xxxxii. fuck the bourgeoisie

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Ace and I retreat to the training room after the meeting. In the very beginning of my basic how-to-survive 101 training, I had absolutely bombed the "firearms" chapter. To be fair, I bombed everything else too, but the way I managed to miss almost every shot was especially discouraging.

Chase was my teacher in that subject. When I first got to the agency, Chase didn't really teach me either. He just sat around while munching on popcorn. I felt like a contestant on American Ninja Warrior while he was the audience, though I couldn't control the "American" part and was actively avoiding the "ninja warrior" part.

Maybe I could be classified as a "ninja napper" or "wussy warrior".

Mental note number one: alliteration doesn't make things funny. Mental note number two: scratch the last one; that would have been an oxymoron. Mental note number three: stop saying mental note as if you'd actually remember any of this.

"Alright, you ready?" Ace asks. "This is pretty easy—just don't miss."

I deadpan him. Right, because for the last couple of months, which feel like at least forty chapters if my life were to be written as a book, I've been missing just for fun.

The target was about twenty yards away from me. Ace was replacing Chase as my teacher since Chase didn't give an unpopped shit about anything that wasn't popcorn.

The timer was also running out on the code on the USB. That was a larger priority for Ace and I, but the Director took this time to monitor my progress as an agent. "Okay Octavia," the Director says, tapping on his trusty clipboard. The clipboard was the toolbox to his Bob the Builder. Oh my god how do I still remember that show?

"I just need you to evaluate your athleticism for Project Callister's updates. This is pretty standard procedure," he continues.

"How come no one else has to do this?" I object. "You just checked off everyone else on this team."

"Don't make me say it Miss Snow," he shakes his head. "We both know why you're here."

Ace stifles a chuckle. I can't believe the Director just roasted me like that.

The smell of butter suddenly drifts into the room. Chase's blond head enters the room with a bag of freshly cooked popcorn, and his eyes are practically sparkling with delight. He stands with Ace by the windowsill with a look of amusement. I want to shoot him, but I'd definitely miss.

"There are no shots on the target yet... so I can't tell if we've started," Chase grins. "I'm ready to be entertained."

"Kingsley, you are a complete asshole," I sneer. "Once I pass, you're the second person I'm shooting, right after Banana Bread."

Ace holds up his hands defensively. "Hey, I know you can do it—" wait, is he being nice? "—if the target was an inch away from your gun and you had infinite bullets."

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