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TEAM ALPHA - Prologue

Prologue to a novel I'm writing.
Action/Spies/YA fic/the like...

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PROLOGUE

I

“They’re coming round the corner…now.”
Six teenagers stood stiffly with their backs against the wall of the bustling Heathrow airport in England. Four boys. Two girls. They were empty of luggage except for the few backpacks squished against the wall with them. Unlike the calm vacationers rushing past, they were tense, their chests heaving rhythmically with each other. All six were filthy with sweat and caked with dirt. “They’ve been through a lot” was an understatement.
The smallest teen turned her head ever so slightly towards the one who spoke – a white-haired youth looking down at her shoes, seeming to be concentrating. The small girl demanded, “How many of them? What do they look like? What are they carrying?”
The other girl’s pink eyes squinted behind her black sunglasses and her brows furrowed. “Nine, no, ten of them. All men carrying briefcases. Some of them are dressed in business clothes, others in jeans and Hawaiian T-shirts. They’re coming towards us, Chief. Five, four, three, two, one.”
All six of them tensed up as the ten men rounded the corner, talking cheerfully with each other, gripping their air tickets eagerly, looking like anyone in the Heathrow airport. The girl who’d spoken first followed them with her eyes warily, staring at the briefcases. She exhaled. She turned to the white-haired girl and whispered quietly, “What’s in their briefcases, Ruby?”
“Right-o, Chief,” said Ruby, who was looking straight ahead. “Going through the leather now…and…what…? Water bottles, Chief. Lots and lots of water bottles and juice and all that stuff. They’re gonna drink themselves to death.”
The Chief scowled and grunted. She turned to another teenager. He had wavy black hair, an intelligent face and green-rimmed glasses. “What do you think of this, Fox?”
Fox followed the men with his eyes and blinked ever so slightly. “The guy in the red-and-gold Gryffindor scarf – he’s the head. The water bottles are specially-charged liquid, activated to explode with a camera flash. They’re planning to bomb five different airlines. One businessman and one Tie-dye guy in each plane going off at around twelve-thirty. The planes are American Airlines departing for Boston, British Airways departing for Paris, Alaskan Airlines departing for Fairbanks, Air Canada departing for Toronto, and uh, Australian Airlines departing for Canberra…I think. That’s the capital, not Sydney, right?”
The Chief scoffed and the edges of her mouth twitched slightly. “Clever.” She turned to the boy next to Ruby – a big kid with a carefree smile and messy hair. “Report, Sumo.”
Sumo grinned. “Big bang,” he said, chuckling, “like, like, boom! Sparks flying everywhere! Five planes going crash! Lots and lots of fire, too, Chief! People bungee-jumpin’ off the plane…no, more like dead bodies.”
The Chief nodded. “Thanks, Sumo. Sure sounds like a fantastic future.”
A tall boy at the end of the line-up with piercing green eyes, a black trench coat and a white-blonde Mohawk grinned and said, “We can change the future.”
The boy next to him, strikingly similar to Fox – even wearing the same clothes but lacking the glasses, punched him enthusiastically. “That’s right, Stony old pal! We are – “
“Shut up, Juno!” the Chief hissed. She got off from the wall and shouldered her backpack to face the others, who lined up standing at attention. She was short, skinny, and an otherwise inconspicuous individual, with a bored pale face and dark eyes. She looked almost like a boy decked in an oversized grey sweatshirt, track pants, ripped-up running shoes, and short dark hair that poked out of her baseball cap. “Alright, buckoes,” she said in an ever quiet voice, so they all had to strain to hear, “we’ve got twenty-four minutes to spare before these dudes head off to kaboom their charges. I want everyone alert. Stone and I will cut the Fairbanks vacationers, Fox and Sumo will cut the Canberra ones, and Juno and Ruby will cut the Toronto ones.”
“How about Boston and Paris?” Ruby inquired, staring into space. “I like Paris…”
“We all do,” agreed Stone, “Chief and I will be quick; we’ll get Paris for you, Rube. As for Boston, whoever cuts their charge first ring in and go for it.”
“So, Fox, who’s going where?” the Chief asked him.
Fox looked at the group a bit, who were all lounging out finishing their Starbucks, and told them all where to go. Ruby walked off with Juno, who was whistling cheerily. Sumo smiled at Fox, who shrugged and they ran off together. That left Stone and the Chief.
Stone zipped the zipper of his coat all the way up to his throat. His piercing green eyes peeked from between the dense strands of hair. “Say, Chief,” he said, his lips barely moving, “you ready to rip?”
The Chief, a whole head shorter than he was, adjusted her cap so that her eyes were unseen and dug her hands into her hoodie pocket. “Like a rocket, Stony. Ready to save a few hundred lives, that is.”
Their footfalls were barely heard as they padded off after their two targets – a cheery black-skinned tropical-looking man wearing shorts and a tie-dye T-shirt and an older white-haired man with spectacles and a greenish Italian suit. It was almost all too easy. Why would a man dressed for the tropics go to Alaska? Then again, he planned to not go to Alaska at all. It was a suicidal mission, of course.
They would be the last people in the whole airport who’d look like terrorists, but unfortunately, they were.

II

Fox and Sumo shuffled towards the check-in line-up departing to Canberra. They stood casually by a pillar. Sumo hit his fist against his palm, eager for action. Fox licked his lips, but he was mostly concentrating on two men.
One was young – tall and lanky with gelled black hair – looking smart in his business suit and smiling at a female staff who blushed back. The other was short and stocky, dressed in a ranger’s shirt, greenish shorts, hiking shoes, and a protecting hat. He looked he’d been living in the woods for days having not shaved for what seemed like two weeks.
That didn’t matter. Sumo was a psychic and clairvoyant. Fox was a mind-reader who could also control minds.
How are you guys doing?
Fox sensed the incoming thought. It was his twin brother, Juno. The two of them were telepathic twins.
Fox sent his message back via his thoughts: We’re ready to rip in, like, five…four…three…two…one! He nudged Sumo, and the other boy smiled with pleasure.
The two men were about to take a seat, but Fox had already made up his mind to use the most simple approach – go straight at ‘em. He and Sumo stepped in there before the men could even take a seat. Sumo smiled like a little kid while he said casually, “Hey there, homies.”
The two men were professionals. They showed no emotion, but Fox could sense they were on full alert. The young businessman smiled in a friendly way and said casually, “What’s up?”
“What’s up?” Fox laughed. “You two are terrorists who are part of a ten-person team wanting to blow up five airlines today and you’re plan is pretty genius, I must admit.”
He saw the ranger man tense up, but the businessman laughed. He said softer, “This is an airport, kiddo. If I were you, I’d be quiet about bombs. They’d handcuff you to a steamer.”
“They’ll be handcuffing you to a steamer!” Sumo said, clapping his chubby hands.
“Face it,” said Fox, acting matter-of-fact. “You’re carrying ten bottles of charged liquid in five Aquarian bottles, three Minute Maid Orange Juice bottles, and two Nestea bottles that, when activated by a camera flash, can cause a big enough explosion that can tear a Boeing 747 into ten thousand pieces in – “ He snapped his fingers.
All the while, the ranger man was growing redder. He grabbed Fox’s shirt collar and hissed in his face. His breath was stale. “I dunno how the hell you know this stuff but I’m not a-leavin’ you alive to tell a soul, kid, y’hear me?”
“You’ll have to tell souls first,” Sumo stated simply, “go get ‘em, Foxy!”
Fox sat down on one of the terminal chairs and then simply looked at the two men. They were glaring angrily at him at first, then they looked confused, and then dazed. In unison, they walked over to the nearest two security guards. Sumo almost laughed as he heard their voices: “We are carrying ten bottles of chemically charged liquid that, when activated by a camera flash, can cause the whole plane to explode. We are acting as two out of ten people. Today, five planes will explode because of us. If you do not believe us, scan the contents of these suitcases. Then, when you are done, we beg you to take our sorry butts to the nearest jail or have us burned at the stake because we are super-idiots.”
Sumo laughed.
The two security guards had puzzling looks. Fox sighed and walked over to them. He didn’t need to say anything. He took out his identification papers from his pocket and handed them over to the security guards. They blinked in awe.
Fox held a status certificate from Special Skills Unit of the WIA, the World Intelligence Agency. Not only that, he was a member of the elite Team Alpha. And so was Sumo.
Five minutes later, the two men had back their minds and were struggling ferociously against policemen. Fox stood smiling, knowing his job was done, when the ranger man ripped himself from a policeman, took out a gun from his belt, and pointed it at the two boys. Fox took off immediately, but Sumo was a bigger target. All Fox heard was a bang and a high-pitched wail.

In terminal B45, Ruby and Juno were drooling over smoothies they couldn’t afford when first there was a loud popping sound, then Juno was almost blinded by hot burgundy shot of colour across his vision. The distressed twin sent a thought to his brother, but all he could see was a big net of chaos.
“’S too late,” Ruby muttered to an anxious Juno, “we have to carry on with the mission. Chief’s counting on us, and I’m sure Fox can take care of himself and the whopper.”
Juno nodded, unsure. Ruby couldn’t see him, because Ruby was almost blind. She was an albino. But she couldn’t have seen the burgundy shot anyways. Only Juno was synesthetic – his hearing and sigh were connected, so he could see colours when he heard sounds. However, he and Fox were telepathic. They had never been separated within a few blocks form each other since birth, and they had an unbreakable bond. So that was why his first instinct since seeing the burgundy shot was to run to his brother right away.
Ruby was a remote sensor, but she also had the best hearing out of all the team members, and she quickly picked out one of the two men talking. One of them, a rich-looking passenger in a top-brand polo shirt and dress pants was saying, “That must’ve been Bob’s pistol. There must have been trouble.”
“Best board the plane before more trouble happens,” said his partner, a long-haired man in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, “better to have four down than none.”
“Stop right there!”
Both turned, with bored expressions, to see the albino kid running towards them.
Juno was motivated by anxiety – even anger if the gunshot had met a mark. Unlike his brother, he normally didn’t go outright to intercept the enemy.
But now he did
“Turn yourselves in and get your buddy the shooter off of my brother!”
The two men looked at each other, confused.
Ruby spoke from the corner of her mouth, “Calm down, Juno!” She cleared her throat, noticed the men were staring oddly at them, and said, “Sorry folks, my friend’s a bit exasperated today.” She yawned. “You two are carrying explosive liquids, aren’t ya? That’s pretty smart. Then again, how would two teenagers know that?”
Ruby expected the men to retort that and say something like, “Run along, kid, and stop watching so much sci-fi,” but instead she was struck with a flying heel of an expensive leather shoe. It had been the man with the polo shirt, who was now red in the face.
Ruby fell to the ground, her cheek stinging. Her face felt like it had been smashed to a pulp. Then she saw the two men jumping over luggage and seats, trying to get as much distance from her as possible. She yelled over the din of mumbling people who had seen the scene, “Get him! He’s carrying explosives, and he’s heading for the Toronto flight, terminal B48!”
Two civilians, who were obviously undercover policemen, started speeding after them. But Juno was faster. The ten-year-old, maddened by the shot aimed for his brother, uttered a wordless yell and threw himself on top of the polo-shirt man. The man elbowed him in the face, but he gurgled and spluttered as everyone heard a sizzling noise. Another noise sizzled, and the other man fell down. They were Tasered. Ruby crawled over to Juno, and the two preteens huddled together with their hands rubbing their sore faces.

Stone observed their two charges in their quiet terminal. They were at a totally different wing of the airport, so he never heard the gun shot in Gate A27. He looked over at the Chief, who was crouched in a seat on the opposite side of the gate. The cap barred him from her eyes. He made himself wait longer. No, it wasn’t the signal yet. He dug his nails into the plush of the leather seat.
Five minutes ago they had received a text message from Ruby:
hey chief we cut our share. police r arresting da crooks 4 paris n boston. but u guys r kinda far so I think u should continue.
They were sitting in the executive class waiting room. The room was adorned in beautiful furniture, beautiful portraits, and beautiful black leather seats. A plasma TV showed the Olympics on BBC. There were only five other guests in the room – the two men, an elderly couple, and a middle-aged traveler, and all of them seemed to be at ease. Of course, they had looked a bit concerned when the two rough-looking teenagers came in. However, Stone and the Chief had no problem getting into the room in the first place. They had simply shown their papers, and as baffled as the staff had been, they were screened and it was true they were elite agents of the WIA.
And of the elite, Stone and the Chief were surely the most elite.
Stone was known for his force fields – his best had withstood a bomb that blew up a whole hospital except the team.
The Chief, on the other hand, was a telekinetic.
And now she looked up.
Stone and the Chief stood up at once and quickly wasted no time. Within seconds, Stone had set up a thin, invisible shield around him and the Chief, enough to withstand average bullets. The suitcases were yanked from the men’s hands and sent flying through the air to land neatly on the other side of the room. The men were yelling at them, but the Chief paid no heed. Stone saw the glint in her eyes and almost said “Uh-oh” as she broke through his barrier – she was the only one who could – and smashed into the first man, who could have been three times her size – a Yao Ming figure with bulging muscles in athletic wear. She flew through the air, knocking him over with a flying side kick, but the big guy recovered instantly and flew a punch directly at her face. Stone winced as she was thrown off her feet, but the Chief was no quitter. Everyone on the team knew that. She ignored the punch and ducked down, swinging her leg around in a big arc. This was the coffee-turner – a break-dance move – but she was using it as a weapon. The man tripped, and she was on top of him, pinning him down with physical but mostly mental powers.
Stone suddenly noticed the other man was running towards his suitcase, but he bumped into an invisible wall before he could touch it. By now, five security men had filed in, carrying Tasers. Stone took a suitcase and opened it. He said calmly, “Its explosives. I’ll explain later.”
In the end, the whole cut had taken only sixteen minutes to perform. In the next ten, the remainder of the terrorists were narrowed down and tranquilized. A crowd of policemen gathered around the suitcases and shook their heads in wonder at the clever explosives. But a smaller crowd of five youths kneeled next to a hulking boy, who lay lifeless on the ground of the terminal.
Tears were running down every cheek. Fox and Juno clasped his hands, bowing their heads. Ruby and Stone watched like statues. The Chief had taken off her cap as an act of respect, and was holding and staring at Sumo’s smiling face in his passport. Never again would she see that smile.

III

The Commander paced around the office, glancing at the detailed maps on her walls just to pass the time. Finally, there was a brisk knock on her door.
“For God’s sake, come in!” she rapped impatiently.
A young man walked in. His head was lowered and his skinny frame bent, but he was clearly excited.
“What is it, Twilight?” the Commander demanded.
“There are only five of them left now,” the man said. “A fourteen-year-old by the name of Sean Chan has died in the Heathrow Airport incident yesterday.”
The Commander smiled. “All six were at that incident yesterday. Of course. Why wouldn’t they? The kids must have saved the day! Now, what news do you have of them?”
“They have disappeared, ma’am, as expected,” said the man, “but that doesn’t stop the witnesses. People saw adolescences intimidating adult men – seemingly trying to control them – and there are clearly five of them left. Three boys. Two girls. I got them all on surveillance tape.” He waved the packet in his hand. “Right here, ma’am.”
The Commander nodded and Twilight popped the tape into the nearby TV. Both of them drew the curtains and grabbed a seat in the pristine office. The Commander watched the tape carefully like nothing she had ever before.
“Those two are twins. Telepathic, I suspect. One of them seems to control one of the men. The white girl and the late boy seem to be merely eyes – scouts – for the rest. Ah…here are the older duo…”
The screen showed a blurry image of two scuffed teens. One was a tall boy with a distinct but dirty blond Mohawk – about fifteen. The other was harder to tell. The Commander was convinced it was a girl, but her age was debatable. She had the calmness of another middle-teen, but her size and stature was too small for that. Then, suddenly, the Commander breathed in a gush of air as she flew through the air in a perfect, flying sidekick, hitting one of the men. The other man began to shoot at the boy, but he seemed to be protected by an invisible force field. And…lo and behold…the suitcases when flying through the air…unaided.
“That’s the one,” hissed the Commander.
“What, the boy?” Twilight asked.
“No,” said the Commander, “the girl. I want the girl. I want everything about her, and everything about her incredible talent.” She turned at Twilight, who cringed and refused to meet her eyes. “Our Project only has one flaw – one piece missing in the whole puzzle. We need somebody like her. We need that sort of power. We’re not talking about the World Wrestling Confederation power. We’re talking about power.” She looked Twilight straight in the eye, and he shrank away again. “We need her.”

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Yeah, I know it's rusty and there's way too much stuff going on.  Tell me if you agree.  I like criticism.

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