A/N So life interceded for a number of years and I came back across this story. I started writing it in the months before I went to Basic Training in 2007. It was crying out for a rewrite. I still love this story but I got a number of things procedurally wrong. I'm going through and fixing the big mistakes. The plot will be the same but if I venture into the movie timeline, it will be mostly from memory. Past a certain point (when the mission goes to hell) that I just can't watch anymore. So this might end up more fluffy than I intend. Another note, I realize how off I got on Julia's job description. I will clean it up a little but it will stay very vague on purpose. I will slowly be uploading the rewrites as I fix and expand them. Hope you like the new and Improved! ~Elenya
I jerked awake at 0500 to the sounds of my alarm screaming at me. I groaned as I slapped at the snooze button. I rubbed at my eyes, rolling out of bed before I succumbed to sweet, sweet sleep again. If I did make that huge mistake, I'd become the lieutenant's next target. Well, LT Beales wasn't likely to do much more than give me counseling statement and make me push. He was a bit of a softie really. But it was best not to draw negative attention to myself, being the last female assigned to 2nd platoon Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
A few of the other men in the company didn't quite know how to interact with me. I didn't fall under any of the usual categories for a female. I was no one's mother, little sister, or girlfriend. I decided not to date within the unit at the very beginning. I had had enough to deal without that kind of drama. Now that the other females had been reassigned, one due to pregnancy and one to an airborne unit at Bragg, I was alone. I didn't really mind. I grew up a tomboy and never truly changed. Sure, I could dress up for a night on the town with the best of them. But I was much more likely to stay in with a good beer and a good book than to going out and flirt with all the men on base.
Though technically the Rangers didn't allow women in their ranks, I was part of the intelligence detachment permanently assigned to the unit as combat support. Because of that, we lived and training together. I was in charge of pointing the blunt instruments that were Army Rangers in the direction of the bad guys. Sometimes before the shooting starts, sometimes after as well. It wasn't always easy especially now that I was the only women around. I got a lot of crap from some of the guys but it was generally joking around. I did ,y best to earn their respect. The Ranger unit was a bad place to hate your co-worker because the chance your life may depend on that person in combat was almost guaranteed.
I threw on my PT's, uniform shorts and short sleeve shirt, and twisted my hair into the regulation bun. Today was a run day, thank god we will be done well before that blistering sun rises. At formation they would be briefed for their next FTX (Field Training Exercise). Word was battalion had cooked up a little meeting of elites for this one. Tales of visitors from North Carolina spread fast through the company usually eliciting excitement and apprehension. Recon Force Delta was the Army's best of the best. All Rangers wanted to be Delta's. All Delta's hated the Army as well as most rules and regulations. They especially looked down on their less experienced brethren so this adventure looked to be pretty interesting.
One by one the soldiers filed into their ranks reporting to their first lines or First Line Supervisor, the first link in the chain of command, usually a squad leader. The one figure with a full head of hair stood out in a crowd full of buzz cuts. SGT Julia Marren scooted in next to SSG Derek Jackson and clasped her hands behind her back 'at ease.' (legs shoulder width apart, hands loosely clasped behind the back, you could look around and talk but you couldn't move your feet)
"Hey Jacks. How's it going?" I queried in the predawn haze of southern Georgia.
Jacks whined while yawning long and wide. "I need coffee! Why does it have to be this damn early? I need my caffeine."
Marren smacked her best friend upside the head despite the fact that he was technically her superior. "Quit your crying little girl. We're gonna start soon, then you can get your precious coff-" Her teasing was cut short as the warning music played. They both automatically straightened to 'parade rest.' (hands clasped hands tight to the small of the back, eyes front, and most importantly, no talking)
"Company. Atten-tion! Present. Arms!" 1SG Stevenson bellowed when the faint strain of reveille fought its way through the old speakers opposite the parade field. Dutifully we, as one, snapped the salute to the flag as it was raised across the base. We stood there stoically gazing at nothing until the last of the trumpet died away.
"Order. Arms!" Hands snapped back to our sides, still at attention. The FSG pulled an about face and waited to salute the Commander (CDR, the Captain of an Army Unit), as he took over the formation.
The CDR put us 'at ease' before beginning his brief. "As you know our scores from last weeks urban maneuvers topped the bases' record. Excellent job, as a reward Brigade has cooked up a little challenge for us. At 22:00 today Bravo company will be inserted at Rendezvous Point A. Your objective is to hold this area secure while sending a force to Rendezvous Point B which is held in enemy hands. The target is the flagpole above the structure." Quizzical looks flashed through many a face, though no one went so far as to actually move. "Yes," the CDR continued, "this is capture the flag. In the course of the exercise some may be tagged. If you're hit with a phosphorescent paintball, you're out. Return to Point A until the exercise is over. You may be captured and taken for security to Point B. If you can escape you're still in play. Keep the enemy away from your flag and capture theirs. Victory entails everyone returning to Point A. Remember no one gets left behind. If the OPFOR (Opposing Force, a different team or unit who 'plays' the bad guys) gets a hold of your flag or holds any prisoner past 24:00, game over. We lose." The glare he was fixing the company said, quite clearly, that that would be a BAD IDEA to lose. "Any questions?"
The 1SG asked for us, "Do you know who is the OPFOR sir?" If you're lower enlisted, you keep your mouth shut and ask your first line later.
"Point B will be held by a force of Delta, brought in just for us. Chalk 1 will provide immediate security for the flag. Chalk 2 will handle the offensive action and Chalk 3 will provide perimeter security. I expect you boys to do us proud. Let's show Delta what the Rangers can do."
"Huah!" We all came to attention and saluted. "Rangers are the way, Sir!" The entire company bellowed.
The CDR almost smiled as he returned the salute. "All the way!"
Quick A/N: This is Army Huah, not Marine Hoo-ah. It's a guttural sound rather than areally a word. It means 'affirmative,' 'hell yes!,' or 'do you understand me?'