Farah was a thousand miles away from the jungle campsite, lost in her own memories of another time, when the man spoke to her, jarring her back to the present. She had been absent mindedly nursing the flame whenever he spoke to her and, for a moment, she just regarded him with her large eyes, trying to think back to basic training for a suitable response. “Yes sir,” she responded, stumbling over the words. In her bungled response, the flame had slipped her mind and she had to redouble her efforts to save it and, after taking a moment to steady her hands under the watchful gaze of the veteran, got the flame to take. She was surprised at the softness in the man’s tone when he added that, typically, they wouldn’t be starting fires without technology, but she wasn’t certain the remark was an invitation to be anything less than formal. Veterans, she had decided in her brief time with the Order, were a difficult bunch to predict. She played it safe. “Yes sir, the First Order never sends troopers into the field without the equipment necessary to accomplish the objectives,” she prayed that was the appropriate response.
Shortly thereafter, the man was shouting again. Maggots, she thought, they keep using that word. . . . She had never understood why the more experienced troopers felt the need to call them that so often, nor was she certain if it was a term used to describe recruits not from Pa’Desh. Fortunately, the man’s orders left little time for offense, she responded with a well-rehearsed, “yes sir,” managing to avoid mangling the words this time and, when it was appropriate, took her leave. She had only just gotten to some of the trees others had already began cutting down to a manageable size, when she heard another veteran barking orders at one of the recruits along with them. She winced in sympathy. She was native to Pa’Desh and accustomed to the hot and sticky climate, but she understood why off-worlders would find it easily exhausting. When the veteran released the recruit, he was quick to move out to carry out his orders, huffing as he approached the pile of logs she was standing at.
“Hey,” she said to him softly as he came alongside her to gather more wood, “listen, there’s a stream not too far away, just power through this and then you can go relax,” the young man was clearly not in the mood for a second lecture after the Captain had just gotten onto him, his only response was to sigh dismissively. “Hey, no,” she whispered more confrontationally, “this is our first chance to mingle with the veterans—veterans,” she put a special emphasis on the word, “we need to make a good impression, okay?” He mumbled something under his breath and returned to walked past her, carrying some logs. She huffed, annoyed, as she watched him go before rolling her eyes and double timing it back towards camp, passing him with as much timber. She knew the native recruits had to prove themselves if they were ever going to be accepted as legitimate troopers. And she was going to do her part.