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Chapter 1: Wilderness Studies


New Frontiers GM
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The Aoshima Academy had instituted some new classes that were required for graduation from all course tracks, which caused a mild level of panic for some of the senior class,  as this was done after classes were set.  Still allowances were made, and surprisingly extra instructors were added to help with this problem.

One of the classes that was added was History of Warfare.  It was a fairly comprehensive class, not quite like the classes on Theory and Application that the military track students had to take, this was a class about human history, through the lens of warfare.   It had begun with a study of warfare taken from antiquity, which offered an insight at least in just how far humanity had come in terms of ability to wage war.  Because they were seniors, in their final year at the Academy, Ray, Kazuya, Beth, and Yiva shared this class, which began their morning classes, and they shared their final class of the day, Wilderness Survival.  

Among their class of twenty, Yiva and Kazuya were easily the most accustomed to the wilderness, and a month in, they'd not really learned much.  Still class requirements being what they were, it was an easy completetion for them, and the first "Field trip" would run Friday afternoon through Sunday Afternoon.  
 

The students, along with their Instructor and three assistants from the WG Marine garrison would be brought to Shikishima  Forest for a camping trip, to put into practice what they'd already learned in class.  This first trip was more like a camping excursion, they were allowed tents, a day's foodstuffs, and nearly anything they could carry themselves to bring along.
 

The trip would begin tomorrow, so for now, they would be formed up into teams, as there would be a light competition while they were out in the field.   Their instructor, Professor Nashi Nakamura, was a WGM Veteran, and from the small pin he wore on his collar, he was a former member of the Blackhearts, one of the three special forces commands, which specialized in terrestrial warfare.
 

As their names were called for group two, Mira Asahina was also called, as the class was divided into quarters.  Mira was in the Academy's Nursing program, and one of the most promising.  Kazuya knew Aoshima General already had "scouted" her as he'd overheard the phone call by accident.   She preferred the beaches of Aoshima to the woodlands.   
 

Their groups assigned, they were told to spend the rest of the class planning for their excursion.  Ray and Kazuya were both at their desks by the window, and Beth, Yiva, and Mira came over.
 

Kazuya looked up and smiled at the girls, and nodded.   "So we go with two tents for sure.  Somehow I don't think you'll want to share one.   If you don't have one that'll fit three people I can bring one."  
 

"We'll need to bring food, and some water, and means to purify more.   it's going to be pretty warm, over 85  during the day, and there's a fair chance we're gonna get rained on, so plan your attire accordingly.  Expect that we will have to do a fair amount of hiking too."

 

Mira nodded.  "I'll handle medical supplies, and I can probably manage some of the food, water, and your bedroll if you're going to carry two tents."   

 

Kazuya chuckled.  "Well I was gonna carry one, and ask either Ray or Yiva to carry the other, but thanks for the offer.  I definitely want you to handle medical supplies, but we can divy up the work how best suits all of us."   He looked to the others, an invitation to offer their thoughts. 

 

Spoiler

Mira
College student Asuka [Evangelion] : r/awwnime



 

Spoiler

Assassin host?! | Assassination classroom, Assasination classroom, Classroom

professor nakamura

 

Edited by Shameless
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Yiva leaned up against the window while Kazuya and Mira talked food and medicine. Camping, hmph, camping was not wilderness survival, it was camping, those super sweet and sickeningly marshmallow things burned in the fire, those horrible smores. This was supposed to be a survival course and so far it had barley scratch the surface of what it takes to survive in a wilderness, something she had been training to do since she was born.

 

"Don't overload yourselves. All we need is one large med kit and personnel first aid kits for each of us. We each need good hiking boots, a rain poncho and sturdy clothes. Rain or shine it is going to be hot and humid, you will need clothes that breath due to the humidity, heavy rain gear will just make you dehydrate from sweating.

 

And everyone will need a good knife, survival or hunting kind will do, but a multi purpose combat knife would be better."

 

She looks over at Kazuya, "Do you know if we are allowed firearms or bows?"

 

 

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Kazuya looked at the list of prohibited items on his  phone and shook his head. "We're allowed the knives but nothing else as far as weapons.   This is probably just a "get your feet wet" exercise.  That's why we're being allowed so much gear.  I bet by the end of this course, they'll drop us with a knife, our clothes and have us hike a hundred miles through the mountains."

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The idea of 'camping' was utterly foreign to Annabeth, and for a second the question of what to bring sounded absurd in her head.

 

What to wear? Well, a full environment suit would simultaneously solve the problems of heat and rain and cold! What to bring? Inflatable pressure shelter, ration bars, solar collectors, portable water/oxygen reclamation unit...then the rest of her brain caught up with where they were going. Didn't need water or oxy reclamation, the planet was literally made of the stuff. And the local gravity was too strong for full environment suits...but maybe something lighter?

 

"Well," she said at last, "I can definitely hook us up with the pressure shelters, ration bars and solar collector. And if we have a little time I can probably work in a good GPS navigator too. Those satellites REALLY make it a breeze to figure out where you are planetside! Um. For rain? We...can get a big tarp and I can have Helperbot fly over us with it spread out! Sort of like a portable shelter!"

 

As she brainstormed, more ideas kept coming to her as well. Maybe some kind of wicking underlayer for a jumpsuit would help with temperature maintenance without adding much bulk? She had to try that out!

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Ray smiled, his eyes alight with mirth, "I think that they are taking it easy with us to begin with, like you said. I don't know what'll happen in the future, but this sounds very interesting. Rain gear and waterproof backpacks are going to be very useful, as are water purification tablets. Maybe we can get backpacks with a built in water bladder, which would help and carry more water than a canteen. The other thing I'd suggest adding to the list is a couple of plasma lighters. They're small, quick to use, and very effective at starting fires. Oh, and I'll gladly carry a tent, in addition to my bedroll. " He leaned against the window sill, his uniform jacket fluttering in the slight breeze coming in the window. "I agree with Yiva. Get boots with good ankle support that are very comfortable. We'll be walking a lot."

Edited by Veral
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Kazuya nodded.  "Well we do alot of Camping, so I've got most everything you mentioned, but I don't really have extra.  If any of you want to go this afternoon to get anything you're missing, I can at least bring you where you can get it."  Kazuya had his own hovercar, the same he'd had before coming to the Academy, a legacy of bringing his sister to school growing up.  

He looked to Beth.  "You won't need all of that, more than that, you have to be able to carry what you bring for the most part.  I think just the basics,  Good clothes, boots, and a bedroll that's comfortable.   Food and water, and like Ray said, maybe a plasma lighter. "   He smiled  "You can bring what you like, but there's only so much we can carry.  I can safely say this is the only time they'll let us bring a full kit."

He turned his gaze to Yiva.  "Do you have a small fishing kit you can bring?  We've got some stuff for regular fishing in the lake and ocean, but nothing that'd be good to bring while camping?"

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Yiva nodded, and they all made plans to meet after their day was done at the Academy.   They traveled together, There was just enough room with the two guys in front and the three girls in the back, and Kazuya smiled.   "This will be fun, even if it's sorta just a nature hike and some camping."

Georgi's Emporium was a shop run by an ex-military man named Georgi Illyaev.  He'd been a pilot with dozens of confirmed kills before retiring here to his homeworld.   He opened the shop because he loved the great outdoors, and carried nearly everything a person could want.   Much of it was FHI manufactured, though he had some specialty items they didn't offer.  

It was here that everyone got the gear they needed, though it was a team effort to keep Beth from getting too much.   Clothes were purchased, and the various rations and supplies.   Mira got a large medkit, and they got several smaller ones for each of them.  Yiva got a survival knife, which also had a cordsaw and some matches in the pommel.  She also got a shelter half, and a good sleeping bag.  Ray got what he needed, and Kazuya as well, including a small fishing kit.   

It all came out to a substantial order, and before anyone could pull out their terminals to pay, Mira had hers out, and paid for the whole thing.   "This is on me.  After all, I'm probably going to hold you back the most, least I can do is pay for our gear."   Mira sighed.   The hike would be hardest on her and Beth.  Something few knew about Mira was that her family was actually quite wealthy.  

The decision was made to go eat together, with the provisio that Mira didn't pay this time.   They sat in one of the smaller diners, their drinks had come, but not the main meal.  Kazuya looked to his teammates.  "So make sure you all get plenty of rest.  We'll be having to hike, and make sure everything's together.  When we meet up we can check eachother's gear, to be sure.  A second set of eyes is always good.

 

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Ugh, walking. Annabeth wasn't looking forward to that, truth be told. It was fun for a while, but it got old fast. Especially if you had to carry a lot of stuff! It was easier in micrograv. You just kept everything in a sealable pouch or bag, tether it, and you're fine. You had to be careful of momentum, but there wasn't a constant force dragging you away from where you wanted to go. Unless you were under acceleration, but then you just stayed in your chair.

 

But this was what it took! She squared her jaw at that and nodded at herself. Even so, there were staples missing from the list. Some of it was small and light enough that either she or Helper could carry it. Hm. Scratch the pressure shelters...most of the solar array, though she'd want to bring something that could at least trickle-charge some stuff...and no tarp. Anna had been proud of the lateral thinking on that one too. Ration bars? Totally fine. GPS? Handheld! Fine! Oof, the sleeping bag was heavy though. BUT...silver lining...you could store stuff in it! No need for a backpack! Though a light aluminum frame to hold the sleeping bag LIKE a backpack...yeah, that'd be good...

 

"Thanks for covering some that gear, Mira," she offered her hiking buddy then. "I can pay you back when my student stipend comes in later. Oh! I remember now though. We have food, but what are we using to cook it? Did we get a minifurnace or anything? I missed it. Also! Water. It's really heavy. Can we get it from the environment? Or...do we have to carry it?"

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When the food came, Yiva took her bowl of noodles and A0-chicken, while narrowing her eyes at Annabeth. "Annabeth, did you pay any attention in our classes at all?  You gather wood, stack it and light a fire, then you cook. Although with all that processed crap you bought to eat, I don't know why you would bother."

 

Stubbornly Yiva produced a fork to dig into her noodles, drawling some stares from other tables where everyone used the traditional sticks. Her  own companions (she stubbornly refused to call them friends cause SHE didn't need friends, afterall) were used to her and barely noticed the minor transgression except for Mira who wondered where the fork came from since the Noodle Bar didn't supply the unorthodox and archaic eating tools.

 

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"We can get water from the environment, but it does mean some more hiking I think.   We'll bring what we need, but if we end up needing more, we'll worry about that when it happens.  We have the means to get it, one way or another."  Kazuya answered Beth with a smile.  "This first time out really shouldn't be too bad."

He ate his own ramen, and sighed.  

Mira was all smiles, even when she noticed Yiva being different, but she said nothing about it.  "I just hope we won't need the medkit."

Kazuya chuckled. "Well, yeah, you not having to use those skills would make this trip good for everyone else.  Still it's far better to be prepared than not.  We can all take turns navigating, and doing everything.   We'll have a chaperone too, so I don't expect too much trouble."

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Ray smiled, "Not expecting much trouble? I say prepare as if we know there will be all the trouble in the world. After all, no plan survives contact with the enemy... or mother nature. As for the water, I plan on brining quite a few water purification tablets."

 

He slurped up a good mouthful of noodles, chewed quietly for a bit and then swallowed. "I just wonder who our chaperone will be. What program do you think they'll be from? I'm guessing the military program, but it could be something else. "

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"Ray is correct," Yiva said, putting her fork down and picking up her bottle of water, "water is heavy. Each of us should only carry enough for one day. That is two to three liters. We should assume that they will place us at a location where fresh water is available even if not readily. But.'

 

She pauses as if what she is about to say is distasteful, "But, they do make small portable hydro extractors that don't weigh much, they can pull several liters of water out of the air, how much depends on humidity. That could prove to be a worthwhile expense I will contribute too. I'm sure Annabeth could choose us one of good value."

 

She glances at Ray, "As for chaperone, it doesn't matter as this is not a test istuation, but more than likely it will be a teacher , probably form one of the survival classes or the environmental studies department." She shrugs.

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Kazuya nodded.  "We do have one of the extractors at home, if you guys want, i'll bring it."   He didn't really think it was something that they needed so much, but hey, they were right, be prepared for anything.  When they looked at him he shrugged.  "My family does alot of hiking and camping, hell most of our vacations are camping somewhere on planet.  We have pretty much all the gear, but it's not like I can just use all of it at any time."

He went back to his food as Mira nodded.  "Yeah, we will need our own gear for the course, and we'll have it if any of us choose to go camping once we graduate too."   

Kazuya chuckled.  "This first one will be fairly normal. I really do expect them to reduce the allowable gear by the end of the year.   If we end up with clothes, and a knife, I'd not be surprised.  He looked at his commlink. "Everyone get the BEACON app and activate it?"

BEACON was an app that linked the commlink to a gps system and would serve as a panic button should it be required, allowing them to call for help, anywhere on the surface of Aoshima.   "We can't use it's other functions like mapping, but it's good to have."

 

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Yiva scoffed, "Yes, mama, we will be sure to activate the app."

 

She picked up her dishes and stood, "We best get going, we still have much to do."  She let her gaze travel around taking in her companions, aside from Kazuya and maybe Ray none of them had the experience that she had with the outdoors, with living in a harsh environment that could kill you even when you knew the rules and had taken all the precautions. Camping was a joke, Yiva wanted to know how her friends would stand up in a real wilderness.

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Annabeth consulted her phone and discovered that, yes indeed, BEACON was working. That'd save her the time getting some alternative GPS together...or wait, no it wouldn't. The mapping was locked out. What...but then what... What was the POINT then?! Argh!

 

"Yep...I agree with Yiva, lets get going," she said absently as she started fiddling with the phone, seeing if she could work out some way around the lockout. There were a lot of apps that used the mapping function after all...maybe one of them could be manipulated to show the map even if BEACON refused to do it directly... As such she was far too absorbed to even realize Yiva had looked at her, let alone try to return the look with steely-eyed determination, as she might have at least tried to do.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kazuya shrugged.  "you joke because you've done this sort of thing before, but at least two in our group haven't."  He chuckled. "We'll get them used to it, and then we can do it for fun without the chaperones."

As the meeting went on they finished going over things, and who was carrying what.   When the day of the trip arrived, they like all their class, had their gear, and surprisingly, they actually had less than many others brought, though theirs was far more organized.  They were introduced to Corporal Lance Sloan, an actual Marine from the UW garrison, and he was amicable enough, as they rode in a VTOL to the exercise site.  "Where we are conducting this exercise is untraveled, though it was scouted out beforehand by myself and the other chaperones."

"How did you get selected for this, Corporal Sloan?"  Mira asked.

"I volunteered.  It was this, or more days of drill, and this lets me get out in the Aoshima wilderness, so I figured it'd be a good change of pace."  The young Corporal's reply was sincere.  "Besides, my Sergeant said that since this was a last minute course addition for most of you, we needed to put in some effort for ensure things go well for all of you."  

 

Spoiler

You are in a ion thruster VTOL, fairly common transport, you've got whatever gear you want to bring along.  What sets this apart from say a helicopter is that it's fairly quiet, and you can hear each other easily.  The other groups are all in their own transports, so it's just the five of you and Corporal Sloan.  He is fairly young, and seems competent.  Below you all you can see are the forests of Aoshima, in this case a thick pine forest.

Sloan
 image.jpeg.f9581da459973353ce3e04ac93fcce29.jpeg

 

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"Why all the rush?"  Yiva had been her usual standoffish self during the whole flight up to now, speaking with a grunt and a shake or nod of the head only when spoken too.  "It seems they could have taken the time to set the classes and curriculum up and put it in place for next term.

 

Since they didn't, instead interrupting what is most of ours last term at this school, I think there must be a reason  that they have not felt forthcoming about. Do you know what it is?" She fixed the young soldier, really only a couple of years older than them, with her best steely stare.

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"No, Miss West, I do not."  The corporal replied.  it wasn't even a lie.  He thought it odd too, but he certainly wasn't high enough in the command structure to be told.   "They've stepped up the number of drills we have, but given what's been happening with the Insurrectionists, it makes some sense."

"It's good training to have though, and this round is at least far less intense than anything we do doing our field exercises."

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"It is Vest." She smirks at the soldier, "And this camping trip is an insult. If you want to teach how to survive in the wilderness you teach how to survive in the wilderness, not with tents, and packaged food, and sunscreen." Yiva kicks her pack, smaller than everyone else's, at her feet. 

 

"This is a waste of time."

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"I'm sure we'll get to true survival training as the course goes on, Miss Vest."  He smiled back at her.  "But of your particular class, only 5 of you have any real experience in the wilderness.   The fact that two of you are in the same group is strange, but not my call.  This is just to get your feet wet, for those who haven't really done this before."

Kazuya chuckled.  "Like I said before, Yiva.  By the end of the course, it'll just be clothes on our backs and a hunting knife with a 200 km hike."

Mira looked horrified at the prospect of that.  "You don't really think it'll be that bad..."

Kazuya smirked.  "Maybe not, but then again it could be worse, they might make it a race."

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"I'd think they'd prefer to have us cooperate more than focus on competition. May I ask why the military is doing the training for wilderness studies? Is it because the professors aren't the type to get their hands dirty? or is it that there are just too many students doing this at this time, so they called in reinforcements, Corporal? Oh! Was there anything unusual you and the other chaperones found out here?"  Ray peppered the Corporal with questions to pass the time, and to learn some basic information. 

 

Once the questions he came up with are done, he settles back in to wait for the answers. In his mind, he sighed and thought, "At least no one is asking 'are we there yet?' "

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the Corporal shrugged.  "They didn't say, honestly. They just said this had to be done, and figured a few of us would be good chaperones, enough to make sure  you all make it back."  

He shook his head.  "No monsters or anything out there, just unspoiled wilderness.  The kind that they swear will always exist on this world."

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The groups set down at predetermined locations, and each would be hiking twenty miles towards a central area that happened to be a large clearing.
 

The first day's hike went well enough, getting halfway with no major difficulties.  In truth, the group had taken it more slowly, electing to emjoy the scenery, and keep to a steady if somewhat slower pace so it didn't exhaust any member.
 

The tents were set up, and meals prepared, all around a campfire that Kazuya had prepared for them against the unseasonably cold night winds.   They had food and water, and the corporal largely stayed in the background, helpful if asked to do something, but generally he didn't try to control the journey beyond keeping them on the correct heading.
 

In the middle of the night, however, Everyone was awakened by what first sounded like a roaring wind, growing louder and louder, and the earth shook mightily.   Earthquakes were virtually unheard of in the Cities of Aoshima, but still drills were held.   
 

The quakes quickly subsided, and immediately, Sloan took out his radio to call it in.   There was only one issue.  There was nothing but static.
 

Kazuya and Ray had been asleep in their tent, and woke at the sound, emerging once it subsided, heading for the girls' tent, heedless of the fact they were still dressed in sleeping clothing.  "Mira, Yiva, Beth, are you all okay?"
 

He at least had the sense not to open their tent right away, though if there was no answer, he'd have to risk that level of fury.

 

Spoiler

so if anyone checks, no communications devices are able to function properly.  they "Work" but cannot connect to anything, not even other local devices. this includes any satellite communications and the gps tracking systems.

if anyone looks at the sky, or an area roughly 200m back where they came, make me a perception check, dc 15.


 

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Ray stopped short of the girl's tent and began looking around. His senses were all on edge as the "quake" had shocked him, since this place was tectonically stable. He shuddered as he considered what the causes might be, then he checked his GPS. Seeing that there was no reading, he looked up towards the stars, wondering what the hell happened. 

 

Spoiler

Dozer — Today at 12:26 AM
!roll 2d6+9

Dice Maiden
BOT
 — Today at 12:26 AM
Dozer Roll: [6, 6] Result: 21

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The tent flap jerked open and Kyzuya took the full force of Yiva's glare, "What are you doing? Move away, we are not helpless." She exited the tent mumbling under her breath, "Seksistinen sika."

 

Checking her own wrist chronometer and seeing the lack of a signal, "Earthquakes do not effect electronics, or GPS satellites, but attacks do." The young woman looks at the corporal.

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