Diary Entries: The Return

Chapter One: Pete's Entry

Pete Costas sat down at the desk in his study room in one of the many halls of residence that were attached to the Del Oro University Campus. It was by now very late outside and he was bone tired and emotionally drained – and he had a trig test to do tomorrow.

After a moment he opened the top draw of the desk and took out the black leather bound diary that his father had given him years ago. Picking a pen out of its slot in the desk tidy he flicked open the diary and flicked forward until he found a blank page near the end of the book. I have to remember to get another one of these, he thought as he removed the pen top and prepared to start another diary entry.

Now then where to start. The events of today were still so momentous and incredible that he hardly knew where to begin. After a moment he sighed and put pen to paper and started writing.

Dear Diary

I don't know where to start writing about today's events. So I'll just start at the beginning.

After all it's always the best place to go from and hope that it will all make sense at the end.

It all began this morning. I had arranged to meet Josh at the recreation centre so that we could work out together like we normally do. But Josh was late and so I had to go work out alone. It wasn't too bad – its not the first time I've worked out alone – but I couldn't do everything that I wanted – without a training partner it would be to dangerous – so I didn't.

Anyway Josh finally showed up when I was leaving the centre. He did seem very preoccupied by Laura absence. He's been sort of pining for her ever since she signed on that research ship - what was it's name again…the Proteus - for a year. I know that he still loves her they way he's been pining for her is evidence enough of that. And I that Laura still loves him but so much has happened between them this last year what with Rachel and Josh's odd behaviour over the last year that I don't see them ever getting back together. But that was where things started going wrong.

First this ornamental stone dish thingy nearly flattened us; it would have if Josh hadn't pushed me out of the way. As it was the only thing that was damaged was Josh's bike. Then as I was coming back her to my room this weirdo drugged me and pulled me into a van.

Next thing I know I'm tied to a chair in an old mine somewhere with this guy with a badly scarred face and black wrap around sunglasses facing me and blabbering something about Josh being a secret agent. I didn't believe that for a minute. I mean how could Josh McGrath – an extreme sports mad but otherwise normal teenager be a secret agent.

Nevertheless he contacted Josh using a device he'd left in my room which he activated when Josh came in to take the order for the topping of the pizza we'd arranged to have. It was then that I received the first of the big shocks. Josh knew the weirdo – he called him Dread – and was apparently surprised and angry to see him alive. Then the weirdo called Josh Mr Steel and effectively blackmailed him into stealing nanoprobes – whatever they are – and nanotech research data from N'Tek.

I received another shock soon thereafter. Dread moved me around in the old mine while he spoke to Josh again. I heard him refer to Josh this time as Max Steel – I'd heard that name before, Laura had mentioned Max to me a couple of times she said he was quiet a hunky guy who she found attractive but didn't have the courage to ask out. So I asked myself how could Josh be this Max Steel fellow. Though I'd never met Max I knew from Laura's description that although his appearance was similar to Josh he was a different person.

Later Dread moved me back into the main tunnel and chained me to this huge bomb which he then set on a countdown – I really thought I was gonna die. Then he left me alone in the room with only the distant sound of dripping water and the ticking of the bomb as company.

A short while later this screen came on and I saw Josh – yet he wasn't Josh. His hair was dark brown not blond and styled differently, his eyes were blue not brown and his facial features looked slightly different. He was also wearing some sort of form fitting blue and brown jumpsuit that was obviously some kind of uniform. But I knew somehow that it was Josh especially when he told me to hold on. A couple of secs later the screen went blank again.

Then I heard Josh calling me he told me not to keep my big mouth shut now. Ordinarily I would punch him for saying that but this time I was glad to hear his voice so I called for him to help me.

A few seconds later a chunk the far wall of the mine was knocked inwards by a tremendous force and Josh came through the hole – he was literally glowing with a weird yellow-green energy aura. I realised then that Dread had been right Josh was a superhero – though how that could be I had no idea. When I called him that Josh smiled and corrected me and said that he was a secret agent actually even as he tried to disarm the bomb. I couldn't believe it. Especially when he was unable to disarm the bomb so instead shattered the chains holding me to it. Those chains were good strong steel that should have stood up to anything this side of a laser cutter yet he broke them as if they were made of glass. That glow vanished from around him then and we ran to this old lift.

It didn't work and again I thought we were gonna die. Then Josh did this weird thing he said 'going turbo' and touched a button on this strange minicomputer thingy on his left wrist. That weird energy glow appeared around him again and he told me to grab the lift cable. I did and he literally shattered the cable from the anchor on top of the lift with a stamp of his foot.

We almost didn't make it out. The bomb exploded as we shot up the shaft like rockets the fireball of the explosion barely a second behind us. Next thing I know we were on a desert floor with the mine behind us engulfed in flame.

Josh was lying motionless on the sandstone I thought he was dead. But he wasn't he seamed drained like almost all of his energy was gone. That glow was gone from around him and he was getting weaker as I watched. When he spoke to me it was obvious that he was struggling to stay awake.

It was then that I received another shock. This jet fighter appeared out of nowhere and landed beside us. As soon as it landed the canopy opened and a young man wearing the same kind of blue and brown uniform as Josh climbed out and walked over. When I saw whom it was I could not believe it. It was Berto. Seeing him I couldn't help but wonder if I was the only one I knew who wasn't a secret agent. First Josh, then Berto I wondered whom else would turn out to be a secret agent. I would not have been surprised if Laura had shown up dressed in one of those uniforms at that point.

Anyway Berto plugged this portable generator thing into Josh and transferred some of that weird yellow-green energy into Josh. It immediately seemed to strengthen him; it was as if batteries were somehow being recharged. It was later that I learned that in essence that was what was happening.

Anyway we took off in this fighter – a Hawk Berto and Max (as Dread and Berto had called Josh) had called it. We went after the wacko who just tried to kill me and my best friend. I was sitting in the plane with Berto with Josh hanging onto the top with effortless ease despite the force of the planes slipstream tearing at him. It was then that Berto provided me with some answers and I got another round of shocks.

First N'Tek wasn't just a sports technology company that was just a façade to cover the fact that it was really a UN chartered agency responsible for stopping the worlds terrorists. Second that Josh and Berto were among its top agents. And third that Josh has billions of microscopic machines called max probes inside of him, and that these nanoprobes give him superhuman abilities as well as enhanced sensory perception and the ability to alter his appearance at whim. Berto explained to me that these max probes had enabled Josh to create a double identity for himself and that his alter ego was named Max Steel. It was so cool. Not only was my best friend a secret agent but a superhuman one as well. He also explained to me that Josh/Max needs energy known as T-juice or what did he call it… transphasic energy in order to survive.

Anyway we soon stopped the bad guy. Josh went turbo again leaped off the plane and landed on the bonnet of the guy's car that he flipped over and sent flying as one would flip a coin. When the car came to a stop I could barely keep from laughing as Josh told him that the nanoprobes he'd taken from N'Tek were unstable and that the research data was really the Huckleberry Fin term paper he'd previously given to Professor Guerard.

Soon after that we boarded this huge plane that appeared from nowhere. They brought me back here to the university campus and took the bad guy away in chains to N'Tek.

A short while later Josh came here – looking as he always looked – with a pizza - topped with all my favourites - in his arms and we sat and talked for awhile about the day's events.

I promised that I would keep Josh's secret and I will. But I am still so curious about his nanotech powers like how often is it you learn that your best friend is superhuman and on top of that is a secret agent? It is so cool. His speed, his strength and the other abilities that he has are incredible - I especially like the stealth ability he told me about, I imagine that it would come in quiet handy. I wish I could do the things that he can but then again I don't think I'd like the drawback of having to be frequently blasted by beams of super concentrated energy.

Anyway that's today's events. I still find it so hard to believe. It seems like the whole world has been turned completely upside down. But at least I understand now why Josh suddenly changed last year. I hope one day he will be able to tell Laura that truth. She has the right to know but I won't tell her. It has to be Josh who does that if they ever do speak again. In the meantime I must be the luckiest guy alive – I mean it is all so cool. Yet I can never say this to anyone – secrecy is imperative and I don't know what N'Tek would do to me if I were to tell the world about them, it would certainly cost me the friendship of both Josh and Berto and that I won't sacrifice that. Not ever!

Pete put his pen down and studied the diary entry. It was a lot longer than normal and he hadn't really covered all his feelings but he'd done enough, he'd covered enough. After a moment he closed the diary and yawned. It was time to catch some Z's if he were to stand any chance in that trig test tomorrow.