The two women trekked onward, each and every footfall stirring up a breath of dust as they carved their way through that dry farmland. This once fruitful landscape plagued by high priced mercenaries, planting bullets into rich soil and disposable men, ushering on the growth of destruction as they clawed away at one another. No crops lay in this barren land, only bodies now, drenching thirsty soil in a thick stream of red. A graveyard now, farm no more. There was no room, nor time, for crops; only bloodshed.
"Be careful," Miss Pauling spoke, "There aren't any rules against killing off new recruits before they make it to the team. I wouldn't be surprised to see the B. take a couple pot shots at you."
Unsettling words of advice, passed on in the most matter of fact manner. It was amazing to see her so relaxed about the situation, about war, about death. How easily she had informed the other that, yes, there is a good chance you will die and you probably won't even make it to the team – as if this…had happened before. Lots. Perhaps there had been other recruits before her, unfortunate additions that never quite made it. No, not perhaps, it was a certainty. She stepped over an unmoving mass, a deep gash cut through his chest. Him, maybe. Pyro's eyes swiveled down to the ground, a foolish notion that left her blind to the dangerous world around her, but curiosity caught the better of her - as it caught the better of most men. He was no older than her, perhaps a year or two so, tinted glasses crushed in the dirt just beyond the grasp of his fingertips.
"As I said before," Miss Pauling said, "This is 2Fort. It's one of the many bases affiliated with TFIndustries. We have several others not too far from here. However, this will be your main base of operation. There are nine classes altogether: The Scout, The Medic, The Heavy, The Soldier, The Spy, The Engineer, The Demoman, The Sniper and The Pyro, that's you. There are 27 of you stationed here on the R.E.D 2Fort base," A bullet skipped off a discarded metal container just at the well-dressed feet of the Administrator's assistant. She didn't bat an eye. "That's three of each class. Your team is comprised of a static cast of 9, however that all changes if one of you catches a bullet. In which case one of the others will stand in until a new recruit is shipped in. As you can probably guess, it's very unlikely you'll get to know every single one of the people on your team."
It was an off putting slew of instruction, a nerve wracking endeavor as Miss Pauling committed the tour through pock marked grounds. Typically tours ran through an environment carefully criticized, checked over and over again to obtain the most extreme level of safety, everything to keep its passing clients safe and sound. But here, amongst the warring facilities, nothing was safe and definitely not sound. It was a deadly game of tag, and Pyro was 'it', but instead of running from the touch of a hand, the team turned sights on her and peppered the air and earth about her with deadly bullets. Guess they found the loophole in a never ending game.
This poor man in the dirt was testament to that.
The masked woman's gaze was dragged from the gore as a quick set of feet sped through. "One side, chuckles!" He yelled. He was young, perhaps in his late teens, donning a fitted cap and headset, blue T-shirt on his back and red briefcase over his shoulder. Miss Pauling casually stepped to the side and allowed him passage.
Pyro couldn't rightly say she shared the same enthusiasm for this job as Miss Pauling, or any of the other employees. Wherever the young assistant had gotten her data from had either been highly exaggerated or nonexistent at all. Pyro had never been a mercenary, never killed a person in her life, but with every interjection to the fact, she was waved off. Not like she tried much to communicate, she was too busy shuffling along, hoping she could somehow, miraculously, survive this guided tour from Hell.
They passed into the safety of the R.E.D barn. "The enemy has captured our intelligence!" The voice of the Administrator rang through the air, signaling the team to their short comings.
"Dangit, somebody git out there and stop that Scout!"
"The R.E.D facility lies just through here," despite the high standing contradiction, below the barren, once fruitful surface lay one of the most technologically advanced facilities. Stark walls lined the interior, the occasional brand of the Reliable Excavation and Demolition Team printed onto those walls or laid into the tiles of the floor. Everything was color coded to the team, wholly displaying the spirit of the company through and through. "No B.L.U can pass beyond this point," she said, "You can restock munitions in this room here," she gestured through to an open locker room, "and the Medical Bay is just over here," another wave of the hand directed Pyro's attention. "Of course, you will have a physician fighting alongside you during the day. If you're wounded on the battlefield, just call for the Medic and he'll aid you...Maybe."
"Maybe?" Pyro asked.
"It depends on the doctor. They tend to play favorites you see." Miss Pauling adjusted her glasses, "You don't see a lot of Scouts being tended to on the field." A soft chuckle escaped her.
It was quite unsettling to think she had to compete for the affections of her team - or risk death. Usually the patient has to like their doctor, not the other way around. Doctors don't just let patients die, it's in their code. Then again, the doctors on this field were doing a lot more harm than they swore not.
"You must be pretty excited," The young assistant started in again. "Out of seven hundred and fifty two candidates you are the most qualified. Actually, you were over qualified!" The sounds of gunfire was just an echo now as bullets pinged off the reinforced walls of the inner sanctum..
"I've never killed a person in my life." She managed, her voice getting caught up in the thick covering of her gasmask.
"That is true," hummed the woman, an apparent wiz in translation. She adjusted her glasses once more with the knuckle of her first finger, flipping through the retro colored folder of the newly hired employee. "You probably didn't know this, but Redmond Mann Crematory is actually owned by TFIndustries, so it's more of a transfer than anything. The equipment you handled is the same exact technology implemented into the flamethrower device our Pyros use. You've been handling the retorts in those facilities for a good seven years, that makes you practically an expert." She ushered the bug-faced pyrotechnic deeper into the base, stealing her away from the field of battle, hiding away behind secured doorways where only those employed with the team had access. "Once you get used to it, the job's not so bad. You might even like it."
Now that was something her mind struggled to comprehend. Like a job like this?
"You start bright and early tomorrow, 8am. So be ready."
"What about training?" Pyro asked.
"No better way to learn than to be thrown into the deep end, huh?" Miss Pauling gave a smile. "Once again, we welcome you to TFIndustries and the Reliable Excavation and Demolition Team. We hope your employment is a happy one." And with that, she left the Pyro to the echo and cold of the inner facility.
Hope your employment is a happy one? Was she off her rocker?