Anthony arrived at the military base at around noon, wearing his new uniform. He still had his doubts about doing this, but so long as he didn't actually get any action for the first few months, he figured he'd be fine. He got out of his Kelin and walked up to a man wearing lots of medals. He had a disgruntled look on his face and when he saw Anthony, he almost looked disappointed.
"You're a new recruit?" The man spat tobacco onto the ground.
"Nah no need for that whole 'sir and ma'am' crap kid. I am First Lieutenant Cospan, and that is how you will address me."
"All right First Lieutenant."
He smiled faintly. "Good, you're learning quick. Nice to see you aren't like the other imbeciles who were just drafted in." Cospan took a look at his watch. He then made pressed a few circles, twisted a knob, and pushed a blue button, which had the results displayed in a hologram above. "Anthony Lucien. Demonstrated sufficient skills in background tests, no prior experience. Congratulations Lucien, you have already been promoted to Spaceman First Class." Cospan then pointed the watch at Anthony's shoulder and concentrated for a moment. After a few seconds, a badge began to burn itself onto the surface of the uniform.
He then put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a small chip. "You'll also need this. This chip will be fitted into your spacecraft, and it enables you to use the boost function. Use this function if you are ever surrounded by, well, anything, and it should get you out of there. Tell me, what cruiser do you drive?" Cospan looked down at Anthony and saw that he was zoning out. Angry, he took his hand and smack Anthony across the face, knocking him to the ground. "WERE YOU PAYING ATTENTION LUCIEN!?!?"
"Yes Lieutenant. Chip, ship, boost, got it!" He jumped back to his feet and wiped down his uniform. Cospan still looked angry. Anthony already knew that his stay in the military would not be fun. "I drive a Kelin-341"
"Really?" In a heartbeat, Cospan's expression changed to intrigue. He pulls out a key. "Impressive, in that case you'll also need this. This will allow you to shoot bombs from your cruiser, use them wisely, we don't have very many in stock at the moment. Is that clear?"
"You're allowing a sixteen year old boy to shoot bombs from his cruiser?"
"IS THAT CLEAR!?"
"Good! You will be rooming with SB Martin, and Senior Spaceman Tork. Your room is over there. You'll be walking."
Cospan points to a small trailer about three miles away. Anthony's eyes widen and he tries to freeze in position, but Cospan grabbed him and pushed him in the right direction, closing the gate behind him. He looked back at Cospan, who had just put another piece of tobacco in his mouth, and then he started walking towards the trailer. It wouldn't have been terrible if it was a three mile forest, or a three mile park. This was three miles of complete desert wasteland, and Anthony was feeling every degree of it.
Every step he took felt like he had just run a marathon. Sweat drenched over his body like he had been walking for weeks. Everytime he blinked the trailer in the distance seemed to disappear more and more. It was getting harder to breathe, harder to see, harder to move. He took a look back to see how far he'd gone so far. Best guess, he had gone about twenty steps.
"Come on Lucien! Pick up the pace!" Cospan shouted some words of encouragement to Anthony, it wasn't working. Anthony smiled, took another four steps, and then collapsed into the sand below him.
He woke up in the trailer. When he woke up, he saw one guy sharpening a stick, and another guy sleeping. He didn't know how he got there, but he didn't object. The person sharpening a stick looked up at him. He was dressed in his civies
"Ah, you're awake, that was quick. Most new recruits are out for a week." He pointed to the boy behind him. " I'm Tork, Senior Spaceman, pleasure to meet you." Anthony scratched his head for a second before speaking.
"How did I get here? Last I remember I was passed out in the desert, about twenty five steps from where I started."
"Twenty five? Not bad for a newbie. It's a simulation. As soon as you step on the desert grounds it's programmed to get you burning and exhausted in seconds. Then once you pass out, you're teleported to your assigned sleeping quarters, where, as I said, most recruits stay for about a week. As far as I know, nobody's made it the whole way." Tork got up and gave Anthony a cup full of a clear liquid. "Here, I know I needed some of this after my first time." Anthony chugged the entire cup in a second flat. It wasn't water, more like Sprite, but with a tiny hint of cherry.
"How long was I out for? Three days? Four?"
Tork takes a look at the clock. "I'd say about five."
"Five days? Damn, what did I miss?"
"No no, five hours, sorry. Like I said, you were quick." Anthony smiled. He was quite proud of his accomplishment, even though he did just pass out. "Don't let the happiness get to you too much, we got training in an hour. Hopefully Martin here will be up by then." He began to get dressed into his uniform, then stopped and looked at Anthony. "What did you say your name was?"
"I didn't. Spaceman First Class Anthony Lucien."
"Spaceman First Class already? Lucky schmuck." He continued dressing. "Well Lucien, I hope you're ready, because we're about to go for a ride.