A broad river divided itself into two streams and on the island between them there stood the city of Tashbaan, one of the wonders of the world. Round the very edge of the island, so that the water lapped against the stone, ran high walls strengthened with so many towers that he soon gave up trying to count them. Inside the walls the island rose in a hill and every bit of that hill, up to the Tisroc’s palace and the great temple of Tash at the top, was completely covered in buildings—terrace above terrace, street above street, zigzag roads or huge flights of steps bordered with orange trees and lemon trees, roof-gardens, balconies, deep archways, pillared colonnades, spires, battlements, minarets, pinnacles. And when at last the sun rose out of the sea and the great silver-plated dome of the temple flashed back its light, he was almost dazzled.
I got this as a request a while ago, but my inbox deleted the message before I could reply to it. Here you go!
Tadashi walks into the main lab area with a frown on his
face. One glance around the room and his
frown only deepens further. He sees his
friends hanging around Fred’s corner of the room. Well, at least most of his friends. He
walks up to them, still looking around the room behind other people’s projects.
“Have any of you seen (Name)?” he asks as he approaches
“Not since this morning,” Wasabi shakes his head.
“Nope,” Fred replies popping the last syllable.
“I think I saw her head out about an hour ago,” Honey Lemon
GoGo doesn’t say anything.
In fact, she’s deliberately trying to avoid Tadashi’s gaze.
That doesn’t sit well with him, “GoGo…” Tadashi states in a
She lets out an aggravated sigh and lifts up her hands, “I’m
staying out of it, this time.”
Tadashi crosses his arms, “Where is it?”
“Tadashi, you know that I got out of the circuit when I got
into SFIT. What makes you think I would
He isn’t convinced, “Where’s the race GoGo?”
She crosses her arms as well, and lets out another sigh,
“Lombard Street,” she begrudgingly tells him.
Tadashi’s eyes widen in shock. “Lombard Street, is she
insane?!” He immediately turns and heads
for the door.
“She’s done it before!” GoGo calls after him.
“Well, she’s not
doing it again!” He yells back just
before the doors shuts behind him. He
rushes to his lab to get his helmet and keys before he runs out of the building
and toward his moped. On the way, he
pulls out his cell phone and opens the app he has that links to the two
tracking chips he has. One has been
placed under the hood of your racing car; the other has been sewn into the hood
of Hiro’s jacket. Tadashi stops short
when he realizes that Hiro’s tracker isn’t located at the café. In fact, it’s nowhere near the café.
Sharna didn’t tell anybody that she is visiting James today. She just wants to be left alone from her normal group of people and press today. To be honest, she just wants to spend a little quality time with James.
It was a pain getting into Long Beach with all the commotion around the race track. Reaching the gate, the security stopped her.
“Name please! Oh Miss Burgess! I’m sorry. We have been expecting you. Please park your car over there and there will be somebody coming over to take you to Hinch.”
“Oh! Thank you!” Sharna knew that James is taking care of her entry into the race track. But she didn’t expect that the security at the gate will recognize her straight away.
“What’s your plan?” You ask, sitting down behind the wheel. Since Mark has a wounded arm, you’re driving. You drive off fast.“We can’t enter with our cards, Hudson will know we’re here and he’ll kill us before we pass the door.” Mark sighs, focusing on the cars and on the road in front of you. Mark has a point. You check your mirror, a yellow Beetle, a red pick-up, a black Hammer, a white Audi and a black SUV are steady behind you.“We steal two cards and dress up, then we go see Jim, okay?” Mark concludes.
“Okay.” You reply. The ride gets quiet as you zigzag on the road. Despite the speed you don’t forget your good driver reflexes, flashing left and right and checking your mirror regularly. Suddenly, you take a turn to the right when you’re supposed to go straight ahead.“What are you doing?” Mark snaps.“Just checking.” You reply distractedly, checking your mirror once more. You take another turn to the right, then another, you’ve just driven around the block.“The black SUV is following us.” You inform Mark who immediately snaps his head behind. A car following you around a block is suspicious, and if it’s who you think it is, they know you’ve spotted them. “Alright, get it on.” Mark says, you hit the accelerator. You speed through the traffic zigzaging between cars and, confirming your thoughts, the black SUV speeds up as well.
“Faster Y/N.” You push harder on the pedal and your bodies are briefly drifted back. 170 km/h. You lock yourself in a bubble, focusing on every single car in front of you, one bump with a car in front and you’re both dead. Things go well for a while but you get anxious. Shit, the railroad crossing, it’s coming soon. Suddenly, you hear gunshots, the cherry on the cake. You’re anxious and pregnant, it’s not fair. You zigzag and the permanent bullet shower doesn’t hit you. Suddenly, you hear a loud detonation. You’re startled but you can’t look back. You move to the middle lane and the car a few feet in front of you gets hit with a huge bullet. The car explodes in front of you and you avoid it just in time, switching lanes. They have the fucking bazooka! ISEG never let you use the bazooka.
“Wow! Wow! Okay! Okay!” Mark exclaims at the fire show. Then you’re there, the railroad crossing.“I don’t want to stress you but if we don’t get through this, we’re dead.” Mark says, anxious eyes glued to the lowered bar, a train is coming. “Faster.” He commands, you crack up a notch, change up gear 4 and accelerate, pressing on the pedal as hard a you can, 215 km/h- oh you love this car. You get closer, and closer, the train is almost there, you can here it. Oh my, the adrenaline rush. You clench your hands around the wheel and then there is a small bump, the car flies up and everything is in slow motion. The car crushes the security bar, flies past the train and lands on the other side safely, blocking the black SUV behind. “Wooohoo!” Mark cheers as you continue to speed to the ISEG headquarters. “Well done Y/N.” Mark compliments. Now that you can drive a little more calmly you decide to continue the talk that you left hanging earlier. “Why don’t you want to settle down?” You ask Mark and his expression hardens.“Not now Y/N.” He says.
“Mark we need to talk.”
“Yes, I know, but not now.”
“Then when?” You raise your voice. “When this shit is over.” Mark hisses. But when this shit is over- if it ever ends today, will start again tomorrow.
“It won’t be over as long as we keep doing this.”
“I don’t want to retire!” He snarls, exasperated. “Well I am pregnant!” You reply. “Well let’s talk about this pregnancy. You were on fucking birth control, there is no way this was an accident. You did it on purpose, admit it.” He says and you gasp, dramatically, but sincerely, how could he? “Admit it Y/N.” He repeats. “Fuck you!” You snap. “I did not do it on purpose. Last time when I was sick they gave me medicine that made my birth control ineffective and I didn’t know. How lowly you think of me?!” You say and he rolls his eyes.
“I don’t want to do this now.”
“Mark it’s your child-”
“This discussion is fucking over Y/N don’t push me.” He threatens and you decide to suck it up and sigh heavily. “Where are we going to steal two cards?” Your ask as you start to get closer to ISEG.
“Go to the old factory.” Marks says quietly. Behind the ISEG building there is an old abandoned factory where you and Mark used to go to make out in secret. So many things happened at that place, your subconscious smiles at the thought. You pull in front of the old building and both of you hop off the car. Mark goes first and climbs up the wire net of the fence, shortly followed by you. He jumps over the fence and then waits for you, holding out his arms for safety. Your subconscious rolls her eyes- I’m three weeks pregnant, not six months, jeez. He leads the way in the factory, it’s empty and spooky, just how you remember it. He leads you to the last floor, where the direction office is, the only place in the factory where they didn’t remove the desks, and where you used to do a lot of naughty things. In front of the CEO office he pulls his weapon out and so you do, alarmed. He sticks his ear on the door and listen carefully, giving more attention you try to hear something as well. Lips smacking sounds and heavy breathing- holy fuck. Looks like you weren’t the only ones using this place for private business. Mark pushes the door open and you both step in. A couple is making out, in their underwear, their clothes, weapons and magnetic cards pooling on the floor, laid across the desk, the guy on top. “Look what we got here.” Mark beams, startling them. They jump and hold their hands up. Oh, now you see. This old factory is a well know place for the ISEG agent, Mark knew how to find two cards. You know these two agents, you’re the one who made them pass their exam. Eric Ngyuen, tall, black-haired, asian. And Kate Ferguson, red-haired. “ISEG, we’re on the same team.” Mark flashes his card at them. “You’re aiming your guns at us.” Eric hisses. “Consider this as an insurance policy.” You reply.
“Resistance.” Eric remains silent.“We’re going to take your clothes and cards and you’re going to take ours” Which would mean a black tank top, jeans and black boots for you and a black shirt, a jean shirt, black pants and sneakers for Mark. "You’ll stay here for an hour and then do whatever you want. We know you won’t oppose any resistance because one, I won’t hesitate to shoot you and two, I’m sure you don’t want Raymond to know two of his agent spend their duty time fucking in an hunted factory.“ Mark explains calmly. Shit- this factory is hunted?! "I’m pretty sure you two did too.” Eric snaps. “We never got caught.” Mark shrugs.
Thanks to your red wig, you and Mark successfully make it inside the ISEG building. You’re now stepping into the elevator. “How much time to we have before Hudson spots us?” You ask Mark, pressing the button of the 42th floor. “He already did.” Mark says coolly, looking straight in front of him as the doors close. You look straight at the silver doors while glass elevator goes up, it offers a mind-blowing landscape to admire, but you’re not in the mood for city-admiring.The elevator takes forever, are you that heavy? Mark looks briefly down at you. Oh no.Mark pulls you by the waist and pins you on the wall, covering you as men pierce a round shaped hole on the top of the elevator with dynamites. The ceiling falls off in a O shaped hole and five men jump down inside the moving elevator.
Gunshots on gunshots.
“Jim!” Mark calls as you step in the assistant’s district. The office is a vast glassed room with four islands of desks and computers, there is one exit on each side. Jim is alone in the room, which is not surprising. Oh Jim, working during lunch break. He shoots his head up and frown as you and your husband storm in.“Mr Tuan, Mrs Tuan, what are you doing here?” He asks, confused.“Jim, we don’t have time, Hudson is chasing us at this moment.” Mark tosses him the SD card and paces to the exit on the other side.“Okay.” Jim catches it ad immediately starts working on it, leaving you with nothing to do.“Why does the idea of having a child with me loathes you like that?” You ask, crossing your arms above your chest as Mark places a chair under the doorknob, locking everyone out.“Mrs Tuan, you are pregnant?” You hear Jim ask and when you turn around he’s stopped typing, there is something in his eyes. Hope? You smile and nod.“It’s wonderful.” Jim beams. His moth twist and you’re amazed. Oh boy, Jim can smile. And his smile is contagious.“I know, I wish someone would feel the same.” Your smile fades away. Mark glares at Jim and his smile falls. His cheeks go pink and he clears his throat, going back to his work.
“Answer me.” You command. Mark sighs.“It’s not having a baby with you it’s having a baby at all. I’m not ready for this. I don’t want a baby.” He says. How can he not want his own baby?“It’s not a baby, it’s your baby.” You correct him. “Don’t put it like that. It’s not what I imagined for Mr and Mrs Tuan. I wanted to show you the world.” He says. “What does even Mr and Mrs Tuan mean to you? What are we? We’re married, yes, but what’s behind all of this?” Mark rolls his eyes.”Are we just a team? Do you love me for my killing skills or for me? Did you marry me just because ‘Mr and Mrs Tuan’ sounded like a catchy slogan? Or because we look good together? Tell me Mark, are we some kind of brand?” You follow him as walks away.
"Y/N stop. Don’t try to get away by twisting my every words.” He raises a threatening index at you but you ignore his warning. At this point you don’t even care about making him mad or, or now being the right moment, or being in the middle of a mission. “You say you wanted to show me the world; well we’ve been to the Bahamas, in France, in London, in Spain, in Argentina, in Japan, in China, in South Africa. But all we did was killing people. And then we fucked because seeing me killing people turned you on, that’s it.” You say. You’ve never been to the Louvre or the Tate Modern. You’ve never visited anything, not even Disneyland. You can count the number of dates we’ve been on on your hand. “We can’t do this here Y/N.” He shakes his head before walking to a desk and you follow him. “Jim, how much time?” Mark bends over and starts typing on the keyboard of a computer. The security cameras of the stairs and elevators of the building pop up and people are rushing in the stairs.
“Two minutes, sir.”
“We don’t have two minutes, I give you one.” Mark orders, turning the computer off.“Mark I’m sick of risking my life everyday and I want this baby. I’m not walking away from this, are you?” You ask and he sighs heavily, rubbing his temples and showing you how exasperated he is. You roll your at his display of annoyance.
“I just want us to have a normal life, and be a normal couple.” You come back at charge, following him as he walks away.“I guess I don’t do normal. Fuck Y/N we can’t do this now!” He yells but your determined to get answer. Goddammit, it’s not a hard question! You just need to know if he wants the baby or not. If yes, cool, if not then…
Mark turns around abruptly, pointing his index at you. “Now Y/N you shut up and listen to me: I am not discussing this now. You’re compromising the whole fucking mission, it’s our lives we’re trying to save for fuck sake! One more word from your mouth and I swear I’ll lose it.” He hisses before turning around again. You take a deep breathe and swallow, filling yourself with confidence and Beyonce.
With intermittent sleep since last night, I awake at dawn inside the speeding cab driven by a nearly reckless man as it snakes through the zigzag road. Occasionally it comes to a clearing to expose a view of Pujada Bay in the east that now starts to light up in warm colors of dawn. The tint on the cab window perks up the horizon. Being reminded that the bay before us is where the popular sleeping dinosaur sprawls, I instantly want to get off the speeding cab to admire it. Only I did not rent the cab just for myself. Still the momentary view lifts up my worn feeling. Swiftly we are going farther away. The sun climbs higher. Another good day awaits.
Here’s a good view of the lazy dino on our last day in Mati.