Title: Mission Newsies: The Case of the Missing Newspaper
Author: Pegasus
Rating: T (for some inappropriate language)
Summary: Newsboys by day, secret agents by night. They had us all fooled.
Author's Notes: This was written on a whim one night a while ago after I watched
Mission: Impossible III. I wrote it just for fun, so I don't know if I will be continuing it. I'm sure this type of story has been done before, so it is nothing original. This chapter is more like a preliminary, insight/prologue chapter, so not all details are quite revealed yet. But here it is, a silly chapter that I had fun writing anyway. Cue Mission: Impossible theme.
Disclaimer: I do not own the movie
Newsies, nor any of the characters from said movie. They belong rightfully to Disney. All other characters that are mentioned belong to my imagination.

Chapter 1: CODE 4132
Duane Street Newsboys Lodging House

Static. "We've got a Code 4132."

Silence.

"Racetrack," Crutchy said more insistently into the microphone. He sat in the dimly lit basement of the Duane Street Newsboys Lodging House. He frowned at the monitor which cast a flickering light onto his grave face. Crutchy watched impatiently as Race nonchalantly brought his cigarette to his lips. "I repeat, we've got a Code 4132."

From outside the Lodging House, Race took one last puff of the cigarette and flicked the stub into the darkened street. He leaned against the wall of the building. "What was that?" He was clearly annoyed with Crutchy's unrelenting tone.

Crutchy was losing his nerve as he watched the second monitor to his right. The hum of the machines in the room seemed to grow louder around him. "Code 4132, Race!" He grabbed the microphone and pulled it closer. "You've got fifteen seconds before Snipeshooter figures out your cigar." The second monitor showed the newsboys room. Several bunks were empty. The younger kids were getting ready to tuck in for the night. But Crutchy had without a doubt seen Snipes swipe the cigar off the table separating his and Race's bunks. And now he was examining it, twirling the cigar around his fingers and checking every angle. The kid's face showed that he knew there was something wrong with Race's cigar.

Race pushed off the wall and righted himself. "Shit. Why didn't you say so?" He ran into the Lodging House and up the stairs. He slowed down before entering the bunkroom – he did not want to cause more of a ruckus than there needed to be. Ten seconds.

"Hiya Race," said a voice from behind him.

Race turned his head and saw Bins by his side. The youngster had splattered water all over his shirt in the process of washing his face. He grinned up at Race.

"Hiya, kid," Race said, ruffling the kid's hair. He eyed Snipes ahead of him. Race was about to confront him when Bins tugged at his shirtsleeve.

"You know, Race. I did that and this lady bought two papers from me, just like you said!"

"Did what? What'd I say?" Race asked. He was only half listening as his dark eyes focused in on Snipeshooter.

"You said that if I smile sweetly, I could sell more papes," Bins reminded him. "See?" He grinned again to demonstrate, a perfected smile that reached to his eyes which slanted into crescent moons.

Race glanced at him and chuckled. "That's good, Bins." He then lifted his head. "Hey, Sni— "

"Snipes, no!"

Oh no.

"Oh no," Crutchy whispered from the Control Room. He covered his face with both his hands, then peeked at the monitor through his fingers. "Oh no."

There were two other people in the room with him: Specs, the Head Technician, and Boots who, like Crutchy, was in charge of Communications. They were both working individually at their stations at opposite sides of the rectangular room. The walls were lined with equipment – room monitors, data monitors, contact dials, speakers. The Duane Street Newsboys had the most advanced computers of all the agencies in New York.

But now both Boots and Specs stopped working and stared at Crutchy's screen.

"What's going on?" asked Specs. He leapt off his seat and walked towards Crutchy, still curiously watching the scene on the screen. He saw Race unnaturally frozen. The wisecrack always had something to say – what was going on? Then, on the corner of the screen, he saw the extra person. Mush. "Oh no."

Boots slid his chair next to Crutchy. "Oh no…"

They watched as Race visibly tried to relax his muscles from the sound of the sudden shout.

Race could not believe it. He had had the situation under control. He had to keep himself from cringing when he heard Mush. But he was cringing on the inside.

"I – I mean. Snipes, I'm sure Race wouldn't appreciate it that you took his cigar. Um, again. Heh," Mush stuttered. His body was rigid save for his fingers, which he began to twiddle nervously.

How'm I going to fix this mess, Race wondered in exasperation. How could this happen with a simple 4132… All the kids were staring at either Mush or Snipes. And then Race broke into a sweat when he saw Snipe's thumb on the button that would trigger the device. There was no time to think. He had to act now.

He stomped towards Snipes and snatched the cigar out of his hands. "That's my cigar," Race prompted.

Snipes scoffed. "You got gipped on that one, Race. That ain't no cigar."

"What're you talking about?" Mush asked. "Of course it's a cigar."

Inside the basement control room, the three boys remained glued to Crutchy's monitor. "Dammit Mush. Quit while you're ahead," Specs urged. It was to no avail. Mush was not yet connected to the network and could not hear them.

"Damn right it's a cigar. It's rare 'round these parts," Race informed Snipes.

Snipes looked skeptical. "Uh-huh."

Crutchy, taking his eyes away from the monitor, turned to Boots and said, "We need a diversion. Who's working closest to the Lodging House?"

Boots walked up to the screen displaying the map of New York City. The screen itself took up the entirety of the east wall. Numerous pairs of blinking spots lit on various parts of the map. Boots searched, his eyes squinting for a pair of lights located within a small radius from the Lodging House which was indicated by a blue star symbol.

He found them. "Skittery and Pegasus are on lookout patrol just two blocks from here. But they're doing backup in the Wiesel mission," Boots relayed. "Jack and David are already inside the building."

"Thank goodness for Peg. Skitts is no good in doing cover-ups," Specs muttered.

Crutchy quickly dialed Pegasus' code. He heard a low crackle. But it was only for a moment, for he soon heard her voice, loud and clear.

"Peg here. What is it, Crutchy?"

"We've got a situation back at the Lodging House. Code 7156: Cover-up."

"I'm on it."

Two blocks down from the Lodging House on Duane Street, Skittery and Peg were situated on the concrete roof of a warehouse building. Peg clicked off her communication device and rolled onto her back. She began to pack her equipment into her utility belt.

"What's happening?" Skittery asked, though he did not really care. He did not bother to look in her direction, but continued looking straight ahead at the building they were covering. He peered through his night binoculars. There was a single light on on the third floor.

"We've got a Code 7156 at the Lodging House. Looks like you're doing solo tonight," Peg said as she shoved in her own pair of binoculars.

He lifted his head then. "Damn, was it Mush again?"

She shrugged. Nodding her head towards the building, she asked, "David and Jack having any trouble?"

"Not yet."

"All right, I'm off."

Peg crawled to the edge of the building and found the rope they had installed to climb onto the roof. Peg gave the rope three tugs to make sure it was secured and proceeded to climb down. Once on the ground, she took off straight towards the Lodging House. Her soft soles made minimal noise as her feet rapidly pounded at the cobbled ground.

She skidded to a stop and pulled the door open, entering with a flourish. Mr. Kloppman stood alone at the desk, hunched over a pile of books.

"Hi Kloppman," she greeted. "How's my timing?"

"17 seconds. Up, quickly," he ordered in a low volume. He did not even glance up from the records book.

"On my way," she said as she straightened her dark hair and jogged up the steps.

Inside the room, Race was trying to change the subject from his holographic location device. If only Mush could quit trying to justify the awkward situation.

"Of course, it's a cigar, Snipes. I mean… look at it. It looks exactly like one," Mush said, gesturing towards the device in Race's hand.

"It doesn't feel like a cigar. I would know," Snipes argued. He was insulted that no one believed him (he proclaimed himself a cigar expert), but at the same time, perplexed by Mush's odd persistence. In fact, Snipes opened his mouth to ask Mush why he was acting so strangely all of a sudden, when he heard someone coming up the stairs.

Peg feigned a yawn as she strolled into the room. She stopped in her tracks and looked disapprovingly at each of the kids. "You guys should have been asleep already." She walked past Race and whispered, "I'll get it from here."

Race nodded imperceptibly. What a mess this could've turned into. He was going to go have another cigarette. He saw Mush was still standing by the doorway, apparently unsure of what to do. There was a bead of sweat falling from the poor kid's temple as he looked from Snipes to Pegasus to Race and the cigar he held in his hand. Race placed the cigar deep into his pocket and walked towards the door.

He turned his head and made sure the children's attention had been diverted. Peg was in the midst of tucking the kids in and offering to tell a story. A collective groan filled the room ("What? I'm not that bad," Peg defended jokingly). At the doorway, Race turned to Mush and said, "You're a nice guy, Mush," he said quietly as he pulled out a cigarette from his shirt pocket. "But you ain't an agent yet." With that, he tucked the cig between his lips and proceeded down the stairs.