01.05.12 Edit: A little thanks to LinzPhantom for pointing out that the Sahara suffices by itself and the desert part is not needed. (Though, I've left the desert part for a few in case anyone doesn't know it's a desert.)
Disclaimer – AH owns anything you recognize. I own the plot.
"Where are we?"
"So you don't know."
"No, I do know!"
"Then where are we?"
"I told you already."
"Where did you say we were again?"
"That's hardly an answer! Admit it, we're lost."
"No, we're not. We're just … somewhere."
Alex groaned in exasperation, rubbing his face with his hands.
Of all people in the world, he had to be stuck with Wolf in – of all places – the Sahara Desert. Alex didn't believe in God, but this really must've been some sort of cruel joke caused by a divine force.
Wolf was just … so … damn … stubborn.
He adamantly denied that they were lost when it was so blatantly obvious they were.
"If you can't name a place, it means we're lost," Alex said, trying for a logical approach.
"Fine. We're in the Sahara."
"That's a huge mass of land, Wolf. It's like saying we're on Earth. So it doesn't count. I was looking for a more specific answer."
"Shut up, Cub. I'm trying to concentrate. And if it makes you happy, we're in … er, somewhere." Wolf was squinting at a worn map of the general area. The problem was that they didn't know how old or accurate this map was. Alex had simply snagged it along with some other papers and a couple flash drives (currently in his bag) for MI6 while he was making his escape before the compound exploded.
"We're in the middle of nowhere and you know that. Quit denying it."
"Cub, we are not in the middle of nowhere. Just shut your yapping mouth for one f*ing moment so I can figure this map out."
"You said that an hour and a half ago."
"You don't know that."
"On the contrary, I'm quite good at telling time with the sun."
"Just shut up!"
Alex finally understood why the compound he had left was so successful before he had shut it down. Nobody could really do anything if they couldn't find the compound. And once someone found the compound, it would be just as impossible to leave or send for help.
It was purely by luck that Alex managed to infiltrate the place by hiding in the back of a truck heading to the building. (He was actually hiding in the truck to eavesdrop on a conversation, but the truck began driving. He was planning to jump off the truck, but it occurred to him that the load the truck was carrying was a bunch of illegal stuff – guns, knives, etc. and so he stayed to see where it would lead him to.)
The compound had amazingly high security despite it being in the middle of the desert and he was caught quickly before he had a chance of any major snooping around.
He did, however, send a distress signal before he was stripped of all gadgets.
Obviously, they saw him as a joke, and didn't take the whole "teen spy" thing seriously, which made his escape a piece of cake.
It was actually quite surprising that MI6 sent back-up so quickly this time. Well… Alex already collected the intelligence, rigged the compound and left the compound itself all in one piece before the SAS stepped in to help, but it was the thought that counts.
He had even caused havoc from within before he triggered the explosion. Okay, maybe it would've been a better idea to slip silently outside, but he felt that he deserved some fun once in a while.
"Cub, get up."
"I think I like it here, under this tree."
"I don't care if you like it there. We have to continue moving. Or would you like to die of thirst?"
"Firstly, I think it's pointless to keep walking. It's a million degrees out here; sand is all I see for miles in every direction; and we're just wasting energy walking from nowhere to nowhere. Secondly, it must be a miracle to find some shade. Are you sure we'll find another tree like this when we really need it? I say we stay."
"10 minutes only, and we start walking again."
"This is bloody ridiculous! You don't even know where we're going! I think we should stay here sheltered from the sun and wait for the rest of K-Unit to find us."
"I do too know where we're going! The map … it's just … a bit hard to read. We're definitely somewhere close."
"Screw the map! It's probably from the last century or something. Plus, it's in Arabic."
"You're the one who found the map and suggested we use it to find our way to civilization rather than sitting around doing nothing."
"Yeah, and I'm starting to majorly regret it."
The whole situation was absurd. It was just so like him to be able to evade the crossfire between the guards and the SAS units, and somehow wind up far, far away from the group. And, with Wolf. He really didn't know how that happened. It just sort of did by itself.
Alex smiled briefly at the memory of "reuniting" with his unit and their eyes bulging out of their sockets when they found out that he, Cub, was the experienced agent they were suppose to help get to safety.
There was, of course, the memorable first comment – "What're you doing here? … Holy shit! Don't tell me you're the agent!" to which he politely responded, "Okay, then I won't tell you"– after the first seconds of complete silence and recognition.
Next followed the gathering of senses, and the demanding for an explanation: "But… but… that's not possible. You're … Cub! You're supposed to be just a rich, snobby kid! How…?"
He had then replied with a shrug and said, "Perhaps we could continue this wonderful conversation later, at a better time. Preferably, when we're not in the middle of a raging fight."
Snapping back to their senses, K-Unit all agreed, and joined the fight, while Alex tried to stay out of harm's way.
"Okay, 10 minutes is up. Let's get going."
"I'm not leaving."
"Get up. Before I make you."
Alex simply raised his eyebrow. Wolf growling at him might have intimidated him in the past, but up to the present, he had faced far worse.
Alex decided to listen, since Wolf was the one controlling the water supply. Unfortunately. If it had been the other way around, he would've been more persistent – not to spite Wolf or anything, but because it was much wiser.
"Okay, fine. At least let me look at the map."
"I'm the one who knows a bit of Arabic."
"And that's helping us how?"
"Cub, you must be the single most annoying brat ever, spoiled and rich or not. I think I liked you before, when you kept your mouth shut." But Wolf still handed the map over.
"Well, I've been told on many accounts that I do have quite a charming personality."
Alex looked at the old, faded map. The whole map was hand-drawn. An elaborate compass rose rested on the bottom right-hand corner. There were thick lines inked in, representing the slopes of the sand. Fine, spindly lines sprawled across the page. Arabic was written neatly in different points of the map.
Alex stared at the map intently. He hadn't noticed it before… but there was something about this map… something peculiar. He couldn't place what.
"What're you staring at? I've been looking at the map all this time, and there's practically nothing, just sand and –"
"Shhhh… hold that thought."
"Cub! What is it? What're you doing..?"
"Feeling the paper and the lines."
"The answer to your question."
"I know, but why?"
"There's something… about this paper… and the lines, they –" Alex halted mid-sentence, realization sparkling through his eyes.
"Hello? Earth to Cub, I'm kind of lost here. Look, if this is some childish game…"
"Oh? You're finally noticing I'm here?"
"Whatever. Just hand me the water flask."
"No. We need to save the water. Who knows how long we'll be here for?"
"No, seriously. Hand me the water flask. I promise I'm not going to drink any."
Upon receiving the flash, he unscrewed the top and promptly spilled the water all over the map.
"Cub! What the hell are you doing! You're wasting the water and ruining our only map. I should've known trusting a brat like you with the water and map was a bad idea. To think –"
"Wolf, stop talking. Watch."
Slowly, the old map transformed into a newer one. Some of the faint lines darkened, and became more defined. English words appeared on the page where the water rolled over and was absorbed. A few thick lines became blotches while others disappeared. The Arabic words either became letters from the English alphabet or became other land markings. Finally, the compass rose faded and darkened until it became a new compass, with different cardinal directions at each arrow.
"Whoa. It's like a whole new map. How did you know…?"
"I didn't, but the map looked strange to me, and the paper reminded me of Litmus paper, the kind we used when we did the boring lab in Chemistry class on acid/base indicators. I guess this stuff is more advanced, but same concept."
"Well, Cub. Um, er, nice work." Wolf coughed a bit at the end of the sentence.
"Thanks. Let's see what the true map has to show us."
It turned out to not only be a detailed guide around the section of the Sahara they were in, but also a master key to the locations of smaller, unknown buildings and storages that were run by the same people who ran the compound Alex blew up earlier in the day.
For MI6, finding this map would be the equivalent of striking gold.
"See? I told you we should've stayed at the tree. That tree is the closest point to Cairo."
"How would you know that this tree on the map is that exact tree we were at and not some other tree?"
"Simple. Do you see any other trees around here?"
"That doesn't prove anything."
"Well, if you look here, this must be the compound I blew up. And it's conveniently located at a walk-able distance to the tree."
"Smart arse," Wolf muttered under his breath.
"Now if only we hadn't left the tree – it would've saved us all this walking..." Alex heaved a great sigh.
"Oh shut up."
Shortly upon returning to the tree, they heard the chop-chop-chop of helicopter blades. Sand swirled in a dusty cloud as the helicopter landed.
"Ah, it's a good thing we found you. We were worried one of you might've been severely injured in this desert," Snake said.
He continued as they were boarding the copter. "It was quite clever of you guys to stay under this tree. We thought we'd check here since there was the possible chance that you guys decided to rest here for some shade."
"Man, this is one giant and endless sandbox. I will never understand how people navigate through here … it looks exactly the same in all four directions. You must've been very lost."
"Oh no, we weren't lost at all. We were in Somewhere, right Wolf?"
"Ha ha, Cub. Very funny."
I hope you enjoyed this as much as it amused me when I was writing this. (Yes, this was another random plot). Please review -s. jar