Excitement, I had rotted at home for to week and that had been fun but now it was time to get back in the fight. I had a lengthy conversion with my dad about it. He was very reluctant to let me go. But I insisted that I could not waste my talent on sitting around at home. So here I was sitting between CIA agents in an air conditioned Volkswagen. I put my head back and the leather cushion and snoozed. The stern looking agent to my left elbowed me and I winced at the glare of the sun through the window. I looked out the window and found myself look at a dozen soldier jogging on a sand road that led to what was obviously an army camp.
I looked at the two agents next to me and asked,
“What’s this all about? I thought we were going to break into an Iranian super secret base not go to army camp.”
One of the agents gave me a look of irritation at my question but the other patiently explained, “We can’t just send you into the base untrained. The base is very complex, you need to study it and prepare for all eventualities.”
I snorted, “I’m invincible people, I can handle a little Iranian gun.”
The agent who had been irritated before turned to me with a nasty smile and said,
“I wonder what Sergeant Kent will say about that.”
Something about the name made me shiver and I decide to keep my mouth closed.
We stopped in front of a tent and both CIA guys went in. Inside there was a man sitting at a desk, he was an older man with a terrible collection of scars on his face, he was obviously the ranking officer. He giving orders to a middle aged man. What ever the orders the officer was giving it was not making the other man happy. They both stopped talking and looked up at our posse.
The officer stood and saluted me, I managed a lame salute back but immediately felt stupid afterwards. The officer made his greeting completely unfazed ,
“Benjamin Winter, by accepting this commission you honor your country and yourself. You are here for a week of intensive training under Sergeant Kent. Before we begin however, the training and commitment are more difficult then they may appear. Kent doubts the resolve of one so young. So I must ask will you follow this through to the end?”
I ground my teeth, I hated when people doubted my word. I looked the Officer in the eye and said, “Yes sir, I will complete this mission.”
He nodded satisfied. I looked at Kent for the first time. The man was all muscle, but not the TV muscles, real muscles that were made from ceaseless hours of training. His eyes were black and cold and his back was straighter then a rod. He was completely bald and carving its way under his left eye all they way to his nose was scar. He was sizing me up, I could tell. This guy meant business. He gestured out of the tent and said,
“Let’s get started.”
I followed him out and shivered despite the sun beating down on me. We went to a huge tent empty. We went in without word he closed the tent flap. He walked to the middle of the tent and I followed. In the center of the room there was a cooler he went to it and took out a bottle of water. It was ice cold and had condensation all over it. He opened it and swallowed half. I realized I was extremely thirsty. Kent turned and smiled it was the coldest smile I had ever seen,
“If you want to drink all you have to do it is touch the bottle.”
I started up for the bottle when suddenly his booted foot lashed out and caught me in the ribs. I yelped in surprised and tumbled to the ground. My scales hadn’t been out so it hurt. The doctors said that even when my scales were in they still protected me, but I could feel pain. I leapt to might feet and scaled up. In a flash his roadhouse kick slammed into my face I crumpled to the ground like a house of cards. But my scales were out so I just leapt up. I wasn’t even standing before a heel connected with my forehead. I landed 2 feet from where I started. I looked at Kent he stood there in front of the water his eyes devoid of any emotion. I snarled and got up but this time I circled looking for an opening. I felt stupid, how could I the intellectual be charging like a Neanderthal. I changed tactics, I let my stance falter a little and said,
“Come on Kent just give the wa-“
And then I lunged at him with my fastest and most vicious right hook. Amazingly I hit nothing but air. Worse I felt a viselike grip fasten on my wrist and his boot crush my front foot. My momentum carried me forward and I careened into the ground like a plane in a dead spin. I felt an iron knee on my back and a hand trapping both of mine behind my back. Kent used his free hand to wrench my head from the sand. I realized that cruelly the water was two inches away from my face. Kent spoke,
“I will teach you what your invincibility means, it means laziness and false security. If you were normal your nose would be shattered, you would have multiple concussions, and broken ribs. You won’t always have your scales with me your going to learn how to fight and control yourself. It’s going to be a fun week for both of us…”
He got off me and stalked to the far side of the tent and I drank my undeserved water. I felt disgust at my former arrogant attitude, this man had seen men die and had fought for freedom and here was I thinking I was better then him because I could not get hurt. But I was determined to earn this man’s respect as he had already won mine.