Chapter 7:

Interlude One: Terry


Monday – 10:00

Terry was printing out mission details for the twins when the alert came, a loud siren sound from his terminal along with red flashing lights. It meant that one of the trucks had crashed.

"Come on old man," demanded Timothy impatiently, apparently oblivious to the emergency at hand. "It isn't like I have all day. I have missions to get to."

Terry quickly stared at the screen and saw the impossible. The truck ID number responsible for the alert belonged to Tobias. He turned on the inner camera feed and saw that Tobias lay unmoving on the steering wheel. He also noticed that there was a K-rank agent in the passenger seat, also unconscious.

"Darn it, Tobias!" he shouted angrily. "You should have told me that you chose a new trainee for yourself."

Terry refocused and quickly took out his phone and made a call. "Hello, this is Terry. Send emergency aid to the coordinates of the truck ID number belonging to Agent Tobias. T-1374. Quickly. There are multiple wounded."

Timothy heard everything. "Oh man, Tobias should have listened. Thomas and I warned him after all. My brother needs to hear about this." He then grabbed the mission details from the printer and rushed out before Terry could reprimand the behavior.

I hope you are still alive, Tobias, he thought as he headed out towards his vehicle, an old taxi. Both you and the kid.

While driving to the location of the accident, Terry reminisced about his first mission with Tobias nearly three decades ago.

* * *

Twenty-Seven Years Ago

"Hey twerp, you coming?" Terry asked. "Or are you scared of trucks now?"

The young man was glaring with mistrust at the large vehicle. "I am NOT scared. But I am not a fool either. I heard that many trucks don't have airbags and I am a little concerned with my well-being. Does it have airbags?"

Terry sighed impatiently. "It might. It might not. You shouldn't be scared of this considering where you transferred from. That other division is a lot more dangerous than TRUCK-KUN."

"That 'other division' is what taught me to be this paranoid," the man retorted. "Essential information like that could easily mean the difference between life and death while on a mission."

Terry didn't argue with his new pupil. As a T-rank, it was highly irregular to be training a new pupil, but due to the newbie's unique circumstances, the manager assigned the promising transfer to Terry, currently at the top of the rankings.

Terry sighed again. "Ok, kid, I get it. Now get in. We are already behind schedule.

The trainee hesitantly approached the truck like it was a hungry shark waiting for drawn blood. He eventually got inside, closed the door, and carefully put on his seatbelt, ensuring that it was securely fastened.

"Bravo!" Terry congratulated sarcastically. "I hope you brought a spare diaper. It's a long ride and I am not stopping until we reach the target location." He proceeded to step on the gas pedal and drove them out towards their assignment.

After a few minutes of silence, he turned on the radio and was pleased to hear City Pop music playing. It was one of his favorite songs, and he sang along with the music. "I'm just playing games. I know that's plastic love. Dance to the plastic beat. Another morning comes." The lyrics repeatedly played for a couple of minutes, and it was his favorite stretch of the song.

After the song ended, he turned off the radio and addressed his new trainee. "So twerp. You picked out a codename yet. It will need to be different than your previous one. Think carefully, since once it's official, there is no changing it."

The new pupil answered immediately. "Toby. That's the name I want."

"Sorry," apologized Terry. "There is already an agent with the code name. He should be retiring in a couple of months, but you still can't use it."

The new trainee thought for a minute and then grinned like he thought of something clever and confidently declared, "Then I want my code name to be Tobias. Then once the old fart retires, I can have people call me Toby."

Terry didn't bother contradicting Tobias, but he knew that scenario that the pupil envisioned was highly unlikely. Plus, Tobias was a good name. He called the manager and made the name official.

They eventually reached the destination, and Terry informed Tobias what the plan was. The target was a girl, and she was a high priority target. He would bait the girl using a remote-controlled cat that would cross the busy road. The girl would then come to rescue it and get hit in the process. It was a good plan. He knew from countless hours of observation that the girl loved cats.

Since he couldn't control the cat while driving, he dropped Tobias off and gave him the job of controlling the cat to make sure it crossed the street on time. His pupil then got into position, turned on the walkie-talkie that Terry gave him, and waited for the signal.

After a few minutes, the girl came into view with a girl by her side. It was unexpected but wouldn't make much of a difference. What worried him, though, was the Lacrosse stick that she had on her. The extra range might make this more difficult. It all depended on timing. Hopefully, Tobias could pull it off.

His worry was for naught. Right on cue, the cat started inching into the street and caught their attention. Tobias made it wait until the truck began moving before walking into the street. It was early, but Tobias bade the brilliant call to make it drop a package and try picking it up to stall for time. The girl couldn't hold herself back anymore and ran to save the cat. She picked it up with her Lacrosse stick and swung it to safety. That was when the truck crashed into her.

The mission was a success, primarily due to the quick improvisation from the new trainee, Tobias.

They had many missions after that and enjoyed the months Terry spent training him. But it was from that very first mission that Terry knew what Tobias didn't yet realize.

That Tobias would become an amazing agent.

* * *

Monday 11:00

When Terry arrived at the scene, the medical crew had already cleaned up most of the mess. He saw the ambulance on the side and quickly rushed towards it before it departed. He saw both Tobias and his pupil passed out on stretchers, and the EMTs were securing them in place for stabilization.

"Please, tell me what their status is," Terry asked the closest EMT. "Is it serious?"

"Their vitals are stable," the EMT said. "Their lives aren't in immediate danger, and base on their breathing, it's likely that they both slipped into unconsciousness shortly after the crash.

"What does that mean?" Terry asked.

The EMT finished his preparations before answering. "It means there shouldn't be any major brain damage and they should be awake before the end of the day."

"That's a relief," Terry said. "Ok, that's all I need. You can head to the TRUCK-KUN hospital now. I will meet you there."

The EMT saluted. "Yes sir," and closed the back doors. The ambulance headed out a moment later.

Terry hurried to the taxi and followed closely behind, praying for their health during the entire drive.

* * *

Monday – 12:00

Terry accompanied the EMTs to the hospital room and impatiently paced the room until the EMTs finished their initial examinations and left after determining that there wasn't anything else to do at the moment but wait.

He checked their faces and saw traces of blood on both of their foreheads. The EMTs cleaned up the wounds well, but bloodstains still remained. Terry carefully cleaned them up further with a wet cloth until the stains vanished.

Content that they were both in no serious danger, he got out his phone, searched his contact list for a while, and then made a call.

"Hello, Tamari. It's Terry. You should come to the emergency room. Tobias got into an accident."