The sleek new W.U.R.M. transport vehicle shot down the tracks at an incredible speed. Inside of the vehicle were recruits fresh from training in the International Program; a program that gave mice in all territories a chance to join a squad in the Mech Mice Colony.
A sign above the doors flashed in bold blue letters,
"ARRIVAL AT CELEBRATION HALL APPROX. 5 MINUTES"
A cream colored mouse with gray spots was tugging at her ear in anticipation. She had been through extensive training with various Commanders from the Colony, all vital to her shot at leading her very own squad. The rusty-looking mouse next to her was nervously clicking her claws on her arm rest. Silently, she wondered what rank the doe was going for. This doe was very small, and didn't look to be anything special.
"Probably just a Grunt." she muttered under her breath.
Suddenly, the W.U.R.M screeched to a halt, the futuristic doors sliding open.
"EARS UP, MICE!"
"EARS UP!" The recruits repeated, all standing at attention.
"Your squads will be assigned before you get to the celebration hall-" The Recruiter's statement was met with choruses of angry voices and quivering whiskers. "QUIET! This year, we don't have time for the fancy celebrations. You all know why you're here! Line up!" he spat. "First up," he croaked, checking over his paper, "we have Rufina. You have been assigned the rank of Commander for squad X48. Congratulations."
His words were met with silence as the cream mouse stood up, her whiskers twitching with amusement as she heard the change in his voice. Rufina quickly passed by the Recruiter with a swift salute, and went to search for the squad X48 table. Small slips of metal were attached to the chairs, she noticed. At the head of the table, a faint red hologram with her name flitted from one of the slips. She sat down in the chair, and the large screen of the hall projected a live video feed of her. Rufina awkwardly saluted again, and the screen shut off.
"Next, we have Cormac of squad X48. You have been assigned the rank of Heavy."
A huge brown buck with dark stripes on his face stood and halfheartedly saluted the Recruiter, an angry glint in his eyes. He stormed over to the table, yanked his chair out, and sat. The screen lit up again, but Cormac pretended not to notice. He impatiently tapped his claws on the table for the other members to be announced.
"Griffith. Grunt of squad X48."
A white buck with eager blue eyes stumbled out of the W.U.R.M, scattering a bag of maps across the floor. He clumsily stuffed them back into the bag, slung it over his shoulder, all while forgetting to salute the Recruiter. Griffith ran over to the table and sighed with relief. Instead of showing a live feed of the new grunt, it showed the previous incident of his maps scattered across the floor. The buck sank down in his seat, his face red with embarrassment.
"Recon of X48, Darah."
A beautiful rust colored doe seemed to float out of the vehicle. She saluted the Recruiter and made her way to the table with nervous footsteps, sitting next to Griffith. Darah's eyes widened as she turned to look at the screen with a closeup of herself.
The grunt elbowed her. "Hey, don't worry about it. You probably saw how bad mine was." Griffith grinned sheepishly at the doe.
"Hey, wait, I know y-" Rufina began, but the Recruiter had one last member to announce.
"Lieutenant of squad X48, Jago."
A rough black buck with ugly scars on his left eye saluted the Recruiter, and made it to the table in the blink of an eye. Upon closer look, his left eye was pure white, and his right eye was fashioned with an odd looking square device. Rufina looked at the mice sitting before her at the table. She knew she had to say something to them.
"W-welcome to squad X48." she stuttered. Crumbs! I'm supposed to be calm! A few of them glanced at her, but seemed to be more interested in the other squads forming.
This is going to be a long day, Rufina thought.
The squad trudged down the cold, metallic hallway. Broken wires hung from the ceiling and suspicious looking slashes marked the wall. A tattered old poster read,
Griffith saw the poster and grinned. The squad that was featured, previously proud and smiling, had been scribbled on and given mustaches. "Heheh, hey, Darah-" he was cut off with a glare from Cormac. Rufina grunted as she shifted her bag to her other shoulder, her back growing tired.
"You're the map expert. Where exactly is our room located? It seems like we should have been there ages ago." she flicked her ears impatiently, waiting for a response.
"Er, well, according to the map- oh. Right ahead."
"WHAT?!" Cormac was seething. "We were the first squad assembled in the hall! Why in Meggido's name do we have the least desirable room?" His whiskers were twitching with anger. Darah squeaked and ducked behind Griffith. His face was uneasy as he chuckled nervously.
"They must have made a mistake. A-at least we HAVE a room, right? Let's make the most of what we've been given."
In the blink of an eye, Griffith was pinned against the wall, sharp claws dancing by his cheek. A lump formed in his throat as Cormac's eyes showed his disgust with the squad.
"Listen up, you cheeseball. I'm older than all of you, I have more experience than all of you put together. I do not deserve to practice with the lowest of the low. I should have a grade A room, not this rathole at the end of the hallway."
Jago ripped Cormac away from the Grunt, his expression cold.
"You should be grateful to be where you are. We all know why you aren't Commander." The device over Jago's eye began to glow, creating an eerie scene as the light reflected off of the walls. "I don't think you should risk losing this rank, too."
Cormac yanked his arm out of the Lieutenant's grip, barging into the squad's room. Griffith followed him cautiously, Darah still hiding behind his back. The light shut off immediately as Jago blinked with his other eye.
Come to think of it, I haven't seen him blink until now. Rufina thought, somewhat amused.
"Don't look so humored. You should have broken up the situation as soon as it started. Commander, you haven't exactly made a good first impression on any of us." With that, he turned to walk down the way the squad came.
Rufina shook her head clear as she saw him walking away. She hadn't expected any of this to happen on her first day.
"Where are you going?" she called after him.