November brings us a trio of starfaring roughnecks, listed in increasing order of neck roughness.
There are billions upon billions of citizens in the Galactic League, and none of them want to serve in the Colonial Marines. None of them. The Colonial Marines get little pay, less respect, and are as likely to get scragged on some hopeless bug hunt as to see their next birthday. These soldiers are part of a platoon patrolling for bug-eyed monsters on the rim of known space, trying to protect settlers who don't want help and are probably doomed anyway.
Danila was civilian surgeon with a habit of spending twice as much money as she made. To cover her largesse, she did occasional work transplanting organs in a private clinic. Unfortunately, she didn't ask enough questions about how the organs had been acquired. When the organ-legger she was working for was busted, she faced umpteen counts of conspiracy to commit murder-- her willful ignorance didn't make her any less culpable.
She threw herself on the mercy of the court, and her sentence was suspended conditional on her putting in 30 years of service to the Galactic League. She hoped for planet-side work in a government clinic, but the judge thought a tour in the Galactic Marines would serve her right.
She was over-educated to be a private, which meant she began as Corporal-- leading a squad of five career marines. With her civilian background and her tendency to stutter when she gets nervous, she is not a very good leader. So far she has kept her squad alive, though, and earned the grudging respect of some of her troops.
Gerry served the Intelligence service for years, stationed on some tropical pleasure planet. Not long ago, he staked his reputation on the fact that the locals were "docile and content" and that no extra military presence there was required. One bloody coup later, he was assigned to the Colonial Marines to finish out his tour of duty. He's not happy about being here and is even less happy about serving under a "shanghaied civilian" like Corporal Harman. His grumbling borders on insubordination, and he'd like little better than to leave her behind on a mission.
Private Jones has been with the platoon longer than anyone else. He has out-lived more commanders and squad-mates than anyone can guess. By all rights, he should be on a transport home. Yet there's something at home that scares him more than acid-blooded, insectoid vacuum-breathers. He won't talk about it, so don't ask.
Even though Jones has a knack for survival, his mates have learned not to ask him for advice. "Nuke the site from space," he says every time. "It's the only way to be sure."