"Get down, get down!" Electra yelled, anger prominent in every syllable. "I said GET DOWN!"
The sound of gunfire poisoned the air, almost muting all other sounds. She looked around. Why didn't he get down?
Electra shot out a strong arm and grabbed the pants of a stout boy, but it was too late. A red spatter appeared on the back of his head and his body was thrown forward by such power that he travelled over two metres easily. Electra peeked her head out over her trench and looked at the shooter. A thrill passed through her body in recognition of the magnificent figure only metres away.
She ducked down and loaded a bullet into her gun, smoothly and swiftly, without even thinking about what she was doing- that's how natural it was becoming to her! Quickly she rolled to the side, pushed herself to her feet and charged towards her attacker. Electra watched as he aimed his gun, training it at her chest. She smiled cunningly and dodged sharply to her left, jumping into another strategically placed trench, just as the bullet was let fly.
Electra slumped to the ground breathing heavily from her aching chest, but she knew she must continue. She must complete her mission. Laying flat on the ground, her rifle across her arms, Electra crawled along the line of her trench, moving her position so as to confuse her attacker. After travelling this way for up to ten minutes, Electra had covered at least fifteen metres of ground. Slowly and soundlessly, even though the deafening gunfire still split the air, Electra glanced over the side. Her head was over the little mound for no long than one hundredth of a second, however that was all she needed.
Quickly she began forming a plan in her mind, as she was taught to do. Once the plan was formed, she double checked it for dangers and decided that they were sustainable. It is time to work, she thought to herself. Stealthily, Electra got into a crouch and ran the length of her trench, peeking over the edge to check on her opponent. He was starting to move forwards, thinking he was sneaking up on her. She sniggered. If only he knew!
With a bolt of speed she flew out from behind her protection and out into the open. She pelted along, only looking forward, ignoring all other sounds. Instinct told her immediately that the constant gunfire was not aiming at her but another group further to her left. Electra passed three more trenches briskly and sure-footedly, launching herself into the fourth one.
Still panting and slightly out of breath, Electra looked over at her male attacker again. He was almost at her previous spot. Electra watched as he paused and began to slowly position himself for the ambush. As he did this he turned his back on Electra and her new cover. She took her chance. Standing up to her full height she trained her rifle at the broad back.
"Gotcha", she whispered.
Electra pulled the trigger and a bullet whizzed out of the rifle with deadly and accurate aim. The man crumpled as the bullet hit him square in the back. Instantly Electra jumped to her feet and started running. Her path was clear. She flicked her eyes to the left and right as she ran, persistently checking the way.
Suddenly she saw it; her destination; and she gave herself a burst of speed. Her heart pounded loudly and her lungs were tightening but still she ran. It was with a cry of satisfaction and fulfilment she ripped the flagpole with the red flag attached to it out of the ground and waved it above her head.
Immediately the gunfire seized. Electra smiled slyly, waiting. Like she expected her tall and handsome attacker was the first one around the corner, grinning like a Cheshire cat.
"Looks like you beat me this time", he said, flexing his back muscles as if to tell her of the pain there.
"What is it now?" she asked cheekily. "20 to 17? I think I've beaten you in the last three rounds. Are you slipping behind on me?" She raised a thin, defined eyebrow.
He ran a hand over his spiky, closely cut hair before answering. "I'll beat you next time!"
Electra laughed, surveying the man of early twenties before her. His name was Darren. He was a head taller than her, which said something considering she was taller than the average girl, and he was stunningly handsome. With spiky brown hair, dark brown eyes, a strong chin and broad forehead he had a face that made all girls weak at the knees. He had a broad chest and was dressed in camouflage combat gear just like hers, with a rifle slung casually over his shoulder. Electra always found her eyes drawn to him, however now was not the time or the place.
Electra went to speak but a loud beeping noise from both hers and Darren's pagers sounded. Simultaneously they looked down.
"It's the Boss!"
Electra and Darren strode side by side down a long and wide tiled corridor, past many closed doors to one at the very end. The door was of rich oak, similar to all the other doors along this particular corridor, determining the high status of their occupants. This door, however, was the classiest of them all. A small one-way window at head height and gold engraving on the door were the other two things making the door different to the rest.
Darren moved his hand to the side and pressed the intercom button and waited. The pause was quite short before a grumbling male voice was heard.
"Come in Soldier Electra and Soldier Darren."
Electra, being the closest, opened the door with a twist of the handle. Together they entered, taking three long strides into the room, stopping at attention in front of a humungous oak desk, cluttered with papers and files. In the corner of the desk sat a highly advanced lab top, its screen in a security lock. Behind the desk sat a regal and highly decorated General, although he did not wear his uniform or medallions on normal days, only at special military occasions. Today, like every other normal day, he wore a black suite over a white dress shirt and tie. This mans name was General Hendry and he is the complete ruler of this facility. He had light brown hair, freckled with grey; a wrinkled and weather worn face; cloudy grey eyes; large, out-jutting forehead, thin, constantly pursed lips and straight, remarkably white teeth. They both saluted him.
"At ease soldiers." They changed their stance so as to be more relaxed. "That was a rather impressive move you made out there, Electra. You moved cunningly and constructively, and you reached your objective in record time, however, you seemed to have lost your partner. You know that you were all supposed to work in pairs. What happened soldier?"
Electra turned her sparkling, crystal-like blue eyes to met his. "Permission to speak freely." He nodded. "Marks is an imbecile; he might be a good strategic planner but he is not fit to be out in the field. His position is more suited to a desk job. I expressly told him to stay low and what does he do? He stands in the middle of firing range. Basically there was nothing I could do. He would not listen to me and he had an expert shooter lining him up. It was all over before it began."
General Hendry nodded, a little smile playing on his lips. "Thankyou for that soldier. It confirmed my conclusion of Marks. A desk job is definitely more suitable. Once again, congratulations on your fine performance of skills and training." He turned to Darren. "You also did a supreme job. Besides from being beaten, you show excellent accuracy and good intuition."
Darren nodded. "Thankyou Sir."
General Hendry picked up a pen from his desk and looked away from them, signalling the end of the conversation. Instantly they both jumped to attention, saluting their superior. Then with a turn they both strode over and out the door.
Outside in the corridor, Electra let herself relax just a little. She felt Darren do the same beside her. She looked to him and smiled. He returned it and slowly they both moved closer together until their hands brushed along side one another's. Electra's body shivered in longing. It had been so long since they had been alone in private. They walked that way together until they were out of the building.
Electra stopped just inside the car park. "Can I see you tonight?" she whispered.
"I'll be over at one", Darren whispered in return, his eyes lighting up.
It was with a brisk nod and smile that the two departed; Electra heading to her jeep and Darren to his.
General Hendry turned away from the image of Electra and Darren that the security camera was transmitting to his computer. He sighed. Their love for each other grows stronger everyday.
"This may cause a problem", he mumbled to himself.
Electra pulled up in the residential area of the base camp. The base camp is a large institution that covers over twenty hectares and is divided up into different sections. Near the entrance, which is guarded by six guards and a computerised fence, it has a reception building and two supply shops, containing everything you would ever need; practically giving you no reason to leave the base. Then to either side are residential areas for the higher ranks and anyone who was here voluntarily; free to come and go whenever they want. Past those houses are the housing buildings of all soldiers. There were some small, slightly bigger than apartment, type houses for those that have earned the right to live in them and then, for the rest, there are one block apartments; usually cramped and unappealing. The residential houses for the soldiers are spilt up into sexes, with the males to the left and the females to the right, a road dividing them.
In the very centre of the base is the command building, housing the offices of the most important and high ranking officials. It is also home to certain spy and so forth departments, of which very little is known. All plans and information is co-ordinated there and it is from there that soldiers like Electra were given mission objectives. Behind the command building is the training grounds and the like. Areas where missions and objectives, which could be played out in variable situations, littered the ground.
Electra sighed and pushed open the door to her army jeep, tired yet contented. She had had a good day. She had completed a task successfully, receiving good praise from the Boss and also managed to schedule a date with Darren. It was with those happy thoughts in her head that Electra opened the little gate to her small apartment-like house and walked up the steps to her door. Electra was lucky to have her own place and it was one of the nicer homes that she could attain. She slipped her key into the lock and hurried inside.
Her front door entered into a short hallway with a reasonably large lounge room off to the left a little and a door to the right. The walls were a light crème colour on all sides except for on the right where it was large concrete sandstone blocks. Two light blue leather armchairs and a long three seater couch were positioned around a big colour television in the left corner on the same side of the room as the door. The thick carpet in the lounge room was a dull, light grey that stopped before the tiled hallway.
Electra kicked off her shoes and dropped her keys on a small table by the door. Slowly she padded down the hallway past another closed door into the kitchen. The white tiles were cold under her feet as she passed the oven and the refrigerator on the left and right respectively, to be enclosed by the marble kitchen bench top that was like a U-shape, the only entrance and exit being out into the hallway. Straight ahead of her was the stainless steel sink with two basins. She lent over into the corner and flicked the jug on before pulling out a cup and the coffee.
After making herself a coffee, Electra exited the kitchen and walked onwards through the small dinning room. A small circular table made of lightweight wood sat in the rather bare room on the still tiled floor with four cushioned wooden chairs around it. Two tall stools were tucked under the bench next to the second phone. Electra continued on to a door at the very end of the house. Here she pulled off her toe-tags from her around her neck and inserted one into the slot of the lock. There was a buzz and the door popped ajar. Electra entered quickly, remembering to shut the door behind her.
She had entered into her office. It was a small but orderly room. On the left, just out from the door, against the wall, was a chipboard desk with melamine coating. A small lab top like General Hendry's sat on her desk, currently turned off and another phone and answering machine. Books of all sorts lined the right-hand sidewall ranging from weaponry to history. On the very far wall, opposite the door were a filing cabinet and a safe side by side. Electra strode over to the answering machine. It read no messages. She let out a sigh of relief and left the room, making sure it was securely closed. All of her most important data was housed in that one room.
Sipping her coffee, Electra walked back down the hallway to the door just past the kitchen; second door from the front door. This door opened into her bathroom. Once again the room was small and tiled with white tiles, however no expense had been spared on the facilities. A large, deep bathtub ran almost the length of the left wall only stopping for the shower at the very end. Next to that were the basin and then the toilet. Electra walked over to the bath and started running the water, remembering to add the bubble bath this time.
Electra placed her coffee on the bathroom bench top and turned to look in the mirror. She studied her appearance. Her long blonde hair was pulled back into a thick braid that ended in the middle of her back. It was unusual for a soldier to have such long hair but Electra was no ordinary soldier. She was the best. Electra untied her hair from the braid and let it fall casually around her shoulders, framing her nicely tanned, olive face. With high cheekbones, full pouting lips, bright, twinkling blue eyes and a small petite nose most considered her to be almost perfect. The only downside to her very feminine appearance was the regulatory army clothes and the mud that almost always tainted her beautiful face because of her training.
She turned off the water, got undressed from her dirty clothes and slipped into the bath, grabbing her warm coffee. The steam rising off the bath and the rich aroma of her coffee wrapped around her and Electra sunk deeper into the bath. She began to think about how she had arrived here. It was not really by choice. She was born into a rather poor family, her mother struggling with depression and her father a strong alcoholic, drunk 24/7. When an important military official and a child services lady turned up on their doorstep, offering a lot of money for her, her parents did not even think twice. They just handed her over.
Electra was not really upset about the arrangement. The people here treated her well and she was given the best schooling she could ever have expected to receive. She lived with five other girls, Lisa, Celeste, Melinda, Zoe and Jade; now her best friends. She sighed remembering the mischief that they used to get up to. As she started to reach her teenage years they began training her in the military ways. At first she was unsure about their real intentions for her but General Hendry assured all of her qualms. She had been a bright child and that is why they had picked her.
Now she works for the American Government, regularly attending undercover missions. It is because of those undercover missions that she must now stay at the base and never leave it without permission. She cannot let anyone see her, in case they recognise her there or in the future. However, that did not bother her as much as she had thought it would. Sure some days it would bug her more than normal, but everyone she loved and needs is right here, in this very base. There was nothing for her out there. Plus this way she was helping her country.
Electra sighed and opened her eyes. She glanced at her watch on the bathroom bench top. 7:30. Was that the time? She had been in the bath for almost two hours. Quickly Electra jumped out of the bath, wrapping a fluffy, white bath towel around her slender body. After drying herself sufficiently, Electra traded the bath towel for an equally fluffy dressing gown. Electra padded out of the bathroom fully at ease and wondered back into the kitchen. Dumping her coffee cup in the dishwasher, Electra grabbed a microwave lasagne from the fridge and bunged it in the microwave, setting it going.
A couple of minutes later the microwave dinged and Electra removed her dinner; she had never been much of a cook. With that in hand she trudged down to her bedroom, the room next to the front door. She entered her cosy little bedroom with a large double bed opposite the door, in the centre of the room and the same grey carpet as the lounge room. A mirrored, sliding, two-door wardrobe was to the right of her door. Electra walked over to her bed and plopped onto it. Slipping under the covers, still in her dressing gown, she began to eat her microwave dinner.
She had just finished her meal when the phone rang. Electra jumped out of bed and ran to the phone, praying that it was not the General or someone else telling her she was needed. She picked up the receiver.
"Hey baby. Just calling to check that we're still on for tonight", Darren said huskily.
"Of course", Electra replied, a giant smile emerging.
"Good, I'll see you then." And with that he hung up.
Electra hung up giggling like a little school girl. She did a little jump of joy and then ran down to her room. Once again she snuggled into bed, but this time she set her alarm for 12:30. That should give me enough time to prepare before Darren arrives, she thought. Swiftly sleep enveloped her.
General Hendry sat in his office, still brooding over the situation of Electra and Darren. He sighed. He had to make a hard decision and he was not too happy about it. This relationship could not continue. Normally he would just transfer one of them, but he could not now. All the other bases were closing their programs down, setting all of their soldiers free and even if he could convince a base that was not doing that to take one, they did not have the space to accommodate them.
He rubbed his forehead exhaustedly and began to contemplate the other option. It was not one that he wanted to look at, but what choice did he have? He could not let the other one live out there in the world.
Hendry lent over to his phone and pressed number 8 on his speed dial. The line picked up and a female voice answered.
"Margaret, it's General Hendry here, get me Celeste Jones on the line please", he said briskly.
The line went quiet for a second and then another ringing tone began again. Once more the phone was answered rather quickly by another female voice. However this voice was riddled with sleep.
"You've got Jade here."
"Jade, this is General Hendry, can you put Celeste on the phone?"
Suddenly wide awake, Jade replied sounding more like the soldier that she is. "Yes sir."
There was a brief pause as Hendry waited for Celeste to come to the phone. All the while he was beating himself up over what he was about to do.
"Hello sir. What is it that I can do for you?"
Hendry smiled. She was always trying to please, almost putting her morals aside to climb the ladder. He had definitely made the right choice in choosing her for the job.
"I need you to come to my office."
"Yes, now!" he said, slightly exasperated.
"Sorry, yes sir."
General Hendry put down the phone and waited.
Celeste arrived at his office in a little over ten minutes. He omitted her and she stood in front of his desk. Hendry surveyed the soldier before him.
She was of average height for her age, although a little on the plump side around her thighs. Her body was very muscular and the black track pants and grey, baggy jumper that she was wearing further defined her masculine side. She had dark reddish-brown hair cut in a bob and opulent, chocolate brown eyes against rather dark skin. Celeste stood patiently waiting for him to speak.
"How has your training been going soldier?" he asked, avoiding the reason he brought her here.
Celeste was a little caught off guard by the simple nature of the question. "Well, it has been going rather well. I'm keeping up with the program and completing most tasks above average."
"Good, good", he mutter distractedly.
Celeste cleared her throat. "Permission to speak freely, sir." He nodded. "Sir, I'm sure that you didn't drag me down her at 8 o'clock to ask me about my training. What is it that you want of me?"
He sighed, feeling as if the burden of this problem was squashing him. "Celeste, I'm going to ask a favour of you that will test you loyalty to your country against you loyalty to your friends." He had her attention now. "One of your friends is seeing a guy that is dangerous to her. He is a traitor to his country and to her. He has been seen commuting with Russian terrorists and he has also been sleeping with several important soldiers, in order to get to their information." Hendry registered with disgrace in himself, the look of anger creeping into Celeste's features. "What I want you to do is take out this traitor, quickly and quietly, without your friend's or anyone else's knowledge. I don't care if you have to wait a while before you can do the job, so long as you don't make any mistakes."
Celeste nodded. "Can you inform me of which friend of mine he is seeing?"
"Yes. It is Electra Mitchell."
Her mouth dropped open. "So you're saying that the traitor is."
Celeste looked uncertain. "I don't know if I can do that sir. Are you sure that he is a traitor?"
"Yes. I am absolutely positive. This is your big chance Celeste to make something more of yourself. If you complete this task without complication you can be assured a higher rank." General Hendry watched in disgust as a glow erupted behind Celeste's eyes. "What do you say soldier?"
"I will protect my friend and the world from this criminal", she replied sternly.
Hendry nodded, knowing he had her hook, line and sinker. "You are excused." She turned to leave. "Don't forget. This is between us and no one else." Celeste nodded before exiting the room.
Hendry sighed. He had just lied to a soldier, turning her against her friend, feeding on her emotions and wants. His head dropped. He had just lost a good soldier, but then again, he had saved another. Hendry watched Celeste leaving the building on the security camera. He pitied her. She was leaving on what she believed was a mission to rid her friend and country of an enemy. She could never be so wrong.