362 The Agent exams
Her mind was split on figuring out just what to do, but now it was already too late. James had entered her for the agent exam, and they had finally arrived, where Erin would have to take the test.
She had been struggling with herself about what the right or wrong thing to do was, and the reason for this was Layla. At some point, she was hoping Layla would eventually return to the Pure base, where she was hoping she would have the answers to the many questions Erin faced while being at here. There were just things that didn't quite make sense to her.
She had taken note to not do anything serious and just comply for now while looking at what was happening to her surroundings. She found that other students had the same questions as her, and those that did and brought it up, or expressed there whish to leave Pure. Would be taken away and had come back a few days later no longer having those questions in thier minds.
It was a facade, they told everyone they were free to leave when they wanted, but when if they tried, they would be reeducated and always come back.
But ultimately, most people at Pure were like her. They had no place to go, and Pure had become their home, their safe place where they knew they could survive. It felt like they had a debt to be owed.
'If they are fighting for freedom and equality, why are they so intent on keeping us all inside, locked away. I'd rather be out there doing what I want in danger of others then stay here. At least that's my own decision.'
Erin did not feel the same way as the others. Now that she knew Layla had broken off communication with Pure, there must have been a reason for it.
'Did something happen to her?' This was where her dilemma kicked in. The only people that were allowed to leave the Pure base, where Agents.
Numbered agents were those who worked outside of the base. The others would only be called upon when a big operation was taking place. And with not knowing where she was or how to get out of the base, it seemed like becoming an agent was her only way of finding out what was happening on the outside.
Knowing that she was unable to get her way out through complaining or asking, she worked her hardest learning what she could from them.
The test had started, and right now she was sitting at a single desk in a room with eight other people, including Bart, who she had a tough time sparing with the other day.
The exam had started with a bunch of multiple-choice questions, there were answers she wanted to put down and the answers they wanted, but she continued on putting on her own facade of being obedient.
The next test, several objects were placed in front of them, some of them Erin recognised from the military academy. They were to assemble and reassemble the components of equipment removing any trackers, recorders and so on. When putting them back together, they would be scored based on time and how well the piece looked when being placed back together.
After that test, there was another, a recording was played. The recording had several conversations going on at once. After the recording was finished, questions would be asked about a specific discussion. It was hard as they needed to listen to all of the conversation going on at the same time, and only extract the useful information.
With everything complete, it seemed like the test was over. Erin thought she had done pretty well, as she was most of the time, the first one to finish out of the lot. She tried her hardest at each one of the tasks and the others watching noticed it too.
Inside the room, there was a female examiner, and watching at the back, where four high numbered teachers.
This includes James, number 15, then the other teachers, 16, 17, and 18. They too had noticed how determined and focused Erin looked while completing her tasks, and they saw this as hunger to go up in their society.
However, although she was determined to become a number, it wasn't for the reason they thought.
"Okay, so with that, the first part of the test is done. We will reveal your scores at the end of the test. If you could, please follow your teachers and me to the next room."
They followed the examiner around the strange metallic base. She had yet to see a single window in the whole building, making it hard for her to tell where they were. Eventually, they entered a strange looking square room. The room was large in size but what was odd about it was the flooring in the room.
Around the edges of the room, the flooring was standard, but towards the centre, there were strange small holes in a square section of the floor. The square areas were one square meter in size.
"This is the next part of your exam." The examiner said as she pressed a button on her remote control.
As soon as the button was pressed, from the holes behind her, flames had erupted into the air like little jets before quickly going back down. On each of the square pieces, the fire would erupt for a second before diminishing again. This wouldn't happen on all of the tiles at the same time. However, it seemed like the pattern of where and when the flames would erupt was random.
"The goal is to get to the other side of the room safely. All eight of you will be going at the same time, you are free to sabotage and hit the other person, as to stop them from crossing. Still, do bear in mind, you will have more important things to worry about." As the female examiner said that, the tile directly behind her erupted into flames before going back down once again.
'This is crazy!' Erin thought, and it looked like the other students thought the same thing as they looked at each other.
If they were in the military academy, Erin wouldn't be worried so much. The flame from the tiles would have been painful, but with the doctor there using her ability, they would have been healed. But here, in the Pure base, they had no doctor that had a healing ability.
It was very rare for Pure members to even have an ability. All they had was a standard doctor, and at best, he could cool down the burns, but one would be covered in burn markings until they could leave this place.
Seeing the concerned look on the other's faces, the examiner felt like she needed to mention something. "Do remember, you do not have to partake in the assessment. We still have your scores from the exams before. And just because you do take this, does not mean one will make it to the other side successfully."
The other students started to look at each other until, eventually, one of them raised their hand. "I'm sorry, but I can't do it… I would like to drop out of this part of the exam." The student said.
"Very well." The examiner replied.
After the first student had dropped out, many followed. It was expected, the flames continued to go off behind the examiner and even Erin, trying to find a pattern of which tiles to jump on at the right time, couldn't find one. It was simply too dangerous.
The only ones that hadn't replied yet, were both Erin and Bart.
Looking at the tiles one more time, Erin thought, there was a chance her reactions would be fast enough, and maybe she could do it. It was risky, but she wanted to get out of here.
"I'll do it," Erin said.
Soon after Erin declared that she would take part. Bart's mind was made up as well.
"I'll do it as well." Bart looked at Erin. "I can't have you beat me again."
The examiner then walked up to the two students with a smile on her face and placed her hand on both of their shoulders.
"Well, it looks like we have our two agents. Congratulations, you passed and have successfully become a numbered."
"What!" Another student shouted from the side. "What do you mean!"
"As I said, these two pass the test." The examiner replied. "The most important thing for a numbered agent is courage. There will be times when we ask you to do things you aren't comfortable with, out on the field. Perhaps far worse than this. We need people who are willing."
"So you're saying you were never going to make us do this in the first place?" The student complained again.
The others continued, to moan and groan but knew it was pointless. They had already made their decision.
However, Erin felt like the words spoken by the examiner were not truthful at all. If they really never intended for people to take the test, then why was the room built in the first place. And if they had all said yes to taking the test, would they have made them not take it?
It seemed like a convenient outcome had just come to them at the time.
With the two agents selected, a few days had passed and eventually, both Erin and Bart were awarded their numbers. Erin was given the number agent 99, while Bart was given Agent 100.
They were now in the middle of a briefing in a small office space. The perosn speaking to them was the same examiner as before. She began to explain what their duties and tasks would be, as well as handing them standard equipment that every agent carried in a small little suitcase.
"Now that everything has been explained to both of you, it's time to tell you where you will be based." Said the examiner. "Now this may or may not be your permanent post, and agents can be told to move at any time, and there will be times where we call you back to the base. So please remember to keep in contact at all times.
"First, Agent 100, you will be travelling to the planet Holden, you will be going with Agent 17 for the first month. They will help you with your tasks and explain what to do, shortly after you will be left to your own devices, but there will be a weekly report due. As well as a monthly check-up, from a high number until a year has passed."
This was finally Erin's time to go outside. Unlike Layla, she wouldn't be posted at a military school. Her face was known, and she had an ability.
"You will be heading to the planet, Latrina with James agent 15."
Planet Latrina wasn't just any planet. It was the planet that she and James had first met on, and also was where her watch was thrown off on the cliffside.
'If I get the watch back, maybe I can contact the others again.'
A new hope was suddenly lighted inside of Erin.
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