The Collar Wars
I was still shaken up by the fold when I finally disembarked. I need something light to eat as soon as I was done meeting with my superior officer. The sooner I was done with that the better. Just needed some crackers and a coke in my system, something to help settle my stomach. After meeting with captain I planned on going to the O’ club and hoping to find something light, though I had distinct feeling that I was going to be made to report to the barracks where I’d meet my unit.
I got lucky and found a snack dispenser before the captain found me and got a small bag of pretzels, which would suffice, and quickly scarfed them down. I was able to grab a coke and polish it off with enough time to be ready for my superior. With my stomach somewhat feeling better I was ready to meet the asshole officer I’d be stuck with for who knew how long.
The officer I could immediately sum up as hundred-and-ten percent jackass from the first glance. He was the image of spit and polish and had the air of someone who loved to use collars. “Lieutenant Archer?”
I flashed a quick salute. “Sir.”
“I am Captain Derrekson. I’m your direct senior, and let me say that for the moment I don’t like you. I don’t like anyone I don’t know, and I don’t know you. Am I clear?”
“If you behave I may end up beginning to like you, but for now I can’t stand the sight of you.” Great. Total dickhead material, just what I didn’t need at this moment.
“Follow me, it’s time to meet your unit. They’re the most worthless group of ‘brids I could gather together. I don’t expect you be able to make much of them. So I doubt you’ll get very far without frying at least half of them at some point.” I so wanted to strangle this guy already. Still there was no way I was going to use the collar. I had better ways to motivate these guys, and I knew it.
I followed the steaming, pile of Human refuse for a few hundred meters until I came up to a largish building made of old fashioned concrete. Crap barracks for everyone on this base apparently. We entered in through one door, and I immediately understood why the captain had said what he had said about them being worthless. The place was a mess, and the Hybrids didn’t look like they gave a shit anymore. They didn’t want to exist for the most part. From the looks of it they had all been fried pretty hard and it hadn’t achieved any real improvement. The sergeant, a large Rottweiler had his feet up and looked up at the captain and myself, and was too slow to call the rest to attention for my superior’s taste. The sergeant dropped screaming for a good fifteen seconds as his collar went to work making his life even more miserable.
“Sergeant Drake get up and call the rest of your worthless ‘brids to attention.”
As the sergeant got back to his feet I noticed him quietly lipping some rather imaginative expletives regarding Humans in general. I was pretty sure that the captain had never learned to lip read Hybrids otherwise the sergeant would have been in a world of pain. “Come to order everyone!” Drake yelled once he was fully on his feet. Having seen the collar being used had already been enough to make most of the Hybrids come to attention, but he still needed to say it.
“Okay you fuckin’ ‘brids, I’ve got a new lieutenant that is going to be ordering your worthless hides around. I expect you to improve your habits, or I’ll have him start blowing collars. Am I being absolutely clear?”
“Sir. Yes sir.” They all started shaking. I could tell immediately that they had all seen a few collars blown, and knew how messy it was.
“Okay Lieutenant. Make some improvements in this shit pile or I strip you of your rank and send you home with a dishonorable. You’ve got three months, and you are under direct orders to blow the collar of any of these shits that give you a hard time. Am I clear?” His snarl was almost animalistic and I could tell immediately that he just loved seeing collars blown.
“Sir. Yes Sir.”
“Good. Here’s the remote.” The remote for the collars was a small black rod with three buttons and a dial. With that the captain left the barracks. Good it meant I had time to give these guys a pep talk.
“Okay you scum, as the captain would say, I have the remotes to your collars. I will not have an excuse to use this remote because you will be the best, and the best never need to have their collars used.” At that point I saw every head in the room perk up. “I dislike these things almost as much as you do, and I don’t want to use it. If under direct orders I will have no choice, and that’s the way it is. You will, and this is a direct order, you will not do anything that will put me under orders to use it. You will, and I repeat will, be the best, because the best never have their collars used.”
I could tell I was being smelled even from this distance. The various Hybrids who had the best sense of smell, which varied depend on their species, knew how to smell a lie. After a few minutes I heard comments making their way through my new unit. “Well Lieutenant,” Drake started, “you want the best? We’ll give you the best. We can tell that you don’t want to use the collar, and don’t want to be under orders to so. We’ll make sure you are never put under orders those orders.”
I smiled, these guys knew what I wanted. They knew what was at stake, and they were damned if they were going to let the one Human who may ever give them a good break. “Good to hear, boys. First thing of order I want these room sparkling in two hours, after that it’s calisthenics. I’m going to ride your ass’s harder than you’ve ever been ridden before, but I know you won’t let me down. I am I being absolutely clear?”
“Sir, yes sir.” They shouted as one.
“Good.” They immediately scattered for cleaning supplies, but I was able to grab the sergeant before he left. “You and I will have a talk about the unit. I want to know everything about everyone.”
“Sir?” He seemed honestly confused.
“I want to know names, disciplinary records, and the like. I need to know who’s doing what and when. That way I can keep a better eye on everyone.”
“Of course sir. I will be more than happy to help.” I could see Drake’s entire demeanor had changed. He was no longer pissed off at every Human who came into the world. He now had me, and he knew I was dead honest about not wanting to use the collar. Sure he still considered most Humans scum, and I don’t blame him, he had every right to, but he knew I would be different.
He led me to my quarters which had both my bedroom, and my office. Neither was very large but they would be more than sufficient. “Okay Sergeant what can you tell me about your fellow soldiers? As I said, I want everything?”
After an hour of speaking with my noncom I had a good idea of who was who, and what kind of things they had done to earn disciplinaries and what sort of things other than collar usage had been done to correct the problems. Not surprisingly the only thing that had been tried was the collar. Time to fix that. I took the disciplinary records, what few there were, and dumped them. I was going to give these guys a fresh start under my new command. I decided that going forward I’d use the same kind of punishments that are used on cadets while in the academy. What would be punishments for Humans, extra duty on stuff that needed to be done anyway, had never been tried out on these guys. The crap that ate up the little free time they had was being given out for no real reason. It had worked well under my command on Takal and I was certain they would work just as well here.
One good thing that I had to help me with this, was that the Hybrids have their own brothel set up on this colony. Yes it was kind a sick but these guys needed a break, and I had talked to my past soldiers about it before. According to them, the girls were decently treated. Hybrids don’t like hurting other Hybrids out of any real sense cruelty, so they probably treat the girls with far greater respect than Humans do. These guys hadn’t seen the inside of that brothel in months. I’d greatly increase their newfound morale by giving them back those privileges.
Soon I had a workable duty roster that would keep everyone busy enough to stay out of trouble, yet would still allow them to have to wind down for a few hours a day. I looked at the clock and saw that it was just a little over the two hours I had given them to clean things up. I loaded up the duty roster on to my tablet and went out for my first inspection. I was going to make them sweat.
As I entered the barracks I saw every single Hybrid at full attention next to their bunks, backs ramrod straight, their eyes filled with something that seemed like real pride. “At ease men.”
The group dropped into parade rest, hands clasped behind backs, still focusing on me. I spent nearly an hour hemming and hawing over the room, then did a fairly long inspection of the toilets and showers. All the while taking notes on the tablet, mostly doodles, these guys had done an excellent job.
I returned to the front of the barracks and gave them the meanest stare I could fake. “Okay you guys, I asked for the best and you’re already giving it to me. I doubt any of you have ever seen it this clean in here.” There were a few nods of agreement.
“Now I’ve got some more orders for you before calisthenics. When you go off base to the brothel you will conduct yourselves with the utmost dignity. I don’t want you to cause any troubles for the girls there. Is that clear?”
A German Sheppard near the back row stuck his hand up. “What is it Corporal?”
“You mean we’re getting our brothel privileges back sir?”
“You guys shouldn’t have had them taken them away in the first place.” To say there was some excitement would be a gross understatement. “Now to make this fair your names will be put in a randomizer. You can’t all go at once but you will all have a turn to go before the full cycle is set.”
“Three cheers for the Lewy!!!” The entire group screamed out, and three cheers is exactly what I got. I knew now that I had the best unit on the colony. All it took was a little show of decency, something no other officer had a concept of.