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4:30 am Monday morning the silence of the dorm room was shattered by the sound of an alarm clock. Jolene covered her head with her pillow while releasing a long string of curse words to no one specific. Nadia hit the alarm and slid her feet into her shower shoes at the foot of her bed.
“Get up crazy, we have formation in thirty minutes,” she grumbled towards Jolene’s bed. Her answer came in the form of more profanity and a thrown pillow.
She ignored the tirade and headed toward the showers. The hot water was hit and miss and today she was in for a cold one. It woke her up instantly, although she’d rather stand under a hot shower and take 15 minutes to wake up than to ever take a cold shower. She poured shampoo over her head and used it to wash quickly. She was not in any mood to stay in the ice water a second longer. Annoyed she rinsed and jumped out, pulling her towel around her body as she shivered.
She padded back down the hallway to her room as Jolene was coming out of it. She was wiping sleep from her eyes and grumbling.
“There’s no hot water,” Nadia warned.
“Of course not,” Jolene said annoyed.
Nadia listened to the string of curses all the way down to the showers and laughed as she shut the door to their room. Once inside she slid into her uniform while she watched herself in the mirror. Her dark brown hair fell down the middle of her back and the ice water droplets in it were sliding down her shoulders. Her hazel eyes picked up the green in her uniform and sparkled back at her. She was ready to start her first day of training. Her nerves were a little shaky as she turned to look over her shoulder at the back of her uniform. Her curves nearly disappeared under the camouflage. She pulled her hair up into a bun, grabbed her hat, flashlight, and backpack, took one last look in the mirror and headed out. She would have to catch up with Jolene later, there was no way she would be late to their first formation.
As she headed out into the dark of early morning she noticed the hundreds of flashlights moving toward the same spot on the center of the drill pad. They gave off a creepy glow as the students marched, holding them toward the ground. They were mandatory for formations before the sun had risen.
Nadia found her squad and fell in line. In moments they would be sized up according to their height, but before Nadia had the chance to guess where she would fit in another Red Rope was approaching her. What was the deal with these red ropes? This one was a very attractive guy named Airman Andrews. He smiled at her as he approached and asked her name.
“Airman Arshan,” she told him. She could feel her cheeks redden she was glad it was still dark outside.
“Well Airman Arshan, I need you to be my flight’s guide. Can you do that every day as we march to school?”
Being the guide meant it would be up to her to maintain the speed as the first person in the flight. She would walk in front of the flight, keep the pace and distance from the flight in front of them without having anyone to march beside her to check her steps against. She had carried the flag as the guide in Basic Training, so she was used to this. They normally tried to pick females to be the guide because they were shorter it kept the steps from being too long for the entire flight. Since the tallest people were all up front it made sense for them to follow someone much shorter than them.
“That’s not a problem, I can lead the flight to school,” she said to him.
“Good, I will be your flight leader so just let me know if you need anything,” he responded.
She dropped into formation at the head of the flight. It was nice have a position that would not have to size up with the rest of the flight every morning. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Jolene run across the drill pad and fall into the back of their formation. Her hair was still down and she was trying desperately to pin it up and under her hat. Nadia could sense it coming, and within seconds three Red Ropes were on Jolene. In her face they were demanding to know why she was late to their formation. They dropped her to the ground for push up after push up. Nadia sighed, grateful not be the target and bummed out for her friend all at the same time.
When they were done having their fun with Jolene’s push ups the Red Ropes regained control of the spectators and began calling cadence for the march to school. It was a two and a half mile march before the flight approached their school. The sun had begun to break through the chilly October morning and the fog began to escape back into its hiding spots. Alley Hall stood in front of them, a giant building made of cinder block. Not a single sign of décor had ever been used to even attempt to make this building attractive.
Red Rope Andrews called the flight to a halt and then told them to fall out. Students began heading into the building to find their classrooms. As Nadia walked through the giant double doors she realized the inside of the building looked an awful lot like the outside. The walls were flat white cinder block, the corridors seemed to stretch forever, the florescent lights flickered as if they may go out at any moment. She found her name on the very first door she came to under the class description; Block One, Basic Electronic Principles. Jolene was the only other girl in the class along with fourteen guys.