Thank you for all the lovely birthday messages. I had a lovely day which was great as we’d travelled to London the day before to see a specialist. Thankfully, that specialist seems to know what might be affecting me and wants to help so that was a present in itself.
Anyway, I’ll let you enjoy Aeron settling into Boot Camp!
As always, please excuse the typos,
Boot Camp Scene 2
I was stuck in a cell again but I was sure that my old cell in Serenity was more cheery and had more room. It weren’t easy fitting my frame inside short folks’ rooms as it was but I was stuck with a bed that most mini-people would find small and there was only enough room for my ankles between the two beds.
Yup, I had a cellmate and she didn’t look too pleased to be stuck with me. She was small enough to fit in the bed but she had sat on it, legs tucked up, staring at me as I tried to figure out how to shove the clothes in bags into the short folks’ wardrobe.
“You were in the army?” the girl asked with a confused look in her dark brown eyes.
“Nope,” I mumbled while trying to make the bag of clothes fit standing up. They sort of did but then crumpled into a heap when I let go.
“I was in the army,” the girl said with a proud tone, her red hair curly but with blonde streaks. “I didn’t go to West Point but I did okay.”
I peered over my shoulder and hit her wardrobe with my bicep as I did so. “Guess they like army folks here. My friend Renee was in the army too.”
“You know someone in the Criminal Investigations Group?” She asked, eyes wide.
“Yup,” I said, peeking in her wardrobe. Her clothes were out of bags and were all standing up like she’d fixed them together. “Lilia left to crawl home and I had to replace her but Renee said I just got to get through boot camp and then I can do protection stuff with her.”
The girl leaned forward, skin nearly as pale as Frei’s catching the bright sunlight through the small window between our beds. “Renee… as in Commander Renee Black?” She opened her eyes wider and her mouth to boot.
“You know Renee?” I turned and grinned. “She got me out of a pickle.”
“Woah…” The girl held up her hands, blinking at me. “You got rescued by Commander Black?” She waved her hands about. “You’re kidding, right?”
“No, she got me out of the institution an’ then rescued my butt… an’ then my mom… Lilia…” I grunted and pursed my lips. She was settling in at the cabin with a nice big room and I had to live in a small folks room with clothes that didn’t stand up. “She said I had to join CIG ‘cause she could go home and look after my Dad and sisters then.”
The girl cocked her head then her small mouth fell open enough I swore it was gonna fall off the bed. “Lilia Lorelei?” She pulled out something with a glossy cover and ‘Criminal Investigations Group Briefing Paper’ embossed on it. “This lady?”
I nodded, not bothering to look at the picture of my mom. “Ain’t sure she’s a lady.” I lifted up my clothes again. “An’ I ain’t sure how I’m supposed to keep the clothes from getting wrinkles if they won’t stand up.”
The girl clambered off her bed and stood next to me. She barely made it to my midriff. She had to lean back to meet my eyes and I had to hunch to see hers.
“You haven’t put them on the hangers,” she said with a confused look on her face.
“I ain’t sure what they are.” I shrugged as she blinked a few times.
“You don’t know what a hanger is?” She reached in and pulled something metal from inside. “One of these?”
I shook my head. “We had shelves in Serenity, my step-mom had shelves… Nan had shelves.” I waved at the weird contraption in her hand. “Where are the shelves?”
“You can’t put uniforms like this on a shelf, it’ll crease.” She pulled clothes from the bag and tucked the hanger inside the collars. “You didn’t have uniforms or nice clothes… you know… like dresses?”
“You think I’d fit in a dress?” I folded my arms and knocked her wardrobe into the wall.
She stared at the wardrobe. “I was being polite… but… you don’t look like you’d enjoy dresses.” She looked down at my feet. “And you don’t need heels.”
I stared down at her and my feet too. “I don’t think I need to be taller.”
She chuckled. “I have to wear heels and even in heels I don’t make average height.” She sighed. “I scraped in because someone pulled out.”
“Pulled out of what?” I asked, happy to let her put the contraptions in my clothes.
“Boot camp,” she said and handed my clothes with contraptions to me. “Put the hook over the pole.”
“You wanted to share a cell?” I fiddled with the pole but the hook was small and the wardrobe was narrow and my paws were too big.
“It’s bigger than the one I had in the army.” She smiled up at me as she stuck more contraptions in clothes. “I had to share a dorm with twenty of us in one room.” She blew out a breath. “A lot of girls in my intake took the army over prison.” She pulled her mouth to the side. “They were… not very friendly.”
I fiddled with the hook but it weren’t working so I held the pole. “I get that. We had communal showers and there were some who just wanted to be mean.”
The girl nodded, her curly hair bouncing with the motion. “I don’t get why people have to be mean.”
“Me neither.” I tried to hook the contraption over and the pole and top it was attached to broke and dropped into the bottom of the cupboard. “An’ I don’t get why I can’t have shelves.”
The girl nibbled her lip. “Do you really know Commander Black?”
I nodded. “Well, I don’t know her as much as I’d like. She rescued my butt, twice. She was gonna teach us boot camp stuff but Frei kinda heckled.”
“General Frei?” The girl stared at me, dark brown eyes intense.
I shrugged. “The one with spikey hair and icy eyes?”
The girl nodded and her hair bounced. “She is in charge. I’ve heard she’s… mean.”
“Mean folks in charge, cells, and uniforms… kinda like Serenity,” I mumbled as the girl tried to pick up my uniforms.
“Was Serenity where you were based?” the girl asked as I tried to pick up the top the pole was attached to with all the split fake wood and screws.
“No, I got sent there.” I sighed. “It was a place for insane folks who were mean.” I stared at the screws. Who made a wardrobe where the top was inset into the sides? “I kinda thought I was mean.”
“You thought?” the girl asked but not in a wary tone like I expected her too. She had a kind energy, didn’t think she was good enough to be in boot camp, but really wanted to meet Renee.
“I’m like my mom, kinda.” I spotted a useful splinter, molded it into shape, and pulled out the screws in the top. I slapped it onto the top of the sides and used the splinter to wind the screws in. “I don’t know if you know ‘bout her.”
The girl shook her head. “I just know she was in charge and then became an advisor.” The girl handed me my clothes and I fiddled to try and hook the contraption onto the pole.
How did I explain?
“I kinda am good at…” What did Renee explain it as to the guys who stuck blindfolds on me when I left home. “Advanced tactics and logistical planning.”
I weren’t sure what they were but the girl looked impressed.
“I was in logistics. I wanted to be in the command center originally, you know providing intelligence but I didn’t have good enough grades in high school.” She sighed and brushed over the plastic covers on my clothes. “Then I read about Commander Black in an old article. You know, before she went MIA?”
The girl looked kinda sad ‘bout it.
“She ain’t gone nowhere, she just got heckled by Frei,” I said with my best smile.
The girl dipped her red eyebrows. “She went missing years ago,” she said and eyed me. “There was a big search for her but they think she was killed on an assignment.”
I frowned. “Renee?” I shook my head. “I only just saw her.”
The girl cocked her head then nodded as though she was just being polite. “I’m sure you did.”
I thought ‘bout protesting but I knew the look. Folks often gave me that look when I said I’d been in Serenity. “Anyhow, thanks for helping with the contraptions.”
The girl nodded in that way again. “I’m Sissy,” she said with a friendly grin. “Sissy Marney.”
“Aeron,” I said as my clothes stood to attention in the wardrobe like hers did. “Lorelei.”
She peered around me and checked the name tags on my uniform then raised her eyebrows. “You really are a Lorelei.”
I nodded. “You really are a Marney, huh?”
She chuckled. “Yes, we’re all this short.”
“I ain’t sure why I’m this tall but I can carry heavy stuff?” I smiled at her and she burst into laughter. “And fix shelves that ain’t built right.”
“And I can do hangers.” She held up her hand. “We’re sooo what the Criminal Investigations Group needs.”
I high-fived her and chuckled. Cell or not, I guess I’d made a buddy even if she thought Renee was MIA. Didn’t get why but when I saw her, I was gonna tell her how Sissy was excited she was in CIG. Renee would like that. She liked CIG too.
Guess Serenity wasn’t the only place that had crazy folks, huh?