THE FIVE VILE INSTRUCTORS were gathered in the faculty lounge, discussing their latest defeat at the hands of Carmen Sandiego.
Coach Brunt, an enormously strong Texan who taught self-defense, shook her head sadly. “Black Sheep could have been VILE’s best operative, then she had to go and betray her family. Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong.”
“Let’s not dwell in the past,” snapped Professor Maelstrom, a gaunt man with a wicked face. “Black Sheep no longer exists. Now she is Carmen Sandiego, our sworn enemy, and she must be stopped by any means necessary.”
“It will not be easy,” grumbled Shadowsan, a grim Japanese man trained as a ninja. “Carmen Sandiego is fast, she is strong, and, most of all, she is smart.”
“She also had the worst table manners of any student I can remember,” said Countess Cleo, with her nose in the air. “To be honest, I never thought she’d amount to anything.”
The fifth VILE instructor, Dr. Saira Bellum, wasn’t paying attention to the conversation. She had five computer monitors open in front of her, tapping away at one with her left hand and another with her right hand, while looking at a third.
“Dr. Bellum,” said Maelstrom wearily, “do you have anything to contribute?”
Bellum’s specialty was science and gadgetry. “Oh, indeed I do,” she said with a mad chuckle. “Perhaps our operatives will not be so worried about Carmen Sandiego— once they are able to fly.”
The four other instructors stared at Bellum blankly, waiting for her to explain.
“Jetpacks!” she exclaimed, waving her hands in the air. “Ten months ago, I hired a top technology company to build them according to my plans. The first jetpacks will be delivered tomorrow. Just imagine, VILE operatives will be able to strike from the sky at any time!”
“Well,” said Countess Cleo with a sly smile, “I have always enjoyed looking down on people.”
“Excellent,” Maelstrom agreed. “It seems that we have some good news today after all.”
Will VILE succeed in their plot to become flying criminals? In this story, it’s up to you. Your choices will lead to one of twenty endings.
YOU ARE AN ENGINEER at Zeta Circuits, a technology company in Singapore.
You have lived your whole life in Singapore, a city at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in Asia. Long ago, the area belonged to fishermen and pirates, and later became part of a British colony. Today Singapore is its own country—your grandparents remember when it declared independence in 1965.
As one of the busiest ports in the world and a hub of high-tech manufacturing, Singapore is bursting with opportunities for a smart engineer like you. In fact, you recently got the chance of a lifetime: a job on a top-secret project for Zeta Circuits.
You have been working on personal jetpacks, small enough to wear on your back, powerful enough to let a human fly like a bird. Although you are part of a large team, you have made important contributions, especially to the design of the rockets. After ten months of hard work, the jetpacks are finished.
Tonight you are working late, reviewing the results from the final flight tests—but after sixteen hours of staring at numbers on your computer screen, you have dozed off at your desk. You wake up disoriented, looking around your dimly lit office. All your coworkers are gone. Glancing at the clock on your computer, you see that it is 2:30 in the morning.
On the other side of the room, the door to the vault that holds the jetpacks is cracked open. That’s strange. The vault has a thick metal door, which can only be unlocked by a fingerprint sensor. It’s always supposed to be closed, to guard against high-tech spies and thieves. This doesn’t make any sense, unless . . .
Unless there’s a thief in the vault right now.
WHAT DO YOU DO?