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What can I say?  I’m a sucker for a superhero story.  Too many comic books as a little imp I guess...




David McBride



     “Good morning, sir.” Private Tate saluted the passing General. General Taylor gave a brief salute and muttered something unintelligible under his breath as he ambled down the corridor of the base.

     “Walk with me Tate.” The General gave him an impatient windmill-like gesture, indicating Tate should hurry along. They began their walk through the bustling hallway, dodging other uniformed men and women along the way. Taylor noticed that it was unusually busy for 0450 hours. “Perhaps you can tell me what’s going on.” He made no attempt to hide the annoyance in his voice.

     “Um,” Tate’s voice nearly cracked, “no, sir. I was just told that it was urgent that you come to the war room right away.”

     “Who called the meeting?”

     “I believe it was Colonel Johnson, sir.”

     They walked the rest of the way in silence. The underground corridors seemed to hold extra menace this morning; the air horns just waiting to scream their warning, the red alert lights waiting to paint the concrete walls in flashing crimson. As they passed the barracks area and entered the operations center there were some very frightened looking scientists pouring over graphs and figures. None of this worried Taylor in the least; Tate on the other hand began to sweat profusely.

     They approached the set of solid steel doors at the end of the hallway, noting that the color bar above the door was lit to an amber glow. This was to alert the people outside the ops room what level of meeting was going on: orange and red were the two colors that signaled they were not to be disturbed for anything short of nuclear war. Tate’s heart sunk into his shoes. Taylor saluted the two MP’s standing guard, put his palm up to the scanner, and waited for verification. The door clicked and opened to admit the General. He turned to Tate, saluted, and entered the room, blast doors sealing like a tomb behind him.

     “So what the crap is so important you had to drag me out of bed for, eh Johnson?”

     “Pleasure to see you too, sir.” Johnson and the rest of the men in the room saluted and retook their seats. “We may have a bit of a problem, sir. I’ll let Dr. Singh explain.”

     A small man with dark skin and a long, white lab coat began shuffling papers and clearing his throat. “There was an incident with a member of Alpha team during the night. It seems that one of the enlisted men may have assaulted the girl.”

     “He did attack her. He was trying to rape her; it’s on the surveillance feed,” announced one of the assembled men.

     “The girl?” The General put on a puzzled expression. “How old is she?”

     “Just turned thirteen sir,” Johnson put in.

     “Jesus Christ, what’s the world coming to? We can’t even trust our own men. Was she hurt?”

     “Um, no,” Singh said, surprised that the General actually cared about her welfare, “Jenna is physically fine, but emotionally she’s a wreck.”

     “Well all things considered this isn’t so terrible. Nothing actually happened to her, right? So we throw the bastard who did it in the stockade and assign her a counselor to help her through this. Why did you need me? Johnson you should have been able to handle this.” Taylor looked at him with hard, tired eyes.

     “That’s not exactly what we’re worried about.” The doctor continued, “The problem is Eric. Quite frankly he has always been a little unstable to say the least. Over the last year the nurses who check on them and observe their behavior have noticed a significant relationship developing between the two of them.”

     “Preadolescent love, ain’t it the best?” asked an overly cheery voice. No one acknowledged him.

     “There’s no telling how Eric will respond to news that his girlfriend has been attacked by one of our own sir,” Johnson said.

     “That’s right,” continued Singh, “imagine you’re a fourteen year old boy with superhuman abilities whose been trained since birth to be the perfect killing machine; what would you do to someone who tried to rape someone you love?” A heavy silence fell over the room as they contemplated this point.

     Taylor looked around at the assembled men; all, except for Dr. Singh, were enlisted men with at least ten years of military experience. Taylor was a Colonel during Vietnam and a General during the Gulf War. Most of the men here had seen action in at least one of the desert wars. None were strangers to the pain and loss of war, he knew that. He also knew that all of these brave, tough-as-nails warriors, including him, were scared to death of a fourteen-year-old boy named Eric. “What’s he doing right now doc?”

     A wall of TV screens at the far end of the room flickered to life showing various parts of the base, both above, and below ground. All of the screens flickered and the images were replaced by images that coalesced into one large screen of a boy in a small room sitting on a bed reading a book.

     “He appears to be reading sir.”

     “Thank you doctor, but I’m not blind. What is he reading?”

     “Um,” the doctor strained his eyes to make out the title, “it looks like a historical account of Genghis Khan.”

     “Oh, that’s reassuring.” The General put his palms to his temples to ward off an impending headache. “Recommendations Colonel?”

     “I think we should lock down Alpha’s corridor and double the guards…”

     “Like that would do any good,” a man said from the back.

     “It’s all we can do.” Johnson gave the man a blank stare. “We have to make sure Jenna decides to keep this to herself. Perhaps the good doctor could help convince her that this would be in everyone’s best interest.”

     The doctor looked up quickly as if snapped out of meditation. “I think a female presence may be more reassuring than myself.” Doctor Singh tried to convince himself that he said that for the child’s welfare and not his own, but he could not. He felt terrible that this had happened and wanted to help, but he was afraid of what any of the children would do to a perceived threat, even if he were just trying to help.

     “What about Beta team?” someone from the back asked.

     “What about them soldier?” Taylor responded.

     “Couldn’t we use them to, um, keep Alpha team in line.”

     Taylor chuckled, “Son, both teams think they are the only super powered people on the planet, let alone this base. Who knows what would happen if they discovered each other. Besides, Beta team’s a subtle, surgical strike weapon; Alpha’s the sledgehammer, who do you think would win?”

     “Sir,” Johnson said, “we may need to consider using them if Eric leads a rebellion. Jason’s the only one with a chance of stopping him.”

     Dr. Singh flipped through his notes trying to appraise the situation. He had the bios of all eight members of Alpha and Beta teams at his fingertips. Being one of the creators of the Olympus Project meant he had the responsibility of not letting this get out of hand. He could not see any pleasant ending to this if violence came into play. These children were born and bred for violence.

     He pulled aside the bios of Eric and Jason, the respective leaders of Alpha and Beta teams. The two boys were twin brothers who didn’t know the other existed. They were the first successful ‘birth’ in the Olympus Project, a project that had 1,247 failures before their first triumph. The two were identical in every way, even their powers: strength, speed, stamina, and near invulnerability. General Taylor had decided early on that he wanted them to have different training to maximize their teams effectiveness at their given task. Eric was drilled in military strategy constantly with a focus on close tactics fighting. His team was given the same schedule as he was: two hours of ‘normal’ schoolwork, five hours of history relating to strategy and famous conquerors, and another five hours of physical training with emphasis on the advancement of their individual powers. The rest of his team was: Jenna, the telepath, Brian, the pyrokinetic, and Gordon who was able to manipulate light in increasingly imaginative ways.

     Jason, on the other hand was trained with more emphasis on stealth and strategy. Beta team was the infiltration unit: sabotage, search-and-rescue, and assassination. The other members of Jason’s team were: Billy, the telepath, Karen, whose powers were a mystery to even her except to say that she had some control over shadows, and Grant who could manipulate electricity and magnetism. In a direct confrontation it was highly doubtful that Beta team would succeed despite their extensive abilities. Alpha team was simply ruthless.



     On the surface Beta team was busy practicing maneuvers in the “City”. The City was an artificial recreation of the center of a town in one of the many poorer countries around the world. The buildings were not steel and glass like the skyscrapers of America, but stone and mortar, or in some cases much more temporary materials. The City never looked quite the same as the time before, except that it was always a five acre box with two roads bisecting it: north to south, and east to west.

     Jason and the members of Beta team were practicing the “extraction” of a hostile person from a heavily protected area- in broad daylight. Most of their training took place at night because it was assumed that most of their missions would take place at night. Karen’s powers were almost useless in the daylight and that’s why Jason hated daylight operations.

     The group approached from the east side of the City, Karen desperately trying to cloak their approach. They took refuge next to a building at the outskirts of the City, the long shadow from it hanging over them like cloth. Karen was now sweating with the effort of keeping them invisible in such a meager shadow. Jason knew they would have to move soon, and there were only a few scattered cars along the sides of the road they could use for cover. He peeked his head out farther so he could see down the street: squat, stone buildings crowded together, two soldiers standing guard outside of one of them, a tank at the end of the street, and a snipers nest atop a neighboring building.

     “Billy,” Jason whispered, “do a sweep and see if you can locate our target. Grant, see if there’s any stray radio signals floating around that you can pick up. Karen, how long can you keep this up?”

     “Only another minute I think.” Her long, black hair hung in damp strands in front of her face.

     “I think I’ve got something.” Billy crept to the edge of the shadow with Jason and pointed to the house with the two guards in front. “Those guys are commandoes; they think they’re guarding our target, but I’m not picking up anything from inside. Think it’s a decoy?”

     “Probably. You getting anything else?”

     “Yeah,” Billy smiled, “a lot happening in there.” He pointed to a small, single story house that was at the corner of the intersection with the tank waiting idly. “There’s a lot of nervous people in there.”

     Jason smiled as he tried to figure out a way for them to get past that tank quickly and quietly. Behind him he heard a small gasp of surprise, or possibly relief, and he turned to see Karen’s eyes closed and her knees buckling. He ran to her and caught her before she had a chance to fall. He held her for a moment not knowing quite what to do, and then he brought her to the edge of the building and gently laid her in a sitting position against the wall. “Karen?” He asked with a voice more reminiscent of his 14 years of age instead of the commander everyone expected him to be. Slowly Karen’s eyes blinked open revealing twin pools of black, but not a menacing darkness if that made any sense; it was almost entrancing, Jason thought. “Billy, stay here with Karen. Grant and I will run recon, see if there’s any openings.” He turned to Grant, “Let’s get moving.”

     The next time the guards turned to the west Jason and Grant crouch-ran to a burned-out wreck of a car across the street and ducked behind it for cover. Jason leaned his head out to get a better look at their opposition. The soldiers wore light tan desert camouflage uniforms, radios hung loosely from their hips, and they were carrying the standard training exercise high-velocity paint guns. The guns looked real enough, but if you were shot by one it would only leave you with a bright red splotch on your uniform, and a large welt underneath it.

     “Grant, I need you to make a distraction to keep that tank off’a my butt while I get to the building.”

     “You aren’t going to just do recon then, eh?” Grant said, a small grin twisting the left side of his mouth.

     “Nah. I figure the direct approach is the best option in this case; besides half our team is down already. I just need you to run interference long enough for me to get to the front door, then I’ll knock and I’m sure they’ll hand him right over. In the meantime you can take this piece-o-crap car back over to Karen and Billy, pick them up and speed off into the sunset. Sound good?”

     “Sure boss. You want me to distract the sniper too?”

     “Aw, geez I forgot about him. Yeah, just keep him looking the other way, ‘kay?” Jason picked up a small rock sitting next to him, looked at it thoughtfully, and launched it down the street, past the assembled guards and smashing into the side of one of the buildings farther down. The rock shattered against the surface of the building sending shards in every direction, and crumbling part of the building’s wall as the sound of thunder echoed down the street. As Grant turned to comment on his throw, he noticed Jason had already ran off to begin the mission.

     Grant looked up at the sniper stationed on the rooftop and began ‘feeling’ his way around the man’s equipment. Squeezing his eyes shut in concentration he imagined the sight of the gun shifting a quarter of an inch to the left, and another eighth of an inch up. Then he shifted his focus to the radio signals floating through the air like inaudible music. He made a few alterations in the frequency and watched delightedly as the guards yelped in surprise and ripped off their headsets as a piercing screech issued from the earpiece. The tank, no doubt alert to the impending attack, shut down their radio and began moving the turret towards the target house. More guards erupted from the decoy office down the street and began running for the target house.

     Apparently they figured out that we wouldn’t go for so obvious a decoy, Grant thought. I better step up the distraction. He leveled his hands towards the running men and the menacing tank, and began to focus. A static charge began to flow through all of the metal objects that the guards possessed: guns, radios, even the tank. The men began dropping their weapons from the sudden discharge of electricity; this wasn’t a small charge either, it was just short of the charge that stun guns carry. The tank was a bit harder as Grant had to disperse the charge evenly to avoid electrocuting to death the first person to touch the control panel, and to avoid destroying the CPU that ran the targeting system. The General hated it when they blew up his toys.

     He climbed into the driver’s seat of the car and touched his finger to the ignition. The car roared to life, if somewhat reluctantly, and he eased it out into the road. Driving was something the ten year old had not yet mastered, as he was barely able to reach the pedals. As he attempted to turn the car back towards his teammates several loud impacts shook the car. Bright bursts of red paint splattered across the rear and passenger windows. He looked out of his side view mirror to see several guards chasing after him, shooting whenever they had the chance. He raced the final twenty meters to where Karen and Billy were waiting. He ran into the wall of the building with the passenger side of the car before stopping in front of them and swinging the door open. “Get in!” he yelled. Karen limped over and dumped herself into the passenger seat while Billy quickly ducked into the rear, a volley of paintballs slamming into the opposite window as he flopped to the floor. Grant slammed his foot on the accelerator as soon as Billy’s door closed.

     Down the street at the target house Jason used the chaos down the street to sneak past the tank and into the ‘alley’ next to the house. He ducked around to the back door and put his ear up to it. His advanced hearing could make out three distinct voices, all very nervous. Jason smiled to himself. He backed up, brought his foot back, and kicked the door with just enough power to take it off its hinges. The wood splintered and exploded as it hit the opposite wall; some of the wall came crumbling away in light-colored dust. The guards hadn’t even gotten over the shock when he began to move, a blur of motion knocking them to the ground and throwing their weapons in a twisted heap next to them. Jason made his way to the living room and was just about to cross the threshold towards the dummy representing his objective when his foot caught on something. He looked down to see a tripwire pull free from its anchors in the walls. He turned to run back outside when there was a loud explosion and the entire room, with him still in it, was covered in bright red paint that was as thick as ketchup.


     “Jason,” a guard from the exercise addressed him, “the General requests the presence of you and your team ASAP.” The guard saluted, turned on his heel, and marched out the hole that was once a door.

     “Double crud.”



     Jenna sat curled up on her mattress in a semi-fetal position trying desperately to hold back the tears that she knew would eventually break free. Never before had the cold, indifferent tone of her living quarters bothered her; it was all she had ever known. Yet now she couldn’t get free of the smothering effects of the too-close walls, the prison-like steel door, and the unblinking eye that sat perched above the door recording her every move. She covered her face with her long blond hair and allowed herself to weep.

     Across the hall and two doors down, Eric sat on a similar mattress staring blankly at a TV screen that sat on a table across from the door. The TV was playing a recording of Alpha teams last mission; overall, he thought, not a bad exercise. Mission accomplished with only two guards seriously hurt. He watched as the digitized version of him smashed the top of a tank with his bare fists until the turret snapped off and crashed to the ground. He was just about to rewind the tape and watch it again when he began to feel something; it was a mix of anguish, hate, and a couple other feelings that he couldn’t identify. Eric stood from the bed looking around like he had lost something. Slowly he began to realize that these weren’t his emotions.

     Jenna sat up straight in her bed and angrily wiped the tears from her face. She could sense them coming even now; loping down the halls, hoping no one would notice them before they could do what they had set out to do. She bolted a look of defiance on her face as she heard the key click in the lock. The door swung open, and two soldiers walked in.

     The first one, a younger man with a shaved head and a scar that ran horizontally across his forehead, stalked towards the edge of the bed. “So, you’re the reason Michaels is in the brig, huh?” He turned toward his companion and gave him a sneer. “Hardly worth it don’tcha think?”

     The other man was shorter than the first, and a little bit older, probably around thirty. He wore the same uniform as the first man, but had a red beret covering his buzz cut. He looked from the first man to Jenna, and then back again with a look of disinterest on his face. He turned to peer out the small Plexiglas window imbedded in the door. Jenna noticed that he had a large hunting knife strapped to his calf in a black leather sheath.

     “So girly, what’d you do to him, huh? I went to see him and he’s all screwed up. I know you’re the mind-witch of Alpha, so what did you do?” He took a couple of violent steps towards her as she clenched her hands around the mattress to keep from retreating into the corner. He lowered his face until he was staring into her eyes, his hot breath on her throat. “If you don’t fix him, and I mean right freakin’ now, I’m going to finish what he started. Get me?”

     “I…I just made him forget where he was that’s all. It’ll wear off in a couple more hours.” Jenna began searching her mind for a way out of this. As she scanned the two men she found that they had been trained to resist her powers; all she could see was a brick wall. She could push her way in of course, but by the time she did one of them would be able to hurt her. She desperately wished that Eric were here; he would know what to do. He always did. “Please don’t hurt me.” A small tear ran down the side of her face and landed on her knee.

     “Well I suppose we could be nice to you if you were nice to us.” A sharks-grin broke his stony façade. As Jenna looked at him she realized just how empty his eyes were, devoid of life or compassion. He turned back to his companion, “What do ya think, should we play nice?”

     The other man maintained his disinterested appearance and looked back out the window. His hand drifted down to the deadbolt on the door and clicked it into the locked position. As he began to turn back to what was happening in the room he noticed the door two rooms down swing open. He squinted his eyes against the faint light trying to see who it was that was exiting the room and strolling towards him. He bent down to extract the knife from its sheath, “Ah, Chuck…”

     “What? Can’t you see I’m busy?”

     As the man with the red beret stood up and braced himself for the intruder Chuck became aware of what was happening, stood up, and assumed a fighting stance. The door exploded inwards, deadbolt shearing off like a branch in a hurricane, barely staying attached to its hinges. There was a blur of motion and the man with the red beret was in a kneeling position on the floor with his knife hand clutched to his chest; the hand was a bent and broken mess with two bones protruding from the skin. The knife lay next to him, a hunk of metal no more use to him than a band-aid for his smashed hand.

     “Eric!” Jenna yelled, tears still fresh on her face.

     Eric stood in the doorway next to the crumpled and whimpering soldier, a vision of pure fury on his face. Chuck stood slack-jawed and stammering as Eric advanced on him. The full weight of the situation now clear to him, he grabbed Jenna’s arm in a bid to use her as a human shield. There was another blurring of motion and Chuck was hoisted clear off the ground by his throat, an iron vise of a hand crushing his windpipe. He gasped and sputtered for a moment before being thrown head first into the wall with a sickening cracking noise. Eric went over to the bed and knelt down next to Jenna, all anger and hate being replaced by worry.

     “What happened?” he asked as he grasped her hand in his.

     She went on to explain the events of the past days, and the reason that these men were here. Eric didn’t interrupt once, even when her voice failed her and she began sobbing.



     The sirens in the war room blared to life as red flashing lights danced along the walls. The line of TVs on the back wall all switched to current views of the Alpha team’s hallway. Guards roamed the area in a daze wondering what was happening and what they should do about it. Dr. Singh rushed a team of medical personnel towards Jenna’s room; the panic on his face was evident even through the black-and-white monitors.

     “Status,” General Taylor barked as he entered the room.

     “Eric killed a couple guards that entered Jenna’s room, sir. We don’t know exactly what they were doing there, but it hardly seems relevant now.” Colonel Johnson typed at his keyboard furiously changing camera views to keep up with the rapidly changing situation. “I recommend that we put Alpha corridor in full lockdown and engage the Chernobyl Protocols.”

     “Agreed.” The General wiped sweat off of his forehead and walked over to his own terminal. He laid his palm on an outline next to the computer and waited while it scanned his palm print. The computer booted up, and he immediately began typing in the codes to initiate the lockdown. The team gathered in the room watched in silence as the monitors showed dozens of solid steel blast doors closing off the passage like a tomb. “Colonel, get Major Stevens on the horn and tell him to gear up.”

     “Yes sir. I need the password, sir.”

     “The password is ‘Blitz’.” The General winced as he relayed the password to Johnson. The Chernobyl Protocols were something he hoped he would never have to use. In a section of the aboveground base was a barracks that held a large platoon of soldiers who practiced day and night in ways to beat the children of the Olympus Project. They had studied all of their strengths and weaknesses until they were confident that they could effectively neutralize the threat posed by these superhumans. The General watched as Johnson gave the password over the phone to the Major, and waited for Johnson to give him the thumbs-up before turning back to the monitors.

     “Protocols initiated, sir.”

     “Good Colonel. Get over to Beta team and get them prepared; if the Protocols fail we’ll need a back-up plan.”

     “What do I tell them is happening sir?”

     “Tell them,” he paused for a moment as he considered, “that the base has been compromised by unknown forces. That’s all they need to know at this point. Clear?”

     “Yes sir!” He saluted, waited for the General to return the salute, and ran out of the room.


     “C’mon,” Eric gestured to Brian and Gordon to hurry up, “we’ve got to get out of here. They’re trying to kill us.”

     “Wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Why would they want to hurt us? We’re the reason this base is here.” Nine-year-old Gordon frowned slightly in confusion; everything was happening entirely to fast for him. He looked down the hall hoping to see the General so that he could set everything straight and they could go back to goofing around until the next practice session. As he stared down the seemingly endless hallway the blast doors began to fall from the ceiling into their moorings in the floor. On both sides of where the group of four stood a giant six-inch thick steel plate dropped to seal them in.

     “See?” Eric yelled, “They’re boxing us in to terminate us. We have to go now. Are you with me?” Eric looked at each of them in turn and waited for a response. One by one they nodded their heads in support. He turned and began walking to the blast door that cut off their route to the stairs to the surface.

     “Let’s fry us some G.I. Joes,” Brian said, following it with a hyena-like laugh.

     Eric bent down and tried to push up into the door, but there was no give; the bottom of the door was lined with small holes that, when fitted into the floor, were anchored with small hooks below the floor. The flatness of it made sure there was no place for Eric to get a handhold. “Gordon, cut it open.” Gordon stepped up to the door and extended his hand, mimicking the shape of a gun with his fingers. A bolt of white-yellow light issued forth from the tip of his finger and struck the door causing a waterfall of sparks as he slowly moved his way down the door.


     “Major Stevens, what can you do about this debacle?” The General was speaking over a static-riddled two-way radio, but the agitation came through loud and clear. The Major and his assembled team stood anxiously in front of the last blast door between the rogue team and the stairs to the surface.

     “Sir, with all due respect this qualifies as a worst case scenario. Any individual of either team would be easy pickings for me and the boys, but this isn’t an individual this is a team. And Alpha team to make matters worse.”

     “I am aware of all of that Major. What I need to know is what you intend to do about it.”

     “Honestly, sir I don’t know what we could do. My official suggestion is to flood Alpha chamber with nerve gas and evac everyone else to the surface.” The Major waited as the silence from the other end dragged out.

     “Even if I wanted to do that,” the General finally replied, “which I do not, we are not set up for that sort of thing. We don’t have nerve gas on base, and the filtration systems would simply clean it out anyway.” There was a sigh over the radio as the General felt the burden of command fall heavily on his shoulders. “No, Major I need you to hold your position and engage any and all targets that penetrate that final door. Use the weapons at your disposal and try to hold until I can get reinforcements to you. Clear?”

     “Yes, sir!” The Major responded over the radio and then promptly smashed the radio into a dozen pieces on the ground. “Well boys, looks like we have to earn our pay today.” He looked over at the small monitor they had brought with them; it was tapped into the security cameras on base. They were using it now to follow their prey’s advance. On the small black and white screen they could see a wash of white from the light of the sparks being thrown off the door. A handful of men stood on the other side bracing themselves for the inevitable confrontation, weapons raised and frantically calling for backup.

     Finally the sparks died away as the makeshift door was completed and knocked inwards by a massive punch. The soldiers began firing wildly into the new opening spraying bullet after bullet in a desperate attempt to stop the enemy they knew was coming. It must have lasted only a few seconds, but it felt like forever to the Major as he watched in horror as a torrent of flame shot through the opening to engulf the soldiers. They flopped on the floor wildly trying to put it out, but eventually gave in to the pain and ceased moving.

     The Major wiped sweat off of his forehead. “Two doors to go.”


     The Colonel, after giving the most basic “need to know” information, escorted the Beta team into the above ground base. The base was about a mile away from The City; it looked, from the outside at least, more like an office building than a place where the most lethal weapons in the world were designed. The inside looked more like a government office building, which technically it was, with the noticeable exceptions being the guards with MP badges on and the firing range at the south end of the building. They walked the hall in stone silence as heavily armed troops marched double-time towards the cargo elevators and stairs that led to the underground base. The Colonel noticed with some amusement that most of the higher-ranking members had already fled the building.

     Billy, the team’s telepath, leaned over to Jason and whispered into his ear, “This isn’t a drill. There’s a lot of anxiety in here. Nobody’s been told exactly what’s going on, and the Colonel’s blocking me.” The last part he put extra emphasis on to show his displeasure.

     Jason took all of this in and tried to process it, but a lot of it didn’t make sense. Why would the Colonel hold back? And why wouldn’t the guards, and Beta team for that matter, be told what they are defending against? “Dig deeper,” he whispered back. Billy smiled wickedly at him and nodded.


     Jenna grabbed Eric’s arm and pulled him in close to her. “There’s something wrong,” she whispered. “There’re people on the other side of the door, but I can’t get anything from them. It might be a trap.”

     Eric pulled back to look at her face. “Yo Gordon, hold up.” The cascade of sparks slowly died out at the halfway point of the makeshift door. “Ok, Jenna spotted some resistance on the other side of the door. We’ll have to assume they’re ready to deal with Brian’s fire, so we’ll change tactics. Our order of movement will be: Me, then Gordon, Brian, and then Jenna. I’ll deal with the heavy resistance once we’re through; Gordon I’ll need a flashbulb before you enter. Jenna, try to confuse them if you can, and Brian you’ll need to hold your fire, so to speak, until we have some room between our targets and us. Everyone clear?” They all nodded in unison. “’Kay, Gordon finish up.”


     Billy finally broke through the Colonel’s formidable mental blocks and began rummaging through his memories. It wasn’t hard for Billy to find everything he was looking for; the Colonel’s mind was weighed down with what he considered past mistakes, and the very real feeling of his impending death. Billy shook from the influx of new information. “Jason, you need to see this.” Billy extended his thoughts into Jason’s mind, and began relaying everything he had seen directly into it.

    Jason stood as still as a redwood for a few long moments, then came to a quick decision. The military, right or wrong, had to be protected from this rogue team. Which was being led by a twin brother he never knew he had. “Put him out,” he said to Billy. The telepath looked sharply at the back of the Colonel’s head, and watched apathetically as he crumpled to the floor in a deep sleep. “C’mon everyone,” he said less than enthusiastically, “we have to save the day.” They began running towards the stairs leading underground.


     The Major watched as the makeshift welding torch neared the end of its route. “Jenson, Eric will be the first one through the door, he’s yours. O’Reilly, Brian’s your target, but plaster anyone that steps through that door.” O’Reilly’s gun was a modified grenade launcher that fired exploding packets of flame-retardant foam. “Everyone else, safeties off and masks on!” A dozen clicks echoed in the chamber.

     The door fell limp to the ground a dozen feet in front of them, all eyes trained on the opening. The Major listened to his own ragged breathing inside the sound-damping mask. He pulled the pin on a teargas grenade and tossed it into the breach. A moment later smoke twirled and danced up the walls, but not nearly as much as there should have been. He figured they must have tossed it further down the hall, oh well, worth a shot.

     A blur speeding through the opening announced the arrival of Eric. He ran to the man furthest to the left and grabbed him by the neck, hoisting him up and turning him towards his comrades to use him as a human shield. Jenson hit a switch on the small box he was holding, and watched as Eric shook in pain and nearly dropped his captured soldier. Eric fumbled with his empty hand trying to find a way to cover both of his ears. The small box produced a high-pitch sound that only someone with Eric’s enhanced hearing would find painful, but it could be disorienting to “normal” people, hence the sound-damping mask.

     That’s when Gordon’s flashbulb hit, a burst of one million candlepower light exploding from the center of the room. Eric tossed the soldier onto a group of temporarily blind commandoes causing them to fall in a heap. He snatched up the sound box and crushed it like a Styrofoam cup. As Gordon and Brian entered the room, O’Reilly aimed his launcher and fired five rounds at them before Eric got to him and threw him against the wall hard enough that Eric could hear several loud cracks! The flame retardant covered Brian and Gordon from head to toe, Brian tried desperately to wipe the thick foam off. Gordon was unaffected by the foam and began scything down the disarrayed and panicking troops.

     Jenna was obviously doing her part; troops searched desperately for targets that stood mere yards away, others simply dropped their guns and ran. Brian displayed a shark-like grin as he finally worked free of the foam and launched a fireball after the retreating troops. The entire battle took less than two minutes.

     Eric led his troops towards the stairs with his head held high in victory. When they were twenty feet away the door opened to reveal Beta team blocking their way. Eric stared at Jason in slack-jawed disbelief of what stood before him; it was like looking into a mirror. Jenna began picking her way through their minds trying to discern the nature of this new threat. She relayed information to Eric in a steady stream, until she ran into Billy. The two of them stood stone still physically while their minds raced to discover the other one’s weakness. Sweat broke out on Billy’s forehead as he began to lose ground.

     Eric ran towards them in an attempt to smash through, but was caught in mid-stride by Jason and slammed into the far wall. As Eric recovered, the two of them continued their struggle for supremacy. Brian launched a fireball towards the rest of Beta team only to have it intercepted and enveloped by a pool of darkness that Karen had created. Gordon fired a laser bolt at Karen and scored a hit, but only after it’s power was severely reduced passing through her expanding shadow. The blast knocked Karen to the ground, but did not do any real damage. Grant, however, was incensed by the attack and began manipulating powerful magnetic fields. Electricity arced from floor to ceiling like lightning bolts gone mad. Power flowed freely through Grant as he directed it towards his enemies. Brian and Gordon ducked and leapt to the ground to avoid being struck.

     Billy, still locked in his struggle with Jenna, finally collapsed from the pressure. Eric and Jason continued beating each other up and down the corridor, both beginning to show signs of fatigue: a blast door crumpled as Jason was thrown headfirst into it. Karen, shadows pooling at her feet like spilled ink, launched herself at Brian as he tried to catch Grant with a fireball. Brian found that in the center of the shadow it was too cold to manifest fire, and he resorted to trying to punch his way out. Unfortunately he couldn’t see what he was punching at; he was effectively blind. As Jenna regained her composure to renew her attack, Grant used his magnetism to pull one of the pins on a grenade that lay on a body of a fallen soldier. In seconds the entire chamber was flooded in teargas.


     The General and some of his staff sat around a table in the meeting room. All of the faces were drawn and gaunt like they had been awake for weeks. This room was an emergency backup located in the basement of one of the City’s office buildings; it was only to be used as a last resort. They sat staring at a bank of monitors watching the battle unfold before them, every minute seemed to bring Alpha team closer to victory.

     “You know what has to be done General.”

     “Yes, I know. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.” The General looked worse than the rest of the assemblage, if that was possible. He placed his hands on a keyboard in front of his monitor, and began to type. A prompt came up on the screen asking if he would like to activate level two Chernobyl Protocols. He typed in a “Y”, and waited for the password screen. It came up and he typed in “Ragnarok”; his finger lingered over the ‘enter’ key before he pressed it.

     Dr. Singh, though barely escaping with his life, sighed aloud at the decision. Level two of the Protocols activated explosive charges embedded in the walls and ceiling of the underground base, which when detonated, would cause the base to cave in on itself. All of his life’s work was about to go up in smoke and there was nothing he could do about it. And the loss of life, even of his would-be executioners, was almost more than he could bear. He watched in silence as the timer reached zero. Seconds later the ground tremors hit causing dirt and loose stone to fall from the ceiling. Their monitors showed nothing but blank screen.


     It was decided that the existence of the base and what happened there would be better left underground for the rest of time. All of the staff workers that worked there were reassigned to cushy assignments all over the world to help entice them to keep their mouths shut. Dr. Singh was given a large government grant to begin working on the newest super weapon. The casualties, 32 in all, were signed off as various accidents or, in some cases, desertions.

     The base had been evacuated very quickly during the melee under the pretense of a chemical leak with only essential personnel staying until the very end. The last crew left just before dusk the next day. That’s why, on the third day, there was no one around to see the two pairs of hands thrust up from under the ground mere yards apart, bloody and torn from digging through rock, concrete, and dirt. No one could have guessed at the combined telekinetic powers of Billy and Jenna, as they kept a small section of the chamber intact as Jason and Eric dug their way to freedom. And no one was there to hear the faint sound of eight children cheering, both for victory, and the chance at a new beginning.