Stewart's Final Assignment - A Short Story Prose in Secret Agent Someone | World Anvil

Stewart's Final Assignment - A Short Story



Stewart Princely voiced by Jeff Rose
Ezekiel voiced by Ossiah White
Kay voiced by Ossanngela White
Lin voiced by Tram Anh
Mr. E voiced by Devin Powell
Written, Directed, and Edited by Ossandra White (me)

 
 
 

Read it Yourself

"It's time for your Final Assignment," Mr. E said in a stern voice. "I will assign you all to groups of four to carry out this task."
  I wasn't paying much attention to Mr. E. I just sat there fidgeting my fingers thinking about all the stuff I had learned since being drafted into W.I.L.L.O.W.I.S.P. and joining the Junior Sprout program. All the past assignments I'd completed, all the test missions, all the homework, even my big essay. I thought about how I felt when I first learned about Someone and how much I wanted to be like him. I thought about how he became an instant inspiration. Something to strive towards. I thought about how determined I was to prove msyelf to the organization...to him. I thought about how they finally decided to actually assign me to shadow under him and Constance. I knew Commander had to have pulled some strings, but I was genuinely impressed with myself for making it so far. I thought about all the maneuvers I conducted under such awesome mentors. Though Someone was annoyed by me, Constance really seemed to take a liking to me. I could swear I'd grown on Someone, too, after a while.
  Now, I was basically at the end of the line. After this Final Assignment, I'd have to carry out my Final Shadow. That meant I wouldn't be working with Someone and Constance anymore. I was growing up, and it was a good thing that I'd become my own agent, but I was still disappointed. I sure would miss them. I'd miss everything. The world is scary when things change. When things are new. What would happen after I completed my Final Shadow? What if I failed?
  My thoughts drifted back to being a regular kid at home. My parents thought I was at some normie summer camp. There was no way I could tell them about how I was doing. Even if I did tell them, would they be proud or would they tell me that I had to work harder? That none of this mattered? That it was all useless garbage? That I should be focusing on real school and getting good grades? That I should be trying to aim to get into a prestigious college where I could get a degree in a field that would make a lot of money? That I was being a disappointment and focusing on all the wrong stuff? I bet they would, even if I told them I was out here trying to save the world as they knew it.
  "PRINCELY!" Mr. E called.
  I jolted out of my spiraling thoughts and looked upat Mr. E, breathing heavily. There were three kids standing against the wall beside him staring at me as if they had been waiting for a long time. Was this my crew? Great. I apologized and stood up before flashing an awkward smile.
  "Together, you will decide which of you will be the leader," he said.
  I made my way over to them, inhaled, and nodded, glancing at the teens assembled around me. I recognized some of them, but my mind was still blurry. I couldn't focus on anything. We had to stand there for the rest of class while he called up other groups of students. I found myself staring into blank space as my thoughts were dragged back into a swirly jumbled mess. Once all the Sprout groups had been assigned, Mr. E began to address us but the bell rang. Everyone grabbed their belongings and rushed out. I tried to as well, but I felt sick. Dizzy. Like I was moving slower than everybody. I wanted to sit but I needed to get out of there.
  I walked into the hallway and my vision began blurring. My ears were muffled. I had to get outside. I barreled through the doors and sat on the nearest bench. The sun was shining. The air was calm. The birds were singing. It was peaceful and serene. I sat trying to regulate my breathing. I closed my eyes and leaned my head against my backpack. Before I knew it, I was out.  
  "Who will be the designated Base Op?" I heard a girl ask.
  "That would be me. I'm the guy in the chair," called a response.
  Another voice. Ezekiel. He was the boy I recognized. Wait. I recognized the girl, too. Her name was Kay. I kinda thought I'd seen the other kid around, but they were turned away from me so I wasn't quite sure. I lifted my head and sat up. Ezekiel was sitting on the bench beside me and Kay was sitting on the grass next to the other kid.
  "Hey. Stewart's awake!" Ezekiel shook my elbow. The kid sitting next to Kay turned around with a smile. That's when I recognized; it was Lin.
  "Hi," said Kay.
  "Hey, Stewart!" Lin said.
  I smiled and nodded, waving a weak hand at them.
  "So, we were just discussing the plan, and we think you should be the leader." Ezekiel smirked.
  "Me?" I raised an eyebrow.
  "Yeah." he nodded.
  I glanced at Kay and Lin. They didn't seem opposed to the idea, but to say they shared the same enthusiasm would be a stretch.
  "Uh, guys, are you sure Lin shouldn't lead?" I asked. Lin was good at all the classes, always getting straight A's. Queit kid, but everyone knew to listen up when Lin actually did say something.
  "...well, okay. Fine. But I'm gonna stay being the guy in the chair." Ezekiel folded his arms.
  "Nobody's trying to take your spot, Zeke." Kay rolled her eyes. "But, wait. Why do you even want to be a Base Op so bad? Aren't you training to be a Field Agent?"
  "He is," Lin said, "but teachers always think he'd make a better Base Op."
  "Exactly." Ezekiel smirked. "They want a Base Op, they'll get a Base Op."
  Kay's eyes still lingered on him skeptically. This worried me. He would always do cool things that earned him a lot of Base Op cred from the teachers, but he openly complained about this. Something was strange about him being dead set on doing it for his Final Assignment. Maybe he wanted to do what teachers thought he was best at so that he could most definitely pass. No. The idea didn't sit right with me. That smirk on his face made me afraid that having to rely too heavily on him would end up working against us. Lin only shrugged.
  "Whatever." Kay stood up.
  "YES. The dream team. What should our name be?" Ezekiel got up, too.
  "Do we really even need a team name?" Kay asked.
  "Uh YEAH. And it has to be something SUPER COOL..."
  The two started walking back into the building. Lin got up and gestured for me to follow, so I did.
 
  Over the next few days, our little group spent a lot of time together coming up with a strategy...and a team name, thanks to Ezekiel. Even though I was anxious about everything, I didn't let it show. Everyone was so excited and determined to do their best. I needed to be strong, too.
  We ate lunch together and discussed our plans...
  "Ezekiel, you're in the chair. There is limited communication down there, so try not to use too many lifelines unless it's absolutely necessary. You should have eyes on us, but if something goes wrong, let us know," Lin said. "And, if one of us reaches out to you, be sure to respond right away."
  Ezekiel stared at his lunch, seemingly lost in thought. "Ah. The Heliotrope Troupe" he finally blurted.
  "The what?" I scrunched my nose.
  "Our team name."
  "Zeke! Are you even listening to Lin???"
  "Yeah yeah yeah," he said
  "Then you heard you were supposed to respond right away. If you can't do it now, how can we trust you to do it while we're in the maze?"
  "Oh yeah. Right." Ezekiel saluted. "Got it, Lin. Will do."
 
  We hung out after class to practice combat...
  "Kay, you're the agility of the group. Also very nimble. You'll be able to sneak down the hall and avoid posted cameras and guards while Stewart and I distract them," Lin said.   "You got it." Kay nodded before doing an aerial somersault.   "Stewart, you're with me. We can both fight off the guards, but I'm still going to have to keep an eye on everyone."   "Don't worry. I've got a green belt in Bondo. I'll protect you," I said with a wink.
  Lin cracked a smile, then glanced back at Kay. "Though I'm betting you won't get caught, you have to be prepared just in case a guard does see you."
  "Bring it on," Kay said confidently, flipping her hair.
  "I'll spar with you. Ezekiel can spar with Stewart." Lin nodded, stepping into a back stance.
  I looked over.
  "Zeke?" Kay called, but he wasn't paying attention.
  "The Champaca Champs!" Ezekiel gasped.
  "EZEKIEL!!" we all shouted.
  "Huh?"
  "You're sparring with Stewart," Kay said, exasperated.
  "Oh. Okay." He walked towards us but then stopped. "Wait, why? I'm the Base Op, remember?"
  "I know," Lin sighed, "This is just so that Stewart can practice."
  "Right," Ezekiel said, finally joining us.
 
  We used our break to work on communication...
  "We're going to have our WispNavis but, like I said, there is limited capacity," Lin warned us. "Do your best to conserve energy and try not to send off too many signals, because doing so can also alert guards of our location."   "I got it. The Petrichor Four!" Ezekiel shouted out of nowhere.
  "The what?" Kay was annoyed and confused.
  "Petrichor is the earthy smell that occurs immediately after rain," Ezekiel explained. "We're going underground, and then we're rising up with the sweet smell of victory."
  "Oh." Kay smiled a bit.
  "Clever," Lin said after a moment of thought.
  “Nice. I think you really struck gold, there," I told him. "The Petrichor Four. I like it.” It was kinda corny but the name wasn’t too bad, actually. It sorta had a...ring to it. Plus, finally settling on a name made Ezekiel pay more attention to planning.  
  We even talked on the phone from our dorms late into the night. Most of them fell asleep on the phone before I did. I felt too anxious to sleep half of the time...
  "What's new tonight, Petrichor Pals?" Ezekiel said in a suave tone.
  "Hey, guys," my voice cracked.
  "Hey," said Lin, sounding a bit tired.
  "It's 11pm on a Friday," whined Kay. I could tell she was exhausted. So was I. I yawned involuntarily as my eyelids grew heavy. "We've been working on this for two whole weeks," she continued, "I think our plan is pretty solid."
  "It is," Lin confirmed. "And we all have been practicing independently as well, right?"
  "Yep," Ezekiel exclaimed.
  "Mmmhmm," Kay hummed.
  "Then, it sounds like we're all ready for Monday," Lin said with confidence.
  "Totally," Kay agreed.
  "I'd say so," Ezekiel added.
  "...Stewart's awfully quiet, though..." Lin hesitated.
  I had drifted off, but hearing my name, my eyes fluttered open. Was Lin calling ME out for being quiet?
  "...I'm here. I'm...awake. Everything is good on this end," I breathed a laugh.
  ''Good." I could hear Lin smiling through the phone.
  That night, I did drift off...FIRST, too. That was how I knew that my stress was subsiding. Kay had the best, sneakiest moves, Ezekiel had finally started paying attention to things once we settled on a team name, and Lin was our leader. Everything was going to be fine.
  "Alright, then," Ezekiel yawned. "Night night, Petrichor Four. See ya on Monday morning."
  "Bye," my eyes gently closed before I managed to disconnect the phone.
  "Goodnight," Lin sung.
  "Later, guys," Kay said as she hung up.
 
  That weekend flew by quicker than anything and the day was finally here. As I walked into the classroom, I actually felt strangely calm. We knew our plans like the back of our hand. We had an okay team name. Everyone felt comfortable in their chosen positions. I'd even stopped worrying about Ezekiel being our Base Op. I was completely ready to crush it until I noticed Lin's desk was empty. Lin was never late. NEVER.
  Before anyone could ask, Mr. E announced that Lin was out sick and wouldn't be accompanying us on our Final Assignment. My heart dropped and my nausea began to return. It was wayyy too late to draft a replacement member...not like it was possible anyway. Everyone else was already spoken for.
  "Unfortunately, you all will have to act as a three-person team," our teacher said, "In the real world, if you lose an operative, you have to keep going. Your Final Assignment is no different. I understand this is difficult for you, but pulling this off will prove just how resourceful and talented you are."
  Mr. E's words did NOT do anything to comfort me. I sank back into my chair, ears going muffled again as more clouded thoughts flooded my brain. Some were about poor Lin; did great all throughout the whole Junior Scout program. What a shame to get sick now. Surely WILLOWISP wouldn't fault a student if they really were sick. Could I call out sick right now?? I sure felt like I was about to upchuck in front of the whole class. NO. WILLOWISP has ways to test that and make sure none of us are lying. My mind spiraled more and more. Yes, I was worried about Lin, but I was also worried about us. Without Lin, the plans we'd practiced wouldn't work. And who would be the leader, now?
  "I guess Stewart's gonna lead us after all," Kay said, glancing at me.
  "Yes!" Ezekiel fist pumped.
  I didn't know why he was so set on me being the leader. I didn't feel like a leader. I felt like an imposter. I was usually more confident. What was wrong with me??? I thought about what Someone would think if he found out I failed my Final Assignment. Constance worked so hard to make him see that I was better than he thought I was. Failing would be letting her down and proving him right. I imagined taking classes all over again, being assigned to shadow boring agents who weren't even Elites, then having to go home and pretend in front of my parents that everything went alright at camp. But my father would know that something was bothering me. Somehow, he always does. And I'd have to come clean and tell him it was because...I lost a game...or something? And then, they'd all be disappointed in me, even more than they already are.
  "Line up and get suited up. Teams will be dispatched into Albitrunca shortly."   Mr. E's voice cued all the students to grab their stuff and head towards the door single file. I felt like my pants were glued to my seat, but I took a deep breath and followed my crew anyway.
  "Looks like we're now the Katsura Tree Three!" Ezekiel whispered loudly.
  "The what??" I asked, mind still hazy.
  "Don't even entertain him. PLEASE." Kay rolled her eyes.
  "Or the Bumblebee Three, because they burrow and make sweet honey which can represent the taste of victory..." Ezekiel continued despite Kay's efforts.
  "Zeke. Names don't matter anymore," she snapped, "What we need to do is come up with a plan that doesn't require Lin in, like, LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES."
  "Nothing changes for me. I'm still in the chair," Ezekiel said cooly, "You don't change, either. Only Stewart has leveled up to leader and everything else is still in place."
  "But we only have two people inside the maze now," Kay frowned. "The plan was to split up so we could cover all the bases. But we can't do that without Lin."
  "You can still do it, just not as quick. But I'm in the chair, so I'll tell you what to do." Ezekiel was unfazed.
 
  My feet were walking forward but I had spaced out long ago. We got to the changing stations and I quickly found a stall and went in. I undressed and put on my black tactical catsuit without saying a word. I wished I could have just stayed inside that little room but I couldn't. It was go time. I thought about how Someone doesn't care. He doesn't worry or stress. He doesn't even want a partner. He goes in alone. He gets the job done, whatever it takes. I had to snap out of whatever was holding me back. I had to make it through this test. I took a deep breath and stood up, staring at myself in the mirror. I looked at the crumpled pile of clothes I had just removed. My red bowtie wouldn't look too good over the catsuit, but I needed to take it with me. Someone almost always had his green tie. I needed something, too. Shoving it into my pocket, I fixed my hair and smirked. You got this, Stewart. You got this.  

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