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United States


April 29, 2016


I am running through the forest, not like a quick, silent cat, but like a big, clumsy elephant.  I hear a sound behind me, but make sure not to turn. I almost curse, but then realize that even that would be noticed. Seriously, what is with this? It’s impossible. I slow down and scramble up the first large tree I reach.
Maybe I should just quit now. It’s not like I’m going to win this one anyway. But maybe that’s the test.... I hate them. They tell me nothing. Sometimes I feel like they think their training a dog. Hey, you! If you have a mind-reader and haven’t told me, I’m not a dog, and I hate you!
But I’m not going to quit. I can’t. Hopefully I can get far enough to impress them. My eyes flick up, then down, then left, then right. I slowly turn my head and survey the area. I am careful to focus no longer on where I think they’re hiding - where I heard some rustling - then anywhere else. I want them to remain cautious, and if they know I’ve found them, then hiding longer won’t help them. I look around, careful to look at where they are but not let my gaze linger. I’m in an area of thick foliage, with tall, leafy trees, and ground covered in leaves and moss and ferns. It’s warm and humid, and everything has little wet droplets on it. Also, I’m sweating like a bull. And now I realize that I don’t even know if bulls sweat.
Ugh! That’s probably how they found me. They don’t usually use dogs, but I’m sure they’d be willing to make an exception for this prestigious challenge.
Ok, so trampling through the forest leaving a bright trail of smell … is not working. So what will?
Thinking, thinking, thinking…
Yeah. That’s what I thought. Nothing.
That just goes to show how stupid their tests are. I scored relatively high on creativity, and I still can’t outwit the relatively dull proctors. Although for me, they might have spared some of the more intelligent ones.
I can’t stay up here much longer. They probably have lizos. I know what they want me to do. I just hate using her for their tests. But what other option do I have? I’m sure she’ll understand.
Caya… um their kind of testing me again right now and they’ve forced me into a tree and I’m pretty sure it’s surrounded and they’ve given me no option but to work with you so if you could help i'm really sorry but I’d appreciate it a lot.
She tells me she’ll be here in five.
    “God damn you!” I scream as I storm into his room. “What kind of test was that?! Caya won’t be able to fly for weeks? How could you?”
    “You knew the risks when you came here. And we are not meant to be nice. Remember what is important.”
    “You know what’s important? Me. You need me. Otherwise you would never put up with all the crap I give you. And you know what’s important to me? Caya. So if you want to have any chance in hell of keeping me here, you are going to give us - or at least her - some time off. We’re no good to you if we’re broken. Or if we leave the program. And trust me, that is becoming more and more of an option the more time I spend in this hellhole.”
    John sighs, “Look, I understand you’re hurt. But you know as well as I do that you need this kind of training if you’re going to move on.”
    He sees me begin to steam and immediately moves to keep my top where it belongs. “Look Aur, Caya’s gonna be fine. She suffered no permanent damage. We would never harm such a valuable resource.”
    That did it. That just did it. My top was NOT staying where it belonged. It was about to blow sky-high. “What the fucking hell! You shot flaming missiles through her wings!! And she’s not just a “resource”. Just because you can’t talk to her doesn’t make you any less real than you.”
    John stiffened. “We’ll talk tomorrow.”
Tala started when I entered the room. Then she tried to inconspicuously return her steady gaze to her computer screen. Most days, I’d nod hello, maybe ask how she was doing, and if I’d just had a really bad training/testing session (pretty much every other day), go crash in bed and wake up starving four hours later to the rich scent of Tala making pasta or stir fry or something. Today… well, today isn’t most days.
I'm not totally sure what this is/is going to be about.


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