Natalie chuckled, in a very Russian way. If Putin were to laugh in front of you, that was what it would sound like, a small but token gesture, a respecting one yet menacing at the same time. This was not a woman to be crossed, not her or her partner. After all, while she was inside, she wasn't alone in this training work here. Hearing Victor drill the living shit out of the men outside was just so....Victor. Running in his armour, an M2 in hand and firing it into the sky like he gave no fucks. It was glorious to see it, and he was relishing it, ever since he got back. A chance to scare the living fuck out of anyone. Well, her training was a little more psychological, after all, she would take those that were up to scratch and thought they were unbreakable, and turn them inside out. Natalie was an Officer after all, she knew strategy and gameplay, not just an onslaught.
And that worked just as well on figuring out just where an operator breaks. If the heaviest load, the farthest run, the desert heat and the toughest challenge didn't do, she turned the tables. Made things always unpredictable, to really put them off, brought in the unthinkable. It was a Russian strategy, the same one that came up with the Little Green Men in the Crimea, the concept of an invisible foe that was seemingly populist, seemingly high tech Russian army. It was throwing up the smoke and seeing everything scared inside it. And it was these unpredicable sets of training, the rumours of which were always different from one man to the next. Just to see how they react. And see if any are leadership material, or capable of holding their minds together under every pressure imaginable to both body and mind, to lead under fire and in Blue Sword, that meant far more than just a firefight. There was also paratroop and seaborne training, which in her process, often led to the same thing, gruelling and forcing a very radical form of training development among the company that would generate rapidly deployable assault forces, that could fight faster and arrive quicker than some conventional forces.
Back to the matter at hand, she took a sip of her jug of water, funnily somewhat suited to someone of her disposition, as she sighed, nodding.
"Very well. I can still see you're not going to do that course, not today. But you'll do it this week. You'll get it alongside a lot of rehabilitation. In most normal cases, operators who have vision problems, or any limb loss are considered deadweight and are a tactical nightmare. The good news is, the rest of you will pick up where that eye left, I expect. You're not a superhuman, but train like one and you will get the rest of your overall tactical sense about you to your new normal, using your new situation not as a handicap, but as your normal. Frontline work is going to be different. I know you already know this, but it's worth repeating." She had to state the obvious, as she drank a bit more of the jug, looking out at the baking desert, before back at Eric.
"You won't need a lot of PT work, not apart from your physiotherapy and general training. We have a lot of VR modules running so you have that as an option. I know the virtual thing isn't the same, so Blue Sword has a tactical mockup, a pit and I imagine you're going to be running it more than most in the coming weeks. The reason I'm telling you this, is that you won't be in a strike team and assigned elsewhere." Natalie said to him, sitting up, looking across, her big paw-like and yet distinctly lady-like arms on the desk.
"You're rolling with us, motherfucker. You are going to be first witness to us. We need a support operative. We clean the way and we prove that there's no alternative to someone who can dish out fire and take it in equal measure. But we need someone to clean behind. Mop up the things that might not work. And that takes something that few Blue Sword operators could do."
"I noticed that while me and Victor have an incredibly high workrate, and very little stops us, sometimes we need a third man, in the shadows. We can't afford to lose momentum, not against an enemy that seems to keep shifting it's form. Your armour will be uprated but will be as light as that of what you wore before. Sometimes we'll need a urban marksman, or more anti-vehicle firepower, or both. Or neither. Whatever goes, whatever is needed. Your training was high end, but you'll go further, you will learn how to be unorthodox, because to keep up with our partnership, you need to understand that the rules do not apply. There are no operating procedures you may find sensible, and while you may have had some interesting missions, I can promise you, you'll see madness and the odds that no person would ever consider winnable. Where those odds and us are now the only option. Because sometimes we need to raise hell. And a certain someone, like you, to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, to see what we may have missed. There may be holdouts that we can't hit, either because they're vertical, or because they're entrenched somewhere we can't actually go. That's where you step in. You clean out whatever is behind us in intel, HVTs, in whatever shape you find them, and most of all, reconnaissance. We need to know what we're hitting, and what we've hit. Sometimes that might be unorthodox. You may be undercover, or you may be loud and pulling every string, using mortars, drones and anything at your disposal to augment our firepower, or hit secondary stations. Osprey excelled at finding mission critical evidence, and we've seen what The Network's got up it's sleeves. When you're wearing several hundred kilos of titanium, carbon and dragonskin, it's not that easy to find some things. But I think you might." Natalie added, as she loaded up the laptop, looking through, her Russian accent still piercing, like a dagger in the night.
"That is your chance at serving Blue Sword. I know sending you out with the grunts won't work. Seeing what I saw in your case file, that seems...unfair. Not worthy, and you'd find it out of tempo to your previous work. Too slow and methodical. So this is what you'll do, then. And...one last thing, Eric. Do not see this offer as plain sympathy. Do not let me down. Don't slack, or fall behind. You may think that special forces training was harsh. Or work in Osprey, too. You have seen what we can do, and if you want to run with wolves, you'll need to make sure you don't get left to the dark, deepest night to be eaten by shadows. There is no opportunity for failure, when the stakes are high and the operations that myself and Victor may be deployed upon are some of the most sensitive and risky that any operator would consider. The odds are barely in our favour, so any edge works to put your chances back. Don't perform to standard, don't get through the tests to prove that you're back at level, and we will see you out. There are no procedures for this situation, but shall I say...I expect you to follow the standard and adapt. Prove me right, and you will prove yourself able to stand tall with giants, and rain hell where they cannot." Natalie stood tall all seven foot and two inches of her, as she leaned in the table, looking dead in his eyes. If he wasn't a little bit scared, or at least, aroused, given how close now in view her watermelons in her tight BDU were, then not much would do it.
"Specialist Whitford...are we understood?" Natalie's voice cut like a knife, aware that this was as clear as could be.
Twelve Days Later
Natalie stood on the overlook, the compact but tight combat course only audible by crickets, and gunshots. It was a final run of the day, and she stood with Victor, kinda wanting to take one last look before bed. Of course,
She wore a little bit of a different attire, given this wasn't as formal, a grey sleevless vest revealing her bare arms, musuclar in a way that didn't look jarring but elegant, a tattoo of her Spetsnaz days, the insignia of her old VDV unit on her shoulder and almost entirely covering it, clearly a work of art given this wasn't just a standard piece of ink. Her golden blonde hair still waved past her shoulders, in a blur rather than a neater form that sat past her neck and on her back and her fair face. Despite the cuts and war-weary look, she was still beautiful, a diamond in the rough- she clearly looked after herself, and even if it was a fairly aethetic touch, sometimes she could be feminine too, of course. If she wasn't large proportioned, you'd actually take her for a model, she had that look in her blue eyes, like endless lust and endorphins. And with the....features, that Victor adored, well, she was perhaps to him. Russian indeed. A pair of combat trousers, and again, her trusty MP412 at her hip.
Watching Eric breach through the final obstacle again, she pulled out the REX, looking to Victor.
"Hmm." She was a long way away from the target, at least 30m, with a revolver like this, you'd need a hell of an aim to hit the tiny metal plate. Natalie was not complacent with a shot, however. And as she watched Eric sweep the last set, she giggled, her large hand around the trigger, aiming one handed, pistol high, for accuracy.
"Time." She fired the .357 into the metal plate, the round flying through the length of the range and into the metal.
The last one fell, as the now iconic klaxon yelled off, Natalie looking on, audibly giggling into her intercom.
"I counted 62 seconds. Two seconds. You're close, but I got the last target before you had a chance, and you aren't getting that record. Again. I'm not telling you what I've thrown up on the range."
Letting him get back, Natalie gently pulled the breach open, sliding another bullet inside from a pouch on her combat trousers, rather than scooping the entire quickloader out, before clicking it back in, safety on.
"I'm so horrible." Natalie giggled, gently wrapping Victor, close against her form, kissing him on the forehead, looking as Eric headed back to the beginning of the range.
"It's been good back here. I like this a lot. But I can tell, we are gonna get bored. I need a little fun. You know....I'm beginning to think maybe I enjoy this carnage too much. I need to nearly die to be alive." Natalie said with a gentile and caressing tone, leaning against Victor, a giant to her giant, a warm tanned shoulder to lean on, as she gently put her hand along his back, up to his mohawk, gently running her fingers through, a giggle still running through her. This wasn't Natalie killing people. This was Natalie laughing, and it was infectious, her cheeks red.
"That is either a problem, or.....well....I don't think it is when I'm with you. We've got plenty more ahead of us to do. More ass to kick." Natalie grinned, as she reached up, kissing Victor once again, before stepping up to the fore of the structure, resetting the course.
"Once again! Go!" And with it, with Eric ready, she let him go and charge the course once again.