He was busy punching sharks in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle when his phone rang.
The Old Spice Man quirked his head to the side. He hadn't expected to get phone service so far away from shore. He fished his phone out of his pocket while backhanding yet another Great White with the oversized magnifying glass in his other hand.
"Hello," he said. His manly voice was a rich, silky purr.
"Hello, Agent M," said the voice on the other end of the line. "I'm sorry to interrupt your well-deserved vacation, but I'm afraid we need you to come back to headquarters at once. You're not too busy right now, are you?"
"No, not at all, Chief," he said. He let the magnifying glass fall to the deck of his boat as he grabbed an attacking hammerhead in a half-nelson. "Is something wrong?"
"I'm afraid so. We have an urgent problem we need you to handle."
He sat down on the edge of the boat, the shark still thrashing in his grip. "I see," he said. "I'll be there as soon as I can."
"Thank you so much, Agent M," the voice said. "We greatly appreciate this." There was a click as the person at the other end hung up. He clicked the phone off, and slid it back into the pocket of his white khakis.
The hammerhead stopped thrashing around, surrendering itself to the superior fighter. He let it fall back into the water, and it swam away from the boat as fast as it could.
The group of mermaids floating next to the prow of the boat broke into thunderous applause. "Thank you so much, Old Spice Man," said the mermaid queen. "You have saved our people from these cruel invaders. We are forever in your debt."
The Old Spice Man gave her a blindingly white smile. "Anything I could do for such beautiful Ladies."
The mermaid queen blushed. Her reddening cheeks contrasted nicely with her seaweed green hair.
"Just promise me that you'll try to stop sinking ships that pass through your hidden kingdom here."
She smiled. "We'll see what we can do." She reached up, and plucked one of the pearls off her jewel-encrusted tiara. She offered it to the Old Spice Man. "Please take this as a token of our gratitude. If ever you find yourself weak and in trouble, swallow this pearl to regain your strength."
He graciously took the pearl. It sparkled in the sunlight. "Well, I am so unabashedly incredible that I don't see how I could ever be in trouble, but if a charming Lady such as yourself insists, I'll be glad to accept it. Thank you, your majesty."
The queen gave him a royal nod before she and her fellow mermaids disappeared back below the waves.
He tucked the pearl in his pants pocket and stood back up on the deck. The sweater that he'd tied around his bare shoulders had gotten mussed in the shark fight, so he straightened it out again. He started the boat's engine back up, and aimed for the nearest port. When he arrived there, he tied the boat to the pier, and ran down the docks towards the shore. He made it all the way to the top of the Marina building, and took a running leap off the roof. He turned in perfect swan dive form to clear the fence, and made an exact landing on his rocket motorcycle. He popped his key into the ignition, gunned the engine, and took off.
It was a long ride back. The O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E. headquarters were hidden in the majestic Rocky Mountains, and only a select few knew how to get there. He made good speed across the country with both of his jet engines on the back of his bike running, and arrived at the right place close to sunset. He cut back to just the regular motorcycle engine as he neared the organization's parking centre, and the agent working the gate waved him in. He parked his bike, and then took the elevator up to the main lobby.
A petite Asian woman dressed in a well-cut business suit was waiting on the other side of the lobby, reading something on her smartphone. He strode majestically across the room to make his presence known.
"You wanted to see me, Chief?" he asked.
"You certainly got here fast," she said, putting the phone away. "Come with me to my office. This is too important a mission to discuss publicly."
She beckoned him to a door off the rotunda bearing the organization's logo, and he followed her in. The Organization for Local Defence and Serious Prevention of International Conflicts and Events was a well-guarded secret, and some of the problems he'd had to deal with in the past were highly classified, from the extreme international lion-powered jet ski races to the interplanetary arm wrestling contest he'd had to win to avoid an invasion by the Neptunians. Any time the Chief called him into her office, he knew it was trouble.
He sat down in her guest chair while she settled into the chair by her desk. Behind her glasses, her eyes slowly dropped their gaze from his face to his broad pecs. "Still going shirtless all the time, are you?" she asked.
The Old Spice Man nodded. "I never wear shirts. I find them to be too constricting of my rugged pectoral muscles."
"Suit yourself, I suppose," she said. She grabbed a set of files from the pile on her desk and placed them in front of the Old Spice Man. "I suppose you're curious about what could be so urgent as so call you back from your vacation in the Bermuda Triangle."
"Rabid lumberjacks? Werewolves fighting ninja bears? A return of the flesh-eating pegasi? A portal into that universe where people seem to think that I'm an actor named Isaiah?"
The Chief shook her head. "No, none of those again. It's even worse." She looked the Old Spice Man directly in the eyes. "One of our agents has gone rogue."
He frowned. "Who?"
The Chief opened the top folder. Inside it was a personnel document, topped by a photo of a plain-looking man with short brown hair and pale sin. He wore a serious expression as he stared at the camera. The Old Spice Man recognized him immediately.
She nodded. "Yes. What's more, our intelligence says that he's set up his own operation, and is likely attempting some major scheme that would put the general public in danger."
"Do we know what exactly he's planning?" The Old Spice Man crossed his arms over his broad chest.
"Not yet. We've sent two agents to investigate so far, and neither of them has been heard from again, so we're very concerned. We'd like you to try and deal with this. Find out what he's doing and stop him through any means necessary."
"Do we at least know where he is?"
"We know he's somewhere in the Irish Springs National Park, but not exactly where his base is," the Chief said. "We can offer you transport to the area early tomorrow morning, but you'll be on your own from there."
He considered it. The Irish Springs National Park was a large area filled with lots of trees and sudden rocky cliff, and a surprising number of rainbow-creating waterfalls. It could take a lot of searching to try and track down a base hidden in there.
Still, he'd successfully found and participated in ritual wood-carving with the pygmy tribe hidden deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest last month. Compared to the cleverly disguised macramé death traps protecting their villages, he didn't think it would be too hard to track down Agent A.
"I'll make sure we stop him," the Old Spice Man said.
The Chief smiled. "That's what I like to hear. I'll give you some time to get ready and freshen up in your room. You leave early tomorrow." She closed the top file and handed it to him. "You're dismissed."
He took the file and started to leave the room.
"Oh, and Agent M?"
The Old Spice Man turned back. "Yes?"
"It's good to see you again. You should drop by headquarters more often."
He flashed her his most charming smile. "I'll do my best, Chief."
She waved him off, and started on some of her paperwork. The Old Spice Man left her office, careful to shut the door behind him, and headed for his private rooms. Headquarters included housing for many of the senior O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E. agents, and he was no exception. He pressed his hand to the biometric plate next to the door and entered.
The Old Spice Man's room here was full of mementos from his adventures: the licence plate from the car-tossing contest he'd won, the brush used on the wild bison he'd tamed, a stack of letters from his surprisingly large fanbase in Eastern Latvia. There was a large framed photo on the wall of him standing on top of the giant laser squid he'd defeated, with a group of grateful Tahitian Ladies standing on one side of it and a scowling Agent A on the other. He ignored all of the items, dropped the file on his bedside table, and headed straight for the shower room.
There was no place he loved better than the shower. He found the sound of running water helped him to think better, and the smell of quality body wash was a great comfort after a long day of swan diving off buildings to land on moving vehicles. He turned the shower on, and sat on the edge of the tub.
A bottle of body wash stood nearby. He popped open the top of the bottle and breathed in its rich, heavy scent. Wonderful. He gathered his thoughts.
He and Agent A had occasionally been partners in the past. Agent A was a smart, focused agent who was good at putting complicated plans together. They'd once faced down undead Caribbean pirates together, and it was Agent A who'd suggested that quick move with the cannons and the seven hundred pounds of tuna, even though he'd lacked the physical strength to pull it off himself.
When had Agent A gone rogue? The Old Spice Man had only been away a few weeks, and last he'd seen, Agent A had still been working for O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E. He'd been quieter than usual, looking back on it now, but nothing said he was dreaming of betraying the organization he belonged to.
He supposed he would have to figure it out.
He took a quick shower, and then headed to bed. When he woke up the next morning, he redressed himself in his clean white khakis from the day before. From the collection in his room, he gathered up some supplies he thought he might need, and packed them in a travel bag. Slinging it over his bare shoulders, he left his room and locked the door behind him. It was a short walk from there to where the organization's vehicles were kept.
The O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E. vehicle room was a massive chamber filled with ever kind of transportation imaginable. There were cars and trucks, boats and buses, planes and pedicabs. He made a beeline for his favourite.
A technician stood near the base of the zeppelin, waiting for him. The tech nodded at the Old Spice Man.
"It's good to see you, sir. I've prepared your ride with everything you'll need on this mission: map, mission schematics, GPS locator." He motioned to a large white object inside the zeppelin's cab. "Your horse."
"Thank you," said the Old Spice Man. The tech gave him the keys, saluted, and departed.
The Old Spice Man entered the cab and shut the door behind him. The magnificent white horse stood patiently in the centre of the cab, waiting for him.
He reached out to pet her nose. "Ah, Zest!" he said. "It just wouldn't be a mission without you."
The horse nuzzled his hand back. He turned his focus from his equine companion to the zeppelin's main controls. He opened a panel box next to the control switches, pulled out a regulation zeppelin-piloting handlebar moustache, and careful attached it over his own manly stubble.
"Now we're ready."
He flipped a set of switches on the sophisticated control panel, and the zeppelin took off in the air. He navigated the zeppelin out through the gap at one end of the chamber and out into the open sky.
The countryside sprawled out below them. The Old Spice Man and his horse watched as the majestic gray and white mountain peaks below them slowly smoothed out and became more and more green. By the time the growth beneath them sprouted into massive trees and sudden cliffs, he knew they had come to the right place.
The brush here was thick, and offered very few openings, except for the rocky waterfalls which were impossible to land on. He had to circle the entire park twice before finding a big enough clearing to touch down in. He killed the engine and dropped the zeppelin's anchor to the ground below.
He initiated the high-tech auto-pilot for the landing sequence. "Wait here," he told his horse. "I'm going to make sure that the ground is clear."
The Old Spice Man grabbed a parachute from off the wall, attached the straps over his shoulders, opened the door, and jumped.
The thrill of freefall was exhilarating. The wind was everywhere, pushing against his clothes, flowing over his dark skin, streaming through his short black hair, as the ground below rushed up to meet him. He angled himself towards the centre of the field, and pulled the string on his chute at the last possible moment.
The sudden force of air hitting the parachute's fabric jerked him several feet up in the air, before slowing his speed. The Old Spice Man floated down until he landed perfectly on the edge of the grassy field below. Next to him, the parachute collapsed in on itself in a neat pile. He unclipped the parachute straps, let them fall to the ground, and took a better look at his surroundings.
It was a large, open clearing, with trees from the park pushing their roots in around the edges. There was more than enough room here to land the rapidly descending zeppelin.
More than that, it also looked like someone had already landed aircraft here before.
The Old Spice Man bent down to examine the grass. There were tracks that seemed to start and stop at either end of the field, and dips where it appeared that something heavy had been parked here for awhile.
Someone had been running planes through here. It seemed like he was on the right track.
He watched as the zeppelin's cab touched down a couple feet in front of him. He found the open door on it; the white horse still stood patiently waiting for him inside. He entered and dropped the moustache back in the sanitary box for used facial hair. That being done, he led the horse outside and shut the door behind them.
"Come, Zest!" he said. "We must find Agent A's secret hideout!" He mounted the horse, and she took off.
They circled the outside of the clearing until he spotted an opening in the trees. The grass in it had been trampled flat, meaning that a steady stream of people had come and gone over it. He turned the horse to follow it. The trees above blocked out most of the sunlight, leaving wide shadows across the trail. He slowed is pace a bit so that the horse wouldn't stumble over a stray rock or root.
The forest was almost unnaturally quiet – there was little noise beyond the rustling of the trees. No bird calls. No animal cries. No sounds of people enjoying the national park.
That was, until the large brown bear barrelled out onto the path in front of him.
It was large and imposing; stretched out to full length, it would probably be taller than the Old Spice Man. There seemed to be something wrong with its eyes, however, as they looked dull and unfocused.
The Old Spice Man immediately dismounted the horse to assess the situation. On the one hand, the bear was clearly threatening them and barring their way further down the path. On the other, this was very unusual behaviour for a bear, and there seemed to be something wrong with it. It would be better to use nonlethal force to take it down.
"I don't want to hurt you," he said to it. "I know I'm ridiculously handsome, but you don't want to attack me. Surely we can come to an agreement over some cold fish."
The bear lurched up on its hind legs and roared. In a flash, the Old Spice Man lunged at it. He hit the bear in the middle, knocking it off guard. The bear tumbled backwards into the brush. He held on with his best wrestling hold as the bear fell down the slope next to the path. The two of them rolled head over heels together through the brush down the steep hill.
They landed with a large thump at an open area next to one of the park's many streams. The bear managed to push the Old Spice Man off and tried to regain its feet. The bear's eyes were still flat and disoriented, despite the fall. Now out of the woods, he noticed an odd smell coming from the bear. Something artificial.
The bear swiped at him with its claws, and the Old Spice Man circled back around it. The bear growled in frustration. It lowered its head and charged at the Old Spice Man. He waited for it to come near, and at the last second, grabbed it by its shoulders in a judo throw to fling it high into the air.
The bear flew through the air and fell into the deep part of the spring with a loud splash. It was a moment before the bear kicked itself to the surface and clawed its way to the bank. As the bear pulled itself out, the Old Spice Man noticed a change in it: its eyes were back to normal and the strange smell was gone. The bear shook its head, and seemed to look around in confusion. It spotted the Old Spice Man, and backed away carefully before disappearing into the woods.
"Hmm. Interesting," he said.
He tried to get his bearings about where he'd ended up. He was at the bottom of a tree-covered hill next to a stream. The hill steepened into a sheer rocky cliff face at one of the ends, with a small waterfall running down it. It would probably take a lot of work to climb back up the hill; he had to look for another way to do it.
He was about to follow the stream down where it led when something about the cliff face caught his eye. The flow of the water was wrong. It curved as though there was something in the middle of it interrupting the flow. He headed in for a closer look.
When he was in range, he stuck his head through the falling water.
Behind it was a pair of metal doors.
He stepped all the way through the waterfall to stand under a large piece of rock acting like an awning over the doors. They were huge – big enough to drive a truck through. A picture of a large metal battle axe had been carved in the very middle.
This must have been the place then.
There was a control panel embedded into the rock next to the door. He grabbed his pondering monocle from out of his bag and leaned in closer for a look. There was a numerical pad set below a facial scanner and monitor. He was willing to bet two bottles of his favourite brand of body wash that this was the mechanism that controlled the door. There was only one way to get past these kinds of things.
He knelt down low enough so that his face filled the monitor's display screen. He gave the camera a broad monocle smile that showed off all of his perfect teeth. "Hello computer," he said. "Look at your database. Now back to me. Now back at your database. Now back to me. Sadly, it probably doesn't have me in it." He pulled a glossy pin-up picture of himself out of his bag. "But your database could get a picture of me if you'd let me in."
There was a whirring noise as the computer's AI processed his request. The Old Spice Man shuffled back a bit so that both his ridiculously handsome face and well-developed chest were visible in frame.
It took a couple long minutes, but finally there was a loud clicking noise and the doors swung open on their own.
"I thank you so much," he said. He set the pin-up picture down within the camera's sight. He grabbed a couple rocks from the stream to keep the doors propped open. Their metal edges stuck out from the water, visible to anyone passing by. He stepped back out through the waterfall, and tied the chain of monocle to the corner of one of the doors. Zest was a smart horse; she'd figure out where he'd gone from the smell of his things. He made his way back through the water to head inside the entrance.
The Old Spice Man found himself in a large metal corridor that sloped further down into the hill. Florescent panels set here and there into the walls cast a faint, orangish light over everything. He slowly and carefully made his way down the corridor. Every noise he made echoed up and down the metal hallway.
The tunnel continued on for a hundred metres before suddenly widening out to a large chamber. It was almost like a factory buried underground; big noisy machines whirred and hummed, mixing vats full of strange liquids or filling and sealing dark bottles.
Dozens of people were in the chamber with the machines. A lot of them looked like hikers, and all of their clothes were dirty and worn, as if they hadn't changed outfits or washed themselves in a long time. An unusually high percentage of the people there were beautiful women.
None of the people seemed to notice his arrival at the edge of the chamber. The same smell he had noticed on the bear was much stronger here. Everyone had the same dull, glassy-eyed expression as they shuffled about doing their work.
He stepped fully into the room. No one at all reacted to his presence. From where he stood, he could see the far wall, which appeared to be made of glass. On the other side of it was a great expanse of clear water, probably from one of the many small lakes in the park. Over the surface of the water, he spotted the top of his zeppelin visible above the tree line.
He walked carefully across a clear path on one side of the room to the window. He'd just put a hand on it when an unexpected voice rang out behind him.
"I wondered when you'd show up."
The Old Spice Man turned around slowly. There was a walkway above the chamber that couldn't be seen from the entrance, and the only clear-eyed person in the room was leaning against its railing, watching him.
The other man was dressed all in black: black shirt, black pants, black boots, long black jacket. His short brown hair was gelled up in a fauxhawk. The only bit of colour on him was a bright silver axe design on his chest. The same design that had been on the door. He sneered at the intruder.
The Old Spice Man recognized him right away. "Agent A," he said.
"I don't use that name anymore," the other man said. "Nowadays, people call me The Axe."
"And all this is yours?" asked the Old Spice Man.
"Of course," said the Axe. "It took a while to build all this without O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E. picking up on it. You can only make so many secret plane trips a month before somebody catches on. And of course, I had to make sure that I was ready for when they did."
He suddenly spun around and slammed his fist onto a huge button on the wall behind him. There was a loud groan as the metal panels forming the ceiling split open, and a huge deluge of orange goop poured out, completely covering the Old Spice Man.
He gasped as the sickly scent of bad artificial flowers filled his senses, hitting his well-hidden allergies. He dropped to his hands and knees in pain.
The Axe let out an evil laugh, and made his way down the stairs to the main floor. A large green-eyed lynx followed closely at his heels. He walked through the orange mess until he was within striking distance of the Old Spice Man, and then knelt down to look his opponent in the face.
"See, 'cause I figured they'd send you eventually. And I know your one weakness." He smiled cruelly. "Lady-scented body wash."
The Old Spice Man struggled and failed to stand up. "Why are you doing this?"
"What, this?" He motioned to the large room around them. "See, during my time at O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E., I discovered a scent that can control people's minds. Make 'em do anything you want them to do, no questions asked. And it works best in an aerosol can, like a body spray. So using my 'assistants' over there, I came up with this place, hidden so deep in the park that no one'll find it. And once I have enough of my spray ready, I'll be able to brainwash people in every major city in the country. And after that, well, why not take over the world?"
The lynx rubbed up against the Axe's leg as he talked. The Old Spice Man looked from the animals to its master. "And that includes bears and lynxes?"
"Oh, you met my defence system, did you?" the Axe asked. "I should have known you'd get by it. I admit, I did some testing to make sure the spray would be strong enough to work on humans. The animals involved proved useful enough to keep around."
The Old Spice Man gasped in shock. The Axe used the opening to knee him in the chest. The Old Spice Man collapsed to the floor in pain. He wasn't very familiar with being in pain, since he was usually fast enough to avoid most attacks, so the shock at actually hurting for once left him unable to think about anything but that.
The Axe snapped his fingers and motioned to a nearby pair of brainwashed people. The Old Spice Man absently recognized them as O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E. agents, probably the missing ones the Chief had mentioned. They turned to stare dully at him. "You two," he said, "take our 'guest' and tie him up. I don't want him getting in the way." He scratched the lynx behind its ear. The wildcat purred happily. "We'll use him as a tester later."
The pink-haired woman and Hispanic man shuffled over to grab the Old Spice Man by the shoulders. The combination of fake floral scents and knee to the gut made him too weak to resist as they dragged him out of the goop and up the stairs. The man pushed him down into the floor of the walkway as the woman tied his hands behind his back. They didn't remove his bag, but he couldn't reach it with his hands tied up.
Even on the floor, he could still see the main level through the gaps between the guardrail bars. The man and woman went back to their spots as a couple other brainwashed workers cleaned up the mess on the floor. The Axe stood there, watching him.
"Just tell me one thing," said the Old Spice Man. "Why would you want to brainwash people?"
The Axe kept staring at him. "You really don't know?" He raised his arm to point a finger at the Old Spice Man. "It's all because of you."
The Old Spice Man creased his perfect brows in confusion. "Me? I haven't done anything to you."
"The chicks!" The words burst out of the Axe in a sudden explosion of anger. "Everywhere we went, the chicks would fawn all over you and completely ignore me! Every single time! So I thought that if I couldn't win them over on my own I'd make them love me! And once that worked I figured why not aim even higher and make them all love me?"
The Old Spice Man frowned. "Brainwashing people isn't the way to make Ladies love you. You need to do something for them that they'd appreciate, like felling a tree with your bare hands to have enough kindling to bake them their favourite double layer cakes on your wood-burning stove."
"See, that's exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about," the Axe spat back. "Who does that? You're a freak, and you make everyone around you look bad in comparison." He scooped up the lynx and tucked it into his arms. "I'm gonna enjoy brainwashing you."
He turned back around to fiddle with one of the machines. "Let's see if we can double our production to make a dose strong enough to work on you."
The Old Spice Man twisted around on the floor. In all of his daring adventures, he'd never been held captive before. This was a brand new experience for him. He tried to think. What would a regular man do in this kind of situation?
Something in his pants pocket was digging into the Old Spice Man's leg. It took a moment for him to think about what could be in there before the memory clicked into place. Of course – that was the way out of this situation.
He tested the ropes tying his hands back. Brainwashed slaves weren't the best people to tie knots. Using the orange goop still covering him as a lubricant, he managed to slowly pull one hand out of the bindings, and use that to clumsily untie the knot on the other. He stealthily pulled himself up into a sitting position and fished in his pocket.
And pulled out the mermaid queen's pearl. It still shone even under the artificial lights of the Axe's hideout. In one quick move, he popped it into his mouth and swallowed it.
A sudden wave of energy swept over him, like the beautiful Bermuda surf. All at once the allergic reaction to the floral body wash stopped, and his usual strength returned to him. He wiped as much of the goop off his bare chest and khakis as he could before standing up and leaning against the railing.
"You had a good plan, Axe, but there was one thing you didn't count on."
The Axe spun around so fast that the lynx flew out of his arms. The wildcat hissed angrily as it was thrown across the room.
"And what's that?" he demanded.
The Old Spice Man stuck two fingers in his mouth and loudly whistled an eight note sequence, and then launched himself into the air. There was a flurry of noise down below in the hallway leading to the base as he executed a perfect diving flip, before landing expertly on the back of a new arrival.
He grinned. "I'm on a horse."
From his perch on top of Zest, he reached into his bag and pulled out a large petrified silverfish. He threw it at the huge window. The glass shattered, and water from the lake poured in.
"NO!" yelled the Axe. He barely had time to dodge the downpour as the water gushed into the room around him. Zest leaped nimbly on top of one of the high tables as the fresh water drenched everyone else.
The other people in the base started shaking their heads and coming to their senses. Some of them noticed the rising level around their feet and started screaming in panic.
The Old Spice Man pointed back towards the corridor. "There is an exit down that way! Go!'
The group started fleeing away from the water. The Old Spice Man watched them to make sure they all got out safely, when the table pitched over. Zest cried out in shock and tumbled to the ground. The Old Spice Man leaped off her before she fell into the water, scrambling around for a foothold.
The Axe stood on the other side of it, fury evident on his face. "You! You ruined everything! You always ruin everything!" He reached into the pocket of his jacket to pull out a gun and levelled it at the Old Spice Man's chest. "But I'll still win this time. And with you gone, I'll become even greater than you ever were."
The Old Spice Man squared his shoulders and stared down the Axe. "You're a fool, Agent A. Could you be me? No. Could you even smell like me? No. Not even the most powerful body wash on Earth could wash away the stench of your crimes here."
The Axe cocked the safety on the gun. With lightening fast speed, the Old Spice Man launched himself forward through the water to slam his powerful fist into the Axe's face. The Axe screamed out in pain and collapsed backwards. The gun dropped out of his hand and into the water.
The water level had risen to above the Old Spice Man's knees, and the machines that filled the room were starting to spark dangerously. He took a look around the room: Zest had recovered her footing, although she still looked somewhat spooked, and all of the Axe's brainwashed workers had fled. He scooped the Axe's unconscious body onto the horse's back. A pathetic mewling caught his attention. The lynx had climbed on top of a cabinet and was looking at the water in horror. He opened his bag wide enough for the wildcat to crawl into, and then slung it carefully back over his shoulders. He kicked Zest's sides, and the horse sped out of the flooding factory.
They were halfway up the passage when a loud boom echoed behind him. He turned the horse to get a look. The factory machines had exploded, leaving a large smoky mess in the Axe's hideout. He spun back towards the exit, and popped out from behind the waterfall before the smoke managed to catch up with them.
The area around the stream was a mess. The dozens of people the Axe had brainwashed milled around by the water, unsure of where to go. Smoke from the explosions billowed up from somewhere off in the distance. The pink-haired woman who had tied him up tentatively approached the horse.
"Agent M? W…where are we? What's going on?" she asked.
The Old Spice Man put his hand on the back of the Axe's black jacket. "We're in Irish Springs National Park. This man was using you all against your will, but don't worry – O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E. will ensure that everyone gets back to their homes."
The woman gave him a smile of relief.
The Old Spice Man pulled out his somewhat damp phone out of his pocket and dialled the Chief. She picked up after only two rings. "Agent M? Is that you?"
"It is indeed," he said. "I wanted to inform you that I have apprehended Agent A, and put a stop to his plan. I have a large number of civilians here in need of aid."
"We'll send a transport team over right away," the Chief said. A vindictive edge crept into her voice. "And as for Agent A, we'll put him in protective custody back here at headquarters until we figure out what to do with him. Maybe I'll let the R&D department deal with him. I hear they need testers for their prototype haemorrhoid lasers."
She got serious once more. "Thank you, Agent M. You've helped us out once again. I don't know what O.L.D.S.P.I.C.E. would ever do without you."
Even though she couldn't see it over the phone, the Old Spice Man smiled in satisfaction of another job well done.