The earth-shattering scream maxed out the speakers as Daniel leaned over to the system and quietly muted it. The new recruits always had a hard time the first week, but this one had been much wilder than anticipated when presented with the choice.
Daniel had no doubt that she’d eventually fall in line. Everyone did, if only to save their own lives from a fate worse than death. Still, he felt for them on occasion. He’d never had to go through indoctrination like they did. He’d come into this shitty life willingly.
Easy, unhindered steps clicked across the tile floor behind him. The hairs on the back of his neck stood in alarm, but he stayed still as Sonya came to stand next to him. Her calculating gaze shifted from the frustrated girl to him. The glee on her face—impossible to mask even if she did try—at someone else’s pain sickened him, nauseated him to the point where he almost bolted for the door. But he stood fast, not willing to give the evil hag the pleasure of his discomfort.
“She’s too dangerous.” He broke the silence with his first objection. There was so much wrong with this indoctrination. Breaking her wasn’t going to happen. He could see it in her eyes, in the way she fought.
“I like her. She’s perfect.”
“You cannot control this one.” Daniel said as the girl flipped her cot over. “She won’t let you. She’s too strong. I told you, she didn’t fit the profile.”
Sonya laughed, as she always did. “Grumpy, Daniel? We need someone like her. She’s intelligent. Calculating.”
“They all are at first.”
“She’s not going to let go of her life. There’s too many variables.”
The profile had been put into place to find the right recruits, the ones that would have no problem with killing and following orders. The ones that didn’t have real life ties to miss. This one didn’t fit. She had the basics. A loner. Distrust of the government system. Mental instabilities, some of which she probably wasn’t even aware she had.
“What life?” Sonya shrugged. “She has no life beyond us, now. What Naomi needs is a little structure and guidance. She needs a purpose to put her straight, to push her toward becoming one of the finest assets we’ve ever acquired.”
“Not if she won’t let go.”
“Oh, Daniel. You’re such a worry wart. She’s not Kala. She will let go. She will come to us on her own terms with a little prodding. And we help her see the light.”
Daniel resisted the urge to backhand Sonya for mentioning his half sister. She’d no right to it, but that was probably why she had done it. She delighted in seeing how far she could push him. She did the same to Jet, though he was pretty sure his half-brother had passed the breaking point since Kala’s death. Sonya had steered clear of Jet for weeks.
“She will be our best operative.”
“She’s different. This is a bad idea.” As if in answer, the girl grabbed a chair and threw it at the glass. It didn’t even dent it, and the chair was metal, but she wasn’t the first violent recruit they’d ever had. Most of them were violent. The glass was reinforced with stronger material to prevent breakage.
“I need another session with her.” Sonya said, her eyes bright with the hunger she got when she had a new recruit to mold and play with.
“She’s tearing apart the room,” Daniel sighed.
“Let her have it out.”
“I’m getting her restrained.” He couldn’t watch this anymore. He pressed his earpiece. “Security, strap the new recruit down again before she hurts herself.” He paused. “And steer clear of her mouth this time.”
Four guards stormed the room, and though she fought as hard as she could, they had her strapped to the gurney in a matter of a few minutes. Even restrained, she continued her fight, her struggle against her new captors.
That was the best thing he liked about this one. She fought, even though she had to know she wasn’t going to win. They did want that mindset in Section Five… Someone willing to take the risks and unable to accept defeat as an option. But they’d always chosen the easily manipulated, and this girl… She was too strong. She was anything but easily manipulated. While they wanted that unstable personality, there was something dark—something uncontrollable inside her.
He was too close to his objective now to let this girl ruin it for him. She had to go before it was too late. “I’m recommending termination to Ryan, Sonya. This one… it’s a mistake. She’s a mistake. We need to cut our losses with her and move on. You won’t break her.”
Sonya’s eyes glinted with fierce determination. The calculations were already racing through her mind on how to break Naomi. He could see it. “I don’t want to break her, Daniel. I want to fix her. Have her brought to my office.”
She grinned in such a subtle way it was maniacal. She observed the screaming girl a few more seconds before she left, her footsteps receding beyond the room and down the hall.
No one really knew what she did to her patients. Daniel didn’t want to know. But she got the results she wanted. This one—well—he wasn’t sure that she would this time. Even completely defeated and restrained, she still fought, continued to try to win, like a wild horse. But what had Sonya said originally? She wasn’t trying to break her, just fix her? So what exactly would that entail? Did it mean that the girl was broken already? Didn’t that make her more dangerous?
Section Five’s interest in her was unusual. If any other was acting this bad during indoctrination after almost a week here, they’d have been terminated per Ryan’s orders. But they hadn’t done that here, with her. Why? What was so special about this girl?
Termination was the logical action here. She was a risk. Nonconformers and individualists would destroy the fabric of Section Five. They needed blind order takers. And it would destroy Daniel’s own plans.
However, he already knew what would happen. He would recommend termination. Ryan would listen, and then Sonya would come in, bat her eyes at her big brother, and then she’d have a brand new guinea pig to play with.
Bitterness rotted in his stomach. How many times had he wanted to kill those two, just snap their necks like he was breaking a toothpick? Daniel rubbed the spot in his neck where he knew the tracker lay, tapped into his spine. He had no choice at this point.
Of course, he’d do as he was told, because that was what all good soldiers did. That’s all he was now. A soldier.
He didn’t know nor care about what plans they had for this girl. What he did know for sure was that Sonya was playing with fire. And not just any fire. Naomi was a goddamned blaze waiting to happen. And Daniel could not wait for her to burn them all.