Monday, 1 March 2010

It's not all action; you know?!


Egil tensed as his head was wrenched to one side and he braced himself for the bump that he expected to come. Sure enough, he felt a firm jolt as his head got wrenched back the other way. He gripped the overhead hand rail tightly and shifted his weight slightly in his seat. Considering all the technological advances that the Grymn had made, he was extremely disappointed with the amount of effort put into the bench seat he was now precariously perched on. Over the roar of the engines he listened to the comms chatter that was continuously flowing from Fredrik’s head-set but could garner little information from it. Egil wiped his brow with the back of his sleeve, after tilting his helmet back for easy access and looked around the cramped compartment. Off to his left was the door to the drivers compartment and he could see the back of Rork’s helmet-clad head through the open view-hatch. He also had Fredrik and Logar on his left. To his right were two more Grymn and opposite him, on a bench seat similar to the one he was on, were five more. There was so little room in the compartment that they barely had space for their weapons and packs between them. It was cramped, hot and smelled of sweat and other more unpleasant odours. Egil was beginning to tire of the journey. They had all been shut up together for a good four hours and during that time they had traveled a fair way cross-country; something that Egil was beginning to feel down to his bones due to the poorly padded seat. He could see that he wasn’t the only one getting fidgety. Torla had a look of complete despondency on her face. She looked over at Egil and instead of her usual smile; she rolled her eyes to the armoured ceiling. Yet still the engine roared and still the jolts and bumps continued. There didn’t seem to be an end to it.
All Egil heard through the comms chatter was “CONTACT” and the continuous garble ceased almost immediately. Everyone in the compartment looked towards Fredrik and instinctively began to put their SMGs in an easier to reach position. The headset remained quiet...
...Suddenly the sides of the armour rung with the clatter of small arms fire and the tone of the engine went up a notch as the driver gunned the throttle to get a bit more pace. After a few more clangs, the impacts from outside ceased and Sgt Tomas leaned forward and began to question Fredrik. Fredrik just shrugged and began to flick through the channels to get more information but found none. Sgt Tomas looked around and copied Fredrik’s shrug; he only knew as much as his comms operator but he had the added stress of being in charge of the unit...with nothing to tell them. Rork’s orders had come from higher up the chain of command so at present, Tomas and his squad were at the mercy of the driver. Sometimes Egil pitied Tomas; it couldn’t be too easy having to look after a squad of Grymn and he was glad that he hadn’t been in the service long enough to have to find out.
Without warning, the comms chatter returned and Fredrik swapped information with Sgt Tomas in brief shouts and extravagant gestures with his free hand. Once Tomas had the gist of what had gone on, he told the rest of the squad. Apparently, the lead vehicle had run a Noblin road-block and had cleared the way for the rest of the column. The small arms fire was a result of the contact. Fortunately the Noblins didn’t have anything that could break through the armour so they were ignored for the primary objective. That was it...nothing special.
The journey seemed much smoother now so Egil assumed that they were now traveling on a road of some description. He checked his watch; it was nearly 18:00hrs and that meant that they had been traveling for nearly seven hours. He was bored, tired and aching. He gazed at his boots and shifted his weight on the seat again. His hips complained as he moved. He rotated his shoulders inside his body armour and stretched out his fingers to try to help with the aching and lack of circulation. Still staring at his boots, he thought of other things he could be doing at that moment and every one of them were better than his current activity...or lack of it.
Without warning, the engine roar lessened and Egil felt the reaction of the vehicle slowing down. Sure enough, a loud squeal from the brakes and the dipping sensation caused by the suspension meant that the vehicle was slowing to a stop. Egil saw Rork gesturing through the view-hatch for a moment and then the engines roared again, lifting the front of the vehicle slightly as the engine torque powered them forward again. After a few moments the squeal of the brakes brought the vehicle to a stop again.
“Right then, squad; prepare to de-bus” ordered Sgt Tomas “make sure you grab all your kit”.
With that, the rear ramp slowly dropped and bright sunshine shone in from outside. They all grabbed their kit and began to leave the vehicle. As they stepped outside they were met by a stern faced Grymn who shouted for them to form up into a squad. To Egil’s surprise, Sgt Tomas immediately hustled them into formation and stood at the front facing the Stern looking Grymn.
“SQUAD...SQUAD: SHUN!” shouted Tomas and almost instinctively, the squad came smartly to attention. Tomas then saluted and returned to attention.
“Welcome to Camp Cash. My name is Captain Grim and I am responsible for your training and welfare while you are here” Said the stern looking Grymn “if you don’t train as hard as I think you are able, you will get no welfare”.
From that moment on, the seven hour trip from basic training to mechanised-combat training seemed almost pleasant...
...Egil slung his SMG over his shoulder as he walked briskly up the tail ramp of his Glaive armoured personnel carrier. It was something that he had done many times before, especially in the two and a half years since leaving Camp Cash as the star pupil. Today, however, things were different. As he took the seat opposite the comms operator, Egil looked down at the front of the helmet he had placed on his knees and smiled. Subtly marked in black were some Sgt’s stripes below his name. He had come a long way since the trip to Camp Cash.

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