Lockdown - 18 by Alexander Shaw

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SUMMARY: You'd think I'd have quit by now. This is probably one of my least favourite parts of it, Torn doesn't motivate me much as a character. Oh well.

Chapter 18 Spear of Truth Education Facility.

--/13 Years Previously (Day 4697) 10:12 Hours/--
--/Spear of Truth Education Department 2-4/--

"Remember, little soldiers, always remember," the voice of the teacher echoed across the class, "That the Nethrek are invincible. Always we are victorious. That's all for today." A moment passed and an automated bell system chimed three times. There was shuffling as the class full of six year olds scraped their chairs back from their desks. Torn was the last to move, clutching his Tactics and History textbook close to his chest.

"Yes sir." He whispered so softly that no one could hear him. He was small for his age, his arms were not as strong as the other boys. He waited until most of them had moved on before he stood, making sure that he was last to leave the classroom.

He turned out of the room, heading down the 4-4 corridors and out into the playground. It was all internal of course, there was no fresh air, no trees or grass. Everything that the children here could need was contained on the Spear of Truth, his home.

And also his hell.

He appeared in the locker room, moving to the small grey metal door that was his. He reached up to the small digit-pad and entered the four letters of his code. The door swung open and he stuffed his Tactics and History book into the locker, then reached for his Home Sciences book. He was about close the door when another hand clamped down onto it, slamming it shut and almost catching Torn's hand in the mechanism. He yanked back just in time.

"Hey there, runt. Haven't seen you, you been hiding?" It was Victor's voice. Torn tried to spin away, but there was another form that caught him and held him tightly. Victor's fist thudded into his stomach and he cried out. It was beginning again.

--/3 Weeks Later (Day 4676) 10:09 Hours/--
--/Spear of Truth Education Department 2-4/--

"...Next week we'll be dealing with the battle of Hawk Labyrinth, a defining point in Nethrek History." They'd all heard of it, of course, seven hundred Legionaries and Light Infantry defending a strongpoint against more than thirty thousand Lorast Conscripts. Torn bowed his head, waiting for the scraping of a class full of six year olds got up and moved away, the class finished. As usual, he was last out, but he didn't want to be out just yet.

"S...Sir?" Torn's thin voice piped up. Commander Pegg, the old and weathered Tactics and History teacher, turned to face the young boy.

"Young Torn?" His drone like voice was dry and cracked most of the time, but now had a warmth to it. He was a war veteran, a hard man.

"I... I... was wondering..." Torn began, but never finished.

"Is there something you would like to talk to me about, young Torn?" Pegg asked, looking slightly concerned. Torn felt his chest grip tightly, his palms were sweaty and he could look up no further than the ground.

"No... no sir." He nodded, then turned to try and leave, his shame like a cloak over him.

"Torn." The commander interrupted. "Not all Nethrek need be great warriors." He said.

"No sir... I know." Torn said, finally gaining the courage to look up at the commander.

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