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Endgame - Plot & Excerpts

They sleep lightly, half an eye peeled for charlie, sniffing the air like a huge carnivorous tiger that’s always hungry. They can fall asleep standing up, in zero-g, during reentry, even while marching on the flipping parade ground. Don’t ever try to sneak up on a Marine; Jesus the Anointed One walking on the water makes enough racket to jerk a Marine awake from a sound sleep. And when a Marine wakes up, he’s on his feet in one fluid movement, rifle in hand, fully alert in less time than the fastest microprocessor takes to execute a single machine-code command.
Except me, that is. Fly Taggart wakes up not remembering his own name, bleary and groggy, eyelids glued shut with little pieces of sleep. I stagger like one of the Fred-worked zombies with a mouth full of cotton, inarticulately begging and pleading for some life-giving coffee. Usually it takes two recruits and a burly Pfc. to slap some sense into me in the morning.
This time, it took a scared lance corporal. Arlene snapped me out of my coma by the simplest possible means: she started kicking me in the ribs, gently at first, getting harder and harder, until at last I blindly reached out a meaty ham-fist and caught her ankle in mid-kick.

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