It only took a day for me to decide that I was terrible at making decisions.
The first few days were spent going through rigorous exercises, both physical and mental. They wanted to see what everybody could do, and get rid of the ones that weren't good enough. I never found out what happened to the people removed then, and I still don't think I want to know.
I made the cut. I didn't think I would, but I did. The ones they kept were locked into individual cells. Ones that were built to withstand all forms of Base abilities. Luckily, we were still able to talk to each other. That helped keep us mostly sane throughout this.
I was one of two Kinetics that made the cut. The other was a middle-aged guy, slightly balding. His name was Jac. We bonded a little, mostly cause we were the only Kinetics.
The living conditions weren't terrible. Sure, we were locked in cells. But, they had decent beds. We were fed regularly. Didn't have to worry about getting raped by your cellmate in your sleep, since you didn't have a cellmate.
No, it wasn't the cells that made this terrible. It was why we were there.
In my world, Wen Rahte, every single person has abilities tied to one of ten Bases. Fire, Wind, Water, Earth, Lightning, Kinetic, Light, Dark, Time, or Life. A person's family history mostly determined what Base they would be, but even that wasn't set in stone. A Lightning Base could be born to a family of Fire Bases.
Now, with Rembress being the largest city, they also had some of the most power hungry people. Who happened to be in charge. They ruled through the military. And somehow, they got the idea in there heads to try and see how they could mess with the Bases. To make their military stronger.
And I had accidentally signed up as a test subject. A lab rat, if you will.
The early stages were mostly them pushing me to my limits. Seeing how long I could hold objects. How fast I could move them. How far I could throw them. How much I could lift. How well I could stop objects being thrown at me. At the end of every day, I would shuffle into my cell and collapse on my bed, not even bothering to change out of the rags we had to wear.
After about a month, they started giving some of us more private sessions. I think they wanted to make us feel more special. Or make us suspicious. People felt both. The first sessions I had were spent determining what kinds of weapons I was good with. How well I could fight. They must have seen something in me, because not many of us were given weapons that early.
Now, I had never used anything more than a knife or a steel pipe in a fight before. So, most of the stuff, I kind of sucked with. However...for some reason, when I grabbed the bladed ring they had...it felt right. I hadn't really trained my abilities much yet, so I couldn't use them with it. But, I knew that was the one for me.
A few more months went by, and I was in a kind of routine. They kept us in the same activities, just increasing the difficulty of them. A few more people were removed, but not many.
Then came the second phase of this project.
They selected a total of ten of us. Me, a couple Winds, a Shadow, a Life, two Fires, two Waters, and an Earth. They brought us to a lower level of the complex, which I didn't know existed. It was smaller, and darker.
I remember noticing things about the people with me on the way there. The Earth guy leaned against whatever wall was present when we weren't walking. The Shadow guy's arms and face were covered in tattoos; all the same style of black lines, intertwining each other. The Life girl (She looked younger than even me) clung to the Shadow's arm. One of the Waters, a woman with close cropped hair, had a half-dazed look on her face. The Winds both looked like they were ready for whatever challenge came up. The other Water was a tall, lanky guy that looked like a strong breeze would knock him over. The Fires were opposites. One was a huge hulk of a man, with a shiny head and a stern look on his face. The other was a smaller woman with really long hair, looking kind of scared at all this.
They led us into cells again, keeping us separated again. The Life girl looked nervous at this, but the Shadow guy reassured her. Course, he didn't look too convinced of his own words. We had to wait till the next day to see what new things awaited us.