Chapter XXII – The Beach

More eager to become a great Arkiman, Rem focused himself in the forest and used to ask Ms. Jack to help him look for specific plants and animals. Two years passed, his knowledge in the forest was unquestionable to a point of a single look for a certain plant or animal, he will have ideas what they are and what they can do. He can confirm if his ideas were correct by closely checking them.

However, Rem’s knowledge had no match to Marybeth’s. She’s bloomed like a forest geek who can easily identify the name of a plant or animal, their function, the things they can do, if they are poisonous or not, without getting confused. She can also easily mix plant extracts to produce a specific formula for whatever purpose she wanted. She even invented a formula that can suppress the body preventing it from losing too many vital nutrients that can help someone go through the day even with small amount of food. She called it the Vitaglup.

*****

One training day, all their training outside the dome shortened giving Rem the idea that he and Marybeth will move on to the beach and he was excited about it.

Adding to his excitement was the two-man plane. Right after the engine started, blood rushed to his body. After the plane peaked, Rem shouted. The pilot added more adventures by doing some exhibitions.

Because Rem was too excited, he never knew that the plane was about to land. He never had an idea to how long and far they traveled. What he knew was that he was brought to a cliff. There, Vincent was waiting for him.

“Burrows, please wear this,” said Vincent who threw a pair of ear piece to Rem. “You’ll need that later.”

Rem wore it and sat on the rocks near him. After a few minutes, Vincent called him.

“Burrows, can you please pick those goggles and wear them,” said Vincent pointing at the end of the cliff.

Rem walked to the end of the cliff, picked the pair of goggles and wore them. He turned around to check Vincent. He was shocked… a huge exercise ball was coming his way. He wasn’t able to dodge and moments later he was falling to from the cliff and into the open water.

Rem had no options after he plunged. He tried to lift his head above the water but he’s being dragged below. He doesn’t know how to swim. Later, he panicked and swallowed water. He thought the Arkiman was trying to kill him.

“Burrows relax,” said a man and based on the voice it was Vincent. He was talking to him via the earpiece. “Calm down… We won’t let you drown.”

Rem stopped panicking and stayed calmly in the water.

“Now, let your buoyancy push you up,” Vincent noted. “Do a squat position and let your legs and hands do the flipping.”

Rem followed the instruction. He was able to keep himself afloat. However, after a few minutes, he was going down again.

“Rem, relaxed and do what I said to you,” said Vincent. “You are lighter than the water. You will always float.”

Rem tried to keep his composure. However, he already drew his strength. He was weak enough to continue. Then, again, he was already panicking.

“Damn it,” said Vincent and buttons were heard being pushed.

Rem then felt something that popped on his shoulder. After a few seconds, he knew he’s being lifted. A balloon suddenly appeared from his suit and it was keeping him up. It also gave him some minutes to take a rest.

After a few minutes, the balloons went off.

“Burrows, do some squat,” said Vincent. “Push yourself using your legs and hands to help you push so you will stay up…. And, like what I always say, it’s mind over matter.”

Rem took a deep breath, calmed his mind, and tried to focus. He was surprised that with every push he made using his legs and hands, kept him afloat. He then tried to move forward to the water and it worked.

“Ok, very well!” said Vincent. “Keep yourself afloat without using too much energy.”

After about 15 minutes of keeping himself afloat, he heard Vincent ordering “wave 1”. Rem knew waves are coming so he readied himself. He was never wrong. But again, he kept himself focused and was able to go through smoothly.

Minutes later, Rem again heard Vincent.

“Wave 2.”

Then bigger waves came that rattled Rem. He was able to keep himself afloat for a few minutes. But, as soon the waves took over him, his shoulders pads again popped keeping him on top of the water.

“Rem, relax. Don’t panic,” said Vincent while Rem stayed afloat. “Just let me know if I can release the pads. Just stay put and keep your composure. You will never die.”

Rem told himself that he should be focused. He again thought of his parents, Angela, Dreyford, Tatiana and Randolph that gave him a boost. His brain then acted like a microchip of the computer organizing his other body parts.

“Mr. Vincent, I’m ready,” said Rem.

As soon as the pads went off, he was able to swim through the waves with ease and was able to anticipate the coming ones.

After a few minutes of swimming through the waves, Rem was already having fun and even tried to swim down. His eyes popped out seeing the beauty of the marine life just below him regretting an hour he spent struggling and panicking.

He then stayed afloat but kept his head below the water to watch the beautiful and colorful marine ecosystem. He doesn’t care with the waves anymore. He will just raise his head for a second to catch some air and will lodge his face back. He also didn’t listen to what Vincent use to say.

While getting amazed by the scene below, someone grabbed Rem on his shoulder prompting him to raise his head and despite the lens of his goggles were still blurred, he knew he was one of his escorts. He was right. After the water on his goggles dropped, it was Jimmy and along with Dricks. They are on a speed boat.

“We thought you are dead, Rem,” said Jimmy.

“I just got amazed with the beauty below,” Rem replied while keeping himself afloat.

“Your face was lodged for about 10 minutes already.”

“Really?! I never knew… I’m so sorry.”

“It’s ok. Come, we needed to go to the beach,” said Jimmy offering Rem a hand.

While traveling to the beach, he saw a man from afar and from his stand and form, Rem knew it was Jonathan Cooney. As they go nearer, he nodded at his favorite. The favor was returned. They then docked near him.

“Nice day Burrows,” said Jonathan while Rem was alighting from the speedboat. He was at parade rest. “It’s great to see you again,” he added giving him a mild tap on his back.

“Good to see you, Mr. Cooney,” Rem replied.

“Our class is about to start in two hours,” said Jonathan. “As of now, it looks like you needed some rest,” he added pointing on a nipa hut just a few walk in front of Rem. He walked towards the hut and after a few steps, he heard Jonathan.

“Burrows, Bon appetit,” said Jonathan.

In the hut are sea foods on the table. Rem’s eyes widened seeing the huge crabs, prawns as big as his hand, freshly grilled tuna bellies, huge oysters and a lot more. Jimmy and Dricks laughed running to the table.

“It’s feast time!” said Dricks while sitting.

“Pssst Burrows,” said Jimmy. “Come, have yourself. Between all of us, you needed this the most,” he added while breaking the crab shells.

Rem walked fast and sat. He’s hungry, so he started by picking a prawn, peeled it, sipped the head part and bit the body. After finishing it, he picked an oyster and inspected it. He knew what oyster was, but he never saw such size.

“You can drizzle it with cocktail sauce, or just dash it with lime,” said Jimmy pointing on the small bowl with black thick sauce in the middle of the oyster plate.

Rem then scooped some sauce and put it on top of the oyster. He then slid the whole flesh inside mouth using finger and chewed on it. He nodded to agree that it’s quite great. The sauce helped a lot.

Jimmy and Drinks just shook their heads. Rem then tried it with lemon. He doesn’t like it that much.
He continued trying all other dishes. He was not a fan of the tuna belly but loved the lobsters and seaweeds. He didn’t try the sashimi because he doesn’t like raw foods.

After the delicious meal, Jimmy and Dricks said to Rem that he can sleep on one of the beds under the trees. He opted to walk. After walking a few meters, he looked back at the nipa hut. He saw his two escorts lying on the beds. He smiled thinking that no one will be watching him.

While walking, Rem stumbled with a wooden house that was about 80 -meters square. Knowing that the whole island was owned by the Arkimans, he assumed that he was allowed to go inside.

Rem entered and smiled seeing a quiet and refreshing place. He sat on the rocking chair and stayed there for a couple of minutes. He continued inspecting the place and at the back of the house, he saw a laptop. He looked left and right to make sure that no one was around. he opened it.

Rem then typed “Jonathan” when the laptop asked for the password… it’s wrong. He then tried it with “Cooney,” again it didn’t work. He tried all other names, but none of them were accepted. He then remembered the code written on the computer coding he found in the defense shooting area. It worked.

He quickly checked the files out, but it was empty. He checked the internet connection, but no connectivity. He then checked the recycle bin and stumbled with a spreadsheet containing usernames and passwords. While reading it, he heard a noise coming from outside prompting him to close the computer and walked back.

He was surprised that it was Jonathan.

“What are you doing here, Mr. Burrows?” asked Jonathan. “Aren’t you supposedly resting for our combat skills training later?”

“Nothing, Mr. Cooney,” said Rem, obviously trying to hide something. “I apologize. I just thought since Arkimans owned this place, I can go in here.”

“It’s alright Burrows,” said Jonathan. “Please go back to your hut and try to get some rest. You will need that.”

Rem nodded. He immediately left the place, thinking Cooney didn’t notice that he tried to scan the laptop. He felt that he was tired right after laying on the bed. He fell asleep.

After an hour, Jimmy woke him up and asked to go the beach just in front of them. He first sat on the bed and saw Jonathan, wearing an Arkiman suit but without the face cover. He was standing a few feet from him.

After a few minutes, he went straight to Jonathan.

“Burrows,” said Jonathan along with a nod. “Did you get enough sleep?”

Rem just smiled and nodded.

“In this part of your beach training, you will learn how to fight using your bare hands,” Jonathan added. “I will teach you to mix martial arts.”

During that first day of the beach training, Jonathan only taught Rem of the brief theory of what mixed martial arts was. Then, they went through the basics. He taught him how to properly kick and punch; and how to dodge them.

*****

The water and beach training continued for a year. Rem was able to become a great swimmer and can withstand huge waves for hours. His lungs also became stronger and can stay under water for two minutes and can descend 15 meters in one breath.

During his swimming training, he also asked for a spear to test his skills. He was successful in bringing home fresh fishes, crustaceans and much more that he and Marybeth will enjoy for dinner.

His combat skills also improved. He again finished the combat training earlier than his counterpart forcing Jonathan to teach him more. Cooney, Jimmy, and Dricks used to individually wrestle with Rem. In some occasions, he will beat them.

In one training day, Rem was dismissed early. He didn’t ask anything but was left puzzled. He was then informed that Marybeth will be coming back late because she still had lots of things to learn.

After two hours of waiting, Rem decided to keep himself busy. So, he just went to the defense shooting area to train himself up.

While setting the computer, Rem got curious if he can use the usernames and passwords he read from the spreadsheet of the laptop. The very first username and password he used worked.

He was able to enter the system and because he can understand the code, he manipulated the machines. He then trained with the machines releasing knives every three seconds. Still, he was able to complete the training without a single hit.

Before leaving, Rem didn’t forget to turn the codes to normal.