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Into the Wild

Fehed never had any problems with feats of endurance, but his mind was elsewhere while the troop finished up the last mile of their final basic training run, as another hurdle yet loomed ahead of the young cadet when he returned to the barracks. Everyone had to select a military specialty, but he was still unsure what he should do.  Back at base camp, he stared at the form in his hand for some time before he finally simply checked off infantry, in the hopes that once there, something better would appeal to him.  At least he would be assured of seeing some action in the process, and perhaps he might even become otherwise inspired.

Fehed had always been gifted physically; he relished brute exertion with unparalleled passion and the inexhaustible fervor of a zealot.  He’d been an athlete all throughout his schooling, and could have pursued a career in that arena, disappointing many when he didn’t, in fact, but he’d wanted to make a difference in the world, so he’d joined the military, instead.  After signing on with the infantry, he had come to realized where he really wanted to be, was in Special Forces.  According to established protocols, he had followed the required chain of command to register his interest, obtained all the appropriate recommendations, and had even passed nearly all of the qualifications... all but the last one, which he now faced imminently.  He had tried to prepare himself for whatever was coming, unsure what the final test would involve, or how difficult it would be.  But no one would tell him anything.  He was as ready as he was going to get.

At o-five-hundred hours, Fehed was rousted out of bed — not that he’d done much sleeping, excited as he was — informed only to pack up his gear, and told to report outside.  In the crisp, chill wind of the early dawn, he was greeted by a chopper.  He was the only soldier there.  His Wakicuza* ordered him aboard. Dutifully, Fehed climbed in, wondering what to expect next.

                                               *(Wah-kee-CHUən-zah)  Ndakinnian term denoting leadership: means “commanding officer”

     “We’re headed to the location of your final test,” Wakicuza Ajanlekok shouted over the rotor wash of the helicopter as they took off.

       “Once there, you are to head out into the wilderness.  Here,” the officer passed an envelope to his subordinate.  “Do not open this until after the chopper leaves, do you understand?”

               “Sir, Yes, Sir!” Fehed shouted back with a salute to the Wakicuza.

As the flight touched down, Fehed disembarked from the copter, and headed into the woods to watch it take off, keeping a keen eye upon it until it vanished over the next horizon.  As it did, Fehed opened the envelope to find a handwritten note, which stated simply:

                                      Your orders are to survive, and find your way back to base.
                                                            This is your only assignment.

Fehed sighed to himself and took out his compass.  He had no clue what direction the base was in.  He loosened the straps on his backpack, transformed into his panther-man form, and breathed in deep — taking in all the scents around him — then listened intently to his surroundings.  He put his compass back and started moving toward the direction from where the smell of humans seemed to be emanating.

A few feet further into the woods, he suddenly stopped in his tracks as he realized, during Special Ops training, he’d never
actually known where the base was.  He and the other recruits had been flown in under the cover of darkness, and no one had ever been allowed to leave the base, not that there had been any time to even give the slightest thought to that, as grueling as the process had been.  He figured this would be a good time to check his service rifle and pistol.  He made a quick assessment to verify he had extra ammo clips, and double-checked everything in his pack to ensure he could survive out here if he needed to.  The were-cat breathed a sigh of relief after going through his gear.  He should be able to get through this.

Continuing on the trail he’d picked up, Fehed noticed something funny about the aromas... a chemical odor, very pungent, almost overpowering as he got nearer... he had to transform back into man-form just so he wouldn’t be overcome by it.  He began creeping along, slowly, low to the ground.  At a clearing up ahead, he came upon a makeshift camp with an R/V camper and several tents.  Within this unexpected back-country scene, there were three individuals, all human, but one was adorned with metal around his head, some sort of weird ocular device over his left eye, and his left arm and right hand were metallic.  He was wearing American-style combat fatigues.  The other two were in blue jeans and t-shirts.

Fehed pulled his pistol and kept hunched down where he was.  He had never seen a cyborg before, and was unsure how to proceed.  He did notice the vehicle had a California license plate, which gave him pause, as there was no way an Ndakinnian military base was located in California.  That meant he was most likely in the Northwest region of Ndakinna... probably the Penutian Territory, just North of California.

He wondered what three Americans were doing in Ndakinna, but it soon became apparent, as he watched them loading and unloading chemicals into and out of the R/V.  They were drug cooks.  They were probably also traffickers, bringing in chemically manufactured narcotics to poison Ndakinnians.

Fehed had to do something.  He couldn’t just turn away and focus on his mission, or stand by and let this happen under his nose.  He maintained his position, watching the men go about their business.  The Ndakinnian had firsthand experience with the damage this junk could do.  In his village, two of Fehed’s friends had died of overdoses from these types of drugs, and there were several addicts and dealers in the nearest city, regularly causing all sorts of problems.

There were three ATV’s parked nearby the R/V, as well as a pickup truck.  As the milling about of a chemistry setup continued, noise from not too far of a helicopter overhead suddenly spurred the campers into hyperaction.  All three got on the 4-wheelers and took off.  Fehed paid no attention to the copter, but watched as the gangsters disappeared out of sight, then he crept into the campsite.  His search of the R/V uncovered a collection of gas masks.  Investigating one, he verified his suspicion had been correct.  It was a mobile chem lab for concocting large quantities on-the-cheap of unnatural, low grade happy pills for the ignorant masses, whod pay anything they could scrounge to dull their senses from the pain of reality in a life of abject poverty.  He snooped a little around the general campsite area, helping himself to a handful of supplies which would prove useful in the bush, and booby trapped the R/V before leaving.  After he’d crept a safe distance away, Fehed put into use a pair of binoculars he’d liberated to monitor the dope lab.

He didn’t have long to wait.  Very shortly, through the field lenses, he watched the dealers return, alerting him to don the gas mask he’d taken as they approached the site. The men went straight to the R/V and opened the door.  No sooner had they triggered the latch, than a small blast erupted and gas poured out.  The two unenhanced humans dropped to their knees, clutching their chests and coughing, tears streaming from their eyes.  The cyborg seemed unaffected.   He kept a watchful eye on the surrounding area, while gathering up his companions, now nearly passed out, and placed their limp bodies, gasping for breath, into the pickup.

Fehed transformed into his panther-man form and crouched low to the ground, like the animal he was in that moment.  The cyborg took no notice, but went to the driver’s door of the truck to leave.  Fehed drew up his hindquarters and prepared to pounce.

Just as the cyborg climbed behind the wheel, the were-panther burst forth from the woods with his rifle drawn, firing a half dozen rounds into the truck cab in short succession.  The driver ducked down, trying to steer the truck out of the line of fire, but the rig careened wildly, and smacked headfirst into a tree.  Unfazed, the cyborg bounced from the cab, a fully automatic pistol in tow, and returned fire on Fehed.  With animal enhanced reflexes, the great man-cat dodged to elude the incoming fire, getting
only grazed in his left arm.  The cyborg was undamaged.

Fehed bounded up the nearest tree, then vaulted into the one next to that, and climbed into a high perch were he could still keep an eye on the cyborg without himself being seen.  Never seeing who or what had been shooting, the cyborg was unable to track his malkin movements.  Instead, he abandoned the chase and turned away to busy himself with more pressing matters.  He flung open the R/V and began throwing out buckets and glass vials, vented toxic fumes from the camper’s roof exhaust in a great belch of colored smoke, and retrieved his compatriots from the truck, tossing them like ragdolls through the door of the now emptied lab, stepping in close afterwards and closing the door behind them.  Then the caravan roared to life and raced away at top speed.

Fehed came down from his roost and helped himself to one of the 4-wheelers and two full gas cans the thugs had left behind in their escape.  In his earlier raid of the bivouac, he’d acquired a map with the location of their camp circled on it, which provided bearings he could follow.  Not only that, but it also happened to have the base marked in giant highlights — as a place to avoid.  He smiled to himself.  Even if it was only a drop in the bucket, he’d have done it anyway.  Every little bit of help to stem the damage of synthetic drugs in his native land was worth the effort.  If doing the right thing had been the quickest means to accomplishing his end goal, well, that was just an added bonus.  With a spring in his step and a fire in his heart, Fehed hopped on the ATV, turned the key, popped the clutch, and sped off towards home base to complete his final exercise as a mere contender for Ndakinnian Special Forces. 

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2017 03:43 am (UTC)
What an interesting world! I really enjoyed this take on the prompt.
Mar. 4th, 2017 11:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I am glad you are enjoying this series.
Mar. 4th, 2017 08:29 am (UTC)
Yay! I enjoyed reading this. Glad that doing good helped him find his own way back. Cheers to Fehed! :)
Mar. 4th, 2017 11:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you, good deed as they say.
Mar. 4th, 2017 05:24 pm (UTC)
Getting rid of drug thugs and succeeding in his mission -- sounds like a good day. This was a fun story. Certainly, a man/panther would be a good choice for Special Ops.
Mar. 4th, 2017 11:29 pm (UTC)
For Fehed getting rid of drug dealers is a personal matter, so he gained extra satisfaction from it. Thank you for checking my story out.
Mar. 4th, 2017 05:43 pm (UTC)
Ha! Nothing like blowing stuff up for great fun, especially when there is a legitimate reason for it! I'm guessing the Special Forces challenges are going to require a bit more from Fehed, though. Maybe he'll wish he hadn't had it so easy!
Mar. 4th, 2017 11:27 pm (UTC)
Fehed doesn't mind a challenge will be alright, he. Thank you for reading.
Mar. 6th, 2017 12:05 am (UTC)
This was a fun read. It was good to read this story of Fehed's also. I like this world you have created. Hugs and peace~~~
Mar. 6th, 2017 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I am glad you are enjoying this world.
Mar. 6th, 2017 12:14 am (UTC)
Hahaha-- it didn't say that he couldn't acquire or use information and technology along the way, so fair game to the 4-wheeler and the map!

And a little crime-deterrence along the way? All in a day's work for who he is and where he's going. :D
Mar. 6th, 2017 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I figured it was time to start talikng about the other characters in Omnis Terra.
Mar. 6th, 2017 03:40 pm (UTC)
I think you have entire series of your own world creations inside of you! This was riveting! Is there a career in writing video game storylines/characters?? This reads that "urgently" to me.
Mar. 6th, 2017 08:18 pm (UTC)
thank you, I have thought about trying to write a game around these characters.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )