SQUAD#11

22 year-old Allison Sharper is a hard working young woman. At least she considers herself to be one. When three teenagers-two boys and one girl-show up to her home one cold night, claiming to be her new bodyguards because thugs have marked her for dead, she laughs it off and slams the door in their faces. Why would someone want an average Jane like her dead? Overnight Allison’s world is flipped upside down as she finds their dire warning to be true and to her horror, she can’t even attend her classes without dangerous groups of men and women showing up on campus. She is forced to cooperate with the trio of misfits. Each of them possesses an extraordinary talent that can fend off the assassin gangs. Who are these teens? They work for a secret division of the government which manages a program. In this operation, there are hundreds of humans like them, all gifted with ‘special’ skills. They are called "SQUADS." There are ten so far, including themselves. They are SQUAD#11, Her only hope.

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7. Chapter 11 (Part 2): The Danger-Team 11 Sets Out!

The lights in the meeting room were low. Plastic blinds concealed the enormous glass window panes that stretched from one corner of the area to another, faint traces of the afternoon sun peeked through tiny cracks. Nailed into the wall ahead of the round table sitting in the center of the space, a large flat screen displaying some company video was in its last minutes of broadcast. The conference was just about over. Several business men, young and old, sat around the monitor, gazing on with stern faces. Once the video finally finished (Thank God), the lights flickered on and Alice Sharper, a lanky woman with a wrinkled, pale neck stood from her chair and rolled up the cuffs of her dress shirt before walking to the front of the room, her slacks swishing lowly while she did. She sported auburn locks cut into a bowl.


She made a mental note to fire the idiots in the tech department for creating such a crappy attempt to persuade their clients. While on the matter, she reminded herself to can the fool that deemed this mess watchable. She felt like ejecting the DVD just so she could take it downstairs and slap everyone with it. If it broke halfway through her mission, she'd have them make another copy to finish beating the rest! All of them were morons! She wanted to scream. This was supposed inspire their patrons to join the A.I.U.'s cause, which was to help the world stay a safe place. Control the population of Abnormals and at the same time, hide them from society. Keep a blanket over America. Her superiors, government officials, believed citizens were not ready to welcome a planet where others, people who looked exactly like them, could fly or turn a high rise to nothing but rubble just from thinking about it. Shift tectonic plates or whatever the hell else they could do. She couldn't believe it sometimes...This is why the organization was established.


She pursed her cherry-colored lips and sighed to herself, focusing on the task at hand. She had a room full of executives to convert. Placing her hands behind her back, she scanned the room, staring into the eyes of everyone present. Then she spoke.


"What is change? Change is necessary. For growth. Evolution, if you will. Customers get tired of using the same service or product, especially if the market gets over-saturated."


She went on. "But my friends, you all know, as well as I do... There will always be a need for security. Peace of mind. A need for people to feel safe—"


At that moment the door behind her in another corner of the room swung open, cutting her off. Her jaw clenched, frustration surged through her. She spun around, veins throbbing in her wrinkled neck. She specifically ordered her secretary not to let anyone interrupt this meeting! Goodness, she was surrounded by jackasses. The apocalypse better be erupting outside or so help her, she would be laying off a whole floor before lunch. Her chubby red haired assistant burst through the entrance, brown crumbs covered her cheeks. She swallowed nervously, looked at the tiled floors and wordlessly pushed her rectangular frames onto her nose as one of the interns hurried in after her, out of breath, his gray suit drenched in sweat. She scoffed. Seriously? They were both so fired.


With a goofy chuckle, Earnest grinned and waved sheepishly at the puzzled, yet frowning bosses, apologizing repeatedly while stumbling over to Miss Sharper to at last relay his findings, whispering the message into one of her ears.


Upon receiving the message, Alice's eyebrows shot up. Her daughter being put on a criminal hit list wasn't the end of the world, but damn close enough in her opinion. She swore to herself and placed a hand on her forehead, her temples beginning to ache. The young man felt shivers run down his legs as his boss cast him one of scariest glares he'd ever seen from a woman. Even his grandmother's angry expressions paled in comparison. A few of the clients surrounding them in the middle of the room shifted within their seats uncomfortably.


"You're sure of this?" She asked Earnest in a serious tone.


He responded by handing her the USB, coated in his sweat. "S-sorry for it being so... Uh..." He added, trailing off.


Tired of being neglected, one of the executives stood to his feet and cleared his throat.
"Miss Sharper, is there—"


"Out..." She said breathlessly.


The boss joined everyone else in bewildered blinking. "Excuse me?"


"Everyone get the hell out right now!!" She bellowed, pointing to the exit.


The rotund secretary squeaked, darting to the bathroom the minute Alice raised her voice. Earnest and the others however, had to bear the full brunt of her fury and immediately filed out of the conference area, the patrons grumbled amongst themselves about how ridiculous and unprofessional the president of a government organization honestly was. Alice could care less momentarily. Once everyone was gone she slammed the heavy wooden door then stormed over to the huge monitor and plugged the cheap device into a slot on one of its sides.


She barely made it through half of the video, which was created by the Red Syndicate; the most wanted gang on the lists of her own bureau, as well as the FBI. When the picture of her daughter Allison popped up, her heart sank. Four million U.S. bills... Rage bubbled in the pit of her belly. Her calves went weak; she collapsed into the nearest chair, fingers trembling. She recalled making hundreds of arrests all across America during her days in the field. Most of them were members of this ungodly crew. Having enemies by the boatload didn't worry her. Every agent under has an enemy... How on Earth did those slimy monsters find Allison? She had her under surveillance! Unbeknownst to her girl, the best officers in three different divisions were watching her! Did the gang flip an agent? She sighed, trying to calm herself, a faint buzz in the room growing in her ears.

 

To prevent things like this is the exact reason why she always kept her relationship with her daughter at a distance. She never knew who was watching, dealing with Abnormals. They couldn't escape every ability. Yet. Precious memories of the little time she did spend with her girl flashed through her mind. One second Allison was an adorable toddler obsessed with dolls. The next, she was off to a university and moving out... Alice bit her lower lip. She couldn't waste time fretting. Something needed to be done. Allison had to be protected... At all costs! Reaching for a phone beside her, she picked up the receiver and pressed a button, then hesitated, dropping it; simultaneously tapping the smooth surface of the table using her other hand. She desperately wanted to call her. But they haven't spoken to one another in a year. Going to visit her was out of the question too. She still had this deal to wrap up, among other projects—oh who was she kidding, the idea horrified her. What would they do? What could she say? 'Hi, honey, how are you? How's college? Wonderful! Oh by the way, your life is in total danger! Killers are coming after you! It's completely my fault.'


She wasn't the best mother, she admitted that. She'd missed a hefty amount of important events in her daughter's life. Birthdays, graduations, the charges were long and ongoing, even now. Despite those sins, everything she ever did was to protect her freaking child. She battled high-powered abominations of the dark day in and day out. All to make sure those citizens, especially Allison, continued to live in peace. Comfort. Being the president of the A.I.U. was Alice's burden to bear... But the price of ensuring security for a better world tomorrow, was worth it. She picked up the receiver once more, deciding to make a different call.


"You want to tell me how the hell the syndicate found my daughter?!" She hollered once someone on the opposite line answered.


Standing to her feet at the front of the room, she listened to the pathetic reply of a subordinate while pacing back and forth. She should fire him too.


"Fix this, Gene," She gritted through clenched teeth furiously. "Now! I don't care which Squad you send. Keep her safe, Got it?!"


SOMEWHERE IN CHICAGO...
Hazel bit her tongue. She bit it seconds after feeling her enemy's punch connect with the side of her face; the man's blow was strong enough to send the pale eighteen-year-old flying backward and landing into a wet, sticky and horribly pungent pile of trash bags thrown carelessly against the side of a brick wall that belonged to an apartment building. Rats screeched and scurried from below her. Agony shot through her head, on top of her throbbing, swelling cheek, it was enough hell to bring tears to her eyes. She tasted blood...


The afternoon sky above her was slightly spinning. The two were in an alley, a few feet from the exit that led to a quiet one-way road, but that wasn't important right now. He had just hit her. After she stated coming in peace, after she chased the bald jerk five blocks, cornered him here and after calmly expressing for the second time that she didn't want violence, the crackpot punched her like she was some drunk at a bar. She hated being a government agent sometimes. It didn't help that Marco, a member of her team, behaved in a manner similar to her target every day. She probably should be used to it, but she wasn't and therefore, pretty upset. By 'target,' she meant Randall Cobb, an abnormal. A former factory worker that looked closer to a drought victim. According to the data she dug up on him, he had fallen on hard times and has resorted to crime to pay debts. Wanted on several charges for murder and robbery. Dressed in tattered clothes, he was skinnier than the Grim Reaper for goodness sake. Her superiors issued orders to her squad of three to get him off the streets and bring him in.


Hazel figured he had to have an ability, enhanced strength maybe; she couldn't see how a man so frail and sickly hit hard as a champion boxer. Perhaps harder. Simple cheap shot though. He got lucky. But... If she wasn't one of his kind that punch might've broken an ordinary person's face. She shook her head to gather her wits. Still a lucky shot!

 

"You're going to pay for that," She mumbled, her emerald eyes full of her fury. She felt her muscles tense; she could hear her heart rate start to pulsate in her ears. Her own power was beginning to awaken...

 

Randall didn't back down. Instead he assumed a boxing stance.

 

"Come on! I ain't scared of you A.I.U. punks," He hollered. "Think you're all high and mighty 'cause the government got your back? Nothin' but traitors, all of you!"


Her honey tinted locks joined her beige sweater and jeans in being utterly soaked in something that reeked of vomit and God knows what else. Bunched strands fell to the shoulders of her windbreaker with a disgusting smack; rotten vegetables and spaghetti strings fell into her lap while she sat up on the nasty heap of garbage, spitting out her fluids. But she did a poor job of hocking out the gunk; most of it dribbled down her chin in a mess of red. She sucked at spitting.

 

"Can't even spit right? Ay dios mio! That's a bad look... Captain." A male voice behind them laughed.

 

She frowned and rolled her eyes. Her big-little idiot had arrived. Freaking Marco.

 

Randall jumped and turned to face the entrance of the alleyway; a new, taller teenager, about a year younger than her blocked their path. Dark hair shaved to a buzz cut, brown eyes, mole beside his nose, cocky grin smeared across his lips. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his shorts. He sported the same coat as Hazel; a cobalt leather jacket, the upper sleeves decorated with the number eleven in large turquoise stitching.

 

“He busted your ass,” Marco chuckled, tilting his head. “Sure you got this?”

 

"Don’t interfere," She commanded, making her way to the middle of the backstreet, her boots thumped dully against the concrete.

 

Her thin enemy peered back and forth between them, realizing he was trapped. He was strong though! Nothing could hurt him!

 

"You snakes think you can corner me?!" Randall growled, tightening his fists.

 

The drumming of her pulse had gotten louder. Exciting energy overwhelmed her, she could feel herself trembling. Almost too much energy to contain... Fractions of her aura left her body, causing steel dumpsters to rattle a little. Single strands of her hair peeled from messy clumps, floating above her shoulders.

 

“You took innocent lives and stole thousands of dollars. I won’t let you walk these neighborhoods any longer!” She spoke her resolve into existence.

 

"Oh you won’t?” Randall asked, licking his lips deviously. “Big talk coming from a skank… I'll take you both on and smash your skulls!"

 

With those words he lunged at Hazel first, bolting toward her using surprising speed, hollering like a demented patient at a mental institute. She smiled. Good. She needed him to attack her. Now she could stop him.

 

"Ooohh crap..." Marco quickly stepped to the edge of the side walk and raised his hands over his head, to give the signal, his fingers making swift movements.

 

In seconds Randall advanced on her, a mere foot away from her face, rearing his arm back, leaping into the air and preparing to strike.

 

"FORCE," Hazel said. "SIXTY MILES."

 

Accompanied by a tiny flick of her wrist, she announced her assault, releasing all of her pent up energy. Similar to a detonating bomb, her aura burst from her; an enormous crater impacted the ground, dust blanketed the area. Trash bags exploded, garbage flew everywhere. Heavy dumpsters crumbled and were flattened like wimpy soda cans. Brick walls of the apartments surrounding them caved in, destroying basement homes as if they were struck with a wrecking ball. Randall barely had any time to react, the immense power emanating from the young girl sent him hurtling into the rubble with a sickening crash; his bones snapped. He felt as though something heavier than a bus had fallen on him. He couldn’t move, not even yell from the excruciating pain that coursed through him. He didn’t experience it for long. In minutes of hitting the broken concrete he instantly passed out.

 

When the dust settled, the area of the alley near Hazel looked close to a warzone. Dogs were barking. Citizens living in the upper floors within the complex around her heard and felt the explosion. They rushed to their balconies, peeking over the safety rails; most shrieked out in horror, others stared on dumbfounded. What happened? No one had seen. The authorities were called.

 

“They said bring him in, not kill him,” Marco coughed upon approaching her, fanning the dirt clouds from his face.

 

“Shouldn’t have hit me.” She spat, doing an awful job yet again, bloody drool rolled down her chin.

 

“God you suck at that.”

 

“Shut up. Bit my tongue,” She replied flatly.

 

A cool afternoon breeze stung her swollen face and ruffled her soaked and putrid clothes, wafting the offending stench toward the young man. He plugged his nostrils, taking a few steps back from her.

 

“That’s not all,” He shook his head. “You smell like—”

 

“I said shut up!” Hazel snapped, cutting him off. He chuckled, enjoying her irritation.

 

The residents of the two small condominiums were starting to yell out questions. She glanced up at them, remaining silent. Protect the people. Keep a blanket over the city. That was their overall goal. While her team’s mission was to apprehend Randall quietly, she had no choice but to incapacitate him. Plus the dope deserved it! Her bosses wouldn’t be happy. She’d deal with it when they got back to headquarters. Sirens echoed in the distance. They needed to leave. Like five minutes ago.

 

“Just get the body.” She passed him, hurrying into the road of the tranquil block.

 

Well, not so peaceful anymore. Crowds were forming at the end of the street ahead of her and rushing to her current position. Where the heck was Mouse?! She thought. He was the final member of her crew. And he was late.

 

As if answering her question, a black van swerved around the bend from the opposite end behind her. Speeding the wrong way down the narrow road, the vehicle screeched to a halt some odd inches in front of her. In the driver’s window, she noticed his large afro first. Same age as Marco, eyes the color of almonds, the mocha skinned teenager wore a matching blue jacket; he poked his head out from the frame, his hands moving in rapid motions to communicate.

 

I saw smoke. What happened? He signed to her.

 

He punched me. That’s what happened. She signed back hotly, even pointing to her bruise, pulling the sliding door open. She stepped inside, Marco huffing at her heels, Randall draped over his shoulders. Hazel helped him slide the unconscious man onto a wheel-less stretcher, then he bolted over to the passenger door, right when the small populace encircled the van, shouting obscenities, punching, kicking, trying to tear their way in. Hazel scowled. Her team saves the day and what do they get? Their ride almost overturned. Once the captain had the target secure, Mouse stomped on the accelerator; the vehicle jetted off, causing the mob chasing them to dart out of its path.

 

Inside, sitting in the back to wallow in her own stink, Hazel leaned her head onto the wall, a little winded. Randall lay lifeless on the floor. She was looking forward to some relaxation before their next assignment. Maybe lunch. She honestly craved a shower. She felt disgusting. Her stench painfully brought her situation to awareness, yet Marco and Mouse decided to crack jokes on her regardless. She ignored the peanut gallery. The minute the afro-adolescent turned into one of the main streets; a deep male voice contacted them through the A.I.U. radio. Yellow lights were blinking on the device signaling to Mouse that they were receiving a call.

 

“Attention Squad eleven,” The voice spoke. “Status update.”

 

Marco picked the wired communicator. “Mission accomplished. Heading back to base to drop off target.”

 

“Copy that. They’ll be a shiny new package waiting. Red tape, level ten.”

 

Marco’s eyes widened, he looked over his shoulder to face Hazel, who rushed to stand between the seats of the two males. She relayed the message to Mouse, he tightened his grip on the steering wheel. Red tape? Level ten? That meant their next job was one issued by the president of organization herself, Miss Alice Sharper. Those kinds of roles were extremely dangerous and classified.  Given only to experienced units. She’d only been with her subordinates for a year… What was going on? She figured they’d find out soon enough. Guess she would have to take a rain check on that shower. She cringed, sniffing herself. Gross!

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