Tir na Cali, and seems to be an intro.
They got pants, at least. And shirts. Well, the girls got skirts, but the idea was there: after what was probably over a week with no clothes, nothing to their names but the ugly plastic collars their captors had locked around their throats, they had pants, shirts, and underwear.
And ugly plastic collars, but Seth, at least, had learned not to complain. Since they had been stolen into California (while, irony of ironies, celebrating their freedom from school), the six of them had been stripped, collared, processed, beaten, starved, and half-drowned – but they’d also been trained. Maybe their training had been harsh enough to make the basic training he and Jakub were (had been) heading to look like a week at the beach, but the lessons had been straight-forward and clear. Lesson one was: don’t complain.
Lesson two was don’t mouth off, of course. Which was why he was keeping his mouth shut as their handler – the third such, the tallest, the oldest, and the sternest so far, passed them each stacks of clothing. Steve hadn’t quite gotten that, yet, but, then again, only Seth and Jakub had been planning on heading somewhere where they barked orders at you all day anyway.
“This looks like a uniform, ma’am.” Jill commented, quietly, politely. Jill had learned how to ask questions without getting hit; she’d been the quickest of them all, at that.
“It is,” the matron agreed. “You will not be the only ones at this training facility. There will be approximately twenty-five other slaves here training with you.”
“Training?” That was Steve. “Like what? Ow!”
The ow was, of course, another thwap with the crop. Steve got a lot of those.
“You know nothing about our world, or our culture. You will be going to school here to learn how to fit in, how to be proper slaves. You will take eight classes a day, and have time in the evenings to complete your homework?”
“Homework!” Seth was mortified to realize that that had been him this time. He quickly added on a “ma’am,” and was grateful when Debbie picked up his slack by filling in with another question.
“Like school, ma’am? Like high school?” She didn’t have to say all over again; they were all thinking that.
“Exactly like a school,” the matron nodded. She seemed to understand; she didn’t thwap them at all for the collective groan.
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