Swamped Chapter 1 Page 8

Before finishing her sentence, Sergeant Greenwoods walks over to a side door and thrusts it open to reveal a small pond filled with swamp muck.

“Swimming,” she declares, gesturing at the pond. “There are times when you’re going to have to make an escape through the muck, and that might mean fending off an alligator. Or worse. Your weapon choice isn’t all that suited for fighting under those conditions, as you can’t exactly throw things well underwater, but we’ll cover combat later. For now, we just want you getting used to swimming in full gear.”

She then fits herself with the small mask around her neck. You hadn’t given much thought to those before now, though you found yours a little uncomfortable to carry around.

“It also helps you get used to the smell. The breather masks don’t do much to filter it.”

You follow her into the next room. She steps into the pond and demonstrates a few simple strokes. When you think you’re ready, you follow her in.

It’s not long before you discover that, thankfully, the training pond isn’t that deep. The sergeant picks you up and chuckles a bit as you pull off your mask so you can let out a groan.

“Now, as you’ve seen here, swimming in full gear is difficult. It’s not just because of the added weight – swamp water is denser than the regular kind. That means things float better on it, but it also makes it harder to move through. In some ways, it’s harder if you already know how to swim – the techniques are completely different, and you have to forget what you know. Now, take a breather for a moment, and let me know when you’re ready to try again.”

The next attempt goes somewhat better. You follow the sergeant’s movements as best you can, and manage to hold position for nearly a minute before your arms give out and you have to be pulled out again.

“Seems that’s enough swimming practice for today. We’ll make more thorough attempts tomorrow. For now, we’ll teach you probably the most important skill of the swamp: laundry. The suits don’t keep all the muck out, as I’m sure you’ve realized by now. So let’s get you to the showers to get cleaned up and changed, and then I’ll take you to the laundry room.”

The shower feels good. The water is too cold, and you’re not allowed to use much of it because clean water is very valuable, but it’s the closest you’ve come to forgetting you’re in the swamp.

After cleaning yourself up, you follow the sergeant to the laundry room.

“As you already know, water is at a premium. So we don’t use any – usually the clothes are already soaked, after all. It’s just that it’s got a load of other, smellier things in it.” She pulls out a small bag of powder from a cupboard and pours some on your clothes. “So we use this cleansing powder. It mixes with the swamp water and gets rid of most of it, except the water. You usually need to roll the clothes around a bit. Then you hang them up over there to dry.” She points at a large basin. “We even get a little bit of water out of it. Not much, but every little bit counts. That’s why we like to get the laundry done as soon as we can.”

You follow her lead and pour some more powder on your clothes, then start rolling them around to spread the powder. They already seem cleaner, aside from the fact that they’re soaking wet. So you hang them up.

“That about covers your first day’s training,” the sergeant says when you’re done. “More about giving you an idea what you’re in for right now. As for what to expect tomorrow, most of the focus will probably be on swimming for the next week. By then, we should have a basic combat course ready for you. Other than that, probably a little about swamp survival tactics for times when you can’t get back to base, and maybe some time on the barge if we get a chance. It’s seeing a lot of use this week, though, so I can’t make any promises.”

She glances at a clipboard.

“I think that covers everything. You’re free to go, Marshall. Enjoy yourself as best you can, training’s going to be longer tomorrow.”

It’s only about lunchtime now. You get yourself another bland meal and then think about what to do with the rest of your day.

What are you going to do?

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everyone else’s laundry. you’ve got off to a bad start so it’d be best to get everyone on your side

yeah! offer to do everyone else’s laundry!!!

no, don’t ask, just take charge and DO

But somehow fuck up due to a detail you weren’t taught about

yeah, you fuck-up