Daggers: Life Outside
She breathed heavily as she disarmed the man holding a knife in front of her.
His arm twisted and was suddenly behind him. She forced his body down and stepped on his head, forcing his face to touch the ground.
He tapped the ground twice, and she released him, immediately turning back.
A mock blade missed her face by inches, and she grabbed the new assailant's arm as she got behind him, forcing his own hand to hold its knife against his neck.
He tapped her arm twice, and she turned again.
Too slow, she realized.
She felt something connect to her feet and fell. A knife touched her neck before she could even try to roll away.
"Time." The instructor said. "Two minutes, thirteen seconds. Twenty-five subjugations. You have disappointed me," he said with a sad voice.
She stood up, bowed to him, and went to the edge of the tatami.
There were twenty-six soldiers in the small room, all kneeling around the blue tatami; five small units of five and the instructor. Plus her. She was forbidden from knowing where the soldiers came from, but she was confident they were elite military of some sort.
After all, they had been assigned to that class.
She was the worst of them all, and she blamed it on her body. She could see, understand, and have the will to act against most incoming blows, but every other time her body refused to do what she required of it.
Her fall was an example. The man she had just subjugated had been blocking her exit to that side, and she had had no choice but to turn around to see what was coming her way.
However, even without seeing it, she had known it was too late before she even felt the hit to her feet.
"We are done for today," the instructor said. "Seventeen was the winner again."
There were no names in that class, only numbers. Even though it was supposed to prevent the very secretive people to know who each other was, she was the only ignorant one; every one of them had served together one time or another.
Seventeen was a monument to human perfection: tall, blond, green eyes, muscles in the right places, broad shoulders, deep voice. All she knew about him was that he was a Major. And that every woman in the base wanted him.
Except for her.
Small, with short black hair and eyes of the same color, with more muscle than any woman should have, and mixed Japanese and Brazilian ascendency – of which half was African, and the other half was Portuguese –, she had never interested any man.
That, and her left arm prosthesis made men never even look her direction.
The mechanical arm started on the elbow and was stronger than her own bones. However, as most of the things the army made, it was focused on function, no form. The metal tubes were horrid.
An aberration, her perfect half-sister called her. And she knew it to be true. It didn't bother her; it was simple fact, like the sky being blue and her half-sister being the prize conquest of every man.
She had learned early not to have hopes for any man; her interaction with Mister Seventeen was no different.
Everyone stood, bowed to the instruction, and left the room. She was following when his voice came. "You stay, Twenty-One."
She stopped and went back, kneeling in front of the man. He was white-headed, thin, and tall. His brown eyes were hard and looked straight at hers.
"Why are you afraid?" He asked.
"I am not, sensei."
"Why are you afraid?" He repeated the question, unsatisfied by her answer.
He slapped her on the cheek. Not hard, but fast enough that even her mind had barely accompanied. The shock of it made her completely stunned.
"Foolish youngling. I'm older, wiser, and stronger than you. Don't lie to me. Now, twenty-one, tell me: why are you afraid?"
"I don't understand the question, sensei," she said after she recovered a little.
"Today was the worst day for you. You're not stupid: you know the men go easy on you because they see you as weak, both for being a civilian and having a disability. You could've destroyed them all. But you didn't. Because you're afraid."
That was her sensei: zero charisma. He had just bluntly pointed at the only thing in the class that made her ashamed of herself: the men went easy on her.
"I do not understand how I'm afraid, sensei."
"The last attack. You could've jumped. I know that; you know tha; and Twelve, who knocked you down and is now feeling horrible for it, also knows that. Yet, you didn't. Your mind was covered by fear."
"It wasn't fear. I just knew that even if I tried to jump, my body wouldn't follow."
He nodded. "You fear yourself. Your mind and your body are not in harmony. Your mind fears your body is not enough, and your body fears your mind will keep disregarding it."
"I don't think my body can fear anything, sensei."
"Stupid child. Why do you train? Isn't it so your muscle memory can help when the time comes? Why do you feel pain? Isn't it because your body has neural connections which lead to your mind? Your body is alive, too. But if you feel better, I'll say that the part of your mind that you perceive as you and the part of your mind that you perceive as the one responsible for your body are not in harmony."
"It makes no sense, sensei."
"Not to you. Because you are being stupid. I will take those self-imposed restrictions from you. You shall receive a gift from me. Use it. You're dismissed from this class until you are cured."
"What?! Sensei, no! This class is..." He slapped her again. This time she dodged and slapped his hand away. "...everything to me! Please, reconsider!"
He smiled. "See, stupid child. You didn't doubt yourself. You didn't fear. Your mind and your body acted together, and you pushed me away. When you can do that consciously, you can come back. Until then, stay away."
"Leave." He said with a stern expression. "Now."
Still in shock, she stood up slowly and bowed. Then, she left the room.
She was expelled from the class. Because she wasn't good enough.
A part of her knew she should be feeling sad; that class was everything to her. But still, she couldn't.
Another reason for her sister to call her a freak.
She heard a shower being used in the women's bathroom, which was strange. Lucky for her, she inspected it before removing her clothes.
Her half-sister and Seventeen were in there, naked, having fun with each other.
She knew that Emmanuelle had done that on purpose.
And still, she didn't care.
She just took her bag and went to the car.
Her old fashioned Jeep was her prized possession. Someone was waiting close to it.
"Delivery for Alice Megumi Gomes," he said. He had a square box in his hand three times the size of his head.
"Yes, it's me."
He touched the glasses he was using, and they scanned her eyes, taking a picture of her right after that.
"Here it is."
"Thank you," she took the box. Opening the car, she put it inside with the bag and drove home.
Fort Corvin was a big training-focused base. It was divided into three sections.
The first was the urban area, where everyone lived, and all administrative work took place. It was a condensed area packed with buildings, lots of them more than ten stories high, and full of small multi-purposes rooms just like the one she had come out of.
The second was the desert area, a huge perimeter around the urban area, where a lot of the training took place. Recruits were known to faint from the heat and exhaustion in their supervised strolls with Drill Sergeants.
The last area was the simulation-focused underground. Multiple rooms, from small to cavernous ones, in multiple floors, could be found under the urban area. They were all equipped with a mix of virtual reality and augmented reality capacities, and soldiers usually spent most of their times in there.
She had walked all those paths. She had fainted in the desert, killed fake soldiers in the simulators, done boring work in the offices. Not officially in the army, the daughter of the commander still had a lot of room to do whatever the hell she wanted.
And only the old MMA instructor had made her feel at home.
Now, she had been banned.
It wasn't that she didn't feel at home with her dad, she thought as she drove her car. He was an amazing man and an amazing father. When she lost her arm, she never saw pity in his eyes. After she had been diagnosed with her... Mental difference, of all people who knew, his eyes were the only ones who hadn't looked at her with caution.
Even her loving mother found it difficult sometimes, but her father was a rock, unmovable and always there for her.
Parking her car in the garage, she climbed the stairs down to her apartment. Fifteen floors later, she was deep enough underground for whoever had designed the place. She opened the door and entered her house.
Luxury was the first word that came to mind. Her mother liked showing how much money her dad made, and dad didn't care.
The multiple crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling in the living room looked weird to her, so did the legit leather sofas and old mahogany furniture, especially after coming from the function-focused base. Still, it was a good weird. A different small world.
"Sister!" A man's voice called from the corridor.
Matthew was there. Tall, thin, with blue eyes and green hair, he did everything he could to piss their dad. Lately, he had joined an Anarchist group and had started saying uncomfortable things in public.
"I was just masturbating, but I'm glad I stopped and came here to see this. I never thought you'd join my little game!" He hugged her, and she tried to hold her breath for as long as possible. She didn't think he was really doing what he said, but she didn't want to smell it, either, if it was true.
"Sorry?" She asked after he stopped the hug.
He took the package from her hand and unwrapped it quickly. A Dreamer helmet was in there, with a code for a free year in Valia Online.
"'Fight your fears and find yourself.'" Her brother read the note that he found inside. "Pick drow, sister. We can do all kinds of fun stuff together." He threw the helmet to her. "By the way, I'm off to eat something and play. I'm Big D in there. You know, because my dick is so big. Knowing you and the drow, believe me when I say you should name yourself Samantha Hidden Daggers."
"You lost me in there. Why Samantha? And why Hidden Daggers?"
"Samantha because I like the name. And when you wear the cloak I know you'll end up wearing, and I call you Sam, people won't know you're a little bitch until they hear your voice. And Hidden Daggers because people won't see your daggers until you kill them with it. Have fun!" He found his way to the kitchen.
Confused, she put the helmet back in the box and took it to her room, where she undressed before entering her bathroom.
Her instructor had given her an Immersive Reality helmet and a game. She had no idea how it would help her, but she would at least check it before deciding he was just trying to get rid of her for a year.
After the bath, she read the manual and lay on her bed, putting the helmet on.
"Initializing," a robotic voice came from it, startling her.
That was only the first of multiple surprises, most of them pleasant.
Soon, Samantha Hidden Daggers was born in the Underworld.