Isla Aukate
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Boot camp Training Day 1 Base Ops department
A white feline in uniform slips casually from the officers' tent, yawning as if she'd just woken up.  She makes her way to Cobalt's table and picks up the last remaining bag for gathering.

“So, they're all off and picking things?”  The cat peers at the maps and taps the area indicating her part on the grid.  “I'll go get dinner for the officers in that case.  I'm still surprised you took this job, Dexter.  Although I should be more surprised that Garret talked me into joining up as well.”

She slings the bag over her shoulder.  “I'll be back in an hour.  And make sure Darius is drinking his tea.  I think it's the only thing keeping his blood pressure down right now.”

And with that the cat turns and slips into the jungle, preparing to make her own contribution to the exercise.
Cobalt smiled as he watched the cat go and Freya return a bit later. He beckoned her to sit in one of the chairs inside the tent. "Occupy yourself until the others get back." He said casually. I'll evaluate everyone when you're all here. He watched after Artemis for a second and then stood up slowly and pulled out a hot plate that he pugged into an exension cord under the tent flap and set a teapot on it. Artemis was correct, tea probably was the only thing soothing the General right now. He unscrewed a tin and added a handful of tea leaves to a cheese cloth bag and placed it in the teapot and set it to boil and then sat back down, looking at Freya.

"I have water bottles in a cooler back here, want one while you wait?"
The feline was becoming tired and it wasn't even midday yet; the humidity of this place was certainly something to become used to on this island.  His old home did have humidity but nothing which sapped the life out of you.  He was sweating now and wondered how his uniform would take the constant beating he believed he would put on it.  With his pack nearly full of what he hoped was edible plants, fruits and vegetables he slowly made his way back to the base ops tent.  He took a swig of water from his personal canteen and felt a little bit better.  What he needed was a cool shower now but I doubt it was the best thing to suggest to his commanding officer at this point in time.  

He spotted the tent city and then the base and...wait a minute...a white streak passed his line of vision with a blue uniform.  He certainly didn't see anyone like this as he was in processing.  He didn't catch any scent from the newcomer and this person certainly knew their way through the jungle as the person of white was gone just as quickly as he seen them.  He should mention this to Cobalt just in case.

As he approached the commander of base ops he observed Freya was the first one back.  Gently as he could, he placed his pack next to the dragon's and approached Cobalt.  "Sir back from my foray into the jungle and I have to mention something to you," he started.  "I saw a person with white fur and a blue uniform; is this person one our recruits?"
The vixen was becoming frustrated. She was used to the climate, and the uniform breathed surprisingly well and seemed to fend off general pokes, pulls, prods and smudgings. She doubted it would shrug off a face-first fall in the mud, but then, she was reasonably spry! No, even with her tablet's assistance, she was finding herself grabbing bunches of berries and leaves and what she hoped was edible fruits and nuts. Some of the things smelled awful, but her tablet insisted they were actually quite tasty. Reason said that this database had been compiled by folk who had a knack for this sort of thing, so, the sack they went!

She climbed a couple trees to get a few more succulent sorts of things - this was a jungle, after all, not a pear or apple orchard, so she wasn't about to just..take..a bite...well, what could one little bite hurt? Her tablet SAID something looking like this was okay, and it looked tasty enough? NOM! Munch...mmmh, juicy. Okay, a few more of those.

Down to the ground she dropped and glanced at her tablet. The halfway chime had gone off long past, and it was time to start back with what she had. Trying to hold the bag closed all the way with the straps over her shoulders, she set off at a brisk trot to get back in time. The little white vixen managed to get back with a little time to spare and blinked, then nodded to herself. Yes, the fast feline and the dragoness were already here, just as she had surmised. The fact the tigress wasn't probably meant she had an absolutely fabulous haul and she settled into a seat with a wave to her companions and a swift salute to Commander Cobalt, hoping she was doing it correctly. She set her bag at her feet and happily accepted a bottle of cold water and started guzzling it, panting a little and flicking her ears to divest herself of heat.
Once at her designated area, Tamara set to finding edible things, on the ground, but also on the bushes and the trees. She quickly realized that, while she knew quite a bit about the flora of the islands thanks to her mom being an herbalist, she had a much more intimate knowledge of the plants of January, the island where her family lives. Which was mostly useless here, since this island had a tropical climate. Thus began a quite long game of finding something, checking it against the database in the tablet to make sure if it's edible or not, and filling up her bag with what was noted as edible by the tablet.

The climate wasn't helping either. She was used to the colder climate of January, the island where she lived until she decided to join the Overlord's forces, and she was struggling a bit with the warmer temperatures. Fortunately, she had her summer coat, else it would probably have been quite unbearable, and the uniform was surprisingly light and breathing, and she marveled at the quality of the silk used to make it. She ended up panting some nevertheless, but it wasn't as bad as she thought.

The tigress stopped in front of a bush full of some sort of berries that like like the bigger version of berries she could find at home. A look at the tablet confirmed that it was indeed a parent species, and very edible, and she picked about half the berries on the bush, leaving the rest for the local fauna. She heard and saw many birds fly around, and she could hear some small critters scurrying around, under the bushes, in the shadows and on the trees.

A strange yellow-green vine that was growing on a tree turned out to bear some edible stalks, which would mostly be used for seasoning though. A small clearing with some sort of tightly packed clump of large leaves coming out of the ground was a field of some edible vegetable. A small tree bore fruits that resembled cantaloupe, and were very edible. Little mushroom-like plants with white domes were noted as 'delicious' by the writers of the database.

Of course, there were also a good number of negatives: that green-blue fruit that looked like a pear was quite poisonous, the pale green berries on another bush as well, not to mention the polka-dotted spongious thing that she found growing out of a small tree.

All in all, she managed to get quite a good haul, and she was in the process of adding some more stuff into her bag when her tablet pinged that only ten minutes remained, which meant that she'd better start going back to the camp. It was a good thing that the tablet had a built-in GPS and indicated the way back to the camp.

Tamara arrived at the tent with barely a couple minutes left before the end of the hour, panting some more as she had to walk at a brisk pace to make sure she wouldn't be late. She nodded at Cobalt and the others, then set her bag down in front of her, and grabbed a bottle of cold water after Cobalt offers her some. The sip of cold water felt very refreshing.
Freya had taken a seat as she had been instructed, and occupied herself.   Having grown up on Tiurai, she was acclimated to the heat.  The humidity was a bit rough, but her wings did a wonderful job of helping her regulate her regulate her body heat.  She left them loosely folded to allow more airflow over them as she sat, engrossed in going through the plant files on her tablet.  Cobalt's offer of water pulled her from her study.  "Oh, yes please.  Thank you Sir."  She replied with a smile as she got up and found the mentioned cooler and pulled out a bottle of water for herself.  

As she made her way back to her chosen seat, the other recruits started returning.  First was Charon, she waved and offered a smile as he set his bag next to her own.  She thought to say something, but he had already started speaking to Cobalt about seeing someone heading into the jungle.  She sat down and listened to the conversation, curious about who it might have been.

The next recruit to return was Ara, which honestly surprised her a bit.  "Hey, looks like things went pretty well for you."  She commented with a grin.  "Not a bad as you were worried it would be?"  She asked the vixen, hoping she would take it as the friendly encouragement it was meant as.  

The last to arrive was Tamara, and Freya waved to her as she entered the tent.  "Just in time."  She called in cheerful tones.  "Of course, now it's time to get graded..."  She continued in quieter more serious tones.  "And a bad grade may well be no fun for any of us."  She finished, mostly to herself as she remembered the brief from earlier.  They were going to have to eat what they brought back, and that would certainly be the moment of truth.
Cobalt smiled as he watched the last of the recruits fall in. He slowly approached them pulling behind him a barrel with a trash bag lined in it. “Alright recruits.” He produced a pineapple from a nearby table. “I’m sure all of you know what this is.” He set the pineapple back down. “One by one I’m going to call you up and have you show me what you’ve brought. If you can’t tell me exactly what sorts of plants you brought to me, by name, they go in here.” He pointed to the barrel. “Furthermore I would like to remind you that unless you can identify a plant, with as much certainty as this pineapple, or a tomato growing in your backyard, eating it in the field is very, very unwise.” He glanced at Ara. “I sorely hope you didn’t happen to eat something that ended up being poisonous.”

Cobalt smiled and straightened up again “So everyone, let’s see what you brought in, open your bags and tell me what you’ve brought us for lunch.”
Aralyn nodded a little at the dragoness, smiling softly.  She liked Freya, the big female seemed to be honestly trying to help her feel welcome and encouraged, even if she felt like an overabundance of delta V in a linear regression equation: that is, a square peg in a round hole.  She didn't belong here - being in the field wasn't her field! If only she could relate to people the way she could relate to math and science!  She would never have made that incredibly awful blunder yesterday that set her this way.  Of course, then she might not have met these three, who all seemed nice enough.  And even Commander Cobalt seemed to be stern, yet kindly, trying to teach and instruct rather than berate and browbeat like some professors she had known.  The pretty little white vixen sighed, musing all this to herself, and almost completely missed Cobalt's comment and look directly at her.  She blinked, then flattened her ears: she had taken a nibble! Well okay, she ate one of those purple-reddish berries, but the database had said they were okay and tasty and she had thought they were indeed!  But wait, how had Cobalt known?  Were there cameras hidden in the jungle?  Had they been watched by someone?  If they had, she hadn't heard or smelled them, and her senses were as acute as any other fox: admittedly she was a bit scatter-minded, especially if trying to concentrate, but she didn't sense anyone...yet he seemed to know!  HAD it been poisonous?  Maybe it was just poisonous to foxes! She gulped and whimpered.  First task and already she had trodden into bad territory.  Brilliant.  Well, she may not know how to deal with people, but she always spoke the truth (when it occurred to her, and sometimes left out bits that seemed irrelevant - to her at least) and might as well own up to it.

Standing up to her full (five foot) diminutive height, she picked up her bag and came forward. "Um, sir, I did um, eat a berry, one of these.." she rummaged into her sack and pulled out the bunches she had picked and displayed them, "..which my database had said might be tasty, and urh..well, um..I didn't think too well about if it might be poisonous to me or not. I'm sorry, sir."  She tucked her bushy ebony-tipped tail between her legs and adjusted her goggles on her head; a nervous gesture after depositing the bunches into bucket.  "I um, well, since I don't know anything about uh, picking anything from the thickets, as it were, I didn't get a whole lot because I was busy checking things in the wilds out there against uh, the database you so handily provided, Commander, thank you for allowing us to use it!  Uh, I'm not making excuses, sir, just that my inexperience led me to check very carefully and try to be as certain on the first foray as could possibly be, since I had no wish to poison my teammates or you, sir.  I was, um, learning as I went, sir, and I'm not sure, but I think that is uh, part of the reason I'm assigned here, sir? Um..urh...", she trailed off, not sure what to say, she wasn't certain, but this 'tempering' that the General had spoken of, could it be related to something like this? Maybe. She had been rude and insulting without meaning to be, but perhaps that was the lesson here: she was impulsive and energetic, maybe if she approached these assignments like a theorem?  Sooooo complicated!

Having said as much, she brought out every item and displayed them to both Cobalt and her den-mates....well, they WERE, now, sort of, the barracks counted, did it not?  Great Newton, figuring out how to relate to people was impossible, how do people manage it?!  She called up the images and descriptions on her tablet, announcing why she had chosen each bit and bob she displayed and placed in the bucket - like a school presentation - finally emptying her bag before bobbing her head respectfully to the Commander and marching her little self back to her seat, setting her empty bag beside her and sitting once more, rubbing her little black paws together fretfully.
Tamara placed a paw on Ara's shoulder and nodded, smiling warmly, as a supportive gesture to the stressed white vixen. Although Cobalt's comment to Aralyn made her round ears perk up: how could he know that she had eaten one of the berries out in the field? The vixen didn't had any kind of smear on her face, her fur or her uniform, and she didn't smelled like the berries either.

As far as Tamara knew, Cobalt had stayed in this tent the whole hour. Besides, she was quite confident that she would have detected him if he had tried to follow her discreetly, he didn't seemed to fit as one of the 'furtive' type, especially given his body shape. Besides, he couldn't follow them all. So, where they watched? The tigress had seen no cameras anywhere. Granted, she wasn't looking for any, but such thing would stick out like a sore thumb in a jungle, and no camouflage is perfect anyway. Then she glanced at the tablet she was holding in her paw, the same one that they had all been issued during the briefing, and it did have a camera. Was it possible that it had been set to record or transmit everything back here, to the Commander's own tablet? That was a slightly disturbing thought.

Grabbing her bag, she walked to Cobalt and stopped in front of the desk, placing her bag on top of it and emptying it carefully, not wanting fruits and veggies to roll all over the table and the tent.

"Here is what I found," she said to Cobalt. Then she grabbed her tablet and began flipping through the bookmarks, naming each of the edible things she had gathered, and separating them in small piles in front of her every time she read a name.

Her haul wasn't extraordinary, but she had been lucky with the berries and the long root that looked like some sort of very elongated potatoes. Once she was done sorting everything, she grabbed her bag and tablet, nodded at Cobalt and went back to sit next to Aralyn.
Freya wasn't sure how Cobalt new that Ara had eaten some of what she had gathered while out in the field.  She figured it could easily have been a guess, but at the same time she wouldn't be surprised to find out that they had been monitored while out in the field, they were trainees after all.  

She moved up after Tamara to empty her own bag for inspection.  She pulled out a bunch of fruits with slightly bumpy skin, they ranged in color from green to yellow, and there were a couple in the mix that were starting to turn brown.  "So, I found breadfruit...."  She said as she pulled the fruits out, and set them carefully on the table.  Next, she started pulling red fruits that were almost pear shaped from the bag. "...some mountain apples..."  She continued her narration as she pulled a dozen of the fruits from her bag.  Once the mountain apples were laid out, she grabbed the bottom of her bag and carefully dumped a bunch of shiny black berries onto the table.  "...and black nightshade."  She finished with a bit of a smile.  "Oh, but not this one."  She said as she reached down and grabbed one of the berries that was still partially green.  She tossed the not quite ripe berry into the trash can.  "They're only safe to eat if they're ripe and black.  Thank you Sir."  She said before offering a small smile, and heading for her seat.  "Um, I also found noni, but I didn't think anyone would actually want to eat it...don't think I'd be able to get it past my nose."  She added as she sat down.  

She tried her best to hide her nervousness as she waited for Charon to present his harvest, and for Cobalt to announce how they had done.

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