Will start posting next section soon.
Loving it bro! Quite interesting.
“Cadet Misoto!” The drill sergeant’s voice carried across the entire field with such intensity that it took every bit of control for Jake not to make a panicked move. Instead, he immediately stood up from his push up position and adjusted his basic armor suit.
He saluted, and yelled as he had been taught, “Yes Sergeant!” The sergeant’s face fitted the bill of one only a mother could love, with its deep scars, cold stare, and flattened features from too many blows.
The sergeant brought his face only two inches away from Jakes, and Jake could smell the synthesized M.R.E. on his breath. In a voice the made crumbling gravel sound inferior, the sergeant said, “You have two options cadet. First, you are a show off. Second, you are an idiot who can’t count. I said do forty pushups; you did forty one. Explain!”
“Damn,” Jake thought. He must have gotten over zealous. That was easy to do when not only were all the cadets doing pushups in full armor, but also reciting the forty two character New Latin alphabet backwards while doing it. Basic training for the T.F. military emphasized one of the most rigid physical conditioning courses known to the human race. It also forced all cadets to become multi task thinkers, quick adapters, and capable of handling the strangest changes in circumstances with fast reaction times and total focus. Jake decided it would be bad to say he was idiot, so he opted for, “Sergeant, I was showing off, Sergeant!”
“Well, I am Not impressed Cadet Misoto! One measly extra push up is not the way to show off.” A bit of spittle hit Jake in the face when the sergeant shouted. Jake didn’t flinch, but kept looking at the sergeant even when he began to give one of the scariest smiles Jake had ever seen. “But I am here to help you Cadet. I will teach you how to show off properly. You will run ten laps, singing our anthem, while Not Looking at two holographic running partners that I am going to put with you. They will be two hot female models in the skimpiest bathing suites you will Never See. If you do take a peek, that will be two more laps and forty more pushups. GET TO IT!”
As Jake shouted, “Yes Sergeant!” he thought to himself, “What the hell is up with holograms? How the hell did I get here again?” He immediately went over to the start of the long trail to begin his laps. Another sergeant was there waiting for him and slapped on two hologram projectors onto his shoulder pads.
Jake did not look at the projections but simply started his run and sing the song. He heard the sergeant shout, “See cadets! Jake Misoto is one tough Son of a Bitch isn’t he? He is doing another ten laps for the hell of it, with Pretty Lady escorts and singing! Who else wants to show off then!” The whole group of cadets shouted back, “No one, Sergeant!”
Focus was key, and Jake had to make sure he did not look to his sides. He had to concentrate on the trail and distract himself from everything else, save the sergeant’s voice if he heard it. “How did it come to this,” Jake thought again, and he realized going over that very question was a great distraction.
It took four days for the transports to get Hana and himself back to New Texas colony. His parents and sister met them at the entrance dock. They hugged and kissed him, even Hana got a large hug from Julie and a couple from his parents, for they were just so happy that both of them were alive. But, at the same time, they seemed to be at a loss on how to react to them. He wrote to them about Sarah from the beginning of their relationship. His last letter to them asked his father on how he proposed to mother. Then, there was the fact they were nearly killed. The doctor, much to Jake’s surprise, told his parents in a letter just how extensively he was injured. The doctor didn’t think too much of it though since Jake was fully recovered by the time he came to him.
Hana left him and his family to go see hers, but returned for dinner at his family’s place. Jake could tell that she was upset, but he wasn’t going to force her to explain. That night Hana slept over in what basically was her old room, though technically the guest room. Julie took some vacation time to stay at their parents as well. Jake woke up to hearing Julie crying in Hana’s room. He could hear their conversation was over Ajax, whom Julie had befriended before he left with Skival. Even though Hana had grown closer to Jake than Julie, the bond between those two sisters could never be broken. He did not interrupt them.
Over the next few weeks, Jake met with some finical advisors to help him with his sudden fortune. Most of the credits he put into savings. He helped his father with some home improvements, and after a great deal of nagging from his mother, donated to several charities. He couldn’t bring himself to start looking for a house of his own yet. It was his plan to get one on New Texas or Earth with Sarah, but now that dream had disappeared.
Hana did not even talk about her plans, but continued to come over often and help the Misoto’s. The perfectly air conditioned colony sphere, the house with loved ones, and seeing friends helped Jake feel better, and he finally began to recover from his ordeal. Something was missing though. Jake could not place what it was, for obviously Sarah was not there, but that was a different feeling. He could not place this one. He suspected Hana felt the same by the way she looked how he felt.
One thing Jake noticed that was odd, but also he was thankful for, was that the news services never asked him about the incident. His father told him it was headline news for the week Jake was in a coma, but the stories disappeared shortly after. Another thing Jake noticed, the number of recruitment drive messages on the video channels was at an all time high. This “Great White Fleet” must require far more personal than the T.F. military planned. Each time he saw the messages, he could not but think back to what Phil said. If he was in a N.A.U., he could have stopped those pirates. If fate likes Jake, he could make a difference. And then there was Skival, who told him to live his life. It was the sixth week after he returned that Jake realized he had no vision for his future at all. He had no dreams, plans, hopes, and at the moment, was just living by the basic measurements of life. He was not making a difference, and he was not living his life.
That evening he had a long talk with his family and Hana, and to their shock and surprise, told them what he decided to do. His parents argued with him, not in a hostile manner, but they tried to see if Jake truly had thought this decision through. He had, and the next morning, he was at the local recruitment center with a surprise follower. Now three weeks after that he was here running these ten laps with forbidden temptations right next him.
Suddenly the sergeant’s voice rang out, “Hold on cadets, this cylinder is speeding up! Get ready for gravity increase!” The initial training centers for the T.F. military were cylindrical space colonies, where the military had control of the weather, gravity, and air consistency and multiple terrains to provide the most diverse training conditions available.
Jake had only completed two laps when the gravity increased by 15%. Even with his body screaming against the sudden change, he had to keep following his last instructions. Eventually, with his singing becoming broken between his heavy breathing, he started to pass by his fellow trainees and the sergeant again at the beginning of his tenth lap. He heard the Sergeant shout, “Except for the show off, all cadets are dismissed until next session. Move out!” The cadets answered back.
Then the jeering began. Cadet Jose’ was the clearest voice that Jake heard, “Amigo, those two ladies with you, I would gladly run ten laps to be with them!” Several more voices carried over, varying from laughs, calls on his sexuality for not looking at the holograms, and a few saying he should have gone with the idiot option.
The sergeant started to run in front of him and called back to him, “Enjoying showing off Cadet Misoto? You can stop singing to answer that question.”
“Sergeant, I enjoy whatever you tell me to do. I love being in the Terran Federation Military!” He shouted back, but in reality he thought to himself, “Of course not!” But that is whole point, he lost focus during simple pushups and now has to exhaust and embarrass himself further. He began his singing again, but judging how his body felt, what the others were saying, especially what Jose’ said, he shouted out, “Permission to speak Sergeant!”
Still in front of him, the sergeant called back, “Granted!”
Jake called ahead, “I do not like showing off for nothing Sergeant! Forty pushups and two more laps in order to do this right seems worth it, Sergeant!” He then looked over his holographic running buddies. Jose’ was not kidding, and Jake will forever be thankful he looked. He immediately dropped down to do forty pushups, and the sergeant came over to him.
“I must say, they are very beautiful images of women,” the sergeant said in an impressed voice, but then it changed to a vicious growl, “but since you looked at both, add four more laps after those pushups!”
Jake shouted back, “Yes Sergeant!” . A chorus of cheers and laughter rang around him, with the laughter from Cadet Hana Betterson coming out the strongest.
Post break hehe
Sergeant Jackson did not show any emotion or expression to his cadets. If he became anything other the hard core drill sergeant in their eyes, he would not do them justice and would have failed to make them strong enough for the job they were going into. All of the cadets except two had left the aerobics field. Cadet Misoto continued his laps, and Cadet Betterson stayed behind to watch. As he watched the two, he heard someone walk up to him, so he turned to see who it was. “Commodore Travis! What do I owe the honor, Sir!” Commodore Travis was in command of the entire training facility, his age pushing him out from fleet services. To Jackson though, this officer was one of the best he ever had to deal with.
“I am here to check out these two cadets, actually,” Travis informed Jackson. He stood next to Jackson and began to watch Jake run as well. He spoke again, “And to finally answer a question you gave me from before. You asked, why were these two close friends sent to the same training facility and unit. The reason is this. It was ordered to be done so.”
Jackson took his eyes off the cadets and looked over to Travis before saying, “Who the heck would order that? It’s policy to keep such close people in separate units. They have to learn to make new teams and create ties with complete strangers. It’s part of the stress training too.”
Travis asked, “Are they having troubles becoming part of a team? Is it difficult for them to become use to this stress since they have each other in the same unit?”
Jackson thought for a second before responding, “No, they are doing great with becoming team members. And they have handled the worst I have thrown at them with strangest ease. I don’t like it. Their background concerns me a bit.”
Travis glanced over to him, but then looked back at the cadets. “It was for medical reasons the order was given. Apparently, both require a special diagnostic machine for their neural implant system. It is much easier to have one machine and staff for one unit than two machines and staves for two units.”
Jackson gave a gruff cough before saying, “That is the first I heard of it. And if anything, those two are pulling physical and mental stunts I haven’t seen any cadet do.” He leaned over to his commander and whispered, “Even right now, Jake Misoto has run farther and done more today than most cadets three weeks ahead of him, and I bet a shrimp diner he could do more. Cadet Hana Betterson is pulling record reaction times in tests. Jake isn’t far behind Hana in reaction times, and I bet a medium rare steak if I shouted at Hana to run with Jake right now, she wouldn’t even be close to being out of breath afterwards.”
This time Travis did look over to his sergeant. “You must be impressed if you start calling the cadets by first names.” Jackson quickly snapped back to attention and to watch the cadets, but Travis slightly chuckled at that. Travis then said, “Those two have already been in a hellish situation. To put it in your terms, Jackson, the Henthshraq broke them for you. Your concern for them due to that incident is understandable, but I do believe you are molding them back together very well.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Jackson responded. Travis turned to leave before Cadet Misoto came close enough to notice him.
He said in a low voice though before walking away, “Something does seem wrong though Jackson. I am still looking into those orders. Also, these cadets are ours now. Make sure, others, do not, …interfere, with them.”
Jackson became confused by the cryptic message, before suddenly realizing what the Commodore might have meant. “Those bastards will not touch my cadets,” Jackson thought as he looked over the two cadets again. Another thought crossed his mind. He shouted, “Cadet Betterson, are you so impressed by Cadet Misoto that you wish to have two holograms of strapping young men put on you and run ten laps as well?”
Hana turned and looked over at him with a bit of surprise, but as fast as ever, she was already answering back, “Sergeant, I am not that impressed with Cadet Misoto, Sergeant!”
Jackson gave his famous smile and shouted back, “Perhaps you should be! Run and get those hologram projectors off of Cadet Misoto, bring them back here, and then Run back to him and stay with him until he finishes those laps. Move!” She immediately answered and followed his directions. Little would Hana know that he had to force himself not to laugh at her first answer. And neither of them would see the smile that crossed his face as they began the next lap. “Damn good cadets,” he thought, and he rarely allowed that one.
Boot camp lived up to its nightmarish reputation. The first two weeks Jake and all the other cadets were deprived of sleep, ran for miles, did a great deal of aerobics, went through dozens of obstacle courses, and all while answering the strangest quizzes and solving the oddest puzzles in the middle of the physical training. The training eased up on the physical aspect lightly at the start of the third week, and the book learning came in strong.
Basic boot camp training for any cadet joining the T.F. military lasted anywhere from six to twelve months. It had several key goals. First was to make every cadet physically capable of facing the rigors of the space travel, and knowledgeable on all aspects of space flight and ship life. Such was needed with the fact they would be operating in space. Secondly, the training gave them a basic understanding of the species in the galaxies and the political situations with them. For practical purposes, the cadets were made able to interface with most Terran computer systems. And of course, Misoto and all the others were trained in several forms of fighting. From a variety of guns, martial arts, and even some mental skills against telepathic attack, the cadets were prepared to face a variety of foes. The Terran Federation believed in giving all of its soldiers a full layer of all the basics even if the soldiers’ position might not cover certain fields.
Jake and Hana were lucky. With their time spent on the Pleasant Venture, they gained enough skills and knowledge to pass the initial ship handling tests, space conditions test, a few alien knowledge tests, plus various others. By passing the tests, they only had to take a few courses highlighting what the T.F. military expected of them in those fields instead of all the courses associated with them. Jake could not wait to get out of the basic training. Skipping those courses would make a huge difference.
It was two weeks ago he had to do all those extra laps, and right now he was in a class room with his fellow cadets. A civilian instructor was teaching them about the basics of the neural implant systems in their bodies. Jake concentrated as well as he could, but the early morning exercises and lack of sleep did not help. He knew most of what the system did, but the instructor started to go into a great deal more detail. The middle age man, who sounded like he was from India according to Jose’, spoke in a constant tone that pushed the envelopes of everyone’s ability to stay focused.
“These systems comprise of three main components. The first are the primary implants, usually attached right behind the sternum and inside the skull near the frontal lobe. The skull implant, called the Cranial Prima Implant, is responsible for literally connecting to the brain, sending and receiving data from the brain, and processing all information. This part is what allows you to interface with the machines and computers that have neural receptors. Also, this implant is what monitors your bodies’ condition. The sternum implant, called the Producer Prima Implant, is directed by the Cranial Prima and is responsible for creating the second component of the system."
The image of his two running buddies began going through Jake’s head, but before he started to concentrate on them, he barely managed to bring himself back into reality. Fortunately, a fellow cadet coughed at the right moment. Jake continued to listen to specific details about the primary implants before the instructor began on the nano probes. The little near invisible machines did a great deal of things, from cleaning his blood vessels, exercising and stretchy all his muscles, destroying cancer cells and viral invaders, regulating hormones, giving the female cadets a built in system of birth control and menstrual relief, and more. Jake thought he could live without knowing about the female only inclusions, but continued to take notes.
The T.F. required all of its soldiers to have such a system in their bodies. The sheer stress of space travel on the normal human body was enough to easily defeat it. The T.F. could not afford to have half a crew on a spaceship become ill from a preventable sickness or become injured from a sudden change in gravity or air conditions. These systems made the human body far more capable of handling changes in the environment, and the number of environments that space offered was simply massive.
The instructor continued, “The third part is the mechanical nerves grafted onto the actual nervous system. This is called the Cyberneural Network. Its responsibility is to give the Cranial Prima all the information it needs in regulation to the body, pass sensations throughout your body during an interface, help regulate the nano probes in repair and …”
Jake listened and continued to take notes. He started to see the images of his hologram runners again when the instructor said something that caught his attention. “Your basic training will push your systems to their max and well as your bodies. This is very important to get you ready for what may come. Also, you will be taught how to work without the system being operational. This is necessary for it is possible for an enemy to use neural shock weapons to disable your systems, and you must be able to continue to fight without them.” Jake turned his head instantly at the door when it just began to open. The only one who turned to look at the door as well was Hana, and both saw the arm throw the device into the room. All the other cadets by this time noticed and began to duck for cover. When the grenade shaped object arched into the middle of the room, it released a pulse that struck everyone inside.
Jake’s body instantly went numb, and he collapsed from the desk he was trying to duck behind. But just as quickly as the shock knocked him down, he felt the numbness leave him, and he quickly got back to his feet. Hana was standing as well and trying to help the other cadets stand. Jake looked about him. The men and women of his unit remained stunned on the ground, slightly groaning while trying to get back up. Jake turned to the instructor, who still remained standing with a very confused look on his face.
By the way the instructor kept looking at Hana and himself, Jake realized that the instructor must have known that was coming. He was confused because they were standing! The instructor started to speak again, “As you can now feel, the disablement of the neural system is quite distressing to the body, but the system for T.F. personal has been made very resilient and will restart momentarily. I am standing because I do not have such a system, so let this be a lesson that the system itself can be a drawback. You will learn soon to be able to function temporarily without the system and recover just as quickly as these two…somehow managed…to do.”
At that time the cadets were starting to stand up and a few sergeants entered the room with medical personal. Unfortunately, such surprises as this were not uncommon for basic training. One sergeant was famous for shouting, “Expect nothing! For nothing is guaranteed! You will have no way of knowing what is coming, so it is pointless to guess. You will React to, Adjust to, and Conquer any situation thrown at you! It is impossible to be ready for everything, but you will Not lose Focus or Determination, and you will handle everything thrown at you!” That speech came right before a surprise tear gas attack. Jake and Hana quickly placed their helmets on as soon as they detected the gas and were among the few cadets who managed to do so. Several ran from the gas, others got affected by it. Jake and the others who kept their cool were slightly rewarded by not having to do the entire rehearsal training on helmet management.
All the cadets reported to the medical lab and were given tests to determine how their systems reacted. Jake and Hana once again had to use a different machine than the others. The first time he asked about the special machine, the one doctor who came with the machine simply told him, “You and Hana no longer have the systems that were originally in your body. The Henthshraq gave you similar systems, and we need this unit in order to diagnose your systems in case there are certain incompatibilities.” Jake was not sure that answer was accurate, but he was very surprised to find out he had a Henthshraq system in him. His injury must have destroyed his original. Hana didn’t tell him she had hers replaced, but she must have due to the neural feedback shock she received. As the technicians hooked him up once again after this day’s rough lesson, he tried his best to see what the device reported.
Oddly, the doctor often blocked Jake’s vision so that he could not see the tests. And today was no different, leaving Jake frustrated as his unit left the medical area. Hana walked over to him as they were leaving, and quickly whispered to him, “I overheard him say our systems were not truly disabled.” Jake turned to her in surprise. “During the test didn’t you feel a little shock? They tried to disable us again, but this time I barely noticed. I heard him say our systems had adapted. Jake, our systems are now immune to that type of attack!” Jake could then only wonder what the hell the Henthshraq put in them.
A sudden booming voice woke Jake up from his sleep. He instantly stood up and began to put on his basic armor suit. The suits were a form fitting semi metallic muscle frame designed to be worn by any military personal during a combat situation. It provided a layer of protection from the elements and from the dangers of battle while allowing full movement. It did not have the complexity of an armored combat suit or heavy assault suit, but only the marines and ground infantry used those systems. Jake and a few other fellow cadets who woke up to the sound had their suits on and stood by their bunks while others slept. Even though all cadets trained together, ate together, and worked together, the barracks were still separated into men’s and women’s. Sexual misconduct was not tolerated, period.
Jake suddenly realized the noise came from outside the barrack. Technically, there was no reason for him to be up, and a couple of the other cadets upon realizing the same thing started to remove their armor to join their fellow cadets in slumber. But then Sergeant Jackson’s voice penetrated the room clearly, “That is not proper authorization! Since you are with Intelligence, you should be intelligent enough to know that!” There was a moment of silence before a clear shout could be heard, “You are damn right I have contacted Commodore Travis on this! And I have called security! You dare tell me my behavior is out of conduct when you try to abduct one of my cadets for God Knows What reasons!”
Jake instantly got a nasty feeling in his gut. Now he was very glad he put on his armor. Suddenly a bad thought crossed his mind. They would be after Hana as well if he guessed correctly on what all this was about. He went over to the service phone, but it would only connect to the night watchman. As soon as he said who he was, the guard on the other end said, “Cadet Misoto? Stay in your dorm room right now. We are trying to get this matter settled quickly, but you are not to leave your room under any circumstance.”
“What about Cadet Betterson!?” Jake whispered back as loudly as he could. But a quick look around him told him he needn’t bother whisper. All his fellow cadets were up now and in their suites. The shouting continued outside, and what sounded like a scuffle began to ensue.
The words that came out of the speaker on the phone could not have surprised Jake more, “Scratch that last order. Orders from Commodore Travis, Cadets Misoto and Betterson are too immediately practice field survival training and enemy avoidance until told otherwise. You can recruit a few cadets for help until you reach the forest training area and then continue by yourselves there.” Now Jake was truly confused, but like the one sergeant said, expect nothing but handle everything.
A clear shout from someone Jake did not know came outside the door room, “Sergeant, this is a direct order from F.I.I. Get out of our way and let us take Mr. Misoto with us now or you will be determined to be insubordinate!”
All the cadets turned to Jake, and Jake said to them, “I think it is time I ran for it. Anyone want to help?”
In surprising speed, Jake was out of the barrack through the bathroom window with a couple fellow cadets. He had swapped uniforms with one cadet, and the double was now lying in Jake’s bed. Outside the barrack, Jake and his fellow cadets carefully sunk around the building so they wouldn’t be seen. The entire facility was in night mode, aiding their escape. Jake looked back to see Sergeant Jackson punch one of the agents, but the other next to him fired a stun pistol. Jackson collapsed to the ground. Both agents then immediately went into the barrack. “We don’t have any time, let’s go!” Jose’, Carl, and Mike nodded and followed.
Jose’ was the first to speak, “Jake my friend, you always find some way to keep us entertained. Is this a test?” Jake answered back no. Jose’ started to look a little concerned but then smiled, “Any reason you are leading us to the ladies barracks? Are we going to have to hide in there for tonight?” All three of his friends had sudden looks of interest, but Jake shook his head.
He told him the orders he got from the night guard. Also, he felt he truly needed to find Hana. But as luck would have it, as soon as they entered into the female grounds, a night guard pointed her gun right at them and ordered them to stop. “Oh shit, please let her be informed, or we are…” Jake thought. But instead of asking questions, the guard made a hand gesture towards the shadows of a nearby building. Hana and a few cadets came out from hiding.
The guard came over to Jake with Hana, and quickly said, “Listen you two, this is Highly irregular. Intelligence came in here without proper authorization and insisted on taking you two with them. Right now we are raising holy hell with their superiors and ours trying to get this sorted out, but it would be best right now for you two not to be found since we are not fully authorized to stop them.” Both shook their head in acknowledgment, and the whole group of cadets started running for the forest training area.
After an hour’s run, they reached the edge of the forested area. Training had paid off, for no one was out of breath. Carl was the first to speak, “Okay, what now? You two hide and we just go back?” Jake looked over who came with them. Fate must have smiled, for three female cadets came with Hana.
Hana noticed this as well and beat Jake to the punch. “No,” she said, and looked to Jake and saw he was thinking the same thing. She continued, “Split into pairs and go to different training areas. Let them search each area for a male and female cadet. If they have sensors, this will slow them down a little bit.”
Jose’ instantly grabbed Shirly, one of the prettier cadets Jake had seen, and said, “Let’s go Senorita, we can take the mountain and cave training area!” Before Shirly could object he dragged her off. Jake managed to say a quick “Behave Jose’” before he got too far off.