexible armor plates were fitted under my skin. My vital organs were encased in a flexible bullet proof mesh. I was fitted with a stomach pump that held hundreds of doses of medicine, everything from pain pills to anti-venom and narcotics. Finally, they implanted a computer chip directly into my brain, and downloaded a whole shit ton of information to it.

Then, they trained me how to use it all. I was stronger, faster, quicker, and tougher than I had ever been before. The computer in my head didn’t really make me any smarter, but it gave me a whole lot of useful information in any situation. I could speak any language after just being exposed to it for a few minutes, and I could easily pick up foreign customs and habits. It gave me access to all kinds of environmental and tactical information, such as sunrise and sunset times, tidal information, weather patterns, and even the best places to hunt and find water. As far as I was concerned, however, the best thing was a targeting system that was hard wired into my brain and into the nerves and muscles of my hand, ensuring that I’d never miss another shot.

Once I was all healed up and trained, they sent me out into the field. I never was a part of any squad or unit, though. I was sent out by myself. They’d drop me a few miles from my target, and it was up to me to get into the enemy camp, get up close and personal with the enemy targets, and then eliminate them. I was an assassin, but I was more than that. I was a One Man Battle Plan. That’s what they called me. Point me in the right direction, and then sit back and watch all hell break loose.

I saw some action in the jungle, and then some action in the desert. There was that shitstorm at the North end of nowhere, then a couple more jungles after that. Then there was another desert, I think. To tell you the truth, I kinda lost track. It don’t really matter, though. Suffice it to say that I’ve been to just about every hot, stinking shithole on this miserable planet, and I’ve killed a lot of people before they could kill me first.

So anyway, some snot-nosed, pimply-faced, kid, fresh out of college, working at some space observatory or some such, sees a blip on a radar screen, and the next thing you know, the whole world’s talking about aliens.

The preacher men said it was the end of time, but they always say shit like that. The military men said we should prepare for war, but they always say that shit, too. The guv’ment men said it was gonna be expensive, so we should raise taxes. They really do say that shit all the time.

We tried contacting them. We sent radio waves, microwave bursts, photon packs….hell, I reckon we’d have sent smoke signals if some dumb shit had figured out how to build a fire in space. Anyway, the point is that we tried to phone ET, but ET wasn’t pickin’ up the phone.

So, they decided to send someone, and out of all the dumb shits they could have sent, they sent me. I don’t know why. I reckon it had to do with my charm and polite manners and shit. Naw, I do know why. It’s because even though they’re hoping for a friendly introduction, they’re really expecting this to be a clusterfuck of epic proportions. They need to know what we’re up against, and I’m the best man to find out. They want me to sneak in, figure out who these aliens are, and what they’re capable of. If they’re friendly, then they can send some real diplomats to make some formal introductions.

But if they ain’t friendly, then I reckon I’ll introduce them to the One Man Battle Plan, and light some shit up.

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