Aren't I lovely? I am posting this earlier than intended. Cherish it, because this may be the last update in a while. So I am giving you two chapters to read. Aren't I lovely?
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from MI High (obviously) but I do own the Trio, the Evens family, the Professor and any agents I make up along the way.
See, I do take care of my reviewers and give them what they wish. This would have been out for Christmas, but I was ill so...
The wintery wind whistled through the bare trees on the barren mountainside and sent shivers down the spines of most of the SWAT team members crouched behind boulders or lying beneath the scant shrubbery scattered here and there. Most shifted their position and checked their equipment once again, secretly wishing that they were at home, in bed, instead of hidden on an alpine mountain with no prospect of being warm in the near future. Nothing out here had any warmth to it: leafless trees, cold hard rock and a sliver of moon lighting everything dimly white - a frosty white.
The worst thing about this place was the castle which was the reason of them coming here. Seeming to be part of the mountainside opposite them; it stood, black against the little moonlight there was, like something from a horror movie. Twin towers, cylinder with pointed roofs, one with a greater height advantage than the other, rose vertically from the edges of the battlements furthest from the cliff-face. No lights shone from the many windows, except for a solitary candle burning in a window in the cliff wall below where they knew the door to be, suggesting the presence of lower levels.
In the shadow cast by an overhanging rock, four figures stood. One of them glanced between the despairing scene in front of him and the photo in his hand.
'You must admit that it looks a little different by night than it does by day,' he said with a half laugh, turning back to the other members of the group.
The female amongst them snatched the picture back. She took a deep breath before saying calmly, 'I'm sorry. But I wasn't going to take a team scouting at night, in the dark, when the mountains are as they are. All a man has to do is step on a bit of loose rock (that he might have been able to avoid by day) and then he would have brought the entire mountainside crashing around him.'
Her remaining companions blinked at her. 'You don't half exaggerate,' the man to her left said.
The woman shrugged. 'I wasn't going to risk it.'
The remaining man put his arm around her shoulders and gave her a little squeeze. 'You were right to do so, honey,' he said.
The woman turned to smile at him. 'I thought so too,' she said. They kissed briefly. The other two still turned away so not to look at them.
'Wish you two wouldn't do that,' the man to the couple's left grumbled as they parted, 'really get's on my nerves.'
'Well, don't look then,' said the man with his arm around the woman, 'and don't think about it either.' The woman giggled.
The second man kicked a stone and sent it spinning away into the gloom where it crashed and clattered noisily into the valley far below, earning him a glare from the first man, who then moved away from the couple and their complaining companion to find another shelter amongst the silent SWAT team members.
There was a short pause before he started whining again. The couple shared a quick, frustrated glace before turning back to him. 'Why are we even here?' he was moaning quietly. 'Isn't this the job of the... the French or the Swiss or whoever?'
'You need to go back to training and be re-taught your geography,' the man said, 'this is Austria, nearer Germany than France or Switzerland, and we're here instead of them because although Professor Schmitz is German, there have been talks of him compromising with SKUL and you know how much MI9 like to keep SKUL their business. Now stop complaining, Campbell, or I'll send you back to base.' Campbell shivered as another gust of wind blew around the corner and muttered into his chest. The couple watched him in silence as he shuffled closer to the rock face and huddled near a scrawny shrub as far from the couple as he could go without seeming rude.
The man shook his head. 'He complains more than Alex does and Alex is two.'
'Nearly three,' the woman corrected him, 'and Alex doesn't complain because he is happy, isn't he?'
Isaac Evens smiled and bent closer to his wife. Jenna Evens smiled back and leaned into her husband as Isaac planted a kiss on her forehead. 'Stay close to me, won't you?'
Jenna returned the kiss and whispered in his ear, 'I'll always stay by you.'
Isaac moved away and Jenna followed him. As they passed him, Campbell staggered to his feet and hurried after them. The three took their positions within the SWAT team and their fourth companion joined him. Isaac turned to face the team assembled and said in a low, carrying voice, 'I don't see much point in waiting any longer; let's go!'
Taking over the castle was relatively easy. There was no-one there to stop the fifteen or so SWAT team members storming in, led by the four MI9 agents. They spilled through the doors, whose rotting wooden barricade broke on the first shove, and split into many different groups. Most went charging up the stairs to search through the castle just in case, the four agents, accompanied by a couple of the most trusted SWAT members, headed for the stairs to the lower levels, hidden behind the main sweeping staircase that led to a higher balcony.
They found Professor Schmitz on the first of the two basement floors. He was coming up the stairs, confused by all the loud bangs and crashes that now echoed around his castle. He didn't see the small group racing towards him as he was blinded by the brilliance of their flashlights, but he still turned and fled back down the stairs he had just come up. Four of them gave chase after him; Campbell and one of the SWAT members stayed behind to search that floor for any dealings with SKUL.
The other four ran down the stairs and emerged in the professor's laboratory. Machine parts were scattered here and there and wires were draped over nearly every available surface. Papers were spread over the rest, piles upon piles of papers, all containing the same scrawled handwriting and many of them had diagrams. Dust hung in the air as the spiders webs did from the ceiling. But of the Professor, there was no sign.
Isaac leapt into action. 'Paul, could you take the left hand side, I'll do right. Try and find where the professor might have gone.' Their remaining MI9 companion nodded and departed with the last SWAT member. 'Come on Jenna,' Isaac said softly and together they started searching.
A few minutes later, a shout sent Isaac racing across the lab to find the other two. When he arrived, Paul (the MI9 agent) was standing next to patch of wall which had swung open to reveal a hidden flight of stairs. 'I sent the SWAT team member up them,' Paul said as soon as Isaac had stopped this, 'just in case he could catch the professor, but I doubt he can, given the head start Schmitz had. I just hope whoever you left to guard the doors are actually doing their job.'
Isaac peered up the gloomy, cobweb-riddled passageway. 'So do I,' he agreed. He turned his back on the darkness and flashed his torch over the many paper or machine covered surfaces until the torchlight came to rest on something that he had never seen before. 'What is that?'
Jenna was using her torch to brush away a patch of cobwebs when she heard it: a faint, but definitely human, cry. She flicked her torch on and moved closer to a set of boxes in the corner that she had mistakenly thought were empty. Instead, her eyes widened with horror as she realised that the boxes weren't boxes but cribs. Similar to the cribs found in a hospital, except with a glass lid and their own ventilation system. Jenna ran to the nearest and looked in.
The boy inside must have been about nine months old, judging by his size. He stared back up at her with big, round eyes of the darkest brown she had seen, yet his curls were straw blond. But even as she watched, his hair became darker, limper, longer; his eyes lightened slightly; the muscles in his face began to shift until Jenna found she was staring at an exact (if only slightly younger) copy of herself.
Jenna stared, half in horror, half in wonder at the boy who then, as if trying to wake her from her trancelike state, started to morph back. Jenna started and staggered back towards the centre of the room. 'Isaac!' she called, slightly more panicked than she had hoped, 'Isaac!'
Isaac appeared from the gloom, looking slightly amazed himself. 'Jenna,' he said, 'you won't believe…' he stopped when he saw her face. 'What's wrong?'
Jenna was standing helplessly in the middle of the lab, shaking, her hands clasped just beneath her chin. 'Isaac,' she whispered. 'There's a boy…'
Isaac was by her side in an instant. He took her hands in his and stared into her eyes for a long time, checking that she was alright. Seeing no form of concussion, he looked past her, at the cots in the corner, then back at her. 'What happened?' he asked.
Jenna took his hand and led him to the cot where the little boy sat, as if he was waiting. He looked ordinary at first, but as this new person came into sight he began to take his form until a very young Isaac sat in the cot staring up at the two adults. Isaac stared wide eyed, until the boy had returned to his real form, or at least what they thought might be.
'How does he do that?' Isaac asked in a hushed voice.
'I don't know,' Jenna whispered back. They exchanged a quick glance. The boy continued to stare at them. Jenna finally moved away, towards another lit cot. The child inside was much smaller than the previous and fast asleep, his tiny hands curled into fists.
'There's another boy in this one,' she told Isaac, 'only a couple of months by the look of him.'
'Isaac!' a voice called across the lab, causing them both to jump. Paul was striding across the lab to them, piles of old papers in his hands. He stopped, confused, when he saw them both clustered round the cradles. 'What are those?'
Isaac gestured for him to come closer and look at the elder boy. 'We don't know who they are, or why they are here,' he said, 'but the professor's done something to them.'
Paul nodded. 'I think it has something to do with that machine we saw earlier,' he said, shifting through the papers he had brought over and showing one to Isaac. It was an old article from the 1940's. Despite being written in German, Isaac could read it perfectly. 'The professor appears to be a supporter of Hitler's Aryan race, but he believes that they can be genetically made.'
Isaac lowered the paper to stare at the little boy, who was still watching them with large brown eyes. 'So he tried it on them,' he said in a low, sad voice. The little boy continued to gaze at Isaac. Paul was reading more of the documents he had picked up.
'…such potential…' was all Isaac heard of his muttering.
'What?' Isaac asked.
Paul looked up. There was an odd look in his eye that Isaac didn't like. 'Think about it,' he hissed, 'these children are going to grow up and they could be anything they wanted. Think about how much MI9 could benefit if they had agents who could shape-shift or whatever the other two can do. This could take Britain to another level; bring back the glorious empire; unit the world under one flag, the British flag!'
'Paul…' Isaac began, but Paul cut across him.
'Come on, Isaac!' he snapped. 'There are superpowers growing in the east and the Americans have gone too long without British influence. If we use this machine, create an army of enhanced warriors, who's to stop us?'
The mad glint in his eyes was definite. Isaac stared, aghast, before reaching out and trying to tug the papers from his friend's grasp. 'Come back to reality,' he said firmly, 'this is too dangerous to mess with. We should just destroy it and find these children homes so they can at least have a chance at a normal life.'
Paul blinked and Isaac thought for a moment that the madness had passed. But then Paul wrenched, the papers tore and Paul staggered backwards into the centre of the lab. He riffled through the files he was holding, letting a few scraps fall to the floor, and when he looked back up, he was smiling triumphantly.
'If that was meant to destroy it,' he said, 'then you failed. I have the blueprints for the machine,' he said, waving the papers in the air, 'and if you won't let me take them back to MI9, then I'll take them to someone who will listen to me and plans for glory. I will have these gifts.'
'Paul!' Jenna said pleadingly, stepping forward to join her husband who was still standing beside the older boy's cot looking slightly dazed, 'please! Think about what you're doing!'
'I have thought,' Paul said in a quiet voice, 'I've thought and thought. I want to be someone, not just a right-hand man or a government's puppet. I want to stand out as the person who united the world.'
He's gone mad, both Jenna and Isaac thought sadly. Neither of them could work out how or when but Paul had clearly lost it.
A loud voice snapped them out of their sad contemplation. 'Guys!' Campbell called as he climbed the final steps and stood at the bottom of the stairs looking pleased with himself, 'look at these. This professor must be some sort of pervert because he has all this information about these kids and some baby photos of them and… Paul?' for at that moment, with one final glance at his two companions, Paul had turned and run at Campbell who was blocking the way up.
'Stop him, Campbell!' Isaac yelled, racing after Paul. But it was no good. As Campbell moved towards him, Paul reached out with one hand and smashed Campbell's head against the wall. Campbell collapsed, blood trickled from a wound in the side of his head and Paul rushed past him, up the stairs. Isaac followed seconds behind him, leaving Jenna to deal with Campbell.
Jenna checked Campbell's breathing and the gash on his head. It was thankfully not life threatening, but Jenna had to bandage it anyway. Jenna unclipped her first aid kit from her belt and hurriedly cleaned and bandaged the wound. Campbell had passed out several minutes ago.
A small cry stopped Jenna as she packed up. It came from the furthest cradle. Jenna approached it slowly, opened the glass lid and picked up its occupant. The baby girl blinked up at her, before giving a soft moan and resting her head against Jenna's shoulder. Tiny fingers scrabbled at Jenna's throat before they found her necklace – a single pendant hanging from a cord – and closed around it.
Jenna twirled with the baby girl as men started shouting and she whispered to her, 'it's alright. I'm here. I'm not going to let anything happen to you. I promise.'
Here you are! Prologue done! Remember, the prologue to the Trio seemed to have no meaning at first, but turned out to be the main reason for the fic so my advice is to read this one carefully and see what you can gather from this.
:) Chapter One...