An ongoing Mil-SF story. Updated monthly, sometimes bi-weekly. Feel free to comment. I hope you enjoy it.
PART ONE – FULL CAPACITY
They kill you week twenty of Enhanced Tactical Training.
I mean you feel like the instructors have been trying to kill you ever since Basic, certainly during the Advanced courses in whatever branch you served before you were selected for the CRISIS Program: Rangers, SEALS, Delta, Intelligence Support… But after all that, this time it’s real.
The surgeries have long since healed. You’ve integrated with your augments and are still riding the transhuman high. (Yes, you are that fast. And strong. Your new reflexes make Olympic athletes look like they have cerebral palsy. ) You’ve gotten past the mind-fuck that is an implanted cyber-link and now appreciate just how god-like an integrated communications and tactical information network is. You’ve mastered augmented vision, micro-drone tactics, Tac-net hacking, robotics, exosuits, laser weapons, Low-G, deep water, arctic, jungle, desert, and half a dozen other extreme environments. You thought you were badass before – well now you’re officially the bastard child of Terminator and Superman. You almost feeling sorry for whoever you’re ordered to kick the shit out of.
Then one morning near the end of the course they let you sleep late, (a clue, right there) and feed you a decent breakfast. (That was your second warning) After, the instructors escort you to a part of the base you didn’t know existed, turn off your cyber-link, and put you in an elevator. Next thing you know you’re thirty stories underground standing in front of a white vault door with a sign over top that reads
And the last enemy to be destroyed is death
What the hell?
Afterwards back at the barracks, Chandra said he recognized it. A passage from the Bible, the part when Jesus Christ returns, defeats the armies of Satan, cleans up the mess and turns the Earth into the Garden of Eden. I don’t know if that means we’re part of a new world or we’re supposed to establish Paradise, or what, but we definitely fight and are always in the shit. Our team’s call sign is Zulu-6. After that the day though, we began calling ourselves ‘Zombie Six’. But I digress…
You stand there thinking about the sign, no doubt getting scanned, identified, cross-checked, and verified until finally the big white door hisses open and a pair of very polite and professional doctor-types bring you in. They strap you on a comfy operating table and hook up the usual web of electronic leads, IVs and data jacks, explaining all the while this particular procedure won’t take long. You’ll have the rest of the day to yourself afterward.
Then they kill you.
It’s a cocktail of phenobarbital, Pavulon, and potassium chloride. Death by lethal injection. You’re left to cool to room temperature for thirty minutes. Your death gets certified. Then they bring you back.
They want to get it out of the way – dying. To prove to you the augs and implants actually work, that the nano-blood, the cyber-implants kick you into CLS or ‘Critical Level Stasis’ to prevent you from completely shuffling off your mortal coil. All that bleeding-edge tech and those new and improved organs grown from your very own stem cells really do preserve your essential systems.
Not that you’re invulnerable. Massive trauma can still be fatal, as are the NBCs – nuclear, biological, chemical weapons, but your new body can take extraordinary levels of punishment. Far, far more than you imagine.
So they kill you to prove it.
This is the keystone to your training because the head shrinkers and mad scientists behind the CRISIS unit’s inception and technology convinced the generals you will be an infinitely better soldier once you’ve gotten over that marrow-deep, primate nightmare fear of death.
And more than anything else, generals want better soldiers.
They also want a return on their investment. The government dropped millions to borg your body into the ultimate killing machine – to re-make you into a true ‘Smart Weapon’. That means you get an OS upgrade to match the shiny hardware, i.e. your brain gets a major adjustment to fit your new body’s capabilities. Otherwise, all that fancy gear wired inside you will never get used to full capacity.
And believe me, the shit we’re up against, we need full capacity.