Dark Moon Academy
First day at Dark Moon secret intelligence service, and Corey was nervous. Stepping over the threshold of the glass dome for the first time, the doors slid aside for him and he found himself in a glass panelled ante-room, empty except for the receptionist at the desk.
The receptionist peered owlishly at him through her ornate glasses. "What ya doin' here?" Her voice was a nasal whine.
"I'm a new recruit. A – a novice," stammered Corey.
"We don' want a new recruit," the receptionist replied. "Get outta here."
"I should be down on the list," he protested. How hard could it be to get this kind of thing right?
"List? What list?" The receptionist shook her head.
At that moment the crystal doors at the far end of the hall and a lady strode in.
Before he could stop himself, Corey gaped at her. This lady was absolutely stunning. She was wearing a tight-fitting blue silk garment that showed off her body – one that could have been poured into a running-suit. She had a cascade of long, thick, dark brown hair that tumbled down her shoulders, and big brown eyes. He felt his face grow hot.
The lady beamed at him, showing perfectly white, even teeth.
"Welcome! You must be Corey, the new recruit?"
"What noo recruit?" grumbled the receptionist.
"Thank you, Sandra, I'll take it from here," said the gorgeous lady. She came up to Corey and clasped his hands. She was tall for a lady, only about a heady shorter than him. Close to, he could see she really was beautiful. Luscious, full lips, soft brown eyes, a sprinkling of freckles over her delicate nose and her fine cheekbones… "I'm Nadine. A Super-Spy. Great to meet you, Corey. Let me be the first to welcome you to Dark Moon."
"I'm Corey," he said, forgetting for the moment that she already knew who he was.
She smiled at him, crinkling her freckled nose. He felt like a right fool.
Nadine led him down a white panelled corridor lit up by sparkling crystal lights in the ceiling. "This way to the novice dorms."
"I'm nervous," he confessed. "I've trained so hard to get in, but what if I can't cut it."
She smiled and patted his arm. "You completed the training. You should be proud of yourself. It's normal to be a bit nervous on your first day."
The novice dorm room contained rows and rows of bunkbeds, each one was four bunks stacked high, almost up to the ceiling. Not exactly spacious…
Next Nadine showed him the way to the novice mess hall.
"I wonder if I'll ever be a super-spy, like you," said Corey. "I bet that took a lot of hard work. And experience."
She laid a slender hand on his arm. "You could do it. I believe in you."
Looking into those warm, brown eyes, he felt himself turn gooey inside. He wondered, was he falling in love?
First day of field training was hard. They had to practice stalking around the indoor jungle and shooting each other with paintball guns, and even though they wore body armour, the paintball shots still smarted. Plus he felt all hot and sweaty from the humidity of the jungle and the showers were cramped and the other novices jostled. Corey was feeling lonely and homesick, but he'd already got the impression you shouldn't show that in front of the other cadets…
Pete, one of the cadets, blurted out at that moment. "First loser who cries on his first night gets hazed."
Clearly Corey shouldn't let them know he was already homesick.
He needed comfort. He remembered Nadine's kind face and dazzling smile. He had to find her. He did not go to the mess hall, but crept down the corridors to the information hub. It was automated. You had to ask it questions and it would tell you answers… according to the sign, anyway. It looked like a gleaming microphone set into the wall.
"Where is super-spy Nadine?" he asked clearly.
"Super-spy Nadine Reiter is probably down on V-level. The civilian level," the computer returned in clipped, lady-like tones.
Corey wasn't sure where that was, but he went to an elevator anyway. There were rows and rows of buttons, but he soon found one with the label 'V-level.'
He pressed it, and the elevator whirred silently downwards, coming to a halt seconds later. The doors slid open and Corey found himself in a passage with floor, walls and ceiling as black as obsidian, with lamps glowing blue. The passage opened into a black room with little glittering lights in the ceiling, like stars in the night sky.
Nadine was seated at a table with a group of men. She grinned. "I win again."
The voices of the men arose in an angry hubbub. Nadine spread her arms wide. "Now, now, guys. Don't be sore losers." She noticed Corey and beamed wider. "Hey, Corey!"
A sullen looking man with a bald head sitting to Nadine's left addressed him. "Do you place Tabaac, Corey?"
"N-No," said Corey.
"Then you'll have to leave, Corey," said the bald guy.
"Shame, Stubbs," said Nadine. "Where are your manners? This is a Dark Moon novice you're speaking to. Of course he doesn't play Tabaac."
They two of them left the table to stride over to Corey. Stubbs sighed theatrically and bowed to Corey. "I beg your pardon," he said, sarcasm all too obvious.
Nadine's freckled cheeks were flushed rosy pink and her brown eyes were shining. "We'll have to teach him."
"Aah!" Stubbs had a hungry sort of look in his eye at that moment. He ushered Corey to the table. "Actually, it's very easy to learn. How much money have you got? Give the young fellow a seat." He grabbed another bald man and shoved him off a chair. "You. Out." He pushed Corey into the vacated chair.
This was moving too fast for Corey. He didn't want to gamble. He turned to Nadine. "I-I'm homesick."
Her brows drew together and she bit her lip. "Come." She beckoned.
She led him away as the men jeered.
"You can't leave now… you're winning!" protested Stubbs.
"Sore loser," said Nadine. She found a quiet table and they sat down on either side of it. Corey gazed at her freckled nose and cheeks, her soft, brown eyes and her glossy, light red lips… he'd never sat across the table from anyone so attractive before.
"Corey… honey…" she said, "what you're going through is completely natural. But being homesick will lift. Getting familiar with this old place will help. I'd like to help."
Corey felt happy and confident in her presence. She helped him scout out the upper levels that were the domain of the Dark Moon ranks, including the libraries, armouries, swimming pools and special bathrooms.
"Now let's try something fun," Nadine suggested, leading him through another pair of sliding doors. It was a wide room with synthetic turf and a wide array of trampolines in all the colours of the rainbow.
"A trampoline park?" Did super-spies enjoy such frivolous stuff? Corey didn't really know…
Nadine winked at him. "I'm the super-spy, so I get to give you an order… catch me!"
She bounced from one trampoline to another, her long dark hair and firm boobs bouncing around as she flung herself in the air, doing somersaults and other stunts in mid-air.
Corey leapt after her, bounding from one trampoline to the next, until he caught up with her and she leapt onto a mat. He landed beside her. She was a bit pink in the face from bouncing.
"You ticklish, Corey?" she asked.
"Actually, yes," he admitted.
She tickled his sides with her delicate fingers so he screamed with laughter. Nadine leaned her freckled face close to his. "You can't outwit a super-spy. Surrender now."
"Gerroff! I surrender."
She helped him up into a sitting position and put an arm around him.
"How'd it feel to work your way up through the ranks and become a super-spy?" asked Corey.
"Being a super-spy can be harder than actually getting there," said Nadine with a wry smile. "I gotta do weird and crazy missions sometimes, let me tell you. But I started out as a novice. I have faith in you, Corey."
Time at the Dark Moon complex did get easier for Corey, although it would have been hard without Nadine as a friend. In the dorms, he would try to shut out everything else, the noise and bickering of the other novices, and think about her. He'd dream about her adorable face and fabulous body long into the night, and those thoughts helped satisfy him, but eventually would always leave him longing for more.
Nadine was summoned to a briefing by Isla, the Chief, the head super-spy, in the celestial briefing room.
Isla looked very grave. "A tragedy has struck," she said. "It concerns Arctur, the frozen warrior and national hero. You know the legend of Arctur – no one needs introducing to it, but I have to explain it as part of regulations. The legend is that he is magically frozen until such time as the nation of Opal Isles needs him again. His tomb is guarded night and day. But we are betrayed. A traitor has plucked Arctur's frozen heart from his breast as he lay in frozen sleep."
Nadine's stomach heaved. This was outrageous! That poor man, treated that way as he slept.
"But don't we know who did it…?"
"An elite soldier has betrayed us, but we have no proof. We suspect a certain Blarsh – a chaos ogre."
Isla pressed a button on the side of the wall and a flickering image appeared of a grotesque ogre. A massive green humanoid being with a face distorted like clay, a massive, bloated stomach, and… Nadine's eyes widened at the sight… a bulge in the regions of his pants. A chaos ogre must be well endowed.
"Blarsh is a misfit – the only chaos ogre in the elite forces," rapped out Isla.
"Hey, that's not fair to suspect him just for that," protested Nadine. "He can't help being different."
"This ogre is promiscuous – he has a habit of sleeping around wherever he's posted and leaving a trail of green half-ogre babies in his wake," said Isla.
Nadine thought that was crudely put.
"Your mission is to investigate him. Find out where he's getting a payoff. I doubt he stole Arctur's frozen heart for the heck of it."
Nadine hoped that she would be able to investigate and clear suspicion from the poor ogre, but she couldn't help but have a niggling doubt.