"The mission debrief on Tuesday-"
"-about what I still have no idea, but-"
"Did you hear-"
"-wants us back ASAP-"
Sadiki Manec hooked his leg over the rail and dropped upside down, his dark hair now pointed toward the ground. The wind blew through them, ruffling them up even more than their original state. Sadiki watched silently through his upturned view as the other units did their daily work. The wind carried snippets of conversation to him, as well as some of the latest news. A week of doing this, and the boy had already mapped out the basic schedule of over half of the teams.
The sun hung low in the sky, preparing for the night. The wind picked up slightly, and the air turned colder. Sadiki observed as several agents pulled on jackets or hurried into the buildings. As the trees began to sway, Sadiki realized that a storm was on its way. The sky switched modes quickly, now holding a gloomy color indicating awful news.
Before Sadiki prepared to walk back in, the electronic doors slid open to reveal a young child by the name of Atreo. After glancing at the rapidly darkening sky, the blue-eyed boy frowned and walked over to Sadiki. "You know Blaise warned you not to do that."
The other hoisted himself up, flipping neatly to his feet. "Yeah, yeah. I know. The blood flow will get to my head and all that. Don't worry. He's joking."
However, Atreo was unconvinced. "I don't know. He looked pretty serious to me. After all, he is our unit's hacker, scientist, and inventor for a reason."
Sadiki smiled and messed the boy's hair up before stepping into the building. "He's my best friend. I imagine I would know if he was joking. Coming?"
Annoyed, Atreo quickly smoothed down his straw-colored hair and ran after Sadiki. "By the way, Riker sent me to fetch you. Kyra and he are mulling over the mission file while Blaise is programming the location of our target into the Minis."
Sadiki turned to Atreo with surprised eyes. "Another mission?"
Atreo shook his head as he grinned. "Blaise predicted that you would say that. He also told me to tell you this-" He paused for a while, eyes closed and brows furrowed, as he struggled to remember the message. "Oh, yes. 'Sadiki, you will find that if you spend more time around people instead of on the roof, the percent of surprises you receive each day will greatly reduce.'" Apparently satisfied, Atreo opened his eyes again.
Sadiki chuckled. "That does sound like something he would say. I take it he forgot to mention the fact that I spend plenty of time around you all. And the last time I checked, you counted as people."
"You're supposed to listen to me," pouted Atreo.
"Aww, is the little toddler going to cry?" teased Sadiki. "Does he need to change his diaper?"
Atreo glared at the elder boy. "Just cause I'm six doesn't mean I'm like the others." He crossed his arms. "And besides, six is past the age of a toddler."
By the others, he meant the other children scattered around the world, blissfully unaware of the fact that some of them were being trained as secret agents. After growing up as part of the Change, many young agents referred to the other life simply as the other world. To them, the mannerisms of normal children were alien while their dangerous daily life felt normal.
The start of training varied between the different groups. Starting their training at five, Medics were often admitted into units, their battle training supervised by their leader while the medical information were taught by senior Medics. Strategists trained under another agent in strategy and battle/weapon skills until the age of nine, when they joined a unit.
Hackers covered a huge area. Their training started from the age of around three and a half and often focused more on the technical section more than the physical part. Thus, Hackers were not often excellent fighters. Weapons specialists trained mainly in the weapons catalogue and building area, as well as their aiming. They were the only agents equal to the Elite's aiming skills and speed.
Elites were the exception, however, starting training as soon as they could walk. Their training covered nearly the entire area, specializing in most areas essential to a successful mission. Some Elites grew up to take charge of a group. On the other hand, others became deadly assassins, bodyguards, spies, or simply ordinary citizens waiting to be called upon for their skills.
Sadiki looked at Atreo thoughtfully. "You know, you look kinda cute when you cross your arms and pout like that. I believe that in the other world, they call it throwing a tantrum." He broke out into a grin. "If we dress you up in proper clothing instead of your uniform, we might actually pass you as a normal boy."
"I could say the same thing about you," Atreo shot back.
"What? That I'm cute?" Sadiki ran his fingers through his hair, looking appreciatively at the pretend mirror in front of him. "I suppose I am good looking." He posed for an imaginary crowd and camera. "Please, ladies and gentlemen. No need to scream into my ears."
Atreo laughed. "I now know why you get flying colors in the acting and disguise class."
Sadiki placed a hand over his heart. "That's not the only thing I excel at!" he gasped.
Atreo rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah. And weapons as well."
Sadiki stuck his tongue out at Atreo. Atreo grinned. "Oh, real mature, Sadiki. From time to time, I can't believe you're my superior."
After turning another corner, the pair reached their section –number 410. Sadiki pressed his palm against the scanner and waited as the AI confirmed it. 'Sergeant Sadiki Manec, Unit 410, access granted.'
The door slid open to reveal three figures hunched over a table. At the noise, one of them looked up. Sea-green eyes examined the two. "Ah, Sadiki," Riker greeted. "Glad you could join us."
At the other end of the table, an eleven-year-old boy snickered, his grey eyes teasing Sadiki. "Hello, Sadiki. Where have you been?"
Sadiki rolled his eyes and grinned at his intellectual friend. "Hello to you too, Blaise. I'm surprised you haven't guessed yet. I would say that from my windswept hair, I just came from the roof."
Blaise thought for a while before smiling back. "Well played."
Atreo walked up to the table and selected his Mini –a dark blue watch-like piece of technology designed for many uses. "I take it the locations are in?"
Blaise nodded, throwing one over to Sadiki who neatly caught it and strapped it on. "Yes. I also checked that each one of us is marked as friendlies –green."
Kyra beckoned everyone to come closer. The lieutenant began laying out their plans. "Our target is named Jackson Ottoman." She slid a picture on the table for everyone to observe. A picture of a man looking over his shoulder looked back at them. He was around thirty, with reddish-brown hair and emerald eyes. Wearing a suit, he blended in with the other executives hurrying to work. The only thing that marked him out was an angry scar across his left cheek.
"The mission is to capture and leave no witnesses," Riker continued. "The base is tightly secured –guards, cameras, and other pieces of technology surrounding the area. Ottoman himself will be surrounded by at least five of his best guards."
Blaise pointed to a spot on the map. "I picked up a thirty-second window over here –more than enough time to run to the shadows. But, we still need to get in the building safely and quietly. In order to hack the access codes, I'll need to plug the Mini in. We'll be cutting it close, and there's no room for error; but I believe we can do it."
"Guards?" asked Sadiki.
"None at our entrance during our window, more inside, though," stated Kyra.
"What do we have inside?"
Sadiki whistled. "So we'll be going in blind."
Atreo studied the plan. "Equipment?"
"Basic, plus a few extras including the H.T.S.," replied Blaise, "which should help in getting us unnoticed."
Atreo frowned. "Why leave no survivors? Why not just secretly sneak him away without anyone knowing?"
Kyra glanced sharply at him. "Be careful not to say those words out loud. They might endanger your life," she warned.
Riker nodded approvingly at Kyra before answering. "It's not our place to ask, but my guess is that we're taking revenge for our fallen Y.A.T.F comrade who was shot last week."
Sadiki's eyes widened. "How?"
"The Strategist was shot, then his team set fire to the entire building to cover their escape. We're not sure how much the G.C.E.P. know about us, but we're planning to keep their info as low as possible. This mission will show them that we are not to be pushed around."
Atreo nodded, having grasped the importance of their mission. "I understand."
Sadiki turned his gaze upon Riker. "So it's vital that our mission is a smooth success?"
"Affirmative." Riker looked around. "Any more questions?"
"What's the briefing's ETA?" asked Sadiki.
"A week from now."
Everybody nodded in understanding, and Riker gave a reassuring smile. "We can do it," he declared, sticking a hand out. "We're Unit 410 for a reason."
The other four returned his smile and placed their hands on top of his.
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival
G.C.E.P: Global Change Elimination Program; a group of people seeking to stop and eliminate the Change once and for all
H.T.S: Higher Technology Suits; suits fixed with many different features such as an invisibility feature, jetpacks, rocket launches, to name a few.
Mini: A watch-like device fixed with the latest technology and constantly updated; used to do various jobs
Y.A.T.F: Young Agents' Training Facility; trains kids to become powerful and deadly agents working for the Change