Recruiting Station

The military entrance processing station (M.E.P.S.) for Calvary Academy was in the 9th ward on the coast of Cielle. General Benavides and his colleagues thoroughly reviewed each cadet’s application to determine eligibility, as well as occupational specialties. The cadets endured vigorous medical examinations and had to score high marks on a vocational aptitude battery test to be successfully recruited. Every single measure was meticulously considered before a cadet could set foot on campus, regardless of socio-economic status.
After the required assessments were administered, the male and female cadets were housed in their appropriate barracks for the night. Cadets Roudan, Yoshida, and Farouk shared a 3-tiered bunk in the same room. The men stood in the center of the spaced beige room with their duffle bags in tow. They drew straws to decide their sleeping arrangement. Since none of them wanted to sleep on the very top bunk, Roudan and Yoshida quickly worked together to separate the beds. There was still more than enough space between them to dwell comfortably.
Once everyone put their belongings away, there was an awkward silence. The men stood aloof side by side, gazing out of the bay window, but soon Roudan broke the ice.
“Sheesh, the past seventeen hours have been the most grueling forms of torture that I’ve experienced in my entire life.” He paused a beat, hoping someone else would chime in. When no one volunteered to engage in the conversation, he continued. “I heard the chow hall serves a mean brew with the best hops in the region,” he said, as he nudged Farouk on the left shoulder.
Roudan unintentionally nudged the smaller and younger male hard enough to cause him to lose balance. Farouk frightfully looked up at Roudan’s cheerful eyes and realized he was being playful.
“We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow with the induction ceremony. Perhaps it’s better to refrain from intoxication,” Farouk sighed.
Roudan blew out a raspberry and turned to Yoshida, and said,” A couple of drinks will hardly matter at this point. Besides, some of the most traumatic events in my life occurred while I was sober.” He plopped himself on the wool couch next to them. “Yes sir, I was a happy-go-lucky good kid until I learned my older brother and uncle fled their respective platoons and were killed in the line of action.”
Yoshida’s interest was piqued by his confession.
“You come from a line of deserters, yet you stand boldly before us ready to be inducted in the academy?” he asked.
Roudan’s jovial spirit diminished into a serious tone.
“I am not my brother or uncle’s keeper. Their sins have no bearing on my dedication to service. My father died during the lottery process, so naturally I was selected to take his place. I plan to serve the academy and kingdom with honor to restore our name,” he replied.
Yoshida thoughtfully considered Roudan’s disposition. He was impressed that Roudan’s commitment to the cause did not waver because of the ill-timed circumstances of his family’s demise. As a child, Yoshida was taught to respect men of such noble character. The very fact that Roudan did not hide from the call to duty or need to be coaxed into service was commendable.

~The Waring Robins~


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