It was quiet, but Griffin was beginning to find that most helicopters tended to be quiet. It was peaceful, being left alone with one's thoughts while the night sky of London started to give way to the sun in Imax three-d quality. Peace was a luxury that Griffin hadn't had recently, it was quite scarce. With a shift of his weight, Griffin brought his right hand up and adjusted the headphones around his ears, an instrument used to assist in hearing any of the other five people on board. Griffin doubted it would be needed, however, as his family wasn't really the talking type. At least, not the type to talk to him. His father, Arthur Aparo was busy tapping at his handheld, no doubt scheduling a meeting to discuss some business or the other after Griffin was dropped off. His mother? Powdering her nose while the wind was gone. If he were closer to his family he might have chuckled at the sight, as who in their right mind powdered a nose while riding in a Helicopter? And then there was Mikael, a tall and intimidatingly bald Serbian who was staring right at Griffin. The man always put Griffin on edge, being the one responsible for 'ensuring his greatness' and serving as a bodyguard to the Aparo family as a whole. Griffin shifted his gaze, not wanting to continue meeting the steel gray that seemed so lifeless, like a black hole of emotion. He knew that in the end that was what he himself was being trained to be, and his stomach flipped wondering how long it took Mikael to fall to that point. Was he born into a life he had no decisions over? Was he forced to give up his entire childhood for it?
It was a thought process for another time, as Griffin suddenly felt the Helicopter dip and the first voice Griffin had heard since they took off blasted into his ears. "Alright, wakey-wakey back there. We're setting down, and it looks like we have a welcoming party."
The voice, belonging to the pilot of the chopper was right. A pitch-black sedan was idling next to the pad and men wearing black suits stood awaiting them. From inside, Griffin took a deep breath and gave a cursory glance around the interior of the Helicopter. His father was sighing and placed his handheld into his front pocket, while his mother finished up her make-up and started practicing her smile. Mikael, as always did nothing but stare at Griffin and the young man started wondering if the Serbian had a thing for him or something. The Helicopter landed and began to shut down which prompted Griffin to lean forward and begin to gather his bags. He didn't have much as he was told that he would have money to spend on the station when he arrived. As such his bags mostly contained his tailor-made clothing, such as sports coats and dress shirts.
As he leaned back up a breeze of warm arm caressed his face and he was suddenly blasted back into another Helicopter ride. It had been two years ago, one of the first operations that Griffin had inserted into. Around him, instead of his parents and bodyguard, were hardened soldiers, checking over weapons and going over a tactical map. The blades spinning in this chopper were louder and screams could be heard from outside the vehicle. When the door opened, a wave of heat, a tornado compared to the breeze that set him off took his breath away and left him gasping even as his body began to scream at him, asking him why the hell he had just jolted into a new environment so quickly. The others inside didn't seem to mind the sudden shift and had instantly exited the chopper with weapons drawn and raised. Griffin was barely able to register the fist that grasped at his vest but winced when the man who owned the fist leaned down into his ear and screamed. "Get the FUCK up and move! None of these men are dying because of you."
Griffin nodded as his reflex for following orders helped him in his shell-shocked moment. He slipped out of the door and scrunched up his face as the sun blinded him, and briefly remembered his sunglasses. He brought them down from his helmet and found that it did in fact help with the glaring light. He followed alongside the squad as they headed to a defensible position and upon arriving the team leader knelt to open a map. "Alright, the target is about a click and a half away. Native forces are in the loop on this one, so shouldn't be to much trouble, they're staging a raid on the village further down to cover our infil. Rapid exfil is available right outside the building our intelligence places the bastard. Goins, Radio, and Sparks you're with the kid on Subjugation. The rest is on me."
The flashback was over as quickly as it began and Griffin became aware of the voice in his ear telling him that it was safe to exit, that the blades had winded down. Robotically, Griffin exited the chopper, his legs feeling a bit like jelly whether it was from his flashback or from the lack of use during the morning. Either way, he was still able to reach the black-suited men and nodded to the one that seemed to be in charge. He received nothing in return, and Griffin figured that he would at least feel at home if everyone at the station acted like this. Griffin felt like he was missing something, so he ran through a mental list and a light-bulb dinged in his consciousness and he opened his sports coat to reveal a letter in the breast pocket. He handed it over to the suited man and watched as he opened it.
The man read it and nodded before turning towards the sedan and ushering Griffin towards it as well. Hesitation appeared for a split second but he got rid of it quickly. He gave another nod and made his way to the back of the sedan. He opened the door and took a final glance towards the Helicopter. Neither of his parents seemed to care enough to wave goodbye and it stung more than it should. Why would they wave him off? They never cared before, and a simple Helicopter ride wouldn't suddenly make them care enough to wave goodbye. In fact, hell would freeze over before either of the two adults waved
to send anyone off. Instead, the last thing Griffin saw before climbing into the sedan was Mikael staring at him from outside the Helicopter. One day, Griffin promised himself, he was going to tear that man's eyes out...
Griffin was surprised to find two other young men in the backseat of the sedan and raised an eyebrow as the one on the far right chuckled and shook his head. "Whoa, where did they find you? Some modeling agency, are you the new face for The Promise? Cause you don't look like security."
Griffin took a breath in and then nodded slightly, shrugging while giving a soft chuckle."All I was told was that I was chosen out of hundreds of applications. Not that I even knew I applied."
He shrugged again and leaned back in the seat. He was nervous about being thrust into a social situation like this so fast. He had no idea what to do, or how to act and it was pretty apparent. His attempt at humor was more awkward and he didn't even attempt eye contact. It was a side effect of being deprived of real social interaction in his upbringing. When you only learn about how to oil weapons or kick things the rest of basic human functions were left to develop raw and Griffin was paying the price for it.
For a moment Griffin frowned. Perhaps he was making better progress at being the machine his parents wanted after all. The thought made him wince, and he took to staring out of the window as the Sedan sped around the airfield towards a waiting shuttle which was no doubt the ticket to the orbiting station. Luckily, or unluckily the conversation stopped with the awkward feeling still in the air which gave Griffin a chance to start breaking down the conversation to see where he could improve. He was a smart young man, and if he was going to experience things on his own, he for sure wanted to shore up places in his character that were lacking.
Griffin frowned when they got to the rocket launch pad which was a good few miles away from the airport. It was becoming a common practice to have a shuttle location near the major capitals of the world but just staring at the sleek design made Griffin's already nervous stomach start flipping again. He was going to die, going to snuff it before he was able to experience anything other than the carefully constructed life that his parents had put together. It was a bleak picture but Griffin's mind was an unwilling ally at best and a rioting activist at worst. The Sedan pulled off next to a command room that oversaw the launchpad and the two suited men exited the vehicle first. They opened either back seat door and then gestured towards the building. Griffin was tempted to say something in regards to robots but decided against it, no need to make a bad impression so quickly. Instead, he followed along like a good little soldier and raised an eyebrow as he was led to a room that contained a group of ten men. Six were sitting in what looked like school chairs while the rest stood at the front beside a projector.
Griffin was pointed to an empty seat. Once all the recruits were in their seats a holo-projection came up revealing a larger man wearing a scowl. After a moment the man began to speak, turning in the projection as he does. It was obvious it was a recording but Griffin leaned forward to listen intently regardless. “Good evening. I hope this message finds you well.
My name is Gennedy Hardin. I am the department head of security for The Promise. After reviewing hundreds of applications, you have been chosen to come aboard. Either for your work ethic, your history, your skills, or all of the above.
Make your final arrangements, and be ready to take off. May god’s love be with you, and we’ll see you in the sky.”
Griffin raised an eyebrow while crossing his arms. That was it? A simple we'll see you in the sky didn't do anything to curb the acrobatic stomach that was currently competing for Olympic points. He didn't have time to complain however as he and the other new recruits were stood up and led to what looked to be an elevator. The recruits entered first, followed by two men wearing white suits. A button was pressed and the compartment doors closed. To quite a bit of surprise, the compartment started going backward instead of going up or down. Griffin realized what it was instantly, it was a direct ride to the rocket bay. As the full compartment continued backward, Griffin found himself sweating, bits of moisture making his dress shirt stick to his skin. He knew his breathing changed as well, and with a quick glance confirmed that at least two others were having the same issues.
Sudden metallic clanging signaled that they had arrived at their destination, and the compartment started slowing down while gears started moving them up. Griffin felt his heartbeat now, and wondered if anyone else could hear it? It was so loud, the rhythmic thumping that should have been relaxing but was instead causing fear to enter into his brain. He shook his head a bit and took a few deep breaths. He held them and released them five seconds later. This helped a bit but as a door opened, opposite the door they entered, Griffin saw the latch to the rocket and no amount of breathing was going to help him as his mind filled with at first panic and then restrained fear. It was strange because he didn't even know what he was afraid of. Perhaps it was the unknown factor of his life, perhaps it was the thought of burning to a crisp before leaving the atmosphere. He took a deep
breath and then narrowed his eyes. He heard the pilots jokingly asked who wanted to be first, and before anyone could move Griffin pushed past them all.
The interior of the rocket was actually rather nice. Various control consoles could be seen attached to chromed over metal while blinking lights gave visual representation to the beeping around each console. Griffin's jaw dropped unconsciously as he stared and then he felt a push from behind which made him remember the rest of the recruits waiting for him. He muttered an apology and made his way further into the rocket. About halfway through he noticed a large circular room with steel chairs that had tough harnesses prepared for passengers. He took it as the correct location and made his way to one of the chairs. He started buckling himself in and found that his hands were trembling. It was all so surreal, all happening so fast. Luckily the pilots double checked all the harnesses and fixed some of the less than secure straps chuckling at them. "Don't look so nervous, we do this all the time. Just a simple rocket thrust off-planet and we're sailing through the sky."
The man chuckled again and made his back to the cockpit with his partner, leaving the recruits to just stare at each other. Griffin glanced to his left and nodded to a young man who looked to be about his age, maybe a bit older."Just a simple rocket launch, you know. Nothing could ever go wrong, not very reassuring if you ask me."
His hands were gripping his harness hard and the man beside him laughed and nodded a few times. "Exactly! Like, the fact they've never had a problem makes it worse. One in nine-thousand odds still means there is the one."
Griffin found himself laughing as well, which caused the entire group to laugh which made the nerves disappear.
And then the engines started, and everything was drowned out by that noise. It was a noise that threw Griffin back into shock, back into a dry and hot middle eastern village. Explosions and yelling and Griffin attempting to subjugate a Meta-human who was wreaking havoc. He had failed, and two more mercenaries were killed as the metal bullets they fired stopped and went back to them. Griffin ran across the ground, diving and barely managed to get a hand around the Meta-human's ankle before three bullets slammed into the girl's form. She crumpled on top of Griffin and red blood covered his form..."Hey! HEY! Hello, can you hear me? Yo man, you need to relax for a second."
The ringing in his ears started dissipating, along with a gruff man's voice repeating 'ignore and override', and Griffin was brought back to the present. He was looking directly at the young man to his right who was peering back at him with genuine concern. Griffin shook his head a few times and knew his eyes were wide and dilated. "How long was I out of it? Did er, anyone else notice?"
In his still ringing ears Griffin could hear the phrase still, 'ignore and override kid' over and over again until finally, the ringing stopped completely. The other young man shook his head, his own eyes glancing around at the others who were straining to see as much space as possible. Not like they weren't going to get plenty of that view when they arrived at the station."Nah, but I was trying to talk to you for about ten minutes. Where did you go? I'm Crispin by the way, I was asking if you wanted to bunk together if we're allowed to choose partners or whatever."
Griffin seemed shocked to see he had been gone for that long and just slowly nodded."Just was thinking about burning into a crisp ya know. But, um, Yeah, that would be great, er, Crispin. I'm Griffin, you can shorten it if you want, I don't care much. Do you think we'll actually get to choose?"
Crispin opened his mouth to respond but was stopped before could. The sound of metal connecting to metal could be heard, followed by a short announcement from the pilots stating that they were arriving and starting docking procedures. Griffin smiled and leaned his head back, realizing that he wasn't actually dying in a ball of fire. It was a good feeling and Griffin looked over to Crispin who also seemed relieved.
Griffin got a better look at his first 'friend', realizing he had never really seen him. The young man seemed to be about 18 to 21 years old, with a shock of red hair, along with a freckled pale skin tone. He was still observing when the pilots came out and started unbuckling the harnesses. At all of their perplexed faces, the two started laughing again. "Don't worry, the ship docks itself. You're all good to gather your things and report back to the entrance hatch. Thanks for flying Rios and Sanchez's magic rocket, servicing all your transportation needs."
Griffin found himself smirking and clapping along with everyone else and started floating his way towards the exit hatch. A hissing sound followed by some more clanking signaled that docking was complete and a green light suddenly clicked on above. Another hiss and the hatch swung open to deposit the recruits into a processing Hangar for new employees. Desks were situated all around with seemingly bored attendants waiting with stacks of paper. Griffin found himself shuffling forward, almost falling as his body tried to get used to the new gravity on the station. Others from the ride were losing some of the breakfast they had that morning and Griffin was glad that his stomach had stopped its own revolt. As he reached one of the desks the attendant glanced up and tilted her head. Griffin hesitantly handed over an official-looking employment document and snuck some looks past the bay and into the station itself. It was a massive piece of human engineering and despite himself, Griffin felt quite impressed. "Mr. Aparo, you're all settled. Wait on the other side of the desk for Security Sergeant Moore."
Griffin shot his eyes back to the attendant, nodded, and gave a small smile before picking up his suitcase and moved past the desk. This gave him a better view of the interior but also a feeling of acceptance. He had arrived now, the trip was over and this station would be his new home for quite a stretch of time. He felt someone approaching behind him and looked over his shoulder to see Crispin stand beside him. "Hey, I guess we're waiting on the-""Security recruits! ATTENTION!"
The yell was easily
heard by everyone inside the bay and probably outside of it as well and every recruit snapped into a stance of attention. Some had been still talking with the attendants, some were even in mid-step. All of them stopped, dropped what they were carrying, and became statues. The wielder of such impressive vocal projection stepped further into the hall wearing a crisp Blue and Black security uniform. Red 'sun'-glasses shielded his eyes and a sneer adorned his lined face. "When I release you! You will remain quiet, finish your paperwork and then line up in a double line formation in front of me! Those already done will start this line from left to right. Am I understood?!"
The resulting yell from every recruit shook the breakables in the bay. "YES SIR!!!"
Griffin himself had instantly bent down after being released from attention and rushed over to the Sergeant. He found that he had arrived first and took a spot five meters from the Sergeant's right, their left. He knew it wasn't expected but habit had him shift into a parade rest stance once arriving at his designated location and the Sergeant seemed to nod a bit. Griffin made sure to keep his eyes straight and forward and by the time the rest of the recruits had lined up it appeared that no one managed to get on the Sergeant's bad side. "By God, might be the best batch of recruit we've gotten in a while. Right, keep to the formation. Two lines with the far left man leading each. We won't be walking far, do keep up."
With that the Sergeant pivoted on his left boot and Griffin was quick to start the first line, smirking to himself and Crispin who was leading the second line.
The recruits marched for some ten minutes before arriving at a busy building that had the Security Symbol and badge on the top. Then they continued marching until they arrived at a similar-looking meeting room, with similar-looking chairs. The Sergeant moved to stay at the front of the room and clasped his hands behind his back. "Welcome, all of you to The Promise. I see within each of your eyes the same hesitancy and excitement I once had as well. Let me be the first to tell you, your decision to come up to the stars was one of the best you could have made. Our Security Officers that retire back to the planet have an employment rate of almost 99%. Now that you're here and even after you're considered a family, a brotherhood who answered the call of duty to protect and serve onboard one of the most potentially dangerous facilities possible. I'm proud to welcome you all. Now, we will pass around a bunk assignment list. This isn't a school, and you're all adults so there will be no assigned bunking until there is a problem. There are four beds to a bunk, so go ahead and get that done quickly. While you're working on that I will be passing pairing sheets. All new recruits will be assigned a training Officer for as long as I or the Captain sees fit."
As soon as the Sergeant stopped talking many hands started going for the clipboard but Griffin saw that Crispin managed to one of the first. Griffin nodded to him to add his name to the dorm with Crispin and then sat down while everyone else signed up as well. Griffin got a glancing look at the sheet as it passed his face and saw that he and Crispin were rooming with a Jensen Alexston, and Kairo Ahmedi. An interesting mix of people Griffin thought as he stretched his arms out. In a normal circumstance, the stretch might have been accompanied by a yawn but Griffin found that he wasn't tired in the slightest and instead kept darting his eyes all around the room. After some fifteen minutes Sergeant Moore returned with a box full of watches and earpieces. "Hope you're all settled with the bunk assignments. Now, this here is going to be your primary means of communication along with your phones which should now all be updated with your training officers name and badge numbers thanks to Cara, the AI in charge of the station."
Griffin glanced down at his phone in surprise and found that he did indeed have a message from the AI on the front.
Welcome to The Promise Training Officer Griffin Aparo! Your training officer will be Officer Radvi, I look forward to helping you serve on our great station!
Griffin just shook his head in wonder and typed back. Thanks Cara, I appreciate the welcome.
He sent the message and then placed his phone back in his breast pocket, barely catching the Sergeant's last words. "-forms will be waiting for you in your bunks after the orientation video. Understand you only have this video to familiarize yourself with the layout of the headquarters. No one will help you, you must learn to help yourselves. Now, I got real work to do. Once again it was a privilege to be the first to welcome you to the family. Keep your heads on a swivel and keep each other safe."
With his last words spoken, the Sergeant left the room and the lights dimmed before a projector started a movie on the far left wall. The movie was simple, detailing the layout of the Headquarters and broke down the station into quadrants. Each Officer was given a number designation and a patrol team designation to make identifying voices on the radio easier, as well as assigned beats. Beyond that, radio etiquette was gone over, explanation on how to refrain from keying up when someone was using the same frequency until they were done. Emergency radio traffic, Sergeant overrides, and other extreme circumstances were all briefly gone over as well and a reminder that all of this would be in the handbook which awaited the recruits on their beds.
After two hours the movie ended itself and the recruits all filed out together and made their way to the bunk halls. It was quite simple to find and Griffin was surprised to find that each bunk room had twin-sized beds for each man. Better than what he had been expecting for sure. The rooms were nice overall, and as promised a dark blue uniform with black accents was waiting on his bed. The apparent signature red glasses, earpiece, shirt-stays, and a hat sat on top of the uniform and Griffin had a smile from ear to ear as he picked some of the gadgets up. Without waiting another moment, the young man stripped to his boxers and started pulling on the uniform. It fit perfectly, a little too perfectly and Griffin wondered how they had managed a perfect fit so quickly. He shrugged and decided he wouldn't think too much on it and situated his cap over his hair, activated his watch and put in his earpiece. A mirror was hanging from a blank spot on the wall and Griffin had to admit, he quite liked the uniform. Now fully dressed, he carefully folded his other clothes and hung them in the closet that was marked with his name before then leaving the room once more.
The next stop was the armory, where Griffin was outfitted with an under belt, belt clasps, a heavy tactical belt, two tactical pouches, a baton holster, a cuff pouch, and two cuff variants. After securing it all across his waist, and buckling the clasps he moved over to the quartermaster who was handing over stun batons. If Sergeant Moore had a permanent scowl, then the quartermaster had an ingrained scowl, and the muttering under his breath got louder and louder after each recruit. By the time it was Griffin's turn he could make out most of the words, which included some choice phrases about the new green boys that would no doubt break his equipment. Now sufficiently armed and uniformed the recruits made their way back to the conference room where they would wait for their training officer to come to pick them up. Griffin waited patiently, the excitement of being in a new uniform and being sent out on his first day making it easy to ignore the fact that he and Crispin were the last two waiting."Guess our Officers are pretty busy. Hopefully, that means we got the good ones.
Griffin nodded and then chuckled, shrugging and answering back."That or they're always late and we got paired with the worst ones.
Griffin chuckled again as Crispin grimaced and then leaned his head back to relax a bit while he continued waiting. Boy was it good to finally relax though.