Red TeamMature

Pax, a turian with purple colony tattoos, became Arkadios' bunk mate after arrival day. Pax was...a lot of things. Loud. Nosy. Headstrong. But he was loyal and took his orders with tongue in cheek. During their second or third training scenario with false weapons, Pax was supposed to be assigned as squad leader for the practice session. Well, to be more exact, Arkadios expected him to be squad leader. He had the qualities of a leader; he was fearless during their mock battles and obedient to the instructors, but when the drill sergeant turned his head towards Arkadios, the quiet and calculative fledgling sat tensely still.

“Trainee Sol.” The turian roared as he always did.

Arkadios' heart almost stopped. “Sir!” he answered, shooting up from his seat.

“You'll be leading the Red Team today. Is that understood?”Wait, what?his thoughts screamed. Thankfully, turian expressions weren't as easy to ready as those of a human or an asari were, but the drill sergeant could practically smell the fear coursing through Arkadios.

He stuttered, a nervous habit he thought he tamed after a week of training. “I...uh...Say again, sir?” Pax was snickering somewhere in the background, he just knew it.

The drill sergeant wasn't all to amused with Arkadios, though. “Listen here you stuttering little worm, unless I've become tongue-tied, you damn well know what I said. Now, am I understood, Sol?!”

The young turian nodded, wide-eyed and nearly shaking in his boots.Nearly.

Once the session started Arkadios was quick to make Pax point-man, keeping Sula and Remus watching his flanks. Sula had a silver tongue and Remus wasn't very fond of Arkadios, but the two siblings kept their mouths shut as they moved through the training field, slowly but carefully. The rest of the recruits in Red Team were pressed together in a bulk, watching each others' backs as their squad leader directed them through the training grounds. The other teams were moving faster, but they were spread out and unorganized. At any moment one of them would pop up from behind a structure, trying to take down someone, but failing quickly as Sula and Remus spotted them.

Nearing the end of the session, they'd only lost five men. That wasn't a total failure considering they managed to take down a rival squad leader, therefore collapsing the Yellow Team's battle strategy (if they had one; Arkadios could see they were only following their point man and trying not to get shoot by rubber bullets). After the alarm rang, signally for all teams to stop shooting and exit the training field, each recruit made their way to the showers, and later the mess hall.

At the mess hall, hovering over all of them was the score board. When Arkadios first landed his eyes on the score board on his first day at the facility, he knew it was judging each and every recruit. Not literally, of course, but landing high on the score board meant a lot to a turian and his squad.

Each team was given a ranking after a completed scenario, adding into their over-all score. Red Team often shifted between third or fourth place depending on their mark from their most recent training session, with Yellow Team remaining as the crowning number one and Green Team in second. Today was a little different, to say the least.

“What the hell?” Pax turned his head and glanced at Arkadios, who was staring up at the score board completely agape, mandibles twitching ever so slightly. “What, new scores come in?” Pax asked, shifting to gaze up at the screen.

In bright, orange letters was their squad's name along with others:

1ST: YELLOW TEAM

2ND: RED TEAM

3RD: GREEN TEAM

4TH: BLUE TEAM

5TH: VIOLET TEAM

Pax blinked, his surprise as evident as Arkadios'. “Second place? What the sh-”

“Hey, Remus, come here and see this!” shouted Sula, sitting next to Arkadios. Remus moved slowly to their table, glancing up at the score board and smirking the only way a turian could. The blue-tattooed recruit gripped Arkadios' shoulder and chuckled. “Well, look at that, thanks to Arki over here we placed second. Bumped us all the way from fourth place too.”

Arkadios muttered something and shook him off. “A simple “Thanks” would've sufficed, Remus.”

Sula laughed, the sound light and cheery. “Yeah, be grateful, brother.” she said. “If you led the team, we might've been knocked off the list altogether.”

“Point taken.” Remus snorted, taking his seat next to his sister.

Pax chuckled, playfully shoving Arkadios. He said, “Nicely done, Sol. You are actually living up to your family name.”

The turian sighed, hiding his head behind his hand. “Thank you, Pax, but you're missing the point. I wasn't in shock about our damn score.”

“There was a point to miss?”

“Yes,” Arkadios muttered. He gestured to the table next to theirs. The squad leader of Yellow Team, the girl from several days before, was sitting there and looking absolutely venomous up at the new rankings. Maybe she didn't like competition; maybe she didn't like being taken down by Arkadios' squad as Blue Team did at the last training session; or maybe she really didn't like Arkadios after their conversation – if you could refer to it as such – where he basically prodded into her personal life several seconds after saying hello.

“Oh. That's uh, Solona Vyrnnus right?”

Arkadios nodded at Pax. “Correct.”

Sula shook her head at the mention of the girl's name. “Every time I see her I want to...what's that human expression? Oh, yes; “gag myself”.”

“Why would humans want do that? Why would you?”

“It's anexpression, Remus, humans don't actually gag themselves for the sake of gagging themselves.” His sister explained. Sula was the more curious of the two, her wonder usually directed at other species. Clearly Remus didn't share that interest.

Arkadios was only half-listening to the conversation passing around him. In his usual silence, he was sinking in shame. After the Solona-girl ran off after exchanging a few sentences with him, he began to remember why he spoke so little amongst people he didn't know. His shyness and aloofness kept him distant from anyone outside of Red Team, something Pax pointed out to the rest. It wasn't as though Arkadios disliked people, it was simply because his humility got the better of him during conversations and he often managed to make himself the butt of someone else's joke or the catalyst in a chat turned embarrassing.At least when I don't speak, I manage to keep myself in line,he thought in disdain.

The drill sergeant had pointed out to him, on more than one occasion, that while he wasn't a good talker, he was a quick thinker. Why he was made squad leader for the last training session, though, was beyond him if his words came out scrambled under pressure.

“So, what's wrong between you and her?” Sula asked, trying to shift the conversation away from the pretty turian on Blue Team that Pax and Remus were so fond of.

“Um, I believe I “put my foot in my mouth”, or something similar to that.” he said, shrugging hopelessly.

Remus frowned. “Is that another human expression? You need to stop spending so much time with Sula; she's beginning to rub off on you.” A sharp punch to the shoulder from his sister was his award. “Shut up, Remus.” she hissed.

Arkadios sighed again, shaking his head. He got up and left the bickering siblings and a laughing Pax. Tomorrow he'd be going through his first examination of the mouth and begin his first class in chemical structures and explosives, along with fifteen other chosen recruits. It was a very “hush-hush” event for him, being that his superiors didn't want to draw attention to the class until a few months later into their training in order to pick out the brighter bunch. This would mean his sessions with Red Team would become less frequent, likely re-establishing Pax as squad leader for the mock battles. Arkadios wasn't too upset by this; it meant he wouldn't be put on the spot as he was today, during the training scenario.

He left mess hall without as little as a goodbye and returned to his quarters to prepare for tomorrow's examination.

The End

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