Excerpt from Working The Trenches

| | Comments (0)

Even before I got to the squad Leader, the first thing I noticed about my fellow trainees was their emaciated, hollow look, like they were on the ragged edge of repshanti. Was this what I had to look forward to? Available evidence said it was. And yes, it was outdoors in the rain and the mud just like you might have surmised, and the temperature was barely above freezing. "Sir, Trainee Grace Juarez reporting as ordered!" The Imperial procedure and salute were essentially identical to Earth, palm out like the British, for similar reasons. Convergent evolution of ideas.

He was wearing the same uniform as Instructor Jereya, with one difference. His insignia of rank had red above the horizontal white bar in his insignia, green below. "Leader Dakar, trainee," he returned my salute, "Grab a set of weights and get started!" In a locker were sets of five weights, two for wrists, two for ankles, one for your torso that strapped on via a belt and shoulder straps. I quickly put on the wrist weights - five prime of mass each, or a shade under four kilos - followed by the ankle weights, which were twice as heavy, and the back weight, which was a full thirty prime, over twenty kilos. Altogether, it was just under forty-seven Earth kilos of weight, or about one hundred three pounds. Over the last couple years, I'd increased my height to five foot six (168 centimeters, or two ififths, thirtyfour isixths by Imperial measure) and my weight to 185 pounds (eighty-four kilos, or one square, forty-seven prime by Imperial measure) although thanks to high density tissue it looked more like 150 pounds. Over a hundred extra pounds was quite an addition. I could do it - I'd been augmenting my muscles since I went operant - but it wasn't trivial.

"Tighten those shoulder straps, trainee!" Dakar told me, "Course rule: no matris assists! Follow Nushto!" indicating a man slightly taller than myself but who had probably the gauntest appearance I had ever seen, wearing some sort of tabs that made him stand out from the other trainees. I took note of the prohibition, complied with both instructions, and fell in behind the emaciated man. Matris was the ability it might be easiest to think of as telekinesis, although it could produce many other effects as well.

I'm Nushto, trainee team leader, one of them told me, First thing you need to know, he sent to me, is that this phase of training is all about keeping us at the ragged edge of our strength, endurance, and agility. This particular course is testing if we've augmented our muscles well enough. Follow me and do the same things I do. If you slip, you are allowed to save yourself but then you have to go back to the start.

The course was an ithird in length, or about two and a third kilometers, if you followed the track on the ground. It wasn't a horizontal course. It started out as a jungle gym, climbing and swinging, then a couple of standing jumps of about four meters - in the rain and carrying a forty-seven Earth kilograms in extra weight, mind you - at an altitude of over twenty meters. Four obstacle walls, each about thirty-five meters high, and you had to climb both up and down with Leaders telling you to "Go faster, you waste of an opportunity! People behind you might make soldiers if you don't hold them up!" Then a water tunnel where you swam/climbed uphill against a current, then a pair of things that looked like fifty meter paddlewheels you had to clamber up first like a monkey, switch to jumping on the outer edges of the planks - their edges were about five centimeters wide - to get over the top, and then clamber down the planks on the far side. Did I mention the planks were moving against your direction of travel and there was slick gooey mud at the bottom which stuck to everything? Then a comparatively short low crawl through thick mud that was the easiest part of the course, although I wished it could have been before the water tunnel, then back to more jungle gyms, more walls, several rope obstacles and a few pole obstacles, and finally something that reminded me conceptually of a three dimensional version of the training apparatus in Kung Fu Panda. It wouldn't kill you, but if you timed it wrong or zagged when you should have zigged, you took one hell of a blow and your lap didn't count. Your datalink was constantly updated with your time and where you should be if you wanted to pass the phase, judging from the time you'd last passed the starting beacon.

Copyright 2014 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved

Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!
Please be civil. Avoid profanity - I will delete the vast majority of it, usually by deleting the entire comment. To avoid comment spam, a comments account is required. They are freely available, and you can post comments immediately. Alternatively, you may use your Type Key registration, or sign up for one (They work at most Movable Type sites). All comments made are licensed to the site, but the fact that a comment has been allowed to remain should not be taken as an endorsement from me or the site. There is no point in attempting to foster discussion if only my own viewpoint is to be permitted. If you believe you see something damaging to you or some third party, I will most likely delete it upon request.
Logical failures (straw man, ad hominem, red herring, etcetera) will be pointed out - and I hope you'll point out any such errors I make as well. If there's something you don't understand, ask.
Nonetheless, the idea of comments should be constructive. Aim them at the issue, not the individual. Consider it a challenge to make your criticism constructive. Try to be respectful. Those who make a habit of trollish behavior will be banned.

Leave a comment


Buy My Science Fiction Novels!
Dan Melson Amazon Author Page
Dan Melson Author Page Books2Read

Links to free samples here

The Man From Empire
Man From Empire Cover
Man From Empire Books2Read link

A Guardian From Earth
Guardian From Earth Cover
Guardian From Earth Books2Read link

Empire and Earth
Empire and Earth Cover
Empire and Earth Books2Read link

Working The Trenches
Working The Trenches Cover
Working the Trenches Books2Read link

Rediscovery 4 novel set
Rediscovery set cover
Rediscovery 4 novel set Books2Read link

Preparing The Ground
Preparing The Ground Cover
Preparing the Ground Books2Read link

Building the People
Building the People Cover
Building the People Books2Read link

Setting The Board

Setting The Board Cover
Setting The Board Books2Read link

Moving The Pieces

Moving The Pieces Cover
Moving The Pieces Books2Read link

The Invention of Motherhood
Invention of Motherhood Cover
Invention of Motherhood Books2Read link

The Price of Power
Price of Power Cover
Price of Power Books2Read link

The End Of Childhood
End Of Childhood cover
The End of Childhood Books2Read link

The Fountains of Aescalon
Fountains of Aescalon Cover
The Fountains of Aescalon Books2Read link

The Monad Trap
Monad Trap Cover
The Monad Trap Books2Read link

The Gates To Faerie
Gates To Faerie cover
The Gates To Faerie Books2Read link

Gifts Of The Mother
Gifts Of The Mother cover
Gifts Of The Mother Books2Read link

The Book on Mortgages Everyone Should Have!
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages
What Consumers Need To Know About Mortgages Cover
What Consumers Need to Know About Mortgages Books2Read

The Book on Buying Real Estate Everyone Should Have
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate
What Consumers Need To Know About Buying Real Estate Cover
What Consumers Need to Know About Buying Real Estate Books2Read

Dan Melson's San Diego Real Estate and Mortgage Website

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on December 18, 2023 7:00 AM.

Excerpt from 'Empire And Earth' was the previous entry in this blog.

First Draft Excerpt from Measure of Adulthood is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.21-en

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Copyright 2005-2024 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved