Friday, December 30, 2005

Episode 12

Chong Fen was painting. Hard to imagine a heavily muscled guy painting, but there he was, with paintbrush held haphazardly in his huge hand. With Jean Muir looking over his shoulder.

"What are you painting?" Jean asked, laughing lightly. "Is that a cross between a dog and a bird, or are you trying to paint the headmaster?"

Chong Fen grinned. He liked being around Jean - she made him feel happy; simple human emotions training was supposed to suppress. 'The perfect warrior is a mirror. It holds nothing, it shows no thoughts.' his uncle used to say.

"Its abstract art." he rumbled.

"Aah, the old excuse." she said, "When you can't do it properly you mess it up and call it abstract."

"And what are you painting?"

Jean turned to show him him. A perfect portrait, all done in charcoal.

"Are you going to colour it?"

Jean screwed up her face. "You kidding me? Charcoal drawings are nice the way they are. I like you the way you are."

Chong Fen nearly blushed. He put on his blank face, so as to not reveal anything he was thinking. A guy! Blush!? His uncle would kill him if he found out. 'A man never gives away his feelings' - one of the early sayings Chong Fen was taught. And that was secondary - feelings weren't supposed to exist in the first place.

"You look weird. Like a stone hit your face or something." Jean said, grinning.

Chiong Fen's blank face broke into churring laughter.

"Jean -"


The Valentine's ball! The Valentine's ball! his brain screamed. Chong Fen paused.

"You paint well." he said, finally.

"Thank you." she smiled, then turned back to her easel.

"Taylor ... " Her voice was throaty. Taylor was dragged, in spite of all his kicking ability, into an empty classroom.

"Like the roses?" Calypso asked. Taylor couldn't help but notice her blouse was clinging very tightly to her body, and she had left the top two buttons undone.

"Now where were we?" she asked, crossing her legs and looking at him with a slight frown.

"I-i have no i-idea." Taylor managed to say. It was all he could do to tear his eyes to her goddess-like face.

"Have you been invited to ball?" she asked. "Have you asked anyone?"

Taylor's mind grasped at something - Alec - but immediately reformed.

"No," he said, eyes staring into hers.

"Good." She smiled. Almost cat-like contentment spread over her face. "Then we'll meet? Tomorrow? You'll enjoy the ball thoroughly."

Taylor gulped, and nodded.

Kyioshi's blog extract
I'll not be blogging for some time. There's news that the reserve guard in Horean has been activated, and magic's in the air. Me, Jason, Milo and Kierra would have to check it out. I hope the best for this mission, its been sometime since the four shinobi set out together.

Taylor's's blog extract
Bartering is an old, out of date system, they say. But look at it this way - I lose Alec, who is just plain, and i gain a hotter, older girl. Somehow bartering suits me well.

  • Next Episode
  • Episode 11

    Valentine's day. Sabriye stared at the notice board, arms folded. Students about her milling like some fierce, untamed river, shouting and pushing about to get a look.

    "Hey, it says we're free tonight! Classes end earlier ... dance at the hall tomorrow!" someone yelled nearby.

    The crowd roared its approval. Sabriye walked away, pushing through a throng of girls.

    "Who're you going with?" Alec, with her hair tied back, fell into step with Sabriye.

    "Nobody." She said curtly.

    "Not him?"


    "Oh, you know, the guy you tolerate more than the others."

    Sabriye flicked a curl of dark hair over her shoulder. "Men are pigs. You know that, don't you?"

    "What is wrong with you?" Alec said, rolling her eyes. "Why exactly do you hate the other gender so?"

    "Sounds very high class, that 'so'. Do you always make sentences like that?"

    Alec groaned. "Here we go again. Opinionated little Sab. I could've found myself a normal person, but nooo ... i had to pick you as a friggin friend."

    "We bonded. Simple. So how 'bout you?"

    "What about me?"

    "Who you're going with?"

    Alec blushed. But Sabriye was interrupted from making a snide remark by a crowd of girls, the centre of which was -

    "Enough ladies. I'll call you later. All of you." Taylor said, looking harried. His golden curls were rumpled badly, where some girls had obviously tried to stroke.

    "Here comes boy candy." Sabriye commented, looking very unconcerned.

    Alec, on the other hand, was looking very awkward.

    "Oh, hello girls." Taylor said, as the crowd dispersed, some of them shooting venomous glares at the two of them.

    "So we're girls, while they're ladies?" Sabriye smirked.

    Taylor rolled his eyes. "Stupid gits. Like i haven't enough problems already."

    "All of them concerning girls?" Alec asked, sounding as if she was trying to be casual. Sabriye hid a grin.

    "Not at all," Taylor replied. He shot a glance up and down the hallway, "Centauri business is a pain in the arse."

    Alec laughed, a little to loudly. "So are you going t-to the dance. With anybody?"

    "No, goodness. I'm actually scared of choosing a girl - might make the others explode." Taylor rolled his eyes again. He sounded very sure of himself, Sabriye noted.

    "Then williu goewimme?" Alec asked. Sabriye stared.

    "Pardon?" Taylor asked.

    "Will you?"

    "Do what?"


    "To the ball? With who?"

    "With me."

    "Oh," Taylor looked startled. He glanced nervously up and down the corridor again, then looked back at Alec as if seeing her for the first time. "I suppose - the others won't dare to attack you now, would they? No, they daren't. Wicked Jujutsu, you have - "

    At this point Sabriye noted two things. First, he made no mention of his Taekwondo skills, and secondly, he talked too much, too smoothly.

    "Yes or no?" She asked, covering for Alec.

    "Uh," Taylor frowned. "Okay. Yes."

    "Right, "Alec smiled, nervousness gone for the moment. "Meet you tomorrow night?"

    "Yes, front of the hall."

    And then, blond curls, blue eyes and extrovert personality sauntered off, away from them.

    "Arrogant little bastard." Sabriye commented dryly.

    "Sab!" Alec said, punching her, "He's my date!"

    "And a fat lot of good he'll do. What're you going to wear?


    Calypso was extremely ticked off. Not only had her Familiar failed to capture the two Centauri operatives the night before, she had been knocked out by some fool using ninjutsu techniques. Worst yet, she had to take full responsibility with report writing and overall paperwork for their failure. Her failure.

    Vera had been told off, and was now attached to her body as his normal role of providing magical abilities. Not that she needed the sue of claws or super reflexes now, but you never knew.

    Valentine sickness was in the air. She could almost smell the roses. Calypso blinked. There were roses - a boy was kneeling and presenting a girl a bouquet.

    And then she saw something to lift her spirits. An extremely hot guy walking down the corridor. Taylor Griffin.

    Not taking off the boy, she reached over and plucked the roses from the star struck couple's arms.

    "Hey -" the boy yelled, then realized who he was talking to and decided to shut up.

    Still not batting an eyelid, Calypso closed in for the kill.

    Chong Fen's blog extract
    Does she love me? Even like me?

    Alec's blog extract
    I'm a strategist. I always have been, what with a father being a general and all. This would, unfortunately, mean that i was brought up to think creatively and critically, so this pisses off some people, typically those that think they're smarter than me.

    I don't care if i'm called 'know-it-all' - Sabriye, on the other hand, cares a lot and gets into fight on my behalf. She's too headstrong, IMHO.

    Oh, and who says IQ can play a part in your social life? I asked a guy out. Me. Woots! Who knew i could do that. *pats self on back*

    Of course, now that i've actually written that down, it kinda seems lame. Sab is sooo going to make fun of me.

    PS: I can't wait for tomorrow. Really!

  • Next Episode
  • Thursday, December 29, 2005

    Episode 10

    Kyioshi and Ceri had both left the staffroom when they met the group of prefects. It was dark - bushes to the right, classroom to the left, black shadows where the moonlight couldn't penetrate.

    "Good evening," said a boy, his face silvery in the moonlight, "Rather late to be taking a stroll, don't you think?"

    Both of them reached behind their backs and pinched their ring finger. Two sensors in the glove activated a small magnetic field around their suits, telling their gadgets (in this case, communicators, ear pieces and scanners) to self destruct in an hours' time if the finger wasn't pinched again.

    "Please do not resist. I assure you we'll use any form of magic we see fit to accost you."

    Behind his goggles, Ceri studied them. Six prefects - five boys, one girl, all about his age. Only the girl looked experienced enough to summon, but appearances lied. The boy speaking to them looked comfortable, so Ceri assumed he, too, could summon.

    Ceri looked at Kyioshi for a split second. His hands were balled, hiding something within, and when he realized Ceri was looking, he flicked two fingers up.

    Reaction 2, Ceri grimly noted. Fight, run, hide. If possible. Ceri knew reaction 2 usually melted into reaction 1 - fight until all threats down.

    The moon was suddenly hidden behind a cluster of clouds. As the silver around them disappeared, Kyioshi's hand shot out. Two soft explosions; two sources of thick black smoke.

    Kyioshi followed up, his body a dark blur, swerving and kicking at the prefects. Ceri grabbed the arm of the nearest boy and executed a hip throw, then sweep kicked the legs of another. He delivered strong blows to a certain point behind their necks, knocking them out.

    And then a sudden draught, wiping away all traces of the smoke.

    "How worrisome," said the boy. He dusted his hands and stared at both of them imperiously. "How very annoying."

    "Shut up, Vora." The girl said, "I want them captured, and if you don't -"

    "Oh puh-leez." the boy turned back. Ceri noted he had two leathery ears protruding from his fair hair." Your threats are about as thin as sandpaper. I'm bound by the spell, anyway, with two months to go."

    Ceri checked the prefect patrol - only the girl and the comfortable boy left.

    Vora turned back to them, claws appearing from the tips of his fingers. "Who first?" he asked.

    Kyioshi's hands moved so fast Ceri only caught it when the ground around them exploded with smoke. Vora leapt clear, and snarling, pounced down towards Ceri.

    Ceri dodged the first swipe, just as moonlight bathed down on them again. He blocked the second, and then drove his hand into Vora's face, cutting his legs as he went.

    The creature slammed into the ground, head hitting the concrete hard.

    "That hurt." Vora said, and kicked Ceri off.

    "Kyioshi?!" Ceri yelled.

    "Not helping you, i expect." the fair haired boy grinned, showing glinting teeth. "Run away."

    A muffled yell. Both Ceri and Vora turned in time to see a dark figure appearing behind the two remaining prefects. He knocked them out with two deft strikes.

    Vora suddenly vanished, a trickle of golden dust flying back to the girl.

    The figure walked back to Ceri.

    "We've done enough damage for one mission." Kyioshi growled, "Back to HQ."

    Mission Report
    The mission regarding both strategy and language papers was a success, but just barely so. We nearly got caught by Watchers, our intel operative was chased, prefects have confirmed sightings and know we were launching an op last night. On top of it all, we engaged with several low level prefects, one of which, subject identified as Calypso Morgan, employed a (low level) Familliar against us.

    Number of prefects neutralized: 6

    All team members safe.

    Personal comment: I'm thinking this is one of the worst missions my team has ever done. I'll do a post mortem with them and the necessary yelling two days from now. Requesting two week inactivity period for my team.

    Yours truly,
    Kyioshi Miyamoto
    s/n: 9857

  • Next Episode
  • Wednesday, December 28, 2005

    Episode 9

    Ceri couldn't see anything. What was worse was the swishing of velvet directly in front of him, currently paused as the Watcher contemplated this new change.

    A hand grabbed Ceri's. Another velvet swish, this time with intent.

    Ceri nearly cried out, but a gloved hand clamped his mouth shut. "Shush" - a silent whisper, and then the hand from his mouth was removed and Ceri was dragged by the lapel (his stealth suit had no collars).

    He bustled along quickly, completely blinded (night vision goggles hanging uselessly at his chest) and only with a tugging arm to guide him. Ceri was breathing hard, confused and without a sense of direction in the pitch black -

    He hit a table.

    The following crashes of folder, stationary and what sounded like a well-loved mug brought angry swishes of velvet from the darkness; Ceri felt figures pressing in from all sides, magic was starting to thrum in the air - they were going to get caught -

    The person pulling him gave two quick jerks, and Ceri sensed two figures shrivel away back into the aisles. They were constantly moving, and then the pulling guy sharply turned to the right, slamming Ceri against the wall and stumbling.

    Into a room; Ceri felt himself hoisted up and groped for a hold - cold metal met his skin, and then further banging along what seemed like a chute.

    The lights came on below.

    It was dim, mostly reflected off the boardroom's table top, but Ceri could clearly see the figure that had pulled him - Kyioshi. The grille had been put back, and both of them stared down at the room below.

    The Watchers had entered - Ceri could see six - and were inspecting the four walls. There was an eerie sense of detachment as the cloaked figures drifted around the room.

    Soft as a whisper, but with more force, one spoke: "Magister."

    And the word echoed throughout the throng of robes.

    Beside him, Kyioshi breathed a sigh of relief. "They bought it. Come - two minutes to get out of here, let's hope nobody catches us on the way out."


    Jera found the two boys easily enough, even with all the magical protection the school employed. What stymied him was the source of magic in the room below them.

    Carefully avoiding the protection runes embedded within the walls - designed to burn the living daylights out of creatures like him - he floated below. There, in a corner, sat a small ring - the type usually used by magisters to contain summons. One of the boys had left it behind for the Watchers to find.

    Satisfied, Jera made haste to reach his master before the boys could escape.

    Kyioshi's blog extract
    Do you actually believe the unprofessionalism displayed by my charge that night? He acted out of impatience and impulse. Surely his art had taught him well enough to know when to make a strategic retreat?

    The ninja in me is disgusted. Ceri is already of a high ranking dan. And yet the teachings beyond the throws and the pins escapes him.

    What am i to do?

  • Next Episode
  • Episode 8

    10 minutes to go, Ceri noted. Ms Lawrence's papers were with Kyioshi, being scanned and sent to Ross wirelessly.

    "Watcher on the right, five feet."

    Ceri took a left and hid behind a rack.

    "Take another left, and then go right."

    Ceri obeyed, moving quietly. General Warrant's table was still far away, what with Ross's instructions that took him on a long, winding course around the various tables.

    Ceri's hands were clammy, and his breaths were coming short and haggard. He wondered why Kyioshi wasn't the one out here doing the running, since he was a ninja and Ceri was just a -

    "SHIT!" Ross yelled, "Get your butt moving! Watchers from the right, no, make that your left, another coming up behind you, take a right - "

    Ceri tried to follow, heart beating like mad, but Ross's panic was infectious and stupid. Another Watcher was coming from an adjoining aisle in front of him; he could hear the rustling of robes -

    "What the hell? Get moving, get moving!"

    The three watchers met and turned in different directions, all gliding past an empty aisle.

    "Shit!" Ross breathed, "Sh-"

    "Watch your mouth," Ceri said, coming out from underneath a table. He had ducked and shielded himself with a stack of boxes at the last second, ignoring Ross's yells.

    "Relax," Ceri said, even though there was a weird feeling in his stomach. "Take things slowly."

    "Take a right," Ross snapped. Ceri could still hear him breathing heavily through his earpiece.

    There were three rows to go - Ceri wished he could make a wild dash for the table, but knew it was foolhardy and pointless.

    "Okay, move fast," Ross said, "Dash right - two rows, and then go left."

    Ceri did as he was told, lightly stepping past racks and pausing to see the direction the Watchers were moving. He was now just a few steps away from General Warrant's desk.

    "A Watcher's going u the aisle - from your left, hide behind a table -"

    There was a few tense seconds as the Watcher passed Ceri by. Then he was at General Warrant's desk, leafing through various papers.

    "5 minutes left," Kyioshi announced. "You've got to get back, Ceri -"

    "Shut up, lemme do this - "

    Ceri was now running a pencil thin scanner over the pages of a test paper. Several hundred meters away, Ross's pocket PC began receiving the images, compressing and encrypting as soon as it arrived.

    "Ceri - two Watchers coming up behind you - "

    "Shush!" Ceri snapped back. "Just one more page - "

    Ross stared at the CCTV screen as the cloaked figures steadily approached. He bit his lip, knowing he couldn't say anything to stop Ceri.

    "Done!" Ceri said, but too late, the Watchers were almost on him - any moment and they would see -

    Ross was still chewing his lip when all the cameras in the staffroom blacked out.

    Ceri's blog extract
    You have to understand. It was better if the testpapers were with Ross and the mission succeeded. Never mind if i get captured.

  • Next Episode
  • Author's Note

    As of January, school sems start, and this series will be put on the backburner. Homework piles and exams will definitely affect posting, so please bear with us, as writing will definitely continue offline.

    Monday, December 26, 2005

    Episode 7

    Warren Tyke wasn't like other prefects. They were steorotyped as gruff and selfish and all things evil, but he knew there also existed those with heart. Like all things in the world, there was good in every bad, and bad in every good.

    First and foremost, however, he was needed in the search efforts. The Centauri were, in Warren's mind, no better than the corrupted prefects that were plentiful amongst his ranks. He wasn't a highly placed person - just a platoon leader, but it suited him just fine. And now the Centauri were assaulting him and his prefects' pride.

    Warren was human. He didn't like that cheekiness anymore than Wayne Rye (patrol leader 2), who had confided in him that the day before he ahd seen three students from the martial arts stream leave a janitor's closet, and suspected they were Centauri members. Wayne had an intuition that Warren trusted, although he was so corrupted telling the truth was probably against his moral ideals.

    "We've lost all trace of them." one of the junior prefects reported dejectedly, "They've made a fool of the magisters again.

    Warren gestured for him to continue searching, focusing on other worries. Jim Reilly hadn't returned from the class checks, and no amount of magical messaging had received a response. Warren tried again.

    You there Jim? he asked, the thought resonating into empty space. Where the hell are you?

    A stir, perhaps. Nothing more. Warren sighed. He'd have to summon - somehting strictly banned for underage magisters by the Guild, but which he had been practising for almost a year now.

    Almost all advanced magic relied on summons, and magisters regularly summoned creatures beforehand, attaching a spell to quickly call upon it out on the battlefield.

    Warren had once summoned a Nymph, and knew it was a scout by nature. Hidden from the rest, he concentrated on the spell and snapped his fingers. A small golden circle appeared in midair, filled with weird symbols, and a bird-like creature materialised within.

    "What?" Jera asked irritably. "Was just enjoying a sunflower seed dinner."

    Warren rolled his eyes. "I need you to find a few Centauri members hidden around this school for me. They're dressed in black rubber suits, and we've lost them - "

    "Useless humans," Jera cut in.

    "- so i want you to be fast, silent and invisible."

    Jera didn't bother with an answer. With a flick of his tail he vanished. Not that Warren should worry - non magisters had no way to see cloaked creatures.

  • Next Episode
  • Episode 6

    Ross ran. The pocket PC was stuffed in a pocket in his stealth suit, and he pulled his hoodie on as he sprinted across the silver lawn.

    "After him!" the nearest prefect yelled. Ross leapt over a bush, nearly missing a drain that would have surely sent him flying, and darted left into an empty, pitch black classroom. He pulled up the cloth to cover his mouth, panting, and donned his goggles.

    A glare emanated as the classroom door opened, a prefect ambling blindly amongst the tables and chairs. Outside was the sound of rushing feet, and shouts of "Spread out!"

    Ross got up and slowly approached the prefect from behind. Headed for the light switch, Ross thought.


    The prefect turned around and made a wild, half-hearted grab. Ross stepped silently out of the way. There was an anybody-there? look on the prefect's face, unsure and frightened.

    He mumbled something under his breath, and light flickered into his hand. "Shi-" he began, seeing Ross directly in front of him.

    The blast of light hit Ross, magnified several times by his night vision. He recoiled, gasping at what seemed like a supernova through the goggles, flaring out of the prefect's hand -

    It was pure luck that the prefect didn't yell for help. Ross spun into a kick, his eyes still burning from the light, spots erupting in his vision, but it didn't take sight to use an Aikido joint lock when the prefect was already on the ground and nearby. He quickly followed up with a knock to the head.

    After dragging the prefect's unconscious form into a broom cupboard, Ross went back out into the corridors. He had an escape plan ready at the back of his head, and hoping the prefects didn't use any advanced magic, he would get by okay.

    Ross made past a fully illuminated classroom and dashed into a clump of bushes. He was now in a garden that connected the classroom blocks to the spell workshops. In the center was a statue of the Greek god Poseidon, surrounded by orchids and creepers.

    "The Centauri are up to something tonight, I swear it!"

    Ross retreated deeper into the bushes.

    "Mark, its not that easy to find proof to support that."

    "Proof? Did you see that guy who was running? He was wearing a rubber suit for goodness sakes. That ain't any normal prankster!"

    The voices faded away as the prefects continued their search. Heart beating loudly, Ross ran to the marble figure, twisted the center prong of Poseidon's triton and kicked the base.

    A small hole opened at the bottom of the statue, revealing a slide similar to the that in the Centauri HQ. Ross clambered in, feet first, then slid down to a small safe room below.

    Comfortable was the only way to describe it, Ross thought. There was a lazy chair, a small bed, a fridge one usually found in hotels, and a table with a computer humming away idly. Spartan, but comfortable. Ross sat on the bed.

    "Sorry guys - uh," he panted, tapping at the Pocket PC to reestablish the link to the security server. "Prefects are getting restless. They know we're up to something."

    "No abort," crackled back Kyioshi. "Unless they've captured you or know who you are. Has your cover been blown?"

    "No," Ross said reluctantly. He preferred nothing better than to snuggle into the small bed nearby, but there was a job, and it had to be done. "It's still good."

    "Perfect," said Kyioshi, "We've wasted enough time. I want this over and done with."

    Ross yawned.

    "Hey," It was Ceri's voice crackling over now, "If you fall asleep on the job i swear i'll choke you to death."

    Ross brushed aside the threat and disabled the camera feed. Now they were all looped, and only his Pocket PC was getting the real thing. The techies would go over the looped records later on and edit it to make it look believable - Watchers didn't just repeat their movements over and over again. As for the prefect on duty at the security room, Ross sniggered. Kyioshi had taken care of him earlier that night.

    "All clear?" Kyioshi asked.

    Ross looked over the screens. "All clear."

    Hidden by the tall, haphazard stacks of books on the teachers' tables, Ceri silently ran to Ms Lawrence's desk. There was only fifteen minutes to go.

    Ross's blog extract

    What? You thought i had it? Thought lazy ol' Ross couldn't handle magister prefects with too much of their nose in the air? Thought my Aikido was a waste of time?!

    HAH! Think again!


  • Next Episode
  • Episode 5

    Kyioshi and Ceri moved quickly through the darkness. One prefect patrol was ambling away from the staffroom, but they were smoking and didn't pay much attention to their surroundings.

    The instant Ross's triumphant "Yes!" reached their earpieces, the both of them took off silently, running out of the darkness and into the moonlight. Kyioshi reached up and removed an air vent, and Ceri leapt up, pulling himself into the metal shaft.

    The prefects were moving back towards the staffroom.

    "Shit." Kyioshi murmured, and disappeared behind a dumpster, not entirely in shadow and leaving the air vent wide open. Ceri buried his face in his hands.

    "Don't let them look up, please don't let them look up ..." Ceri chanced a peek at them, they were moving all so slowly from underneath the gaping darkness.

    Then one prefect tossed an M&M into his mouth, and froze, staring straight up at Ceri. Ceri's first impulse was to clamber deeper into the shaft, but that would make far too much noise. He stared back at the prefect, hoping the darkness would hide him.

    "Idiots. Those maintenance guys didn't even clean up their work!" he said, and then passing M&Ms around, the whole group trudged past.

    Kyioshi, face mask in place, leapt up and pulled himself in. "Put yours on." he whispered, and Ceri obeyed, activating night vision as he did so.

    The face mask was essentially a hoodie, a cloth covering the nose and mouth, and goggles that gave crude night vision. This was the face that Ceri was staring at, all bathed in green.

    "Ready?" Kyioshi asked, his mouth moving behind the cloth. "Thought he saw you there."

    "Yeah, though so too." Ceri crawled down the shaft, stopping at every opening. There were hooded figures gliding around the room below, too tall to be human, yet still humanoid, with arms and presumably legs. Ceri couldn't tell - the robes the figures wore covered their lower body completely.

    "Creepy," Kyioshi remarked, and Ceri nodded his agreement.

    "I don't think our martial arts would work against them." Ceri whispered back, continuing down the chute.

    He found (at last) the opening to the board room and pushed the vent, making sure it didn't fall out onto the tiled floor. He placed it carefully in the shaft, and lowered himself into the semi darkness, with light shining in through the blinds of glass windows facing the staff room.

    The door opened. Ceri felt a surge of panic, his pulse accelerated so fast he was sure it had skipped a beat. He leapt over the table, thanking the thick soles of his stealth suit, and got under the tablecloth.

    There was a swish of velvet somewhere behind Ceri. He pressed himself flat against the floor, and through a thin sliver between tablecloth and tile, he saw robes pausing just beside his table.

    Was Kyioshi safe? Ceri asked himself. He had to be - Kyioshi was trained as a ninja, and he could see the entirety of the boardroom from the shaft.

    The robes swished again - whoever it was was turning, surveying the room.

    Ceri felt a chill seep up his clammy palms, cheek pressed against a tile that was freezing cold, fighting to keep his breath in check. The robes swished away, not making any sound.

    Seconds later feet appeared right beside Ceri, and the folds of tablecloth were pulled up.

    "Alright there?" Kyioshi asked. "We can't go any further without Ross - and he's not answering."

    Ceri got out and stared at the staffroom. Rows and rows of silver tables with Watchers patrolling mechanically along the aisles. It didn't help that the only lighting was low and coming from foot level - Ceri would've preferred no lighting at all.

    "So." He said, sighing, "What now?"

    Kyioshi's blog extract

    Somehow, missions in light give me the creeps. I'm supposed to be shinobi. I'm supposed to be able to handle actual war missions, which the Intelligence ministry gives the Centauri from time to time. And i'm still nervous in this one.

    Could it be caused by the fact that i don't usually work with people not as capable as me?

  • Next Episode
  • Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    Episode 4

    A few things would have to be made clear at this point, first and foremost the arrangement in the staffroom so vital to Kyioshi's, Ceri's and Ross's mission.

    The staffroom was a simple rectangular shape, about the size of three tennis courts side by side. There were three rows of tables stretching from one end to the other, save for a break in the centre where a couple of sofas were placed for relaxation, and a small boardroom at the west end. Ms Lawrence's table (where the Language papers were), was at the far west side of the room, directly outside the boardroom. General Warrant's (he was retired, but still wanted them to call him so) desk, complete with camouflage tablecloth, was five tables down. All the teachers had various racks and shelves set up, nearly exploding with all the paperwork contained within.

    The stealth suits which Ross and Ceri were both going to wear was made of black synthetic rubber, issued by whatever ministry it was that backed the Centauri. They were all kept in a hidden locker room under the roots of a great oak tree, old and gnarled and planted when the school was founded.

    And so it was that at 7:oo pm sharp, Ceri got dressed into a dark t-shirt and baggy pants, about as casual as one could get. Ross wasn't in the dorm - he had left earlier to relieve his boredom. Ceri slid up his dorm window and got out onto the sill.

    An old drain pipe led down from the roof, looking rusty, but still strong due to the steel support the Centauri had pushed the school to install. Subtly, of course. Ceri heard that it involved a prefect and falling.

    Ceri slid down the pipe as fast as he could, and then made his way silently into the gardens that divided the staffroom from the dorms. The oak he was headed for swayed in the silver the moon painted over the garden.


    Three black figures were under the shadow of a thick, low growing tree, sheltered from the moonlight bathing the lawn around them.

    "Ross, your part comes first. Sure you know exactly what to do?" Kyioshi asked quietly.

    Ross yawned. "I'm not that lazy. Yeah, everything's fine."

    "Okay," Kyioshi said, looking out at the lawn around them. "Me and Ceri will take off now. You must disable the cameras in exactly thirty seconds, because that's when we hit the range of the CCTV scopes. Exactly thirty seconds. This thing has to be timed to perfection, or our thirty minute window would be significantly reduced. Exactly thirty seconds. You must ... "

    "Shut up and go." Ross snapped, already tapping away at the pocket PC.

    Both Kyioshi and Ceri sprinted across the lawn, melting into the shadows of the building beyond.

    "Thirty seconds, the idiots. I can do this with my eyes closed." Ross muttered. He knew his words were being transmitted to the other two's earpieces, but they couldn't reply because the corridors they were going through were prefect patrol ground.

    Activating device 12.00.01
    Device activated
    Accessing sever 01
    Accessing server 02
    Password confirmation required
    Device 12.00.01 password confirmed

    Ross activated the implant's software now, closing the password generator he had ran on the server. The pocket PC now read:

    Loading system files

    Followed by a progress bar.

    Ross glanced at his watch. 16 seconds left. The progress bar hit 95% as CCTV screens started coming up. Ross bit his lip, alternating from the command interface to the windowed program. The required cameras weren't transmitted yet ...

    There - cameras 12 and 16.

    Ross tapped as fast as he could, issuing a command he had practiced since 3 in the afternoon, wasting time otherwise spent in the com labs.

    /run_recorder_rewind 5sec_loop
    /run_command_device 012_016

    The pocket PC relayed the command to the implant, taking a full second to convey the instructions to server code and looping both cameras. Toss checked his watch. Four seconds to go.

    "Yes!" he whispered. Now to get to someplace safe and watch over the action.

    Just as that thought hit him, Ross looked up to see five prefects in dark clothes running to surround him.

    Ceri's blog extract

    *shakes head in embarrassment* Ross.

  • Next Episode
  • Episode 3

    Two and a half weeks later

    The class was, as usual, chaotic. Hard to imagine that a small class of fifteen could make so much noise.

    The five prefects were in their stuck-up corner, laughing their heads off about some poor kid they stole lunch money from.

    Taylor was his usual too-good-for-all-of-you self, and was sneering at whatever Alec or Ross said. Both Ceri and Sabriye were ignoring each other, while Chong Fen was silent as usual, playing chess with Jean and raking his eyes over the board. Yuki, though a Centauri member like the rest of them, didn't care for company and was staring out the window.

    There were also two other ordinary students in their class - Alestair and Tara. Both were blissfully ignorant that their class held the highest concentration of martial arts specialists, as well as Centauri members in the whole school. The prefects, on the other hand, knew of the existence of the secret society, but had no idea who were in it. Which suited them just fine.

    Ceri watched the chess match without much interest - Kyioshi had just informed them that the initial recon had been completed, and that they would be going over the plans later on.

    "Isn't that right, Ceri?" Ross asked.

    "Uhm - yes. Absolutely" he said, startled by the sudden interruption.

    Ross frowned at him. "I was just reassuring Alec here she wasn't fat."


    "The staffroom has three primary security features." Kyioshi said, sifting through the cardboard package before him.

    "Three's my lucky number." Ross grunted.

    "The first is easy - " Kyioshi ignored him, " - a set of CCTV cameras on the outside of the building, no blind spots."

    "And how exactly are we going to get past that?" Ceri asked.

    Kyioshi lifted a small pocket PC from the pile of papers and handed it to Ross. "Our tech guys implanted a small receiver into the central security mainframe, allowing us full control of the cameras and what they see."

    "And I’ll be handling it outside?" Ross asked placidly.

    "Correct." Kyioshi nodded, "You'll also be keeping an eye on the second and third problems."

    Ceri frowned again, shooting Kyioshi a questioning look.

    "There are two major spells weaved in the inside of the staffroom. The first is a summon maintenance spell, keeping 13 watchers continuously patrolling among the tables. They have a random path, and are capable of not only raising a school wide alarm, but to neutralize most threats."

    "You mean as in shoot something at us?" Ross asked.

    "I don't expect them to kiss you," Kyioshi said delicately. "You don't have to worry. Just surveillance."

    Ross snorted. "Easiest job in the world, aye?"

    "What's the second spell?" Ceri interrupted.

    "Oh," Kyioshi said, "That one's hard. A wave of magic sweeps past the entire room every thirty seconds, recording everything in it. No escape if you're in there."

    "So we only have a thirty minute window?!" Ross asked incredulously.

    Kyioshi nodded. Ceri whistled. "How're we going to steal the documents? Hard copy or digital?"

    "Definitely digital. We scan each page and send to Ross. If we get caught, he still delivers."

    Ross shook his head. "Thirty minutes .. ."

    "We'll see. Tomorrow night, full stealth suits." Kyioshi handed them their briefing papers, not caring that it was all crumpled.

    Three boys left the janitor's closet in two minute intervals, all looking perfectly normal.

    Wayne Rye, prefect in charge of patrol group 2, mashed his cigarette into the handrail beside him. He had sneaked into a stairwell just opposite the janitor's closet, having confiscated a fag pack from a student, and had witnessed this totally weird event in complete silence.

    Wayne recorded the event in his logbook, under the 'Watch Target' category.

    Ross's blog extract

    Okay, now with an actual briefing paper to read, this blogging thing seems more interesting.

    Let's see, what i did today:

    I woke up, brushed my teeth, went to the whole bunch of classes, attended a ... erm, meet with two other guys, and then went back to my dorm. Ceri was already reading, the bugger, so i had no choice but to head out for the com labs for entertainment. Now i'm typing on a smudgy, brown keyboard. Doesn't anyone clean these days?

    There it is, my day. I might actually like this blogging thing. Next post, please!

  • Next Episode
  • Episode 2

    Ross and Kyioshi were lounging in the old, unused storeroom behind the cafeteria.

    "Bout time," Ross said, "Was going to sleep."

    Kyioshi closed the door behind Ceri and gave him their objective: the administration file exco prefects carried while on duty.

    "Hold this for awhile," he said, as Ross slouched off the box he had been sitting on and punched a few buttons on the old vending machine rusting away at the corner. The machine gave a forlorn beep.

    "Kyioshi Miyamoto. Level 2, serial 9857."

    The vending machine - still acting old and forlorn - rumbled aside to reveal an opening. Ross slid in without hesitation.

    "Keep the file close." Kyioshi warned. Ceri, hugging the thick black piece of stationary, dissapeared down the chute.

    The chute spiralled down 20 meters or so into a few underground chambers. They were formerly bunkers used during the first Sun and Moon wars a hundred years ago - built by the White Sun government to protect important laureates residing at the academy from Black Moon soldiers. And now the chambers were used as Centauri headquarters.

    As soon as Kyioshi came sliding out onto the tatami mats laid around the room, they set off towards the Broker's office.

    "He's going to give us our next mission, isn't he?" Ross asked.

    Kyioshi shrugged and they sank into mismatched sofas in the waiting room outside the office. It was small (the waiting room, not the office), and a few pictures had been put up, probably smuggled from some other part of the school. Through the wall Ceri could hear faint beeping - the mainframe that was the heart of Centauri intelligence.

    The door opened, and three people - another Centauri team - stepped out. The lanky, dark skinned boy smiled at Kyioshi, and Kyioshi nodded back in greeting.

    "Everything fine, Milo?" Kyioshi said.

    "Perfectly, mate. Miss the four of us together, though."

    Kyioshi shrugged.

    Ceri was ignoring the presense of Sabriye, who hated boys in general and Ceri in particular. Chong Fen, however, was quietly nodding his greeting to them.

    "We have to go." Kyioshi motioned, nodding at Milo again as he swept into the office. Ceri and Ross followed silently.

    "Any hitches, guys?" The boy (was it boy? Ceri wondered - the Broker was in his twenties ...) asked.

    "Yeap," Kyioshi said, putting the stolen file on the table. "Got them confused."

    "Good on you." The Broker smiled now, "We're planning to arrange some activities out of the constant nosiness of the prefects. Anyway - "

    Ross looked at Ceri.

    "Your next mission is going to be longer. About a coupla weeks." The boy took his legs off the table and steepled his fingers, "You know that since training for the various Centauri teams is taking up time, we can't actually study. So you guys would have to nick the Language and Strategy testpapers and get them down here to Intelligence. The boys at the keyboards should have a solution to score As soon enough."

    "How long, Gillian?"

    Gillian scrunched his face for a moment. "Exam papers probably not even written yet. So two weeks - maybe three. You find out, you're the ninja."

    Ross grinned at that. Ceri looked at him. Quizzically.

    "So , off you go now - I've got a schedule to sync."

    As they left, Ross asked. "So you're the ninja eh?" Why attack when a girl was there?"

    To which Ceri distinctively heard Kyioshi reply, "Kissed her in the dark."

    Ross's blog extract

    Why do ppl keep blogs? I mean, don't they have real life to consider? I'd rather use my precious time sleeping. Or eating. Or doing some Aikido kata that i haven't worked out yet.

    Blogging kinda sucks. I'm going to sleep.

  • Next Episode
  • Pilot Episode

    At Dokan, school for preparation of war, the prefects ruled.

    It was common knowledge to the student population that if they picked a fight or fell on the wrong side of a particularly influential prefect, their grades would 'accidentally' slip, check centres all over the school would purposely leave your name out on attendance lists and your file would suddenly explode with a whole list of misdemeanors that you never did.

    Ceri Lang was used to this. He hailed from Freeport, a nearby city just a stone's throw away from the Black Moon border, and it was battered by the war that had ebbed and flowed like an unforgiving tide. Ceri was in Dokan solely for his ability in a martial art, and this made the prefects think of him as one of a class below them.

    But Ceri couldn't care less about the social divides that cut the school in a neat half. He was on the roof of the library, lying on his front and looking down at the prefect check point below him.

    "In place," he said into a tiny mike clipped under his collar.

    "Good," Kyioshi answered, "Ross should be in place soon."

    "Ditto," Ross yawned. Ceri rolled his eyes. The lazy bugger. They should all be hidden now.

    "So we go when that girl in the black skirt over there reaches the checkpoint." Kyioshi said.

    "But a witness - " Ross stuttered, and Kyioshi moved.

    Five white balls, each the size of an egg, bounced into the group of prefects, releasing a huge amount of black smoke. There was a blur - the same colour as the smoke - that streaked out of the bushes and into the chaos that had erupted at the checkpoint.

    A prefect staggered out of the smoke, coughing. Ceri lifted a small blowpipe to his mouth and blasted a sedative dart into his back. It took the whole of two seconds before the prefect, trashing about wildly, crumpled into a heap.

    Kyioshi rolled out from under the smoke and sprung into the bushes, just as the smoke began to thin.

    "Prefect patrol, six o'clock from north, heading to checkpoint." Ross's voice crackled into Ceri's earpiece. "Run."

    Ceri didn't waste time. He got to his knees and lowered himself into a ventilation shaft, pocketing the blowpipe, then slithered out of the shaft into an air vent, looking through the netting at the students studying in the library. The librarian was just approaching her desk as a new crowd entered.

    Ceri pushed the netting away and slid out behind a bookcase. He randomly picked a book, leapt up and hit at the netting, closing it but not perfectly. Then he pulled out a piece of card from his shirt pocket, put the blowpipe along with the leftover darts and folded it, licking the sides as he did. It was an instant bookmark, with a bulging embossed design of a pen and flowers. Ceri put in his pocket as he walked out from behind the bookcase.

    Mrs Pirez looked up at the black haired boy before her, holding out a book.

    "Borrow?" she asked, almost lazily.

    "Yeah," The boy replied.

    She nodded and filled out the necessary papers, handing the book back. "1 week period only. You know the rules."

    The boy said his thanks and left, calmly putting a thick bookmark into the book as he did so.

    Prefects were coming up the stairs, looking quite harried.

    "You!" A boy with an upturned nose pointed, "Over here!"

    Ceri put on an act-cute look.

    "Give him a quick body check." Upturned Nose said.

    Upturned Nose took his book as another prefect scanned his name tag and ran a once over through all his pockets.

    "Weird book." Upturned Nose sneered, flipping through and teasing out the bookmark. "and what's this?"

    "Bookmark from master Leroy. He expects me to finish thirty books this month, and the bookmark would prove it." Ceri grinned. This was true - partly. Master Leroy didn't need a spell to see if he has finished thirty books.

    Upturned Nose put the bookmark back into the book as the other prefect finished the body check.

    "Weird selection then, " he said, lip curled, "Master Leroy never liked trash fiction."

    Ceri nodded demurely as he took Smugglers Island and made his way downstairs.

    Ceri's blog extract

    The Centauri has always been a part of the Dokan. A secret society organised with rank and file for two main reasons:

    1. Protect the school
    2. Annoy the prefects

    And hey, since the prefects are such stuck up magisters, can't the martial arts people have fun too? We're supported by some obscure government ministry, all the better to piss them off.

    Personally i think its a great idea - but I was accepted in only because of the throws that got me into trouble at my old school ...

    I'd rather forget that.

  • Next Episode