The following is a letter we received from an unnamed operative.
The information you are now reading is extremely dangerous. In the wrong hands it could ruin everything we have worked for.
Our intelligence has reported sightings… You will have to read this file to understand. I have put this together based on the facts we have collected and the facts reported to us by various operatives and agents.
Beware. By reading this you are putting yourself in danger. Look over your shoulder and out your window. Be careful going out alone. Be on your guard for any suspicious activity. No one is safe now. Read this to better prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
No matter what happens, do not let this book fall into the wrong hands. Watch out for people in restaurants, offices, even your own home. If they have found you contact U-POT immediately and hide this book from the people hunting it.
Remember, they will stop at nothing. If they have a chance to get this file from you they will not hesitate to do so. Do not give them that chance.
The stakes are high and the fate of all lies in the balance. Are you ready to turn the page?
atarina sat in the waiting room of U-POT headquarters. She had never enjoyed this place, nor did any other wise agent. It was a place filled with uncertainty.
Many a lazy, irresolute or, often enough, traitorous agent had sat in this very room; perhaps even in the same seat she was sitting in at this very moment! If you should happen to lose your job here you would lose your memory. U-pot took no unnecessary risks (which is odd since spying is full of risks), never since that terrible incident with the USSR.
When her name was called she hesitated a moment then she began an awkward shuffling gait, for which she was immediately reprimanded for and was ordered to hurry up and not to keep Donovan waiting. “Oh no,” she thought “I bet this is about the food fight in mess hall this morning!” She had never heard of anyone getting fired over a food fight, but she supposed it was possible.
Donavan’s office was neat and tidy without a pencil, laser pen, grappling hook or pistol out of place. Her escort knocked twice on the door.
“Come in,” said Donovan in his usual, absent minded nature.
“Hello, sir. You wanted to see me, sir?”
“Ah yes, Katarina” he said, looking up from a file he had been decoding. “I wanted to talk to you about-”
“Sir,” she put in hastily, “it wasn’t me who started the food fight in mess hall this morning, honest!”
“Food fight? I haven’t heard anything about a food fight. But,” he added, “I’m sure we can make time to talk about that later. I wanted to tell you that we, U-POT that is, not me, are sending you to Romania. You will be on loan there for the next four months to the AGENCY.”
“Which one?” she asked, “Romania has quite a few.”
“The AGENCY.” he said.
“Woah! They are totally low on creativity!”
“No!” he said, clasping his head in his hands, “The AGENCY! It’s an acronym!”
“Oh… What’s that?”
“What in the world? What grade are you in? I’ll have to make sure that U-POT patrolled schools have better work taught, can’t have dimwitted agents you know. Not that you’re dimwitted!” He said hastily to cover his gaffe. Donovan started rambling, truly embarrassed, until he fell asleep.
After a minute or two he woke up again, then realizing she was still there he said, “Oh yes, an acronym is a set of words that when you put them together in a row top to bottom, and take the first letter of each word, and then put those letters together they make a word or set of words, now, that is very confusing because then the words run together and you must add in punctuation and spaces and all that lot in by yourself.
The AGENCY is the Association of Gentlemen Endeavoring to Neutralize Catastrophes for Yurope.” He shook his head disapprovingly, “The attempts we make at the English language… They do not have the best translators; I’ll leave it at that.”
Katarina did not really care all that much but she politely nodded her head anyways.
Donovan was 42 years old, had a terrible short term memory, and a bad case of narcolepsy (sleeping triggered by certain emotion(s)) on account of this, he often dozed off in the middle of intense conversations. No one had quite figured out what emotion triggered his narcolepsy. Donovan himself had tried more than a few times to figure out what caused it, and more than a few times he had failed. The main reason for his repeated failure was to the fact that every time he was close to making a breakthrough he fell asleep (ah, the bitter irony of it all).
He had black hair that, to his extreme displeasure, was peppered with gray, darting blue eyes, and olive skin. All in all he was quite handsome indeed.
Katarina was seventeen years old, but amazingly smart. She had finished a whole year of college before the U-POT scouts had discovered her and her uncanny abilities. She was quite short, something that she quite despised, five foot two inches; with jet black eyes and trunk load of spunk, she made quite the character. She too had black hair, but hers was dyed that color. She was an orphan so her vast knowledge was an amazing attribute to her already sparkling personality.
Now, of course, I must tell you about U-POT, which, as you have most likely gathered, is a spy organization. And so it is. It stands for Ukrainian Protection Organization of Tomorrow. It is, as the name implies, located in Ukraine, a small country about the size of Texas located in Eastern Europe. Go check a map for it.
Have you found it? Good job. Now find Romania. These two places play vital parts in this book.
Now that you know most of the background of the story (I, of course, cannot tell you all of it, for then, what good would the story do?), which I will now begin to tell you, we must get back to the story itself.
atarina went to her institute dorm to pack for Romania.
The dorm was equipped with two water beds and two lava lamps (bought at a yard sale, her roommate’s idea) on two neon orange side tables with homework scattered on top of them. Katy thought it looked like a hippy’s bedroom.
The room was filled with odds and ends, such as a laser pen or two (which were occasionally mistaken for normal pens, which then created quite a problem), a button camera vest, a fake pistol each (even if they were spies they were only a little over sixteen (that was the age limit)), they had tazers ( in case of an emergency), a couple of chests filled with disguises (they were always open and the disguises were spilling on the floor, and then there was the normal mess, school books, clothes, towels, and such.
Her roommate had not yet returned from study hall, so she began to pack for the four month loan to Romania by herself.
“Good thing I’m not going to Siberia,” said Katarina to herself, “Yulia went last year and came back with pneumonia and has been acting so weird lately, like she doesn’t know people she’s known for years…Almost like she was brainwa- No, that couldn’t be it could it. Could it?” She puzzled over that thought for a moment then shrugged it away and went back to packing.
She threw in her socks (none of them were normal looking), one zebra striped dress with a green polka-dot sash (she was in love with zebra stripes), two different disguises (and three wigs to go with the disguises), and about ten pairs of jeans; ah, I have not told you about her pants!
Katarina's fashion tastes are, well, trendsetters (or embarrassing, it depends on who you ask). She can make pretty much any outfit look good on her. Not a single pair of pants are alike in her closet (more like her floor, but why argue over trifles), she has bell bottoms, tye-dyed skinny jeans, boot cuts, pants with zippers, pants of all kinds of colors- neon green to bright and beautiful shades of red. Does she have shirts and jackets to match? No.
She threw in a favorite shirt of hers; she had worn it the first day she came here. It was green with blue stripes and an anime girl.
Katarina paused. Had it been five years already? She remembered the day she came to U-POT vividly.
She had been twelve, begging on the streets. She remembered tugging on a man’s coat and asking for money. He had slapped her so hard she toppled over. His hand smelled sour like alcohol and puke. He kept on kicking her even after he had fallen.
She did the unthinkable for a girl of her age. She swung her foot out, tripping him. The man had landed less than gracefully. Katy had scurried over before he could get up and she had her small knife to his throat.
His gun went up to her temple and he grinned a sour, toothless grin, then the gun was kicked out of his hand. Her vision swam and everything went black.
When she woke up she was in an infirmary with a man standing over her. She tried to get up but he held her down.
“No.” he said, simply.
Katy had glared at him, “Yes! Now let me up!”
The man smiled, Katy noted that his breath did not smell like rotten meat.
“Where am I?” she asked, trying to look as gruff and as grumpy as possible (which is very hard to do when you’re being held down on a hospital bed and wearing a nightshirt with hearts all over it.)
“U-POT infirmary. You were asleep a long time. How are you feeling?”
“Like I’m being held down on a hospital bed.” Katy said, glaring at the man.
The man smiled again, which annoyed Katy, “I’ll stop holding you down if you stop trying to get up.”
“Okay, then. Suit youself.”
“I thought you might say that.” He took his hand off.
Katy immediately attempted to get up. He held her down again. She tried to bite him but she couldn’t reach so she tried kicking him instead. He winced but that was it.
“Let me up!” she yelled.
“Doctor ordered you to stay lying down. I’m Donovan, by the way.” he said calmly.
“I don’t care what some stupid doctor has to say! Let me up!”
“Tsk. Tsk. Stupid is a strong word.”
“Stupid, stupid, stupid!” she yelled defiantly, “Let me up!”
Katy struggled against him for a few minutes, then gave up and laid still.
“Good girl. I’ll go bring the doctor back in.”
She didn’t know why but she stayed lying down until the doctor came in. He prodded her with a few sticks and left.
She and Donovan had a long conversation after that and he got up and left. In the morning she was told she’d been accepted to U-POT. She and Donovan hadn’t spoken a lot, just brief sentences as they walked down the hall.
However, that was the past and she didn’t want to dwell on the past. Instead she thought of tomorrow. Tomorrow, she’d be in Romania. She couldn’t wait.