Chapter 10

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I wake up in a room eerily similar to the one I used to sleep in. But this one is different. I can just feel it. I keep still in my bed, wishing that the entire Final Test was just a fevered dream.

But I know that it was all too real. The door hisses open, and I hear the tread of several men. I get out of bed and face them. I notice that all my wounds are healed, and I’m dressed in new clothes. There are three instructors, and one of them wears a lieutenant’s patch.

“You are to follow us,” he says briefly. He turns, and I follow him, the other two falling into step behind me.

I’m lead through hallways I don’t recognize, though they’re made in the same style as all the others. When I read the plaque on a door, I see that we’re on the Main Level. It must be a part that Lee and I didn’t go through when we tried to escape. As I think her name, I feel like someone punched me in the gut.

I force myself to keep on going. Ultimately, we end up at some command room, though not like the one Lee was directing me from. This one is much larger, has huge windows that show outside, which is looking rather grey right now.

There are rows of computers, with someone working at each one. Then I see him. Garith. He’s consulting with several people, and they each go off to do some job. He turns to face me as we come closer. A smile breaks through his cold demeanor.

“Here he is, sir,” the lieutenant says. Garith nods. “Dismissed, Lieutenant.”

He salutes, and the three instructors leave. “Well, you managed to do it.” Garith says. “You graduated. I suppose congratulations are in order.” He starts to walk for a door, but I grab his arm and turn him back around.

“Who was it that I fought?” I demand.

He is silent for a moment, then says, “It was your friend, Lee. That night you both tried to escape, and I shot her, it wasn’t fatal. Our medical facilities were more than equal to the task of fixing her.”

“Well then, why didn’t she stop when she was attacking me?” I ask, more to give me space to think than anything else.

“A dose of hallucinogenic serum saw to that. It started to leave her system as she was close to death.”

So I actually did kill Lee. Some part of me had been protesting, saying it was impossible, but now it was silent. Garith walks away, and I hurry to keep up.

“Now, I’m going to show you what your future will be,” He says. I can tell that he’s excited. About me graduating, or something else, I’m not sure. Once we’re out of the command area, I see that the walls and floor are like what I’ve seen before, on the Main Level. Garith gets onto some kind of vehicle, and I climb in next to him, and we’re off.

Drive for some time, and then arrive at a massive room. The hanger bay.

Garith gestures around as we drive through. “This is our combined air/space fleet. It’s not much to look at now, back in the day, it was quite something.” To me, the fleet looks huge. It has at least twenty mid-sized ships, as well as several fighters and a really large ship, probably the flagship.

We leave the hanger, and drive through some kind of barracks, where there are several technicians working on something vaguely humanoid.

“This is where we work on repairing and improving the exoskeletons.” Garith says. “Of course, you won’t be using one, since you’re from a different division. Ah, here we are.”

We arrive at a large, reinforced of door, and Garith hands a guard who approaches his command card, and when the guard hands it back, the door opens, and we drive through. It leads to a large courtyard, which has no gate, except the one we just came out of. There are several buildings around the courtyard, but I don’t know what they’re for.

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