A few hours passed - how many Logan was unsure of - and soon enough the bus came to a stop.
“Get your bags and start making a line in front of the entrance,” the officer at the front barked.
He glanced out the window whilst waiting for the opportunity to get up. Outside was a gray building of some sort. They appeared to be in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but plains and a forest behind the building. There wasn’t even a parking lot or sidewalk, everything was dirt.
“Is this where we’re staying-?” Logan muttered to the person in front of him as he finally made his way off the bus.
He got in line and looked back to find the other two buses pulling up and loading out. There were so many people, he was slightly unsure as to how they would all fit. The building seemed quite large from the outside, but could it hold thousands of people?
The large doors were opened and the three lines moved forward. They were separated into two groups, one waiting in seats on the right and one on the left. In the center of the building were a series of desks, each with a person behind it typing on a computer.
Soon, names were being called and a few people went up to a desk. Logan had no idea what was going on, but he hoped it wouldn’t take long. Whatever the building was, it had no air conditioning, and so the cold winter air from outside was seeping in. Everyone in the room seemed to be shivering.
He watched person after person step up to a desk and get handed something before taking a seat again. It felt like hours before his watch finally buzzed and his name was called.
He got up from his seat and approached a desk about three rows in.
“Full name?” The lady in front of him didn’t look up from her device.
“Logan Bryce Taborn.”
She nods for a moment before pulling out a blank card and beginning to type. He observed as text appeared at the top of it, spelling out his name.
She rolled her eyes. “I need a year, honey.”
“Sorry- um, 2023, I’m 17. Do you need the exact minute, second and what position Saturn and the stars were in too?” He chuckled a little at himself only to be met with a glare from the woman.
The date appeared on the card as well before she motioned for him to give her his hand. He did so and she stuck it in a pad of ink, putting his fingerprint on the card.
“If you don’t mind me asking, why do I have to do this? Is everyone else getting a card too?”
“Why do you ask so many questions?” she sighed before eventually handing him the card. “This is your ID, you need it with you at all times, lose it and there will be severe consequences,” she said in a monotone voice, clearly having said this exact phrase at least a hundred times that day and was growing increasingly tired of it with each new person.
“Thank you,” he replied and quickly made his way back to his seat. He inspected the card in his hands, turning it around a few times as he did so. He didn’t realize it, but she had apparently taken a picture of him without his knowledge, and his confused-looking face was now plastered onto the top left corner of the ID.
“Am I really that unphotogenic?” he muttered and giggled to himself before scanning the room. He was attempting to look for Camryn, surely she had to be somewhere in the building too.
Logan finally found her walking back to her seat, right down his aisle, and he tugged on her sleeve.
She glanced down at him. “Logan!”
They convinced the person sitting next to him to switch seats with her, and the two were reunited.
“You cannot pull something like that again, okay? That was dangerous!”
“I know, I’m really sorry-!”
“You should be!”
He sighed a little and they sat there for almost an hour and a half before the workers were dismissed and everyone was eventually ordered to load back up onto the buses.
It might have worked better if there was at least some form of organization, but alas, nothing of the sort seemed to exist. It was like a stampede almost, with everyone’s bodies pressing up into one another, each person desperate to get out of this cold, obsolete building.
The crowd was quickly moving towards the door, and if you weren’t able to keep up, it wasn’t unlikely for you to be crushed. The two siblings kept moving with the crowd until Logan’s hand brushed against his pocket. His eyes widened slightly, worried by the contents of it - or rather, the lack thereof. His ID was gone.
“Camryn- Camryn, I lost my ID-”
“You what?!” she yelled above the rush of people.
“I dunno where it went, Camryn! It’s gone!”
“Are you serious?!”
“Would I be panicking right now if I wasn’t?!”
She glared at him for a moment before tugging him backwards, shoving against the people behind them.
“What are you doing-? Camryn it’s never a good idea to go against a crowd surge! Plus we’re never gonna find it in all these people!”
“Do you wanna get shot and killed, Logan?” Her voice was harsh, and it was obvious by the tight grip she had on his arm that she was growing increasingly more worried for the safety of her brother. “We have to try!”
“We’re gonna get crushed to death, Camryn!”
She ignored his multiple attempts to reason and kept pushing, knocking into person after person as they continued making their way back. Eventually, the majority of people were outside and they could look around the floor easier.
“See it yet?”
“No, not yet.”
He was on his knees, scanning the floor, when he finally found it lying about 5 feet from his seat. It must’ve fallen out whilst everyone was moving. He quickly grabbed it and ran outside with Camryn, now worried about the likely possibility that they missed their bus.
He should’ve paid attention to his surroundings, however, because a loud screech forced him to stop in his tracks. He glanced to his right to find a bus a few inches away. It would’ve hit them if the driver didn’t stop.
A middle-aged woman got out, her slicked-back dark hair falling below her waist. Her fists were clenched by her side and her brows were furrowed.
“Now how many times have I told y’all idiots not to jump out the back of the damn bus?! I coulda’ hit you!” Her voice had a heavy southern drawl to it.
“Jump out-?” Logan glanced around her and at the bus behind. It certainly looked a bit nicer than the one he rode before.
“Can you not hear?! Get back on the bus before I call one of those fancy officers or somethin’!” she huffed and stomped back on, dragging the confused pair behind her and throwing them into an empty seat.
Logan looked around the bus as they left the training center. The seats were cushioned, they had seatbelts, and even air conditioning. Everyone had enough room to breathe as it was considerably bigger, and he was left wondering how the Reynolds Organization managed to afford a bus so nice. They probably had to bring in an extra bus to fit all the people better, but why were the others so crappy compared to this one?
“Hey Camryn, what would you do if you got attacked by a bear?”
“Are you- Logan, that was really random. I dunno, run, I guess?”
“Okay, but what if it could fly.”
She rolled her eyes and whacked his arm before staring out the window again. About two hours passed before they reached a big brick building surrounded by acres of land and metal fencing. It appeared to be a military base of some sort. It had a large flag pole in the middle of the circular driveway, although a flag hadn’t been hung yet, and many different kinds of flowers and other plants decorating the lawn.
They were loaded off and sent inside to the front entrance where they were given their uniforms and room number. Each dorm was separated by family, so Logan and Camryn made their way to their designated room. They went down many long hallways before eventually stopping at a door.