What's up, Chief? Max said as he strolled into the Chief's office one fine Monday morning. 99 was already waiting patiently, sitting in a chair in the corner. The Chief looked up from his paperwork, rather annoyed at Max's tardiness.
Max, never in all my years have I ever met an agent who had such a knack for being late.
Really? Then count yourself lucky you haven't met one, Chief. There's a lot of them around, you know. Max said wisely, hanging up his coat on the rack. Chief gritted his teeth and tried to focus on the task at hand.
Well, moving on, I suppose you'd like to know why I called you here on such short notice-
Not really, Chief. You often need our expertise. Max mused. He took a seat next to 99 and took her hand. After all, we're the best you got!
Don't remind me. Chief muttered. Now, this is a rather dangerous mission. As you know, KAOS has instated a new leader-
One by the name of Big Len, we know all about it. Max assured the Chief. Chief nodded.
Yes, and it's not below him to go to any measures to keep his plans from being foiled. That includes killing CONTROL agents, as well as innocent bystanders. This man is ruthless, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
And what's that? 99 asked, speaking for the first time.
World domination, of course! What else? Geez 99, I thought you knew that! Max informed his wife. She shrugged.
If he's a new leader he might want something else. Money or power, perhaps.
99, if he ruled the world he would have money and power. Chief pointed out.
Wow, he's killing two birds with one stone! This guy's good! Max chimed in. They both looked at him for a moment. What?! I'm just pointing out the facts!
And we thank you for it, dear. 99 said, kissing Max on the cheek.
Anyway, you've probably heard about the recent Teacher Kidnappings. Teachers from all over the world and education levels are being kidnapped right out of their very rooms!
But how do you know its KAOS?
I've gotten an anonymous tip off that the entire operation is being led by Big Len himself. We don't know why exactly these teachers are being kidnapped, or even where they're holding them, or what they're doing to them. All we know is that a man like Big Len will most likely use every advantage he's got towards the most dastardly of deeds.
Right Chief. So you want us to find how and why. Max said, intensely interested.
No Max. I want to know why they take them and what they're doing to them, and where they're holding them.
How about when?
What about when? I don't care about when, I already know when. I want where, why and what.
But not when.
Ok, so how and why and when, right?
No no. What and why and where.
But if we find out where won't we find out why?
No, not necessarily.
What about if we find out what, we would have had to have found where.
No Max, not necessarily.
What about who?
No, we already know who. I want what and why and where. Chief could see this was soon going to turn into another headache. Look, it very well might be that the entire free world rests on the success of this case.
What about the communists?
Them too, Max. And be careful. Remember this man is merciless. He'll kill you for fun and ask questions later. I can't stress to you enough how dangerous this mission is. Chief pleaded. I don't want my best agents being defeated in a situation like this.
99 nodded and stood up. Any idea where to start?
Yes. You two will take the positions of the last two teachers kidnapped at the high school.
But Chief, shouldn't the school get someone who is a teacher? I mean, we've already got jobs!
No, no Max, you've got it wrong. You two will pose as teachers so that you can get kidnapped by KAOS and defeat them internally.
But we're not teachers! We're secret agents! Max protested.
I know that Max, but no one else does! You're going to be doing a little undercover work! Chief cried, completely exasperated.
Oh, undercover work. I gotcha, Chief.
Good. Now look. The only teachers being kidnapped are those who are math and English teachers, therefore you two will be taking a position in each. 99, from now on your name is Miss Emily Calvin, and Max, your new name is Mr. Evan Jarrett. 99, you graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English. You were born and raised in Indianapolis, and have worked there for many years.
No she hasn't, Chief, she's worked here! Max reminded the Chief. The Chief sighed heavily.
It is her alias, Max! Max, you graduated from Maryland University with a degree in mathematics. You lived in Baltimore all of your life as an accountant, but are only now living your dream. We've already secured your positions there and you start in the morning. I doubt you two will be there more than two days before you are taken. I want you to spend as much time as you can alone in each of your rooms. For example, be the last one in the building, close your door when you're alone and leave the windows open. We need you to be live bait for KAOS.
99 looked worried, and sat back down again. Chief, I don't know if I can be a convincing teacher. I've never done anything like that.
Just play along as best you can, 99. Remember, it's only for a couple of days. I've got your lessons plans in my desk. Stick to them and you'll be fine.
That's right, 99. Mathematics isn't so hard to teach, I bet I could do it! Max boasted, looking down at her.
Um, Max you are teaching math. Remember that degree from Maryland University? 99 said gently. Max's face fell.
Oh yeah. Say Chief, how good are those lesson plans? Are they really detailed or just kinda sketchy? Max asked, someone panicked. He hardly needed to remind himself of his lousy grades in the math part of school. All the numbers just swam together in some sort of chaotic mess with had eluded him all his life.
Well, to the furthest of my knowledge they are just the skeletal structure of the class. There's a lot you'll have to fill in yourself. We just didn't have time to map out an entire course plan. But see Max, it doesn't matter. Like I said, just play along!
Yes, ok Max muttered, already frantically trying to remember something he learned in math class.
Max, you just said a minute ago you could teach math if you wanted to! Now that you got your wish aren't you so sure? 99 asked playfully. Max scowled at her.
Don't be cute, dear.
Here. The Chief got up and walked over to a large cabinet in the corner. Swinging open the doors, he was immediately caught in an avalanche of papers and books. He yelled and looked over at Max.
Sorry about that, Chief. I was looking for my coat last night and I guess I messed a few things up. Max said sheepishly. Chief bit the inside of his cheek to restrain himself from saying anything. Instead, he ruffled the papers back into a stack and handed the entire pile to Max. He never belted under the weight of the load.
Are you sure that's all of it, Chief? Max asked sarcastically. Chief looked around him and shook his head.
No, I was almost sure there were a few more books lying around
That's ok, Chief, really! Max said quickly. I'll get them later, after I go pump some iron. he muttered. The Chief didn't hear him and pulled out a thin notebook and a small novel then handed them to 99.
These are each the assignments for the class in the next couple of days.
Wait a minute! How come she only gets a book but I have to drag half my body weight around? Max demanded, tapping the heavy folder.
That's just the way the paperwork came out, Max. Look, your first class starts in about twenty minutes. Remember, be very careful. Big Len is capable of just about anything, so watch your backs. We don't know maybe as a child he hated his teachers, and is now taking out his rage by killing any teacher he can catch.
But that's so immature!
Well, maybe he's emotionally stunted, who knows?
'Stunted'! Ha ha! Max laughed. 99 rolled her eyes.
We'd better get going, Chief. We'll report back to you whenever we can. 99 said, already moving towards the door.
Good. The sooner you get started the more chance you have of being successful. The Chief stood up and shook 99 and Max's hand. Good luck, you two. You're going to need it, but I'm confident in you.
Thanks Chief. Max and 99 said. They took their coats, threw one last look at the Chief, and headed out.
Max, do think we'll do ok? As teachers, I mean? 99 questioned anxiously as they walked back to the car.
Sure! You and I can do anything together! Max said, smiling over at 99. As long as you and I are on the case, there isn't a criminal in this world who stands a chance. 99 smiled back and kissed Max again.
You're right. But that's no reason we shouldn't be careful. Do you think we should carry firearms?
Definitely. After all, this is a public school we're talking about.
Max, I don't think they're that decrepit. I mean to protect ourselves against KAOS.
Mmm better not, 99. At least, not where anyone can find it. We would arose suspicion. Max said, opening the car door for 99 to get in. He got in the driver's side and took off for the high school. Maybe we should conceal it somehow.
But Max, you know how kids are! They'll get into everything and anything! We just can't have a gun lying around, even if it is disguised as something else!
But how will we protect ourselves once we're kidnapped?
99 sat back in her seat and thought. There's got to be somewhere or something that a kid would definitely not touch or play with, but could still be useful when we needed it.
Look, just hide a mini gun in your shoe or something. Plus, how do we even know what KAOS does with these teachers? Like I said I don't want to arose suspicion.
I just want to have it in case, Max. 99 fumed. Why couldn't Max see the logic in this? Somehow it always escaped him.
We'll worry about weapons when the time comes. Max stated calmly, not understanding why 99 couldn't see the logic in this. Being resourceful was the key to being a good spy. 99 decided that it was easier not to talk about it-she would hide some sort of a weapon somewhere even if Max didn't. They drove silently to the high school, each dreading it in their own way. Max was still sweating bullets over the math thing, and 99 was worried that she might say the wrong thing to the wrong kid and get in trouble. They had to remain inconspicuous, and that had always been a challenge in itself.
The high school, which used to just be a building, now seemed like a dungeon for Max and 99. They both made off in different directions, each contemplating their assignment. Max's room was at the very end of a long corridor. The door squeaked and opened up into a dark room. Max flipped on the lights, half expecting to see a KAOS agent waiting for him. But all he saw were rows and rows of desks, with a window in the back. He made his way to the back of the room where the teacher's desk was. He was not used to desk jobs, and being behind one made him feel uncomfortable.
Max opened up his file and read over the lesson plan. Geometry. So this was geometry. Possibly a tool of the devil used to drive people insane. If you enjoyed geometry you might also enjoy smashing your head repeatedly on a brick wall. The bell rang and kids began to meander in, talking and laughing with friends and discussing assignments. A few of them looked quizzically at Max at first, but soon became absorbed in their neighbor's conversation. Max took his place at the front of the room when the bell rang.
He cleared his throat and began. Good morning, everyone. I'm Mr. Sma-Mr. Jarrett, and I'll be replacing your old teacher.
What happened to him, anyway? one kid asked suspiciously.
Um his great aunt died and he couldn't get over the grief. Let's start, shall we? Max said quickly, handing out worksheets to each of the kids. Now, we'll be starting on Chapter 11, which is page 221 in your textbo- Max was cut off by the sound of the door opening slowly. All his senses became sharp and alert. This could be it. He waited breathlessly for someone to emerge from the hallway, someone tall and dark and wielding a gun. Instead, a young face popped in the room. Max realized at once it was his daughter, Carry! She was equally as surprised, and opened her mouth to let him know. Will you excuse us for a minute? Max said to the class, walking briskly to the door. I will not tolerate tardiness, and this student right here will now suffer my wrath! he shouted, tripping over a chair and tumbling to the floor. He shot back up quickly and brushed himself off. I'm ok, he said calmly to his bemused students. Max pulled Carry out into the hallway and shut the door.
Dad, what are you doing here? Carry whispered.
Look, it's not Dad it's Mr. Jarrett, and don't forget that. We have reason to believe KAOS is in on those teacher kidnappings. Therefore your mother and I have taken the positions of the last two teachers taken.
Dad, that's really kind of you but why?
We're going to try to get kidnapped by KAOS and bring it down from the inside. Now look, until that time play along, ok?
Carry, confused but agreeable, nodded. Gotcha, Dad. I mean, Mr. Jarrett!
Good! Just one more thing.
You're late. That's detention, you know, Max said matter of factly. Carry rolled her eyes.
Ok ok, I'll let you go this time. Let's go, he said, opening the door and letting Carry go first. She took her seat in the back, blushing because all eyes were on her. Max took a deep breath and started. Now um who can tell me where we left off?
You were just starting Chapter 11! someone said helpfully. Max nodded.
Thank you. Chapter 11 um, can someone tell me what that's about?
It's about proofs, the same person answered.
Ok, proofs. Um can someone tell me what a proof is? Everyone looked at the kid who had answered two times before. He shrugged.
How should I know? You haven't taught it yet.
And that brings me to my first point! Max cried randomly. Everybody has to stay at least one chapter ahead of the teacher!
Why? everyone asked at once.
Because because because! That's why, Max said mysteriously. All the students looked at each other in amazement. Who was this guy? Now everyone work on the exercises in that chapter, and we'll go over it next class.
All of them.
Um, sir? There's over two hundred problems in this chapter.
Then you'd better get started, hadn't you? Max ordered logically. The students stared at him with their mouths hanging open. What? I said, get to work!
But you haven't even taught this chapter! someone pointed out.
Look, we'll only waste time with me standing here and showing you how to do it. It would be faster and easier if you just did it and got it out of the way.
How can we do it and get it out of the way if we don't know how to do it?
Don't ask silly questions. Go on, get started, Max said, closing the book rather loudly. I'll be down at the teacher's lounge if you need me. With that, Max got out of the classroom as fast as he could and down to 99's room. He looked in the door and saw that everyone was busy reading, so he tapped gently; 99 opened it and smiled.
Hi, how's it going? she whispered.
Better than terrible, I suppose. Have you found anything yet?
No, nothing, but I haven't had time to look for any clues anyway. There's got to be a connection between all these teachers.
Yes, you're right. Everything about this teacher seems completely normal. She had a family, she was the coach of the volleyball team, and she liked to read a lot. But here's the weird thing-all of her books are based on the principle that literature can be transformed into reality.
She has books that revolutionized the world, that changed the world. You know, books that made people think or act a certain way.
Like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. And Civil Disobedience by Henry David Therou. Lots of Charles Dickens, too.
But those are books that any English teacher would have in her room.
Yes, but she was obviously fascinated by the fact that literature could change people's minds. She's got books on that subject, too.
Hm. That could mean something, Max said, thinking out loud. Anything else?
She shook her head. Not really. I just haven't had a chance to really look around yet. But the kids are reading, so I'll try to `casually' look around some more.
Good thinking. I'll do the same. Max turned to see another teacher heading their way. Look, I have to go. I'll get back to you later, he whispered, slipping away towards his room. 99 nodded and shut the door. Max hurriedly made his way back to the classroom and entered quietly, shutting the door behind him. He met the stare of the entire class, all of whom looked confused and frustrated.
Nobody gets this, Mr. Jarrett! How come you won't just teach it to us? one student wailed. Shouts of agreement followed.
Hey, look! You'll thank me for not teaching this to you one day! Max said, hurrying back to his desk. As soon as the class reluctantly turned back to their work, Max frantically started looking through the desk drawers, searching for a clue. It seemed like there was nothing. In the first drawer was a few items confiscated from students, like Gameboys and CD players. The second drawer was full of worksheets, and the third was full of files and folders. Max was about to give up when he opened the fourth drawer and discovered a pile of books. He scanned the room, making sure none of the students were watching him, and pulled them out. They had titles like, Learn to speak persuasively! and Come on! Get aggressive speaking to work for you! Max was puzzled. What would KAOS want with a guy who could do that? He dug a little deeper and pulled out a dusty book titled Hitler's Greatest Speeches. It would figure a math teacher would be a Nazi. We all saw it coming. Max shook his head; what was the connection? There had to be something! He sat back and did a metal recount of the things he knew so far.
KAOS so far had kidnapped 2 college professors, one math and one literature. They had kidnapped 4 high school teachers-2 math and 2 English-and two elementary school teachers, math and English. That made 8 total. So far, of the teachers they had really done some research on, one was into literature that revolutionized the world, and the other was into public speaking. He was completely in the dark. It just seemed so random, so pointless. Maybe there was no pattern. Maybe it was just a spur of the moment decision.
Max became absorbed in thought and didn't realize it when the bell rang. The rest of the day followed the same formula that the morning class had; Max stalled the lesson plan, searched the room and met with 99 every period. They both made it through the day with a minimal amount of problems from the class, although they were both glad when they finally made it back home.
Thank goodness that's over, Max muttered, throwing his car keys on the table. He sat down on the couch and closed his eyes.
I'll go start dinner, Max, 99 said tiredly as she made her way to the kitchen. He nodded and started to doze. Carry, who had been in the living room watching TV, emerged and sat down with her dad.
How'd it go, Dad?
Not good. We didn't find much, Max said. Did you ever notice anything strange about your teacher?
Carry shook her head. Well, he had an unnatural obsession with cauliflower, but that was about it.
We all have our weak points, Carry, he muttered. 99 came out of the kitchen and headed up the stairs.
Max, I don't feel too much like cooking tonight, so we're just having some pasta and stuff. I just put the pasta in, it will be done in a minute. I'm heading up to change, she said, disappearing into the bedroom.
The doorbell rang. Carry, get that would you? Max begged.
Why? You know it's not for me! she said, staying put. Max shot her a look.
Just do it, ok?
Carry sighed dramatically and got up. Fine! She threw open the door to reveal the Chief standing in the doorway. Max immediately got up to greet him.
Chief! You're the last person I expected to see here! he cried.
I know Max, and I wouldn't have come unless we suspected my office had been bugged. I have some new information on the case I want to share with you, Chief said, taking off his coat. Max took it and led Chief to the living room.
Ok. 99's upstairs getting dressed, she'll be down in a minute. Do you want some dinner? Max asked, making the Chief comfortable.
Yes, that'd be nice, he said, sitting down and relaxing. This won't take long, but like I said, I think my office is bugged. I didn't want to take any chances, this is the safest place to talk.
99 entered the room and was surprised to find the Chief sitting there. Hi Chief, I didn't know you were coming!
He wasn't, but he has some new information on our case he wanted to let us know about, Max explained.
Why don't we have some dinner first? It should be done now, she said, already on her way to the kitchen. Carry jumped up and followed.
Finally! I'm starved!
Max leaned over to the Chief. You want me to send her to her room? I mean, is this information your going to give to us top secret?
No Max, she's fine, Chief said. They both got to the dining room and sat down. Carry was the first to dig in, sloshing a third of the pasta on her plate.
Carry, just take a little bit at first and then take more when you want it, 99 suggested. Carry sighed.
Moooom, when I want more there won't be any more, so I have to take it now!
Well could you possibly leave some for us? Max said sarcastically. Carry ignored him. Hey, where's Avery? Doesn't he want any dinner?
He's sick Max, remember? I think it's probably the flu, poor kid. He's upstairs, 99 said, passing the salad. Carry grabbed it and took four or five tong fulls, then dumped a pool of dressing on top of it. Carry, how can you stand that much dressing on your salad?
I like it thoroughly drenched, Mom, she clarified.
It's not drenched. It's swimming, Max retorted. Carry looked coldly at him.
Dad, at least I don't dunk my French fries in chocolate milk shakes like you do, she pointed out. Everyone looked at Max strangely.
What? he cried innocently. Have you ever tasted that? It's great!
Well anyway, let's get down to business, the Chief started. As you may know, about a week ago a new school opened up on the south side of town. It's called Kids Action Obedience School. Do you find anything strange about that name?
It's not grammatically correct? Max guessed.
Carry sighed. No, Dad. If you take the first letter from every word it spells out KAOS. Geez!
Chief looked surprised. You're right, Carry. It took us hours to realize that. Now, it could be some mistake-
That's no mistake, Chief! She got it! Max said indignantly.
Max, let me finish! I mean, that could be the name of it and it's just a strange coincidence. But, no one can go in or out of the building unless they have an appointment. Now, it's listed as a private school, but they have guards at the door. Guards with guns! And you're not allowed to even see or hear what's going on in the classrooms. You have to be 100% sure you want your child to go to that school before you can even sample a real class! What's more, once you're in you're in. You can't drop out.
How strange! 99 said, who had stopped eating to listen.
I haven't even gotten to the strangest part yet. It's supposed to be a correctional facility, you know, for troubled kids or young adults. But the number of teachers is exactly the same as the ones who have been kidnapped. The school has 8 teachers, none of who are allowed off the premises as far as we can tell. There's at least 2 teachers for every education level. The school currently has 24 students enrolled, all of whom have a history of trouble in school or with the law.
How do you know all this Chief? I mean, if it's impossible to get in?
Good question. This information is the product of a solid week's work. We've had agents stake out the place, we've also made inquires as though we were interested in enrolling a student. We've also talked to parents of the children who are going there. But wait, I'm not done. In the one week that the school has been open, five of its students have committed crimes that theoretically could be to the benefit of KAOS.
Strange things, that no kid, troubled or not, would ever do. Like breaking into military bases. Bank robberies. One kid even broke into the White House. And they all came from this school.
Have you gotten a chance to talk to any of the kids that go there?
No, they're never home. When they're not at school, they are with other students from that school.
Chief, that's perfectly normal. A teenager isn't going to sit at home all the time!
This is different. Some parents have complained that they don't see their child for days at a time.
What are we getting at here, Chief?
Chief leaned forward. This is just a hunch, a wild guess, but I think KAOS is running a brain-washing institution. They're telling these kids to go out and perform these horrible acts that will get them in trouble, but no one would ever connect it to KAOS.
That's ingenious! Max cried.
Yes, it's the cleverest plan yet, but it must be stopped. Tell me, did you two find anything at school today?
Max thought back. Well, let's see. The teacher whom I'm sitting in for has lots of books on persuasive speaking, and public speaking in general. He has books about the greatest speeches ever, things like that. The teacher 99 is subbing for likes literary works that changed the world.
But that's so random! Chief said, completely puzzled. Isn't there a connection?
Of course there is! Carry piped up. It's so incredibly obvious! Can't you guys see it?
Max, 99 and the Chief turned to look at her, amazed at her outburst. No dear, we can't. Enlighten us, 99 encouraged, proud that her daughter might be able to help them out.
Carry smiled. You guys, in order to make someone want to do something, you have to persuade them, right? Dad, if the teacher you subbed for was good at public speaking, he could convince anyone to do anything! And Mom, your teacher, who liked books who changed someone's point of view, that's almost propaganda, right? In some respects it is! It's making people think a certain way! See? They both tie in! she cried.
Carry, you're right! Max exclaimed. You're absolutely right! KAOS is nabbing teachers who have a certain skill they can use to brainwash these kids to do whatever they want!
Yes, that's it! KAOS kidnapped those teachers to open their own school to make kids do their dirty work! And yes, you're right, all the teachers must have some skill or trait that would add to the success of this operation! Chief said, rather excited. He'd been working day and night on this case, and it had come farther in the last thirty seconds than it had all week. Good work, Carry!
All three congratulated Carry enthusiastically. Carry, who wasn't used to this much praise, blushed. So how are you guys going to get in there and find out for sure? she questioned. They all looked at each other. Good question!
Yes, you're right how are we going to get in there? Max mused.
They don't need any more teachers we already checked. Chief informed them.
They don't need any more teachers but they need more students! Carry said, standing up. Therefore, I nominate myself for the opportunity to go in disguised as a student and bring it down from the inside!
No you don't! No daughter of mine's going to participate in some brain washing crime-a-thon! Max cried, also standing up.
Dad, don't you see? It'd be perfect! I mean, they'd let me in in a second! Think of it, if you were KAOS running a school for brainwashing students, and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell Smart, infamous CONTROL agents, enrolled, wouldn't that be the greatest come back for them? I mean, don't you think they'd love the idea of me, your daughter, getting in trouble with the law and turning to the side of KAOS? It'd be the ultimate payback! Carry said ecstatically.
Max, she's right! It is perfect! If you go in there, just as yourself and not disguised, KAOS would know it was you! But here's the beauty part; they wouldn't try to kill you, it'd blow their cover! Plus, if they have a hold of your daughter they know they hold a much greater power!
If I can make them believe I'm on their side, I can help you guys win this! Dad, can't you see?
I know, I get it! But still, I don't want to take that chance. There's too much risk involved.
Come on, Dad! I can do it! Carry pleaded.
Max, it is a good idea, 99 commented to her husband.
Are you insane? She's the only daughter we've got, you know! Max said stubbornly. Carry pouted.
Dad, you know I can do this. I have to be good at this, I'm related to you, right? she said, sucking up. Max smiled.
Well, you've got something there, Max said, flattering himself.
Plus, wouldn't it be great to see your daughter follow in the footsteps of her amazing, courageous, fearless, loving father? she cooed. Max smiled smugly.
Well yeah, that'd be nice.
Then she'll do it! Good choice Max! Carry, you'd better come with me! We'll go down to headquarters and give you a quick briefing on the basics of spy work. You've got a lot to learn before tomorrow! Chief said, already grabbing his coat and heading for the door. Max followed.
Wait a minute! She's my daughter, I get to supervise it! he called after them, racing out the door and slamming it behind him.
Carry's alarm clock went off at 5:45am the next morning. She groaned and rolled over to see her dad sitting on the end of the bed. She yelped.
Dad, what are you doing here? she cried tiredly.
I've been here since we got home this morning. I watched you sleep, Max said.
He shrugged. I was just thinking about today. You know Carry, you don't have to do it if you don't want to, he said in a worried tone, almost hoping she'd agree not to go.
She sighed. Dad, I want to do this. Really. The stuff you taught me last night really helped. I'll be fine, she reassured him. He smiled and pulled a chain watch from his pocket.
Look, I know this is kind of cliché, but I want you to have this, he said, handing it to her. It's my pocket watch. It belonged to my father and before that his father. My dad gave it to me the day I started at CONTROL.
Carry looked surprised. Was Grandpa a spy too?
No, he was an insurance agent, Max said glumly. He was the only one I told about my um `career choice'. I thought he'd be mad but he was behind me all the way. He said if that's what I wanted to do with my life, then it was my decision and it was ok. And the same goes for you, Carry. Last night I decided if you want to be a spy and risk your life everyday, it's ok by me, as long as you're happy.
Carry looked down at the ancient watch and felt a sentimental tug at her heartstrings. Thanks, Dad. Is it mine now?
Yes, it's yours. The time is always right on there, no matter what. It's impermeable to any element. It's helped me out of a lot of tough situations, and if you take care of it, it'll do the same for you.
Carry clutched it in her grip. Ok Dad. I promise I'll take care if it.
Max smiled and stood up. You'd better get ready. We're leaving here in about an hour.
Carry, at the prospect of her first mission, shot up out of bed. Right Dad! Should I wear the `troubled teen' outfit?
Yeah, and throw on some gaudy makeup or something too. You have to look and sound convincing, Max reminded her as he left. Carry got up and grabbed the clothes she'd gotten from the CONTROL wardrobe room the previous night. They consisted of some dyed purple jeans, ripped at the knees, some big black boots, a neon green t-shirt displaying that the wearer had a fondness for a certain brand of cigarettes, and a red bandana. She threw them on quickly and slopped some makeup on her face, missing her lips almost completely and painting her eyelids green. She flounced downstairs and presented herself to her parents.
How do I look? she asked excitedly.
Terrible! I've never been more proud! Max exclaimed. Carry grinned.
Thanks! I tried!
Come on, dear. You'd better have some breakfast. Keeps your energy up, 99 said, setting some breakfast on the table in front of Carry. She scowled.
Mom, I'm too excited to eat. Can't we go yet?
I'm glad you're excited kiddo, but believe me, when you're on the case you're going to get hungry! Fear and adrenaline eat up a lot of energy, you know, Max said, biting into a piece of toast. Carry sighed.
Can we at least go over the details again? Just so I've got them? she asked impatiently.
Hi guys, Avery said miserably, emerging from his room for the first time that week. 99 hurried over to him.
Hi, honey! Are you feeling any better? she asked, feeling his forehead. He shook his head.
No, not really. I think I'm to the point now where I've lost the will to live, he said sarcastically. 99 looked empathetically at him.
Awww, my poor baby. Do you need anything? she asked gently.
No thanks, Mom. I just wanted to let you know I'm still alive, although I'm hanging by a thread, he said, grabbing a new box of Kleenex making his way back up the steps.
Hey Avery, guess what I'm doing today? I'm going on a secret, dangerous mission! So dangerous that Mom and Dad can't go so I have to! Carry bragged. Avery shrugged.
Good for you, sis. Hope it works out. With that, Avery disappeared as quickly as he came back into his room. Carry sighed.
Can't he ever get jealous or insulted? I annoy him constantly and he never does anything! she complained.
Your brother is a kind soul, that's all. Now eat your breakfast, 99 ordered. Carry reluctantly dug in.
Here's the plan, gang. Carry; before you even walk in the door we're going to rig a tiny microphone to you. This will record the evidence we need to shut that school down. The signal will also be radioed back to headquarters, so if you're in trouble we'll know it. Hopefully we can get this thing shut down by the end of the day. Just act defiant and nasty towards us and we're golden. Play along with them Carry, don't try to be a hero! Do everything they say but beware that these guys are professionals and if they have a doubt in their mind about your story they'll eliminate you. Got it?
Got it Dad. Where will you be?
We'll be less than two minutes away. Your watch has a `help' button. All you have to do is press that and we're on our way, no questions asked!
They'll probably ask you to do something to prove yourself. Therefore any crime that you commit today will be forgiven, but remember to do what they say, no matter what! Max became uncomfortable. Now, I didn't want to do this but Chief insisted. We have to give you a gun.
Cool! Carry cried.
Max looked appalled. No, not cool! These are weapons of destruction, they can kill! And personally I feel guilty about giving one to a minor, especially a member of my family, but there are no real bullets inside. They're blanks.
Then why am I carrying one?
To scare them! Like I said, this is going to have to be convincing. If you have to hold them all hostage until we get there, so be it. But this way no one gets hurt, Max said, handing over a mini gun to Carry. Don't play around with it, don't get attached to it. I hate giving it to you. It's only for today and don't use it unless you absolutely have to!
Ok Dad, don't have a heart attack! Carry said, pocketing the gun. I'll be careful.
Max sighed deeply. Well, let's go! he said, a little sad.
They all got in the car and drove silently to the new school. They parked in front and walked on up to the doors. A guard stopped them.
What business do you have here? he barked.
We're interested in enrolling our daughter here, and was wondering if we could do that, Max said keenly. The guard looked him over suspiciously, then looked at Carry.
We'll get her straightened out in no time. Go on in, he said, opening the doors and letting them in. As soon as they were in, the guard radioed his commander. Commander? Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell Smart have just arrived to enroll their troubled child in our fair school. Yes sir, I thought you'd like to know yes sir, a great advantage. Thank you sir. The guard hooked the radio back on his belt and smiled cruelly. They have no idea!
Max, 99 and Carry walked through the long hallway, observing everything. A tall, dark lady met them at a set of double doors at the end of the hallway.
Can I help you?
Um, yes, we're interested in enrolling Carry here. Can we do that? Max said, motioning to Carry. The lady looked at Carry carefully.
Are you in trouble often, my dear? she asked her.
All the time! My stupid parents won't let me do anything fun! Carry shouted.
And what is fun to you, Carry? the lady asked in a slippery voice.
Destroying public property! Lighting things on fire, beating up other kids, breaking and entering! You know, fun stuff! Carry jeered. 99 broke down in fake tears.
It's true! We've tried everything to get her to stop, but she won't! We're in so much trouble with the police, they want us to put her in jail! she sobbed hysterically.
We're up to our ears in law suits and case files! We can't go anywhere without coming home and finding the police on our doorstep! Max added sadly, consoling his wife. 99 nodded.
Its horrible! She just won't settle down, we've tried everything!
Gawd Mom! You're so embarrassing! Look at you, standing there and crying! What's wrong with the way I am? Maybe if you guys weren't such bad parents! Carry screamed.
Bad parents? Bad parents? Carry, we've given you everything you ever wanted and needed, and more! How can you treat us like this?! Max screamed back.
The dark lady held up her hands. I believe we can help. Shall we step into my office? she said, motioning to the doors. They all filed into the office and sat down on the plush chairs inside. The dark lady took her place behind the desk and handed 99 a Kleenex. My name is Eva Noredgo. I'm the principal of Kids Action Obedience School. We fully guarantee a complete turn around, or the court fee is on us! I know that Carry will do well here!
Can we maybe sit in on a typical class? Max asked, leaning forward. Noredgo looked alarmed.
No, of course not. All subject matter is extremely personal. Plus, what interest is it to you, anyway? Now, we have an opening that just came up recently. Are you interested in taking it? she asked slyly.
99 nodded vigorously. Yes, we want it! And we want you to take her immediately!
A smile crossed Noredgo face. Very well. Your name? She pulled out a pad of paper.
Wait a minute. Shouldn't that be an official document or something? It just looks like a legal pad to me! Max pointed out.
We will get to that later. If you want me to take her immediately, that's fine, but there won't be any time for paperwork. I will make it all out later, she assured them.
All right. Put it under Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell Smart. This is our daughter, Carry. She's fourteen, freshman in high school, Max said, wishing this could go faster. Noredgo's face shot up the minute she heard the name.
Mr. Smart, you say? she asked, not believing it was true.
Yes, that's me.
Um greeting cards, Max answered uneasily. Noredgo raised an eyebrow. So this was the infamous Maxwell Smart and his lovely wife? And this was their offspring? Perfect, simply perfect. KAOS could really use her.
All right. That is all, Mr. Smart. I will take Carry to her classroom, Noredgo said, getting up too quickly and bashing her knee on the desk. She rubbed it and smiled. It was a pleasure meeting you!
Yes. Good luck, Carry! Max said, looking almost mournfully over at her. We'll see you tonight! Call if you have any problems! he said, tapping his watch.
Carry nodded. Yeah yeah. Just get out of here, she snapped. Max and 99 threw one last glance at their daughter and headed out. Noredgo walked over to Carry.
Your father is in the greeting card business, huh?
No, of course not! He's a spy! But he won't tell anyone! Oops! Shouldn't have said anything! Carry cried. KAOS already knew who they were; what did it matter?
Don't worry. I won't tell anyone, Noredgo said quietly, taking Carry by the arm. Let's go to the classroom, ok? Carry nodded and followed.
Max and 99 arrived at CONTROL headquarters a short time later. They were each eager to listen in on their daughter's findings, via her hidden microphone. Chief was at his desk, already trying to find the frequency.
Anything yet? Max asked nervously, taking a seat right across from the Chief. Chief shook his head.
Nothing yet, Max. I've been trying for an hour now. I suppose it's possible KAOS build a scrambler around the school, to block out any sort of radio waves coming in or going out, he proposed.
Great! Then how are we supposed to know when she needs help? Max cried in frustration.
Max, she's still got the watch. She'll be fine, 99 said, patting her husband on the back. All we can do is wait and hope. Max nodded.
The phone on the desk started to ring. Hold on, I'll get it, Chief said, picking it up. Hello? Yes, this is he. Yes, what did you find? Uh huh. Uh huh. Oh no. Are you sure? Yes, that could be a problem. But are you absolutely sure he was practicing it? Yes, you're right, that's true. Yes, I know its powers. Ok, I'll tell them. Chief hung up the phone. I've got some bad news.
Both 99 and Max leapt up out of their chairs. What?! they cried simultaneously.
Professor Fritz Von Schwartz from Germany was one of the teachers kidnapped. We've been checking every teacher's background who was kidnapped, and so far all we've found is things that might make people do things they normally wouldn't, but we hadn't found anything that one hundred percent could make someone do something they normally wouldn't. Until now. Von Schwartz was an expert at hypnotism.
99 gasped. You mean those kids were hypnotized when they performed the crimes?
Chief nodded. Yes, it seems so. Nobody can resist that. I mean, it's physical, it's not something you can just tell yourself not to listen to. The victim has no choice but to succumb to the hypnotist's wishes!
Then they could be doing that to Carry right now! Max said, greatly alarmed. I mean, they could be telling her to go out and shoot 50 people and she'd do it!
Yes, she'd have no choice! Come on, we'd better get down there right away before they can do any more harm. We've got enough evidence to shut them down. Now all we have to worry about is getting there in time to save the remaining kids, Chief said, grabbing his coat and racing after Max and 99 out in the parking lot. They all piled in one car and took off speeding towards the school. On the way, the Chief radioed headquarters.
Yes, this is the Chief! Look, I want all available men at that new school on the south side, the one we suspect KAOS is running! This is an emergency, tell them to get down here as soon as possible! he shouted over the squealing tires. They slid up in front of the school and charged to the front steps, where two or three men, plus Noredgo and Carry, stood waiting.
Max and 99 looked relieved, and ran up to get Carry away from those monsters. Noredgo stepped out in front of them and smiled.
I wouldn't do that, Mr. Smart. We have told her to kill you, and kill you she will! she said dramatically. Max looked over at Carry, who seemed to be in another world.
Is that the work of Von Schwartz? he said, pointing to Carry.
Noredgo nodded. Yes, and it's very good. It has never failed yet.
Move aside, Noredgo, and let me kill this traitor! Carry boomed from behind. Noredgo, surprised but pleased, stepped aside.
Go ahead Carry. Blow him away. Just like the professor told you too. Noredgo whispered into her ear. Max held up his hands and stepped back a little. The other two! Move away from Mr. Smart! You're next! The Chief and 99 did so, each secretly hoping the other had a plan. Max stood alone. Good! Now, go ahead, Carry!
Carry pulled out a gun from her belt. Yes, Ms. Noredgo, she said automatically.
It's ok Carry! I know you're not acting under your own powers! I forgive you! Max yelled at Carry.
Sirens and screeching tires could be heard emerging from the background. Hurry Carry! There isn't much time! More are coming! Noredgo urged desperately.
Yes, Ms. Noredgo. I will use this gun my father gave me and when I wake up my mind will be a blank. Carry said, emphasizing on `blank' and winking at her father. Max nodded softly in understanding.
Ok Carry. Go ahead! he said bravely, closing his eyes. He heard her fire the gun, and Max fell to the ground, pretending he had been hit in the chest. He crouched down, clutching his chest, and upon hearing the other agents engulf the KAOS agents, shot back up.
Max! You're all right! 99 screamed, running to him.
Yes, of course. Carry wasn't under hypnosis, and the gun she had only fired blanks, he explained, dusting his blazer off. Last night I told her the only way to escape hypnotism was to stare at the person's chin, and not their eyes. I guess she did that, but convinced them to the point where they thought she was under hypnosis. Therefore, she used the gun I gave her this morning with the blanks in it. When she winked at me, I knew she was not hypnotized; she still had complete control over herself. I was going to pretend to die, but I guess the boys got here in plenty of time.
I know. Thank goodness it all worked out, she sighed, leaning against him. They watched as Carry stood aside and let the other agents arrest the KAOS agents and set the kids free. All 24 students wandered outside, reveling in the sun and open air. Some of them even smiled and laughed, and started to run for home. Carry finally bounced over to them a moment later.
How did I do? she asked happily. Max put his arm around her.
Kid, we have never been more proud of you than we are right now, he said, meaning every word.
Yes, CONTROL owes you a lot of gratitude, 99 said, giving Carry a kiss on the cheek. She smiled broadly.
That was fun. Can I do it again some day?
Max and 99 looked at each other. Possibly when our hearts stop racing, you can.
Cool! Oh wait I left something in the building, I'll be right back! Carry said, starting off towards the door. Max and 99 turned and started to get in the car when they heard a gunshot ring out. Everyone screamed and hit the ground, except for Max and 99, who swiveled around to find Carry lying on the ground with a gun shot to her chest.
They both hurried over, with horrible thoughts running through their heads. Carry, speak to me! Are you all right? Max cried urgently, leaning over his daughter. She smiled and looked up at him, pulling out the pocket watch he had given her that morning. It's face was completely shattered and a bullet was sticking out of the front.
Missed me by this much, Dad! she cried happily. Max breathed a sigh of relief and helped her to her feet. Noredgo, who had fired the shot, was being shoved in the back of a police car. Max, 99 and Carry all made their way back to the car.
See, I told you that would come in handy some day .