Taurian Invasion 8: Hook, Line, and Sinker


Angelia entered the Director’s office. “Your ‘prize winner’ has turned out to be as interesting as we thought.”

“Really what has he done?”

She said nothing, but crossed her arms and waited. He looked briefly confused and then started straightening his desk. When he had finished, he looked up expectantly and she continued, “He has done well at all of the strategic and organizational simulations as expected, getting excellent scores with little practice. He seems to be quite as special as you thought he would be. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to get much more testing done in the last two days since he found the battlesuit simulators. Tony has been pestering me to talk to you about it all day. He seems to think it’s really important.”

“Let me contact him then.” After a slight delay, the master at arms came up on the video link. “What have you got for me Tony?”

“This new recruit Allen is amazing. He took to the battlesuit simulators like a duck to water. He has never fallen over and his targeting scores are amazing. It’s like he was born in a battlesuit. I want him in the real thing as soon as possible. Tomorrow if Angelia doesn’t block it. She has been kind of … “

“I’m in the room Tony!”

“Er … Sorry ma’am, but he could be invaluable to us, especially in the R&D section.”

The Director looked pleased with himself. “Well Tony, it looks like we have another battlesuit pilot.”

“We need them badly, sir.”

After Tony signed off, Angelia looked at the Director disapprovingly; “You’re not seriously considering putting him in the battlesuit program, are you? That’s a combat position.”

“There are few positions that I could put him in that will have more long term significance that that one.”

“But Donald, he could be killed and we would lose all that potential.”

“Angel, war is coming,” he said in a quiet voice, “and in this war, we will lose many young people of great potential in battle. Unfortunately, it would be much worse if we were to deprive our forces of men like him for their combat leaders. If I read him right, he is the kind of man who can read the enemy’s actions and come up with a plan to counter them. It is men of vision like him who will win battles while keeping our other soldiers alive.”

***

Sylvia led me to my room as I bored her with the details of the latest simulator run. “… you should have seen the way I took out two of the big things at the same time with a dual missile launch. You guys are going to make millions … no billions when you release that game. Are they going to have special centers for it or what?”

“I really don’t know about that kind of stuff. Computer games and weapons are someone else’s problem … which reminds me. You said you would try out some of the other programs today. Getting your opinion on these things is one of the reasons that we are spending the big bucks on having you here.”

Taking this chastisement the most masculine way I knew how, I promptly turned red, looked sheepish, and sort of mumbled, “Sorry, I got kind of carried away and lost track of time.”

She smiled tolerantly at me and said, “Well, maybe tomorrow you can start with some of the other programs before lunch and then you can get into your playsuit. Speaking of which, after you’ve showered, I took the liberty of buying you a new outfit which you can wear when we go to dinner. You’ll find it laid out on your bed.”

As I dutifully hit the showers, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I was still somewhere in the Twilight Zone. As fun as many of the games they had for me were, I had the feeling that they were all some sort of weird test. Something about all of this just didn’t add up, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I tried to forget it, and while I was busy, I would. But every time I was alone, the uneasy feelings would creep back and I had to figure it out or I couldn’t let it go.

I think more than anything, what bothered me was that no one here treated me like a loser. I was used to everyone always treating me like a loser, including me. Here, everyone treated me like I was something special.

Although it felt good in a way, it also felt kind of creepy. There was always someone hovering to make sure I had everything I needed. They made sure I took breaks for lunch and hydration. More than having anything I asked for, they often had things there that I needed before I thought of asking for it. If I wanted something that they thought I shouldn’t, (like using the battlesuit simulator for 24 hours straight,) they always had some reason to guide me on to another activity without getting into an argument with me. It was usually Sylvia, but there were others (Karen being mercifully absent.) They were so good, in fact, that the only time it even occurred to me to be crept out by this was when I was alone and had time to think about it.

I tried to concentrate on my shower, because I knew that if I took to long Sylvia would knock on the bathroom door again and ask if I was all right. She was very good at motivating me to get going. Many of my former bosses (not to mention my mother) would have probably stared open mouthed at how a few soft words from her could get me off my butt and into action.

As I looked at my new set of clothes, I sighed. They were nice clothes; I hate nice clothes! People call them nice because they look nice. The problem is that invariably, that is the only thing they have going for them. In my experience nice clothes are always itchy, uncomfortable, badly fitting, restrictive, and fragile. Why anyone would wear something that bad just because they looked nice is beyond me.

I reluctantly put them on. What the heck? They weren’t nice clothes at all. They just looked like nice clothes. They fit perfectly, moved with me, seemed durable and were darn comfortable besides. I was flabbergasted! I walked out of the bedroom in a state of shock.

Sylvia looked up, “That outfit looks great on you. Now, if you will come over here, I’ll brush your hair and get you looking good enough to match it.”

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One thought on “Taurian Invasion 8: Hook, Line, and Sinker

  1. Well, Allen feels like he is being manipulated somehow. Is it true or is he just being paranoid? It also looks like he may be heading toward piloting a battlesuit. How will all of this work out? Stay tuned and see

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