|And yes, I kiss my mother with these lips.|
He fit in well, and found his niche quickly. He was competent with a rifle but actually flourished in handling the mounds of red tape that any military organization creates as a waste product. He was quickly made company clerk and found his way almost indecently fast to the rank of Staff Sergeant where he stayed for fully half of his time in service. But he wasn't so entirely changed as to be able to keep out of trouble entirely, and his bull headedness got him into trouble a time or two along the way. His CO found an outlet for Tom by assigning him to training duty, specifically with unarmed combat. he became and instructor and taught young Marines how to handle themselves when they were disarmed.
Everyone knew Tom was a lifer, and he did his 20 years in service before he was finally cut lose. At 38 and in the best shape of his life, it seemed like he had the whole world in front of him, but after just six months out of the service he was ready to pull his crew cut hair out. He got out of the lease on his apartment and stowed his meager possessions at his parents' farm, a footlocker full of memories - uniforms, citations for good conduct, his shooting medals, pictures of himself and his fellow Marines, mostly. And a tricked-out grav car he'd bought with his mustering out money.
He started travelling the world at this point, taking on odd jobs, visiting his friends from the service who had managed, somehow, to find the sort of stability that he never found and now realized he'd never wanted. He made trips to all of the major cities - and the casualties of the atomic strikes that had scarred the earth so badly.
He was in Giza, at a bar that catered to military types, when he heard through the grapevine about a job possibility on a ship. A chance to not just get away from home but escape the bounds of gravity and get away from Terra - that sounded like just the thing. Flush from his most recent job, and with Kcr 10 in his pocket, he made his way to the promised interview site, only to find himself surrounded by the most unusual collection of people he'd ever laid eyes upon. Thank god some of them were Marines...