The Recruits Finally Get a Break

Sergeant Perkins observed as the new recruits of Upsilon Squad settled into their new accommodations. After a full day, the ten recruits had finally stowed their gear inside their footlockers and Perkins took his leave, promising to return early the next morning at 5 a.m. Finally, the recruits could relax without a Sergeant barking out orders.

“Holy, cats! What a day,” said Jackson Shepherd, falling into his bed, doubling the pillow over behind his head. “I’ve never had so many people teach me how to do every little thing. I had a kid actually show me how to properly button a button.”

“I know, right?” added Ian Thomas, sitting upon the edge of his bunk. “The way they treated us like babies, I expected Perkins to give me a sack of diapers.”

The other recruits laughed out loud. The entire squad began to loosen up and enjoy themselves.

“Yes, and I had a Sergeant show me how to properly hold a bottle of water, so as to not spill it down my chin when I drank,” teased Weber, the young German recruit.

“I was upset when Sergeant Perkins left us alone for two minutes to eat our sandwiches,” joked Espinoza, the boy from a small Spanish mountain village of Trevélez. “I needed him to cut the crust off my bread.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” warned Chu, from Lijiang, China. “Tomorrow is another day and Perkins may help you eat your sandwich.”

“Hey, Espinoza,” cracked Irwin, the young Australian girl from Perisher Village. “If Perkins won’t help you eat your sandwich, I will!”

“I’ll take half of that sandwich if Perkins doesn’t want it,” laughed Gregory, the Canadian from Alberta.

“And, did you see Perkins’ messed up finger?” Jackson cracked, wiggling his pinky in the air. “A kid in the supply room told me he blew off his little finger during weapons training a couple years back. That’s why they call him, Pinky. Oh, man! Ouch!”

The recruits cackled hysterically at Perkins’ misfortune. Weber and Sanchez almost completely lost consciousness from laughing so hard.

The children continued to enjoy their first evening together and especially enjoyed making jokes about Drill Sergeants. Before long, taps began to play through the wall speakers. Drill Sergeant Perkins had instructed the recruits, on more than one occasion, that taps meant lights out and time for bed. No exceptions! All recruits were expected to be well rested for a full day of hard work. Training would begin promptly at 5 a.m. with a blast of the much-talked-about Air-Horn.

The Turbo Hydro-Hawk 3000

“Please, close your eyes for a moment,” said Major Pia Holt, addressing the class. “Now, I want you to imagine that you have found a way to strap yourself to a bolt of lightning.  Imagine, you are in control of the lightning bolt, and at will you jet through the clouds then rocket downward through the surface of the ocean, exploring the depths. Now you know what it’s like to pilot the new Turbo Hydro-Hawk 3000.”

The Hydro-Hawk has the ability to fit through the smallest cracks in the ocean floor, and while traveling at a high rate of speed, gives the gunner enough fire power to destroy anything in the way. The on board weapons system contains dozens of Raptor Class missiles, as well as hundreds of rounds of automatic hydro ammo. 

The design of the new Hydro-Hawk is based upon the world’s old, pre-quake fighters; the F-22 Raptor, F-16, F-14, Ru35, Stealth Fighter, among others. The Hydro-Hawk has no equal on the planet, above or below the surface of the Grand Ocean. This machine has the ability to fly at speeds of up to 3,700 kilometers per hour (2,300 miles per hour) while maintaining squad formation a mere ten meters above the surface of the ocean. The revolutionary Hydro-Drive engine manufactures power by converting ocean water into fuel. The engine requires a steady supply of moisture to operate most effectively. So, the closer the fighter is to the surface of the ocean the faster it will move. The revolutionary engine design also gives the ship the ability to reach speeds up to 1,600 kilometers per hour (995 miles per hour) below the surface of the ocean. And, yes – that’s beneath the surface of the ocean.

Just like an attacking sea bird, just a fraction of a second before water entry, the wings and tail of the Hydro-Hawk retract, making the fighter more aerodynamic. Once the ship is below the surface of the ocean, the wings and tail shift into the optimal position for the Hydro-Hawk to operate most effectively.

The tiny fighter is built in proportion to children’s smaller bodies. An Ager couldn’t fit inside the cockpit, even if he or she wanted to. The Hydro-Hawk is designed to hold one pilot, and one gunner. The gunner seat electronically rotates into battle position, placing the gunner upside down, in the Plexiglas nose of the ship, for a better view. 

The Girls’ Not So Quiet Training Run

The two girls weren’t expecting to see any Hydrotians tonight, as they were on a simple training run in shallower water than the Trenchers normally frequented. The sky was clear, and the bright moon lit up the waves, like fire dancing in the night. Along the way, a five ship Squadron of enemy Hydrotian fighters engaged the Hydro-Hawk and prepared to pull into firing position. Captain Sofia Ann Thomas expertly maneuvered the much faster Hydro-Hawk out of harm’s way, while Lieutenant Kat Chapman managed to lock on radar, and destroy two of the enemy ships with rear-firing missiles.

Sofia Ann then piloted the ship upward, rocketing through the surface of the ocean, escaping into the clouds to regroup.

“We’re right above them,” said Kat, squeezing the weapons controls, and adjusting her battle position in the nose of the tiny fighter ship. “I’ve got the last three of them on radar.”

“Alright, be ready,” Replied Sofia Ann. “Let’s show ‘em why they need to stay on their side of the ocean.”

Sofia Ann shoved the Hydro-Hawk’s throttle forward with all her might, and shot directly downward toward the sea. The powerful hydro-turbo engine screamed, as the ship plunged back into the dark waves of the Grand Ocean. Sofia Ann checked her helmet’s radar display and jetted toward the unsuspecting enemy ships. Within a fraction of a second, the ship was in firing position.

“I’ve got a lock!” yelled Kat. “I’m firing! Missiles away!”

The dark water suddenly illuminated like it was a sunny day at the beach. Within seconds, Kat had fired two missiles, and filled the water with hundreds of rounds of automatic weapons fire. The Hydrotian fighters didn’t stand a chance. The broken enemy ships dropped to the bottom of the Grand Ocean in flaming pieces.

“Kat! Well done!” exclaimed, Sofia Ann, reaching forward and slapping her gunner on the foot.

“Do you think the deli is still open back at base?” asked Kat, inquisitive, switching from battle mode, rotating her body back into a normal upright sitting position.

“Let me guess,” said Sofia Ann, giggling, “you’re craving cheese, right?”

“Well, yeah. Duh,” responded Kat, smiling, rubbing her belly while looking over her shoulder at Sofia Ann. “You know me, I always crave cheese after blowing up stuff.”

“After a night like this,” said Sofia Ann, grinning, patting her gunner on the helmet, “I think I’ll have some cheese with you.”

Sofia Ann set course for base and hurried away from the scene. The girls could breathe a sigh of relief, as the surprise encounter with the Hydrotians was now completely under control.

 

Meeting Kat Chapman

Her full name is Kathryn “Kat” Chapman. She is twelve-years-old, and Hydro-Hawk gunner for Sofia Ann of Raven Squad. Kat was born without the use of her legs on a cold winter morning in London, England. Her father was an Infantry Officer in the British Royal Marines and her mother worked at a family owned bookstore in London’s West End. Both parents were immediately killed in the destruction caused by the great earthquake. Kat somehow managed to endure the quake, as well as the massive flooding. She survived on snack foods and bottled water she managed to gather and stash in a pillowcase. As the flood water began to rise around her, Kat pulled her body upon a piece of floating debris. She was found several weeks later by a rescue boat, as she drifted aimlessly upon the waves of the Grand Ocean. Kat dreamed of becoming a Hydro-Hawk gunner in the New World Military. Although she had scored in the superior range on the exam battery, a council of military Agers believed she shouldn’t be allowed to fight since she was unable to walk. Thankfully for the human race, the Agers’ decision was overruled by a council of young military leaders and the girl was allowed to train for gunner duty. Each day Kat worked excruciatingly hard to improve. Over time she became one of the most successful and highly decorated Hydro-Hawk gunners in the history of the New World Military. Kat is a survivor. She is fiercely loyal to her team. And, she is a most deadly warrior.