Part 2: Training
Benly stood in the changing room, waiting for Dan and Saffer to arrive. He was feeling a bit jumpy, each creak, click, bang, or screech caused him to flinch and sink deeper into the shadows cast by the dimly lit light barely illuminating the room.
Lining the walls were lockers, each having a lock securely keeping the contents within, safe. In the center of the room was a long bench that ran across almost the full length of the room. Through a doorway, lay the showers and bathroom area, complete with bathrooms and sinks.
The door creaked open loudly, the sound echoing through the mostly empty room. Benly, tried hard to see who had entered, but everything was too dark to tell. At this point he was kicking himself for not making up a codeword, or even a noise that would tell him whether this was someone he wanted to see, or if it was someone he needed to flee.
Benly tried to calm his heart, which was pounding so loudly in his ears, he feared it would give him away. The same went for his breathing as he tried to listen to any indication that this was Saffer, Dan or both.
“Stop breathing down my neck!” A voice hissed from the shadows near the doorway.
“I’m not, because you are so short that I couldn’t even breath on your head!” another voice hissed back.
Benly relaxed as he recognized the voices of Saffer and Dan. “You two are at it already?” he stepped out of the shadows causing both cadets to flinch away. “If you two don’t stop right now, I am calling this thing off.” Part of him wished they would continue, so he would have a reason to pull out, but the other part of him wanted to help them.
Dan hit Saffer, and Saffer hit him back. Benly rolled his eyes and snapped, “Guys?”
“Sorry Benly,” They mumbled in unison, the shadows being thrown across their faces hiding their expressions and thus, their true emotions.
It would help if they could do this in the light of day, or at least turn on the lights, but the risk was too great. Training in the dark wouldn’t be too hard for hand-to-hand combat. He had another place in mind for the shooting practice, but it would be much harder to get there.
Setting the two guys up in a beginner’s fighting stance might have been the hardest thing he had ever done in his life. Dan couldn’t for whatever reason balance, his feet trying hard to correct the balance, stomping on Benly’s foot many times before he was upright and shaky. Saffer was so focused on doing it better the Dan, that he wasn’t focusing on Benly’s instructions causing Benly to manual correct Saffer’s technique. Close to forty-five minutes later, he had them both standing in stance 1 dreading trying to tackle the other “simple” fighting stances.
He sighed and muttered under his breath, “This better not be every night.”
Saffer looked towards Benly and hissed, “What did you say?”
Benly stood straighter and looked towards Saffer. He could lie, but he didn’t see the point, “I said, this better not be every night.”
Dan got out of the stance that Benly had work forever on getting him into and snapped, “What is that supposed to mean! You think you are better than us, don’t you?”
“Yes,” He thought but said, “No. I just caught on easier, that doesn’t make me better then you. And what I meant was, that you two better not do this-,”
Saffer moved as well and faced him, “-You don’t believe that! We can see it in your movements! In the way you carry yourself!” His voice was rising and Benly started hushing them, “You think you’re all that! But you are just like the rest of us!”
“Ya!” Dan agreed, “I am sure you are looking down from your mighty seat on us! Well, you know what mister tough guy! We are better than you!”
Their voices were far too loud and Benly looked around nervously, “Ok. You are better than me, fine! I don’t care, but please, shut up or you are gonna get us all caught!” he hissed at the shadowed forms that were Saffer and Dan.
Benly never found out who had thrown that punch, but when the fist made contact with his face, he was thrown off balance and slammed into a locker. A loud resounding bang echoing through the room.
“Shoot!” Benly hissed pushing himself away from the cold metal. “Go, go, go!”
Part 3: Run
Benly shooed them out of the back entrance just as heavy footfalls could be heard on the other side of the door. His heart was pounding loudly, but not anywhere near as loud as Dan’s feet slapping across the polished floor.
“Next lesson!” Benly hissed as he pulled them flat against the wall, avoiding the light from someone sweeping the dark training arena they were cornered in. “Stealth.” He said sow low under his breath that he wondered if Saffer and Dan could even hear him.
“Whoever it is, went this way!” a trooper called to others down the hall as he walked into the training arena, his boots clicking with ever step.
“Shoot!” Benly was silently kicking himself for this one. “I should have been more careful! I shouldn’t have provoked these two…but I did. And now, we are gonna be removed.”
Benly carefully, and quietly lead Dan and Saffer towards a door on the far side of the arena, their backs pressed up against the wall. “How do I get them over there? What do I do?” His eyes landed on the obstacle course set up for tomorrow, if they could time their movements perfectly, they may be able to use it to get across. A new training exercise. Perfect.
Benly pulled both boys close to him, tugging on their ears to get them close to his mouth, “Follow my lead, not a peep. If either one of you fail, you are on your own.” He breathed.
Benly crept quietly toward a large metal block that was positioned off to the side of the large arena. He stayed low and focused on soft, quiet footsteps that moved in rhythm to the troopers searching in the room.
“Blasted, Jeorg! Turn on the lights!” A deep voice snapped from somewhere to Benly’s left.
“If they got behind the block before the lights flickered on, they would still be out of sight. Just get to the block!” Benly thought to himself, his feet quickening their speed, his heart hammering in his chest. “Just get to the block!”
Benly’s back hit the block just as the lights came on, illuminating the room and temporarily blinding, Benly, Dan and Saffer. Through squinted eyes, they searched desperatly for their next move, but Benly was the only one really trying. The other two were trying hard enough to just breath quiet enough so they wouldn’t get caught.
Benly looked up, and with a jump that took him higher then he expected, he gripped onto the ledge of the block, and with much work, pulled himself onto it being careful to stay low, He army crawled forward and peeked over the side. Five troopers were scattered throughout the arena, each searching for what they thought was in here. What they had thought they had heard.
“Benly!” Saffer hissed from the ground drawing a troopers attention, “Get down here.”
“Hey boys!” The trooper called, a sound of triumph in his voice “Sounds as if Benly is present.”
“You mean mister cool cadet we have been hearing of?” another trooper mused approaching. Benly rolled his eyes and quickly scrambled to the edge of the block and slid off landing lightly. “That was stupid!” He breathed, “Now book it for that door and get back to the room!” He pointed towards a door on the wall a few feet away.
Dan and Saffer nodded and took off as Benly ran in the opposite direction.
“What is he doing?” Saffer squeaked his eyes wide.
“Shoot.” Dan muttered, “He is letting us get away.” he turned and pulled Saffer’s arm, “Come on. Let’s go.”
Both boys crept towards the door Benly had pointed out to them.
Benly caught the troopers attention with a well-acted stumble and gasp and ran towards the obstacle course set up. “Just like training.” He told himself, “Let’s see if these bucket heads remember how to do this.”
He easily cleared a five-foot gap between the floor and the hole below, landing on a floating platform, the five troopers on his tail. He moved quickly, jumping, climbing, falling and landing gracefully. It was a complicated dance between success and failure, but he was winning.
He was nearing the top and was pulling himself onto the platform when he felt a strong hand wrap itself firmly around his ankle. He glanced down seeing the trooper and tried to shake him off, but he was too strong…to big. He felt himself being pulled and tried to grasp onto anything, but the smooth platform didn’t offer him much handhold, if any.
He was now on the edge, his fingers slipping and with one last tug from the trooper below, Benly was thrown down onto the platform, the trooper still having a grasp of his foot.
His head hit the floor and he was slightly dazed for a moment as the trooper planted his foot on his chest.
“So Benly,” The trooper mused looking down at the teen, “You felt like getting into trouble? What were you doing? Who were you with?”
Benly gripped the troopers foot, trying to alleviate the pressure on his chest that was making it hard for him to breath, as he tried to think of an acceptable lie “I was trying to go to the bathroom.”
“Each room has a bathroom of its own,” He snapped, “why didn’t you use one of those?”
Benly forced a blush to his face, “Oh you know how it is. No one wants to smell that. It would hurt my pride and my comrades sense of smell.”
The trooper moved his foot off of Benly’s chest, the feeling of a smirk radiating through the trooper helmet. “Smelly Benly.”
Benly grimaced to himself but smirked for him, “Whatever. Can I go back to bed now?”
“The instructor will hear of this little adventure of yours. I am sure you will be called into a meeting but as of now, get some sleep.”
Benly nodded and climbed down from the course, avoiding the looks from the other troopers as he walked out of the arena and down the hall back to their room, “Saffer and Dan…You two are dead.”