Regular Spelling
Thoughts on language and more

Introduction

Amy sat at a desk in her quarters, slowly writing in the notebook in front of her.

She had gotten accustomed to the gentle rocking of the boat she was on, the distraction no longer taking her mind off her work. The report she had to deliver sat in front of her in multiple pieces: papers, photographs, scribbles and scrawlings made discretely on napkins and cloths, and various information downloaded to her PDA, but the center of her focus was the notebook. There she was composing her final report, the sum of all the information she had gathered in her mission.

A lock of hair fell from her left side where she had placed it behind her ear, startling her for a moment. It still seemed strange to her at times, the unnatural blue color her hair had taken on, after living all her life with a light brown color to it. But it didn't grow that way any longer, not after the change her body had taken on.

 It's hard to believe it's been six months now, she thought to herself as she readjusted her hair out of her face and repositioned her glasses to hold it there. She considered putting it up in a ponytail, but then decided that wouldn't particularly help so she didn't want to bother with it. She sighed, and picked up her PDA, switching out of the document editor and checking the GPS satellites. It was still a couple thousand kilometers before the ship would reach it's destination.

She locked her PDA and set it back on the desk, and closed her notebook. She stood, tucking in her chair, and left the room, wandering her way slowly to the top deck of the boat. Longer than that, of course, since this started, she thought to herself as she meandered, but that day, when this situation started, and everything changed.

 She was pleased that she would be able to see everyone in time for her sixteenth birthday, which was just in two short weeks. Although, with everything she had been through, she felt much older than her adolescent body let on to. And her role certainly wasn't one someone of her age would normally have.

She was an employee of a private military company, a neutral party in world politics by the name of ArenaBlade. In fact it had nothing to do with any of the politics of the world at all, aside from a few opinions about certain countries, as it was formed to guard against threats from outside of it.

 Since the invasion of 2000, she continued her reflection as she stepped onto the deck and into the sunlight. She walked over to the port side of the ship, and her hair fluttered gently with the breeze. Nothing had been the same since the alien invasion, and while most everyone went back to their lives and continued on like nothing had happened, she, her boyfriend, several others in their small group of friends, and some other interested parties, had formed the small company to defend the world from the possibility of future similar attack.

Nobody that saw what happened would ever forget it, though. While the invasion was, in retrospect, a mistake over a misunderstanding, the threat was very real, and the alien force had posed a major danger during their occupation. The military forces had far been outclassed by their technology, and there was seemingly no hope of victory, until a teenage boy, leading a small resistance group, had unleashed a destructive power unlike anything ever seen before, causing them to retreat in a scramble.

After that incident was when the company she worked for was created, and when she had started dating him as well. James Millen, known usually by his alias 'The Anaconda', was the figurehead of the company, which was founded by him and her own direct boss, a man by the name of Louis VanDerBekk. Louis himself was an alien, a refugee that had long before lost his homeworld, and had dedicated himself to protecting this planet from having the same thing happen to its inhabitants.

“For that matter,” she mumbled aloud, sighing again as she looked out over the empty sea. “He's one as well.” James had been born here, but his parents were refugees, escaped here long before from the same enemy that had invaded. There was a lot of refugees, it seemed to her upon reflection, because that group had also lost their home, and had mistaken the people of the world James's family was from as being the enemy that had destroyed their home.  She shook her head, and headed back to her room to continue working on her report.

Her own job with the company was in their Special Operations division, as a spy. A sleeper agent, working for the last five months in the halls of their current enemy. The war that she didn't understand, against the enemy that she couldn't understand. They called themselves the Omegas, a small army run by James's twin brother and his girlfriend, a group originally formed as an arm of ArenaBlade to facilitate trade with other planets and transport of technology they purchased to increase the planet's defenses.

 Orion, she thought to herself as she reentered her room and sat back down, returning to her notes. And the timid girl that's his girlfriend, Xedre. She had spent the last several months working alongside the two, under the disguise of an intern scientist researching some new defense technology. And after all that, as she was compiling her report, something didn't add up. Orion didn't particularly seem interested in attacking their planet, and Xedre, despite the strict militaristic air she carried around as she ordered her troops, didn't seem to her actually capable of doing the things on her own. Her personality was too unstable, and her normal, unemotional expression  made her appear as if she was nearly on the verge of tears most of the time. Half of Xedre's troops had commented, she recalled, that they tread carefully around her most of the time not out of fear of reprisal, but out of fear that she would start crying if they gave her bad news, or at times so far as if they even accidentally bumped into her in a hallway.

Of course, it wasn't the only thing that didn't make sense to her. Her own companies actions as of late were also very strange. With her mission over she was expecting to get some time to spend with James, however he was being strangely distant. She picked up her PDA and unlocked it, going to her e-mail to read the message again.

“Regrettably,” she said as she read it aloud, “ I cannot say more about this at this time. Your orders are to deliver your report to The Anaconda, at the Administration headquarters on Spiral Island. He will brief you further at that point. -Louis”

She advanced to the next message. “Your coming is acknowledged. However, due to injury on the part of The Anaconda, as you know we have activated the test version of the autonomous defenses on Spiral Island. Due to Omega threat and the timing of your coming, and suspicions of counterintelligence, your request for exclusion from defenses is denied. It is The Anaconda's belief that you will not have a problem with the defenses if you are the genuine agent and not an Omegan spy. Should you reach here safely we will brief you further at that time. -The office of The Anaconda”

Her worry over his injury sat secondary to her confusion over his actions. He hadn't even replied personally, instead deferring it to a secretary. Can he really believe I'm a spy? She put her PDA back on the desk and took a deep breath, trying to keep her thoughts rational and not let any of the multiple emotions that the thoughts were trying to bring on get the better of her.  It would be tactically sound for them to do that, of course, if my identity was compromised, but something must be seriously wrong if it requires this much defense and caution. And just what is this system they have activated on Spiral Island?

 Spiral Island, the destination the boat was slowly taking her to. A tiny floating island, only 120 kilometers in length, artificially created as a residential center for ArenaBlade. Most of the island's population were ArenaBlade employees, but there were also a number of people living there that were targets of Omega attacks, moved there to protect them. It floated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Africa, well into the borders of international waters and so under no nation's jurisdiction. Essentially, it was its own country, a corporate nation belonging to the business of ArenaBlade.

She sighed, and put her head down on the desk. She knew nothing of the defense system, as her assignment prevented any communications from coming to her, but she knew what her company was capable of. She wasn't sure if she would be able to get through the defenses.

As she rested her head on the desk her hair caught her eye again, the unnatural blue color. It was shortly after the Omega army appeared and first declared war, James had taught her how to use magic. The ability to use magic had caused a mutation in her DNA, additional extra genes to facilitate the body's ability to control the flow of energy, or mana as the common term from fiction called it. But it wasn't fiction, it was real, and all the cells in her body produced it from extra energy not needed for cellular function. The DNA mutation had been what caused her hair pigments to change, creating the strange blue instead of her brown.

What got her more was it didn't do that for everyone; James's own hair had remained the same dark brown she had always known him with when he gained the ability to cast magic during the invasion. Perhaps, she theorized idly, it's because of his unusual variant trait regarding his magic. Like her, most people could only use one type of magic, known collectively as elements. Her own magic's element was Ice, which was a misnomer as she could heat things up with it just as much as freeze them. The power gave her the ability to affect the movement of molecules, slowing them down or speeding them up.

James, though, was not restricted to one element. There were sixteen elements total, and he -  and Orion as well - could use fifteen of them. The Wind element, control over anything in a gaseous state, was the only thing they couldn't cast, for some strange reason. But the versatility came with a drawback, limiting the strength of spells they could memorize.

She sat up, and picked up a messenger bag from the floor. She reached in and took out a case for glasses, and a small pistol with a clip. She set the pistol and clip aside, and opened up the glasses case. Inside was a second pair of glasses, along with a small container for contact lenses. She took off the glasses she was wearing and put them into the case, and carefully inserted the contacts into her eyes. She blinked a few times to get them wet, and then set the other pair of glasses and the glasses case to the side.

She sighed again. “Happy sixteenth birthday, Amy Carter,” she said aloud to herself, then returned to working on her report.