Emporium of Awesome – Three

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CHAPTER THREE – AIR FORCE

NOVEMBER 1974, Chicago, Il

An Air Force recruiter is sitting at his desk doing paper work.  There is a knock at his office door. He looks up to see a man in his early to mid-twenties standing there.  “May I help you?”

“I hope so, I was looking to join up.”

“Well that’s what I am here for.  Have a seat and let’s see what we can do.”  Tech Sergeant Allen was glad someone came in, he was falling short of his quota this month.  Even though Vietnam was over the fall out with the youth of the country was making it hard to get bodies.  Especially in urban areas. Though Chicago wasn’t as bad as the New England area and California, he still had to go out a lot to try and get leads.

“I hear you guys are starting to offer more jobs with computers?” the potential recruit asked.

“Well yes, we’re the more current branch with technology.  You might even get one of those jobs. I hope you understand I can’t promise you anything until after we have you take a few tests though.”

“I understand.”

“So what is your name?”

“Todd Matherson.”

“Well okay there Todd, when were you wanting to ship, that is if you pass all of the tests.”

“I can leave as soon as you can get me to basic.”

The next week had Todd running around Chicago to the processing center to take tests and getting all kinds of physical tests.  Sergeant Allen was impressed with Todd’s results. He scored nearly perfect on all of the batteries they gave him, except mechanical.  Within seven days he had all of the paperwork in order and offered Todd a contract with a guaranteed job working with computers.

Todd arrived in Texas for his Air Force basic training in early December.  It was hard for him to start, he wasn’t in the best of physical condition. Even though he had been cleared healthy, he barely passed the fitness test to get in.  A little extra weight wasn’t even the problem, the fact he had never done any real activity in his life was. Now though he was making up for lost time.

That was the hardest part.  The rest was cake. Even learning to drill and put on a uniform.  He had always loved sci fi and wearing a uniform was part of it in a way.  The academics were so easy he soon found himself at the top of his class. His progress in running and pushups was impressed his instructors.  Which was understandable given the regiment he was on. The real problem with him being at the top was that it called attention to him. This was the seventies after all, sure it wasn’t the Marines, but it was still hard, especially for a kid who had not even tried in PE.

His instructors were not that hard on him for the most part, but when something did go wrong, it could get bad.  There were no rules against laying hands on, or if there were no one seemed to care. The eight-week course was the hardest thing he had ever done.  But once it was over he earned a promotion for finishing on top. Then he was off to his job training. He landed 51050 Computer Systems Technician. Which is what he wanted from the start.  The training was a joke to him. He had a graduate degree in computers that hadn’t even been invented yet. So another promotion was granted to Todd when he graduated from here as well.

Because he graduated at the top of both his basic and job schools he was able to choose his duty station.  He got as close to Las Vegas as he could. He spent the next two years there, making a sizable amount on the side playing the tables and events at the Casino’s.  Eventually his time ended, his two years were up. He had been good at his job, they offered him two promotions to stay in. But he declined. He had gotten what he wanted, the legitimacy of his existence.

It was one thing to have a birth certificate and a social security number, but people could always dig deeper.  If one had a distinguished military career, even a short one, behind them, then people would usually stop there.  Todd Matherson had existed before, then stopped, but now he was among the living once again thanks to Tommy Reynolds.

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