New Recruits

For the Heroine Competition - Welcome Fresh Meat. [Artwork and cover designed by me]

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1. Commander

Three new, fresh looking young men sat on orderly chairs in an almost empty room. They wore stale coloured jumpsuits of garish grey and streaks of white around them, and crystal white berets. The walls were littered with screens, showing looping images of surreal looking soldiers in masked, sleek looking armour plating. On one screen, they were giving commands; on another, shooting ammunition of bright blues; but on a few, metal giants sprinted and cracked the ground beneath them. The walls were so clean, coloured in dull whites, greys and blacks. 

"I can't wait for this!" one of the gentlemen said to the two sat next to him, not looking quite as eager. 

"I admire enthusiasm..." another groaned with a dreary tone. 

"Hey! I've waited my whole boy-childhood for this moment!" the other yapped, whipping his head to his colleague. "We're gunna be part of Division 16! The most elite military force the Western Republic has in its arsenal!" 

"That is if you don't screw it up." the third one chattered. His counter part snorted as the keen soldier gave him too another scowl. 


To their surprise, the doors on the left of the room gently creaked open. The soldiers bolted up right from their chairs proudly as a young woman, no more than 40, strolled in calmly. The men darted their hands to the side of their heads in salute, and the woman did the same back to them. 

"At ease, fellas." she smiled as they returned back down slowly on their seats. Her uniform was digitally patterned like pixelated military camouflage. The same colours of dull blacks, whites and greys were the pigments. Her boots were hefty as they lightly clopped against the hard floor. The satchel at her hip holstered a bulky pistol that had scratched in tally marks on its slide. Her peaked cap on her head labeled her rank and her piecing emerald green eyes stared into the men as she smirked to herself. 

"My name is Lieutenant General Sandra Anders." she somewhat gloated as she paced. Her voice was harsh and stern, with an air of authority to it. "I am the one who gives the orders in this division, end of story, full stop, period, goodbye! And I will die before I see mine and my men's reputation ruined. I will not have it spoiled by snot-nosed weaklings." she scowled as the men looked subtly more worried. "Names!" 

"Second Lieutenant Brinley, Ma'am!" one bellowed as he rose out of his chair. Like whack-a-moles, as one sat down, the other stood up next to him. 

"Second Lieutenant Williams, Ma'am!"

"Second Lieutenant Romano, Ma'am!" 

"Excellent! All fresh meat!" she cheered, raising her hands in the air. "Time to beat you till your tenderized." She evilly grinned. "Welcome to the 16th Division, gentlemen. You have all passed your initial training at which 120 of you started, am I correct?" The previously eager soldier stood back and answered. 

"There was 220 of us, Ma'am." 

"You telling me how to do my job, soldier!?" she bellowed as her face almost touched his. 

"NO, MA'AM!" the man said confidently terrified. 

"That's the spirit! Sit!" she demanded as he plonked back down onto his chair. "Now gentleman, listen up. You're not in your little simulators anymore. Not in your little gyms or training with your shoddy blank rounds any longer. This is the real war, and every human being out beyond the Polish border wants to cook you up and eat your ten tiny toes in a prawn cocktail! That's a fact! Their armies have more soldiers in them than your hearts have beaten in your life times, put together. They have heavily armoured tanks and vehicles that are not only as numerous, but have over 700 millimeters of frontal armour that can stop our most powerful audience at a range even as close as 1,000 yards. And lastly, their artillery barrages are so large, they make the Battle of the Somme two millennia ago look like a rat's piss stream! It's a tough world out there gentlemen, but that's why you're here." 

The four walked out into a warehouse so tall and wide, it was hard to see the other side. The three newcomers were amazed and stunned as they saw the vast amounts of machinery that was being worked on and swarmed by engineers. The sparkling lights of the welding equipment glittered in their eyes. The pieces of aircraft were so ginormous, they looked as if out of a Star Wars film. But what stood out most were the towering knights. Mechanical suits stood high and dormant, like medieval armour in the corridors of a mansion. There were few, only a couple of tens, but they posed as if so proud. 

"Good evening, Ma'am." a passing by soldier saluted to her as she returned it. 

"Evening, Gregs."
The engineers up above working on the mechas greeted her as well . 

"Howdy, Ma'am! Fresh meat on the go?" one yelled down to her as he raised his welding mask. 

"Yes indeed, Miller. Are their suits ready?" she replied. 

"Of course. Down right at the end there." he gestured and pointed with his hammer. 

"Excellent! Well keep at it, Miller." she ordered, following his pointed direction. The group kept on walking through the forest of mechas, in neat rows to their left and rights. There were men inside their chests with mechanical gloves and glassed masks on. One soldier wiggled his fingers inside the machine as an engineer directed him, and the machine followed his exact movement in sync with his own. The combination of man and machine. The recruits looked stunned. But they soon came to a finely decorated suit, with insignias, phrases and symbols dotted around it, such as blue and white tribal painting, and messages that wrote, for example, "Bye Kitty" with a white cat with a red bow on its ear having crossed eyes drawn below it. 

"So gentlemen," Anders declared, "Your suits are there, there and there. Numbers 67, 68, and 69. Whoever gets the third one has the lucky number!" she yelled as the new recruits looked up to their new toys. "Those suits are now yours, and yours alone. Decorate 'em if you want, like I have with my baby." she smiled as she patted its leg. "But remember, gentlemen... Your lives do not matter as much as these suits. This isn't the 3rd millennia anymore. Those machines cost more money than your whole family would make in centuries. We can get new bodies like you to man these giants, but we can only make so much of these vital suits in the 16th Division." she scowled, and the men sweated with fear. "Our job, however, in these beauties, is to destroy absolutely anything in our way. You will become one with your mech suits. You will think like them. Act like them; and destroy anything that will stand in your way; efficiently and lethally. I have only lost 1 man in this division aside retirements, and I will not have our fear factor stained for one minute. You will do as I say out in the field, when I say if you don't want to get killed out there. You've got to obey the rules, they are there for a reason." She rambled each of these words as she clambered into the heart of the mecha, climbing it like a lemur in a tree. She slotted her hands into the metallic gloves, pressing small buttons on the dashboard and slotting on her screened, masked helmet. The hatches on the machine's chest slowly hissed as they shut, and the suit began to move it's head. "This is the power you hold, gentlemen. Do not waste it." her suit stamped forward gently and squatted down low to one knee as it's metal face stared at the soldiers.

"Welcome to the 16th Division, gentlemen."

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