Alpha Agency. Beta Team 1. Delta Team 2. Gamma Team 12.
One could argue that the chief of Alpha Agency had an affinity with the Greek alphabet. Which wouldn’t be incorrect, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it would be correct either. The story behind the names of both the agency and the teams all stems from Chief Richard “Zero” Kessler and his many trips to Greece during his time as a field agent. I never bothered to ask whether those frequent trips were for personal pleasure or for actual business. Mainly because I didn’t – and still don’t – care. His life was like a real-life fairytale. He went on a mission in Greece, met a girl, and fell in love and since she was Greek, he used the Greek alphabet as titles when he became chief and renamed the agency.
At some point or another, they get married and come to the awful decision to have kids. In my opinion, child-hating tyrants like him shouldn’t have children, but they start their family and it’s not too long later that he’s appointed to Chief Zero. If you were to address him as anything other than “Chief” or “Zero” you’d end up lying in a ditch somewhere with a bullet embedded in your skull. Over the years I had found that he detests the shorter, nickname version of his original name. Especially since I’m the only one who dared to call him that to his face.
It wasn’t always like there was this spiked wedge between the two of us. We used to get along really well. I suppose in some ways I looked up to him. I had no parents of my own after my mother died in a car crash when I was little, and my father dumped me into the agency as soon as he possibly could. He claims it was because he wanted me to get a head start on my training. No five-year-old needs to know how to kill people.
I grew up in the agency just like my older brother and sister, but the three of us never saw each other. We weren’t close. Too much time spent training. Too much time spent killing. It was only after my brother and I were placed on the same team for missions that we actually established a bond. Up until that point we were nothing more than strangers to each other. I guess in a way Zero raised me. He oversaw my training, gave me a room at the agency, and checked up on me after all my missions.
Chief Zero seemed to take a liking to me. That was in no way a bad thing. At the time. Over the years though, we ended up not seeing eye to eye, it mostly stemmed from the fact I was nothing more than a trophy to him. A trophy that was perfect for showing off, but he and I both knew I couldn’t be replaced. I’mvery happy to say that I could get under his skin in a way no other agent can. Zero has five basics rules. Obey these rules and not only will you be on Zero’s good side, but you’ll also be a completely mindless drone whose sole focus is to bow down to Zero’s every wish and command like a devoted lap dog.
These “rules” were as follows:
Every Agent has to be on a team. No solo agents allowed
Every Agent must respect superior agents.
Agents must follow orders to the letter.
No questioning, reprimanding, or arguing with superiors.
No fights on agency grounds.
Within Zero firmly establishing these new rules five years ago, I had managed to break every single one of them. It really wasn’t that hard to do. Also, I’m fairly certain he had established these rules specifically for me. He denies it of course.
The first one was by far, the hardest to break. That one actually took me a couple years. Of course, it had never been my intention to break that rule. After an unfortunate incident that I’d rather not ever discuss, let alone think about, I had been left without a team of my own. Unfortunately, policy states that any agent left without a team has to be reassigned to a new one. No exceptions…until me. I went through twelve other teams before Zero had no choice but to allow me to work solo. According to him, I don’t “play well with others.” Shame.
The second rule was broken within the hour of him establishing it. Now, five years ago when these rules were established, I actually did have a lot of respect for Zero. Granted he was starting to get on my bad side, but at the time I still respected him, so he wasn’t the problem. He wasn’t the reason the rule got broken. The problem was with his pompous ass of a second-in-command. Agent 53 and I didn’t get along in the slightest. I’d rather take a swan dive into an active volcano than have to deal with him. Mostly I just ignore him, but the guy has had it out for me from the moment I “accidentally” shot him in the leg during training. He’s always trying to find some way or another to screw me over.
Rule number three . . . yeah following orders was never my strong suit. When it came down to it, the superiors were never there. They could get on me all they want about how I was supposed to do something this way or that way, but ultimately they weren’t there, and it was always up to me to make the call while I was on the mission. I did whatever was needed even if it wasn’t what they told me to do and I’d suffer the consequences for it later.
Then there’s rule number four. I’m pretty sure anyone can guess how that worked out. That rule was broken the second he put up those five rules in the first place. What can I say? I don’t like not knowing what I’m getting myself into and I’m not one to nod my head politely and walk into a mission with only half the picture and cloth over my eyes.
Last but not least, the rule about no fights on agency grounds. Surprisingly, that rule lasted quite a while. Not as long as rule number one though. The first fight I ever got in with another agent while we were still on agency grounds, was in the hospital wing, with Agent 2.
Now I had never even met the guy until then, but I had heard plenty about him from my brother. Both my brother and him had trained together when they were younger, but neither one of them got along with the other. The two of them hated each other with an admirable passion and since one of the two happened to be my brother, I never heard the end of it. That also caused me to have a rather biased opinion when it came to the situation between Agent 2 and my brother. Why those two hated each other, I’ll never know, and I don’t necessarily ever want to know.
Agent 2 had been getting checked over after his previous mission for a concussion, and I had been getting my stitches removed. We were both in the waiting area and he happened to be talking quite loudly to another agent. He was saying some things about my brother that I didn’t really appreciate.
Let’s just say, he didn’t have a concussion walking in, but he definitely had one walking out. My brother also took a swing at him later but that’s not important.
When looking back on rule number one, I probably should’ve realized sooner that Zero wasn’t likely to give up that easily. Zero likes his teams. He likes having a group of agents out at a time as it decreases the risk of anything happening to any of them individually . . . but that’s not always the case. I know that better than anyone. Unfortunately, Zero knows me better than I’d like him to, because he knows exactly what to say-exactly what corner to push me into to get what he wants out of it.
Well, game on.
Throughout my entire childhood I’ve been given many “life lessons” as they would call them.
And these were never the basic life lessons most children were taught like; Staying away from strangers, or how to tie your shoes. No, you were already expected to know those. Instead of tying your shoes you were taught how to twirl knives, instead of not talking to strangers you were taught several different ways on how to kill them if need be. Of course, there was always that one life lesson that was drilled into your head more than any other.
Always expect the unexpected.
I’ve gone through my life always on the alert, always following this stupid mantra. I personally believe it should be the agency slogan or painted in big block lettering across the outside of Alpha Agency headquarters. Lately I’ve been real tempted to spray paint it there myself. I’d like to say that I can expect the unexpected, but the fact of the matter is that I can’t. If I could my team would still be alive. I have however, gotten really good at noticing things that would otherwise be missed by pretty much any other agent.
That is why it doesn’t escape my notice that every other agent has cleared out of the gym.
The agency’s huge, with most of it going through a series of underground tunnels. The hospital wing, gym, weapons room, shooting range and agent rooms are all part of the underground portion of the agency. The offices, cell block, cafeteria, and conference rooms were all on the top two floors of the agency. The thought process of putting the cell block on the first floor instead of underground was that if someone ended up bombing the agency, most likely the only people that would end up dying would be the criminals. Since most of the agents spend their time either out on missions, or in the underground portion, casualties on our end would be minimum if a bombing were to ever occur.
So far, no one’s been that stupid. But there’s still time.
I’m currently in between missions. I just got back from one two days ago and this is by far the longest time I’ve spent at the agency in a long time. Normally I just go from one mission to the next. Since Zero hasn’t assigned me another mission as of yet, I decided to go to the gym, and had since begun sparring with Agent 91.
Agent 91 is around twenty-six or twenty-seven years of age. I never really bothered to ask him his age, or his name for that matter. To me, he is simply Agent 91 and to him, I am Agent 13. Names are not important. We aren’t exactly what you’d call friends, but we are in no way strangers either. We never hang out or do anything outside the agency but if I ever need some information about any of my missions or fellow agents, Ninety-one will get it for me without question. He’s like me in a way. He had a team once upon a time but now he’s a solo agent. Unlike me, he doesn’t go on any missions anymore. He’s one of Zero’s top agents and oversees all the filing, as well as being one of the few pilots we have to fly the agents out where ever they need to go.
I had started noticing the other agents filing out of the gym slowly, about halfway through sparring with Ninety-one. It started with the few agents on the treadmills, followed closely by the couple using the punching bags, then the ones lifting weights, and finally the other groups that had been sparring next to us.
I look curiously at Ninety-one who doesn’t seem to notice that we are now the only two people in the gym. He pauses when he finally notices my attention is now elsewhere.
“Something wrong?” He asks me. I just continue to stare at him with my eyes narrowed. I know exactly what is going on now. It was his idea to spar today, and there’s only one reason for that. He’s trying to distract me and keep me in one place. Finally, he holds his hands up in surrender. “I was just doing my job.”
I glare at him before turning on my heel to leave and almost crash right into Zero. I cross my arms over my chest and keep my face blank as he stares down at me.
I peer around Zero to look at the door, which is now being guarded by a couple of agents. Zero’s personal guards. I curse him under my breath and turn my attention back to him, expressing with a deadly glare just how much I want to be talking to him. He ignores it.
“We need to talk,” He says.