Adam punched the bag another time. There were beads of sweat pouring down his face. He had been hitting that damn bag all night and into the morning. He needed to be at his best when Evan and the forces of Eden came knocking on his proverbial door. They were less than a month away from being on his doorstep and he was so out of shape. This kind of a drill would never have taken so much out of him back at the LAB. He hit the bag again and through a knee into it just to vent his frustration. It did not leave his body. He had so many more people to take care of now than just himself. Back then he was head of the alpha house, where he barely made any attempt at getting to know the students. He was a ghost to them, someone to be feared if he ever came around. Evan had been their main administrator. Now he had an entire police force, a contingency of stationed marines and every soul that lived in the Assisi Academy. They had all had a meeting earlier that night to see what the feelings on the situation were of the students of the Academy.

Adam kicked the bag and then violently punched it.

[Adam stood in front of everyone at Assisi; teacher, student and staff alike. He had even invited the Mayor and Police Chief to join them, which they gladly did. They sat in the back, wearing regular clothes as opposed to their suit and tie. They wanted to go unnoticed for this spectacle. Everything Adam had been working for was climaxing in this moment. His students could either turn on him or stand by him. Either way he didn’t care. If they wanted to leave this fight they could. There was no promise that any of them would survive. Adam couldn’t rightly say they would, but it was worth giving them the choice. That’s all anyone could really ever do for someone else; give them choice.

Adam was standing in front of nearly two hundred faces staring up at him from their seats that filled the room. He surveyed them all and dropped the script that he was holding. He couldn’t use prepared language and speech; he owed them more than that. “Everyone, hello, my name is Adam Everest. I am your director here at the Assisi Academy.” With that students began clapping. Several students stood right away, but after a couple seconds almost every young person in the room was awarding him a standing ovation. Even the Mayor and Police Chief joined in with the others and stood up. He had earned it.

After a minute or so the claps began dying off and people took their seats again. “Thank you all. Your kindness is well received.” Adam cleared his throat and pursed his lips before taking a quick swig of water. His throat had been cleared. He had no more reason not to say something. He stared out at the room and all of the eyes that were now fixated on him. He just couldn’t speak.]

Adam punched the bag two more times and kneed it again.

[“Adam! Don’t worry about censoring yourself, bro! We know what you’re going to say and we stand by you until the end!” A boy in the middle of the rows stood up and said. A roar resounded throughout the audience. Some students stood up again but everyone clapped and hollered. They were a raucous bunch, and Adam adored that in them. He had spent his entire adult life being controlled by outside forces. These kids, young adults, were taking their lives into their own hands and standing up to authority by placing some faith in him. He needed to place some faith in them too.

“Again, thank you all. I have to say that I don’t want you to stand by me. Even though you may think highly of me I don’t deserve it. That’s the truth. I don’t want any of you putting your lives on the line in two days just because you think I need it. I do need you though. I need every single one of you to do what you think of right. Whether that is to turn and run as far away from here as possible or stand and fight until the very last drop of your blood is spilt, you have to know how serious the implications of your actions are.” You could hear a pin drop in that hall. Not a soul was moving or going to say a thing to interrupt the person next to them from hearing.

“I don’t want you to do anything tomorrow than what you want. This Academy is here for you all. If all you want to do for the next two days is sleep and never come out of your room until whatever has passed has happened, so be it. If you want to cross the Golden Gate Bridge tonight and disappear into the crowds of people vacating this city go forth with my blessing. But if you want to stay I will not stand in your way. In fact I will stand beside you. I will march into oblivion with you. I will slay beasts and demons with you. The darkness is but a veil behind which evil festers before it can venture into the light,” Adam said, pausing before he finished. He looked out across the room. The eyes that looked back at him were intent on hearing every word he had to say. Their minds were so porous and he was giving them something for them to absorb. This was his battle speech. “It is the duty of the light to venture into the dark! That is why tomorrow we will be working with the police force and military to cut holes in that veil of darkness. We will make ourselves so bright that we will blind that evil. We will not go quietly into the night! No, we will rage against the dying of the light!” Adam raised his fist. The audience raised their fists as well and got to their feet once more, clapping.]

Adam pulled back his fist and smashed his fist into the punching bag. It went right through the metal fibers that he had constructed it from and the metal beads poured out from the inside. The sound of the beads could be heard echoing their pings off the walls of the large gymnasium that he was in. He was ready to give that speech now.

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