You Only Die Twice
Setting: The same warehouse where the great Maxwell Smart had been shot and “killed”. A large group of people sat around, talking, laughing, and drinking. Loud music played in the background and the group looks fairly happy.
A look at a jacket slung over a chair reveals an eight ball with the number 88 in it. Suddenly, the music stops and along with it, the talking and laughing. The group stared menacing at the perpetrator, a figure standing in the darkened shadows.
“Forgive me, gentlemen.” the figure replied. When he continued getting evil eyed stares, he cleared his throat and amended with, “And ladies. I just wanted to let you know the good news.”
“KAOS high command confirmed this morning that Chief Maxwell Smart is officially dead. You should all be very proud of yourselves.”
“Well KAOS is,” the stranger continued. “Proud, I mean. Maxwell Smart has been a thorn in our sides for over 30 years and in one night, you have fulfilled a life long dreams to some of our leaders at high command.”
“We aim to please, Boss.” replied one member.
“Believe me when I say, we are internally grateful for your services.” the stranger said. “I do have some bad news, though.”
“Oh?” asked a female member.
“Zachary Smart will be hot on your tails, no doubt.” the figure muttered, the bitterness in his voice evident. “I figure…if you were good at getting rid of the Chief of Control, then I think you should be able to dispatch his son.”
“No worries, big boss man.” A member replied. “If we can get rid of old man Smart, we can get rid of his son.”
The group watched as the figure shook his head. “That fact that you killed Smart is astounding. That family is incredible lucky, more so than most people.” The figure stepped from the shadows, revealing himself to the group.
“Again, I wanted to say congrats on getting rid of a most annoying adversary.” he replied. “And I sincerely hope that you get rid of the rest of that family. KAOS has definitely made a brilliant choice in picking the right people for the job.”
Thomas Hill, the second in command at KAOS, stood proudly in front of the evil organization’s acquired toy, and smirked.
“We have a lot of work to do.”
The neighborhood seemed nice enough, especially seeing it was near the docks of Washington and directly in front of an old abandoned warehouse. The neighborhood was small, consisting on a few town homes that littered the street. It was one of these town homes that Maxwell Smart found himself in one afternoon.
So far, it had been a little under 78 hours since that fateful night he walked into that very warehouse, had been shot, and left for dead. It had been a little over 12 hours when all of Control had heard their leader, the Chief, had been shot and killed and it was only two hours later when Agent 78, Zachary Smart, had informed his wife, sister, and mother of his father’s death.
And in that two hours, he had put the word out that he wanted answers and as soon as possible.
For now, Max couldn’t concentrate on anything. He had been pacing the carpeted floor of his new digs for close to an hour, his appointed guard watching and rolling his eyes every once in a while. He couldn’t help it. He was extremely worried. He knew this whole death thing was affecting everyone and he needed to let them know he was all right.
Unfortunately, Max had strict orders NOT to do that.
“Hey buddy,” the secret service man piped up. “Are you gonna pace all day? You’re supposed to be lookout later tonight. Can’t do it if you wear yourself out.”
“I’ll take a short nap beforehand” Max replied, sarcastically, sneering at the man.
The service agent just rolled his eyes again. He threw the paper he was reading at Max, telling him to sit down and read something. Max grabbed the paper, annoyed even more so by this “guard” that was supposed to keep him from leaving, just in case.
If reading the paper was supposed to make Max feel better, he would be sorely disappointed. On the front page was an article about the upcoming President’s masked ball, the very ball he and 99 had been planning on going to. Turning the page, Max got a huge surprise. Though it was only about a paragraph or so, it was still enough to garner the former agent’s attention.
“CONGRESSWOMAN’S HUSBAND MURDERED
Washington Congresswoman, Mrs. Maxwell Smart, is currently mourning the loss of her husband, Maxwell Smart. Mr. Smart was shot and killed on Wednesday, while involved in a stakeout at a north Washington warehouse. He was 67. He is survived by his wife and their children Zachary and Maxine. He has two grandchildren from his son and his wife.”
He couldn’t believe it. It was like a dream, no, a nightmare. That’s what this was. A horrible nightmare that for some reason he couldn’t awaken from. “Hey Smart,” the guard called. “You’re awfully quiet. What’re you up to?”
Max quickly snapped from his reverie. “Nothing,” he said, going to a nearby chair and sitting down. Removing his shoe, he removed the sole and began to dial, but was stopped when his watcher stood over him.
“What’re you doing?”
“Um…I was…just going to check my stocks.” Max stuttered. “I mean…now that I’m dead, I should be racking some sort of dough, right?” The guard gave him a look. “I mean for funeral expensives.”
With another roll of his eyes, the guard sighed. “Fine, but make it quick.”
“Right, right, of course.”
When his watcher had left his personal space, Max began calling a very familiar number and it had nothing to do with his stock reports.
Zachary Smart was not happy. At least that’s the impression Dr. Austin Parker got. He was currently talking to Zach, or at least it was his hope that something would retain in the young man’s mind once he finished, about a coded message they had received in the coding department.
To be frank, Zach had stopped talking to him after he had suggested, suggested mind you, that perhaps Zach should put this case in the hands of someone else. Austin had even volunteered, knowing that the Smarts would want someone they could trust, who was better than Agent 22, and certainly Maxine would have words for him if he refused if offered.
But Zach had told him flat out this case was personal.
“That’s why I think you need to step down, Zach.” the doctor had said. “This case is way too personal for you. You won’t be able to stay objective if they time comes for it.”
And that’s when Zach had tuned him out. That is to say, he had one ear open when Austin had gotten back on the subject of the coded message that had come in. As they walked into the code department, an uncomfortable hush fell over the agents. Well, it was rather uncomfortable for Austin, but it seemed Zach didn’t even take notice.
“Well?” he said to the nearest agent, #25.
“The message wasn’t too coded, Zach.” 25 replied, handing Zach a piece of paper. “Standard delivery, though it did come from a phone.”
Zach looked up from the paper and asked, “Do you have the number?”
Agent 25 gave Austin a look, one that was uneasy about turning over this piece of evidence.
Zach also noticed the look and it only made him angrier. “I asked you a question, 25.”
25 gulped. “Yeah, Zach.” he said, timidly, handing Zach another piece of paper. “I got the number.”
For a long time, Zach didn’t say anything, just stared at the two pieces of paper in his hands. Taking the risk of a possible injury from his friend, Austin looked over Zach’s shoulder to view the messages. He gave another look towards 25, then a sideways to Zach. He again read the message.
78, MEET @ 42 N. WEXEL, #42. 86
“Zach…” Austin began, tentatively. He knew that look. That look of absolute anger. He’d seen it many of times with Maxine and he had seen that very look often towards enemy agents, like Junior and Hill. And follow agents, like 22. That look only spelled danger.
“This isn’t exactly a good clue.” he continued. “I mean, it could easily be a red herring. Something to, something to lure you away and into a trap.”
“It’s the only lead we have.” Zach whispered. “I’ve got no choice.”
“You do have a choice.” Austin insisted. “Send someone else out to follow this. You have no idea what could happen if you went alone.”
Zach rounded on him.”Are you going to help or hinder, Dr. Parker?” he asked, angrily. “Because if you’re to hinder, you can look forward to your termination when I come back.”
Austin cleared his throat. “Of course not, sir.” he said, the strain evident in his voice. “I’ll do whatever I can to help. You know that.” The last part was said to Zach directly.
Zach took a deep breath before patting Austin’s shoulder once. “I’ll call if I get in any scraps, okay?” he said, giving a small grin. “Do watch the store for me, Austin.” He headed towards the stairs, but stopped when Austin called his name.
“What exactly should I tell the girls if they ask?”
“Tell them I had a meeting.” Zach answered. “With an old friend.”