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New Thoughts On Spying
Etras story Spy! inspired me to write this sequel. There is mention of another of Etras stories, A Grave Secret, but Ive taken a bit of liberty and changed the timeframe. You can read both on FanFiction.net which is linked on "A Grave Secret."
99, its so good to be home. I thought Id never see it again . . .
The Smarts entered their apartment and Max tossed their suitcases into the closet.
Ouch! This bruise hurts, Max said, rubbing his chest. I wonder how long . . . He stopped as he caught sight of 99 standing by the bar. She threw some ice in a tall glass and filled it completely with Scotch.
Care to join me?
Thats kinda strong, isnt it? Max asked, taking the drink from her hand. Why dont we share?
Okay . . . 99 said faintly, sitting down on one of the bar stools.
Max sat beside her, took a gulp of the drink and handed it back to her. 99 downed the rest in one swallow. Max frowned as she poured another.
You want to help me with this one? 99 asked, downing most of the amber liquid before he could reply.
No, he said, taking the glass from her hand. What do you think youre doing?
What does it look like Im doing? Im getting drunk.
Max studied her face for a moment. It wont help. He said softly.
No, but it will numb the pain for a bit.
99, were home . . . were safe. Captain Antione saved . . .
I know . . . 99 said, and promptly burst into tears. Max put his arms around her. She wept incoherently on his shoulder. He pulled her to her feet and helped her to the couch. He sat them down and let her cry. He knew what she was going through. It had happened to him just last year when he thought she had died in a plane crash. Twice in the last eleven months, one of them had thought the other dead.
99? Max shook her gently.
99 lifted her head from his shoulder and leaned against the back of the couch She wiped her eyes with her sleeves and drew a deep breath. Im sorry, Max . . . Im so tired.
Then lets go to bed.
She shook her head. Im not tired.
What!? Come on, 99, Im not going to argue with you. Lets get some sleep.
99 allowed Max to help her up the stairs. She was so out of it, he had to help her out of her clothes. Wearing only t-shirts and underwear, they tumbled into bed and fell into a deep sleep . . .
Five days later . . .
Max was up early. It was only 6:30 and, not wanting to wake 99, he got the paper from the hall and made a pot of coffee. He sat in the kitchen in his 86 robe, flipping through the front section of the Washington Post. He wasnt paying much attention to what he was reading. After 99s faked death last year and his near death experience in Montania, he realized most of the stories just didnt mean anything to him. He turned the page and came to the world news. He gave the page only a cursory glance and was about to turn to the editorial page when something caught his eye . . .
Rebellion In Montania?
Three days ago a Captain, high in the ranks of the Montanian army, was executed by firing squad for high treason. Colonel Landau, a leader in the Montanian army, said the man was executed for aiding in the escape of an American who had been sentenced to death for espionage. The Captain apparently faked the mans death by outfitting him with a bullet-proof vest and a pack of fake blood. The vest was found buried beside a stream near the Armys headquarters. Captain Antoine was a traitor to his country and his people. The American in question was convicted and sentenced by a fair military tribunal. Captain Antoine was taken in by the Americans wife, who continued to plead for his release, even after the Prince had taken a hands off policy in the matter. Colonel Landau headed the execution himself. According to witnesses, Captain Antoines last words were The American was railroaded and innocent of all charges. I couldnt live with myself knowing I had ordered the killing of an innocent man. The Prince said that the matter is now under investigation. The identity of the American, and his wife, is unknown.
Maxs hands started shaking so badly he dropped the newspaper. He tried reaching for his coffee, but he couldnt pick up the cup. He jumped when 99 entered the kitchen.
Good morning, Love, She said. She went to the counter without looking at him and poured herself a cup of coffee. It was only when she came to the table that she saw he was shaking - and saw the horrified look on his face.
Max! Whats the matter?
Sit down, 99.
When she was seated, he turned the paper around and tapped a finger on the article. She put on her glasses and leaned over the paper. It only took a moment. The glasses fell off her face and onto the paper. She looked up at Max, grief-stricken.
Oh, my God . . .
He saved my life, 99 . . . and died for it, Tears welled up in Maxs eyes.
99 had turned back to the paper. After the prince had taken a hands off policy?! 99 turned back to Max, furious. What a crock of . . . She quieted when she saw Maxs tears.
She went around the able and sat next to him, pulling him into her arms.
Oh, 99 . . .
And they both cried for the man who had saved them.
There was a sudden pounding on the door.
Max! 99! The Chiefs voice yelled.
99 got up, wiping the tears from her face, and opened the kitchen door. The Chief, who had been knocking on the front door, turned and pushed 99 back into the kitchen and shut the door tightly behind them. He secured all the locks, then went to the front door and did the same.
Youve read the article? The Chief said. Well, Ive got worse news.
What else?? Max groaned.
Colonel Landau is in the United States. According to our informants, hes looking for you, Max, to finish the job .
What?! 99 cried.
Maxs face paled.
Im sending you to Controls hideout in the Rocky Mountains. Its a log cabin with no electricity, and this time of year its cold as hell and right now theres six inches of snow on the ground, but its isolated and secure. Well send you today and youll have to stay until Landau is found and sent back to Montania.
Or killed, 99 said.
We cant kill him, so far he hasnt done anything. And we cant take the chance that your identities will be revealed.
How come he didnt say who I was in the article? Oh, never mind, Max said. I guess he wants to execute me himself.
Seems that way. Get packed.
Both of us? 99 asked.
At first I was just going to send Max, but you two have been through so much . . . He paused. You need to be together. Larabee is downstairs waiting to take you to Controls secret airport.
Max and 99 packed in record time. The Chief said Control would safeguard the apartment and he personally would take care of their mail and bills. Then he hustled them down the stairs and into the car. He waved goodbye and turned around, with a sad look on his face.
Larabee studied his friends in the rear view mirror. Anything I can do for you?
Thanks, Larabee, I think were fine, 99 said.
Okay. Well be at the airport in a few minutes.
When they got to the airport, Larabee helped with their suitcases and watched until they were securely aboard.
As the plane took off, both Max and 99 breathed a sigh of relief. 99 stared out the window for a moment, then turned to Max. I love you.
I love you, 99.
The cabin was in a secluded area, as the Chief had said. What he had failed to mention, however, was that they had to hike with backpacks ten miles through a steadily deepening snow storm to reach the place. When they finally got there, they discovered a one room cabin with (luckily) an indoor bathroom, a large wood burning stove and a massive stone fireplace.
Oh, Max, look at this! 99 said. She went over to the fireplace.
Lets build a fire and make something to eat. You hungry?
Me either, She sighed. What I am is tired. Wheres the bed?
Max went to the sofa in front of the fireplace. He pulled off the cushions and unfolded the bed.
How did you know that was there?
No bedroom, where else?
Lets go to bed and get a fire going.
You know how thats been going lately . . .
99 ignored his little outburst and together they built the fire. She got ready for bed and snuggled under the covers. Coming, Max?
I guess I can try.
99 pointed a finger at him. Stop that! Get changed and come to bed.
Max did as she requested, but sat staring into the fire.
Max I want you to listen to me. Weve both been through the ringer the last couple weeks. Were both so stressed out, its a wonder we can function on any level. And now with that idiot Landau looking for us, its just made matters worse. You know what I want?
Max shook his head.
I want you to hold me.
Max leaned back and put his arms around her. Im sorry, 99, He said as she snuggled against his shoulder. Im really upset about Captain Antoine . . .
Me too, Max. I hate Landau. Hes the coldest, most underhanded and devious person Ive ever come across. I wonder what his intent was? Take over the country, you think?
I dont know. But when the Prince decided to investigate, I guess Landau choose to make himself scarce. But why would he bother to after me, 99? What could he possibly hope to achieve?
He was betrayed by someone he trusted, I guess he wants . . . revenge? 99 queried.
Did you bring your gun? Max asked.
Yes, plus a few devices from the lab.
Well, with the snow and this place being so isolated, hopefully were safe.
They both quieted and watched the flames. Finally, they fell into a fitful sleep . . .
Max shook his head. As his vision cleared he could see the soldiers raising their rifles, aiming at his chest . . .
99!!!!! He screamed.
99 bolted upright. Max was sitting up, his eyes wide, screaming her name. When he screamed again, she grabbed his arms and forced him down on his back.
Max! Wake up!
He awoke almost immediately, his face covered with sweat.
Max, are you awake?
Max nodded. Yeah . . . Its the firing squad dream again, He said, sitting up. He was shaking violently. 99 put her arms around him and he buried his face in her shoulder. She ran her fingers gently through his hair. Its okay, Max, Im here. She soothed.
Im sorry, 99. The dream scares the hell out of me. There you are, leaning out toward me . . . then the gunfire. Even though I know what Captain Antoines plan is, every time I have the dream, that part escapes me. I just dont remember about the vest. He sat up and took her face in his hands. Im sorry we scared you, but I didnt even know about his plan until the last minute because he couldnt take the chance of anyone finding out what he was doing. 99 . . . what if Landau finds us? That dreams could become a reality.
If he finds us, Ill kill him . . .
Max and 99 were in the middle of their second week of hiding. There was a good foot of snow on the ground, so they had spent most of that time in the cabin . . . until the infamous Cabin Fever took over and they decided to brave the cold and go for a walk. They didnt say much as they walked, preferring to enjoy nature. It was quiet . . . and beautiful.
They walked about a mile when they decided to turn back. With 99 in the lead, they had the cabin in sight when 99 stopped.
Max . . . somethings not right - Her words were cut off as someone grabbed her from behind a tree and put a gun to her head.
Good morning, Mrs. Smart. So good to see you again, Colonel Landau said. And Maxwell Smart! Ive finally found my errant spy. Drop the gun . . . or Ill kill her.
Max threw his gun down and raised his hands.
So what do you plan to do? Shoot me right here? Max asked.
Mrs. Smart is going to, shall we say, show me a good time . . . while you watch. Then Im going to finish what my traitorous Captain simply delayed, Im going to shoot you, Mr. Smart.
What about me? 99 asked, grinding her teeth in anger.
You have a choice, my dear. You can come with me or join your husband.
Ill join Max, thank you very much, 99 snarled.
Max closed his eyes tightly and cursed. He had to think of a way to save 99 from the imminent rape.
How did you find us? Max asked, desperately grasping at straws.
It didnt take long to find someone who needed a cash advance. Of course, they never got a chance to use it.
99 suddenly struggled to escape. Colonel Landau pulled up on her arm, causing her to wince.
Dont move, my dear, or your husband shall witness your death before his.
99 stopped struggling, but felt something . . . her silver bracelet. It had slid down near her palm as she had struggled to free herself. Hidden within the bracelet was an inch and a half long knife. She moved her finger slightly and the blade popped out. Colonel Landau was so engrossed in his conversation with Max that he didnt feel the slight movement. 99 knew she had but one chance, so she moved quickly - plunging the small blade as deep as possible into Colonel Landau stomach and slicing to the right . . . gouging out a six inch long gash in his abdomen. He gasped in astonishment and fell to his knees, dropping the gun. 99 quickly scooped it up and pointed it at him.
Dont move, you bastard.
Colonel Landau laughed at her and moved to get up. 99 kicked him in the chest, knocking him onto his back.
Meanwhile, Max stood stock-still. He was afraid to move for fear if he distracted 99s attention for even a moment, the Colonel might get the gun back.
So, Mrs. Smart . . .
SHUT UP. 99 said.
What do you plan to do? Kill me? You cant. Im entitled to a trial by a jury.
Like the one you gave Max? 99 snapped. No, I dont think so. This is your trial - and the court has found you guilty of treason and murder. The sentence is death. Here. And now.
You dont have the nerve, He smirked.
99 calmly pointed the automatic pistol between his eyes. Her hand was steady and unmoving.
This is for Captain Antoine, she said. . . . and my Max.
She pulled the trigger.
The shot echoed through the silent, white world . . . startling Max even more than the animals that skittered away in fright.
99 stood unmoving, the gun still pointed at the Colonel. Max bit his lip, then went over to her and gently took the gun from her hand. He glanced down and knew that they no longer had anything to fear from Colonel Landau.
99? Come on, its cold. Lets go inside and call the Chief.
I say we throw his body into the stream and let the animals have pot luck. 99 said coldly.
What are we going to tell the Chief? 99 asked, turning to him.
Exactly what happened. Except that, when you grabbed the gun, you just turned around and shot him. We dont have to say anything else.
99 sighed. Her body suddenly felt like a strand of boiled spaghetti. She dropped down on one knee.
Max scooped her up into his arms and carried her into the cabin. He sat her on the couch and told her not to move. Then he called the Chief and explained what had happened. The Chief said they would be there in an hour.
An hour? Where are you?
Nearby, The Chief said.
Max sat beside 99 and told her what the Chief had said. They sat on the couch, arms around each other until they heard a helicopter and the tromping of many feet. Max got up and met the Chief at the door. He took him to the body and explained what had happened. Several Control agents stuffed the body into a plastic bag and carried it off to the helicopter.
99 killed him, huh?
The Chiefs eyes met Maxs.
It was! He had the gun to her head! She used a Control anti-personnel weapon! It has to be around here someplace. Look! Heres my gun . . . He walked a short distance away and picked up his gun. I had to drop it.
The Chief searched the ground and found 99s bracelet. He picked it up with a stick and put it in a baggie.
I highly doubt therell be a problem, Max. The Prince discovered what hed done and put him under indictment in Montania for treason.
Chief? How about letting us stay a few more days?
Sure. Take your time. When you want to go home, call me.
The Chief smiled and put a hand on Maxs shoulder. Then he and the Control agents left with the body.
99 sat silently in front of the fire. She had taken a hot shower and built a roaring fire, but she still couldnt get warm. Max fixed some hot chocolate and got under the blankets with her.
99, drink this hot chocolate.
They drank the chocolate in silence. Max sat the cups on the table behind the sofa. 99 was still shivering, so he took her into his arms.
Max . . . I need you.
I need you, 99, Max said, kissing her passionately.
Oh, Max . . . 99 whispered, kissing him back . . .
Later . . .
I cant do this any more.
Cant do what any more? Max asked, concerned.
99 shook her head. No, Love, not that. I cant be a spy any more, I just cant. I love you, Max . . . I cant go through anything like this again.
You want to quit?
No, I just dont want to be a field agent any more.
Neither do I, Max said softly.
No. I love you, 99. You mean more to me than anything in the world. Weve almost lost each other twice. Enough is enough. Well talk to the Chief when we get back. Im sure there are two agents in Washington whod like to go into the field.
99 gently kissed Max and he ran his fingers gently over her face. Their eyes locked and they smiled at each other. No words were needed, Max and 99 understood each other perfectly . . .
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