U.G.M.P #2: Graduation Day

UGMP

Previously on U.G.M.P…

The U.G.M.P stands as both the primary government and military across several systems. Deep within the nuCygnus System sat Kratos, an artificial planet that served as the training ground for all prospective members of the U.G.M.P. General Green Pyramid, one of the three Setzen representatives for the organization, also serves as the primary trainer for Kratos. Now he prepares the latest batch of trainees for General Jason Nevan and the still absent General Kana Ozak…

Green Pyramid
-U.G.M.P General, Setzen Seat 1

Jason Nevan

-U.G.M.P General, Human Seat 3

General Green Pyramid has always acted as the final barrier of entry for prospective members of U.G.M.P. This batch before him was no exception. Although there were only 5 members, they were all ones he felt ready to be tested. This meant completing the obstacle course that lay before them which would test both the physical and the mental. Reformating as needed, courtesy of his Setzen Bio-Armor. It also let him keep files actively visible on his HUD if required. For the sake of training, he had one of each trainee active. The first was Frionel Xros, an Aurian trainee from the planet Fortuna. He was a fairly plain and unimpressive man. He did little to stand out and even by Aurian standards, he wasn’t exceptionally intelligent. But he made up for his averageness with above average determination. A determination that led him headfirst into the first test within seconds of starting. You never know when an enemy lay in wait and to simulate this, a Stun Bolt was fired from the ceiling. Hitting him square in the chest and sending him shaking to the floor. While headstrong determination can be useful, but blind determination is recklessness that can easily be exploited.

“Congratulations Trainee Xros, you’re dead.” Green Pyramid says using his helmets internal speakers. He waits for the other trainees to continue but they all seemed hesitant at best. “Only one of them doesn’t have an elevated heart rate…” he thought to himself as his HUD updates. He had his helmet continually scan his participants during each test as an extra layer of precaution. “Losing a man is never easy. But you still have your mission. Complete the obstacle course.”

“A bit cruel don’t you think?” Jason asks Green Pyramid who remains focused on his trainees.

“Life’s cruel, if they can’t handle this they won’t last in the U.G.M.P.” Green Pyramid replies sternly. He continues to observe the trainees as they finally continue moving. Each moving at a slow and cautious pace as if waiting for one of them to be picked off.

With Frionel eliminated, there were only four trainees left. In the lead was Adam Dixon, a Human trainee from the planet Gaia. Unlike Frionel, he excelled at the physical and was a model soldier. Unfortunately, his personality left much to be desired. His continuous success has left him arrogant and with an overwhelming competitive streak. He was the first to enter the next obstacle, a single pathway with several waist-high walls along the length of it. At the opposite end was a small building with visible turrets peering from several windows. They had encounter obstacles like this in prior training but in this session, there were no tools or weapons at their disposal. Now they had to reach the opposite end without any extra protection. Fearlessly, Adam leaps over the waist-high wall and charges towards the building. The turrets reacting to his movement and opening fire. But with sheer athleticism alone he was able to reach the inside of the building, avoiding any and all blasts as if they weren’t there in the first place. Now it was up to the remaining trainees to follow in his footsteps.

“I’m sorry if I was late.” an older voice says as they approach. It was an older man of Asian descent with a black crew cut. He wore a simple white U.G.M.P jacket with indigo trim with the chest open. A matching sterling white Kimono with the U.G.M.Ps logo over the heart worn beneath it. A slightly darker off-white hakama worn over it and covering his legs. His hands covered in padded black gloves while his feet in the same black boots Jason wore. Strapped to the left side of his waist was a Boken, a hard wooden sword that made him look like a futuristic samurai.

“General Ozak! Glad you could finally make it!” Jason greets with a pleasant smile. His smile slightly softens when he notices a tall young man by his side. He was a muscular individual with spiky black hair. He stood with a cool and formal confidence fitting of a soldier. His uniform was the most standard type worn by the U.G.M.P albeit with extra flourishes around the emblem. Like General Ozak, he wore a sword strapped to the left side of his waist. However, his was a traditional two-sided short sword. “Who’s your guest?”

“Commander Char sir.” the young man replies. “I’m here with General Ozak to see if there are any trainees he’d like to train personally.” While it was rare, it wasn’t uncommon for Commanders and even Generals to visit Kratos and recruit personal members directly. The top operatives would often be picked this way while others joined the standard workforce. Though if they were personally chosen or not had no effect on if they rose through the ranks or not.

“Oooo, well I hope you both enjoy the show. One of them already got eliminated right out the gate. Another just raced into stage two. Looks like we’re about to see if the young lady can be the second into stage two.”

Natasha Aile was the trainee in question, a Human from the planet Neo Terra. She was a capable soldier like the rest of the trainees but out of them all, she was by far the best marksman. So much so that she gained the nickname Mistress of Death as being the only one to get a perfect score in the shooting range as well as the fastest record. But while she was skilled with a firearm, there was a tendency for some to focused on her rather gifted appearance. One that often had difficulty being contained in the standard uniform.

“WHOA! There’s gotta be a regulation against dressing like that.” Char blurts out unwittingly.

“Char!” Ozak leers at his student. A shiver going up his spine as he stands up straight.

“Sorry master! It’s just…well…” Char stops talking and resumes watching the trainees. With Natasha in the lead, the remaining trainees moved together from cover to cover. While the process was slow, they were able to make it to the opposite end of the hall with minimal issues.

“Is that a child?” Ozak asks as he notices the lone child no older than 10 standing alongside Natasha and the final trainee.

“Yeah, Green Pyramid claims he’s a special case. I’m still not fully onboard for it but at least we aren’t conscripting again.” Jason says with unusual casualness.

The third zone was a walkway with only enough space for one above a pit of sand. A number of lasers turning on and off periodically to make crossing it more difficult. All leading to a staircase going down. Adam was already in the process of crossing by the time the trio arrives. The young boy, Tsuyasu Seki, was now second behind Adam with Natasha close behind. As Green Pyramid had stated, Tsuyasu was a special case for joining the U.G.M.P. His parents were both operatives in the U.G.M.P at the time of their disappearance. With their disappearance, he was left orphaned and remained under the care of the U.G.M.P. Training to be one of their members while awaiting their return. Although this has resulted in him waiting for 6 years…However, as a result of the continuous training he has makes up for his lack of natural strength with skill and speed. Like Adam before him, Tsuyasu fearlessly crosses the walkway. His small size making navigating the lasers an easy feat. The gap between him and Adam closing with each passing second.

“Tsk, kid things he can beat me?” Adam thought to himself as he jumped from the top of the staircase to the bottom in a single bound.

“He’s not gonna beat me that easily.” Tsuyasu thought as he ran after Adam. Natasha and the final trainee following close behind. “Hey!” he blurts out as the woman grabs him by the collar and stops him. “What are you doing?!” he struggles to free himself.

“Saving you.” she points to the floor panel on several of the stairs being electrified. Not enough to kill but enough to stun and eliminate them. “One more step and you’ll get a nasty shock. Be more careful kiddo.” she winks, takes a step back, and leaps to the bottom of the staircase ahead of him. After a moment, Tsuyasu follows after her.

With the group now hidden from their sight, Green Pyramid releases several small drones from the upper back of his Setzen Bio-Armor. While he flew to the end of the route, the drones followed hidden behind them. All of them add additional holographic screens to the ones already present for Jason and the others to view. The staircase continued downward and led to a tunnel-like path with abdomen high water. Though for young Tsuyasu, he was forced to swim. They continued through the path slowly using the dim flickering lights to navigate it. Adam being nowhere in sight. All the trainees felt there was something off about this test. Why was it so simple? It would be the final trainee from Aurora 16, Riley Winchester, who discovered the secret by accident. While not an exceptional standout soldier much like Frionel, he had shown great potential on a number of occasions. Though in this case, it was dumb luck that he tripped into an underwater path.

“Guys!” Riley gasps as he resurfaces moments before coughing up water. “I-” he stops to cough once more. “I found another way.”

Trusting Riley, the group dives underwater into the new path. Lights becoming active as they went along the route. The path went down 10 feet before leading to another horizontal tunnel. This one taking no more than 10 seconds to finish and reach the surface. Together they follow the path and arrive at the finish line where Adam, Generals Nevan, Green Pyramid, and Ozak, Char, and Cassandra awaited. A smug grin plastered to Adams’ face as he glances back at the trio.

“Congratulations, you’ve all completed the final test.” Green Pyramid congratulates the trainees. His drones returning to his back. “However, not all of you are going to be graduating.” he pauses as a silence sweeps over the trainees. “When I call your name, step forward. Natasha Aile. Tsuyasu Seki. Riley Winchester.” he waits for them to step forward before continuing. “Welcome to the U.G.M.P.”

“Wait, why didn’t I graduate?! I passed all the tests before all of them!” Adam asks furiously.

“Because the final test was a theoretical mission scenario. First was getting past an enemy sniper, which you all accomplished. Next was breaching the frontlines. You left your squad and ran straight into the enemy base alone. After crossing the security bridge you not only saw the other trainees but continued on faster to spite them. Reaching the final test, infiltrating the last area of the enemy base, alone.”

“But it’s an obstacle course, you’re not supposed to complete it as a team!”

“I said all you had to do was reach the end and whoever passed would go from trainee to rookie. I never said that completing the obstacle course would be an instant pass. You’ve shown you can complete missions in the quickest and most reckless method possible while neglecting your fellow operatives. Maybe next time you’ll do better. You’re dismissed.” He watches as Adam begrudgingly salutes and leaves. Frustration and disappointment obvious for all to see. “Welcome to the U.G.M.P rookies, you’ll be taking the first flight with Generals Nevan and Ozak to the Main Headquarters on Neo Terra. There, you’ll get an official deployment. Unless either of them saw something they liked.” Green Pyramid turns to face his fellow Generals.

“I’m fine.” Jason shakes his head no.

“I’d like to take Cadet Seki as a student.” Ozak tilts his head down to look Tsuyasu in the eyes.

“Sir.” Tsuyasu salutes.

Ozak smiles softly and salutes back. “I’ll let you all get acquainted. Commander Char will lead you to our ship when it’s time to depart.” Ozak turns to leave alongside Jason and Cassandra. Leaving the new Cadets, Green Pyramid, and Char.

“It was a pleasure training you all. Do your best to live up to what the uniform represents.” Green Pyramid salutes and flies off.

“First and foremost, I congratulate all of you on becoming official cadets.” Char begins. “Although your ranking is yet to be determined, know that no matter what rank you get it will require the best you can be. If you’re talented enough you will be promoted through the ranks such as I. I want nothing but exceptional feats from all of you especially you there.” he glances at Tsuyasu. “Which brings me to my second point. Being chosen by General Ozak is truly an honor that few get. Him choosing you means he sees a great amount of potential in you. To be honest, so do I. In time you may be just become a general.”

“I won’t fail either of you.” Tsuyasu responds formally.

“We’ll all do our best.” Natasha smiles confidently.

“Yeah, we made it this far. Might as well go all the way. But I guess some might go further than others.” Riley nervously chuckles.

“Very good. Now that the formalities are out of the way.” Char turns his attention to Natasha. “Natasha was it?”

“Yeah, Natasha Aile sir.”

“Are you free Friday night?” he takes her hand and kisses it like a knight of old.

“Yes, I’m free.” she blushes.

“Then maybe we can have dinner on Neo Terra after work.” he winks playfully.

“That sounds nice.” she smiles back. All the while Tsuyasu and Riley watch on awkwardly at the display.

“Sorry, you had to see that.” Char smirks after pulling Riley and Tsuyasu aside.

“No, it’s fine Commander.” Riley assures him.

“You’re quick…” Tsuyasu sasses Char who just chuckles.

“Well now, let’s not keep the higher ups waiting. Follow me.”

With Commander Char in the lead; the new Cadets Tsuyasu Seki, Natasha Aile, and Riley Winchester return to their barracks to retrieve what little they could call as property. Each taking a single traveling bag with them. Together they board one of the docked Frigates and depart Kratos for Neo Terra. Home planet to the U.G.M.P and located as the central planet of the nuSol System.

Next Issue

COMING SOON

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