March! You Or Me
The bus ride was long and boring, weaving around mountains and down into a desert that none of the boys knew was there, but eventually they appeared at the camp. It was early evening when they arrived. All five of the recruits filed off the bus prepared for whatever boot camp had in store for them.
“I need all of you to remove your shoes and file into the reception hall,” a man screamed at the new recruits before they all had reached solid ground. “Keep your shoes in your right hand, enter the building, stand behind an empty desk, and wait for the processing clerk.” That was all the drill sergeant had to say. He turned his small chiseled body away from the boys and quickly heel-toed his way to the reception hall.
The group did as they were told and found themselves waiting for the processing clerk for hours. Drew was scared stupid as he had heard many horror stories about basic training and refused to do anything wrong. His legs wobbled and his head swam with the pain of stillness, but he refused to give in.
Eventually the processing clerks came and each recruit was allowed to sit down at their desk. There was a bunch of paperwork at this point. They filled out their next of kin, medical history, created new bank accounts…
After they each finished their paperwork they were told to leave the hall and put their shoes on to wait for their drill sergeant. This was followed by a couple more hours of waiting. They stood in silence waiting for the man, well into the early night hours.
“You boys still here?” The drill sergeant screamed as he walked into view. “What we have now is PT Test number one. Do not move before I blow my whistle. Once I blow my whistle I want all of you to drop and give me seventeen push-ups!” There was no warning, the whistle blew and the group of boys who were not exactly in shape fell to the ground and began to do push-ups.
A spindly boy to Drew’s left coughed and hacked as he forced his arms to push his body up. Drew refused to pay any attention to his physical reaction to the situation; he just did his push-ups as he was told.
Drew returned to his feet as the drill sergeant looked down at the other four boys who seemed to be having difficulties. “You don’t seem to understand. If you can’t do what I am telling you then you will be shipped off to fat camp and trust me you don’t want to go there.” The drill sergeants perfectly squared off flat top made small moves to each side as he yelled at the children.
The push-ups were followed by sit-ups which garnered the same reaction from the boys, but the one mile run was what really got to the recruits. They were to run one mile in under eight and a half minutes. Drew forced himself to accomplish the feat. His lungs burned in the cool air, his legs wobbled from the weight of his small frame, but he made the mark. He was only one of two to do it though. The other was a thicker boy who did not appear to be having the breathing difficulties Drew had.
The drill sergeant was not kidding about fat camp, the rest of the recruits were shipped off immediately and Drew and his compadre were shown to their barracks.
“It is currently oh one hundred hours. I will be back for the two of you at oh four thirty!” The short man turned on his heel and left the two kids alone in the large warehouse of a hotel room.
Drew looked around the room and was left cold with the feeling of emptiness. The room housed thirty two bunk beds, sixty four individual mattresses. There was a small trunk at the end of each bunk and one toilet in a small room at the end of the building. Drew went to introduce himself, but the other boy had already chosen a bed and was pulling down the covers. “My name is Drew.” It was not a normal move for Mr. Darby, but the emptiness he felt drove him to seek out some kind of companionship.
The husky boy looked over at him with true worry in his voice he let out, “I’m Sam.” Sam paused from his mission of getting in bed to steady his breathing.
Drew did not like the effort it was taking to start a conversation, but he was determined to get his mind on something. “So, are you psychic?”
The boy looked up at him with relief on his face. “So we are truly at Psi Basic? I thought they were lying to me so they could lock me up for eternity. Thank goodness.” Sam collapsed on his bed and let a smile shine through his chunky face. “But, no I wouldn’t say I’m psychic. I am an OBE person.”
Drew was realizing that there was going to be a serious learning curve in these psychic terms. “OBE?”
“Out of Body Experience. I use my soul and leave my body at night so I can travel around the world and see things. I was doing a projection when…”
“That is what you call it when you leave your physical body. But anyway, where was I? Oh. I was projecting to Australia because I’ve never been there, when I ran into another person who was projecting. He was in full military uniform and chased me around. Apparently he followed me home. The next morning on my walk to school I was picked up by the Army and questioned about someone named Lucky.”
“Who is Lucky?” Drew had lost focus on the barracks and was entrenched in the story.
“I don’t know. They kept asking what intentions I was planting in Sydney and when was the last time I got an order from Lucky. It did not make a bit of sense, but eventually they gave me these weird tests and told me I was joining the Psi Ops of the US Army.”
“That is why I am here too. The Psychic Operations… Or Psi Guard… Whatever that is.”
“You don’t know about the Psi Ops? Wow, I didn’t know they let non-communes in.”
“What is a non-commune?”
Sam was flabbergasted by Drew’s lack of knowledge. He sat upright in his bed trying to decide if he should stay up all night explaining how the world worked to Drew or if he should get some shut eye. He took a deep breath. “In the paranormal world there are those who are in the know called the community and those who are not, the non-communes.” Sam laid back in bed in attempt to get some kind of rest while he explained the world to Drew. “There are a lot of different areas of paranormal, I am into the OBEs, but there is also telekinesis, fortune telling, and dream walking… The military has a special force of these so called psychics. It was supposed to be a full sized army, but the inability to find willing soldiers who are capable of such abilities left them with a huge military base and few soldiers.”
“Hence the big empty barracks.”
“You got it.” Sam continued telling the stories of the hidden world to Drew until four thirty in the morning when the short muscular drill sergeant busted through the door.
“You got ten minutes. Make your bunk, get dressed in the sweats in your locker, clean your area, and don’t forget to shit, shave, or shower.”
This left the two boys in a chaotic rush to accomplish what the sergeant demanded. Neither did it, but the drill sergeant didn’t seem to mind. He watched them bumble around the building until he had seen enough. “Kids! ATTEN-TION!”
Sam and Drew scampered back to their bunks where they stood straight up with half buttoned shirts and dripping hair. “Alright. Since we only have the two of you, we will finish your processing today. Basic information, issue your uniform, get your hair done, and then we will be off to basic.”
Both Sam and Drew thought they were in basic already, but held their tongue as they knew speaking out would not help the situation.
“Once you are there you will buddy up and start your training - physical, educational, and mental. Let’s head back to reception to finish up.”