November 17th
Magnolia watched as the girl was unceremoniously thrown into the tank, her small body splashing water out of the tank, and over the nearly naked Agent Grigori. The blond agent stood there, completely comfortable in what amounted to a very short pair of swimming trunks and a small towel over his broad shoulders. He leaned against the tank and watched the experiment sink, her clothes soaked and pulling her to the bottom.
The shark, for its part, didn’t attack, simply circled the tank, waiting for the order to strike. Taylor circled the tank, and pulled the control pad from its holder – what amounted to a remote control for the sim, turned his back to the tank, and stabbed one thick finger at the controls.

The shark stopped dead in the water, pivoted, and rocketed toward the girl; she screamed, letting loose a stream of bubbles – and likely most of her remaining air. Blood joined the bubbles as the shark clamped its huge jaws around her middle and bit down. The system shock took a moment to kick in – evidenced by her useless flailing against the shark. It spun its head and slammed her into the side of the tank, her body – minus the enormous bite it had taken from her middle, floated to the bottom of the tank, dying the water red with the clouds of blood.
Grigori placed a hand on the tank, and all of the bloody water – and the body parts – disappeared from the tank, leaving nothing but a slowly circling, but somewhat more satisfied-looking, shark.
The girl reappeared, her grey training uniform complete again, her body complete again. Such a cheat. She eyed the agents, but when neither made a move to toss the girl into the tank again, she made a quick move the restrain the experiment, easily keeping the girl still in a headlock.
The limit tests had taught Mimosa one thing: not to struggle when in a headlock. She had, the first half-dozen times or so, nearly managing to choke herself to death trying to escape. She’d begged to be let go, to be treated humanely, that there was no possible way she could escape – so there was no need to keep her in a headlock.
The answer to the begging, to the pleading and to the reasoning had been simple: since she no longer qualified as human, there was no reason to treat her humanely. She had, however, allowed her commander the pleasure of informing the girl at knife point that she no longer had any human rights. It hadn’t sunk in the first time he’d told her, nor the second, but the fifth time, it had. This has seemed to disturb the girl.
It was an inexcusable weakness. To serve the Agency meant to give your life to them, and allow them to treat that worthless commodity in whatever manner they chose. She could barely contain herself from screaming at the girl, from beating into her that she didn’t even have the right to be alive, so any small graces the Agency might grant to her were more than she deserved.
She watched as Grigori leaned against Taylor, a wide smile forming on his lips as they looked over some of the options of the program.
Grigori turned to her and winked. ‘Toss her in.’
She yanked the girl to a full standing position, and not for the first time was glad of her height advantage over the girl, it made so many things that much simpler – and grabbed the front of her jacket.
This, however, exerted some force on the girl, and she stumbled, arms flailing, hands grabbing air to catch balance. She whipped her arm out, grabbing the girl by the collar, and pulling her to stability again. Hands that had been grabbing for air landed in her hair and closed around a clump of her hair.
‘Let me the fuck go,’ she ordered the girl, staring into a pair of terrified eyes.
The girl recoiled, pulled her hand away as fast as she could, her fingers catching in the hair. The fake-agent tugged on her hand, desperate to free it from its hair-prison, and did so – but not without tugging loose a feather.
She shoved the girl, the experiment falling to her rear and sliding across the wet floor, the dislodged feather laying prone in her hand. There was no way she was tying that back in her hair, not when it had been soiled by a thing that should have been in the grave, not causing her commander such undue stress.
I hate you. She stared at the girl, wishing she was brave enough to contradict one of Taylor’s orders and just slit the girl’s throat with a knife that guaranteed that she wouldn’t get back up. I hate you. I hate you.
The feather blew up – one moment, just a regular feather, that that had grown too long, been clipped from her back and tied into her hair to make the other recruits look twice, exploded. The experiment shrieked, an all-too-familiar sound from the past four days, and clutched at the stump the explosion had left behind.
Stump wasn’t quite accurate though – two fingers remained attached…well, parts of two fingers, both with more than a little exposed bone. The palm was gone, the open wound bleeding massive amounts all over the grey jacket and the polished floor. Smaller pieces were torn from the forearm, but those were minor.
Grigori let out a whoop, swung the girl into the tank by the stump, and walked over, an even wider grin on his face. ‘That was very, very impressive,’ he said, ‘I didn’t know you could do that.’ He turned back to Taylor. ‘You didn’t say she could do explosives, that’s the kind of thing you really should have mentioned.’
‘I think it’s new,’ she managed, looking past the agent to the girl in the tank being slammed against the glass walls by a shark obviously set on “angry”. ‘I hope it doesn’t interfere with-’
She was silenced by Grigori pushing a finger to her lips. ‘You are far too uptight,’ he said, ‘you hang out with him too much, let me take care of it.’ Finger still to her lips, he lead her over to the tank – presumably to get a better view of the show, though maybe to-
No. Their stint as lovers was over. And he wouldn’t fuck her right in front of Taylor.
It was easy for agents to be exhibitionists, to get off their buddies watching them, well, get off, but Grigori didn’t seem the type to do that.
His slid his finger off her lips, let it trail over her chin, then slid his palm across her neck, letting it rest on her shoulder. His other rose to join it, and slowly, with nothing more than a whispered comment about a hundred years of practice, began to rub her shoulders.
She felt herself blush, and kept her eyes fixed on the tank, not daring to look elsewhere, lest she catch Taylor’s eye. As much free reign as he came Grigori, she knew that did not extend to her, and it was enough of a favour allowing her to witness these tests without standing useless at any point.
‘I said,’ Grigori said, hot breath on her exposed neck, ‘relax, Magnolia.’
Water covered them both as the girl was thrown into the tank a third time, blood in the tank nearly as quickly as the shark got to her.
‘You are far too tense,’ Grigori said, ‘you need someone to do this more often.’
A crazy thought entered her mind of Taylor attempting the same actions as Grigori. Guilty, she imagined having to explain the scenario as “killing the pain” in order get him to cooperate, and knowing that more than likely she would end up in more pain than when they began, either from bruises, broken vertebrae or, gods forbid, a snapped neck.
The girl slid past her, one hand pressed to the glass in a futile effort to get enough traction to escape the shark’s grip. The girl caught her gaze and shouted something, but was silenced as the shark ended her life again.
Slowly circling thumbs dug deeper into muscle, and despite her composure, despite her training, despite her want to appear always perfect, she heard a moan of pleasure escape her lips.
‘There?’ the question came, more hot breath on her neck.
‘Yes,’ she heard herself answer, letting her eyes close, the trials and tribulations of the experiment no longer nearly as important as focusing on herself for five minutes, herself, and the man with self-proclaimed century of experience in making women feel good.
‘Lean forward,’ he ordered, slowly pushing her top half toward the tank. She rested her forearms against the tank, allowing him better access to her back. His hands disappeared, slid up her sides, making her shiver, then resumed making her feel good.
Tiny aches disappeared, small puddles of tension dried up, small, deft finger movements making her feel better than she had in recent memory. She bit down on her lip though, not wanting to make any more noises that would lead to Taylor removing her from the gym.
As broad hands pressed flat against her back, occasionally slipping a piece of ribbon loose or requiring away a small swatch of her dress to better get at the areas that ailed her, she was no longer so sure she objected to the idea of being pushed up against the tank and-
A slap of cold water surfaced her from improper thoughts, and she opened her eyes, watching the girl sink down to the bottom of the far side of the tank, the water already red with blood.
Red with blood, but only from where she’d been thrown in.
And the shark hadn’t attacked yet.
She blinked a few times, then slipped away from the warm hands, and warm body of Agent Grigori, easily rounding the tank to look at the girl.
Eyes still filled with terror, the girl slowly raised her bloody stump.
‘Sir,’ she said loudly, ‘her hand isn’t regrowing.’