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“Number Twenty-six, you’re late for dinner”

Alex rider looked around, confused. Sister Krysten watched him impatiently from the head of the table, the other numbers watching him curiously. Alex caught sight of Freddy Gray, number 9, in his seat and gave him a small smile as he sat down in his spot at the end of the dinner table.

In front of him was a bowl of unidentifiable mush that he remembered from his time in the nightshade camp. He grimaced slightly, then caught himself and schooled his features into the appropriate mask of Julius Greif, the psychotic clone of him that he was posing as.

Why was he back here at Nightshade? The last he remembered was getting hit by a car outside of Brooklands. Was he still unconscious?

At the glare from the Sister Krysten, he stopped his trail of thought and turned to the mush they called food. Hesitantly he took at bite.

Time stopped. The walls and the numbers faded into the walls of a large mansion, graphic paintings of English battles lining the walls. Panicked, Alex turns around to find the face of General Sarov happily looking at him from the other end of the table.

Alex looked down at his plate and found an entire English breakfast in place of Nightshades mush.

“Eat up, young Vladimir,” Sarov told Alex, smiling maniacally.

The shock from being called after the mad general's dead son and being reminded of how close he had gotten to being adopted by this madman caused Alex to stuff a bite of food in his mouth as quick as possible in hopes of getting away from the man he saw shoot himself almost a year ago.

Like the time before, his surroundings morphed into something else, this time being the mess hall of the SAS. Loud voices of soldiers filled his ears, many either not knowing or caring that Alex could hear them talking about him.

Something hit his head from behind, almost causing him to face plant into the grey mush on his plate. Alex turned around to glare at the person who did it and was unsuprised to find Wolf sneering at him.

“Oh no! Is baby Cub going to go cry to his rich mummy and daddy?” the grown man mocked.

The other soldiers burst out laughing.

Alex turned around and ignored them, taking another bite of food.

The meal, however didn’t taste of military mush but instead the plastic, cheap high school pasta.

Young kids of all ages filled the lunch hall, screaming and shouting at their friends. A teacher desperately tried to get an argument under control. A rouge chip hit the back of his head but he ignored it in favour of nodding at whatever Tom had said before he arrived.

“—asked Melissa to go out with him and she just laughed in his face!”

Alex snorted, not at all feeling sorry for the boy who had spread many of the druggy rumours about him after his uncle died.

He debated whether he should take another bite of his food, knowing it would transport him somewhere else. He knew it want real though, and he wasn’t actually at school with Tom, so he once again lifted his fork and left Brooklands.

In horror, he stared as his surroundings changed to none other than a lunch table at malagasgo.

Walker and Klaus laughed at something Amanda said, and it struck Alex how much he missed his friends from here.

Then he shook himself out of his thoughts, scolding and reminding himself that these people were murderers and terrorists, not friends. They had killed people!

But then again, so had he.

Alex quickly took a bite before he could think any more on the topic.

He recognised this table as the one in the house he had lived in most of his life, the Rider household.

Jack sat across from him, smiling and telling him about the newest guy she had gone out with. Ian sat stone faced next to him, obviously impatient and uncaring of Jack’s life.

Alex frowned at the sight of him late uncle, remembering the neglect and how he had been left in the hands of Blunt in his will. He couldn’t help but resent Ian for training him to be a spy since he could walk. Still there was nothing he could do about it but take another bite of food.