I was tired. Both my legs and my ears were burning themselves in protest. The class might have been easier for the body, but memorizing all that information had overloaded my brain.
“That is all for today, class. Recruits, you are dismissed.”
Here we go again. Stand up, legs glued together, hands to the side, neck stretched. Aaaaand hold it until the Officer leaves.
I was tired.
“Time to go, Silly. You look like a wet dog; do you want me to drag you back to your bed?”
It was Amy who spoke. She knew very well that she couldn’t do that.
“Shut up. Your legs are already shaking, and you claim that you can drag me? Go ask Colin to carry you, hey who knows, maybe you will luck out and he will grab you by the pussy, again.”
She was a good girl, and even a better soldier. Her only flaw was her insatiable lust.
We managed to get back to the barracks in time, before lights out. Drill Sergeant was going to bitch if we didn’t do our nightly chores; if we didn’t wash the boots, fold the uniforms and clean the sticks.
Not a moment sooner than when I was done, she made her way inside. Someone had screwed up. She was smiling. Her face had a smile only when she was about to berate us.
We were already at our positions, near our bunks. Her constant visits had made us stop loitering around when not necessary, as we had to take our positions in seconds after she made her presence known.
A routine inspection later, her smile vanished, replaced with her neutral face.
“Recruits, listen up! Tomorrow, we will have guests who will introduce your real weapons, instead of the replicas you have. I want all of you to show you best side to them, understood?”
Great. I could do without the sore throat, thank you very much. But who could the guests be? My bet would be either on Milan, or perhaps, even Mary herself. But I didn’t have the chance to think anymore, as Sergeant Auda’s smile had returned.
“You there, Recruit Molly. Tell me, what did I say when I gave you the replica weapons?”
“Not to lose them, Sir!”
Her exact words had been ‘I’ll rip your ears off if I see it more than a meter away from you!’.
“You are correct, recruit. Everyone, take out your rifles and hold them above your heads!”
Ah shit. Someone had lost her weapon, and the Sergeant had replaced it when we were in the class. This wasn’t the first time it happened. She was going to make us hold it up for half an hour, at best. If anyone let it go before that, everyone else had to do double. It was one thing to hold the 5 kilogram stick for a short while, but your arms burned to hell after 10 minutes.
I reached down to take my rifle, which was near my vest under the bed.
“Now, recruits! If you all know that, WHY THE FUCK DID I FIND ONE OF THEM AT THE TRAINING GROUND?!”
Wait. Did Colin have his weapon after that swimming stunt of our..? Or actually, did I have mine..? I remember putting my vest under the bed, but not the stick…
. . . . .
I managed to fall asleep instantly for the second time since joining the military, both times due to exhaustion. It was a blissful way to go to sleep. No squirming in bed for hours, no useless thoughts about the past and no worries about the future. Just a peaceful sleep as soon as my head hit the bed. Oh, how I wish that I could continue that sleep.
I don’t know what woke me up. It could be the rising heat, smoke filling the room and making my eyes watery, or, perhaps the fucking FIRE woke me up.
The room was on fire!
I jumped out of my bunk in panic, or at least tried to.
Things got even foggier after my head kissed the wooden bottom of the upper bunk bed. Heat was starting to burn my lungs, and the smoke made me unable to see more than a meter away with my teary eyes.
I managed to stumble out of the room in a dazed state, barely able to find the door. I threw myself out through the open door, only to find an angry Auda staring at me. I had no sense to give a shit about her, as I was busy coughing my lungs out, on the ground. I only managed to gather myself when I heard the Drill Sergeant bark her orders.
“That’s all of them, put the fires out!”
She was shouting at workers, whom I hadn’t noticed before, as they had been hiding behind the walls of the barracks.
The fuck..? How did they arrive this fast?
“LINE UP, RECRUITS!”
All 28 of us, all half dressed or naked, lined up while we watched workers put out bonfires that was lit below the windows. They also dismantled couple of smoke traps that was placed above the fires, redirected smoke into the room.
“Disgraceful, you idiots! I had expected better of you! All of you know that the walls, floor and even the roof are made out of concrete, yet all of you panicked! Not one of you stopped to think, or analyze the situation! Also, was yesterday’s punishment not enough for you lot?! What did you tell me yesterday, Recruit Molly? REPEAT IT!”
“Y-You told us n-not to lose them, sir.”
Fuck. She was right.
“Then tell me, recruits, WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOUR WEAPONS?! If this was a battlefield, and had an enemy spy burned down your tents, all of you would be DEAD! I don’t give a shit whether you are sleeping, crying or fucking, YOUR. WEAPONS. HAS. TO. BE. ON. YOU! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!
“Good. Get back in, and put on your gear. You lot are skipping breakfast! You are all to march until Lunch time. UNDERSTOOD?”
This bitch! It wasn’t even morning yet!
. . . . .
“As I was saying, leather is to be used only on the outside of the boots. No kind of cheap leather is both durable and comfortable as cotton to be used inside. Now, if you have money to spend, of course, the best would be...”
We were both Tier 2, but how did this idiot still have energy to keep yapping his mouth? Shit. I was too tired to even retort. It was another girl who did it for me, after swallowing a piece of her lunch.
“Shut up, Colin. No one is interested in your nonsense. Look, even Amy is about to close her eyes.”
“Oh, fuck off.”
At least the Sergeant hadn’t been completely heartless; she had given us another hour of rest. Not that it would do much for my destroyed soles.
I took a long cold shower after eating. Thankfully it wasn’t crowded in there, as almost everyone had opted for another bout of sleep. By the time I dried my hair properly, it was time to gather.
Drill Sergeant Auda marched us towards a new area, towards the northern part of the camp. There was a concrete shed, with a lock on it on the path. Once there, she had us line up and stand in attention, before joining the right side of the line. We only had to wait a minute or two before the ‘guests’ that she had mention yesterday arrived. I knew 2 of them very well, and I had heard a lot about the last one, yet it was our first time meeting him. They were, starting from the left, Lieutenant Reba, the human- Lloyd, and Galdwin.
He had mentioned that he would be here, at the introduction of the weapon. Galdwin was looking charming as ever.
They reached us and stood in front of the line, and not a second after, Auda approached them with a salute. She gave a nod towards Galdwin and Reba, before giving a respectful bow to Lloyd.
“Greetings, Sire. These are all the recruits that we have been training. I can vouch for each and every of them that they won’t disappoint you.”
“Thank you, Auda, I have no doubts that will fulfill their duties well. Now, Recruits, have you been training well? Has it been hard on you?”
“THANK YOU, SIR! NO, SIR!”
Auda breaking the protocol, and addressing him as anything but ‘Sir’ meant that he was not in the military. Yet, she had shown more respect towards him, than to the Lieutenant.
“Before we start the demonstration and tests of the firearms, there is one more thing I have to explain.”
Officer Reba was the one to talk, and she continued to do so, while holding 3 little bars for us to see. First one was pure red, with a yellow dot in the middle. Second one was also red, but it had a green line going through it. The third and the last one was same, but with 2 lines.
“Recruits, as I taught you yesterday, a soldier can be stuck at the rank of corporal for years, or one could jump ranks due to their strength. Yet, one can’t earn these, marks, without proving himself. This first one is given to those who pass the boot camp. Second one is called ‘Sharpshooter’ and it is given to those who can hit a target size of a hand, four out of five times at 400 meters. And the last one is ‘Sharpshooter II’, and given to whoever can hit the same target four out of five times at 700 meters.
Whether you can fulfill special roles will depend on the marks you have, and ranking up will become easier if you have more of them. And don’t forget that a soldier will demand more respect if he has more, even if his rank is lower. That is all.”
With that, she fell back next to Lloyd, who spoke.
“Alright, Recruits. It’s time for the Lieutenant to introduce the weapon to you. After that, you will have a chance to use it yourselves.”
It was not Lieutenant Reba who stood up, but Galdwin.
“This is what you all will use in the future. It is called MR1, and it weighs at 6 and a half kilos unloaded, so it is a bit heavier than the replicas that you have been using to date. It is a semi-automatic rifle with internal magazine, and it can hold 6 bullets at a time, 5 at the magazine, 1 in the chamber. Loaded, it will weigh 9.5 kilograms…”
He kept talking, but I couldn’t hear it anymore in my surprise. Galdwin was a Lieutenant? And the badge on his shoulders was golden, unlike Reba’s silver ones. But didn’t she say that one needs to be a Tier 3 for that..?