Chapter One

" Honey you have to get up, you're going to be late for your first day of training."

My mom was yelling at me from down the hall, and I heard her but my head was pounding like a

jackhammer against my skull. I probably shouldn’t have stayed up celebrating, but when I got the letter

yesterday morning saying that my application to the academy was accepted and I was expected to be on

campus at 9 a.m, I was overjoyed and completely ready to just let my long brown hair down for once in

my life and enjoy the moment. That, coincidentally turned into six hours of drinking, making toasts, and

God only knows what else.

After what felt like only four or five seconds of laying in my bed with my head covered to hide

my eyes from the light that was only causing more pain in my head, my mother came into my room and

making more noise than I would have ever thought was possible for a woman of only 4'9" and maybe

100 pounds soaking wet.

"Anna," she said none to quietly. "You have been going on and on about getting into the

academy, and now that you have, your just going to lie here and let it go?" I could hear the irritation in

her voice as it matched my own irritation at my actions the night before. "I'm getting up mom. Really I

am." I slowly moved my warm blankets off my face to see her standing over me with her beautiful hazel

eyes staring a hole right through my bullshit. Seriphina Mayall has got to be the most beautiful woman

in the whole world. She was definitely the kindest woman I had ever known. She would do anything for

anyone and never ask for so much as a thank you.

My mother always told me that in the Bible, Jesus said that we should love one another as he

loved us, and that was exactly how she lived her life. With love.

You could look at my mother and think that this woman was incapable of saying or doing any

mean thing in the world, but let me tell you, when she meant business, she meant business. Just like she

did right now.

Her scowl slowly turned into the beautiful smile that she usually reserved just for me,

HayleAnna Ariel Mayall, the only child of Seraphina and Taven Mayall. I look nothing like my mother and

sometimes I think that when she gave me that smile, that she was thinking of my dad, because that is

exactly who I look like. I have his mud brown hair and dark green eyes, I'm taller than her too. I may not

have been the tallest person in the family but at 5'4" I certainly towered her.

"Then why, dumpling, are you still laying on your ass? It's nearly 7 a.m and you know it takes at

least an hour to get to the campus and that’s if you don’t end up walking all the way." She knew I hated

it when she used the pet name that my dad had given me when I was little and a lot heavier than most

of the kids in the neighborhood.

She started laughing her melodical laugh as I scrunched my nose at her and the use of the name

that I only heard when she is trying to get a rise out of me since my dad had died seven years ago. He

had gone to Washington to another mass assembly of people who were trying to fix America. There

were still a lot of good people that wanted to make America something better than the lawless nation

that it had become after it had almost been taken over by NOKO. We never thought that would be the

last time that we would see him alive.

Moaning and groaning about the stupidity of drinking and being a dumbass, I swung my feet

from under the blankets and put them on the soft sheepskin rug that my dad had bought for me on a

trip overseas when I was ten years old. When it was still safe to cross borders. When there were still

only a few unorganized groups of assholes who saw an opportunity to take over a country that was

completely governmentless and was trying to grab up the title of head jackass. None of them got very

far though and it was because of my dad, Hank Herrom and the work of what was left of the U.S


That was until Jack Kaseman decided to throw his hat in the running. With the connections that

he had had, he was making more progress at taking over than anyone else. He had the weapons, the

goonies to do his bidding and apparently the power that was needed.

The thing about living in a country where everything, and I mean literally everything had gone

to shit, was that there was no more running water, electricity or natural gas. Everyone who still had

water in their homes or businesses, was lucky enough to have a well on their property and the

equipment to power it with the sun.

My dad had rigged our water so that it was heated with wood and when the fire wasn’t lit on

the water heater, it didn’t take long for it to get pretty cool. So, after a quick shower that was a little too

cold for my liking I dressed in what I hoped was acceptable for my first day of Bridgemore Academy of

Technical Training, B.A.T.T for short.


When I arrived on campus with all of my identification and paperwork it was eight thirty seven

a.m, and as I was trying to find my base office I realized that here was where I felt completely in my own

element. I had trained with my dad, who was a weapons expert and could hit a mark from over a

hundred yards away and had taught me everything that he knew. He trained me in hand to hand combat

and made sure that I would be able to defend not only myself, but my mother as well. I felt like I was

finally going to be able to do something great, like I was finally going to be able to gain control over

something that I had never felt that I had any control over. My Life.

After twenty minutes of looking around, I finally found the right building on the north end of

the campus, which was made up of four bases. North camp, which was, thankfully, the one that I had

wanted to be in more than any of the others. This is the one that teaches combat training and field skills.

East camp, which specialized in medical training, South camp which were the Techies of the school, and

God knows I wouldn't have gotten on that camp if I wanted to, and then there is the West camp, and

well lets just say that while I really never wanted to find out what they really did, Dad had said that they

are our scientific department and that they were working on making new weapons for the combat

department, but he also hesitated and quickly changed the subject everytime i asked.

In the year 2070 a lot of things in America had changed and nothing was like what my mom and

dad had described as what they grew up in. The freedoms that they had, was nothing but a fairy tale

now. Sure there weren’t any laws that anyone had to follow, but when your home kept being raided and

shit was stolen from you just because some asshole wanted what you had, you really weren’t free to do

shit anymore.

Ever since the Government fell in 2040, which was long before I was born, there had been an

abundance of rogue groups trying to take control of America, but one in particular had been the worst

of all of them put together. They called themselves Benders, and their whole goal in this new version of

America was to bend our wills to theirs, they wanted to make Americans mindless, sniveling, scared, and

completely broken. It was going that way for a little while, but thankfully, someone decided to fight

back, and after 15 years of hell, we were finally starting to rise again.

That someone was the reason I decided to follow my dad to B.A.T.T and work my ass off to

become part of E.R.A. That someone was Jathon Herrom, the son of Hank Herrom, who my dad had

served with in the military and was the creator of E.R.A, the new America’s version of a military.