- Day 1: October 16
It's raining when I arrived. I glance out the window at the desert landscape as it rolls by. Grand-père's training kicked in as soon as the train left the station. Check for exits, note terrain, look for any possible dangers. Every window could easily be kicked out, typical desert terrain; dry, sandy, dotted with vegetation; I was the only passenger on a high-tech robot train.
Most people would go insane after a twelve hour plane ride, a three hour car ride, immediately followed by a fifteen hour train ride to God knows where. Grand-père says the trip is meant to throw off every mercenary's internal compass. Obviously, they haven't met a merc like me.
Before I left, Grand-père gave me his old butterfly knife. "I killed three-hundred BLU with this before I retired. As Scout would say, 'Double or nothin'!'". I can feel it press against my leg if I move my foot. Besides the knife, the only other memento I brought from home is this old picture. It was taken back when my parents were still alive. Somehow, my mother had gotten Grand-père, my uncle, my father and I all in the same photo, no Photoshop required! My father and uncle stood on either side of Grand-père, all of them wearing their uniforms. My uncle had hoisted me up on his shoulders. We were all smiling except for my father, who had a very grim expression. It is my most prized possession.
Train's slowing down. Must be my stop. God, this time, I hope things go better. -
I close my leather-bound journal and toss it into my duffel bag. I pull out my papers saying I am who I say I am. I fling my duffel over my shoulder and wait for the train doors to open.
The train leaves me at an old, abounded platform in the middle of nowhere. I glance around. No one's here. I check the letter of instructions that had been sent with my acceptance letter.
-Nineteen-hundred hours. Arrival at platform. Someone will deliver you to the RED base.-
I check my watch. Exactly nineteen-hundred hours. So where the hell is-
"Jesus Christ!" I jump away from the small woman who suddenly appears at my side.
"Are you Anna?" she asks.
"Yeah," I grunt still recovering from my mini heart attack. Grand-père would kill me if he were to ever find out I had let someone sneak up on me like that.
"Can I have your papers?"
"The ones in your hand."
"Oh, right!" I hand her the papers. She snatches them, skims them over, and tucks them into a folder.
"Pleasure to have you on the team, Anna. I'm Miss Pauling," she sticks out her hand. I shake her hand.
"Follow me," she turns and marches toward a truck I hadn't seen before (tiny details I should not be missing), "I'll take you to the base." I climb into the truck and we speed off.
"You are the newest class, The Hunter. While the other mercenaries' main objective is to capture enemy intel, you will answer directly to us. Your job will be to tip the tide in this war; sabotage, betrayal, blackmail, or any other method you'd like to use. Just ensure that RED wins. You will be given targets to eliminate. They will be sent to you in the mail under the pen name, Catherin Smith. You must complete the required task within a three month time period from which you receive the letter. Fail to do so and you will be terminated. Got all that?"
"Class, Hunter. Make RED win. Kill or be killed. Yep, got it." Miss Pauling glances at me out of the corner of her eye.
"What's your question?" she sighs. I mentally kick myself for allowing my expression to get so readable.
"I know ya know, but do any of them know about my… uh, ya know…my, uh…"
"Your pedigree and past are secrets unless you want them to be known. I do suggest that you take the story of your past to your grave. You could make up a story for the more physical reminders," she taps her cheek, the area where my scar is, "If the team were to find out, they would hang you by your toes till you tell them everything." I smirk, thinking to myself I've been through worse.
After a long silence, Miss Pauling rolls to a stop.
"This is as far as I can take you. The base is just over the ridge. You will receive your first assignment tomorrow. By the way, if you ever see me after today, it will not be on good terms." I nod and get out of the truck.
"Oh, and Anna?"
"Good luck." She turns the truck and speeds off. I wait till the taillights are just dots on the horizon before heading to the base.
As I walk, I get a strange sense of déjà vu. "Calm down, Anna. You're a mercenary now. A Hunter. Yeah, Anna the Hunter. That sounds way more awesome than Anna the Cook! Alright, let's do this!"