I Spy, with My Extra Eye

By Kristen Bealer

Kevin Thompson, CONTROL agent number 86, first noticed something strange was going on when the girl behind the cash register at Drugs N' Stuff winked at him. That in itself was not unusual, of course. As a suave, confident professional who always exuded an aura of superior intellect right up until he opened his mouth to speak, Kevin was accustomed to women flirting with him regularly.

What he was not accustomed to, however, was seeing anyone wink with two out of three of their eyes.

"Wow, that's incredible!" he cried. "Juicy Joes are four for a dollar? Oh, and there's something on your face."

The cashier put a hand to her extra eye, centered neatly in the middle of her forehead. "You mean it's noticeable?" she asked with dismay.

Kevin glanced up briefly from the candy in his hand. "What? Oh, the eye. Yeah, it's cool."

She shoved his change across the counter and dissolved into tears that only fell from her two lower eyes. The other continued to stare blankly at Kevin, who stared blankly back at it until he realized he was going to be late for work.

"See ya later!" he called as walked to the door. "Get it? See? Eye?" The still-sobbing cashier didn't react, so he shrugged and left.

"Chief?" Kevin asked as he entered the office of the Chief of CONTROL. "People usually have two eyes, right?"

The Chief sighed. "This again? Look, we've been over this. We even came up with that little song to help you remember. It goes, 'I've got two eyes, I've got one nose, I've got two ears, I've got ten toes--'"

"--The song's great and all, Chief, but this morning I saw this chick with three eyes! Is there a song about that?"

"Ah," said the Chief. "You must have seen one of KAOS's latest victims."

Kevin gasped. "You mean KAOS has started giving people extra eyes? That's...um...well, actually that sounds kind of useful, really."

The Chief shook his head. "First of all, the extra eye was presumably fake and therefore useless. Second, KAOS has started--"

"Um, Chief? If we're going to talk about KAOS, don't you think we should use that Cone of Silence thingy?"

"You seem to have forgotten that I destroyed the Cone of Silence the last time we used it."

"Oh, yeah," Kevin said, remembering. "I never saw anyone pick up an office desk and throw it before." The Chief was twitching slightly at the memory, so Kevin barged onward. "Then what about that new anti-eaves...anti-evedrop...anti-KAOS-listening-in-device Dr. Li put together?"

"I don't know," the Chief said slowly. "It hasn't been tested yet."

"Then this is the perfect time!" Without waiting for a reply, Kevin reached over and flipped a small switch on the Chief's desk. Immediately, the chorus of Chumbawamba's "Tub Thumping" blasted through the room on a repeating loop.

"I get knocked down, but I get up again! You're never going to keep me down!"

"I love this song!" Kevin exclaimed.

The Chief, a pained look on his face, leaned forward. "What?"

"I get knocked down, but I get up again! You're never going to keep me down!"

Kevin stepped closer to the Chief and shouted, "I said I love this song!"

"Still didn't catch that!"

"I get knocked down, but I get up again! You're never going to keep me down!"

Moving to stand directly in front of the Chief, Kevin placed his hands on the Chief's shoulders and leaned in so his mouth was directly next to the Chief's ear to bellow, "I SAID--"

The door to the office opened and Kevin's partner, Agent 99, walked in. She saw them, stopped dead, turned around, and walked out again, closing the door behind her.

"I get knocked down, but I get--"

The Chief pounded the switch with his fist and the room was silent. Soon after, a polite knock sounded on the door.

"Come in," called the Chief wearily.

The door opened once again and 99 stepped through. "Hi!" she chirped. Her expression was extra-cheerful to make clear that she wanted no explanation of the bizarre scene she'd just witnessed.

"Sorry about that, Chief," Kevin said. "Okay, maybe we better not use the anti-evergreen device for now. So what's KAOS up to this time?"

"People have been turning up with all kinds of strange physical deformities. Misshapen noses, gigantic ears, hideous warts, distorted chins, you name it. While we can't figure out what KAOS's angle is, we know that they're behind it. I need you two to look into this and see what you can find out."

"Sure thing, Chief!" 99 said. "Any leads?"

"We suspect that KAOS has enlisted the help of someone named Dr. Shar, and is using her facility to kidnap people, drug them, and alter their appearances. I suggest you check it out."

Agent 99 nodded, but Kevin held up a hand. "Hey, what do you think of this for a new song?" He began singing, to the tune of "Tub Thumping," "Some have two eyes, but some have three of them! Most have two ears, unless they're missing one!"

The Chief growled, "I suggest you check it out right now."

Kevin and 99 arrived at Dr. Shar's Swan Shoppe soon after, and Kevin was still humming as they got out of the car. Rolling her eyes, 99 ignored him and made her way to the door of the clinic.

Even though the door was unlocked and they were entering during the clinic's posted open hours, the entire place was empty and silent. The pair crept quietly through the front office and into the darkened consulting room beyond, just in time to see a blond woman with an unnaturally tight face slipping through a back door.

"Stop her!" Kevin called unnecessarily to 99. Before either could start forward, however, 99 cried out in pain as something slammed into the back of her head, followed quickly by more objects. Kevin began to turn but immediately found himself bombarded as well. Although the projectiles were soft, they were also very heavy and slammed into their bodies with enough force to knock the wind out of them. They fell to the ground under the barrage. When the attack ceased, they recovered only to find the room empty.

Kevin sprang for the door but saw no one outside--their suspect had escaped and the mysterious assailant was also gone.

Agent 99 turned on a light and went to investigate the projectiles, strewn by the dozens around the room. She picked one up and examined it. "It's like a beanbag made of Jell-O," she said, squeezing it slightly.

"There's a whole crate of them over here," Kevin said. He read the label on the crate out loud: "'Dr. Shar's Pre-Implant Temporary Bust Augmentations. For evaluation purposes only.'" He looked at his partner. "What does that mean?"

"They're fake breasts," she said, tossing aside the one she'd been holding.

"Oh," Kevin replied, then brightened. "Oh!" He stared thoughtfully into the crate for a few moments before turning back to 99. He looked at the discarded lump of silicon and then at 99's ample chest. "Hey, that reminds me of a question I wanted to ask you."

"Yes?" Her voice was frosty, with a sharp edge to it.

"I was wondering if...."

"Yes?" Not only had the tone dropped to sub-zero temperatures, you could also cut diamonds with it.

"I just wanted to know if you...."

At this point, 99 simply stared at him with hard eyes that held the promise of pain if he wasn't extremely careful with his words.

Kevin was silent for a short time, then cleared his throat. "I was going to ask if you thought maybe we needed some back-up on this case?"

Agent 99 relaxed her gaze and nodded her agreement. "I think that was a very wise question."

The Chief hunched wearily over his desk as Kevin and 99 explained their failure at the clinic. "I was afraid something like this would happen," he said when they had finished, "so I called in an elite team just in case." He pressed an intercom button and said, "Please send in the special agents."

The door opened and four women walked in. Their clothes were stylish, their hair was immaculate, their makeup was picture-perfect, and their expressions were overflowing with disdain.

"Oh, is that who those people were that we passed on the way in?" Kevin asked. "I thought you got a lot of new receptionists!"

The apparent leader of the group sniffed and tossed her hair over her shoulder. "Receptionists? Puh-lease. With looks like ours, do you really think we'd waste our time behind desks?"

Kevin hazarded a guess. "Yes?"

As she glared at him, the Chief stood and gestured toward the newcomers. "I'd like you to meet our specialists," he said, and pointed to each in turn as he added, "Sandi, Agent 924; Quinn, Agent 955; Stacy, Agent 940; and Tiffany, Agent 902."

"Known collectively as 'The Fashion Team,'" explained Quinn.

"Nice to meet you!" said 99 in a cheerful voice.

The Fashion Team, as one, looked 99 up and down briefly before sharing meaningful looks and smirks with each other. "What an...interesting...outfit," Stacy said with a giggle.

Kevin saw 99's eyes narrow and he quickly put a hand on her arm. "Don't!" he said nervously.

"Riiight," Tiffany said. "A fashion don't."

While letting her fingers play along the holster of her gun, 99 turned to the Chief. "Isn't there someone else we can work with instead?"

The Chief shrugged apologetically at her. "I'm afraid they're our foremost experts on all issues related to appearance--including cosmetic surgery."

"Not that we've ever, like, done that, of course!" Stacy interjected quickly.

"Unlike some," Sandi drawled, glancing sideways at 99.

Agent 99's hand was on the handle of her gun before Kevin could even speak. "Think of, um, the paperwork?" he whispered desperately to her. She gritted her teeth, but released her hold on the weapon.

"All right," she said after a few deep breaths, "but I expect everyone to act like professionals on this case. This is serious, understand?"

Sandi nodded curtly. "Of course. When attractiveness is on the line, there's nothing more important."

"I thought you said you were going to take this investigation seriously!"

Sandi shot 99 yet another haughty look and asked, "What makes you think we aren't?"

"For one thing, we're hanging out at the mall!"

Tiffany nodded and said, "Yeeeaahhh?"

Quinn gave 99 a weary smile and slowly explained, "Dr. Shar--before she teamed up with KAOS--built her career entirely on making people look as appealing as possible. Therefore, in addition to her skills as a surgeon, she would have needed to know a great deal about clothing, make-up, hair, and about a million other things. That means she would have spent a lot of time seeking and purchasing those items. This mall is the place to go in this area for all of that, so it's only logical that the people here might have knowledge about her whereabouts, or at least access to some kind of useful information."

"So, as you can see, we're here strictly on CONTROL business," Sandi concluded firmly.

"Ooooh, look! Half price on makeup!" Stacy cried.

As the Fashion Team gathered excitedly around the makeup counter at Cashman's, Kevin and 99 exchanged a glance. "Well," 99 pointed out, "at least they've stopped critiquing my clothes."

Kevin nodded, relieved. "I guess we should start gathering information."

"Okay. I'll head over to the salon and see if they know anything about Dr. Shar."

"I'm gonna check out the ingerie section!"

"Kevin!" Agent 99 frowned slightly. "I'm not sure that's a good idea."

"Aww, man! Why not?"

"Don't you think that might look a little...strange?"

"Whoa! I'm not going to try any on," he said, quietly adding, "this time."

She sighed. "Why don't you see what you can find out right here?" Gesturing toward the still-distracted Fashion Team, she remarked, "Besides, someone should probably keep an eye on them."

Kevin reluctantly nodded in agreement and the two separated. Trying to keep a safe distance between himself and the inane chatter emanating from the makeup counter, Kevin drifted through the nearby aisles as he looked for a store employee he could question. As far as he could tell, most of them had been driven away by the snide remarks and shrill exclamations of the Fashion Team.

After a few minutes of wandering, he heard a woman in the next aisle say, "Can I interest you in some pore refiner?"

He stealthily rounded an eyelash curler display and peered into the aisle from behind it. He was just in time to see a customer give the employee a meaningful look and quietly reply, "No, but do you have any renifer erop?"

The employee's demeanor abruptly changed from friendly to serious, and after a quick glance around she pulled out a key, unlocked a nearby door marked "Staff Only!" and ushered the "customer" inside. Kevin ducked back behind the eyelash curler display before she turned around.

"That sounded like some kind of password," he murmured. He looked in the direction 99 had gone, wondering if he should go find her before taking any action. "But I might be too late for whatever's going on back there!" he whispered to himself. Then he looked at the Fashion Team, still gathered at the makeup counter. He quickly shook his head. "What would the Chief do?" he wondered out loud.

The thought gave him a little more confidence and, ignoring the strange looks he was getting from curious passersby who were watching him mumble to himself, he approached the employee.

"Can I interest you in some pore refiner?"

"No, but do you have any renifer erop?" he barked at her in his best impersonation of the Chief. She was somewhat taken aback, but nodded briskly and unlocked the door for him. "Thank you!" he bellowed as he entered.

The door shut behind him, and Kevin found himself in an ordinary-looking hallway. He wondered briefly why something so mundane would require so much secrecy, then heard hushed voices coming from behind a door at the end of the hall. He crept closer to it, finally putting his ear next to the door and straining to hear what was being said.

He heard the words "facial reconstruction" and "distorted aesthetic," but as he hadn't brought a dictionary with him he decided to wait. Finally, he heard the word "KAOS" and began to suspect that he was in the right place. His gun in hand, he took a few steps back, turned slightly so his shoulder would bear the brunt of the impact, and ran forward to slam against the door...

...which banged open instantly, since it was not only unlocked, but slightly ajar. Kevin fell into the room, sprawling face first onto the floor.

"Er...freeze!" he yelled, scrambling to his feet. "You're all under arrest!"

A woman--he recognized her from the brief glimpse he'd had of her at the clinic--stood abruptly from her seat at a table, as did several people he assumed were KAOS agents. The smile she gave him was a disturbing one, due in part to her surgically-enhanced facial features but also because of the total lack of concern she displayed.

Before Kevin could wonder why that was, he felt the muzzle of a gun press into the side of his neck.

"Guess again," said a voice next to him.

Kevin slowly turned his head to see a slender young woman with long brown hair and a bandage over her nose. She pulled his gun out of his unresisting hand. "I'll take care of this," she said to the blond woman without taking her cold eyes away from him. "You head back to the base and I'll meet you there once I've dealt with him."

"Good work, Brooke," the woman with the unnatural face said as she led the others out of the room. As soon as they were gone, Kevin desperately tried the first distraction he could come up with.

"Hey, Big Nose!" He swung his arm up in hopes of knocking away her arm and stopping her from aiming the gun at him. Unfortunately, Brooke bellowed with rage at the insult and lashed out with her foot, knocking his legs out from under him. He found himself on the floor again, this time facing up...and looking straight at the gun she now aimed right between his eyes.

"Listen, Brooke," he stammered. "I, uh, hope I wasn't out of line with that crack about your nose."

Her eyes narrowed and he could see her finger tightening on the trigger. He could only close his eyes and wait to hear the gunshot.


Kevin opened his eyes again to see Brooke stagger backward, arms pressed against her face. He could smell something in the air, but it took him a few moments to identify it. "Hairspray?" he asked in confusion.

"Extra Super Hold Hair Tyrant 3000," Sandi said, stepping forward with a smirk on her face. She held up the aerosol can. "Waif's number one most highly recommended brand."

Brooke began to recover from the spray she'd taken to the face, but Stacy moved quickly behind her and pressed the tip of a metal nail file to her throat. "Drop the guns!" she ordered. Brooke quickly let go of both her gun and Kevin's, which Quinn immediately retrieved.

"Oh, Kevin!" 99 exclaimed as she hurried forward and helped him to his feet. "I'm so glad you're okay!"

"Thanks to all of you!" he replied as Tiffany began to bind Brooke's hands with several decorative neck scarves. "Good thing you thought to gather some supplies first!"

"Actually, this is all stuff we bought before we noticed you were missing," Quinn said. "Would you believe those scarves were two for a dollar?"

"I find that very hard to believe," Kevin said.

"Can we not do this now?" 99 asked. "We've got a suspect to interrogate."

"Right!" Kevin turned his attention to Brooke. "Where is the base?" he demanded.

"I can't tell you! If I do, Dr. Shar will...." She shuddered as a few tears fell.

"If you cooperate, CONTROL can put you in protective custody. They won't let her kill you."

"Kill me? Who cares about that? If I betray Dr. Shar, she'll...she'll..." Breaking out into sobs, she finished, "...she'll stop giving me collagen injections!"

"We don't have time for this!" exclaimed 99. She drew her gun and pointed it at Brooke. "Tell us what we want to know!"

In spite of the tears streaming down her cheeks, Brooke stared defiantly back in silence.

"If we have to, we'll take you to CONTROL headquarters and get the information from you by force," Kevin threatened.

Brooke spat at his feet.

"Like, tell us where they went or we will make you over with last season's look," Sandi said quietly, examining her fingernails. "And we will totally use non-washable makeup."

"Give me a pen," Brooke said, shaken. "I'll write down the directions."

By the time Brooke had finished telling them where the base was located, several CONTROL agents had arrived to take her into custody.

"Hey, 99," Kevin asked as they prepared to leave. "How did you guys figure out where I was?"

She giggled. "We put it together when we heard a bunch of customers talking about a strange man who was talking to himself and then yelling random things at an employee. That was a good idea--making yourself conspicuous without blowing your cover as a secret agent!"

"Um, yeah," Kevin replied. "That was...um...totally on purpose!"

"Are you sure this is the place?" Stacy asked doubtfully as they stood outside a nondescript office building.

"Well, it's not like they write 'SECRET KAOS LAIR' in big letters on the front of all their locations, do they?" 99 replied.

"Hey, you think we could talk them into doing that?" Kevin asked. "Because that would be really helpful."

She ignored him. "Let's move."

The agents entered the building together and found themselves inside a typical office lobby. A bored receptionist waited at a desk. "Leave this to me," Kevin muttered to the others as he approached. "I'm a master of persuasion."

"Yes?" asked the receptionist, barely looking up from her magazine.

"Good day!" Kevin said in a cheerful yet stilted manner. "My associates and I are here for an important meeting and while it may not be on the official schedule I can assure you that we're here on vital business that can't wait for confirmation from--"

"In there," the receptionist interrupted, jerking a thumb at a door next to the desk. She resumed her reading, taking no further notice of the group.

"See?" Kevin told them. "Smooth."

The agents went through the door into a completely dark room. As they moved around in search of a light switch, a loud click sounded from the door they entered through and the lights switched on immediately after. They turned to see the blond woman from the clinic and the mall standing there with a gun.

"I had a feeling Brooke would screw it up," she said with a roll of her eyes. "Looks like Dr. Shar is going to lose one of her most loyal patients."

"Wait," 99 said. "You mean you aren't Dr. Shar?"

"Dr. Shar is upstairs, busy with our latest victim," replied the woman. "I'm Val."

All six CONTROL agents stared at her in confusion.

"As in Val?"

They all shook their heads.

She huffed at them. "Fine. I'm the KAOS agent blocking the only exit from the room and I'm holding a gun with six bullets." Gesturing with the gun at each of them in turn, she added, "Am I important enough for you now?"

Kevin looked at 99, who looked back at him with wide eyes and mouthed "Stall her!" at him.

"So, um, Val," he began, "why are--"

"Oooh! Do you want to hear about my plans?" she asked eagerly. "Because it's, like, completely awesome and jiggy and so, so Val!"


"All right, so I've decided that this season's hottest trend is going to be distorted facial features. It's going into my magazine--you know, Val magazine?--and it's going to be the most seriously edgy thing ever!"

"But what does that have to do with KAOS?" he asked, noticing that 99 was starting to edge closer to Val.

Val waved off his question. "It's, like, stage one of KAOS's overall plot to take control of the mass media and use it to manipulate the public. This is the test run, and it was all totally my idea!" Suddenly she swung her arm around to point the gun at 99. "Stop that, missy! I mean, sneaking up on me while I'm trying to talk is bumming me out, okay?"

Shoulders slumped, 99 backed away and looked desperately at Kevin.

Val resumed. "So, anyway. Once this phase of the plan works--and it will because I'm brilliant--then it'll pave the way for all kinds of wacky trends like mixing plaids and stripes, wearing live animals as hats, and surrendering all free will to the might of KAOS!"

In the stunned silence that followed, it was Tiffany who spoke first.


Val sneered. "Oh, yeah, right. Like you'll be able to stop KAOS from taking its rightful place as ruler of the world. Especially after I shoot you--oh! I really should get to that soon!"

"Not that part." Stacy shook her head seriously. "The plaids with stripes and the animal hats part. That's wrong."

"So?" Val frowned, which gave her face an even eerier aspect. "People will do what I tell them to do, because I will be the supreme authority on what's hot and what's not!"

Sandi snorted. "You? Why would anyone listen to you?" She gestured at Val's feet. "Those shoes are, like, from two seasons ago."

"And your roots are showing," Quinn added.

"No way!" Val countered, but she self-consciously put a hand to her hair.

Stacy chimed in, "And then there's the whole issue of your cuticles!"

"Dryyyy skiiiiin," Tiffany drawled.

"Shut up!" shrieked Val. "I look awesome and young and edgy!"

"In that outfit?" Sandi asked. "Please."

Stacy tilted her head. "When was the last time you tweezed your eyebrows?"

"Stop!" Val wailed, squeezing her eyes shut and lowering her hands--as well as her gun.

"Now!" cried 99. She and Kevin both sprang forward, knocking Val to the ground and wrestling the gun from her grasp. Val didn't resist, now too stunned by the Fashion Team's onslaught to act.

"You're finished, Val!" Kevin said, keeping his own weapon trained on the KAOS agent.

"Spliiiit eeeends," Tiffany added.

"Thank you, Tiffany, but that's no longer necessary," Sandi told her.

"Whaaat?" Tiffany scowled. "She doooeees have split eeends."

They heard shouting outside the room, and 99 opened the door to see a team of CONTROL agents entering the building. Weapons drawn, several of the agents stormed through the building in search of suspects while the agent in charge barked orders. The few people present who were not part of the KAOS organization quickly fled. The receptionist turned another page in her magazine.

"Where are our agents?" the CONTROL team leader shouted at her. "Tell me where they're being held!"

Without looking up, she waved a hand at the door where 99 was standing. "In there."

"We're fine," 99 assured him as he entered. "The ringleader is here, and Dr. Shar is somewhere in the building. I'm sure you'll find her soon enough."

"We'll finish up here," the leader replied. "You head back to HQ and check in with the Chief."

"Another good day's work," Kevin said with a grin. "The danger is past and we can finally rest easy!"

Behind him, Tiffany said, "Faaake booooobs."

Realizing she was no longer talking to Val, Kevin looked at the leader with panic in his eyes. "You should probably tell your agents to fall back. Now."

Thank you to RLobinske for beta-reading.