Burning Lead

Burning Lead

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction



Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction



The year is 2048. Humanity has achieved a feat that it has striven for for several decades. A virtual world capable of unlimited programming. This technology exists entirely within the hands of U.S. military. Under the guise, "Project Shadow", soldiers practice live combat within a simulator capable of creating a perfect copy of reality down to all known physical laws. James Hannock is one of the newest recruits to Regiment 25 of 100. Within their facilities, each Regiment is composed of 6 teams who train for battles against each other year-round. He comes into the Regiment being the fastest fighter in his class with incredible skill in hand-to-hand combat. This is his experience.
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The year is 2048. Humanity has achieved a feat that it has striven for for several decades. A virtual world capable of unlimited programming. This technology exists entirely within the hands of U.S. military. Under the guise, "Project Shadow", soldiers practice live combat within a simulator capable of creating a perfect copy of reality down to all known physical laws. James Hannock is one of the newest recruits to Regiment 25 of 100. Within their facilities, each Regiment is composed of 6 teams who train for battles against each other year-round. He comes into the Regiment being the fastest fighter in his class with incredible skill in hand-to-hand combat. This is his experience.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1: Recruitment Day

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 24, 2017

Reads: 87

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 24, 2017



Date: May 5, 2048

Time: 06:13 EST

Location: 35.796505, -82.254097 -- Regiment 25

Brisk. That is the only word anyone would use to describe the start of Recruitment Day. Within a military base perched high in the Appalachian Mountains, twenty-four soldiers are fresh out of Cadet training, and six sides are ready to make a grab for the best one. Two soldiers standing at one booth are waiting for the wave of new cadets to reach them. One standing with two pistols at his hip while the other carries nothing. Both of them are dressed in all black combat fatigues.


“Yes, Sir.”

“Look, we’re not gonna get anyone just standing around like this. We gotta make a move before anyone else does. I can see Red is looking too hopeful today. I want you to go out there and scout ‘em out. Report back with anyone who looks promising.”

“Right away, Sir.”

A tall figure moves from one of the booths and out into the courtyard. The courtyard is large, but empty. It was cleared out to make room for the different teams of Regiment 25 to set up their booths to recruit the new cadets that have finally finished training. This year, however, the courtyard wasn’t nearly as full as it had been in the past. The soldier starts to move among the crowd, inspecting the new cadets. He notices one that seems to have a keen eye, but disregards him. He was looking for something even more special. As he reaches the end of the crowd, which he notices is quite small, he sighs and begins to head back. Not before he hears a crash behind the wall of the cadet center. As he rounds the corner, he sees something that was only slightly different from what he expected. He notices one cadet standing alone, surrounded by the unconscious bodies of three other cadets. This was bound to be interesting.

“I was attacked I swear! They came up to me in a group and ambushed me!” cried the lone cadet, worried he could be court-martialed for what this soldier was seeing.

“I believe you,” said the soldier, uninterested, “Come with me.”

“But I-,” started the cadet.

“I don’t care about that. Just follow me,” snapped the soldier, cutting him off.

The two walked back to the booth that clearly and simply read, “Black Team,” on the front of it. The cadet was uneasy about this. He had just been seen around three unconscious cadets and was brought back to someone who looked very official. He was being sent home for sure.

“I found one,” reported the soldier.

“Look, I know what you saw. Just give me a chance to explain and you’ll understand what happened.”

“Pipe down, Cadet,” said the official looking soldier, “You’re not in trouble, I’m guessing. Eagle doesn’t usually decide to hand a delinquent to me for questioning. If you were in trouble, he would’ve likely wanted to deal with the situation himself.”

The other soldier, Eagle, nodded.

“So,” continued the official soldier, “You’re one of the new cadets, are you not?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“You don’t have to call me ‘Sir’. Not yet anyway. So tell me, what did you specialize in during your training?”

“Assault rifles and hand-to-hand combat,” the cadet said matter-of-factly

The official soldier and Eagle looked at each other, considering their options. After they seemed to come to an agreement, they looked at the new cadet again.

“We would like to recruit you to Black Team of Regiment 25. If you agree, I’ll be your team leader and you will begin training with us from here on out. I humbly request your acceptance.”

The formality of the request surprised the cadet. He didn’t usually see this kind of treatment from a higher up back in cadet training. This was the leader of one of the six teams of Regiment 25 and yet he seemed different. He wasn’t thinking of the cadet as a number, as another pawn on the field. He was thinking about his potential and what kind of soldier he was and would be. Finally, the soldier looks up and speaks again.

“My name is X-Ray by the way. So, what’ll it be?”

“I suppose I’m in.”

“I just have a few questions before it’s official. If that’s alright with you,” said X-Ray, once again showing that unusual respect for a lower ranked soldier.

“What are they?”

“Number 1: What is your name, Cadet?”

“Hannock. James Hannock.”

“Middle name?”


The soldier, X-Ray, enters the data into some sort of terminal. He types quickly, but seems to type more than just his name. This made Hannock all the more curious.

“Now then, let’s continue.”


The two soldiers, Eagle and X-Ray, walk back to their barracks, discussing what they had gained during the day. The two hand a tablet back and forth, pointing out the soldiers they had gained as well as observing what the other teams got throughout the day. The corridor is long, leading into the mountain that the base is built against. Over time this base was built by clearing out tons of rock from the mountain to make a clearing. This amount of construction was only thought necessary because of the importance of keeping the base away from civilian eyes.

“We have two new, promising soldiers this year,” says Eagle as he was pointing them out on the tablet, “One of them, Hannock. Top in his class in hand-to-hand combat, fastest reaction speed, third in rifle handling, and top in personal vehicle handling,” he shifts his gaze, “The other, Maxwell. Top in his class in sniper rifles, second in handguns, does well under pressure, and very well disciplined.”

“So the Maxwell kid has every quality to be a sniper. Good, we needed more people to cover your blind spots. And the other one, Hannock was his name, I suppose his statistics explain what happened back there. Top in the class beats down three people in the perfect conditions for CQC. I’m not surprised.”


“And you’re sure it was provoked? He wasn’t the one who assaulted the three cadets out of sight?

“There’s no way he was lying. He was too flustered. If I wanted him to tell you that he assaulted a ladybug, he would’ve stammered enough that a blind person could tell he was lying.”

“I see. Well I suppose I have my work cut out for me then.”

“You’re gonna train him?”

“Well I won’t, 24/7, obviously. There are people more qualified to teach him certain skills than I am. But I think I’ll work on his mindset and his open-hand combat.”


Eagle is the sniper of Black Team. Not the only one, but when a mission requires an exact shot, Eagle is the one put in place to do it. Eagle gained his position as an elite on the team very early in his time in the regiment. He was an incredible shot from his first year on and was immediately noticed by X-ray and Reaper. Overtime he started to go rogue more often on his own target missions. Lucky for him, X-Ray had just become leader of Black Team and didn’t care what Eagle was doing as long as he didn’t mess up the team’s cohesion and got results.

The two continued down the long corridor towards the barracks. They reached a large, circular room. It had six doors, three on one half, three on the other half. They walked to the middle door on the right side. The door, just like the booth, read Black Team. No one was to enter one of these barracks unless they were a part of the team or were accompanied by a team member. As they entered the barracks they crossed through the large commons/meeting area that is in every team’s barracks. Across the room there were three more doors, one leading to the engineering shop, another leading to the quarters, and the last one leading to the in-reality training area. Every team’s barracks were built the same. Each one having the same equipment and budget as the others.

“Eagle, gather the other elites, I’m calling the first meeting of the year,” blurted X-Ray.

“Yes, sir.”

Eagle moved off towards the quarters, where he suspected the others were likely still sleeping. As he moved into the quarters area, he made a left towards the elites’ quarters, which were separate from the regular barracks. This was by design, to give the other soldiers the incentive to work towards becoming an elite. Eagle barged into the elites’ quarters and, without hesitation, began his wakeup speech.

“ON YOUR FEET SLACKERS!” He shouted, with a bit of glee on his face.

He was answered with a symphony of groans and mumbles. This was expected since they were promised that they would get to sleep in on Recruitment Day. Of course, Eagle felt no remorse for taking away that promise. As the others got up, Eagle gave them X-Ray’s orders and informed them of the meeting. After they were all ready they started heading back to the commons area.

Five soldiers gathered around the table in the center of the room. Each one of these soldiers was one of the best in the entire Black Team. The five soldiers were: X-Ray, the senior member and leader of Black Team, Reaper, the second oldest member and offensive strategist to X-Ray, Eagle, next oldest along with another member, Wolf, who is also Eagle’s best friend, and the youngest, Sentinel, the latest elite to Black Team.

“Alright”, X-Ray began, “now that we’re all here, it’s time we discuss our plans for this year. We have four competitions this year; we have a Red and Blue team that are trying to make more moves on us this year, and we have new soldiers that we have to find a place for. So, without further ado, let’s begin.”

To anyone else, this sudden wave of information would’ve given them a bit of a shock, but these soldiers had worked with X-Ray for a while now and they were used to how he ran things on the team.

“So what are we gonna deal with first?”, asked Reaper. Despite his war name, he never had the mentality of a pure killer, in fact, he was one of the clearest thinkers on Black Team, thus earning him his position as one of the strategists.

“I’d like to start with the new soldiers. Unless anyone has any striking concerns with the other topics that they’d like to discuss now?”

No one responded.

“Good. Eagle read us the soldier count, per team, for this year.”

Eagle stood up with the tablet that he had earlier.

“We gained five new soldiers today. That puts us on the higher side of the spectrum. Red gained the most today, with seven new soldiers. We were second, Yellow had four, Blue and Green got three each, and White had the least, with two.”

X-Ray began to speak again, “Looks like this was a small group this year, no matter, not only did we get some new soldiers that were promising, but we managed to have a larger gain than other teams,” He looked around at his men, “Red, however, is gonna be really tough again. We didn’t regain our numbers from what we lost from last year’s graduating soldiers and they have gained more than us this year.”

Wolf decides to speak up, “So, what are we gonna do about it then, just train these guys hard enough to count for the ones we lost?”

“No, if anything, I’m gonna be working the rest of you to pick up the slack. We’ll just have to change up strategy a bit,” He puts his thumb under his lip and looks down, thinking, “We don’t have too big of a decrease from last year. We can work with this. Plus, two of our soldiers were top in their class in different combat areas. One sniper, and one CQC.”

Sentinel lights up after hearing this, “So we got a new close quarter guy! Man, and I thought I was gonna be the last one forever. Which one is it?”

Sentinel is an entirely CQC built soldier. He uses a shotgun as his main weapon and is the highest skilled knife combat soldier on Black Team. He specializes in throwing and handheld knives, having a different style for each kind.

Eagle hands him the tablet with Hannock’s soldier profile already loaded up on the screen. Sentinel reads through it, his smile growing as he progresses. While he was going through the tablet, Eagle and the others continue to talk about how to use their other recruits. They decided to put Maxwell on Eagle’s squad in the beginning to train him in sniping and eventually move him on his own. They tried to find places for the other soldiers but were having trouble since their profiles didn’t give them a ton to work with. Sentinel reaches the statistics section on hand-to-hand combat and cuts them off.

“Damn! Didn’t lose a single fight during cadet training. I think we got a real winner here.”

As his profile stated, Hannock had won all of his practice matches in CQC without a single scratch on him. He had been recorded with an extremely high reaction speed. His opponents had even told the training officers that he would react to his own mistakes and be able to fix them before the opponent could make good on that error. This had impressed the trainers, and now Sentinel. The soldiers continued discussing the rest of the new recruits, where they could start them in battle, and how they should be trained. Finally, they come to their conclusions and move on to their other matters.

“Next on the list is the tournaments,” X-Ray, once again, starting off the conversation, “As I said earlier, we have four competitions this year, three of which are battle style, the other is the development competition. We can worry about the development one another time, right now we need to know what we’re gonna do about the tournaments. Specifically, the RvR tournament. We came really close last year, this year, I’m going for gold, nothing less.”

Reaper speaks up, “We’re gonna need to do some scouting on Regiment 2 then. We don’t know how many soldiers they gained this year or who their team leaders are, either.”

Regiment 2 was the winner of the previous year’s RvR tournament. They faced off with Regiment 25 who had made it to the finals and lost in the end. Regiment 2 was known for their strength and quick strategy changes during combat. The soldiers had been very disappointed with making it so far only to lose right at the end. No one blamed anyone for what had happened, they had done everything they planned right but it wasn’t enough to beat them.

Wolf interjects the silence, “Well, we’re just gonna have to see how our new soldiers can do before we can make any predictions. And Reaper’s right, we’re not gonna know how to beat 2 without any prior knowledge. We have our info from last year, but that’s probably long since useful. Let’s just start off the year with some good battles and learn our new team.”

Wolf has always been the big man of the group, both in size and in heart. He is the strongest man on Black Team and maybe even the Regiment. However, underneath that muscle he is a kind man and is usually the one to try to cheer up the team in hard times. This had earned him plenty of respect over the years. He didn’t keep up his strength for looks, though; he had the name Wolf for a reason. He was kind to his team and good at consoling, but when he was up against an enemy, he had no fear and no remorse. He wielded an LMG on the field and used every bullet to bring the team closer to a victory. That was what really earned him his spot as an elite.

“I second that,” said Eagle

X-Ray continued, “I’m sure we’re all in agreement on that. This leads me to the last topic. How are we going to prevent Red and Blue from moving on us right away? They’ll likely know what we got just like we know what they got.”

“Maybe not though,” replied Reaper, “Our stealth team is the best in the regiment, we may have been the only ones who got some good info from our scouting.”

“It’s possible but we can’t plan on that. It’s a dangerous gamble and could cost us some early matches. Let’s just assume that everyone knows everything that we know and then plan around it.”

“Yes, Sir,” Everyone agreed.

“That about covers everything. You are all dismissed. Go back to sleep or whatever you bums were doing.”

“Yeah, because people can go back to sleep after they’re awake!” Sentinel shouted down the hall as he was already leaving.

“X-Ray, I swear, you’re like a switch, man,” Wolf started, “You’re so serious one minute and the moment the meeting is over you’re so nonchalant towards your men. It’s like the leader goes out of you the instant you don’t need it anymore.”

“Would you rather I be serious all the time?” X-Ray stared at him blankly.

“No, no, definitely not. I just noticed that’s all. And don’t do that, man! I can never understand whether you’re angry or not when you do that blank stare at me.”

“Ha ha! Don’t worry about it Wolf, it’s kinda hard to be mad at you in the first place. Anyway, I heard you speak but I didn’t really hear much input on the new recruits. You saw their profiles too right? What did you think?”

“They look useful. I think we have some real potential with those two. The sniper and the fighter. The other three seem to be alright but we’ll have to mold them for sure.”

“I see. Good to hear.”

The two of them left the room. Wolf went back to his quarters, shuffling all the way since he hadn’t been able to wake himself up yet. X-Ray went to the training area and did some checks on the equipment before he began his morning workout.

“I wonder if this group can do it this year,” is all he says.

© Copyright 2017 Zachary Meras. All rights reserved.


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