When Michael returned to the classroom, he found a dark jumpsuit laying on his bed. It was the same kind of jumpsuit John and Andrea were wearing when he first encountered them. He picked it up. The second his fingers felt the material, he immediately thought of Andrea's gushing gunshot wound. He shook the imagery from his mind and put his legs into the lower half of the suit. He pulled on the rest and zipped up the back halfway before his arm reached the end of its travel. “Why the hell do they put the zipper on the back?” Michael said to himself out loud.
“Because you're less likely to get shot in the back and the padding is bulletproof. If the zipper was in the front you'd weaken the protective features of the suit.”
Michael let his arm drop to his side in annoyance. It was that same girl again, he didn't even have to turn around and look at her; he was already able to recognize her voice. “Thanks for the info,” he said. There was a tug at his back and the jumpsuit tightened against his body. He looked down and noticed a name tag on his left breast that read 'Capt. Rafferty'. “Huh, where'd you get the time to make that in the past half hour?” he said as he turned around.
“It's been around for as long as I can remember. I just got it from the control office where it's been kept for the last while,” she said, standing with her arms crossed, her hair now tied neatly into a single braid that rested on her left shoulder just above a name tag that read 'Higgings'.
Michael furrowed his brow in concentration. “Why is it I never noticed name tags on John or Andrea?”
“That's because they're part of a special operations detachment that requires them to not carry any identifying things; name tags being one of those things.”
“Makes sense, I guess.”
“Well, does it fit?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Michael said, swinging his arms and twisting at the trunk to test out the fit. “It's pretty good.”
“Thought it would be. I'm Ashley by the way,” she said, extending her hand.
Michael took it into his and was surprised by her grip. “Nice to meet you Ashley.”
“Oh, the pleasure's all mine Michael.”
Michael nodded awkwardly, still uncomfortable with his sudden fame.
“Well, I'll let you get to work. I'm sure Stephens has you on a busy schedule.”
“Thanks,” Michael said, a little bit paranoid about what her last sentence might foreshadow. “Talk to you later.”
He left the room, more out of necessity to break contact with Ashley than anything else. As he walked down the hall he noticed the doorway to the infirmary and quickly took a peek inside. Andrea was no longer on the table she had been operated on. His eyes grew wide and he feared the worst. His heart felt like it had just exploded in his chest.