#2: A Name and A Story

He quietly shakes me and, in a hushed whisper, says, “Wake up. We need to hide.”

I open my eyes to see the green tentacled boy next to me. I feel horribly weak, but I don’t hurt near as much as I did previously. “What? Why? I don’t think I can move.”

“You’ve been asleep for hours,” He tells me, “you didn’t even wake up when I mended your wounds. Anyway, there’s a patrol outside. They easily outnumber us and they have octolings.”

I don’t really focus on what he is saying. A thought that I have had once before when I woke in a hospital now runs through my mind again. “I… I should be dead…” I gasp, “my brother’s… it’s never failed to kill before… the poison…”

“Woah! Woah! What did you say?!” He asks as he carefully picks me up and carries me deeper into the building.

“My brother… he makes the most deadly poison. It always kills. He ambushed us and… he got me…”

“That is odd, but I’m happy you’re ok so far.” He sets me down in a back room. “Wait here, stay quiet.” With that he runs back to the supplies.

While he is gone, I decide to test what strength I have. I feel weak, but that may be due to lack of body use for the past few days. I start simple, moving my fingers and then my hands. Soon I manage to force myself into a sitting position.

My tentacles fall beside me and I see that my ink has been changed from my typical bright pink to the dark green that the boy was using. He must have switched it while I slept.

It takes all my effort when I crawl to a corner and stay there. It makes me feel tired, but I know I can move some. I’m not totally helpless now.

Moments later, he returns, his arms full of food and weapons. He spots me in the corner and says in a low whisper, “Shhh, they are in the building.”

I stay quiet. Sounds of footsteps and doors being breached are heard from all over the building. Soon, they are on the third floor. We can hear the store room door open, followed by a furry of inky explosions. The Octolings retreat as they howl in pain.

“What happened?” I whisper to him.

“The entire building is rigged with mines. I put them in most the rooms earlier. Sounds like they found one.”

“Woah.”

“Clever eh’? Anyway we should wait until they leave before escaping.”

“Mm k.” I nod and we fall quiet. Now that I’m rested and feeling a bit better I don’t feel as scared, but I’m still nervous. I wish he would sit closer to me, that way I’d feel a bit safer.

After ten minutes of silence he looks at me and says, “Do you think it’s safe to run for it? I haven’t heard anything in a while.”

There’s no way I can even stand. I grin. “You run. I’ll ride on your back.” I can’t read his expression.

“Of course you will.” The boy tells me while picking me up. Slowly, we move through the building, watching each corner. I’m feeling stronger and aid him in keeping an eye out for enemies. I’m hungry…

He checks out a window and sees no Octarians. Still, he moves carefully and quietly. After a while with no danger, I rest my head on his shoulder. We make it to the exit.

Outside, the streets are clear. Moving down the street he says, “We should make it to the surface in about three hours if we don’t run into anymore trouble.”

“Good.” Finally, we’ll be out of this place. After about 45 minutes he stops.

“Are you feeling up to eat? I’m hungry.”

“Yes.” I tell him. I’m am starving, “I haven’t eaten since yesterday morning and that was only something really small.” I don’t go into what exactly I ate. I don’t know what it was really. I’m just glad that it kept me from starving…

“What?!” Exclaims the boy, “Hit the brakes! It’s lunchtime.” He sets me down and opens his bag. Handing me a sandwich he says, “I hope you like cheese, because it’s on all…” He stops and listens, looking around for something. After a moment he shakes his head. “Hmmm. Thought I heard something. Anyway, I hope you like cheese cause it’s on most of the sandwiches.”

“I like it.” I tell him. I take the sandwich and eat ravenously.

“Take another if you want.”

“Thank you.” I stop as I remember something. “Wait… I just realized something.”

“Hrmph?” He has his mouth full.

“I don’t know your name.” This is the third time I have been saved by a stranger. I now know who the first two were, but I still don’t know him.

He swallows. “Oh, well I can’t tell you my real name. I don’t know why, but Captain Cuttlefish wants us to go by our code names. You know, #1 and #2 and you, I presume, are agent #3?”

A wave of doubt comes over me again. This kid seems legit, but I still don’t remember ever hearing about him in the agency. I decide to test him. “Yes.” I answer, “But I didn’t know there was an agent #4. Or do you have a different code?”

“Agent Whitemud, at your service. But please, call me Mud.” He doesn’t make any note on the agent #4 bit. I guess he may not know about agents #4 – #6, but that seems unlikely. Still, he did save my life…

“Ok, Mud. Thanks for all you’ve done for me. If you hadn’t come, I wouldn’t be here.”

He smiles. “Don’t sweat it. It’s my job around here. I’m kinda, ‘the black ops’ guy although, I’m more of a ‘go get ’em’ kinda guy… can I ask a question now?”

He’s done so much for me, I can’t really refuse. “Of course, ask away.”

“What’s the story behind your brother? Why’d he go rogue for the Octos?”

“Huh? Oh…” I am hesitant. I feel like I need to talk about it though, and he asked so I know he’ll listen… “Well, it’s kinda like this. I first met him in Inkopolis. I didn’t even know I had an older brother. Then he joined the agents. That’s when I learned that we’re related. One night, he happened to meet one of my friends, a rogue Octarian.”

“What?! An Octarian?!” I ignore his outburst and continue.

“He became friends with the Octarian, but seemed a little uneasy with her. I was walking around one day, when my friend stopped me. She started telling of a conversation that she’d overheard my brother having. She saw him with an Octarian.”

“Back up! Where did the Octarians come from?!”

“My friend left the Octarian army to join us. Oh! She’s an Octoling by the way. So was the boy she saw my brother with.”

“What happened next?”

“She had known the boy and remembered him talk about an inkling who would act as a spy for the Octarians. She had had suspicions about my brother, but was never sure that the spy was him. Now she knew. I was still doubtful, but she planned to tell agent #1. Somehow, my bro found out and high tailed it out of the agency. Later, she and I tag teamed to try and find him while clearing another mission. We messed up and got attacked, outnumbered… we ran but my friend… she went down and was taken. I had lost my weapon. There was nothing I could do. I ran.” I begin to cry. “I left her alone and now she’s captured. It’s all my fault.”

“You did the right thing. There was no way you could help her.”

“But who knows what’s happening to her! I have to save her somehow…”

“No.” He tells me sternly, “Right now, we need to get you to the surface. You’re in no condition to fight. I’ll go back in after I drop you off and find her and your brother.”

“… ok.” I know that he’s right. We need to get home before we get her. Before we do that, we need to finish our sandwiches.