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Spy High

Spy High

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Published by ksay7mka

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Published by: ksay7mka on Jun 27, 2009
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02/04/2013

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 SPY HIGH  MISSION ONE  BY AJ BUTCHER
Deveraux Academy is not what it see: The football team practicing beside the ivy-covered dormitory is merely a hologram, and the elderly receptionist could break your neck in three seconds flat. Deveraux’s students rarely call the school by its proper name.They call it Spy High.Ordinarily, the s hand-picked by Senior Tutor Elmore Grant are flawless, bu hislatest creation, Bond Team is falling short of expectations. When personality clashes between elected leader Benjamin T. Stanton Jr. and farmer's son Jake Daly threaten totorpedo the group’s chances at completing the academy’s rigorous virtual reality training program. Grant decides Bond Team needs a bonding experience. Suddenly there’s nothingvirtual about the danger Ben, Jake, and the rest of Bond Team find themselves facing.This time failure won’t simply result in expulsion from school and the purging of their memories.This time, failure will result in death.************************************
 
CHAPTER 1Ben and Lori stood on the cliff top. Hundreds of meters below them they could hear the restless crash of the midnight surf against the rocks, but in the absence of the moonthey could see nothing. Only the silver of their suits gleamed dully and seemed to shiver as they prepared themselves. To anyone who didn't know them, they could have been brother and sister, both tall, athletic, her blonde hair long, his cropped short. But theyweren't brother and sister. Far from it."How much time do we have?""About an hour.""Plenty, if the others manage to keep up." Ben turned his back to the cliff's edge andthe sheer drop beyond. "Follow my lead."He threw himself off the cliff.Lori sighed. That was so Ben. He always had to go first, and without even a kiss.She'd remember that the next time he came looking for a little bit of lip action. But firstthings first. Repressing an urge to
whoop
her excitement while she did it, Lori too flungherself into thin air.For the flimsiest of moments, as she gained the highest point in her leap, Loriseemed to hover far above the swirling ocean, as if gravity itself were pausing,considering whether to exert its weight on her or not. She thought of the coyote character in the old Road Runner cartoons — how many times he was left suspended and gasping inmid-air before plummeting to the bottom of a canyon. Still, as gravity decided not to makean exception for Lori Angel, and she started her plunging acceleration toward certaindeath, she had one rather important advantage over the coyote.Lori swung on the rope clipped tightly to her belt, arced toward the black slab of thecliff, and relaxed her muscles as she'd been taught. The impact barely winded her. Her feetand fingers fixed themselves to the rock. No problem. If only the coyote had trained atSpy High, his whole career might have been very different.A light winked at her from farther down the cliffside like a boy giving her the eye.That would be Ben. No doubt he'd already found the entrance to the tunnel and claimed itfor the greater glory of himself. Lori rappelled toward him."Took your time," Ben commented. He'd already unclipped his line and wascrouched in the narrow tunnel like a sprinter eager for the gun."I was admiring the view.""Yeah, well, point your baby blues this way." Ben jabbed his finger toward deep,circular darkness. "A hundred meters to Stromfeld's complex. Let's put them behind us.""So keen to save the world," Lori observed, with more than a hint of sarcasm."That's right," muttered Ben, "and if we reach the core before Daly, so much the better."**********************************"Talk about the short straw," grumbled Jennifer Chen as she scrambled deeper  beneath the earth, the roughly hewn tunnel showing no sign of coming to an end. "Ben andLori get to rap-pel, Cally and Eddie get the sea approach, and what do we get? Thechance to crawl on our bellies all the way to the complex." She paused briefly to sweepthe hair from her eyes. "How come we always get the short straw?"Jake Daly, keeping close behind Jennifer, said nothing, though the expression beneath his tangled mop of black hair suggested that he had a good idea. He forced
 
Stanton's smug lace from his mind.
Concentrate on the mission,
he reminded himself.
Only the mission matters.
"I just hope some of Stromfeld's goons get in my way," Jennifer warned darkly. "I'vegot a lot of tension I need to work off."Jake frowned. "Forget it. We need to access the core as quickly and quietly as possible. We don't want any diversions.""Says you. Me, I say what's a mission without the chance to break some faces? Hey,Jake . . ." Jennifer stopped, rapping her fist on the surface in front of her. The sound rangmetallically. "We're in.""We're in." Jake allowed himself a grim kind of grin, nothing too elaborate or emotional. They'd reached the fringe of Stromfeld's headquarters, as the steel plating of the tunnel now testified, but there was a long way to go yet.They slithered across the polished metal plates. The light improved as they nearedthe main body of the complex, allowing Jake a rather more explicit view of his partner'srear as she wriggled her way forward. Jake was relieved that Eddie was not in his positionat this particular moment.Jennifer paused again — this time because she couldn't go any further. A wire grille blocked the intruders' path. She coiled back on herself and hissed to Jake: "Where's thissupposed to lead again?""An empty storeroom," he supplied, "according to the blueprints.""Then send the blueprints back," Jennifer whispered. "And make that a veryoccupied storeroom." She indicated with her thumb.Jake peered through the grille. A guard, uniformed and helmeted in black and, moreworryingly, equipped with a large and probably well-serviced laser rifle, was settlinghimself down on a packing case. They hadn't planned for this.
One problem at a time,
Jake reminded himself.
Take nothing for granted.
"What's he doing?" Jennifer mouthed.By way of answer, the guard eased off his helmet and felt in his pocket, drawing outa packet of cigarettes and a lighter."Unscheduled work break," chuckled Jake. "Naughty boy. Well, we've only got towait, sit quietly, and —""You can forget that," scoffed Jennifer. "I'm out of here.""Wait!"Jennifer didn't. Her feet smashed into the grille, sent it spinning across the storeroomand slamming into the far wall. The guard choked on the first drag of his cigarette,struggled to stand, and groped for his gun. He wasn't quick enough. Jennifer droppedlithely from the vent, smiled at the gape of astonishment on the man's face, and thenlashed out with her right leg, pivoting on her hip. The kick struck the guard squarely onthe side of the head. With a faint groan, he clattered to the floor. He didn't get up."Somebody should have told you," Jennifer tutted. "Smoking's bad for your health."************************************They dragged the dinghy up onto the shingle and over to where the angle of alurching rock would hide it, and then crouched in the shadow of the same rock to takestock.

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