alex's archive
About Me
Image by @pepperjackets.

My name’s Alex Whalen and I play a lot of tabletop roleplaying games. I’m also a writer, so I end up going overboard on backstory to the point of writing actual stories. Now I’m sticking them here.


Total Word Count: 214,804
Total Stories: 47
Shortest Story: 537 words
Longest Story: 19,173 words
Average: 4,570 words


Coffee Run 3 MINUTE READ

"Twenty-three... Twenty-four..."

"Drop, evil woman!"

"Twenty... five!" Najma grunted as she forced herself back up again. Her arms were shaking as she curled towards the chin-up bar but she was grinning. Her dark hair was pulled back from her face in a damp ponytail that swayed as she moved. Strong eyebrows furrowed over her prominent nose as she pushed herself further. "Twen... ty... six..."

"This is disgusting," Agent Ahmad Modani said, cheerfully. He gestured to the weights on Najma's ankles. "At least take those off. At this rate we will be completely demoralized."

Najma paused and hung from the bar, knees bent, ankles crossed, body taut under black Under Armor from wrist to ankle. Foundation dog tags rested on a chain around her neck along with a charm in the shape of a star. "You skipped three weeks of training to chase shadows in Bolivia. Maktub."

Agents Mohsen Tamami and Shahab Ali, sprawled at her feet, groaned. Ahmad laughed. Najma did another chin-up.

"It could have been something," Shahab said. Mohsen snorted.

"Could have been. But you know what was? That find in Greece. I've heard it was--"

Najma dropped down next to his head and he jumped. She bent at the waist and yanked at the velcro holding her weights on as she spoke.

"What did you hear it was, Mohsen? Hmm?"

"Don't be like this, sister," Shahab said. He elbowed Mohsen. "You know he wasn't going to say magic."

"Not magic," Mohsen agreed, "but something... Something like..."

He made a vague motion with his hand near his head and finished it with a grimace. Shahab closed his eyes and dug the heel of one hand into his left socket. Najma frowned.

"I never heard of a House in the area, but I wouldn't be surprised," she said. "And I hoped my days of dealing with djinn were done..."

"They are now, if we aren't going to be tapped on anything more than water thieves in South America," Ahmad said. “I had hoped we'd be reassembled as our own MTF, like in the files, but I don't know."

"Our own MTF?" Mohsen echoed. "Psh. Not happening. We'd be lucky if anyone gave us a coffee run, let alone a mission--"

A woman in plain Foundation fatigues cleared her throat from the doorway of the gym. Najma and Ahmad sprang to attention. The other two took a little longer clambering off the floor and snapping out salutes. The woman looked amused.

"Which one of you is... Naj... ma Behzadi?" she asked, glancing down at a slip of paper in her hand. Her pronunciation was terrible. Najma grimaced and stepped forward.

"That's me."

"Alright. Get cleaned up and report to briefing room 14C in the next twenty minutes."

"A mission?" Najma asked, eyes lighting up, but the woman was already walking away. Najma scrambled to shove her weights, water bottle, and towel into her gym bag. Ahmad laughed at her excitement.

"Hope it's more than a coffee run," Mohsen grumbled. Shahab slapped his back and gave Najma a smile.

"Inshallah," he said, and touched the charm around his own neck. Ahmad and Mohsen did the same.

Najma copied their gestures with a grin and sprinted for the showers.


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