Chapter Sixteen

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Juan wasn't lying when he said training was brutal.

They snuck into the training lab late at night, once everyone had gone to bed. It was late but she felt alert, the prospect of being part of this war energizing her. Especially now that the threat of having been discovered lingered in the back of her mind.

Juan flipped on a switch and the entire room flooded with light. A long, rectangular shaft with a row of what looked like giant glass cubicles stretched on in front of them.

To the left and through a door, there was a gym of sorts, set up with all types of machinery and weights. She glanced warily at each device they passed, dreading that she might have to use any of them.

"Are you sure no one will find us here?"

"Not any of the instructors. They're gone for the night. But the trainees have access to the trianing room whenever they'd like in case they want to better themselves." He chuckled. "This is gonna look so good on my boards."

"What will?"

"The extra hours I'm putting in," He smirked and held up a metallic punch card, the same one he'd used to get them into the room.

They started with something easy, according to Juan, but by the time she was done she was drenched in sweat. She was on a machine, running as if her life was in danger and Juan wouldn't let her stop.

"No, no." He clapped his hands together, urging her on.

"How. Is. This. Useful!" She gasped out with each breath.

There was a bead of sweat running down the side of her face that was beginning to itch but if she removed her hand from the bars for even one second she was sure she'd topple over.

"This is called conditioning baby. You gotta turn those twigs you call arms into muscle before I even let you into an aircraft."

It was two in the morning when Juan finally let her rest. They sat on a blue mat, eating dried fruit and cheese out of a plastic bag. Rachel was flushed and sticky, especially with the heater blasting her from the vent above them but at least sitting still was helping her cool down.

"They're really pushing you guys these past few days, huh?" Rachel asked, striking up a conversation.

"You mean killing us. They're killing us. Seems to me like they're trying to cram weeks worth of training into a few days. Something must've happened."

So Hector hadn't told him about the shield coming down during the storm. She figured Juan deserved to know as much as any of them. He was helping her with this and she could repay him, at least a little, by sharing the truth with him.

"I think it's because they're afraid we might've all been discovered."

Juan's hand paused mid-way to his mouth. "Say what? How? When?"

"During the storm. The sheild came down when the power went off, putting us all on the radar of anyone nearby. If Nicolas had someone patrolling, then they definitely know where to find us."

Juan shook his head as if trying to clear it. "Wait a minute. There's the possibility that Nicolas found us and we're all sitting around on our asses eating fruit and waiting for him to come get us? What the hell?"

"I honestly don't even know what's going on. Copenhagen has kept it all super quiet. I haven't heard even a murmur of it. I guess he doesn't want to cause a panic."

"But he has a plan, right?"

"I don't know."

"Well fuck."

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