“Your escort has arrived”
“This is F-3374-205-680. This one will help you here. B-4650-609-308 can take your baggage. Welcome to Europe!”
The moment B-4650-609-308 tag number was said, the 308 put his heels together and sharply saluted. 680 shook his hand with a firm grip.
“Hello” Said Simon with a smile. He turned to 308 and offered him his hand. “Hello!”
308 took the duffel bag and the small cabin bag of Simon but refused to shake hands with the visitor. Simon withdrew his hand a little nervous.
680 then led the Simon out of one the automatic doors and through the maze of the Airport. While they were walking Simon noticed groups of three black clad Guards walking patrolling the airport concourse that was otherwise not very busy.
“We will be at our vehicle soon, it’s a short ride to the Guard barracks then.”
“After the long sitting in the airplane, it feels good to walk a little bit.” Simon replied.
They arrived at a grey tanked armored personnel carrier. Without any key or whatever B-4650-609-308 opened a hatch. Simon looked at his caretaker.
680 smiled: “The lock knows who is allowed to enter and who not.”
“It communicates with the chip in our right hand”
“Do you have a chip in your right hand?”
“Yes, every Guardsman has one. Our sidearms only work if they sense a Guardsman chip, but the system is also used for doors and, of course, car keys.”
“Ahhhh. You definitely choose a large car to collect me” Simon laughed.
“Standard issue, let the driver sit in the front and we can have one of the rear seats.”
Inside the car was space for about 8 seats. These were individual seats that nicely conjured to the body shape of the person sitting there.
“We have to put on the seat restraint system”.
“Yeah, but a little bit more comprehensive.”
The Guardy took out restrained like devices, that covered the legs, put a strap over the body, then flawed down a contraption that secured the head, and then a strap for each arm. Simon was more or less unable to move, and unable to get out of the restraints if he needed to.
“There is a button under your right arm rest, you can reach it with a finger. You can press it and it releases you. But don’t do that until we have arrived. Or until we flip over”. The Guardsman looked at Simon and then laughed.
Simon was not sure, but then he laughed as well.
When 680 had looked himself in, he signaled for the driver to go.
“Just a precaution. This APC’s survive most attacks, but there were incident and flip overs so the safest way is to just secure yourself.”
The APC drove out of the airport and to what seemed a highway road. The traffic seemed to be light. They suddenly stopped.
“A most likely a rolling checkpoint. Our brothers will probably wave us through.”
After some minutes, Simon could see how they passed civilian vehicles and then accelerated again.
“IS this something special?”
“Oh no. Here in the capital region, security has to be tight.”
Simon was tired and, thus, did’t talk for some time.
“So F-3374-205-680, I’m a little bit puzzled. What is your name?”
“Name? Ah. We were told you might ask about this. Guardsmen shed their name at the beginning of our service. We then get our Guard Tag Number. That is how we identify. It’s for security purposes. We try to look as uniform as possible and if terrorists or the mafia find out the names, they can harm our families.”
“Hmmmm, that is strange. In Canada, the soldiers and policemen keep their names. We are careful but there’s no real additional threat to our families or friends.”
“It is strange for this one, to call you by your name. It feels dangerous. This one means no disrespect, but we are not entirely comfortable referring to you by your name. Is not the purpose of this exchange for you to learn from how we do things here? Should you not be learning how to be a Guardsman?”
There was a pause.
“Do you have a number?”
“Well, ahhhh, my service number? K16 514 624″
“We could just use the last three digits, call you six-two-four.”
“Not the strangest nickname I have been given in the service.” Simon laughed.
“This one has one too. But maybe better not tell you.” 680 laughed.
The vehicle approached a large wall.
A big concrete wall. There were vehicle barriers in front of them.
“Home sweet home” 680 said.
Simon must have fallen asleep.
“Are we at the barracks?”
The large metal gate opened and they continued to drive along the compound.
“Where do you take me?”
“We have a Guest house.”
After some time they arrived a concrete, but elegant building out of sight of the main base. The vehicle stopped and 680 helped Simon of his harness. Outside B-4650-609-308 had already taken the seabag.
They entered the building and came to a small suite. A bed, a bathroom, desk.
“B-4650-609-308 can set your things into the cupboard, but this one may show you the facilities. This is your key. Here you control the lights, this is a normal civilian bathroom. They walked out of the room: here we have a garden park area, this is the fitness room, here we will serve you the meals”
Simon noted that the garden was enclosed with a discreetly covered fence.
“Until tomorrow, this one has to ask you to stay here. The facility is more or less empty and for security reasons, we don’t want you to wander around. Our grounds are strictly patrolled and we do not want you to be harassed by out security teams. They may not understand your purpose here. You should not go anywhere without an escort. We will come tomorrow at 8:00 to collect you.
There are refreshments in the fridge in the dining room and a small snack.”
“Will you have dinner with me?”
“Our dinner is scheduled for later. Sorry.”
“Besides that our calorie intake is strictly controlled”.
When they returned to the room, 308 had already neatly arranged all of Simons items in one cupboard. Simon’s jaw dropped.
“Why are you going through my things? What’s going on here?”
308 looked at him puzzled. Then 680 interjected: “I told you B-4650-609-308 was going to set your things into the cupboard.”
Simon heard 308 speak the first time:
“This one thought that you needed assistance unpacking, sorry, Sir.”
“You have brought quite a collection: camouflage, dress, but what are these civilian clothes you are permitted to wear these?” 680 remarked.
“Sorry, Thank you for unpacking, 308… yes, I thought, I might be able to check out a pub or something one night.”
“No need to thank, Sir. Service is pleasure. I am sure that the uniform designating your military service would be most appropriate, Sir”.
680 interjected: “Tomorrow, you will wear your dress uniform, we have an audience with a Security Director.”
When the words “Security Director” were uttered, Simon thought, 308 back straighend and looked awe strung. But he was not sure and maybe it was just tiredness playing a game with him.
The two Guardsmen left.
He thought to himself: This is a strange behavior of the lower rank, very strict and obedient, hmmm, maybe, they just want to please, but they are a bit pushy and seem to only be able to see things one way. They have clearly got a very good indoctrination system for their recruits as these two have clearly got a high level of personal discipline. Let’s see how things play out tomorrow, I’m really tired after long flight.