“Established after the first war of all time and still going strong all these millennia later,” said Odin to his son Thor as they scrutinized the morning battles. “What other battleground in the cosmos could ever boast so fine a repertoire of warriors? In what other arena could one witness the clashing of Beowulf’s blade Hrunting with the iron and bronze of King Leonidas’s spear and shield, then turn head mere inches to behold the Thracian Spartacus and Celtic Gannicus crossing weapons with the Greek heroes Hercules and Achilles?”
“A fine spectacle indeed,” said Thor, “but might I venture to suggest that it may be in need of new blood?”
Odin’s eyes narrowed. “Are you implying that the proudest warriors to ever fall in battle, hand picked by my very own Choosers of the Slain, are insufficient to grace this proud hall?”
“Not insufficient, father, merely somewhat archaic. The newest warrior here fell to his opponent’s sword centuries ago. Since then, wars have continued on Midgar, but the Valkyries have paid them no mind under your orders because you’ve contented yourself to this lot.”
Contented. Merely. Archaic. Thor chose his words carefully, knowing how simple a thing it was to goad his father’s pride.
“I still contend,” the All-Father said, “that there is quite enough good blood in Valhalla already. But in the event your suggestion were considered, what would you have me do?”
"Is it not obvious? Put an end to the Valkyrie vacation.”
Odin placed a broad hand to his chin and stroked his braided beard thoughtfully. “Perhaps new blood might be a welcome addition to Valhalla.”
There came a grand symphony of thunder and lightning and in a flash, four horsewomen appeared.
“About time,” one of them said.
In three days' time, the Valkyries returned to Valhalla with several battalions of the finest United States Marine Corp. members ever to fall in battle. They were welcomed by Thor with open arms, by Odin with a frosty countenance and reluctant handshake. Thor showed them around the hall, which was constructed of weapons and armor, and the gates flanked by wolves and eagles to keep out the unworthy. They showed their guests the fine mead they would be gorging themselves on later, the immortal boar they would dine on each night, and, of course, the grand battlefield itself. All that was left was to prepare them for combat.
“You have been selected by my servants,” Odin said, “for your skill and bravery in war. Now you will enjoy the honor of battle for all eternity. Choose your weapon.”
“I'ma go with an M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle,” said one Marine without hesitation.
“Are you sure?” said Odin. “We have swords, battle axes, spears, bows and arrows—“
“Thanks, but I'ma go with the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.”
Odin frowned. “We don’t have those here.”
One of the Valkyries raised a hand. “On it,” she said.
A flash of light, then the Valkyrie disappeared. Another, and she returned, ten thousand rifles in tow.
“I brought extras. Just in case.”
Odin frowned harder. The Marine took one of the guns, checked that it was clean, loaded, and in working order.
“This will do,” said the Marine. Then he called all the others over and said,
“Hey guys, she brought extras.”
All of the guns were in perfect condition and there were more than enough for all the Marines. However, the classic warriors held true to their classic weapons, in part because they were intimidated by the newfangledness of the rifles, and in part because they wanted to honor tradition. In any case, at the end of weapon selections, the Marines all had M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles and everyone else had swords, spears, axes, bows, and arrows.
Odin delivered the opening speech for the day, Thor made the ceremonial hammer strike, and the battle royale began.
Well, mostly it was a battle royale. All warriors fended for themselves except for the Marines, who, for one, had been trained to defend their brothers-in-arms, and, for two, had not yet had time to adopt Valhalla’s tacit regulations. So it happened that the massive group of heavily armed U.S. Marines straight up massacred ninety-five percent of the All-Father’s elite warriors in the span of three minutes and thirty-six seconds, at which point only two Marines, who had been hit in their shoulders by arrows, had sustained any damage whatsoever.
The Marines closed in on the remaining warriors, who, through tear-stained eyes, vehemently refused surrender and charged at the Marines in a final, pitiful effort at victory.
In an instant, lightning struck.
In an instant, there were no Marines.
The four Valkyries and Odin all looked at Thor.
The God of Thunder shrugged and sipped his mead. "You were right, all along Father. There was never any shortage of good blood in Valhalla.”