Author's Note: After giving a run through of my word document, I noticed several spelling errors, so I've corrected those. Though I've still probably got some hanging out. I've also taken the time to add a few little tidbits in. Nothing major has been changed, but it might be worth rereading for that if nothing else.

Shades of Black

Chapter I: Shades of Black

The sun shown brightly down on the city of Chicago as the people went about the daily hustle and bustle that was their lives. For most people, it was going to be a good day.

The sound of rotors splitting the airwaves could be heard overhead. It was an everyday occurrence for the people of Chicago. Helicopters passed overhead all the time in the Windy City; there was no need to gawk at the aerial objects that frequented the skies in some form or another.

But this helicopter was different. Its cargo was deadly, a one-man army, a ruthless killing machine, and it was ready for work.

A young boy, no older than 14, stared out the window of the black whirly bird, a slight smirk gracing his face.

"Remember," the woman next to him barked over the sound of the chopper, "the files are on the top floor of the building. Security is likely tight, so stay on guard. Kill anyone who gets in your way, and don't worry about hiding the bodies, you don't have enough time, got it?

"Got it," he responded.

"Good, we're almost there. Get ready," she ordered, handing him a large messenger bag, which he promptly slung over his shoulder, giving her a nod.

The helicopter stopped over a tall office complex, a front for the terrorist organization that owned it. The door slid open and a rope dropped out onto the roof. The boy wasted no time in sliding down to the roof, signaling the chopper to leave.

The boy laughed quietly to himself as he pulled out his pistol, a silenced M1911A1. No security on the roof. That was too easy. He quickly walked to the door that led to the top floor.

He placed a hand on the doorknob and turned it slowly. After confirming the door wasn't booby trapped, he swung the door open, pointing his gun down the stairwell, walking slowly.

"I'm in," he said quietly over the radio.

"Good, but don't let your guard down because of the relaxed security on the roof," the voice of the woman crackled into his ear over the radio. "The files should be in a safe, and the security will be much tighter, so be careful. I don't want you missing any more school because the doctors are treating your injuries."

"Roger," he replied as he walked down the stairs to the bottom door.

He opened the door slightly, checking for patrol. Not spotting anyone, he opened the door fully, only to catch sight of a guard spinning around to face him. The boy popped two .45 caliber rounds into the man's torso before he could shoot or call for help. "First contact, took him down quietly," he radioed in. It would take too long to check each room individually. I'm going to trust intel and listen for heavy security in the rooms. Rog better have done a good job.

The boy walked slowly down the plain tan halls, listening intently for people to talk in one of the rooms. Unfortunately, with his attention on the rooms, he didn't notice the guard behind him.

"Hey kid, what are you doing up here?" the man asked gruffly.

The boy's eyes bulged as he heard the man. He thought of a quick response and replied, "I'm looking for my father. He works here."

"Yeah, and what's his name?" the man asked, not buying the excuse at all. Then things got worse. "Hey, wait. What are you trying to hide in your hand there?"

In an instant, the boy spun to face the man with his Colt leveled at the man's head, his black hair whipping in sync. One short squeeze of the trigger later and the man was dead in a pool of his own blood. That was close; I didn't even hear him come up behind me. He continued down the halls, this time, paying more attention to his surroundings.

A short time later, he was stopped yet again, this time by what he overheard. "It seems we've been infiltrated. Two guards were found dead."

"What? How?"

"It doesn't matter, just find the bastard and kill him. If we don't, the boss will have our asses."

The boy didn't give them any time to talk further as he popped around the corner and put two rounds into each of the men before changing the magazine, keeping the last round chambered.

The radio crackled and the boy's handler spoke. "If they know of your presence, if might be a good idea to switch to your automatic."

"Right," he answered, easing the hammer back into its resting position. He placed the Colt back into its holster and grabbed his Glock 18, double-checking to make sure it was set to auto.

"Hurry up," his handler spoke again, "the longer you're in there, the tighter it's going to get."

The boy nodded, not even caring that his handler couldn't see it, and resumed his search, keeping his ears open for any commotion.

As the boy made his way down the halls, he came across a group of five men. He ducked behind the corner as they opened fire. Squeezing the trigger, he returned a hail of bullets to the men. There was a thud as the men dropped collectively to the ground, a few groaning.

The boy stepped out of cover, pointing his gun at the two survivors. "What the... It's just a kid," one man gasped.

"Yeah, a kid." He leveled his gun at the man's head. "Where are the files?"

"I ain't tellin' you shit," he spat.

"Oh, how disappointing." He pointed the Glock at the other survivor and pulled the trigger, painting the floor with his blood and gray matter. "Tell me or you're next."

"Oh shit!" the man exclaimed. "Room 2001, it's in a safe. I don't know the code." The boy returned his aim to the man's head. "Okay, okay! The code is 1985, the year the boss' son was born."

"Thanks." The boy embedded a round in the man's skull, and hightailed it out of there.

The occupants of room 2001 were doing little to keep quiet as the boy easily heard everything in the room.

"Let me go!" a feminine voice yelled. There were sounds of a struggle.

"Ha! We couldn't let our bargaining chip go. It's you they're here for." The struggling increased followed by the sound of a gun's hammer being pulled back. "Settle down! We wouldn't want to shoot those pretty little shins now would we?"

The girl gasped and the sounds of struggling ceased. Damn, they have a hostage. This complicates things. The boy rubbed his temples with his free hand. 3, 2, 1, Go!

He kicked the door open and shot the three men in the open. The fourth, the boss from the looks of it, was using the girl as a shield.

The boss's eyes widened, as did the girl's. "So the government's sending kids to do its dirty work huh? Well it doesn't matter. I won't let you have her. She's my ticket outta here."

"I'm not here for the girl. I'm here for the files." He tilted his head in the safe's direction. "1985, right?"

The man's jaw dropped as he left himself open. "How did you..." He never finished as a bullet passed through his skull. The girl let out a scream as the man slumped to the floor.

The boy walked over to the safe as the girl rushed up to him. She found herself facing the barrel of his gun.

"I thought you were here to save me," she gasped. The boy just held up a finger, signaling her to give him a moment, before keying in the code.

"Damn," he muttered, walking over to the dead boss's body.

"What is it?" She got her answer when he dragged the body over to the safe as if it were nothing and pressed the right index finger on a green spot of the entry area. The safe beeped and opened up.

The boy shuffled through the folders in the safe and threw a few into his messenger bag. He also made sure to grab the stacks of bills laying in there. Jackpot.

"I've got the files," he said into the radio, then looked at the girl, "but I've found a hostage they've been holding. A girl, maybe 16, looks about five feet five inches tall with long brown hair and blue eyes. What should I do with her?" The girl looked noticeably nervous.

"Sounds like Senator Russell's daughter," his handler responded. "She was kidnapped a few days ago. Take her with you, and hightail it to the roof, we'll be touching down in two."

He checked the ammo in the magazine before addressing the girl. "Follow me. We have to be on the roof in two minutes."

"R-right." He grabbed her hand and dragged her to the door.

Dashing out the doorway, he caught three men off guard, exhausting the ammo in the magazine. Swapping out for a new one, he grabbed her hand again and dragged her down the halls.

With his enhanced senses, combined with the narrow halls, he was able to get a jump on anyone who tried to ambush them. The five he just took down learned that the hard way.

He cautiously opened the door to the stairwell to find no one there. "There's a man waiting on the roof for you," his handler noted over the radio.

"Roger. I've got him," he replied, stopping the girl in the middle of the stairwell. "Stay here."

"Okay," the girl mumbled, fright evident in her voice.

He rushed up the stairs and kicked the door open, sending splinters everywhere. The boy unloaded several rounds into the man before he could act. "Clear," he yelled to the girl as the chopper landed on the roof for the two.

The boy helped her onto the chopper before climbing on himself, sliding in right next to her. He pulled the files out of his messenger bag and handed them to his handler.

"Good job," she replied with a smile, "mission accomplished." The boy accepted his praise and stared out the window, a smile on his face.

"Thank you," the girl shouted to the boy, "you saved me."

"It was nothing," he responded, not even looking at her.

"Well it means a lot to me. Really." He turned to look at her, seeing the sincerity in her eyes. "My name is Abigail Russell. It would mean a lot if you could tell me your name."

He looked to his handler, who seemed to be paying great attention to the conversation. Her slight nod told him all he needed to know. "Nero. My name is Nero."