Getting Along

“So, four of the Experiments are ex-criminals who are only here to get out of gaol.” 15-42 smirked as they sat in the lunchroom the next morning, having breakfast.

24-42 scowled at him. “Is this really something that needs bringing up while we’re eating?” She snapped, trying to enjoy her raisin toast, smeared with margarine made from olive oil.

“Why shouldn’t we know about each others pasts?” 16-42 piped up.

Only the five of them were at breakfast the morning after the Exposure. Six were still recovering, and thirteen were dead.

21-42 nodded.

“I used to be Alexis Bagni.  I worked in a coffee shop, and I’m here to pay off my little brothers surgery.” She introduced herself.

“I’m Daniel Kyles.  I used to be a Warrant Officer in the Army. Ten years in service, most of it spent in war zones.” 16-42 said, mopping up his egg yolk with a piece of toast.

 17-42 hesitated.

“I used to be unemployed.”  She admitted.  “My name was Henna Ainsley.  I’m here on a deal.”

“I was a drug dealer. Tytus MacNeil.” 15-42 grinned.  “I’m also here on a deal.”

The others looked at 24-42.

“My name is Experiment 24-42, and I fall under the Hero Improvement Program, also known as Project 42.”  She deadpanned.

“But who were you before, doofus?” Tytus prodded.

“No one.” Was the sullen reply.

“You had to be someone.  You look familiar.”  Henna pointed out.

“I am no one.  I am an experiment in the H.I.P and that’s it.”  24-42 finished off her breakfast.  “I am here to protect humanity, that is all.”

“Wow, what did YOU do?” Daniel chuckled.  24-42 scowled and left the table.  She wished she hadn’t joined them for breakfast now.

“Would Experiments 15-42, 16-42, 17-42, 21-42 and 24-42 please make their way to Training Ground 2 following the green lights. Thank you.”  They heard 1A-42 over the loudspeaker. 24-42 was forced to stop and turn around, following the other Experiments to the Training Ground.

“I can’t believe this whole place is controlled by computer.  It’s so futuristic.”  Alexis grinned at 24-42 as the group followed the lights.

“It’s pretty neato.”  24-42 agreed begrudgingly. Alexis bumped her gently.

“How about we hang out at your lodgings tonight after work?  You have cats don’t you?” She asked.

“Sure!  They’d love someone new to try and eat.”  24-42 grinned, instantly cheered up by the thought of her cats.  Maybe breakfast hadn’t been such a bad idea after all.  Alexis, or 21-42, didn’t seem all that bad at all.

“Crazy cat ladies.”  Tytus muttered under his breath.  24-42 scowled again.  She REALLY didn’t like him, and she hoped like hell that he didn’t become her Team Leader.

The group forwarded into the Training Ground.  There stood the two doctors, a gruff looking man in a pristine uniform with what looked like a cybernetic arm and leg with a goofy looking lady in a scruffier looking uniform.

“Congratulations, you have been assigned to Team A42.  This is your Major and your Captain.  M42, H42.”  S42 introduced the pair.

24-42 didn’t like the look of the Major M42 at all.  Tall, tanned, hair so short you could barely make out that he was blonde, eyes as cold as steel.  24-42 was also quick to notice that he was quite handsome, but she tried to put that out of her mind.  Captain H42 on the other hand looked like fun, with long brown hair and eyes that were nearly purple.  She had a big grin on her face compared to the stern look of M42.

“Reckon we could have some fun with him.” Daniel nudged Tytus, who grinned back.  The girls couldn’t help but giggle a little bit.  It would be fun to have someone to stir up!

“Hi hi guys!  Don’t mind Mr. Grumpy-Pants over here, he’s just a constant downer.”  H42 giggled.  M42 frowned at her.

“I believe in abiding by the rules, Captain, it’s how I’ve gotten so far in my field.”  He said.  “I am M42, and I will be your Commanding Officer in the field.  It is my job to ensure you get the combat training you require.”  

“Combat training?” Henna looked confused.  “We’re going to be fighting?”  Everyone else looked concerned.

“Not unless it’s completely necessary.” H42 tried to calm everyone down.  “You guys are going to be our last-resort weaponry, to be used only in the most extreme circumstances to reduce any major loss of civilian life.”

“You have been chosen for Team A42 as you have not only survived the Exposure, but seem to have thrived.  Especially Experiment 24-42, who managed to blast one of our tanks with her new powers.” M42 frowned at 24-42, who shrugged, trying not to look like those blue eyes of his were startling.  “The others will be assigned to reconnaissance once they’ve recovered.”

“So we’re the cream of the crop eh?” Tytus smirked.  Henna still looked scared.

“How did I end up in Team A?!  I didn’t think I did THAT well!” She complained.

“Yes, you certainly surprised us.” D42 piped up.  “We certainly didn’t have you pegged to even survive after the others fell.”

Alexis, H42 and 24-42 glared at him while Henna looked down.

“What my colleague is alluding to, is that there is more than likely something very special about you.” S42 quickly poured oil on the troubled waters (although she too shot a dirty look at her co-worker).  “Just try your best and I’ll bet you’ll continue to surprise us.”

Henna smiled weakly at this praise, knowing full well it was garbage.  

“I’ll ask that you NOT attack the credentials of my team.” M42 scowled at the doctors.  Instantly 24-42 had a world of respect for the haughty Major.

“Right Sir…” S42 turned red as D42 looked down.  

“Anyway, testing starts now.  We already have some idea of what you should be able to do, thanks to 24-42.” H42 winked.

“How did you do it?” Daniel asked curiously.  “Was it the tingling in your hands?”

24-42 thought for a second.

“Yeah, my hands were tingling, so I turned around and sort of stretched it out and the blast happened, sort of like going to the toilet.” She said slowly, as the others blinked at her description.

Daniel looked out towards the large Training Ground.  It was outside, about an acre, but still surrounded by those walls on three sides and a large electrified fence on the fourth.  A few large trees were growing on it, and a few targets had been set up and had obviously been used for gun practise.  He held up his hand and concentrated.  Sure enough, a purple blast raced towards one of the targets, missing by a clear metre and exploding on the ground near by.

“Ahem.”  M42 frowned (still).  “We’ll start with a basic beep test, followed by weights and finally a specialised ability test.”

“You must be the only person alive who could make the discovery that you have superpowers so insanely boring.” Alexis groaned.

The tests would have been gruelling for any other group of people, but Team A completed them with ease. All of them were able to Blast in various colours, 24-42’s red being the strongest, Tytus being second strongest with blue, Alexis and Daniel being next with purple and Henna coming last with yellow. Tytus took to calling Henna’s powers Pee Powers, which caused 24-42 and Daniel to Blast him. M42 immediately started yelling, and the tests were brought to an abrupt halt. H42 suggested that the next day be a day of rest and relaxation with one exercise session, and dismissed the Experiments before M42 could continue yelling.

“I’m SO looking forward to tomorrow.” Alexis said as they walked into 24-42s lodgings.  “It was awesome how you and Daniel completely owned 15-42.”

“Not going to call him by his name?” 24-42 went straight to the fridge and found that they’d put her requested ginger beer in there. The tablet really did work well.

“Doesn’t deserve it.  Did you see how he was picking on poor Henna?” Alexis sat down on the sofa, accepting her ginger beer.  24-42 sighed.

“She tried her best, but I don’t think she’s up to it.” She sat down next to Alexis, who had just been discovered by Panda.

“Aren’t you a gorgeous little kitty?” Alexis started scratching Pandas chin, ensuring the cat would love her for life.  “I don’t know how she managed to survive the Exposure, let alone recover so quickly.”

“It sickens me to think so many died.  Didn’t they do any testing?” 24-42 asked.

“They did – us.” Alexis replied.  “Who’s a cute wittle kitty, you are!  Yes you are!”  She started baby-talking to Panda, who was smitten.

“If you’re not careful the other four will be all over you too.” 24-42 chuckled.  “What did you think of M42 and H42?”

“Didn’t really like M42, too strict for me.  H42 seems like she’d be a lot of fun.” Alexis looked at her fellow Experiment.  “You thought he was cute didn’t you?”

24-42 blushed.  “No I didn’t!” She lied.  M42 was tall, strong and definitely handsome.  The air of authority around him made him very attractive to 24-42!

“Did so!”

“Did not!”

“Did so!”

24-42 was saved by a knock on the door.  Henna and H42 had come over.

“Excellent!  21-42 is here too, I was hoping we’d be able to get the girls together!” H42 squealed in delight.  She beamed at Alexis.  “And what should I call you?”

“Alexis Bagni if you don’t mind.” Alexis grinned.  “And 24-42 has no name apparently.”

“Oh, I know she does!  It’s-,”

“Not up for discussion Captain.”  24-42 narrowed her eyes at H42.

H42 was a bit shocked by this outburst, but she soon recovered.

“Nothing wrong with 24-42, Joe Patrick of the Brisvegas Leos wears the number 24 and we all know what a spunk he is!  Not to mention Jake Clerk, the new young defender in town who wears the number 42!  Am I right girls?” H42 looked around for support.

“I support the Crate Hill Falcons.” Henna deadpanned, earning her three glares.

“Explains the Pee Power.” Alexis mumbled. 24-42 nudged her, while Henna pouted.

“Anyway, my name is Ran Suzu Tachibana, but you can all call me Suzie!”  H42 tried to lighten the atmosphere again.  “I hope we’re all going to be the very best of friends!”

“With a Crate Hill fan?” Alexis questioned, earning her a foul look from Henna.