by Ed Price, Creative Writer
In 2209, a 12-year old boy named X6-227 (his friends called him Josh) awoke from his bunk. He always slept on a top bunk in his barracks because it allowed him to see down through the window, in case any intruder was ever stupid enough to try to infiltrate their camp and break into their barracks. He knew there were many opponents to the X-CORE 9 program, and he frequently heard of riots breaking out in nearby Seattle. He wouldn’t put it past the protesters to attack his home.
Apparently some people were a little upset that the United States was building up a small army of super-human soldiers. Josh didn’t care about the politics. All he knew was the life he lived. He was born in a lab to become a super soldier. That’s all that Josh thought about.
He wanted to be someone; he wanted honor and glory. He didn’t care what the U.S. wanted him to do. Josh wanted to be prepared for whatever it was, and that’s what Josh was thinking about: how he was going to prepare for his future missions.
Suddenly, Josh heard a noise outside, and his thoughts immediately turned to it instead. He saw a shadow shift on the ground outside. He strained to see what had cast it. “Maybe this isn’t the best vantage point,” he thought. It was about 2 AM. The other five boys in his room were all asleep, including his bunk-mate, X6-332, who was known as Alex. Another boy was even snoring. That was X6-498, James. James is always snoring. How can he be an X6 agent if he can’t even sleep without making noise? Josh shook his head as he silently slid down to the floor.
He gently tapped Alex on his chest. Alex opened his eyes and looked at his friend. Using sign language, Josh brought Alex up to speed about the intruder. Both boys slept in their clothes, boots and all; so they were ready to go. They slowly edged toward the window. For a split second, Josh saw a head duck down off in the woods. “Someone penetrated our camp barrier,” Josh signed to Alex.
“Window or door?” Alex signed back. “Good question,” Josh thought as he edged back to the door and slowly opened it, peering out. Sergeant Logan was sleeping at his desk. Even though the door didn’t make a sound, Josh was surprised the door didn’t wake the grizzled old man. Josh thought the air current of the door opening might even be enough of a disturbance to wake up Logan.
Josh carefully closed the door. “Window,” he signed to Alex. Of course, their window doesn’t open, so the boys had to spend the next two minutes dismantling the window to open it. “The intruder is getting away,” Josh thought. He wondered why his and Alex’s movement didn’t wake up any of the other boys. “James is snoring,” Josh remembered. Maybe the snoring was good for something after all.
The two boys slipped out of the window as they carefully and slowly lowered each other down. As Josh and Alex landed, they used the toes of their boots to push the dried leaves away. They didn’t want to make any crunching sounds in a camp full of genetically-altered soldiers. Josh heard a distant sound in the woods. Alex heard it too and signed, “He’s still here.”
The boys moved quickly while being careful not to make any sounds. They moved into the woods and passed the large oak tree. There were a lot of underground tunnels in the area, but Josh and Alex hadn’t found them all. Josh saw some tracks. Or Josh thought he saw some tracks. At closer inspection, he realized that what he saw were former tracks. Someone was covering up his own tracks. Josh signed this to Alex. The boys spread out to look for more covered tracks.
As they were looking, Alex saw a faint circular line in the dirt. He waved his hand for Josh to join him. The boys slowly lifted the hatch to an underground tunnel, and they disappeared into the shadows. Click. Click. The boys’ wire lights turned on as they explored the tunnel. There was only one way to go.
Before long, the boys came to a dead-end chamber. “Something is wrong,” Josh thought. As if to confirm his suspicions, Josh felt the muzzle of a combat rifle on the back of his neck. Josh was busy wondering if he could disarm his assailant when he heard Alex speak out loud for the first time that evening, “Oh. Hi Nicole.”
“Hey boys!” Nicole said cheerfully. Josh whipped around to see Nicole (X6-038) and Adrian (X6-412); both giggled thoroughly after seeing Josh’s expression. Josh smiled. Only Nicole was crazy enough to sneak out of her barracks with a gun in the middle of the night. Of course, he and Alex also just snuck out. “But that’s different,” Josh reassured himself, “I thought we were chasing an intruder.”
“Uh, what are you girls doing here?” Josh tried to sound like an authority figure. Of course, he always had a crush on Nicole. Who wouldn’t? She was beautiful, full of life, she had a rebellious nature, and she was one of the best soldiers in the camp, including the boys.
“Well, Adge and I found something that you’re going to love,” Nicole sang her words, and she seemed to ignore Josh’s authoritative tone. Alex was about to ask who Adge was when he saw Adrian looking at him. He stood there for a few seconds while his mouth was still open. Adrian’s look told Alex that she already knew his question, that the answer was obvious, and that he was an idiot. A girl’s look can say a lot. Alex closed his mouth while he took all that in. Josh observed it and smiled.
After finding a hidden hatch that the boys missed and after going through a series of tunnels, the four genetically engineered soldiers came across a large room with a table in the middle. “This is our place,” Nicole said cheerfully. “Nicole tends to say everything cheerfully,” Josh thought to himself. On the table laid a key. Josh didn’t know what the key did, but he would soon find out. That key would change Josh’s life forever and would keep him occupied for the next five years.
Nicole knew that her little team had just doubled in size. She smiled at this thought.
About the author: Ed 'word' Price is a Content Writer and Game Writer. His writing experience includes localization writing for Dragon Warrior 7 for Square Enix, Editing for Nintendo games (Pikmin, New Tetris, Starcraft 64, and Loderunner 3D), UI writing 24 Microsoft Surface games, and script-writing for 30+ animations and videos. Ed has a Masters degree in Technology Management and 5 interactive design patents with Microsoft.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
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