The hours flew by. Lysergic Oldham had lessons in marksmanship, knives, explosives, tracking, radio communications, code words, and the care and use of special chemicals, one of her favorite subjects.

An exhausted Lysergic was eventually allowed to take a break. As she continued to rub her sore left shoulder, she noticed something. She had a scar where none had existed.

“What’s this all about?” she asked Mr. Z.

“What’s what all about?” Z replied.

“This scar,” Lysergic noted, pointing to a noticeable scar across her left shoulder, “you know anything about it? I’ve never had a scar here before!”

Z walked over and took a glance.

“Oh, yes,” he non-chalantley replied, “that’s your surgery scar.”

“Surgery scar?!” Lysergic startledly replied, “what surgery?!”

“When we darted you the second time and before you were delivered to the training gym,” Z explained, “we made a little side trip to our medical facilities and wheeled you in for some minor surgery.”

“What kind of surgery?!” Lysergic nervously asked.

“Oh, nothing drastic,” Z noted, “we just implanted a device under your skin. It will help us track you, while you’re out on the streets, and it will help discourage any crazy ideas you may have had.”

“What crazy ideas?” Lysergic asked.

“The idea that as soon as you get out of here, you’ll tear ass for parts unknown,” Z noted, “leaving us high and dry.”

Lysergic wondered if Z could read minds, as that was exactly what she had planned to do.

“How does this device keep me from splitting the scene?!” Lysergic asked.

Z smiled, “the device doesn’t! We do!”

“How??!!” Lysergic quizzed.

“Should you try and make a run for it,” Z further explained, “we will just detonate the small explosive embedded within the device now implanted in your left shoulder!”

“How small of an explosive device?” Lysergic nervously asked.

“Enough to blow off your shoulder!” Z answered, as a matter of fact.

“You guys really are assholes, you know that!” Lysergic angrily replied.

“We’ve been called worst!” Z smiled, “However, once you retrieve and deliver the book, the explosive can be deactivated, but not until we get that book!”

“Well, maybe I don’t believe you? Maybe I’ll just walk out of here right now,” Lysergic threatened, “what do you think of that?”

“I don’t know,” Z replied, as he turned to Small, who had been standing off to the side listening to the entire conversation, “what do you think, Mr. S?”

Smaller grinned and reached into his upper coat pocket and pulled out a little remote control device.

“I think I would recommended we both step back,” Smaller said, “as I detonate the device right now and her left shoulder disintegrates into a fine bloody mist!”

Lysergic shivered, as she rubbed the scar.

“So, you are going to dismiss any idea about running away, aren’t you Ms. Oldham?” Z asked.

Lysergic nodded reluctantly.

“Very well, then,” Z began, “your training is, for all practical purposes, complete! So, I will now call upon some of our image experts to escort you to our changeover room and they will give you a new look!”

“I like the way I look now!” Lysergic protested.

“Oh, we are not going to do anything drastic,” Z explained, “just going to make you look a little more “mature”!”

Lysergic wondered what she had gotten herself into, but it was too late to back out now and besides, she needed her shoulder. So she decided not to freak out, by applying some of the techniques she had recently learned.

She would enter a state of No Thing Ness and think about absolutely nothing! She knew she was always at her best, when her mind was a complete blank.

Next: Chap. Sixteen “Just Like the Wizard of Oz”

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