This is my novel in progress; if you’re just starting, chapter 1 is here… https://okrahead.wordpress.com/2023/01/23/nobodys-heroes-1/
Eventually we came to one of the squat concrete structures that were scattered across the facility. This one was larger than most, and when we entered I saw why. The interior was set up as a gym and martial arts training facility. There were three different areas with large, padded mats, various hanging punching bags in a variety of sizes, and against a wall a series of weight benches and enough iron plates to sink a medium sized cargo ship.
“Extreme situation survival training requires a number of attributes,” said Tant to the group as we entered the building. “As we saw in the woods, it requires situational awareness. The vast majority of people walk around in the world without a clue as to what is going on around them. This is what we call code green, or ‘easy targets’. The most important thing you can do to stay alive is to pay attention to your surroundings and never become too relaxed.”
I didn’t think being too relaxed was going to be a problem for me again anytime soon. I was still on edge after being attacked in the forest, although at least my hands had stopped shaking.
“The next level of awareness is what we call ‘yellow’,” continued Tant. “That means that you are relaxed and do not feel threatened, but that you are paying attention to your surroundings and watching for potentially dangerous situations or persons. Following that is level ‘orange’, in which you have spotted a situation or person which you believe may be dangerous, and begin formulating a plan to deal with the situation. The final level is ‘red’, which means that you have concluded that you are definitely in danger and now must choose either fight or flight.”
Tant surveyed the group. “Some of you,” he observed, “already have extensive training in this area, whereas it’s a whole new world to others here. As of today that doesn’t matter. All of you are going to train together like your lives depend on it, because they do. And bear in mind, it’s not only your own life that depends on it, but the lives of your teammates and the people you are sworn to protect. So keep one another sharp people. Now, let’s see who to begin with. I’ve already seen three of you in action,” he observed, “so let’s try someone new. You there, come on out on the mat,” he said, nodding to half of the Binary Duo.
“You are stereotyping me!” protested Binary Duo 0, “Just because I’m Asian you think I am some kind of kung-fu master! Just because I’m Korean I should be a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do! It’s not fair! I don’t want to go first!”
“Well,” chuckled Tant, “technically you’re fourth, the first three already got their shots on the path here. Additionally, I have no preconceived notion as to your martial arts skills or lack thereof. I simply need to see what you can do on the mat so that we can assess your skills. So are you coming out on your own, or should I have someone escort you?”
Binary Duo 0 looked around for help, but even his other half wanted no part of this situation. With a rueful glance at me he shuffled angrily onto the mat, looking for all the world like a toddler headed to time-out.
“Okay,” said Tant, “we’re going to start easy. Tim over there is going to ‘pad up’ (he was even now donning an elaborate set of padding that made him look like an upright armadillo) and ‘attack’ you. He’ll be using a rubber knife, so you won’t have to worry about being injured. What I want you to do is evade his attack, and, if possible, disarm him. Any questions?”
“What if I hurt him?”
“I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that.”
Tim stepped onto the mat with Binary Duo 0, made a brief bow towards Tant, then suddenly screamed a blood-curdling war cry and charged straight for the unfortunate programmer. 0 was transfixed as firmly in place as if he had been dipped in liquid nitrogen. Tim grabbed him and made a display of dragging the ‘knife’ across his throat and then plunging it repeatedly into his abdomen. He then retreated to his side of the mat.
“Well son,” observed Tant, “looks like you’re deader ‘n Elvis. Let’s let somebody else have a try.”
Next up was Binary Duo 1, with results more or less identical to his other half.
“Okay,” said Tant, appearing a bit frustrated, “let’s give one of the ladies a try. How about you, miss?” He waved for Loren to step onto the mat.
Loren walked forward and stepped onto the mat, giving a small, shy grin to Tim as he prepared to ‘attack’ her. “Go!” shouted Tant, and once again Tim gave a war-cry and hurtled across the mat. Loren made a quick motion to her hip with one hand, and then held it up like a small child making a pretend gun. “Bang!” she cried, “Bang! Bang! Bang!” Tim stopped, seeming to be actually surprised, and Tant actually seemed pleased as he laughed out loud. “Okay,” he said, “not a bad idea at all, but this session is actually for unarmed training.”
“But,” protested Loren, “why would I ever go out into the field unarmed?”
“A wise question indeed,” Tant responded, still obviously amused. “Okay, we’ll just pretend that for some reason your weapon is not functioning, or out of ammunition, and proceed in that scenario for now. Let’s try it again.”
Loren nodded and took her place on the mat again. “Go!” yelled Tant, and Tim lunged forward, rubber knife extended. Loren crouched low and made a grabbing motion at her ankle, then, without standing back up, extended both hands towards Tim, again making a pretend gun. “Bang!” she screamed, “Bang! Bang! Bang!”
Tim stopped again and looked at Tant, who was shaking his head in amazed mirth. “Let me guess,” he said, “backup gun.”
“Of course,” replied Loren, completely deadpan. “Why would anyone go into the field without one?”
“And I suppose if I tell you that one’s empty there’ll still be another?” Tant inquired.
“Naturally. Didn’t your wife ever tell you that it’s accessories that make the outfit?”
“Actually, no, but thanks for sharing,” said Tant, shaking his head in disbelief. “Okay, we’ll let you try some more later. I guess that just leaves you there,” he said nodding to Ruth.
Ruth stepped onto the mat for her turn facing Tim. Once again Tant yelled “Go!” and once again Tim screamed and charged across the mat. As soon as he started forward Ruth wheeled and sprinted back off of the mat, and kept running with surprising speed. Tim seemed a bit off balance, but then continued his pursuit. For her part, Ruth darted back over to where our group was gathered and raced behind Jack. Jack took one step forward, his sizable arms crossed across his even more sizable chest and literally growled at Tim, who stopped short of the questionable confrontation.
“Okay, pretty good,” laughed Tant. “After all, I did say fight or flight, and under the circumstances I think you made a pretty good choice. After all, you emerged from the situation still alive and uninjured, which is your first goal. Nice job.”
“Now,” he said, addressing the group as a whole, “we’re going to spend the remainder of our afternoon working intermittent periods of conditioning and self-defense drills. Once again, pay attention to your instructors and follow their commands at all times for your own safety. Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you do actually have to engage in hand to hand combat, you’ll need to be as well-conditioned as possible. You will need strength to overpower your opponent and cardiovascular conditioning to continue functioning over lengthy periods of stress. Some of you appear to be in pretty good physical condition already, but more training won’t hurt any of you. So, enough talk, let’s get started.”
The remainder of the afternoon consisted of Tant and his terrible twins inflicting various sadistic chores on us. I was forced (well, not really, but I couldn’t let the people on my team see me wimping out) to lift a variety of iron bars with plates affixed to the end in seemingly endless variations. The monotony of this grueling agony was broken up by sessions on the mat, when Jim would instruct us on various ways to defend ourselves while Tim slashed away with his rubber knife. To make matters worse, my people actually seemed to be enjoying themselves for the most part. Jack was having a good time demonstrating his ability to bench press what looked to be the equivalent of a small car, while David showed off his own impressive strength and agility through different exercises. Loren and Ruth were obviously well-conditioned also, and although nowhere near as physically strong as their male teammates they attacked the weights with surprising determination. Even the Binary Duo seemed to be getting into the spirit; although it was quickly obvious they spent more time punching a keyboard than any type of boxing equipment. For my part I could only pray that this would end soon, either for Tant to decide our session time was up or by suffering a massive heart attack. I really didn’t care which one any more.
Next Chapter here: https://okrahead.wordpress.com/2023/02/01/nobodys-heroes-10/
Free helicopter… https://theothermccain.com/2023/01/31/in-the-mailbox-01-30-23/
Always off topic… https://spawnyspace.wordpress.com/2023/01/31/the-roaring-twenties-what-have-we-wrought/
Can’t you read the signs… https://sylg1.wordpress.com/2023/01/31/signs-signs-everywhere-signs-2/
Everybody wants it…. https://winteryknight.com/2023/01/31/tad-hopp-accumulated-100000-of-college-debt-now-he-wants-a-taxpayer-bailout-2/
Superman not included… https://www.scifiwright.com/2023/01/metropolis-the-lost-tomorrow-of-yesterday/