Martini & Salsa

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Original poster
"Now boarding for flight 473 to Guam," Cynthia heard over the PA system. She hoped that Lena got to her flight on time. She'd taken too long getting ready and by the time they got to the airport she should have went straight to the security check out. But instead she wanted to have a cup of coffee before she went. So Cynthia had obliged her and had sat down and drank some espresso. Why having a drink in LAX sounded fun or relaxing to Lena, she'd never understand.

As Cynthia stood to leave finally, having not gulped down her coffee like her friend, she noticed a bag under the table next to her purse. She couldn't believe it, Lena had forgotten to grab her carry-on. Well it was too late now. Even if security wasn't so tight, she'd never make it to the terminal before the final boarding for the flight.

There was no helping it. Grabbing the bag, Cynthia sighed and started heading to the parking garage. It was too early in the day for all of this.
LAX, the best place in the world for covert meetings. Secure, crowded, noisy, and you don't need a reason to be there. Coffee has great too, but today Thaddeus was working. He had the image of the bag imprinted into his memory along with the description of the person who'd be carrying it repeated over and over in his head, there was no way he could miss even if the other agents, those sent here to get the bad before he did, found her first there was no way they could get out without him knowing.

One of then started to move and he looked in the direction he was heading, and that when he saw it. The hideous green floral pattern trimmed in brown that looked nothing like the sleek black cases in the movies. In a second he went from from waiting half hidden in a tax-free bookshop to moving through the crowd. She was walking right towards him looking grumpy about something, not an unusual expression in LAX and he had to admit she played it perfectly, he was being paired with one of the best.

One moment she was walking alone the next she was walking with a tall well-built man in a suit. Their arms locked, a married couple to anyone's eye.

"I'm afraid we'll have to cut the introduction short, just know the shows ending early tonight."

There it was the codeword for enemy agents, as well as his identification. With the formalities over he steered her toward a side door leading into cleaning supplies closet and with a keycard opened the door and with a glance at the crowd pulled her int the cramped space.
To be fair, Cynthia was so startled by the man that took her arm and lead her to a security door that she didn't fight back. It wasn't the lack of fight of flight instincts, but strange men just don't grab your arm and walk like they have every right to be next to you every day. This wasn't some sleezy club where she had to be careful of her person. This was LAX which meant all she really had to be careful of was being run over by one of those luggage trucks or robbed by a pick pocket.

Once out of the main corridor, Cynthia did push herself away from the man. What had he said, the show ends early? That could not be good for her health in the lease. "Take one step closer and I'll scream. I mean it!"

How was she to know that screaming, would bring the wrong sort of attention? How was she to know that even if she didn't, the bag was still noticed by those that were heading for where they were right this moment.
He almost rolled his eyes, her dedication so the part was admirable but he had said the code phrase and besides, screaming in a sound-proof room....

"Cute." he said without a trace of emotion in his voice as he raised his wristwatch pulling on the knob pulling it free and squeezing the tine transmitter and indeterminable change happened, like everything got lighter then heavier before retuning to normal, the cleaning supplies shaking ever so slightly on their shelves, then he reached over and opened the door again, only instead of a crowded corridor lined with benches, trashcans and shops there was the dim underground parking garage with the only exit securely sealed with a heavy iron gate with a tough looking security guard in a booth.

"Had to make other plans agent, but we have everything under control." he said replacing the dial on his watch, looking her in the eyes behind his glasses for the first time. "You're don't look how I expected."
"How you expect... what exactly is going on here?" Cynthia had the distinct impression that this was not right. Not by a long shot. If it weren't for the fact that everything was set up so well she'd think it was some bad practical joke. As it stood, she was sure there was a horrible mistake and she needed to speak up now!

"I think you've made a mistake," she said with uncertainty in her voice, after all, she still wasn't convinced that death wasn't somewhere in her near future.

The man in the booth snickered, "Maybe you got the wrong gi- oh man she's good. You're not going by land, we've got friends at both sets of toll booth's outside." He was looking at a pair of monitors and then looked back over at the pair. "Guess you're taking the whirlybird. You aren't going to crash it this time are you?"

Whirlybird? Did this guy mean a helicopter, and what was this about crashing?
"You've read about the desert." he said simply explaining the crash. "And thanks we'll be out of here before they even realize the bag was down here. Now Miss, i fyou insist on playing your cover part, this way,"

He led her still by the arm at a quick pace up a short flight of stairs to a helipad where a sleek black chopper waited. Grown crew nodded seeing the agents arrive and let them past. "Since you've been in the air for 6 hours let me..." he said getting into the pilot's seat as a loud bang was heard at the bottom in the flight of stair at which the ground crew make a hasty departure."
Cynthia had an idea. Maybe this was all some sort of strange nightmare brought on by too much stress. Sitting in the helicopter she pinched herself. "Ow," damn, she wasn't asleep.

They were quickly in the air and Cynthia found the unusual movement of the helicopter unsettling. Was it suppose to move like that? She looked over at the man while he was flying. He seemed to know what he was doing.

Looking out the window, Cynthia was amazed to see how high up they were, and yet she could recognize exactly where they were! Which was odd, they seemed to be heading in the direction of a strip mall.
In a flying chopper making an unscheduled departure from one of the busiest airports in the world there was little time to notice the uncertainty of the person next to you, though a gasp of pain could hardly go unnoticed.

"Agent?" he said questioningly glancing at her, she was silent even for someone in their line of work but before he could continue the radio crackled and he turned it over to the headset.

"Understood... site 13 sapped, Martini and Salsa at Brisko's...... Shining."

He banked the chopper and changed course flying low over the rooftops the sleds almost scraping the parapet of a bank before he took his hands from the controls and folded his arms over his chest like someone in a coffin.

"Hold onto your bag." he said right before the bottom fell out of the chopper. Their seats tumbled through the wake of the helicopter as they almost hit the sigh of a Krispy Kreme the cold hard concrete roof rushing up to meet them. But instead of splattering on an immovable surface they fell strait through down a short padded chute and onto a big air-filled cushion, somewhere close by a bell sounded and above them with the sound of metal rollers signaled the roof closing. Then the floodlights came on and they were looking down the barrels of 20 assault rifles and into the unblinking eyes of their wielders.

"Stand down its them." came the order from an intercom speaker on the ceiling. "We apologize but all hells broken lose down here we'll have to cut this short."
A thousand questions were running through Cynthia's head. Who were these people, what did they want with her, what was this place, and most importantly, what was going on. All these questions were jumbled in her mind as she carefully stood up.

By this point an older gentleman with a white lab coat came into the circle of armed men. "Finally," and he took the bag from her. That was it!

"Martini and Salsa?" That was not even on here top ten list of questions.

"Oh, that was just the code name we gave whoever had the bag." He said looking up at her. "By the way I'm Doctor Winestein and I do hope you understand about the extra precautions, what with the information in here and..."

"Doctor!" came the impatient voice from the intercom. Cynthia could understand why, the doctor seemed to talk in an almost run on sentence sort of way and she absently wondered if that was how he always was or was it due to whatever had all these crazy people on edge.

"Yes, the information," and he looked back into the bag, then looked up at Cynthia again. "Though you don't look like I expected."

"That's because I'm not suppose to be here!" Maybe, just maybe someone would now actually explain to her what was going on!
"We're sorry but the drop-off point had to be changed due to... circumstances."

The voice on the intercom came again.

"Doctor get everything up here NOW I want to debrief them personally."

"Oh dear... Well you heard! Follow me."

As the started off the armed men saluted them before going back to their posts.

"We're pleased to have you here." The doctor said to Cynthia. "Heavens knows we need the manpower, trained agents are getting harder to come by and lately.." he put his fingers to his forehead as he walked "ugh, well you'll be assigned as Q67's new partner immediately since his last.. well I'm sure he'll tell you all you need to know."

"Sure I will." The agent she that had brought her here said in a monotone.

"Here we are." The doctor said putting his eye to a retinal scanner and with a sharp click the door unlocked. "I won't be going with you I have to get this to the lab." he strode off down the corridor still holding the bag.

Entering the office they were greeted my a woman behind a large executive desk, a large world map with different colored lights in various locations around the world.

"Please, martini, Salsa, take a seat."
Cynthia shook her head as she looked at the older woman. She was not going to be hurried or tongue tied any longer.

"Look, there's been some horrible mistake," she said with a frown. "This... this guy," as she pointed to Martini, "grabbed me at the airport, assuming that I was... well I don't know, a spy, and all I was doing was leaving after dropping my friend off at the airport, and why are all of you so interested in that tacky bag?"

Oh man, did it feel good to get all of that off her chest. Now hopefully they didn't decide to kill her! "Look, maybe I don't want to know.... just let me go home and we can forget the whole thing."

Yeah, that should do it. Hey, that map was sorta cool!
The room was quiet then the woman leaned forwards and pressed the intercom button for the lab.

"Hey genius as soon as you're done with the bag tell me. I want confirmation that we have the package." She then lased her fingers and looked at the pair with a piercing gaze.

"Martini, tell me anything that told you this might not be Salsa?"

The agent remained motionless and his reply was unhurried and sounded like he was replying to a question in a job interview.

"She did not respond to the codephase, she resisted transport, her continued insistence she didn't know what was occurring and seeming suprise at routine measures." He said unblinking.

"And why did you decide she was the contact."

"She was in possession of the package. Agents were converging on her. A quick decision had to be made."

She leaned back in her chair her eyes on Cynthia just as the intercom came to life.

"We have the codes, I'll be up in a second."

She leaned forwards and pressed the button. "No meet us in the briefing room. I think Martini and..... our new recruit, need to know the full situation. Well miss, welcome to the FDA."
Cynthia watched the quick exchange. Was this guy a robot? There was something very unnerving about how he answered. And when she thought about some of his answers she was a tad nervous. Agents converging on her? There were other people that wanted that ugly bag? What was in it?

"FDA? Like the Food and Drug Administration?" Surely this was some kind of joke, why would that branch of the government need spies?

Before the spy boss lady could enlighten Cynthia further Doctor Winestein came in.

"This will be most interesting I do believe," he said in a happy chatter as he handed a flash drive over to the woman in the desk for her to examine on her own computer. While she was doing that, the doctor looked over at the agent and Cynthia. "A new recruit? This is most unexpected and exciting. What is your name?"

Cynthia did not think it was exciting in the least and much much more unexpected for her then anyone else. She hadn't even agreed to help these people!

"Cynthia Bennett," she found herself saying. The doctor didn't seem like a bad man, and besides if they really wanted to know it was on her driver's license.

"Bennett, no relation to William Bennett?" The doctor said, seeming a lot less hyper and scattered brain then before.

"Unless he was your insurance agent, it must have been a different person," Cynthia said, not really wanting to discuss something like this with a bunch of strangers.

Maybe it was her imagination but she thought there was a look that passed between the doctor and the woman at the desk.

"Enough chatter," she then said. "Martini, your new orders..."
The map on the wall disappeared and a large screen took its place. showing a live satellite feed of a bust dockyard.

"The information from the bag points to here...." A red ping appeared on the feed directly over a warehouse. "We don't know what you'll find there but wherever it is we need you to photograph it and destroy it."

The feed changed to a 3d render of the dockyard and surrounding area.

"Getting into the dock will not be a problem but the warehouse itself is private property and getting a warrant will raise alarms, so you'll have to use your imaginations."

She looked from Cynthia to a smaller screen of her desk and the file that had just come up. Martini stepped forwards and whispered into the woman.

"Daddy Dearest do you think its wise to send a civilian?" he asked in a low tone.

"Shes all we have and this isn't a one man job." she replied and with that the conversation ended.

"Now for equipment!" Dr. Winestein said rubbing his hands together as one of his assistants came on wheeling a cart.

"You'll both need these." he said handing them each an FDA nametag, accidentally switching them in his rush as his favorite part of the briefing got under way. "They will get you into the docks. While this!" He hefted a heavy looking briefcase and handed it to Martini. "Infiltration kit 3 just like you used in Panama, just double the range. And...."

He reached under the cart and pulled out why white bricks that could pass as butter if it weren't for the detonator taped to each one. "And don't won't worry Cynthia..."

"Salsa!" Daddy corrected.

"Right Salsa you're not leaving empty handed here." he picked up a wristwatch and handed it to her. "No time to explain the functions ask you new partner if you need help. And you may as well take the camera." He picked up what looked like a disposable camera and held it out for her. "Use it how it looks, just be careful its rather expensive."
"But... you can't..." was about all Cynthia got out of her mouth as Doctor Winestein was escorting her out the door with Martini right behind them. Looking down at the explosives Cynthia tried once more to try to assert herself, but by this point her and Martini were alone in the hallway and the office door was closed.

"This is absolutely ridiculous," she told him as he started walking down the hall and she had to jog to catch up.

They went down a flight of stairs, and then another, and another. When Martini opened up the heavy looking metal door, Cynthia could tell right away that it was a parking garage. She was then reminded of her own car, back at the airport. "It's going to cost me a fortune to get my car out of LAX!" she said though she doubted the well dress man cared. She then realized that the garage must be very large indeed with the deep hollow echo she heard.
"If you're worried about your car then you're not thinking about the mission." Martini said in the calm tone that never seemed ti change, "And you should look in spot B3 C14." he pointed at a ramp leaning down from where they were. "The retrieval was without indecent."

"Hey you two!" The call came from behind them and turning they saw one of the men who minuets before had been aiming a gun at Salsa's head. He was carrying a large paper bag which he handed to Martini "Take your pick the plates will check out... and sorry for the welcome, they've had us on cold alert for the past three days haven't been this busy since the Cherry Pop Incident, well good luck, I really envy you field agents sometimes."

Martini shook his head "If you really wanted a new name every time you look in the mirror be my guest."

"Well good luck to both of you, I should get back to my post." he said "Ma'am always nice to see a new face down here." he turned and jogged back through he security door which closed behind him as Martini looked into the bag.

'Well..." he said taking out a wedding ring and handing it to Salsa. "Congratulations, your cover is married. And..." he turned and walked down a row of BMWs ranging from new to old in almost every color and state of repair. "Here she is... Salsa.. meet Malissa." From the bag he pulled out a license plate and snapped it into place on an old BMW E36 before petting the hood.

Cynthia wanted to tell mister robot spy that she didn't give a shit about the mission, but he had neatly distracted her with her car. She wondered if all of these people had selective hearing or if they'd taken one to many anti-poison syrums and were all now ADD.

Having just barely juggled what had been given to her moments before upstairs in the office, Cynthia wasn't keen on yet another layer to this impossibility, no matter how nice everyone excluding Martini was being to her. She looked at the ring and wondered if it was real diamond. It was difficult to know, she doubted it.

Then she looked over at the car he was talking about. "Malissa hu?" Cynthia was almost surprised by the fond look the man was giving the car, but perhaps she shouldn't have been. "I guess they have to give you some sort of perks," she said as she went to the passenger door. The sooner they retrieved whatever this was, the sooner she could get back to her life. "Let me guess, don't touch any of the buttons inside."
Sliding into the Driver's seat Martini looked blankly at Cynthia. Then without a word slid the key into the ignition and started the car. "If this car were filled with Hollywood style devices they wouldn't use it on missions like this." he said flatly. "Believe me if you were sitting in THAT car you'd know."

He put the car in gear and pulled out of the parking garage taking a detour through the top basement level. "And on your left you'll see......." there among the others was Cynthia's car sitting there almost exactly as she had left it at the airport. "We look after those that help u......." he cut of in mid sentence even applying the breaks and putting a finger to his ear. His eyes widened for a fraction of a second before his features returned to their usual expressionless state though he did throw a curious glance at Cynthia.

"Sorry." he said smoothly bringing the car back up to speed, for the rest of the trip to the docks he said nothing.
Cynthia give the spy a puzzled expression. Did he have some sort of ear ache? Did he just remember something important? For the life of her, she couldn't imagine what just happened, but she had the sinking suspicion that she shouldn't dismiss it out of hand.

Once they got back above ground, the young woman was soon able to reorient herself on where she was and with a general idea of where they were going already she was able to mostly just watch the city as they drove through it. There had been no reason for Cynthia before today to be in the warehouse district, though she'd seen it from a distance before. It was what one would expect from this part of the docks, the smell of the sea air, a lot of men that looked like they worked hard long hours in small clusters during their breaks, or driving heavy equipment with cargo or supplies.

The thing that didn't surprise Cynthia was she knew exactly where they were going. The 3-D image of the docks and the warehouse that was their destination was very clearly still in her mind.

"So are we driving right up to it, or are we parking somewhere back here?" In for a penny, in for a pound as the British would say.
Her first assignment, no basic training, his new partner, and already he was keeping secrets. This was going to be a long night. "Parking lot to the right." he said turning off of the rout the the loading cranes and into a small lot meant for the vehicles of administrative workers. If it were as easy as driving up to the warehouse and knocking politely they'd send the real FDA, though i believe theres out in, or at least somewhere we can watch from."

He pulled up the handbrake and opened his side door the paused.


"...... Sighted in the lot, it definitely him, oooh i'd love to just squeeze the trigger now and be done with it."

"Your orders are to....."

"Cool your jets I know.. wait.... hes not alone, hes got a woman with him I'll send you her face."