Read Firstlife (Everlife #1) - Gena Showalter

TROIKA

From: L_N_3/19.1.1

To: A_P_5/23.43.2

Subject: Officially Denied

Mr. Prince,

I’m not your duuude. I’m your superior. You will only ever address me by my proper rank: General. Or the always appropriate sir.

You were selected for this mission for two very important reasons. You are young and (obviously) immature. Offense intended. Our older Laborers had trouble relating to Miss Lockwood, but you should fit right in.

On that note, continue “babysitting” Miss Lockwood, or I’ll fish out your organs for you.

Also, I expect daily reports. I’m not overstating when I say convincing her to make covenant with our realm is essential.

Light Brings Sight!

General Levi Nanne

TROIKA

From: A_P_5/23.43.2

To: L_N_3/19.1.1

Subject: You Suck (& I’m WAY Mature)

Dear Sir,

Laborer is below your pay grade, but aren’t you one of those “older” gents who failed with the girl? Just checking. (And prepping you for the time I succeed and rub it in your face.)

Anyway. I’m a good little robot, sir, so of course I’ll do as you asked. Sir. Here’s the thing, though, sir. If I have to watch/listen from the outside a minute more, I’m going to bleach my corneas and stab a pencil through my ears.

I want my Shell, and I want to go INSIDE the whack shack. Sir.

Also, here’s the first report as demanded. I mean so sweetly requested. Sir. During the institution’s version of creative writing class, your precious had to write a poem to express her feelings about life. I’m including a copy for your perusal. I defy you NOT to jump off a bridge after reading it. Sir.

The grave is the end

And I will never accept that

I have been set free from the chains that bind me.

I know

“Death has lost its victory”

Is a lie, because there is no greater truth than this:

“Life is hopeless”

Gotta say, I don’t think Darkside McDowner is a great fit for Troika. I know, I know. We love the unlovable. We champion the weak. I don’t need a lecture. Just tell me what makes her so “essential.”

Your humble servant,

Archer

TROIKA

From: L_N_3/19.1.1

To: A_P_5/23.43.2

Subject: Poem, Among Other Things

I didn’t fail with her, puppy, I cleared the way for you. There’s a difference. Want to succeed? Learn it.

Expect a Shell at 0800. Just don’t expect yours. I’ve selected one from GenPop. And before you reply with your typical flare—General Population? Are you kidding me (dramatic pause for effect), sir?—save your fingers the trouble of typing. I’m not sending what you want. I’m sending what you need. You may thank me later.

Also, in regards to the poem. Miss Lockwood understands there are two sides to every story. Why don’t you? Do yourself a favor and read the poem again. This time, start at the bottom and work your way up.

And, Mr. Prince, the fact that I have to tell you what’s so special about this girl means I need to schedule you for an emergency jackhammer to the brain. Do yourself a favor and pay attention to the pearls I’m about to throw. Light. Conduit. Loss...darkness.

Oh, and here’s a good one: Moron. Again, offense intended.

TROIKA

From: A_P_5/23.43.2

To: L_N_3/19.1.1

Subject: Four Things

1) Sir Dude. I don’t want to point out your obvious lack of intelligence, but Tenley Lockwood can’t be a Conduit. Given your advanced age, you’ve clearly forgotten Conduits are raised by Troikan parents. They are the most loyal among us, from beginning to end.

2) And okay, okay. I read the poem from bottom to top, so I get your “two sides” theory. That doesn’t mean the poem is any good. It doesn’t rhyme.

3) The Shell arrived, and I honestly I think hate you. I’m pure male aggression, and you expect me to pass for a chick? As if anyone will be dumb enough to believe such a farce.

4) Myriad sent Killian. I’ve seen him skulking around in the shadows, watching the girl. Permission to slaughter?

TROIKA

From: L_N_3/19.1.1

To: A_P_5/23.43.2

Subject: Permission Gr... Denied! (Admit it. Your little-girl heart skipped a beat.)

You know our laws as well as I do. And what is at the heart of our second-most-important decree? Personal vendettas must be set aside for the good of the people. You are one of our people.

Do your job. Nothing else matters.

MYRIAD

From: K_F_5/23.53.6

To: P_B_4/65.1.18

Subject: My New Assignment

Hot and crazy, just the way I like ’em. Consider Tenley Lockwood bagged and tagged.

Might Equals Right!

Killian Flynn

MYRIAD

From: P_B_4/65.1.18

To: K_F_5/23.53.6

Subject: Show Some Respect!

You will speak of the girl with deference, or you won’t speak of her at all.

I’m already close to pulling you from this assignment, Mr. Flynn. In fact, I have no idea why I allowed the Generals to convince me you can do what