The group to be tested after the scouts was the snipers. Unlike the first two their test was straightforward: hit targets from a great distance. All of the recruits did well at hitting the first batch, after all, if they couldn't shoot then they wouldn't have made it that far. However, while the first set was stationary the second set ran along a track and the third set moved in all directions. The Experimental's Sniper was one of five who hit every mark without any missed shots.
Some of the men started giving the group of women looks of grudging acceptance at that point, though most remained dismissive or outright hostile.
The spies were next. Their test was a series of verbal questions about how to make a kill. After several replies of 'stab him in the back' the French lady stepped forward. She then proceeded to outline the differences in effectiveness in various areas of the back, using their Engineer as a model. While the blade of the knife was still safely housed in the handle it was clear that Engineer wasn't too thrilled about letting the woman poke her while explaining how much bleeding would result in that spot. Medic was impressed with Spy's knowledge of anatomy. None of the other spies were as thorough as she was.
While the spies were being questioned the obstacle course was rearranged for the pyros. There were to be no beanbags this time, Instructor explained, just a straight shot to the finish. Medic began to wonder if their Pyro wore her mask at all times for a reason other than the apparent psychological; the added labor of drawing air through the heavy filters didn't leave her gasping like most of the others. Medic mused that she was also used to hearing through the thick material since their Pyro was one of the only ones to notice the clicking and so she was able to dodge the hail of beanbags.
One of the pyro recruits was dumb enough to rage at Instructor for lying about the lack of projectiles.
"Everloving rockets, son," the man said in a pitying tone, "that much stupid shouldn't be legal."
The recruit sputtered.
"See those smarmy asshole spies over there? You might not know this, but BLU has them too! If you're going to trust a guy you met an hour ago then I should just shoot your head of now and be done with it."
The pyro stepped back to the ranks with considerable meekness.
After that was dealt with they ate lunch at the mess hall. When they returned they moved into the soldier trails, which consisted of five-on-five matches. When it was Soldier's turn she started the fight with a bloodcurdling yell. It was so unexpected that both her opponents and temporary teammates were frozen with surprise. She easily knocked down three of her enemies before they all started moving again, the other two being taken by the other four on her side. The woman clapped the guys on the back, called them maggots, and loudly praised her shovel in celebration.
Demo was still chuckling when she stepped up. Her class's test was to bounce a dummy grenade around a corner to 'destroy' a sentry, three times, all while at a dead run. Medic was worried that the Scot's impaired depth perception would negatively affect her performance, but it seemed that Demo had simply practiced her handicap away as she sunk the shot perfectly all three times.
After the demomen were finished Instructor announced that the heavies would have their first test in the morning. The Experimental's wasn't the only one held up on paperwork. He told them that after the medics answered a round of questions they would be dismissed early, so they'd have time to contemplate exactly how meaningless their so called skills were.
The questions for the medics dealt mainly with the healing side of the job. From the answers it was apparent that many only knew basic first aid and would thus have to learn surgery and bonesetting while at the camp. The ones who were asked questions on the harming side generally included reasoning like, "I've lost more patients to this type of injury," in their answers, indicating they were already doctors and would probably have to focus on the battle side of things. The Experimental's Medic mused that she was strangely lucky for her violententry into meatball surgery; she had extensive training in both facets of her new job.
Instructor announced that the heavys' first trial would be done first thing in the morning, after which they'd be sent to their class specific exercises. The trainees were released an hour early, "So you can contemplate the worthlessness of your existence," according to Instructor.
As soon as they were dismissed Scout was at Medic's side, bouncing where she stood and talking so fast that the German hardly understood her.
"Oh man you are fuckin' wicked!" the girl gushed. "I didn't know about there bein' a badass bleeder in your leg like that."
The woman gave Scout a look. The Bostonian paused, glanced down at Medic's belt and the bonesaw that hung from it, and then nervously excused herself. She leapt over to badger Engineer, who seemed to have a far higher tolerance to teenager than the rest of them.
As their youngest member knew nothing about volume control her first comment to the Texan was plain to hear, "Hardhat, that Medic we got is something else in a real good way. I was kinda worried we'd get some reject nurse but man she's awesome! Just lookin' at her you can tell she means business. I ain't got no worries now."
If questioned at a later date Medic would not have admitted this under even the most disturbing of tortures, but she smiled when she heard Scout's comment. After a brief examination of herself Medic decided that she liked the young girl, even if she could be very annoying. Maybe because she was proof that something in the world was moving forward. When the German was a teenager, any girl in her neighborhood who dared speak out was shown her place very quickly and thoroughly.
She barely had time to think this when she was brought back to the planet by a derisive snort. One of the other medics stepped closer.
"You think you have a good pick here, Girl Scout?" the man sneered. He was asked a question of the harming nature and had the general demeanor of a well-schooled and stuck up doctor.
Medic was used to such insults from his type. She rolled her eyes and waved off his words, "Vhatever you vish to zhink, you vill zhink. I vill not vaste my breazh on you."
"Well Christ, Girl Scout," he continued, ignoring Medic and focusing on Scout, "you can't even understand her so how can you depend on her?"
Scout scanned the crowd, who were all watching the scene, and then looked back at the medic with one eyebrow cocked. "That don't even make one hella sense, man. Half the guys here ain't from the states. Your accent's worse than most of 'em too."
He seemed to take this as an insult. "You're so Brooklyn you're almost as bad as the Kraut, and you're telling me I have an accent?"
Scout definitely took that as an insult. "What the hell's wrong with you!?" she bellowed. "I'm from Boston, you asshole. I'm not some Brooklyn pansy! And I ain't got an accent from where I'm standing."
Medic rolled her eyes and tapped the girl on the shoulder, gesturing that they should leave. She knew they would never win with words; they just had to prove themselves with their actions on the field and even then there'd be plenty of dissenters left. Scout was so disgusted at the Brooklyn comment that she was speechless—something which Medic already recognized as a miracle—so she didn't argue. The rest of the Experimental turned to go.
"So, nurse, you ever screw up and kill someone?"
Medic paused too long before answering and she knew it. Without even turning her head she could see at least a dozen onlooking men who knew it. She closed her mouth without saying anything. Her silence was answer enough.
"Well, well, well," came the medic's smug reply. The German clenched her fists, the rubber squeaking at the pressure. She bit her tongue. There were reasons, good reasons, for her early failures, but she knew it would do no good to list them there. It would just sound like a string of excuses... and she felt that's all the reasons were. She should have been able to save those people.
The Experimental's Spy looked a guarded sort of wary. Scout was just staring openmouthed like she couldn't believe that their doctor fouled up that badly. Medic didn't look at the others. A good number of the men around them jeered.
To make matters worse Medic recognized the crunch of boots with the slightest limp over the noise; Instructor had returned. He was the one man there whose opinion actually mattered to the Experimental. Without his okay they wouldn't be cleared for duty, and RED set up the experiment as pass-fail for all of them. Medic didn't want to be the one to bring the team down.
"Did you make that dress?"
Medic blinked a couple times, looked at Instructor, and blinked again. He appeared to have asked the question in earnest as he was seriously waiting for the answer. She nodded, very confused.
He had an open file in his hand. "According to your background check you are quite the seamstress, ey?"
"Ja..." she answered slowly. "I vorked at a dressmaker's shop from zhe time I vas a child until zhe Var."
Instructor continued from the file, "And when the bombs started dropping you became a surgeon's assistant."
It all felt very surreal to Medic. "My hands vere zhe most steady, and I vas not bozhered by zhe blood."
He snapped the file closed. "And when the good doctor was killed you were left to perform surgery alone, with no real medical training."
"It is no excuse," Medic said with self-directed anger. "I should have studied his notes and books more closely. I should have spent more time..." she trailed off, knowing that if she went down that well worn path she'd be beating herself up for hours. "Zhere is no reason for someone to die at my hands unless I mean for zhem to die," she finished.
Almost against her will she looked at the man who started this mess. The medic was grinning at her. She looked back at the ground.
Scout rounded on him, "Oh, so you've never messed up, hotshot?"
"Me?" he scoffed. "Never."
No one there expected Instructor to throw his boot at him. The medic rubbed his shoulder and stared first at the shoe lying in the dust and then baffled at the man who hurled it.
"Do you really think," Instructor asked slowly and deliberately, "that an intelligence agency can't get past your pitiful excuse for a name change?"
The medic sputtered.
Instructor opened a second file. "Now let's see. She lost three people she might have been able to save because she had no training, and those three were within a month of her teacher dying. After that she had deaths she blamed on her inexperience but that wasn't the case, now was it?"
"Only trois?" Spy interrupted with a tone of annoyed dismissal. "Zis is what you worry us wiz? Ze ozers were all by intent, correct?"
Suddenly Medic felt much better. "Ja... a bit of morphine here, a severed artery zhere..."
Instructor turned back to the pale male medic. "Meanwhile you had the best medical training there is and you had more losses than she did. Eleven, according to the medical board that revoked your license. What's that say about how screwed your team is gonna be?"
Someone in the back of the crowd suggested that Instructor was playing nice with the girls. Instructor didn't even have a chance to open his mouth before Scout started shouting.
"Hey, jackass, if he was playin' favs then we'd be the ones yellin'!" She puffed out her chest with pride. "We fucking earned bein' here. You think we got here because we like it easy? Are you really that stupid?"
Engineer tried to shush the girl. If Medic hadn't been so unsteadied by the whole event she might have helped; the doubters would believe what they wanted and no amount of yelling would change that.
Scout didn't listen. "Get off, Hardhat! We earned our scores and you know it. They better as hell know it too 'cause if they don't then they're blind and stupid! When I was doing my run I knew somethin' bad was coming because when you play on the boy's team your own guys try to bean you when you're runnin' bases and you kinda get used to seein' it comin'. Demo's awesome with those bouncy things because she's awesome with em', not 'cause someone was easy on her, and you all saw it. Sniper too, with those weird ass moving bullseyes. Pyro can book it in a suit 'cause she's in all kinds of good shape and Soldier nailed five guys just with her crazy! And Medic and Spy are crazy smart and I ain't worried one little fucking bit about Medic bein' our doc. Hardhat's sentry wasn't gettin' pop bottles tossed at it, no, it was the same rockets as everyone. It stayed up because it was the best!"
By the end of her tirade the whole field was silent and staring at her. She glanced around, put her hands on her hips and sassed, "If you boys can't handle it when we've got bigger balls than you, well hey, maybe you should man up and grow a pair instead of whining like a bunch of fucking schoolgirls."
One of the recruits started denouncing her. Scout cut him off.
"No. No! Shut up, grow a fucking pair, and prove us wrong by being better than us when we're training. If all you got is whinin' then you better run home to your ma right now 'cause the BLU bastards ain't gonna listen to your bitchin'."
Another tried to tell her that the women just got lucky.
"Yeah, whatever, if it helps you sleep at night."
A cry that the Experimental was going to wash out.
"Did you miss the part where you need to do something?" She tossed her hands into the air. "Christ, I can't ever shut up and I listen better than you morons. If you're gonna keep on bitchin' then it's pretty damn obvious that's all you got. We kicked your asses today and you just can't handle it so you're gonna be all talk 'cause you know you don't have anything else."
There was a pause. The sniper who was heckling Scout earlier spoke up. His words were a surprise to everyone.
"She's right," he shrugged as they all gawked at him. "Hey, when she's right she's right. They did pretty damn good today, and there ain't no arguing with that unless you've got some kind of denial complex." He tossed a mock salute to the crowd. "I'm off to practice my targets since I know blowing it out my ass isn't going to get it done."
His words brought a cascade of grudging agreement from the other men. Not all of them, but enough for it to be a solid win in terms of respect.
Scout turned to a bemused Experimental with all the arrogance she had. "Let's go girls."
Medic actually laughed. She clapped the young girl on the shoulder and said, "You see, Scout, you vere of great help."