Chapter 6: Training Day

Chapter 6: Training Day

A Chapter by Patrick Masters

“The first one I’m gonna have you see is Sophia.” Alice said as she lead me into the viewing room which was about ten meters up from the ground where Sophia was prepping. In front of me was an extremely long room. It had to have been at least two miles long. It was fairly empty, aside from targets that were littered around the area.

“So she’s a sniper?” I asked looking for a bit more info.

“Yes, the best one we had to offer. She came up on our radar a little after you left. We were looking for agents to fill the void you left and she certainly lived up to the task.”

“Is that a fact.” I said as I looked down at Sophia. She was assembling her rifle and preparing to move to a shooter’s position. Then Alice placed a pair of binoculars by my face.

“You may need these. Look out near the end of the facility.” she told me. Grabbing the binoculars she held by my face I took them up to my eyes and looked into the distance. I was able to make out the image of several targets.

“What’s the distance on those targets. Two kilometers?”

“Yes. Well, 2,150 meters to be exact.”

“Impressive indeed. She should work great for cover fire.”

As I told that to Alice, Sophia started to take a few shots to practice. Looking at the targets, the first one hit on the outer edge of one and each consecutive drew closer to the bullseye. She hit it on the fourth one. She then moved on to the next target, with a similar progression. She continued until she had done the same with all of the targets, of which there were four. After she finished Alice pressed a button and spoke over an intercom.

“Agent Richter, are you ready for me to start the exercise.” she asked

In response Sophia simply raised her arm. In response, Alice pressed a button.

“Look out there again, check the targets.” Alice told me.

Peering out at the place I had just looked at earlier the targets were now missing. Then an image passed through my view, then another, and another.

“Are those the targets from earlier?” I asked knowing the answer

“They are indeed. Moving targets are harder to hit and are more like what she would face in the field, wouldn’t you agree?” she said with a rare hint of a smile on her face.

“Yeah I would agree, but moving targets at over 2000 meters is another thing entirely, where did you find this woman?”

“Sophia is originally from southern Germany. She worked her way up in the European branch. Over there vampires try to hide in various parts in the Alps where they are difficult to find, even more so to pursue. Being able to hit them from a distance was a necessity. Enter Agent Sophia Richter.”

“You said she started making waves after I left, right?”

“Not immediately, she started gaining recognition, about five or six years ago. After you departed we had a lot of agents step up. They knew what operating without you would mean, Sophia just managed to set herself apart a bit more. In time you’ll see that Malik and Arima are the same way.” she told me

“Well she definitely is an impressive agent.” A buzzer sounded outside that was audible in the viewing room signaling that the training exercise had come to an end.

“I’d like to talk to her if that’s ok.” I asked Alice

“Go ahead, as leader you should try to get to know each of them. Just don’t go too long, we have other places to be.”

“I’ll keep in mind.”

Working my way down the stairs of the room to the facility Sophia was in; I approached her. She was taking apart the rifle she used, screwing the barrel of the gun off and storing the other pieces in a case. The case was on a table that was not visible from my vantage point in the viewing room. She was dressed simply in a grey tank top and cargo pants of the same color. Getting a closer look I was surprised at how muscular she was, clearly she had devoted many years to training her body to such a state. Even more noticeable were the scars that covered her body. I remembered the one on her right cheek from when I was on the plane, but her arms were another shock entirely. They were covered in scars that twisted and curved like lightning streaks. She had the look of a real battle veteran. Coming up to her I put out my hand and told her.

“That was some shooting out there. You have truly honed your craft.”

She took a moment to finish packing and looked over to me speaking slowly but eventually finding her tongue

“Huh...ah… uh thank you. Sorry, not everyday you get a compliment from Ben the Butcher. Sophia Richter nice to meet you.” She said giving me a firm handshake

“Ben the Butcher… haven’t heard that name in awhile, it’s been so long.” I said with a feeling of nostalgia

“Yeah, I gotta admit I’m excited to see you in action again, you were the kind of agent I aspired to be.”

“I don’t think I’ll be quite the same as back then but I do have some left in the tank. Either way thank you. I’ve got some other things to do today so I’m afraid I gotta go. It was good meeting you. I hope we work well together.”

“Same to you.” she said going back to packing up her rifle. Exiting the facility I saw that Alice had come to meet me on the lower floor.

“Are you ready to go.” she asked me.

“Yeah let’s get on with it.”

“Alright then. Arima and Malik are sparring today so you should be able to check their fighting styles in action.”

“Good, I prefer it that way. What kind of sparring are we talking about? Armed or unarmed?”

“They are armed the same as if they were in the field.”

“Well then, this should be interesting. It should be interesting to see your “new me” in action.” I said with a tinge of excitement

“I’m sure Malik will be happy to hear your feedback.” she responded

Bringing me right into another viewing room, my sight was grabbed by the action in front of me. Malik and Arima were in the thick of what seemed to be a serious fight.

“Make no mistake, they may be just sparring but this fight is serious. They know who it is they must prepare for. Malik more so than any of our agents aside from you.” Alice told me, reminding me that Malik had faced and lost to Lucian. The image of a mangled limbless body took hold in my brain. Lucian spelled certain death for anyone outside of the most elite combatants. The mere fact he survived an encounter with him spoke to his strength. But how is he now? A loss that serious has to mess with your head. Breaking off my thoughts to look at the action I began to analyze the men before me. The fight was close, it looked like it could go either way. Yuichi seemed to have the upper hand anytime they got close to each other but Malik was doing well at creating separation and playing to his own strengths. Malik also made use of a number of weapons, throwing knives seemed to be chief among them. But the knives could only do so much harm. Everytime he made separation and landed a hit the wound healed before he could take advantage. As the fight began to draw out I noticed something odd with Arima.

“I thought you said they were supposed to be loaded out as if they were in the field. Why’s Malik the only one using weapons.” It honestly surprised me I didn’t notice sooner. While Malik had leaned on his armament to help carry the fight, Arima had not used anything. He had relied solely on his skills in hand to hand.

“Arima really doesn’t carry much into battle, aside from the necessities. He carries a wooden stake for obvious reasons but aside from that he mostly just uses his combat skills.”

That was going to be a problem with our target. No matter how skilled the fighter, Lucian’s sheer physical abilities would overwhelm even the most physically gifted human. I will have to talk to him about it. Before the fight could conclude a buzzer sounded to end the exercise. Looking to talk to my new comrades I entered the training room.

“That was quite the sparring match gentlemen. You are both impressive agents. I’m glad to be working with you.” I told them as I approached. Both took a minute to catch their breath. Arima was the first to speak.

“Thank you sir, I look forward to serving with you.” He said with a slow staggered pace, not helped by his own breathlessness.

“And me with you. You both displayed great skills. Though, Arima, you might wanna start making use of more weapons, you will need them for the enemy we are supposed get.”

“Ok, I will adjust.” He said finally beginning to control his own breathing

“Malik, I would say the about the opposite for you. You fought well but you relied to much on weapons. You won’t always be able to hide those kinds of disadvantages. Sparring is the time to set up those tight spots, so you can be ready for them. That may seem like nitpicking, but if there was ever a time to do it…” I trailed off seeing a frustrated look on Malik’s face. Is his skin really so thin? I’ll need to talk to Alice about how to deal with him, and how much has changed since he lost his first bout. Arima began to head towards the exit, explaining as he left.

“I’ll go clean up and head to the Armory and pick out some weapons.” he said abruptly. This one didn’t seem the social type. Malik began to walk off as well at a brisk pace. Wanting to confront him while we were away from the other agents I grabbed his shoulder

“Listen, I heard how your first fight with him ended. Don’t let him get in your head. He’s far from a normal opponent and even I struggled against…” My words were stopped as Malik shrugged my arm off and kept going. Indignant I yelled at him

“Hey! What the hell was that!?”

“Shut up, I don’t need to listen to you patronize me.”

“Patronize you? Oh grow the f**k up, what are you five. You lose one fight and start acting like this. I guess they were wrong about you being the next me.” I told him, my anger at his disrespect removing any restraint. Apparently his was gone too as he turned, fingers locked into a fist that now sped towards me. Putting my hand up I caught the right haymaker with my right hand. The force of the punch forced me into a strong stance; my back foot skidding back an inch or two as I absorbed the force of the blow. From this footing I moved forward and shoved him back, putting a few meters between us.

“Well s**t! I’d watch it before you do something you’re gonna regret!” I advised him

“What you think I’m scared of you?! You’re an over the hill old man!” he taunted

“So that’s really what you think eh? How I show you what this “over the hill old man” can do.”

“Bring it gramps.” he replied

Looking up to the viewing room where Alice was I yelled out

“Alice, you got a problem with this?” I called out. There was a short pause until her voice came over the intercom.

“No, go ahead. This should be a good opportunity for the both of you.” she responded monotonously.

“Do I have permission to go all in.” I asked. Then Alice paused again before responding

“Wait 60 seconds before using that. Give Malik a chance.” she said in a dismissive tone. Upon hearing her, Malik turned back and seemed to try to stab Alice with his stare before looking back at me.

“You’d better go all in if you want to have a chance.”

“Oh I don’t think you understand what you just got yourself into. I may have lost a step over the last couple decades but that still leaves me nine ahead of you.”





© 2018 Patrick Masters



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Added on November 1, 2017
Last Updated on January 21, 2018


Author

Patrick Masters
Patrick Masters

Cleveland, OH



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A Story by Patrick Masters