Beta ~Original Story~

After a failed mission, the government needs a new team to defeat the crime boss of Jacobi. However the two surviving teammates get a surprise when they meet their new team.

Chapter 2

Odelia Freemantle: The Rooftop Visitor

I was standing on the edge of a broken concrete wall, looking out of the seventh floor at the top of an abandoned parking garage. One misstep and I plunge to my death. Good thing I always know where to plant my feet.

The entire view of the city was depressing, altogether, especially from this perspective. Grey buildings tower over garbage-covered streets, and the light of sundown casts a yellow glow, highlighting all of the imperfections in the mess of San Diego caused by Jacobi. The dullness makes even my pale green eyes seem brilliant in comparison.

Some days, the city looks better, brighter, but today the storm clouds rolling in did nothing to improve upon my miserable disposition.

All of the alleys look the same from up here, and even if I saw it, I still wouldn't recognize the alley where I was born. Which is part of the reason I'm feeling distraught. Today is my fourteenth birthday, and I have no one to celebrate it with. The twelfth one without my family. I came up here in the hopes of cheering myself up. I always feel better knowing my entire world is laid out in front of me.

Though the partially collapsed ceiling blocks the ramp to the roof, that's not going to stop me from reaching the top of this garage. Turning away from my view of the skyline, I scrambled along the concrete edge of the building, until I found a pipe sturdy enough to hold me. Tying my already filthy blonde mop of hair that used to be curly behind my head for good measure, I wipe off my palms. Any dust will make my hands too slippery to get a good grip.

My calloused fingers cling to the rusty pipe, and I press the toes of my boot into the side of the building. I don't worry about falling; this kind of thrill is practically a hobby of mine by now. In a minute or less I have covered the twenty vertical feet to the next level (I'm a bad judge of distance, yet always manage to make the right calculations).

That's better, I think as I gaze up at the open sky, as opposed to enough concrete ceiling to give me claustrophobia.

I hear the faint grinding of metal behind me and I whip around, on full alert just like that. At first I see nothing. Of course there is nothing, because the ramp was sealed off. But then I see an emergency hatch flung open on the ground.

Gasping, I sprint and dive behind a pile of rubble. Have the gangs found me? I think. It's been a while since I've encountered them. Maybe they don't even know I'm here. Maybe if I just stay hidden, they'll leave eventually.

Fighting every instinct in my body, I still can't resist a glance.

Peering over the debris, I see a man, by himself, looking at the city. He is dark-skinned, with a buzz-cut, and the majority of his face is covered with a pair of dark sunglasses. Though he is a large man - at least twice as big as me in terms of weight - he stands with no menacing presence. Sensing no immediate threat, I dash out of my hiding spot to greet him.

" 'Ello!" I called as I strolled over to him. He whipped around, on edge, but didn't seem that surprised to see me. "Welcome to my presidential resort. What brings you here today?"

I saw a mixture of emotions cross his face as I watched him sort out his thoughts. Taken aback, as his eyes widened momentarily. Amused, because he smirked as he shook his head. Hesitation, for he knitted his eyebrows for just a fraction of a second. And finally a sense of urgency, for he cleared his throat as he reached into his pocket.

See? Now I know I have the ability to sneak up on people, this man has a fondness for kids, and we are dealing with pressing matters. Never underestimate the power of confusion.

Pulling his hands out of his pocket, he presents a letter that I take from his rough fingers.

Raising my eyebrows, I try for the jocular approach. With my most charming smile, I laughed. "Mail? For me? You shouldn't have. You didn't have to come all this way! Tell me: is it a birthday card from my long-lost family?"

He smiled to be polite and chuckled, but it came out as more of a grunt. Coughing to try to clear the tension, I decided to go right ahead and open it.

Odelia R. Freemantle
Meet at Warehouse 7, at Nineteen Hundred, tomorrow.
Welcome to the team.

The signature was a fancy capital B, that was open at the bottom and had a fancy tail at the end.

Instantly a billion questions began to run through my head. How did they know my name? Scout for what? Where is Warehouse 7? Is nineteen hundred like a street or address? Or nineteen hundred as in 7:00 p.m.? What team? Who - or what - does the B stand for?

I shook my head to clear out my thoughts, and I looked up to see the anonymous man climbing down back into the hatch.

"Hey!" I called, running over to see what the deal is, but the hatch shut in my face. I pulled up on it with all my strength, but it wouldn't budge. Locked.

I collapsed, utterly confused and exhausted. Whatever I had been dragged into, I would find out tomorrow. For now I needed to rest.

But more importantly, I needed to find out where Warehouse 7 is.

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