Previously on Spy vs Spy*
(I suggest you try to imagine these like each paragraph is a clip from a TV series)
White's superior stands in the middle of his office, the soles of his mirror polished black shoes sinking into the thick plush of the carpet. The screen behind him displays the enlarged images of several sheets of paper, browned with time. Almost faded into the weathered paper are the ideographic characters if Chinese writing. “The Kimigura Papers.” He says. “These have been kept under top security in the Japanese embassy for the last twenty years. In two days time, they will be transferred to Munich, into the hands of-” the picture changes to a black and white newspaper photograph of a severe looking woman in an aggressively cut blazer, her hair slicked back from her forehead in a tight bun “Doctor Velinka Bosnyak.”
“You are to retrieve these papers.” Black's superior says. “If retrieval is not possible, destroy them. Do not let them fall into enemy hands.”
A young man in a brown sweater walks down a damp street with the feel of somewhere in West-Central Europe. He looks nervous. He turns a corner, hesitates a half step, then suddenly breaks into a jog. The reason for his concern is evident a moment later when he comes up along side the form of a woman in a dress slumped on the sidewalk, an overturned moped beside her, hat askew. He hurries up to her and reaches out to touch her shoulder, then gasps in surprise as he finds the barrel of a gun shoved up his nose. “The papers.” Gray murmurs. “Give them to me.”
Doctor Bosnyak unlocks a door in an office building, casts glances both ways, then walks in. She closes the door and locks it behind her, turns on the overhead light and sits down at a crowded desk. She pulls the middle drawer out looking for a pen and the movement triggers a tiny mechanism. There is a faint beep.
White and Black both approach the building from different angles. White is coming in from the bottom, while Black prefers the top. Before either of them can enter it explodes, sending gigantic fragments of wood and stone flying.
The two spies see each other from across the rubble, both of them dirty but otherwise unharmed. They point identical fingers across the wreckage at each other. Above each of their heads a conversation bubble appears and showcases identical animations in which the other sneaks into the building, grabs the papers, plants a bomb then tries to sneak out.
Black produces a gigantic and ridiculously complex gun from nowhere and aims it at White, who bolts. Black gives pursuit, dodging trashcans, cars, farm animals, and rolling airplane service carts. White finds himself having run straight into a dead end alley. Black blocks the exit, animation appearing over his head as he demands to know where White has hidden the papers. White rebuts, crossing out Black's animation and replacing it with his own scenario where Black has hidden them. While they are arguing a shadow peers down at them from a roof. The figure is obscured by darkness, but whoever it is drops a bomb down between the two. Black and White both jump and scramble to get away, White leaping over the thing.
An explosion shakes the buildings, causing one of them to partially collapse and sending up a cloud of smoke and dust. Immediately people start to shout.
Black shakes himself off, brushing dust off of his suit. He looks around quickly, then sees one of White's hands poking out from under a pile of rubble. He scrambles over and shoves off several heavy beams, revealing White who looks to be very bad off. Blood is starting to soak through the white fabric of his suit like the brilliant flowers on a silk kimono. Black yanks the front of the suit open and shoves his hands in. He finds a dampening white shirt and swelling torso slick with blood, but no envelope containing papers of any kind. White shudders and chokes.
“Oh no you don't!” Black snarls. “You're staying here with me!”
Snap to black.
*but not really
Black and White stand back to back, their poses identical, guns raised and ready, heads tilted slightly toward each other. They are almost exactly alike in every way, their long arms and legs mirror images as surely as their sharp grins. They wear suits, hats, and shoes that are identical in cut and style, differing only in their color. Underneath the hats their hair is the only thing that doesn't look like it has been polarized from the other, Black's raven locks falling shaggily around his ears, White's snow colored hair is longer and slicked back into a short ponytail just above his collar.
They turn in one movement, rotating to face each other Both fire, the bullets meet in midair and explode to reveal the Spy vs Spy logo.
“I have no name.” White Spy says.
“No history.” Black Spy says.
“No nationality.” White.
“No family.” Black adds.
“I work for a secret organization.” White's voice says as the his superior appears, looking official in his snappy suit and obviously saying something important.
Black climbs into a small helicopter with a bomb attached to the bottom of it with a sling. He takes off and flies out over a lake, planning to drop the bomb on a small boat where White appears to be fishing. When he gets over it and looks down he sees that it is not White at all but a dummy. White snickers a stand of trees on the shore as he aims a land to air missile. The helicopter explodes and crashes down into the water.
A digital alarm clock ticks over to one minute past midnight.
Black jerks upright in his bed, his hat falling to the pillow. He takes off his shades and runs a hand over his face, then stands up. “And I cannot die.”
“I am-” He says, turning for the first time to look directly at you, his dark eyes intense and intelligent.
The screen splits as White Spy appears in a mirror image position.
“The Spy.” They say together.
Black looks impatiently at the clock, willing it to tick over. Eleven fifty-eight. Three minutes. White shudders softly with each breath, spastic inhalations fueled by nothing more than the instinct of the body. Don't you dare die you son of a bitch, Black thinks harshly. Eleven fifty-nine. White's chest falls and stays down, concave under the thin white undershirt. It doesn't rise again and Black tenses. It's the heart that matters, not the breath, as long as that is still beating, as long as he's alive....
Midnight. Black reaches out despite himself and puts two fingers on White's carotid artery. He closes his eyes, his touch light, barely breathing for fear of missing the slightest trimmer Yes, there it is, the faintest pulse.
He's going to live. Good. Black leans over and closes his fingers around the Tokarev TT pistol.
Black positions himself directly over the other spy, his knees sinking into the cheap mattress as he uses both hands to steady the gun, aiming it with the muzzle inches from White's face.
White's chest snaps upward as he gasps in a breath, his pale brown eyes springing open, at the very same moment he is abruptly wearing the white suit and hat. The open tunnel of the business end of the gun is reflected in the dark surface of his sunglasses.
“Shit!” White yelps, instinctively jerking away from the weapon and knocking his hat off.
Black grins. “Morning, sunshine.”
“Get that goddamn thing out of my face.” White snarls, regaining his composure almost instantly.
“Awww, what's the matter, you don't want to stay and cuddle?” Black leers at him.
“You're a sick fucker, you know that?” White hisses.
White hasn't been restrained, Black hadn't wanted to do anything to compromise already poor blood flow and potentially end his life early, and he shoves Black away. Black topples off of him, still grinning, and hits the floor with a thump.
“What did you do with them?” Black asks, adjusting his aim and zeroing in on his rivals kneecap.
“What did I do with what?” White asks. The comforting weight of his gun is pressing into the side of his chest, but he doesn't dare go for it. Black won't hesitate to cripple him, though the threat of death carries no weight, pain is another matter.
Black rolls his eyes, exaggerating exasperation. “The papers. Where did you hide them?”
White's mouth twitches, then he slowly smiles. So, Black doesn't have them. That gives him, White, an edge, as long as he can keep that impression up.
“I'll never tell you.” White says. “You'll have to kill me first.”
Black seems to be struggling to restrain himself. He fails with a snort of disbelief then says “I'm sorry, but was that really the best you could come up with? You'll have to kill me first? You've been watching to much TV, my friend.”
He changes the angle of the gun ever so slightly, using it to gesture with, and the second the barrel dances off of his joint White throws himself off of the bed and whips out his own gun, rolling and firing shots in the direction of Black. He doesn't expect to hit the other spy, but dodging bullets will keep Black from taking aim for a few precious seconds.
For a second a bolt of apprehension runs through him, this place looks inexpensive but there is the possibility that he won't be able to break the lock on the door. He hits it full force, throwing himself at the wood with his shoulder lowered. The door holds, but the frame isn't made for that kind of abuse and shatters outward. White tumbles into the hall and slams the door back, grinning as he hears it smack Black in the face.
A door opens in the hall and the rear end of a maid appears as she pulls her cleaning cart through the opening. White grabs her around the waist and yanks her out into the hall, the woman emitting a scream that would make Walt Disney proud. He jerks her to the right and throws her into the open hallway where she stumbles and slams straight into Black.
The maid, who's name is Anna and who just moved to Munich two weeks ago from a small farming village, hadn't seen White's gun but she sees Blacks. There's no way to miss it, as it is now hovering just over her right shoulder where Black has lifted it to avoid accidentally discharging the weapon. She screams again and tries simultaneously to struggle away and stand perfectly still, totally conflicted about how she should behave in this situation.
Black had seen White go into the room. He shoves the woman away and darts to the door. He tries to turn the knob but it is locked.
“Give me the keys.” Black says to the girl.
“W-w-what?” She stammers.
“The keys!” Black shouts.
Anna stumbles backwards, her lip trembling. She turns and makes a break for it, running off down the hall and disappearing into the stairwell. It doesn't matter, the gunshots will bring authorities any moment.
White won't stay in the building. Black stows the weapon and runs back down the hall, tracing his steps back through the broken door. He opens the window and leans out, they are on the second floor and this side opens into a mostly disused alley. Black puts a foot on the sill and jumps through, lands like a shadow, and slinks off into a side street as the first of the sirens sounds.
White leans back against the wall and catches his breath. He'd escaped, but only just, the window had let him out right onto the street and if that maid hadn't come streaking out screaming and caused a scene he would have been spotted for sure.
Well, he learned something valuable today. Black doesn't have the papers, either. So who does? he wonders as he relaxes into a casual walk and aims himself in the opposite direction from the activity. Did the same person who planted the bomb in the doctors office chuck that one at him and Black? And what has become of good Doctor herself? Did she perish in the explosion?
He stops on a corner and waits to cross the street, far enough away from the fuss now that life has taken on a normal night rhythm.
“Hello.” A woman approaches, her hips swinging underneath a tight fitting gold miniskirt. “You are a tourist? Would you like me to....show you around?” She puts provocative emphasis on the words.
“No thank you.” White says in German, careful not to give away any hint of an accent. He steps into the street and disappears across, unexceptional in every way, forgotten in seconds.
It's late, and he certainly isn't going to get anywhere right now. He has his handgun, which regenerates with his suit and hat, but nothing else, no passport, no money. That is going to make this rather difficult. They may recognize him at the Embassy, but he has a suspicion that Black will be waiting for him to go there. If he dies he'll end up back in his apartment in the morning, a sixteen hour flight from here on a good day, and will miss whatever is left of the day. He needs a contact. He needs....
Something presses at the back of his mind, his spy-der sense is tingling, and he casts a furtive glance over his shoulder. This area is mostly deserted this time of night and he sees no one. He doesn't ignore his instinct, though, so he steps into the shelter of an alley and stands, waiting. Sure enough, a few moments later he hears footsteps. White recognizes the rhythm, that is Black's walk pattern. He checks the level of his clip, then curses softly. He doesn't have his mirror, he'll have to purchase another one but that's a matter for a different time. His eyes scan the street and finally find a window that reflects it back in monochrome. He can barely see the edge of Black's body, the outline of one shoulder. Black is standing in the gutter, probably lighting a cigarette.
White holds his breath and watches Black stroll down the sidewalk on the other side of the street. He can see him looking into doorways and alleys, vigilant. White casts his eyes around and sees that the building across the street is being renovated in some way, there is one of those dangerous looking rigs made of a thin aluminum platform and nearly useless guard rails, the whole thing hoisted into the air with a couple ropes attached to pulleys. Aside from that, the street is clear. White carefully cocks the gun, waiting for Black to come into sight. He can send Black home and get him out of the way.
Black has stopped and he's just standing there. White huffs impatiently. What is he doing out there, reading the news? White creeps closer to the street and at last chances a look. He is! Black is standing there on the corner reading a damned paper. What time is it, two in the morning? Three? Earlier? It's hard to keep track of those things. Well, fine then. He'll do this now.
White steps out of the alley and puts three bullets straight into Black, piercing the paper. Instead of crumpling, Black explodes. White is thrown to the ground, his often abused back slamming painfully on the pavement. The back of his head thumps on the curb and for a moment his vision explodes into stars.
He scrambles to his feet but not fast enough, White grunts as he is tackled and hits the ground again, this time on his front. He catches his upper body and shoves the ground away, twisting and kicking his attacker, the gun lost when he'd fallen before. Black has the gun jammed up against his shoulder on the right side, well away from his heart. He must still think I have the papers somewhere, White thinks triumphantly, he doesn't want to kill me. White jams his other shoulder around, rolling over far enough to make a grab at Black's arm. Black pulls the trigger but the shot goes nowhere in particular, echoing off into the street. White forces the gun up, twisting his body until he is facing Black, their bodies as close as lovers, jabbing the gun up against his own chin, holding Black's arm in place with both hands.
“Go ahead.” White laughs, sneering. “You've lost the papers. They're being picked up-” he pauses for emphasis “as we speak.”
“You're lying.” Black hisses.
“Then shoot me.” White taunts. “Here, I'll do it for you.” He works his finger over Blacks on the trigger.
The bluff works, Black wrenches the gun away. White comes up after him, shoving the other man away. Black rolls and kicks him all the way over, but White puts a knee into his upper arm on the way and triggers the nerve, his fingers releasing the gun as his arm goes numb.
White tries to kick him in the face but Black evades, there is a confused tangle of limbs and insults and then they are separated again. White scans the ground for the guns, both of them are off in the shadows. Black is doing the same thing. They spot the weapons at the same time and both dive for them, each grabbing a firearm, and land aiming at each other They realize that they are holding each others weapons and their eyes meet over the street.
Black lifts a hand. One, he fingers as he puts the gun on safety, two...three. They toss the weapons across the street, swapping guns, then both scramble to spin them around and point them at the other.
Someone is clapping.
Black and White both blink, identical expressions of surprise adorning their faces. They quickly darken as they turn their heads and see who it is strolling down the pavement, high heels clicking.
Gray stops directly between them, still clapping. There is a manila envelope clamped under one arm.
“Hello, Boys.” She lowers her tortoise shell cats eye glasses and looks from one to the other. Her dress is cut distractingly low, revealing a very unprofessional amount of cleavage. “Is this what you're looking for?”
“Are those the actual papers?” White asks, leaning on his elbows on the sidewalk.
“Of course not.” Gray rolls her eyes. “But this is the envelope they came in.”
“Where are they?” Black demands from across the street.
Gray contemplates him for a second before responding. “Somewhere safe. And I will give it to you if you will run a teensy little errand for me. However” She takes a moment to look between them again make the emphasis more pointed “you're going to have to work together.”
She takes the glasses off and rests them against her lips, painted perfect red as always, her mouth forming into a purposefully seductive pout, letting them think about this.
“Well?” She says after an appropriate amount of time has passed. “What do you say, do we have a deal?”
Gray sits between them in the back seat of a nondescript sedan that had appeared seconds after White and Black had stowed their guns. White looks over her head to narrow his eyes at Black. The dark spy looks tired, he decides, which makes sense as he's been awake for, how long now? It is probably approaching forty eight hours.
They drive for what feels like a very long time. White watches as Black leans back and eventually slumps in his seat, the hat pulled down to cover his eyes. Sleeping. Or pretending to, the arrogant bastard.
White looks out the window and is surprised to find they are now approaching a rather famous coctail bar. The doors are closed now, and the car pulls around back. There are several other vehicles parked back here, all of them look as though they belong to someone well to do.
Black sits up when they stop, giving no indication as to whether he was actually asleep or not. They both get out and turn, offering Gray their hands. Gray looks back and forth between them, then chooses White, who is nearest to the door in the back of the club, and lets him help her out. White shoots a triumphant glare over the top of the car.
Black comes up behind them as White holds the door for Gray. He pauses to give White a scathing look.
“I dislike you with great intensity.” Black says.
“Thanks for clearing that up.” White comes back.
The door leads to a back room which would make the regular attendees of the club blush with shame. Everything is shades of red, plush red fabric lit by rosy Chinese lanterns. There are women in red as well, tight dresses that ride up their slick hips and barely conceal artificially enhanced breasts. There are men as well, dressed in slick stylish clothes and smoking expensive cigars while they pour glass after glass of wine that costs more than a used car.
One of the women uncurls herself from the couch and slinks over to them. She puts one red fingernail in her mouth and examines both of them, then reaches out and runs a hand down the front of Black's suit. Her upper body twists like a kindergartner on show and tell day. This time it is Black's turn to give the triumphant look.
“Not now, loverboy.” Gray says, grabbing Black's arm and pulling him away. “We have business to discuss.”
The smell of illegal smoke and the mingled voices and music seep in around the fabric walls of the private booth. Two patrons of the fine establishment have positioned themselves a couple of yards away on either side, standing in a way that doesn't quite conceal that they are guards.
“Alright, boys.” Gray says, smiling as she lays two file folders on the table, one in front of each spy. “Lets get this show on the road.”