The Collar Wars
Just before the games the other units seemed to be going out of their way to do better, still they were no real match for my soldiers. Having pushed my guys heavy on the obstacle course for the last two months they simply breezed through it. They could now run this psychotic gauntlet eight times in one go easily, a few of them would push through an another two for an extra visit to the brothel that week. I had turned myself into a damn gauntlet running machine and while I couldn’t knock out the full ten a couple of my soldiers did I could get through a ninth run before collapsing. I had to always prove to these guys I was as tough as they were. No one could figure out how I did it, no one needed to know. I was given blood test, after blood test by orders of General Lynn to check for chemical usage of any kind. Those tests along with constant screenings through all sorts of other scans got annoying. All that ever popped up was normal biological tissue. Though bone and muscular density was off a bit, but within normal tolerance. That’s all that ever popped up, it would be worthless to be illegally biohacked if normal medical tests could spot you.
My bionetics had all sorts of interesting tricks that allowed me to do things that were super human. I was no Hybrid in peak shape by any means, but I was able to push myself harder than any Hybrid that wasn’t in my unit. The reasons were simple, I had something to prove to my soldiers, and to myself. On top of that many of the Hybrids in infantry were beginning to lose the will to live. Many of them had gone soft from doing the minimum to keep from getting killed. Pretty soon they were going to have to change. With the interunit games coming up there was a lot riding on their performance. If they did well they probably wouldn’t get killed. If they perform poorly? Well the all bets were off.
With the games barely a month away, most of the Jar Heads were busting tail, trying to get in peak shape. Still there was no way that they could possibly hope to get into the shape my guys were in in time. My unit had been training hard for months, a normal marathon they could nearly do at a full sprint in seventy kilos of gear. They could easily make it through a triple in full kit without being gulping for air. The obstacle course was a breeze.
We had been doing sniper training with the Defiance, 15mm Long Arm, or DLA-15, in various climates and conditions. Without a second these guys were hitting targets a klick out with pinpoint accuracy. In teams they were doing the near impossible. The manufacturer of these guns said their max range was about two kilometers, my soldiers were trick shooting targets at a range of three-and-a-half.
Civilians often ask why we still use slug throwers when we have energy discharge weapons as well. The answer is simple really. A 15mm armor piercing, explosive round eats right through material that an energy weapon simply can’t. In the past these weapons have been vital to winning wars against several hostile races. Plus seeing and hearing the explosions one of these suckers makes still gets my heart pumping.
I heard huffing and puffing coming from behind me along with the sound of an air car. Since the sound was coming from behind me I knew that it was another unit joining me on the field. And that they had quick marched it all the way there. At just over 50 kilometers, there should have been no huffing and puffing out of a Hybrid, this was disgraceful.
“Lieutenant Archer.” Shit it was Derrekson.
I snapped a quick salute. “Sir!”
The captain disembarked from the car and came over to me and got in front of me so close that I could smell is breakfast, which had apparently been washed down with gin. I had noticed a fair number of my fellow officers were like this. This planet was an absolute shit hole for military occupation. The colonists weren’t much better either. Though with women and even some children arriving things were starting to improve, at least among them.
“You have the best trained unit out here and many of the civilians have put a lot of money on you guys to win the games. Your betters,” that was a far stretch to say the least, “demand your unit take a dive in this. We refuse to let you win under any condition. Am I clear?”
“What about the General? I know he’s put a lot down on my unit.”
“I don’t give a steaming shit about Lynn. I am ordering you to take a dive! Am I being perfectly clear?”
“Sir yes sir.” Fuck him I didn’t give a shit I would be ordering my Hybrids to make mincemeat out of the competition.
“Said like a true soldier fucker.” This guy was blitzed. “You do exactly what I tell you to and you may get promoted. Don’t and you’ll regret being born.”
As soon as he was leaving with the rest of the lieutenants and their Hybirds I rounded up my troops. I was silently coming up with various ways to kill each and every last one of those fucking officers, each way more gruesome than the last. Once all the of my guys came back they looked happy as hell. I knew what I was going to say was going to both piss ‘em off and give ‘em a good laugh at the same time.
“Okay girls I’ve got some words for you. First of all that was some damn good shooting out there, you do this man proud. Second, at the games next month we are obviously the odds on favorites among the colonists.” That statement was followed by a lot of cheering and back slapping. “Third most of the officers intend to fleece the colonists as they have bet against us and they are ordering us to take a dive. However, before any of you start complaining I’m going to give you a different order. You are going out there and putting every last one of those, collar using, cunts in the fucking poor house.”
“What will happen to you if we don’t lose?” Asked Riley a big ass Leopard, who was also the best marksmen I had ever had serve under my command.
“Those assholes will probably try to destroy this beautiful mug of mine, but don’t worry about that. I can go toe to toe with most of you, do you really thing I have to worry about some out of shape, slobs that I unfortunately have the displeasure to sharing a species with?” That got a good chuckle out of them.
“Now pack it up children, I want you guys at a full run all the way down to the barracks.
Everyone jumped to their feet and once gear was distributed evenly. No Hybrid under my command shirked his responsibilities. They all demanded to carry an equal load to the bastard next to ‘em. No one got too loaded up with someone else’s equipment. If someone was too badly injured from an accident to carry their equipment is was evenly distributed and they’d make a group carry of the soldier. In such situations I’d take some of the equipment myself, damned if I wasn’t willing to do what they did. They were my comrades in arms and as far as they were concerned I was one of them.
On the march, if you want to call it that, we were going at what amounted to a paced run. I did something that would really work their lungs. I broke into what I had learned was called the Hybrid cadence. My pups broken into full song with me on the third word. They were used to me singing it with them, but this time I had started it off myself. I had joked with them on more than a few occasions that if the Hybrids were to somehow gain their own government it would make for a great Governmental Anthem. I was then informed that there were several ones getting proposed all the time just for the hell of it, and that if it ever happened it would have to be voted on.
They taught me a few of them, and even when they weren’t around I’d sing, whistle, or even just hum a few of them. They all seemed to be based on Pacabelbel’s Cannon in D, which wasn’t bad, but had always been a problem with music for several centuries even till this day in age. Why Pacabelbel I’ll never understand, but for some reason those four chords were just catchy as hell.
The songs were always about becoming free of the collars and the relief they’d feel once they were all destroyed forever. I couldn’t blame them, it was a common dare among Human’s to dare each other to put on a collar that couldn’t be blown, and get fried. I had done it once, the pain was unlike anything I had gone through, even the accident that had required a lot of legal bionetics to repair my body hadn’t been as painful. It was part of the reason I would never use the collar, I knew exactly what it felt like. I had been fried for five seconds, and I have never known pain like that before and have never experienced it since. At least for physical pain, emotional pain was a whole different matter, that had nearly killed, and I know for a fact that some officers will run a collar for a lot longer than five seconds. I’ve seen some officers run it for over a minute.
Truthfully? I was worried about what was going to happen to the Hybrids in the other units. It was pretty much a given that a lot of them were going to be running on fear based adrenalin. There was probably going to be a lot of frying, and possibly some threats of blown collars leading up to the games. They couldn’t afford to blow too many collars of course. Can’t deplete the forces of too many soldiers at once. I also doubted General Lynn would look kindly on having to thaw out the entire reserve of Hybrids. It would take over a month-and-a-half to replace all of them and if something happened that depleted active troops we needed to have a full reserve. As it was we were apparently down a full unit, because of the sheer numbers of collars being blown out of the frustration of the officers. They only knew standard procedure on getting Hybrids to follow orders, and they had gone from using collar with any tactical grace to simply being sadists.
“Yes, Sergeant Riley?” The leopard marksman was my other sergeant
“It’s just that you look really tense and Drake and I were wondering if there was anything we can do to help?”
“You sure about that? Because there is but I don’t want you to worry.”
“Name it Lewy! The entire unit looks out and up to you sir. We’ll bee happy to help in anyway.” The sergeant did look eager to help.
“I want you and the rest of the unit in the courtyard in five minutes in just your uniforms.”
“Do you have something special in mind?”
“I’m going to teach some real nasty hand to hand combat styles. The kind you don’t learn while you’re in the tube.”
“Yes sir!” This was going to be fun.
In five minutes my unit was in the courtyard anxious to see what I had to teach them. I had grabbed the collar control because I needed to throw in a safety for my troops. “Okay children let’s have a talk about the type of hand to hand combat training you learned while in the tube. First of all it relies almost entirely on brute strength, not so much on technique, that’s why Tanker dominates in the bare hands training so much. It’s also why I can beat so many of you. I don’t have your strength I have instead been trained very differently than you.” I took out the collar remote I could see the eyes of my soldiers go wide. “Don’t worry you slobs I’m not going to fry you, I’m turning it off just incase one of you seriously hurts me it won’t blow all of your collars.” There was an immediate collective sigh of relief.
“Sergeant Riley step up here?” The leopard walked over to me with a bit of a nervous look. “Okay I want you to hit me as hard as you can.”
“What?!” The sergeant looked at me like had completely lost it.
“You heard me you scum sucking, lily livered, human loving, waste of oxygen. I said I want to hit me as hard as you can!”
I don’t know what part got him pissed enough throw a ham handed, hay maker. I grabbed his arm and pulled him in fast lashing out a with a hard, round house into his solar plexus. He doubled over and I grabbed him by the shoulder him back up to his feet, then kicked him in the back of the knee causing it to buckle bring him to his knees then nailed him in the neck with an inside knife hand. The knife hand was enough to knock him out.
The rest of my troops looked from me to Riley and back again with almost sheer horror etched across their faces. I gave them by best sadistic grin. “Who wants to be my next victim?”