Training Accident

“This is a complete and utter waste of time.  I could be sleeping right now!” 24-42 complained.

“Escape drills are important, an emergency could happen at any hour.”  M42 barked at them.

The whole facility was standing outside in their pyjamas, some with blankets around them, in various states of annoyance and drowsiness.  It was 2.30am, and no one was pleased to have been awoken by the alarms.  

“All personnel accounted for.” The electronic male voice of 1B-42 said loudly over the speakers.  “Evacuation completed in five minutes twenty seconds.”

“Five minutes twenty-two!” 1A-42 disagreed.

“Five minutes twenty!”

“Five minutes twenty-two!”

“Enough.” C42 said calmly.  “Both of you can do a check after we’re done here.”

The old lady turned to face her troops, her face stern.

“Not good enough.  Under five minutes next time, understood?”  She barked.

A general murmur of compliance came from the sleepy crowd.

“UNDERSTOOD?” C42 repeated, louder this time.  

“Yes Marm!” Was the snap reply.  

C42 returned to her usual kindly demeanour.

“Then let’s get to bed, we all want to be up early in tip-top condition for all the work we have to do.  Good night everyone!” She smiled pleasantly, before turning on her heel and heading back to her lodgings. Everyone groaned before shuffling back to their lodgings.

“What a pain.”  Tytus muttered to 11-42.

“No kidding.” 11-42 replied as they both headed back to bed.  

24-42, Henna and M42 headed off in the same direction, their lodgings all being in the same wing.  

“G’night guys…I’ll try to be awake tomorrow.”  Henna yawned, getting her blanket caught in her door.  M42 and 24-42 continued on.

“What a waste of time and sleep.”  24-42 groaned.  She’d been having a dream about a man she’d once known and loved.  She wasn’t all too pleased about being woken from that dream.

“Nonsense, we must always be prepared for any emergency, and we mustn’t grumble at rules that are meant to keep us safe.” M42 replied.

“You’re a pompous arse.”

“You’re insubordinate.”

24-42 couldn’t help but smile.  M42 tried to ignore it but finally caved.

“What’s so amusing, Experiment?” He glared at her.

“You.  You try to be this big macho goody-two-shoes commando but you’re so much more than that.” She said, still smiling up at him.

“I’m M42, and I’m here to do a job, nothing more.” M42 turned off towards his lodgings.

“I’ve seen you smile.”

M42 stopped in his tracks.  

“If I tell you another secret, will you smile again?” 24-42 asked.

“No.” Was the answer.

24-42 was about to protest when the Major turned around and gave her a small smile.  “Good night 24-42.”

“Good night Sir.” 24-42 smiled back.  There was something about the Major that made her feel warm inside.

Maybe she could move on from her past after all.

“Okay, get ready…GO!” M42 yelled.

The five Experiments ripped off their blindfolds and headed towards the shipping containers in Training Ground 6. The containers were supposed to represent buildings, some of them stacked two or three high.  In two of these containers S42 and D42 were hiding as “hostages” while Suzie and some of her regular soldiers were the “enemy”.

“Remember, no fatalities.” Daniel commanded them.

“Who put you in charge?” Tytus snapped, running into the enemy immediately.

“MISSION FAILED!” Yelled M42.  “You’re not supposed to be seen or heard!  Back here and try again!”

The rest of the Experiments shot Tytus filthy looks as they headed back to the starting point and put their blindfolds back on.  They could hear the machinery moving a few of the containers around to make sure the Experiments didn’t know the lay of the land.

The mission objective was to get the hostages out without needing to confront or harm anyone.  This was their fifteenth go at the training mission, and the Experiments were starting to get irate.

“You’re supposed to be peacekeepers, aimed at saving lives, not ending them!  Now, GO!”  M42 roared.  The Experiments rushed off again.

“Henna, see if you can get up and see the lay of the land before we rush in and fail again.” Alexis suggested.  “You go with her Daniel.”

“Right.”  The two nodded, heading up into the air.  After about five minutes, they landed.

“We tried to memorise the path the guards took, it seems like the hostages are towards the back of the facility, judging from where the guards seemed to be.” Daniel said.  “I’d suggest Henna and I go back up while 24-42 sneaks in.  You other two can provide distractions.”  

“And how are we supposed to distract without getting seen?!” Tytus snapped.

“Figure it out.” Daniel glared back.  He, Henna and 24-42 took to the air.

“Down there in that building 24-42.”  Daniel pointed.  “You’ll have to land elsewhere though to avoid being seen.

“MISSION FAILED!” They heard M42 yell again.  “15-42 if you INSIST on getting yourself caught -,”

“Will you CAN IT already?!” Tytus finally lost it, his hands glowing a dangerous shade of blue.  The Major scowled at him.

“We will start again.” He said coldly.  The Experiments went back to their starting line and donned their blindfolds.  The machinery started again to rearrange the shipping containers.

M42 sighed, and checked his notepad.  Suddenly one of the cables on a crane snapped, sending a shipping container straight towards the Major.

“SIR NO!” Suzie and 24-42 cried.  Thankfully, M42 managed to stop the flying container with his cyborg arm.  It slammed to the ground just in front of him, just before he fell to his knees with exhaustion.

“Training is over!” Suzie cried. “D42! S42! Get to the Major NOW!”

24-42 ran to the Major, who was clutching his shoulder where his cyborg arm met his body.  “Are you okay Sir?”  She tried to put a comforting arm around him, but he pushed her away with his regular arm.

“Leave me alone.”  He struggled to his feet.

“Major!” Suzie ran over with the two doctors.  “You need medical attention, you’ve overtaxed your-,”

“Leave. Me. Alone.” M42 growled.  He pushed the doctors away and struggled to his lodgings, 24-42 close behind him.

“Sir, you really need to let to doctors help you!” She tried to talk to him.  “You could have done some damage to yourself!”

“I’m fine, Experiment.”

“No, you’re not!” 24-42 grabbed him as he stumbled again.

The two doctors caught up and began looking at the arm.  24-42 found herself rubbing his human arm gently.  She looked at his face, which was stubbornly looking away, trying to hide the fact that he was in pain.

“This is why we didn’t go the cybernetic path.  It puts too much strain on the body.” D42 sighed.  “He should be okay, but he’ll need to rest for a day or two.”

The Major snorted at that.  He lifted himself up again, and staggered to his lodgings.  24-42 watched him for a bit, before rushing to help him.

“What’s up with HER?” Tytus watched as 24-42 fussed over M42.

“I think she might have a thing for him.” Alexis replied.

“She’s weird.” Daniel piped up.

24-42 laid the Major out on his sofa, where he groaned and reached for the television remote.

“Do you need anything?” She asked.

“No thank you 24-42.  I’ll be okay.” He sighed as he flicked the news on.  

24-42 nodded, and headed out of the quarters.

“Thank you for your assistance.”

24-42 smiled to herself.  “You’re welcome Sir.”

She let the door slide closed behind her.  She looked longingly at it for a few seconds, before turning around and nearly bumping into Alexis, who was with Suzie.

“I have known the Major since he had his implants put in, and he has NEVER let anyone into his lodgings before,no matter how beat up he was!” Suzie laughed.  “So, tell us everything!”

“Nothing to tell.” 24-42 blushed furiously, pushing her way past the three girls who were just DYING to hear all the juicy gossip.

“Aww, there has to be something!” Henna begged as they headed back to 24-42s lodgings.

“Well…he has smiled at me twice.”  24-42 admitted.

“You mean a real smile?!” The girls squealed.  24-42 grinned.

“Yup.  He’s actually really handsome when he smiles.”  She continued as they all walked into her loungeroom.  It had been a few months now since the Exposure, and the lodgings showed signs of being lived in (even though an optional cleaner came through every day).  The yard outside had plenty of potted plants and a small veggie patch (which was most unsuccessful due to the abundance of cats).

“Oh. My. Squeak!” Henna giggled.  “You know there’s absolutely NOTHING in the rules about affairs between staff at this facility.”

“That’s because most of us are permanently assigned here unless something goes wrong.”  Suzie winked.  “I reckon a bit of action could be what softens the grump out a bit.” 

The look on 24-42s face had everyone roaring with laughter.  24-42 joined them.

She thought of her old life.  She never had friends like this to laugh with.  Not until she met him anyway, but even he kept his distance from her.  

Signing up for Project 42 wasn’t such a bad idea in the end.  Hopefully she could keep her evil temper under control.