sábado, 9 de fevereiro de 2008

In the Army II

The following days, she was more careful in her nocturnal workouts since she didn’t want to get into her first sergeant again. For two or three nights she even kept her trainings in the showers.

And she was getting better! She scored high running, fighting and shooting! First sergeant Kane never said a word about her late workouts, even seeing her once in a while. He sure was liking the results. He would like every one of them to have those kinds of goals and settings. So he liked this guy and what he somehow represented. But since he could show no favouritisms, he picked a lot more on ‘him’. Always pushing ‘him’, nagging, and yelling at ‘him’.

On the other hand, there was private Thorn, a big man who thought this fresh little guy could endanger his placement in the platoon. He was also a new soldier but he was big, strong, and also used to workout. He should be the best, or so he thought. And there was something he didn’t like about Tollman; he just couldn’t put his finger on it. So he was also always picking on ‘him’, provoking, always ready for a fight. This animosity started to be notorious, even to their superiors, who were always trying to direct those energies to workouts and other kind of “punishments”. But no results were shown. They never got into a real fight because there was always someone to depart them. Maybe they could even settle things up between them if they could do it.

Months were passing and she continued on with her scheme as a man, as a dedicated soldier, and student in the art of combat. She was there for six months already and no one had shown suspicion of any kind. Of course she also liked that, it meant another accomplishment for her. Sometimes she thought it could be dangerous to like so much of being deceiving all those guys. It could get addictive and after the army she may have to find other ways to deceive men! She couldn’t help laughing every time she thought about it.

There was a purpose in that and it had nothing to do with them but with her instead. Well… it maybe just a little! Since she was a little girl, she had to show she could do the same as their brothers if she wanted ride along. She was a girl and much younger than them but her effort in that amused them and so everybody entered the game in those days.

When thinking about it, she tried to figure out what was she doing in there, what was she really trying to prove. But the answer was always the same: she really liked that! Why wouldn’t she do it just because she was a girl? She learned that it was no barrier. The only barriers right there were somehow bureaucratic! So there she was, dressed as a man. So what?! It was fun! And she would go along until one of the parts didn’t want to continue the game. As far as what concerned her, she was just fine that way! 

The only thing that sucked was Thorn’ attitude! The first sergeant always picking on her was even amusing sometimes. Although he could exaggerate it, she thought it helped her in some ways. But Thorn…! He could be such a pain in the ass! Nothing to learn from there.

One day, they really got into a fight in the dorm and Thorn, who was a dirty fighter, reached for Tollman bowls to get to ‘him’ but couldn’t find any. He didn’t say a word but was thinking about what it meant; she was worried and had a compromised look on her face. There were some companions grabbing them and it took some moments before any kind of reaction by his side.
- You’re just a girl! – He finally said.

Of course nobody understood what it really meant; they thought Thorn was just calling Tollman a pussy. Both of them stopped reacting and so they set them loose. It only took two seconds for Thorn to get near her, wipe out her shirt and see those pieces of cloth tightly wrapped on her chest. He could see some evidence of breasts in there and was shocked. Not that much because there was a woman inside but because it was a woman that was scoring higher than him!

Not everybody around saw or understood what was happening because she quickly covered it up and because they had been anticipating a confrontation between them and were trying to get them apart. They were both strong!

- You are a woman! You’re a nasty little bitch! – He said.
Then it all started again. A big confusion was installed. She was furious because it was happening all wrong.

Some sergeants that were near got in with all the fuss and first sergeant Kane got closer to them, of course, yelling.
- I hope you have a good reason for this, soldiers! What is going on here?
- Nothing, sir! – Thorn replies.
- Nothing?
- No, sir!
- Do you think I’m stupid, recruit?
- Sir no, sir!
- What happened? – He asked Tollman.
- Just a fight, sir. – She answered.
- That I can see, soldier! What caused it?
- …
- Are you deaf?
- No, sir!
- What caused it?
- Different opinions, sir!
- I’m loosing my patience here!! What happened, Thorn?

She was death worried he would tip her off.
Thorn looked at her.
- Nothing much, sir!
But it was growing inside him. He just didn’t like her.
- I won’t ask again, insubordinates! I don’t want to know if you think it’s important for me to know it or not! I’m sure it isn’t! But I want to know what is happening here!! - He sure was mad.

Thorn finally let it out.
- Just found out he’s a woman, sir!
- What?!
- He’s a woman, sir!
He was pissed off! He wasn’t catching the dimension of that sentence but he looked
at her and she looked back at him.
- Where are you looking at?
- Nowhere, sir! – She said, looking again into the empty.
- Don’t you look at me, private!!
- No, sir!

He saw Tollman’s shirt was teared off, got near her and said while pulling it apart:
- And what is this? – Well, he was talking about the ripped off shirt but soon understood there was more than that to be asking about. She didn’t answer.

As he saw the cloth underneath the shirt he understood what Thorn really meant by that. The anger grew inside him and he slowly stepped towards her, getting much closer, with a raving look in his eyes.
- … Cover yourself up! – He finally said to her, almost biting his tongue not to explode right there.

Now he was really mad, just like a locked up bull, breathing heavily. He looked around thinking what to do. How could this happen? How could it be under his nose for so long? That couldn’t be good for him nor the corporation. What could he do to cover it up?
- Both of you, in my office, now!
- Yes, sir! – They both replied.
- Tollman, get yourself a shirt first!
- Yes, sir!

The rest of the guys were also shocked and wondering how could they haven’t got a clue about it.
- The rest of you… not a word about this!
- Yes, sir!
- I’m really pissed off and I really mean it! Do you understand me? Not a word!
- Yes, sir!!
- … Good!

And he left, mad and having a hard time getting to think about solutions for the explosive situation on his hands.

Thorn and Kris were waiting in first sergeant’s office for a while, in silence, with a corporal with them. Once in a while, Thorn was showing a kind of a smile in the corner of his mouth and Kris was just worried because all of her work was going down the drain.
Then Kane finally got in. He walked around them.

- Now, can someone tell me what the hell is going on?!
First, there was silence.
- Sir, we were discussing something … - Thorn started to say.
- Silence!! I don’t wanna know what you were doing! I don’t even know why the hell I’m talking with you, right now! I’ll deal with you later, private! Until then, not a word about it! Do you understand me?!
- Yes, sir!!
- You’re dismissed, now leave!
- Yes, sir!

And he left. He also sent the corporal out and was alone with her. There was silence! She was even worried she could be doing too much noise breathing. Sergeant Kane was silent for a while and just kept walking back and forward near her. She wouldn’t dare saying a word before him and was thinking this couldn’t be good. Then he walked to his desk and sat down in front of her, looking a bit calmer. He took a deep breath and said:
- Well… I’m all ears!
- Sir?!
- As you were, soldier! …Go on… Tell me the story that got you into this place. Humour me!

She got into a less formal position and looked him briefly in the eyes.
- I have a brother named Christopher and he’s not very found of the military experience, sir, but I am! He didn’t want to come but I wanted to! So I did, using his… identity!
- And why the hell did you do that for?!
- May I speak freely, sir?
He extended his arm telling her to go for it.
- I wanted to join the army, sir. But not to nurse, cook or clean for the men here. Those are important roles but I could have that anywhere. I wanted everything else, sir!

She continued, as he was waiting to listen for more:
- I wanted the physical preparation, the trainings and workouts, the discipline, the honour, the oath and everything it stands for!
He was starting to lighten up.
- Well, it’s the first time I ear someone saying he likes the discipline here! – He even giggled. – Usually they say we’re unnecessary tough and cruel! Don’t you think so?
- I take what suits me and ignore the rest. And when I have a problem with something, I do something about it, sir.
She had a point in there, he thought.

- Do you have an idea of the trouble your little joke can cause us? Me?
- I’m sorry for that, sir! But it’s not a joke! Not even close! I wanted what this corporation stands for, sir! I still do!
- What were you trying to prove by impersonating a man to get here?
- It was the only way to get where I wanted, sir! I know it wasn’t a straight one but I know I can do the same as men, reach the same goals and I’ve succeeded in that!
- So, you’re a satisfied woman now!
- No, sir.
- Why not? You just said it, you succeeded!
- But now I won’t be able to go on, sir! If I have permission to say it, I didn’t just want to get to this place, sir!

That amused him.
- So how far do you wanna go?
- As far as I can get, sir!
- And where would that be?
- That’s up to you, sir!

For a moment or two he was mad at her response. Then the anger seemed to leave.
- What do you mean, it’s up to me? Do you think I approve what you did?
- Probably not, sir!
- Do you think I even want you here?!
- Probably not, sir!
- I must admit you have guts! And you have lots of potential, too! I would like one third of my men to be like you… BUT - and that’s a big but! – you are not a man! And you’re right; I don’t approve what you did… especially not in my platoon and under my nose. Got that?!
- Yes, sir!
- And what do you think it will happen right now?
- I don’t know, sir, but… with all due respect, I haven’t caused any trouble up to now, I have done all that was expected from me, sir, and what wrong may happen just because I have a different sex?
- That’s exactly the point, soldier! A woman in the middle of all these men! The army is not prepared for that, neither are the men that it’s made of!
- With all due respect, sir, are you prepared for that?
- What’s your point, soldier?!
- Are you prepared for that, sir?

He felt a mix of fury, curiosity and somehow a sort of amusement with her impetuous energy.
- For a woman like you in here? Yes, I am prepared for that!
- You’re part of the machine, sir. If you’re ready, why wouldn’t they be?
- Everyone is different, soldier. You should know that. And it’s a big machine, as you called it.
- I’m used to a house full of men, sir, and I know how to handle them.
- It may be true but what would you say to my superiors?
- Exactly the same, sir!
- Well, but that is your job, not mine, isn’t it? And what would I do?
- I don’t know, sir!
- Of course you don’t!... All I know is that this will be a scandal outside!
She kept silent.

The he kind of giggled with some thought.
- What if other women start doing the same?!
- Maybe then the “army” decides to start a real unit for women!
- Dream on, woman!… And what does it say about us, our keenness, our acuity?
- …Maybe it’s better not to be known, sir! – She hesitated.

He looked straight into her eyes and said:
- It sure would have been better not to have happened at all!… Well, I have to take this issue up to the Lieutenant.

Then he called for the corporal waiting outside.
- Take Tollman to the dorm. See if all of them stay inside walls while I take care of this matter. Oh and McCoy, make sure Thorn and this one stay out of trouble, will you?
- Yes, sir!

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