Mission 37

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Luke

Luke POV

“See you later Mars.”

I say as I stand up. Quickly adding, “Hope we’re in the same team.”

I gave her my best smile, hoping for a return.

Walking away I patted myself on the back. I’ve got the ally I wanted. Now to make sure we’re on the same team. It would be stupid not having her on my team, seeing how she knocked out a guard twice her size. I set off in the direction of the changing rooms, taking note of everyone I passed. Trying to discretely size them up. I needed at least one, if not two more people on our team, not much of a team if it’s just the two of us. People were starting to get into groups, I didn’t like this. Half these people are killers. Last thing I needed was a group of killers out on the other side, running around.

Well I suppose that is if there is another side. I suppose if there’s not, then dead is dead. I’ve gotta prepare for the best-case scenario. My attention was taken away by the flashing lights on the white walls. The blue arrows had definitely not been there before, or had I not noticed. I shook my head; no, they must have just programmed them to turn on when needed. I hadn’t seen technology like this in years. I stop in my footsteps as the other boys and men form a line. Must be for the changing rooms I think to myself. I hear some raised voices coming from behind, arching my head around I see two boys having what looks like a disagreement. I could now hear what was being said. The younger one spoke in a hushed voice,

“I don’t know Ajay, something bout her seems off.”

The other one nudges him, he had an arrogance about him. But it looks playful enough. I nearly laughed to myself, I’m old enough to be most people’s dad here. I’m not even that old. Such bullshit.

“Don’t be a little bitch. She’s meant to be a hell of a fighter.” Were they talking about Mars? I pivoted around.

“Who you on about?”

I asked. They stopped a few feet from me. The younger one looked nervous. Ajay steps forward in front of the younger one in a protective manner.

“And what’s it to you? It ain’t polite listening in on people’s conversations you know!” This. Little. Shit.

I straightened myself up, so I towered over him. This seems to be doing the trick. You gotta get respect on the street. Which is hard when you have a voice like mine.

“Thought you were talking bout my friend that’s all.” The little shit broke a smile,

“Nah I don’t think so dude. She was sat with us the whole time. It’s that Tish girl.” He paused tilting his head,

“Wait who you on about?” “Mars.” I say hesitantly.

“That tiny thing, what use is she gonna be.” He laughed,

“Might as well just lay down and die now if that’s your backup man. But don’t worry I’m sure Tish would consider someone like you to join our team.”

I clenched my fist. I breathed, counting to ten. I jumped as a loud crash distracted me from the conversation. A young man came running out of the room we were queuing to go into. A nurse ran out after him,

“Hey! You have to have the injection, otherwise you can’t be on the mission.”

“Fuck off,” He spat back. Stepping forward, I stopped him. “Hey mate calm down,”

I stuck out my arm to stop him in his place.

He knocked into me, I grunted. The little shit. What was with all these youngsters. “Hey, I mean it, you’ve been given an opportunity here, don’t fuck it up.”

“Don’t stick your nose where it don’t belong mate,” he pushed passed me.

I let him go, fuck it he isn’t my responsibility. I turned back, the nurse pointed to me. Fuck, was I gonna get in trouble.

“Hey, sorry just trying to help!”

She nodes for me to go through the door. I grunt, for fuck sake why don’t I ever mind my own business.

“Miss, I know it was none of my business.” She cut me off,

“Don’t worry bout it. Just thought you’d be the most compliant candidate after dealing with that shit.”

She caught herself recomposing herself. I laughed; she was cute. “Don’t worry bout it doc.”

I said with a wink. She laughed, “I’m a nurse.”

I shrugged,

“Ye but nurse don’t sound as good as doc.”

She rolled her eyes, but she definitely has a slight smirk going on. She looks more serious picking up a chart and asks me,

“So, whats your number?”

I smirked,

“Well I ain’t got no phone, but I’d be happy to take you out sometime.” She rolls her eyes again, but I can tell she likes the attention.

“I mean your ID number, smartass.”

I laugh giving her my allocated number. She scanned her notes. “Luke?”

She asked, I nodded my head realising she wasn’t looking at me. “Yes, Luke Williams the name. What’s yours?”

She didn’t look up.

“You don’t have to answer, I understand that I’m not the kinda person you want to know that information.”

She looked up at me, “Sandra.”

She said, before looking back at her notes.

“Looks like your health is exceptional Luke and your strength and combat skills are well above the average score. Good at team work as well. But your balance and coordination need some work. All together this all looks good. You’ll fit into group 5 well I think.”

I quickly cut across her, “Who’s in group 5?” “Umm,”

She paused looking through the notes,

“Steven, James, Maria, Eliza so far. Any reason for the curiosity?”

I scratched the back of my head, nervous, contemplating asking. There’s no harm, I guess. “It’s just I made friends with this girl Mars, she seems like she needs someone to look out for her.”

She looks up at me, she looks confused. But she quickly recomposes herself and looks like she’s going to say something but stops, looks down at her notes again and starts writing something. I’ve pissed her off I’m sure of it, maybe I shouldn’t have spoken out. Nah she can’t be annoyed by me asking, can she?

“You know she’s just a kid really. So, I was hoping if it’s not too much of a problem, I can be put in a group with her.”

I add, she looks up again and nods.

“No problem, you’re now in group 2 with Mars. That’s really sweet of you to look out for her.”

I grinned, “Thanks Sandra!”

She smiles back. I liked the way her eyes wrinkled when she smiled. Her eyes were such a unique colour, a mix of dark and light brown that were as bright as the sun. I found myself staring into them. I think she’s warming to me as she keeps my gaze for a few seconds before turning around. She picked up a syringe.

“Okay Luke, this is a shot that should protect you from any diseases from this time. Nothing dangerous as the last guy thought. The second is a vitamin shot and then finally we have a tracker so that we can keep track of you and make sure you’re still alive.”

I gulp, nodding my head. Rolling up my sleeve, I flex my arm. She looks at my arm and back at me.

“Nice tattoos but please stop flexing. I can’t get the needle in if you’re clenching your muscles.”

I laugh, feeling my face turn slightly red in embarrassment. The needle didn’t really hurt. “Okay, the tracker now goes into the back of your neck. This will hurt slightly.”

She said cautiously to me, she was obviously well trained for this. Probably had to deal with quite a few people kicking off. As she got the tracker ready, I asked curiously.

“So, why’s it going in the back of the neck? It seems a bit odd.”

“Hmm, there’s no nice way to say this. It’s to prevent people taking them out, we’ve had previous candidates cause some real damage to their arms by trying to remove them. It’s meant to be a deterrent.”

She paused. As a shooting pain went through the back of my head. I jumped up, “Fuck. Shit. That hurt.”

“As I said it’s meant to be a deterrent because if it hurt that much going in professionally, you can imagine the pain removing it.”

She frowned at this.

“Well I guess I’ll be leaving it in then.”

I laughed trying to hide my disgust. It was obviously not her fault, so no need to make her feel worse. I sit back down.

“Okay, only one thing left.”

She paused pulling out a container from a draw that had multiple containers in. Turning to me she handed it over.

“Your belongings from before prison. Well the stuff you had on you when you were arrested.”

Opening it I find a bible, necklace and a picture. I picked them all out. Carefully picking up the bible making sure what I had inside didn’t fall out.

“You’re religious?”

She asks, I didn’t want to directly lie. I’d done enough of that. “I guess we all need something.”

Not a complete lie I guess but no, I’m not religious not one bit.

“Who’s that in the picture?”

I look down. Looking back at her I half smile, “It’s my daughter Lily.”

She smiled,

“She’s very pretty.”

“Thanks. She took after her mum.” “Sorry.”

She responded, picking up on speaking about her in past tense. “Thanks, she’s in a better place now. Cancer.”

There had been a rise in cancer patients as the pollution became worse. Kids and the old seemed to be getting it the worse. She was looking at me sympathetically. She reached out and squeezed my hand, I wasn’t expecting it.

“I had a niece who passed a few years back. It’s a terrible thing.”

She passed me a tissue. I wiped away the few tears. Getting up I thanked her, before I walked out, she stops me.

“Luke,”

She comes close enough that I can feel her heat radiating. She speaks in a hush tone.

“Be careful, Corporal Lance is in group 2. I can’t change Mars to another group as he would get suspicious, but I can put you in the group. Be careful of him and keep a close eye on Mars. If she remembers, things could kick off.”

I looked at her confused. “Wait, What. How?” She cut me off,

“I can’t say anymore, we’re out of time. Just go forward cautiously.”

She turned around, walking back to her desk, I took one last look at her before walking out the room. Holding onto my bible tightly. A guard directs me to a changing room where I was given some privacy to change. A wet suit was hanging up on the wall and a bag was leaning on the chair, both were obviously mine. Checking that the door was locked, I moved the bag onto the floor, sat on the chair and slowly opened the bible directly down the middle. Praying that it was still in there. Ain’t that funny, the man with no faith praying whilst holding the bible. I took a deep breath, ’oh thank god!” I thought to myself. Maybe I should have a little faith. Sat in the middle of the bible in a compartment was a push dagger and a caracal pistol and 12 bullets. I quickly closed the bible, opening the bag I hid the bible underneath the clothes and supplies.

I took a deep breath, steadying my breathing. I got dressed quickly wanting to get out of here and find Mars. And tell her what I know, ‘but it might be to soon’. I don’t now if she trusts me enough. I definitely need to find out if she’s ok, maybe I’d keep the gun a secret for now, but at least I can protect her.

If Sandra is telling the truth, I may actually be needing the gun. Sooner than I was expecting.

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