Chapter Three

The more you humanize yourself in the eyes of the shooter the harder it is for them to shoot you. If you can etch some of your personality and personal life into their brains they might have second thoughts about killing you. And I'm 100% sure that after this interrogation Reyna would do just that.

"Are you torturing me because I'm the cute one?" I ask, still hanging from my ankles from the ceiling. I don't know why Reyna hasn't shot me again, but I'll take it as an opportunity that she doesn't want to. "My mom used to tell me when I was little, after we snuck out to the kitchen past Smelly Gabe to make s'mores in the microwave that even if life has it's downs you can always depend on one another to make it through. It gave me hope while we lived with my abusive stepdad who we finally got rid of. It was the best day of my life and my mom got me some blue candy- my favorite- to celebrate. It was a big deal, he had lived with us for almost my whole life. It was really awesome when my mom kicked him to the curb. He wasn't nice anyways, always said I would never amount to anything. But my mom said I would do great things in life and that's what I'm hoping to do."

"Quiet." Reyna finally hisses, a little uncertainly, gun shaking in her hand as she points it to the ceiling her index finger. "I'm listening." 

And now I'm about to lose my top playing card. The orange flash of light from earlier, a signal of Half-Blood Head Quarters. If she knows my team is up there, waiting to rescue me this could go south very quickly. I mean thank the gods for rescue plans, but if this went down the wrong way Reyna would shoot me for not telling her and then I'd bleed out on the cold floor miserable and alone. 

"Reyna if I tell you our most guarded secrets... will you please not kill me?" I try for a whiny scared voice. "I don't want to die. Please, I'm still so young!" I wonder if I'm laying it on a bit thick but sometimes annoying complainers are a little dramatic. 

I have her attention now. She stops looking toward the ventilation system and stares at me with an unreadable expression on her face. "I'm surprised Jackson." She puts the gun down but keeps the knife in her left hand. "You would sell out the people who raised you just like that?" She even snaps for emphasis. 

I try to play the part but this kind of thing doesn't come easily to me. Surrendering and other weak stuff is a no no. But another rule of being a spy is to take the strings and play the other person like a puppet as best you can until you get what you want. And in this case, I just want to leave where ever the heck I am alive. "Well, they practically forced me into this agency when I was about eight years old. It's been ten long grueling years of doing thing I don't even like. I might want to be a surfer or a tour guide for Water World later on in life." 

Reyna looks like she's having a hard time buying all this. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes for my team to get into gear. 

A surprise attack isn't always very efficient if the person you were trying to surprise already had a hunch that you were there. Of course, if you've positioned a dummy in the ventilation and entered the building the old fashioned way- the front door- you've already accomplished half the work. 

"Shut up." Reyna finally says calmly and throws the knife straight at my thigh. I grunt as the blade hits my flesh and sinks until it hits the bone. And honestly, I don't know if it stopped at the bone. But by that time, I'm sweating even more and my vision has gone a little blurrier. 

She stalks over to the vent and grabs a chair and pulls herself up, using weird hand holds in the wall I didn't know existed. This building must be old, all the nooks and crannies along with crumbling cement. I cough and try to keep my eyes open. I could just black out, but if I wake up anywhere else I'm not sure I could go through this again. 

And then, as Reyna wrenches the panel off the shaft she screams "What the hell?!" I'm not really sure what happened after that. My thigh was throbbing but I was afraid to take the knife out. If it was really serious, the only thing keeping the blood from spilling out of my body was that blade, much as I hated to admit.

From what I could tell, there was some sort of robot up there- no doubt Leo's creation- that had grabbed ahold of Reyna's wrist and was not letting go. I was starting to feel cold, and I hoped despreatley it wasn't a fever coming on. An elfish impish face was suddenly bending over mine and it took me a moment to recognize it. 

"Leo," I said in relief. 

He pushed his curly hair back and looked at Percy in worry. "Its okay Perce. I'm gonna get you outta here, just hang with me." Leo looked at he knife sunken hilt deep into his friend's leg but wisely didn't say anything. 

I really tried to stay concious. I did, but the last thing I remembered was a shrieking Reyna, a strange expolosion that seemed unreal, Leo cutting me free,  me crawling toward a van and then passing out. Not sure what the order that was in either. 

"Son of a friggin bacon bit." I mutter as I slowly reawaken. I'm in my cot back at HQ. What? Wait. Leo. Of course, it was Leo! He saved me. My leg seems to be in less pain now, a thick gauze has been wrapped around it and as far as I can tell the knife has been removed. My toe is also wrapped up, like a sausage in hot dog buns. 

Over the next few days, I'm pretty much dead weight. DIrector Chiron comes in and asks me to go over the details of my story, what happened and etcetera. Leo apparentally couldn't control his robot during the rescue and detonated it. Reyna wasn't found in the wreckage so she's still loose. That should worry me, but I'm just glad to be home. I know I'm a spy and this type of thing is supposed to happen to me all the time but the thing is not really. It happened in training sure, but in real life? Not until this time. Leo brings me soup a lot and makes sure I'm not getting ill and I thank him about five times everytime he comes in. 

It's on the morning of the sixth day that Director Chiron asks me to go down to Veracruz.. They think Reyna will be there to pass along a potentially dangerous weapon to another agent. My job is to get close to that agent. 

"Why me?" I can't help but ask, as I shift through the never ending files and note the blueprints of the weapon we have. It's not much, a few lines and maybe a general shape from seeing it far away. Credit to Connor Stoll for catching a glimpse of it once from far away through his binoculars. Not exactly accurate. It looks kind of like a turtle to me. Maybe our enemy really likes turtles.

"Agent Jackson, I think you did conseriderably well holding up against Reyna when she captured you. We need good agents in the field and you have proved yourself worthy." 

I gesture to my leg, even though I know it feels fine by now. A little achy but not a lot of damage. We heal fast because we have the best docotors and medicine. We have to or we'll die. People are always getting hurt out there. "What about my injuries? Do you think they'll hold me back?"

Chiron raises an eyebrow at me, almost amused. "Do you think they'll hold you back?"

"What time does my plane leave?" 

"Tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. Best get some sleep and pack your swimsuit. One of the agents will brief you more on the car ride." 

I am going to Veracruz.

I am going to kill Reyna.  

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