You guys are the best readers ever! Thanks for all the reviews.
I've finished the school year now so that's good. I'm really sorry for the long update time but I was quite busy (little voice in the back of Burnt-rose15 's head yells out 'doing nothing!"). I'll try to update faster next time.
Thanks so much to all my loyal readers who don't abandon reading my story even with the long update time. You guys make me so happy!
Since it's nearly Christmas and I probably won't update before Christmas, I want to wish all my readers (and everyone else in the world) a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I love Christmas so I'm going to make it my goal to make this Christmas the best one ever for everyone. This means that I want all my readers to help me. Christmas is about spending time with the people you love and giving to others so spread the Christmas Cheer around please.
For those who don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Hanukah/whatever you celebrate too! Oh, and a Happy belated Thanksgiving (though I don't celebrate it since I'm Australian).
So on to the story now peoples!
DISCLAIMER: Dear people of the world,
Unless Robert Muchamore and Anthony Horrowitz give me the rights over the CHERUB series and the Alex Rider series, I will take away (insert whatever makes you happy here) from the world.
Alex wasn't even trying as her ran through the finish line of the CHERUB assault course. Three of the four CHERUB agents, two CIA agents and Zara Asker were staring dumbfounded from a viewing platform a hundred metres away from the course. The weird looking one, Bruce, was banging his head on the ipad that was showing Alex's time for the assault course, hoping that the number that was being showed by the screen was all a hallucination or a computer glitch. Alex didn't think that it was fair.
Here he was, being subjected to 43.69 seconds of absolute boredom while the others were allowed to watch and marvel at his amazing physical feats.
After having read the mission briefing, Alex and the other agents had been taken to an assault course to begin his tests. Throughout the very short journey there, he had been bombarded with 'encouraging' words from James that made Alex want to throw him out of the buggy they were riding on and run over him (though it still may not shut him up).
"You know Alex; the CHERUB tests are very challenging. Nobody in the history of CHERUB ever got full marks or passed every single part of it completely. The test is even hard for adults. I know you're MI6 and all, but it's okay if you find it difficult because it really is difficult. Just try your best okay?"
Right there and then, Alex was tempted to slap him.
Slowing down into a brisk walk, Alex swaggered cockily over to where the others were watching him, an annoyingly cheeky grin on his face. To add even more insult to CHERUB's tests Alex just had to open his mouth and start talking.
"Sorry that I took so long everyone. I wasn't really trying very hard since it was only warm up and all. I even slowed down because I got a bit bored towards the end. You probably use this course to test your younger ones right…..um…..what you call red shirts? So where's the real assault course?"
Alex was still grinning half an hour later with Bruce hitting his head with the ipad for a further ten.
The rest of the tests came and went and it wasn't even lunch when Alex stepped out of the exam room building into the sun with a great satisfaction in knowing that he had successfully proven to the CHERUBs (and probably the CIA too) in his, and MI6's superiority. He did a couple of cartwheels on the wet grass while reflecting on some of the tests that he had to do today.
After the assault course, he had been made to spar with Bruce who was amazingly the CHERUB's best fighter. Alex made a show of disproving Bruce's ability by having him on the ground in less than ten seconds. He swore that he saw tears in Bruce's eyes as they shook hands and the snap of something bring broken in half by someone (probably James). Next, he had to murder a live chicken with a pen on Zara's table. Alex thought about doing it for a second before exiting Zara's office and wandering the campus. It took the CHERUBs about three hours to locate him and 'persuade him' to return for the other tests. The final test was an exam. Alex, having being forced by Jack to attend extra tutoring, found the exam ridiculously easy. He had written a 13-page essay on 'the perception of superiority some people and the effects that they have on the person's performance and lives.' He had also been asked (ordered) by Blunt to learn a couple more languages by MI6 (a couple being five in MI6's world) so the foreign language section of the test was easy (he was pretty sure that none of the CHERUBs, both staff and agents, understood Farsi).
Alex was confident that the CHERUBs would find his tests adequately passed.
"I don't understand! This is a boy who is much younger than the rest of the agents he is working with and yet, his ability surpasses them all- by a lot."
Zara asker had called an emergency staff meeting and for the last couple of minutes, been ranting on about the unbelievable ability of MI6's child spy.
"Zara, please calm down!"
Meryl Spencer was probably the only CHERUB staff member not border-line hysterical at finding out that their CHERUB agent pupils are inferior to MI6's single teenage spy. She was quite upset, but was attempting not to show it; hopefully, she would be able to set an example for the others.
"Just give him a couple of days with me Zara. I'll be sure to make him crack. Nobody has ever gone through Basic Training without finding it difficult."
Mr Pike did not believe a single word that was coming out of Zara's mouth. He had gotten to the point where he was considering the possibility that Zara's food or drink had been spiked by that bastard of an agent with hallucinogens that were making her hallucinate his feats.
"That's very nice of you Mr Pike, but Agent Rider is needed for a mission in a couple of days. No more tests are needed for him. The same goes for everyone here. No teacher or instructor is to challenge or test Agent Rider. We cannot afford to lose him because some hot-headed teacher wanted to prove that their teaching skills are good."
Zara took a deep breath.
"Now on to some happier news; I'm sure most of you will have heard that former agent and current mission controller…"
Alex was stabbing an extremely tough steak with his knife as a large group of giggling CHERUB girls approached him. Unsurprisingly James, the ladies' man, was the first one to talk.
"How are you going ladies? Have you done something to your hair? You look hotter than usual."
James smirked and attempted a smoulder before getting his face planted on the floor by a comparatively large girl with an excellent high kick.
"Shut up James!" The apparent leader, a tall blonde girl yelled. "We were coming here to talk to Alex."
She pouted and batted her eyelids in a failed attempt to try and flirt with Alex and look sexy.
"Hey handsome…heard that you're some kind of superspy from MI6 right? Well, we were wondering whether you would like to do a demonstration for us. A private demonstration…"
Alex looked at her as if she had just insulted his pride and stole it, and skewered it over a fire of douchbaggery. He got up so he was looking down at her before proceeding to insult her back.
"No thanks. I prefer my women pretty. If you don't mind, could you ladies please leave? You are ladies right…thank God! I was beginning to doubt your femineity after seeing that moustache. God! It's even thicker than mine….especially yours" he said as he pointed at the leader. She immediately felt extremely self-conscious and covered her lips with her hand.
"Anyway, I want to get back to stabbing this terrible piece of steak. Good bye!"
And with that, Alex turned his back on the group of girls and began laughing his head off at the recently embarrassed James along with everyone else on the table.
Fred Jameson sat back in his custom made Francesco Tratorini Italian leather chair as he observed the video recording of the arrivals hall in Los Angeles International Airport. A rather large, mismatched family was lugging their baggage through the crowd while the obvious father figure was talking on a phone.
The family consisted of two parents, two blonde boys, two dark haired boys and a dark haired girl. The children looked around the same age except the clearly younger blond boy.
Jameson spat into his bin (3 metres away) with incredible precision. Effortless considering the spitting accuracy competitions he had entered as a child. He came first place in a state spitting contest and second at nationals- just behind winner, and world champion spitter, Johnny Kemberson. He couldn't believe how gullible the CIA thought he was. He recognised the two parentals in the video automatically as agents Wilson Burwell and Serena Holloway. They hadn't even changed their appearances one bit. Whoever wrote the textbook 'Hiding in Plain Sight' by Christopher Collins was an idiot.
Fred wasn't quite sure however, about the children they were with. They looked quite organised and probably aware of the conditions of the mission they are helping undertake. He didn't know of any child spy organisations or any organisations that recruit children. However, he had a strange feeling about those children. There was something off about them.
Fred knew that he should inform the SCORPIA board members about the arrival of the CIA agents. However, this was his assignment. He wasn't going to let some moody, self-absorbed, old, amateurish SCORPIA members ruin this. He was going to prove to them that he was better than them.
At the exact time that Fredrick Jameson decided against informing the board members of SCORPIA about the arrival of the CIA agents, they, the board members of SCORPIA were holding their own private meeting about the matter. Several recordings were being played simultaneously on the hundreds of plasma televisions that lined the walls and even the door.
The biggest television was showing Fredrick Jameson dancing in his office (thankfully in private) while watching a recording of the Los Angeles International airport's security tape from earlier in the morning. The televisions on the opposite wall were showing the airport security tape, zoomed in on a clearly stressed family with a misfit-looking bunch of children.
Unlike the big-mouthed Fredrick Jameson and his embarrassment of an organisation, Help Earth, SCORPIA knew exactly who the family members were. SCORPIA had known for years about the existence of CHERUB. Even one of their own agents had defected to the winning side and became an assassin for SCORPIA. That assassin was recently killed off after all the information he had about CHERUB had been given away. The two parents were CIA agents, as Fredrick Jameson had noted earlier. Their identities were not well concealed. You could even look them up on Google and find their Facebook profiles.
It was the smallest child in the family who was most peculiar. SCORPIA of course, knew who exactly he was. Although his face had been surgically altered, it wasn't rocket science to figure out who he was- that it, if you were from SCORPIA. Alex Rider; the name was tabooed in the SCORPIA society. Before the fateful Invisible Sword project, SCORPIA was a named feared and respected throughout the world. They were unstoppable, ruthless and after Invisible Sword, humiliated. The stupid MI6 agent had killed of Agent Nile, stopped Invisible Sword in its tracks, and killed Mrs Rothman- or so MI6 and the rest of the world thinks.
Thanks to the author SCORPIA commissioned, Anthony Horrowitz, the world now thinks that the whole Invisible Sword affair was fiction. SCORPIA did not want people to find out about their failure and instead, invested into making themselves, and their 'project' part of the world of the imagination. The biggest need for fictionalising their image was the fact that SCORPIA needed to hide the fact that Mrs Rothman didn't perish that fateful day when invisible sword was foiled. The woman who was crushed by the hot air balloon was a real bag lady whom SCORPIA arranged to walk there just as the hot air balloon was going to crash down.
Mrs Julia Charlotte Glenys Rothman was sitting at the head of the table, her eyes zeroed in on the video of Alex Rider. The unquenchable thirst for revenge ravaged her eyes as she followed Alex's ever movement on screen. Mrs Rothman hated Alex more than he hated happy people or losing, or even puppies. That boy had caused them more trouble than anything else. Sure he was useful and had enormous potential, but she wanted him to die. She wanted to rid his ugly face from this Earth. She had already gotten rid of Julius Grief, since he had Alex face, and quite enjoyed torturing him and making him beg before shooting him (in multiple places), but it didn't give the same satisfaction as she knew she would have by killing the real Alex.
Unfortunately, the rest of the board members didn't have the same plans for Alex. While Mrs Rothman was obsessed with revenge, they were obsessed with opportunity. SCORPIA saw Alex's talent through his annoyingness and plotted to use it to their advantage. They were planning to use Alex to destroy Help Earth. The stupid organisation had had enough time playing the ultimate bad guy. It was time they returned to their natural place- a smoking pile of rubble and garbage that even rats turn up their noses at. SCORPIA will help make Alex's mission a success and in the process, destroy Help Earth. Maybe in the end, they will try to recruit him again. No matter what, SCORPIA knew its goal. It needed to destroy Help Earth.
Alex was dying from over exposure to stupid think-they-are-so-amazing CHERUBS by the time the 'family' arrived at their new Los Angeles house; or should Alex have said, mansion. The Johnson family, as the misfit bunch of agents from different agencies are to be called for the mission, live in the Beverly Hills area. With the postcode 90210, it was home to the rich, famous and wanted. As all spy organisations know, money usually requires something daring, dangerous and probably illegal to amass it. All those big time criminals are paid big money to do others' dirty work. People who live in these wealthy areas probably don't even realise that their dear old neighbour Ms Abercrombie, who feeds their children cookies and loves gardening, was once an assassin and was responsible for the death of former US president John. F. Kennedy and later blamed it on poor Lee Harvey Oswald. The affluent areas of the world are crawling with practicing and retired criminals. Because of this most undercover missions are undertaken with great luxury and expense. Though spies may wallow and complain about terrible work conditions and having to dodge 10 bullets while fighting of a giant crocodile that was (gesturing with their hands) this big, in truth, most missions were like a paid holiday.
As Alex lugged his suitcase (Louis Vuitton for the purposes of the mission), he did a mental recap of the gadgets that he had received from Smithers and their supposed uses. The day before his departure to Los Angeles, Smithers had arrived to present Alex with his gadgets. He made a very dramatic and hilarious entrance as he parachuted down into the middle of a rugby match. The sight of his gigantic body landing with a graceful thud was enough to scare the all of the participants of the rugby match and their spectators- much to Alex and Smithers' enjoyment.
The large eccentric man, who was also a certified genius, was Father Christmas to the spies of the world. Carrying a large red sack, almost as if to complete the picture, Smithers lugged himself and his large belly over to somewhere he and Alex could talk in private.
"Alex chap, I see that you, like me don't like the CHERUBs very much. They're stuck-up annoying brats for all I see so I expect you, to protect our MI6 pride as if you were defending your beloved Chelsea- not that I understand why. Everybody knows that Manchester it the best team in the league. Anyway, I've got some excellent toys for you this time, including what's been on your wish list for a long time- a gun. Ever since the Scorpia-Malagosto incident, Mr Blunt and Mrs Jones have been considering giving you one since we now know that you've been trained to do it; and trained better than some of the senior field agents with the gun, actually."
Alex was surprised. As much as he knew that he was being sent on the mission for the protection of the CHERUBs, he anticipated that he was meant to fight with his intelligence, bare hands and model-like attractiveness to protect them. The gun was new. It was a sign. Alex felt that this time, MI6 didn't just want him to be successful in this mission, but to also make a point of his superiority and talent. They wanted him to crush the CHERUBs' sprits like a cockroach. It took him every little bit of his self-control to not start screaming from happiness from receiving a gun.
Smithers began to unload the contents of his sack.
"Well Alex, here are some clothes. Since you're meant to be filthy rich, I've put designer labels on all of them. The glasses have night vision capabilities, the wet suit can insulate your body for up to twelve hours and the beach necklace is fitted with miniature bombs on them which are activated when you separate one from the others. It has a ten second delay. All the other clothes don't really have any other special properties. They are all bullet proof, motion tracker proof- they've got a special tracker jammer installed in them, and of course, stylish. I may be old, but I know enough to know that being fashionable is very important. The gun is on the bottom of the sport shoes since I expect that you'll use them the most by the way."
"Here," he said, gesturing to the next item "is a watch. It can be used to contact MI6 and the CIA. Pressing the buttons in the right combination will activate a voice recorder which will be sent as you speak to our offices. It also hides a grappling hook. It comes with a motor, and can lift up to three hundred kilograms. I tried it on myself so I'm confident that it will be sufficient to hold you and at least two others."
Smithers took quite a while getting the last item out, dramatically heaving whatever is inside the sack as if he were trying to lift a washing machine. It was quite disappointing considering that when he did get it out, it was revealed to be an apple mac.
"This, Alex, isn't an ordinary apple mac. It works just the same, except the code breaking and MI6 and CIA linkage programs, but it also includes…" Smithers slid off the battery case, and removed the apparent interior to reveal….another compartment. "This compartment contains listening devices. They are to be placed on the target's skin and are permanent. They are virtually undetectable Alex."
Alex stared at Smithers for quite a while before talking again.
"Thanks Mr Smithers! These are awesome. I bet that they're a million times better than the CHERUB's stuff- if they even have stuff."
Smithers ruffled Alex hair.
"You're welcome Alex. I better go now chap. I don't want to miss tonight's episode of 'Britain's Got Talent.' I hope Michael will win. His rendition of Fast Car was wow. I couldn't stop replaying it the day after. Well, bye now lad. See you late. Don't get yourself killed. I would hate to see you come home in a sealed envelope."
And Alex was left alone in the field while the shadow of a very fat man left the campus.
James was silently fuming in his room while strangling a teddy bear- a habit his anger management counsellor had recommended him to do to let off a bit of steam. He couldn't believe that that stupid MI6 agent had gadgets and he didn't. However, he wasn't just angry that Alex had gadgets but more that he was younger than him. James had a huge ego and everybody knew that unless people helped blow up his head, he would throw a fit like a little baby.
James clenched his fist tighter and the head of the bear snapped off and fluffy stuffing started flying around the room.
"It isn't fair!" he screamed and he threw the little body of the teddy bear at the wall and kicked the head out of the window where it landed in the neighbour's pool much to the annoyance and shock of the poor lady sun bathing next to it.
When James heard that the MI6 he was going to work with was going to be younger than him, he had expected to be giving him advice and correcting his mistake all the time. He didn't expect to be embarrassed by the agent and his pride crushed.
Thankfully, he wasn't alone.
When they were still at the CHERUB campus, all the black shirts had expected the same. Agents here and there kept trying to pull away Alex and take him to whatever course they were trying to teach him. Not one of them had managed to unveil a weakness from Alex no matter how hard or complicated the task they were attempting to prove their superiority in.
While most agents were trying to test Alex in physical skills, one agent tested his intelligence. Agent Bryce Cunningham was the CHERUBs' champion code breaker. He was partly the reason that the British Army was a feared power throughout the world since he stole information from the Americans without them suspecting to the point where the Americans would be dumbfounded by the similarities in the British's 'new' technology. Bryce gave Alex coded message 30982 which the British code breakers and Bryce Cunningham had worked on for two years before finally cracking it.
The MI6 spy took one look at it before handing it back to Bryce with the formula and the solution- 'Late night- Not going to be home for dinner- love you honey.'
After that, no one even so much as gave Alex a riddle since they wanted to protect what little pride the CHERUB organisation had.
James was still fuming when he heard a knock on his door. A blond head appeared in the doorway and revealed to be the subject of James' fits for the past hour- Alex.
"James, mum is calling the family down. She says that we need to have a 'family' meeting. She sounds a bit stressed so it must be important. We're meeting her at the dining table okay?"
Alex left the room as James threw a pillow at his door and screamed out "Whatever!" However, James still decided to come to the meeting. He was part of this mission and wasn't going to let Mr-I'm-so-perfect-that-I-don't-make-any-mistakes get an easy win by not showing up to a meeting.
This was his mission. He was a black shirt CHERUB agent and he was going to be better than Alex.
"You better watch out Alex."
Serena Johnson called down her husband and adopted children once the movers and the housekeepers had left the house. One by one, they trudged down the stairs and met her at their sprawling dinner table. Kerry came first followed by Kyle, Wilson, Bruce and Alex. James predictably, came down last and even then, ten minutes after Alex, took his time and walked at a leisurely pace like the royal pain he was.
Once James had sat down and was offered an iced lemon tea and his crown (he asked for two teas and received a smack from Kerry instead), Serena proceeded to start talking.
"Okay team. The cleaners and movers are gone and I've already checked the house for any possible bugs. The windows are now sealed and soundproof so the neighbours and anyone outside would not be able to hear our conversation. We're safe to talk."
Everyone began to relax once she said those words. Their dynamic family façade began to fall apart and the children returned to their original factions- the CHERUBS on one side of the table and Alex sitting alone.
"Well, I need to make clear a couple of details. Firstly, you all start school on Monday at The Ridgeview School. You are all starting mid-term so I expect all of you to catch up quickly. The Jamesons are quite active in the school so I want all of you to enrol in extra-curricular activities. Alex, you will be starting as a freshman. Kerry, James and Bruce are sophomores. And Kyle, you will be a junior. Wilson and I work from home running our multimillion dollar babysitting services cooperation. All of us are keeping our first names but our last name is Johnson. Alex and James are biological siblings and so are Bruce and Kyle. Kerry is just your adopted sibling. Any other questions anybody?"
The CHERUBs and Alex shook their heads but Wilson raised his hand and waved it around in the air in a kindergarten manner. After looking oddly at Wilson for a bit, Serena finally pointed at Wilson to start talking.
"Yay, finally! Okay, well, since we are going over details, I was wondering where we took our honeymoon. I mean, wouldn't it be cool if we went somewhere really exotic for our honeymoon like…Bora Bora. Oh my God! That would be so cool! Oh, or maybe the Cook Islands or Guatemala? Maybe even Seychelles? Oh I know, we could have had a very long holiday and travelled around to different destinations. How long did we go? Oh maybe we went for a month; or maybe three months? Or maybe…."
Serena looked dumbfounded as she tried to contemplate how she should react to the very childish musings of Wilson. Instead, she chose to walk away from the still babbling Wilson.
Her adopted 'children' followed suit and left their adoptive 'father' alone with his babblings.
OMG! This chapter took ages to write (mostly because I was lazy but also because I had a massive writer's block trying to write Smither's little scene which took about a week and a half to actually complete).
Well for your information, I'm on gmail so I get little popups every time I get an email from fanfiction saying that I've got a review/story alert/favourite from this story. For those readers who have fanfiction accounts and have posted fanfics on them, you would know the unbelievable joy you get from them. So please review and I'll give all the new reviewers a shout-out in my next chapter.
Anyway, for all you bad people who didn't read the author's not thing at the start of this chapter, (which you should since it has stuff I want to tell you) I just want to say again Merry Christmas/Hanukah/ Happy New Year/whatever you celebrate at this time of year (I'll probably update before Chinese New Year so I'll mention that next chapter).
Happy Holidays (and please review)