The two of you continued to make progress through Basic. A few other bucks joined your gym weight lifting crew. They were all hunks but all straight and not into any shower antics. There were a few questions about the size of your nipples, and a lot of playful grab-assing, but nothing came of it. The six of you packed on muscle and asked the sarge for larger sized shorts. He countermanded the order. All of you had to wear very revealing workout gear. You remember him watching your PT drills. He was often seen scratching his crotch.
Then there was that September day when the six of you were called into the camp commander’s office. His comments were terse:
“I have been told by Army Command in DC to propose the following: you boys have made excellent progress in the training programs here and Command wants to form another special ops unit. You six will be the nucleus. It will be off the books, completely. You will move to LeJeune and train there. That is all I can tell you at this time.”
He stopped for a minute to let it sink in, then he went to each of you: “What is your decision, private?”
You remember the strong “yes, sir” in your voice, the feeling of commitment surging through you. The other guys also agreed. Paul smiled over at you with a wide-eyed look of glee. You remember the six of you going to the camp canteen that night and celebrating over beers, still shirtless in the friggin’ tight shorts. You had fun even though none of you knew quite what you were celebrating. That night in bed all you could think of was special ops POWs getting tortured. You remember a good JO. Paul’s cot creaked, too.
The training at LeJeune was held in a small building dedicated to only the six of you and located in a deserted area of the camp for security. The training was intense: heavy PT (again with friggin’ tight shorts), advanced computer weaponry, stealth tactics, fourteen ways to kill someone with your bare hands, ten ways with a knife, swimming, even Spanish lessons. Because of his size Paul was elected to be the group’s leader. There had to be one person in charge and Paul did have a forceful personality. You easily fell into addressing him as “sir.” Something deeper in you felt it fit.
They told you the objective was to make the six of you into the Army equivalent of Navy Seals, specializing in drug cartel operations. Guess it worked. You vividly remember when the six of you got your first mission. The mission itself was memorable, but that’s also when “it” happened, the final fulfillment of your fondest JO fantasies: POW torture.
The mission that night was supposed to be fairly direct: sneak in UCOD, Army slang for “under cover of darkness.” It was to be a moonless night. The plan was to silently eliminate the enemy guards using techniques you were all superbly trained for. Once the perimeter guards were neutralized (Army term for “dead”), you all went in to get Mr. Big, the cartel’s leader. So far, so good.
What was not counted on was the hidden smoke bombs wired up inside the compound as a last ditch defense. When the cartel goons set them off, it was chaos. The plan was almost shot to hell. Four of your team managed to snag the target, knock him out, and drag him off to finish the mission. You, however, became nauseated and disoriented due to your proximity to the bombs. You fell to your knees. You remember another member of your team coming through the smoke towards you. The guards inside the compound snagged you first. You were pushed to the floor, tied up, and tightly rope gagged even before the smoke cleared. You vaguely saw your other team member pushed to the floor, too. Your comrades didn’t miss the two of you until it was too late to return for a rescue.
You remember a cloth sack being quickly pushed down over your head and tied off at the neck. Then you were prodded into the back of a truck, thrown onto the metal truck bed. You felt another body pushed against yours, most likely your other captured team member. You could tell by the sound of his grunts that the other guy with you was Paul, your lifting and shower buddy, and CO of the team. He was the one coming towards you, trying to help you. The canvas hood on your head muddled sensations. The ropes on your wrists and ankles hurt. The gag was making you drool. You lost track of time as you bounced on the metal.
The nausea wore off quickly enough, but it was replaced by a stronger feeling: fear, the knot in your stomach, the certainty of a nasty interrogation in your direct future. Yes, you had been trained for this and you excelled in handling the pain used in the training, but all the instructors cautioned that the reality of torture was vastly worse than anything they could muster in a training course. Their final recommendation was simple: don’t fight it, don’t try to be brave, simply scream your fuckin’ guts out and try to pass out.