I wake up to bright light blaring through my eyelids and discover an unanticipated downside to my new dorm. The sun comes in like a laser through the window above my bed, and lands at just the right angle to hit me directly in the face, apparently. I am going to move this bed at some point. Waking up suddenly puts me in a bad mood no matter where I am or why. With a huff and a roll I get to my feet, grabbing my phone to squint at it, 7 in the morning, a full hour before my alarm. Might as well get out of bed, because I'm the type of person who can't fall back to sleep after I've been woken up.
Once I finish up showering and getting ready for the day I have some leftovers for breakfast. There's still a good half hour till O'linn is supposed to pick me up and take me to the exam location, meaning there's free time for reading, which I open my phone to do. Four chapters into this new web novel I hear the knock at my door, answering it O'linn looks me over up and down critically while he stands in the doorway.
"The uniform fits nicely? Sometimes they get the sizing wrong." He asks.
I look down at the plain, low saturation dark blue-purple uniform that has a sort of leaf-like pattern dyed into the fabric, "It fits well, and looks nice. Not what I was expecting from a defence force uniform."
O'linn smiles, stepping aside so I can walk through the doorway. "I know right? Are you ready to go now or do you need to finish up here first?" He asks me.
"I'll just go grab my bag and put my boots on, and be right back." I tell him, turning around to go grab my things, I get the bag of supplies and boots then sit down on the ledge down into the entry so I can lace up the uniform boots.
"Alright, ready." I leave my room and close the door behind me, almost forgetting to lock it.
I'm not sure if there's really any risk of someone breaking in but you never know. We walk back to the elevator and make our way into the parking garage again, O'linn opens the passenger door, then walks to the other side and hops into the driver's seat while I climb in. I'm not really used to getting into such a squat car and I end up lightly smacking my head on the top when I step down into it.
"Ouch-fuck." I mutter, rubbing at my head as the doors close on their own.
"You good bud?" O'linn asks me, smiling to himself.
"My pain is funny to you?" I ask, playfully shoving him.
"Very. Let's get going before we make ourselves late." He peels the car out of the garage still grinning to himself.
The drive is quiet, aside from some music from the radio I turn on to break the silence, O'linn is focused on driving and I'm still not actually very good at casual conversation. By the time we arrive at the gates outside of the academy I'm bored enough that I have started counting the road signs on the way.
"Welcome to The Palenwood Academy Of Scouting, and Defense." O'linn says in a faux showman's voice.
The full name of the scout academy, I'd prefer to keep it short though, even the uniform has a little patch on the front pocket of the shirt that's a deep purple flower and the acronym PASD, because the academy's name is ridiculously long.
"Thanks." I reply, picking at the embroidered patch as the main gates open for us.
The PASD building and grounds are massive in their own right, the main building is set atop a large hill looking down on a park-like landscape. There's a parking lot with a check in booth and fencing. Some guards are already patrolling the barren grass less area ahead. When driving up I almost forget this place is a sort of non-government funded research and defence base, the suits and guns remind me. The actual compound is Military adjacent. O'linn parks the car after we check in, and we are met by two guards that start leading us up the staggered path through shorn grass and meager flowers to the watchtower in, what I believe, is the west wing of the academy's main building.
"Once we get to the exam area I'll have to leave you, I've got drills to attend." O'linn informs me.
"Oh, okay, thanks for driving me." I reply, trying to memorize the route we are taking to get to the training rooms.
Despite my distraction with everything going on, I do notice there are groups of scouts and trainees like me milling about or doing drills on the lawn. I even spot a few scouts sparing with each other, of course there are also some that are sitting on benches eating or typing away on computers, not paying any mind. Of all these people at least half of them stare at me while continuing what they are doing, which feels unsettling.
"We haven't had any new recruits since three years ago, so you're the only fresh face." O'linn remarks, noticing my nerves, I tend to make faces without realizing.
He waves to a person that's sitting alone on a bench with a sandwich halfway shoved in their mouth, they wave back.
"I can see that." I say, smiling crookedly through my nerves.
"That door up there leads to the check in, the secretary will give you a map and answer any questions you have. I'm going to go get ready for that training I told you about." He tells me, patting me on the shoulder. "I'll pick you up after the day is over, yeah?"
"Yes, thank you for the help." I reply.
"Good luck!" He says, running off to the direction of the person he waved to.
Before I walk off I watch the sitting person stand up and sweep O'linn into a chaste kiss before balling up their sandwich bag. They walk off together as I turn away to the door he'd pointed to, I wonder if he'll introduce me to his partner at some point.
My set of guards break off once I enter the building, a short looking person in a purple pencil skirt with a powdery periwinkle blouse. Their nails are long and black matching the lipstick they've got on, they have poker straight glossy black hair pulled up into a tight bun, with chunky glasses hanging on to the tip of their nose.
"Hello? Pace Allon here, I'm supposed to talk to you about a map?" I edge up to the counter trying not to sound as nervous as I am.
They look up, washed out grey eyes zeroing in on my face. "Oh, yes Mr. Allon, let me get one for you, and sign this form while you wait- did you bring the paperwork the academy sent you?" They ask, setting down a clipboard and pen.
I pick up the clipboard and look at a little black and silver plaque on the desk in front of me that says Ms. Zora. She climbs out of her chair and rummages around in a filing cabinet while I sign what looks like a last minute release form about the test I'm taking today.
"Here you go Mr. Allon, do you have any questions before you head to your testing area?" She asks.
"Yes, which test will I be taking first? I think they forgot to send me the information." I ask politely, setting the filled out form on her desk.
"Well that could have been embarrassing, you'll be taking the final written placement exam in one of the temporary testing rooms, B3004, and then doing a physical exam in Med wing AF35." She points the locations out on the map. "Good luck pace, I hope to see you again."
"Thank you, I hope so too." I crack a smile, even more nervous than I was earlier on the lawn, and start walking to my first test, tapping out a tune with my boots as I walk.
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