Cosima fell down on her bed. Her breathing was heavy and it toke a lot of energy to control her respiration. Today’s training had been the worst. Cosima didn’t mind working out a little and she knew the army only wanted fit rookies to become soldiers, and she was too determined to become like her sister, Sarah, that she didn’t see how diffecult it was going to get. She was a trainee for 5 days right now and she already started to dislike the training sessions. Sarah had warned her it was going to be hard. Especially for her. Cosima’s breathing was bad for already a little while, so the stamina-exercises were worse than hell. But Cosima was a bit stubborn and wouldn’t give up easily. She dreamt of becoming a soldier since her youth. To become as brave as Luke Skywalker and protect common people against the bad guys. She imagined how she shot people in the chest. Only bad people, who wanted to hurt the ones she loved. She imagined saving them. Cosima dreamt of being a hero. She thought that if she’d join the army, she would become a hero. Sadly she wasn’t a soldier yet, just a newbie.
Sarah warned her sister that being a soldier wasn’t as herotic as some people believed. First of all, the recruiting stage was terrible. Cosima knew Sarah was psychically well. Sarah trained already before she became a trainee herself. But the letters Sarah wrote to Cosima and her sisters troubled her. Sarah often wrote she wanted to go home and she really considered quitting. If Sarah, the one who always out ran everybody, wanted to go home, why did Cosima think she wouldn’t? Cosima knew it would be terrible at some points. She would miss her other relatives and would be dying to go home. But that didn’t stop her to sign up as a recruit. She just needed to get through these couple of months, even if she would think she would die after running for 5 minutes or could barely see anything without her glasses.
She couldn’t show any of her flaws to the other rookies or to the officers. If she did, they would defenitely send her home. And they couldn’t send her home, they just couldn’t. Cosima waited her whole life for an opportunity like this, and she wasn’t planning to let other people take that away from her. She manipulated the tests herself and her effort would be useless if they would find out… Well, she manipulated the tests with a little help of Sarah, of course..
The first test people have to complete if they want to become a trainee, is mostly about your senses. People examine your reflexes, your ears and your eyes. A soldier must have quick reflexe. He, or she, has to react as quickly as possible to the sergeant’s commands. A soldier must have good ears, to listen. If you can’t see your enemy, it’s very useful if you got a good hearing, to hear the enemy coming closer. And a soldier must have good eyes. Something Cosima lacked off. She could never quite understand why she had to wear glasses, since Sarah didn’t needed them. She eventually found out that if you study hard and spend a lot of time googling information, it might damage your eyes. Cosima didn’t knew when she was younger and had now to live with the concequences.
Her hearing test went fine and her reflexes were very good. The only test she would’ve troubles with, were the eye-test. That was were Sarah helped her sister. Because Sarah had passed the eye-test pretty well, very good, actually. Without Sarah’s help, Cosima would fail big time. To help her, Sarah broke into one of the General’s offices and stole the eye-test. It wasn’t a hard test. Cosima had to look at different numbers and letters and tell the assistent which letter she was looking at. Eventually all the letters and numbers would decrease until they were almost invisible. Sarah told Cosima all the letters and numbers in the right order. To be sure she wouldn’t fail, Cosima memorized everything. Once she took the test, she just had to remember the letters and numbers in the correct order and tell them to the assistant without even being able to see them.
She also got through her eye-test. It wasn’t even hard.
The second part of the test is physical. Recruits are expected to at least run half an hour without any trouble. But it did trouble Cosima. She had troubles with breathing and wasn’t even able to run five minutes without feeling like her lungs would explode. This time, Sarah helped her again. Cosima would start the test with the other new rookies. The first two minutes would be terrible, because Cosima had to make sure she would be the fastest one of the group. Most of them started very easy and were easy to overhaul. There were a few faster ones who caused a little trouble, but Cosima was able to pass them all. She ran as hard as she could, hearing the grumpy chatter of the other trainees behind her. A small girl like Cosima was unable to outrun huge men, who trained for more than two years, they probably thought. Luckily, Cosima didn’t have to run the whole track. At the first bend of the road, she slipped into the shrubbery. Sarah would jump at the same time out of vegetation and would run the track for her. Sarah had an excellent perseverance and had no trouble running for the rest of the half an hour. Cosima would wait a few hundreds of meters before the finishline. Sarah was the first one to arrive, they way she expected. Sweaty and exhausted she let herself drop into the shrubbery. Cosima ran the last few minutes and was the first one to arrive, without actually having to run much.
Cosima also completed the physical test. In a week or two she rescived a message that told her she was officially a trainee. She was expected at the base in five days. Of course, Sarah was the first one to hear she was accepted as a trainee. Sarah had warned her that, because she cheated twice on the tests, the recruiting stage would be extra hard. Sarah couldn’t keep saving Cosima’s ass, she had to complete a lot of trainings herself. But Cosima didn’t mind at all, she was way to happy to know she was going to be a hero soon.
She totally regrets her happiness now. It was already a couple of minutes since she dropped down on her cot, but she still had trouble breathing. By now the other rookies also entered the tent. Sweaty, smelly, dirty and tired as hell she turned to her stomach and buried her face in the sheets. They also smelled dirty. She missed the smell of her own sheets… You just have to get used to it, she told herself while she forced herself to smell the dirty smell again. After a few seconds she couldn’t bare it anymore and sat up straight.
She looked up when someone entered the tent. A big grin spread across her face.
Cosima jumped up and ran to her sister. She swung her arms around her sister’s neck. Sarah laughed in her ear. She was never so relieved to see Sarah. Her sister is almost the only thing she got to take from home.
"Hey, Cos," Sarah greeted her. They broke the hug and Sarah helt her at armlength. She took a good look at Cosima and grinned.
"Look at you, all grown up and stuff, yeah?" Sarah said chuckling. Cosima gave her a friendly push. A grin spread across her face as they both sat down on her cot. The dirty smell filled her nose again but she ignored it, because Sarah did as well. Or her nose might’ve been corroded in these few months as a soldier. She has to be used to the smell of the dirty beds. Sarah smiled at her, but her grin faded when her eyes saw the dark cirkles under Cosima’s eyes
"I told you the army wasn’t something for you.." Sarah said, suddenly concerned. "Look at you. I don’t even know how you manage to keep up with the rest of the group. Dierden must’ve beaten you all up. At least, he did in my first weeks.."
Cosima sighed and nodded. Sergeant Paul Dierden was the hardest and most corrupt leader she ever met. He was supposed to take care of the newbies and he was a soldier inside and outside. He had broad shoulders, long legs and his biceps and triceps were as big as his fist. She expected that Sergeant Dierden started off easily since they were all new and didn’t know what to do. Nobody knew eachother and it was already awkward if your eyes met someone else’s. Sadly, Dierden didn’t. He almost let Cosima dig her own grave… Or at least, it felt like that. She was so freaking tired at the end of ther first training and almost passed out during it. Sergeant Paul looked at her like she was dirt when she asked if they could slow down a bit. They even fastened. Yes, Cosima was defenitely scared of Sergeant Dierden.
"I just have to get through this few months and then it’ll get easier…" Cosima mumbled. Sarah let her head rest in her hands and sighed deeply before answering.
"No, Cos, it won’t. It was a mistake to bring you here.."
Sarah looked at Cosima for a few seconds and Cosima stared back. A smile appeared on her sister’s face. She rose her eyebrows confused, not quite understanding why Sarah would smile at her like that.
"Anyway, I know my objections won’t make any difference. You know where to find me if there’s any trouble, yes?" Sarah asked. Cosima nodded, smiling now too.
Sarah and her force had a special department inside the huge building. The rookies slept in a few big tents with dirty cots and rotten matresses. They got nice beds, white sheets, clean toilets and better food. That was another motivation for Cosima to become a soldier as quickly as possible. She couldn’t bare it in here. Cosima didn’t like to camp in the first place and without a proper place to sleep she decided she wanted to stay outside as long as possible.
Sarah stood up and gave Cosima one final hug. Cosima wished Sarah could stay longer, but duty called her, obviously. Her sister had a tight scedule and barely had any breaks, while Cosima had usually the afternoons and evenings off after they trained their asses off in the morning. Sarah still trained a lot, but also need to attend at a lot of meetings, since she was head of her unit.
"Okey, let’s talk soon," Cosima said when they broke off the hug. Sarah smiled at her and nodded. When she turned around and walked out of the trainee’s-tent, Cosima missed her already. She sighed and sat down on her bed, resting her head in her hands. This was going to be a long afternoon without her sister.
The next day Cosima woke up late. She could tell by the rays of sun that peeked through the aperture of the tent. She realized nobody had woken her up, which the trainee’s were supposed to do if somebody was late. Everybody was gone already…
"Shit, shit, shit!" she cursed as she jumped out of bed. She grabbed her glasses and put those on her nose. Cosima hastily tried to grab her clothes and put those on as quick as possible. Her trousers, her shirt, her shoes. She hopped to the opening of the tent, trying to put on her last boot. Once she had put it on she started to run. She looked around, panicked. Usually Sergeant Dierden came to get them and waited for them outside as they dressed. When everybody was ready he toke them to forest to run a few laps or to the shooting range or even to the pool. She didn’t knew where the other rookies had went and at this moment she could feel fear flowing through her veins. Her eyes searched the area but couldn’t find anyone, just a few high officers who looked disapprovingly at her when she ran past them.
Cosima sprinted for a few minutes in random directions, until someone stopped her. It was a guy with a nice face, black hair and black eyeliner, even though she knew they weren’t supposed to have make-up, let alone apply it. The guy had a cheeky smile and she couldn’t imagine him following the rules at all. Like he was there to break them.
"They went that way," he said. Cosima noticed his english accent, just like Sarah’s, but she was too busy running in the way the guy told her. She shouted a thank you and heard him chuckle for a few seconds. Quickly, Cosima ran around the corner.
Before she could even see what happened, she fell on the ground. It felt like Cosima had ran into a brick wall. She grunted in pain when her butt hit the ground. Slowly she looked up. Sunrays shone in her eyes and she couldn’t see anything except for a dark silhouette. But she recognized the figure. The broad shoulders, the huge biceps… Holy watershed…
"S-sergeant Dierden.." Cosima said as she got up. Clumsy she almost tripped over her own feet, but she managed to keep herself from falling.
"Go away, Niehaus," Dierden said, his eyes stern and harsh. Cosima didn’t knew what he was meaning and she didn’t want to understand. Did he sent her away? Did she had to leave? Go home?
"But.. but, Sergeant.. I really want to join-"
"Not back home, Niehaus," Sergeant Dierden sighed. "To Colonel Cormier. She asked me to send you to her room as soon as you arrived."
"Who-who’s… Where can I find her?" Cosima murmeled, while straightening her back. She nimbled her lower lip. Colonel Cormier? Who the hell would that be? She had never seen a woman before at the training sessions… Or did she? Cosima doesn’t remember the scene well and she doesn’t even know if the woman of her memory is the same woman Sergeant Dierden sends her to now…
At her first training session, a few days ago, Dierden talked to some woman… She barely remembers her face. But she recalls a neutral expression, doe’s soft eyes, pink lips and perfect curled blonde hair that fell down over her shoulders. Cosima had watched them rather curiously, curious for the woman that could impossibly be a corporal leader. But maybe she felt so curious because it would be her first session, she couldn’t quite tell. Cormier and Dierden talked for another five minutes until Cosima saw Cormier mouthing a goodbye. The sergeant did the same and saluted respectfully when the Colonel took off. When Cormier’s eyes slid one last time over the faces of the new recruits, they stopped at Cosima’s. They looked at eachother, both with the same curiousity, like they both were a project, something that had to be monitored. Cosima could feel the desire to walk over to her and take a closer look. Cosima and Colonel Cormier gazed at eachother for a second or two, before Cormier smiled at her. At that moment she couldn’t help but to grin. She felt like she turned into her 4-year-old self again while she waved awkwardly with her hand. The Colonel grinned, chuckled and broke off the stare. She looked down and Cosima saw she bit her lower lip, before walking away, back to whatever she had to do. An awesome feeling pumped through her body, like she just toke a shot of happiness. How could one woman make her act so weird?
Cosima didn’t had much time to think about that, since the training session was about to start. Back then she didn’t had a clue how hard Sergeant Dierden’s sessions were going to be.
But she couldn’t understand why Colonel Cormier, if it was the same woman, wanted to see Cosima..
"You can find her in the head building, you know where the head building is, don’t you?"
She nodded. The recruits aren’t allowed to come near the head building yet, but Sarah told her that’s were all the soldiers eat and the high officers and such keep their files, have their meetings and do whatever high officers need to do.
"She also gave premission for you to skip this training session… After your meeting with the Colonel you don’t have to come back, at least not for today. Now off you go, you don’t want to let her wait."
Cosima saluted to the Sergeant and turned around. She started to walk towards the head building.
Cosima had exactly no idea why Colonel Cormier called for her. They only smiled at eachother. Is that forbidden? Is a trainee not allowed to smile at a Colonel? Fear gathers in her body and she formed two fists, noticing her hands were all sweaty. Did they found out she cheated on the test? Will they send her home? Did they discover that Sarah had helped her? Will they also send Sarah home? She would feel terrible if she would be sent home, but she would be heartbroken if Sarah would be sent home too. Panick flows through her vains. She started to breath heavily and for the first time in ages she didn’t know what to do.
Instead of walking to the head building, she ran to her sister’s department. A few soldiers gave her strange looks when Cosima ran by. But she didn’t care. She had to talk to Sarah, discuss this whole situation with her sister. Sarah always had helped her through rough times and she was sure Sarah could help her again.
Luckily Sarah wasn’t at a meeting or a training session, she just sat on her bed, playing with some cards. Another guy of her department was playing the game with her. He had long strands of hair, even though boys are supposed to shave it all off when they become rookies. He had a shaggy beard but a friendly, handsome face.
"Sarah, seems like your sis is here," the guy said, before giving back the cards. It seems like the game’s over because of her appereance. Sarah collected them all and put them back in her suitcase.
"Thanks, Cal," she said. The guy, clearly named Cal, stood up and nodded at both of them, before walking back to his own cot to lie down. Sarah looked up at her and frowned.
"What are you doing here, Cos? Aren’t you supposed to be-"
"Sergeant Dierden sent me away," Cosima burst out, throwing her hands in the air. "He sent me away because Colonel Cormier, or something, wanted to see me. I dont’even know who she is or what I’ve done.. Do you think they found out about…"
Cosima lowered her voice.
”..- about the cheating? Do you think they will send me home? I don’t want to go home, Sarah, not after all of this. I really want this, they can’t just take it away from me like that! And what about you? Do you think they found out you helped me? They must at least have noticed we look a like.. Sarah, please, help me, I don’t know what to do…”
Cosima looked up at her sister. Sarah’s facial expression was neutral, she was just listening to the story like it was someone else’s, like she wasn’t even involved. She knew this expression. It was her leader-expression. It wasn’t likely she was going to get sisterly advice right now.
"Sorry sorry sorry, I’m rambling again, but I’m really scared.. What do they know?"
Sarah grabbed her sister’s hands and smiled at her. Cosima calmed down a little bit, but her muscles were still tense. She softly pinched Sarah’s hands and Sarah pinched back. It felt almost domestic.
"Easy there, dreads. I’m sure Colonel Cormier has a very good reason to ask for you. I don’t think they found out about the cheating, yeah? Otherwise they would’ve asked for me too, wouldn’t they? I’m sure everything’s gonna be alright."
Cosima looked down. It didn’t feel like everything was gonna be alright. It rather felt like her whole world was about to collapse. Everything she worked for was about to explode if they really had found out about the cheating. Sarah noticed her sister didn’t believe her, so she pinched another time in her hands to let her know she was on her side.
"I can bring you to her office, if that makes you feel better? Felix could come along or Cal? We will wait for you outside her office and bring you back again, yeah? Cosima, there’s literally nothing to be afraid for. I don’t know Cormier that well, but she isn’t bad. She’s okey. And I’m sure she will treat you good, yeah? I mean, it could’ve been worse. If Duncan would’ve called for you, you’d be fucked."
She took a deep breath and nodded slowly. If Sarah would come along she would feel much safer. And actually she had no idea where the Colonel’s office was if Sarah wouldn’t bring her.
"Fee, mind if you come along?" Sarah called. The man with the dark eyeliner Cosima had bumped into just a quarter ago turned around, just a few cots away, and nodded. He grinned his cheeky smile at her and came to them.
"Hi, Felix. A friend of Sarah’s, but we’re literally family," the guy, who introduced himself as Felix, said. Cosima smiled back timidly.
"Hi, Cosima. Sarah’s sister and we’re actually family," she said. It was nice to meet new people, Cosima loved people, but there was only one thing she could think of right now.
"Okey, let’s go," Sarah said, as the took her sister by the hand. The three of them walked out of Sarah’s department. Nobody dared to interrupt the silence.
They walked a few minutes through hallways and corridors Cosima barely could distinguish from eachother. It was like they walked through a labyrinth and Sarah and Felix knew the way out. She was glad they were there to guide her. If she had to find Colonel Cormier’s office herself, she would defenitely get lost.
They got in an elevator and got out at another floor. Two soldiers checked their for their names. Sarah and Felix weren’t allowed to pass, because their names weren’t on the list, but appereantly the Colonel had put Cosima’s name on the list, even though she was still newbie. Sarah couldn’t bring her all the way up to Cormier’s door, but she told her to just check the names on the door, since every door lead to another officer’s, general’s, sergeant’s of whatever’s office. She would find the right door eventually if she kept checking. Cosima noticed there were a lot of wooden doors in this corridor, and they all looked the same. Like all the offices of the leaders were on the same floor. All the offices of the leaders were probably on the same floor, she realized. Stupid, Cosima thought. If she would be the one to lead, she would put every office at a different place. If someone breaks in, like Sarah did, it was easy for her to find the right office. But she wasn’t a general and wasn’t allowed to do such a thing. Cosima first had to get through her talk with Colonel Cormier.
She passed the two guards and did like Sarah told her; she checked for the names on the doors. General Duncan. High officer Hendrix. Dr. Leekie. And a lot more she couldn’t and didn’t need to remember. Eventually, half past the hallway, she found the right door. Colonel D. Cormier, she read as she gulped. She defenitely was scared but Cosima couldn’t go back now, could she?
After a few seconds of fearful doubt, she knocked.
"Entre," she heard. It wasn’t a stern voice, not a harsh one like Sergeant Dierden’s. Not one who could shout commands and felt like lightning hit the earth. It was very soft, almost kind, but still professional enough to make her heart beat louder. Was Colonel Cormier one of those women who seemed sweet, but could rip your tongue out if you disobeyed them? Cosima didn’t know, but still entered the room, since that’s what she’s supposed to do.
And there she was. The woman Cosima smiled at. The woman who made Cosima feel like her grey world suddenly turned colourful. She sat behind her desk, a phone brought up to her ear and a glass of red wine in front of her. Paperwork covered her bureau. Cormier murmeled some French words into the phone, closed her eyes and sighed deeply. The person she was talking to had to be annoying her.
"Non.. Oui, je comprends… Oui… Non, je n’oublie pas. Merci beaucoup.. Salut."
Colonel Cormier put the phone down and sighed again, before turning to Cosima. She still awkwardly stood in the opening of the door, waiting for Cormier to tell her to sit down, to do push ups or to pack her stuff and go home.
"Sit down," she said instead. Cosima noticed the French accent in her voice when she switched languages. It actually sounded kind of sexy. Quickly Cosima adjusted herself. She was a Colonel, it would be disrespectful to think of her as sexy. Cosima walked to the stair in front of Cormier’s desk and sat down, nervously staring at the powerful woman who sat in front of her.
"Do you know who I am, Cosima?" the Colonel said. She let her head rest in her hands, while her beautiful eyes found Cosima’s. The fact that Colonel Cormier knew Cosima’s name frightened her, but at the same time she couldn’t feel more relaxed than she did now. Somehow, the presence of Colonel Cormier made her feel safe, like Cormier didn’t even want to hurt her.
"Y-yes. You are Colonel Cormier," Cosima answered, with a little stutter. This woman made her nervous in a good way, but she couldn’t become disrespectful and ignore all the formalities.
"Delphine Cormier, yes. One of the two colonels here at this base. And do you know why I asked for you?"
Cosima shook her head. Delphine, it somehow felt nicer to call her like that, smiled at her. Like an elder someone who smiles at a child even though the child gave a wrong answer. Is that what Cosima was to Delphine? A child? It would make sense though. She’s the Colonel and Cosima still was a recruit. Even though she was very comertable around Delphine, the difference of importance and power was almost touchable.
"Look, Cosima," Delphine said, while she stood up from behind her desk. "I like soldiers with a lot of ambition. I respect those who will do whatever it must take to get what they want. I respect you, Cosima. I’ve noticed you really want to join us. But people who don’t play fair, people who lie, are doomed to succeed. I think we both know what I’m talking about, don’t we?"
Cosima gulped and rose from her chair. Formilities wouldn’t even matter right now, because she was about to be sent home anyway… Delphine watched her and didn’t stop her. She just took her wineglass off the table and took a little sip out of it.
"Sorry sorry sorry, Delph- I mean, Colonel. I just.. My sister is a soldier too and I wanted to be just like her and-"
"Miss Niehaus, you don’t have to explain all of this," Delphine said, while putting her glass down. "I get why you did everything. Sarah is very intelligent, quick on her feet and an excellent leader. I understand why you wanted to be like her. But not everybody is suited for the army. And I want you to be healthy, Cosima. I won’t holdback any information; I’m the only one who noticed your smart tricks to bypass our tests. After talking to Sergeant Dierden a few times, I knew for sure you couldn’t become a soldier without your health to aggravate. I want you to be healthy, Cosima."
Delphine takes a few steps towards her and smiles reassuring. Cosima relaxed again a bit. Her soft voice didn’t make her shiver with fear. It actually comforted her. And it’s been a while since another person than one of her relatives could make her 100% comfertable. Delphine made her want to step foreward and decrease the distance between them.
"Are you going to throw me out? Send me back home?" Cosima asked, a little suspicious. Delphine shook her head.
"No. At least, I don’t think you want to go home, do you? No, of course not. But I think we can figure this out together, can’t we, Cosima?"
Delphine stepped another step towards her. Cosima licked her lips and she had to keep herself for not making that last step towards the Colonel. She kept reminding herself that this woman could send her home if she liked to. This woman was powerful, and one misstep could end her career as a soldier. She had to know if Delphine always acted this clingy.
"Yeah, I think so," Cosima said.
"Good. I’ve got something in mind for you. You’re not a physical type, Cosima. You’re a mental type. You’ve got brains, you defenitely showed you’ve got them. I want to transfer you to a special department. You can work together with Dr. Leekie. I will keep your secret, I won’t tell anyone you cheated. We get another intelligent person who helps us. It’s a win-win situation. You might not become the soldier you wanted, but I believe you’ll be more of use like this. But…"
Delphine took the last step. Their bellies were touching eachother every time they exhailed and Cosima was dying to wrap her arms around the Colonel. Cosima looked up into Delphine’s eyes, those beautiful eyes that would haunt her tonight for sure. It seemed like she couldn’t look away anymore, like nothing else mattered except those beautiful, puppy-like eyes.
"Yes?" Cosima whispered, completely hypnotized by Delphine. Like the Colonel had wrapped her around her little finger and pulled her closer inch by inch. Cosima didn’t even mind anymore.
"… you will have to do something for me too.." Delphine said, her voice low now. Her tongue slowly wettened her lips and Cosima couldn’t think of anything more sexier than that.
"Kiss me, Miss Niehaus…" Delphine wispered, her eyes daring her to disobey. Cosima wouldn’t do anything rather than to plant her lips on the Colonel’s and feel the firework that is about to unlight in her body. But, being her cheeky self, she would tease her first.
"What if I don’t want to?" she asked, raising her eyebrows. Delphine showed a little smile.
"Then I have to command you kiss me, but I don’t think that’s necessary, is it?"
Cosima grinned and shoke her head slowly. Delphine’s hand first slid behind her ear, holding her head for a few moments before she leaned in and kissed her tenderly on the lips. Cosima wrapped her arms around Delphine’s neck, not even caring about respect and formalities anymore. The only thing that mattered were the delicious taste of Colonel Cormier’s sweet lips and their heavy breaths between the quick kisses. Cosima sensed the smell of expensive wine, it only made her deepen the kiss. Delphine’s blonde curls stroke her cheeks while her hands stroke her hips. It made Cosima crazy, made her want to explore more and more of this woman, as well physically as mentally. If Sarah only knew what they were doing…
When they broke the kiss, they breathed eachothers exhales for a few seconds, their faces only a few inches apart. Her eyes met Delphine’s and a smile crept across Cosima’s face.
"Do you mind to meet up again?" Colonel Cormier asked, a little out of breath. Cosima gave her another peck on the lips.