As always thanx to those who reviewed, alerted, and favorited this story.

And thank you Harlequin99 for another great chapter :)


Chapter 4

The sound of the wake up alarm trumpeted throughout the quarters, but Ari was already awake and was getting dressed in his uniform. He was used to the early mornings, and being a morning person himself, he loved getting up before the sun rose. Just to watch as it slowly peeked over the mountains and light up the dark sky.

He was slipping on his boots when his roommate for the past month stirred awake. "You never cease to amaze me, Ari." His roommate chuckled rubbing sleep from his dark eyes. "Always up and ready before the alarm sounds. How do you do it?"

Ari just shrugged his large shoulders. "I'm just used to it." He put his foot in the other boot and fastened it. Spending the last two years in the military would do that. And before that, he spent most of his life at an orphanage on the coast of MD-7. So he was accustomed to early rising among other things.

"I don't think I'll ever get used to this." Ari smiled as his roommate got up sleepily and stretched. Ari and Tristan were both transferred to MD-6 about a month ago. They were two of many new recruits, coming from all over Ixia to serve in the Commander and General Hazal's armies.

But unlike Ari, Tristan was just enlisted before the transfer. So he was still getting used to the strict rules.

Tristan got dressed as Ari made his bed, a habit picked up at the orphanage. When he was done he turned to wait for his roommate when he noticed a moving lump on the top bunk. He wasn't informed about a new person in this wing, let alone a roommate. Perplexed, he looked to Tristan.

"Do you know anything about this?" He asked. Tristan was half in his shirt when he groggily turned to the bed.

"Humph," he grunted. "Must be a new greenie. I didn't know we were getting a roommate."

"Neither did I," Ari verified. "Did you hear him come in last night?" The body was laying sprawled on its front. The sheets were dangling off its body.

Tristan shook his head and scratched at the stubble on his tanned skin. "Naw... He must have come in pretty late last night." He motioned to wake the newcomer, but the body wouldn't budge. He tried a few more times, all ending in failure.

"He's sleeping real heavy and he reeks of beer."

Ari narrowed his eyes. If this guy was a new recruit, why would he get drunk out his mind before his first day?

"What should we do? Should we try and wake him?"

"No, we should just leave him. Come on, we have to run anyway." They left the person in the once vacant bed, not knowing that was a mistake they would soon regret later.

xxxxx

After doing the required run, Ari and the others in his unit gathered on the eastside of the training yard, waiting for Captain Ross. There were two other units out at that time, scattered in the yard. The unit Ari was in was one of the smaller and newer ones, with only twelve- including Sergeant Dayl. All of the privates were transferred in from all over Ixia with little to no prior military training.

After some time passed, the captain finally showed up, looking irritated; and he was late.

He was never late.

Wonder what's going on, Ari thought.

Everyone noticed their captain's sour mood and he didn't waste any time showing his irritability. "What are you just standing around for? Split off and get to work," he barked off.

They didn't miss a beat. They split off into two groups. Ari and Tristan were in the same group led by Sergeant Dayl. They did their warm ups, practicing different katas. The mornings were dedicated to hand to hand combat with drills on offensive and defensive tactics.

Captain Ross was giving his group a hard time.

In the middle of a drill, Ari's new roommate came.

Everyone stopped and turned to stare at the late newcomer. Tristan elbowed Ari in the ribs. "That's our roommate," he whispered. Ari groaned. If this was an indication on how the foreseeable future was going to be like. He knew he wasn't going to like it.

Captain Ross walked over to the greenie with a look of annoyance. Since Ari was close to them, he was able to hear their conversation.

"You were supposed to come to my office earlier, Janco. You didn't show up and on top of that you show up late here. Explain yourself." He commanded forcefully.

The guy- Janco- didn't say anything at first. Ari doubted he would admit to drinking last night, but was amused to see how this was going to play out.

"I… just overslept I guess." He said lamely.

"Overslept?" He said the word slowly.

"Yes, sir." Janco confirmed.

"Really now? And, I don't think you're in a room by yourself, are you?"

Janco brows gathered together in confusion. Then he answered, "no…sir." He quickly added.

Everyone, Ari included, was watching the scene, enjoying the verbal bashing. Some were even trying to hold back snickers.

"And who pray tell are your roommates?" The captain asked.

Janco sighed, "I don't know. They were sleeping when I went to the room."

Captain Ross narrowed his eyes and made a sweeping motion towards the rest of the group. "Well, would you recognize them if you saw them?"

Janco looked around to the scattered group and his gaze stopped dead at Ari. He looked back at the captain and said, "Yes." Ari raised an eyebrow, not liking where this was going.

"Well," Captain Ross continued. "Could you point them out for us?"

Janco looked at Ari again and pointed in his direction. He opened his mouth to speak only to close it again, obviously confused by the question. When he did speak, all he said was, "I only recognize him."

Ross turned and followed where Janco pointed to. His mouth formed into a thin line. He left Janco at the spot and walked to Ari. Everyone else, who was watching, straightened their stances, not wanting to get in trouble also.

Captain Ross stood in front of Ari and Tristan, looking back and forth between the two. He pointed to where Janco stood. "Why is he late?" He asked them.

Ari and Tristan just looked at their superior, not knowing how to answer his question. Tristan finally spoke up. "Because he got drunk last night, and wouldn't get up this morning."

Ari rolled his eyes. He knew it was wise not to answer the question, because no matter what they said, it would only lead to further aggravation.

And he was right.

"Drunk!" He shouted, "You let your roommate get drunk last night, knowing he was to report to me this early morning."

"We didn't know he got drunk, sir."

Captain Ross cocked his eyebrow. "Really, now?" he asked unbelievingly.

Ari jumped in. "Yes, sir. He wasn't in the room when we went to bed and didn't notice him until this morning before we left-"

"And we did try to wake him, but he wouldn't budge." Tristan interrupted.

"You should have tried harder," Ross reprimanded. He turned to Janco who was just standing there looking like a lost puppy.

"You just got here and already you're starting trouble. I'm going to go easy on you…this time." He stressed. "I hope you don't work up an appetite this morning, because instead of breakfast you will spend your time running."

Janco eyes widened in horror; he was about to say something but Captain Ross turned back to Ari and Tristan. "And you two can join him. And make sure this doesn't happen again." And with that he returned back to his group.

It wasn't that Ari never got in trouble. He got into petty fights at the orphanage, but he never been in trouble on someone else's account.

Tristan groaned loudly, "Fuck. Should have known he would be in our unit."

Ari gave a hard stare at Janco as he looked to see what group to join. But the decision was made for him.

"Don't stand there all day," Dayl said impatiently. "Come on."

xxxxx

I can't believe I have to suffer for that bastard's disregard to rules. Ari fumed while he, Tristan, and Janco did laps. It was bad enough he had to do ten circuits after training. But he missed breakfast in the process.

They were being supervised by Sergeant Dayl. And he too was annoyed at having to miss his breakfast while he watched the rookies do laps around the yard. "Come on," he shouted. "I want to eat at some point today." His thin arms were crossed over his chest. They were only almost done through the run. And with the blistering sun and the intense training caused from Ross' sour mood, they were drenched with sweat and covered with dirt.

Janco was trailing far behind. Unlike Ari and Tristan, he wasn't used to the harsh training. So he kept stopping, which only annoyed Ari further since they would have to wait until he was finished.

"Get moving, cadet," Dayl yelled, addressing Janco. "I would like to eat sometime before afternoon training."

"I'm…going…the best…I can." Janco huffed out of breath.

"I don't care. I want you to go faster."

Tristan finished running and Ari finished a minute later, both going to hydrate themselves with the water that was on supply.

"Maybe if you were actually on time, we all wouldn't have missed breakfast." Tristan said once Janco finally made his way over.

As soon as he saw Janco head to the water, Dayl left the yard.

"Well, excuse me, for making you run a little extra. I'm the one who went through hell today after the night I had."

"And whose fault is that?" Tristan asked. "Not ours."

Ari's blue eyes bore into Janco's dark ones. "Whatever you do on your own free time, don't let it interfere with the training. You're here to be a soldier, not go out to taverns every night."

Janco was able to muster up a laugh. "I'm here, because I do not like being confined by four walls."

"What are you talking about," Tristan asked confused, but Ari knew what he was saying.

"You've got to be kidding me." He turned to Tristan. "He's another convict who chose military over prison."

Tristan narrowed his eyes. "Like Collin? Poor chap. No one ever heard from him again." He shook his head.

"You know, that's the second time someone mentioned that name." Janco said.

"I bet it was," Ari said. "Look, just because you're here for a different motive then everyone else, doesn't mean you can be careless."

"I'm just trying to do my time, here. Just like everyone else."

Ari's temper was flaring. Tristan, who got a good feel on him, physically stepped in between the two, not wanting anything to transpire. "We are not 'doing time', as you say. We all have our reasons for being here and unlike you, they are justifiable. So how about we call it a morning and go about our ways for the time being?" He looked between the two.

They just kept staring at each other.

"Mind moving out the way so I can have some water?" Janco chided.

Ari raised an eyebrow and kicked over the bucket that sat next to him. "What water?" And with that he left. Tristan just shook his head and sighed; with Janco fuming next to him.


See. They're going to be the best of friends *fakes innocence* ok so it will take some time and that's where the fun is ;)

So you guys got a 'surprise' update this week, but I can't always promise that. As of right now, I will be updating [hopefully] every week on Sundays or Mondays. We'll see how that goes.

Next chapter will be in Ari's POV again, then I will alternate from there.

Something I forgot to mention last time, but I'm a moderator of the forum Poison, Magic, Fire! We've studied them all! with Don't Diss Einstein. And I think it would be a great way to keep in contact and discuss everything about the series. So go over and introduce yourselves.

I love reviews. How else do I know what you guys think?