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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, '15, 9:48 pm
Four years later

And so Althea’s application to join had gone successfully. A gruelling eight months of training, a deployment to a conflict zone on Vamár and another six months of subsequent commando training now saw her ready to advance from the life of a lowly Lancejack to Corporal. Her grit, determination, and relentless-bordering-on-ruthless nature had earned her a reputation among her fellow soldiers and a speedy rise in both standing and rank.
Today was one of several where she would look to prove herself worthy to lead. For the next two weeks she and other hopefuls would be tested in Vamár’s desert training ground in all aspects of combat and troop management in the field.

In a lull in the day’s activities, Althea had retreated to the shade of a tree atop a hummock that overlooked a small area of the vast training ground, watching other activities taking place, an ATV course among them. She remembered that one fondly. Tearing around on the small vehicle, hearing it roar as she drove it for all it was worth over whatever she was told to. And the less interesting stuff, such as digging it out of loose ground should it sink and other things she could barely remember. But for now it was time to have a rest. She drew a long sip of water from her canteen and set it on the ground.
Below them she could see the section of eight soldiers assigned to her resting, carrying on with their admin tasks before she was called to lead them again. She idly rubbed at the dressing on her jaw, a souvenir from her latest outing after a piece of shrapnel from an explosion had sliced her open. It was sure to leave a scar.

“Hey,” another soldier spoke to her. She looked up to see them standing next to her, a member of the regular infantry as she saw from the lack of a commando badge on his uniform.
“So I guess the commandos have to come and train here too? I thought they had somewhere special? Are you going for Corporal?”

“I am.” She tilted her helmet back to get a better look at his face. “And we-” She stopped when she recognised the soldier. Though she had no idea why she even remembered, she recognised the young soldier she had headbutted a few years ago in the Blackwater nightclub. And from the look on his face, he remembered her too. She scowled at him. “You….”

“Oh, I uh…heh. How about that? I didn’t know you were in as well.”

“I wasn’t. I joined up after that. So yeah, a civvy kicked your butt.” She stood up and looked him in the eye. “You’re not going to try and grope me again, are you?”

“No! I wouldn’t dream of it!”

“Good. Much as I’d love to give my lot an excuse to let rip,” she dismissively waved him away, “Get lost already. I’ve no time for idiots like you.”

She watched him leave before taking her place under the tree again, resting her rifle in her lap. A time check showed she had another half hour before she would need to get her troops ready again.

But it wasn’t long before she heard somebody else approach her. “Enjoying a well-earned rest, are we?”

Althea could hear the humour in their tone. “Yeah, just right before I-” She stopped when she looked up and saw an officer standing over her. She scrambled to her feet and snapped up a salute. “Sir.”

“Whoa! Relax. I’m pretty easy on these things, unless there happens to be a senior around.” He took a quick look over his shoulder. “Which there aren’t. Happy days. I just saw you were one of my own and thought I’d introduce myself.”

“Introduce?” She looked at his uniform and saw he had a badge for her regiment on his uniform. “Oh. I…sorry, I don’t think I know you, sir.”

The officer smiled. He pulled off his helmet and tousled his scruffy þdark hair. “Well I did just get posted in two days ago, so that’s understandable.”

“Are you here for a course as well, sir?”

“Easy on the ‘sirs.’ Really, it’s fine.”

Althea smirked. “You got it…sir.”

He groaned. “As you wish. No, I’m done with training for now. I got back from a…botched exercise on Mystoke a while ago. Though I admit, I already know about you. The OC pointed you out to me, uh…Miss DeLoria? You’re a bit of a rising star among the junior ranks of the regiment.”

“Althea’s fine. Or ‘Al’, as everyone says.” She hesitated. “So you said a botched exercise? What do you mean?”

“It didn’t work out. Massive avalanche. Everyone died except me. Not exactly common practice for officer leadership courses, thankfully. I know that sounds curt, but what else can I say?”

“What?! Wait…I heard about that. You’re-”

“Lieutenant Flynn Alexander Zedek, three-five Vamárian Commandos Regiment, Delta Company, which I believe makes us…battle buddies? Or whatever the chain of command makes it. I’m basically in charge of you. Anyway….” He shrugged. “Flynn will do. Or ‘sir,’ since you’re so inclined.”

He offered his hand to her and Althea immediately shook it, her respect for the officer now soaring after hearing his name, the brief background of his failed exercise well known to her and many other commandos. She could only hope to live up to his expectations. And perhaps learn everything that had happened to him one day.
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