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My life had never been what you might call exciting. I was working as a nurse’s assistant at our local hospital and had been making my way up from apprentice level to becoming a nurse myself someday or maybe even a doctor. Since the war, a lot of our doctors had been killed, and those with medical talent like me were under high demand.
Being a compassionate girl, I had always wanted to help people. I never liked seeing anyone or anything in pain and had gotten myself in trouble more than once by bringing wounded cats or flea-bitten dogs into our family’s apartment.
That was before my parents were killed in a plane crash on the way back from going to my last grandparent’s funeral. I was thirteen then. After their death I was sent to a Teen Center by the authorities because they couldn’t find any relatives who would be willing to take me in.
It was tough, but I made it through all the sad times by helping others in the Teen Center. I was always the one that the littler kids went to when they were hurt or sad. Comforting them always brought comfort to me. Even some of the older kids would come to me if they needed help. Helping others was almost a passion for me. I didn’t realize that this would change my life.
One day the nurse in charge of the children’s wing came up to me while I was giving medicine to one of the patients there.
“Laeli, there’s a man here that wants a meeting with all nurse assistants under the age of twenty. Could you finish up there and go to room 203?”
I wiped the purple dribble from off the little boy’s face and glanced up at her. “A man? What kind of man?”
“He looks official,” she explained. “He said he had been sent by the government so I didn’t want to upset him by refusing to take you off your jobs.”
I nodded. “I understand. I’ll go as soon as I’m done here.”
The nurse smiled. “Thanks.”
She left and I hurriedly finished my task, leaving the little boy with a sunny smile and cheerful “hope you get better soon” to remember me by.
I was the first to arrive at the meeting. I shook hands with the government official and sat down on the seat he offered me. One by one the other assistants arrived. Once all sixteen had been accounted for, the man cleared his throat.
“I’m here to ask for volunteers to take a test. But I’ve been told to also warn you: this test might change your future forever.”
I hesitated. My life hadn’t been easy, but at least I was doing what I loved. But when no one else volunteered, I swallowed my disappointment and stepped forward. Somebody had too, and I guess that somebody was going to be me.
What is your name?
I frowned at the electronic device. Maybe this was just a waste of time.
Laeli Williams, I answered.
Hello Laeli. How old are you?
This test sounded like one of those conversation starter cards that restaurants put on their tables. I cringed.
Using as few words as possible, explain your family situation.
Really? They had to ask that question? My fingers hovered over the keys. With a sigh, I finally got up the nerve to answer:
My parents were both killed in a plane crash. My relatives have either died or don’t want me because they already have children of their own. I don’t have siblings.
They accepted it.
What do you think your talents are?
Ok, I could do this.
Helping others, particularly medical needs. I’m a peacemaker.
What are your weaknesses?
I smiled wryly to myself. I had seen that one coming.
Often think too well of people who deserved suspicion.
Up came the next question:
Is there anything on earth that you would miss if you left it forever?
Hmm… they seemed to actually be going somewhere with these questions. I gave the truthful answer:
Well that was typical. They wanted an explanation. I rolled my eyes and began typing away.
My parents are dead. My relatives are too busy to help me. What could I possibly miss?
The question was answered, but the next paragraph took my breath away.
Congratulations Laeli, you have been selected as one of The Chosen! You should be so proud to become a part of one of the biggest colonization movements in the history of the world. Click “continue” to learn more.
I sat in shock. This was what the whole test had been about? I glanced at the blinking “continue” button in sudden indecision. Did I really want to do this? It would certainly help a lot of people. I clicked “continue”.
Next you will be brought to a space ship by one of the test administrators. There, you and twelve other teenagers will be sent to a specially selected planet where you will train for one of the three positions in the civilization system there. Click “continue” to learn more.
Well, I thought, here goes nothing. I clicked the suggested button and immediately further instruction flashed onto the screen.
The three positions are Builder, Warrior, or Medic. You will be chosen for one of these positions based on your strengths and weaknesses which you submitted to us through the test. Click the green “I am willing” button if you wish to proceed. Otherwise, chose the red “I refuse” button and you will be immediately escorted back to where you came from.
I gasped in delight at the word “Medic”. At last I had a chance to use my medical skills on a higher level! Without any hesitation now, I clicked the “I am willing” button. The screen went black, but before I had time to panic, a hand was laid on my shoulder and the test administrator took me back to his car.
My new life had begun.