You Only Die Twice
Was that the word?
Yeah. Undeniable shock was what she was definitely feeling. Oh, that was hurt and sadness, of course, but above it all, there was shock.
Years earlier, it might have been easy to take. That’s ridiculous, she thought to herself. This very thing HAD happened years earlier and she had been just as distraught.
But they weren’t married then. They didn’t have children then or even grandchildren. They had been friends, yes, but that was it.
Things were different now.
They had been married for 27 years as of four months ago, though they had known each other for over 30 years. They had children together, thanks to Zach and Tracie, they now had grandchildren. They had spent much of their lives together…
He couldn’t be gone. He just couldn’t.
Zachary Smart wasn’t going to cry. He was the oldest male member, as well as the senior agent. What good would he do by crying when the girls needed him? But he did feel like breaking down. It was bad enough that Maxine was crying, but having to tell his mother that the man she loved more than life itself was dead crushed him, seeing her cry crushed him.
But there was more bubbling to the surface. His pain would wait. He needed to inflict pain on those that had done this to his family, to the company, to the world at large. There was a budding anger rising in the young agent and it seemed nothing would squelch it until he got to the bottom of this.
“Zachary, did you even check all the hospitals?” came a weepy reply.
Two sets of eyes looked over at him, hoping against hope…
The young man shook his head sadly. “There was no need to.” he replied, softly, starting up another round of tears from her mother.
Just then, Agent 22 walked in. “I just heard.” He said, rather quickly.
“22, now is not the time.” Tracie said, harshly. 22 was not what they needed right now.
“Zachary,” the agent replied, watching as the man stood to face him. “From the bottom of my heart, I’m truly sorry.” Zach nodded and began to turn away, until 22’s next sentence stopped him.
“That’s why I hate to bring this up.”
“Now is not the time, 22!” 99 exclaimed.
“If not now, then when?” the agent asked. “Mrs. Smart, I respected the Chief and I know we’re all hurting from the loss, but reality needs to set in. We have no Chief, we have no leadership. You know as I, Control needs a leader, especially now. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
“We’ll worry about it later, 22,” Tracie sneered. “Now get out.”
“I think you need to worry about this now.” 22 argued. “There’s some talk going ’round. Agents are getting a little antsy. That’s why I think…”
The sentence was cut off, much to the surprise of the agent who was saying it. 22 was more surprised with how strong Zach seemed to be. He was currently being held against the wall by the latter’s hand around his throat. 22 struggled to breath, but found Zach’s thumb resting on the very lump that could kill him.
“I could crush your larynx right now.” Zach hissed, putting more pressure on the man’s throat.
“Zach, let him go!”
“Now you listen to me, you bastard,” Zach continued. “As of this moment, I’M the acting Chief of Control until further notice and my first act as Chief is to give you an ultimatum.” His hand began to slowly squeeze tighter around 22’s neck.
“You are to search high and low and bring back ANYTHING that could possibly tie in to who shot and killed my father. The alternative? I fire you. And when I fire you, I will come and find you and kill you myself. Is that understood?”
Zach let go, causing 22 to couch and sputter. The agent nodded at his orders.
“Now get out and do not come back until you have something I might want to listen to.”
Again 22 nodded and quickly left.
Still on his emotional high, Zach walked determinately towards the desk and hit the loud speaker.
“Attention all Control personal.” he boomed. “As you may or may not have heard…the Chief of Control, Maxwell Smart, Agent 86…is dead. As senior agent of the agents section, President of the Control Agent’s Guild, as well as the eldest Smart male…As of today, I assume the position of Chief until further notice.
“In the meantime, the active case of my father’s murder will be assigned to me and that of a team of my choosing. I want every agent working on something to do with this case. I want the names of the KAOS agents involved, I want the names of their family members, I want their addresses, hell I even want the dates of their birth. Leave nothing uncovered. I want them found.”
Hitting the off switch on the intercom, Zach placed his palms on the desk and leaned over. The war against KAOS had always raged in his heart, in his work, but now it was personal.
There would be payback.
Max sat in his hospital bed, unable to move and really unable to want to. He wanted to go home, that’s what he wanted to, but he couldn’t. In the last couple of hours, he came to the realization that he was dead. His friends thought he was dead.
And worse, his family thought he was dead. So? a small voice asked. Years ago, it wouldn’t have mattered. But now it does, he responded to himself. And it was the latter that was the important factor.
Before, his family (or what was left of them) wouldn’t matter that much, but this time, they were everything to him and to know they were sitting somewhere, mourning him…
He was still fuzzy on what exactly happened, but from what the doctor had said and what the President had said, he had a picture. He had been ambushed, of course, at the warehouse. All of his training as an agent should’ve made him more cautious, instead he had made a mistake that nearly cost him his life.
That only put him in more of a foul mood than before.
That mistake…that mistake had landed him here, in this hospital he didn’t even knew existed. The President had told him this was a facility for high security personal. It had been with the intention if high ranking officials ever got injured and needed to recover without the world of aware of their injuries.
Or even deaths.
The President then went on to tell Max that everyone now thought and knew to be fact that he, Maxwell Smart, was dead. Shot in a warehouse stakeout in the early morning hours. When Max protested, the President had told him of the plans that he had for the former agent turned Chief. A martial arts group known as the Crazy 88s have made camp, so to speak, in Washington, DC.
The group is bad enough, but it seemed KAOS had also caught wind of the group’s arrival, way before the government had and was currently financing their living expenses and what not. The President believed they were held up at the warehouse Max had been staking out. It would be assumed that Max’s shooter was one of the members of the Crazy 88s.
As the President went on about how his death would now make it easy to spy on the warehouse, Max was growing more and more angry and frustrated. How in the world would he be able to tell his family about his situation?
But what about his wife? She’d go crazy.
She’d get over it.
It was out of the question.
It was his job. As Chief, as well as a former agent of Control, his duty was to serve his country first. No questions asked.
And that was the end of THAT conversation.
So the President had left Max in his room, assured the man knew his duty and was adhere to it, which of course Max would have to. It was fairly common knowledge that if not for his wife in Congress, Control would’ve gone down the drain of loss years ago. It was partly 99’s backing that got him to the position he was now. Together they had made sure the twins could be active agents.
Max shook his head. He’d be adamant the next time the President came calling. He wouldn’t do this assignment, not if it meant his family would suffer believing him to be dead. He couldn’t put them through that.
He knew what it was like when a family losses one of its members due to the violence of being a Control agent. Hell, he’d been to the majority! He hated the looks on those faces. Swinging his legs over the side, with some minor stiffness. With determination in his eyes, he decided then and there.
He would be talking to his family.