I curl up and pull the blanket over me. No one is nearby. My headset is turned off. I am perfectly alone, and I take this short time of solitude to be the scared child that I really am.
I cry, not trying to hide it. I feel that I have reason to and no one can stop me.
I miss Spyke. I haven’t seen him since I returned to the field. So, about two weeks.
Also, I’m scared. #1 and #2 have been delayed. They won’t be joining me as soon as was planned. That’s bad news. Things have gotten rough out here. I’m being forced to go deeper and camp out in Octarian territory.
I cried a lot when I was younger, but over the four years that I have lived in Inkopolis, I learned that crying makes you appear weak. I rarely ever cry now, even when I’m alone.
This time, I just can’t seem to help it. The tears that I have hidden for three years make their way to the surface. I am not ashamed of it…
I’m cold. My blanket is barely helping and I can’t build a fire without being detected. I’m hungry too. I have to eat sparingly because I only packed enough for two days out and this is my third. Over all, I am miserable.
Twenty minutes later, I can’t take it. I pack up and get on the move, despite orders. Through the old buildings and through the old streets.
I don’t know where I’m going. I just need to walk. Father enters my thoughts. Where is he? How has he been these past years? Is he even alive?
I think of Tri and Clam. I have lost everyone from home. It hits me hard when I realize… that I have no friends.
I have Spyke, but he isn’t my age. He’s like my older brother. For three years I have only had him, and no one else.
No one my age. No one to just chill with and talk about normal things. Things like… bands, boys, clothes, and the like.
I suddenly realize what’s wrong with me. I’m not a girl who wants to be on her own all the time, but that is what I am. In fact I chose to be that. Back when I rejected Clam’s attempt to continue our friendship. Back when I asked to join Spyke. I chose a life I hate in order to feel cared for by someone.
“Was it right?” I wonder aloud. A sigh escapes me. I’m over thinking things. I just need to see someone that does not want to kill me. A friend.
She spreads the papers out in from of her. “I swear,” the girl mutters, “These are getting tougher to translate…” She looks over at her book then back at the scrolls and writings.
She gets most of her paragraph translated, then becomes stuck. The girl looks at her notes again. “Ka-mi-na-ri.” She sounds out the word, “Kaminari? What the heck is that?!” She switches to her other translation book. Five minutes later she is exasperated.
“Thunder?! It’s freaking thunder?! I can’t take any more right now.”
The books get shoved back into her bag then she lays down on the hard tile. She sighs.
“What am I doing?” She asks herself, “What the heck am I doing here?” The girl shivers from the cold. Suddenly a noise catches her ear and she sits bolt upright.
“Footsteps,” she thinks. In a moment she’s on her feet and holding her Octoshot. The girl cautiously walks to the door of the old building. Careful to not be seen, she peers out into the night.
There stands an inkling girl. She is dressed in agent garb and holds a bag and a gun. The inkling appears to not have noticed that anyone was near.
The girl continues to watch the Inkling and wonders what to do. Then the Inkling speaks.
“Was it right?” sighs the agent. After a moment, she walks away again. She gave no indication of knowing that she was being watched, except for the asking of the question.
The girl doesn’t go after the agent, but returns to her books. “I don’t think she was speaking to me…” she murmurs as she lays back down, “I wonder… what did she mean… was what right?” She shakes her head. “I guess I’ll never know.”
The Inkling had looked sad. Somehow, the thought of her would not leave. After a while, the girl makes a decision and prepares to move.
I drop the Zapfish off at HQ then head to the next kettle. I meet the Captain for a brief moment, but we don’t talk for long. Too much going on now.
I have both my bag and mind prepared for multiple days of camping out. Food, books, weapons, etc. I am ready.
Today I enter a new area. I’ve cleared a total of four now and I’ve been in the agency for almost half a year. I take the path leading to it. Just as I arrive and begin looking for the kettle I hear the Captain over my headset.
“Who are you?!”
“…. Cuuuuttttttlllleeeffffiiiiissshhhhh,” An ominous voice hisses.
“Wha- no! No!!”
“Captain?!” I gasp, “Captain are you ok!”
“Grandpa!” Screams #1 through the headset, “Grampa answer me!”
“Dang it. Someone hijacked our radio waves,” growls #2.
I exclaim, “#1! #2! What’s going on?!”
“We don’t know,” Answers #1. I can hear the strain in her voice, “#3, where are you?”
“Area five, but i can return to HQ immediately.”
“Do it.” #2 orders.
“Marie, get to the board room now,” comes #1’s terrified voice.”
“Why?” asks #2. “What have you found?!”
#1’s answer freezes me to the core.
“I think gramps has been kidnapped.”
“What?!” We both cry. I’m starting my way back, but a chilling darkness passes overhead.
I look up and see a large, flying saucer. “Oh my gosh…”
“What now, #3?” #2 asks.
“I- Woah!?” Something has been dropped from it, right in front of me. I dive to catch the thing.
“#3, what is going on?!”
“I’m not sure.” I explain what I have seen. The thing dropped is a letter with a small weight attached to it. I open the letter and read it over the headset.
“‘Agent Number Three,'” It begins, “‘You are a pain in the but.’ Well isn’t that kind? ‘You have defeated all attempts to kill you. Those fools clearly did not know what they were doing. I must, now, deal with you personally. If you succeed in clearing this area, I will open my saucer and you will come to fight myself. If you do not clear the area, your Captain will remain in my jail. If you clear the area and do not come to fight me, I will kill your Captain. If you fight me and lose, he will remain my prisoner. You will not win, so I will not give you that option. Come, child. Run to your death and save your Captain. Or run from your death and lose him. This is your choice. Are you really part of the agency? I want to find out. Give me a good show. D.J. Octavio.'” I read it again in my mind.
Both of the girls have gone quiet. I feel my legs weaken and I am forced to sit. There is silence for five minutes.
Finally #2 says, quietly, yet firmly, “Agent, come back to HQ right now. That is an order.” My mind reels.
“Permission to deny orders,” I request just as quietly.
“Permission denied,” #2 says, more firmly than before.
My tone does not change. “I ignore your denial.”
“#3, get back here. Now.”
“Don’t tell Spyke.”
“Listen to me! You get back here or else! You can’t go in there. #3?” I have taken off my headset and dropped it on the ground. I can still hear it transmitting. “Splat?!” Is the last thing that comes through. I stamp hard on the set, breaking it and cutting myself off from the girls.
Then I jump into the kettle. “Hang tight Captain. I’m on my way.”