NOTE: This is the first revised chapter of Ender's Ally. Frankly, the old chapters suck (meaning the first twenty, lol) and I've decided to revise them. So, without a further ado, here it is.
Alice Prince wasn't listening to the overly peppy nurse who probably said recited this speech to at least sixty other kids a day. "I'm sorry?" Sitting on the examination table, she crossed her legs.
"-designed to be removed without infection." The nurse plowed on as if Alice hadn't spoken. "You'll have a tickling feeling and some people say that they have a feeling that something is missing. So I'll tell you now- it's your monitor and it isn't there."
The doctor walked in. "Ah, this must be Alice…Prince," he said, consulting his chart. "You can go, Eliza."
She nodded. "I'll leave you to it." She left and closed the door behind her.
The doctor checked her pulse and blood pressure, among other things; Alice didn't know what else. She was just glad to be finally getting the monitor out.
"Ready?" The doctor put clamps on either side of the monitor. "Here we go." He yanked it out.
Alice's body arched backwards. Pain, all consuming pain wracked her small frame. The doctor grabbed Alice's shoulders and tried to relax her. "Eliza!" yelled the doctor. "I need you!"
The nurse ran in, gasped. "What happened?"
"I don't know! Just help me relax these muscles!"
They injected her with something. The needle went in just above where the monitor used to be. It burned, but wherever the fire spread, Alice's muscles gradually unclenched.
The doctor and nurse sighed in relief.
"Keep her here for an hour. If she doesn't start talking in fifteen minutes, call me in," said the doctor.
Eliza nodded. She looked down at Alice with pity; she lay doll-like on the table, still breathing lightly. "What do they expect? They leave these things in for three years, connected directly to the central nervous system…without infection, my ass."
"I know. Just keep an eye on her." He started to walk out. She sat up, groaned. The nurse gently pushed her back down. "I need to take out your IV." Eliza gently pulled back the tape, pulled out the needle.
Alice gasped and grimaced. "Where's my mom?"
"Outside, with your sister."
Without waiting for an answer, Alice swung her legs off the table and fell to her shaky feet. Grabbing the side of the table for support, Alice followed the signs, approaching the waiting room, where her three year old sister Alexa and mother Linda awaited her.
Alice was getting closer to the door. Eliza rushed to her side. "I need to-"
Alice was quick to cut in. "No."
"I can do it myself!"
They reached the swinging doors to the waiting room. Eliza opened them for Alice. The room was well lit; ceiling to floor windows sent prismatic light flying whimsically about the room.
Linda and Alexa were sitting in the middle of the room. Linda, who looked at the opening doors, rushed over to Alice. She knelt down in front of Alice and hugged her tightly. "Let's go home. You father has the day off." She stood and held out her hand. Alice crossed her arms indignantly.
"But I'm six, Mom!"
"It's for stability, Honey."
Albeit reluctantly, Alice grasped her mother's hand. Alexa ran to them, feeling the new monitor that has just been put in earlier that day. She gripped Alice's hand. "Let's go, Mommy and Sissy!" She pulled them towards the exit.
As they pulled onto their street in San Diego, California, they saw an IF-marked car in front of their house. Two soldiers stood in front of it. One was tall, statuesque, even. The other one was rather short. And yet, the taller man seemed to defer to the smaller one.
Linda parked her car in their driveway. She got out and helped Alice and Alexa out of their seats. She led them to the front door. The two soldiers were upon them before any of Linda knew what was happening.
"Excuse me, ma'am, are you Linda Prince?" asked the shorter of the two.
Linda nodded curtly.
"I'm Captain Dimak and this is Lieutenant Edmund Ray. We're here on behalf of the International Fleet. May we come in?" asked the shorter man, Dimak.
Again, Linda nodded curtly. Alexa looked up at the men with a mixture of fright and awe. Alice knew that this was about her, so she reacted as she thought she should- with straight silence. Linda ushered them into her living room. They sat down.
Alice made to leave the room.
"Alice, can you come and sit down?" asked Dimak.
Alice looked at her mom for approval. Linda nodded and patted the seat next to her. Alice did the natural thing- she sat opposite the IF officers, away from her mom. She folded her arms.
"Alice, Linda," said Dimak, regarding them both, "I'm going to cut straight to the chase."
As if on cue, the door opened once again. Alice's father Marty stood in the doorway.
"Hi Linda. What's going on?"
"I was just getting to that," said Dimak as Marty sat down next to Linda. "I'm going to cut straight to the chase," he said again. "We've come to invite Alice to come to Battle School."
The discussion went on to explain a bit about the school itself; well, what wasn't classified anyway.
"There's this game that all the children play. It's like playing Buggers and Astronauts, but you have fellow soldiers fighting alongside you and weapons that work. Your success depends on how well you learn, how well you fight.
"It's a hard life, but let me tell you this. Every student who makes it through their first year has never failed to get a commission as an officer."
"How many make it through their first year?" asked Alice.
"All who want to."
They went on to explain more about the launch, and even more things; everything that wasn't classified.
"How long do I have to decide?" asked Alice.
"Until you get in the car with me," said Dimak. "After that, you're at the mercy of the International Fleet."
"So it's voluntary after all!" Linda crossed her arms.
"For you two, the choice was made when she was born. Bur for Alice, the choice hasn't been made at all."
Alice didn't really want to go, but as the IF soldiers talked to her, she relented to the prospect of leaving her family to become a soldier.
Dimak faltered, but recovered quickly. "Tell me why."
"Not good enough."
Alice thought for a minute. "I don't want to go, but I will."
Dimak nodded. He and Edmund rose. "Let's go."
Linda had begun to cry. She held Alice closely. Marty hugged them both, his silent tears falling into Alice's brown hair.
Alexa ran into the room. "What's wrong, Mommy?" She pattered over on her toddler feet. "Daddy? Sissy?"
They didn't know what to say to her.
Alexa's eyes went wide. "Why?"
"She's going to a new school, Honey. Up in the stars," said Linda tearfully, still holding Alice.
"You mean where I go if I pass the test?" asked Alexa.
Marty nodded. He let them go. Linda sat up. "Say good bye to your sister, Alexa."
She ran over to Alice. "Bye bye, Sissy!" She hugged Alice tightly.
The moment passed. Alexa sat on Linda's lap. Alice stood up. "Let's go."
Dimak, Edmund and Alice walked out the door. Just as they were about to leave, Alice hugged her parents and Alexa one last time.
"Be strong, Alice. We love you."
She walked back over to Dimak. "I love you too." As she turned away, Linda and Marty saw the single tear that spilled down her face.
NOTE: I've doubled the chapter length! I do believe I win. Hope you enjoyed.