“Morning, Chief” Max said, walking in with 99 behind him. He took a seat on the corner of the desk, while 99 stood next to him. An elderly gentleman turned from where he was at the wall. He had been looking at a map and placing thumbtacks in certain places.
“You wanted to see us, Chief?” Max asked.
“Yes, I wanted to see you.” The Chief said, in a very annoyed tone. He turned and pointed at the map he had been at. “Do you see this map?” he asked. “This is a new KAOS map. All the red tacks are of headquarters and secret hideouts that KAOS has acquired. The blue tacks are the ones that CONTROL has found out about.”
Max looked closely at the map. “They’re winning, Chief.” He said. “They have more tacks than we do.”
“I know they have more tacks.” Chief said, highly annoyed. “The point is to get more of our tacks on the map.”
“Is that why you wanted to see us, Chief?” 99 asked.
“Yes, 99,” the Chief said. He went to his desk and handed Max a manila folder. “That’s what you’ll be doing.”
Max opened the folder and started reading the contents. “It says here, Chief, that KAOS’s expansion has to do with a tower in Berlin, Germany.”
“I don’t understand, Chief.” 99 said.
“Either do I.” Max seconded. “You mean that every red tack on that map can be destroyed by getting rid of this tower?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying, Max.” The Chief said, turning his attention back to the map. “As you can see, this large red tack here stands for the tower. The one thing that all these headquarters and hideouts have in common is a communications system. The main system for all of these factions is taken from the tower here. So by destroying the tower…”
“We destroy the other headquarters and hideouts.” 99 completed.
“That’s it?” Max asked. “Not to sound condescending, Chief, but isn’t this just a bit too easy for us? If you ask me, KAOS is just running out of ideas. Surely they realized what could happen if that tower goes out.”
“I agree, Chief.” 99 said. She knew the mission had a cause, but Max was right. It just didn’t make sense. “It doesn’t make any sense for us to even bother with it. I mean, why would KAOS build something like the tower if destroying it cuts their operations in half?”
“Ours is not to reason with KAOS, 99,” The Chief said. “Ours is to stop them from whatever vile thing they have in mind. And secondly, this is the most dangerous assignment we’ve ever had at CONTROL. It may sound easy, but it’s not. This tower is in the heart of East Berlin and is also surrounded by KAOS agents. Germany’s agents aren’t as docile as the states. They are meaner, craftier, and deadlier. If you get caught, you’ll be killed. No questions asked.
“In order to get to the tower, or at least the main computer of it, you have to get into the city of East Berlin. You then have to find the alternate entrance into the sewers. That’ll take you right under the tower. But it’ll be tough.
“From about 30 feet from the tower, silent alarms are installed to go off at the slightest human movement. The sewers are constantly guarded. If you get past all of that, and I do mean IF, you’ll still have to go inside the tower, destroy the main computer, and come back out.”
Max and 99 stared at the Chief in silence. This certainly was working out to be an extremely hard knock case.
“Wow.” They said in unison.
“Now do you understand why I said this is the toughest case CONTROL has ever faced?”
“Sure do, Chief.” Max said. “So…um…who’s…who’s going to be doing this case?”
The Chief just looked at him and gave him an evil smile. “Guess.” He said.
“Huntly and Brinkley?” Max asked, a glimmer of hope in his eye.
“I have a feeling we should pack warmly.” 99 said, seeing the smile the Chief was giving them.
“Believe me, I didn’t want to give you guys this case, but you’re the only agents I thought could actually pull it off.”
“All right, Chief.” Max relented. “I guess we have no say in the matter and it is the fate of the world we’re talking about.”
“Everything is explained in that folder. I want you two to get packing for East Berlin as quick as possible.”
“Right Chief.” 99 said, as she and Max headed for the door. Before they reached it, Max stopped and turned back around.
“Um, Chief, just out of curiosity, what happens if we don’t come back?”
The Chief paused for a minute than answered. “Well, I’ll certainly miss the two of you, as I’m sure the rest of CONTROL will as well and I’ll make sure you get half off on your funerals. Just in case, of course.”
Max and 99 looked at each other in awe.
“Of course.” Max said, gulping at the prospects of coming back in a pine box. He and 99 left and headed to go pack.
Max let 99 take his car so she could pack and she dropped him off at his apartment. Max packed a suitcase and brought it downstairs. As he put the suitcase down, something occurred to him. This would be like a vacation, well for the most part, assuming they’d be able to crack this case. Of course they would!
But just in case, Max thought it would be high time he told 99 how he felt. Especially when it looked like they might not come back. Well, he thought, in the worse case scenario, I’ll tell her. But until then, the plan is still for next weekend. Assuming we both have it off of course.
The knock on the door signaled that 99 was there. Max grabbed his suitcase and opened the door. “All packed, 99?” Max asked, carrying his suitcase and locking the door.
“That was certainly quick.”
“Well, I had plans to take my vacation next weekend, so I went ahead and packed.”
Max stopped what he was doing and looked at her. “Say, that was very clever, 99.” He said, picking up his suitcase. “That way if you have to leave suddenly, you’re already packed.”
She was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
They walked out of the building and headed for Max’s car. Max saw the suitcases in the backseat and decided to put his in the trunk. When he opened it, there were already three other suitcases inside. “I forgot I still had these in here.” Max said, looking at the suitcases. “But that does bring on the question of what cover we should for this case.”
“Let’s use the married cover.” 99 said. She loved the married cover, just because she got to pretend to be Mrs. Maxwell Smart, something reality might not produce.
“No, 99,” Max said, leaning over the trunk. He hated to disappoint her. He knew the married cover was her favorite, but he didn’t think this case really warranted that disguise. “You know, in my personal opinion, 99, I don’t think we should use any disguise.”
“Well, maybe a cover story for the flight attendants, but I’m serious. I think we’ll have enough on our minds already without trying to maintain a list of aliases. No, I think we’re better off without them.”
“I see your point.” 99 agreed. “Good thinking, Max.” Max smiled at her. He liked when 99 agreed with him. It was much better than her arguing with him. Max moved the other suitcases and put his in the trunk. He then handed his keys to 99 and the two got in and drove to the airport.
The Washington Air Terminal wasn’t very busy that day. There were your various students getting tickets for a weekend getaway; men and women going to or from business trips; families going to theme parks and other family togetherness ventures. Max and 99 stood in the baggage line and were trying to decide what to do. Max held an envelope in his hand. The Chief had given that to him with instructions to buy the tickets, and only the tickets, with that money, after an incident last year when Max bought a candy bar and he and 99 had to take a train from Hoboken back to Washington.
“I’ll get the tickets, you check the baggage.” Max said, hitting his hand with the envelope. He started walking off and then stopped. If you want to tell 99 you love her, his brain said, it might be a good idea for you to start showing her that you actually do. He turned back around and came towards 99. He took the shoulder bag she carried and handed her the envelope. “You get the tickets and I’ll check the bags.” He said. 99 smiled at him.
“Okay,” she said, heading toward the ticket line. “But don’t check the shoulder bag. I’m taking that on the plane.”
Max checked the bags, all except for 99’s shoulder bag and then waited for her at the gate. She came up and handed him a ticket and a candy bar. “99, I hope you didn’t…”
“I didn’t.” She said. “I had some change, so I thought I’d get you a candy bar. I know you have a sweet tooth.” That was putting it mildly, as she would find out much later. They waited for their numbers to be called and they walked, hand in hand, and boarded the plane.
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