domingo, 10 de fevereiro de 2008

In the Army III

The army officers responsible for that unit decided to keep the incident inside walls since they were under the eyes of an internal special unit that was investigating some incidents from the past. Those incidents were not directly connected to them but they were on the way or, let’s just say, the highway. It all had to be clean and crystal clear at the time being. It was the worst time to have an inside scandal right then. So they decided to open a space for that recruit for a few more months until the oath.

First sergeant Kane had his orders and got back to the dorm.
They all formed as soon as he got in.

-Well, privates… it is in the best interest of this unit that we keep this incident inside our walls and do our best to keep the word from spreading out! We will have to make some arrangements and go on with this… charade until the end of the recruit for several reasons that are not important for you to know right now.

She couldn’t believe what she had just heard and had almost drawn a smile. Kane saw it in her eyes.

- Are you smiling, private?
- No, sir!
- But you were about to, weren’t you?
- ...No, sir.
- Do you think you should be smiling?
- Probably not, sir.
- You can bet your ass you shouldn’t! First of all because you will have to work your butt off! More than ever! You got that?!
- Yes, sir!
- Now, all of you will continue to deal with Tollman as if he…she was a man. In what concerns me… he is! Is this clear?
- Yes, sir! – They all replied.
- It’s of the utmost importance that no one else knows what’s going on here; no one besides the ones that already know. And I want respect in here! Tollman, you’ll have a private room and shower. But that’s all the advantages you’ll get!

She wasn’t there for the advantages so she was much pleased with that development. As soon as she had the opportunity, she asked permission to see the first sergeant in his office.
- At ease, soldier!
- I just wanted to tell you, sir, that I’m grateful to be here! Thank you very much, sir!
- You don’t have to thank me but to your God for the situation we are in right now.
- Well, sir… for that too but the army could have just decided to make me… terminally ill or something, just to keep me out!
- Do you think so?
- …Thank you, sir! May I go now, sir?
- Before you go, may we know which your first name is?
- …Christine, sir!
- Go back to the good work, soldier! – He said while signalling the door.

She smiled, saluted him and left after he returned it. When the door closed he smiled and thought how she was totally right. His superiors wanted to arrange some kind of excuse for the outside so that she could leave the corporation without any suspicion. But he knew Tollman, he liked that soldier efficiency and wanted to keep “him” in the team. Not just for kind of inspiring others to do the same but also because all this situation was starting to amuse him in some way. Yes, she had deceived him. But as well as the entire company and that ought to be at least funny!

So she was enjoying her glory the next couple of days but time turned the whole experience much different. Since her superiors knew she was a girl, soon there were exceptions for her. And there is no need to say that she didn’t like that. It was just like if she was being tolerated there. She felt she had to show them that she could do it, that she was able to do it! That was a known feeling. Sometimes she felt like coming back to zero.

In one way or another, they started using some other measures for her assumed female limitations. In other words, it was expected less from her. There were different heights to jump at, and different lengths to run than the boys. She was always pushing those limits to the same values as men but that was really nagging her. So she decided to talk with her first sergeant about it.

In his office…
- As you were, soldier.
- May I speak freely, sir?
- Go ahead!
- Thank you, sir. With all due respect, sir, I wanted to talk to you about these different rules that are applied for me.
- Different rules?
- Haven’t you said, sir, that there would be no advantages for me in here?
- Yes, I did.
- But that’s not what’s happening, sir!
- Why’s that?
- Why don’t I have the same times to run as the others, for instance?
- Oh, that.
- And why do I get told that I don’t need to finish the tasks if I’m not feeling up to it?... Sir?!
- As a woman… you have different capabilities, right?
- That never got me from getting the same places as them before, sir! I entered here as a man and I’m supposed to be a man, right? Well I’m sorry sir but this way other people may start feeling suspicious. Don’t you think so?

He looked at her very seriously, just listening and it was hard to even guess what he was thinking about. He was showing the perfect non-revealing poker face, she thought.

- Sir, I don’t want to seem disrespectful or annoying but I have worked my butt off to get where I stand right now; I have better times than most of the guys here and now I’m being pushed back! Please sir, take those limits off! I know I can do it, sir! The hell, you know I can do it! – She said getting impatient but since she didn’t want to step over the line, she decided to draw back and wait for an answer from him.

He got up from his chair and slowly walked around the desk looking at her with his hands in is pockets. Then he slowly sat on the desk right next to her. There was silence. She somehow got disturbed by his close presence. For two seconds, confusion and a certain dizziness got hold of her thoughts.
- Are you finished… soldier? – He replied in a very relaxed way.
- Yes, sir. – Suddenly she felt some disappointment.
- Your complaint has been registered. You’re dismissed.
- But sir…!?
- You’re dismissed, soldier.
- …Yes, sir. – She finally answered and now she was very disappointed.

She left and he simply kept looking at the door. He just knew she was right.

The same day, she was in her nightly workout and he was walking by when he saw her. He stopped and just watched her for a while. One could see that she was mad at something, frustrated maybe. And he just knew why. Then she saw him and saluted him. He returned it and walked away. She thought his behaviour was strange that day. He thought that was a hell of a woman.

Next day, there was some major training where they had to run, crawl, jump walls, climb ropes and everything else.

They just started crawling under barbed wire and Thorn was right in front of her when he saw a little glass jar right by his side and decided to break it thinking of her. The others called him the dirty tricks’ guy just because things like that. She wasn’t expecting it and cut the palms of her hands but kept on going for her goals. It only got really uncomfortable, even painful, when she had to climb the rope.

Near a wall they had to climb, Thorn made her fall with a foot in front of her. She fell, rolled over, took a long look at him and stood up. He was kind of smiling and raising his head. The look in her eyes was just like fire and she kept looking at him while slowly stepping close to him. First sergeant Kane was near and guessing what was about to come. He first thought he would better get closer but then decided to let them fight and see if they would solve their differences once and for all.

They were both eager for it. As some others were getting closer to keep them apart, Kane signalled for them not to. And so it started.

Both of them seemed really good fighters, he thought. But there was also something wrong with her hands and Thorn seemed to be using this vulnerability. She managed very well with her feet though. In one way or another, they were all commenting on how good it was the fight and they seemed to be surprised with her flexibility and strength. Even Kane was making some cautious comments about it.

- She’s clever! – He said. – He’s bigger than her; she never stays close for too long.
- If he takes a hold on her, she doesn’t stand a chance. She’s gotta know that! – McCoy replied.

They fought, until they got into a point that Thorn fell with a nice kick and she got over the situation. With an elbow on his throat, using all her strength, and controlling him on the floor using her legs to do it, she was mad at him but trying to be reasonable:
- Where do you wanna get with this? Do you want me to let you win so that everybody knows you’re stronger and better than me? Is that what you want? This is so f** useless!
- I am better than you! – He said turning the situation around, punching her. – And you talk too much!

She tried to get far from him, something she got after a while, although always having to defend herself from his strikes. Then she grabbed the rope close to her for support and kicked him hard with both feet, one right after the other. He fell and didn’t move for a while. She fell on her knees, tired, took a quick look at her hands and then looked up seeing everybody looking at her, some seeing if he was ok…

- Ok, guys! The show is over, for good I hope! Everybody back to trainings! – Kane said.

He got close to her while she was standing up, preparing herself to go on also.
- Where do you think you’re going, soldier? Show me your hands.
- They’re fine, sir!
- Let me see those hands!
She showed her hands, full of cuts and still bleeding.

- You are going to the first aid station first.
- I can go on, sir. I’m fine!
- Don’t push it, Tollman. These are the same rules for everybody! Now go!
- Yes, sir. – And she went.
- Corporal, take Thorn to the first aid station too. Not this one though! Take him to the other one.
- I’m fine, sir. – He said a little bit drowsy.
- You’re going. That’s final!
And there they went.

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