Chapter XVII – The Field

Marybeth finished the defense shooting after 15 days and it was a co-incidence that it was Saturday giving the two a day of relaxation before they were introduced to another training ground.

On Monday, the training continued… Rem was surprised after he and Marybeth went along with Randolph, Tatiana, and Dreyford to the gym. For him, things were getting more exciting.

Each of them had designated trainers. Rem understood that the weight given to him was lighter compared those given to Randolph and Dreyford.

*****

After the feast, Rem and Marybeth were informed that the level 2 shooting was abolished and they will have to go to the defense shooting. There, they must have to deactivate all the machines.

After Jonathan signaled that the game was on, Rem just walked around and after activating one machine, he didn’t hide. But instead, he activated four more. As what the mentor saw, the young guy was trying to challenge himself — he braved the knives, dodged them and never hit back. After a few minutes of dodging hefty daggers, he immediately deactivated all the machines.

However, Rem was unable to finish the challenge after getting hit five times. But, Jonathan was still impressed as he lasted for a long time despite not spending too much time shielding himself behind the boulders.

“Tomorrow, Burrows I am expecting that you will go further with what you did,” Jonathan said. “But still, nice one. You just showed me how persistent you are.”

Rem was dismissed.

While resting in the living room after lunch, Rem and Marybeth were informed that it’s time for their next training. In the dome, they were asked to go along with Tatiana, Randolph, and Dreyford outside the dome. Again, for him, things were getting exciting.

Just a few meters away from the dome were Vincent and an unknown guy walking towards them. Rem concluded that they will be their teachers for the field training.

“Hello Burrows,” said Vincent. After, he nodded to Marybeth.

“I and Addison will be your trainers in this field. Here, we will help you in increasing your running speed,” Vincent said. “In short, you will do nothing here, but run and escape some riddles.”

“Alright, it’s time for our training,” said Vincent asking Rem to walk with him.

After they exited the dome, Vincent asked Rem to stay. He agreed. After a few minutes, he heard a motorcycle starting up. When he looked to locate it, it was a motorcycle that carried Marybeth and her trainer and they were revving away. A few seconds after, Vincent arrived riding another one.

As Vincent revved the engine, Rem felt the blood rushing through his veins.

“Faster Mr. Vincent,” said Rem.

Rem’s wish was granted. He can’t help but shout while the air touched the skin of his face. It was actually the first time he rode a fast motorcycle. It was also the first time that he got out of the dome. His eyes were fed by the beautiful sceneries provided by the area.

They traveled for about 30 minutes and ended in a wide field that was made of asphalt with white markings, obviously intended for running. A man with a young chocolate Labrador retriever suddenly appeared from the trailer nearby. Rem got confused, but at the same time wanted to crumple the ears of the cute dog.

“I will be meeting you from the other side, Burrows,” said Vincent while pointing his hands to the distance in front of them. “Just run ahead until you reach my point.”

“Tobie will be your guide,” Vincent said while strapping the end of the leash of the dog around his right wrist. “Good luck buddy, I’ll be waiting,” he added with a tap on the back of his shoulder.

As Vincent ran his motorcycle, Rem inspected the strap and as he looked closely, it was actually electronically tied and there’s no way to unlock. He just shrugged off and gave in… He knelt in front of Tobie and crumpled his thick muzzle. The dog, which of liver nose type, did some play bites.

Enjoying the moment with the dog, Rem then heard a sound of a gun probably made by his trainer. The dog was alerted and looked left and right. He was confused. The dog raised its head and sniffed at the direction where Vincent went. Suddenly, it ran, prompting Rem to run with it because the dog was too strong.

Rem ran as fast as he can because he doesn’t want to end up with bruises. After a few minutes of continued running, he found relief seeing Vincent from the view. However, Vincent again pulled the trigger of the gun, making the dog to run faster, leaving him with nothing to do but to extend his arm and ran along.

The dog instantly stopped in front of Vincent. Rem was still panting when he ran his motorcycle. He tried to stop him, but the vehicle was too fast.

“Please allow me to breathe!” Rem shouted.

He heard another gunshot and had no choice but to comply or else he will end up with being dragged by the muscled dog. Good thing, the distance between him and Vincent was not that long… He easily reached him.

Rem chuckled while shaking his head after seeing Vincent handing Tobie some treats. The latter winked and revved again.

Rem readied himself and waited for the sound of the engine to stop. However, Vincent was taking his time. Out of frustration, he tried to unstrap the wristband, but no avail. It’s too durable. He then heard another gunshot but different from the other one. The dog then ran, but it’s not as fast as before making Rem to just jog along with it. As Vincent appeared to his sight, the original shot was again heard. Knowing what to do, he complied.

The jog and fast running were repeated for hours until they reached the dome. In between, Vincent will only give him water and the dog water and treats. Then, he was dismissed.

*****

During his first year in the field, Rem’s speed accelerated to the point that he was able to cope up with the adjusted run of Tobie and again, far more advanced than Marybeth. Vincent decided to lessen the run and let him continue to the next level, which was the boulder climbing.

After alighting from the motorcycle, Rem was instructed to run fast along with Tobie and meet him to the boulders, which was located at the end of the path. There, he saw Vincent already wearing the Arkiman suit.

“Rem, this part will teach you how to climb and run through the boulders,” said Vincent. “Please wear this before we start.”

Vincent showed him a thick belt that had thin but sturdy ropes that were attached to the top.

“That belt has special ropes that were attached to a machine from way above,” said Vincent. “This is loose enough making you move freely along the boulders, but sensitive enough to tighten when you are about to fall.”

Vincent then jumped reaching a part of the boulder; in a blink, he was already up. He asked Rem to follow.

Rem obviously struggled. Vincent advised him to use his core muscles rather than the arms. However, it was of no use. He still found hard times pulling himself up. So, the mentor clung down so he can give the young man a practical lesson.

“Burrows, pull yourself using this,” said Vincent while pointing the side of his stomach. “Then, up here at your chest and to your arms,” he added while slowly pulling himself up.

“It will also quite easier if you will also add kicking to completely climb,” said Vincent. “Try it now, Burrows.”

Rem breathed deeply and pulled himself with all his strength. He struggled a lot but successfully climbed up. He bent over crutching his hands on his legs. His arms, abdomen, and legs were burning.

“You did well,” said Vincent tapping Rem’s shoulder. “But, we have to finish this track. This way was actually more on running through boulders than climbing them. So, don’t worry.”

Rem nodded and readied himself to run.

“Here’s the key: run fast, but watch your step,” said Vincent who also readied himself beside Rem.

“Go!” Vincent shouted, which he followed by big steps.

Ready to run, Rem smiled and shook his head seeing his mentor blazed away. He followed him. In a few meters, Vincent was waiting for him. He signaled to him to stop and gave him some advice.

After running for a couple of minutes and getting used to it, Rem forgot to watch his steps. His right foot land on a weak part that easily collapsed. He lost his balance, but before he fell, the strings pulled him saving him from the impact. He chuckled out of amusement.

“I told you to watch your steps,” Vincent shouted from afar.

Rem was impressed. He concluded that the belt was also designed to watch his moves.

“Move now,” Vincent again shouted. “I know you are not moving.”

Rem continued to run.

While running a few meters he again heard Vincent shouted ordering him that he’s getting slower. After a few more meters, he saw him waiting.

Vincent hit Rem on his head.

“I told you to run fast, but careful,” said a serious Vincent. Rem acted like a kid rubbing his head. “Alright continue.”

Vincent again ran prompting Rem to follow. He again blasted leaving his trainee behind.

Rem, instead of following his trail, opted to climb to the high, ladder-like boulder to his right just to check if he can really track him. He found hard times pulling himself through the boulders, but because of his persistence, he was able to reach the last level. Rem then jumped to reach the tip, pulled himself up and when he had his head above it, he was surprised. Vincent was there watching him.

“You are not using your core well,” said Vincent. “Concentrate on your body parts that I said to you a while ago and you’ll see, it’s easier.”

Rem released his grab, made a few steps backward from the boulder, took a deep breath and ran to it. He jumped to reach the tip and gave himself a pull. He also kicked a part of the boulder.

Vincent clapped to laud the young man.

“Practice that more often,” said Vincent. “Alright let’s go! You should follow me and that’s an order!”

Vincent ran and this time not as fast as before. Rem noticed that they are running down. When they reached the bottom, he whistled and there was Tobie running towards their direction. He asked Rem to again run until they reach the dome.

*****

During the field training, Rem will always be back to the dome quite earlier than Marybeth. He will just train himself inside the level 2 shooting to kill the time. However, after a few days, he got bored. He was looking for something that will thrill him. So, he asked for lots of pins, PVC pipes and three pieces of sponge from Dricks and Jimmy.

He glued one sponge in his locker, another one at the back of his room door and the last, at the wall near his bed. So, whenever he’s bored or can’t sleep, he can practice shooting using small objects. He used the PVC pipes as blow gun.