Roo gets his wish

The knock of the doors to the conference room was answered with a loud come in. Roo pushed open the highly detailed, hand-carved double doors before bringing in an empty cart.

Roo looked around the room before collecting the dishes from the conference table. The room was decorated in an ocean life motif complete with two large 1,000 gallon salt water fish tanks, separated by the doors which Roo had just passed through.

The walls to Roo’s left and right each had two flat screen TV’s, and just like the fish tanks they were flush with the wall. Large shells and smaller stuffed sea life were on the shelves under the TV’s while larger sport fish were mounted right to the walls.

The rear wall was floor to ceiling plate glass leading to the balcony and spectacular ocean view beyond. Two early 19th century diving suits stood in the corners facing the doors set in the middle of the rear all glass wall.

Eighteen men and women sat around the glass topped Ribbon Mahogany conference table joking and talking. Dishes and cups along with laptop computers and papers littered the table. A few said hello or asked how he was doing as he cleared away the dishes.

Roo cleared the head of the table last. He paused when he finished and turned to address the large man sitting there. Roo’s thoughts were interrupted by the voice of a woman.

“Roo, darling; now is not the time,” said a woman of slender but curvy build.

“But it is the right time, Mother,” answered Roo.

Roo turned to the man sitting beside him and brushed his shaggy dirty blond hair out of his eyes before speaking, “Diesel, You and your people took me, my sister and mother in I was six. I’m now eighteen, and in that time we have come no closer to as to what has happened to my father or the others taken from that camp. I know because I helped go through the all the data we collected from all the camps that were liberated. I have worked for many of you over the last few years. I want to take a more active role. Diesel, make me a marine.”

Diesel cleared his throat and leaned forward before he spoke, “Roo, while it is true that over the years you have worked for many of us and it is equally just as true that you have poured over all the data we collected, we are not at a stage where we can stage large scale attacks on the occupation forces. When that time comes I will make sure you get to take a more active role.”

“But I want to do more now.”

“I understand, but now is not the time or the place to discuss this. Come see me after this meeting is over, but you might want to talk to your mother before you come see me. Now get that cart out of here and go hit the beach and enjoy the sun before we head back to the states.”

A few hours later Diesel was sitting on the balcony outside the conference room with a few of the others nursing beers and relaxing in the fading sunlight. Nightstalker handed him another as he finished one. Roo and his mother, Lynn, came onto the balcony.

Most of the others got up to leave but a few stayed. Those that stayed just happened to be members of Diesel’s inner circle and men with whom had served with him when he was in the Marine Corps.

Roo stood looking at the faces of the toughest men he has ever known as his mother took one of the now empty chairs. Diesel leaned back as did Gunny, Nightstalker, Greywolf, Bear and Eyes. Roo now knew how a live specimen felt while it was being scrutinized in a lab.

The deep and intense look in the eyes along with the rippling muscles of their arms and necks could be very intimidating, but to Roo and a few others who had grown up around these men, all knew that they were really very gentle men until the time for violence was called for.

“Have you and your mother spoken as Diesel asked,” inquired a deep baritone voice.

“We have Gunny, and she is not happy at all.”

“Gee, you think. No mother likes to hear that her son, her only son wants to be a marine. Which I don’t need to remind you was disbanded before you were born,” said another voice, this one belonging to Eyes.

“Roo, please have a seat,” said Lynn as she patted the seat cushion of the chair next to her.

Roo took the seat and looked Diesel unflinchingly in the eye. “Diesel, I have traveled with you or one of your men as people were moved from station to station until they end up at one of the many stopping points. I knew that once the people get to the stopping points they are never seen or heard from again. I also know that each stopping point will from time to time send shipments to the resort in China, Camp Stevens or here.”

“I have helped setup schools and field hospitals, safe houses and much, much more. I know you are planning to hit another camp, I can help. Let me help.”

Diesel looked over to Lynn. “What are your thoughts on this Lynn,” he asked.

“I told you he was smart and he would figure out part of what you’re doing,” Lynn said.

“That you did,” replied Diesel.

“The question is now what do we do with him now?” asked Greywolf.

“We can either show him or kill him. Makes no difference to me,” replied Bear as he winked at Roo.

“We show him and explain what our long term plans are at this time. Then he can make a fully informed decision about whether or not he wants to be one of the shooters,” said Nightstalker.

“Show me what?”

“What we are really doing, and what has been going on for the last twelve years and the whole truth about the corrupt regime the calls itself the UN,” replied Greywolf.

“I don’t want to lose him, I have already lost a husband I can’t lose my son also,” said a very adamant Lynn. She shot her son the special look mothers use when they will not brook any more discussion on the subject at this time.

Roo started to open his mouth but quickly shut his mouth as he thought better of it.

“Roo in the next week we will be returning to Camp Stevens and two months after that we head back to California for a group meeting with the other leaders then we head over to China to oversee a few things. Can you wait till then make your decision?” asked Gunny.

“I don’t want to wait, but I just I have no choice do I.”

“No, no you don’t,” replied Greywolf.

 

As the train coasted to a stop, Diesel eased the door of the passenger car open. Once the train came to a complete stop he stepped off the train and onto the platform. He turned to offer Lynn a hand as she stepped down. Lynn was followed by her son and Nightstalker.

Diesel waved over one of the few people working at the station at this late hour. Diesel spoke in flawless Chinese as he asked the man to gather their luggage and bring it to the taxi stand for them. The man took the claim checks for the luggage and headed off to do his task.

Ten minutes later Diesel was handing the man a larger than normal tip as the others were getting in a black town car with the Pinewood Falls logo painted on the sides. No one spoke as the car pulled out of the station and onto the road.

Diesel looked around the small town that built up around the small train station he had to have built in order to get the resort started. The money he paid out in bribes added almost another twenty-five percent to the final cost, but the cost had been worth it.

Nightstalker waited till the car was on the main Highway before he started chatting up the young beautiful female driver. Diesel was looking over a few documents and making notes on them as Lynn drifted off to sleep. Roo had his face plastered to the window watching the cars pass by in the opposite direction.

Forty minutes later the town car pulled off the highway and passed through a brightly lit river stone columned gate and onto a private road. Left of the gate was an equally brightly lit sign for the Pinewood Falls Resort. This was the first time Roo had traveled this road at night. During the day a person would have seen the wide trunked pine trees and lush rosebushes lining the weaving and rolling road. In the distance they would have also seen the golf course and the many farms and orchards that supplied the resort with food.

Another thirty minutes pasted before the lights of the immense log cabin resort came into view. The car passed between the twin fountains before crossing a small bridge. Once over the bridge the entire front of the resort could be seen. Soft yellow light spilled out of the numerous windows giving a faint glow to the manicured grass of the lawn.

The driver brought the car under the car port and eased the car to a gentle stop. Two bellhops in resort uniforms came forward to gather the luggage and escort the foursome inside the building through a set of heavy, age darkened, hand craved oak doors.

Each door was eight foot tall and well balanced. They opened or closed with just the slightest push of a hand. Many important Chinese figures from mythology were carved into each door as were epic battle scenes, but if one was to take a long and close look at the four corners of each door they would discover hidden in the scenes very small Marine Corps emblems.

The night manager came out from behind the front desk to greet Diesel and the others. As the night manager was explaining that Diesel’s other guests had arrived much earlier in the day and had been told that all the facilities were available for them to use as they desired, two large men in black suits made their way out of a private elevator.

The bellhops released their hold on the luggage carts and went back to their posts as the two large men took possession of the carts. Diesel called them back and gave each one a tip.

Once everyone was in the elevator one of the men pulled out an electronic device and waved it around every side of each piece of luggage before declaring all clear.

Roo out of habit reached out to press the floor button, “What floor Diesel?”

“It won’t work for you; you need to have a special touch. I’ll get it”, said the man that checked the luggage.

“Thank you Ron, I was expecting Eyes to meet me,” said Diesel.

“He is still in his office and asked us to meet you in his stead. He would like you and the others to swing by before the meeting to discuss a few things,” said Ron.

“Did he happen to say what these things were?” asked Nightstalker.

“He didn’t say but he looked pissed about something,” said Reed.

“He’s been pissed for the last month, Reed. How are our guests behaving with each other?” asked Diesel.

“There have been a few spats and a few dirty looks but I think the real fireworks will be during the meeting,” replied Reed with a smirk.

The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened onto a large room. The floor was done in black marble with a thick deep red carpet running along the edge of the walls. The walls were not the logs as the rest of the building but of a sound absorbing material designed to resemble wood paneling. Security cameras hung from each corner. Sitting at a round a table were Tag, Gunny, Bunker, and Greywolf. The four were dressed in the digital cammies.

“It’s your move Gunny”, said Bunker.

Gunny looked over the chess board for a few seconds before picking up his queen and moved it, ”Checkmate in eight moves.”

Tag, Greywolf, and Bunker all stood up to look over the board as Gunny leaned back in his chair.

Gunny looked up to see Diesel and his party stepping off the elevator and he rose to greet his friend and commanding officer as did the others.

The double doors at the other end of the room open to admit another as Bunker reached over and laid his king over.

“You lose another one Bunker?” asked Voodoo as he joined the others.

“Shut-up Voodoo,” replied Bunker as he shook his head.

“Diesel, we are all set in the conference room for item one for tonight,” said Voodoo as he shook Diesel’s hand.

“Start without me, I need to stop by and see Eyes for a few minutes,” said Diesel as he started to make his way towards a set of doors off right.

“Roo, Lynn your rooms are through the doors to the left here. Roo yours is the first on the right, Lynn yours is the first on the left. Roo I need you to drop your stuff off and make a head call and get down to the conference room, I’m gonna need you to run the computer and the video crap for me in conference room two,” said Gunny.

“I’m on it,” replied Roo as he opened his door and grabbed his luggage off the cart. He quickly tossed his luggage on the queen size bed and used the bathroom before running down the hall to the conference room.

As Roo got to the conference room he could hear yelling and screaming. He yanked open the doors to see what was going on but was immediately set upon by Gunny, Stillman, Tag, Greywolf, Voodoo, and Rampage. All six men were inches from his face and head yelling at him.

Roo had no idea what he had done but he could see other young men being screamed at by other much larger men dressed in digital cammies and wearing campaign covers. Rampage was screaming at him to move his ass over to where the other young men stood but Roo was into much shock and balked for the briefest of time. That briefest of time seemed too piss off Rampage.

Rampage’s huge right hand grabbed Roo by the front of his shirt and most of his chest and launched Roo though the air to land on the conference table. Roo’s momentum had him sliding down the length of the table to land in a jumbled sprawling heap when he crashed to the carpeted floor.

“What is your freaking malfunction recruit?” yell Rampage in Roo’s ear almost the instant Roo’s body came to a halt.

Roo had enough sense to try to stand as the verbal assault continued. Roo could now see that Greywolf was now standing over one of the young men berating him as he tried to do push-ups with someone screaming in his ear. Tag was in the face of another as he tried to do jumping-jacks. Nightstalker and Voodoo were bellowing in another’s face about his weight as he failed to do a single push-up.

Rampage left Roo to yell at young man about eyeballing him as Gunny stepped in front of Roo.

“Get your slimy belly on the deck and start pumping out some push-ups maggot,” Gunny’s deep voice yell ordered.

Roo dropped down to the floor as fast as he could and started doing push-ups as he had been ordered to do only to have someone slam his body backdown by stomping on his back his a heavy boot.

Bunker’s face now appeared in front of Roo’s. “That is not how you do push-ups in my Marine Corps numbnuts. Place your hands wider apart, back straight and count them out,” yelled Bunker.

The verbal assault continued for another fifteen minutes more before Diesel made his appearance wearing one of his Marine Corps uniforms.

With the arrival of Diesel the marines stopped yelling and harassing the younger men and roughly shoved them into line. Gunny then quickly gave the younger men instructions on what it means to fall in and how to assume the position of attention.

When the young men were in a close approximation of attention Diesel stepped before them. For a few moments Diesel just stood there waiting, watching and remembering until the doors behind him opened again to admit Lynn into the room.

Lynn took a seat at the first chair she came to. As she sat down a small single tear rolled down her cheek to land in her lap.

“So you think you want to be Marines. What makes you think you have the guts to measure up to the ranks as such men as these? I truly doubt any of you young men have any idea of what you are asking to become. But if you try and do your best you just might find out what it means to be a marine. In the next few days you will be joined by others who like you wish to transform themselves into marines. Gunny,” Diesel slowly turned to face the man, “either make’em marines or kill’em, it matters not to me,” said Diesel before he did an about face and marched over to Lynn and held out his hand. Lynn took his hand and stood on shaky legs. Diesel easily took her weight as he walked her out of the room with the door closing slowly behind them.

Gunny waited for a few moments after the doors closed before he took charge of the new recruits. With a slight nod from Gunny, Voodoo opened the rear set of double doors that opened onto a darkened hall. Gunny spoke only one word, “Run.”

 

Lynn was shaking as she walked with Diesel. Her slight frame was dwarfed by his massive frame. She leaned heavily on his offered arm but Diesel didn’t seem to notice at all. “Do you really need to so harsh on them? They are only kids.”

“Yes we do. Those kids as you put it are going to be broken down both physically and mentally before we can rebuild them into Marines. Then they will no longer be kids but men,” replied Diesel.

Lynn was quite until she and Diesel made it to his office. She took the offered chair and leaned forward to cradle her head in her hands as she softly sobbed.

“Lynn he’s going to be fine. For most of his life he has been around me or my men. He knows what I demand of myself and of my men and for the last two years he has basically been training with them. Lynn as a child you watched him hang around with us. He would mimic everything we did. We did everything we could short of yelling at him to go away, but he would not go. Remember when he got the other kids to march around and play marines and every time and adult came into the camp they would ask for the password.”

Lynn started to stop sobbing and started smiling as Diesel got her to remember some of the good times.

Diesel continued, “Remember the Halloween party when he wanted to dress up just like Tag as the Spinach Man.”

Lynn burst out laughing as she remembered Tag looking crushed as the kids in her small school room pointed at Tag and called him the Spinach Man. She was covering healthy food as part of her lesson plan.

“Lynn in the next few weeks he is going to realize that all those fun games he played with my men were really training exercises,” said Diesel.

“But it won’t be fun and games any more will it?” asked Lynn.

“Your right, it will just be fun. The games begin later, replied Diesel with a wink. Now Rampage is a damn fine marine. Will he be hard on Roo? Hell yes he will, for two reasons. The first is he knows Roo, and the second is he knows how bad Roo wants to be a marine

The next few days and weeks are going to be the hardest of his life. He is going to question himself as to why he is doing this. Roo is going to have to dig deep and search his soul to find his answers. Lynn just have faith in him and let him become the man he needs to be,” said Diesel.

A knock at the door startled Lynn but Diesel just smiled. “Yes Eyes?” asked Diesel.

“The others are starting to make their way to the main conference room.”

“Thank you Eyes.”

“You’re welcome Diesel,” said a fading voice as Eyes walked away.

 

Lynn waited outside of Diesel’s office while he changed out of his uniform and into a set of jeans and black tee-shirt. He along with Lynn walked to the main conference room. Diesel took his normal seat at the head of the table and Lynn found a name plate with her name on it for her seat. More people started showing up than there were seats for. A concealed door was opened so extra chairs could be brought out of a storage room. Lynn took a quick look in the room and saw racked weapons lining the one wall. She wondered what else might be in the room.

Diesel sat calmly as the rest of the people in the hall came in and took their seats. Pleasantries and greeting were exchanged before Diesel stood and spoke.

“This meeting will now come to order. Before we start to discuss a few things I think we need to make a few introductions. First is Lynn Gibson,

Lynn stood up then sat back down.

Some of you may know her from her work with Danny in getting educational and school supplies to the various freedom camps and safe houses. She will be moving over to planning and prep to work with Gator and his boys and girls. She will be his number two.”

Four others were introduced before the meeting started in earnest.

“Gill you’re up,” said Diesel.

A very large Man stood up. His close cropped hair was white not grey. The man stopped chewing on his cigar and set it down on the edge of the table. Burn scars covered both of his hands and the exposed portions of his forearms.

“Thanks Diesel. In the last thirty days we have had a series of thirteen successful raids worldwide. There were four failures and three that never launched. The people freed from camps hit by Section Eight have already been segregated and searched. Several sleepers have been ID’ed and removed.

Our teams with the other sections, with the exceptions of three, report that the new guidelines work exceedingly well in identifying both sleepers and moles within the other sections,” said Gill.

“Gill we will come back to that in a few minutes. Tell us about the failures, please,” said an externally passive Diesel.

“In two of the failures the camps received rapid reinforcements via VTOL. In the third, the guards turned their weapons on the prisoners just after the start of the attack and in the case of the forth the camp was shelled by off shore naval cannons. The raid commander reports the entire camp was wiped off the map,” replied Gill.

“And of the missions that never got off the ground?” asked Diesel.

“Lack of transport, lack of supplies and personnel, and in the last case the attacking force was ambushed as they made their way to the staging point,” replied Gill, his hands clenching into fists behind his back.

“Prisoners?” asked Diesel.

“None reported,” said a downcast Gill.

“Who is next?” asked Diesel.

“That would be me, said a very tall and slender woman as she stood. “When you first joined the Liberation Organization we were happy to have you. We listened to you as you made proposals about who we should recruit and about training our fighters. Yet you seem to bring in new people into your section by the dozen. Then we listened to your whining about security and the need to ensure that we really know who we are letting into our ranks. Then it was this whole section thing. Now, it’s this whole thing about how you want us to hold the people that we free from the camps and search them and their belongings before we send them to the freedom camps. To spy on them.

The other leaders and I cannot and will not condone this. If you insist on doing these things, we the leaders of this organization will be forced to ask you and your key people to leave and your assets will be absorbed by the rest of rest.”

“Sasha, if by the other leaders you mean your husband, along with Bad Billy and that idiot Perry, I could care less. I too have spoken with the rest of the section leaders and they are quite happy with the results I have gotten. But since you were so good as to being me that message from your husband and his friends please be so kind as to deliver my reply. Tag, I believe you worked on this,” replied Diesel.

“Oh did I, from the beginning when we started raiding the camps we, Diesel’s section, section eight, warned the other sections about the possibilities of sleepers or spies for the UP in amongst the prisoners reporting as to what was happening inside the camps.

The first few camps were liberated by Diesel’s section, Section Eight. We reported that we found in each camp we hit one to two spies. As the other sections stepped up their raids, that number increased to six to ten spies and sleepers.

Eight months ago there was another spike in sleeper and spies in the camps. That was when we sent out teams to help the other sections identify the sleepers and the spies and the guidelines concerning the segregation of the newly freed prisoners were sent out.

It was almost three months after that, that the section you and your husband both command lost more than a third of your safe houses and more than a quarter of your freedom fighters along with several caches of stockpiled weapons and ammo. Do you remember that attacking force that was ambushed on its way to the staging point Gill mentioned? That was your section Sasha.

I won’t even go into what happened in Bad Billy’s section or Perry’s. Now I do recall that you and the other section leaders were informed about the dangers and the increase in the numbers in sleepers and spies in the camps. I can even pull up the video records of the meetings if you want. The truth is that if you and some of the other leaders had listened to Diesel then a lot of good men and women would still be alive,” said Tag before he tossed a list of names with KIA marked over each to land in front of Sasha.

Sasha just brushed the list of names away from her neatly stacked papers and expensive fountain pen with a flick of her fingers. “How is it Diesel, that your section has never lost a safe house, never failed to take a camp, or why is that most of the people your section has freed is never heard from again? How is it that your people found a way to circumvent the microchips and why won’t you share some of your contacts with the rest of us, the leaders of this organization? Or could it be that you and some of your people really work of the UP?” shot back Sasha.

Diesel did not even move, but everyone else did. Bunker, Stillman, Gill, and Voodoo took down Sasha’s bodyguards in a flash. Almost everybody else had a pistol leveled and pointed at Sasha’s chest. Her shock was complete when she realized that four of the other section leaders that were in the conference room had their weapons pointed at her.

“Sasha, right now I’m fighting the urge to ripe your head off, shit down your throat and use that thing you call a tongue to wipe my pale pimply ass with. My section’s record speaks for itself. Why is that, it’s because I work with professionals. People, who know about security procedures and how to follow orders. Where you seem to work with anyone regardless of who they are or what their motives might be.

As for my contacts lets think back a few years. I shared the name of someone we compromised. Your husband and his crony Bad Billy ended up getting him and his entire family killed when they started bragging to a few of the other leaders from some of the other groups of freedom fighters. They told them his name, and low and behold one of those other leaders was a mole. The next day every member of his family was lined up against a wall and gunned down. I told you then and there that I will never share another contact with anyone. I told you that if you needed something to ask me and I will make the request of my contact.

Now as to why a large portion of the people my section frees are never heard from again. First we get them a clean chip. Then we explain that for the safety of themselves and their families they can never contact anyone from their old lives. If they did it would not only endanger them but us as well. And then we could not rescue anyone else who may need our help.

Now sit down and shut your mouth before I ram something in it to shut you up. Next person please,” said Diesel. He never raised his voice, but the eerie calm of his voice was the most frightening thing Lynn had ever heard.

 

Roo took off in a flash for the opened doors at the rear of the conference room. Rampage’s voice rang in his ears as Roo rounded the doors. Roo was now running through a wide semi-darken hall lined sporadically with men and women. These men and women were yelling, screaming, and jeering at the running young men.

The running young men were directed as to where to go by the people lining the hall. After running to one end of the resort and turning around to run to the other end the running young men were roughly thrown into a small room devoid of any furniture. Only one item was in the room, and that was a large stainless steel iris on wall.

Standing next to the iris was a tall man with slim waist but overly developed chest and arms. Roo was the second one to make it to the room. Something told Roo not to be the last one to get wherever they headed and so earned himself a few bumps and bruises trying not to be the last one to make it.

The voice of the man standing next to the iris boomed off the walls of the small room after the last runner made his appearance. “You will fall in on the yellow line and lock your bodies up tight. That means shut your slimy mouths and open your eyes and ears. Is that clear?”

The young men did their best to do as they had been previously instructed by Gunny, but said nothing.

“What in the hell is my beloved corps coming to if this bunch of maggots can’t follow simple orders? I do believe I asked a question. So I ask again, am I clear?” the man’s voice again boomed about the room.

Roo barked out a yes sir. Most said yes, but one replied with a yeah.

The man’s eyes bulged, almost out of his head and his skin rabidly turned red. “I do not believe I heard that. Which one of you pukes just said yeah?”

The last man in the line raised his hand in reply.

“Get your slimy belly on the deck and start moving the earth maggot,” yelled the man.

The young man dropped to the floor and started doing push-ups. At least the young man remembered to count them out thought Roo.

“The first word and last word that comes out of you miserable puking mouths will be sir. Am I clear?”

This time everyone answered sir, yes sir.

“Shall we try that again ladies?”

The young men yelled out a much louder sir, yes sir this time.

“Fall in maggot. When I instruct you, you will step up to the opening. Using both hands you will grab the yellow and black bar. Still holding onto the bar you will then jump up, crossing your legs and feet and swing them into the tube. When your head passes the opening of the tube you are to release your hands and cross them over your chest,” said the man as he placed a hand on the iris. The iris opened without a sound.

The man then stepped up to the lined up young men and as he walked down the line he thumped his large pointer finger into each man’s chest. The finger made a thudding sound as it jabbed each man and they in turn groaned.

“At the end of your ride through the tube you will need to move quickly to get out of the way of the next maggot that will be coming out of the tube behind you. You will then be directed to a building where you will get your hair cut and be issued one bottle of water, one pair of shorts, a t-shirt and a moon beam. Any questions?”

“Sir,” said one of the men.

“Yes maggot.”

“Sir, what is a moon beam sir?”

“A moon beam is a flash light in marine jargon.”

“I will say this again you will need to move as quick as you can to get out of the way of the next maggot coming out of the tube. Do this to ensure the safety of both maggots. There have been deaths.

For Roo the ride through the dark tunnel with evenly spaced green lit sections was as blast. Through all the tight turns and sudden drops Roo’s laughter rang out. It reminded him of a roller coaster he once rode.

Roo was having so much fun in the tube that he paid little attention to how long he was in it. Nor did he have any idea how far he had traveled within the tube. The dark tube started to become dimly lit and then slowly brighten. Finally he shot out of the tube.

Looking past his feet saw a bright white field at the end of the tube. His feet slammed into this field sending up a shower of small white round beads that greatly reduced his speed up completely enveloped his body.

Roo quickly stood up but unstably. The small white beads were cascading off his body and down his shirt. Roo took a step and promptly fell on his ass when his feet slipped out from under him.

At the top of a cargo net draped over one of the sides of the large box holding the white beads was man yelling at him to crawl on all fours to get to the edge and then climb up. Roo did as he was instructed. Once he got to the cargo net the next man came shooting out of the tube sending up a shower of beads in all directions.

The new arrival came sputtering up out of the beads. He was so confused that he was not listening to the short fire plug of a man standing at the top of the cargo net. Roo quickly scrambled over on his hands and knees and yanked the man out of the way as the next man came out of the tube. Roo had to hold the guy down to keep him from standing up again.

“Get on your hands and knees to move through this stuff,” yelled Roo. The guy finally got the idea and quickly made his way over to the net.

Roo did not wait for the guy as he took off for the cargo net. As he started climbing cargo net he reflected how he used to climb the cargo nets that were suspended all over in one of the underground hangers in Colorado that Diesel’s men used for training.

His hands and feet were a blur as scaled the cargo net. Roo felt a rush as he cleared the top and landed on the other side with his feet space wide apart to absorb the shock of his landing. Roo took a quick glance over the side he checked to see the progress of the other two men. They were just about half way up. A grin broke out across his face as he turned to face the short man storming over to him.

“Just what the hell were you thinking down there maggot?” screamed the man in Roo’s face.  A huge glob of spittle landed on Roo’s right cheek.

“Sir, I was.” Roo was cut off from finishing his sentence.

“The only I’s here are the ones in that are in that long haired grape sitting atop that scrawny thing you call a neck. Now hit the deck and give my twenty. For your information it is my job to ensure your safety maggot. When you get done with those things you call push-ups fall in line with that other miserable maggot standing in front of that hatchway there.”

Roo did not pause in his push-ups while he yelled out, “Sir, yes sir.”

The short man turned to face the two men that just cleared the top of the cargo net. “Get your lollygagging, gold bricking asses over here,” he bellowed.

Roo finished his push-ups and sprinted over to the where the first man was standing. As Roo closed the distance to the building he watched another man in uniform step out from around the corner and spot the first man leaning against the wall of the building.

After all the young men had made it out of the tube and had been reformed in a line the man in uniform had them enter the building. Eight barber chairs with eight barbers awaited them. In just a matter of seconds for each young man they each now had a bald head.

Again the men were lined up and escorted to another building. Only once did they have to stop to do push-ups for talking. Each young man was told to enter a white metal booth. Once inside the booth closed behind them. They were told to stand on the yellow foot prints painted on the floor and look straight ahead as their photo was taken.

Next they were told to strip naked and stand back on the yellow foot prints and not to move until told to. A series of red lasers scanned over each man’s body. Roo heard a series of chimes and beeps. Twice he heard a computer generated voice say anomaly.

The young men then were told to put their underwear back on and step out of the booths and place their clothes in the plastic box on the floor. Two of the young men were asked to follow another man out of the room. Roo never saw them again.

The rest were told to enter the next room and handed shorts, a t-shirt, running shoes. After being told to get dressed they were again lead out of the building and taken to the start of a foot trail. Each one was told to grab a moon beam and a bottle of water from the table off to the side.

“Listen up maggots; you now have a 2 mile run along this trail. Do not wonder off the trail for any reason. Do not help another runner, this is a timed personal event. Should you need any help just stay where you are and someone will be with you shortly. Your time starts now,” said the man that had led them out.

Huffing and puffing, and fighting the urge to puke Roo made it to the finish line. His legs were sore and his sides were killing him but he was happy he finished the run and was the first one to do it. It was sometime before the others came in.

After they had all made it in they were collected and escorted to another building. Once inside they were lead to a large bathroom. “This is called a head. This is where you will shower, shave and take a crap. The reason it is called the head is when the marines were on the old sailing ships of the navy the place you went to relive yourself was at the figure head at the front of the ship. Inside the shower you will find a towel and a bar of soap. You now have five minutes to shower and get back out here. Toss your clothes and shoes in the paper bag with your name on it. When you are done with your shower you will come back here and be on my black line. Is that clear?” said the marine that escorted them.

The rest of the night was spent getting their clothing issued, filling out paper work, taking their oath, getting shots, and going from one building to another, doing one thing or another before they were taken to their barracks and assigned a rack.

For the next two weeks they and the others that were already in the barracks learned personal hygiene, how to dress and how to store their clothing way in their foot lockers. They were learning the very basic of things.

Each day was a series of new challenges and classes that started off at 0530 hours. After a quick shower, shave and a head call they were marched off to the mess hall. After that the recruits as they were called, never knew what was planned for them on any given day.

In all there were eighty recruits in Roo’s platoon at the end of the first two weeks. On the first day of week three the platoon was introduced to their Drill instructors at 0330 hours.

The drill instructors came into the squad bay banging trash cans. Someone had set off fire crackers in one of the trash cans. The recruits jumped out of the racks and stood on the twin black lines that ran along the open center of the room called a squad bay.

One of the drill instructors yelled out for the recruits to count off. The recruits did so loudly for they had learned that to not do so would mean push-up or worse.

“My name is Staff Sergeant Abrams. I am your Senior Drill Instructor. What does that mean to you bunch of nasty pukes? That means for the next few months I and your other drill instructors will control everything you do. You now have ten minutes to get dressed in your pt gear and fall in outside for chow. Then we will return here to pack everything that is yours including your bedding into your foot lockers and load then onto a truck. We will then have a nice and easy five mile run to your new barracks. Now move,” Rampages deep voice boomed across the barracks.

The nice and easy five mile run turned out to be a brutally  paced seven mile run with a few trips through the obstacle course thrown in just for fun of it.

The first thing they did once they got to the new barracks was to field day it. That means they cleaned anything and everything inside the building from top to bottom. The rest of the day was spent doing more pt and getting issued their combat equipment and rifles.

The platoon was split into four squads of four fireteams of five men. Roo was picked at random to be one of the fireteam leaders. Over the next five weeks each man would be cycled through each position in the fireteam.

The platoon split their time between classes on Marine Corps subjects that the raw recruit would need to know and then putting those lessons to use. But the drill instructors always found time to make sure the recruits got lots of pt.

During some free time Roo and a few of the others were talking and joking about their life as recruits.

“What is it about drill instructors, when did they forget how to count? I mean come on, they give us a ten count but they leave out a few numbers. Ten nine seven five four three one you’re done,” the recruit name Wilson did a very good impression of Sgt Miles.

“What I would like to know is how the OpFor avoided that ambush today; hell that one group with the tall black sergeant avoided them all week. I mean today we had one sweet ambush set up, half of us were in the wood line and the other half along the creek bed. How did he know we were there? What did we do wrong?” asked Roo’s acting squad leader.

Roo stopped shining his boots before he answered, “I don’t think anyone has ever ambushed Voodoo. As a kid hanging around him as I grew up I have seen him do some amazing stuff.”

Everyone within earshot perked up.

“You know the guy?” asked Roo’s squad leader.

“In truth I have known most of the people we have been training against for years. I sort of adopted all of them as stepdads. Their leader, Diesel, rescued my mother, sister and me from a camp when I was six. They looked out for me and for the other children and for that I owe them. Can you imagine a bunch of hard core combat vets playing with a bunch of kids?”

“What do you mean combat vets? The corps was disbanded before most of us were born,” said one of the other recruits.

“All I know is that they are much older than they look. Remember when I said I have seen Voodoo do some amazing things. About a year ago I was helping them go through computer records from one of the bases they hit. The base was supposed to be secure before I and a few others were brought in. The UP sent in re-enforcements. They hit the camp before we knew it. Voodoo, Bunker and Greywolf hit the wire while I was snagging every computer I could lay my hands on. I came out of the camp HQ just in time to see Voodoo take a burst of fire to his chest and get right back up and kill the guy that shot him. Bunker was stuck like a pig through the back with a bayonet. It didn’t slow him down a bit. When the guy pulled it out bunker spun around and crushed the man’s head with his bare hands. Greywolf was riddled with shots but just kept returning fire. Every shot drop another UP trooper. That’s when Nightstalker and his men came out of nowhere and just rolled over the UP troopers still outside the wire. It was just unbelievable just how fast they all moved and the shots that they were making.”

“You make it sound like they are supermen. You were just in that fog of war they keep telling us about,” said another recruit.

“Just take a good long look at one of them after we do another long run. They won’t even be breathing hard or sweating. Better yet next time we have a tracking exercise see what they notice and what we miss,” replied Roo.

The little conference was broken up when one of the other drill instructors came in to tell them lights out in five.

 

Roo and the others spent many hours on the rifle range honing their skill at shooting and hitting a man size target at anywhere from 100 yards to 1000 yards. They also spent the same amount of time on the pistol range. Rampage made it his personal mission to punish anyone who failed to shot expert.

As with every military the recruits came up with nicknames for their drill instructors, the Junior Drill Instructor Sgt miles was called the crab as he was only too happy to have the recruits hit the sand pit. Drill Instructor SSgt. Bell was called Shadow. He had a knack for popping up at the most inopportune moments, catching the recruits goofing off. When the recruits started calling Rampage Popeye do to his large forearms Roo put a stop to it. When asked why he objected to this nickname Roo explained that he knew Rampage but not the others.

With the end of boot camp getting closer the drill instructors and other marines that over saw the recruits training started demanding more and more. The runs and swims got longer, the knowledge tests got harder. The physical contests became more challenging and brutal.

The recruits never knew but they were always under observation at all times. Notes were taken and passed on to the drill instructors. Several steps and techniques were taken to modify the behavior of the recruits but always with the oversight of professionals.

 

For the past three months Diesel received daily reports on the progress of the training of the recruits. At times he would watch over them on the CCTV. It was with some pride that he and some of other men and women under his command watched Roo grow into a marine.

Diesel finished looking over all the reports and requests from all the units he had placed around the world causing havoc for the UP. All he needed now was to decide was who he was going to send where.

He picked up the phone and dialed Nightstalker’s room. In a few minutes both Nightstalker and Voodoo where in his office. After a few minutes Lynn was called in. The four spoke until late into the night.

 

Rampage was sitting at his desk when there were three heavy and loud bangs on the wall next to the hatch leading to his office.

“Center yourself on my hatch,” called out Rampage.

Roo did as he was ordered. Rampage looked up and saw Roo standing there. He waved Roo in. “Shut the hatch and have a seat Roo.”

Again Roo did as he was ordered.

“Roo, as you know your basic training ends in two days. Most of these young men will be held here or at one of the support bases we have until we can find a slot for them. For the next two days we will be only doing some administrative things. Here’s the thing, you have a chance to leave early for more training, but you would need to leave tonight.”

“Sir, what is the training for sir?” asked Roo.

“There are ten slots opening in the scout sniper role. With your scores in rifle and pistol the first slot for training is yours. Two other slots will come from this platoon and three more from another.”

“Sir, where will this more training take place? Do you know who will be the instructors? How long is the training, sir?” asked Roo.

“The training will be in Alaska, as for how long the training that depends on how good you listen and how well you perform. Now as to the instructors you might knew them, come in guys.”

The rear hatch of Rampages office opened to admit four men. Greywolf, Tag, Nightstalker and Voodoo walked in.

“Sir, this recruit will take the offer, sir,” said Roo.

“Go pack you gear and come back here. You have a little trip to make tonight.”

With that said Rampage stood up and reached across his desk and held out his hand. “Well done and congratulations Marine.”

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