I don't own these characters or profit from them
Because my previous story was reviewed and I got many requests for a sequel, you got it. Keep that in mind when you look up my published books.
Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?
Trial By Ordeal
By, Clayton Overstreet
Previously in Clayton Overstreet's other Carmen Sandiego fan fic:
With the rise of more dangerous and threatening villains led by some of Carmen's more dangerous enemies ACME was finding Carmen's ultimately harmless crimes to be a distraction to finding the new thieves before anyone else died. Meanwhile Carmen was beginning to feel slighted by the lack of attention and more than a little guilty as the villains she trained left to join the new less honorable but more profitable villains. So Ivy came up with a surprising plan. Resigning from ACME she stole some personal items from Carmen's home and led her on a chase across the globe from Russia to Niagara Falls and ultimately Las Vegas where she made a surprising proposal. In exchange for a full pardon for Carmen's illegal actions Ivy would partner with Carmen in a new security company that repossessed stolen items from thieves and also turned the criminals in for bounty money. In addition to prove their mutual sincerity, the two of them would get married in full view of ACME and the world.
Carmen said yes.
Together the two of them tracked down the villains, stole back their loot, and captured all of the bad guys sending them to an escape proof prison that the two designed themselves. Just the first in what could be a long and profitable career.
However, not everyone is happy with this situation.
24 HOURS AGO
Player: So Carmen, how is married life treating you?
Carmen: Just fine player. But then, when I find something I want, I keep it.
Player: There's been some word on Crime Net that someone may be gunning for you. Think you can handle it without your henchmen to back you up?
Carmen: Player I started VILE on my own and when they turned on me Ivy and I finished it. Henchmen are useful, but all a person really needs to get by in the world is confidence and a few close friends.
Player: I hope you're right. You and ACME may have had your issues, but nobody on our team wants to see you hurt.
Carmen: I may be on the side of the angels these days Player, but I'm still Carmen Sandiego. Anyone who forgets that may find that I still have more than a little devil in me...
They say that the ultimate secret of the universe is "Things change".
Carmen and Ivy raced each other through the elaborate training grounds the two of them had designed on the property of their villa at the edge of the Paraguay jungle. As they ran they tripped various traps they had designed for each other that had been set randomly by computer. Sometimes they had to stop for insanely complicated locks that they picked in seconds. Answered questions about obscure facts from around the world. Until finally they landed on the final platform that was the finish line.
Carmen and Ivy collapsed to the platform, breathing hard.
"Not done yet, are you… Carmen?" Ivy gasped.
Carmen smiled and shook her head, her long black hair spread out like a halo around her head, her hat slipping to the side. "Not at all Detective. Just giving you a moment to catch… your breath."
Absently she reached down and felt the ring under her black glove. Ivy noticed. She had seen Carmen do that a lot over the last six months. Sometimes at night Carmen would slip out of bed, go to her dressing table and look between her reflection and the ring on her finger, slipping it back and forth, even tugging on it, but never quite slipping it off her hand. The ring was made up of materials that frankly could be used to buy a country. Underneath was a small etching of a pair of handcuffs.
Ivy reached over and brushed the sweat off her brow. "Carmen… you know I didn't…" She swallowed. "I didn't mean to trap you."
"I don't feel trapped Ivy," she said softly.
"Then why do I picture a panther pacing in its cage every time I see you twisting that ring?"
Carmen laughed and leaned into Ivy's palm. "Ivy if I wanted to leave, I would leave. I think we both know that you could never stop me."
"I've caught you before Carmen," Ivy reminded her.
"True, but nobody keeps me unless I allow it sweetheart." She rolled over and reached out to run her fingers through Ivy's short red hair. "I'm not thinking of running Ivy. I'm just…" She stopped.
"Worried. About you."
"Carmen I can take care of myself and you."
"Keep in mind Ivy, when I was with VILE it was me and my minions. Backstabbing criminal types who followed me because I paid them. I'd forgotten the downside of being a good guy."
"That if the people you're working with get hurt you care. On the one hand I know you're more than capable. Time and again you and your brother have taken down my best plans. I'd feel hypocritical stopping you from doing anything as dangerous as what I do… did when I committed my robberies.
"Yet every time we go out on a job I still find myself wishing I could lock you safely behind steel doors where nothing in the world could hurt you."
Ivy laughed. "Funny. Steel doors never seem to stop you." She rolled over, straddling Carmen's legs and sat on her, looking down with her palms on Carmen's belly. "Don't worry Carmen, I'm not going anywhere."
Zack raced through the streets of Morocco after Simon Sayez, one of Carmen's ex-henchmen and an expert on mind control. He had stolen a large diamond and used it in a black-out ray that made the guards at three museums fall asleep and stay that way until long after he had run off with some very valuable artifacts. This time Zack had been waiting for him and had already smashed his device, pocketing the diamond on the way.
They entered the merchant district and it was like being in an Arabian Nights movie. Merchants raced forward trying to get their attention and blocking their paths. Simon was being slowed down, but so was Zack.
Passing a fakir who was making a rope rise up into the air Zack snatched the rope away from the stunned mystic and swung from it, despite the top not actually being attached to anything. At the top of the arch he let go, flying through the air and landing on the top of one of the booths, bouncing off the cloth like a trampoline. With a grunt he landed on Simon's back, knocking him to the ground.
"Simon Sayez," Zack said, handcuffing him. "You're under arrest."
Suddenly there was a clapping sound from behind him. "Nicely done Zack. I'm always impressed with your ability to improvise."
Zack turned and saw a familiar figure. "Carmen? What are you doing here? Don't tell me you and Ivy are checking up on me." He looked around. "Where is Ivy?"
Carmen frowned. "That's what I need to talk to you about Zack. If you don't mind a quick trip to ACME."
Zack shook his head. "I don't mind, though it's a little weird thinking of taking you there without putting some cuffs on you first."
"Sorry Zack, but putting me in handcuffs is Ivy's job these days," Carmen said.
Blushing Zack stood up. "TMI Carmen. Player C5 us to ACME…" A glowing blue circle appeared in the air. "After you."
"Such a gentleman. I always knew Ivy was exaggerating."
Carmen stumbled a bit as they landed in the main office at ACME HQ. Then she moved deftly aside as Zack tumbled out onto the floor.
"Carmen! Good to see you," the Chief said, his face appearing on the computer screens around the room. "What brings you by here? And keep in mind, I'm counting the paperclips."
"Not a theft this time Chief," Carmen said. "It's more about a kidnapping."
"You're not stealing me again…"
Carmen sighed. "I don't have time for jokes Chief. What can you tell me about Medieval?"
"No, it's a group." She reached into her pocket and handed Zack an open envelope. "This was on my door this morning after Ivy left to go get milk. She… she was going to make me breakfast in bed. Pancakes." Her voice shook as she said the last.
Zack opened the paper inside. "To Carmen Sandiego. The world may have forgotten your crimes, but we have not. You will meet us at the following coordinates by sunset or your co-conspirator will meet an untimely end in your place. Signed The Medieval Group." He looked up at Carmen. "You've never heard of them before?"
"No," Carmen said. "And I came here for help because I don't have the resources to find out about them. Most of my research comes from books and when Ivy and I are hired for a job people usually have files they bring us. My criminal ties have dried up and I don't have time for a search on my own."
"Chief," Zack said.
"Hey, I'm with you two." The screen flickered. "It seems we do have a brief mention of a group calling itself Medieval, but not much. The name pops up a few times, but only one person has gone on record as having met them and he refused to say much."
"Who is it?" Carmen asked.
"Manny Hands, a former pick pocket and thief who used to steal from wealthy people on the Riviera," the Chief said. "Currently an inmate at the Longview correctional facility in Nevada. He disappeared just before this third trial for grand larceny which everyone was sure he would walk on yet again and turned up in a raft half dead off the coast of Greenland. He was made with thirst, tortured, and frostbitten. When they found him he mumbled 'The Medieval Group. Don't let them have me back. I was found innocent in the trial. Don't take me back.' Then he fell unconscious and has not said a word to anyone ever since. Even at his trial he just sat there quietly and wouldn't even talk to his lawyer. That was ten years ago."
"I remember Manny. He disappeared one day years ago…" Carmen said. "Before that he was known as one of the best thieves to ever work the system."
"His most notable injury was to his left hand, which was removed. Unlike his other injuries though this seemed to be a clean cut, almost surgical. Prison psychologists think that his unwillingness to speak may be because he can no longer steal like he used to since his blood work says he was probably under heavy anesthetic when it was removed."
"Great. Okay we'll check on Manny and see what he knows. Player…"
"Wait Zack," Carmen said. He stopped and looked at her. "It's almost sunset at the coordinates. They're in northern Greenland in the ice fields over by some of the big glaciers. Nobody goes out there and satellites show nothing new. It'll be three ours before it's sunset at our house. Either way, I doubt it will be enough time for us to get a guy who hasn't spoken in a decade to cough up."
"So what do we do?"
"You go to the prison and find out what you can. Catch up to me when you can."
"Carmen, Ivy is my sister. I can't just…" She put a hand on his shoulder and he fell silent.
"Zack, do you think there is anything I would not do to save Ivy?" He shook his head. "But as hard as I try to appear otherwise, I'm only human Zack and I'm walking into a trap. Because your sister, my wife, is the bait. There's every chance that whatever is going on I won't make it out of whatever they have cooked up, especially if they could kidnap someone as capable as Ivy in the first place. If I don't come back or if they've hurt Ivy… I'll need someone out here who knows what is going on and who won't stop until they go down. Do you understand?"
Zack nodded. "Yes, but Carmen… all of ACME would…"
"Then do it," Carmen said. She looked at him and then the Chief. "Send out all your people. Hunt these people down and if you can rescue her before me I'll be grateful. But I have to go now." She reached up to her watch. This, by the way, is a T7 Corridor, my own upgrade." A red circle appeared in the air. Carmen stepped back into it. "Incase I don't see you again, it's been fun boys."
Carmen appeared into a blank while landscape at the foot of a huge glacier. Standing on either side, under an icy overhang, were two men in brown monk's robes and layers of other clothing showing at the edges. They were armed with spears. When Carmen appeared they looked up, but otherwise did not move. Attached to the overhang were sticks of TNT, ready to collapse the entrance.
Then a man in a black robe appeared, stepping from the shadows of the doorway. "Carmen Sandiego."
"I'm going to go with crazy robed man." She looked around. "Where is Ivy?"
He smiled. "Follow me please. We will begin by reading the charges." He turned and walked back in.
Carmen looked at the guards. She had seen less stoic faces on the London Palace guards. Then again they had reason at the time to be a little excited. Carmen smiled remembering the goodies she had liberated from the Queen's collection of gifts and stepped forward.
Suddenly under her coat there were bright flashes and crackling followed by a puff of smoke. Carmen stepped back and looked down. Her watch was not working. A brief check showed that every high tech device on her was now completely inactive and shorted out.
"Electromagnetic pulse," she muttered. "Not so medieval after all." She walked into the glacier. As she did the guards followed and a moment later there was a rumble as the entrance was buried under tons of snow.
"We try," the voice ahead of her said in the dark. "This way Mrs. Sandiego."
Manny Hands sat across from Zack, not speaking. It had been a half hour and Zack was getting antsy. The guard with them said, "It won't do you any good. He never talks to anybody."
"I have to try. These guys took my sister." He shook his head. "Look leave me here and I'll keep trying." The guard hesitated, but nodded and left. "Look Manny, I need to know who Medieval is. What they want. Hey took my sister and I don't know what they're doing to her."
Manny did not move at first, but then he glanced at the security camera. Zack sighed and got up, unhooking the cable. "What did she do?" His voice was rough, unused.
"She's a former detective. Now she runs a repo service."
Manny shook his head. "No, they wouldn't just take someone for nothing."
"What do you mean?"
"Medieval… they're a conglomerate of… law and order. They believe that they are taking up the slack for a corrupt system by putting people's lives back in the hands of fate, rather than fallible human courts. They recruit police, judges, and civilians… anyone who feels that the system is letting crooks get away. Then they find those who should have been punished, but escaped by using legal tricks and loop holes."
"Then?" He smiled nastily and lay his arms on the table. One of them had a black cap on its wrist where his hand should have been. "They get medieval on them."
"But my sister didn't…" Light dawned. "Carmen!"
"…and the theft of the Hope Diamond… again."
Carmen looked up at the man in the black robe as he read out her crimes from a scroll. To her it looked pretty authentic, even written on lambskin. Around the, the room was carved from solid ice, lit by candles each held by one of hundreds of people in brown robes like the guards out front.
"So is this some kind of kangaroo court?" Carmen asked.
"Oh we aren't judging you Carmen. That is up to fate. We only act as bailiffs on fate's behalf. It is up to fate to judge you, since man's law has allowed you to walk away without punishment."
"Punishment for what?" Carmen asked. "I've never hurt anyone. I only stole from museums and the like, taking things that are considered priceless. Since then I've reformed and returned everything."
"You did not reform. You made a deal for something you wanted. You did not feel guilt. You did not accept the consequences that should have followed your actions. Instead you live in luxury with a woman who loves you."
"It seems to me that fate has spoken," Carmen said.
"We shall see. Nobody will stop you. Your wife if at the other end of the Labyrinth of Destiny. Find her, release her, and you may both walk out of here."
Carmen rolled her eyes. "And I thought VILE members were drama queens. I assume that few people have ever walked this labyrinth and lived?"
"One in two hundred years. And he cheated. We have since… simplified things. You may have noted the EMP field on the way in."
Carmen licked her lips, which were chapping in the cold. "And if I fail? What happens to Ivy?"
"Nothing. In fact nobody will hurt her, threaten her, be in to feed her, refuel the fire, or anything." He leaned in. "Normally we give mere collaborators like her a chance at answering a riddle. In times past if a criminal could answer or pose a riddle that their captors could not answer they were released. But she refused to even consider it."
Carmen sighed. "Ivy you beautiful fool." She could picture it. These people would have offered to let her go if she answered the riddle and Carmen failed. Ivy would never do that. She was too stupidly stubborn… god Carmen loved that woman. "I don't suppose any of you would like to join me? Maybe walking ahead of me through the maze?"
"No. We never go in except when we hold the annual deathtrap contest and the winner's invention is added. Before you ask, the map we used it kept elsewhere the rest of the year."
Carmen glared at him. "You are enjoying this far too much."
"A man has to love what he does. It helps that you're guilty."
She snorted. "I'm sure the men who crucified Jesus felt the same way."
The man in the black cloak motioned towards the dark corridor. "According to the law at the time he was guilty."
Carmen walked into the darkness and said, "Yes, but also as I recall the only person he actually promised a place in Heaven was a convicted thief." She vanished into the darkness.
Zack stared at the monitor. Now that they knew what to look for there were a disturbing number of criminals who tended to disappear after being found innocent or having their cases thrown out.
"Wow Chief, you'd think after spending that much money on their defense they would stick around."
"They probably planned to Zackerino." He rotated and came around in Adam West's Batman cowl. "But our mysterious malefactors most likely made off with these malicious miscreants in their medieval manner."
"Holy cow Chief, you think they're behind all of these?"
"Do I look like the world's greatest detective to you, boy blonder?" Turning back to normal he said, "Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. If what Manny Hands told you these guys have been active for a while."
"So why haven't we heard of them?"
"Well Zack, I hate to point this out, but really why would we? They were found innocent in a court of law and after the news coverage dies down nobody really cares until they break the law again. Ten million people around the world disappear annually and half a million are never even found dead. Since they don't turn up there's no way to track them and it's not even illegal to vanish if you want, so unless someone reports it, why would anybody go looking."
"Considering it's my sister that's gone I'm beginning to think we should."
"No arguments here Zack, but I've just heard back from our Greenland division and there is nothing at the coordinates Carmen was given. They're checking the records to see if there has been any airplane activity in the area that might have taken her anywhere, but it appears that there hasn't been and if there were any tracks it seems someone set off an avalanche to cover them."
"So we've got no clues and no way to find Carmen or Ivy." Zack banged his fist on the keyboard.
"Hey watch it Zack. You just erased half my collection of cute cat videos."
"Sorry chief. I just… I wish Ivy and I were still partners. I mean… part of me blames myself for not being there to help her and another part of me is blaming Carmen because Ivy wouldn't be in this situation if these people were not after her. Then I hear ivy's voice in my head telling me that the only people to blame are the guys who took her, but I don't even know who they are... except they cut off some guy's hand and he was the lucky one."
The Chief said, "Think of it this way Zackmeister. We're talking about Carmen Sandiego and Ivy, possibly pound for pound the two greatest women in all of recorded history. These bozos don't know who they're messing with. Why I'll just bet the two of them will walk through that door any second now."
Zack turned to look at the door.
It had been over three hours and Carmen was tiring. None of the traps seemed to be electronic, though she was not willing to risk that for certain. Just because they seemed to be sticking to basics so far did not mean they could not change it. People using an EMP to knock out electronics were clearly not barbarians, despite their archaic choice in law enforcement.
The reference to riddles had tipped her off first, but it was the rockslide that dropped out of the ceiling and the blast of fire that ignited what smelled like a natural gas pocket that gave Carmen a clue as to exactly what this was. Back in the days when a community was lucky to have people who could make clothes, let alone a criminal justice system, they had to do without judges and lawyers. So instead they went with trial by ordeal. Real witch trial stuff like pressing someone under a lot of boulders or making them walk through fire.
So far Carmen's only clues that se had activated traps were barely perceptible clicks or the brush of a tripwire on her leg. Spikes and darts had hit her three times, but fortunately the EMP had not effected the armored layer built into her coat and hat. She was getting tired of the floor suddenly dropping out from under her or merely not being there. Some of those pits were deep while other drops were short enough that reaching down she could feel the spikes and some of the bodies impaled on them. Those remains however were becoming less frequent the further she went.
So far in the complete dark Carmen's only real aid was that they had used the Egyptian dodge in designing their maze. It was a common way to do things up until the archaeologists figured it out. These guys were old school so she had taken a chance. The way ancient tombs were built to keep the builders from dying before it was finished (and perhaps incase their bosses decided to make sure the builders never left) involved building it so that you could find your way by keeping your hand on the left hand wall as you walk.
She had set off several traps this way too, her hand brushing the triggers and even a few sharp blades embedded in the ice. Carmen was thankful she always wore thick gloves, especially when she went to the Arctic. From what she could tell these had been added more recently since the ice bulged out around it. She wondered how old this place was… they had mentioned two hundred years, but that was only with one escapee.
Something hissed and Carmen jumped forward and felt a jerk on her heel. Reaching down she felt her shoes. One of her heels had been sheered off. Feeling back she found what felt like a guillotine blade embedded in the floor. "Naughty boys."
Why were they doing this? She wondered as she tore off the remains of her heels and stood back on her feet. Well throughout history there was no shortage of people who wanted revenge against the criminals who wronged them and others. Who hated seeing them walk away without being punished. Whether they think someone who kills people should be killed in the same way or if they think jaywalkers should be tortured to death.
The problem was they were going old school about it… and with a certain amount of ingenuity. Back in the old days when trial by ordeal was the norm, surviving the trial was not always a good thing. Toss a suspected witch into icy water, if she drowns she's innocent and if she floats then clearly she's supernatural and needs to be burned to death.
She turned a corner and up ahead she saw light, dim but after all that time in the dark it burned like staring into the sun. She closed her eyes tightly, walking forward with her other senses extended incase of another trap, but as she left the hallway and felt a larger room around her she opened her eyes and saw what was waiting for her.
The ice walls had torches attached, burning low. There was also a large brazier burning in the middle. On the opposite wall, unsurprisingly on the other side of a huge pool of water with a twenty feet sheer drop on the edge, was a giant set of scales. Swimming below were a lot of walruses. One of the most dangerous and territorial Arctic animals. Ivy in a glass heart shaped container sat, using her belt buckle to try scratching her way out, so far without much success. It looked like her lips and fingers were turning blue. Above her was a closed doorway that Carmen assumed was how they had gotten her over there in the first place, but you would have to raise that side of the scales to get her up to it.
On the other side was a giant iron weight attached to a chain that disappeared into the ceiling.
"Carmen!" Ivy said, looking up and dropping her belt from her numb fingers. "It's a…"
"A trap. I know Ivy." She said. "I'm guessing they took you the easy way." She rubbed her bruised ribs.
"Carmen I'm sorry I…"
She sneered. "Shut up Ivy."
"Look, you're going to claim it's your fault for getting captured. I'm supposed to blame myself for them being after me. Well forget that. I may have given up my life of crime for you, but I'm not sorry for anything I did when I was a thief. I regret a few of the unforeseen consequences of my actions, but I'm not about to break down and ask forgiveness for something I'm proud of. Especially when all my skills as a thief are the only reason I made it to you my love. The woman I intend to spend my life with and who I never would have known if I were not a crook in the first place." She looked up at the ceiling. "You hear that you delusional frat boys? You can prattle on about fate and destiny all you want, but I chose my life and I don't regret any of it."
Ivy stared in shock and then slowly smiled. "I love you Carmen."
"I love you too detective." She looked around the room until she saw the brazier. Moving closer she examined the brass it was made of and the glowing coals that filled it. In the middle was a feather, firmly attached to what looked like a lever. Another Egyptian reference, where you weighed your heart against the weight of a mythic feather to attain your desired afterlife. Fail and they fed your soul to the devourer.
She glanced at Ivy. Inside that glass on a metal plate it looked like it was even colder than in the room Carmen was in and Ivy was still dressed in her usual clothes. Fine in the jungle, but not so much in an ice cave.
"Ivy, what can you tell me about your cage?"
"Uh, it's on a hinge. When they put me in here it flipped up when one of their guys was adjusting something in that brazier, but it wasn't on fire then. Carmen… don't do anything foolish."
"How did they get over here?"
"When the weight lowers the other side it lets out a bridge over the water and some stairs in the ice. It looked complicated."
"I'll bet. I'll be with you in a moment lover." Carmen took a deep breath and reached out to grasp the feather. It had been burning for a long time. She could already feel the heat through her glove and the arm of her coat. As she gripped it she realized that the edges were razor sharp and when she turned it to the side clockwise, it fought and was very hard to move. Inside something clicked. Under the coals something shifted while on the wall the weight began to lower and Ivy started to rise.
Carmen released the feather and brushed her hand through the coals, separating the fire for a moment to show what was under it. Ivy screamed as her side of the scales dipped lower again, jarring her. "Sorry."
"Carmen, what are you doing?"
She did not answer, staring instead at the glowing hot blades concealed under the fire. They were on a special spring. From what she could see if you turned the feather the whole way it would cut off your hand. She remembered the Chief telling her about Manny.
"Ivy do you think I deserve to be punished for what I've done? All those crimes I committed."
"What do you mean?"
"It looks like if I let you out, this thing will take a hand as payment. Like in the middle east when they catch someone stealing."
"Ivy, how many times when you were chasing me did you say I deserved to be convicted? That I needed to go down for everything I've done?"
"Maybe under American law. Even then only to stop you stealing again and reform you. You don't do that by hurting and torturing someone. You don't kill a thief and you don't maim them either." She was crying now. "And you've changed… or at least you've made amends. You did that for me and for yourself."
"Did I?" Carmen said, staring at the fire. "How many of the people I trained have hurt people? Lee Jordan might never have gone as bad as he did if I hadn't given him that one push. How much of his victim's blood is on my hands?" She wiggled her fingers. "At least half, wouldn't you say?"
"No! Carmen listen to me. You are Carmen Sandiego. Yes you stole, but you never hurt anyone. You did not swindle old ladies, or shoot guards, or steal anything anyone really needed. Since you married me you've given back all of it you did keep and have put more major bad guys behind bars than ACME has in years."
"With your help. And we charged money."
"So what? They paid and were happy to do it. I know you Carmen; you said it yourself. You're not sorry for your crimes, only those that others committed that you never stopped. You were a role model as much as a thief Carmen, showing people that with a little effort they could be honorable and smarter and better…" She sagged in the glass, her breath fogging it. "You are Carmen Sandiego. You can do this."
"You're right Ivy, I am Carmen and I can do this…" She looked around. The torches were firmly affixed to the wall. There was no way to move the brazier of douse the fire. All the tools she had brought were high tech except her lock picks. They were too flimsy.
"Aw forget it," she took off her coat and twirled it like a towel, and then she reached into the fire again, wrapping it around the feather and her arms. She was getting burned now, her sleeves catching on fire, but as she cranked Ivy rose up and the weight went down. When it reached the top the door opened, the glass heart flipped up, and Ivy quickly stumbled out as the bridge and stairs extended behind her.
There was a twang and the sharp blades almost crushed her hands against the razor sharp feather. They would have decapitated her, if not for the reinforced coat. She had to yank and she lost her gloves, but Carmen pulled her hands free and then quickly beat out the fire on her arms. Burnt, bruised, and a little bloody, but otherwise okay.
She turned and racing over to Ivy, her feet skidding across the ice like a professional skater. She did not even glance down at the walruses as she hurried up to her and wrapped her arms around Ivy. The younger woman was shaking and my be suffering from frostbite and hypothermia, but she was alive for now.
"I've got you Ivy."
"I know Carmen." She looked down the dark corridor. "Think it's trapped?"
"If it is someone has a major ass kicking with their name on it. Come on, lets get out of here. We can go home and you can make me some hot chocolate and rub my feet."
"Sounds nice, if my fingers don't snap off." They disappeared through the door.
The man in the black robe watched her go along with the others. One of them came forward. "What do we do now?"
"They survived. They go free. Fate has spoken."
"It just seems unfair. She was not even sorry."
"Nobody ever said fate was fair brother. Now contact our people in Florida. There's a burned spy there who has been connected to a lot of unsavory things. A Michael Weston…"
Zack was asleep at the console. The Chief was almost out too, but he kept repeating, "Any second now… just you watch Zack…" Yawn. "They'll…"
Suddenly the door opened. Zack stopped snoring and sat up, drool hanging from his chin. The Chief's eyes opened, looking bloodshot. Carmen and Ivy stepped through the door. They were covered in bandages, but they were walking and to Zack's relief had all their limbs attached.
"Ha! See! I told you!"
Ivy smirked. "Don't tell me Zack gave up the faith. Huh little bro?"
"Ivy! Carmen!" He got up and ran forward, pulling them both into a hug. "I knew you'd make it out but… oh I'm so happy to see you."
They hugged him back. Carmen said, "You too Zack. After all you're my little brother now too."
Ivy said, "Though I have to say, I can't wait to get back to a more tropical environment and take a long vacation."
"Six weeks designing a security system and hiring bodyguards sounds like fun to me," Carmen said. Ivy looked like she wanted to argue, but her hands twitched under their bandages and she just nodded. "Any news on the people who took us Chief?"
"We're still looking up their history," he said. "But as we sit the Greenland authorities are checking out the cave you told them about. It seems that right around the time the search teams located you and Ivy they registered a massive ground tremor in that area and half the glacier collapsed."
"They're covering their tracks," Ivy said. "Think they'll come after us again?"
"Their leader seemed pretty set on that whole Fate Decides thing. If he wanted us stopped I doubt we would have gotten out." Carmen pursed her lips. "But if running VILE taught me anything, it's that you can't always base a group's actions on their leader so we had better stay alert."
Ivy sighed. "Great now we've got a secret society as enemies on top of everything else. Maybe we should give it all up and become librarians."
"Please, you two would go nuts," Zack said with a grin.
"True," they said. Zack moved back and Ivy and Carmen stayed together.
Player: You had a close call there Carmen.
Carmen: I've had them before Player. I'm still here. Sometimes Fate takes a shine to people.
Player: Maybe it does. What are you going to do now?
Carmen: Now Ivy and I both want in on hunting down Medieval. Nobody gets away with hurting Ivy or me.
Player: We'll see Carmen. You're our ex-number one suspect and Ivy quit. Maybe if you offered us the specs on that T7 corridor…
So what did you think? Please review. If enough people like it, maybe I'll do more.