Chapter 2

After many hours and cups of coffee, Alex was finally done. He leaned back into his chair, closed his eyes, and breathed a sigh of relief.

"That's quite a tale you've got there…forgive me for saying, but I find this hard to believe. Do you have any proof?"

Alex sighed again, opened his eyes, and lifted a cup of coffee from the other side of the room, and guided it gently into his hand.

"Holy shit…" James whispered to no one in particular.

"Yeah, most people react differently to that. Yours is actually one of the better responses." Alex said half-jokingly, trying to lighten the mood.

"You don't say…" He replied, mumbling incoherently.

"Anyway James, I came here for a reason. I…uh..." He sighed. "I need your help"

"Oooohh no. No way. Uh uh. After what you've told me, there's no way I'm getting involved"

"James, please. I don't need a lot done. All I ask of you is just two things."

"Justtwo things?"

"Yeah, I promise."

"I'm ganna regret this…Yeah, ok, Whattya need?"

"All I ask of you is a name and a face."

"Of?"

"The unknown soldier."

"Really?"

"No you idiot, the guys who are following me. I need to find out who their boss is, or at least get a hold of someone who can tell me."

"Alex, with what you've told me, do you have any idea how fucking impossible that sounds? Guys with resources like that, they'll hunt me down with ease. I've got no chance, even with all my high-tech gear."

Alex chuckled. "Maybe, but I've got a few ideas that can help you."

"Like?"

"You'll have to come back with me to my place, you'll understand

later"

He eyed him suspiciously and sighed. "Yeah, 's okay I guess"

Arriving at Alex's mansion, James was constantly in awe. "Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit…" He kept whispering to himself.

"Ya know", Alex said, turning to James, "It's not that impressive"

"It's not only the mansion. I think I was in shock before. All of a sudden I've realised the weight and seriousness of the situation."

Alex laughed at that. " Hahaha, you get used to it after a while." Alex said as he opened the front door.

"How long did it take you to adjust?" Asked James nervously

"Meh, only a few years."

"WHAT?! A few years?! I…"

Alex cut him off before he could finish. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, relax. You've seen it. I had to live with it. I think you'll be fine by the end of the day. Hell, in fact, you're pretty much normal already."

"Yeah well…" James mumbled curses under his breath.

Alex couldn't help but laugh. "Well, here we are." Alex said as they arrived at a strange looking door. "You ready?"

"Yup"

"Alright, stand back"

Shuffling back, James eyed the door cautiously.

Alex pressed a few buttons, and a strange light emitted from the door frame. A high-pitched noise filled James' ears. An electronic voice came to life, and James could have sworn it said something along the lines of "Frooglewacker."

"Orange, fifty, yellow, twenty, red, twenty, green, ten." Alex said to the door.

"Hello, Mr Mercer." The electronic voice said.

All the equipment moved back into the door frame.

Alex looked at James. James looked absolutely bewildered. "Don't ask." Said Alex, laughing loudly.

Man, this guy laughs a lot, James thought to himself.

As Alex opened the door, James was already gasping and staring in awe at everything in sight.

"You ever seen the movie Tron, Alex?"

"As a matter of fact, I have. Why do you ask?"

"This room reminds of it."

The room was like nothing James had ever seen before. Fluorescent lights popped in and out of sight. It seemed that there were more pieces of technology in this room than James had seen in his whole life. He tried to name everything he could, but all he saw was this…this…this stuff. He couldn't name anything at first glance. Except lights. He knew what those were.

Alex stopped and turned to him. "Okay, first things first, do you want to ask me anything related to the mission? Not in the room, the mission."

"Ahhhhhh…"

"No? Ok, good. Now it's my turn to ask the questions. What camera do you have?

"Huh? Oh, um…Cannon 1DX."

"Really? Shit, that's better than I expected. How the hell did you manage to afford that?" Alex knew that it was the best camera in the world, costing more than some cars. Well, the best on the public market, anyway. He chuckled to himself.

"It's ay, uh, haha, funny story actually. I…"

"You know what? Never mind about that. You can tell me later."

"Oh…kay…?"

Alex beckoned him over with a finger, and James came in for a closer look at whatever he was going to show him. "The 1DX is good, James. With 16 frames per second, phenomenal ISO, wider range of F"Stop, it's the best in the world."

"I'm guessing, then, you have something better?"

Alex smiled. "'Course I do." Alex touched a button on a table, and a small, black object appeared from a compartment. "James, say hello to the AM94. This little guy is your new best friend."

"Specs?"

"Let's just say…It's complicated." Alex said with a sly smile.

James raised an eyebrow at that, but decided to let it go.

Going back to James' house, Alex caught James' daydreaming.

"What's on your mind, James? You seem pretty distant."

"You know, when I was younger," James said, still staring out the window, "I always wanted to be a part of something like this. You know, like, the comic books and stuff. Now that I'm a part of this though, I think Stan Lee was a freakin' moron."

"Yeah…well, when I was younger, I was trying to build my own mini particle accelerator, so I've uh…Yeah…I got no idea what you're talking about."

It was James' turn to laugh.

"Well, we're here." James announced, stopping the car.

James turned to face him. "Hmm? Oh yeah. Uhhh…Thanks, I guess."

"You alright man?" Alex asked, concerned.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine." He opened the car door and got out. He closed the door without saying goodbye.

Alex was concerned. Not only for his friends mood, but what was causing it. Alex had a sudden thought, and raced back home.