Brent pulled at his other hand, trying to keep his elbow bent as best he could to avoid Sarah’s near perfect arm-bar she had on him. She was strong, he’d give her that, but he wasn’t about to tap out, not today, not with the panel watching from behind their protective glass.
He shouted in frustration, then rolled into it and let his elbow land extra hard on her throat just long enough to break her hold so that he could regain his footing.
It wasn’t technically a strike, and though her eyes flashed red, she only snarled slightly at him before leaping up and preparing to take him down again. But this time, he was ready—a quick side-step as she leaped forward, and he faked a roundhouse kick with his right leg before bringing out his ka-bar knife to slash down across her neck and then, while she was still cursing him, bring the blade up and into her chest.
This time there was no question she was going to hurt him. She pulled him close, ignoring the blade still in her chest, and looked about to tear his neck off when a voice crackled over the loudspeaker and said, “Very well done. Sarah, if you’d please…”
Her nostrils flared and she licked her lips with a menacing look, but the red glow faded from her eyes.
Before letting him go, she leaned in and said, “If I see you out there, you’re fucking dead. Remember that, blood-bag.” Her warm, moist tongue flicked at his neck, and then she had released him and was walking away.
At the doorway, she stopped, pulled the knife out, and threw it so that it stuck into the matt at Brent’s feet.
She mouthed, “Fuck you,” before disappearing through the doorway. The metal clanged shut behind her.
“Now, Brent, move on to the shooting demonstration,” the voice on the speakers said.
He gave the panel a nod, trying to clear his head. He had to admit, he’d nearly pissed himself when Sarah had thrown the knife like that, and been even more terrified when her mouth had been at his neck, but he couldn’t let them see any weakness.
He approached the rifle rack and took down his favorite plasma blaster. Waiting for it to recognize him by placing four fingers on its side, he closed his eyes and focused. If he pulled this off, he’d be one of the elite. He could finally say he joined the 15th Marine Space Fleet for a reason. His father would look at him from Heaven or wherever the hell people went when their planets exploded while still inhabited, and Brent could stand with pride.
“If you’re ready,” the speaker voice said. “Commence.”
Brent opened his eyes to see the yellow strip along the side of the blaster, signaling it was synched with him and ready.
He turned to the wide, open room. It reminded him of the hanger bays they’d practiced fighting skills in at boot camp, two years ago when he had no idea what he was getting himself into.
Little did he know at the time that, had he stayed behind and went to The Empiric University like his father wanted, he would’ve died alongside everyone else he’d known his whole life.
Sometimes, he wished he had, but that was before he was given this opportunity to join the elites fighters, to be one of the best.
And to get his fucking revenge.