Sam Carstairs was in the army's 'firing house' in Bartholomew Street in Hythe. This was a building with rubber walls which enabled soldiers to get used to firing live rounds without fear of ricocheting bullets.
A group of squaddies and ex-gang members were getting advanced training and Carstairs was there to observe. Amongst the men were Motivators, Clank members and other former delinquents, all united now that their whole traditional way of life was under threat from a renegade toff backed up by the cold-blooded fanatics of INTEG.
Sam scratched himself under his bullet-proof vest and pushed his helmet further back on his head (though there should not be any ricochets, bullets often acted unpredictably). He had a purpose for being here: he was looking out for likely chaps to accompany him on this job that Otley had come up with: the rescue of Harvey Grimes. Sam had been asked to choose three men. He had his eye on one candidate already: his friend from the Clank, Tanker Bly. First though, he wanted to know if he could shoot.
As soon as he entered the firing house and saw him blasting away, Carstairs was reassured on that point, and Tanker was in. After almost an hour he had picked the other two. One was, like Tanker, from the Clank, and the other from the Jackdaws. Both struck him as competent team players without being sheeplike. They were also excellent shots and had a certain confident, if not arrogant, self-possession. (He had been observing them at smoke breaks as well as during target practice.)
He called the three men over and told them to be at the ready room inside the officers' mess in Chapel Street the next day at 1500 hours.
'You will then pick up your kit and get your orders prior to being flown out overseas. I can reveal that it's a bold action what they've laid on us, lads, but I think I have chosen right in you three. You're the sort of buckoes who are not afraid to court fucking danger in the line of duty, right?'
All three grinned, ready to go.
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