This is my first fanfic for the Alex Rider series and I hope you enjoy it. It's set a little over a year after Scorpia Rising and it does have some spoilers from that so be warned.
And what do I not own? That's right, Alex Rider!
Or the song Prayer of the Refugee by Rise Against whose title I stole. (Check out the video on Youtube, it's a really great song.)
Prayer Of The Refugee Chords by Rise Against with guitar chords and tabs. Chords version num. 4 of Prayer Of The Refugee Chords available.
Warm yourself by the fire, son,
And the morning will come soon.
I'll tell you stories of a better time,
In a place that we once knew.
Before we packed our bags
And left all this behind us in the dust,
We had a place that we could call home,
And a life no one could touch.
A blast of cool air hit Alex Rider as he opened the door to the Royal and General bank and stepped out of the midday sun. Glancing around he saw that everything was the same as it was the last time he as in here. The same fake potted plants were arranged around the same beige chairs and wooden coffee tables. The receptionist was typing away at her computer, and signs pointing to offices were hung on the wall. He walked up to the front desk and waited for the receptionist to look up.
'May I help you?' The bland looking lady said in a voice that showed boredom and resignation.
'I'm here to meet Ms. Jones, and yes I know she doesn't work here. But maybe me being Alex Rider will make her come out of her hidey hole.'
The woman looked startled before typing something into her computer, nodding and looking back up at Alex. 'She'll be right down.'
Alex nodded and went to wait on one of the nondescript chairs. He should have been feeling angry, but all he felt at the moment was resignation. He had been living with the Pleasure's for a little over a year and he had enjoyed living with them in the states. He still grieved for Jack, but Sabina and her parents had helped him to start to get over her loss. About a month ago, Mr. and Mrs. Pleasure announced that they would be spending the spring holiday in a cottage they had rented in Wales. At first Alex had been cautious, but a little research revealed that they would be nowhere near the Brecon Becons and Alex had actually started to look forward to the trip. The cottage the Pleasure's had rented was right next to the sea, and they would be allowed the use of a small sailboat. He and Sabina had already planned out hiking and sailing trips, and the entire family was happy to get away from the hectic pace of life in San Francisco.
The first week had been wonderful. They'd gone hiking once to a waterfall, and the second time to an old castle on a hillside. They'd spent the rest of the time sailing or lounging around the cottage talking or playing board games. Reflecting on his previous experience in Wales, Alex had decided that this was how the place should be, although he had also had a laugh at all the miserable souls a hundred kilometers south.
All the carefree happiness of the trip had come to an end two days ago with a phone call for Alex. Wondering who would be calling him while on vacation in Wales, he had answered the phone to be greeted by the voice of Ms. Jones.
'Hello Alex, I know we haven't spoke since th'
But she was cut off by Alex's angry outburst. 'Why the hell are you calling me! We are finished. We agreed that we are finished. How can you even get up the nerve to call me? I'm living on another continent, God damn it! And at the moment, as you no doubt know, I'm on vacation! Find someone else to do you dirty work. How about someone the legal age this time! And don't ever call me again!' And with that he hung up the phone.
Looking around he realized that the entire Pleasure family was staring at him. Not really knowing what to say he blurted out the first thing that came to mind. 'It was the bank.'
'Well, I hope they got the message' said Sabina's father in a measured tone.
'I think they did' said Mrs. Pleasure as she went to put the kettle on. 'Who wants tea?'
Alex was immeasurably greatfull for the mater of fact way they had dealt with the situation. They were halfway through tea when the phone range again. This time Mr. Pleasure answered it. After listening for a few seconds he said 'He isn't here' and hung up. 'Must have been a wrong number' he said as he sat back down and picked up the newspaper. Despite Mr. Pleasure's light tone the mood in the room had changed. There was a tension that wasn't there before, and Mrs. Pleasure and Sabina glanced at him worriedly whenever they thought he wouldn't notice.
That evening the phone rung again and Alex answered. 'I'm not interested' he snarled before slamming the phone down. But the phone kept ringing, and eventually he picked it up just to get another chance to tell Ms. Jones to piss off.
'Alex a know you don't want to talk to me, but this concerns your guardians' Ms. Jones rushed out in one breath.
'What the hell do you mean' Alex said, barely believing that he was even talking with the head of SO.
'They're living in America with Mr. Pleasure's work visa. If that visa were to get rescinded, or if it were found that all their paperwork isn't in order, they could get deported and be forced to return to England.' Ms. Jones said, still speaking quickly. 'If you could just help us out with this problem we've been having, I'm sure their paperwork would be just fine, I might even be able to get them dual citizenship'
'Oh no, you are not using that against me again. You can't change their visa, that's the Americans business, you have no control.'
'Of course we do, we have strong connections withing U.S. immigration control. But Alex, just come in and I'll explain what we need you for. It really isn't that complicated. If you decide to help us you could be back in the states by next week. Please consider it.'
Alex stared at the phone for a moment thinking. He knew MI6 would not hesitate to interfere with the Pleasures' visa, but at the same time, he had promised himself that he would never return to MI6. Not after Jack..He had promised to never endanger the people he cared about ever again. But now it seemed like either way, he could destroy his new family members lives. After thinking over his options he sighed and replied to Ms. Jones.
'Fine, I'll come in. I'll listen to what you have to say. But I'm not making any promises.'After arranging a time for the meeting, Alex hung up and went to tell the Pleasures the bad news.
That had been two days ago. Now sitting under the harsh florescent lights, Alex reconsidered his options. He had thought of going to the press, telling them everything about how MI6 had used him. But there was almost no chance they would believe a schoolboy had worked as a spy for the government. And even if they did, he wouldn't be able to lead a normal life, the one thing he really wanted, ever again. His face would be all over the tabloids, and people would see him as some sort of freak, or at best a highly traumatized boy. All he wanted to be seen as was Alex, just Alex.
He was broken out of his musings by the elevator pinging, and Ms. Jones walking out. He went over to the elevator silently got in and waited for her to press the right floor number. The ride up was silent. And they remained quiet until they had entered Blunt's old office and both taken a seat.
Ms. Jones unwrapped a peppermint, popped it in her mouth, and then began to speak.
'Alex, I'm so glad you decided to come, we all are so sorry abou'
'Just get to why you need my help' Alex interrupted coldly.
'As you wish. For the past eight months our agents have been infiltrating a smuggling group based in Thailand. They smuggle everything. Weapons, drugs, people, anything they can get money out of. They're similar to the snakeheads, but they specialize in smuggling goods out of third world countries and into wealthy countries. They've become an increasing problem for us here in the UK, but recently we've managed to discover who their ringleader is.'
Passing him a file, Ms. Jones continued 'it's a man named William Connors. We don't know much about his past or how he got into smuggling, but we do know where he is, and will be for the next two weeks. He's staying at a hotel, The Manfred, in Berlin. We haven't been able to get close to him in the past, because he has a small army of bodyguards and he changes position constantly, but now we have a two week window in which to catch him.'
Alex looked down at the file in his hand, it had a grainy picture of a middle aged man stepping off the sidewalk in what was apparently Berlin. His black hair was slicked back and his beard was trimmed into a neat goatee. He was pale, with chiseled features and wire rimmed spectacles framing serious eyes. Next to the picture was information about him including is height, weight, and other distinguishing characteristics. Alex listened as Ms. Jones continued.
'Security around him is tight, any new adult hotel staff would raise suspicion and we might lose him. But a young bellhop, filling in for a sick friend won't raise any eyebrows. You'll have access to Connors and his room. It will be easy for you to sneak in and take him out and then disappear.'
'Take him out!' Alex blurted, 'what do you mean take him out, I thought you wanted me to help catch him. Catch, not kill him!'
'Normally we would try to being him in for questioning, but he's a very dangerous man, and we already know a lot about his organization. Our agents on the inside have provided us with enough information to stop much of their activities, and without their leader they will be disorganized and vulnerable. We hope to be able to stop all of their smuggling within six months.'
Alex sat in stunned silence for a moment, 'You want me to work as an assassin. You want me to fly to Germany and kill this man for you. You want me to become a killer!'
'Alex, you have killed before, Juliu'
'Shut up, just shut up!' Alex yelled. 'That was different. He killed Jack! And I wasn't getting paid to do it!'
Alex was becoming hysteric, and Ms. Jones quickly backtracked. 'This man is a very evil man Alex. He's responsible for a flood of drugs and guns that have entered this country. He traffics women and children all over the world. Think about that. Don't you think everyone would be better off without him?'
'He may be evil, he may do all kind of bad things. But it's not my responsibility to take him out. Get one of your people to do it. You said you'd never use me again, and now you want me to become something little better than the criminals you hunt down. And I refuse to do it.'
Ms. Jones leaned back in her chair. She didn't particularly like what she was about to do, but as she had learned from being the head of SO, the ends sometimes justified the means.
'Ok Alex, you don't have to do this for us..But it seems like there are problems with the Pleasure's visas in America. I'm afraid they're going to have to come back to England. I'm sure Mr. Pleasure will be able to find another job here, but moving back again will be difficult.'
Alex just looked at her. He couldn't believe he was in the exact same position he had been in right after his uncles death. Every part of his being rebelled against the idea of being an assassin for the government. He didn't want to become part of this world again. But then he thought of the Pleasures. Sabina smiling on the beach in San Francisco. Mrs. Pleasure backing brownies while Mr. Pleasure worked on his latest article. They were all so happy, so carefree. And Alex knew he couldn't destroy that. Refocusing on Ms. Jones he sighed and said 'Fine, when do I leave.'
'Tomorrow morning.' Then passing Alex a file she continued 'Read this for the details you'll need. I also want you to report to Smithers, he'll provide you with the equipment you'll require.
And with that Alex got up and left her office. As he walked down the stairs to Smithers' office his mind was blank. He still couldn't really comprehend what he had agreed to do. When he reached Smithers' door he knocked and walked in.
'Ah, Alex m'boy! I haven't seen you around lately. Lets go down to my lab and we can get you all the stuff you'll need.
They both squeezed into Smithers' private elevator and road it down to the basement laboratory. Stepping out Alex watched as Smithers waddled over to a work station and started pulling things out.
'I got some very strange requests for equipment for you from Ms. Jones, but here they are. 'First we have your bellhop uniform. It has Kevlar woven into the fabric, so it's bulletproof except at close range. The hat has a listening device which will allow you to here through walls up to five feet thick.' After showing Alex the small button on the inside of the hat he continued, 'if you unbutton and button the front pocket it will send a signal to us signifying that you've completed your mission and we'll come and get you.'
'Now here he have the odd request from Ms. Jones.' Smithers then pulled out a suitcase. 'Now, in the past I was told not to give you weapons, but the higher ups said you'd need this.' He opened the suitcase to reveal a Beretta M 1951 9mm semi-automatic pistol and silencer. 'I was told you've had some training in how to use these. And this model is relatively simple to operate. The suitcase it's in uses the same technology that that pencil case I gave you had. You can bring it through airport security and it will appear to be filled with clothing.' Smithers' voice seemed almost to crack at the end. And he put away the gun, and walked around the table to stand next to Alex.
'Alex old chap. I know it's none of my business, but I was under the impression that you had quit this business.'
In a flat voice Alex replied, 'So was I.'
'You wouldn't be being threatened into doing this would you.' All trace of Smithers' jolly nature was gone. A concerned expression was spread across his face.
Whether it was because Smithers had always treated him well or because he was in shock Alex responded. 'Not me, my new family.'
Smithers sent Alex an unreadable look before hesitantly saying, 'If you had the chance m'boy, would you..take the opportunity.. to disappear, or shall we say, run away, from MI6?'
'They would just hunt me down. They're the government and I'm just one person.' Alex wasn't sure where this was going and he watched intently as Smithers waddled over to another work station, took out a key, unlocked a drawer and pulled out a file.
'You'll have to keep a low profile, which is why I call this folder the Low Rider.' Opening the file Alex saw stacks of documents. On top was a brand new American passport. Opening it he saw a picture of himself with the name Mark Johnson next to it. It said he was born in America and was 18 years old. Underneath the passport was a social security card, a birth certificate saying he was born in Seattle, school records, a local newspaper clipping with him holding a football and other assorted papers. It was all the things he would need to become a completely different person. To disappear off MI6's radar.
Smithers was still speaking, 'I've got friends in Seattle who will claim they've known you all your life. People in the neighborhood you would have lived in and at the school you would have gone to. I've set it up so that your 'parents' Elizabeth and David Johnson were killed in a car crash two weeks after your 18th birthday. I know you're seventeen but I didn't know when you'd need this so I just set it up so that you're of age. I made you American because it's a big country and it will be easy for you to disappear. Your accent is ok because I made it so that Elizabeth Johnson grew up in London. The hardest part is going to be physically getting you over there. You can just walk out of here because they'll think you're going to do the op they gave you, but you can't just hop on a plane over the Atlantic. Everything will be on high alert when you disappear so I've come up with a way to secret you into the U.S. After I make some calls, you're going to have to make your way to Belfast where I'll arrange for you to travel on a freighter to Eastern Canada. Once you're there you can take a bus into America using that passport of yours. What you do from there is up to you.' When Smithers finished he had lost his hesitancy. He was speaking quickly, but it was obvious that he had thought everything though and was ready to implement it.
For a short time Alex couldn't speak at all. What Smithers was offering him was a completely new life. Freedom to make something of himself outside of the spying business. He would have to leave almost everything behind, but that paled in comparison with the opportunities he was being offered.
'Smithers, I, you'd do this for me? Won't you get in trouble.'
'There's no way they can pin it on me because hopefully they'll never find you.' Smithers chuckled. 'What I want you to do now is take all the gadgets for you op, put this file under your sweatshirt and walk out of here like normal. Then take a bus to Liverpool and take the ferry to Belfast. Take this cellphone and I'll give you more information when you get there.'
Alex was still stunned but he thanked Smithers profusely, and then headed to the ground floor and walked out of the Royal and General for the last time, thoughts of his new life already swirling through his head.
So begins my first fic. I hope you liked it, reviews would be awesome.
On a less happy note I'd like to dedicate this fic to the twenty two Navy SEALs, three Air Force combat controllers, a dog handler and his dog, and seven Afghan commandos who were killed when their helicopter was shot down in Wardak Afghanistan this past Saturday. They were returning from a rescue operation in which they helped a US Army Ranger unit that was under heavy fire. It was the deadliest single loss of American life in the entire war. So please take a moment to think about all the people from many different countries who have given there lives in this war that just seems to keep going. Pray for their families if you like, and thank a soldier for his or her service next time you see one.