Agents of F.O.L.D.
AGENTS OF F.O.L.D.
By SF C.J.
Journal Entry 1:
Agent Waterson’s Log No. 001:
Yeah, I think that’s a good way to start this off. I mean, that’s how Trent… I mean, how Director Adams does it. Although, he only records his logs, so I can transcribe them later. Hehe… whenever he records, he changes his voice so he sounds big, tough, and important. It’s kind of funny. Oh, and the few times the Director does write something, it’s always in haiku form. So weird, right?
Anyway, the point is that I decided to start my own personal record of sorts, since it seems like everyone else is doing it. As the Director’s assistant and coordinator of Operation 2K-Alpha, I have been authorized to collect information and personal accounts of events that are related to the Operation. They’re what you might call “case files.” Recently, I just completed a file for the whole incident surrounding Clark Largent’s emergence as Iron Fold. I labeled the file, “The Invincible Iron Fold,” and put it in a box I marked with a sharpie as “FOLD 1.” I mean, technically it should be “PHASE 1,” since this is part of the first phase of “The Initiative,” but I thought it sounded clever.
Honestly, I don’t know why I did it. To have a ‘Fold 1’ you have to have a ‘Fold 2’. I don’t know if we’ll ever get that far, but hey, it sounded cool when I did it.
Okay… so I might have gotten a LITTLE carried away with the origami puns and stuff. But… I just… I can’t help myself! It’s too much fun!
So, I guess I should cut to the chase: Director Trent Adams has given me his Toolbox and has made me to be his successor as Director.
Oh. Wait. I think I cut to the chase too quickly… NOPE! Not going back. I said it. Forget spoiler alerts, I’m going head first into this!
But still… maybe I should give more context. Alright, so, basically, I was reading over some paperwork concerning the induction of Ally Weber into Operation 2K-Alpha (a.k.a. The Initiative), while also putting the finishing touches on a case file that Agent Gardner had made concerning an ancient hero from Kirby’s past. I swiveled in my desk chair, trying to press out thoughts about after-school plans I had in the evening.
I was sitting in one of F.O.L.D.’s main bases of operation, “Computer Lab – Room 164.” Kirby has several computer labs, and the principal doesn’t mind letting us use this one for F.O.L.D. activities. There are three rows of long rectangular tables, each table holding six computers. In front of all of these tables is a desk designated for a teacher, bearing a single computer. Us agents call this area “The Bridge,” since that’s where Director Adams usually sits. The rest of the room is filled with other agents of various ranks. I’ve always liked to think of this room as F.O.L.D.’s “Helicarrier”… the place where it all happens.
Since this is kind of a secret diary, I guess I can talk about my secret dream: being a leader of my own team. I mean, sure, I’m in charge of making sure “The Initiative” goes smoothly, but I’m not the leader of it. As much as I like my desk job, I would love to be a field agent with my own squad, taking down the enemies of Wheeler. Even at that moment while I was filing away documents, I was daydreaming about this thought.
“Agent Waterson, may I please see you for a moment?”
This snapped me out of it. I looked up at the Bridge to see Director Adams was the one who had summoned me. I expected to receive either an exasperated or stern look, but instead, his face had a softer appearance. He looked thoughtful.
“Yes, sir,” I replied, and quickly made a beeline towards his desk.
He stood up for a moment and motioned towards the door. “Do you mind if I take you on a stroll on school grounds? I need to talk to you about a few… um, things.”
This question, as it was both unusual and bizarre of the Director, made me very curious and slightly scared. Yet, I hid my feelings and, after a brief hesitation, agreed. Because we were both F.O.L.D. agents, we were allowed free access to the majority of the facilities around Kirby H.S., as well as the external school grounds while classes were going on.
As we walked down the stone pathway, I noticed that the budding Spring flowers were quite beautiful. The air still had a little of that post-winter chill to it, but I was wearing my favorite quilted scarf, which my Grandma made me when I turned ten. The dirt brown, burnt orange, and dark green colors of the scarf might have made it look unappealing to others, but I loved it.
The Director pulled up the hood on his black Nike windrunner’s jacket. To the average eye, he looked completely calm and collected. However, I had been around him long enough to know that his true emotions were always found in his single, uncovered eye. Right now, I could see a quivering nervousness in his eye. Something was wrong.
“Sir, do you want to tell me what’s going on?” I asked politely.
The Director took a long sigh. “You don’t have to call me that when we’re alone. It’s just a formality meant to keep up appearances. I used to love being called by my professional title. It made me feel like I was worth something. But now… I kind of hate it. Gives me a bad taste in my mouth everytime someone says ‘Director’ or ‘Sir.’”
“Why is that?”
“When I first started my career as Director, I was young, innocent… and a little naive. Kind of like you.”
I rolled my eyes. “Wow. Thanks.”
“No, no, I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant. You’re great, Tilly. A real gem on our staff. Probably the most sincere and honest person I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.”
This comment MAY have made me blush a little. Also, the fact that it was just me and Trent, strolling outside alone… it kind of made me feel really nervous. I don’t know why. It’s not like I have a secret crush on him or anything. I mean… I don’t think I do…
At that moment, Trent stopped. He turned towards me, and shook his head.
“I can’t keep stalling. I gotta do this now, Tilly.”
He leaned towards me, and put one hand on my shoulder. Now, I was getting really nervous. My whole body was shaking. I was sure he was going to try to kiss me…
…so I slapped him.
In fact, I slapped him hard enough to knock off his eyepatch. We looked back at each other, both of us in shock.
“Ouch,” Trent groaned. “What was that for?!”
“You… you were gonna kiss me! And… and I d-don’t like you that way, Trent! I’m sorry, I-I just… I’m not ready for any of that junk, alright?!?!”
Both of Trent’s eyes went from surprise to anger to confusion. Then, he started to giggle. Yes, Trent Adams, the hardcore head of F.O.L.D., was trying to hold in a laugh.
“It… it’s not funny, Trent!” I said, with some tears in my eyes. “Stop laughing at me!”
Trent pulled himself together, then finally spoke. “I… I wasn’t going to kiss you, Tilly. But I guess my demeanor was a little too casual and friendly than usual. Yes, I can see how you could’ve gotten that idea. My apologies. I deserved that slap.”
My face was as red as a tomato at this point. I had just attacked my innocent boss, and he was apologizing to ME. I was so embarrassed.
“No, no, no! I’m the one who should be sorry,“ I said shamefully.
Trent picked up his eyepatch and put it back on. “It’s fine, Tilly. Totally understandable. Now, I should probably give you this, which I was going to give you, you know, before you slapped me…”
He took out a black box out of his coat pocket. It was a small paper cube… but not like the one that anyone can fold easily. It was much more complicated…
Director Trent gently placed it in my hand, and explained its purpose. “It’s a black origami Rubik’s Cube. It was patterned off an old design by Dror Vomberg. It’s name is the acronym 2L.B.O.C.S., pronounced “toolbox.” It stands for “Lucky LockTM-Brand Origami Cube Safe. The business that made it was once a sponsor of the Kirby High School sports teams back in the 80’s. Lucky LockTM was one of the finest locksmithing companies in the state until it filed for bankruptcy in 1992.”
“What’s in here?” I asked.
“A metal case with a flash drive inside,” he affirmed. “Valuable information is on it. Critically valuable.”
“Why are you giving such important stuff to me?”
“Um, it’s pretty obvious. You’re the person I trust most out of everyone I know. By assigning you as my assistant, you’ve proven your organization skills and your ability to keep F.O.L.D. secrets completely confidential. And by getting to know you, I can say that, without a doubt, you’ll always do the right thing when a hard decision must be made.”
Now, I was really starting to cry. “Trent, you’re not leaving F.O.L.D., are you? I-I mean… you… you’re only a sophomore. F.O.L.D. needs you. Kirby needs you. I… I need you. I can’t handle this kind of… of responsibility.”
Trent gave a sad smile. “I’m not leaving F.O.L.D., Tilly. Not quite yet. But I do feel that my time as Director is running short. You’re my chosen successor, Tilly.”
I couldn’t take this anymore. I grabbed onto Trent and hugged him. I didn’t realize that I really have feelings for him… but more in a brother-sister way. He had always been there to help me, even if he was a little tough on me. He was a better mentor than any other teacher in Kirby.
Trent patted his hand on my head as he accepted my hug. “Don’t worry, Tilly. I know you’ll do fantastic. In fact, I think you’ll be a better Director than I ever was. Director Waterson, leader of F.O.L.D. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah… I guess so.”
“Oh, don’t act like you haven’t always wanted to be Director.”
“I mean, I always wanted my own team, and to be a field agent. But Director… it’s kind of always felt like an unreachable, superhero-level position.”
“A magical place?”
“Yeah… a magical place.”
“Well, I’m still going to be Director for a while. So, until then, how about I make your wish come true? It would be good training for when you take full control of F.O.L.D.”
My attitude changed from sad to gleeful in a moment. “You… you would do that?!”
“Absolutely. In fact, you can choose your team members, too. However, I have a few conditions. You’ve got to choose at least two people from the list of pending recruits as part of the team. It’ll be their initiation training. Then, you can pick any other two members in F.O.L.D., no matter their rank or the importance of their work. I’ll make sure they drop whatever they’re doing immediately. Oh, and another thing: you can’t tell anyone about this conversation or any of its details, alright?”
“Of course. I’m a F.O.L.D. agent. You expect me to just spill the beans about all this?”
“Just making sure. You can be a bit talkative sometimes. Come on, let’s get back to H.Q.”
I nodded. As we walked back, I decided to ask him a question, since I felt this might be the only time we would be able to speak without being formal.
“Why do you always write your case file entries as haikus?”
He raised his eyebrow at me. “Because I like Japanese culture and history. Plus, haikus are just plain awesome. Everyone knows that.”
This made me smile.
Agent Waterson’s Log No. 002:
Team Log No. 002 (Agent Waterson):
I GOT MY OWN TEAM! I GOT MY OWN TEAM! I GOT MY OWN TEAM YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I got my own team. And all the members are great. I’m so happy. It’s the happiest day of my life!
So, here’s the lineup:
Tilly Waterson (Myself, Codename: F.O.L.D.’s Shield) – Team Leader, Tactician, and Arguably Second Highest-Ranking F.O.L.D. Agent with Basic Self-Defense Skills, Can’t Believe She Scored This Job
Lane Leicester – F.O.L.D. Rookie, Programmer in Java, C++, Python, and Ruby, and Kirby H.S. LEGO Robotics Team Member, Adorable.
Jessie Rodriguez – Skilled in Stealth, Outdoorsman, Tracker, Marksman, and Above-Average F.O.L.D. Agent with Basic Self-Defense Skills, Loves Cheese Curds
Leena Hiltondale – F.O.L.D. Rookie, Science and Engineering Whiz, and Kirby H.S. LEGO Robotics Team Member, Also Adorable.
John Yeargensburg – Student of Muay Thai, Karate, & Various Other Martial Arts, One of the Best Fighters and Self-Defense Trainers in F.O.L.D., Too Cool For School
So… are we awesome… OR ARE WE AWESOME?!?! It’s going to work out really well, I just know it!
Team Log 003 (John Yeargensburg):
This is not going to work at all. I just know it. I don’t like this “team” that Trent threw me into while I was perfectly happy with my current work. Just the other day, I stopped a kid who was selling cigarettes at Kirby. He resisted, so I had to… um… shake him up a little. He’s fine, of course, but his arm might be sore for a while after that armlock I put him in.
Trent’s trying to make his little puppy dog assistant happy or something like that. That’s all well and good, but why me, though? I don’t work well with others. I do solo work.
And to top it all off, everyone on Waterson’s Team has to take turns recording events and junk. That’s what I’m doing right now. Ugh, I hate school essays.
Anyways, Trent gave us a briefing on our first (and hopefully last) mission: to retrieve Jessica Smith-Holt.
Apparently, Jessica, a high-ranking agent of F.O.L.D., was sent transferred to Wheeler Academy. There’s a hidden F.O.L.D. branch group, and she was assigned to work as part of that group while blending into Wheeler’s atmosphere. Her main objective was to climb the social ranks so she became one of popular girls; that way, she’d know what’s really going on in Wheeler and alert F.O.L.D. of any information. In other words, Jessica’s a mole.
Or at least, she was. Right now, it seems possible that her cover’s been compromised… or even worse: she’s gone turncoat on us. I mean, no one said she had betrayed us; Trent didn’t even imply the possibility. But I’m pretty sure we all knew, deep down, it could’ve happened. It wouldn’t be the first time, after all. But that’s another story for another time.
Of course, our incredible and fearless leader Miss Tilly Waterson (yawn) had a game plan prepared for this operation. Here’s the low-down:
Lane and Leena would be Tech Support, hiding out back at Kirby in HQ, controlling some hacked Wheeler security systems as well as a drone that would keep a bird’s-eye view of everything.
Both Tilly and I would covertly sneak his way into Wheeler, pretending to be students there. Once we were sure we had adapted into our environment, we would split up and search the school for Jessica’s whereabouts in the school.
Jesse would hide outside the school, staying out of sight, while watching what was going on and being prepared if an emergency situation occurred. (Personally, I thought we didn’t really need him since we already had L-Squad watching everything through cameras, but Tilly insisted that we might need back-up. Pssh, I could literally do this whole mission myself. Even if I broke my cover, there wouldn’t be anyone who could get in my way. I specialize in beating the pulp out of people who interfere.)
Once Jessica is found, we immediately get her out of Wheeler and back to Kirby so Trent can grill her. (Hehehe… I love a good interrogation.)
Mission accomplished. Hoorah for everyone. I go back to my normal work.
Is this plan generic? Yes. Does it have the potential to go wrong in many colorful and interesting ways? Yes. Do I care? No. Why? Well, honestly, if I get caught or get into some kind of trouble, I won’t sweat it. I never do. I’ve been suspended three times, almost got expelled once, and been in detention more times than I can count.
So, frankly, I might like to see this all go downhill, especially if everything break out into chaos. I heard Jesse caused a food fight once at Kirby. I wonder if something similar might happen here…
Tilly, if you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re wondering why I am writing all of my “negative and rude” opinions in this shared team case file.
Like I said before: I just don’t care.
Team Log 004 (Lane Leicester):
Salutations, fellow comrades and partners-in-crime! My name is Lane Nathaniel Leicester, specialist in computer programming, computer systems, and information technology! I can fluently code in a variety of computer languages spanning from Java to Python! I have also competed in several hacking competitions and LEGO Robotics First Lego League tournaments. Admittedly, Lego Robots are INCREDIBLY easy to program since the interface is designed to be accessible by even children; however, the process of designing the robot to complete the perfect actions, even perfecting the most minute detail, is what makes it still a challenge. Honestly, I could go on and on about the beautiful and unique intricacies of each of the respective computer languages that I have studied since I was a seven-year-old.
Oh, I was rambling again, wasn’t I? I do sincerely apologize. I can get a little caught up in talking about my interests and hobbies. Yet, fear not! I am not here to talk about computers in general, but how I and my fellow colleague, Leena Samantha Hiltondale, were able to direct the remainder of Agent Waterson’s Team from headquarters using our technologically-enhanced tools and equipment.
I was doing an inspection of all the modems, computers, monitors, etc., to make sure the rescue operation would run as smoothly as possible. Leena was doing some final tweaks to the modified drone she had gotten for Christmas. (She literally took it apart, put it back together, and then added modifications whenever she got a spark of inspiration, which is often.) Satisfied to see that everything was functioning correctly, I sat down and returned to work on my favorite laptop. This baby is my pride and joy: 16 GB of RAM, four cores in the CPU, as well as spotless functionality and frame rate. I saved up for a long time, mowing lawns and doing landscaping work since I was twelve, so I could get a computer that performed at such a high caliber.
Leena walked over to me and scruffed up my hair is an affectionate way. I had grown up knowing Leena for a long time… even longer than I had known Clark Largent, one of my best friends. She was kind of like a sister to me.
“How’s it looking, champ?” she asked. “All the engines fired up?”
“If you are intending to ask whether or not all the necessary computer systems are prepared for the task that lies ahead, then my answer would be in the affirmative.”
“A simple ‘yes’ would have done quite nicely.”
I grinned cheekily. “Now, where would the fun be in that?”
“Please, stop trying to show off your intellectual and linguistic knowledge. You don’t have to go nerd-fest in front of me. I know you better than that.”
I shot her a smirk. “To quote Patrick Star in Season 2, Episode 35a of ‘Spongebob Squarepants,’ ‘The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma.’”
Of course, I allowed her a brief moment for Leena to fact-check the contextual information for that quote. The satisfaction I received from seeing the incredulous look on her face was absolutely priceless.
“My gosh. How do you remember that?”
“Well, even as a child, homework was an incredibly simple task that usually took little more than fifteen minutes a day. Because I had so much time on my hands, I became quite familiar with our home television. ‘Nickelodeon’ was my favorite channel. I know many of the ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ episodes and their respective lines by heart.”
“Alright, wise guy. What was the name of the aforementioned episode and the airdate of it?”
“‘The Secret Box.’ September 7, 2001.”
“‘Band Geeks,’ which is one of my personal favorite episodes in the entire running of the television series.”
Leena gave a dramatic facepalm. “You must live under a rock being a nerdy hermit and have, like, zero life. I bet you got cancer from radio waves by watching TV 24/7.”
“Oh, please, don’t butter me up. I’m blushing.”
Ironically, it seemed that Leena’s face was turning red from her exasperation with me. She had forgotten this was just a small sibling-like jest. I almost thought she might pummel me, there and then. However, Leena is a fairly calm person; I tend to be the only person to get under her skin (although, Clark has proven to be equally if not more frustration-inducing to her as well). When she does get somewhat upset, she always quickly collects herself. Even at this moment, she simply sighed, laughed, scruffed my hair again, and returned to her drone workstation.
I immediately got to work bypassing the Wheeler Academy firewalls and security defenses so that I could gain entrance into the security system. While this type of work could be so-called ‘illegal’ if discovered, I have been very careful to always cover my tracks when hacking into any kind of software. However, I do this kind of work for the betterment of both schools by being an agent of F.O.L.D. It can be risky, but this is why I have taken on this specialized position and made myself to carry the burden of full liability in case I was caught. Neither Kirby nor F.O.L.D. are responsible for my work because neither are fully aware of what my work is. That’s the beauty of compartmentalization and ‘need-to-know basises’ – having less people know means less people shall be found guilty.
It gives me a kind a thrill to be doing this stuff, honestly. It’s almost as if I were a real secret agent. In fact, one of my dreams is to join the CIA and have a full-time career in all the computer-technology-related parts that come with worldwide espionage.
I was inside Wheeler’s system in no time. It was a deliciously simple piece of cake. By the time I had access to all the needed security cameras, Leena had her drone flying above the Wheeler campus.
All the engines were fired up and ready to go.
Team Log 005 (Leena Hiltondale)
Oh. My. Word. I just read Lane’s chapter. I can’t believe he did that JUST TO GET UNDER MY SKIN!!!! His stupid knowledge of stupid cartoons is such a stupid waste of stupid time! I mean, honestly, he hasn’t changed at all from when he was a kid. Couldn’t he be doing something better with his life than just programming and bingeing Netflix? Sure, I’m kind of a nerd too, but I do practical stuff, like studying and practicing mechanical and chemical engineering, physics, biology, and stuff that’ll get me into a good college and a great career! What’s he gonna do with the rest of his life? Stay in his parent’s basement, GLUED TO HIS COMPUTER FOR ETERNITY?!?!
Whoa. Sorry about that. That… was uncalled for. I just get on these rants sometimes. They’re almost as common as Lane’s rambling analyses, but he’s a lot more logical in his conversations. I mean, I don’t try to rant a lot, but sometimes they just come out. Sometimes, I’m just kind of high-strung and emotional. Teenage problems, am I right?
So, yeah, Lane had just logged into Wheeler’s security system, and my drone was fully operational and already flying above Wheeler. I could spot Tilly and John walking towards the school doors. Everything seemed to be going fine… well, it was going fine until…
“Wait, Lane, do you see John and Tilly?” I asked.
He replied extensively, “I haven’t tried accessing the exterior security cameras since you and Agent Rodriguez were supposed to be watching the school grounds. Agents Yeargensburg and Waterson have yet to enter the school building so I am currently unable of seeing-”
“Whatever, Lane! Just get over here and look at my screen!”
“Alright, as you wish. Let’s see here… oh. Oh my. That certainly puts a complication in the plan.”
From my drone’s perspective, I could see someone approaching John and Tilly. It seemed to be a teacher.
“HEY, IS ANYONE THERE!? DOES ANYONE COPY?!” said a voice from Lane’s walkie-talkie.
“What’s your status, Agent Rodriguez?” asked Lane, as he snatched the walkie-talkie from his belt.
“I’m a-ok, but TW and JY are having some problems. A teacher is requesting their school identification cards. She doesn’t recognize them and wants to make sure they go to this school. Ever since Jude D. snuck into Wheeler, security’s gotten a lot stricter. What do I do? Over.”
“As of now, do not blow your cover, Rodriguez,” replied Lane. “If matters get out of hand, we can easily and capably abort the mission. But we certainly don’t need three agents being caught today. I repeat, don’t blow your cover, and remain where you are. I think I can take care of this. Copy?”
“Copy that, amigo! Over and out!”
Lane had gotten real serious suddenly. He was in full mission-mode. Immediately, he bounded over to his laptop and started typing furiously. I continued to monitor the situation at Wheeler. Tilly was stalling for time, making big gestures with her hands (probably making up a story about why they didn’t have Wheeler identification cards).
Suddenly, a loud ringing came out from the building. No, not just a ringing… a fire alarm! The teacher immediately ran towards the building to help get students out, allowing John and Tilly to slip away. The fire alarm was shut only a moment later, as the Wheeler principal’s voice rang over the outside speakers, saying that it was a false alarm and that something was broken in the alarm’s system.
I spun around in my chair to see Lane fashioning a devilish grin. He was loving this.
“You’re rotten, you know that, right?” I said, trying to hide my giddiness.
“Rotten? I prefer the term ‘dark and dangerous.’”
“That is so not true. You’re too nerdy to be dark and dangerous.”
“You obviously are not yet well acquainted with myself yet.”
“WHAT?! I’VE KNOWN YOU MY WHOLE LIFE!!!”
Lane is such a dork… but at least he’s a lovable dork.
Team Log 006 (Tilly Waterson)
The encounter with that nosey teacher was a close-call, but the mission was back on track. Immediately following Lane’s perfectly-timed distraction, John and I ran away to hide behind some shrubbery. As I caught my breath (realizing that fieldwork is intenser than I had originally thought it would be), I noticed John’s mouth was slowly cracking into a grin.
“What, you actually enjoyed that?!” I asked.
“Mmm, I was amused,” he replied. “Almost thought we were gonna be caught, but then the fire alarm thing… now that was funny. I don’t usually care for nerds, but I like Penn’s style.”
“That’s my nickname for Lane. His name reminded me of “Penny Lane,” a song by the Beatles. I mentioned it to him after our team briefing, and he quoted the exact release date and album. Instead of calling him Penny Lane, or even P.L., I just started calling him Penn. Huh, I can’t believe I just explained all that nonsense to you.”
“Oh, no, that’s really cool! It’s nice to show some team spirit and camaraderie, especially towards new guys like Lane.”
“Yeah. Maybe. I guess so.” He paused for a moment, then added, “I also did it because some of the low-class agents were making fun of him, calling him ‘Lame Leicester’ and ‘Professor Lame-O.’ After giving them all my demon-eyed stare, I thought giving him a cool nickname might get those jerks off his back.”
“Why did you care about what those guys were saying about Lane?”
“Uh… because… oh, nevermind.”
“Uh-uh. I need the full story. I’m your boss, now, remember?” I said half-seriously.
John scratched the back of his neck. “It’s… it’s because a similar thing happened to me when I first entered F.O.L.D. I wasn’t the same kid back then. It actually hurt, or whatever. I know, it’s stupid, but I wasn’t ‘bout to just sit there and watch Penn take that junk.”
I patted John on the shoulder. “You’re a good guy, John. Under all that thick skin, you’ve got heart. I know you didn’t want to be on this team, as you so clearly put in your log for the team case file. But you manned up, didn’t argue about it, and just did it. And you helped a fellow agent find his place, too. That’s pretty impressive.”
John smirked. “You say a word to anyone, even Trent, and I’ll…”
“It’s between you, me, and this shrubbery between us.”
At that moment, we heard a chuckle and a rustle coming from that very shrubbery. John, without flinching or making any major reaction, whipped his arm into them bush and locked onto something. With a strong tug, his hand came out of the bush, pulling out a certain nosey agent… Jesse Rodriguez (who was totally freaking out).
“AAAAH!!!” yelled Jesse. “LET GO OF ME, YOU KARATE FREAK!”
John, without showing and emotion, asked me, “What should I break first: his nose or one of his fingers?”
“TILLY, SAVE ME FROM THIS FLIPPIN’ NEANDERTHAL!!!”
“Oh, Jesse…” I said with a sigh. “You’re supposed to be spying on everyone EXCEPT us. Don’t hurt him, John.”
Reluctantly complying with my order, John released his grip on Jesse’s arm. Jesse quickly scrambled back into the bush he had been hiding in.
“This was my hiding location first, anyways, so it’s not my fault y’all decided to spill your feelings right here.”
Before John could respond, I stated coldly, “If you don’t want to get manhandled by John, I suggest you shut up about this whole incident. No, actually that’s not a suggestion – that’s an order.”
“Whatever,” said the defeated Jesse. Then his voice went stern. “You two better get back in there. That fire alarm thing is over. Good luck.”
“Roger that. Let’s go, John.”
With that, we left our hiding spot and walked into Wheeler with a crowd of students for cover. That nosey teach from earlier was nowhere to be seen.
We had a slight delay. But now… it was go time.
Team Log 007 (John Yeargensburg):
The major part of the mission, which was Tilly and I sweeping the premises, was pretty tedious and boring, so I’ll just summarize what happened inside Wheeler.
Once we got inside Wheeler, Tilly and I changed clothes in the restroom (we each packed a second set in our backpacks). This way, it would be harder for anyone who had seen us enter the school earlier to remember us. Also, Tilly threw on some extra makeup and allowed her hair, which was tucked up inside her baseball bat, to come loose and cover her head and part of her face. As for me, I just put on a hoodie and kept the hood up.
Once we were done, we split up and started scouring the halls. Even after the bell rang, we kept sneaking around. Apparently, Penn had not only taken over the security cameras inside the building, but had also put the video feed on a loop the halls appeared empty to whatever security guard that was watching the school.
Jessica Smith-Holt had sent Trent a copy of her class schedule once she had transferred from Kirby to Wheeler. So we checked the Science classroom she was supposed to be in. She wasn’t there. After that, we scanned every single classroom through the windows. Penn also searched through all the camera footage he had, and couldn’t find her.
Tilly started thinking that perhaps Jessica was absent that day. Penn decided to investigate this, giving the camera controls off to Leena, who had given the drone a break from flying. Penn worked quickly, and, using another computer, he hacked Wheeler again and found a document in the school system that confirmed Jessica’s absence for that day. In fact, she had a string of absences that had all occurred in the last two weeks.
So, it appeared that are mission had failed. Tilly and I immediately left through an emergency fire exit which Penn had fixed so it wouldn’t alert any security guard that the door had been opened. We were gonna get away home free….
Or so we thought.
Team Log 008 (Jesse Rodriguez):
So this cool! I get to write about the most epic, bodacious part of the mission. Some real crazy stuff happens at this point. So, ladies and gentlemen, strap in, ‘cause this is ride is gonna get a little rocky.
I was an eyewitness to what happened next. I had switched my hiding place from the shrubbery to one of the branches of a big oak. John and the boss were still on their (wo)manhunt inside Wheeler, so I was pretty much just chillin’.
While I was up there, I happened to notice some people hanging out in a shadowy corner on the schoolground, right next to a brick Wheeler wall. There were three individuals. There appeared to be two boys and one girl. The girl was facing away from me, with her hair hiding most of her back. The two dudes were deeper in the shadows, so all that I could make out was the shaved head and thick clothing of the one guy, and the suit and tie that the other kid, who, unlike his buddy, still had some hair.
I tried to get a better look at these mysterious persons from my position, but I was too faraway. Instead, I shimmied down the tree, stealthily and quietly. But when I got down from the tree, I was unaware of a certain twig lying under me. When I stepped on it, I heard the loudest snap I ever heard in my life. Immediately, all three of the persons’ heads looked towards my position.
However, at that moment, I could now clearly see the face of the girl. Although covered by shadow, her beautiful eyes still penetrated through the thin darkness. Her hair moved gracefully around her shoulders. Without a doubt, I knew who that woman was.
“Oh… oh my gosh…” I said, my voice barely able to say anything due to the shock that had just hit me. “Jeh… Jeh… Jessica?”
She looked nearly as surprised as I looked. But she also looked angry. Really angry. And annoyed. Then again, she always kind of looks like that when she’s talking to me.
“JESSE?! What are you doing here?!” she yelled.
“We’ve been spotted, boss,” said the shaved-head guy, in a deep voice. “Whatcha want me to do?”
“Beat the mustard out of him,” responded the suit kid. “We’ll finish this conversation later. I shall take my leave.”
With that, the suit guy slid away into the shadows and was gone. However, the shaved guy started to approach me. He left the shadowy area, and entered the light. Now, I could see him clearly. He was wearing a leather jacket and tight black jeans. His face was very tan, and he had a single black eye. His shaved head glinted in the sun a little.
“Wait, don’t hurt him!” demanded Jessica, who tried to stop him. However, the dude just threw her off when she tried to grab his arm.
“Sorry, lady, but I’ve gotta reap in some justice. This kid is one of those F.O.L.D. goons. For serving that criminal organization, he deserves what’s coming. So stay out of this, or you might get hurt.”
“HEY!” I yelled. “Don’t you dare lay a finger on her. You want a piece of me, huh? Well, come at me, bro!”
“Challenge accepted,” replied the brute.
Alright, I’m just going to be honest. I’m not great at fighting. Yes, I can do basic self-defense, but this guy was tough. Like, as tough as nails. I literally made a clean kick to his stomach, and it did nothing. Then, he grabbed my leg and pulled me to the ground. Then he kicked me in the side a few times. It hurt. A lot. He pulled my limp body by my shirt, and slapped my face.
“You’re weak and pathetic. Nothing but a F.O.L.D. lackey. That’s all you’ll ever be, you know that? You think you’re something, kid? You ain’t. You’re a pile a trash that needs to be burned. And who better to light you on fire than myself, the Ghost Folder.”
He pulled out an origami skeleton guy. I think it was supposed to be Ghost Rider, but I didn’t realize it at the time… since I was, like, in a lot of pain.
“Time to be punished,” stated the ghostly paperwad. Tucking away the puppet, the barbarian was about to give me a serious blow to the head with his fist, but then, he dropped me. I fell onto the ground, curled up in a ball, watching as John Yeargensburg made some powerful kicks and punches that really knocked the wind out of the thug.
“Ah,” said Ghost Folder, wheezing. “A worthy opponent.”
“Look, I’m not really in the mood for a serious fight,” said John. “I do my real matches on a mat. Why don’t you just get your butt out of here and we all call it a day?”
Ghost Folder chuckled. “Surely, you are not also a sniffling F.O.L.D. servant, too?”
John’s eyes narrowed. “Nah, I’m more than that. I’m a karate red belt who is gonna murder your stupid face for picking on an innocent kid.”
“That goes against like, every policy on threats these schools have,” I gasped, still in the fetal position.
“Shut up, Jesse,” John snapped back.
“Hah! He’s hardly innocent, not to mention annoying and snoopy. You honestly want to defend this pipsqueak?”
I wanted to yell a counterargument at Ghost Folder, but I was still hurting. Thankfully, Jessica had come to my side to defend me.
“He’s more than that, you big bully!” Jessica declared. “He’s my friend! My best friend!”
“Look here, buckaroo,” said John. “I’m tired of this already. No one is beating Jesse up, except maybe me. But if you still wanna go, then let’s do it now. And quickly. I don’t want to miss lunch.”
I could also see Tilly in the background, a few yards behind John. She was smiling, happy to see John sticking up for me.
“Very well,” said Ghost Folder. “After all, it’s your funeral.”
With that, Ghost Folder charged forward. He didn’t seemed as skilled as John, but he was a lot taller and heftier. However, John made graceful movements as he prepared to strike his opponent. An epic showdown was about to take place.
However, due to the pain I was feeling, and all the stress of the moment, I think I finally succumbed and went unconscious.
Dang it. I always miss the good stuff.
Team Log 009 (Tilly Waterson):
Well, I just finished writing down an account of the confrontation between “Ghost Folder” and John. However, due to the intense violent nature of the event, Director Adams had me shred all that stuff. He didn’t want anyone, especially the principal, to find out about this.
All that writing work for nothing. Oh well! LOL.
Anyway, I’ve decided to wrap up everything with a few final comments about after the mission. We managed to retrieve Jessica Smith-Holt from Wheeler. The director grilled her, but she keeps claiming that any contact she made with F.O.L.D. would’ve ruined her cover. Apparently, she had gotten deep into Wheeler’s “underworld” and discovered some things which Director Adams is keeping classified for now.
The only one who had received any significant injuries was Jesse, but he shrugged it off and tried to be a tough guy (especially in front of Jessica). He was happy to have Jessica back at F.O.L.D. I think Jessica was happy to be with Jesse, too. Hehe, those two are SOOOOO cute together. I’m totally shipping them.
John had a few bruises, but they didn’t seem to bother him. I’m really proud of that guy. He basically saved the whole mission. Of course, the most celebrated heroes of that day were Lane and Leen. The director did a little ceremony for them, and they went from rookies/trainees to Level 1 Agents. To celebrate both their graduation and a successful mission, the whole team, plus Jessica and Director Adams, went out for ice cream.
Jessica and Jesse sat together at one table, laughing and yelling at each other while sharing a soft-serve vanilla dish. John, eating some rocky road, kept asking “Penn,” AKA Lane, about his pop culture knowledge, while Leena interjected some hilarious comments. Lane and Leena both had chocolate milkshakes. Soon, those two got into an argument over whether a spoon or a straw was better to use for a milkshake.
As for me, I walked over to a nearby bridge to watch the stream below me flow into the distance. It was quite enchanting to watch in the afternoon light. A moment later, the director walked over.
“We’re off-duty and alone, Tilly.”
“Oh, sorry, Trent.”
“That’s more like it. Hey, want a Tiger’s Blood snow cone? I know it’s your favorite flavor.”
“Oh, sure. Thanks. Wait, they have snow cones, too? I didn’t realize that.”
“It’s a recent thing they added to the menu. So, uh, good job in the mission, and all that.”
“Honestly, you did an excellent job. The team worked together perfectly. Lane is something of a computer prodigy. He’s gonna be a useful agent. Oh, and I can’t believe you kept John’s temper in check. He’s been something of a wild horse. He’s got a lot of scars from his past, too. But he worked well with everyone. He’s even socializing!”
“Yeah, we had a little conversation before we went into Wheeler. He’s actually a good guy, once you get to know him.”
“Well, that’s the thing Tilly. Several people have tried to reach out to John, but he’s been real cold to everyone. Then, you come in and totally change his attitude. I was a little concerned about having John on F.O.L.D., since he is so violence-prone. But with your help, I think his position on F.O.L.D. is safe.”
“Wow, that’s great!”
“Yep. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better group of F.O.L.D. agents in all my time as director. I’ve certainly never seen such great cooperation and coordination in a team. You’re going to be a great director someday, Tilly.”
“Hmm. Maybe I will. This whole field assignment has given me a new perspective on the risks that come with being a part of F.O.L.D. But there are a lot of rewards, too. Like seeing people grow and bond. It’s really something, Trent.”
“You’ve matured a lot, too, Tilly. You’re not the same spunky, enthusiastic kid you were last year. You’re a lot calmer and determined… but you still got that burning passion that F.O.L.D. needs to stay alive.”
There was a pause in our conversation. I could hear Jesse doing some shenanigans in the background. I could the flow of the water under the bridge. It was almost like a little river, weaving its way over rocks and other obstacles, moving towards some destination. That stream was kind of like all our lives. All our lives.
John, Lane, Leena, Trent, Jesse, Jessica, me.
Clark, Emily, Robby, Nard.
Dove, Shelby, Adrian, Jude.
Ally, Mars, Andy, Jasmine.
It’s all leading to something. This river. This life. This universe. We live in an ever-expanding universe. We grow. We mature. We learn. We change. But we still keep things with us. We still always have a part of ourselves inside each of us.
Where is this river going to? Where is the final destination?
Or who is the final destination?
“Hey, Trent,” I asked. “Do you have any idea who that other mystery kid at Wheeler was? The one Jesse said had a suit and a tie? Didn’t Jessica talk to him?”
“I told you that was confidential, Tilly,” replied Trent coldly.
“Does that little black box you gave me know who that guy is?” I asked.
Trent was quiet. Then he finally answered. “Yes. It does.”
“That’s all I need to know.”
“Are you going to read it?”
“Nah. I think I’ll wait till you retire.”
For the first time in a long time, Trent actually laughed. A good laugh. A nice laugh. A happy laugh.
I’m gonna keep this off the record, but… uh, I think I might actually have a crush on him. Gosh.
Epilogue (Trent Adams, added after Tilly Waterson finished this case file):
A storm is coming.
Now, nothing will be the same.
Assemble them all.