Archive-title: Anderson's Training
Anderson asked the logical question: "Now what?"
"We'll handle this just like a standard set of permanent
orders." He pulled the desk drawer open and handed Anderson a
piece of paper, it was another set of BuPers message orders. When
the standard wording was translated, it read that Lt Anderson was
to be detached from his current duty station, take 30 days' leave
(known as "delrep" for "delay in reporting") and report to the
military air terminal at McGuire Air Force Base in civilian
clothes; he was not to use his own vehicle to get there. His
personal effects (known as "household goods" or "HHG") were to be
put in storage at government expense for the duration of the
orders. "You won't be stationed at McGuire," Col. Hampton
explained, "That's where we'll be picking you up. Bring three
days' worth of clothes. The Commodore of DesRon 2 has already
written a detaching fitness report, you'll sign it when you get to
where you're going after your leave.
"So go home and get your personal life in order. Make sure
you're parents know that you're going to be out of touch for a long
time, it may be a few years before they get to see you." He handed
Anderson a card. "They can call this number in case of an
emergency, but make damn sure they understand that doesn't include
anything less than imminent death. And make sure they know that
you may not be able to come back for any kind of emergency. You
can use the address on the card as a forwarding address for your
"Where am I going?"
"You'll know when you get there, Sherry. The same lady who
drove you here will take you back to your transportation. See you
in a month."
Anderson left the room. Hampton watched him go and sighed.
He was getting to have too much time in this assignment, he told
himself. At first, he thought of the program as a way to gain some
use from worthless deviates. But now, he knew that the men he
recruited were fine people, they simply had a different
orientation. Hampton now knew that tossing them out was a waste;
now at least he could do something with some of them.
The woman drove Anderson to a third airport, this one was
considerably larger than the other two and had a control tower.
This time, he was shown to a Sabrejet bizjet that was painted in
USAF colors. The jet took him to Langely AFB. The same man who
had taken his car keys at the Norfolk airport handed them back to
him. Anderson found his car and went home.
It took four days to arrange for the movers to come and take
everything he couldn't fit into his car. Then he went home. The
leave was less than satisfying; neither one of his parents were
supportive of his desire to stay on active duty. Anderson visited
his brother and left him the car and his personal gear (including
a fair number of firearms). He did a little bit of traveling, and
presented himself to the military air terminal at McGuire with two
weeks' worth of leave remaining.
The Air Force sergeant who was at the receiving desk read
Anderson's orders and then checked a file. She told Anderson to
go check into the transient BOQ and stay there; he'd be notified
when his flight was called. Anderson had taken MAC flights before,
one normally has to wait at the terminal for one's name to move up
the waiting list. This treatment mystified him, but he just did
as she told him to.
The phone in his room rang a day and a half later. Anderson
switched on a light, picked it up and muttered his name into the
"Lieutenant Anderson? Master Sergeant Wilkes at the MAC desk.
Your flight leaves at 0430. A car will be at the Q at 0410 to pick
"What time is it now?"
"A little after three, sir."
"All right, thanks." Anderson set the handset back into the
cradle. Fucking zoomies, scheduling a flight on the rev watch.
Oh, well. He rolled out of bed, shaved and showered. The desk was
open 24 hours, he was checked out by four and waiting for his ride.
An airman came over to him. "Are you LT Anderson?"
"May I see your ID, sir?" Anderson handed it to him. The
airman looked it over and handed it back. "Come with me, sir."
He led the way to a "blue steelie," Air Force lingo for an issue
sedan. Anderson got into the right-side seat. He was a little
surprised when the airman passed by the MAC terminal and drove to
a hangar after passing a security check from the APs, who were
wearing woodland camo uniforms and carrying M-16A2s. The airman
drove out onto the ramp and up to an Air Force C-12, their version
of the Beech King Air. This one had seen better days, it was set
up as a cargo carrier (or "trash hauler"), complete with a load of
cargo. The pilot, a woman in a USAF pilot's jumpsuit with
captain's bars waved him on board. Anderson stowed his bag between
two crates and settled into the right seat.
"You might want to put on that headset," she said. "This old
beast can get pretty loud."
Anderson did so, adjusting the headset to fit and the boom
mike to almost touch his mouth. "Can you hear me?"
"Sure can." The pilot ran through the starting procedure with
the economy of motion born of great amounts of practice. She soon
had both PT-6 engines turning. She received her IFR and taxi
clearances, then taxied out to the runway. They had to wait for
the wake of a departing C-5 to dissipate, then they were on their
The flight went to Wisconsin, Anderson guessed. He could
recognize Lake Michigan and he did his best to follow along with
the air traffic controllers working the airplane. Dawn was
breaking when the pilot started her descent. There was nothing but
woods, then he saw a small town next to an airport. When they
landed, he looked with surprise at the collection of airplanes on
the ramp. He hadn't seen so many tailwheel airplanes in one place;
everything from a few J-3s up to three Twin Beeches, a C-46 and two
DC-3s. There were a few tricycle-geared airplanes, but damn few-
- a couple Cessna 172s, a Mooney, three Bonanzas and a King Air.
Everyhting was painted in civilian schemes, complete with N-
It looked like a civil airport in Alaska, except the man
coming out to greet them had an assault rifle slung over his
shoulder. He told Anderson to go to the line shack, then he
started talking to the pilot about refueling the C-12 and unloading
the cargo. Anderson trudged over to the shack. A woman with a no-
nonsense demeanor asked for his ID. She compared the card to a
list, then handed it over. She stuck out her hand and said:
"Welcome to school, Sherry. I'm Doris Stackpole. I'll be your
training coordinator while you're here at the school. Let's get
you situated. Come with me." Doris led the way out of the other
end of the building.
"What is this place?"
"It's a training facility for all sorts of students. Some of
the students are training for covert ops, some are here above
board. First rule is: Don't talk to anybody about who or what you
are or what you are here for. Everything around here runs on a
`need-to-know' basis. Understand?"
"Sure do." They had walked across the road to a small area
of townhouses. Doris led the way to one of them and opened the
door with a key, which she gave Anderson.
"This is yours for the duration of your stay." She showed
Anderson around. The townhouse was on two levels; upstairs were
two bedrooms and a bathroom, downstairs was a kitchen, dining area,
living room, a study (complete with a computer with a 19" screen)
and a half-bath. "You're getting this place because it's so close
to the field, most of your training is going to be in flying."
"Which of those planes will I be flying?"
Doris shrugged. "If you complete the course, all of them."
"Even the DC-3?"
"Yes, but you'll have a few other things to worry about."
Anderson didn't like her grin, but he'd do a lot to get a DC-3 type
rating. Doris went to the door. "You have an appointment. Bring
your stuff, they'll take it and issue you what you need."
Anderson followed along. They walked to a building almost a
half-mile away. There they went into a room where Doris told him
to strip to his underwear. Anderson did, two women came in and
started measuring his body; one measured, the other recorded. They
traced the outlines of his hands and feet. The real surprise was
when they measured penis size, both flaccid and erect. Anderson
was embarrassed at that, but the two were just doing their job and
did it. Afterwards, Doris gave him a pink terry-cloth robe and
told him to take his underwear off. She collected all of his
things and marched out of the room.
For the first time, Anderson was scared. He had no idea where
he was, had no money, no ID, and all he had was a pink bathrobe.
Doris returned about forty minutes later with some clothes.
She handed him a pair of white cotton panties, "I think you know
how to wear them," she said. Next was a yellow and black t-shirt,
a pair of white socks, women's blue jeans and a pair of Reebocks
that were white with pink trim. "Other clothes will be sent to
your apartment. Now, let's go to medical."
"Not like one you've ever had before." This time, they drove.
Doris had the keys to a jeep-like vehicle that ran on batteries.
She drove to a hospital that was a couple of miles away by road,
although it was right across the airfield.
Doris was somewhat right. It was a thorough physical; but the
difference came when they had Anderson lie down for a whole-body
CAT-scan. He almost freaked out; he had to lie on a very small
white tunnel while the machine hammered and whirred. He could have
sworn the thing was going to grind him up. After the scan, Doris
took him to the cafeteria for lunch. The food was about the same
as any other hospital, barely edible.
The PA system paged Doris when they had almost finished. She
left the table to answer it, then returned. "C'mon, Dr. Trotti
will see you now. We'll find out what he can do for you."
They finished quickly and left the cafeteria. Anderson wanted
to ask what was going to happen, but there were other people
Dr. Trotti was in his late 40s. He shook hands and led them
into a darkened room. There was a screen on the wall and an
overhead projector that could project computer images. "Sherry,
my field is reconstructive surgery, though maybe should say
constructive surgery. Take a look at this." He turned the screen
Anderson looked closely. The image was of a woman wearing a
tank top and a skirt that came to just above the knee. Her breasts
swelled the top and showed a little cleavage. The skirt clung to
nice hips. Her face was not that of a raving beauty, but she had
nice cheekbones and didn't look bad at all. "Who is she?"
"Yes." Dr. Trotti shifted to another screen. "This is your
skeletal structure.." He went into a lengthy discussion of how they
could modify Anderson's skeletal structure to make him look like
a woman, followed by a discourse of what plastic surgery techniques
they could use. Anderson felt the MEGO (for "Mine Eyes Glaze
Over") factor kicking in. Adding pieces here, taking pieces out
there. It wasn't his body, it was a biological erector set.
After Trotti said his piece, Anderson asked the key question:
"How much of this is reversible?"
Dr. Trotti considered that. "Most of it is. We can change
everything back that required surgical techiques. You are going
to need a fair amount of electrolysis for us to be able to
accomplish what we need to do. That isn't reversible." The doctor
just smiled. Almost everyone he had worked on asked that question.
He had done the reversal surgery on about five percent of those he
had worked on. But he didn't say anything.
"All right. When does the electrolysis start?"
"Right now," Doris said. They said goodbye to the doctor and
went to another part of the hospital. There a nurse injected a
painkiller similar to novocaine inside his mouth. She had him lie
on a table, then after about 30 minutes, she started to work.
Another nurse came in and started on the other side of his face.
Anderson could hear the humming of the machines and the occaisional
`zap' as a needle vaporized an oil pocket. The nurses would wipe
his face with an antiseptic every so often. He was very tired and
since he was feeling no pain, he fell asleep.
They woke him up four hours later. His lower face was wrapped
in a cold mask, it had tubing through which a chilled solution was
circulating. When they took the mask off, one of the nurses
closely inspected his face. "Not bad." She gave him a tube of
antiseptic ointment and a small bottle of pain pills. "See you
tomorrow," she said.
Anderson wanted to say something, but his face was numb.
Doris took him back to his townhouse. She showed him the clothes
hanging in the closet, mostly variations of what he was wearing:
jeans, different tops, several pairs of running and aerobics shoes.
There was an assortment of unisex-athletic gear.
"You get food by placing an order through your computer,
though you'll have to cook it yourself unless you order the
microwavable dinners; I recommend them as you won't have a lot of
time. The instructions are next to it, it's fairly self-evident.
You can order any books, tapes, CDs or videos the same way. The
computer also ties into the training database for unclassified
material; you'll be taught how that works starting tomorrow.
Anything you order will be placed on the living-room table, except
for perishables which will be put into your refridgerator or
freezer. There are some tapes by the VCR to start you off. I'll
be by tomorrow at 0730. Any questions?"
Anderson made writing motions. Doris found a tablet and a
pen. "Toothbrush? Razor," he wrote.
"Toothbrush is upstairs in the bathroom. No razor, it's
easier to work with longish hair. See you in the morning."
Anderson half-heartedly watched a video, then found a chicken
dinner in the freezer after his face denumbed enough to eat it.
He took a shower and rubbed the ointment over the areas where the
eletrolygists had worked. He soon fell asleep wondering waht
tomorrow would bring.
Tomorrow brought flight training. Doris took him to a
classroom next to the airport. She turned him over to an
instructor named Craig, who proceeded to start teaching him how to
fly by instruments. Classroom work was in the morning, simulator
work in the afternoon.
This routine went on for a solid month: electrolysis one day,
flight training the other. As Doris had promised, all the course
work was on a computer database, so Anderson was able to work on
the rating in the evening. The simulator gave way to an IFR-
capable Cessna 180; Anderson became able to fly an approach to
minimums and follow up with a good landing. "It's a lot harder in
a taildragger," Craig explained. The electrolyis was a lengthy
affair, Anderson sometimes had several techicians working on his
body: they removed all the hair from his face, the back of his
neck, his arms, legs, chest, and back. The process was always
accompanied by localized painkillers. They thinned his eyebrows
to ones that could be either masculine or feminine.
By the end of the month, Anderson had an instrument airplane
rating and the body hair of a woman.