Alexander

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I. In For Life

Rosalina’s POV:

“Agent Rosalina Rivera.” The man circles me. “Do you have any last words? Now, is the time to speak.”

I was trying my best not to stare at his nose, but I found my eyes continuously diverted to it. It’s crooked, like his personality. I wonder who gave it to him, and whether or not I should thank the person. No doubt, it’s the big boss. Or maybe, someone who matches up to the boss. I cannot believe I’m assigned to a lowly mission like this one. “I-I-” I could feel the blood sinking my throat. I’m confident I need to go to the dentist after this. I lost a tooth earlier. “I-I-I-”

With my constant stuttering, his dried lips curved into a smirk. He finds pleasure in my pain.

“I-I-”

I’m surprised he’s so patient with me. It must be the look on my face. The pathetic look of defeat. How else am I supposed to look tied up in a chair with bruises on my sweaty face and cut scrap all over my body?

Then, it arrives. His hyena laughed. I assumed it’s his evil laughter. I bit my lower lip, forcing myself not to laugh with him. More blood trickles down my throat. For sure, he’s only going to slap me again if I do. I can’t take any more damage on my pretty face. I need it to find a proper husband. That is if any man is brave enough to handle a suitcase like me.

He grasped my chin and forced me to look at his face. My gaze dropped to his shoes earlier because I couldn’t handle looking at his unattractive face. The people in the organization get to deal with good-looking criminals. Why am I stuck with all the repulsive ones?

I mean, unlike them, I don’t have to sleep with my assigned crime lord. But, if I had to sleep with the man in front of me, I would rather end my career as a spy. I would jump off a building without a second thought. Hats off to the people in the organization who can sleep with anyone for their mission. I have so much respect for them.

I took a few blinks, and my body sways slightly even with his grasp. I feel light-headed. When is that stupid guy going to finish?

“You know,” he said. His breath stinks...but it smells like steak. I’m so hungry. I skipped breakfast for three days. “If you weren’t such a headache, you would make a good companion for my boys.” In other words, you’re damn gorgeous, and I want to turn you into a prostitute, but I have to eliminate you as quickly as possible since you’re a threat.

“I-I-” My lips continued to tremble.

He smirks, “Regret?”

“I...I hate...I hate your nose.”

Then, without another word of exchange, a bullet slips through his head. And that was my cue. When they approached me, I shifted my position and kicked one of them. No honor, no code. Fight. Win. A light caught my eyes, and a knife was thrown at one of the men. While they were distracted, I slipped towards the corpse.

Diego infiltrated the room, and the blood bath only escalated. “Hello, my fair lady!” He punched a man. “I’m here to rescue you!” He dodges a punch and returns it to another man while I cut myself free.

When I saw someone aim a gun at Diego, I cartwheeled towards him and ended it with a flip. I grasp his wrist and twist it towards me. My elbow punctured his stomach, and he released the weapon. The cartwheel and flip were unnecessary, but I can’t allow Diego to get all of the spotlights.

The boys covered all the exits and made sure there was nowhere to run. Diego kicked a gun in my direction, and I was ready to eliminate everyone. Probably Diego too for being late.

“Don’t look at me like that! Maisey was the one-” He screams. Most likely, Maisey is screaming at him from the earpiece for using her real name. “I mean, Agent 88 told me to wait a bit longer.” Diego hands me an earpiece.

Another bullet penetrates through the window and into another scalp. “Come on,” Arron said. “Wrap this up. I want to go home and eat.” Another bullet enters the room.

“I like-” I cough out blood. “I like to see you on the field, Agent 87.” Arron is our team snipper. As in, he’s in the safety zone.

“Unappreciative to the person who killed three people in the room for you.” We both know he didn’t kill them for me. He killed them because it’s a part of the mission.

I ignored Arron’s comment and scanned my surroundings. I would like to offer them peace first, a chance to surrender on my terms, but I doubt they will take my kindness. No one ever does.

After we finish cleaning up the room, the others finally arrive—fancy helicopters, clean suits, and a tummy full of food.

“Well done, Agent 86 and 89,” he said.

Diego dropped to the ground, “I don’t understand why you guys always show up after we’re done. Can’t you show up during the beginning of the end of the fight?” Diego began his usual tantrums, which everyone ignores.

People start gathering up live criminals and evidence against them. Of course, none which the public will ever know. No one outside the organization would know of what fantastic thing I had done for the country today.

“Why did we have to take him down again?” I ask.

“That’s classified.”

Even I don’t know what amazing things I did for the country.

But it’s part of the job. We answer the call of the government without questioning it. People like Arron, Diego, Maisey, and I do jobs that, for example, the FBI or CIA, are restricted on. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a domestic security service. The Central Intelligence Agency has no law enforcement function and mainly focused on overseas intelligence gathering. Long story short, we are an even more secret organization that gets past the extremely dirty stuff.

We’re known as SAGE.

Special Agents for Global Exploitation.

The "f" is silent.

Sounds fitting, since we can only silently curse our wonderful masters.

Basically, we’re another dog branch of the Northern American government. We’re being used to regulate our own country and the rest of the world.

Don’t worry.

We’re all orphans. No families and only we know each other’s existence, so if we disappear, everything will still be the same. We’re trained to not feel like a shit storm if our partners or someone we know die.

Even I get depressed thinking that.

“Thank you for your proper response.” I patted his chest. In truth, I was wiping blood on his nice pressed clothes. He only smiles in return. Everyone knows I have something against the office workers.

“Where are you going?” Diego rushed after me.

I continue to walk on the broken heel. I want to take it off, but there are glass and pebbles all over the ground. “Where does it look like I’m going? Home.”

“Agent 86, 87, 88, and 89,” the man said. Yes, we’re all numbered based on our enrollment. We’re all from the same orphanage, so they easily picked us all up at once. “You’re being called into the office.”

I cannot believe they called me in after I got out of a kidnapping. The least they can do is give me a break to treat the damn bullet on my shoulder.

“That looks like it hurts,” Diego said.

I glared at him.

He took a few steps back.

“I can treat you on the way back,” Maisey said. I haven’t heard a single peep from her since this morning. Maisey is a woman of very minimum words.

When Diego and I left the building, numerous people entered it to finish everything. Probably figure a way to fabricate a story as to what happened. A helicopter enveloped into the dust. The blades beat the air and tornado towards us. My underwear is exposed.

Well, we’re all professionals so it shouldn’t be a problem.

I caught Diego staring at my underwear.

I smacked his head before we jumped into the helicopter.

“We’re taking off,” Arron said into the headset. He doesn’t trust anyone to fly him because of a mission a few years back. We worked together with a few FBI members, and one of them turned out to be a double agent; nearly killed Arron on a flight.

I sat in the back with Maisey, who started treating my wound. She gave me a pill. “Ah, so much blood.” Thank you for pointing that out, Einstein. My eyeballs nearly roll in the back of my head when she pries out the bullet.

“It hurts,” I complained. “It hurts so much. I want a margarita.” I looked at Diego, who was gulping down a bottle of alcohol.

“I don’t have a margarita, but I have this,” he said.

I snatched it from his hand before he could say another word. This should handle the pain. The toxic drive down my dry throat. “Oh yeah. This is better than sex,” I said. Something about having a drink after hours of being tortured gives the utmost pleasure. It makes me remember how valuable life is and how I can lose it any second.

“Are you okay?” Maisey asked Diego.

He evaluates his body, “A few cuts here and there, but I’m too awesome to be shot by a bullet.”

I glared at him.

“That glare won’t work forever,” he mumbles. “And why aren’t you treating me nicer? I’m the only one out of four of us who works out in the field with you.”

“I’m sorry, but who was the one who took the bullet out of her flesh?” Maisey rebuttals.

“And who was the one who shot that guy who attempted to hit her from behind?” Arron question.

Diego looks at me, “What will you do without us?”

I want to punch his face. He should be glad that the medication Maisey gave is kicking in. I got knocked out for the rest of the ride.

When we arrived at the center base, I could barely stumble out of the helicopter. Diego had to drag me out.

“Well. Well. Here is my favori-” Harris stops talking, “What’s wrong with her?” He’s referring to me.

“I think I’m dying,” I respond.

“She took a bit too much pill on the way back,” Maisey responds. “I gave her one, but she said the helicopter ride is too long for her to stay away and listen to Diego’s nagging, so she took two additional ones.”

“Well, Diego, drag her along.” Harris is used to all of our behaviors. Harris Goddard or former agent 28, is our branch boss. In SAGE, there are ten branches, each with their own boss. We’re the eighth branch hence our numbers. Harris was formerly from the second branch, but he got promoted to become the one who manages the 8th branch. He can be seen as a manager.

It operates something like this: Number 0-9 is from branch one. 10-19 is branch two. 20-29 is branch three, and so on. Including the manager, there are ten people per branch. Branches operate internationally, so we often move around. We rarely interact with other branches; only the managers communicate with each other. Sounds shady? Of course!

Harris threw us a stack of money. I almost tremble in pleasure when I smell the freshly printed paper. Even the sound of it smacking against each other brings happiness.

“Snacks and new machines,” Maisey whispered underneath her breath.

“Guns,” Arron grumbles.

“Puppy!” Diego screams. He got fourteen dogs at home.

Being a secret agent isn’t easy. With everything we go through, each of us develops a different method to coop with our stained morals.

Maisey is obsessed with food and technology. Arron embraces his gun collection. Diego loves dogs. He always picks up strays.

Me?

Well-

“I can finally purchase that diamond I have my eyes on!”

I’m obsessed with collecting priceless jewelry.

“I would like to say a good job on your mission-”

No one ever questions our obsessions. No one ever tells us to save what we earn. After all, what can the dead do with a stack of paper? Yes, dead. We could die tomorrow, so why not enjoy today? Plus, it’s not like any of us can retire.

Once you’re in.

You’re in for life.

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