Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Juggernaught: Chapter 6 - New Recruits

Out of the many prospective candidates, the Bible Study finally narrowed it down to a short list of those able and willing to join their group.  Though names were still coming in, there was significant enough interest to justify getting started.  Michael began separating the new recruits into two teams. 

Together these would become one other's greatest allies and fiercest rivals.  Throughout their training they would spar against eachother in combat and wage intellectual warfare with eachother over grades.  As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another! 

It may not be the most creative naming system, but the teams were always called, "Team Alpha" and "Team Beta".  The implied precedence only heightened their natural rivalry.

The first recruit of Team Alpha was Wendell St Frank, a kid that Michael'd had some dealing with in the past.  No, that probably doesn't go far enough.  The boy was like Michael Moast's own shadow and practically begged to be let into the group.

To all appearances, the kid looked like he was of Japanese descent, but his exceptional height seemed to indicate other genes at work.  This was impossible to confirm or deny, however, since he was also an orphan.

It was through volunteer work with these orphans that Michael had first met the lad.  From the first moment Wendell began looking up to teenage Michael Moast and over time developed into his virtual side-kick.  When Wendell was a teen himself, he stood beside his mentor as ring-bearer at his wedding.

Through many years of association, he gradually learned the secret dealings of the Bible Study and now that there was a vacancy, he desperately wanted in.  All the wild horses in Wyoming couldn't have kept him away.

At the same time Wendell was recruited for Team Alpha, a boy named Kurt was assigned as the first member of Team Beta.  He scored top marks on all the tests, even to the point that Dr Puttery suspected him of cheating. 

More and more stringent precautions were taken against this.  Soon, all of the latest equipment was put to work and he was forced to take all tests in a brilliantly-lit white room, on a clear plastic desk, and with surveillance cameras watching him from three separate angles.

Dr Puttery was livid when he still didn't miss a single question, demanding even more safeguards.  Instead of granting this request, Michael Moast called an end to the game. "If the kid's that good, then he's exactly what we need."  Michael declared.

Over the next few months, others of equally varied skill-sets joined both teams.  The trouble was, Team Beta collected its members rapidly, where Alpha had a very high drop-out rate.  Wendell was still the only member.  The situation got especially dire when the lack of recruits even began delaying the start of training.

That October, however, all of Michael's searching finally paid off. 

They first came across the daring and handsome Jack Savage.  He was the son of an associate of Ms McCready.  Though the old woman held a carefully guarded past in the secret ops, she would allow that, "He's the spittin' image o' his father -- in more ways than one."

Though he didn't have any frame of reference for what she was saying, Michael decoded it to mean, "He's got what it takes."  (And that was a high compliment from her!)

Once they brought him in, Jack Savage did not disappoint.  An adventurer from a family of adventurers, he was strong and tough as the leather jacket he always wore.

Later the same month the team was introduced Misty Carlisle.

She came as more of a shock to them.  While Jack was pretty conspicuous with his wind-blown sandy hair and leather flight jacket, Misty seemed more like the last person they would ever consider.

She was very small and petite, almost a dwarf by some accounts, but some of the evidence from her past gave weight to her small frame.

Her first high school in North Carolina seemed like a pretty average place.  That is, until the Principal and key players from among his staff were found gift-wrapped on the front steps of FBI headquarters and wailing to be let in.  The officers didn't take long to discover that they were using the school basement as the central distribution hub for all illegal narcotics in the Southern United States.

Due to an anonymous tip, the reporters made it to the school before the police.  Even the most sensationalistic couldn't use the footage they got.  The school hallways were littered with bodies.

Misty Carlisle silently left town that night.

The following school year her name sprang up in a prestigious all-girls prep school in Roseville, Virginia.  She disappeared again her last semester, when the school burned to the ground and came under investigation for having connections with certain ancient secret societies.

The allegations soon evaporated, and young Miss Carlisle denied any involvement in the incident.

As to the drug cartel, she only smiled and shrugged. 
"Accidents happen." was all Michael could get out of her. 

Needless to say, that was exactly the kind of person he was looking for.

Her admittance exam was set up in wing of the mansion that housed a simulated dark alley.   Wooden bad guys that were designed pop out of the shadows and blast an unwary combatant with paintball guns.  To add another layer of threat, other Bible Study members and recruits were lurking in the arena as well.

Misty incapacitated all of the targets, broke two, and accidentally fractured Wendell's arm in the process.  Even though Michael's stealth allowed him to "beat her", she claimed, (and rightly so), that the paintball mark on his back probably would have killed him in real combat.

Unknown to them at the time, Misty had gotten involved in Karate as a preteen as a form of exercise.  Since then she had taken it to the extreme and now held a black belt or equivalent in nine different martial arts.

Three members was enough to constitute a team, and at once the new generation began training together.  Where many other highschool students get release-time to take on apprenticeships or take trade school classes, these ones spent their alternative education on analyzing foreign affairs, training with the latest combat technology, learning enemy evasion and tracking...

Some kids were learning plumbing repair while others were learning how to safely ditch a Chinook helicopter in the rolling ocean while under enemy fire.

Some people might call this "strange" or even "wrong", but these were the kids that the system had already rejected.  You could call them the misfits, but is there truly anything wrong when a person simply doesn't fit into the norm?  Or is there a special place for the square pegs in a world of round holes?

If truth be told, perhaps the Bible Study aspect of the organization might be less of a false-front and more of a ministry than they thought.

The preceding has been a chapter from Juggernaught: A Moast Unusual Bible Study
(Copyright 2016, Edmund Lloyd Fletcher.)

For more on this story, please visit its main page.

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