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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: Alpha and Omega – Episode One – The Phantom Unveiled
By Joshua Janoski


“Agent Omega, are you in position?”

The male’s voice crackled and popped inside her head as she exited the top stairwell door and stepped out onto the rooftop. One hundred stories off the ground, she was ready to complete her mission.

“Agent Omega, can you hear me? Are you in position?”

She took the electronic transmitter out of her ear and scratched the inside of her lobe.

I must be allergic to tiny electronic devices. That or I am just allergic to the voice of my superiors. Yeah, that’s it.

She wiped the device off with a handkerchief and reinserted it into her ear. The man’s tone grew brash as she continued to ignore him.

“Agent Omega, you better answer me right now! This is no time for playing games! Dmitri Volkanov will be exiting the hotel any minute, and you must be prepared to take him out!”

She stepped near the edge of the rooftop, set down her silver briefcase, and bent down to open it up. Inside laid the pieces to a sniper rifle. The scope, action, barrel, and cartridge each sat perfectly in place on top of red velvet lining. She removed the pieces and assembled her weapon.

“Alright, Omega! If you won’t answer then I may have to abort this mission which could leave you and the agency compromised!”

“I hear you, Alpha! Sheesh! Can’t a girl work without being hounded by another agent hundreds of miles away?”

An attitude like Omega’s wouldn’t have normally been tolerated, but Omega knew she could get away with it when dealing with Alpha. James Dirk, a.k.a. Agent Alpha, had been given his name because he had been with the agency from the beginning. He was also in charge of scouting out new talent and giving agents their beginnings within the organization. Omega, a.k.a. Cheryl Hawkins, joined the agency when she was sixteen. She swiped Dirk’s wallet while living as an orphan on the streets of London. Dirk caught up to her, retrieved his wallet, and offered her a job because of her amazing speed and accuracy. Having no better options, Cheryl trained to become an agent. James and Cheryl established a long history together, which included a whirlwind romance that ended sour. She was dubbed “Omega” because her duties consisted of ending the lives of the agency’s enemies. She was an assassin, but she only killed those who could potentially harm many other people. At least that’s how she justified her actions.

“I don’t need your attitude, Omega! I need your sniping skills! I will ask one last time…Are you in position?”
Omega took her gun and adjusted the scope. She peered down it with one open eye and aimed it towards the hotel entrance.

“I’m ready Alpha, will fire on your signal.”

Most missions had clear goals in mind. Whenever she pulled the trigger, she knew exactly why she was releasing a bullet. Weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, exploitation of little children, threats to the U.S. President or the Queen. They were all common reasons for her to be the omega of someone’s life. But this mission was different, very vague. Dmitri Volkanov had been dubbed “The Phantom” by the agency, a mysterious figure supposedly into some kind of illegal underground activity that compromised international security. The dossier given to her during her briefing contained very few bits of useful information. Still, she stood crouched on one knee, her finger rested on the trigger and ready to obey the orders of her agent superior.

“You should be seeing Dmitri and his entourage exiting the hotel right about…now.”

Omega scouted the entrance with her scope. Two men, clad in pinstripe suits, exited the hotel, but neither matched the facial description given to her.

“Do you have a positive I.D. on the target, Omega?”

“Negative, Alpha. I do not have a positive I.D. on Volkanov.”

“Keep watching. Dmitri should appear at any moment.”

Omega held her breath in anxious anticipation. Brief moments that felt like hours passed…

“Alpha, Dmitri is not here. Recommending that we abort mission…”


The sound of the gun being cocked did not come from her earpiece. It came from directly behind her as she slowly set down her rifle and turned to face a man standing behind her, pointing the barrel of a silver pistol directly at her face.

“I told you I would arrive soon, my love.” The man snickered.

“Alpha! James!” she said shocked.

“Please, call me by my other name…Dmitri…Dmitri Volkanov.”

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This article has been read 692 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 04/23/09
I want to read more. There is a novel in here.
Patrick Whalen04/23/09
I enjoyed the pace of the story. I agree that this could be an interesting longer work.
Leah Nichols 04/23/09
Why did you stop?!?!?

Seriously - that's a GREAT cliffhanger! Now I'm TOTALLY ready to read more!
Bryan Ridenour04/24/09
Intriguing...Nice surprise...Left me wanting to read more. Nicely done!
Lyn Churchyard04/25/09
It is just as well I can't get my hands on you right now, otherwise I would have to kill you.

How could you leave us hanging like that? Oh, I want more! This was great. I thought I knew who wrote this going by the title... now I'm not so sure.

You have to continue this; it is begging for a much longer story.
Gregory Kane04/26/09
Okay, let me be the odd one out and say that I didn't like the cliffhanger. Granted, it could be very effective in terms of a longer piece or a series, but within a one-off short story it left me as a reader feeling dissatisfied with the ending. I know that I'm meant to include something positive in what is a mildly negative comment, but I reckon you've had plenty of positive strokes thus far. Keep on writing exciting fiction!
Lollie Hofer04/26/09
You had me hooked right from the beginning! Fast paced, humorous (laughed out loud at the "allergic" comments), full of intrigue and mystery. Well done! :D (I'm starting to recognize people's writing styles and "think" I know who wrote this...can't wait to find out for sure.)
Lollie Hofer04/27/09
I already left some comments but want to answer a question you asked when you gave your "hints." I personally don't have a problem with cliffhangers. Take it as a compliment when people are left wanting for more. Here's an idea...when people are left wanting more then develop it further on one of the writing threads and make it available for them to read. I like your unique writing style because you're always thinking beyond the norm (that's a compliment, by the way). If in the development of your story, it leads to a cliffhanger, than allow it to be so. You are an incredible young man with a wonderful gift from God. (And I did guess right...I figured you were the author of this story.)
Jan Ackerson 04/28/09
Excellent suspense--I like the fact that you injected humor--not typical for this genre.

Since you asked, I think this would be better suited for a longer form. Nevertheless, it's still VERY good.
Karlene Jacobsen04/28/09
I was just really getting into it, then...

This is great!
Chely Roach04/28/09
This is vintage Josh! I liked the cliffhanger, and it was almost expected being "Episode One". For obvious reasons, ongoing pieces work better outside the challenge, but I think debuting the first part of a series is a great way to draw in readers for the long haul. Well done!
Betty Castleberry04/29/09
Oh, I like that twist! As always, your piece kept me reading. Waaaay good.
Joy Faire Stewart04/29/09
You've done it again! Your writing is always unique, creative, enjoyable...I could go on and on! Oh, and I like the ending.
Carol Slider 04/29/09
The ending was quite surprising... if not shocking! I think I was probably the only one who was a little confused by it. Isn't Alpha the person directing her? Is he then instigating an assassination of... himself? Obviously, I don't read espionage very often! But you certainly intrigued me, and I would like to read more!
Loren T. Lowery04/29/09
This leaves many unanswered questions, answers to which I would be more than willing to read further to get. So, as a suspense, cliff-hanger you did a good job; and for intrigue please keep writing...
mick dawson04/29/09
Excellent! My kind of read.
Gerald Shuler 04/29/09
Most people who know you had you pegged as the author from just reading the title. You are, and I've said it before, a rare talent.
LauraLee Shaw04/29/09
Brilliant and funny. Clever. LOVE it. To be inside your head for one day...it's funny enough living in mine! :D
Marlene Austin05/01/09
Wow! I'm drawn in! I'll buy the trilogy. :D Great writing, Josh.