Mystery (The Rewrite)

Hidden in the depths of Britain's largest countryside lies a military base inhabiting over a thousand children and teenagers between the age of four and nineteen. Their best recruit, seventeen-year-old Aiden Gonzalez, is coming to realize that finding someone he cares deeply about isn't always a fairytale. Lexi Matthews just wants a small shred of normalcy back in her life but is having to come to terms with the fact that it won't be happening anytime soon.

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"It happens sometimes. People say they'll come back and you believe them, believe that they wouldn't intentionally leave you. I guess they didn't get into the accident on purpose. But, God, I wish they just wouldn't have promised me anything before they left."

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"People are broken. You can be the most straight-edged person on the planet and still be broken. That doesn't matter though, no one cares about the story of how you became damaged. At the end of the day, it's how you pick yourself back up again that counts."

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1. Introduction (Aiden)

In 1938 three men and four women founded the C.U.T.M.C (Children's Undercover Training and Military Compound) when the Second World war was beginning to unravel. Five out of the seven founders were French and decided to set up the organization in order to fight against German forces trying to take over the British Empire. They needed British officers to get land and equipment in, making them the last two founders of the organization. They came to realize early on that children are known as innocent in everybody's eyes and used this to their advantage. Training twenty boys and twenty girls in hand-to-hand combat and gun control they sent them out to Germany with strict orders to spy on Nazi regimes. Only the government and the military knew of their existence. Without this assistance, the war would have dragged on for another couple of years. All seven founders were rounded up by Russain spies in 1953 and were shot dead. Only one of them had married and had children; his name being Antonio Gonzalez. His family carried on C.U.T.M.C under the watchful eye of the army and navy. 

The shirt system was put into place in 1984 when more and more children were entering the program. Orange shirts are for visitors (unspeakable, as their called by other students), and members of staff were dignifiable by their white shirts. Red shirts are for those who live on campus that are under the age of ten who are too young to begin basic training (these students take part in regular schooling and extracurricular activities such as' judo, karate and other defense classes, track, any ball game of their choice, languages, and sport. They are not permitted to be within fifty yards of the basic training compound or the sniping range unless accompanied by an adult or black shirt). Blue are for those over the age of ten and younger than the age of twelve who are going through the 100-day basic training regime (these shirts are rarely seen unless inside the training compound). Grey shirts stand for those who have passed basic training and are partaking missions unless a number is embroidered over the breast pocket - if they have a number they are the older kids who may be retaking the basic training or new recruits over the age of twelve. Brown shirts are for those retired from the program. Genuinely these people are older than nineteen and have not been given an extended contract for their service. They may live on site or leave campus to live in pre-scheduled housing. Finally, black shirts are for those at the top of the programming grading systems. To gain a black shirt you must have received an 'outstanding' level on your performance on two consecutive overseas missions, and are usually seen as legends in younger children's eyes. 

Black shirts tend to receive an extended contract on their nineteenth birthday, but if they choose to decline they may be offered a teaching job at the compound. The first to receive a black shirt was a boy named Martin Price in 1999 at the age of eighteen. He worked at the compound as a karate instructor until he passed away in 2007 of a stroke. In 2010 two black shirts were awarded to two ten-year-old boys, Drew Cutcher and Aiden Gonzalez - famous on grounds for being a Legacy (related by blood to a founder). The two boys were put down in history as the youngest to ever be awarded a black shirt, and the youngest to ever go through basic training at the age eight years old. Drew Cutcher went into engineering and mechanics at the age of fifteen, whereas Aiden is ranked as the highest Sniper on the program, as well as the best hand-to-hand fighter.

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Aiden

The mess hall is open twenty-four hours a day even if they aren't serving food. The busiest times are between 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM, again at midday and then around 7:15 PM when we all eat dinner. Times between and after those are filled with people catching up on schoolwork or just using the solitude and warmth of the hall to sit with friends and talk.

The hall's the size of a plane hangar they use in militant grounds and is situated in the northwest area of the compound. It takes fifteen members of staff to cater to all 1,483 students here as well as five cleaners constantly chasing the younger kids around.

Most of the kids here are here because their parents passed away and were involved in a type of criminal life before hand. I know a seven-year-old who came here two years ago whose parents were placed into Witness Protection after his mother was held hostage by a gang. Amelia Tacking who's fifteen is here because she stole a couple cans of beer with some friends when she was twelve. My best friend, Drew, used to be beaten by his dad who was a serious alcoholic and a leader of one of America's biggest drug crews in history. 

However, there are a handful of kids (myself included) that are here for other reasons. Some may have been scouted out by trainers. Harvey Wood was a part of the army cadets when he was eleven and can finish a five-mile run in just under two minutes which is essential on missions. Louisa Parker can hide out in a crowded street in broad daylight and can throw with a frightening accuracy. Others have stumbled across the base whilst in foster systems or orphanages, and the security offered here is too great to pass up. And the minority of people here are only here because their parents were also involved in this system.

My great-grandfather was one of the founders of this place in 1938. Because of this my grandfather, grandmother, my father, mother, uncles, aunts and other family members along the lines have also been training here from a young age. My mother and father decided they didn't want me involved in it, and so when my mother was still pregnant they moved away to a small village in Wales. It wasn't until my parents were killed in a house fire when I was six that I was brought back, and by the time I was eight I had already gone through the basic training elements. 

Drew went through it with me at the time, and we were the youngest to have completed it. We got our black shirts at the age of ten and by the time we turned fifteen we each had over a hundred missions under our belts respectively.

The hall is also decorated with dozens of kids in different colored shirts. Drew and I are the only ones wearing the black ones, which I can feel a couple of the people older than us glaring at. We're sat nearest the doors on a circular table large enough to fit fifteen kids. Our group of friends consists of ten boys, but Marcus' girlfriend and three friends have come over to sit with us. 

I don't so mind Marcus' girlfriend, Hannah because she's slightly tom-boyish and can sit and chill with us without causing drama. She's also a sniper and we train together a couple times a week. Two of her friends aren't so bad either, but it's Lucie that I have a problem with. She sits too close to me and keeps holding onto my arm when she tries to talk to me. She's currently so far over on her seat towards me she might as well be sitting on my lap, and she's clinging onto my shoulder so tight I'm pretty sure if I took my shirt off I'll see the indents of her nails. 

Drew's beside me stifling a laugh behind his hand at my discomfort and I'm taking great amusement in digging my heel into his shin. 

"Aiden, Drew!" I stood up so fast Lucie practically fell off of her seat but I didn't look back as I pulled Drew towards the doors of the mess hall. Standing just behind the open doors are a group of maybe fifteen girls and boys wearing gray shirts with numbers stitched onto the breast pockets. They're all examining the mess hall and only snapped back to attention when Drew and I stopped walking.

The leader of the camp, my Uncle, is stood before them all, all professional like and meaning business but he let that persona fall slightly as he gave Drew and me both a hug and a pat on the shoulder. Drew and I have been inseparable since we went through basic training, and are practically brothers meaning that my family just think of Drew as one of the Gonzalez's and not a Cutcher. Drew doesn't mind so much and is comfortable enough around us to just walk into our houses like he owns the place.

"Boys," My Uncle started and turned to nod at the group of newbies, hand still on my shoulder as I threw an arm around Drew's neck, "Meet the new recruits. You'll be training them this week. Guys, meet our best fighters."

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