I hope you have your sneaking kit on, as Aeron would call it, to enjoy this week’s scene of Boot Camp.
Thank you to Carol @ LESBIreviewed for reviewing Hindsight and loving Aeron so much. Your review gave me a big smile!
As always, please excuse the typos,
So sneaking weren’t a strength of mine.
“Thank you,” the nice lady from the kitchens said as Sissy and I held open the canteen door for her.
“You make pie,” I said to her with a grin. “Happy to be of service.”
“Definitely, I love your food,” Sissy said and tugged my arm. “We need to get back before the tutor spots us.”
The lady laughed and I headed back to the building I was supposed to be in for class training. We were meant to be extracting somebody but Sissy listened more than I did in class.
Sissy snuck through the door. “You need to—”
I sighed as another alarm-sensor went off.
“Lorelei,” my tutor snapped with a glint in her eye as she stomped into view and ripped off her mask. “You only got through the door.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” I said with a shrug and a salute as Sissy stifled her chuckle. She had been trying to teach me but I didn’t get that my hand needed to go the long way up and short way down. I kept telling her that my arms were too long and my paws were too big to manage fancy moves.
“You’ve triggered every sensor so far. You fell over a trap, broke a window, dropped your firearm on someone’s foot—and I now agree with you that it’s better you don’t have bullets—” My tutor waved her mask around. “But a CIG officer has to be able to carry out spec ops… You can’t get to your POI if you’re being surrounded by hostiles.”
I glanced at the class who were glaring at me.
I guess fitting in with folks weren’t a strength neither.
“Ma’am,” Sissy said. “Lorelei isn’t deliberately setting the sensors off and she didn’t even get near the sensor before it went off. I think it’s faulty.”
The tutor grunted. “Lorelei is faulty.”
I shrugged but her words kinda hurt. I was trying but sneaking was for short folks.
“I think the sensors are,” Sissy waved her arms kinda like a Mrs. Squirrel mood when she was low on nuts.
“Captain, why is there a problem?” Frei said in her drone as she strode into view.
Everybody saluted but I just stared lumbering out the door.
“Lorelei, where are you going?” Frei said and stood in my path.
“To the assault course,” I muttered then tried doing both long and short ways up with my hand so kinda just waved. “That’s where you’re sending me.”
“I will send you there when I’ve yelled at you first,” Frei waved at the spot in front of her.
One of the guys who disliked me smirked like he was enjoying me getting yelled at. It hurt. They heckled me when I was at breakfast and in class and anything I did was wrong or when they weren’t heckling, they just glared in groups. Sissy tried to tell me to ignore it but it was hard because I’d been free; I’d been home; I’d been in Nan’s cabin with the waterwheel churning and Renee chatting to me ‘bout how much she loved seeing the old cogs and wheels in the mill. Now, I was stuck with people who seemed to dislike me a whole lot more than the folks had in high school. It sucked.
I kept walking around her toward the door.
“Lorelei, about turn and salute,” Frei said and walked after me. “Now.”
“No,” I muttered and headed out of the door. I was sick of being made to feel bad for being different. I couldn’t help that I weren’t trained nor short nor able to sneak well nor fire a gun. I didn’t want to fire a gun, I didn’t care. I wanted to work with Renee and she could shoot better than most.
“Lorelei,” Frei spun me around by the shoulder and glared at me. “Attention.”
“Nope,” I glared back down at her. “I ain’t gonna listen to you heckling my butt when I don’t have to.”
“You want to quit?” she smiled and as she lowered her arm, her thumb grazed the skin on my arm.
Renee needs help and she won’t listen. I need her to listen. She’s been through enough. I should have seen her retired. Why did I listen to my heart?
She can’t see let alone shoot… she’s been through enough… I can’t lose her like Suz.
Frei looked at her hand as I rubbed my stinging arm. I knew Renee couldn’t see peripherally but she could see real good in front of her; she’d been in pain too… a lot of pain… she had a limp that she tried to disguise but I felt the twinge from her.
“You have far too much static,” she muttered but then narrowed her eyes at me. “Are you quitting?”
Renee had been hurt in the storm trying to help me. Sam had run her from the road… couldn’t have been then ‘cause she’d lost her peripheral sight when I met her in Serenity.
“Lorelei, did you deactivate your own sensors?” Frei said as most of the class sniggered.
I was too worried about Renee to care. Frei was saying that she’d been through enough. Should have been retired…
I grabbed her hand.
“You need to come down off there, Renee.” Frei was being gentle, considering.
So she was drunk, it was warm and she didn’t need her clothes. Nope. She just needed to prove to herself she could do the assault course. “Busy.”
“I can see but you’ll hurt yourself.” Frei stared up at her as she hung from the monkey bars.
She could pull herself about without a problem, walking was the hard bit. “Fine.”
“Not even close.” Frei scowled up at her. Renee turned so she couldn’t see. No peripheral vision. No more flying. No more being a soldier. She was probably going to get retired anyway.
“You want me to carry you?” Frei muttered.
Renee burst into laughter, then tears, then forgot she needed to hold on not to fall. Frei caught her before she clattered to the ground.
“Yes.” Frei hoisted her up, careful and considerate in the way she carried her, turning her inwards to stop anyone from seeing. Wasn’t like she was worth looking at anymore so she didn’t know why, instead she slumped into her shoulder. Her still healing body screamed from trying to do too much. She didn’t care.
“Lorelei, do you wish to be placed in the prison?” Frei said it in a cold tone but she was too busy searching my eyes to be in full scary mode.
“No, I want to do the assault course then try the training again, Ma’am,” I shot back at her and even managed to salute. I didn’t know who had hurt Renee that bad or why she’d been in tears but I didn’t like it enough my stomach ached.
“Lorelei, I’d be happier if you quit,” Frei said like she was daring me to argue.
“I ain’t quitting, Ma’am,” I said fixing on her eyes.
The class groaned.
“An’ I didn’t set off the sensor,” I said and folded my arms. I didn’t care that I should be standing to attention cause I was going to be sleeping on the assault course by the glint in Frei’s icy blues. “Check your display.”
Frei didn’t and held my gaze. “I know you did not set off the sensor.”
“Then why am I getting heckled?” I threw my hands in the air.
“Because you cannot salute,” Frei said in her unemotional tone and turned to the tutor. “Why did the sensor sound?”
The tutor waved at me. “Lorelei set it off, Ma’am.”
“I did not,” I shot back at her. “Chump over there did.”
I pointed to the guy who had been mean to me since we met in the line for uniforms. I didn’t even know his name because I seemed to be the only recruit who got called by their name and the only recruit who got heckled for sucking at saluting.
“I wouldn’t set of the sensor,” he said with a smug grin.
“You did.” Frei fixed on him. “You also spoke without my consent. Move.”
He saluted then sprinted off, with a mean glare at me on the way past.
“She’s set off all of them,” the tutor muttered. “I was sure she had set of this sensor.”
“Lorelei hasn’t set off one. In fact, she is disabling them.” Frei peered at me. “Somehow.”
I shrugged. “Static?”
“Either way,” Frei said and put her hands on her hips, drawing her jacket back like wings. “You passed the training, move.”
I stared at her. “How?”
Frei folded her arms. “I am in charge, why are you questioning me?”
“Cause it’s good to learn?” I shrugged. I was going to take my stuff and live on the assault course.
“You let the POI out through the door and showed her to the canteen.” Frei’s eyes twinkled but her face stayed stoic. “Fitzpatrick did not notice you.”
“You mean the nice lady from the kitchen?” I smiled. She made me lots of great food and made sure I got pie. “She said she needed to head back to work.”
Frei nodded. “And you disabled every camera and sensor you passed and you and Marney delivered your POI to the extraction point.”
“Oh,” I said to Sissy who raised her eyebrows at me. “We snuck.”
Sissy nodded. “We did.”
“And so you sneak to the canteen for food,” Frei said to us then glared at the rest of the class. “While you run the assault course, move.”
The class marched off muttering and I turned to head to the canteen.
“Lorelei,” Frei snapped.
“Yup, Ma’am?” I asked and saluted; well, Sissy grabbed my hand and saluted for me.
I met Frei’s icy blues which scoured me. I kind of got the feeling that she knew I’d seen her memory of Renee.
“Enjoy your pie,” she shot at me and strode off.
I looked to Sissy who let out a wheeze.
“Good that our POI is a great cook, huh?” She said and trudged alongside me. “And that you can disable sensors.”
“I kinda have a… difficult relationship with electrics.” I smiled over at the class all puffing their way around the course. Sissy and me had already done five circuits of it in the morning because I dropped my firearm.
“I know, we haven’t had working electrics in our room since you fell into the light switch,” she said and trotted along as I stretched out my legs. “But it gets us food.”
“Great food,” I said as we headed into the canteen and strolled up to the counter where the nice kitchen lady had our food ready.
I slowed as a strange feeling washed over me and I looked at a chair over in the corner where senior staff sat. It was Renee’s chair and I could see her… in my head… sitting there with a medal in her hand, a blank look in her eyes, and pain all through her.
I wasn’t sure how she got hurt but I wanted to make sure I got through training so she could see how much her help meant. I glanced over at Frei who strode in to salutes. Hmmm. She might have seemed all kinds of icy but she had been kind and caring to Renee when she needed somebody.
I turned to the counter as Sissy cheered as our food was handed over. Whatever had happened to Renee, Frei had felt it too. Who knew, Frankenfrei had a soft side?
I shook it off and took my pie. Sneaking weren’t a strength but blowing electrics and eating pie sure was.