008 & 009

It was yet another fine afternoon aboard the Rommel Sprinter, which naturally meant it was high time for yet another ridiculous adventure within the tankery team to start. Entirely by coincidence, a bored Emily invited an equally bored Porter over to her room for afternoon tea.

 

The rest of the Matilda’s crew had gone out shopping; as in, Elizabeth had dragged Alice down to the centre of the town. Izuki was equally occupied with non-tankery friends of her own.  And, unfortunately, that meant the two were left pretty much all alone. And you know what they say - rabbits die of loneliness.

 

The younger rabbit in question was currently sat on the sofa, along with Emily. Both were nursing nice hot cups of freshly brewed tea. Normally, they would be sat at the designated tea-table, rather than on the sofa, but today they were focused on the television. They needed a remedy for their boredom, and Emily just so happened to find it.

 

“How do you get the BBC channel all the way out here? Aren’t we in, like, the middle of the… pacific? And isn’t England aaaalll the way over in Europe?” Porter asked Emily. Apparently, somehow, the girl had full access to the channels she would have had at home.

 

“Not important. What is important is that it’s a saturday night, back home, so that means that… Aha! I knew they were!” Emily exclaimed with joy.

 

“Were what? What are they doing?”

 

“See for yourself, my dear Porter,” Emily said, with a smug grin on her face. On the TV, on the BBC channel, the information popped up on the screen describing that it was a weekend of movie marathons. Tonight’s viewing in particular, would be none other than the illustrious James Bond.

 

“Mmm… uhhh… ‘J-eyuh… Ahhh-messo…’ It’s too hard to read!”

 

Oh yeah, whoops. “James Bond!”

 

“Jayyahmuso Bondu?”

 

“No no no, that’s not how you say it Porter! You’re just as bad as the bloody rest of them… ‘Juh-ame-suh, Buh-on-duh’, say it like- actually, it doesn’t even matter. What matters is the film! The film!”

 

“What’s the movie about?” asked Porter. She had never heard of this ‘Jayyahmuso Bondu’ before, but he must have been pretty famous to warrant a movie.

 

“He’s the world’s coolest super-spy! He goes out, in his suit and his trusty Aston Martin, and he foils the evil guys’ plots, and does it all in a super secret agent style and oh my gosh it’s so cool! Trust me! Just watch, you’ll love it!”

 

In a completely unsurprising turn of events, Emily had lacked the foresight to realise that there wouldn’t be any Japanese subtitles. Of course there wouldn’t, the story was far too convenient already, so Emily “helpfully” translated the movie bit by bit for Porter, who was actually more focused on the action packed stuff happening on screen.

 

Driving around twisting lanes, beating up generic bad guys in fisticuffs, foiling super secret super evil plots, just like Emily had said… so this is what Jayyahmuso Bondu did. No wonder he got a movie of his own!

 

“That was amazing!” shouted Porter as the movie finished.

 

“And the best part? There are loads more movies with agent 007 in them!”

 

“Emi, Emi, I have an idea! We should become secret agent spies!”

 

Emily weighed up the idea in her head. “Secret agent spies?” she asked.

 

On the one hand, they would be super cool. On the other hand, they would still be super cool. There was no downside to this as far as Emily was concerned.

 

“Yeah, yeah! And I even have an idea of whose secret evil plot we can foil! We can do it tomorrow!”

 

“You do?”

 

-

 

It was a rather peaceful sunday morning in the tankery club’s headquarters. Granted, it wasn’t much more than a well decorated room close to the garages where they kept the tanks, but for the Marshall, it did the job just fine. She adjusted the hat on her head, stacked the papers before her again and took another sip of her hot coffee.

 

On today’s list of things to do: Paperwork. It wasn’t glamorous, but it needed doing. Fortunately, Komon Lucia was a woman who had time and patience. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust the rest of her team to do their fair share of the paperwork, but…

 

...Yeah.

 

The first form that came to her attention was an invoice for several thousand yen concerning a part for one of their Panzer IVs. It had broken down as they drove it out for practice the other day, and had been stuck in the garage ever since. They had reached out, and as luck had it, were able to source new parts to make the repairs…

 

-

 

The Marshall scribbled away on the pieces of paper before her, blissfully unaware of the two super secret agent spies in her presence. Suited up in tactically chosen, non-descript dark hoodies, two girls took turns peering inside the room through one of the windows, and ducking out of sight whenever they were at risk of being spotted.

 

“009, this is 008, what’s your status, over? Cchhhch,” whispered one voice.

 

“008, this is 009, the target is doing loads and loads of super boring looking paperwork. I repeat; she’s doing paperwork, over. Cchhhch,” whispered a second voice.

 

“009 this is 008, parliament said that they thought target M was planning something. Those documents could be related to a super secret and highly bloody illegal plan. We need to get a hold of those documents, over. Cchhhch,” whispered the first voice again.

 

“008, this is 009, I will try my hardest to sneak in and nab the documents when she next leaves for a break, over. Cchhhch.”

 

Now, hear them out. They had taken some inspiration from James Bond last night, but there were certain things they unfortunately could not replicate. Firstly, the car. Not only were Aston Martins very expensive, but they also required a driver’s license to drive, one of which neither Emily nor Porter possessed. They had a back-up plan just in case, but it was unlikely that they would need to put it into place.

 

Second, the suit. Suits were also very expensive. Both girls were mature, young adults at that stage in their lives. They knew that money management was a high priority, and so would make sure to manage it very well and spend it only on things that were useful. Suits, as cool as they were, were very expensive when they checked on the internet.

 

So, they made the wise decision that they ought to keep spending their money on the more important things in life, such as copious amounts of manga and anime, as well as fine teas imported directly from England.

 

They also didn’t have radios, so they had to make the radio noises and communicate directly with their mouths.

 

After a few minutes of waiting in a hedge, Agent 009 suddenly spotted something whilst peering through the window at the highly classified target M.

 

“008, 008, this is 009! Target M is on the move, I repeat, she’s leaving the office! Permission to enter and take the documents, over! Cchhhch,” whispered 009.

 

“009, this is 008, parliament says you have permission to move in and take the documents. Be extra careful, there’s really highly classified stuff in there. Move in as soon as target M leaves, over. Cchhhch,” replied 008 in a whisper.

 

-

 

The Marshall stretched her arms and legs. It was almost time for lunch, and her hand was beginning to ache… who knew that accounting for and maintaining a fleet of fifteen tanks could be so difficult? And that was when you didn’t include their troublesome crews.

 

Maybe I should go and buy myself another coffee or something to help myself relax whilst I finish these, the Marshall thought to herself. She was the Marshall, after all - she made the rules, she said when it was lunch time, and she said whether a member of her team was allowed to go on a break or not.

 

Affixing her hat again, she took her small, cartoon fox-covered purse (she was allowed to like cute things, she made the rules), stuffed it in one of her shirt pockets, and made her way out of the room. A light breeze whipped at her semi-short blonde hair, and the bushes just outside of the room rustled wildly. Now, she had to make some important decisions.

 

What was on the menu for lunch?

 

-

 

With target M moving out of sight, a small window had opened for Agent 009. With the speed and grace of a small dog, she dashed inside of the room, and quickly found the desk. She jumped into the chair and began to sift through the papers, to see if there was anything detailing a super secret evil plot.

 

Suddenly, the secret high-tech communication device in 009’s pocket vibrated. She checked her surroundings and then opened the top secret text.

 

It was from Agent 008, and it read, “I’m following target M to make sure we do not lose track of her. Good luck, Agent 009.”

 

Good. Now she would know when her window was beginning to close, and could make it out in time to safety. However, while she would rather not resort to violent measures, it was not beyond her abilities as a super secret agent spy. She could subdue and capture the target if it was necessary; Parliament had authorised her to do so.

 

The first paper she picked up appeared only to be half finished. The pen that was being used still sat beside it with the lid off. The paper appeared to be stapled to several other pieces, and read at the top in fairly bold writing, “Club Expenditure and Member Report, Summer.”

 

Club? What could this mean? Some kind of secret code? Worried, Agent 009 read on.

 

“Three packs of sausages by the dozen… One pack of paper serving plates… Assorted cutlery… One large presentation whiteboard… Whiteboard pens… German standard track lubricant… British standard track lubricant… Italian standard track lubricant… Several litres of oil…”

 

The list boggled the mind; it went on, and on, and on. Whatever target M was planning, it was big. It was big, scary, and required a lot of strange equipment and attention to detail.

 

Another piece of paper, this form completed, was an invoice for some kind of strange part. There were others like this one. Some had coffee stains on them; clearly, target M was careless with their beverages. Other such forms included activity reports, and so Agent 009 took a closer look.

 

“Friendly with Gloriana. Panzer III F advanced forwards. Spotted all but one of Gloriana’s tanks. Crusader flanked the friendly formation. Semovente moved in to intercept, both tanks were knocked out. Forces were reduced over time and eventually destroyed by the Gloriana team. Crew morale seems to be at the same constant high.”

 

This description seemed familiar, it felt almost like something Agent 009 had done once herself. Whatever the case was, she could only commend the actions of the codename Semovente against the codename Crusader.

 

She was about to continue, with the next report being labelled “Extra-club-curricular activities details,” but felt her top secret communication device vibrate in her pocket once more. With a sense of dread, she opened it up, and sure enough, 008 was informing her of target M’s return.

 

-

 

“Ahh… I can’t believe the queue was that long. All I wanted was a damned coffee… Now i’ll have to cook something myself for lunch. Maybe a barbecue with the girls. That doesn’t sound too bad… the weather looks clear and warm enough for it.”

 

The Marshall let out a wistful sigh. She still had a good quarter of the paperwork left to go through and finish checking and writing up. It was worth it, though, to be the Marshall of such a wonderful tankery team.

 

Rather, what she walked back to see wasn’t what she had expected at all. Some of her papers were missing - most notably, the thick wad of expenditure and member reports she had spent absolutely ages writing up this morning, and… the legs of a fairly short girl dangling from her window. Right.

 

“Can I help you?”

 

The owner of the legs cried out as they kicked harder in an attempt to free themself. “008, this is 009, i’ve been spotted! Hurry, hurry, we need to get out with the intelligence! Over, cchhhch!”

 

“Porter? Is that you? What are you doing hanging out of my window?”

 

Before she got a reply, who she presumed was Porter fell out of the window, and together with another figure in a hood, sprinted off in the direction of the tank garages. That was… odd, to say the least. And she still hadn’t figured out where her half-finished reports had gon-

 

Hang on. “Get out with the intelligence”? The Marshall had a sneaking suspicion that she had figured out where her files had gone. She groaned, fixed her cap again, and walked rather briskly outside in an attempt to find the pesky little thieves.

 

“Porter! Porter? Where are you? I don’t know what you’re doing, but those reports are important!” She called out. With any luck, a more sane member of the team such as Fuchs or Izuki would retrieve them from her and get her to stop being an idiot.

 

As she heard a low rumble in the garage, that sounded awfully like a tank’s engine starting up, the Marshall could only groan to herself and pick up the pace. Clearly, there were no people around to keep Porter and her cohort in check today. It wasn’t Izuki, because the girl was too honest and even though she could be roped into doing things easily, she wouldn’t do anything bad.

 

And this was bad, as the Marshall thought of the most likely candidate for Porter’s partner in crime.

 

At a whopping ten miles per hour, the team’s Matilda lurched onwards and out of the garage, with a certain tea addict sat turned out in the commander’s hatch with helmet in place, and poking their head out of the driver’s hatch was a certain anime addict, who was last seen with the Marshall’s papers.

 

Oh dear. This could not get much worse.

 

The Matilda slowed to a halt as it began to turn on the spot, and then began to accelerate again as it thundered past the now incredibly irritated Marshall at a decent speed. At this point, the Marshall was, more than anything, glad that Emily hadn’t picked the team’s Crusader or Panzer III F as their getaway vehicle, both of which were far faster and would be far more difficult to catch.

 

The Marshall dialed her phone as she began to run towards her own Panzer III N.

 

“Hello? Misaki? Yes, we’ve got a situation… yes, I need you here right now. The rest of the Tiger’s crew please. Thank you. See you.”

 

With back-up arranged and the cavalry coming, the Marshall clambered inside of her own tank. Back in her first year, each crewmember of the Panzer III N had tried out different positions, so fortunately (and rather conveniently,) she knew how to drive the tank. It wasn’t terribly difficult, it was just being able to react and pull certain manoeuvres that distinguished good tank drivers from average tank drivers such as herself.

 

It didn’t matter though, because her tank was lighter and faster. Not as fast as the Crusader or Panzer III F, but certainly fast enough. Hell, even Misaki’s Tiger was faster than the Matilda. It would baffle her that the thieves had chosen the slowest tank to escape in, if they weren’t Emily and Porter, in which case it was entirely expected of them.

 

-

 

“Huzzah! Wonderful job, Agent 009!” Agent 008 called out as she stretched in the commander’s cupola. It certainly was a job well done; the super secret agent spies had managed to observe target M and steal highly classified and important documents from them, and made a clean getaway!

 

Or they would have.

 

It was then that she spotted another desert tan tank not too far behind their Matilda, several hundred yards, and closing at a fair speed.

 

“Bloody hell Agent 009, can’t we go any faster?”

 

“I can’t, Agent 008, the tank doesn’t have enough power! It’s too heavy!”

 

Well then, this was about to turn into a James Bond style car chase. Marvelous! What a great way to spend their sunday!

 

“Hard right, driver, we’re heading down into the town!” Whether or not this was a wise choice or not, as most of the school’s students were out in town at the weekend, was to be debated at a later date. First, Parliament’s finest agents had to get out of their sticky situation.

 

“Roger!”

 

With the right track braking fully, the Matilda suddenly lurched to the right and down onto a road, that lead straight into the town centre.

 

Oh no, they’re not going into the town are they…? The Marshall groaned internally as she thought about how much trouble this would get them all in. And, how much more paperwork she would have to fill out once she had retrieved the paperwork that had been stolen from her in the first place.

 

Damn those two girls!

 

She pulled a hard right too, and continued the chase of the Matilda, making sure not to get ahead of herself and do anything potentially dangerous with her rusty driving skills.

 

Meanwhile, the Matilda’s driver for the day, Porter, was faring absolutely fine; the tank was, despite being heavier, slower and easier to drive than her Semovente, which was a relief. Emily ran her ragged with the odd shout telling her to change course down some different street every few seconds.

 

They had to escape with the vital intelligence, no matter what.

 

-

 

“The town centre? Uh, right. Sure. … Those two did that? They’re absolutely out of their minds. Anyway, i’ll see to it. Yeah, bye.” Misaki closed her phone.

 

“Was that the Marshall?” her gunner, sat close by, asked.

 

“Yep. Driver, we’re heading into the town centre. Park up in the Market Square. The Marshall says she’ll drive the runaway Matilda in there, if it doesn’t decide to go there on its own accord.”

 

“Roger that,” she replied, changing course. The large and powerful engine of the Tiger roared like its namesake as it charged down the widest and emptiest streets in town, stopping and turning with expert precision of a well-trained crew.

 

-

 

“Left!”

 

Porter turned left. They were now going up a high street, a high street which was particularly packed on the nice sunday afternoon they had decided to hold their espionage mission and subsequent getaway chase in tanks in.

 

Thankfully, both the Panzer III N and the runaway Matilda were both fairly small tanks; especially compared to others, like Churchills, Tigers, Panthers and Pershings. Who knows what kind of havoc could have been caused if these tanks were any larger; the Marshall dreaded the thought of the two girls somehow getting their hands on the Tiger.

 

People all up the street who were having a nice walk, maybe a spot of lunch, were totally interrupted as two tanks, weighing at least 25 tons each, rumbled down the shop lined street, nearly knocking over a lamppost and a few chairs set outside in the process. Students were taking pictures and cheering and shouting, as they apparently thought this was some kind of event. Some first years were screaming as they thought the town was being occupied or something, having never heard of the school’s tankery team.

 

With the driver and commander both peering out of their Matilda, most of the students got a good look at the young and adorable black-hair framed face driving the Matilda, and the cheery blonde girl up in the commander’s cupola on the turret. As the second tank drove by, they caught sight of the famous Marshall, wearing her signifying cap, that looked like it had come straight from the Luftwaffe itself.

 

Some of the students were worried, as they realised the two tanks were heading straight for the Market Square in the centre of town. Most of them began to run and chase after the tanks, in a large crowd of spectators, waiting to see what happened.

 

-

 

“Misaki, are you in position?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Do it.”

 

-

 

Suddenly, a new sound could be heard, and it sounded like a tank engine at the very least. It was far, far louder than the other two tanks’ engines - which were incredibly loud already - so it could have very well been mistaken for thunder.

 

With a great gear change and rev, a new, huge boxy tank rolled into the town square, just as the leading tank charged in through the corridor of buildings and shops. The new tank, some of the informed students identified as the team’s Tiger, roared straight into the path of the Matilda.

 

“Bloody hell fire! Brake, brake, brake! Halt!” Emily ordered desperately to her driver.

 

Porter slammed on the brakes but it was too little, too late, as the heavy Matilda’s weight continued to drag it along, even as the tracks stopped. The British Infantry tank slid straight into the Tiger now blocking its path, and with a great crash that could be heard for miles, the two collided.

 

Without any further adieu, the Tiger’s commander’s hatch immediately burst open and out flew a rather annoyed and yet excited looking Misaki, who leapt onto the smaller tank, and with no small amount of effort, tore Emily from her own commander’s position. With one culprit caught, and Porter frantically panicking, she clambered over onto the front of the Matilda and gave the adorable Porter the hardest glare she could possibly muster.

 

“You. Out. Now.”

 

Porter all but squealed as she scrambled out of the Matilda, head held in shame. It was barely a few seconds later that the Marshall arrived in her own Panzer III N, and hopped out, preparing herself to give the two ‘agents’ the lecture of a lifetime.

 

Hundreds of students and residents of the ship were now surrounding the three large tanks in a huge crowd of cheers, shouts, and flashes of phones taking pictures. Oh boy. Public humiliation for the Bonnie and Clyde of the Oasis Mirage Tankery Team.

 

-

 

A few days later, the commotion surrounding the tanks in town had eventually died down, and as the Marshall had predicted, it had caused a lot of paperwork needing to be completed. Fortunately, she knew just the two little rascals for the job.

 

“As for you two, your punishment is the completion of all this paperwork and these reports.” The Marshall slammed a pile of paper, almost half a foot tall, onto the table.

 

“All of them?!” cried Emily and Porter in sync.

 

“All of them. Get to it.”