Works parallel to Moving Ahead.
Takes place half way through Moving Ahead's fourth Chapter- Open Mouth …insert.
Pix wandered down the corridor completely lost and totally embarrassed about it. He was one of the elite, an X-series of the highest order, accepted into Special Ops; and yet he couldn't seem to find his way around this damn building- it was humiliating. When he passed the same sign for the third time he clenched his fists and resisted the urge to just tear the damn thing down.
He ran a frustrated hand through his thick brown hair and took a deep breath. Ok so he had just come from down there which meant that this way should actually go…somewhere else.
Briefly wondering if this was a new Psy-ops trick to see if the soldiers cracked, he started down the new corridor which looked exactly the same as the other ten that he had tried.
Dull military grey walls with uplifting signs which read encouraging things like "Mission", "Duty" and "Stairs this way".
Ooh stairs- that was new.
Pix grinned at his own thoughts. Despite the annoyance of not knowing where he was he was still pleased to be here in Seattle instead of icy cold Wyoming. He almost couldn't believe that he had made it into Special Ops, he had thought that all of his time in punishment would have disqualified him for that but…maybe they were just eager to get rid of him.
It was a possibility, he knew that the Trainers at Wyoming were getting a little sick of his practical jokes. Well they did deserve it- stuck up lot.
Still it was one way to relieve the monotony of the endless drills and training that they were subjected to.
He planned to continue the trend here, he knew he had willing accomplices this time, someone who had been in punishment more than he had- Max and the quiet but cheeky Carrot.
Yeah they'd be here to aid the King of mischief; Pix.
It was so strange to think of himself as having a name instead of just a designation. For so long he was just418- or occasionally "that bloody joker"; but now he was Pix named after Pixie because of his mischievous nature or at least according to Max. It suited him.
He was just thinking of a new way to live up to his name when he turned a corner and slammed into someone.
"Whoa!" he stumbled backwards only catching his balance thanks to his enhanced feline DNA. The other person was not so lucky and ended up sprawled on the floor.
"Sorry." He began "I wasn't watching-"
"Forget it. It's my fault. I mean why not?"
Pix started and looked down. A dark haired girl in fatigues sat on the floor swiping her long dark hair out of her face.
"Are you okay?" he held out his hand and she grabbed it pulling herself up.
"Sure." She wiped the dust from the seat of her pants and looked up at him.
Pix glanced down at the sweetest face with huge big doe eyes that he had ever seen. She was plainly adorable with a heart shaped face framed by her luscious hair and small smile.
"Are you okay?" she asked biting her lip.
"Me? Yeah fine." He smiled at her but she moved away and ducked her head, letting her hair hide her pretty features.
"Sorry about that."
"Like I was saying it is totally my fault, I wasn't watching where I was going."
She gave a small snort "It makes a change for it to be someone else's fault."
Pix was confused but he halted her before she could walk away.
"I'm Pi- Uh 418." He held out his hand.
"511." She shook it, her small hand soft in his.
"I'm new here and I was trying to find my way back to barracks but right now? I have no idea where I am. So much for X5 sense of direction huh?"
He didn't care of she thought that he was dumb, as long as she stayed with him for a little while longer.
511 glanced at him from her curtain of hair "Really?"
"Lost." He shrugged his shoulders.
"Well I guess you are in Special Ops then if you're new right?"
He nodded "Arrived yesterday."
"Come with me I'll take you back." She motioned and he grinned and started following her, he tried to keep track of the various twists and turns that she was taking but was far more interested in the pretty girl by his side than the dumb walls. After a few moments of silence he asked.
"So you are an X5 aren't you?" inwardly he winced, no she was an anomaly, that's why she was so good looking- idiot.
She nodded leading him down another passageway. "Yeah, Unit 8."
Pix frowned "We had gym with Unit 8 this morning- I didn't see you."
"I was in solitary." She said shortly and he felt like he had touched a nerve.
"Not your fault." She lifted a shoulder in a half shrug and turned another corner. "I got out an hour ago."
"Lucky for me, if you hadn't I probably would've been lost forever on these halls."
She gave a small laugh "No you wouldn't."
"Yes I would." He said warming to the subject now that he knew she was amused "Lost forever, I'd wander the halls and be the stuff of legend for all future X's." he affected a pompous accent "Now kids eat up all that revolting broccoli or the ghost of lost Special Ops will get you."
She was openly laughing by now and he felt a rush of pleasure at hearing the tinkling sound.
"Here we are. No need to be a cautionary tale for X's." she stopped outside his barracks.
"Thanks. Chains and moaning don't suit me anyway." He leaned against his door.
She grinned and ducked her head "Well I'll see you tomorrow 418."
"Night 511." He smiled as he watched her walk away.
Well there was a reason to wake up tomorrow.
511 walked back to her barracks thinking about the sweet soldier that she had met. He hadn't minded her knocking into him and had been really funny. She grin faded as she thought of the fun he could have at her expense later on though.
As she opened her door she wasn't totally surprised to see 510 sitting on her bed.
"I've been waiting an hour for you." He said "Did you get held back?"
She shrugged "I was helping someone out."
510 jumped off the bed "So you okay then?"
511 nodded "Yeah, 494 came over last night and talked to me, kept me company."
He sighed and put an arm over her shoulder in a hug "Sorry you had to go through that."
"They're my feet." She said ruefully.
"That they are." He poked her shoulder "Just wish they weren't both left."
She forced a smile for him.
510 didn't mean to poke fun at her. He thought of her as a sister and took good natured ribbing as a requirement for being a sibling; but it made her feel that much sillier- what kind of soldier tripped over her own feet? Still he cared a lot about her she knew so she didn't say anything. They had been together since they were first spliced together in a test tube. Manticore had tried to take them apart when they were younger but both had screamed and cried so much that they were put back in the same unit.
510 thought that he was the one that had to protect her, even though they weren't born that far apart. He was joined in his behaviour by their C.O 494 who also treated her like a little sister- even if he was a little more discreet about it.
She didn't know what it was about her that made them think that she needed protecting from everything. She was a soldier damn- darn it.
"Where is 494, I expected him to be waiting here with you."
And she did. She hated being out in solitary and they knew it and so 494 would sneak out of his barracks and come to keep her company, it was one of the only times that she didn't care that they were so over protective.
511 stared bewildered as her brother ran fingers through his hair.
510 stared off into space and thought of 494's odd behaviour over the past two days. Ever since his first meeting with Special Ops he had been distracted. He was beginning to wonder if they were brainwashing them in there- it wouldn't be the first time after all. He was worried what that would do to his easy-going best friend and great C.O.
He realised that 511 was watching him concerned. He sighed.
"I don't know. Something is wrong with 494."
He shook his head "He's acting strange. This morning in drills he was distracted and was nearly caught several times with his attention gone and then in training and later on at dinner he was…different."
He didn't want to mention that he had practically forced 452 to attack him and then storm off in a rage. It just wasn't like him at all.
"Different how?" she persisted. He had forgotten how tenacious she could be when pushed.
He shrugged "Different. He blatantly antagonised this girl to the point that she screamed at him."
511's jaw dropped "That doesn't sound like him at all."
"Well she was an 09er so that might have something to do with it."
"Oh…wait an 09er? They caught one?" her eyes widened.
"No, she was back in Wyoming, got left behind from what I gather. Anyway he really went for her."
"Well maybe he has a few issues with her and his distraction could be just that he's worried about Special Ops. He'll be back to normal in no time."
"I hope so." He said distractedly thinking that it was possible she could be right. 494 was just worried and she was a 09er- no matter how hot she was.
He smiled at her and ruffled her hair "Anyway night 511."
"Night." she smiled at him as he left the room and slumped down on the bed as soon as the door was shut.
Morning dawned and 511 was one of the first down for breakfast craving company more than lumpy porridge.
"Morning!" 555 chirped out and sat next to her.
"Tone it down."360 asked with a groan "It's too early for you."
555 glared at her and then turned back to 511 "So you get time off for good behaviour?"
511 smiled at her friend. Despite the hour she was already bouncy and vivacious. She wished that she had half of the confidence that 555 did. But it just seemed that she was born to it, with her mane of curly red hair and big smile 555 was as boisterous and brash as 511 was quiet and shy. It still amazed her that they were friends. She was more like 202 than 555, both very quiet and unassuming. However she suspected that 202 had a crush on 494 and 511 couldn't think of him as anything other than a friend.
"No I got let out." She smiled and tucked into her food.
"Amazing." 360 drawled as she sipped her coffee.
"Oh go train." 555 snapped as the bronzed 360 finally got on her nerves "And don't come back until you've switched to decaf."
511 giggled as 360 got up and stalked away.
"I swear they gave her dog DNA instead of feline." 555 muttered "Bitch."
511 bit her lip "You know if the trainers catch you saying words like that-"
"I know I know." She waved her away "Solitary or punishment. But would that mean that I get the delicious 494 to come chat to me like you hum?" she raised an eyebrow and 511 blushed.
"He's practically a brother."
"Pity." She sighed "So many men, so little actual talent."
For some reason the man from last night popped into 511's head.
"I hear Special Ops have made an appearance."
555 nodded "Yeah, mostly guys. One or two sweeties but no confirmed "men" yet. Even 360 was disappointed."
511 widened her eyes comically- 360 turning down men? She changed the subject.
"510 said that 494 went off on one of the girls."
"He did, right in the middle of dinner. 510 and 494 sat with the new guys to get to know them and she was chatting and suddenly bang she's up and gone. 494 ran after her and I heard him try to apologise but she shook him off. Poor guy looked so confused."
511 cocked her head "I wonder what that was all about."
555 shrugged "Well I think we have training with them later so who knows maybe things'll be different."
511 looked up as 886 walked over. He spotted them two sitting alone and hesitated. He was always so shy around the girls and had been for as long as she could remember, he seemed fine with the guys but anytime he was left alone with the girls his ears turned red and he practically raced away. She really felt for hi and tried to give him an encouraging smile but he just coloured and walked away.
555 shook her head as she watched him walk away.
"That guy needs to get away from his books and learn to interact with normal people."
"He's just shy." She defended.
"No –you are shy- he's weird."
"He's fine when there are males around, maybe it's you 555. You make him nervous." 511 teased and 555 paused thinking about it.
a grin crossed her face
"Well done me!"
511 spent the morning trying to catch sight of that man from last night whilst at the same time trying to avoid the trainer's eye so that he didn't call on her in front of everyone.
Unfortunately fate had a strange sense of humour because just as she caught sight of the man the trainer caught sight of her.
"Oh Lord help us 511's back."
She tried hard not to duck her head but mustn't have succeeded because she got a firm
Wanting nothing more than to hide behind her hair, she forced herself to stand up straight.
"So can you get through today without falling over me or yourself 511?"
"Sir, Yes Sir!" she called hoping that she hadn't gone as red as she felt.
"Let's hope so." He mocked and walked away leaving her wishing that the ground would open up and swallow her.
She glanced to the side and saw him grin at her and she blushed and hid behind her hair.
After basic drills they were separated into Units and sent to different tasks for the day. 511 went with her Unit to tactics while Special Ops went to the rifle range.
She told herself that it was just as well. The less she saw of them the less likely it was that she'd be tripping over her own feet at the same time.
Pity that feeling in her stomach disagreed with her.