Keep that up, Paul, and you will wish you had walked yourself to the hospital instead,” said the instructor, still smirking in the direction of Maryanne’s retreating back. All whispering stopped abruptly. He turned and faced them, his face stony once again.
“Like I said, and still maintain, you all need someone to teach you the seriousness of the weapons you use. This, warriors, is what I call real field training. You see all those ones we treated at the range? That was all child’s play. It isn’t field training if you aren’t in the field. Now, soldiers, ATTENTION!”
They all snapped out of their lax postures, wondering what the shout was about.
“Soldiers, I said AT ATTENTION!”
There was no dilly-dallying this time. They all were at attention in less than a second. He began walking round them, talking as he went.
“I have been going easy on all of you for too long, you have become so lazy, the lot of you! Now let’s get to business.”
He stopped before them.
“I’m sure none of you have seen exactly what’s inside those bags. Let me show you.”
He knelt and zipped open one of the bags that had been dumped unceremoniously on the floor, then began pulling out parts one after the other. It was hard for Chuks to see what the man was doing while standing at attention, but the parts their field instructor was bringing out looked just like the ones he had seen when he opened his bag on the bus while on the way here, rather like the spare parts of a pumping machine.
Instructor Max emptied the bag, then began assembling those parts one after the other. The finished product was a rocket launcher of heavy iron, with a bulbous rocket at the mouth of it. He stood, raising it on his shoulder for all of them to see.
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“What you have before you is called the M20 Super Bazooka, first used in the Vietnam war, which you must have heard a lot about. This anti-tank creates a twenty-three metre backblast zone when you launch it, which means you don’t stand directly behind it for anything if you like yourself.”
Instructor Max held the heavy, dangerous-looking weapon in both hands, looking at it fondly and speaking more to it than to them.
“It can fire from a distance of up to nine hundred yards at a speed of a hundred and two miles per hour and can penetrate armour of up to eleven inches thick, which means just about any tank in the world.”
He looked at them, still holding the rocket launcher against his shoulder.
“You carried one rocket each, which means each person can fire just one round. You only get one chance. Anyone who fires his rocket successfully is free for the rest of the day. As for anyone who does not. . . ” The Instructor merely smiled, that smile of his they had come to learn to like not one bit.
“Now, enough talking, let’s get to work. Assemble your rocket launcher, all of you, and let us begin field training.”