Chapter 2, On TourMature

Chapter Two

On Tour

June 25th 2140, Top secret training facility on the Roman I space station

4:02 P.M.

            Nakahara spoke over everyone in the facility standing in front of him. "You are currently standing on the landing in front of the blast door, which is the main entrance to this facility. There is one other entrance that is a stairwell, leading to a watchtower built on a small plateau directly above us. We'll see the tower in a moment. Some things you should know first. The blast door behind you will be closed every night at the precise moment of the sun's disappearance below the station's horizon, and will not reopen unless my authorization is given. Also, there will be no firing of any firearms in this chamber, whatsoever. Live fire training will be done outside and only after bulletproof shielding panels have been set up around the perimeter of the training area. Any other live fire training will be done inside only specifically designated buildings."

            Nakahara pointed behind him with his thumb, "the elevated platform you see behind me is the primary landing pad. There is a secondary pad on top of the armory to your right," Nakahara pointed to his left at a building placed against the center of the wall of the chamber. "The buildings behind you in the corners of the chamber by the blast door, are cafeterias and mess halls. On top of them you can tell, there are machine gun nests in case this chamber is ever infiltrated by hostile insurgents. However, that is very unlikely of course. Let's take a look inside one right now."

            Everyone walked around one of the mess halls on the ground floor in the corner near the blast door. A few checked out the machine gun nest on the third floor, and the second floor was just an area for more storage. After they were familiar with the sub-building, they entered the ground floor of the chamber once more. Nakahara addressed them again.

            "As you can see, there is also a catwalk that runs along outer edges of this chamber," Nakahara motioned to a catwalk that formed a wide 'U' shape from the machine gun nest on one side of the blast door, around the back of the chamber to the opposite machine gun nest next to the blast door.  "Every sub-building is linked to the catwalk as well. Let's take a look inside the watch tower now. Follow me."

            Nakahara walked past a small garage housing a Cobra class Transport Vehicle. Dale and Connor glanced at the CTV, then looked at each other and nodded approvingly. They were taken up a staircase dug in to the mountain beside the chamber. It wasn't long before they were in the watch tower, for only approximately thirty meters of dirt was between the roof of the chamber and the top of a plateau directly above.

            They all admired the view across the landscape, and were even high enough to spot the edge of the space station's ring far in the distance. At the same time however, they were eager to get out of the tower, for it was not very large and was very crowded with all of them inside at the same time. John knew he'd be spending a lot of time up here during his free time.

            "Let's move back in to the facility now gentlemen," Nakahara urged them back downstairs. They continued around the U shape of the chamber. Nakahara motioned to another sub-building in the corner of the chamber as they walked by it. "That building is the recreation building. I'll let you all explore that during your free time." They kept moving until they reached the back of the chamber, farthest away from the blast door. The largest sub-building ran almost the entire length of the back wall.

            "This is the barrack sub-building. We all will sleep in here. No one gets special accommodations. The building is split in to two sections for men, and women. After the tour, I will hand out nametags for you to insert in a placeholder next to your bedding of choice. It isn't very large living space in there, but it's enough to keep your personal items and hygienic supplies close. There are four bathrooms on each of the three floors with eight showers, eight toilets, and eight sinks each. It should be enough to keep clean without much fuss. Now let's move on to the armory."

            In the other corner of the chamber, opposite of the recreation sub-building, was an open corner for more storage. Large crates and boxes and pallets with all sorts of supplies were stacked in the corner. On the side of the chamber, opposite the stairway to the tower, was the armory. Nakahara led them all inside. Vapor Team, the rookies, and many other soldiers couldn't help but smile at the spectacle of raw firepower in front of them.

            All of the latest models of all kinds of weaponry hung on wall racks and lay on tables all around the armory. Carbines, rifles, pistols, shotguns, sub-machine guns, heavy handheld machine turrets, rocket launchers, anti tank and anti air missile launchers, portable machine turrets, knives, grenades, mines, explosives, and plenty of other gadgets. Even a few modified Marksman Rifles, able to be fired from anybody's hand, were there to be tested by the use of non-Designated Marksmen personnel. Lastly, there were some weapon models that not even Vapor Team recognized. They would find out what they did soon enough, of course.

            "Short and sweet tour. You already know that the other sub-building next to the blast door is another mess hall, so this ends the tour of the main facility. Any questions?" Nakahara asked them.

            One of the science team members raised his hand and asked, "Where will we be going to do our study and research?"

            "Our chief team leaders will show you new arrivals where you will all be working. This chamber is merely the hub for where we meet before heading elsewhere on the training grounds to train, work, or research," Nakahara answered. "If you are unsure who your team leader is, come see me." No one had any further questions at the time. "If no one has any more questions, you are all free to go. Before you do however, be sure to take your nametag off this table to put in the barrack," Nakahara waved his hand at a table next to him that had thin slips of paper on it, each with a different base member's name on them. "Settle in men and do any last minute personal business. Tomorrow, we all get straight to work. This is no vacation."

            Vapor Team and the rookies looked on the table and found eight slips of paper that merely had 'Vapor Team' printed on them, not their actual names. They headed to barracks. Victoria and Margaret were about to break off and go to the women's section of the barrack, but Connor and Dale stopped them.

            "No, come with us," Connor told them.

            "But Sergeant Nakahara said men and women sleep separately?" Margaret questioned.

            "We already spoke with him about it," Dale informed her.

            "He knows you four are going to be kept under a strict 'mentor and apprentice' style training. That requires us all to be on the same schedule, and have our training conducted with as few differing variables as possible," Connor told them.

            They found a bedding room and placed their nametag slips in the holders next to the door. The bedding room had four double bunk beds, making four beds on each side of the room. Light tan bed sheets were placed over the mattresses, along with a single heavier dark green blanket. There were two nightstands by each double bunk for personal storage. The only other notable feature in the room was an analog clock hanging high in the center of the wall opposite of the door.

            "Which side do you want sirs?" Brian asked Vapor Team.

            Dale chuckled and replied, "You guys are about to go through hell on earth, or space station at least. I think it's only fair you guys get the choice with where you sleep." The rookies picked a side. Brian and Viktor let the girls sleep on the bottom beds. Connor and Arden picked a bunk together. John and Dale took the other. They found themselves with beds directly opposite of their rookies.

            "Okay rookies, it's now 5:35 P.M. You have the rest of the afternoon for free time," John addressed them. "Use it as you see fit. We're going to get some last minute IBST prep done."

            "Meet back here at 9:00 P.M." Arden ordered the rookies. Vapor Team laid their belongings on their beds. They would deal with personalization later. John, Arden, and Dale exited the room. Connor was almost out as well, but Margaret stopped him.

            "Uh, sir. Smoke?" Margaret addressed Connor nervously.

            "Yes, Dust?" Connor turned to face her.

            "I'm not comfortable with sleeping in the men's section of the barrack."

            "I understand," Connor nodded. "I'm afraid I can't do much to change that," he continued as he turned to exit the room. He motioned Margaret to follow him as he walked. "Speak your mind, Dust. Is it us that make you nervous? Or is it Steam and Cloud?"

            "No sir, I'm not so worried about you or them as much as I am with the rest of the soldiers in the barrack. I know Steam and Cloud won't try anything with you four sleeping right beside us, and I kinda figured you guys won't try anything, being our instructors and all."

            "I get where you're coming from," Connor said understandingly. They exited the barrack and were in the facility chamber now. Connor stopped again and faced her once more. "I give you my solemn promise however, that me and the rest of Vapor will do everything we can to keep you out the way of abuse. If Steam or Cloud try abusing you two, they're kicked off the station instantly, court martialed, and discharged. Same thing with any other personnel member here."

            "Okay sir, I suppose I can manage," Margaret closed her concern.

            "We'll keep the door locked, and anybody who gets remotely close to you, or even gets inside the room for that matter, will be dealt with accordingly," Connor assured her.

            "Thank you sir. See you at nine," Margaret saluted him. Connor saluted back quickly, then jogged to catch up with the rest of Vapor Team. Margaret stood, staring at Vapor Team thoughtfully.

            "Wanna grab something to eat?" Victoria asked abruptly from right behind her. The voice made Margaret jump slightly as it interrupted her thoughts.

            "Uh, sure, sounds good," Margaret replied with a smile. They went to mess hall and ate.


            Back in their bedding room, Viktor and Brian were personalizing their living space. It didn't take Viktor long. He only had hygiene supplies, a calendar, clock, and a couple of toy trinkets he laid on a little ledge against the wall next to his bed. One of the trinkets was a model war tank. The other looked like a digital picture frame. No image was displayed though. Brian on the other hand, had pictures of what Viktor assumed was his girlfriend, as well as a clock, a few trinkets of his own, hygiene supplies and a Rubik's cube. Viktor turned and headed toward the door.

            "Where ya goin'?" Brian asked.

            "Armory," Viktor answered bluntly. Brian shrugged and climbed on to his bed and messed with his Rubik's cube.


8:55 P.M.

            Margaret and Victoria entered their bedding room laughing. Vapor Team turned their gazes toward them for second, then they glanced at the clock on the wall. Vapor Team finally exchanged glances with each other, but said nothing. Brian was sitting on his bed with his legs dangling off of the side. Viktor sat on his bed with his back against his bed pillow that he propped up for support. He was reading a book titled "A Grunt's Perspective of The Great Civil War". The author was Luther Willis.

            "Welcome back," Brian remarked to end the slightly awkward silence.

            "Hey," Victoria rebutted. The girls made their way to their beds and sat down, facing Vapor Team. Arden then shut the door to the room and locked it.

            "We lights out at midnight," John told the rookies. "Though I suggest you all lights out much earlier than that."

            Vapor Team finally personalized their living space. Each of them had hygiene supplies, a clock, calendar, and pocket knife. Connor had a picture of his late girlfriend and miniature music player as well. Dale had a lighter and a box of cigars. John had two pictures, one of his family, and the other was a picture of him in hunting gear in the middle of a wood, displaying the largest deer he's ever hunted to the camera. Arden had a lighter, box of cigars, and two separate pictures of his parents, one of his mom and the other his dad.

            Margaret and Victoria placed their hygiene supplies on the ledges next to their beds. Margaret had a picture of her family and dogs as well. Victoria brought nothing else. They both turned their attention to Vapor Team for a moment. They hadn't really taken note of their physical features before now. It was easy now that they were in military pajamas, just shorts and a t-shirt.

            John stood at six feet, and three inches tall. His brown hair was slightly longer hair than the rest of Vapor Team. He had brown eyes, thinner eyebrows, and small lips. His skin was white, but decently tanned.

            Dale stood only one inch shorter than John. He had short, lighter beige colored hair. A mix of brown and gray eyes settled under his light eyebrows. His skin was just barely less tanned than John's. His body build was massive, not in a fat way, but strong, cut, and ripped.

            Arden was the shortest, standing at six feet even. He had really short, dark black hair, and deep burnt tan skin. He was the only soldier of Vapor Team with a different ethnic background than Connor, Dale, or John. He was heavier set, but still very muscular. His dark colored eyebrows hung over midnight black eyes.

            Connor was very, very tall. He stood at a towering six feet, seven inches. Even though each soldier of Vapor Team was very muscular, Connor was the least so. He had short strawberry blonde hair, bluish greenish eyes, freckles, and a face that was softer than the other faces of Vapor Team. His skin was rather pale too.

            The movements of their actions were smooth. The rookies could tell by the looks in their eyes, the expressions on their faces, and the postures they held that Vapor Team lived every moment of their lives in an efficient and tactical way it seemed. They figured it was probably because of years of experience in having to act that way, coupled with the principles they kept when they themselves went through IBST. They finally loosened up a little it appeared as they each got in to their beds.

            "Goodnight rookies," John spoke.

            "Sir, what time should we expect a wakeup call?" Viktor asked as he creased a corner of the page he was on in his book and closed it.

            "In your training, and through the rest of your career as a member of Vapor Team once your training is complete, you should know there is no such thing as a wakeup call," Dale answered.

            "We rise at the necessary time to rise, whatever that time may be," Arden continued.

            "So, goodnight men and women, we begin your training tomorrow," Connor added. "I suggest you prepare yourself mentally, and sleep well."

            Viktor placed his book on the ledge next to him and laid down all the way. He turned out the dim light above his bed and fell asleep. Brian fell asleep quickly too. Victoria and Margaret glanced at each other with a look of mutual uncertainty and a hint of fear. They too however, turned out their lights and fell asleep.

            From the other side of the facility, they heard the faint sound of a beeping alarm, and the entire facility ever so gently started to shake. The blast door at the front of the chamber was closing. It finally connected and latched shut, causing a light thud in the walls of the facility.

            Then nothing but silence, darkness, and seemingly ice cold sheets surrounded the rookies. They had no idea what they were about to experience.

The End

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