“You have the codes, open secure communication channel.” Phoenix said.
He was inside his private tent. The air held dust particles and the stench of the desert. The hot wind would rustle the tent then relent, repeating this cycle endlessly. Phoenix said on a chair, his face illuminated by the glow of Tanai’s projection. He was dressed for battle, dark leather jacket on his shoulders, gloved hands and red shades on his face.
“Secure channel established.” Tanai said.
“Make the call. Activate one-sided blinds.” Phoenix said. He looked around his tent while Tanai made old dial-up noises. His mind argued with itself. The issue was simple, should he reveal his identity?
“This is squad ABC, what is our mission?” a male voice said. Three shadowed holograms stood on the table.
“Standard recon, mission named Watchers-ABC.” Phoenix said. “File is being sent.”
A few seconds passed.
“Just recon?” Another shadow asked.
“Yes.” Phoenix responded. He understood the boredom in the voice.
“We are an action squad. Recon missions are not part of that spectrum.” The other male shadow said.
“It is now cub.” Phoenix said. It has to be done.
“Excuse me?” A female voice asked.
“Cubs Alfred, Ben and Charlotte.” Phoenix said.
“Who is this?” One male shadow asked.
“Who else?” Phoenix asked.
“The dead do not speak.” The shadow said.
“Unless they are really dead.” Phoenix responded. Alfred was using the code.
“Fire? No way! Sir! It can’t be you! I watched your entire funeral halfway across the world.” Alfred said.
“Sir! I am so happy you are alive! What happened? How are you still alive?” Charlotte asked.
“Simply impossible, how is it you aren’t dead? The entire nation, no, the entire world watched your burial.” Ben asked.
The questions kept coming. Phoenix held his head for a bit then spoke. “Eyes on the ball.”
The room fell silent.
“The truth will be revealed later. There’s a mission right now.” Phoenix said.
“Yes sir!” All three shadows said.
“Your mission is the reconnaisse of two mysterious objects. You’ll most likely be undercover for the duration of this mission. The file contains the rest of the briefing.” Phoenix said.
“How would we know what to look for?” Ben asked.
“Sketches of the objects are included. As well as coordinates and subjects to observe.” Phoenix said.
“What makes them so special?” Alfred asks.
“That’s your job.” Phoenix answers. “Necessary funds have been released to your bank accounts. As usual you have full autonomy on the mission. I expect a report in one week.”
“Yes sir!” All three responded.
“Mission greenlighted. Godspeed.” Phoenix said. He cut the communications, killing the only source of light in the tent. He lay on his bed and slept. He needed rest for his own mission, taking down Avenger’s main base, which began in nine hours.
As Phoenix slept, he dreamt. His dreams were filled with a fury of flames. He stood alone, surrounded by smothering heat. He skin burned, his flesh cracked replaced by hard scales.
“Embrace my power, it is your only salvation.” A deep voice said. All of a sudden, Phoenix was baptized in fire. His face was replaced with that of a beast.
- Knock Knock, time is up -