A/N: Okay. Hi people. This story was on temporary hiatus, and now I've taken to rewriting this. The first few chapters or so are just rewrites of what was previously posted, and from then on the story will continue! There are slight plot changes and a development in my writing, but at this point I doubt that the tweaks will affect the readers understanding of the story. I hope you enjoy, and please review or PM me if you have any comments/problems with the story
Special thanks to my beta, the amazing Fate's Silver Chain. Check out their stories, seriously!
As the burnt orange sun shone on the Welsh mountains, a silver Jeep sped through the winding roads, shadows tangling in those of the trees as the sun descended to match their level. Inside the fast moving vehicle sat 4 muscled, battle worn men- soldiers of the SAS to be exact.
This Unit consisted of Wolf, Snake, Eagle and Fox, all between the ages of 25 – 30. The Unit also included a minor, though fully operational and trained, 15 year old boy; know by the names of Alex Rider and Cub.
This complicated Unit were driven by their Unit leader Wolf as they left what some referred to as hell, what was officially referred to as an SAS training camp Brecon Beacons. The 5 had just been through a month's refresher training, finalising their course with a 5 day survival hike through the mountains.
To say they were tired would be a slight understatement, however well they hid it.
Whilst Wolf drove in his subdued world, Snake sat in the passenger seat, eyes closed and enjoying the heat from the boiling sun through a closed window, as no one had a temper short enough for the loud noise of the road at the current time. Being the medic, he had a longer temper span than most, but after sharing close corners with his Unit, and admittedly best friends, he was at his wits end. Especially with Eagle.
Eagle was what most could refer to as the moral of the team, if Cub didn't count during his rare spouts of childishness. Said man sat to the right of Cub, in the middle of a thumb war with the other closest man to being a child: Fox. As Cub sat in the middle, they were leaning over the poor young teen.
It didn't make Alex uncomfortable anymore, being close to K-Unit, but that didn't mean he particularly liked it. Sometimes people had called him a mastermind; maybe he was, and after all, the plans of revenge he had formed, shuffling through his mind, were certainly worthy of that. He had no doubt Eagle would look funny dressed as a giant lobster. The slightest of a smirk flittered across his face as he gazed aimlessly out of the window.
It was as he switched his mind back to watching the shadows that he saw it; a rough outline of a human shadow, in the edge of the trees, barely noticeable as it blended with the tall, casting shadows. It could just be a coincidence, to look the same as a human shadow. Alex never saw things the way normal people saw things. Where there was co-incidence, he saw conspiracy.
But there was no one there, at least, not visible to the naked eye.
"Wolf, slow down," he ordered, curiosity and suspicion ruling his decisions. His tone was hard, with an undercurrent of authority that Wolf did not dare ignore. The speed dipped from 60 mph to 20 mph in the seconds following.
Fox and Eagle immediately stopped their childish game and Snake opened his eyes, following Cub's sharp gaze out of the window, to the fringe of the tall oaks.
Senses on over-drive, he watched, frozen. Maybe it was just a hiker-
Again! He was sure he saw it again, only this time there was a flash, a glint of silver. Someone was watching them from the cover of the trees, more than one person, and they didn't want to be seen. If Alex hadn't had been who he was, he was certain that he would not have spotted the fast fading person. K-unit certainly didn't.
Beside him, Fox caught onto Alex's rigid form and darting, serious brown eyes. He recognized this Cub. This was the Cub he met in Australia. This was an aware, alert and above it all, more-so-than-normal serious Cub.
Eagle too watched out the window like a hawk, though in the corner of his mind his eyes followed Cub's hand as it absentmindedly slid down to his waist line, where he knew that the teenage spy kept his gun in its holster. It was then that he knew Alex was serious.
Twisting round, Snake communicated, confused but serious, with the teen. "What is it?" he asked sharply.
"There was someone in the forest watching us. More than one. They've been on our tail for a while."
His tone was cold and calculating, which startled the Unit members in the front slightly. They knew as they watched him that they had no idea of the severity of this. This was Cub's element.
They knew that. Because they knew that tone; that was what Eagle referred to as his 'spy tone'. The tone that screamed danger. They drew their guns, Alex following suit.
The spy was staring out the window, Gun ready, watching everywhere, listening in on everything, his senses were reeling. Then he opened the window. No one argued because Cub knew what he was doing. K-unit were almost scared of him. One minute he was a normal teenager acting like a child, and the next minute he was a ticking spy bomb, ready to explode into action.
"How many are there Cub?" Wolf asked, the tactical part of his mind taking over.
"I've seen 2 already. Undoubtedly there will be more, and a form of transport," Alex's reply was quite blunt, his answer automatic. The boy's skills amazed Snake, who hadn't even seen anyone yet. The skill's that the boy possessed fascinated Snake, who'd taken a GCSE course of psychology. That had certainly not covered teenage-spies-brains.
"Do you know who they are?" Eagle asked warily. He knew that Cub knew of all the known criminal organisations, how they operated, signs of who belonged to who, etc.
"No, I—"he took in a sharp breath, pausing in mid-sentence, which made the men jump, already on high alert.
"It's-"he stopped himself from speaking for moments, eyes darting at alarming speed from shadow to shadow. K-Unit had now seen glimpses of shadows, but Alex saw lots of operatives now.
"No! It can't be; they said they'd leave me alone for fucks sake!" Cub's almost complaining, emotional, tone alarmed them, because he sounded…scared. They had never heard Cub sound scared. Never. It just wasn't an emotion they had ever associated with the confident, skilled, wary child.
Fox laid a hand on Alex's shoulder, which made him jump and reel around at lightning speed, his hand on Fox's wrist, ready to break the bone. Immediately, his hand fell from his hold as he realised it was just Fox. Scorpia couldn't reach him in there.
His deep brown eyes were wide like a child's for once, and yes, certainly scared.
"Who is it Alex?" he asked softly.
"Scorpia Ben." They froze.
Wolf was a very protective, defensive man of his possessions, of his friends and family, and certainly of his Unit, Cub included. So when he spoke, though he was purely being protective, he sounded angry, furious even.
"Damn it Cub, why do Scorpia want you? What the fuck have you done to do with Scorpia?" Wolf shouted, unable to help himself.
"Classified Wolf, you know that as well as I do." Cub responded immediately, face void of emotion, his eyes in pain. He wanted to tell the men he now respected how he had done his part; protected the country as well as they had. Without that, he had always feared they would think of him as a weakling, as some big shot who didn't deserve to train with the SAS, like they did the last time he had visited.
Alex didn't know enough about relationships between comrades to know when friends got past that point. He hoped that they never thought of him that way again, because they were the closest thing he had right now. And probably ever.
All 4 had fully prepared arguments for Cub's response, but they never got a chance.
Suddenly, a sharp metallic ping cut through their thoughts, all, apart from Wolf, turning instinctively to the back of the vehicle, where the sound had come from. It had sounded like a-
"We're being chased and shot at!" Eagle exclaimed, Alex nodding gravely beside him. They had no chance to think before another bullet struck the metal body of the car, then another, shattering the back windscreen.
The three passengers of the back seat ducked down, whilst Snake and Wolf were protected with the back of their chairs. "Shit. Snake, call MI6, or SAS!" Alex shouted as he peaked over the top of his cover, before immediately ducking as a bullet sliced the air where his blonde head had been only moments before. The front windscreen was now shattered.
"Affirmative!" Snake shouted over the noise.
Eagle, Fox and Cub started shooting at the van that now gave chase to them, aiming for the driver and passenger, clad in black clothing and sunglasses. The screen of their van was tinted, and they seemed to just melt into the seats, making shooting them harder, but not impossible. A gun war was soon engaged, both shooting at the weakest defences; the windows, the passengers and the tires. Their Jeep was fine, it had specialist bullet proof mudguards, and it seemed the Scorpia van too had its own defences.
Wolf had his foot flat on the medal, going well over 150mph, which he knew was dangerous considering his back passengers were not wearing the seatbelts; it restricted movements, but it wasn't like they had much choice.
Snake radioed in, calling for not only back up, but help.
For some reason, the van pursuing them stopped, seemingly leaving them alone, which they were grateful for as they were running low on ammo. Never the less, the three kept their guns ready for the next attack, facing behind them, crouched on their knees.
It all happened very quickly then.
As Wolf sped round the next corner, there was another van, parked in the middle of the road, blocking it completely. A man leant cockily against the side of it, Scorpia logo above his heart and a gun in his hand. The leader of K-unit had no time to swerve, only hitting his foot on the break. As the car skidded, out of Wolf's control, the man with the van shot a single shot, only taking a second to aim and fire. A man trained in the art of shooting.
The car immediately swerved straight to the right as the front right tire blew itself out; the silver 4x4 sent straight down a small hill, colliding with a large oak tree.
Smoke billowed from the front of the car, from the engine. Slumped against the air bag, Wolf sat, unconscious, blood trickling slowly from his forehead where he had hit his head on the steering wheel; before the large air bag had exploded into life.
Dazed, Snake lay back in his seat, uncomfortable with the strong airbag and seatbelt holding him in place whilst silence rung through the valley. All he could hear was the ringing in his ears.
Both Eagle and Fox had too been lucky. The soldiers had been thrown forwards, colliding with the chairs, before being slung backwards, bouncing off the chairs. Though slightly winded, they fared better than Wolf, and Cub, not that they knew that at that point.
Easily the most vulnerable, and the youngest, Alex had been in the middle without a seatbelt. The force of the impact had thrown him through the centre, out of the window, sending him straight into the tree, effectively knocking him out, before his body had dropped to the bonnet, where he now lay.
30 seconds went by in their silence before Snake started to recover from the shock, instantly going into his role of medic, and second-in-command considering Wolf was currently out of action.
"Status report!" he shouted, slowly pulling out a penknife and slashing the airbag to release the pressure. He unclipped his belt as soon as he could breathe properly. Coughs were heard from the back seat.
"Eagle reporting. Hit my head and winded but otherwise unharmed."
"Fox reporting. Winded, bruised but okay."
"Snake reporting. Fucking headache, winded and maybe a bruised rib but okay."
Silence. That was it.
What about Cub? Quickly he stabbed at Wolf's airbag, deflating the white balloon, before checking Wolf's pulse- which was fast but loud; he was going to be okay. Of course he was going to be okay, Wolf was always okay. He was headstrong, silent and deadly, protective, defensive and loving. If Wolf wasn't okay and breathing, then there certainly was something wrong with their dark and troubling world. Wolf was a survivor, and if Wolf was okay, then Cub was okay. Right?
"Cub, where are you?"
The question they all held was voiced by Eagle, though the man may have a slight concussion for actually asking it. If Cub was ok, then he would have replied to Snake's call, or shouted for them. The spy would definitely have heard them moving.
Fox and Eagle smashed their windows with the bunt of their guns, placing their jackets over where the windows were, careful to not get any glass in their hands or any of their body as they slithered out, grateful for the fast fading light.
Whilst Fox smashed Snake's window, Eagle destroyed Wolf's. Though it was difficult, they worked together as a team, quickly and effectively as possible, to get their leader out of the car. The doors wouldn't open, as the smash had crumpled them. In only minutes, all 4 were out of the car; Wolf was lain on the ground in the recovery position, Fox on guard, whilst Snake and Eagle searched for their Cub.
Immediately, Snake ran to the point where Alex was most likely to be; the front of the car. Theoretically, like what had happened to all of them, the force would have thrown him forward, towards the hood of the jeep, where the smoke was.
Realisation hit him.
"Eagle! Quick come over here, I know where Cub is!" He shouted as he ran his hand through his curly black hair, as he always did when he was nervous, or put in a situation where someone's life would be at risk.
They ran over to the front, to stand beside the tree and observe the damage. Surely, Cub's body dangled at an odd angle, half against the tree, and half on the hood of the car. They crouched to avoid the smoke, which was becoming dangerously more prominent by the second.
"Eagle, we're gonna slide him off, then take him back to the clearing, got it?" Snake ordered, waiting only seconds for Eagle's nod before heading forwards, the other man on his heel.
Swiftly, they moved forward. Eagle gently grasped Cub's narrow shoulders and pulled him down, towards his position on the floor. Snake then took hold of his legs and together they carried him slowly back towards Fox and Wolf. Fox visibly sighed in relief as they laid the young, unconscious boy on the floor beside their still-unconscious leader.
The boy's hair was streaked red, highly visible in the blonde, as was his face evidently cut, the blood not looking good on his lightly tanned skin. The medic crouched beside him and felt for a pulse, very relieved when he felt the loud, fast beating on his fingers, before going on to check for injuries.
"His wrist is broken, but not badly, and he's got a few broken ribs. He'll have a concussion, and is more likely than not to suffer from minor blood loss," Snake stated, sinking to the floor beside his youngest patient.
Eagle and Fox stood, on guard and waiting for an attack- any sign of movement. Scorpia had known that they were coming, shot at them and made them crash their car. K-unit were very aware of their vulnerable position. They had their guns drawn, but only Snake had bullets left in his unused pistol.
A single shot echoed around the silent forest area, sending the SAS men to their feet, guns drawn, regardless of ammo or not. Around them, 30 figures came from every angle, guns drawn, encircling the unit. Not only were they badly outnumbered, but they had no ammo and 2 members to protect.
They were trapped. And the worst thing was that each figure had a silver scorpion on their chest, glittering in the fading light.
Scorpia were out for revenge.
And they were going to get it.