Broken Wings Division
The cold was stinging like a thousand needles. The only sound he could hear was his breath brushing against the collar of the arctic suit that he was given alongside six other cadets. He was one of seven that had survived Basic Training until this day. Day 100. The final day to this torment. They had been dropped in a mountain range in Norway for the final five days of their training. The last stage was a trek across the mountains. They had received twenty four hours. He had one hour left.
'God. I should've have arrived by now.' he cursed against the wind that started to pick up again.
Sam 'Roadmap' Cross, twelve years old, had only arrived at Cherub four months ago. He was recruited out of a children's home just outside Manchester. Fact was that Sam wasn't your ordinary Cherub cadet/agent. Besides having an uncanny ability to find the quickest route from point A to B in a matter of moments, Sam suffered from a condition that was called 'spastic diplegia'. This meant among others that he couldn't run very fast and got tired after walking great lengths. Sam had replaced his disability by a great amount of knowledge and intelligence, scoring one of the highest scores on the tests in the history of Cherub.
Sam finally reached the top of the hill and looked at the camp of tents that had been put up on a small plateau. He recognized the blue tents as the ones the instructors had used. Sam took out the timer and GPS beacon the cadets were instructed to wear at all times. He had forty minutes left. He stared at the steep hill that lead him to the camp. It would take him at least thirty five minutes to climb down.
'Fuck. There goes my chance of wiping that smug smile off of Jake's face.'
Sam let himself fall down into the snow and watched both of his legs twitch and tremble. That was always a bad sign. He was thinking about a way to get down, when the thought struck him. Gravity can do all the work for me. Sam unzipped his jacket and took off his boots.
'Do you think Sam'll be here on time?' asked Will. The six of them were sitting around a portable heater. They were drinking hot chocolate and wearing their grey shirts. Sam hated hot chocolate.
'I hope so, he deserves the shirt,' replied Quinn. She took another sip.
'Meh, I think he's still wandering in the snow somewhere. And besides does he really deserve the shirt? He could barely keep up when running the laps on the course. Ralph and Moira were always easy on him.'
'The hell they were,' exclaimed Pete. 'I had the impression that they wanted him to fail. And you know as well as we do, Jake, that the six of us wouldn't be here if Sam hadn't shown us the shortcut on the course.'
'He still has half an hour,' said Milly looking at the clock that was counting down. 'He'll be here, just to prove you're an absolute douche.'
'I don't think he'll need that half an hour,' said Cath from the outside. 'He's on his way.' She smiled.
The other five scrambled up and joined Cath just outside the tent. Cath pointed to a green figure sliding down the steep hillside. It went fast.
'The mental bastard,' said Jake as the other cheered Sam on.
Stiff as a board, Sam was descending the hill. He had had the idea to use his vest as a sledge. He had wedged his bare feet in the hood and had covered and securely fastened them with a lace. He had then stuffed his sweatshirt into his trousers. The final part was to place his boots into the vest as extra weight and to securely fasten the vest around his body and arms with the climbing rope he had kept from his backpack. And now he was sliding down the hill at increasing speed.
'Hell isn't to be searched below the earth, but in the heights of Norway and in room 101 at the medical office,' he said to himself while he kept sliding down. The cold was attacking him from all sides.
A thump sound echoed around the mountains when he arrived at the foot of the hill. The wind had been joined by a light snowstorm. Sam forced his arms out of the vest and started to untie his feet. He took out the timer and smiled. He had twenty minutes left. Sam saw the others and the instructors standing in front of their tents and smiled at the cheering cadets. He grabbed his boots and carried them in his hands while walking towards the instructors to receive his shirt. The wind and cold were cutting through his clothes.
As soon as he had reached the instructor's tent, Sam was rushed inside by Moira and Ralph.
'It's minus ten degrees celsius out there,' said Moira on a reprimanding tone. 'And you walk around like it's summer. Ralph, can you take off his wet socks and get his feet warmed up?'
Moira had pushed Sam into a bed and was checking his pulse and other vital signs.
A small light was shining in his eyes. 'Technically it is summer and besides, it can easily become minus twenty or more. And I can get my own socks off!'
'Don't talk back,' Ralph said while stripping off his socks and wrapped Sam's feet in a warmed up blanket. 'What were you thinking, walking through a feet of snow with nothing more than a pair of socks?'
'I was trying to make it in time to get my shirt. I did make it in time, right?'
'Yes, but that is less important than you getting out of here in a state that isn't worse than the one you had while going in. You don't want Dana to get mad at you, don't you?' asked Moira with a sadistic smile.
Sam stared at her with his eyes wide open. 'No.'
'Then here's your shirt. And you're not leaving this bed before the chopper has arrived, understood?' asked Ralph.
'Aye aye cap.'
Sam took off his wet sweatshirt and put the grey shirt on. He then dropped his head on the pillow and closed his eyes. Ten minutes later he was sleeping.
Moira re-entered the tent and saw Sam slowly breathing with his eyes closed. She pulled up the blanket to cover him up and turned up the heat. When Stephen Weswick, the main instructor for this BT, entered the tent, she motioned him to be quiet.
'I honestly thought he wouldn't make it,' he whispered.
'I think there were only a handful people who actually did,' Moira replied. 'The Broken Wings will probably be happy.'
'You think?' Stephen replied with faked surprise.
Suddenly Cath entered the tent and said: 'HQ just called, the helicopter will be here in fifteen minutes. We should be home around dinner-time.'
'Thank you Catherine,' replied Stephen. 'Moira, do you want to go and help the agents pack? I'll take care of Sam.'
The instructor took a seat on a chair and watched the latest Cherub agent snoozing gently.
That evening, the group entered the premises of the campus. After a quick check with campus security, the van parked in front of the main building. The Cherubs jumped out and stared at the main building. Or rather at the small crowd that had gathered in front of it.
Sam re-adjusted his backpack and smiled at the four Cherubs that were standing (or sitting for that matter) on the first row.
'Told you I would make it,' he said walking towards Mary 'Murdock' Collins.
She was eleven year old with raven black hair.
'As if we would ever have doubted that,' she replied with a small grin. She took a step forward and hugged him with the strength of a bear. Finn, the german shepherd that acted as Mary's guide dog walked over and licked his hand.
'Nice to see you too, Finn,' Sam replied.
'So you're over your fear of dogs?' asked Helen Smith, the fourteen year old redhead, while giving him his celebratory hug.
Sam bent over and accepted the hug. 'No, but this is different.'
'He's trembling like a leaf, but I'll buy it for this time,' said Taylor 'Slots' McKnight laughingly while holding his neck with her arm. Taylor was thirteen years old and had long brown hair that she wore in a braid.
'Are we done going all sentimental? I'm hungry and we've got to take the side entrance,' said Michael 'Wheels' Wilkins. The boys, the youngest and oldest (Wheels being thirteen years old), shook hands.
'Yeah lets go eat, the food on the flight was horrible.'
The group split in two, with Michael and Helen rolling their wheelchairs towards the side entrance, which allowed them to enter and take the elevator and Taylor, Sam and Mary climbing the stairs to the cafeteria. Finn had already climbed the stairs and was waiting for Mary.
Once the five of them had acquired their slices of the famous Cherub lasagna, they went to sit at a table against the wall. Sam started cutting his piece into smaller pieces while Helen poured everyone a glass of water.
'So, how was it?' asked Mary. She tapped her fork against her plate. With a slight smile she started eating.
'Gruesome, but totally worth it. They took us to Norway for the last part.'
'Sounds like BT to me,' replied Taylor with a mouthful. 'The Egyptian desert was pretty awesome.'
'Well I almost lost a foot and parts of my flesh to frostbite, but yes that was my BT.''
'Frostbite? What did you do this time?' asked Michael with a scowl.
'Walked through some snow in my socks to get this shirt,' replied Sam while tugging at the Cherub sitting on the globe.
'Bold, dangerous, but bold,' said Mary.
Sam shrugged his shoulders and continued eating his lasagna. 'It was a calculated risk, and besides I still have my two feet last time a checked.'
'Is there a reason you shouldn't have your two feet attached to your legs?' asked a familiar female voice.
Sam deposited his cutlery and looked at Kerry Chang who was standing at the end of the table. Her brown eyes stared at him with the famous 'no-nonsense glare'. Kerry Chang was his handler, alongside Dana Smith.
'Maybe,' Sam replied with a small voice.
'In the BT-report I received this evening the following sentence was mentioned: ''Cadet Cross entered the tent wearing nothing more than his socks, a soaked sweatshirt and his trousers. When removing the socks, a pair of ice-cold, cramped up feet showed themselves.'' Is your answer still maybe?'
'Fine. I might have done something that could have resulted in frostbite. But it didn't happen. And everything is working just fine.'
'That will be for Dana to decide,' Kerry replied. 'And here's your new schedule.'
She handed him a folded sheet of paper. Sam opened it and glanced it.
'Wait a second, I was to be able to sleep in on Wednesdays. Now I have to be in physiotherapy at 8:30 am?' exclaimed Sam,'and I have karate training at four with another session of physiotherapy at six on Thursday? And another on Mondays just after Math! Kerry, why do I have six hours of physiotherapy this week?'
'Oh, you're misunderstanding agent Cross, this is schedule is for the remainder of the academic year until summer,' Kerry replied with a grin. 'Enjoy your last hours of being able of to sleep in on Wednesday. O, wait.' Kerry chuckled and said goodbye to the almost complete Broken Wings Division.
'Let me see that,' said Helen, snatching the piece of paper out of his hands. 'Wow, this is indeed quite the schedule. Monday seems like your best day, with Phys, English, Math and ICT. Thursday seems the worst with French, History, Karate and Phys. At least you'll be seeing us more regularly. I'll be having ICT, English and Lit with you and Mary. You'll have math and sciences with Michael and History with Taylor and you'll have Mary all to yourself during French and Math. I'd have to check with Scott's schedule, but I think he's with you and Michael.'
'Well that's nice, now if you would excuse me. It's been a long day and I'd like to go to bed,' said Sam yawning. He grabbed the schedule and stuffed it in his bag.
'Before you go, we'd like to welcome you as an agent in the Broken Wings Division with a small gift,' said Mary. 'Taylor.'
Taylor laid the brand new latches and bolts on the table. 'Just another security measure to keep your door shut now that you're an agent.'
'You'll have to attach themselves or ask some help, there isn't a maintenance crew you can call.'
'Thanks guys, I'll do that first thing in the morning. Goodnight to you all. See you tomorrow.'
'Later, Roadmap,' said Mary with a smile.
Sam exited the dinner-hall and walked down the stairs. Suddenly an athletic, muscular woman with blond hair and green eyes turned around the corner and climbed the stairs. She was wearing a white scrubs top and a pair of leggings. Sam gazed at his co-handler and physical therapist, Dana Smith. Sam passed her without saying a word. Just when he thought he was clear he heard her voice thundering in the stairwell.
'Eighty thirty sharp, Mister Cross, don't be late. We've got something to discuss. Sleep tight.'
Sam sighed and continued his way to his bedroom which was located on the first floor, next to Michael's and Scott's. He didn't even bother to change and climbed in his bed and went to sleep.
A/N: I'm back with a brand new story. It takes place after Team Delta and will probably feature cameo's. Also Dana Smith will have a prominent role in this story (I haven't read all the books, so I might change her a bit). Please R&R.