"Agent C," Iris greets as I enter the building. "Welcome back."
I nod in acknowledgment towards the girl at the front desk and walk past her towards the elevators, my strides long, powerful, and confident. The building smells of fresh air with a spice of mint—the smell of the only place that is truly home to me—but the refreshing fragrance immediately disperses as the elevator doors shut.
I was back in New York City for the first time in months. Back in Olympia, the place where it all began. Here, was where my already ruined life as Annabeth Chase was thrown away and my life as Agent C began.
With a deep breath, I press the button leading to the seventy-second floor, causing the elevator to lurch upwards. As I travel higher into the sky, I can't help but wonder what mission could be of such importance that they'd have to call me back into New York. Does it pertain to someone of importance? If so, whom?
The elevator bell sounds and the doors open, revealing an office with window walls that overlook the entirety of New York City. There's a desk in the middle of the rather large office, and there, a rather large man sits in his rather large office chair. His hands are clasped together, graying brows furrowed, as he reads a file that is laid before him. Zeus.
When the elevator doors close with a ding, he looks up, finally noticing my presence, and shifts so his position is one that holds much authority. The intimidating pose he holds isn't effective, however, because his electrifying blue eyes contain a sense of compassion as he looks at me. "Agent C," he rumbles, in his no-nonsense, albeit fatherly, voice. "Nice to see you again."
I nod in reply, walking forward until I stand beside the chairs that sit across from his desk. "Likewise, Zeus. I trust there must be something important you have to say, if you've called me in all the way from California, when there are plenty of other highly trained individuals residing here?"
He closes the folder in front of him before I get a chance to look at it, and lets out a long sigh. "We need only the best of the best for this assignment…" Zeus half-chuckles, although his face remains serious. "And that would be you."
My eyebrows rise at his statement. "So you're saying it has to be of the female gender."
Zeus looks as if he wants to roll his eyes, but he simply nods instead. "Exactly." He pushes the folder he had previously been looking at towards me, and I step forward, taking it in my hands and flipping it open.
Target: Perseus "Percy" Jackson
To the right of these words, the paper is accompanied by a picture of a rather attractive looking bachelor of Manhattan. A rather famous, well-known bachelor of Manhattan. "Percy Jackson? The target is Percy Jackson?" I ask incredulously, straining to remain professional.
Why on earth would they be targeting him? This incident, when it breaks out, would be even larger than what happened with Lu—
Zeus stiffens and grunts pointedly. "Which is exactly why we need you to do take this case. You'll be briefed on it even more later, but for now," he pulls a drawer open and places two sets of keys on the desk, "settle down into your new apartment. You'll be staying here for a while."
Mutely, I nod, knowing that his word is final and that I have no say in this matter. I slip both keys into my pocket, closing the manila file folder. "Yessir." When I reach the elevator doors to leave, I hear Zeus' voice from behind me.
"Oh, and welcome back to New York, Agent C. It's good to have you back."
I step into the elevator and nod one last time. The doors close, travelling back down to the lobby floor, and I lean against the back wall, shaking my head to myself. How in the world am I to pull this off?
After dropping my belongings off at my new apartment (by means of my new car), I head back towards the Olympia headquarters. This time, however, I'm going to a different subdivision, where I will be briefed and provided with equipment. I had already skimmed through the basic information in the file and chosen a new alias.
The elevator travels downwards this time, and I exit the moving metal box, entering an empty hallway. At the end of the hall is a door with a key pad beside it. As I type in my identification key, I smile slightly to myself, realizing how I missed New York.
"Retinal scan, please," the robotic voice says, as a slot in the wall opens to reveal an eye scanner. It positions itself with my eyes, and after a moment, retracts itself with a beep. "Agent C: confirmed." The metal door unlocks and slides open, giving me only seconds to make my way through the dimly lit corridor.
I reach yet another door, where a very white room lies behind it. White floors, white walls, a white table, two white chairs, and a person: Malcolm.
My face splits out into a grin for the first time since my arrival in New York City, and I give him a hug. "Are you the one who's going to brief me?" I question, sitting down in one of the chairs.
He smiles at me, settling in the chair across from me, on the opposite side of the table. "So it seems, Agent C." Any uneasiness I might have had about the briefing portion of my preparation quickly vanishes the longer I sit with Malcolm. He's one of the two people that I can trust with my life in this world and with him helping me, almost nothing can go wrong. "Glad you're back, C."
I nod, pulling out the manila folder Zeus had handed me earlier. "I would say I was glad to be back, but I would be lying."
Malcolm rolls his eyes as he pulls out a nearly identical folder. "Your job is to lie, C." He clears his throat, his expression becoming more serious as he opens the file. "You've been called back to Olympia—back to New York—because of what we call the Jacksonian Impasse. I'm sure you've already read through the file," I nod, "so this should be over rather quick.
"A week ago, Percy Jackson made an investment that his father, Poseidon Jackson, forbade him doing. There's always been a feud between the male Jackson's, but this happened to be the last straw, and so Poseidon is planning on taking all costs to stop the second generation Jackson, even to the point of threatening with violence that can potentially crash the stock market." Malcolm pauses. "And he can, because Poseidon, quite literally, is the shit," he adds.
This had all been in the file folder that Zeus had handed me, and I nod in understanding as Malcolm continues.
"Your mission, should you choose to accept it—well, you have to accept it, but then that would be misquoting Mission Impossible—is to apply for the job as the younger Jackson's personal secretary, in which you will then work from the inside to either A) convince him to retract his stock purchases, or B) terminate him," he finishes.
I cross my legs under the table, my eyebrows furrowing. "And how are you sure I will get the job? Or that he will trust me enough to listen to what I tell him?"
Malcolm slides a piece of paper with a time, place, and date: an invitation to a dinner party hosted by none other than the millionaire bachelor himself. "You'll meet him here, before you apply for the job as his secretary. This is crucial, because you'll need to… ah, dazzle him in order to positively guarantee your slot."
"In other words, I'm supposed to seduce him to confirm my placement of a job?" I question dubiously.
He clears his throat, straightening out the papers in the file folder. "Their words, not mine… But you don't have to actually seduce him, per se. You simply need to intrigue him enough to want more of you."
"Or act like a common whore?"
Malcolm rolls his eyes at me, closing the folder. "If you were to act like whore, it'd have to be a highclass one. But you probably won't need to if you remember: always classy, never trashy, and a little bit sassy."
His words make my lips quirk up into a smile. "Their words or yours?"
"Mine… isn't it obvious, C?" He coughs awkwardly. "You'll be needing this," Malcolm says, pulling a briefcase out from under the table. Opening it, he reveals a Walther PPK 9mm hand gun. "James Bond style, no?" he jokes, taking it out of the case so I can hold it. Putting it back, he takes the first layer of the briefcase out, with a laptop beneath it, and then the next layer, which conceals more gear.
When I finish examining the contents, I close the case up and place it on the floor beside me. "Anything else?"
Malcolm rummages through the manila file once more, taking out a sheet of paper. "Ah, you'll need to create an alias. Your background has already been fabricated, as you've read in your own file, but your name is yours to choose. So what will it be, C?"
I take the paper he hands me, writing down the name I'll have to undertake for at least the next month—a considerably longer time than most of my other pseudonyms.
He retracts the paper, glancing at it with a smirk, and putting it back in the folder. "Well that seems to be it." I stand up, briefcase in hand, and give him one more hug as he stands with me. "Be careful, C. You don't want to get on the wrong side of the Big Jackson."
I open the door, nodding back at him. "It's not 'C' anymore, Agent MX3," I remind him, straightening my shoulders. "It's Runa."
And with those last words, I exit Olympia Head Quarters, not as Annabeth Chase, or even Agent C.
No, I step into the world as the new and improved Runa Vitum, ready to take on mission impossible.