The obstacles stretched before me like an unending playground. Spikes, pits, climbing bars, robes, tall towers, and screaming instructors occupied the one mile long test. 

"GO!" An instructor snarled at the another girl and I. The girl squeaked loudly and took off running, while I paced myself, analysing the course and making my way through at a more decisive speed. First was a tall wall that we hand to jump upon, push off and leap over. The wall had to be at least nine to ten feet tall, dominating over every recruit that tried.

"MOVE! ROLL OVER THE TOP AND KEEP RUNNING YOU LAZY SHITS!" another instructor hollered. I sprinted, launching off my right foot and pushing off the wall to the top. Just as my momentum pushed my forward, I rolled over the top of the steel wall and hit the ground on the other side, running. Next came the large blocks of stone that resembled large rocks. The picture of stepping stones immediately came to mind, twenty of them. As I started across, I increased my pace, pulling ahead of the other recruit. Captain Douglas freaked.

"IF YOU LET HER AHEAD. OF YOU THAT MEANS SHE'S BETTER, WHICH MEANS IN A COMBAT SITUATION YOUR DEAD!" Before the girl could react, Douglas tackled her to the ground, pinning her throat under his heavy combat boot. Instead of finishing the course I turned. I knew the rules of the game, it was just like what the Drill Instructors had done to us in Marine Corps boot camp. Divide and Conquer. If one of us was separated from the others they became a constant target, we were taught to defend every brother or sister at our side, whether you liked them or not. I was behind Douglas as I approached, he had to know I was there but it was now or never. With reactions alien to me, I locked my arms around his neck and then interlocked them, a technique known as Hadaka Jime. With my grip tightening around the captains neck I could hear a loud gasp from the recruit on the ground, at least I distracted him

"Bad move," the captain growled, his foot shifting behind mind and pulling it out from under me. I didn't let go as we fell to the ground. In mid air, the captain broke the choke hold and landed a heavy kick to my gut. The sudden rush of air from my lungs caused me to gasp aloud, my head hit the concrete ground and stars sparkled in my eyes. Douglas had drawn his weapon and pushed it in between my jaws, grinning as he stared me down. My face was calm, I just blinked and waited making no move to stop him. Then just like that it was over, Douglas withdrew his weapon and gave a sharp kick to my ribs creating a concussive snap, a broken rib.  

"I applaud your audacity and comradeship, Sgt. Desoto but I'm stronger, faster, and better trained." A smile spread across his face, the other instructors redirecting their attention to reaming out the recruits. "You're still just a recruit and expendable as a piece of garbage. Clear?" 

"Yes Sir," I sounded off, standing up. They'll have me do this damned course with a broken rib. Captain Douglas looked away and opened his mouth to speak but a door opened to our left. Another captain stepped through, a recruit following behind him. The two captains exchanged a few quick words before Douglas turned to the new kid. 

"So your the rebellious bastard from the CIA. Since you decided skip our briefing and come late to training I ought to run you through my course a few good times." Douglas shook his head. "But you'd enjoy that too much. Instead you get to play babysitter. Sgt. Desoto, get over here." I pressed a hand against my rib as I jogged over to the two. "To the medical bay, Desoto, he is to stay with you at all times. I don't care if you have to take a piss, he stays with you. Get out of my sight." 

The CIA spook and I turned, leaving through the door and walked down the painfully white hallway. 

"You're a Sgt. right?" he eventually asked, we neared the medical wing.

"Yea," I said quietly.

"Name's Brandworth and from that shit you pulled with Douglas, I think your trustworthy enough. What's you name?" 

"Desoto." I remarked, wincing as the rib shifted in my side. Brandworth fell silent in thought then nodded. 

"I've got an hunch but I need someone I can trust, I'm talking life or death." His tone was icy and hushed. We stopped before the Medical door, he looked my in the eyes with no expression upon his face. I gave a quick nodded, his eyes flickered and I pushed open the door. What the hell is he plotting?

The End

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