At this point I could make an excuse that Samantha was too busy to get another episode to me, but to tell the truth my research left a lot of holes. I finally decided I would just have to be vague where I didn’t know the details.
Samantha got through Induction Day without any major problems. She did feel a loss when her family left, but that was something she already knew she had to deal with. Here’s her take on some of what happened over the next few days.
Plebe summer: it started as soon as our visits with family ended. Most of it was just plain hard, and despite my preparation I wasn’t a supergirl. I took my licks along with everyone else.
That first evening meal was interesting. Learning to sit at attention on the front four inches of my chair managed to bring the reality of my change in life into focus. My advance knowledge of Reef Points actually made me the target of more questions. I’m sure it was to see where I would miss something. I managed with only a few mistakes.
On the other hand, some of it seemed absolutely ridiculous, and Lance Wilson seemed to work on tripping me up. That evening in the hall outside our rooms he seemed to take an immediate dislike for me. He pounced on me as soon as we assembled.
“Plebe, how long have you been in the Navy?”
His face was less than six inches from mine. He wasn’t a bad looking guy. About my height, sandy hair, green eyes, but his frown would have burned the paint on the wall behind me. I was tempted to give a straight answer, but I stared him in the eye, unblinking, and responded as required, “All me bloomin’ life, sir! Me mother was a mermaid. Me father was King Neptune.”
I think that surprised him, but Dad had made sure I knew it. It may be that all the advance work I had done was what set Wilson off. He ran me through the whole series. I continued to respond correctly. Finally, he asked, “Plebe, what’s your favorite quotation?” He was right there in my face again.
I had to think about that, but I knew I wouldn’t have time. I spouted the first quotation that came to mind, “Sir, on the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields will bear the fruits of victory, sir.”
His frown darkened. “Plebe, that was by an Army general,” he growled. “You can do better than that.”
“Sir, yes sir. God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.”
“Nimitz. That’s more like it, but I prefer, ‘A ship is always referred to as ‘she’ because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder.’” He smirked at that one.
The next morning we were introduced to PEP. That’s the Physical Exercise Program, an hour and a half of pure torture we would have to endure virtually every morning. As a long distance runner I was in better shape than a lot of my classmates, but even so by the time that first PEP session was over, I was exhausted. I can only imagine what some of the less prepared were going through. At least, Wilson wasn’t on my backside during PEP.
Then there was marching. We got into it almost immediately. I thought I was pretty good; in fact, I “know” I was pretty good, but that didn’t deter Wilson. When we formed up to march to meals or practice marching, he would be right alongside me, repeatedly tossing barbs. They were all trivial, like “Get in step” (I was doing my best, but the entire company needed to work on that), “Eyes front” (Okay, I admit I let my eyes wander), and “Head up. Chin back” (I was doing better than anyone else around me. Dad had taught me well). By the time we dismissed I was close to losing my temper despite knowing that was what he was after.
Room inspections were another matter. Again I knew what to expect, and I knew it took teamwork. We weren’t just responsible for our own stuff. We were responsible for our roommates’ stuff too. I tried to get that across to Ashley and Danielle but it didn’t sink in right away. Fortunately, it only took one of Wilson’s raking over the coals to do it. That may have been because of me, but after that I became the de facto room commander, and they both listened to me.
All in all the first few days were really challenging even as prepared as I was. And Wilson continued to dog me. I’m not exactly sure when it came to me, but I don’t take kindly to being harassed (I know, it wasn’t harassment. It was what he was supposed to be doing). I quickly decided that I was going to pay him back. The question was, how could I do it and not get caught?