Chapter 6:

The Recruits Part 2

The Young Knight of the Desert

Brotherhood of Freedom Cell Headquarters, Eurasian Tsardom. July 24, 2030; 2057 hours (Tehran Time)

At the destroyed village that is a part of the overall headquarters of Vahid Farahani’s Brotherhood of Freedom cell, Tarou Ganji had already covered one EG01 with a sheet and approached the other EG01 to cover it. Farahani himself, with the same AK using a telescoping stock, approached but made sure Tarou didn’t hear him.

“You’re working hard,” Farahani said as soon as Tarou finished covering the other Walgear.

“You needed anything, sir?” Tarou asked as he turned to Farahani.

“Just your time. I’ve already told you what I was doing since 2023. What about you?”

“A lot happened. Let’s just say I too wandered across the desert, lost in my mind with what I should do next. Then I somehow found Iron Dutchman Services in trouble and I decided to help them. In exchange, they offered me a place to stay and I couldn’t say no so I accepted.”

“Still thinking about where you really came from?”

“I still do. It’s why I’m a mercenary. Of course, this job’s only something I’m doing as part of Iron Dutchman Services. After this, it’s back to my real mission.”

“And what might that be?”

“Guarding a girl named Maria Hoshikawa.”

“A girl? What’s that about?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Try me.”

“Please promise me you’ll keep this to yourself.”



2148 hours

Both Tarou and Farahani returned to the room the former shared with al-Saqqaf and Vos. Opening the door, the former two find the latter two, joined by Ghasem, Hamilton, and Wattana, looking at a piece of paper.

“What are you two doing?” Farahani asked.

“We were just waiting for you,” al-Saqqaf answered, making Farahani and Tarou come inside.

“We were finally deciding on the schedule, so we were hoping you would take a look at it,” Vos added before he gave the paper to Farahani. Farahani looked with a combination of curiosity and concern before putting down the paper.

“I feel like you need to make some changes,” Farahani commented.

“Like what?”

“Why 0500 hours for making the men and women wake up? I don’t want them to feel too uncomfortable on their first day as new recruits.”

“With all due respect, but we need to see to it that these boys and girls are properly whipped into fighting shape. It’s why the first thing in the schedule is foot movements.”

“We need to make them act like real soldiers,” Ghasem added. “It’s how it was even in the Revolutionary Guards.”

“I see,” Farahani replied before turning to Tarou. “Tarou what do you think?”

“Mind if I take a look at it?” Tarou requested.

Farahani gave Tarou the schedule and looked at it before looking at Farahani. “I agree with what Mr. Vos has to say. They’re not too young, but they need more training before we pit them against Eurasian troops. Dedication isn’t enough to win a war like this.”

“I guess you have a point… ” Farahani replied.

“Are we all in agreement about this?” Vos asked to his subordinates, al-Saqqaf, and Ghasem.

“Yes,” Wattana, Hamilton, Ghasem, and al-Saqqaf replied in unison.

“Then we have to inform the new recruits about this,” Farahani added.

“I’ll do that with the men,” Ghasem replied.

“Sunan and I will tell the girls,” Hamilton added.

“0500 hours it is,” Vos declared.


2225 hours

In their room, Vos and al-Saqqaf slept. Tarou, however, wasn’t able to sleep.

Why did I tell Vahid about that mission? Tarou pondered. I know I promised him to keep his mouth shut, but why do I feel like I can’t trust him?


2101 hours

“And what might that be?” Farahani asked about Tarou’s “real mission”.

“Guarding a girl named Maria Hoshikawa,” Tarou answered.

“A girl? What’s that about?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Try me.”

“Please promise me you’ll keep this to yourself.”


“Almost two months ago, Iron Dutchman Services was hired by the New United Nations’ Intelligence Collective to protect Maria Hoshikawa, a student of Nishi High School in Japan’s Kansai City. I was to protect her covertly as an undercover transfer student, with Dr. Hamilton as my adoptive mother. Then, Maria and her mother were abducted and while I helped save her mother, Maria was brought to a facility beneath Sakhalin Island. I found that Maria was abducted by none other than Serdar Muhadow.”

“Wait, Commander Muhadow? He’s alive!?”

“I couldn’t believe it either. He recruited Turkmen into this plot as mercenaries and while it has yet to be confirmed, the ones who hired Muhadow to abduct Maria were the Gatekeepers of Knowledge.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“I’m not lying but there’s no other way to confirm it other than waiting for the Intelligence Collective, though the Gatekeepers might have covered up a lot from that incident.”

“And yet your cover allows you to be a normal teenager… ”

“It’s not like I asked for such a mission and yet, I can blend in despite my surname.”

“I always did find your name strange.”

“It’s apparently a very common Japanese forename. Dr. Hamilton figured that I’m half Persian, half-Japanese.”

“And have you found out anything else about that?”

“No but the longer I’m assigned to protecting Ma- I mean, Miss Hoshikawa, I can figure out some more if the Gatekeepers are involved.”

"And what became of Commander Muhadow?"

“We fought in Walgears and I managed to destroy his. I’m not sure if he’s alive though.”

“Thank you for that. However, we must return underground lest we be spotted by Eurasian drones.”



2228 hours

And somehow, I feel as if that won’t be the last time I see Muhadow, Tarou thought in the present.

“Ganji, you’re not asleep yet,” Vos said as he woke up to find Tarou with his eyes open.

“Sorry, Mr. Vos,” Tarou replied as he faced Vos. “Going to sleep now.”

“You better… ”


July 25, 2030; 0507 hours

The recruits gathered outside the village, with Vos, Wattana, and Tarou leading them. Farahani and Ghasem watched as the recruits marched with everyone, surrounded by the other subordinates of the former.

“Stop!” Ghasem shouted with silence following. “Allow me to introduce myself: I am Ghasem Madani. Served the Army of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution since I was ten years old and have stayed there almost my whole life. It is for that reason that I am to see to it that you lot are in fighting shape.

“Any of you attempt to get out of line, I will shoot you and not even Commander Farahani will care. Let it be remembered that in this line of work, you can only ask how high if ordered to jump. Do I make myself clear!?”

“Yes, Sergeant!” the recruits shouted.

“Good. Because most of have not served in the military, we will begin with standing marches. Please observe how Miss Wattana does it.”

Ghasem looked at Wattana and nodded. After nodding in return, Wattana appeared in front of the recruits, making Ghasem and Farahani move away to observe. Now in front of the recruits, Wattana lifted her left leg and landed it on the ground followed by her right leg. She does this for two more times before turning right. This repeated until she stopped and faced the recruits again.

“This is what we will be doing every morning at this time,” Ghasem explained. “Now repeat after me: left, right, left, right, left, right, halt!”

The recruits did as Ghasem did thrice until they stopped. “Now turn right.”


0824 hours

After the physical exercises, the recruits were seated down in the middle of the village. In front of them was a crate and Ghasem carrying a Sayf rifle.

“Unlike yesterday, the Shamshīrs have been equipped with a vertical foregrip,” Ghasem explained. “A vertical foregrip will help once you’ll be using the Shamshīr repeatedly as it will protect your fingers from the heat coming out of the barrel after repeated shots. In addition, it will assist you within the way you fire the rifle, assist you in steadying your aim, and stabilizing yourself if you wish to fire offhand – firing from your hind legs.

“We will now properly test your skills in firing these rifles. As you are eight, we will have four individuals fire first then the next four. The first ones to fire the rifles will be called out by name so pay attention.”

Ghasem looked at the recruits determined to select those who will fire the Sayfs first. The latter anxiously looked as it was going to be a random selection.

Ghasem looked at the recruits, determined to select those who will fire the Sayfs first. The latter anxiously looked as it was going to be a random selection.

“Yes, Sergeant!” shouted Beg, Farahmand, Leila, and Davani in unison.

As Ghasem stepped out of the way, the four recruits he called for lined up to claim a rifle. First to get a Sayf was Beg. After him was Manuchehr Farahmand, a man with a height of 190.5 centimeters and the bulk to go with it, dark intermediate skin, black hair in a buzz cut, and dark brown eyes. After Farahmand was Leila Alam’s turn to claim a Sayf, followed by Housang Davani, who had light intermediate skin, short black hair, and dark brown eyes.

Facing to their left, Beg, Farahmand, Leila, and Davani found their targets provided to them by Saman. Vos then joined them.

“You’re to aim your rifles like this,” Vos explained just before using his right hand to wield the Sayf while using his left hand for the foregrip. His right elbow turned the arm into a triangle as it held the trigger, making the left arm into an L while its hand was on the foregrip.

Watching how Vos did it, the recruits emulated the way he held the Sayf. They now aimed at their respective targets.

“Now that you’ve seen how Mr. Vos holds his rifle, you’re to fire until you’ve depleted the entire magazine, then I’ll call in the next group. In addition, you are to be familiar with how there are three ways of firing the rifle: semi-auto, three-round burst, and full-auto.

“Currently, your rifles are in safety mode, so if you wish to get them out of safety mode, you have three options. We will test out all three with the semi-auto being the first. Now switch to semi-auto.”

The four recruits looked at the four modes that they can switch their respective Sayfs to. The lever was pointed as “S” which meant safety mode. They found that there are two numbers, 1 and 3, and a letter F. Vos carefully observed that the recruits were figuring out what modes can they switch the rifle to and through Davani, he saw them picking the 1 that meant semi-auto.

The recruits then aimed at the targets again and fired immediately. One round each hit a target.

“That’s good, you’ve figured out how to switch to semi-auto,” Vos complimented. “Now switch to three-round burst.”

The recruits did as Vos instructed and moved the switch lever from 1 to 3; the latter meaning semi-auto. They aimed their respective rifles again at the target, and as they pulled the trigger, each rifle let out three rounds onto a target.

“Now switch to full auto,” Vos commanded, with the recruits moving the switch lever on their respective Sayfs from 3 to F; the latter meaning full auto. Ghasem then joined Vos.

“Now that you’re in full auto, you are to deplete that magazine then hand over your respective rifles to the next recruits I will call in,” Ghasem instructed.

The recruits aimed their rifles at the targets again. As they pulled their respective rifles’ triggers, more bullets hit each target. The recruits kept on firing until they depleted their magazines.

“Nice work,” Ghasem said to the recruits before rearing his head. “Now go back to the crate and reload your rifles because I will be calling in the next batch of recruits.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” the recruits replied in unison.

As the recruits reloaded their rifles, Saman got new targets for the next batch of recruits to fire at while Ghasem faced the four recruits he didn’t call earlier.

“Kadivar, Javadi, Ghorbani, your turn,” Ghasem instructed to the four recruits he now faced. “Claim your rifles from Beg, Farahmand, Alam, and Davani before coming here.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” the next four recruits replied in unison.


1027 hours

The recruits and the mercenaries watched as Armin brought a crate. The latter opened the crate and showed a G3 battle rifle.

“This here is a G3 rifle,” Ghasem explained. “Chambered at approximately eight millimeters, this provides better penetration, but it is heavier as it is chambered to approximately eight millimeters. I’ve learned to wield this rifle the older I got. Unlike earlier, I will call out each of you one by one to see who can use this the most efficiently.”

Ghasem sternly looked at the recruits then he leaned a little forward to Bijan Javadi, who had dark intermediate skin, a rawboned and angular body, curly brown hair, and blue eyes. “Male Javadi, you’re up.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Bijan replied as he stepped forward and received the G3.

Bijan then rushed to the place where he fired a Sayf earlier. Saman then prepared one target for him just as Ghasem also appeared, but turned his head to face other recruits.

“Like before, we’re to deplete the entire magazine as part of the test and we’ll do it first by using semi-auto, then full auto,” Ghasem explained, before turning to Bijan. “Male Javadi, switch to semi-auto.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Bijan replied before finding the switch lever of the G3, currently pointed at S.

Upon moving the lever to 1, Bijan aimed the G3 at the target. As he pulled the trigger, one bullet hit the target.

“Now switch to full auto. Remember, you are not to give the rifle to the next man or woman I call upon until you’ve depleted the magazine.”

“Yes, Sergeant.”

Switching to F, Bijan aimed at the target again. More bullets hit the target after he pulled the trigger. Bijan continued firing at the target until he had run out of ammunition.

“Nicely done,” Ghasem complimented. “Now reload the G3 and wait for the next one I call.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Bijan replied before rushing back to Armin, who handed the former a magazine.

Ghasem then faced the recruits again. He took his time until he faced Beg. “Beg, you’re next,” Ghasem said.

“Yes, Sergeant,” Beg replied.


1249 hours

The mercenaries, including Anita Hamilton, along with Ghasem and Yusuf al-Saqqaf, gathered in Farahani’s room. “So, how are the new recruits?” Farahani asked.

“They learn awfully well,” Vos commented.

“Though not all of them are good with the G3,” Ghasem added.

“Then what’s the next weapon to show to the new recruits?” Tarou asked.

“The MG3 machine gun… ” al-Saqqaf answered as he looked at the schedule he devised. “After that, the Artashir.”

“After this, we might to form detachments within this cell and who is assigned a certain role depending on the weapon he or she is good with,” Farahani deduced.

“Agreed,” Vos replied.

“Then let’s resume whipping these boys and girls into shape,” Ghasem said.

“Agreed,” Wattana replied.


1311 hours

The mercenaries and the recruits returned to the village, with Farahani and Ghasem waiting for them. Only Hamilton wasn’t with the former. Armin then opened a rectangular crate and showed the recruits a machine gun.

“This is the MG3 machine gun,” Ghasem said as he introduced the machine gun to the recruits. “This design first originated in the early 20th century as the MG42 and after the Second World War, production resumed as the MG3. Like the G3, it uses eight-millimeter rounds, and for mobility’s sake, we will be using drum magazines, each loaded with fifty rounds. One man will carry and fire while the other will carry spare ammunition.

“Again, I will call upon two of you at a time for this test,” Ghasem concluded before looking at those he wishes to test the MG3 with. He stopped as he saw Farahmand. “Farahmand, you’re up.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Farahmand replied before he reached Armin, who gave him the MG3.

Ghasem continued looking among the recruits for the one who will assist Farahmand. That ceased as he saw Mahan Kadivar, who had dark intermediate skin like most of the recruits, short black hair, and light brown eyes. “Kadivar, you’ll be assisting Farahmand.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” replied Kadivar. Shortly after, he reached Armin, who gave the former a spare drum.

Both Farahmand and Kadivar reached what was now the firing range for the entire compound. Saman left just as he brought out another target, with Ghasem joining the former two.

“Farahmand, you’re to fire that machine gun from two positions and you’re to stop only when you finish the entire drum magazine,” Ghasem ordered to Farahmand before facing Kadivar. “Kadivar, you’re to provide Ghasem with extra ammunition once he reloads. After that, you’re to return to Armin.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Farahmand and Kadivar replied in unison.

“First, fire while standing. Switch to full auto first before firing.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Farahmand replied before switching the MG3 to F and facing the target while using his left hand to hold one of the machine gun’s bipods.

Farahmand then squeezed the trigger, starting a hail of bullets that hit the target.

“Nicely done, Farahmand,” Ghasem said. “Now crawl and fire again until you’ve spent the drum.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Farahmand replied before doing as Ghasem ordered.

As he crawled, Farahmand had his left palm below the MG3’s trigger handle. Aiming this time, Farahmand fired the last rounds onto the target.

“Nice work, Farahmand,” Ghasem said before he faced Kadivar. “Kadiver, provide that magazine to Farahmand.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Kadivar replied before he crawled into the ground.

Kadivar then handed over the spare drum he carried to Farahmand. The latter used it to reload the MG3 after Farahmand tossed the spent drum away.

“That will be all,” Ghasem said. “Return the machine gun to Armin.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Farahmand and Kadivar said in unison before going to Armin.

Ghasem then faced the other recruits, but not before looking at Farahani and receiving a nod from him. “At this point, I will ask for two of you to volunteer in using the MG3. Anyone willing to do so?”

No one else volunteered. “I can see that will be all. We will begin the test on the last weapon.”


1436 hours

“This is an Artashir sniper rifle,” Ghasem explained as he showed the rifle to the recruits. “In Farsi, it’s ‘Kamândâr. Unlike earlier, I will only wait until someone volunteers for testing this rifle. Who wishes to go first?”

“I do,” Jaleh Javadi said as she raised her hand. She had the same skin color and eye color yet she had long black hair.

“Then claim the rifle,” Ghasem ordered with Jaleh going to Armin to get the Artashir.

Jaleh then reached the shooting range. Saman placed a target farther than where the targets he placed earlier were located. Wattana this time joined her.

“Because you’re wielding a sniper rifle, the target is father than usual,” Wattana explained. “First, switch off your safety mode.”

“Got it,” Jaleh replied as she found the Artashir’s switch lever and moved it from S to 1.

“Now, get your right eye onto the scope and aim.”

Jaleh did as Wattana instructed without opening her mouth. Using the scope, she found the target yet it was still far from her.

“Miss Wattana, I-” Jaleh said.

“Can’t see, huh?” Wattana asked, interrupting Jaleh. “First off, there’s a coaxial wheel on top of the scope to allow you to adjust magnification. Spin it as far as you need to before aiming. If you’re comfortable with how far you magnified the scope, then fire.”

Without replying, Jaleh found the coaxial wheel at the top of the scope and moved it rightward. After that, she aimed at the target again and placed her right eye to the scope. She was now able to see the target much more closely.

“Do you see the target now?” Wattana asked.

“I do,” Jaleh answered.

“Then fire.”

“Roger that.”

Jaleh then pulled the trigger. She felt the recoil of the rifle affecting her balance yet despite that, the target was hit. Wattana rushed to her as Jaleh got back on her feet.

“The thing about sniping is that, you need to work on your ability to withstand the recoil, especially if you’re dealing with anything chambered at eight millimeters,” Wattana explained. “Now, use the bipod that’s attached to the rifle and crawl.”

Jaleh found the Artashir’s bipod and readied it. She then crawled into the ground, putting the sniper rifle down and with the bipod laid out, the rifle was now at a 45-degree angle.

“Again, aim and fire,” Wattana repeated the order.

“Roger that,” Jaleh replied.

Because she and her rifle were at the ground now, Jaleh found she could no longer aim for the head. Despite that, Jaleh pulled the trigger and this time, she didn’t feel the recoil that came from the shot.

“Nicely done,” Wattana complimented. “Now get up and return that rifle to Armin.”

“Yes, Miss Wattana,” Jaleh replied.


2057 hours

The mercenaries, al-Saqqaf, Ghasem, and Saman gathered in Farahani's room and sat down. “Now that we’ve tested every weapon, how will we divide the cell?” Farahani asked.

“Including the new recruits, how many are there in this cell?” Vos asked.

“Let’s see… there’s me, Saman, Ghasem, Armin, Hooman our cook, Ehsan who’s good with machine guns, and Kazem.”

“That totals to about fifteen men,” Tarou announced. “Well, twenty if you include us.”

“So how will the division of the cell go?” Farahani asked.

“Three groups,” al-Saqqaf answered. “Commander Farahani will personally command one group, but two groups will need to have their own commanders.”

“While each group as a commander, the two groups will need to be commanded by a Lieutenant and he or she has to be assisted by a Sergeant. Each group, including the Lieutenant and the Sergeant, must consist of seven individuals with the exception of the group taking their orders from the Commander.”

“Wait, how do the ranks within the Brotherhood go?” Wattana asked.

“I’m glad you asked,” Farahani answered. “My rank is Commander because I was given a cell to command. Below Commander is Lieutenant, which Armin holds. Then, there’s the rank of Sergeant which Ghasem holds. Below that is Volunteer and even then, it’s split into Senior Volunteer and Junior Volunteer.

“So, for a group within this cell, there’s a Lieutenant, a Sergeant, one Senior Volunteer, and four Junior Volunteers. Since I’m commanding one group, I’ll need a Sergeant.”

Farahani turned to Ghasem. “Ghasem, how about it?”

“Sure, sir,” Ghasem replied.

“So what do we do about weapons and roles?” Vos asked.

“About that… ” al-Saqqaf said warily. “Think we could hold off the assignments until tomorrow?”

“Why?” Farahani coldly asked as he turned to al-Saqqaf.

“The MS Arabia is coming back tomorrow with more weapons.”

“Why did you not tell me this sooner?”

“Among the new weapons being delivered are rocket launchers. We still need to find those suitable to use.”

“With all due respect, Commander, but I concur with Mr. al-Saqqaf’s reasoning,” Ghasem said to Farahani.

Farahani stood up in deep thought. “United Command is waiting for an update from my end because there will be a meeting. I haven’t been told when, though. If I don’t give them good news in the meeting, whatever little faith they, the General at least, will be lost.”

Farahani then raised his hands as a gesture of surrender. “Very well. We will continue this discussion tonight.” Farahani then turned to al-Saqqaf. “However, you will have to personally receive the shipment yourself.”

“Got it,” al-Saqqaf replied.

“And you’ll have to guard Mr. al-Saqqaf,” Farahani ordered Vos.

“It’s what we were hired for,” Vos replied.

“Then everyone in here is dismissed. Good night.”

Everyone began to leave the room, but Farahani looked at al-Saqqaf sharply. “Except you,” Farahani said.

al-Saqqaf stopped. He treated what Farahani said as an order and turned back to face him.

“Anything else that is being delivered tomorrow?” Farahani asked. “I really want to know.”

“Other than rocket launchers, practice rounds so that we don’t waste any more ammunition like we did yesterday, spare ammunition, helmets, ballistic vests, kneepads, and ammunition for our Walgears’ weapons.”

“I see… okay, you may go now.”


2209 hours

In their room, Vos and Tarou slept while al-Saqqaf was still awake. This was because al-Saqqaf was writing on a piece of paper.

He drew up what appeared to be an organizational chart with the words “Command Group” written at the top-center of the photograph. Next, he drew up squares and in the first one, he wrote “Vahid Farahani” in three languages, Arabic, Farsi, and in English. Last, he connected the two squares he drew with a line. After that, he wrote “Ghasem Madani” in the same languages he wrote Farahani’s full name.


2259 hours

“There you are,” Sunan Wattana said as she climbed up the ladder used for entering and exiting the underground complex to find Leila Alam alone. “You shouldn’t be out here all by yourself.”

Leila turned to find Wattana beside her. She gave no response with Wattana, realizing why.

“Right, you don’t understand me.”

Suddenly, Leila’s eyelids slowly closed, and she fell to the ground. Wattana rushed to prevent her body from falling to the floor.

“Just great,” Wattana lamented.

“What’s going on here?” Ghasem appeared.

“About this?” Wattana asked as Ghasem caught her carrying Leila. “She fell asleep so I just about to get her back inside.”

“Then hurry it up. I’ll be going down to wait for the both of you.”

“Got it, Sergeant.”


2337 hours

Wattana and Ghasem, who were carrying a sleeping Leila, reached a particular room. Wattana opened the door and that the room’s only occupant—for now—was Jaleh Javadi. Despite the room having no light, Wattana found the empty bed and signaled for Ghasem to take Leila there.

Quietly, Ghasem moved toward the bed. Reaching the bed, Ghasem slowly laid Leila on her bed. After that, he and Wattana left the room with the latter closing the door.

“Wat… tana… ” Leila mumbled as she slept.