Failure is not an option.
Those five words could be seen everywhere. They were stencilled onto the walls, etched onto their personal items, even tattooed onto their skins. Their credo was with them each moment of the day, from their first conscious breath in the morning right through to their last thought every night.
There is nothing but success.
That was another of their conditioning phrases, second only to the first. They had no alternatives; they had to fulfil their missions. The trainers gave them no options, raising their requirements daily until the meek and the weak had all been eliminated from the process. Some of the candidates speculated on how the unworthy ones were treated after they dropped out, but those few people soon disappeared too, their voices quickly forgotten. There could be no distractions. There was nothing but success.
Taryn was the first from her family to be chosen. There had been others in the village who’d vanished, never to be seen again, but there was no proof of their fate. They could just have fallen victim to the Collectors, the raiding parties of the occupying forces always keen to take the strongest and the fairest from each community for their purposes, none of those returning alive, although sometimes their corpses were found.
The Reavers were different. They were things of legend, a resistance force that battled the oppressors, fighting to take back all that had been snatched away.
They had to succeed.
Failure was not an option.