"Tell me Dimak, why have you wasted so much time on this girl?"
"She called me a weak man sir."
"So if I called you a sissy for not handing over that delicious looking pastry you would give it to me?"
"This isn't a joke Colonel Graff. There's a fire in her, one I rarely see in the children who come through here. It was almost as if she dared me to get her into this school, to rip her from her life. She wanted adventure, even if she won't admit it to herself."
"You sound like her father."
"I know we have our eyes set on someone else, but she could be a part of the puzzle to victory if we gave her a chance."
"I have one interest and no girl who has 'fire in her eyes' is going to change my mind."
"I'm not saying she's 'The One' but she could be a key aspect."
"Dimak, keep your eyes on the prize not the accessories."
"Yes Colonel Graff."
"Remember that when you so stupidly play with fire, you get burned."
This could not be the boy. It was just a dream. Dreams weren't real everyone knew that. But the resemblance, it shook her and Ana couldn't form words out of her mouth. No, don't make any rash decisions, she decided. The face was covered in blood and the nose broken. I can't make an accurate comparison just because he just so happens to have black hair and tan skin.
"Are you deaf soldier? I asked you a question! Who. Are. You?" Bonzo repeated, squinting his eyes. Ana snapped out of her startled trance.
"My name is Anastasia Perkins and I was transferred to this army today." She handed him the slip of paper and he took it grudgingly. He read it carefully then his eyes were back on her, analyzing her, sizing her up.
"Fine. How much training do you have?" he asked.
"In the battle room." He answered with a 'duh' tone in his voice as if she should know that. Ana bit back an insult, understanding he probably didn't know she had just come to the school.
"I haven't trained at all. I haven't even set foot in a 'battle room." She confessed, not even very positive what the battle room was. He looked at her incredulously, and she saw the irritation come across his face.
"How many years have you been a launchy and you didn't once think-"
"This is my first day of school moron. I've only been in this rotating or whatever thing for two maybe three hours!" she snapped, not liking this 'You are so stupid' way he was treating her. His arm twitched as if he was suppressing the urge to hit her. Who knows maybe he was.
" ¡Tienes que estar bromeando!" he exclaimed in Spanish. Ana searched through her mind for her Spanish lessons. You have got to be kidding me, she understood was what he had said. "¿Por qué me hacen esto?" Why are they doing this to me?
"Yo hablo español muy bien señor." She made a point of saying. He wasn't fooling her any. He blushed slightly, embarrassed by her calling him out but gave a stern look, the blush fading.
"What do you want a medal or something la chica?" he snarled. "I can't believe a disgrace such as you was put into my army!" he harshly disciplined, raising his voice so that the others watched him deal with the unruly 'child.'
"Well sorry Dimak thought I could be useful in this world if I came to this stupid school just to be bossed around by a Spanish imbecile!" he didn't suppress the urge this time. Ana's face whipped to the side as she was slapped across the face. She looked slowly back toward him, bewilderment and then a look of anger coming across her face.
"I don't know how you handled things on Earth, but I am your commander, and you will show me some-" SLAP! Bonzo stumbled, completely caught off guard as Ana hit him back. The audience of Salamander army exchanged astonished glances, having never seen anyone lay a hand against Bonzo until now.
"Look punk! I am not here to be slapped and beaten up by someone who clearly doesn't understand how to properly handle a situation! I get you are my commander, but as your soldier I should be given a sliver if not mutual respect! You can't control people with violence if you want them to trust you!" she yelled at him. He was infuriated.
"If you didn't learn I have no problems with beating on a girl." Bonzo threatened.
"Fine. That's how you want to be? Then how about coming at me neh?" Ana got into a fighting stance and tauntingly waved her finger for him to come at her.
Bonzo just smirked and looked at the on looking soldiers. "Hold her for me boys." Ana's eyes widened. She was restrained by two guys that were much bigger then her,
"Hey! That's not what I meant! This is not fair!" she struggled and kicked, trying to get free but they wouldn't let up. She looked around her for any help. She caught Petra's eye but the other girl looked away with shame. Great, her first day of battle school and she was going to take a beating. She just loved this school…
"One last chance for the easy way instead of the hard way." Bonzo offered, cracking his knuckles. He had everyone here brainwashed but not her. She never went down without a fight.
"Bite me." She defiantly responded, spitting at his feet. Bonzo frowned, obviously a sore loser.
"Fine, be that way. It will all end the same. I will win, because I own your ass now for as long as you are on this floating mass of hell."
"Ana what happened to you?" Sylvia gasped as Ana approached her at lunch. There was some boys sitting with her but Ana didn't care. Her body was sore, and she had trouble seeing out of one of her eyes.
"I was placed in the army that rules under Satan." Ana sat next to her sister, embarrassed at how her first impression today with everyone had been 'girl with black eye.'
"You're the girl that got beaten up in Salamander?" the boy on the other side of Sylvia exclaimed.
"Yeah… thank you Dimak for telling me the commander was violent and crazy." Ana laughed half heartedly. "Who are you exactly?"
"I'm Dink Meeker. I'm in Rat Army." He held out his hand to shake. "You're Sylvia's sister?"
"Yep, Anastasia Perkins and if you skin in front of my sister you answer to me boyo." She warned but not in a threatening way to seem as she was kidding… to seem. She shook the boy's hand and looked at her food. She wasn't very hungry now.
"Don't worry, I wouldn't do that. You might want to talk to Rose though. He's the commander." Dink chuckled. Ana saw her sister's face turn red as if she was remembering something and Ana prayed to God she was still innocent.
"Might take you up on that." She joked back with him. This was often how it worked with friends between her and her sister. Sylvia gathered the people she liked then Anastasia either befriended or tolerated them. Ana never sought out her own friends in fear she'd make the wrong decision and Sylvia was impacted.
"Ana you need to eat." Sylvia suddenly jumped in as observing how Ana hadn't even touched her food. Ana stared at her food a few moments then stood up. "You know what I'm not so hungry right now. Here Sylvia you can have it or anyone else. I'm going to go to the weight room." She scraped off her food before Sylvia could tell her any different. "Twinsies." She waved over her shoulder and headed for her new destination. Her heart felt heavy as she walked alone. She missed her home, her mom, her dad, her pets, she hated all of this technology, and change, and rules. She just wanted to go home.
She entered the weight room and was automatically struck in the back of the head by a ball. She stopped in her tracks and looked at who had thrown the ball. It was a boy, a launchie. And he was very small.
"Sorry I wasn't aiming for you." He apologized. Ana believed him.
"It's ok just be careful next time neh?"
"Cool." Ana scanned the area on what she wanted to do first. She needed to burn off some steam, she needed to run. Thankfully there was a treadmill in the room.
"Ho again." The launchie got on the treadmill next to her and she looked at him in surprise.
"What happened to your face?" of course. That was what he was interested in. I turned my face away so he couldn't see it, feeling humiliated.
"Sorry. You don't have to tell me it's none of my business anyway." He went on. She started her treadmill up and started to jog.
"I don't mind. I was ganged up on by my commander." She told him.
"Why?" Ana wondered if he really cared or if he was just looking to kill some time.
"I was insubordinate. Whatever that means. You new to the school?"
"Pray you are not put in Salamander. First day means nothing to that stupid Bonehead." She advised. The boy nodded.
"So this was your first day in an Army?" he questioned.
"First day at the school." She corrected.
"Why did you come so late?" that would take forever to explain to him so she said,
"I made a deal that took far too long to be fulfilled." They ran side by side a couple of minutes, in silence. Then the bell rang above them. She had to go back to the barracks. Hopefully since she didn't have classes yet she would be alone.
She hopped off the treadmill and walked side by side with the boy to the exit. Then they began to part ways. But Ana stopped and called after the boy. "What's your name by the way?" He looked over his shoulder at her.
"Ender. Ender Wiggin." He stated. "And you?"
"My names Anastasia Perkins, but you can call me Ana, if we meet again." Ana smiled. The boy grinned in return.
"I hope we do." He began to walk away again and this time Ana didn't stop him. She returned to her barracks and was thankfully met with blissful silence and vacancy.