Bold indicates Metahuman

Italics indicates Human

Bold and Italics indicate Alien

Ground Combat Element:

Lydia Anderson, 17 - StarsMagic

Wolfgang Lee, 20 - mochafraptor

Jacob Lyland, 24 – DeathDealer Inc

Shaun Jameson, 19 - iamgoku

Lyrik Saunders, 19 – W. R. Winters

Murugon 'Muru' Gontalahad, 20 – NitroTheKid88

Logistics Combat Element:

Dr. Akihiko Minoto, 20 – 0B13

Regina 'Ginny' Pasternak, 18 – Rosemarie Benson

Craig Stevens, 19 – MediaMan18

Command Element:

Colonel Donald White, 54 – Graceful Petals

Major Victoria Greenway, 31 – ThatGuy222

Captain Zephyr Yakota, 24 – Silver Blitz15

Lance Corporal Axel Turner, 18 – grimbutnotalways

Taskforce 0:

Filo Caesar Sylvain "Kong", 22 – Chase Lucifer Sparrow

Helena Evangelina Fruehan, 21 – GoldenCrest314

Grace Dara, 20ThatGuy222

Christopher Dara, 20ThatGuy222

Elise 'Ellie' Taylor Payton, 19 – OJWawa

*This chapter is rated high T or M for mature language.

Camp Pendleton, Oceanside CA

March 18, 2016 – 1100 hours

Wolfgang's nose itched. He resisted his natural instinct to raise his hand to scratch his nose as his face twitched just slightly with discomfort. Standing at attention behind Colonel White was proving to be more difficult than Wolfgang had thought it would be. The only thing Wolfgang had been told was that he was to stand at attention until the press conference was over, he shouldn't look directly into any cameras, and that he shouldn't draw any unnecessary attention to himself. Wolfgang imagined that itching his nose while everyone else was standing at attention would be drawing said 'unnecessary attention'.

Wolfgang took as deep of a breath as he could with moving his chest to much as he forced his mind away from the itching sensation in his nose. What he got instead though, was suddenly realizing how tight the collar of his Charlies were. Wolfgang's face remained neutral as he cursed his mind for picking up on all the little things that were making him uncomfortable instead of focusing on what Colonel White was saying.

The press conference had been going on for what felt like forever in Wolfgang's mind. All he could think of was how many other things he could be doing with his Saturday instead of standing here listening to Colonel White drone on. The press conference was nothing like what Wolfgang thought it would be. They were in a small white room on a small wooden stage and Colonel White stood behind a tall oak podium, his posture tense yet his face composed and kind. If Wolfgang wasn't good at reading body language, he wouldn't know that Colonel White was clearly very on edge about this press conference. There were only about thirteen reporters in the room and none of them were pushy like Wolfgang expected them to be. There was a single camera crew filming the press conference and after all the preparation that Colonel White had the taskforce go through he felt a little let down at the small turn out. He was expecting more of what he saw on TV he supposed.

"Any questions?" Colonel White asked as Wolfgang focused back in on what Colonel White was saying.

Hands flew up and Wolfgang's eyes widened just the slightest bit. This was more of what he was expecting.

Colonel White nodded towards a female reporter in the front row who was wearing a bright green blazer and had dark brown hair that framed her face. The woman straightened her posture slightly as words rushed out of her mouth. "Lois Lane from the Daily Planet." She introduced herself and was a little pushy in Wolfgang's opinion. "Why exactly do you feel that this taskforce is needed when we have superheroes like Superman or Batman? And what about the Justice League?"

If Colonel White was fazed by the question he didn't let it show on his face. "We believe that it's high time we, the US Government, had another system of defense against alien invasions and other immediate threats to the security of our nation besides depending on the Justice League."

Lois's male partner's hand shot up immediately at the remark and Wolfgang had a feeling that the large man was just as pushy as his female counterpart. Colonel White pointed towards the man in the blue suit, allowing him to speak. "Clark Kent, Daily Planet. Are you saying that we can't trust the Justice League to protect the Earth?" He asked and Wolfgang felt as if the man took personal offense to the statement.

Colonel White smiled easily and Wolfgang was slightly disturbed at how different the man's demeanor was in public then how it was in private. "Not at all. We just feel better knowing that there is a military division that can also handle these threats that is controlled by the American government and has the American people's best interest at heart." Colonel White answered and as soon as his last word left his lips more hands shot up.

Colonel White pointed to a red-haired woman in the back of the room who was dressed in a pule purple blazer. "Iris West-Allen with Picture News. How soon can we expect to see Taskforce Alpha in action? Will they be fighting crime beside the Justice League?" Iris asked and looked to Colonel White expectantly.

"As soon as Taskforce Alpha has finished their training, you can expect to see them any time they're needed. Of course the Taskforce was out together in order to combat larger threats such as alien invasions but they will be put to use wherever they are most useful to the American people." Colonel White answered and Wolfgang had to resist the urge to shift uncomfortably at the way Colonel White made them sound like weapons.

More hands flew into the air but Colonel White looked down at his right wrist and eyed the digital watch critically.

"Unfortunately that is all the time we have for today." Colonel White said dismissively and the hands fell. "If there are any further questions please seek out one of the Lieutenant Colonels who will remain behind for the next hour and are more than capable of answering any questions you all may have." Colonel White finished before stepping away from the microphone and exiting the small wooden stage to the left.

Wolfgang waited as he listened to Colonel White's footsteps passing by him before he turned sharply to the left and fell into formation with the rest of the taskforce and marched off the stage, playing the part of the perfect solider boy for the cameras.

Wolfgang allowed his chest to deflate as he exited the small white room and took a deep breath causing his lungs to actually expand for the first time in two hours. He cranked his neck from side to side listening to the satisfying crack on both sides.

"Well that was boring." Wolfgang complained to Shaun who was directly next to him.

"I found it very interesting." Shaun responded with a shrug but Wolfgang noticed how the alien had already begun to tug at his tight collar.

"You would." Wolfgang snorted sarcastically and Shaun shrugged his shoulders with a goofy grin covering his face.

Wolfgang took his cover off his head and wiped the sweat that had been building beneath with the back of his right hand.

"I'm just glad it's over. Now we have the rest of the day to relax and do nothing."

"Speak for yourself." Akihiko grumbled from behind Wolfgang and Shaun, his tone light and sarcastic but Wolfgang could still hear the slight bitter undertone to it. "We still have to go to work this afternoon." Akihiko continued gesturing to himself, Ginny, and Craig.

Before Wolfgang could reply with a sarcastic retort Lydia appeared from behind the group pushing her way to the front with a small and cheeky small gracing her lips.

"That's what you guys get for being smart." She said in a sing-song voice as she unbuttoned the first button of her tan shirt.

"Besides, until you guys have to get up and run three miles at the crack of dawn I don't want to hear any of you complaining." Jacob said seriously although after having known the boy for three months they could all tell that he was joking.

"Besides all you guys do is sit behind a desk all day, how hard could that job be?" Wolfgang continued to tease, his right eyebrow raising with the taunt as he attempted to get a rise out of the three members of the Logistics Combat Element.

"Want to come try my job and see?" Craig challenged and Lyrik could tell that the friendly teasing was about to go from friendly to hostile very quickly.

"Sure as long as you go and try to do our jobs." Wolfgang responded, his chest puffing out slightly as if he was trying to make himself appear bigger.

"Alright guys, take it down a notch." Lyrik ordered loudly trying to resist the urge to roll his eyes from annoyance. It had been this way for about a week. Tensions were rising quickly between the two elements and it was apparent to anyone who watched them interact. While Lydia, Ginny, and Lyrik tried for the most part to stay out of the fighting, the other members of Taskforce Alpha were not so diplomatic. The fights usually began between Muru and Akihiko or Axel, although Wolfgang and Craig also seemed to be at each other's throats. Although Shaun and Jacob had yet to actually start a conflict, they were always ready to jump in on the side of Muru and Wolfgang if needed.

Lyrik wasn't sure how much longer he could stand listening to the six boys argue. It was already beginning to wane on his nerves and he was beginning to lose his patience. Although the conflict hadn't gotten to the physical point, Lyrik had no doubt that if something wasn't done soon it would be.

It was a weird sudden switch; it was as if suddenly both elements were just ready to blame one another for any little thing that went wrong. They weren't functioning as a whole unit. It was suddenly Ground Combat versus Logistics Combat and it was obvious that both sides felt like they had to justify themselves to the other.

"Lyrik's right guys." Lydia added as she sighed watching both Craig and Wolfgang stare each other down. "We just had our first very successful press conference. Can't we just get along for one day? Please?"

Craig and Wolfgang both backed off each other, although neither of them looked happy about it.

"Boys." Lydia rolled her eyes as she whispered quietly to Ginny, who giggled quietly.

"Always needing to assert their dominance huh?" Ginny added and Lydia rolled her eyes in agreement.

"And they say girls are hormonal." She joked back and the two burst out laughing drawing the rest of the taskforce's attention.

"What's so funny?" Shaun asked innocently, his eyes wide as he stared confused at Ginny and Lydia.

The two girls shared a look before laughing loudly once more causing the rest of the boys in the room to look at each other in confusion.

Shaun opened his mouth as if to something before Wolfgang put a hand on his shoulder and shook his head gently.

"But I don't understand." Shaun said quietly to Wolfgang, who let out a short bark of a laugh.

"And you never will man. Girls are a strange breed. Their minds work differently than ours." Wolfgang told Shaun and Shaun's face twisted in further confusion.

"But," Shaun stuttered and looked between Wolfgang and Lydia and Ginny.

"It's like they're a completely different species then us." Wolfgang continued and Shaun's eyebrows drew together as he thought hard about what Wolfgang had just said.

"I thought that all people of Earth were humans though." Shaun finally spit out, the confusion in his voice so genuine that Lydia finally took pity on the alien.

"Wolfgang's just messing with you Shaun." Lydia said as she shot Wolfgang a look that clearly said to knock it off.

"But," Shaun began once again before Lydia shook her head and cut him off.

"It's just an expression we use on Earth. Both girls and boys are humans, sometimes it just seems like we're so different that people say girls and boys are different species." Lydia explained calmly and Shaun's face relaxed in understanding.

"You're no fun Lydia." Wolfgang told Lydia teasingly.

"And you're mean Wolfgang." Lydia responded and Wolfgang shrugged as if he didn't care.

Undisclosed Location, Jump City California

March 18, 2016 – 1200 hours

Filo felt his blood boil underneath his skin as he clicked the large red button on the small black remote in order to turn the television off. His breath quickened slightly as he fumed over the press conference he just witnessed. It was almost unbelievable. He couldn't believe that after what happened that the government, that Lieutenant Colonel White (or Colonel White now Filo supposed), would allow for another taskforce to be formed.

"What are you thinking right now Filo?" Ellie's quiet voice broke through Filo's dark thoughts. Filo spun to face Ellie taking in the concerned and slightly fearful features that graced her face.

"Nothing." Filo spat out as he stood from the old couch and began to pace in front of the small television.

"I'll tell you what I'm thinking." Christopher announced and his voice shook as he fought for control of his emotions. "I think we should go pay Taskforce Alpha a little visit."

"It's not their fault Chris." Grace rationalized from his side, her voice dejected as she leaned against her brother's rigid form for support.

"I'm not saying that it is." Chris defended loudly. "But I think they deserve to know that the government doesn't care. That White doesn't care!"

"They wouldn't listen to us." Helena spoke from behind the couch and Ellie jumped slightly as she had forgotten that the other girl was there.

"You don't know that." Christopher argued back.

Helena laughed once more as a smile spread across her face. "Would you believe us?" She asked cutely as she titled her head to the side.

Christopher didn't respond as he glared at the small blonde girl, opening his mouth a couple of times before closing it.

"I can't believe this is happening again." Grace whispered softly but the entire room heard her.

Christopher wrapped his arm around his sister as he attempted to comfort the dark brunette girl. "It's going to be fine Grace."

"This is fucking bullshit. No fucking way they can get away with this again." Filo whispered harshly, his tone outraged, but it was loud enough that everyone in the room heard what he said.

"Filo you need to calm down." Ellie told the older boy as she also pushed herself off the couch and stood in front of him in order to stop his pacing.

"Calm down?" Filo laughed humorlessly as he stared down at Ellie. "Did you watch the same news conference that I did?"

"Yes I did; am I'm upset by it too but-" Ellie began calmly but was quickly cut off by Filo.

"Are you?" He yelled, his face growing red as anger pulsed through his veins. "Because you sure don't seem very bothered by this!"

Ellie's face grew hot with anger as she fought the tears that were beginning to pool in her eyes. "Of course I am!" She yelled back, her voice louder than Filo had heard her be in almost a year. "This is so fucking messed up but you're not helping by not controlling your anger!"

Filo took a deep breath as guilt over the tears building in Ellie's eyes began to flood over him.

"I'm sorry." He grumbled quietly and Ellie blinked back tears, not letting any of them escape as she cleared her throat.

"It's fine." She mumbled before breaking eye contact with Filo and retreating back to the couch.

"Did you see that one girl? She's probably not even eighteen yet." Grace sighed as her eyes grew distant thinking about the small brunette girl that had easily captured her attention. "How is it even legal to recruit her? How is it legal to even have another taskforce?"

Helena laughed airily from behind them. "Because we're nothing but weapons to them remember?" She taunted, her voice light but her words dark. "We don't matter." She reminded the four former Marines sitting in front of her as she enunciated every word slowly. "We never mattered."

"Think they know about us?" Chris asked, his usual booming voice much softer than it normally was.

Filo scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Why would they bother to tell them about us? Clearly we've just been erased from history. It's like we never existed." He theorized, his voice calm dispute how angry he felt with the whole situation.

"Isn't there something we could do?" Christopher asked as he turned his attention to Filo, who had always been their leader in a way.

"Why should we help them? They're idiots for joining the taskforce in the first place." Filo responded, turning his back on the other in the room.

"That's not fair Filo. They have no idea what happened to us and we have no idea how bad their lives were before they joined the Taskforce." Ellie scolded Filo. "I would have down anything to get away from my father. Taskforce 0 was my safe haven, just like I know it was yours, and the twins, and Helena's."

"So?" Filo asked aggressively. "Look at where Taskforce 0 got us now! We're squatting in some old abandoned house like a bunch of petty thieves. Everything we own right now we had to steal. We have nothing!"

"We have each other!" Ellie argued back and Filo fell silent as he didn't know how to respond to that.

"So," Christopher asked after a moment of silence had passed between the group, "What do we do now?"

"We find Taskforce Alpha and we warn them." Filo responded and his voice shook with confidence as he straightened his spine and turned to face his four friends who had quickly become his family.

"How?" Ellie asked as her eyes narrowed.

"We're a good hundred miles away from Camp Pendleton." Christopher reminded the group.

"Besides, in case you guys forgot we went AWOL and there are warrants out for all of our arrests. How could we step foot on a military base without being caught and sent to jail?" Grace asked.

"We're Taskforce 0. We'll find a way." Filo responded with a familiar glint in his eyes that Ellie knew meant he was serious.

Helena giggled loudly before coming from behind the couch to sit next to Ellie. "Oh goody!" She cheered, her hands clasping together in excitement. "An adventure! We haven't had one of those in a while!"

Camp Pendleton, Oceanside CA

March 27, 2016 – 1400 hours

"Simulation fail. Simulation fail. Simulation fail." The same robotic voice rang out across the white room and in the ears of the entire ground combat element squad.

"Ugh!" Wolfgang sounded as he allowed his head to hit the floor. Wolfgang shut his eyes tightly, hoping to block out the blinding white lights but with no such luck.

"That's the third fail this week." Lydia told the group, her voice void of its usual optimistic nature. "I feel like that's a record."

No one responded to the girl as they all continued to lie in perfect stillness on the black mats hoping that maybe Colonel White and Captain Yakota would just skip lecturing them as they had already received the lecture two other times in this week alone.

Unfortunately, luck was not on their side as Colonel White and Captain Yakota came strolling in through the automatic doors followed by the Logistics Combat Element.

Lydia, Shaun, and Lyrik pushed themselves up into a seated position while Jacob, Muru, and Wolfgang didn't even bother as they knew the lecture they were about to receive was one they had gotten many times before.

Colonel White opened and closed his mouth several times before he finally seemed to decided he didn't have anything to say and instead spun on his heel and exited the room.

"Well that's a new reaction." Lyrik commented as he blinked dully before glancing to Captain Yakota's face which clearly conveyed that he wasn't happy with the taskforce.

Captain Yakota sighed before pulling out his clipboard and casting his eyes down to the board. "Anderson, with the limited mobility of your right wrist you are not as much of an asset as you usually are. You need to find new ways to use your powers without the use of your right wrist." He read dully and Lydia nodded once before beginning to fidget with the black brace around her wrist. "Gotalahad, you have been distracted for the last couple of simulations. You need to keep your focus on the task at hand and not on your teammates." Yakota continued on, sending a small glance at Lydia as he talked and Muru knew what Yakota was trying to hint at. "Jameson, you are still having trouble following orders. You seem to think you know best. You do not." Yakota told Shaun harshly and Shaun's face fell quickly as he wasn't use to Yakota being so blunt and hostile with his critiques. "Lee," Yakota began and then paused just long enough for Wolfgang to raise an eyebrow. "Good work today. You were the only one truly on task." Wolfgang smirked, a weird sensation of pride filling his chest at the praise. "Lyland, you made calls that were not yours to make. You need to listen to Lance Corporal Turner as he is the commanding officer of this Taskforce." Jacob resisted the urge to roll his eyes and made sure not to look Axel's way where he was sure the younger boy was smirking. "Saunders, you are not being aggressive enough with your attacks. You cannot continue to hold back." Yakota told Lyrik who couldn't bring himself to look at Captain Yakota in the eyes.

"Needless to say this is getting to a ridiculous point." Captain Yakota continued on, his tone bored and annoyed and his stance rigid. "There is only so much I can do for you all. As they say, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink the water."

Captain Yakota turned his back to the Taskforce and walked swiftly out of the room, causing a silence to fall over everyone else.

"Wow," Akihiko finally said breaking the silence and Lyrik found himself praying that the boy didn't say anything stupid that would start yet another fight. "I guess you guys really have to shape up." Akihiko finished and Lyrik actually groaned out loud as he knew the fight that was about to occur.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Muru asked, his eyes narrowing dangerously as he pushed himself off the ground and puffed out his chest to make himself appear more menacing, hoping to get the smaller man to back down.

Of course Akihiko didn't. "I'm just saying, I heard a lot of critiques for Ground Combat but none for Logistics. I wonder why that is."

Shaun quickly stood up, his face uncharacteristically red. "I would watch what you are implying if I was you." Shaun warned, the threat clear.

"Or what? Akihiko's just stating facts." Craig jumped in, ready to defend his friend and his Element.

"Or I'll make you eat your words Stevens." Muru growled, his fists clenched.

"Guys." Lydia groaned as she also stood up sensing the on-coming fight.

"No Lydia, I want to hear just how great Logistics Element is." Wolfgang told Lydia sarcastically as he stood and held his hand out to stop the girl from putting herself between the two fighting sides.

"Wolfgang, come on." Lydia groaned as she tried to push past Wolfgang's extended arm but the older boy wouldn't budge.

"Come on Akihiko, I'm waiting." Wolfgang prompted, completely ignoring Lydia as he kept his eyes trained on Akihiko and Craig.

"Okay." Akihiko responded, rising to Wolfgang's challenge. "Let see shall we, who's fault is it that we've failed the past three simulations? Hm that's right. It's the Ground Combat Element's fault. If you guys would just do what we tell you then maybe we're actually pass a simulation." Akihiko sneered as he took a step closer to Wolfgang.

"See I'm trying to remember how well that worked out for us the first time and, oh yeah now I remember, if it wasn't a simulation we would have been blown up." Wolfgang retorted sarcastically, his words heated despite his casual tone.

Axel snorted and drew all eyes to him as he crossed his arms defensively over his chest. "If I recall correctly I did warn you that you were walking into a trap."

"Yeah two seconds before we walked into it." Jacob responded his voice quiet but everyone heard his words.

"You think you can do my job better Lyland?" Axel asked aggressively, his eye twitching as his jaw clenched tightly together and his hands balled into fists.

Jacob shrugged non-verbally, his eyes taunting Axel.

"There are choices that have to be made in the field that people who sit behind a computer all day wouldn't understand." Muru commented hostilely as he stared down Axel, Craig, and Akihiko.

Craig snorted, his eyes glinting with a spark of anger. "What would you know about being in the field? You've never actually been in the field."

"Neither have you!" Muru argued back taking a step forward and causing Craig to also step forward.

"You guys need to walk away from each other right now!" Lydia ordered the two boys but Wolfgang remained positioned in front of the girl not letting her physically intervene.

"Lydia's right guys. Step away before this goes any further." Lyrik added as he finally stood begrudgingly ready to mediate if necessary.

"You want to let these guys get away with blaming us for failing the simulation when it's their fault?" Muru asked as he spun on Lyrik causing the younger boy to take a step back from the hostile alien.

"Muru you need to calm down." Lyrik said as he ignored Muru's question completely.

"What are you on their side?" Muru continued to question as he took a step towards Lyrik once again and Lydia felt her frustration at the situation begin to build as she resisted the urge to scream.

"There are no sides! We're all on the same team!" Lyrik said as he stood firm against Muru, refusing to let the larger boy intimidate him.

"See, they can't even cooperate with each other." Akihiko smugly commented to Craig who laughed causing everyone's focus to shift back to them.

"That's it!" Muru yelled and suddenly he was flying at Craig and Akihiko, his fist raised.

Muru never reached his destination and instead ran into an invisible force causing him along with everyone else to shift their focus to Lydia who had her left hand extended and look more annoyed then Muru had ever seen the girl.

"You guys are being ridiculous!" She cried, irritation rolling off her body in waves as she maintained the force field that separated the two elements. "I know that you're all upset that we keep failing the simulations. I'm frustrated by it too. But fighting with each other isn't going to help anything. We're not working cohesively as a group which is why we can't get anything done! You guys have got to stop blaming each other for your own mistakes and instead think about how you can do better! I am so sick of baby-sitting you guys all the time!"

The room fell silent after Lydia's rant and while no words were exchanged it was clear that the anger in the room was slowly diffusing.

"Come on Logistics, we have to get back to the lab." Axel finally said as he pulled Akihiko and Craig by the hooks of their elbows out of the room and Ginny followed behind quietly.

The Ground Combat Element remained silent for a moment as the tension in the room remained high and Lydia finally dropped her hand and therefore dropped her force field as well.

"Lydia, I-" Shaun began but Lydia shook her head, closing her eyes tightly effectively cutting him off.

"I really just don't have the energy right now Shaun." She said tiredly before leaving the room herself, her posture tense.

"I'm sorry Lyrik." Muru apologized quietly and Lyrik gave the alien a soft smile.

"It's fine Muru." He sighed and couldn't help but wonder if he should really be letting Muru off the hook so easily.

"No it's not. I let my anger get the best of me. And it wasn't fair to you." Muru pressed, his words sincere.

Lyrik looked at the alien slightly shocked with his statement. "Just keep working on it Muru. You'll get there." He encouraged the boy and Muru nodded, his face impossible to read.

"Should I go after Lydia?" Shaun asked as he continued to stare at the door Lydia had just left through.

"Give her some time to cool down." Jacob suggested as he walked up to Shaun. "I think she's just as frustrated with failing the simulations as we are."

Shaun nodded but he didn't look very happy not following the girl out.

"I still think that Lydia should have let Muru hit Akihiko." Wolfgang commented coolly, his arms crossed over his chest.

"What would that have solved?" Lyrik asked Wolfgang, his tone tired.

"Maybe Akihiko would stop mouthing off." Wolfgang answered with a nonchalant shrug. "Sometimes violence helps end conflict."

"Things can be solved without violence. We're all adults here." Lyrik argued back dispassionately as he knew he was fighting a losing battle.

"How's solving this dispute with words between ground element and logistics element going?" Wolfgang asked calmly and Lyrik froze for a moment, unable to think of a viable retort. Wolfgang smirked at Lyrik's lack of response before turning and leaving the room.

"He's not wrong." Jacob commented as well and Lyrik rolled his eyes.

"So you think that we should just let Muru and Akihiko go at each other?" Lyrik asked seriously and Jacob shrugged.

"I think that unless you come up with another solution, that's what's going to happen anyway."

Camp Pendleton, Oceanside CA

March 30, 2016 – 2200 hours

Lydia took a deep breath of the cool night air as she tried to calm her nerves. She leaned over the small ledge and looked down to the ground beneath her that was at least fifteen stories below her. She casted her eyes to the faint skyline of Oceanside instead as she shivered slightly. It was March in southern California. She had no idea why it would be cold, even if it was at night.

"Hey." A soft voice greeted her from behind and Lydia's nerves skyrocketed again as she spun to face Lyrik.

"You scared me." She told him in lieu of a greeting.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to." Lyrik apologized easily as he pulled himself all the way up the latter to come to Lydia's right.

"It's fine." Lydia responded with a sigh as she slid down the concrete wall behind her.

"So is there a reason you're up on the roof?" Lyrik asked after a moment before deciding to join the girl on the floor.

Lydia shrugged, her face holding a deep frown as opposed to her normal smile. "I don't know." She breathed after a beat. "I just come up here to think sometimes." She explained uneasily as if she was relieving a prized secret.

Lyrik nodded, his face neutral as always.

"Well what are you thinking of now?" He asked as he kept his eyes trained on her.

Lydia shrugged once more as she avoided Lyrik's glaze. "I was just tired of playing peacekeeper I guess. I'm not going to interfere with all these fights anymore. If they want to tear each other apart then I'm just going to let them do it. I just don't want to be there when it happens."

Lyrik nodded in understanding as he scooted closer to Lydia in order to close the gap between them.

"How do you do it?" Lydia finally asked after a couple of seconds of simply staring off into space.

"Do what?" Lyrik asked confused.

"How do you stay so patient and calm all the time? It's like nothing anyone says bugs you. You don't get mad." Lydia concluded and Lyrik felt like there was a hint of jealousy underlining her tone.

Lyrik laughed loudly causing Lydia to finally look at the boy in surprise. "I get mad trust me." He responded and Lydia gave him a look that clearly said she didn't believe that. "I do!" He insisted and laughed once more almost like he was laughing at himself.

"Really?" Lydia asked as she gripped her knees tighter into her chest. Her tone was full of disbelief at the older boys claim.

"Really." Lyrik confirmed with a nod and Lydia sunk into her posture a little more.

"Why do you never show that you're mad then?" Lydia asked, her words not accusing but just honestly curious.

Lyrik shrugged thoughtfully and licked his lips. "I guess I just figure that getting mad at people, letting all the aggression that I hold in out really won't do anything for the situation. It won't do anything for me, or for others." Lyrik explained, his voice deep with thought. "I mean, I know that my anger isn't going to solve anything and in fact it might just make the situation worst. Besides," Lyrik paused slightly, "you never really know what's going on in people's heads. You don't know why they do things. Why they say thing. You don't know their fears, or their doubts. You don't know their insecurities; the things they hate about themselves." Lyrik stumbled over the word hate subtly and if Lydia hadn't been hanging on to his every word she might have missed the slightly stumble.

Lyrik cleared his thought loudly, effectively stopping any questions Lydia could have asked. "Without all that information, how can you really be mad at anyone ever?" Lyrik asked honestly as he turned his head to look at Lydia once more.

"I've never thought of that before." Lydia admitted, her eyebrows furring in thought.

"That's why Wolfgang, Craig and Akihiko are constantly on each other. They're all so afraid of their own shortcomings that they feel like they have to point out each other's." Lyrik sighed. "Muru and Shaun feel like they have to protect everyone around them, Jacob likes to put up this façade like he doesn't care because he can't stand the idea of actually getting close to anyone. Axel feels like an outsider and like he has something to prove." Lyrik continued to analysis and Lydia gave him a small smile. "Ginny's afraid of actually being noticed. You feel like you have to keep everyone together or things are just going to fall apart and it's going to be your fault."

"What about you?" Lydia asked, her voice soft.

"What about me?" Lyrik deflected as he turned his head away from the girl in order to watch the latter he had just climbed up.

"What are you afraid of Lyrik?"

Lyrik paused, his jaw hanging opening before he snapped it shut. "I," He started before pausing once more and Lydia patiently waited for what he had to say. "I guess I'm afraid of people actually seeing the real me." He finally admitted and Lydia waited for him to elaborate more but he didn't.

"What do you mean see the real you? You seem like a pretty genuine person to me Lyrik." Lydia told Lyrik as her face melted into concern.

"Yeah well, some people have really good masks." Lyrik told the younger girl seriously and Lydia continued to grow more confused.

"What do you mean Lyrik?" She pressed again and Lyrik could feel the pounding of his heart in his chest.

"Can I show you something?" Lyrik asked suddenly, rushing the words out of his mouth before he could change his mind.

"Sure." Lydia stuttered confused but her body leaning towards Lyrik as if she just wanted to convey how she supported him.

"And you promise not to think less of me?" Lyrik pressed.

"Of course!" Lydia confirmed without hesitation. "Lyrik there's very little you could ever do to make me think less of you."

"I need you to promise me Lydia." Lyrik said as he ignored the second part of Lydia's sentence.

"I promise." Lydia promised quietly, her eyes filling with confusion.

Lyrik sighed, as if he was trying to relinquish any remaining nerves. He stood, his movement sudden and quick and Lydia leaned back slightly in surprise. Lyrik closed his eyes, his breathing still quickened slightly. Lyrik tried not to think about whether what he was about to do was smart. He tried not to think about how Lydia would react. He had only known the girl for three months but he trusted her. He trusted her and he knew deep down underneath his fear and insecurity that Lydia wouldn't judge him for his natural appearance. Lyrik opened his eyes and as he opened his eyes his normal human appearance quickly morphed as his skin became white and scaly and his eyes narrowed into slits. The scar that he had hide for so long made its presence known over his right eye.

Lyrik spun to face Lydia, his face cold and unreadable. "This is what I really look like." He announced, his voice only shaking slightly.

Lydia, to her credit, only looked mildly surprised and not the least bit disgusted like Lyrik expected her to be.

"Can you please say something?" Lyrik asked after the silence had continued too long for him.

"Lyrik I-" Lydia began but stopped herself as she titled her head slightly to the side as if she was trying to figure out exactly what to say to Lyrik.

Lyrik's fists clenched together as he began to grow angry at himself for trusting Lydia. He should have known that now all she was going to be able to see him as was a monster.

"Lyrik there's nothing to say. I don't care want you look like. And I'm pretty sure everyone else feels the same way." Lydia told Lyrik causing Lyrik's fist to unclench.

"You're not disgusted?" Lyrik asked confused as he brought his eyes up to meet Lydia's eyes.

"Of course not!" Lydia cried, sounding slightly offended that Lyrik would even suggest the thought. Lydia pushed herself up off the ground quickly coming to stand right in front of Lyrik. "Why would I be disgusted?"

"Because I-" Lyrik began but he couldn't quite piece together the words to say what he was thinking.

"Because you don't look like me?" Lydia asked, her voice light. "Lyrik, if I didn't like anyone who didn't look like me than I wouldn't really like anyone." She joked but Lyrik didn't laugh.

"Because I don't look human!" Lyrik exploded and Lydia took a step back instinctually.

"Well," She said as she swallowed the lump in her throat, "that would make sense considering you're an alien."

Lyrik didn't say anything and instead decided to stare at the ground.

"Lyrik." Lydia said softly and forced herself to take a step closer to the angst ridden boy. "It's doesn't matter what you look like on the outside. It matters who you are on the inside." She told him softly as she continued to stare at him gently. "Besides, for all you know you could be considered beautiful on your planet and I could be considered a monster. Beauty is subjective."

"Can you not tell the others about this?" Lyrik asked as he considered Lydia's words and slowly morphed back into his human form.

Lydia nodded, her eyes sad as she watched Lyrik retreat back into his shell. "I won't tell anyone." She promised.

Lyrik nodded, feeling much more in control of his body as took a deep calming breath.

"Should we go see if the others have completely demolished each other by now?" Lyrik asked and Lydia saw the deflective nature of his actions but decided to let it go.

"I suppose we should." She nodded with a sigh.

Camp Pendleton, Oceanside CA

March 30, 2016 – 2300 hours

Jacob punched the swinging black punching bag using all of his body weight to push his swung forward. He watched with satisfaction as the bag swung rapidly from side to side before delivering another swift and direct punch to the bag once again. He continued this pattern vigorously despite the fact he could feel sweat dripping down his face and back.

Jacob couldn't quite explain it, and he wondered if in fact anyone could really explain it, but the amount of frustration he could feel building in his body was almost overwhelming. He wasn't sure how much more he could take of this whole team thing. It wasn't his style. Working with other people, becoming close to other people. Jacob had well-built walls that he had previously thought impenetrable. Now he discovered that he wasn't as well-guarded as he used to be. He found that he actually cared about the people around him. He had a vast amount of respect for Lyrik and Lydia. He found Wolfgang and Shaun amusing and often found his mouth turning into a smile when he was around the alien and metahuman. He had a bit more of a complicated relationship with Muru as he didn't completely trust the boy, but he also felt a little protective of alien in a strange way that he couldn't really describe.

It made sense, as much as Jacob didn't want to admit it. After all, you can't spend all day every day with a group of people for three months and not become attached. This didn't make the fact any less unsettling but he was glad he could find the logic in it.

Jacob knew deep down that his strange new attachment to the Ground Combat Element was the real reason he continued to give Logistics a hard time. While he did find that Akihiko and Craig were usually asking for trouble and Axel had some sort of chip on his shoulder, he knew the real reason he couldn't let himself rise above the drama was because he didn't want to get attached to anymore people. He was already attached to five people and Jacob knew better than most that being attached is dangerous. Being attached is how you get hurt.

A door slammed from behind Jacob causing the twenty-four-year-old to spin instinctively. Jacob's eyes narrowed as he watched Axel enter the small gym space. He kept his breathing in the same rhythmic pattern in order to keep himself calm despite is natural instinct to approach the boy.

Axel kept his eyes trained on Jacob as he walked to the treadmills. He had earphones stuffed into his ears and his music was turned up as high as he could put it, yet he could still feel the eerie silence that filled the room. Axel stepped up onto the treadmill and finally teared his eyes from Jacob in order to turn on the machine.

Axel kept his eyes straight forward despite his natural instinct to stare at Jacob. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as he could feel Jacob's eyes boring into him. He spun suddenly, his eyes narrowing as he glared at the older boy.

"You got something to say Lyland?" Axel growled out and Jacob shrugged passively as he turned back to his punching bag.

Axel rolled his eyes but turned away from Jacob and started to jog at a medium pace. He tried his best to ignore the presence of the twenty-four year old but it was proving to be harder than he thought. Jacob had the type of presence that just completely took over the room. No matter how hard Axel tried to think of something else, anything else, it was as if Jacob was breathing down his neck instead of punching a bag thirty feet away from him. Everything else just seemed to melt away and the only thing Axel was aware of was Jacob's breathing and the sound of the man's fist hitting the black bag harshly.

The entire feud between the two elements was beginning to feel ridiculous even to Axel, who was naturally a little bit more prone to fighting. To be fair, Axel knew the fighting stemmed more from Akihiko, Craig, Muru, and Wolfgang than it did from Shaun, Jacob, or himself, but it didn't change the fact that it caused everyone to be tense around each other. Even Lyrik, Ginny and Lydia often found reasons not to be alone in a room with just members of the Logistics Element or in Ginny's case the Ground Combat Element. Axel knew that the feud was affecting their work and was also the reason they seemed to be unable to pass any simulation despite the fact that their training was going well.

The sound of the door slamming open again distracted Axel from his thoughts as well as almost caused him to go flying off the treadmill as he attempted to turn around and look at who had entered.

Axel's heart dropped as he watched Craig enter the gym as he knew immediately that there was no way Craig could interact with Jacob, or even be in the same room as Jacob for the matter, without making some sort of snide comment. Although Akihiko was more of the leader in regards to the attack against Ground Combat Element, Craig could also make some pretty thoughtless comments as well.

Axel turned his eyes to Jacob, who was staring at Craig intensely as his eyes narrowed. Axel silently hoped that the two would just go their own separate ways and Axel wouldn't have to deal with any more fights today.

Craig's faces twisted into a smirk as he slowed his pace and approached Jacob.

"Sup Lyland?" Craig asked, his tone light but Axel could hear the challenge beneath the words.

Jacob didn't answer the younger man but instead reached down to gave his white towel, all while never taking his eyes off Craig.

Craig rolled his eyes but otherwise said nothing as he stepped further into the gym. The tension was so thick in the room that Axel was sure if even a word was uttered, a huge fight would erupt. Axel debated just leaving the gym in favor of just retreating to his room and sleeping but he felt strangely obligated to stay in case a fight did occur.

The three remained silent but the room was heavy with tension and Axel couldn't help but think that he had never heard silence so loud before.

The silence was broken by the sound of the metal door once again opening and closing and Axel turned around to see Akihiko walk into the small gym space. Axel resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Akihiko and Craig together were not exactly the peacemaking type. In fact, they were quite the opposite. The two seemed to encourage each other to antagonize member of the Ground Combat Element and Axel really did not want to deal with this right now. Out of all the nights Axel had decided to run in the gym instead of on the track why did it have to be tonight that Craig, Akihiko and Jacob all decided to work out at the same time.

Jacob shot the two geniuses a warning glare before turning back to his black punching bag. Akihiko and Craig shared a looking and nod before beginning to advance on Jacob.

Axel sighed before turning off the treadmill and he held his breathe as he waited for a fight to break out. This was going to be a long night.

AN: Next chapter will pick up immediately where this chapter left off. I wanted to finish this scene but I figured I had left you waiting for too long so instead I'm just going to leave you with a cliff-hanger of sorts. I am sorry for my two-month absence. I just started college and if you haven't done that yet college pretty much dominates any time you have. I am going to try to update every two weeks but no promises. Just know I haven't abandoned this story! I am still very excited! Anyway, this is the last build up chapter. Next chapter the action begins in full force, so be ready for drama. Also, taskforce 0 made another appearance! I'm going to try to give them a little cameo every chapter until the next interlude which will continue/finish their backstory (which will come in probably a chapter or two). Anyway, currently most people want Lydia with Lyrik so I've given them a little thing alone, not that it has to be taken as romantic. There's a lot of little extra scenes that I meant to add to this chapter before jumping into the action next chapter but I decided instead of doing that, I'm going to save those extra scenes and maybe make a collection of one-shots as a separate but companion story because they really just interrupt the flow of this chapter if I was to add them into this. Also, sorry if Craig and Akihiko seemed a little too much like jerks, it was supposed to come off as they don't know when to stop joking around and that it was equally both sides faults. Anyway, thanks for sticking with me! I hope you enjoy this chapter and hopefully you'll see another update in two weeks?


Guest – Thanks for the advice! I know I miss a lot of my grammar and spelling mistakes and I think it's just because in my head I know what I'm trying to say.

W.R. Winters – I'm glad you enjoyed the anti-heroes! They're a lot of fun to write because they get to have a little more fun than Taskforce Alpha. Hope you enjoy this chapter!

Guest (DeathDealerInc) – I'm guessing that this is DeathDealerInc based on the review style, but if I'm incorrect please correct me! I do hope to include Hana in this story in some form because she's a very dynamic character, so definitely keep looking for her! And I agree with Jacob and Lydia's relationship being purely platonic. I think that they have a lot in common (which will come to light in the next couple of chapters).

GoldenCrest134 – Yay! I'm glad you liked the way I wrote Helena. She is so much fun to write and she's just such an awesome character so I hope I can do her justice. And I kind of agree that Grace and Mur would make the most interesting couple ever.

0B13 – I do plan for Taskforce Alpha to meet Taskforce 0 and when they do drama will surely follow! Sorry that this was such a long break, I had serious writers block.

Mochafactor – Helena will be coming back along with other members of taskforce 0, and I'm so glad you liked her!

Rosemarie Benson – I hope that in a couple of chapter it will clear up how the anti-heroes relate to the main plot of this story! Thank you for reviewing!

C.L. Sparrowhawk – Thank you so much! Your review was so nice, it really made my day! I think Filo is defiantly the ringleader of the antiheroes and he is so much fun to write because he's such a dynamic character and his interactions with everyone us just always makes me laugh a little.

StarsMagic – Thank you! Ellie is a lot like Raven in my opinion so I'm glad you drew the parallels.

NitrotheKidd88 – Thank you so much! My hope for this interlude was to show the difference between the two groups so I'm glad that you caught all the differences! I hope you enjoy this chapter!

ThatGuy222 – I'm glad you liked Grace and Christopher, their relationship is really interesting to me so I really like writing their interactions.

OJWawa – I think I might ship Ellie and Filo low-key honestly. I think they keep each other in line and support each other in a way that's kind of different from everyone else.

The Men In Black – Thank you for your review! I'm so glad that you like this story even though you don't have a character in it! That means so much to me honestly! And I agree about the military superheroes, I think that they are so interesting but they never get the same recognition as others.

Thank you so much for all your kind reviews! Don't forget to review again!

~ Grace