Live Fire Test

On the fourth station, pattern and expectation went out the window. The metal plate target was half obscured by a female sergeant pacing back and forth. Didn’t that stupid cow know this was a live-fire exercise? Or was she part of it?

Competing aspects of his training and indoctrination pinged off the walls of his mind. Strict obedience vs strategic flexibility. Mission parameters vs real world exigencies. Safety vs the pragmatic and colloquial ‘git er done’.

As the options bounced, the woman paced. The seconds ticked by, and with each breath Tom knew he was creeping closer to a decision. A crunch of gravel broke the stalemate as a new player entered the scene. Some doe-eyed captain, BDU ’s crisp and pristine, was walking tentatively toward the target and the woman.

Thank goodness, an officer, Tom thought but immediately sneered at himself for having thought it. Officers. Always in charge, generally clueless. Thus, he wasn’t surprised that the captain wasn’t hauling the sergeant off the range.

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