The Lunar Agency
CHAPTER
1
Vega Epsilon
ZAPPPPP!
I ducked, ther smell of burning hair ends wafting around me as I narrowly avoided the laser shot.
Zapp Zapp Zapp!
I flipped forward, dodging another missile before darting across the crumbled road into cover.
‘Vega!’ Jude huffed as I inadvertently crashed into him, knocking the boy to the asphalt.
I chuckled lowly, before giving the blue haired trainee a hand up. Suppose I wasn’t the only one who thought this place would be good for cover. It was a great position, behind an over turned Volkswagen and right at the edge of the playing field. The enemy would have to come right at us to attack, risking being shot themselves.
‘It’s getting dangerous out there!’ I peeked out under the wheels to the street beyond.
I counted at least 5 armored gunners crouched among the crumbling buildings.
The enemy’s faces were obscured by large black helmets and each held a double ray gun, pulsating with sick yellow light.
‘Those “star killer” guns look so cool Jude!’
‘You won’t be saying that if you get sho...’
There was a screech from down the road and I cautiously peered out under the wheels again.
There was a boy lying at the end of the highway, completely still with a large singe mark on his shoulder. His face was gnarled into a silent cry.
“Geez.” I gritted my teeth. “They’re only set to stun right? An agent might get really hurt!”
“We’ll we are here test if the new guns work. If anyone dies I’m sure they’ll dial down the stun setting for next time.”
“Not funny Jude.”
I peeked under the wheels again and saw something even more appalling. The boy had been moved away into a safe spot but now the black team were walking casually down the road, not even bothering to use cover as they scouted for us rookies.
“There’s something fishy going on, they were so efficient before, almost professional. But now they’re being careless.” I whispered ducking even further.
“Maybe they’re getting cocky, we should teach them a lesson.”
Jude drew his blue standard issue laser and carefully aimed through the driver side window.
“Stop!” I hissed, grabbing his arm but he shook me off angrily.
‘We’ll I at-least want to shoot one before this is over. I’m starting to get the feeling were basically target practice for those new fancy guns of theirs and we were written off to begin with.’
I punched the short boy in the shoulder and he glared at me.
‘Don’t be such a whimp! Remember what the commander said? We are only as strong as our will power. If you give up, you have already lost!’
Another crackling ZAPPP echoed through the arena, followed by a cry of shock.
Very cautiously, I peered out at the streets again to see this time it was one of the black figures falling, but not before one of our own gold teammates was assailed by several ray beams at once, blasting her ruble covered hiding spot to smithereens. She hit the ground before their man did, a black laser mark burned through her leg armor. I gritted my teeth.
So that was their plan, most of them were sniping from the shadows trying to draw the last of us out. We had reached the endgame.
Jude lowered his gun, slumping against the car in defeat.
‘We should just hide until its over. There’s a chance they won’t find us before the end of the training exercise and we’ll at least get a draw.’
‘How wussy is that though!” I stood up putting my hands on my hips”We have to treat this like a real mission, like this weird team is threatening the earth and we’re the only ones who can possibly save it. You know they’re watching, the commander, the trainers, everyone. Even if we get a few laserburns, we can’t just give up without trying Jude, just...’
Zapppp I flinched back down as a hot buzz of a laser whisked past my cheek missing by less than an inch
‘Well there goes our chance of hiding.’ Jude moaned as another streak of yellow laser came into view, slicing through the body of the car like a knife through butter and only just missing Jude’s arm.
I pulled my friend closer to the ground and into a large crack in the asphalt, hiding us from the enemy fire as shot upon shot streamed through the vehicle and past our heads, like painful vertical rain. The smell of burning tar filled the air when even the tires began to melt.
‘We should have run for it when we had the chance.’ Jude muttered angrily, and another laser scorched over his back narrowly missing his spine, I pulled him in closer, narrowing my eyes at my blue haired friend.
‘Have I ever lead you astray before?’ I asked, not breaking eye contact. He just snorted and made a gesture towards the jets of burning light passing narrowly above us.
‘Daily it seems.’
I bristled, after all that training I helped him with!
An evil plan began to form and I smiled sweetly.
‘I know a way out of this.’
These new ‘Star killers’ were at-least 10 times as powerful as our old weapons. They just sliced through everything. From lead to diamonds apparently, though I hadn’t seen any lying around the training ground to try it out on. Even on the stun setting, these ray were just intensely powerful, we had to be careful.
“Remember, aim for limbs and shoulders. Don’t want to give any kid a heart attack.”
Lieutenant Hardgrave nodded and I’m sure he was rolling his eyes under his large black helmet.
“You’re repeating yourself Admiral.” He whispered. I ignored the sass in his reply and scanned the broken concrete around me. It was unsettling to be out on the open road like this. But it was best to lure them out before anyone got...
I drew my weapon and gave a warning shot as not 500 meters away, a girl’s head popped up from behind an overturned Volkswagen. What was she thinking?
‘Constant fire, through the care base!’ I ordered and grimaced as the car soon became a holey mess.
“Those poor trainees.” Hardgrave muttered.
I had to agree with him for once. Though they had been warned that this exercise was designed to test out the weapons of our team and their performance wouldn’t contribute to their end of year score.
They hadn’t been told they would be facing a unit of elitely trained Lunar Agents, led by myself. I had a feeling Ursa didn’t want his students to think there was no hope at all.
‘Admiral Orion, should we advance?’ Commodore Andromeda barked, not for one moment glancing away from the old time car she was melting with her Star killer.
I tapped the scanner at the side of my head, opening the computer interface onto the scree on my helmet.
‘There are two of them, from their heartbeats its seems neither has been caught by the stunners, they’ve holed up in a depression in the road.’
‘Course of action sir?’
‘What do you think we should do commodore?’
‘I think we should await your orders sir.’ She replied. Her lips were pinched
thinly.
‘Come on Andromeda, this isn’t a real mission. It’s a game for the ray gun company to check out their new weapons. The lunar base’s most elite shooters against two kids? I think I’ll let you deal with the endgame.’
Through the dark tint of Andromeda’s helmet I could see the corner of her mouth tilt up slightly.
‘If you think so sir.’
My second in command quickly had us partitioned into two groups in triangular formations of-course this would be the best strategy in this situation. Maybe this exercise could even convince Andy she was a good leader and then she could finally become an admiral on her own.
‘Cover both sides of the car and take them down.’ She ordered, marching forward at the head of the left group.
‘Don’t you dare Vega!!!!’ A boy’s voice shouted before a trainee was unceremoniously tossed out into the opening before us, closest to Andromeda’s squadron.
The small kid looked really sour and even I was frozen into place at the bizarre turn of events.
That was before he turned and shot me in the leg. Ouch! even regular rays packed a punch. Unceremoniously I fell to the ground like a sack of bricks.
‘Just my luck.’
I’m sure he hadn’t even been aiming for me, he just sort of pulled the trigger in the general direction of my squadron.
‘Attack!’ Andromeda shouted, pointing at the poor kid who was suddenly set upon by the entire squad. Somehow, he managed to avoid the first few shots and careen off into the crumbling buildings to the left.
The commodore angrily gestured for a full team pursuit, and even though I couldn’t properly see her, paralyzed as I was, lying among the rubble. I knew she was being foolishly hasty because I was the one shot. So much for building her confidence as a leader.
She had always been very protective of me and I’m sure I would hear no end to the apologies once this was over, though it had been my own stupid fault for letting my guard down.
A short shriek told me it only took seconds to take down the boy, but Andromeda’s recklessness came at a heavy price.
Maybe if she was calmer, the commodore would have noticed a second, green haired trainee, fly into the air from behind the car while everyone was distracted by the decoy.
My own agents began to fall and it took precious seconds for them to realize that they were being shot at from above. The photon jets in the girls shoes let off a constant hum as the trainee continued to shoot, every beam hitting fantastic accuracy. By the time my team finally began to return fire, the girl had flitted away into the upper-stories of a nearby building.
Rocket boots? How had a trainee got a hold of a pair of rocket boots? We didn’t even have access to that technology yet.
Even though her surprise attack was brilliant, as my agents became aware of her strategies I thought she would undoubtedly be taken down, but somehow the girl hung on.
The training exercise which should have been a massacre quickly turned into an all out war as the girl’s green laser streaked through the buildings always followed by the explosive yellow fire of our new Star Killers. My team began to falter, as one by one they were picked off, soon reduced to a small squad of just five of our original twenty.
I couldn’t erase the goofy grin on my face as another ZAPP echoed through the training grounds and one of the five remaining agents fell to the ground.
She was a good shot, I’d give her that.
Slowly, feeling began to return to my limbs as the stun wore off and I was able to watch the battle with more ease, even though I had been disqualified.
By the time I was able to finally wobble to my feet and follow the fight which had drifted to the opposite end of the practice ground, only two were left. Andromeda and the trainee.
The younger girl had a definite height advantage and I followed in the shadows as the two fired at one another, my commander having to jump from building to building or roll for cover to avoid fire while the trainee merely had to alter her height, or fly onto another floor to await her pursuer.
As amazing as it was, as good as the young agent proved to be, there was now way she would win against Andromeda.
The Commodore and I had known each other since we were children, raised from birth, attending the most prestigious schools together, trained to the highest degree. Andromeda was at least a good a shooter as I, if not better. One of the best in the solar system.
As I kept telling her, she could easily lead an army of her own! If only she wasn’t so loyal to me and our agency.
A pile of rubble to my left began to stir and I plucked one of my agents from it, helping him to his feet and leaning his body against a pillar in view of the battle while he recovered from the neural shock.
‘Quite a fight, Admiral.’ He grunted and I just grinned, as the laser fire ahead became even more furious. ‘I don’t think we’ll be able to live this one down if Andromeda fails, an entire squadron of elite shooters destroyed by a green eared trainee.’
‘She doesn’t look so green to me, even the way she holds her ray is precise and effective, it’s like she’s used that weapon for decades.’
‘But these kids are only meant to be in their second year of training, there’s no way a child like..’
‘She’s not a child,’ I grinned only just realizing it myself, she was much too tall after all. Using the vision enhancer built into my helmet I zeroed in on the battle. The girls skin was flawless, and her green hair was plaited to give her a youthful look, but It was just as I suspected. The trainee was older than her rank suggested. ‘She looks like she could be just a few years younger than us.’
The lieutenant frowned, cracking his neck as he regained motility.
‘You mean that I was taken down by some repeat?’
‘A repeat!’ I laughed ‘There’s no way someone who can shoot like that would be forced to repeat training at the academy. Maybe they slipped a professional in the trainee team to keep us on our toes.’
‘Well in any case, it seems we’ve won, Andromeda’s about to give Mrs. Rocketboots a taste of the Star Killer.’
Zooming my enhanced vision back into the battle. I could see the Commodore, crouching behind a broken counter in a burned out building, her Ray pointed steadily at a gap in the crumbling ceiling. It was clear the girl was in her sights, hovering far above the dilapidated building.
For normal rays, the trainee would have been far out of range, the beam usually dissipating after a kilometer or so. But this was a Star Killer she was up against, with more than triple the range. This mysterious agent had no clue she was a sitting duck.
My heart froze as I realized how deadly the situation had become. The commodore was about to paralyze someone hovering over a kilometer above the ground.
‘Oh god.’ I gasped, launching forward.
ZAPPPP
A yellow beam sizzled out of Andromeda’s Ray, taking Vega unawares half a second later when it hit her full in the chest.
She began to fall.
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