Max gave 99 the window seat and he sat next to her on the left side of the plane. They listened to the captain and the stewardess give their lectures about plane safety and soon they were off and in the air. It didn’t take long before Max became restless and bored. 99 finally talked him in to helping her with a crossword puzzle so he wouldn’t be so antsy.
“You know what we should do, Max?” 99 asked, leaning on his shoulder. “We should just stay on in Germany for a while.”
“99, this isn’t a vacation, you know.” Max said, looking at her. “We have a lot at stake here. Mainly our lives.”
“And the fate of the world.” He said.
“Well, you may have been to Germany, but I haven’t.” 99 retorted, staring out the window. “I think it would be an interesting vacation.”
“Believe me, 99,” Max said, turning back to the crossword puzzle. “You’ve seen Germany once, you’ve seen it several times.” 99 turned to look at him again.
“Besides,” he continued, turning to her. “The only difference is in the company you keep.” His finger rubbed her cheek a little, which made her blush. “Actually, 99, there was something…”
“Coffee or tea?” came a voice. The two broke apart to see one of the flight attendants bringing around the cart of drinks and various items.
“I’ll have a Coke.” 99 said.
“Make that two.” Max added.
“Two Cokes coming up.” The attendant left to receive other orders.
“You were saying, Max?” 99 asked, bringing Max’s attention back to her.
“Um…” Max started. Why was it every time he wanted to tell her how he felt, he got all tongue-tied? But it was no use. Max had lost his nerve to say whatever it was he had been thinking about before the drink orders.
“Um…” Max stammered again. “About this crossword puzzle…”
The flight was standard and the two transferred planes in London, England. Then the two were again off. But what they didn’t realize was that a contact in London had spotted them. The man had been standing at the newsstand and quickly went behind the wall and removed a phone from inside his jacket.
“Rudy ole chap,” the man began. “I think you’ll be interested to know that Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 of CONTROL have just transferred from here on plane.” The man paused and started talking again. “My guess is they’re heading your way. I trust KAOS has given you instructions on how to dispose of them.”
Another pause. “I’m sure that’s true. Well, I just thought you’d like to know. If you’ll excuse me, it’s teatime. TTFN.” The English man hung up the phone and headed for the nearby airport diner.
East Berlin, Germany…
The city was all hustle and bustle. Max and 99 had arrived in the midst of a busy work morning. People were going to work or the night shift had just ended theirs and were heading home to bed; children hurried off to school; and restaurants and eateries were opening up for morning customers.
Max and 99 found their hotel and headed for their rooms. Within minutes, Max heard a knock on his door. “Who is it?” He asked.
“Room service!” Came the reply, in a harsh German accent.
Max headed for the door and opened it. On the other side was a bellboy, standing behind a large cart. “I didn’t order room service.” Max said, standing in the doorway.
“Compliments of the hotel, Mien Heir.” The man replied, pushing his way into Max’s room. “The Dosieldorf Hotel always brings complimentary room service to all of its new residents.”
“I see.” Max said, eyeing the bellboy. He figured if that’s how the hotel worked, who was he to tell them they were wrong? Besides, free food was not all bad.
But I’m not hungry, Max thought.
“Alright,” Max said, going back to unpacking. “If it’s the hotel’s policy, who am I to say no?”
“Danka, sir.” The bellboy said.
He started to undercover the plate he had brought, while Max took his shirts to his bedroom. The bellboy waited until Max was out of the room and then he started to pour the snopps in a glass.
He opened a compartment on his watch and dumped a white powder into the drink. He swirled the drink around until the powder had dissolved. By then, Max had come back into the room and the bellboy moved away from the cart.
“There you go,” he said. “Enjoy, Heir Smart.” The man started to leave.
“Hey, wait a minute!” Max exclaimed, making the bellboy stop in his tracks.
He turned around slowly. “Yes?” The man could feel himself starting to sweat. Had Smart realized who he was? Had he suspected that something was wrong?
“What exactly do I have here?” Max asked, pointing to the cart.
“Excuse me?” The man asked, feeling he’d crack under the pressure.
Max rolled his eyes and redirected his question. “What did you bring on the cart?” He asked, sarcastically. He couldn’t believe the service they had here.
“Ah!” The bellboy exclaimed, truly relieved at the question and thankful for Max’s stupidity. “It’s just a dessert.” He said, showing Max the chocolate cake in the middle of a square, silver platter. “It’s one of East Berlin’s specialties. German Double Fudge Chocolate Cake.”
“Oh.” Max said, surprised how nice the hotel would be at giving away perfectly good cake, especially to new arrivals on the scene. This wasn’t a bad place. “Thanks, then.” Max said, smiling at the bellboy. Max looked in his pocket and pulled out a quarter. “Try not to spend it all in one place.” He said, smirking at the bellboy.
The bellboy looked at the quarter and then at Max. “A whole American quarter.” He said, sarcastically. “I can now retire!”
The bellboy left in a huff, spatting German obscenities, some which Max recognized and was utterly annoyed by them. “Next time, no tip!” He called after the man, as he slammed the door shut.
Max picked up his drink and was about to take a drink, when there was another knock at the door. Figuring it was the bellboy, Max slammed down his drink and walked over to the door.
He threw it open and yelled, “What now?!” just to be embarrassed and highly apologetic. 99 stood there, with a surprised look on her face. “Sorry about that, 99.” Max said, moving so she could enter.
“It wasn’t your best hello, Max.” she said, as she walked past him into the room.
Max closed the door and followed her over to the cart. “There was this rude bellhop I was dealing with. I thought he was you, but it turned out you were you and not him.” Max thought about what he had just said and realized it was the dumbest thing he’d probably ever say.
“Ordered room service, did you?” 99 asked, taking a seat on the arm of Max’s couch.
“That’s just it,” Max said, picking up his drink. “I didn’t order room service. The bellhop said it was compliments of the hotel.”
“That was awfully nice.”
“Yeah,” Max said, about to take a drink and then stopping. “It sure makes up for the service around here.” Max again went to take a drink, and then stopped again. “What did you get?” he asked.
“I didn’t get room service.” 99 said.
“Really?” Max asked, bringing the glass to his lips once more and then setting it down on the cart. “Well, then, certainly can’t leave you out of the mix.”
He smiled at her and got the same response. This would be perfect. But it wouldn’t be right for him to state his love for her and not get it back in return. I’ll hold off a little while longer, he thought. “Snopps, 99?”
99 shook her head as she watched Max once again pick up his glass. “No thank you, Max,” she said. “I’ve never been a snopps person.” That’s when she noticed the chocolate cake. “What kind of cake is that?” she asked.
“German Fudge Chocolate.” Max said, putting his drink down again. He slid the cake towards her and handed her a fork. “Want it?”
“Just a bite.” 99 said, taking the fork and the plate. She took a bite and saw Max still hadn’t taken a drink from his glass. “Are you going to drink that, Max?”
Max, for the fifteenth time, had picked up the glass that held his drink and came close to drinking it. Max sighed and put the drink down, again. “I’m not in a drinking mood.”
He finally said. “I’m actually glad you’re here, 99. I wanted to go over this map of that sewer.” He went behind her and pulled out a map and started to unfold it.
“Max, why are you worrying about that now?” 99 asked, taking another bite of cake.
“99, we only have…” Max looked at his watch. “7 hours and forty-five minutes to figure out how we’re going to get into that KAOS tower.”
“Max, we’ll have plenty of time to do that.” 99 insisted, pushing the plate out of the way. “We have all afternoon and I really want to see the town.”
“99, how can you think of having a vacation at a time like this?” Max asked, trying to straighten the map out somewhere.
“It’s easy when you don’t have any.” She replied, smiling at him. She noticed the trouble he was having, stood up, and decided to give him a hand. “Oh, Max,” she said, taking the map from him and folding it back up.
No two words in the English language sounded as nice as “Oh, Max”, especially the way 99 said it. It didn’t have the same meaning if someone else said it.
“99, we have too much at stake here to go running off on some kind of vacation.”
99 put her arms around his neck. “Please, Max?” she purred. This wasn’t fair. 99 could ask him to steal the crown jewels like this and he would do it.
“No, 99,” he said, clearly losing his home court advantage. “There will be no sightseeing, vacation type stuff. And there’s nothing you can say or do that will make me change my mind.” That should do it, he thought.
“But Max, I want to.” She said.
Max looked at her and said, “N…okay.” Putty. That’s what he was around her. Putty. Putty in her hands.
“It’ll be fun,” she continued. “That way we can get our minds off of this case and we’ll be able to perform better cause we won’t be stressed.”
“Say, that’s a good idea.” Max said. He had never thought about that. Doing something to take your mind off of potentially dying and not having told the woman you love that you love her, would take the stress off of things. “I’m glad you agreed with me, 99.”
99 looked at him. If he wanted to take credit for her idea of a vacation, she’d let him. She knew he wanted to treat this like a vacation anyways. Like he could hide anything from her.
“Where to first, Max?” she asked.
“Well, first, we’ll have to clear out this food cart.” Max said. 99 let go of him and started to move the cart, while he put the map back. She had pushed the cart only an inch, when Max’s glass fell to the carpet, spilling the drink.
“Oops.” She said, seeing the glass fall. She grabbed a napkin and went to clean it up, when she saw something. “Max!”
Max turned to look at her. She was bending at looking at where the glass had fallen. “99, don’t worry about it.” He said, turning back to folding the map. “The service help will get it.”
“Max, I mean look at what the glass did!” Max turned and walked over to her. To his surprise, the drink spilled had made a rather medium size hole in the carpet. Max quickly knelt down beside 99 and they both looked at this hole.
Max picked up the glass and smelled it. “Max, whoever brought up that drink intended for that to happen to you.” 99 looked at Max. “Just think if you had taken a drink.” Max looked at the glass in his hand.
“Yes,” he said, cynically. “I’d have a hole in my stomach the size of Texas. The only difference would be the carpet could be fixed. A little patch here and there…my stomach’s the only one I got. You know, 99, at times like these, I wish I was a cow.”
The two covered the hole, took the cart outside, and left for an afternoon of sightseeing. The two saw the sites and restaurants of the city. The two didn’t encounter any other problems, but they were on their guard through out the day.
The hours seem to fly and it was time to make their move on their mission. They both got dressed in their uniforms and 99 met Max in his hotel room. They checked Max’s map from earlier and discovered two ways into the tower: the secret entrance into the sewer and underneath the tower and an alternate way from the front of the tower.
In better terms, it was 99’s way into the tower or Max’s way into the tower. The two had come to a stand still. 99 wanted to take the route that lead to the less amount of danger, which she thought would be the sewer, thought she didn’t want to go walking through a sewer. Max, on the other hand, thought taking the route through the front of the tower would be less risky and even easier to get to.
“99, why do you insist on arguing with me?” Max asked, trying to fold the map back up.
“Because Max,” 99 said, taking the map from him and folding it with ease. “What you’re thinking about doing is virtually suicide!”
“And getting caught by the guards and alarm system under the tower isn’t?” Max stood up and took the map back. “Don’t get me wrong, 99,” he continued. “The Chief has some good ideas sometimes, but that is definitely not one of them.”
“Max, I’m not going through the front of the tower.” 99 said, folding her arms across her chest.
He wasn’t going to argue with her. He didn’t like either proposal, but his was the safest. “Fine, 99,” he said. “Fine. We’ll do things your way. If you’re so hung up on getting yourself killed, then go ahead. I certainly can’t stop you. All I can do is hope that both of us don’t get killed.”
“Thank you, Max.” 99 said, sarcastically. “I’m glad you care so much.”
Catching the sarcastic tone in her voice, Max responded with, “No one likes a smart aleck spy, 99.”
The two hailed a cab and were off. They arrived only minutes from the entrance to the sewers, that was tucked away behind a patch of moss. “Here it is, 99.” Max said, removing the moss, to reveal a large hole in the cement wall.
“Max,” 99 said, stopping him from entering. “I don’t want to go in the sewers of East Berlin.”
Max looked at her in amusement. “Oh,” he said, sarcastically. “So you don’t want to go through the sewers, huh? You’d rather die getting caught under the tower, but heaven forbid we’d have to go through the sewer system, huh?”
99 just looked at him. “No one likes a know it all spy, Mr. Smart.” She said.
The two took out their flashlights and went through the sewer. It was slightly dark, but yet it wasn’t disgusting. In fact, it wasn’t even a sewer at all. Upon further inspection, Max and 99 realized this sewer was actually a large underground cave.
“So this is how they’re able to track people down here.” 99 said, following Max.
“Yes,” Max said, shining his flashlight around to see. “That also explains why there are guards down here. I mean, sewers are very important things, but to be guarded day and night…that’s a bit extreme.”
The two went down the long corridor and stopped at a four-way passage. “Which way do we go, Max?” 99 asked.
“I’m not sure, 99.” Max said, looking through his pockets. “And I think I lost the map.”
“Oh no! It must’ve fallen out when we came through the opening!” Max peered at each opening.
“What do we do now, Max?” He wasn’t sure.
“I think we should split up, 99.” He said, finally. “That way we check out at least two of the four openings here…”
“No, Max.” 99 said. “I’m not leaving you.”
He liked her loyalty, he really did, but sometimes it just wasn’t in her best interest to be near him. “99, let’s not argue about this.” Max said, looking at her. “Now, if we split up, we’ll be able to cover more ground and maybe one of us can get to the area that holds the computer.”
“Max, that puts us in more danger.” 99 reasoned. “If we split up, then we’ll be left to ourselves and one or both of us could get caught. No, Max. It’s too risky. Besides, we’re better if we stay together.”
“99, why do you always insist on arguing with me?” Max asked, getting just a tad bit tired of her loyalty.
“Max, we don’t have a map. It would a suicide mission if we were to go it alone.”
Max thought about it for a moment. He knew she was right and the last thing he wanted was 99 getting hurt or even killed because of him. “You’re right, 99.” He said, after a moment or two. “Now all we have to do is decide which tunnel to go down.”
“Oh Max,” she said, heaving a sigh. “Any one of these tunnels could lead to the computer and any one of them could lead to our deaths.”
Max listened to her thoughts, but wasn’t exactly listening. He heard her voice, but not her words…but he was thinking about her. She was standing right next to him and, despite his pleas for her safety, she was willing to enter in to a dark, unknown tunnel, just so he’d be safe.
It was like she was protecting him without even knowing it. She was a good friend…BETTER than a good friend. He’d already established that she meant something to him…meant something? He loved her, plain and simple. But did she love him?
Now that was a true question.
What if she only valued him as a friend? That might be something he should find out about as soon as possible. He turned to look at her and saw she was already looking at him. She was very concerned with his behavior lately.
This was the second time she had been talking to him and he seemed to be on another planet. He could tell she was worried. Her gorgeous blue eyes told him that. No one had eyes like 99. He wanted his son to have eyes like that…
“Max?” 99 asked.
“Are you listening to me?”
“Of course!” Max said. “What were you saying?”
“I asked you what you thought we should do.” She said. Max turned away to look at each of the four tunnels. She continued to try and read his face for some sign of sense that it might hold. “I wanted to know which tunnel you wanted to go through.”
Max turned to look at her.
Then, he leaned over and kissed her. It wasn’t a regular kiss, the kind he’d given to her off and on… this was the real thing. This could possibly tell him if she felt the same way. She kissed him back, so she either loved him or just wanted a kiss before they faced uncertain death. They broke away and both were slightly surprised at the whole thing.
“99, before you say anything, there’s something I should say first…”
Just then, both Max and 99 felt cold, hard steel against their temples. “Well, what do we have here?” said the KAOS man, in a very harsh German accent. “Why don’t the two of you come with us?” said the other guard. Max and 99 looked at each other before they were pushed into one of the tunnels, with the KAOS guards right behind them.
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