AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hey, this was something that came to me spur of the moment while watching Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego with my younger cousin and I ended up writing it down. It's been years since I've seen this cartoon so please forgive any errors concerning characters. I'm not really following the animation's plot so it's a little different.

The streets of San Francisco were silent in the early hours of the morning, except for the slapping of running feet on the cold, hard pavement. A young woman, only about nineteen, bolted around an alley corner into the street. Her breath was coming in gasps and she stopped momentarily, clutching her side. Blonde hair had fallen free from the ponytail it had been put up in, framing a heart shaped face. Her green eyes sparkled with adrenaline fueled alertness. Looking around warily, she pulled the sleeve of her black leather coat up, revealing a watch. Or at least, it looked like a watch. Pressing a button, she spoke softly into it.

"This is agent Hunter to ACME headquarters. Requesting back-up."

She paused momentarily, willing for someone to answer her calls even though she knew the chances of someone being at the agency at this hour were slim at best. The sounds of approaching footsteps made her glance at the alley she had previously exited. Desperation began to well up within her, and she pushed the communicator button again.

"I repeat, this is agent Hunter to ACME headquarters. Chief? Are you there?" The footsteps sounded closer. She was beginning to panic. "Chief? Carmen? It's Maelstrom! Please, I need_"

"There she is!" Hunter whipped around at the voice. Three men ran out of the alleyway, moving straight towards her. She cursed under her breath, the communicator forgotten for the moment. Turning on her heel, she did the only thing she could think to do. She ran.

A loud bang reverberated off the walls of the surrounding buildings, followed by two more. Hunter ducked instinctively.

"Great," she thought. "They're armed. Now what?"

Pain flared through her arm and she gasped, stumbling from the shock. Distracted by the pain, she missed the step up the curb; a cry tore from her lips as she fell. Before she could recover her footing, the men descended on her. With no regard to her injury, they pulled her arms behind her back, cuffing them. A gag was forced into her mouth before she could voice her protest.

She struggled against her captures desperately as they began to drag her back to where they had come from, ignoring her objections. None of them noticed the slip of paper that fell from her hands as they turned the corner.

Top ACME detective Carmen Sandiego walked through the halls of the agency headquarters, leafing through a stack of papers in her hand. She sighed. Her last case had been easy. Too easy in her opinion. Hoping that maybe the Chief would have something more interesting for her, she went in search of the android.

She found him in the usual spot, sitting in front of the large computer screen as he scanned incoming data.

"Hey, Chief." she greeted him. "What's up?"

"What's up?" replied the Chief with his usual enthusiasm. " Well I'll tell you what's up Carmen. Maelstrom is what's up." This perked the detective's interest immediately.

"He's at it again?" she asked. The Chief nodded. Carmen sighed, wishing she was on that case. Maybe it would actually be a challenge, for once.

Setting her completed case file down, Carmen looked around, feeling like something was missing. Realizing what is was, she turned back to the Chief.

"Where's Maddie?" she questioned.

Madelyn Hunter, or Maddie as everyone called her, was Carmen's partner. She, like Carmen, was considered to be one of ACME's finest detectives and was perhaps the only one in the agency able to keep up with Carmen while on a case. She matched Carmen stride for stride when it came to detective work. While both had been hesitant about working with a partner, they worked together quite well, eventually forming a strong friendship.

"Don't know," responded the Chief. "I_"

The computer screen suddenly flashed red with an incoming message alert. Looking at the screen, Carmen frowned. It was from Maddie, but it was several hours old.

"Why would she call in last night? She knew no one would be here." The chief activated the sound system and a woman's voice filled the air.

"This is agent Hunter to ACME headquarters. Requesting back-up." Her voice was breathy, as if she had been running. "I repeat, this is agent Hunter to ACME headquarters. Chief? Are you there?" There was a pause. "Chief? Carmen? It's Maelstrom! Please, I need_"

Voices in the background interrupted Maddie's voice over the communicator. They heard her curse softly. Carmen cringed as gunshots rang before static signaled the deactivation of Maddie's communicator.

Carmen looked over at the Chief, who stared back. Silence reined momentarily, before Carmen turned and all but ran out of the office.