"She's not READY!" I shouted, throwing a punch at the holographic figure during one of my own training exercises. The poor hologram sailed through the air and hit the holographic wall of a building, smashing right through it, leaving a large hole in the stones.

The program ended,  the soldiers stopped coming. Bodies lay around me, dressed in the uniforms of a dozen different countries, all dead. Far off, across the desert setting, a door opened and an older man in a workingman's uniform picked his way through the carnage toward me. He stopped when he was close enough to talk, but still well out of harms way, and examined me. Sweat poured down my face in the hot desert air, holographic blood covered my hands and clothes.

"Alex Starfield." He began calmly. "You've been so low as to kill for amusement?"

"Hardly." I spat. "What are you doing here, Leon?"

"It is my duty to take care of you." Leon replied, his hands folded neatly in front of him. "That duty continues, though you have been promoted."

"I can take care of myself." I muttered. "I'm an adult now."

"You are just a child inside." Leon stepped closer, reaching out and touching my forehead. Suddenly I could see myself, a nine year old kid getting out of that limo, eyes wide with fear. Another memory quickly replaced it, again of myself, just a few years ago, arguing with my boss, begging him to take me off this planet. He'd refused and I'd--

The pressure on my forehead withdrew and the memories stopped.

"You know why you are here, why you were exiled to this patch of dirt on this strange planet."

I clentched my fist, but put on my calm, cool guise. "Yes," I replied. "I do."

The End

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