When Chief Executives of the top secret agency "Ultra" get ordered to "prejudicially retire" the classified program for training child assassins to do the government's dirty work worldwide, they naturally comply by destroying the secluded Ultra Training Facility and terminating every last student, instructor, and staff member -- right down to cooks and janitors. But what will "Ultra" do about the five young assassins already sent out on assignment to five different spots around the world?

HUNGER GAMES-esque. Dark and violent.


9. The Man


Sabine was sleepy, and her body ached, and she was hungry, and her mouth was dry from thirst as she shuffled, the chains clanking, down the aniseptic-smelling hallway between the two silent black-clothed guards.

Just behind her walked the red haired older lady with the clipboard. Once, Sabine staggered and nobody reached out to steady her. She laughed at this, a harsh sarcastic laugh. Silence.

If she'd fallen, they would have just waited until she picked herself up. Nobody was going to make life any easier for her. Not here. Okay. She got that.

At the end of the hall was a green metal door with a pebbled glass pane. The red haired lady walked forward and tapped on the glass with her clipboard. A stern baritone voice said, "Enter."

The red haired lady turned the knob and stepped in and held the door wide and Sabine squeezed through with the two guards.

At a metal desk piled with blue folders sat a dark haired man with a sort of gaunt, worn in, battered face and sharp blue eyes, in civilian clothes. Just blue jeans and a black sweater with leather patches on the shoulders. No tie or anything. He was smoking a cigarette. There was a whole ash tray of cigarette butts on his desk. The place was so thick with smoke that Sabine's eyes watered.

"Be seated," the man said, and Sabine looked to the side and saw a single wooden chair. It was the kind of chair they had in police stations -- the kind that was lightweight and therefore easy to kick out from under you if you didn't answer their questions promptly and courteously. You might also get hit over the head with a chair like this and suffer from a few bruises and a little hasty bleeding but no permanent damage.

Sabine settled herself on the creaking chair and looked at the man unblinkingly. A wide-eyed, blank, fake-innocent look she'd cultivated in police stations in Paris.

He gazed at her for a moment and bent forward and crushed out his cigarette. Then he stood up behind the desk and picked up a blue folder and flipped it open. "Sabine Alicia Delonge," he read. His pronunciation was terrible.

Sabine said, "Oui."

"Speak English," he said. "You are not in Frogland anymore. You are in the United States of America, and by god we will make an American of you."

His voice sounded savage, almost ranting, but looking closely Sabine saw a trace of a smile.

She cleared her throat and said in a small voice from her chest, "Yes."

"Speak up," he said.


"Yes what?"

She thought for a moment. "Yes, Sir!"

The man looked at the red haired lady. Then, both the man and the red haired lady did something unexpected. They both laughed. Sabine blushed, thinking they must be laughing at her thick French accent, which sounded even to her pathetic and ridiculous. 

The man then said to the two guards, "All right. You may go. We can handle this trainee ourselves."

The men turned and left without saluting, their boots squeaking. The door shut behind them. The man again fixed his blue eyes on Sabine.

"Do you know why you are here?" he asked.

"No, Sir!" she said.

"Do you know where 'here' is?"

"Upstate from New York City, I think, Sir!"

"Do you know what 'here' is?"

"No, Sir!"

"If you had to guess, what would you guess?"

"A prison, Sir!"

He shook his head. "Not a prison. It's a school. You are here to learn. Are you prepared to do that -- to learn from us?"

Sabine stared at the man for a moment. Then she snapped, "Yes, Sir!" 

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