“Here, take this,” Echo said, guiding my hand around his canteen as he dropped two tablets into my mouth. Gulping down the water, I felt so weak while laying in bed. The gift that was manifesting was seizing up my muscles like electricity was being conducted through me, my limbs twitching painfully with each new circuit. The only bright side to this was the lack of wanting to vomit.
“Was it this bad when your gifts were developing?” I asked, screwing my eyes shut. Even though Echo had switched the lights off when we entered, the sunlight still bothered me just as much. Seeing this, I heard the curtains being drawn shut.
“My first gift was cryokinesis, it developed while I was at home, but it did not affect me until Evolved kidnapped us. I was so weak that I couldn’t keep the food they forced us to eat in my system for long or fight back when they tested on me. When my teleportation started developing, I was here and had the thought of getting the collar off. I got it off but managed to get myself entangled upside-down in a tree outside Tango’s office. Lucky me that my brother was there to get me out.”
“Lucky,” I mumbled, feeling sleepy. “Cuddle with me?” I heard his deep chuckle before feeling him move behind me, his arm coming around my side so he could press his hand to my chest before I went to intertwine our fingers. His lips were leaving a trail of feather-light kisses on my neck which made me giggle as he held me closer. His quiet goodnight was lost as blissful sleep engulfed me.
When I woke up again it was from the gentle shaking of a hand on my shoulder. It was now dark outside, the dorm lights still off as I became fully conscious of my surroundings. Echo was the one shaking my shoulder, no longer wearing his sleep clothes but outfitted in black clothing, a gun strapped to his hip and knife hidden in his boot.
“What’s going on?” I asked, letting him guide me into a sitting position before he handed me clothing identical to his. I could see that Rooi’s small area light was on, her shadow showing her rushed movements to get ready. Following her urgency, I quickly got changed, watching as Echo paced in front of me as I laced up my boots and strapped on my two combat knives on each thigh. A length of electricity raced down the metal as it slid into its sheath.
“The hit got moved, it’s happening tonight. The plans changed, we aren’t playing as bait anymore, we’re going on full strike. We need to get to the Humvees now,” Echo explained hurriedly, grabbing my hand as soon as he saw that I was ready. Nervous energy was radiating off him as I was dragged behind him, the others rushing out the door when they saw us. The roar of engines met us outside in the assembly point. Alpha team were already situated in their seats, either checking their guns or other gear as they waited for us.
Echo took me to the second Humvee where Neo stood, the tablet he was holding casting an eerie glow over his features.
“Sorry for the late change, we only got told a few minutes ago too. As I am sure Echo told you, the plan has been tossed and a new one set in place,” Neo explained as he hoped behind the driver’s seat, Murphy taking the passenger seat. “This one has you two with Murphy and Kingston going in first then the rest of us. This is a bust, meaning all hands-on weapons and powers. Anyone attacks you; you go in for the kill.”
Kingston came in behind us, his posture exuding confidence and control. “We will be there in twenty with the backroads, stay frosty.”
The drive was in stifling silence. The adrenaline was charging me up, my want to fight becoming stronger even though I knew deep down I was hellishly scared about this entire situation. Echo’s hand that was still clutching mine trembled slightly, his fingers squeezing around mine as if to steady his nerves. Moving closer, I leaned my head against his shoulder, seeing the little smile on Kingston’s face in the corner of my eye. This was our first mission and already things were changing under our feet.
The Humvees were parked in the untamed vegetation, leaving us to sneak our way to the dark warehouse. You could feel the buzz of nerves from everyone, even Alpha team were giving off a similar vibe with their postures becoming stiffer as we got closer to the edge of the hill.
Voices, at first as unknowledgeable gibberish, slowly started coming our way as we finally lay in the grass, staring down at the two unknowing guards. The warehouse doors were ajar, allowing a slim streak of golden light to spread its way out on the dark, gravelled parking lot. The guards stood just outside the light, locked in conversation.
Kingston let out a low whistle. Taylor responded automatically as he kneeled on one knee, bringing his rifle to his eye before aiming. The two guards went down silently and quickly. Without further orders, Axel and Neo broke away from our group, taking Rooi and Victor with them. Fox stayed with Taylor while Murphy and Kingston made sure Echo and I were right behind them, heading straight to the wall of the warehouse.
As we stealthily moved down the hill, the warehouse lights went out but thanks to us being Gifted, we could see in light shades of grey as Murphy and Kingston placed on their night-vision goggles. Men and women, dressed in fancy clothing, came pouring out with their bodyguards close behind them. Something happened and the people were slipping and sliding before falling into a convulsing mess, four people coming out from the shadows to slap cuffs on all of them.
When we got down and closer to the warehouse, I saw that the gravel where the fallen people were had been pushed away to allow a large muddy puddle to form only for it to rapidly dry, trapping anyone who had fallen deeply. One woman, in particular, had only her top half free as the rest of her was covered in a thick layer of dry, sticky mud.
“Alpha, there are still people inside, we need you to sense if any of them are armed,” Kingston whispered, pushing me forward, arm pressed against the warehouse wall. Nodding, I felt the now-familiar tug in my core as I concentrated before counting off six guns with muzzles turned to the door and a seventh person holding a knife to someone’s throat. I relayed this information to Kingston who nodded before letting out another whistle, grabbing the attention of the other four members. Only one broke away. Rooi.
“Little Rooi’s going in there with you, Murphy and I will be aiming here so we don’t get in your way. Murphy, you have your thermal scope, right?” Kingston and Murphy continued to talk and all I could think about was that we were going in there alone..
“We can do it, we’re Gifted,” Rooi growled, her gold eyes seeming to burn brighter.
With a deep breath, I unsheathed my combat knives, feeling the light sting of electricity behind my eyes as wisps of it bounced off the blades. I had only used these in training with Tango and only then it was to try to knock him out and not to draw blood.
“Ready?” Echo whispered, cold air wafting off him as his eyes changed colour. The adrenaline was pumping faster now, allowing me to sense every fine bit of metal in the warehouse and who the knife was held against.