RCB/PlayStation similarities

Anyone else make this spookily fitting connection? Sitting playing Metal Gear Solid 3, it all came flooding back, in a blur of odd silverware and numbered vests.

I had'nt done badly with the RCB to that point. The command tasks had gone well. Leaderless tasks were a good laugh, and I'd managed to keep my elbows of the table in the Mess.

The next bit we were all dreading. Still wet from the shower we had to take in negative time, cheap (or not-so-cheap - frucking cav lot, -Daddy's bottomless cash-pit) suits sticking to shaking arms. This was the crunch. The Interviews.

"Who the fcuk is Paddy Anan?"
"Yah, I've read of this chap in Daddy's paper (not the single paper he means - the fcukin newspaper company...)"
"He's ahm, er, overseas aid minister for, ahm, the Girls Brigade, isn't he, yah?"

We all sat nervously exchanging (mostly wrong) 'intel' on the world's personalities, that we'd gleaned from the Torygraph over breakfast.

My turn came. Into the Corridor of Doom, a machine spitting out, then re-ingesting fraught looking PO's. Nervously grinning outside boringly painted doors. Each of the personalities on the Board were Bosses in a Playstation game ('Army Scholar: Are You Rahhh Enough?')
First door, First Boss: The Tankie Captain. He wanted to know about (I presume non-sexual...) Extra Curricular Activities. Luckily, I happened to be registered with the 'magical' D of E scheme.

"SPORT!" Barks Boss #1.
My health was well up. I was dodging all the fastball questions on hockey and cricket. His stamina gauge was falling as I threw 'fencing captain,' and 'Bisley Ashburton' titles at him. He was on the back foot. I was surprised - most people, I was told, got sorted out by this guy. The time was ripe, I saw my opportunity. He was fidgeting - the kind of fidget that says "As far as I'm concerned.... We'll get back to you." I timed it carefully. He was shuffling papers.
"I play a spot of Rugby"
He dropped his papers. His eyes lit up. He started dribbling and his eyes rolled like a moon-head who's just eaten paint.
At this stage, I knew he was going down. Just hoped by the look in his eye he didn’t intend to go down on me...
"Yes, play a spot for the school, and have represented the Island a couple of times..." I let it hang. He didn't know that the Guernsey RUFC had to use club funds to pay the front row's bail before the away match. Or that the GRUFC, at our age group, had 16 members. Which left my chances to represent the Island doing fairly well. Anyway, at that point, I had him. As far as he was concerned, as long as a PO played Rugger (yes, he did use that truly golden Biggles-like word), he had a sh1tload of P. And was good enough for The Factory. Evil Mr Red Pen nowhere in sight.

Outside, more waiting in a boring corridor. My mind was wondering ahead to the last boss. The biggest, the scariest, and of course, the most important. I knew what he would ask me. I had thought long and hard about this. My Rupertish ambitions had started early. Later on in my young life I realised that if I actually wanted to be in the front line, there was a good chance I may have to, well, you know. Could I? Would I have the nerve needed to look my enemy in the eyes, squarely, as I did? Was this flippant 'it's him or me' attitude real, or was it as a result of reading 'Charlie Three One' by Mandy McBlabb far too many times?
Outside, more waiting in a boring corridor. My mind was wondering ahead to the last boss.
The academic advisor!

"You have 579 apples to divide among your section of 7 men and one kosher Islamic woman who won't eat dairy. You're travelling in a Reliant Robin from Island A to Oil Rig B at a speed on 7.9 knots. How long does it take Rfn Henderson to tie his shoelaces."

Followed swiftly by:

"So, have you read Dickens?"
No time, boy. Next door is open. Second boss, the HeadTeacher is propped up behind a leather-topped desk. Think of a game plan, Sarnie. Fcuk. Too late, I'm in. She sits opposite me dressed entirely in beige. Smelling like a cross between a bus stop and a week-old mackerel. Smiling with a God-awful slack mouth painted in some kind of scarlet aircraft paint, she belches forth:
"What are your GCSE results, and what A-levels are you doing?"
This was too easy. I'd learned my grades all by myself that very morning.
She couldn’t scribble nearly as fast as I could babble. Pen was slipping. She was chewing avidly on the tongue that stuck out from the edge of the granny-vadge like chasm under her nose. Her health was fading. I'd all but beaten this one too - simply by remembering my grades! Excused, on my way to the door, she threw a low one.
"Ah, but which University are you looking to go to?" She thought it was a recovery. Thought I’d drop this one. Thought Sarnian would be slain where he stood.
"Why, Canterbury, Ma'am, to read War Studies!" Luckily, Iknewthatsheknewhthatiknew that I was not enough of a book-loving spodrick to make it to Kings, and read the same. The stakes were high. If I'd have said Kings, the red pen would have got to work: 'Ambitious, but slightly stupid as well. It would cost too much to humour him...'

Back in the corridor I took stock. I'd squarely beaten the last two bosses. Playing number four three days a week saw me through the first. Narcissistic realism and an 'a+' in History saw me through the second. But I knew that the last one could, quite possibly, end my eighteen-hour career in the British Army. I reckoned it all hung on the one question. It was the same thing my dear Mum asked me the day before, at the airport:
"but Sarnie, I know you want to be a soldier. But I dont want you to. I dont want you to have to... do that to someone else's son." Bless her. She couldn’t bring herself to say the 'k' word. In truth, I didn’t know if I had it in me. Certainly not then - I was sixteen. Granted, older than some who were doing it on the Western Front in years gone by. But still. I was just a boy. The issue of duty, and having to do that rung clear in my mind. My resolve was steeled. I knew for certain that if I didnt give the positive answer, the Red Pen would fall. It would say 'Wettie. Mothers Boy. Tax would be better spent on giving that Bally Terrorist Cleric a fifth car and a Jacuzzi.'
Ahhh, the RCB interviews. How well I remember this little episode...

Royal Irish Rangers Lt Col: "So, Mr Spakhead, can you tell me where an officer leads from?"

Me: "From the heart, sir."

Lt Col: (stare of amazed puzzlement) "Don't think too far out of the box, young man."

I crashed and burned. :D


War Hero
One lad on my RCB was binned before the board was even over! He lied on his CV and had a stand up arguement with the half colonel who caught him out. Silly boy, not even 18 and his career with the army was already over. During one of the leaderless tasks he was removed from the syndicate and told to be packed an ready to leave in an hour.
My nightmare was cut short. The boring door opened. Like every other Coldstreamer I have ever, or quite possibly will ever meet, this guy was at least twelve feet tall. But luckily he was sitting down, so my shirt collar didnt draw blood from the back of my neck as I tried to see his face. He didn't have any visible eyes. I guessed they were obscured by the giant swathes of bearskin (must have been - he was a Woodentop) in place of eyebrows. He was sitting on the other side of the "Desk, leather topped, Big," yet still these fecking monstrous fur-limbs scraped my nose every time he changed expression. His voice was some kind of match made in hell. All the eloquence of a baritone Robin Cook, with the pronunciation of a window-licking Melchett. Half way through the interview I realised he was using actual words.
“Ayyis an Awficer of Hier Madgestie’s Harmy, who do you thyink your laaaargesst dewteeh is tooo?”
Easy starter for ten, thinks me. Without trying to sound cocky, feigning a look of quiet consideration, then resolution:
“To my men.”
“And then…”
“To my superior officers, to the Government, and to the Queen.” - Of course I parroted the text-book…
“Yeas, yeas, thiats, aawl verry well, but what abowt your men, Man?”
My suspicions were confirmed. This man did not have a complete load of bricks. As for his marbles? Fcuk me. His Alzheimer’s looked as if it might defeat Sarnian by accident. I was not about to be binned because the President of the Board forgot that he asked me the same question but seconds earlier. I repeated, “Yes – my first duty is to them.” I tried not to stick my chest out and put on my best Harry Faversham voice, and sound like a cocky to55er at the same time.

My health bar had taken a beating from this unforeseen hazard. I knew worse was to come. With voice low, and eyebrows even lower, he asked me:
“As an awwficer, it is unlikely, but you might have to get involved in, how shall I say, the darkest side of soldiering. It is, after all, our ultimate purpose. Do you think you could cope with that?”
It was tough, but I had seen it coming. It was what soldiering was about, like he said. If I said yes too eagerly, I’d sound like a dangerous fruitcake. If I said no, the Pen would fall. “Definitely lacking in Moral Fibre,” it would say.

“Well Sir. The training in the British army is second to none. We have the finest weapons money can buy [sic]. And we would be working for a good cause [sic]. If I was faced with a man, and given the orders, I would carry out my duty.”

“Go on,” growls Old Firry.

A wee voice (which may or may not have been my conscience) barked, like an RSM from two continents away: “SARNIAN, STOCK BULSH1TT, THREE ROUNDS , FFE!” Sarnian delivers.

“The matter would be all the simpler in war, Sir. My reactions are impeccable. My skill, even at this young age, is fantastic – I’m a Swordsman! And if it was a matter of Skiff or Be Skiffed, I am confident that I could skiff with a clear conscience...."
This is good sh*t. We need more of this kind of thing, and less of Welsh/Scottish and other godawful provincial OTCs gobbing off about in jokes that no-one else understands.
I enjoyed RCB no end.

After the education fellow told me I had failed my current affairs exam thing, and we'd had an argument about how much I read the papers...

After he dumped that horrendous mental arithmatic question on me (which I got wrong) and he told me I'd have to better my maths and I said I couldn't...

After I'd given a humourous talk on skiing as my personal presentation which made even the DS laugh (never a good sign)...

And after I got so shit faced on the dinner night that I projectile vomited over candidate 46 in the bed next to (that's almost a metre by the way) and poured puke (mine again) from a bin all down my front...

I was pretty sure I'd failed.
I was wrong.
All you had to add was a line a friend said when in the planning exercise interview.

Capt: Why not leave the injured behind while you go get help.

PO: Good god no, you couldn't possibly leave them with a native!
who is your leader that you most revere. was the question that is always asked...

I of course answered with the pridictable, Slim, De Billiere or Montgomery answer.

However a fellow blacksyndicate member said...

Captain Birdseye.

When asked why.

Because he always gets his cod...

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