Yellow Footprints Exam

Earth, Present day…

You are nervous as you sit in your jump seat in the back of the converted Danube Class runabout that is serving as the transport that has brought you and 49 other citizens to the Starfleet Marine Training Academy Induction Building.  Watching the landscape as the Runabout descends through the cloud layer, you see the massive Golden Gate Bridge and then to the south the Starfleet Marine Training Academy complex.  Another runabout is already landed and you see people filing out of the open hatch to stand in formation beside the runabout.

Drill instructors eagerly wait as the Runabout glides down to the landing marks outside of Receiving Company A.  As the runabout lowers its personnel ramp, a Starfleet Marine dressed in the black and green duty uniform of an Enlisted Marine sprints up the ramp and into the runabout.

“Sit up straight!” screams a drill instructor as he reaches the top of the ramp. “From this point forward you will only answer me with a ‘yes sir’, ‘no sir’ and ‘aye-aye sir’, do we understand?”

“Aye-aye sir,” the recruits reply in unison.

“I want you to reach down and grab your personal bag from under your seat.  Now you will all stand straight up and turn to your left to create a straight line behind the person that is now in front of you.”  Barks the Drill Instructor as he watches everyone move to follow his orders.

“Good, I think that is the best batch of Greenies I’ve had follow that order.  Now quickly move down the personnel ramp and take a spot next to the runabout on one set of the yellow footprints you will see painted on the ground.”  Says the Drill Instructor loudly as he looks over the mass of Recruits.  “If you normally have more than two biological feet, take one of the pairs on the back row of the yellow feet and put your front two feet into them.”

You carry your personal bag in your right hand as you follow the person in front of you down the ramp and out onto the landing platform.  Glowing yellow footprints have been marked in five rows of ten and you find a pair and quickly place your feet on top of those footprints and stand very still.

The Drill Instructor marches around the rough formation of civilians from the runabout, his sharp turn a stark contrast to rough way the civilians are standing. When he reaches the front of the formation, he turns and once more address the assembled civilians.

“You are now aboard the Starfleet Marine Corps Training Academy at Presidio Point, San Francisco, and you have just taken the first step toward becoming a member of the galaxy’s finest fighting force — the United Federation Starfleet Marine Corps.”  Says the Drill Instructor in a very loud and clear voice.  “You should be standing at ATTENTION, you should bring your heels together smartly (by moving the left foot only) and on line, by placing your heels as near each other as the conformation of the body permits and ensure that your feet are turned out equally, forming a 45-degree angle. Keep your legs straight without stiffening or locking your knees. Your body is erect with your hips level, your chest lifted, your back arched, and your shoulders square and even.  Your arms hang straight down alongside your body without stiffness, and your wrists are straight with your forearms. Place your thumbs, which are resting along the first joint of the forefinger, along the seams of your trousers or sides of your skirt. Your hands are cupped (but not clenched as a fist) with palms facing your leg. You will keep your head erect and held straight to your front with your chin drawn in slightly so that the axis of your head and neck is vertical.  Keep your eyes to the front, with your line of sight parallel to the ground. The weight of your body should be resting equally on the heels and balls of both your feet, and silence and immobility are required.  This is how a Starfleet Marine stands at attention.  Tens of thousands of Marines began outstanding service to Starfleet on the very footprints where you are standing. You will carry on their proud tradition.” 

Says the Drill Instructor in a very loud and clear voice.  “This, is the first day of your life as a member of the Starfleet Marine Corps, as such you will be expected to follow the orders of your superior commissioned officers.  Failure to follow such lawful commands will result in punishment.  The extent of that punishment can range from death to a court-martial depending on the situation.  Do you understand?”

“Aye, Aye Sir.” You shout out in reply with the rest of your training class.

“Good, maybe you will make it as Starfleet Marines after all.  When I give you the command ‘MARCH’ in a moment I will expect you to smartly step off straight ahead with your left foot, taking a three-quarter meter step, and place the heel on the ground first. When stepping off and while marching, you will use a coordinated arm swing; that is, right arm forward with the left leg and left arm forward with the right leg. The hands are cupped with the thumbs pointed down, and the arms hang straight, but not stiff, and swing naturally. The swing of the arms measures one-quarter of a meter to the front, measured from the rear of the hand to the front of the thigh, and one-quarter of a meter to the rear, measured from the front of the hand to the back of the thigh.  Do you understand?” barks the Drill Instructor again.

“Aye, Aye Sir.” You shout out in reply with the rest of your training class.

“Well this might be the brightest bunch of Greenies we have had to date.”  Shouts the Drill Instructor, “Now, MARCH!”

You follow the instructions and march forward.  The entire training class seems to march up to a pair of a large silver doors on the side of the building in front of you.

“HALT!” shouts the drill Instructor and everyone comes to a rapid stop, the woman behind you does not stop in time with the others and you feel her impact with your back.  Instantly there is another Drill Instructor beside her.

“Do they not teach you how to stop walking when you are told to on Andoria?” asks the new Drill Instructor as you fight not to turn to look at him.

“Now, when these silver doors open,” starts the first Drill Instructor as the new one still berates the Andorian woman behind you. “You will march through them and beside the rows of tables you will find inside.  Then you will take out one of the secure lockboxes from under that table and open it.  Inside that lockbox you will place ALL your personal effects.  The only things you will need to keep with you are the clothes you have on, for now, and the PADD with your recruitment information on it.  EVERYTHING else goes into the lockbox.  You will then close the lockbox and use your personal access code to secure it.  You will then touch your PADD to the top of the lockbox so that it will display your name.  Do you understand me?”

“Aye, Aye Sir.” You shout out in reply with the rest of your training class.

“Good.  You will then pick up the lockbox and take it with you as you move from those tables to make a new line in front of the door that has the symbol for your gender above it.  Now let’s see if you can make it into actually being Starfleet Marine Recruits.”  Says the first Drill Instructor as the huge silver doors slide open and the training class begins to march into the large room beyond.

You move up to stand beside the table the Drill Instructor had said would be there, your turn and notice that the tables were just wide enough for your training class’s formation to slips into without having to break the formation.  You take the lockbox from under the table and open it, inside you place your personal identification, your personal PADD, your wrist timepiece, and the chain from around your neck that holds the ancient presses piece of metal with your great-grandfather’s name on it as he served in the old Military of Earth.  You close and secure the lockbox as you had been instructed.  Taking a quick look around you see the door with the international symbol of your gender above it and taking the lockbox you quickly form up in the line that is forming in front of that door.

You stand quietly as one by one the people in the line in front of you are ushered through the door and then a pause before the next person is ushered through.  In no time at all it is your turn.

You walk through the door and are greeted by another Starfleet Marine, this time in the silver chevrons of an Enlisted.

“Your Recruitment PADD?” as the enlisted marine as he looks up at you.

You hand him your PADD with your recruitment paperwork on it.  He takes it and looks it over then looks back at you.

“Everything appears to be in order.” He says as he turns around and gathers items from the shelves behind him.  “This is your basic recruitment kit, you have one duffel bag, five full sets of undergarments, three training uniforms, two pairs of boots, and a personal hygiene kit appropriate for your species.  Now step through the door to your left.”  He says as he sets the pile of new items on top of your lockbox and hands you back your PADD.

You turn to your left and pass through another sliding door into a small room with a barber’s chair and a main in an all-white uniform.

“Please place your things on the table beside the chair and sit down.” Says the main in the white uniform.

As you sit down he takes out a pair of clippers and quickly removes all the hair on your head without any ceremony or even saying anything.

“Thank you, you may now stand up, gather up your stuff, and exit through the door to the left.” He says as he drops the clippers into a cleaning field.

You stand up and gather your stuff, your head feels strange without your hair, but much lighter now too.  You exit the room and enter a small dressing room.  A large sign on the wall instructs you to remove your personal clothing and place it into your secure lockbox, then relock the box and place it in the chute in the wall.  You dress in one of the training uniforms you were provided.  You store the other items you were provided in the duffel bag and picking up your PADD, you walk through the other door in the room and into the waiting face of a new Drill Instructor.

“Well Greenie, taking your sweet time in there?  PADD!” the new Drill Instructor barks as he holds out his hand.

You quickly hand over the PADD and adjust the duffle bag on your shoulder so you can stand straight and at attention how the first Drill Instructor had told you to.  The new Drill Instructor looks you over and hands you back your PADD.

“Looks like you are with Training Company Gamma, that is the Green building with the four black stripes around it.  You will find it down this path,“ the Drill Instructor says as he indicates a path just to the left of where he was standing. “I suggest you move it double time, Greenie.  Mess is in twenty minutes and if you are late it will be a very long day for you without your meal.”

As you move double time down the path with your duffle bag, you wonder to yourself just exactly what have you gotten yourself into.