Chapter 4: The Crazy Tigers

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29th March 2310 07:24 EST - After 10 months of intense training, Jason was eager to get onto the front lines before the war would finish without him.

Stupid thoughts really as reports said that the war was still raging on. It had only taken a mere week for Pluto and Charon Station to be liberated, but the resistance there was minimal. After all, as Vladimir had said, it was simply a ruse to keep USM focus away from Alpha Centauri.

The story at Alpha Centauri was vastly different. It was heavily contested in multiple locations around the system. Intelligence officers within the USM tasked with estimating the length of the war could simply not predict how long it would rage on or who would end victorious. It was a stalemate at present and no one truly knew the combined power of the Ceti's armed forces.

It was up to the media to randomly pluck out experts with no credentials to decide two years was a reasonable length of time.

For Jason, it didn't matter. He had been training extensively, making him feel sharper, stronger and fitter than he had ever felt before, and with new units being created to prepare for the war effort, it hadn't taken him long to place two stripes on his uniform.

Corporal Scharn, had a nice ring to it.

There was no doubt that he deserved the promotion among his peers. He had displayed impressive leadership and tactical skills on numerous occasions and when the 223rd Rifles Regiment was established, he was quickly chosen for the rank of Corporal.

Corporal Jason Scharn of the 223rd 'The Crazy Tigers' Rifle Regiment,

Only one more step was required before the regiment would be officially assigned to the front line, the final test in which only five percent of units passed.

The test was meant to be near impossible, however, those that show significant qualities within it would be watched closely and potentially considered for a Special Operations Recon Unit.

Jason beamed as the thought of him being considered for the Crimson Scimitars, the Golden Falcons or the Blue Ravens flitted through his mind. He would be in the best of the best of the USM.

Brought back to reality, there was also a small possibility that he could be sent home after this test, labelled not fit for duty. Realistically though, Jason was far more capable than his peers and with a war going on, it was unlikely that any would be turned away from active duty.

As before every exercise, Jason diligently polished his armour. He took such pride in doing so, despite having machines capable of doing it for him. There was something relaxing as he rubbed polish furiously in between the knocks and crannies of the flexible metallic fibres, but it also gave a level of perfection that a machine didn't seem to master.

In the corner of his eye, Aurora strutted around with a purpose and zeal that Jason had never seen in his friend before. As she tied up her silky blonde hair, there was a confidence in her that military life had coaxed from deep inside. Receiving the rank of Lance Corporal was exactly what she had deserved.

"I can always find you here," she claimed, smiling as soon as she recognised her friend.

He started vigorously gleaming a speck of dirt on his shoulder pads, likely picked up on their last exercise no doubt. It wasn't going to ruin his masterpiece. "Helps me relax," he replied.

"Jason Scharn, nervous? Surely not?" She mocked him.

"I said it helps me relax, not helps me calm my anxiety!" He chuckled.

Aurora sighed knowing that he was anxious, but not about the test. "Have you contacted your father?" She asked knowing that Jason hadn't spoken to him since he had signed up.

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