Story Title: Squadron One
Quick Peek: It wasn’t intentional— hell, she was clueless about the arrangement. She had been out of commission for so long that the inner workings of the company felt so foreign to her. She simply joined this training because she hadn’t reached her quota.
Disclaimer: I got writer’s block that I couldn’t even start with chapter 8 of Trials of a Dreamless. In an attempt to look for inspiration, I visited my old blog Mezzoflation!. I stumbled upon a one-shot that I started around March. I stopped writing it probably due to lack of inspiration or drive or focus. So I decided to continue it, so here it is. :)
It wasn’t intentional— hell, she was clueless about the arrangement. She had been out of commission for so long that the inner workings of the company felt so foreign to her. She simply joined this training because she hadn’t reached her quota. She was the sickly kind of commanding officer— one who’d be missing half the week because of a sickness. Her body was being nice to her that day, so maybe she’d survive the training— hopefully.
“Squadron 1. Here are your commanding officers— Officer Silva & Officer Kira.”
She could hear mumbles coming from the squadron. Most of them were curses about the squadron’s luck. Officer Kira couldn’t help but laugh inwardly— she understood the negativity that the squadron had. Officer Silva was knowledgeable in tactics and formation, but he was ruthless. There was no exception to the rule— which contrasted Officer Kira’s style. She had worked under the medical unit for so long that exceptions have become the norm.
A guy she was too familiar with took a step forward. His dark purple hair quickly stood out amongst the blondes and browns, but Officer Kira liked it.
“Cadet Takakura reporting in as the head of this squadron.” The boy firmly stated.
Head of the squadron? That was a shocker for Officer Kira. She knew Cadet Takakura as someone reserved. The leadership position he held in such a training stupefied her. However, it probably meant that Cadet Takakura’s like for war movies had a great impact on him. That’s probably it since he had mentioned it to her way back— back when they used to talk a lot.
“Cadet Takakura, I will need a complete list of Squadron 1 members, the companies they came from and notable skills. Give it to Officer Kira asap.” Office Silva ordered. “Clear?”
“Sir, yes sir.” The cadet said while holding his ground.
“No more questions? Dismissed!”
Cadet Takakura attempted to get the information of the others, but they were quick enough to disperse. He was sure that their mental strength has been strained in that few minutes with Officer Silva. Officer Kira approached Cadet Takakura to tell him to drop by her quarters if he was done with the list. She gave him a pass that’ll give him a one time access to such a location since it was off limits to basically any guy. With that, she walked off.
Cadet Takakura found it awkward that he had entered the female quarters— an off limits location to any guy. He was still at the doorway, afraid to continue forward to give the list. Why did he have to be the squadron’s leader at that moment? Why was Officer Kira the appointed person? He sucked it up— orders were orders, especially Officer Silva’s. A girl passed by him from behind and he took a chance to ask for Officer Kira’s quarters.
“Officer Kira’s quarters? Go past the bunks and the first door to your right is her quarters. Wait, you’re not supposed to be here.” The girl pointed out.
Cadet Takakura brought out the free pass in his pocket. The girl took it from his hand and examined the pass. The girl gave a shrug before returning it to him. She continued pass him, walking further into the bunker. That must mean his pass was genuine; however, he was still hesitant to go further into the bunker. He was at conflict whether he should wait for Officer Kira to go out of her quarters instead. Then he felt a shiver— Officer Silva was going to be furious if he didn’t give the list. He’d rather deal with the awkward situation than Officer Silva’s wrath.
He was at the door and the most logical thing to do next is knock, which he did. However, there was no reply from the other side. He wondered if Officer Kira was really inside. A girl lying down on the bunk beside the door noticed him.
“Just enter. Officer Kira is the type to be unresponsive, but she does hear the knock.” The bored girl stated.
Cadet Takakura gulped. He was hesitant— what if he entered at the wrong moment. He didn’t want to make his awkward stay even more awkward. He opened the door and entered, hoping that he intruded at the proper moment.
Officer Kira’s quarters had a disturbing feeling in it. The medical equipment, ranging from first aid to actually scalpels, took over one side of the quarters. This room must’ve seen a lot of blood, which might mean deaths. He shook off the eerie— it’s impossible for such quarters to be used as a healing facility. There was a make-shift divider for the room— probably to separate the resting and working quarters. In that glance, Cadet Takakura was certain that Officer Kira wasn’t in the working quarters.
“Officer Kira, are you in?”
“Just a minute!” A voice said from behind the curtain.
With that reply, Cadet Takakura was certain of Officer Kira’s presence. He heard a few clings from what are probably objects that are in the resting division. Everything sounded normal when a thump, which was followed by ear-splitting sounds of falling metal, was heard. He quickly rushed over to the back of the curtain.
Officer Kira was sprawled on the floor like any typical person who fell would look like; however, it’s the objects surrounding the fallen officer that amazed him. It was a collection of guns ranging from rifles to sub-machines. Being in the army, each person is required to own a gun except medical personnel. They were supposed to be better in hand to hand combat, so their weapons are usually short range. Everything unfolding before him right now put him in a state of shock.
That’s all it took- one word. Just one word to wake him up from the shock. There was blood oozing out from Officer Kira’s left arm. He quickly grabbed a cloth to cover the wound. When he applied pressure on the cut, Officer Kira ordered him to get a bandage at the top shelf at the other side.
When he returned, Officer Kira was pulling the cloth with her teeth as she looked for the medicine. It took skill and strength to treat oneself, so Cadet Takakura decided to help. He knew how to do simple first aid, which surprised Officer Kira. He easily placed the medicine on the wound and bandaged it.
“You’re good at this.” Officer Kira said as Cadet Takakura tied the knot on the bandage.
“I needed to know this so I could have a chance as squadron leader.” He replied.
Officer Kira simply nodded. The air became quiet once again. Officer Kira was unsure how to continue the conversation with a person she had known since high school. It was frustrating, in a sense, but after 5 years of no communication, she wondered if they’ll be able to find common ground.
“What’s with the guns? I thought Medics & Medic officers were only allowed hand combat weapons.” Cadet Takakura asked as he looked at the plethora of guns.
The question caught the officer’s attention. The guns— right, they were all over the place. Officer Kira stood and started picking up the guns on the ground. “A passion of mine.” She simply replied as she strategically stacked the weapons at the back of the cabinet. No wonder the high ranks haven’t caught her stash. It was arranged neatly behind her uniforms and casual wear. She got a hold of a wooden plank that leant against her bed. However, as she brought the plank towards the cabinet, Cadet Takakura noticed red being absorbed by the bandage. He quickly took the plank from her hands.
“Where do you want this to go?”
“Behind the clothes,” replied the officer quickly as she pointed at the cabinet.
It took the cadet a couple of minutes to get the plank in place. Once he was done, Officer Kira inspected the work and pushed the plank at areas where it felt loose. When she was done, she saw Cadet Takakura holding another bandage in his hand. She simply sighed; she had overworked a bit when she was moving the plank. She caused the wound to bleed profusely— that meant she’d have to pay for the extra bandage. She plopped down on the bed and stretched out her left arm for Cadet Takakura to fix up.
“I hope you don’t tell anyone about this.” Officer Kira requested Cadet Takakura, who nodded in reply.
“Why do you have so many though?” The cadet inquired as he finished tying the bandage.
Officer Kira flexed her left arm, assessing the work of the cadet. She deemed it as good and propped her hands behind. She looked up at the ceiling of the bunker. “My dad was an avid collector of guns. He was part of a Rifle-Pistol team and did a lot of exhibitions.” She outstretched her right arm pointing it towards the ceiling. Her hand formed the shape of the gun; she made a shooting sound right after. “Sadly, that’s how he also died. There was a first-timer in one of his exhibitions. He was hit by a misfire.” A tear went down her eye, but she wiped it off right away— though not quick enough since the cadet saw it. “His will stated that the guns would be equally divided between my brother and me. At first, I never understood why I was also in the choices, but I guess he knew deep down I had a knack for guns.” She chuckled after that before lying down on her bed.
Cadet Takakura then remembered the reason he went to the female quarters. He took out a piece of paper from the inside of his jacket and handed it to Officer Kira. “Here’s the list Officer Silva requested.”
Officer Kira took it from Cadet Takakura’s hands. She took a look at the names on the list before she sighed. “Officer Silva isn’t going to be too happy with this squadron.” She sat up and fumbled under her pillow for a notebook. She opened the notebook and wrote the names down in different categories.
“Why?” Cadet Takakura inquired.
“Our squadron doesn’t stand a chance in the incoming war drill.” She showed the list to the cadet. “We have more medics than normal, but I know they’re the best of the best. However, they have no clue how to aim. The rest of the team have the will, but not the skills.” She put the notebook away. “So much for Officer Silva’s untarnished record.”
And just like what Officer Kira had told him, Officer Silva wasn’t too pleased with the members of the squadron. However, that didn’t faze the ruthless officer— no, he had them train day and night for the drill. He tried to mold the squadron into a team that could stand a chance in the simulation. Officer Kira was even forced to join such training— though after just three days of training, Officer Silva had told her to scurry off and train the Medics.
Cadet Takakura didn’t mind the training sessions. He found some fun in each session as it was a learning experience. He wanted to enhance his skills, so the forced training sessions were a gift for him. Sadly, he wasn’t able to see Officer Kira as much— just glances towards her direction when Officer Silva gave them time to rest. Honestly, he had developed some kind of bond with the girl after the whole gun incident. He hasn’t told anyone about the stash, but he wondered if the guns were just for show.
“Cadet Takakura.” Officer Silva called out.
The cadet’s face paled a bit; he must’ve been caught slacking around. However, the realization shouldn’t slow down his reaction time to the call. He jogged towards his superior and inquired the reason for his call.
“Tell Officer Kira that I’ll be needing to meet her after training,” ordered Officer Silva. Cadet Takakura nodded, but with a tinge of suspicion in his eyes, which the superior caught. “Cadet, I do not like that look. If it eases your feelings, I’m not planning to take her.”
“Sir, I do not know what you’re talking about, sir.”
His superior chuckled at the response and replied, “I’ve seen you glance at her direction every break. Don’t think of me as dense. Now go give that message to her— think of it as doing both of us a favor.”
That’s exactly what he did. He was rather confused on how he should feel about the situation. Should he feel happy that someone understood his case? Or should he be worried that the person who had figured out his movements was his superior? His feelings were still in a tussle that he concentrated on the task on front of him- delivering the message.
Cadet Takakura walked his way to the range, which was across the training grounds. He spotted Officer Kira teaching one of the medics the proper posture in throwing. She had thrown one of the knives with the optimum posture and the knife landed right at the middle. As he neared the officer, he could hear her telling the other medics about weak spots.
“Ma’am, Cadet Takakura requesting permission to speak.”
His appearance caught the officer off guard, which caused the medics to snicker. Cadet Takakura couldn’t understand the reason behind the sharp order of Officer Kira toward the medics to shut up. Was there something wrong with their snickering?
“You may speak cadet.”
“Officer Silva requests your presence after training.”
The mention of the request caused a string of burns and smug looks to grace the medics mouths and faces. Officer Kira threatened them with no dinner if they wouldn’t stop their shenanigans, but her threats seemed to elude their thoughts. The response frustrated the officer.
“Are you defying your officer?” She sternly questioned.
“Ma’am no ma’am.” The medics said in unison; however, the smile that graced their faces after saying such a reply meant otherwise.
Officer Kira removed her hair tie and brushed her fingers through her hair. She sighed in annoyance as she did such an action. The sound she elicited from her mouth managed to entrance the cadet for a moment. This was broken when she struck a deal with the medics.
“Ma’am, we’d like to see you fire a gun straight at the bullseye.” One of the medicss dared.
“Yes ma’am,” agreed another medic and added, “since you aren’t exposed to such machinery and all.”
Now that the medics mentioned it, Officer Kira hasn’t shown him if she was actually capable of wielding a gun. Sure, she had a hidden stash in her quarters, but was it just for keeps? Was it just to remember her father’s presence? She was sickly and probably had no time to train with such a weapon. In addition, she wouldn’t be allowed to practice within the training ground. So did she or did she not?
His questions were answered when he heard not just one or two but three gun shots. His drift into wonder was halted by the mere sound of gun shots. His eyes shifted towards the officer and true enough, she was holding a hand gun. The medics were in awe, and so was he, because she managed to prove her medics wrong. Right at the center of the target were three holes clustered together. He didn’t even here the girl switch off the safety pin or cock the gun. Everything was effortlessly executed.
“Cadet, here’s your gun,” said Officer Kira as she handed the gun back to Cadet Takakura.
That took him aback. That gun was his? Wasn’t it in the sling just seconds ago? Now that she mentioned it, his right side was feeling lighter than normal. He took a look at the sling and to his realization, the gun was gone. In his shocked state, he took the gun, remembering to check the safety pin, and placed it back into the sling. Was he that careless not to notice? Or was the officer, standing right beside him, that skilled?
Not that it mattered at the moment because all he heard were groans from the medics. Just as a agreed, the medics kept their mouths shut and continued on with training— which had been added due to their deal. A smirk graced the face of Officer Kira— she was probably feeling content about putting her medics in place.
“Cadet Takakura, shouldn’t you be returning to your training?” Officer Kira simply said.
Right— he spent too much time in the wrong training field because of an order— an order that could’ve been completed in just a minute or two.
A grin was plastered over Officer Silva’s face as he looked at the match-up board. The squadron had reached the finals without any worries. The training that the squad went through partnered with Officer Silva & Kira’s strategy garnered them a spot in the finals. It shocked the other squads and especially the high ranking officers that squadron one made it to the finals.
Apparently, just as Officer Silva & Kira assumed, the squad set-up was rigged in favor of a squad that didn’t have Officer Silva. The bragging rights that Officer Silva was entitled to was abused too much that even the high ranks were annoyed and furious. And that was how Officer Silva found himself in the most unbalanced squadron ever conceived— partner that with a co-officer that was always on sick leave and it’ll scream messy. Were the high ranks thinking he’d give up at first glance? Sure, it may seem useless, but he wanted to prove them wrong. He was going to keep his bragging rights.
The squadron was at the losing end of the coin toss, so they were the deliverers. It suited them just fine considering the squadron was designed to be non-offensive. They weren’t designed to seek out targets, but to protect. It was only in one match-up wherein they were forced to seek since they lost the coin toss and the opposing squad wanted to be the deliverers. That was the one match wherein they almost lost if not for the gutsy attack of one of the medics. Who in the right mind would attack straight on with a knife? No one and that was exactly what happened. A medic didn’t run toward the battlefield, but threw a knife, which just happened to hit the carrier’s helmet.
The squadron was in the holding room doing last minute check ups on the weapons. The weapons for the simulation were highly sensitive to locations it hit on the body. They weren’t sharp or dangerous, so injuries from the weapons were at the minimum. Actual injuries from the simulation are usually caused by body contact— more know as non-weaponized hand-to-hand combat. Most of the medics have been trained in that department, but it was rare to come across an enemy without a weapon, so it was never put to use.
“Cadet Takakura, you’ll be moved to team Charlie for this simulation. Medic Kujikawa, you’ll now be part of team Bravo. I’ll be moving myself to team Alpha,” stated Officer Silva.
“Sir, who’ll lead team Bravo then? Officer Kira & Cadet Takakura are on the same team and you’re in team Alpha.” Medic Kujikawa informed.
“You will.” Officer Silva stoically answered. It caught the red-haired medic off guard.
Cadet Takakura handed his communicator to Medic Kujikawa. Each squad was given 3 communicators that were set in a frequency unique to the squad. Medic Kujikawa hesitated as she put on the communicator. She wasn’t used to leading people and the amount of responsibility it held. Officer Silva eased her worries by going through the reorganized battle plan. It mainly consisted of trickery and stalling, but it was agreed upon that team Charlie would be the ones delivering the package to the drop off point.
A quarter of the alloted time had passed and team Charlie hasn’t run into any trouble yet. Team Bravo was in position and guarding them from the one of building in the playing field. The field consisted mainly of barricades. The playing field was rather big that encounters didn’t occur often.
“Looks like we’re safe,” stated Cadet Takakura.
“Don’t let down your guard just yet,” responded Officer Kira. “We don’t know what they’re up to. For all you know, they’re secretly guarding the drop off point. We’ll be in deep shit if that was the case.”
“I’m starting to think that shit is your favorite word.”
At that point, Officer Kira accidentally stumbled on a rock and muttered the word shit. The scenario caused the other members of team Charlie to laugh. If glares could kill, Officer Kira’s would’ve done so, but it was merely dismissed by the team.
“Team Charlie, are you there?” Officer Silva inquired over the communicator. Officer Kira could hear shots being fired at the background. As predicted, team Alpha was the first to enter battle.
“Officer Kira here. No encounter at this end, over,” quickly replied Officer Kira.
“Be cautious. I’ve come into contact with Officer Mendelev’s group. Officer Brooks’s group might be heading your way.”
Shit was the word that escaped her lips. It didn’t sound like a good sign for team Charlie. Team Charlie consisted predominantly of medics. The only cadets on the team were Cadet Takakura and Cadet Shirogane. Cadet Shirogane was second to best among the cadets in the training camp. She would’ve been a candidate for squadron head. Cadet Takakura & Cadet Shirogane were the most well-rounded cadets in the squadron, so the two of them in one team was enough, but Officer Brooks’s team was formidable. His team consisted of the best mid-range weapon attackers. His team was likely the rush them if the team had been a lot, but even when in minimal numbers, he knew where to place the different forwards.
“Team Bravo, status report.” Officer Kira paged.
“Medic Kujikawa here,” cackled a voice at the other end. “Most of team Bravo is assisting team Alpha. Three people are watching your team from here.”
Suddenly, Officer Kira heard gun shots over the communicator. It sounded like a team attacked the location of team Bravo, which meant that they were alone. Team Bravo had to hold their ground and in the process, they’ll have to give up watching out on team Charlie. Officer Kira had to take things into her own hands. She had to lead team Charlie through their hardest challenge left. Team Bravo was their aerial cover— the team’s warning sign. Right there and then, they’ll have to be really cautious. They had entered into some sort of minefield except instead of mines, they were awaiting gun shots.
Officer Kira informed team Alpha of the situation and Officer Silva was certain that the finals had been rigged. No cameras were allowed to video that simulation. In addition, those who would be able to know the tactics were the high-ranking officers and the training general. The training general has been in the training division for more than 20 years, so he couldn’t be the cause. She was certain— the high ranks wanted to spite Officer Silva. The simulation was meant to be a selection process. It was meant to see who were worthy to be upgraded positions and who could join the army. That was everyone’s main goal— to get into the army. Everyone wanted to serve, but training was apparent. For some officers, like Officer Silva, training frustrated them. In Officer Silva’s case, he had been an Officer in training for more than 8 years— that’s why he did his best, afterwards, just for the sake of pride and acknowledgement. Officer Kira couldn’t comprehend that mind of thinking, but what did she know? She had only been in training as an officer for 5 years already, but not in the expected amount. Yet, even if she hadn’t been in the training division for long, she knew that spiting Officer Silva wasn’t fair. She knew that Officer Silva was deserving of a promotion— especially with the squadron 1 he trained and enhanced.
“Alright team Charlie. We’re on our own for now. Cadet Takakura, you lead the front. I want you to lead the team to the shortcut we found in the preliminaries. Cadet Shirogane, you watch the back. I’ll be in the middle to make sure the team doesn’t break apart. Everyone clear?” Officer Kira finished explaining.
“Ma’am yes ma’am.” The team said in unison, but Officer Kira could see the hint of fear in the medics’ eyes.
They couldn’t help it— that’s all she deemed. They were frightened at the situation. Their plan had been flawless and no deviation had been necessary. Now they were in a new and unconquered situation. But Ailia knew— she knew that the deviation would create the greatest opportunity for the squadron, because it meant versatility. The question that stayed on her mind was, “would they win it?”.
The team proceeded with caution. Cadet Takakura, with his utmost care, scanned the area that they were going to enter. The shortcut they discovered during the preliminaries was an unused sewer line. No one had been told of the underground passageways, so when they had stumbled upon it in the preliminaries, it was like hitting a gold mine. It was actually team Alpha who had initially found the shortcut. It was buried under the sand, but one of the cadets on team Alpha literally stumbled on its opening when he dug his foot too deep into the sand. Curios to where it led, Officer Silva dispatched two people on team Alpha to follow the line, without the high ranks knowing. How? Smoke bombs were the best cover-ups invented— even spectators wouldn’t see a thing. And that was how squadron 1 found out about the shortcut. They never thought of using it, but desperate times called for desperate measures.
They were now at the open field where the opening was located. It was behind one of the barricades, which was rather convenient depending where the enemy attacked. The team quickly ran from cover to cover in order to reach the specific barricade. It was one more run until the said barricade and it was the riskiest run because they had to run straight through the open field. There weren’t any barricades left except for an incredibly low one that was situated quite in front.
Cadet Takakura attempted to risk the run, but the moment his shoulder appeared, he was shot. His initial reaction was to return to cover and place his hand over the tainted shoulder. Here it was— Officer Kira was certain. Officer Brooks’s team had selected the perfect spot to rush them— an open field. Team Charlie was so close— so close to achieving their goal. And that was when the enemy’s team decides to appears? No— she was not letting that happen, but what could she do? One of the team’s cadets was hit and probably unable to hold the gun properly. It boggled her mind and the incessant sound of the bullets being fired at them didn’t help clear her mind.
“Team Bravo, status report,” checked Officer Kira. They would need some cover to get through.
Officer Kira heard a scuffle over the communicator, which ended with an incredibly loud cackle that pained her ear. She heard the earpiece being adjusted and Medic Kujikawa’s heavy breathing. “We’ve managed to put the encounter at stalemate. I divided team Bravo so that the other teams would receive support while maintaining our location.”
“Good. We need cover from above—” Officer Kira started, but was cut off right away by Medic Kujikawa.
“The cadet watching you was hit in the eye just now. Managed to knock the guy unconscious, but there’s no one to cover you.”
That was certainly a problem. The thud was probably Medic Kujikawa’s attack on the attacker, but even behind the thud, she could still hear shots being fired. It sounded like team Bravo was also having difficulty. Then Officer Kira concluded— she’ll have to be the cover. She was in charge of team Charlie, so she’ll have to ensure they meet their goal— even if it meant sacrificing herself.
“Medic Kujikawa, I need you to locate the other team’s position when I signal you to do so. Over?”
“Roger ma’am,” replied Medic Kujikawa with some confidence.
Officer Kira looked at the team with her. One of the medics managed to patch up Cadet Takakura, but not enough so that he could shoot. Cadet Shirogane was on high alert as she looked at their surroundings for a side attack. She looked over Cadet Takakura who seemed to understand the gleam that had formed in her eyes. He gave her a curt not, acknowledging the idea she was about to put forth.
“Cadet Shirogane, you’ll be leading the team now. Cadet Takakura will be the one to relay messages among the teams. I’m proposing a rather risky scenario, then again, we’re already in a risky situations as it is. Everyone, bring out your smoke bombs. We’ll be needing some cover.”
Officer Kira relayed her on-the-spot plan to the team. The medics were generally worried about her well-being with the plan, but all she said was to trust her. Medic Kujikawa relayed the information needed to Officer Kira, who at her end was pointing where to throw the smoke bombs for the plan. Everything was set and Medic Kujikawa relayed that the positions remained the same.
“Three.” The team pulled out the pins of the smoke bombs.
“Two.” They aimed for the area where the bombs will be thrown.
Simultaneously, Cadet Shirogane dashed toward the barricade and the medics along with Cadet Takakura threw the smoke bombs. When smoke dominated the area, Cadet Shirogane managed to open the hole. Medic Kujikawa continued to relay the movements of Officer Brooks’s team who, in her eyes, were caught at a stand still. The medics dropped into the hole one by one with them, the package they had to deliver. The smoke was slowly dying out and the only ones left above were Cadet Takakura, Cadet Shirogane & Officer Kira.
“Cadet Takakura will tell you how to get there, but you’ll have to scan the way.” Officer Kira clarified to Cadet Shirogane who nodded in reply. She went into the hole to calm the medics down.
“Will you be okay?” Cadet Takakura inquired as he handed to her the machine gun.
“Not sure. I’m just buying time for you to get there.” Officer Kira chuckled as she handed the earpiece to Cadet Takakura.
“You’re insane.” He said as he dropped into the hole. He looked up and saw Officer Kira smiling at him.
“Haven’t I always been?” She simply said. “Tell Medic Kujikawa that the signal is a flashbang. Be careful.”
“Shouldn’t I be saying that to you?” Cadet Takakura smirked and that was the last view they had of each other of the simulation.
Officer Kira threw her smoke bomb towards her very left. That was the signal Medic Kujikawa was waiting for. With little experience in handling sniper rifles, she fired the smoke bullets towards the vacant area of the field. She stumbled the first three tries, but got used to the recoil after a while. That was all Officer Kira needed— cover. She had narrowed down the area where she’d lurk and wait. In the process, she decided to knock down a few of Officer Brooks’s members who were a tad too much to the left.
The walk towards the drop off point would be shorter if they were on land, but the remainder of team Charlie had no choice. If they wanted to avoid confrontation, the sewer line was their best bet. Cadet Takakura was at the back of the line making sure that no one managed to follow them. Assuming they were the only squadron to have found the sewer line, then no one would be able to follow them.
He really hoped that Officer Kira would be alright. She had told them that she’d guard the possible entrances with her life. It deeply worried him that no one was covering her while she attacked. He would’ve stayed and helped her if only his dominant arm hadn’t been hit. He could feel the simulated pain flowing through his arm and it irritated. It irritated him ’cause he wasn’t able to help Officer Kira above.
“Team Charlie, status report,” requested Officer Silva.
Cadet Takakura noticed the lack of gun sounds and cackles, so did team Alpha succeed? “Cadet Takakura speaking in replacement of Officer Kira. We’re currently in the sewer lines heading towards the drop off point.”
“What happened to Officer Kira?” Officer Silva inquired.
“We were ambushed on our way. She opted to be the one to cover us while we headed towards the drop off point,” quickly replied Cadet Takakura.
“I’m assuming she has aerial—”
“Sir no sir. Team Bravo lost the cadet who was suppose to be covering for us.”
“Team Alpha will first aid team Bravo before we help out Officer Kira. By that time, your team should be at the drop off point. Understood?”
“Sir yes sir.” Cadet Takakura said with conviction.
Luckily by then, they had reached the opening. Cadet Takakura was the one who looked out instead of Cadet Shirogane in fear of an ambush. The coast was clear and from the hole, Cadet Shirogane fired the flare that would signal their arrival at the drop off point. Within a few seconds, there was a helicopter hovering over the drop off point and one-by-one, the medics and cadets got out of the hole. They did it; they managed to deliver the package. They won, but they could cheer about it; they were all tired from the tussle that occurred back at the field.
A week passed since that simulation and it was graduation day. Technically it was graduation day for those who have been promoted and in truth, it wasn’t even a formal ceremony. It was a simple trip to the general’s office to receive the diploma stating your promotion and that was it. It was more of the last day of camp or training, whichever people feel like calling it. To Cadet Takakura, it was more of boot camp because he mainly enhanced his skills during the course of the camp. He felt happy and relieved that people got their much deserved rewards and punishments.
General Tera found out about the power struggle after the finals simulation. She was generally impressed by the skills of squadron 1 to mold to the situation given. In truth, he thought that their plan would’ve been a flawless one, but apparently, their strategy had been leaked. She was certain that she didn’t leak the information, so it had to be one of the high ranks. She bugged the high ranks room on the first night after the finals and well— let’s just say she was furious and had all of the high ranks demoted and suspended. It was through that punishment that Officer Silva got his reward.
Officer Silva, after 8 years of being just an officer, was promoted to training commander. While Officer Silva could’ve been in the army, in the general’s eyes, the way he handled such a flawed squadron and training them from scratch was commendable. He praised the efforts of Officer Silva and found him well-suited for the training division. General Tera even decided to train him personally in becoming the general of the division.
Cadet Takakura & Cadet Shirogane were both promoted to officer positions. They were happy with the outcome and happier that they would continue working together. Cadet Shirogane’s ability to create strategies along with executing them was shown through the simulation. As for Cadet Takakura, it was his leadership that had promoted him since he led one team on his own. Maybe General Tera noticed how they synergized in that last simulation. The two were thankful that they were in squadron 1— and with their set of officers.
Medic Kujikawa was reassigned to a cadet after displaying her skills in physical combat. Through a few tests that past week, it was decided that she had potential to be a sniper even though her body would need some work. The reassignment freaked her out that she had no idea whether to be happy or sad. Officer Kira was generally happy for the girl considering a medic has never been reassigned in over 30 years— the other way around happens quite a lot.
Cadet Takakura was now searching for Officer Kira in order to thank her. Without her willingness to sacrifice herself for the team, the four members of squadron 1 wouldn’t have a promotion. In the scenario they lost, Officer Silva would’ve probably been the only one to get the promotion— but that didn’t happen, because of Officer Kira’s efforts. He checked the girl’s bunker in the likelihood that she hadn’t gone home; he was greeted instead by a simple ‘no’ from the cadet by the door. Did she leave already?
Cadet Takakura hurried to the time-in machine to check if her card had a time-out. Technically, he wasn’t supposed to even touch the card unless he had written consent from the officer herself. He was about to snatch hold of it when the guard on duty spotted him.
“You aren’t allowed to touch that,” reminded the guard.
“Has Officer Kira gone home?” Cadet Takakura said in labored breaths.
“Officer Kira?” The guard’s tone had a hint of surprise in it. “She’s been enlisted into the army.”
“WHAT?!” Cadet Takakura was shocked— no, shock was an understatement. He was flabbergasted, astounded, or any of those superfluous words that’d trump over shock. She looked the same the last time squadron 1 was together, which was 3 hours ago. She should’ve known by then that she had gotten promoted. But why? Why didn’t she tell them? Why didn’t she tell HIM?
“She just timed out a few minutes ago. You can still catch up to her at the helipad,” suggested the guard.
That’s exactly what Cadet Takakura did. He ran towards the open field— which has always been used as the “helipad” by the training base. It was quite near the time-out location, which worked in his favor. What didn’t work in his favor was the idea that Officer Kira would’ve left by the time he arrived. It pained him to see her leave— to leave without a chance to communicate afterwards. Being enlisted meant time & distance issues and deep down, Cadet Takakura wanted to spend more time with the officer. They had hit it off after that tussle in her room. He wasn’t sure if he had feelings of love— or even like— towards the officer who was only a year older than him. But he was certain that he didn’t want to stop encountering or communicating with the girl.
There she was— standing at the sidelines waiting for the helicopter. She looked stoic at the side and had a aura of pride around her. It was probably due to the stance she had opted to take, along with the sassy look of her bag slung over her shoulder. She was away from the other enlisters, who were celebrating their promotion. She was just there standing and looking at a distance.
“Going to the army, are we?” Cadet Takakura brought up. Officer Kira’s head whipped towards his direction with surprise in her eyes. “Running away from use, are we?”
Officer Kira looked back at the horizon. “I didn’t want anyone to know actually.” She muttered as Cadet Takakura got closer to her. “I wasn’t expecting the promotion to be honest. I was happy with just being an officer especially with my sickly state.”
“Why didn’t you tell that to General Tera then?” The cadet inquired.
“He said that the army needs someone like me— talented with guns and first aid.” Her voice said, hinted with regret. “I probably wouldn’t have been promoted if I didn’t pull off that wipeout.”
“Yeah… Officer Silva told me.” The cadet simply replied.
They wouldn’t have won without her. Even if she managed to just hold off the other squad through non-calculated shots, it wouldn’t be enough. She’d have been attacked at some point if she had left them alive— well “simulation” alive. But she shot the cadets of the other squad one by one while avoiding the shots. Of course she couldn’t avoid them all, but she bandaged the parts that were hit. By the time team Alpha & Bravo arrived, about 60% of the enemy squad had been wiped out— all through Officer Kira’s work. Officer Silva, who was initially shocked by the scene, greatly thanked Officer Kira for her efforts. She could’ve abandoned the simulation, but she kept fighting. Everyone in squadron 1 was thankful for her efforts. That’s why he went to her, to thank her, right?
“Looks like the helicopter is here.” Officer Kira spoke up. It broke his train of thought and his attempt to say thank you. Before he could utter the first syllable, she began walking towards the helicopter. She was going to leave and the thought couldn’t escape his mind. But he knew; he knew that he wanted her to stay, but how?
“Take Care of yourself!” The officer exclaimed.
“Shouldn’t I be saying that to you?” Cadet Takakura chuckled. It just sounded like their good-bye during the simulation except this time it was for reals.
Officer Kira simply nodded in reply before chucking her bag onto the helicopter. Suddenly, she turned around and ran towards him with a paper in her hand. She gave him one last smile and handed the piece of paper to him before returning to the helicopter. This time, she got on the air vehicle. As the helicopter ascended, Cadet Takakura took one last look at Officer Kira who was also looking back at him— with eyes of longing.
And that was it— she was gone. Gone for an indefinite amount of time. It saddened him, but he knew it was for the best. He, like General Tera, wouldn’t allow such exceptional talent and skill to go to waste. He gripped his hand only to hear the rustle of paper. Right— the paper. He opened the paper to see its contents.
Dear Cadet Takakura,
I still find how that title rolls out my tongue really weird. I remember calling you Shouma while we were in high school, so I’ll just call you that from now on— probably not in the bases though. I’ll still call you Cadet Takakura. I mean Officer Takakura. Congratulations on becoming officer by the way. You deserve it especially on how you conducted yourself during the simulation. I was right to trust you to handle one team; Officer Silva wouldn’t allow of it, but I begged him.
I love you.
That’s probably the bluntest way of saying it. Since when? Before I left the country to study abroad. I don’t know, but I couldn’t get you out of my mind and it’s probably a crazy phenomena, but that’s what happened. And I guess that’s what I wanted to tell you before I leave, but knowing me, I’d have chickened out. Maybe this letter settles it all in my care. I don’t know when I’ll be back from god knows where, but wait for me— wait for me too if you, on the slight chance, feel the same way.
Medic General Kira
He folded the letter and slipped it into his pocket. Maybe that’s what he’ll just do.