#9: I must protect others. Not myself.

Snow covers the ground. This makes it much more difficult to get from kettle to kettle without being detected by #1 and #2. The two of them take turns waiting to catch me switching kettles.

I can’t let them. They don’t want me doing this for their grandpa. I know it. It puts me, a rookie, in too much danger. However, I must do this. Dj specifically said me. I’m not about to abandon the Captain.

In order to avoid the girls, I have begun switching kettles at night and leaving the Zapfish for them to find. They can’t stay out too late because they would freeze to death if they did.

Of course that means, I’m freezing to death. I’m also leaving footprints. Despite these setbacks, I continue to switch at night. It’s time to switch again and I’m standing at the return kettle.

I squid through, the Zapfish I have found in my hands. On the other side I look around for the next kettle. I catch a glimpse of it and head towards the thing.

A bit of movement seen out of the corner of my eye makes me stop. I hide behind a tree. After a moment, I crane my neck to see who it is. “Oh no…” I creep around to get a better look.

Spyke sits there, in the snow. In his hand is my broken headset. They did this to stop me. To find me. It’s a trap… a trap that works. I sneak up behind him as quietly as I can. When I am within reach I place my hand on his shoulder. He stiffens.

“Hey Spyke,” I say quietly.

“Splat,” he murmurs without turning around.

“… I’ve missed you…”

“I’ve missed you too.”

I let out a sigh, “I can’t go back yet Spyke.”

“You have to. It’s too dangerous for you to fight him.”

“It’s too dangerous for me to quit now. Captain Cuttlefish could be killed.”

“You could be killed,” he points out.

“I know.” Boldly, I add, “I also don’t care. I gotta rescue the Captain. It’s my top priority, now.”

“But,-”

“No. You can’t stop me. Please don’t even try. This is too important. Not just to me. Rescuing the Captain matters to #1 and #2 also!”

“I know it does, but they’re the ones who sent me to-”

I cut him off. “Goodbye Spyke. I’ll see you later.” He whips around, but I’m already walking away. I’ve left the Zapfish on the ground behind him. Spyke stands up and goes after me.

“Wait! Please come back. Don’t go back down there, at least, not tonight!”
I stop at that. Would he really let me return here tomorrow if I went with him tonight? I look at him. He would. I can tell, even through this darkness.

However, the girls wouldn’t. “Sorry Spyke.” I force a smile, then hurry to the kettle. I jump in, just before he can grab my arm. At the bottom, I run as far as I can so that he won’t be able to find me. It’s dawn by the time I feel like there is no way he could locate me.

Choosing an old building at random I go in and prepare to sleep. When I wake, I will begin really clearing this part. There are only three kettles after this one. Hopefully, I can make it.

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

He returns to the agency HQ. Instantly the two girls are on him. “Did you see her?!”

“Where is she?!”

He looks at the cousins and makes up his mind. “No Loves,” he lies, “She’s as elusive as ever. I haven’t seen the child at all.”

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

I keep splatting. More. More. These Octarians must go down if I’m to rescue the Captain!
A launch pad ahead. I use it, fully prepared for the obvious ambush. The enemy is getting desperate. They are seriously throwing anything and everything at me. Dj wants me dead.

I take them out in twenty minutes, easily. “Almost there.” I gasp. More enemies are coming. I have to fight them.

I stop short. That is a LOT of Octarians. I grit my teeth and go at it. We exchange fire and I take out out fifty of them in the first thirty minutes. Only thing is, is they keep coming! I’m not going to be able to do this without help. The image of Captain Cuttlefish in a jail spurs me on, but it isn’t enough.

I’m surrounded and I am not connected to a respawn pad. I disconnected myself the first night I was out here against orders. Just as I accept that I have failed, the enemy begins to be splatted from the edges.

For a brief moment we are all surprised. Then I don’t question it, but take this chance to attack. “I can get out of here.” I tell myself, “I WILL save the Captain!”

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

He hates being forced to reveal himself. Once he does this, he will definitely be forced to meet her. However, he is not about to let the girl die.

Carefully he begins to aim at one of the Octarians surroundings the rookie agent. “Well…my days of secrecy didn’t last long…” He starts pulling the trigger back.

Bang!

He looks over where the Octarian has suddenly been splatted. Another goes down. Then another. He is not the only one looking out for this agent. He straightens up and tries to find the shooter. However, the person is nowhere to be seen.

He knows it’s not the girls. It’s not Spyke either.

“Odd… who’s looking out for this kid? Who cares for her who isn’t associated with the agency?”

No one comes to his mind. The girl is safe now, having taken out most of the enemy. There is no reason for him to engage and reveal himself. For this he is glad.
The boy turns, but looks back. Just as he does he thinks he catches a glimpse of movement in one of the nearby buildings. It’s gone now, but he didn’t imagine it.
“Hmm… I think I have a new investigation to start.” He turns away and is gone from the place, leaving no sign that he was ever there.

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