The First of Many

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Chapter 23

After her three months of recuperation from her training, Hannah was deployed to a small base in Cambodia for six months. Among the men there were several that she remembered vaguely from Rangers, most notably Viper, who was a fearsome leader with a taste for violence.

Hannah was walking down a hall when she heard a sound behind her. She whirled around and threw a knife, but it bounced harmlessly against a bare wall. She returned to it and bent down to pick it up.

Hands came out of nowhere, grabbing her and pulling her down the hall before she could react. She fought back, but another set of hands grabbed her, then another, then another. A blindfold found its way over her eyes, and her world went black.

Instinct took over and she fought back as hard as she could. She threw the man off, pinning him to the ground and clawing him messily across the throat. Not fatal, but it would keep him away from her. Another man caught her around the neck, grabbing her hair and pulling it hard.

“Come on,” a hoarse voice snarled in her ear. “You want to be one of the guys, don't you?”

She snarled, struggling in the second man's iron grip. “Get your hands off me, you bastard,” she hissed.

Something buzzed to life behind her, and she tried to twist to see it, but another man held her fast, completely immobilizing her.

“What is that?” she snarled. “Get that shit away from me!”

Viper's voice spoke up from beside her. “This won't hurt unless you make it,” he said. She could hear the smirk in his voice. “It won't be too bad. I promise.”

She kept struggling, but her strength was leaving her, and the sheer quantity of people holding her down made her unable to fight back. She realized all too late what was happening, when her hair was pulled tighter and the buzzing apparatus touched down on her.

"What the hell are you doing?" She asked.

"Making you one of the guys," Viper said with a smirk. She remained immobilized for a few minutes before she was released, and one of the men handed her a mirror.

She realized what had happened before she even saw her reflection: She was light-headed and her scalp tingled, and yet she was still surprised when she looked into the mirror and saw that her hair had been shorn to a regulation eighth-inch cut. She dropped the mirror in horror and stared back at the large pile of blonde hair that had once been firmly affixed to her head.

"You son of a bitch," she said as she glared at Viper.

"Hey, now you look like a Unit operator," he said. "Welcome to the team."

“You cut my hair!” she snarled.

“So? It'll grow back.”

“Do you have any fucking clue how long that takes?”

“I don't really care, Rosie.”

“Hey, if you like your hair so much, we can always glue it back on,” Mike said carelessly, picking up a long strand of golden hair and twining it thoughtfully about his wrist.

"Good idea Mike," Viper said as he took out a can of spray glue

“Oh, fuck,” Hannah muttered, but didn't even bother running. She was faster, but there were more of them. She knew to pick her battles. “Just get it over with,” she mumbled. “If that shit's permanent, I'll destroy you.”

"Don't worry," Mike said as he spread the glue along her chin. Viper spread Hannah's cut hair over her chin to imitate a beard.

Hannah obligingly sat still throughout the entire procedure. “You've had your fun,” she said at last, refusing to look at the mirror; she didn't want the memory. “This comes off tomorrow morning. Now, I was going to training...”

Viper grinned. “Oh, no, you don't. Come on, Rosie. You can do this the easy way, or we can make you. Either works.”

Mike and Hunter (whose hair had been dyed neon pink two nights previous) pinned her arms to her sides and frog-marched her to the rec room.

Hannah rolled her eyes good-naturedly and followed them.


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