Adam West stretched with his right arm and pushed his dark blonde hair out of his face with his left hand, his light grey eyes still closed, and managed to punch the bedside table by accident. He pulled his hand away quickly, jolting up. He rubbed his knuckle, wincing slightly. That wasn't the best way to wake up giving how tired he'd been the night before. One moment, a peaceful sleep, the next moment, pain. The alarm would have gone off anyway, but that didn't matter. Adam would have much rather woken up to the sound of screeching than an ache in his right hand.
The past three days had been strange. Not only had he and Emma been given a job to do, but they'd also been told that Duffy, a friend of theirs whom they'd met only a month or so before, wasn't who she said she was. She wasn't an Australian girl whom they'd met in Mexico. She was an English MI5 agent sent to judge them. But, even so, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The whole reason why she'd been doing so was so she could evaluate whether or not Adam and Emma were to be trusted with a sensitive task: gathering information from the inside of The Secrecy.
It had come as a shock when Duffy had said it originally, and it still shocked Adam to think about it. He and Emma had barely managed to accept that they'd be tormented with mission after mission from The Secrecy, most likely until death. For that acceptance to suddenly be pulled away and replaced with hope was jarring. Positive, exciting, but jarring all the same.
The alarm went off. Adam silenced it immediately.
The only thing which seemed to be stranger to Adam was his thought-process from the night before. He and Emma had pranced around their living quarters, mock-ballroom dancing to the music of a scene in a film. Why? For fun. It was something to do. But Adam had begun to think of it as something more or, at least, his mind was hinting at the possibility. He didn't like the uncertainty, mainly because he didn't want to view Emma differently. In his eyes, Emma was a powerful girl, very determined but also quite meek. She was his best friend, he was her best friend. They'd had moments which some people would point at and call "romantic" or even "cute," but he'd only thought of those moments as natural. Sleeping in the same bed as her in their hotel in Australia had been a momentary impulse which they'd committed to for comfort reasons. It wasn't anything more. At least, that's what Adam wanted to believe. Complicating their relationship wasn't the best thing to do given that they were about to start sneaking around The Secrecy's headquarters in search of information. Any distraction wouldn't be welcomed.
Adam stood and pulled the wardrobe open. He removed a simple pair of tight, grey jeans and a black t-shirt. Dressing in dark clothing would be beneficial for their mission. He didn't know if he and Emma would begin their task that day, but he didn't want to be caught off-guard and unprepared.
As Adam pulled the clothes on, he whistled lightly and then realised that he was whistling the waltz from the movie scene. He shook his head lightly, slightly amused, before he quieted and continued getting dressed.
When pulling the t-shirt on, Adam paused to look at the almost healed slash on his shoulder. Ricky hadn't done much damage, but he guessed that the injury had been the most damage caused to him over their time in Australia. Despite what he and Emma had been through, being chased through seven floors of their hotel by hitmen hired by Ricky, for example, they hadn't really been hurt. Adam even guessed that the smallest of injuries he'd sustained in Mexico had been worse than all of the damage he and Emma combined had been dealt in Australia. He just hoped that it wasn't a fluke and that the two of them were becoming skilled enough to be resilient no matter the situation. If their next mission would really be their last mission, Adam wouldn't complain if the two of them would get through it unscathed and then move on to better, less danger-filled lives.
Adam sighed. He didn't want to get his hopes up. Any type of failure would ruin the utopian possibility. No, the utopian wish. There was no guarantee that they'd get exactly what they wanted. Maybe they'd be put up for adoption given that they were under eighteen. Maybe they'd be thrown out into the world with no resources, no final school grades, no references, nothing from their past lives, not even any proof of their endeavours across the world.
Adam bit on the inside of his right cheek as he fought, trying to get rid of the thoughts. He and Emma would deal with that when it came to it. If it came to it. No, no. When. When. Besides, Duffy was their friend. She'd make sure that they'd come out on the other side secure. If they’d come out on the other side.
Adam stepped out of his room and into the main area of the living quarters, pausing for a moment when he realised that soon, hopefully, he wouldn't have to see the couches, the desk, the TV, the clock, the kettle and small packets of coffee and tea in a small basket on a table. Hopefully, he and Emma wouldn't return to the open room once they'd left for their next mission handed out by The Secrecy.
Emma was on her usual couch, laying down, meaning that Adam couldn't see her until he walked towards the centre of the room.
"Morning," he said, his voice a little quiet. He felt slightly embarrassed talking to her given that he'd been slightly questioning their relationship the night before. But that didn't matter in reality. She didn't know what he'd been thinking.
"Morning," she replied. She looked up, seeing Adam slightly upside down. "You look tired," she stated, looking surprised. "Still didn't sleep even after all of that time awake?"
Adam raised his eyebrows, surprised. "Really?" He asked. He felt underneath his eyes as if he'd be able to feel the rings staining the skin underneath them. "I slept fine."
Emma let out a small, surprised sound. She brushed a tuft of her straight, fairly long, brown hair from her face and behind her ear. "Strange," she stated, sounding indifferent.
Adam shrugged lightly. He glanced at the TV to see what Emma was watching: what looked like an over-the-top, satire comedy. A punchline was delivered but neither of them laughed as they hadn't seen the set-up. "Come with me," he whispered. Emma barely heard him, looking up with a questioning look. "Come with me," he repeated, slightly louder but not loud enough to let the possible microphones in the room pick up the words.
Emma slid off the couch, standing up. She stepped a little closer. "Where are we going?" She asked, barely muttering the question.
"Bathroom," Adam said quietly, his voice barely a grumble loud enough for himself to hear, something impressive given that he knew what he was saying. "And don’t give me that look," he added, smiling a little, staring at Emma.
Emma had raised her eyebrows in a sarcastic, questioning way at the statement. Adam knew that, in any other circumstance, the moment would have been heavily questioned by whoever he'd said the words to or whoever heard him say such a thing. But Emma understood. They needed to plan, at least at a basic level. They needed to gather information and doing so would require sneaking around. Sneaking around without a plan would be stupid given the possible consequences of being caught.
Adam walked to the bathroom, Emma behind him. "Why the bathroom, then?" She whispered from behind him.
"Private," Adam replied. "At least, legally," he added.
"This isn't legal anyway," Emma replied, suppressing a laugh as she very subtly gestured around herself, referring to the situation which The Secrecy had pulled them into a month or two before.
They stepped into the bathroom and closed the door. It was a decent-sized room, so it wasn't exactly cramped, but it wasn’t very comfortable being stood in such a usually-private area with someone else, especially knowing what anyone watching would be thinking, and especially considering what Adam had been thinking about the night before.
"What're we doing then?" Emma asked, her voice still hushed. She was sitting on the edge of the bath. "You know we have two beds and two couches-"
"You know what this is about," Adam cut her off, not even wanting to hear the joke given how he'd been questioning their relationship the night before. "We need to plan."
Emma nodded lightly. "Okay," she said. "Let's go over the very basics first."
"We'll do it at night," Emma said, holding up her right index finger as if saying that they had one aspect of their plan.
"We'll have to avoid the guards," Adam stated.
"Thanks for that, I didn't know," Emma said, rolling her eyes.
"You know what I mean! We need to figure out where they go and when," Adam explained. "They always have a pattern."
"How do we get that information?" Emma asked.
Adam shook his head a little. "I'm not sure," he said. "We might not be able to get their patterns," he admitted.
Emma sighed and paused to think. "Would it be too dangerous to just do it without knowing where to avoid?" She asked. Adam didn't know, staying silent, and so Emma continued. "If we go tonight, for instance…"
"Tonight?!" Adam let out, surprised. He felt a pang of nervousness at the thought. He'd wanted to plan, now Emma was suggesting that they could just get to it, risk it. "Really?"
Emma shrugged lightly. "Maybe," she replied. Then she nodded. "Yeah, actually. Tonight."
Adam took a deep breath and leaned against the sink. "Tonight," he repeated. Then he looked at the floor and went quiet for a moment, thinking. Would it be so bad to jump the gun and get it out of the way? Would it be reckless? Would they be setting themselves up for failure? If they'd end up ruining their chances of giving MI5 the right information, they'd end up sabotaging themselves, essentially… There was too much to question. Adam knew that it would be best to make a decision on the spot, weighing only the biggest pros and cons. And so…
"Okay," Adam said, nodding a little. He looked up to meet Emma's gaze. "Tonight."
The two of them stepped back into the main room, closing the bathroom door behind them. Adam didn't expect that there were any cameras or microphones in there, but given what Emma had mentioned, he didn't rule it out completely anymore. There was always the chance that Linda had someone watching them for every second of every day.
That brought up the question of what they'd do about the inevitable cameras in the hallways and the rooms they'd be searching, but Adam decided not to worry about it. If someone caught them, they'd simply play it off as if they were being rebellious, maybe that they were bored and wanted to see the rest of the headquarters. What was the harm in that? At least, that's how Adam hoped The Secrecy would look at it. In reality, of course, the harm was that he and Emma sneaking around was for a reason. A catastrophic reason for The Secrecy.
Adam glanced at the clock. "Breakfast in a minute," he stated, slightly relieved that they'd left the bathroom when they had. It wouldn't have looked good had a guard come in to see them leaving the bathroom together.
Emma glanced at the clock as well, nodding lightly. Adam wondered if the sudden fact that they would be sneaking around and collecting information that night was troubling her, making her feel slightly nervous even though she'd been the one to decide on that aspect, but she turned to him and flashed a light, almost hopeful smile.
"You know," Adam said suddenly. "How do you feel about going to the library after breakfast?"
Emma gave him a confused look, then it clicked. He was trying to suggest looking somewhere discreetly just in case they were being listened to.
"Okay," she replied. "I've been getting a little bored of watching a load of movies."
The guard arrived, knocking once on the door before pushing it open. "Breakfast," he said with a monotone voice.
Adam and Emma walked to him, then out of the room. The guard closed the door and they began the journey, walking into the hall and taking a right.
"Out of interest," Emma began, catching the guard's attention. "Why do we have to be collected all the time?"
The guard looked confused for a second. Adam wondered if they'd maybe been told before and they'd forgotten, but the guard spoke. "So we know if anything's out of place," he said.
"How do you know that?" Adam asked. He felt as if he was pushing their luck slightly by persisting with the questions.
They stopped outside of the doors to the cafeteria. The guard gave Adam a strange look, maybe questioning, maybe calling him stupid. He didn't answer, simply pushed one of the two doors open for them to walk through.
Adam stepped through first, taking the hint, Emma following closely behind him. The door shut, the guard having either left or remained to keep watch outside.
As they collected their food, Adam went over the very small amount of information they'd been given in his head. There was a routine for a reason: so that Linda knew what was going on everywhere. And the way she knew that was through cameras and the guards. If anyone happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, she'd know about it. So there wouldn't be cameras in their living quarters giving that it wasn't off bounds for them, the guards, probably not other agents or even people like Scotty. There weren't any ways for them to escape from the room beside walking through the door, so why would there be a need for cameras?
They ate quickly. Adam voiced his thoughts to Emma and she largely agreed with him. "So, we don't need to retreat to the bathroom to talk," she whispered, smiling a little as if she were finding the secrecy they had slightly childish, as if they were debating who had a crush on who and what would happen as a result.
"Basically," Adam said. "We also know that there are cameras in the hallways, at least, because Linda's a control freak.”
Emma nodded. "And that they're always being monitored."
Adam nodded in return. How would Linda know if something were out of place if there wasn't real-time feedback being provided to her? In other words, they had to be careful. It wasn't as if they'd be able to delete the footage of them roaming around the headquarters. They'd have to conceal themselves well.
As soon as they’d finished eating, they met with the guard and, given that they had their time off after having just returned from Australia, there wasn’t a schedule to follow. And so, Emma made the request for the two of them to visit the library.
The guard had no reason to refuse, and so he didn't. He led them to the library, a simple walk. They turned right from the door to the cafeteria, passed a cross-section and walked through the first door on their left. Adam had been there once before, but he hadn't had a proper look around. And anyway, he wasn't interested in the books. He was interested in the free bookmarks.
Given that they were supposed to be off-schedule, Adam guessed that the door to their room would be locked after a certain time. Maybe remotely, maybe on a timer, but it made sense for it to be locked. Adam wanted to know if he could slip a bookmark between the door and the doorframe to keep the lock from working, that being their way out of their room that night.
They faked looking around, gazing at books. After a few minutes, Emma took a book, checked it out, and Adam checked out two simultaneously. They were even the next two books in a series he was reading, so it didn't look out of place. Then, on the way out, he picked up a bookmark from the small container on the desk of the solemn-looking librarian.
Walking back into their room, Adam sighed a little, content. He carried the books into his room, leaving them on the bedside table, before he went back to Emma. He’d folded the bookmark, keeping it in his back pocket, ready to use it when the time would come.
Emma didn’t know what to do with the book she was holding, so she simply laid it on the coffee table and flopped onto the couch, staring at it as if expecting it to do something.
“I don’t know what I checked out,” she muttered as Adam dropped into the empty space to her right.
Adam glanced at the cover and saw that it was very abstract. The cover didn’t give away anything which the story was about.
“Do we need to plan more?” Adam asked, pulling his attention away from the slightly enticing cover of the book. Emma looked at him and began thinking. Then she shook her head lightly.
“I think we’re okay,” she said after a moment. She paused again, clarifying with herself. “Actually, we need to think about where we’re going.”
“Where we’re going?” Adam repeated, sighing lightly. “We don’t know half of what’s here!”
Emma pressed her lips together. “I know,” she said, sounding concerned. “But there have to be a few obvious places to look,” she added, sounding hopeful.
“Like?” Adam questioned. He leaned into the armrest of the couch and stretched his legs slightly before resting them on top of the coffee table.
“Like a…” Emma paused, her voice stretching out the sound as she thought. “Guard’s quarters?”
Adam nodded a little. “We won’t be able to go in and count all of the beds, though,” he said. “Besides, what if there’s another one?”
“Yeah,” Adam clarified. “What if there’s two, one on each side of the building? We don’t know how big this place is- it could be miles long!”
Emma paused and sighed. “Maybe it is,” she muttered. “But we should at least try to find one. Then we’ll have a minimum. That’s better than nothing.
“Yeah,” Adam agreed. “I suppose it is.”
They went quiet as they continued to think.
“What about a main security room?” Adam asked after a moment.
“That’s so vague,” Emma replied, looking a little confused. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, the place with the connection to the cameras,” Adam explained. “There’ll probably be controls for remote-controlled weapons, there’ll obviously be a live camera feed for us to study…”
Emma nodded. “Yeah,” she said. “But where will we find somewhere like that?”
Adam shrugged. He had no idea. It wasn’t as if the control room for the building’s defences would be highlighted with a neon sign and an arrow pointing to the door. If anything, it would probably be even more hidden than necessary. So where would it be?
“Reckon it’ll be close to Linda’s office?” Emma suggested after a moment. “If the cameras are linked to the room, and Linda’s so cautious about what’s going on and why, she’ll probably want to be close enough to the room to be able to hear of anything going on as soon as something progresses.”
“Maybe,” Adam said. He began considering the idea. It made sense. Why wouldn’t Linda want something so important to be close to her? She’d have direct access at all times, a guarantee of new, accurate information if anything were to go wrong. It wouldn’t be logical to have the room anywhere else other than directly outside of her office, or at least close-by.
“Anything else, then?” Emma asked. She stretched, sinking into the couch as if trying to tell Adam that she was getting bored and that she wanted to do something fun, maybe that she was tired, even. She laid her legs beside Adam’s on the coffee table as if trying to emphasise that idea.
“Can you think of anywhere else we need to go?” Adam asked her. He didn’t have another idea. Maybe that was because he was still struggling to fully comprehend that they’d be using whatever plan they’d come up with that night as they wouldn’t have much time to change it. That was a scary thought, especially given that the best plans would logically take a long time to come up with and that they’d probably be altered again and again in order to find the best solution to the problem.
“The hangar,” Emma said after a moment. She put her hand to her face and rubbed it lightly, a similar action to what anyone would do after waking up. “I can’t believe we almost forgot the hangar.”
Adam chuckled a little. “Of course,” he said in a deep, quiet voice. “We need to know what weapons they have.”
“We could also do with visiting weapon storage, then,” Emma said, but Adam shook his head.
“There won’t be anything more dangerous than a rocket launcher, and I highly doubt that the guards will be allowed to wield them, especially given that this is their headquarters,” Adam reassured, though a small voice in the back of his head was questioning the statement. It was Linda that MI5 would be dealing with, at least indirectly. If she were okay with kidnapping teenagers and forcing them into field work- battlefield work-, she’d almost definitely be okay with having a hole in the wall of the hangar.
Emma gave Adam a questioning look, as if asking him if he was completely certain that they wouldn’t need the information, and so Adam continued.
“The guards won’t use anything more than a submachine gun,” he assured. “I promise.”
“Don’t promise me, promise MI5,” Emma said, an unsure look on her face, though she let the topic go. She shook her head lightly. “So, we need to go to the guard’s quarters, the main security room and the hangar.” She repeated. “Is that it?”
Adam thought for a moment. Was that it? It wouldn’t be good for them to give an incomplete set of information to MI5, and he definitely didn’t want to have to go through the trouble of sneaking around twice. To him, it seemed like the worst thing to do. Sneaking around twice would mean twice the likelihood of being caught, questioned, found out, probably killed as a result. It would double the chances of them failing MI5. But, then again, visiting more places, looking for more information, would mean spending more time in the open, sneaking around. That would also increase the likelihood of being caught, questioned, found out and probably killed.
“I think so,” Adam said after a moment. Those three were the main pieces of information. If there was something else, MI5 would be able to deal with it. It wasn’t as if they had two agents to cope with the whole thing, they had an entire squadron, probably multiple squadrons. They’d be fine.
Emma sighed, almost with relief. “Good,” she said. She pulled her feet off the coffee table, stood up and stretched lightly. “I’m tired.”
“You were just sat down,” Adam muttered, not understanding what she was getting at.
Emma turned around and looked down at him with a mocking gaze. “Mentally tired,” she said. “It’s a lot to deal with, you know. Thinking about what we’ll be doing for MI5 tonight.”
Adam winced a little. Even though he’d managed to assure himself and Emma that there weren’t any cameras or microphones in the room, he still didn’t like the idea of openly and loudly discussing the plan, the mission, that they were working with MI5. If there were cameras or microphones, or if someone walked in, they’d be dead. Figuratively and probably literally, too.