Guard Duty, Oh MY

Night Day 13 - Morning Day 14

I walked away from Karl and Joe blipping my wrist comp with a message for Connor and Rocco. God if it weren’t for the age-old inter-service banter with Joe I would not have a place to let my normal mischievous sense of humor out.

Stopping by the tent, I changed into the full chameleon field rig and loaded up the full combat rig. Damn Andy I thought, you went and asked for this. I had been ready to do this anyway but, seeing Kurt’s face when I walked into treatment this afternoon. Clan Alchibah had a big chance of meaning more to me than I thought it ever would.

Moving into Hanna’s place, I appropriated a pot of coffee and a brace of cups and moved to my normal back corner table. Rocco and Connor came in about a minute apart and I waited till each had a cup in front of them.

“Thanks for coming guys, cause I am gonna need some help tonight. Our young Militia contingent is to get a training exercise in Perimeter Security tonight. Now the real security is going to be Sin, Ash and myself. Oh yeah, we will brief each team on station and dry fire train everyone except Jai. But, they are going to need a physical presence that they can see and take comfort from.”

I saw two very confused looks and with a gesture stopped the questions I knew were coming.

“We are going to teach them how to use the bots as surveillance systems and field of fire discipline. But, to provide real security Ash and I are going to spend most of the night using our field sensors to cover everything inside Sin’s arc. To use our sensor systems we have to be like this.”

I leaned back in the chair, pulled the grid mask over my face and keyed the Master On button. I wish I had had a camera running; the look on their faces was worth it. I knew they could tell where I was because the chameleon effect was not that good when you were sitting in a chair but it still had to be scary. I clicked the suit to off and pulled back the hood.

“We will be there on the comm. But, they need a visible presence to calm them down. Can I count on your help?”

Rocco was the first to reply, “Well if I can get a couple of hour’s shuteye first, I could handle the morning half. But, if you have those how well do they have to be trained?”

“Rocco there are exactly three of these suits in all of Alchibah and the only reason we have these is we were able to hide them from the UNWG. They don’t even allow their own people to have them; this is old U. S. technology and I figure we are at least ten Earth years from being able to duplicate them here on Alchibah. That of course always excepting the “Mad Doctor” pulling a miracle out of his hat.”

Connor chimed in, “I can take the first half no problem and Rocco, Jai’s going to be on both morning shifts so you only got one to baby-sit.”

Rocco nodded, “I can handle that.”

Seeing Ash at the door waving I stood and said, “OK, we’ll go with that. If you will excuse me, Ash says the games afoot.”

Ash had that same grin he had been wearing all afternoon, “Kid’s are here and ready Bots and all.”

“OK,” I said, “Ryu’s got some promise; take him up to the North side. Run through linking the comp to the bots sensors and dry fire procedures on the rifle he’s borrowing. You loaded with HE rounds?”

Ash looked insulted, “Just like you ain’t carrying Mariana’s Springfield. If fifteen penetrators did not stop that bastard I am gonna hit it right in the nostrils with 30 HE rounds to start with. If air can get in there a bullet damn sure can too!”

I had to laugh, “Might not be the kill shot but it’s a hell of a good place to start. We have to impress these kids so show all your stuff when you are training them.” I reached in my pocket and hit the sequence that turned my display panels transparent.

Ash sighed, “You know I am proud of my rack. But, seeing yours is awfully scary. Are you sure you want to hit the kids with all that?”

“Ash, most of them will have no idea what this stuff means. But they will understand that we have been there and done that. If it gets it into their heads that it’s time to listen, I’ll settle for that.”

Ryu and May’s shift went without a hitch; the only thing to note was that my opinion of May went up a notch. The kid was a sponge; she absorbed knowledge as fast as it could be poured.

Summer and Kaye’s shift went fairly smooth also. Kaye had a little problem with integrating the bots sensor ability but he caught on after a couple of reps. Working Summer through the steps I almost felt like I was dealing with the person Jai would have been without Gabe’s training. Encouraging.

I caught the edge of the change over between Connor and Rocco, “Rocco set your comp up on the audio link between the bots and listen to these two teach. It’s a free lesson in how to do it right.”

Rocco laughed, “I got a lesson in that back on the Mayflower. The most dumbfounded I’ve ever been was when Andy told Ash to give it up, and he pulled out that XD. That’s control; I would have shot me in that situation. I never have apologized to him for that. But, from what Capt. Travis told me; he’s not carrying a grudge at all. Where the hell did RJ find the people we have here?”

Connor shrugged and said,” Like Mariana said back on the Lancer, ‘from the same rabbit hole he pulled the rest of this miracle.’ I guess we just gotta make it work now.”

I moved up to the North side where Jai was set up for two shifts. “How’s it going Candidate?”

“I guess I am OK, Sir but, missing that Rumbler is still on my mind.”

Oh Lord, I thought; this is defiantly teaching time. “OK, first you did not miss. Reye might think you did, but you and I know better. Drop it you did not, I agree. But, that was because the thing was tougher than the ammo you had. That was my fault not yours and guess what; I thought 15 penetrators would have stopped most anything also. We have a challenge out there no doubt, but don’t let it beat you up. Now, you have this side?”

“Sir, yes Sir!”

“Good, see you at Hanna’s at dawn for breakfast.” With that, I pulled down the face screen and went away.

As the light was beginning to brighten the Eastern sky, I keyed the common channel for the whole crews wrist comps, “OK, chow call. We move out for the Hydro plant in 45 minutes. Ash meet me at Hanna’s place. Stuart out!”

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Probably.

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Copyright (C) 2006 - 2011 by Jeff Soyer. All rights reserved.