The five posted chapters are over 10,000 words in length.
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“It is time to put some of your training into practice.” The General told the assembled PME's, “It is time to fight the tyrannies of the world that are aggressively attacking the innocent. I want to assemble a team to go to the southern Pacific and get rid of this Mahatami Narvi.”
A holographic projector on the table next to the General lit up the air above. Soon they could make out an image of the international naval flotilla launching aircraft and landing boats full of Marines. The forces had tried to invade the small island nation that the evil PME, Mahatami had taken over. Before these troops could reach the beach, though, the air and the ground became a barrier.
An aerial image showed that a wall of clouds and water completely encircled the island. Inside of this the island sat peacefully, as if inside the eye of a massive hurricane. The aircraft and landing vehicles were repelled, some crashed and sank.
“They never even made it to land. Thirty-two Marines and six pilots from four countries were killed in this botched operation. The whole thing was flawed from its conception. The Russian media is having a field day using this for propaganda against the Baltics.” The General said, “I propose that a few of you could do what all of these military forces cannot do.”
Nel looked around. Marcus and his friends Rocky and Randy seemed energized by the idea, while poor Kareem looked like he knew he was doomed. His power of teleportation was the obvious key to a successful infiltration. Kareem was going to have to be convinced, otherwise there was a long trip and a swim involved for the others.
“Once we take Mahatami out, we can concentrate fully on boxing the Russians in. They also seem intent on using their PME advantage against Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan, at the very least. The Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia seems to be their first stage.” The General told them, “Now, to get down to the business at hand.”
One of his aides handed him a manila folder. Nel didn't know people still used those things in real life.
“I want to speak with some of you, in private. Adama has been good enough to let me use one of the unused classrooms for a temporary office. Kareem Abdullah is the first one I want to speak with, can you come with me right now, Kareem?”
A morose looking Kareem followed the General and one of his subordinates out of the cafeteria and up the stairs out in the hall. The rest of the students started lining up to get some food. The chatter was louder than normal and the other soldiers just sat at one of the tables reading notes and using a cellphone, ignoring everything.
“Kareem's going to be a warrior!” Elise said, excitedly. “I wonder if they'll let me go?”
Eun-Ji was opening a ketchup packet with her teeth, but paused to say, “Unnecessary, really. With Randy, Rocky and Marcus I think they'll have enough firepower. Besides how many trips would Kareem have to make if they take more than that?”
“Yes, I see. He's going to be exhausted making that many teleports to the other side of the world. Poor sweet Kareem.” Elise said, pouting, Nel didn't know whether to laugh or call an asylum. Apparently even her friends had forgotten about her newly discovered power amid the excitement of the military visit. Sure, it wasn't very strong and definitely not the blossomed power of a warrior, but they should at least be happy for her.
Sure enough, Marcus was the next to be called. He looked at their table on his way out, Nel gave him a smile and a small wave.
“Do you think they'll really go?” Eun-Ji asked, “There are several other institutions besides Adama, they're probably checking them all out.”
“Kareem is the only one I know of that can teleport like he does. There is that girl Angelica from Angola but she can only teleport to where she has been before.”Elise said. “I guess there could be others in countries where they keep these things secret, though.”
“It'd be a lot tougher without Kareem, that's for sure.” Nel admitted. She wanted to ask him about that but he never came back to the cafeteria. Marcus did not return either.
Nel left the cafeteria and wandered the halls. There was sign of either of them and she saw Rocky coming out of the room being used by the General. She hurried to catch up to him.
“Rocky Alvarez!” She said he stopped and turned to face her. He was holding a thin dark blue binder and tightened his grip as she approached.
“Have you heard from Marcus or Kareem? Do you know where they are? I want to talk to them.” Nel said.
He shifted weight to his other foot. “No. I don't know where they are. I'm sure they'll turn up soon, though.”
Rocky was being evasive. He was an extrovert like Randy, unusual among PME's. Why would he start clamming up now?
“What's that?” she asked.
“You know the military wants to recruit us when we turn eighteen, it's just information for potential recruits. I can't let you see it though.”
Sure. She knew better than to think it was just a big, thick brochure that said they should be all that they can be.
The cellphone in her pocket vibrated. She still hadn't got used to having one of those. It was Elise.
“Yeah, what is it?” She asked.
“Nel. Where are you? Norm snuck out right after you did. You need to be careful.” She said. Nel was a little surprised that Elise had even been listening when she told her friend about that idiots behavior.
“Thanks for the heads up.” Nel told her and pushed it back into her pocket. She felt apprehensive about being in the corridors alone. She could go to her room but Norm had already proved that door locks are no obstacle for him.
She walked toward the nearest stairway but heard someone coming up. Nel decided to find a place to hide and went into the nearest open door. It was an empty bedroom. She just didn't want to be seen from the hallway because the footfalls were getting louder, echoing on the hardwood floor.
“Kimberly Irene Nelson! You are wanted in the office, young woman!” Norm called out in a bad imitation of Mr Roberts. Then he laughed.
“Oh poor dear, bless your heart. Is your man Marcus not around to protect you?” she heard him call out, but it sounded a little fainter than before.
'Please stay away.' She thought to herself.
“I pity the fool that becomes my enemy!” Norm said, he sounded closer and she heard a door slam open. A moment later he was back in the corridor and coming closer to where she was hiding, he sounded like he was only one door away now. “Hide and seek is more fun since I have my power.”
Apparently he was using his power to break open locked doors. The room next to the one she was hiding in exploded inward. Nel thought she could hear the door hit the far wall.
“Some people should not be allowed to decorate.” Norm said from inside the next room, “The 80's called and they want their torn magazine pages off your wall.”
She could hear things being tossed about in the next room, a few things sounded like they broke as they hit the wall. Nel wondered who that room belonged to. If Norm was tearing up rooms and knocking doors from their frames, then he was ready to just and leave. He just had one loose end. Nel swallowed, he would be there momentarily.
Cellphone. How stupid she kept forgetting. Maybe she had time.
There were footsteps in the hall. Nel froze. It wasn't Norm, she heard two voices talking in loud whispers. Where had Norm gone? As the voices came closer she recognized the speakers.
“Why did you say that? That's not what happened.” It was Marcus and he sounded extremely serious.
“I did what I thought was right. I have no regrets.” Said the voice of Kareem. Nel realized they had gone on a mission but that something happened during it. Something Kareem had done.
“If they find out what really happened...”
“I'm not a killer. I'm not an assassin. I'll do what I think needs to be done.” Kareem replied, “I think we don't have to worry about Mahatami Narvi anymore if he has any brains.”
“I hope so. For our sakes, I hope so.” Marcus told him. “So what really happened?”
Kareem didn't answer.
“Thought so.” Marcus said, sounding a bit deflated.
When they reached the stairs Nel came out of her hiding place and caught up with them as if she had been in her own room. “Hey Marcus, hi Kareem.”
Nel felt safer for the moment but before they reached the ground floor she had a terrifying thought. Had Norm been hiding in the next room, had he heard the same thing she did? If Norm brought the information to the General or something, he could ruin Marcus and Kareem.
The three of them returned to the cafeteria where the PME's were still assembled. Elise looked alarmed when she saw them and then she ran up to them and hugged Kareem.
“I want one.” Nel said.
“You guys! Something is happening.” Elise told them, “The General is coming to tell us something.”
They went and sat at the table where Park Eun-Ji was reading notes and drinking juice through a straw as if nothing mattered. She didn't even react when Marcus and Kareem joined them. Almost as soon as they sat the General entered and walked to the front where some soldiers were already standing.
“Unfortunately, we have no time for formal military training. The Russians have moved into Latvia. They have already taken the town of Rēzekne. Their forces are moving up the A12 toward Jēkabpils, which means it won't take them long to reach the capitol city of Riga.” The General told them as these locations were highlighted on the holographic map hovering over the table.
“Latvia is a small country of around two million people. You can imagine how small a military and how few PME's their country has.” The General said, “If this domino falls, there will be country after country falling to the Russians. They haven't exactly kept this a secret.”
Nel felt Elise take her hand and grip it tightly. Nel wasn't the only one bracing for what would come next. She glanced to the back of the room and saw Norm at the exit, leaning against the door-frame. There was an evil-looking sneer on his face.
The General smacked the top of the table. “Your country needs you. Humanity needs you. It is time for you to put your powers to work for the greater good! In order to stop the Russians, I need as many of you as I can to join me. Who wants to be a hero?”
Nel felt her stomach tie in knots.
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