She couldn’t believe it! Clara had walked into room number 67, labelled ‘Training Facility’, and all she saw were three hurdles, some weights and a climbing wall. “Well, I don’t know how they’re going to make us into top notch spies with this junk,” she thought, as she picked up a broken skipping rope.
She walked across the room and observed a banged up old computer with a keyboard missing three keys. Clara sat down in a leather chair, torn at both sides, and it let out a depressed sigh under her weight. She reached down and pushed the start button on the computer and the monitor sprang to life. The machine made an awful humming noise and flashed the starting screen displaying the S.S.S.H seal. S.S.S.H stood for ‘Super-Secret Spies in Hiding’, more informally known as ‘ssshhh’.
The computer showed a password protected data-base named ‘students of the classroom’. Clara tapped in her username, password and student code:
When she pressed enter a list of names appeared. “Danny Smith, Jack Jallm and Clara Undercove’.
“This must be my team,” she said aloud. Before she could look at their profiles, she heard a knock at the door. A small boy, with red hair and green eyes stepped in.
“Am I in the right class?” he asked shyly.
“I’m not sure,” Clara replied.
“What’s your name?”
“Jack Jallm,” said the small boy.
“Your name is on the list,” Clara said scrolling through the names again.
“Ok, who are you?” said Jack, as he walked over to the equipment piled in the corner of the room.
“I’m Clara Undercove. They didn’t try too hard with the equipment, did they?”
“No, I don’t know how they’ll train us when we only have this stuff. I walked past some of the other rooms and they had full-on training gyms and the biggest stock of stealth equipment and weapons,” Jack said, as he inspected the equipment with a disgusted scowl.
Suddenly, they hear the sound of raised voices and heavy footsteps in the hall. Seconds later two guards and a kid cam stumbling into the room.
“You get away from me!” the kid said, struggling to get out of the grip the guards had on his arms.
“The sooner the better and we don’t want to catch you anywhere other than your assigned classroom,” the guard on the right said. Clara could see his name tag read “Jeremy”.
“Any more slip ups and you’ll be kicked out of spy training and pulverised by the boss,” said the second guard, whose name tag read ‘Dash’. The guards, threw the kid into the room and marched off.
“So, who are you then?” Clara asked.
“My name is Danny, and I swear I did nothing wrong to make those guards come after me, I simply wandered into the wrong classroom?”
“Can you read? The doors clearly say the classroom numbers?” Jack said from across the room.
“Yeah I can read?” said Danny, in a belligerent tone. “I just saw a really nice looking stun gun..”
“You tried to steal a stun gun from a spy training school? You really are dumb?” Jack replied.
“I wish I had it now, I would stun your face off?” said Danny. “Any way, what do you guys specialise in? I am a master of hand-to-hand combat. I can punch the living daylights out of anything?”
“I’m good at stealth, small and fast, I could break into the highest security bank if they wanted me to.” Jack said.
Clara became more and more uncomfortable and dejected as she listened to the boys brag about their spying skills. Clara wasn’t good at any of the things they were listing. She’d never had a fight with anyone and stealth was definitely not a skill she possessed – she had two left feet and could always hear her coming from a mile away?
“What about your girl, what can you do?” Danny said. His head had become bigger than a hot air balloon at this point.
“First of all, it’s Clara, and I guess I can hack.” Danny laughed so hard tears came to his eyes.
“You can hack? What kind of a spy skill is that? What you gonnna do? Set the villain’s microwave clock to the wrong time?”
“Yeah,” Jack chortled, “That will totally stop them from robbing a bank? HA?”
Clara blushed, half with anger, half with embarrassment. She didn’t fit in at all with this team. The boys were so good at all the things spies should do, but she was just some nerd who could type in ones and zeros to make lights flash and doors open. She would never fit in at spy school.
“What else, can you make sure they can only watch girly things on TV or…”
But before Danny could get any further there was a loud buzz from the computer. A video message had appeared. Clara hit play as they all gathered around the screen. “Students? This is Head Spy, Harold McDonald”. Clara recognised him from her recruitment video.
“Four of our best spies have gone missing? They went offline an hour ago while investigating a jewel theft. We think they’re locked in the vault? All our other spies are out to lunch, so I’m going to have to send you out there blind? You must find a way to get into the site and rescue the four spies. I’m sending the details now. You three are our only hope, don’t mess this up.”
The video ended and the three untrained, unprepared and unsuited spies stood there in silence until a ‘bring’ from the computer signalled the arrival of the files.
“What just happened?” Danny asked, after a long and gut clenching pause.
“I think we were just asked to go on a mission,” Jack replied, rather taken aback. The boys started panicking an arguing over what to do, as Clara studied the files. “Wait a minutes?? I’ve got it?” exclaimed Clara. “Listen up?” she said to the boys, who were still shouting nonsensically. “I know how to do this, I can hack into the building’s security systems and release the locks on the vault. But you two have to go to the site and rescue the spies. I can’t come with you, I’m the only one with the skills to hack in. Here,” she said, handing the two boys earpieces and hooking one up to her own ear, “I can direct you through these, I’ll tell you where to go and help you get through the security systems. Now, let’s go raid the other rooms for better supplies and get me on a decent computer.”
“What about the guards? Where are they?” said Danny as he got up to join her.
“They were two of the four people captured, Jeremy Pits and Dash Rodgers.” “I don’t want to save them!” whined Danny.
“We have to!” Jack said, as they walked down the hall towards the other classrooms. They found one with a cache of weapons and a high-tech computer. While the boys suited up, Clara sat down at the computer and got to work.
“Can I take the stun gun? Please!!” Danny begged.
“You might need it..so sure, but don’t break it!” Clara said, “I’ve almost cracked the code.”
“We’re ready,” said Jack.
“Ok, let’s go Jack, and Clara, thanks, we couldn’t do this without you, “Danny said.
“Don’t mention it. Shields are down, you’re ready to go!” she said.
The boys opened the door and ran straight into Harold McDonald and the four missing spies.
“Let’s shave ten minutes of that next round,” said Harold with a satisfied look on his face. “Put the stun gun down, Danny,” said Jeremy. This time he was smiling, they were all smiling.
“Well done all of you, you passed the first test of spy school. You worked together, combined your individual skills for the greater good,” said Harold. “The mission was a drill, a fake, a fraud, but still stressful altogether. You all handled it brilliantly. Especially you Clara. And I see you found time to hack into the slushy machine and program it to pour slushy out at ten the usual speed. You got Dash with that one!” Clara blushed and all the spies laughed. “Now, back to work! You all have great potential, but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t train hard! Classroom 68 this time, you can’t become ace spies using this junk. I think you guys are going to fit in really well around here.”
“Yes,” thought Clara. “I’m sure I will.”