#5. Do I want to chance it

The girl sighs. She’s standing on the roof of an old, rotting building. He’s sitting on the edge, watching the sunset.

“Hey,” she says. He looks around at her a moment then looks back at the horizon.

“Hey,” he replies. There is a note of sadness in his voice. She goes and sits down next to him.

“Er… how are you?”

“Oh, I’m just great,” comes his sarcastic reply. The girl winces at his tone. “So is there a reason you wanted to talk to me or am I just here to enjoy nature?”

The girl frowns a moment, then answers, “We’ve recruited the first of the new agents.” He stiffness when she says this, so she continues before he can stop her. “We found a girl of age 14. She lives with Spyke, and acts as his assistant. We watched her for a while and found out that the girl tends to use chargers, rollers, and a Splash-O-Matic, but her real skill is with a Splattershot Jr. That surprised me. The kid’s been through a lot and has had some tough experiences.”

“Nothing compared to ours, I’m sure.” The boy scowls. “Anything else?”

She sighs again, “I was wondering if you wanted to meet her.”

“No!” He whips around to look at her sternly, “I told you already. I am not meeting any of the new agents.”

“Just give her a chance, -”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Two reasons,” he states.”One, I’m not going to take the risk of caring again. Two, they don’t know that I escaped and lived to fight another day. That can be used to our advantage. You said so yourself.”

“Yes, but-”

“And the fewer who know about me the better.

“Yes, but-”

“But nothing! I’m not meeting her and that’s final. From now on, I’m going at it alone on the field. It’s best that way.”

“You think that, but what if something happens to you?!”

“Then…” he seems to be at a loss for words for a moment. He got his voice back quickly though, “Then only three people will be hurt and not four, or however many agents you get.”

Once more, she sighs. “It will be difficult to hide you.”

“We can do it. I’ve already got a place set up for me. All I have to do is move into it.”
The pair is quiet as the last strains of light fade.

“Well…” the girl says into the darkness and stands up, “You’re as stubborn as always. It’s a shame. I think you two would have gotten along well.”

He looks down at his feet. “All the more reason for me to never meet her.”

************************************************************************************

“Missing?!” I gasp. Without hesitation I run outside and see that Spyke tells the truth. The Great Zapfish, who rests on Inkopolis Tower, is gone.

“You know already who’s done it. Don’t you?” Spyke asks me. I nod. Three weeks have passed since I was taken in as agent #3. I’ve been training and fighting in addition to the things that Spyke has me do.

Of course I told Spyke about the secret agency. Didn’t matter much though, because he already knew. Turns out there are certain Octos that he does deals with. I ended up promising to not tell #1 and #2.

“I need to go. They’ll be wanting to discuss this at HQ.”

“I know.” Spyke says, “Go, Love, quickly.”

I don’t hesitate. I’m running as fast as I can to the HQ in Octo Valley. Through the grate. Through the maze of places. I burst into the building.

#1 and #2 and the Captain are all there. “#3. Good. You’ve no doubt noticed that the Zapfish is gone?”

“Hard to miss,” I reply to #1.

“Yeah. The Octarians took it in the night. Apparently, they have a flying saucer.” She manages to say this with a straight face.

“Ok… I did not expect that.” I Admit.

“Neither did we.” #2 frowns, “It makes me wonder… do they have more?”

“Lets hope not. We need to focus on getting the Zapfish back,” says #1.

“Just us three?” I ask, knowing that Captain Cuttlefish never actually goes on missions.

“Nope… Just you, actually.” Silence.

I stare at #1. Then at #2. “You’re joking,” I accuse, but by the looks on their faces I can tell that they are dead serious.

“She’s taking it better than I thought,” Cuttlefish notes.

“I haven’t been an agent for a whole month! You expect me to take on the Octarian Army ALONE?!?!?!?!”

“Oh wait, never mind,” he adds quickly.

“We’ll join up with you later,” #2 tells me, “but Cal- err…. #1 and I have to go reassure the people of Inkopalis.”

“How? We are undercover,” I point out.

“We have our ways,” she says evasively. “Don’t worry. Captain will have a communication link set with you the whole time. You only need to start a path and we’ll follow as soon as we can.” #1 promises.

I still feel very unsure, despite all they say to build my confidence. Agent #2 takes me down to a room that I’ve never been in before. The walls were lined with racks of clothing. She leads me over to a rack of yellow and black suits.

“These are the agent uniforms,” she explains. “Agents who aren’t a part of the lead circle wear them.”

“So… me?”

“So, you.” The girl smiles as she flips through the rack, looking for my size. “We used to have other agents. Such a great group of squids…” #2 lets out a sigh. I barely dare to ask what happened to them. “I… can’t give you any details. All I can say is we lost them. Ah, I do miss those three…”

I ask no more about the three agents, but what I’ve heard isn’t helping my fright. When she says they were “lost” there is no doubt in my mind that she means “killed”. This strikes more fear into my heart and mind.

“Are- are you sure I’m ready for this?” I ask her shakily. “I’m… only a rookie after all.”

“I know.” She says and smiles ruefully, “but you’re our only chance right now. We’ve already gone over our other options and deployed the ones we can use. Except you. You’re our best hope, agent #3. This is why you joined us when you did.”

“The Fates of Destiny are looking out for us, as my father would say.” I frown, “Only this time, I think they got they’re choices jacked up. How am I going to get through that valley and to the great zap fish? I’ve never been farther than the training ground.”

“The kettles will take you to the places you need to go and the Captain will guide you. Also, you don’t have to get to the zap fish. You just need to head in that direction. Understand? #1 and I can take care of most of that when we get back.”

“Right…”

“Ok. Here you go!” She put an outfit into my arms. Changing rooms are down the hall. Get dressed then report to the Inkopolis kettle.”

I nod and head off to get suited up. I wonder if sending a rookie onto the field is really our best chance.

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