The Training Squad

The squad of Alliance Marines cautiously approached the ruined building, weapons raised. Private Ahnold stepped in close to the firmly locked door, placed his assault rifle on the ground by his feet, and did a few quick stretches.

The others sighed. Not again.

"Don't worry, guys," Ahnold drawled in a vaguely Austrian accent. "This door can't stop the terminator." He crouched down in front of it, flexed his fingers, and proceeded to scrabble uselessly at the tight seal between it and the ground, trying to find somewhere to get his hands under.

"Stop it, Ahnie," said Matthew. "You're not the bloody terminator, so just bloody stop it."

"Yes I am," answered Ahnold, his muscles rippling as he stood up. He bent down, and picked up his discarded assault rifle and aiming it at the base of the door. Giving a small grin, he squeezed the trigger, saying "Hasta la vista, ba-"

He didn't get to finish whatever it was that he was saying, because unfortunately, bullets and doors don't get on too well. Especially not when the bullets are high explosive. The first shot hit and detonated instantly, shredding Ahnold's legs and tipping him backwards. The second ricocheted off the base of the door and hit him in the leg, just above his new stump, and then went on to blow the limb clean off. The third embedded itself in his abdomen before it exploded, and pretty much tore him to pieces, the force of it throwing what remained several feet backwards.

Then there was too much smoke and blood to see what the rest of the shots did.

"Always bloody told him not to use automatic fire with explosive rounds," muttered Matthew, shaking his head, "but did he listen? Of course not. Now look, exploderised all over the grass."

Matthew scanned the faces of the rest of his squad. They were all horrified. Eyes wide, hyperventilating, deathgrip on their weapons, all the signs were there. He raised his voice. "Right, bloody stop it, all of you. Bunch of whining babies. Don't tell me you've never seen a man exploderised by his own gun before?"

Mutely, they shook their heads. Matthew ground his teeth in frustration. Why in all the bloody galaxy did he have to get saddled with these bloody newbies? Never even seen an exploderisation before…

"Shut it; no crying," he said. "We're going in that building, and we're going to bloody find out what the bloody hell is inside it. This may only be a bloody training exercise, but we're going to treat it like the real bloody thing!"

"But- but how?" snivelled Marv. "Th- the door… it killed Ahnie!"

Matthew stepped up to the door, neatly avoiding all the smoking bits of Ahnie that littered the ground. "It didn't bloody kill Ahnold you bloody idiot," he ground, "And we are going to go inside this building the proper, Alliance Marines approved way."

He raised one hand, touched a small green button beside the door, and it slid upwards. "By opening the bloody door like regular human beings, you morons!"

A look of dawning comprehension spread across their faces. "Ahhhh…" they all said.

He took a glance inside. "Mav, there's a bucket in there, grab it. The rest of you, start gathering up all the bits of Ahnold scattered around here. We'll see what the doctors can do for him."

As Marv went to fetch the bucket, a vacant-looking woman approached him, concentrating hard, and looking like it really hurt her to do so. "What is it, Lilah," he said, annoyed.

"What can the doctors do for Ahnie?" she asked. "I mean, he's all gone-to-piecesy."

Matthew rubbed his hands together briskly. "You'd be surprised what a bit of cloning can do. Give it a few weeks and the right doctor, and there'll be a good few dozen more little Ahnie's running around exploderising themselves."

"But," she said, frowning, "Isn't cloning a bit illegal?"

Matthew waved his hand dismissively. "Only a bit. And that's why I said the right doctor. I know this guy who does this stuff all the time. Think about it; how else could we cope with a full scale war?"

Marv got back with the bucket. God knows what had taken his so long. Matthew didn't usually have time to have a conversation while somewhere walked two steps and picked up a bit of plastic.

"Got the bucket Sarge," reported Marv.

"Well done, you blithering idiot," said Matthew. "What bloody took you so long?"

Marv scratched his head. "It was dark, Sarge."

Matthew shook his head. He couldn't deal with his right now. "All of you, put Ahnie in the bucket. We're going back to base."

Bloody hell. This was only the first bloody training mission. He didn't know how he was going to handle the other eight hundred and sixty nine. But still, at least they had learned how to open a door.