Standing Smart

If there was one thing the Chief of CONTROL hated about his job, it was dealing with a sulky Maxwell Smart.

Max wasn't an easy person to deal with in any mood, ecstatic or tragic; but while Max might be a klutz with more enthusiasm than brains, Agent 86 was an incredibly lucky field operative with lots of experience, occasional strokes of brilliance, and, most importantly, a feared reputation with KAOS.

The Chief put up with Max so he could keep 86 (he'd never admit the man had somehow gotten under his skin).

As long as 99 was around to be a buffer between her co-worker's antics and her boss.

She would have taken this weekend off to see her mother alone

The Chief sighed. Heavily. He had an ever-worsening migraine. He was also getting dizzy, watching Max pace up and down his office. Up and down. Back and forth. Up and down. Back and forth…

"MAX!" the Chief finally exclaimed. "Will you please sit down?"

Max turned on his heels in the middle of the room. "Sit down? Sit down, Chief? At a time like this?"

The Chief rolled his eyes. "At what time, Max?"

"At a time when KAOS is about to take over the world!"

Shaking his head, the Chief wished fervently for 99 and an aspirin. How does she do this on a daily basis…? "Max, let me explain the situation. Again. KAOS is sending a secret courier to a rendezvous; he's carrying the formula to a new nerve gas Siegfried is supposed to implement. Agent 62 will meet the courier—"

"But Chief, I was supposed to be the one to meet the KAOS courier!"

"But Max, the courier recognizes you! He'll be able to identify you miles away, and he'd know he was handing the formula over to CONTROL," the Chief explained. For the hundredth time.

Agent 86 crossed his arms and frowned, an expression that looked very much three-years-old.

The Chief was unimpressed. He tried burying himself in paperwork (the second item on the list of Things To Hate About Being Chief Of CONTROL) and looking very busy, but Max, true to form, was relentless in pursuing his goal.

86 tried whining. "But, Chief, it's been a whole week since I've had an assignment…"

No luck. Just the Chief's pen scritching a little more loudly as his irritation mounted.

Perhaps pleading would work? "Please Chief?" Max even straightened his face out of a scowl and tried to look hang-dog.


Max stuck his lower lip out in an extremely un-agent-ly fashion. The Chief fearfully considered for the first time in his career that KASO had planted video bugs in his office, and just as fervently hoped that the thought was completely unfounded.

Finally conceding, the Chief sighed (again) and pulled open a top drawer. Extracting a file, he tossed it to the opposite side of his desk. "Here Max. Take a look at that—see if there's anything in there to interest you."

Max pounced on the file as if it were Siegfried himself. The Chief enjoyed two-point-three minutes of complete and utter silence from Max. He winced when Agent 86 finally exploded.

"I can't take any of these missions, Chief!"

The Chief finally looked up. "Why not, Max?" he asked in a tone that spoke worlds of his long-suffering.

"Because they're all below me, Chief! I'm much too experienced to be a petty courier. Or follow KAOS agents around just to keep track of them. Don't tell me this is all CONTROL has in the way of assignments right now!"

"Well, to tell the truth, Max…"

"I told you not to tell me!" Max crossed his arms and seated himself on the edge of the Chief's desk. The frown had settled, permanently it seemed, on his face again. The Chief tried very hard not to think about the sliding panel concealing his weapons cache.

"Max, stop acting so churlish! We're all tired of being cooped up, you'll just have to deal with it like everyone else!"

Standing up and facing the Chief, Max leaned over the desk, propping himself up with his hands. "But you see, Chief, I am no ordinary agent!"

The Chief emphatically agreed.

"I'm an agent who lives for danger! The thrill of the chase, the adrenaline of finding an enemy agent, risking my life for the cause of the good guys…And loving it!"

The Chief rolled his eyes. "Please, Max, could you please just—"

Suddenly the lights in the Chief's office blinked off, accompanied by an impressive noise of various devices powering down.

The Chief could fairly hear Max straightening. "Chief! Are you hurt?"

"Uh, no, Max…"

"Good!" There was some movement, some rustling, as Max obviously searched for something concealed in his suit jacket. "I'm sure this is a KAOS plot to cause confusion in our Headquarters! I'll have you out of here and in a safe location before you can say CONTROL!—If I could just find the blasted…"

The Chief opened his mouth, but whatever he was about to say was cut off by the sound of Max valiantly crashing into what sounded like the wall, and falling on top of what the Chief could only guess was one of his potted plants.

A soft "Sorry about that, Chief…" floated from the direction of the door before the sliding panel slid open and let in an almost-blinding shaft of light from the outer office.

"Well, would you look at that, Chief! Looks like the blackout was completely locational! This is going to require some more thorough investigation!"

The Chief shook his head and allowed himself a smile as he pressed the intercom to speak with his secretary. "Thanks, Larabee—I owe you one…" For once!

Sometimes, being Chief of CONTROL was all worth it, he decided as he watched Agent 86 disappear on another mission.