Eagle Company 2025
Krissi Heung and Rebecca Wada jogged down the concrete driveway into the basement of the Eagle Company compound, the steel roller-door closed behind them. They both wore grey tank tops with urban camouflage trousers and they were both positively drenched in sweat. Both girls were about 175cm tall, average for knowledge class women, with neck length black hair. Krissi was the skinnier of the two, with tanned skin and Chinese features. Rebecca was more solidly built with paler skin due to her Japanese-Irish heritage.
The two had just run the Physical Fitness Course, a combination of a 4km run, a series of sit-ups, chin-ups and push-ups followed by a beep test. Krissi, being built for speed, stood with hands on hips, breathing deeply. Bec was bent over, hands on knees, gulping down air.
The 2 meter tall blond giant, Patrick Lynch, approached them with a tablet PC. "Passed with flying colours, both of you. Take the night off, training begins again tomorrow after uni at 1730."
The girls trudged out of the glass doors to the main stairs before ascending to their rooms.
"Thank fuck we're only on ground floor." Bec said.
"Yeah we are so not eating in the mess hall tonight." Krissi agreed. "Newtown?"
Bec: "How about Chinatown?" The girls made it to the ground floor level and turned right down their corridor.
"It's a bit of a trek don't you…think." Krissi lost her train of thought as two 20 year old boys came out of Sarah 'Buck' Graham's room. The boys were both clearly service class, they were at Krissi's eye level. They both looked rather happy with themselves, the auburn haired Sarah waved them goodbye.
Bec: "Two at the same time Buck? What's the occasion?"
Buck pulled a foot up behind her back. "Just got my deployment orders, Solomon Islands here I come."
"Oh my gosh well done!" The girls each hugged Buck in turn. Getting deployed overseas was the point of all their training but the Solomon Islands, what was left of them, was especially competitive. It wasn't a surprise though; Sarah was as strong as Bec and could outrun Krissi.
"We're going to China Town for dinner. Wanna come?" Krissi asked.
"Can't. Sorry girls, I'm supervising the firing range until 2300. Lucky me right?" Buck closed her door behind her.
Rebecca nodded. "Ah well. Drinks are on us next time yeah?"
Buck headed for the lobby. "I'll hold you to that, night girls."
Bec and Krissi went to their rooms for a shower and a change of clothes.
"I'm gonna be so sore tomorrow." Bec said, gingerly crossing her incredibly sore legs under the table. They had chosen one of the restaurants on the surface after looking at the underground food halls and finding them packed to capacity.
"My arms and shoulders are killing me." Krissi said. "Maybe I should get a pair of service class lads to come over tonight."
Bec chuckled, shaking her head. "I'm barely surprised anymore. I mean she got her nickname by losing her virginity at Starbucks, what do we expect."
"She's pretty liberal, even by our standards. Dessert?"
Bec wiggled her eyebrows. "What do you have in mind?"
Krissi smiled. "Sorbet? Fried ice-cream?"
"Oh you mean food. No thanks, I need to keep my BMI below 23. You can have some though, you little wafer you."
Krissi thought about it. "Nah. I think I'd prefer some sleep more than anything right now. Why 23?"
"Buck has a BMI of 22.6 apparently."
"Aah." Krissi grinned. "I'm detecting jealousy."
Bec looked at the table. "Well she does look good, you gotta admit."
"I think that's more a combination of low body fat and the fact she was a gymnast since she was…eight or something."
"Unlike we mere mortals. All done then?"
The girls split the check, each swiping the implants in their hands over the scanner at their table before leaving.
It was still a muggy summer's night in Sydney, about 25 degrees. Bec was wearing a purple dress with shoulder straps; Krissi was wearing her usual white t-shirt and three-quarter trousers.
"And anyway." Krissi continued their conversation. "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."
"Is that one of the Nietzsche quotes we're supposed to know?"
Krissi shook her head. "Desiderata and as long as you pass the physical exams who cares about your BMI."
Bec wrapped her arm around Krissi's waist. "Thanks babe. That cheered me up."
Krissi did the same. "Anytime."
They walked for a bit until something caught Bec's eye, a pair of speakers were blasting dubstep out onto the thoroughfare. The man who owned the sound system was busily dancing away along with a few other people.
"Oh my gosh I love this song! C'mon!" Bec squealed, letting go of Krissi and skipping towards the dancers, her worn out legs forgotten in her excitement.
Krissi walked after her and paused about ten meters away from the 'dancefloor'. Krissi didn't dance without at least three shots in her. Bec wasn't so inhibited, she smiled and bounced and twisted to the rhythm. After a while she paused and looked at Krissi, head cocked to the side, arms outstretched to her.
Krissi smiled, bowed her head and took a step forward. There was a sudden Bang and Krissi looked back up. Thunder maybe? Then a cloud of white smoke came billowing out of a side alley, covering the dancers entirely. There were screams and then the sound of coughing, coughing and retching. Krissi sprinted into the cloud without a second thought.
"You bunking with anyone tonight Zi?" Holli asked from across the council room table back at the compound. The table was covered with books. On Holli's side was a pile of anatomy textbooks and field medicine guides along with a couple of oranges and some syringes from when she had been practicing her injection technique. Holli was applying for a position as a medic in East Timor.
"I haven't had time to think about it to be honest." Zi replied, dropping his notepad and rubbing his eyes. Zi's side of the table was covered with large, dry international security texts and print offs from various case studies. Zi had already done a year of deployment in Indonesia and was now a Centurion within the company. His ambitions didn't stop there though. He wanted to be Cohortarch, in charge of the company, maybe even Strategos one day.
"Well the offer's there if you want." Holli said, returning to her books.
"I'd be honoured." Zi smiled. "I could do with some exercise after all this anyway."
Holli laughed. "No, no. It'll be very gentle I'm afraid. We've been in here for 12 hours if you haven't noticed."
On the table next to the empty tube of stimulant pills, Zi's phone was vibrating.
"Zi its Krissi! *cough* I'm taking Bec to the hospital."
Well she sounded sober so Zi assumed it was an actual emergency. "What's happened?"
"*cough* She's inhaled this cloud of *cough* I don't *cough, cough* fuc-*cough*"
"I'll be right there." Zi hung up.
6 hours later Bec had been admitted, treated and released with the efficiency only private health coverage could provide. Both girls had been sent to their rooms to recover. Bec was deaf in one ear from the initial explosion and couldn't talk due to inhaling whatever gas had been used. Kat was able to croak a few short sentences due to her short exposure while dragging Bec out of the cloud. The doctors assured them that they would recover in a couple of days.
For his part, Zi had spent the rest of that night ploughing through his contact list trying to get as much information as he could. The gas was apparently a homemade version of dibenzoxazepine or CR gas, a riot control agent that was discontinued due to the high death rate from pulmonary edema. Nobody had died from the attack yet but 6 people were still critical, the other 20 were either stable or released.
Neither the NSW police nor the AFP had found any leads regarding the bomber and without a suspect, nobody had a response. They assured him that a suspect always appeared eventually. That wasn't good enough for the Cohortarch however.
"Nowhere near good enough!" Georgia Gillespie said, pacing behind her desk. She was his height but far more tanned and athletically built. Georgia had broken her arm twice on her deployment in Papua New Guinea but had refused to be sent home or even have bed rest. She was out planting vegetables the next day and every day after that until her deployment was over. She was a company legend.
"Australia's worst domestic terror attack since 1978 and nobody has a suspect?!"
"Well nobody has actually died from this one. Not yet in any case." Zi said calmly from his chair in front of her desk. He had quickly suited up for the meeting but forgotten to shave, he couldn't stop scratching his chin.
"I know." Georgia said, calming down. She sat behind her desk, running her hands through her neck length, light brown hair. "Thanks for doing the research. You're probably exhausted."
"Not at all." Zi said whilst thinking yes, yes I am fucking exhausted. It was 0700, he'd been awake for 36 hours now.
"Why CR gas though? Why go non-lethal? Why not Sarin gas like the Tokyo subway attack?"
"Presumably they wanted to terrorise without causing casualties. That and Sarin is pretty hard to find in this country." Zi said, retrieving his phone. "Huh. Just got a text from a friend at channel 9. Web address." He passed the phone to Georgia who typed it into her tablet PC.
The website only had one page, a manifesto.
This morning you awoke to hear the unthinkable, a terror attack in Sydney. Worse, a terror attack inside what you call the Global Arc, where Australia's best and brightest, the knowledge class, spearhead the economy and take home more and more of the country's wealth.
As you listen to the radio or watch the screen you're asking yourselves: But isn't the government fighting terrorism?
Yes. The government has spent hundreds of millions of your tax dollars fighting terrorism. How? Traditionally with bullets and bombs but now we fight terror with the Humanitarian Gap Year. Australia's brightest sons and daughters are trained and sent overseas to build schools, farms and hospitals. They get to flesh out their CVs whilst winning the hearts and minds of starving Asians so they could never think to attack their mates in Australia.
But what about the starving at home? What about the service class people outside your precious Arc? Are we unworthy of your generosity? Every year food and water become more expensive for us and yet the government takes money from welfare programs to expand the police force. Why?
Because they know their corrupt plutocracy cannot survive. They know that one day the people will have had enough. That is why we attacked Chinatown, because the threat of violence is the only way to get our governments attention.
We will attack the Arc again and we will keep attacking until the service class is given what all Australians were promised, a fair go. We leave you with three messages.
To the service class, be patient, our time will come.
To the knowledge class, pray we don't use lethal force next time.
To the government, give the people what they deserve, you cannot stop us.
At the bottom of the page was a picture of the Eureka flag.
"Famous last words." Zi said.
Georgia rested her mouth on her hands, looking at the flag. "Get some sleep Zi. I need to make some calls."