Whoo! Another update so soon! The idea for this installment was suggested by Babydollgonewrong13!
Francis and Epsilon stood face to face; the former waited for orders while the latter analyzed his "son." The elder took a step forward and said, "It is time for your final test. As a sixteen-year-old and one of the People, you are required to prove that you truly are perfect spy material."
"Yes, Father. What is the final test?" Francis responded almost mechanically.
"It is a test that has been designed to evaluate whether or not you have fully mastered your feelings. Your control over emotions determines your future," Epsilon explained as he adjusted his Sonic Collar. "I have trained you, so I am fully confident that you will handle this test without a problem."
"Yes, Father," Francis said firmly. However, he wasn't so sure that he could do this like his father believed he could. It had been three years since Francis's last encounter with Zak Saturday, but he remembered it vividly. It was the first time that he considered letting his feelings interfere with his work.
Ever since that fateful conversation, Francis was torn between becoming the perfect spy and becoming human. One side was full of mystery, adventure, and perfection. The other brimmed with life. The fork in the road stood before him, waiting for what he deemed the right option. Three years or not, no amount of time could have prepared Francis for this.
"The test that all clones must undergo is a rather controversial one, but an effective one, nonetheless. As I said, it is to determine whether or not you have eliminated emotions. The student must bring the teacher near death," Epsilon said.
Francis almost gasped in shock, but he caught himself. He managed a quiet, "Yes, Father."
"Those that find the test controversial are the ones that have failed it. The failures live worthless lives while their teachers are all but banished from the People, having been declared failures as well."
This time, Francis didn't answer.
"I will, of course, be fighting against you. This is also a test to see all that you have learned. Controlling feelings, although important, will get you nowhere if you do not have skills."
"We will begin, now!" Epsilon lunged at Francis unexpectedly. The boy sidestepped his father's outstretched hand and sent out a couple waves with his Sonic Collar. Epsilon cringed at the noise, but rushed forward to attack again. Francis dodged Epsilon again but the older man was ready for that. He kicked his leg, aiming for Francis's head. His son ducked and tried an attack of his own. Francis crouched onto the ground and swung his leg at Epsilon, hoping to trip him up. Epsilon easily jumped over the leg and reached for Francis's Sonic Collar. Francis batted Epsilon's hand away and aimed a punch at his father's face. Epsilon grabbed his son's wrist and easily hoisted him into the air. He opened his mouth to speak, but Francis swung his free arm, connecting with Epsilon's jaw. He released his captive upon the impact.
Francis turned on the spot and ran out of the training area. If he wanted to pass the test, he needed a stronger weapon than his Sonic Collar. The training base's armory was his best bet. Boundaries hadn't been discussed before the start of the test, but he didn't hear Epsilon shouting for him to stop.
Once he reached the armory's door, he quickly and coolly punched in the passcode and had his hand scanned for recognition. The doors swished open and he ran inside, making sure the doors closed behind him. They would give a little bit of an advantage, but only until Epsilon opened them.
Francis scanned the room for a suitable weapon. He spotted a rack supporting a few of the Saturdays' Cortex Disrupters. He grabbed one from the rack and hid behind a decommissioned robot walker. He heard the door open and close.
Immediately, he stood up and fired the Cortex Disrupter. Epsilon stepped out of the beam's path, but wasn't quick enough to avoid it hitting his shoulder. He sprinted towards the robot walker and vaulted over it, landing behind Francis. He wrapped his arms around Francis, pinning the boy to his body. The steam from Epsilon's singed suit clouded Francis's vision as he struggled to free himself. He managed to land a kick to Epsilon's gut, causing the man to slacken his grip slightly. Francis raised the Cortex Disrupter and pointed it over his shoulder at what he hoped to be Epsilon's face. Just as he fired, Epsilon dropped him and jumped out of the way of the blast.
Epsilon was left a bit disoriented, but Francis was ready. He shot the Cortex Disrupter at Epsilon's legs. The man's legs gave out upon impact and he fell. Francis quickly stepped to his side as Epsilon rolled over on his back. He kept his weapon pointed at his teacher, but did not fire.
Why was he hesitating to pull the trigger? The weapon could surely do enough damage to Epsilon to pass the test. Why couldn't he just do it?
"Yes, Father. No, Father. Right away, Father. Whatever you say, Father."
This wasn't the time to think about the words that have haunted him for three years!
"Look, they can tell us what they think we are: monster, clone, whatever, but they can't tell us what we have to be."
Francis sighed. As much as he hated to admit it, Zak's words had really gotten to him.
"What are you doing?" Epsilon blurted out.
"Look, Fath – Epsilon. I've been thinking about something for a few years now," Francis began.
"This is not story time! Shoot me!"
"What did you say to me?"
"I said, no," Francis said, feeling more confident. "If I shoot you, you'll be gravely injured, as is part of the test. If I pass the test, I'll become the perfect cloned spy, just as I am supposed to be. What about what I want to be?"
"I thought you had mastered your personal feelings!" Epsilon said, his rage rising.
"My personal feelings are what I'm going to live by from now on."
"Your personal feelings are going to get me banished!"
Francis smirked and said, "What, are you scared?"
"I don't feel fear!" Epsilon shot back.
"Then you won't be upset when you're exiled."
Epsilon's eyes widened. He stuttered incoherently before saying, "I will find you and I will make sure you pay! The grey men do everything to be perfect and we can't have a failure like you blotting our name!"
"Just try and catch me. I'm the good guy in grey, unpredictable, perfect, and ready for anything!" Francis threw the Cortex Disrupter to the side and turned to leave the armory.
Seeing Epsilon transform into a scared wreck was definitely unsettling, but Francis was even more shocked that Epsilon's next words come out as a plea, "If you're listening to personal feelings, then surely you can't bear to leave your father to face the superiors just to be exiled and abandoned?"
"Sorry," Francis said as he opened the door. "I have no personal feelings for you." He exited the armory, leaving Epsilon, nothing now but a scared, twisted man, behind.
That certainly was a fun one to write, and satisfying, too. I'll warn everyone now that I may not update for a while. I will be moving into college on Thursday and will need some time to adjust. Yep, I'm 18, writing Secret Saturdays fanfiction, and proud. Thanks for reading and leave a lovely review if you're feeling generous!