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Authors: Chris Ryan

Survival

BOOK: Survival
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On board the
Phoenix
five very different individuals are brought together for the first time:
A
lex - A quiet lad from Northumbria, Alex leads the team in survival skills. His dad is in the SAS and Alex is determined to follow in his footsteps, whatever it takes. He who dares . . .
L
i - Expert in martial arts and free-climbing, Li can get to grips with most situations . . .
P
aulo - The laid-back Argentinian is a mechanical genius, and with his medical skills he can patch up injuries as well as motors . . .
H
ex - An ace hacker, Hex is first rare at code-breaking and can bypass most security systems . . .
A
mber - Her top navigational skilk mean she's rarely lost. Rarely lost for words either, rich-girl Amber can show some serious attitude . . .
Cast adrift and marooned on a desert island somewhere in the Indonesian Archipelago, these five must learn to work at a team in order to survive.
Alpha Force is born . . .
www.kidsatrandomhouse.co.uk/alphaforce
Also available in the Alpha Force series:
RAT-CATCHER
DESERT PURSUIT
HOSTAGE
RED CENTRE
HUNTED
BLOOD MONEY
Coming soon:
BLACK GOLD
FAULT LINE
UNTOUCHABLE
CHRIS
RYAN
ALPHA FORCE
SURVIVAL
This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
ISBN 9781407049823
Version 1.0
www.randomhouse.co.uk
ALPHA FORCE: SURVIVAL
A RED FOX BOOK
ISBN: 9781407049823
Version 1.0
First published in Great Britain in 2002 by Red Fox,
an imprint of Random House Children's Books
This edition published 2004
9 10 8
Copyright (c) Chris Ryan, 2002
The right of Chris Ryan to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
This electronic book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
Red Fox Books are published by Random House Children's Books,
61-63 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SA,
a division of The Random House Group Ltd
Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited
can be found at:
www.randomhouse.co.uk/offices.htm
THE RANDOM HOUSE GROUP Limited Reg. No. 954009
www.kidsatrandomhouse.co.uk
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
SOMEWHERE IN THE
INDONESIAN
ARCHIPELAGO . . .
It only takes an instant to die . . .
As he struggled to swim away from the huge wave that towered over him, Alex began to hear his father's voice in his head, patiently explaining the survival skills he had learned in the SAS. It was oddly comforting to listen to that calm, quiet voice and Alex found the strength to push himself on through the turbulent water, even though his muscles were almost useless with exhaustion.
It only takes an instant to die,
continued his father's voice.
The way to survive is to make sure you never reach that instant. Are you listening, Alex? You need to understand how an accident happens. Most people think it explodes without warning - blam! Like a firework. But you look more closely at that accident and what do you see . . .?
'A fuse . . .' croaked Alex, forcing himself to take a few more strokes before floundering to a stop. 'There's always a fuse . . .'
He blinked the stinging seawater from his eyes and looked over his shoulder to see whether he was clear of the breaking wave. He groaned. All that effort and he had hardly moved. It was as though he had been treading water. The wave still towered over him, even higher now. It was a solid slab of black water, except at the top where there was a frayed edge of white foam. The wave had reached its crest and was beginning to curl over. In a few seconds, the whole weight of that wall of water would crash down on top of him.
Alex stopped swimming. He knew he was fighting a losing battle. Instead, he concentrated on breathing, topping up his system with as much oxygen as he could before the wave hit. He felt himself being tugged backwards as the surrounding water was sucked into the base of the breaking wave. Forcing his burning lungs to take in one more deep breath, he turned and dived down under the surface a second before the breaker crashed down on top of him.
Even under the water, Alex was overwhelmed by the impact. The breaker slammed him down and knocked all the air out of him with a casual efficiency that reminded him of his mother kneading dough. As he tumbled lazily through the water, drifting on the edge of consciousness, Alex thought about his mother making bread half a world away in the kitchen he had been so keen to leave. He thought of how sad she would be if he did not return from this trip and suddenly he was fully awake again.
He began to struggle against the current, which was still rolling him over and over, pulling him nearer and nearer to the reef where the boat had broken in two. If he was dragged across the razor-sharp coral, his skin would be torn to ribbons. How close was he? There was a roaring in his ears which could be breaking surf. Alex forced his eyes open, but it was so dark under the water, he could not tell which way was up. He redoubled his efforts to swim against the current until he felt as though his chest was about to burst open. His movements became weaker, the roaring in his ears grew louder and sparks of multi-coloured light began to dance behind his eyes, but he kept going and, suddenly, the current let him go. He broke surface and pulled whooping breaths of air into his lungs.
Clearing his eyes, he peered about him. The moon was up and, in its pale light, he could just see the dark, jagged outline of the island he was trying to reach. He turned in the water and saw white surf breaking on the reef behind him. It was still too close for comfort and another huge wave was beginning to build. Gritting his teeth, Alex started to swim again, scanning the water for any sign of the rest of A-Watch.
He spotted Amber first, way ahead of him. She had nearly reached the island and was swimming strongly. Behind Amber, but still in the quieter waters of the lagoon, two more heads bobbed close together in the water. Paulo and Li, thought Alex, guessing that Paulo would not leave Li's side if he could help it. But where was Hex? Alex felt a chill run through him as he remembered that Hex, the fifth member of A-Watch, had been even nearer to the reef before the wave hit.
Despite the next breaker building behind him, Alex slowed and turned to scan the surface for Hex. He half-expected to see a body, floating face down in a spreading circle of blood, but there was nothing. Then he caught a movement over to his left. There was Hex, ahead of him now, and swimming steadily towards the island. He must have managed to surf in on the back of the wave that had swallowed Alex.
Satisfied, Alex put the others out of his mind and concentrated on swimming as hard as he could. This time he was nearly clear of the breaker when it crashed. Once more, he dived to survive the impact, then swam against the current that was pulling him backwards. He felt a surge of elation as he broke surface again. He was going to make it! Then something slammed into the back of his head with bone-shattering force. Instinctively, he flung his left arm up to protect his head and was caught in a grip which instantly tightened, biting into the flesh of his wrist. As he began to spiral down into the water, trailing blood, Alex heard his father's voice again.
Every accident has a fuse, son. There's always a fuse.
Alex watched with a sort of dazed curiosity as a thin rope of his own blood twisted away from him towards the surface. That must be the fuse, he thought. In the few seconds left to him before he lost consciousness, Alex imagined the fuse stretching across the sea and back in time to twenty-four hours earlier, when they had all still been aboard the
Phoenix.
That was when it had all started. That final Watch Duty, when the fuse was lit. . .
BOOK: Survival
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