AFC — Father and Son Tale: Chapter 03
Daniel Kidde sat back in his chair and rubbed his eyes and temples. Even though he went through a year of his son’s life, only a few seconds transpired in the earth realm. Even for the most practiced of mages a massive brain dump like that tended to take a lot out of the person doing it.
He thought back to when he got a call from a recruiter who worked at 4D. It was almost like yesterday when Daniel’s mind flash-backed to the past. It was during when his son was waiting around in the lines when he got the call. Daniel recalled the voice of the man calling.
The raspy voice, which sounded like tin foil being wadded up, asked him, “Do you have a son named Eric Kidde?”
“Who is this?” he asked suspiciously.
“Sorry, for not introducing myself. I’m Burntex from House Training Wheels of Houston. I believe your son is here trying out for a task mage position. I just want to confirm if he is your son.” Said the voice on the other end.
“What the hell is my son doing there?” came the reply.
“I don’t know sir, but he is here currently applying for a job. If you want we can hold him here till you arrive, hire him or send him out the door,” said Burntex.
“Don’t hire him. I don’t want my son to have anything to do with this life,” he said. Daniel let out a sign of relief as he loosened his grip on his phone.
“Got it, sir, we thought we would give you a courtesy call at the very least,” said the guy and hung up.
Even though there were about 144,000 members of Astral Fight Club it was a very close-knit community. In the arena, it was anything goes. They were allowed to kill, main or destroy opponents by any means possible. Outside the arena, it was one big family. Anyone of the members could count on other members for the help of assistance when it was asked. Like most families, they also tended to know everyone’s personal business as well. It was well known in the community that Daniel wanted to leave but was addicted to the cheers of crowds and the glory of victory to walk away.
He focused on the hard drive again. He fast forwarded to when his son and Kendra started college together. They finally were able to formalize their relationship during when some young college girl started flirting with Eric and she had enough. She told him either date me or date her, so Eric picked Kendra. Daniel allowed his mind to wander when they sent hours after hours studying. Even though they were an interracial couple no one really cared since they were always together as friends since the fifth grade.
Their break up devastated Eric. He was in his room, crying when she told him the old “You are Mr. Right, but you, not Mr. Right Now” speech. Kendra had ambitions about working for a Fortune 500 company and move away. Eric was the content of being near her. In 2014 they had grown so far apart their breakup was enviable. Daniel could have used his powers to influence Kendra’s mind but knew better than to force someone’s mind to change.
It was that year he saw a turning point in his son’s life. Eric was depressed to the point where his grades and future were in question. He was currently on academic probation, yet he could care less. He moved forward a few months when his son meet Sgt. Taylor an Army recruiter. He closed his eyes and allowed his mind to experience the event for himself.
“Why does this always happened to me?” Eric said looking at another failing grade. He was forced to drop one more class. The only two he had left was Psychology and African Geography. He was barely passing those classes. He had always relied on Kendra to help him study and budget his time between working at the sandwich shop and college.
He continued to stare at the dismal grade hoping it would change from a D to a C. “What am going to do with my future?” he thought to himself. As if someone was reading his mind he heard a voice pop up behind him.
“SO, have you thought about what you wanted to do with your future?” asked the mystery voice. Eric spun around to see who the mind reader was. Standing in a sharp blue uniform with a yellow stripe down his leg was a tall well build male with a bald head. His name tape said “Taylor” and had all sorts of colorful ribbons and awards. At first, Eric wondered if he had something to do with the Boy Scouts. The pamphlets and fliers all had “US ARMY” written all over them.
“How did you know what I was thinking?” Eric asked.
“Because you look like a person who isn’t sure where he is going in life,” replied Sgt. Taylor.
“Are you one of those mind mages that enter people’s heads?” he asked again.
“No, but you had the same look on your face I did so many years ago before I joined. I’m going, to be honest with you. The Army had changed my life. I was in a dead-end job, college dropout, and was getting into constant trouble. The Judge told me I could either join the service or go to jail. I’ve seen the world, fought along friends, and meet some of the best people on the face of the planet.”
“I’m not really that physical,” he said looking for a way to back out.
“Neither was I. Before I joined I was 105 soaking wet.” He flexed his arms. His biceps looked like they were going to break out of their sleeves like Popeye. “Don’t believe me?” he reached into his pocket and pulled out a picture and showed it to him. Sure enough, a young, thinner Taylor stared wide-eyed into the camera. He was a deer caught in headlights. Eric stared back at him, he was exuding confidence and character he wishes he had.
“Does the Army accept magic users?”
Sgt. Taylor’s face lit up like a Christmas tree, then his poker face kicked in. “Say again?” he asked.
“I mean, if I can work magic would the Army want me? He let me show you.” Eric said. He closed his eyes and felt a wave of energy flow through his veins and body. The pamphlets got up and started to dance around in circles. The recruiter leaned really close to him and asked quietly, “So have you heard about the 75-Lima program the Army has to offer?”
“What is it?” he asked.
“It’s a brand new school exclusively for magic users and those with psychic talent. You wouldn’t go through normal basic training with regular soldiers. This would be more mentally intense, and geared towards honing your skills.”
He took the pamphlet and began to thumb through it, looking at the pictures carefully. He pictured himself in a uniform. Then his mind thought of him slugging it out in the mountains of Afghanistan and saving the day. Then he looked at the pictures of the Special Forces in their gear, hunting terrorists in some remote village in war-torn Pakistan with the help of the Indian military.
“What is this all about?” he asked pointing to a picture of soldiers in Ranger school.
“The Army Rangers, it’s one of the toughest schools in the world. Only the best of the best are allowed to join.” He replied. Eric’s mind was excited at the possibilities. Maybe this was what he needed to forget about Kendra. This is what he needed to get away from his do-nothing father. Here he could be his own man.
“So how old are you?” the recruiter asked.
“I just turned 20, sir.” He replied and pulled out his Texas identification, he had yet to learn how to drive.
“This is only one problem, because of all the crap going on with China and India my father would strangle me. Is there any way we can keep this on the down-low?” he quietly asked the recruiter.
“Let’s have you take a few tests and we can see what we can do from there. Ok?” he replied. Eric nodded in agreement.
Over the course of the next few weeks, he was administered several tests. One test was the ASVAP. This was the regular test the measure his mental skills. His score was average and didn’t show any special talent in one way or the other. He was given a second battery of tests to measure his magical talent. This test was called the Bright Archer Test or BAT for short. Eric, after listening to the military people talk among each other, realized they all had an acronym fetish.
When he received his results he was discouraged at the low scores. Though the recruiter said he shouldn’t be upset because everyone had to start somewhere.
The scores to his BAT test were as follows:
Matter Manipulation: 1/5
Mental Ability: 1/5
The paperwork had something else, which said “TOP SECRET” on it, which made Eric feel important. Even after he was shown the paperwork he wasn’t allowed to keep it. It had other stuff written on it, but he didn’t understand what it all meant. After a few hours of standing in various lines and talking with even more people (he was starting to flash back to his interview with the 4D Company) he was offered a contract. It had a $10,000 sign on bonus, an offer for Ranger School (provided he graduated basic training), a rank of E-2 and three-year service contract. He quickly signed his name on the solid line (computer pad that put his signature on the computer screen). The only problem was how he would tell his father.
Dr. C. Cat (the one and only) is the first economic conservative cat blogger. While I was accused of not being a cat because I have paws, I laughed. I learned how to work around my disability, and make it an ability. If you wish to donate to me, please send me all the tuna you have in the house. I would be sure to send back an empty can so it can recycled.