Alpha, p.10
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       Alpha, p.10

           Daniel Schmidt

  Chapter 10

  I was woken by Walter’s booming voice.

  “Paul, get out of bed!”

  I sat up quickly and found the huge blond man standing over me smiling.

  “Make yourself pretty, we’re gonna go have some fun!” he shouted.

  Without knowing what was going on, I threw on a button-up shirt and jeans, and I joined the rest of the squad, minus Sergeant Barnes and Christine, in the garage. We piled into the truck and the SUV and sped off. I had slept almost all day and the sun was starting to set as we drove into town.

  We drove for an hour or so and stopped at a rustic steak house on the east side of town. We ate a wonderful meal, drank a few pitchers of their locally brewed beer, and then drove into town to a huge bar. The bar had a dirt parking lot and it looked packed. A line at the door wrapped around the building. Walter led the squad to the front of the line, he nodded at the two guys there, and they threw open the doors for us.

  Inside was just as packed as the parking lot. The place opened into a huge room and I saw numerous different bars along the edge. A live band played to the crowded dance floor. Walter led us through the mass of people to a large staircase that went straight up into a loft. The loft was guarded by two bouncers and was complete with its own bar, couches, pool table, card tables, and dance floor. We could look down on the whole place while standing at the railing, and then disappear from view as we moved further back in the loft.

  Walter yelled at us all to gather around him. Our personal bartender came by with a plate full of drinks and we all took one. Walter gathered us around him and he yelled.

  “Tonight we drink to old comrades… and to new ones,” he said tipping his glass towards me. Walter reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin, and everyone else followed suit. I realized everyone had a coin just like the one Christine had given me and I fished my own out of my pocket, grateful I had brought it. I ran my fingers over the five strange symbols and wondered what they could mean.

  Walter dropped his coin into his drink and so did everyone else. I took one last look at the coin, and then dropped it to the bottom of my glass.

  Walter then yelled out “AL!”

  The squad followed in a roar “var!”

  Walter yelled it again, “ALLLL!”

  The squad again yelled “vaaarrrrr!”

  They repeated the yell, “AL”, followed by “varrrr!”

  Everyone threw back their drinks and caught their coins in their mouths. They took their coins out, held them up, and let out a roar. Walter then screamed, “Now let’s have some fun!” Carlos slapped me on the back and motioned me over to a couch. He had me sit down on an ottoman across from him, and David joined us, sitting next to Carlos. Walter slapped me on the shoulder and pushed another drink into my hand, and then walked away yelling friendly profanities at someone.

  Carlos laughed as he watched the big man walk away. I held the coin in my hand and spun it several times.

  “The prophecies,” David said, motioning towards the coin.

  “The prophecies?” I echoed.

  Carlos pulled his coin out. “These symbols represent the five prophecies. The first are what we call Alvar, the second we call Eine… and the rest have yet to be revealed.”

  “Alvar, that’s what we were just yelling,” I said.

  Carlos and David nodded their heads. Carlos yelled across the room at someone in another team, and the man quickly came over.

  “Tell the new guy about the prophecies,” Carlos said, motioning to me.

  The man straightened up and in a dramatic voice said, “Alvar, the enlightened will arise amongst the people.”

  “And the second?” Carlos asked.

  “Eine, guardians of courage and loyalty, will stand to defend the Alvar.”

  “All right, get lost,” Carlos said and the man sarcastically saluted and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

  Carlos looked at me. “There you have it, the first two prophecies.”

  The woman with the purple eyes suddenly made sense. “That package we rescued today, she was an Alvar.”

  Carlos nodded his head.

  “And we are the Eine, the guardians of the Alvar,” David said.

  I leaned back, took a drink, and then said, “And who are the Legion?”

  “Those who feel threatened by the Alvar,” David said.

  Carlos nodded his head. “Well, there are a lot of theories but I guess we can say they feel threatened, that’s why they’re trying to kill the Alvar.”

  “What’s with the purple eyes?” I asked.

  Carlos shrugged and then spoke, “They all have them.”

  “Where do the Alvar come from?” I asked.

  Both David and Carlos laughed. “Again, there are a lot of theories,” Carlos said.

  David said, “Some believe they are heaven sent, some believe they are a gift from beyond the stars, some believe they are a miracle of nature, while others believe we have created them.”

  I smiled. “And who took that Alvar today? Who was in the helicopter?”

  Carlos shrugged his shoulders again. “They don’t tell us much.”

  I spun the coin in my hand. “Any theories about the remaining prophecies?”

  David looked at Carlos, and then said, “Who knows?”

  I took another drink. “This is a lot to take in.”

  Carlos smiled. “I’m still trying to take it in. Don’t worry about it though. They will tell us everything in time.”

  Walter shoved drinks into Carlos’ and David’s hands and both became engaged in a shouting conversation with Walter.

  I looked behind me and saw a few guys starting a game of pool. A few more watched college football. I got up and walked over to the railing. A mass of people stood below me. I sipped a drink and thought about the prophecy conversation. I wasn’t alone for long before Carlos came to stand next to me.

  “Just brings up more questions, huh?” he said.

  I just laughed.

  “Pretty good gig though?” Carlos said in a deep voice.

  “Yes, I wonder where has this been all my life?” I said jokingly.

  Carlos looked me over. “Hey man you’ve been doing good. The squad likes the way you operate; you keep your mouth shut and work hard, keep it up.”

  I didn’t know how to respond to the compliment; luckily our attention was diverted down below. A woman waved at us, or we thought she waved at us from her stool at the bar. It was too dark and crowded to really see. We waved back and when she looked away Carlos hit my arm. “Who she waving at? Me or you?”

  I laughed. “You’re the tall, dark and handsome one,” I said.

  “We can only hope,” he said chuckling.

  Carlos pointed near the lady who had waved at us. “David’s already hitting on the ladies.” It took me a moment to find him, but I saw David talking to two women at the bar. They both laughed at something he said. Carlos hit my arm again. “Come on, you’re coming with me.”

  “Where?” I said.

  “That lady that waved at us,” he said throwing back a shot.

  “I might need another one of those then,” I said, motioning to his empty shot glass. We both slammed another shot and walked down below. Carlos talked to the waving woman and I talked to her two friends. They acted like they weren’t interested and we made our way back up stairs.

  When we made it to the top of the stairs Walter let out a roar of laughter and said, “You two didn’t do so well!”

  “We’re gonna be fighting by night’s end, aren’t we!” Carlos said, shaking his fist at Walter.

  “Damn right we are!” Walter yelled. The two giants laughed and had a shot together. I hoped we didn’t kill someone by night’s end. It didn’t take long before the first grappling match started. A chair went tipping over as someone was thrown to the ground. Both men laughed and they started into a series of chokes and holds. We all
gathered around them to cheer. After several minutes one of them won with an arm lock. We let out a roar, patted him on the back, and made them do a shot together.

  I played a couple of games of pool with Carlos and he proved quite the pool player. I had a shot of whiskey with him and then jumped on his back and tried to choke him out. It didn’t work – he threw me over his shoulder and was on top of me in a flash. I staved off defeat for about a minute before his big arm found its way around my neck. Afterwards there was another shot for both of us. I returned to the railing with him to survey the dance floor below. I saw David dancing with a woman and he seemed to be enjoying himself.

  A few minutes later David came up with several woman and both Carlos and I jumped him. We fought for a minute or so before Walter pulled us apart. He made the three of us do pushups together.

  As we settled into some couches, I saw one of the women pull out a cell phone. A shiver went up my spine, and I cursed under my breath. I had to call Luke, no matter how much I didn’t want to talk to him. I slipped downstairs and stepped outside into the parking lot. I found a deserted area and called Luke.

  “Where the hell have you been?” Luke hissed.

  “I was a little tied up. I couldn’t figure out where we were going or contact you without compromising myself.”

  “I don’t want to hear excuses. What happened last night?”

  “I’m not really sure. I wouldn’t say we kidnapped someone but we definitely went into her house and took her away. The weird thing was she was okay with it. She knew we were coming and even knew our code words,” I said.

  “What?” Luke said slowly.

  I explained everything that happened the night before and there was a long pause.

  “That doesn’t make much sense,” Luke said finally.

  I took a deep breath. “I know. And I don’t think these guys are the terrorists. From everything I’ve seen it doesn’t fit. It appears these so called kidnappings are nothing of the sort. That lady was expecting us last night, was willing to come with us, and it was anything but a kidnapping. These guys also don’t talk ill of the government or preach any ideology. They don’t act like terrorists. They don’t even act like criminals. I’d bet it was the other group, the Legion, that killed your agents.”

  There was a long pause before Luke spoke. “Let’s not jump to hasty conclusions. You’ve only been there a couple of weeks and maybe they’re keeping you out of the loop. Are you sure last night wasn’t a rehearsal or something?”

  “What we did last night was real. Those men were scared of the Legion, scared for their lives. In fact, I was too. I know what fear looks and sounds like and it was everywhere last night. Trust me, it was real.”

  There was more silence on the other end. “Are you sure you’re not getting their people out of sticky situations? Maybe they call you guys in when their contacts run into trouble with this other group.”

  “Maybe, but who could these Legion guys be?”

  “I don’t know. I guess there is more to this than we know,” Luke said.

  =“You need to find out who these Legion characters are,” I said.

  “I’ll look into it,” Luke said as he let out a long breath. “You need to tell me if you get another mission and where you guys are going. I don’t care what you have to do, just figure it out.”

  “I won’t let you down,” I said.

  “Do you have the time to give me everyone’s names?” Luke asked.

  I flipped through my phone where I had recorded the squad’s names in code and gave them to him.

  “Do you have coordinates to where you’re staying?”

  “No, but I can tell you how to get there,” I said reluctantly.

  “I’m listening.”

  I gave him the directions to the house.

  “Are you going to raid the house?” I asked.

  “No, I want to catch you guys on a mission, take not only your guys, but whoever they are going after. I’ll need everyone to figure this out.”

  “Alright, I’ll contact you if anything comes up.”

  Luke grunted and ended the call.

  I went back inside to the bar and ordered a shot to try to calm my nerves before returning to the squad. After slamming the shot, I walked back upstairs. David, Walter, and Carlos were all engrossed in conversation and had hardly noticed I was gone.

  My eyes surveyed the room and I felt sick to my stomach. I realized I was becoming emotionally attached to these men, I was starting to care about what happened to them, I was starting to defend them, and I knew this would just make things so much harder, so much more complicated in the end.

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