Episode 7: Baby Boot Camp

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"You got the correct footwear packed, Westley?" Sergeant Rath asks me as he stares down at my Jordans.

I look down. I was so excited about away training I forgot to put on my training sneakers, and I didn't bring them.

"I'm sorry, Sir, do I have time to go home and change them?"

"Make it quick. No running!"

I power walk from the docking bay back to La Forge. I'm sure I look stupid, but I don't care. I've been looking forward to away training since I found out about it the first week of class. I'm not missing it.

"Hey, Westley! Aren't you supposed to be at baby boot camp?" Someone yells at me. I turn around to see Officer Dent at the end of the hall. Dent assists Sergeant Rath in class sometimes, he's alright I guess.

"I gotta get something," I call back to him without stopping. I know they're just having fun with us, but it really bothers me when the officers call away training "baby boot camp". This trip determines who will move on to the second semester of Intro, so it's basically the most important thing in my life right now.

When I walk in the front door of our unit, Henry, our onboarding specialist, or should I say, our former onboarding specialist (his 90 day assignment is up), is sitting on our couch browsing his phone. "Uh, hey," I say to Henry, who pops up like someone lit a fire under his ass.

"Ben, buddy! I thought you had an TPEF thing."

"I do. I forgot my sneakers." Before I can ask Henry what he's doing here, Molly comes out of her room, hair curled, tight, low cut dress on. Gross.

"Ben, what are you doing here?"

"I live here! And, I forgot my sneakers." My sneakers! I really need to get going. I yank them out of the entryway closet, shove them on my feet, and turn to leave, but then think better of it. I have time for a question or two.

"What are you guys up to?"

"We're going out to lunch," Molly says, quickly.

"Alone?"

"No, we're meeting Phoebe there," Molly says. A look flashes across Henry's face that implies that he's as confused as I am.

"Who's Phoebe?"

"Henry's wife, Ben, duh."

"That's weird. Why are you two meeting her instead of-"

"Ben, it's not interesting and it would take too long to explain. You need to get going, aren't they leaving at one?"

I sprint out the door. If I'm careful, I might be able to run most of the way without getting caught.

"Westley! The shuttle won't leave without you, no running!" It's Officer Dent again. I know for a fact that the shuttle will leave without me, a third year told me two of his classmates were three minutes late, they got left behind. Their only options were to take the entire semester over again or drop out. As soon as I'm out of Dent's sight I start running again.

"No running," some random guy says to me. I keep running.

"No running!" I keep running.

I make it back to the docking bay; the shuttle hasn't left. I try not to breathe hard, but I don't think it's working because Rath is walking up to me and his brow is furrowed.

"Did you run?" He says. He's trying not to laugh.

"Yes, Sir. I'm sorry."

He smiles. "In through the nose, out through the mouth, kid, don't pass out."

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