Identity Unknown

"Being back here made me see how much it can get to you; the training, all of the lessons, even just the environment we are in. We aren't the same as everyone else. And everyone else can never know.'

After six months of searching for her father, Charlotte Goode returns to the Gallagher Academy. Exams and eager friends await, but something is wrong. When a phone call changes everything, Zach can offer the answer - but someone will stop at nothing to keep him silent. And when a double agent is revealed, Charlotte must choose who to trust - but time is running out, and the Academy's greatest secrets are at risk.

The stakes are higher, but is she ready?

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22. Mission

"We are crazy," Macey muttered as the lift descended. And she was most definitely correct.

Sure, we had the school's permission. Sure, Mr Solomon was our backup. And sure, crashing a CIA convention sounds freakin' awesome. But also very, very dangerous. And I'm pretty sure all of us felt Macey's fear.

 

The day was hot, the sun was high. We wore flipflops and thin t-shirts (looking more like holiday-camp wannabes than spies), but a part of me felt cold. I had the buzz of adrenaline pumping through my body, but I was kind of dreading what was coming next.

"I'd like a skinny latte with extra caffeine." Macey's smooth voice carried across the crowded coffee shop effortlessly. The tables were surrounded by chatty businesswomen attacking maple syrup muffins and tired-looking men in crumpled suits, frantically swallowing espressos in an attempt to awaken themselves. The smell of ground coffee filled my nose, and I was rather distracted by a gorgeous hunk of carrot cake paraded in the glass counter to my left. I licked my lips, cursing myself for not taking both the cereal and the croissant for breakfast.

"We've run out of cups down here, I'll have to take you to the kitchen upstairs," said the waitress, her smooth tone and purposeful movements telling us that she knew why we were here. Her name badge read 'Caitlyn', but she was much more. The spy/waitress lead us through a small, reddish door and pointed to the lift.

"2843. And good luck," she said, before slipping away.

"What kind of coffee shop has a lift?" said Cam.

"Exactly," I said, a smile on my face.

Rick sauntered forward first, pressing the number code Caityln had given us and stepping into the lift. He tapped an impatient toe on the glassy floor, his boot clacking.

"Are you gonna stand there all day?" he questioned, cocking an eyebrow. Macey, Cam and I followed suit, but Liz was anxious.

"I don't like this," she said, a slight tremble to her voice.

"It'll be fine, Lizzie. We've got back-up," reassured Cammie.

"And plus, it's gonna be awesome!" Rick grinned. Liz laughed slightly and stepped into the lift, the doors sliding shut with a satisfactory click.

"Descending..." The irritating automated voice informed us, which was completely unnecessary, as the floor jolted beneath us, which was sort of a tell-tale sign that we might be on the move.

"Easy," said Rick as I stumbled into him, the lift jerking furiously.

"Surely the CIA could afford a better lift?" Macey mused, and Cam shot her a smile. But she had made a very good point...

"You have reached your destination," the voice-over woman chirped. The doors slid open, and my mouth dropped.

"Woah!" cried Liz, rushing out, almost tripping in her haste. The room that lay before us was brimming with science equipment - no wonder Liz was excited! A shelf that spanned the entire wall was covered in conical flasks. Various mixtures were brewing and bubbling, giving the air a slightly spicy scent. A lone pair of goggles sat atop a workplace. Liz flicked the gas switch and ignited a bunsen burner, a slight flicker before the brilliant flame.

"These are the new models from Canada," Liz gasped, tracing the glossy finish of the bunsen burner before turning to face us. "What's all this for?"

"Dunno, but it's cool," Macey said, reading the label of a flask close to her.

"This isn't right," Rick said. Liz's face dropped, and I mean dropped, almost as if someone had just sat on her pet bunny rabbit or something (although no rabbits were harmed in the making of that metaphor).

"How do you know?" I asked.

"They aren't stupid. They wouldn't leave all this lying around." He was shaking his head, clearly worried. He paced back to the lift, thumping the buttons, but they didn't respond.

"What's this?" Cam asked, leaning close to an experiment brewing at the far side of the room. 

"No..." Liz said quietly.

Cam knocked at the door, rattled the window. Macey chose the opportunity to say some very choice words. But I could only stand helplessly - I had missed Advanced Chemistry and didn't understand the fear of my friends.

"Rick, what's going on?" I asked, afraid to hear the answer.

"This was a trap. The CIA are clever, too clever." He slapped his hand against his forehead. I reached for him.

"Rick..." I said slowly, waiting for him to elaborate.

"That substance is lethal, and will fill the room in less than twenty minutes. And there's no way out..."

 

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