We joined Mr. Henderson and the two strangers at the board table. I could feel his gaze turning in my direction once in awhile. Ivy kicked my leg under the table on purpose just to give me the ‘what is going on’ look. My friends noticed the way he looked at me. I tried to ignore him and fixed my stare at Mr. Henderson when he cleared his throat. The other old man was also scrutinizing us with his sharp eyes. I felt underdressed, sitting in the board room with important people. Mr. Henderson is wearing a suit which is unusual and Miss Fiona in her formal clothing as well. Only us the young ones in a very casual clothing, excluding the guy who I know him as Joe but now I’m having doubts.
Now to think about it, everything fit in the picture. His attitude, his posture, even now he sat up straight, chin up and watching each of us like a hawk. He’s an agent, a spy.
“It’s been a long time.” Mr. Henderson started. “Of course, our system had been operating excellently without any interference until now.” The old man interrupted Mr. Henderson in a rather rude manner. Mr. Henderson nodded, “I agree with you, Rogers and I assure you this particular mix up would not change our status. However, we need your co-operation to further evaluate the situation at hand.” He paused and waited for bearded man to response. The one known as ‘Joe’ locked eyes with his superior, there was some sort of strained unspoken communication went through between them. He grimaced and then looked at Mr. Henderson.
“We shall proceed to the next stage but before that I believe the rest should know what they are encountering here. Unlike my agents, yours are kept in the dark. They need explanation.” His eyes fell on each of our faces as he said that.
I was grateful for that. At least somebody care enough to let us know what is going on here. Our principal turned to us, “I should as well start with an introduction, as you are well aware, our second in command and the ambassador of the Angels, Miss Fiona Cooper. These are my fine tyros, Miss Adrianna Andwill, Miss Naomi Snyder, Miss Ivy Luciana Hale and Miss Jane Black.” I kept my expression stern as how Miss Fiona did and nodded at the two men. “Joe” raised his eyebrow at me. I pretended not to see that and looked straight at front.
“Girls this is Mr. Rogers Donovan, the head of the Ghost and Mr. Justin Clark, an agent. One of you has met Mr. Justin before.” He said that to me. I nodded awkwardly.
“Miss Jane, nice to meet you, once again.” Justin said to me, his voice rang out full of confidence in the room. I froze a second to see him acknowledging me in front of everyone, formally. I gulped down in my dry throat and simply nodded. I had no idea what to say to him, nice to meet you? I don’t think so. His gaze stayed at my direction as the elders resumed their conversation. This time it’s Mr. Rogers, “Tyros you mentioned?” He regarded us curiously. “Yes, they are still undergoing the training.” Mr. Henderson answered.
“Undertrained tyros sent out for a mission, this is rare and careless, Laurence. They could have jeopardized the mission.”
“But they didn’t.” Miss Fiona spoke up for the first time. “Despite their undertrained status, they had done a great job in the last seventy two hours. They caught three wanted delinquent who had been proven to be working for Drago himself and not to forget they uncovered your agent as well. If not for the involvement of the Ghost, they might have solved the case in a week time.” I watched Miss Fiona in disbelief, never once I thought she would defend and talk highly about us.
“That is a great achievement for tyros. I do not contradict your assessment on your students but them acting against each other would have constitute conflict and could have blown Justin’s cover for the past two weeks. Though the act of young Jane and Ivy breaking into Justin’s residence is admirable, I am not fully comfortable to see your agents seizing the properties of ours. I would like them to be handover to us immediately.” He ended his words with a strong note of demand.
“We will do so as soon as the meeting is over. Let’s not go into the possibilities that could have occurred but rather concentrate on our next strategy.” Mr. Henderson suggested, clearly uncomfortable with the growing tension in the room.
“I’m afraid I need to have a few words with my Agency before I agree on any part of your procedure. I suggest we should organize another official meeting later today with the presence of the each authority especially from both our Agencies to come up with the strategy.” Mr. Rogers suggested diplomatically. “That would be the best for all of us. I need some time to break the news to the rest. You may use our facilities to contact your department and assemble them at our guest house to night. Until then, you may treat the Angels as your institution. Enjoy you short stay.” On cue, both of them stood up. We stood up as well in hurry. After a quick handshake, both of them left the room in a fast walk. I stared at Justin as he walked away and the only word stuck in my head the whole time was ‘Ghost’, what?
All our attention turned to Mr. Henderson but he was already on the phone, talking to someone. Our next option Miss Fiona but she looked defeated for some reason we don’t know. Her old self was back when she notice us staring at her, “I have plenty in my hands right now. Spare your questions maybe tomorrow.” She quickly exited the room, knowing very well we wouldn’t have stayed quiet if she remains here. My friends and I sat at the long brown table in confusion. We need some explanation very badly, our mission status is still a question mark and now the presence of two outsiders is only making things complicated. “Do you think Ray would know the answers?” Naomi asked us. Anna shook her head, “I don’t think so remember the other guy stated that the agents here are kept in dark. Maybe this is highly classified.” Mr. Henderson is standing at the corner front of the room, obviously not wanting us to hear his conversation. He is the only one will be willing to give us explanation here. He and, right! “Miss Raina? We can ask her.” I stood up quickly. My friends nodded and we almost dashed out of the room but Mr. Henderson called Anna, still haven’t hung up his phone. “It’s time. Tell your friends. We will have to talk about it later. I will see you girls in about two hours here.” His words were fast, he resume on the phone after the confusing instruction. We looked at Anna, who is now pale. She looked at us, her expression were scared and guilty. “What is he talking about?” I questioned her. “Let’s talk to Miss Raina first then we can get on to this, okay? I want to know what this whole thing is about.” She didn’t wait for our response. She opened the door and walked out. We followed her with more questions in our head.
We found Miss Raina in her room. She didn’t expect to see us but she understood immediately when we told her we need her help. She welcomed us into her cute room. It is the same size as all other room at Bloc C but they way the room is decorated gave a different mood and vibe. Her table was placed at the front of the window where she could easily turn around and watch the world outside. Her table is filled with a few pictures which we could not see since it’s facing the other way. The sitting area had a muddy colored carpet with bright red sofa and a small glass table with a flower pot. We sat on the couch. “So what brings you here?” She asked us. “Ghost.” I said out loud. “What does that mean?” That is the most ridiculous question I asked ever, I hope she don’t laugh at me. Her posture went rigid almost immediately. She sat straight, “I need more specific question.” She said after a full minute. I could see she’s trying to play safe, not wanting to spill anything that we shouldn’t know. “We met Mr. Rogers Donovan today.”
Understanding set in and she gave us a smile, “It’s your team isn’t it and why I didn’t caught on to that.” She said to herself. “We were informed with the situation this morning but the identities of the agents were not revealed. Now I understand why. I assumed you’re here to know what happened to your mission and about the ‘Ghost’?” We nodded quickly. She clasped her hands together and sank into her couch, trying to come up for the right word to start with, “Where should I start?” She wondered out loud. “Okay, let me put it this way. Our origin, the Angels are from centuries ago. At that time, there were separate kingdoms and states. The concept of the Angels created in order to protect the noble ones. I’m sure you know this from you history classes. The selected warriors were called the guardians, and also the Angels. People started to compare the great warriors in the past as the Angels that had been sent to the face of earth to protect the innocents and the elites. But of course the great era of the so called Angels came to an end when the unsatisfied society or the ‘enemies’ started to put an end to the system. There was a time the members of the Angels decreased. The warriors were unable to keep up with their jobs so the leaders came up with another system, a system that had been kept a secret until to date. A small circle of assassinators and mercenaries were assembled to play a role of helping the Angels in the dark. The new joint circle worked, the Angels had their back up. This new circle was known as the Ghost since they were invisible. And that’s the history. If you reread your books, they did mention about this circle but the name had been removed for today’s sake. What I’m about to share to you now is a secret that none of the tyros this decade knew. Since there is no avoiding now and some of us had been given the permission to talk about it here in this institution.” She paused and waited for the importance of her words to sink in. I realized all of us had been sitting at the edge of the couch, hand gripping the couch or the table. I relaxed my rigid body and waited for her to continue. “Just like the golden days, our government had adopted the same approach. We, the Angels are authorized under the government as the Home of Intelligence. As everyone think of, we were the only one that is running the spy related works in the country. But, our country does have another body, which is also under the acknowledgement of the government, the Ghost. It is the same as ours. There is an Agency and a training institution. As of the traditional method, the government decided to keep the Ghost unseen, and most of the Angels are not aware of such a body. The Ghost is much more classified and confidential. But unlike the past, the Angels and the Ghost don’t work together. Only in the rare moment as now we will or the right phrase, we might work together.” She stopped. I couldn’t believe we were just told about something that almost everybody here doesn’t know. “And nobody knows this Ghost’s existence?” Ivy asked her, her expression was awed. “The senior officers and some selected agents do know, like how you four know now.” She told us. “This is huge.” Naomi stated. “When you said we might work together now, is it because of our mission? Is our mission in such a complicated position?” Anna asked Miss Raina. Miss Raina stood up, “I’m afraid I could only supply you the history. The mission is between you and the related parties. I have no position to make any comment on it. I think Mr. Henderson will be the right person to explain it to you.” We stood up reluctantly, knowing our talk is over. We thanked her and left. We still had some time to kill before meeting Mr. Henderson at the board room. We rushed back to our room and the three of us faced Anna.
Anna sat on her bed. Her face was grave and weighty. We waited for her to speak up. After a few moments she gave us a half hearted smile. “I didn’t know I will have to tell you in this circumstance.” She fiddled with her fingers as she went on. “Okay straight to the point. I heard this by accident at Mr. Henderson’s room for about three months ago. Miss Fiona and him were arguing about not letting us going out and perform a mission. When I confronted him, he told me the reason we are here. Apparently we became a tool for a guy named Drago to fool around with the Angels.” “What?” Ivy interrupted. “Who is Drago?” Anna tried to recall something before she answered, “According to Mr. Henderson, he’s one of the most wanted criminal in the country like a mafia I guess. He’s the one that had sent men to kill Mr. Henderson at the camp.”
“And now he is pissed off because we ruined his killing plan?” I asked her and she nodded. “Exactly.” Anna looked at us expecting some burst of emotions. But we simply sat quietly and process the whole thing. “Okay, what does that have to do with us being here?” Naomi wondered. “He threatened Mr. Henderson that he will harm us since we got involved. Like I told you we got caught in between the two sides. Mr. Henderson doesn’t want us to stay out there unprotected so he thought maybe it’s a good idea to recruit us in for safety and also at the same time we could learn the ways to protect ourselves.” She explained. “Oh.” Was all I could say. All this while I thought we are here for different reason, never thought we are here because we have no other choice. “Okay, now everything makes sense.” Naomi said, more to herself. “So you’re saying our lives are in danger because we interfered that night?” Ivy stood up and started to pace from Anna’s bed to mine. “Yes.” Anna answered. “So all these trainings, going out for mission, is this real? Can we actually be a spy or are these people simply entertaining us?” I asked Anna. My mind had started to question everything happening in this place. “Are we here as a student or they put us here so that it’s easier job for them?” That was from Naomi. “Mr. Henderson told me that even though we are here for a different reason, he seriously wants to consider us joining the Angels but for that he wants us to excel in the missions and in our trainings to prove others that we are not some victimized teenagers and that we are capable of meeting the standards of spies.” Anna informed us. “It’s not a guarantee then.” I stated. “No. But this is the best place for us now. At least until Drago gets caught. Or until we are strong and independent enough to live on our own out there. Look guys, I’m really sorry to keep this from you guys. I didn’t want to burden you with this life threatening news. And…” She paused and her expression was with guilt. “I felt that it’s my fault. I brought this on you guys. If I didn’t invite you to the camp, none of these would have happened. We might as well be watching our favourite drama on the television instead of discussing about life and death. Naomi stood up angrily. “Oh please Anna, could you stop blaming yourself for all these. This is beyond us. I cannot believe you have been walking around with this huge news and guilt. Did you honestly think we would blame you? ”
Ivy sat beside Anna and said, “Hey, this is not your fault. It’s not like you planned this whole thing to happen.” “Yeah, don’t be hard on yourself. None of us knew this going to happen.” I added. Anna stared at us with her troubled eyes, “But I know I’m partly to take the blame.”
We sat quietly for a while, thinking about the sudden turn of our lives. Naomi spoke, breaking the silence, “You know watching favorite shows on girls’ night sound fun and I miss it. But this is much better, Anna. Instead of watching it, we are actually in the drama. Heck how often you get to kick some bad guys’ asses.” Naomi stated with a big smile. Ivy nodded along, “Exactly, we got to know a world we didn’t even know existed. And Jane wouldn’t have met Mr. Justin that couldn’t stop staring at her if not because of you.” I gaped at Ivy in surprise. How did the topic shifted to Justin? I rolled my eyes at Ivy, “That’s not true, Ivy and Anna, they are right, maybe we are destined to be here. So no more blaming yourself okay, we are all responsible for our own action. We are here together. Remember that. No matter what happen, we have each other to lean and share our burden so stop being ridiculous.” I told her. Anna looked as though she’s about to cry but she held herself up. “I’m sorry guys. I thought with all the stress and problems we having for the past months, I wanted to protect you from the truth. I wanted you to not worry at least until we are done with the mission.” She explained. “You don’t get to decide what is better for us, Anna. Putting everything in your head and keeping us out will not help anyone. Don’t repeat this ever again.” Ivy sounded stern but with concern. “Okay. Thanks guys.” Anna smiled at us and I could see her relax as though a huge burden have been lifted from her shoulder. “Thanks, really.” I couldn’t help but smile back.
“Hey, it’s okay. I know this is bad news but we are safe right, then why worry.” I told them, trying to be positive. “Well, that day at the parking lot. That was Drago’s men.” Anna said to Naomi. “Oh.” Naomi’s face went pale.
“We got lucky.” She added. “That’s why we got recruited in the same week. They honestly didn’t expect him to act on his words soon.” We sat still in silence and slowly the truth started to sink in us. “The pictures? Drago?” I recalled the recent incidents.
“I’m not sure but I think that’s the reason Mr. Henderson wants to see us later.” Anna told us. “I didn’t know we are in so much trouble.” Naomi stated and I couldn’t agree more.
I stood up and decided to take a walk. “I’m going to have a cup of coffee. This is too much to process. I will meet you guys at the board room. We have fifteen minutes left.” I left the room and headed to the cafeteria. I thought about the day I got caught and tied down on the chair. I knew they held me there for some reason, now I can strongly say that Drago must have been behind the whole thing. Last two day almost cost my life, our lives. I honestly don’t know how to react to this. The course of my life changes too sudden and often that I don’t know how to deal with it. I walked up to the counter and ordered the caffeine I needed in my veins. There was only a guy behind the counter. He placed the cup in front of me. I paid him while grumbling, “If only you sell pizza or burger, I could stuff them in me in no time.” I sighed, suddenly feeling hungry. The staff gave me a disapproval look which I ignored mindlessly. “I have a candy bar.” That voice. I turned and found Justin standing a few feet away from me, holding up a chocolate bar. Tempting.
“What are you doing here?” I questioned him despite the urge of simply walking away. “I got abandoned and now I’m lost.” His tone was believable and that cause me to scoff a laugh. “The great agent of the super secret organization got lost here. Are you kidding me?” He stepped forward with his lazy smile forming on his face. “I don’t recall anyone calling me ‘great’ but then if you think of me that way, well thank you Jane. I’m flattered.” He told me. I rolled my eyes at him. “Oh please don’t be.” I started to walk away but he hurried to my side. “It will be really nice if you show me around.” He said to me while looking around him. “I don’t like to be nice and I have no time for that. I think you will be fine to walk around all by yourself.” I walked a little too fast. He had no trouble keeping up with me. “Don’t you want this candy bar?” He shoved it to my face. The way he held it is like he’s trying to persuade a little child to do him a favor. “It’s chocolate.” I stopped walking in frustration. I could feel the pressure of the earlier conversation is starting to creep in me. “What do you want, Justin?” I asked him a little too harsh. He assessed my mood with his gaze. “I want to talk to you?” He stated bluntly. I studied his face and noticed the deep brown eyes of his. All this while I was vaguely aware of his good looks and his lean body, the first night I met him I noticed his sharp and elegant demeanor. Yesterday, when he pinned me against the wall, I noticed his fast movement but I never gave much thought about the way he looks. I took this moment to actually study his thick and neatly combed brown hair that shone, showing off the thickness of its colour. His face was the same as that night, the sharp nose and the full lips. The only thing I remembered clearly was his deep chocolate eyes, staring into those now I felt the warmth and with the coffee smell lingering around me, I thought I felt the depth and the richness of the brown eyes. Slowly dragging my eyes from his face, I looked at the warm coffee cup in my hand. A slow smile curved on my face, close enough I thought.
Justin was still waiting for my response, “About what?” I demanded, hiding my smile and the easiness I felt. “Nothing.” He stated. “What?” I frowned at him. “You said you wanted to talk to me right? What is it?” I tried again. “Do I have to have reason to talk to you?” He asked me. “Yeah, if you’re wasting my time I am going to leave.” I told him and started heading out the cafeteria. “Is that how the people here act like? God, no wonder you turn out this way. You need help, Jane.” He followed me. “Justin, I seriously have no time to deal with you so can you go away.” I told him. I’m not sure I want him following me all the way to the board room. “Okay, but are you sure you don’t want this.” The chocolate bar again. I sighed as I stared at the pretty packaging. “Is he troubling you?” I heard someone called out. I looked behind and found Milo.
The last time I saw him was last week. I assumed he went back together with others. “Hi Milo, you are still here?” I asked him. He walked forward, his eyes on Justin. “I decided to stay and volunteer to work at the office. Who is this?” He eyed Justin as though he’s a threat. I have never seen Milo acting strange before. He’s always been the sweet and cheerful young boy. Justin watched him in amusement. “Don’t worry kiddo, I’m not troubling her and even if I am I’m sure she could handle this herself. I have seen her in action.” Justin said playfully causing Milo to glare at him. “Don’t kiddo me outsider.” Milo said harshly. Justin’s seem to enjoy this. His smile grew. I notice the time and I knew I’m going to be late. “Guys I should leave now. Ignore this fellow. He’s just a tourist with very annoying behavior.” I told Milo and started to leave. I stopped after two steps. I know I should have left but I walked back to Justin and grabbed the chocolate bar from his hand. I left without looking back in hurry.