Kerry S. Gordon
Copyright © 2018 by Kerry S. Gordon
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the prior consent of the Author.
I stood in front of the bathroom, my heart racing, facing the girl in the mirror with the memory of blood stained hands, whose last notable achievement was a High School Diploma until today.
I pulled my hair into a pony tail, wrapped a towel around my naked body, and I felt good, and couldn’t wait to do it again.
~Two Years Ago~
The entire Australian continent was inaccessible because we were at war, and the dictum killed or be killed was never more prominent and real than now. And though death was not something I tried to mediate on, training with the agency prepared me for life threatening missions, with no room for mistakes.
War was my reality and what I settled into, and any chance of having a regular life again seemed like a mirage of false hopes and dreams.
“Sky get up. They’re knocking on the door. They’re coming for us.”
“Leave me alone.”
“Sky stop playing and get up.” Misty yelled.
“Get up, get up,” the voice blared; poking the gun into my thigh. The sheet wrapped underneath my body was snatched from the top bunk where I laid. There wasn’t much I could see besides a shadow, shouting and ordering everyone to the front door. And Misty, despite looking tired, moved quickly, which was a feat, considering the bunker we shared seemed even smaller with another body patrolling around the room.
“Rule number one, always be prepared and alert. Leave nothing to chance,” our instructor Tadao, a petite and slender guy, with skin as translucent and smooth as a porcelain doll, and large almond shaped eyes yelled.
“Get into formation. Men to the right, women to the left,” he instructed, his almond shaped eyes piercing and stern.
The hallway quickly swarmed with recruits with bare feet, marching in line dressed in blue shorts and blue shirts. It was our mandatory sleep wear and uniform color, the blue representative of the agency’s color.
“Everyone march to the front of the building,” he ordered.
We stopped in front of the silver dome shaped facility. It was still dark outside, and probably another two hours before the sun arrived. And though we have been summoned out of bed in the middle of the night before, it wasn’t something I ever got used to.
A row of guards approached marching in line to the commands over the speaker chanting their recited mantra. We won’t stop 'til… we win this fight. We won’t rest 'til… we find you. The sight was patriotic, and served as a reminder of our dedication and devotion.
Logue groomed assassins and loyalty was a blatant necessity. Doubt and fickle learners were not tolerated within the agency. We were required to be tough and resilient. Humility didn’t fit, and as a female recruit, I was constantly tested.
Though there were several guards, only two were stationed near our formations. Only one bothered to approach, glancing up from his clip board scrutinizing me with his popping gray eyes, studying me underneath the brim of his hat that highlighted the shadow across his face.
"Name," he shouted mechanically.
"Inside to the left, instructions will be given for your physical today. Name." He shouted again, examining Misty who was in line behind me.
“Name.” He bellowed once again.
Misty stepped forward apprehensively.
"If you’re reluctant, maybe you shouldn’t be here," not hiding the repugnant expression speckled across his face. And surprisingly, the guard wasn’t even distracted by her impressive 5’10 physique. Misty was beautiful with dark hair that hung effortlessly just above her collar bone. It was one thing I envied, because I instead, had a cascade of curls to deal with.
I knew Misty wanted to be there, but could tell she was in pain from the drills yesterday. She fidgeted uncomfortable in the line, her body collapsing awkwardly on one side.
"Come on. Give her a break. She’s just a little tired from yesterday that’s all." Derek, my childhood best friend blurts. He stood third in the men’s line, with an undeterred look on his face, ruffling his hands through his dark hair.
The guard approached and despite Derek’s 6’3 well developed body, appeared minuscule compared to the guard’s grizzly shape.
"Name," he yelled eyeballing Derek suspiciously.
"Step aside," the guard scowled.
I glanced over at Derek who was fuming and obviously annoyed. I prayed he didn’t do anything stupid because I knew him well enough to know, he would make a scene.
One of the guards approached Derek, his face scowled with disgust. Derek didn’t seem bothered, which seemed to upset the guard even more.
“Why are you here?”
“Because I want to be,” Derek chimed.
“Wise guy huh,” punching Derek in the gut.
The second guard stationed like a manikin made no attempt to step in, positioning the clip board at his side, still as a frozen corpse. And on instinct, I Jumped out of line.
My heart was pounding as I tried to get Derek’s attention, but his focus was dead set on the guard.
“Sky stay back,” Derek advised brushing his self-off. “Don’t do anything.”
"What’s the problem here?"
The guard quickly saluted Tadao upon arrival.
"Would anyone care to explain what is going on?" He glares at Derek first, and then at me, carefully examining our expression.
"Your name?" He asked.
He stood by the guard with his sleek black hair swiped across his face like an anime character, employing a subtle tone that had a hint of interest.
"Are you involved in this matter?"
"No, she wasn’t,” Derek yelled before I even had a chance to answer.
“Yes I was,” I reinforced.
Tadao glanced over at the guard who reverts back to his post. He surveyed Derek and I, rubbing his chin which had no visible hair, not even a stubble.
“What happened?” Directing the question to me.
“That one,” pointing to the guard. “Hit Derek in the stomach without reason.”
And it took every fiber and muscle in my bone to restrain from kicking him in the jaw.
“Is this correct Bay?”
“Yes sir. But only because he got out of line.”
“No he didn’t,” I yelled. “He’s lying.”
Tadao turned to us. "I apologize for the unwarranted behavior, but please do know the guards have permission to follow through with their job if they feel threatened. Do you both want to be here?" He asks, observing Derek and I.
And before the incident, I would have proudly said yes, but after everything that occurred, began to doubt my decision. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the agency. And unlike most 18- year olds filling out college applications, or hanging out with friends, I instead enrolled with an elite recruiting agency that worked with the government.
I caught Derek’s awareness of my dilemma, which he was always good at detecting. I was never good at hiding much from him. He knew me well.
"Yes," we answered together.
Tadao paced back and forth, his hands behind his back, examining Derek and I like a scanning metal detector.
The guard handed it to him without reservation. He wrote something down, quickly returning it to the guard.
Derek and I followed Tadao as instructed to the large silver domed shaped building. We weren’t allowed to tour other parts of the building outside our bunk quarters, so we marveled at the large columns and white tiled hallway.
I was unable to truly appreciate the architecture because I was still upset, repelled by everyone’s lackluster behavior. There was no excuse for what the guard did.
I caught Derek’s awareness of my dilemma. Unfortunately, I was never good at hiding my discomfort. He supplied reassurance with a subtle smile. Then, a towering shadow in a full piece blue leather suite walked with precision down the hallway. The figure in the shadow approached, speaking with a robotic tone.
"Follow me," she directed. No one flinched or peeped. I deliberated walking away from training and the agency, but I made a commitment and had to see it through.
Derek had to be impressed and smitten, noticing his smiled while inspecting her body. She seemed to ignore Derek’s attempt to flirt, her coal black eyes rolling toward him with a guile of warning.
We continued down the hall, halting at the copious steel metal door that had to be at least 30 feet tall.
Tadao who’s been silent the entire time, placed his hand on the door which immediately opened.
Inside was spectacular and very modern, with high ceilings covered by a bounty of slender lighting sectioned in rows. And the bright green flooring that highlighted the soft white paint along the wall, was far more appealing than the gray walls in the small bunks we were subjected to.
A large rotating circle with the words LOGUE inscribed in the center of the floor stood out like a Giraffe in a small card board box. The rotation stopped, and a blast of colorful assortment lit the room, bright and prominent, like a sea of fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
"Welcome recruits," the voice over a loud speaker announced. "We are glad you are here because there are intolerable groups threatening our security and livelihood. Overtime you will become familiarized with our procedures and expectations. Don’t be alarmed. Training will be tough, but necessary for survival."
"Sky to the left please," the lady instructed. "Derek to the right, please. Physicals will be performed now."
Robes were handed to us and we were summoned to individual rooms.
I stood on the circle platform which had a plush padding that absorbed nicely underneath my bare feet. I wondered what was next, or how long they would keep Derek.
“Today, we’re doing something different,” Tadao advised. “Usually, I save this part of the training until the end, but I think both of you can benefit from this. Sky, Derek, each one of you will be placed in a chair, and Marina will give you a glass that has liquid inside. You will drink the liquid, and once it settles, you will experience temporary numbness and testing will begin.”
Tadao gave a nod to Marina. She walked away, returning shortly with a white chair in hand.
“What exactly are you testing?” Derek asks.
“Tolerance,” Tadao replied. “There will be five levels of electric shocks administered, mild, transitional, intense, extreme and severe. Think of this as your advance course on enduring torture.”
“Sky, please take a seat in the chair.”
At Marina’s request I did so, pondering how much pain I could endure. My tolerance for pain was average, or so I assumed. A small wound or minor injury wouldn’t bother me, and any small scratch or scrape I might have had growing up was too trivial to compare to receiving electric shocks.
Derek arms were crossed, appearing more concerned and nervous than I was. He was a good friend for caring, and loved him dearly for it.
Marina placed the chair in the center of the Logue inscription, then goes on explaining some of the drills and requirements we would need to complete.
“The drills will include simulators with gun battle, combat and weaponry training. “But those tests will be later,” she explained without even blinking.
She gave me a small cup the size of a shot glass with about enough liquid to finish with one sip. It looked like water, had no smell, or flavor, but trailed down my throat like an oyster, and almost immediately, a silver metal object shaped like a bracelet snapped around my wrists.
Marina stood in front of me holding a miniature electronic notepad. She began typing, but nothing happened. I considered if what they were testing was merely a reaction until a sharp jolt striked my body.
Marina kept her face buried in front of the screen, while Derek watched nervously. Tadao remained poised, with his arms behind his back.
A few more jolts jerked my body intermittently. I felt fine, until an unexpected shockwave of discomfort vibrated violently through my chest with the sensation of pins pricking my arms. My body began to shudder and shiver like falling into subzero water temperature. And the pain no longer felt like sharp stings piercing through skin, it was worse.
The feeling of sharp ice pricking my skin came to a halt, replaced by a dynamic force surging my body through a wind towel. Darkness traveled around me like the rings around Saturn, as my head spun around in circles. Then it all stopped abruptly, and my body throbbed and ached with drumming pulsation like a parade of elephants trampling on my head.
But it wasn’t over. A spasm of pain coursed and scraped across my abdomen. I tried to bear the persecution of being severed and shredded apart by piranha teeth ripping and tearing every piece of flesh connected to my body. In that moment, I preferred my body exploded, than suffer through the experience of teeth slashing and hacking every layer of skin.
“Stop it. Stop it. Do something, you can’t just let her scream like this,” a voice shouted.
“If you’re not going to do something, I will.”
“She’s holding up well, a minute longer and she will make it through extreme,” another voice said.
“The hell I will. Her face looks like it’s about to explode.”
“Sky, snap out of it.”
But I couldn’t, I continued to scream.
“Sky, Sky….it’s alright.” Warm hands shook me back and forth.
“Are you alright? “Sky it’s me Derek. It’s alright, I’m here. “She’s had enough,” Derek bellowed.
Tadao glanced over at me, rubbing his chin like he did before. ”We will finish this tomorrow. Marina, release the locks.” She does as Tadao ordered.
“This is crazy!” Derek shouted at Tadao.
“This is part of the training. It’s something everyone must go through. You are free to go, but Marina will arrive tomorrow morning at your bunkers to escort you back here.”
“What time?” Derek asked, but Tadao never answered his question.
“Can you believe him?” Derek mumbled.
“He couldn’t even give us a time.” Marina ignored his comment, handing us newly packaged blue pants and t-shirts, then exits the room.
“I’m fine.” Derek was weary of my explanation, proceeding with a suspicious evaluation of my face, but quickly changes the subject.
“Are you hungry?”
I honestly didn’t have much of an appetite, but it could easily have been from the impact of being tortured. The feeling of my gut being ripped and shredded apart left me with no appetite.
The cafeteria was the only place where all male and female recruits were not divided; at least that’s how it was arranged on our side of the facility. And as far as space was concerned, it was one of the few areas that didn’t skim on it.
There were two floors, each with a stationed kitchen and pleasantly up to par food. The breakfast selection varied from freshly toasted sandwiches on ciabatta, rye, whole grain bread, to chicken biscuits, bacon, eggs, hash browns, tortilla wraps, French toast, pancakes, and fruit salads.
The cafeteria was buzzing with a cluster of recruits shouting above one another, laughing and reciting lyrics of their favorite songs, which was as much entertainment as we could expect.
Television, music, computers, lap tops and all other technological devices, except a one phone call per day authorization, was prohibited during training.
Misty spotted us signaling us over. “What happened to you guys? Where did they take you?” she asked.
I gave Derek a nervous smile, and he read my mind immediately.
“Well, when you’re two of the best recruits here, they have to pull us aside to make the rest of you guys look good.”
“Oh please,” Misty snapped. “We haven’t even done evaluations yet, so don’t get ahead of yourself.”
I was used to Derek and Misty’s bickering, while the other five recruits sitting around the round table with disconcerting expressions remained quiet.
Misty put two fingers between her lips, whistling, slapping her hands together. “Now that I have everyone’s attention, I would like for us all to get acquainted,” then goes on to introduce everyone.
“This is Lacey,” Misty announced. “Her father is the Chief of staff for the Australian Government.”
She crossed her arms, giving me a forced smile. I ignored her, though she perked up when Derek made eye contact. He gave her a charming smile, which made her giggle like a school girl caught in a trance.
The guy with pallid skin and amber blonde hair sitting close to Misty gave Derek a scorn, but Derek oblivious, kept on ranting.
Claire had long hazelnut colored hair; bright cobalt eyes, and greeted everyone in a more than overzealous voice.
“Did they take you guys to some secret part of the facility?” Claire questioned.
“Or to get rid of you,” Lacey interjected, tossing her medium length hair that was colored dark brown on top and blonde on the bottom.
She was annoying me, and the smug slander on her face only made me want to smack the condescending leer right off. “No, they just wanted to go over a few things with us,” I replied.
“So what are you guys, a pair of trouble makers?”
Misty got out of her chair running over to me. “Guys enough with the questionnaire, Sky’s my dearest and best friend, and she’s not a trouble maker. Now Derek on the other hand,” she said with hesitation, “that’s up for debate.”
“That’s a pretty name,” the guy sitting next to the girl with curly red hair commented.
I observed his face, bed of wavy curls, walnut colored skin, and deciphered that his remark sounded genuine, so I gave him a smile.
“It is, isn’t it,” Misty said with a smirk. Derek overheard the comment, taking a seat next to him, assessing him like an overprotective brother.
“So you like her name eh.”
"Yes. I said it was pretty.”
“What’s your name?”
“Lawrence,” he pronounced with confidence.
Misty turns and introduces us to Casey. She had a sweet shy voice to match her adolescent round face, and Shirley temple colored hair, which was an example why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
She seemed like the girl next door, who would babysit the neighborhood kids, not slaughter someone on request.
"Hey Misty. What about me? You forgot the most important person out of the bunch.”
“I was just getting to you. I was saving the best for last. Sky, Derek, this is Joshua.” She takes a seat on his lap, which made his cheeks flush like a ripe tomato.
"That’s right," he replied arrogantly, rubbing Misty’s back.
He seemed like a pompous jerk, taking note that he winked at Claire.
Claire seemed amused though, but remained quiet, only returning a flirty smile.
“It’s almost time to go. You guys going to eat or what?” Misty asked.
Despite not being hungry when I first walked in, the rumbling inside my stomach declared otherwise.
Suddenly, everything appealed to me, deciding on bread and an omelet, while Derek got his usual plate of French toast, scrambled eggs and bacon.
I finished my breakfast taking a sip of my ice tea, but quickly spit it out, my chair almost toppling over by guards rushing pass.
Apparently, they were rushing to break up the brawl that broke out on the second floor.
Misty told me later that night, she overheard a group of guys making bets on who had better fighting skills, and probably the reason for the fight.
I closed my eyes thinking about my reality that was not a game, but a matter of life and death.
Footsteps of the issued guard’s boots crunching on the lawn made it hard to sleep. One or two guards generally patrolled at nights, but there were a lot more out tonight. I assumed it was requested because of the fight.
I fluffed the two pillows I used for neck support, rolled onto my back, and huffed at the sound of Misty snoring in the bed across from me.
I thought about the events that brought me here, and my reason was clear. Find and kill the perpetrator that murdered my mother.
The entire continent was at the brink of war, and the death tolls were escalating, as uprisings from The Protectors, they announce themselves as such, were multiplying and on a killing spree, and have one up on us--Insanity.
Dad being away, allowed a little relief, though after hearing updates that we were going to war, he insisted on an earlier flight but nothing was available. Flights were booked up. Terror does that. Everyone panics and everything becomes turmoil.
I’ve acquired some knowledge in my short existence that nothing compromises value, structure and morale more than killing with no guilt or remorse. The killers were delirious and manipulated by propaganda. They wanted to overthrow the government, declared the need for a new world order, and were ready to kill and die with no regard.
When Australian Officials reported mom’s murder to dad and me on our front door, dad was beyond himself and had to be sedated after he attacked one of the Official’s. I on the other hand, was frozen. I ached with desire to avenge my mother’s murder, and defend my country from those vile killers. I craved revenge, retribution, justice, anything, something to ease the uncontrollable maddening desire marinating under my skin, which was boiling over with an insatiable appetite for vengeance.
Anything I ever needed, or yearned for paled in comparison to coveting their head on a platter.
My mother’s death, murder, and slaughter was the turning point for the burst of galling urgency saturated inside my body, ready to erupt, and why I had to join the agency.
Tadao brought Derek and I back to continue with the torture test. It was the last place I wanted to be, but Tadao made it mandatory and had me pulled out my bed by an expressionless Marina at 5 a.m.
Derek didn’t seem nervous, and actually appeared composed and relaxed.
I gave him a nudge in the arm. “Are you trying to outshine me?”
“Never,” and rubbed my back.
Marina performed her same duties instructing Derek to take a seat.
I was apprehensive to watch Derek endure a similar ordeal as I did, but still curious to see how far he would go.
Derek took a seat in the chair, drank the liquid without hesitation, placed a hand on each leg and sighed.
The metal bracelet snapped around his wrists and minutes passed without anything happening. Derek scrolled his eyes around the room tapping his bare feet on the floor assertively.
I got his attention shrugging my shoulders. I didn’t know what to think of the whole ordeal, except maybe Marina didn’t administer the test yet, but she continued typing into the notepad staring vehemently at the screen.
I glanced over at Tadao who seemed to show no sign of worry or concern.
Derek wet his lips taking another deep breath.
Minutes passed, and his heavy breathing persisted. I was ready to ask Tadao what was going on, when Derek closed his eyes and began shaking.
He seemed tense. Traces of sweat trickled down his face, digging his fingers into the arm of the chair.
Tadao watched with interest while I stood helpless, wanting to do something, say something, but I didn’t know what. He wasn’t screaming, or shouting hysterical like I did, but the anguish was obvious.
He gripped onto the chair so hard it began to rattle, his entire body vibrating with convulsion.
The image was intense, and though the room was brightly lit, it felt and looked as if a dark storm engulfed the room. He shook and shuddered as if a possessive demon inhibited his body, wounding him with tremor. The design on Derek’s face mimicked that of an eruption of a volcano, the winds of a hurricane, the flood of a tsunami, and the pulsation of an earthquake.
I took a few steps that brought me within arm’s length. I wanted to reach out and touch him, but Marina grabbed hold of my arm, pulling me away.
I reacted, withdrawing from her hold. She sneered at me, remaining close.
Tadao aware of the situation gave some kind of signal with a single finger motion, which he moved up, then down once.
Marina indicated agreement with a subtle nod, moving about a foot away from me.
I was glad she moved, but that was quickly overshadowed by Derek’s grunts.
I observed his body rattling and vibrating more violently than before, and within seconds the chair fell over.
The lock released, and clearly frustrated, kicked the chair across the room, then stormed out.
Tadao approached reporting that the numbing liquid was not real. “It’s nothing more than a clear jello substance. We tell recruits that they will be numb, to settle their nerves a little, because the shocks are real. We want recruits and agents to understand, that most of the time, the key to staying strong when being tortured, is developing a mental resistance to the pain.”
At lunch Derek picked at his food, barely taking a bite of anything. His usual entertaining wit and self-assured personality materialized to dowdy, and I didn’t know how to snap him out of it.
Misty was too busy flirting with Paul, Derek’s bunk mate and Joshua to take notice of Derek’s behavior, which ordinarily would ignite their usual banter.
Lacey of course, had to put her two cent in and comment. “What’s wrong with him?” She asked. But I turned away, ignoring her, viewing instead Claire and Lawrence waving to me from the second floor.
He whispered something into her ear which made her giggle. They seem to be enjoying one another’s company. Then I wondered why someone couldn’t swipe Lacey away, so she could leave the table. I would have left myself, but I didn’t want to leave Derek or be rude to Misty, though judging by the flirtation going on, I doubt she would have noticed.
“Maybe, he’s just tired,” Casey suggested.
“Oh please,” Lacey hissed.
I had enough, slamming my cup on the table, which thankfully wasn’t glass.
I stabbed my fork into my lasagna. “Enough,” I shouted.
“Or else what,” she mocked.
She stood up, knocking her chair over, growling at me. I got out my chair, chucking my fork at her head.
“Sky, what’s gotten into you?” Derek yelled, swiftly pushing me back into my chair.
I was blind sighted by my fixation to kick Lacey’s butt, and probably why I didn’t notice Misty or the guards hurling out questions one after the after, waiting for an explanation.
The guards held their guns firmly at their sides, gaping over me. I felt like I was on trial. I rationalized the situation as nothing more than a misunderstanding and Lacey agreed to the story as well. We were both given a warning and summoned to our bunks.
Back at the bunk, the door creaked open. I assumed it was Misty or Derek coming to check on me.
I stepped out the bathroom, feeling something sharp and cold striking me across the face. And within seconds, I’m grabbed by the waist.
“Pipe down will you,” the male voice huffed, immediately tying my hands behind my back.
I kept kicking, and didn’t stop until a stab punctured into my left leg.
“You think she’ll taste like candy, or melt in my mouth?”
Voices chuckled, suggesting what type of candy they liked.
As I felt my shorts being removed from my hips, I wanted to die. And I thought I might because it was getting harder to breathe, with the cover they placed over my head.
“Don’t worry this will be quick. We’ll all be quick, won’t we fellas.”
I could hear the clatter of a belt buckle being undone, while the sound of a zipper grained into my head.
They removed a bit of the cover to expose only my lips. I tried to bite on of them, but they quickly taped my mouth. The heat sipping on my neck, from the man hovered over me, almost made me vomit.
His moist tongue roamed across my neck. “Taste more like salt to me,” positioning his body on top of me. I expected an assault, but instead, he mumbled how soft my skin was.
“This will be quick,” running his fingers down my arm, the heat from his mouth absorbing into my skin. “But I think I might actually take my time.”
“Make it quick will yah. We don’t have all day,” a different voice hollered.
“I’ll take as much time as I need,” pressing his weight against my chest, and as I tried fighting, another stab punctured my right leg.
“He’s right though, you can’t hog her all day,” another voice said.
“You guys can make a good moment so unpleasurable.”
I was mortified, alone, and frozen, feeling hands that felt like scrap metal graze down my arms.
“Don’t be so nervous. It won’t be that bad. I’m not here to hurt you.”
I couldn’t understand why such scum like this would be allowed to still live, feeling lips slither across mine.
“Get off of her. You pathetic asshole,” immediately recognizing Derek’s voice.
I tried wiggling my hands loose, but fell off the bed, quickly hitting the floor.
“Sky, your legs.” Misty yelled. And though I couldn’t see her, knew her voice.
She quickly removed the tape from my mouth, the fabric from my head, and untied my hands.
“I’m okay. We have to help Derek.” And though I was in pain, didn’t want to focus on it, because Derek needed our help.
Misty quickly rushed over to help Derek, who was being attacked. I could only manage to wobble and limp over, and in my pursuit to help out, one of the guards grabbed me. I elbowed him in the stomach, quickly driving my fist across his face.
Gunshots were fired and not knowing where they came from, ducked.
Derek fired a shot in the air, immediately halting everyone. One of the guards stepped forward, making his way to Derek. Derek shot him in leg, ordering everyone not to move.
At that moment, I not only wanted revenge, I wanted Derek to execute all the guards.
The next day was filed with an all-day investigation and witness statements, which Derek, Misty and I had to provide.
I was highly concerned for Derek, because recruits were not allowed to have guns or any weapon, and I was unsure how he obtained one.
Over the next few days, things slowly settled, though the events of what happened spread like a tsunami. Derek, Misty and I were bombarded by recruits wanting to know all the details of what happened. We shared no information, and not just because it was requested by Tadao and the agency, but more importantly, it was something all three of us wanted to forget.
As the days progressed, and the talks of the incident dwindled, Tadao asked Derek, Misty and I to rejoin the recruits to continue our training.
Today was knife handling drills, though I was asked not to participate due to my leg injury, and could only watch.
I was frustrated, because I couldn’t participate. My leg injury was healing well, and I wanted to get back to training, but Tadao maintained his request.
After training was over, Misty took off with some guy she’s been flirting with, so Derek and I walked back to the bunks.
“How are your legs today? Are your okay?”
“It’s getting better.” I whispered because I didn’t want the rest of the recruits walking by to hear us. “I just want to get back to training.”
“You will soon. Tadao’s making sure you’re well before getting back into it.”
“I know. I hope those guards get actually what they deserved for what they did.”
“Well, they were fired and won’t be coming back here.”
“You should have just killed them right then and there,” not regretting what I said.
“Want to talk about it?”
“Nothing to talk about,” I replied.
“Sky, sometimes I think about how things would have turned out if neither Misty nor I didn’t go check on you,” and he said it with such somberness I didn’t know what to say.
“I’m glad I went to check on you,” he said pressing his head against the wall.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “How and where did you get the gun?”
“Tadao gave it to me.”
“He did?” I asked surprisingly.
“It must have been instincts, but I was concerned about you after what happened in the cafeteria. I spoke to Tadao about it, and told him I was going to check on you. He agreed and gave me his gun to bring as protection.”
“So he knew something was going to happen?”
“I don’t know, but he wanted me to have it.”
Tadao requested to see me at the end of class. It was week four of training, and I wasn’t the best in class, but surely I wasn’t the worse either, so I was clueless as to why the private request.
I entered the meeting room five doors down from where we were training, and immediately judged the look of anxiousness on Tadao’s face. It was a look of interest met with concentration when he asked me to take a seat.
He placed a finger to his nose allowing his thumb to rest underneath his chin.
“First, I want to say how sorry I am again for what transpired with the guards, and also for your loss, Sky,” Tadao mustered. “Death is hard enough, and losing a parent unexpectedly and violently.” He paused as his eyes filled with sorrow. “Is that much harder. Your mother was an asset and vessel to this agency. She had a hand in crafting most of the system and strategies we use to recruit and train.”
I turned my head, recalling the many designs and sketches of business logos for Logue I found in a folder, stored chronologically in mom’s office.
Mom, unlike dad was proficiently organized, which he knew from day one and what attracted him to her. Mom was employed by Australian government to track financial reports of organizations and companies of interest, which included the responsibility of either closing them down or customizing a major overhaul. Fortunately for dad, mom saw potential in his cellular research, providing the funding his organization needed. Though mom said she only helped because she thought he was cute.
“Sky,” he said carefully. “I’ve reviewed all of your test results we’ve done so far, and it’s been brought to my attention that you’re a great candidate for our System Protocol missions.”
Tadao laughed, noting the look of confusion on my face.
“Sky, you have several great skills. You shouldn’t be so shocked.”
“But what?” He questioned.
“But I’m not the number one fighter.”
He laughed again. “No, but you’re close. Besides, you don’t always have to start out ahead to get ahead, which can easily be mastered, especially with your persistence. More importantly,” he said glaring at me assertively. “You have what it takes.”
I was interested, yet I had my suspicions. “Out of this training group, you’re the only recruit selected for elite missions, and when you say yes, that will make you only the second female ever to be selected and meet the criteria for System Protocol.”
“How do you know I will say yes?”
He chuckled at first. “Because I know you will.” He smiled with confidence. “So are you in?”
“You said you already knew what my answer would be.”
“I don’t doubt what I know; I just want to hear you agree to it.”
I sat quietly in the chair, deliberating for a couple minutes.
“When do I start?”
At the start of training, there were thirty-five recruits total, male and female included. Now at the end, there were twelve, eight guys and four girls.
Every recruit, trainer, director, guard, and anyone working at the agency was present for our last match. All remaining recruits stood in line next to one another, as Tadao addressed the coliseum shaped room filled with spectators.
"Before we begin, I want to say I am very proud of everyone who has stayed and committed to the training. What you’re doing, what you are a part of, is something greater than yourselves. What awaits and lurks out there is vicious cruelty, and uncompromised dedication to kill people and overthrow our government," Tadao expressed.
"They will stop at nothing to accomplish their mission, so we must prepare ourselves to fight back," glancing at me.
Tadao continued with his speech, ideal for the fourth quarter of a championship basketball game. I looked over at all the recruits that made it, which for the females included me, Misty, Casey, and Jane who had short blonde pixie hair and a mean right hook. I was thrilled knowing Lacey didn’t make the cut. Apparently she had more mouth than skill.
The males were Derek, Lawrence, Ted, Brandon, Seth, Cliff, Robert, and Reggie. Joshua and Claire also didn’t make the cut, but they seemed more focused on hooking up rather than training, so it might have worked out better for them.
Misty glanced over at me with apprehension. "I
Publisher: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
Text: Kerry Gordon
Images: Kerry Gordon
Cover: Kerry Gordon
Editing: Kerry Gordon
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Publication Date: 04-17-2021
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