Braver Than You Believe


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Known Aliases
Alice, Luce
(This is a three-part series and an old journal entry)

Lucy excitedly unzipped her sleeping bag and stood up, walking over to the Eastern facing window. The sky was still dark but the street was already alive. A blue car across from them backed out of their driveway and disappeared down the street. The nearby trees waved about in the rustling morning wind while little kids walked. They were wearing little backpacks and holding other older kids' hands.

Sanchez and her mother, Arista, had arrived late last night. Her mom was already upset the moving truck wasn't arriving on time. Which meant they had to drag their sleeping bags from the car. Lucy remembered Arista swearing about it in Spanish to a family member. Mom didn't swear often but when she did, it was like a sailor. It made her laugh hearing her mom like that.

Donning some blue jeans and a blue blazer, the teenager rummaged through her backpack. The bag went everywhere with her. When Lucy found her hairbrush she ran it through her black hair. "I wonder what kind of amazing adventures I'll have in this city." Sanchez thought happily.

The biggest reason the girl was excited was that she just turned 14, and that meant she could finally join the detective agency her parents had once been a part of. Following Carmen Sandiego's activities through the newspaper had been fun as a kid, but Sanchez was ready to be part of the action. ACME had taught mom and dad to be brave and she wanted to be brave too.

She turned away from the window, grabbed the backpack and left her room. Walking down the short hallway, she made it to the stairs and started down. The noises and wonderful smells from the kitchen told her mom was cooking breakfast.

"Buenos Dias. ¿ Cómo estás" mom greeted''? [Good Morning. How are you?]

"Bien. Y Tu.?” [Good. And you?"].

Her mother smiled. "Bien Gracias. [Good, thanks.]

Her mother would give her a pop quiz on her language skills every now and then. Arista had taught her some words in various languages for fun. There was an uncomfortable silence while they dug into their food.

"Did you know there are over 6,000 coral species in the world?" Lucy asked, starting on the eggs.

"Cool. "How did you find out about that?"

"I came across it in a National Geographic magazine." "Did you know that coral reefs have growth rings?"

"I heard that somewhere before, but isn't it interesting?"

"I agree. You know what else is fascinating? ACME. I'm applying there." She said it out loud.

Lucy bit her tongue when she noticed mom’s worried expression. The girl regretted saying it in that tone.

"I'd like to talk to you about it." "All I ask is that you be aware of what you're getting yourself into." There was another moment of silence. "I lost your father, and I couldn't bear losing you as well," she explained.

"I'm also not sure you realize how stressful the academy is, particularly given your anxiety issues..." Arista stuttered, unable to find the appropriate words.

Lucy paused, thinking about what her mother had said. "Mom, I'm sure things have changed a lot since you were an agent. You've always said I could do anything I set my mind to, and now is the time to put that into action. You've also said that I shouldn't let my anxiety get the best of me. After all, Weller could still be around; you know he'd never let anything bad happen to me."
The hands became red and sweaty; and started ringing.
Mom had spoken highly of him and had attended some of his lectures.

Arista smiled as she reflected on her daughter's words. "You have your father's enthusiasm, but you aren’t required to follow in our footsteps."

"I'd like to, but I’ll give it more thought." Lucy responded.

End of part one
Last edited:


Best answers
Known Aliases
Alice, Luce
Part 2

(Cowritten: Julie/Lucy)

It was a warm afternoon as Lucy climbed onto a cable car and used her clipper card for her fare. She then took a seat, waiting for others to get on or off. She sat her bag beside her on the wooden bench. DING-DING! The cable car was off. The girl looked around realizing it wasn’t as full as usual.

She’d gotten used to the routine of the cars. From the sound of them to the motions of the driver; the driver had many tasks at once such as watching traffic and interacting with people. Lucy liked the distinct clacking sound they made as it went down the street.

At the next stop, a woman gets on the bus; about 5 feet tall, long hair that was almost black with glasses. Her hair in a ponytail on the left side of her head gathered very precisely at the nape of her neck. She reaches into her purse, taking out her Paper Passport to pay her fare.

Lucy suddenly sees a man acting suspiciously, she gets up taking a few quick steps towards the woman with the purse.

The woman feels someone tugging hard on the strap of her purse. Turning her head, she sees a young man pulling on the strap of her purse; the gold-color hardware that fastened the white leather strap to the purse fell to the floor; but because the woman was wearing the purse diagonally across her left shoulder, close to her body, it didn’t fall to the floor. With her right hand, she reached into her purse, taking out her gun.

“I’m an ACME agent, and you’re under arrest,” she said. The agent ignored her purse as it fell on the floor of the cable car.

“ACME? !! You guys are a joke!!,” the young man said.

“ACME is no joke, and going to jail is no joke either,” the agent said, grabbing the young man.

“Hands behind your back,” the agent said, as she took the handcuffs off the left side of her light tan concealment gun belt, and handcuffed the suspect. Then, the agent began to pat the subject down, searching him for any hidden items; and was relieved when she didn’t find any.

When she glanced up, out of the corner of her eye, the agent saw that a young girl was standing there, frozen but watching everything.

“Who are you? !! Why are you just standing there? !! Are you with ACME, too? !!” the suspect demanded of the young girl. Without taking her eyes off the suspect the agent stepped protectively in front of the young girl, saying, “Don’t you worry about who she is, or where she’s from.” Taking her cue from the agent’s actions, the young girl sits down but continues to watch everything.

The agent continues, saying, “You have your own problems to worry about right now. You have the right to remain silent; and what you say may be used against you, in a court of law. So, I suggest you stop talking.”

“You have the right to an attorney; and if you can’t afford one, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand your rights?” the agents asked.

“I thought you told me to stop talking? !!,” the young man said sarcastically.

“Well, now I’m asking you a question. Do you understand your rights, as I have explained them to you?” the agent asked.

“Yeah...I understand,” the suspect said in a sullen tone.

“Good,” the agent said. Still keeping her eye on the suspect, the agent glanced down at her left wrist, at what looked like an ordinary wristwatch, with digital numbers. It had a small green light on it that turned red, and began blinking when she spoke into the air; speaking loudly, so that she can be heard over the loud clacking sounds of the cable car, she says, “ACME agent requesting assistance from any available units, near the cable car on the Powell-Hyde line, on Lombard Street, heading toward Ghirardelli Square. I think I have your purse snatcher.”

A few minutes later, at the next stop, two male police officers stepped in, to take custody of the subject. “Hello, officers. I’m ACME agent Julie Justice. This young man tried to steal my purse. He has been searched. He has no weapons--aside from his smart mouth. He has been advised of his rights, but you might want to remind him if you question him further.” The agent glanced over at her purse on the floor. “My ID is in my purse. If you take him into your custody, I’ll show you.”

Agent Justice lowers her gun, putting it in back in the holster on the right side of her light tan concealment gun belt; as the two police officers stepped in to take custody of the subject. As they did so Agent Justice squatted down, picking up her booklet; and her prescription pill bottle with the childproof lid she had just picked up at her local Walgreens pharmacy; putting the items in the deep right front pocket of her dusty rose knee-length skirt.

She carefully picks up her purse, so as not to spill the rest of its contents on the floor. Taking her wallet out of her purse, she shows her ACME ID to the officers, as she had promised. The officers glanced at the ID, but they had never really doubted her word.

One of the officers said, “Actually, Agent Justice, we’re Detectives; but we don’t want to take credit for your arrest.”
“You may take the credit if you like, Detectives; ACME is always happy to help other law enforcement agencies. I’m on the cable car because today is my day off, and I want to go back and write a report of this incident for my own records--and it’s a long walk back,” Julie said.

“Well, we can send a car to pick you up in a few minutes, if that’ll help?” one of the detectives asked. Julie nodded in agreement, and the detective said, “Requesting a car for courtesy pick up of a plainclothes ACME at the location of Ghiradelli Plaza.” To Julie, he says, “Alright, Agent Justice, just be sure to show them your ID when they get here.”

“I will. Thank you, detective,” Julie said.

With a small nod of his head, the detective said,” Same to you, agent” and the detectives led the suspect off the cable car.

Agent Justice takes the remaining items out of her purse, two 2x4 lined notebooks with cork covers, with attached, matching pens; and two Burt’s Bee’s Lightly Tinted Lip Balms; one Pink Grapefruit, and one Rose Red; putting them in the deep left front pocket of her skirt. Wrapping the broken strap around the purse she puts it under her arm.

Lucy picked up her bag but clumsily dropped it; her hands shaking. She knelt picking things up. Still a little unnerved by the purse snatcher demanding that she identify herself, the woman tries to quiet her thoughts.

“You’re okay. Everything turned out okay.”

Looking over, Agent Justice sees the young girl trying to pick up some items that fell out of her backpack. Agent Justice begins slowly walking over to the young girl, squatting down, saying, “Ummm, would you like a little help with that? Are you okay? My name is Julie, by the way.”

"Yes please." she said in a low tone. Lucy twirled a strand of her long black hair around her index finger and looked at the floor. .

“Sure,” Julie says. As she started helping the young girl pick up some of the things that had fallen out of her backpack, she saw something familiar: an ACME ID badge.

“Wow. I’ve never seen a badge that old before. Where did you get it?”

Lucy picked it up and held it looking a little worried.

“It’s okay you won’t be in trouble if you tell me the truth, '' says Julie.

She rubs the badge with her thumb and answers. “My mom was an ACME agent.”

“That’s really cool,” Julie said.

“Are you getting off here?”

Lucy nods.

“Well, since we’re going to the same place, would it be okay for me to put my purse in your backpack?” Julie asked.

“Okay.” Lucy said as she unzips her backpack and tucks Julie’s purse in it. Then threw it back over her shoulder. The teenager then said in a softer tone “I’m Lucy.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Lucy,” Julie replies.

End of part two


Best answers
Known Aliases
Alice, Luce
“Ghirardelli Square is a nice place to visit, and I think we could both use a little treat right now, don’t you?”

Lucy nods in agreement.

“Okay, good,” Julie says softly, “Come on, let’s go.”
Julie and Lucy get off the cable car at Ghirardelli Square at Union Square; which is at the Plaza at the end of the Fisherman’s Wharf, on the eastern end of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, connecting the Embarcadero waterfront to the natural parkland on the Marina Green, Crissy Field, and the Presidio.

The marquee sign with large iron letters spelling out the name “Ghirardelli” was turned to face the waterfront when residents of the Pacific Heights community said the lights were too bright.

Ghirardelli Plaza was one of the first to have have an underground garage, with shops at street level to encourage social interactions; as well as street-lights and outdoor furniture; and an outdoor wheelchair ramp, that was installed for William Wruster, who was one of the original architects of Ghirardelli Square.

A short walking distance from the marquee sign is the equally famous water-feature, a fountain with 4 large stone turtles and frogs on lilypads; in the middle, sitting on rocks, back-to back, are 2 female mermaids, bronze over woven wire; one, holding a baby mermaid, near her breast, as though to nurse it; though to nurse it; the other mermaid, holding an old-fashioned map.

On the fountain is a plaque that says in part,” Although it was considered controversial when it was dedicated in 1968, according to the artist, Ruth Aswa, it was her intention to ‘bring back the fantasy of childhood for the old; and to the young something to remember when they grow old.’

The two women went to the counter to choose their treat; they each paid for their own bag of 40 piece bag of an assortment of Ghirardelli chocolate squares, 3 each of Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Fudge Caramel, Dark Chocolate Mint, Dark Chocolate Raspberry, White Chocolate Caramel, Intense Dark Chocolate, 72% Cacao, Intense Dark Chocolate, 86% Cacao, Intense Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Crunch, Intense Dark Chocolate Raspberry Radiance, Intense Dark Sea Salt Crunch Roasted, Milk Chocolate with Almond, and Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt.

The chocolate shop was a popular spot, with both locals and tourists alike; and thinking that her young companion may be more comfortable sitting somewhere a little less crowded, Julie says,”Hey, Lucy, it’s such a nice day, let’s go sit on the patio.”

Julie starts heading to the patio, walking over to one of two 30 wide, 30 deep, 30 inch high, black wrought-iron chairs, with a small, round back, with a delicate peacock fan plume design, with straight legs, and a little scroll-work on the legs. Next to the chairs is a matching table with straight legs and a round, white tile top. She puts her chocolates on the table and reaches into one of the pockets of her skirt, and takes out one of the 2x4 lined notepads with cork covers and a matching pen.

Lucy eats a little chocolate as she watches her new friend.

“Today was my day off, if you can believe it,”with a little chucke, she says, “Even though it was only an attempted crime, and I handed the suspect over to those detectives, I should go back to ACME, and write a report for my records.” Julie starts making notes in the notepad, in the very neat handwriting she is known for.

After a minute or so, she stops writing, reaching into her bag of chocolates and takes out a square of Intense Dark Chocolate Raspberry Radiance, unwrapping it,and taking a bite.

After eating it, and drinking a little milk, Julie says,” I don’t know what your plans are for the rest of the day, but maybe you’d like to come back with me, make a statement, and look around a little? ACME is historic in this city, too.”

While Julie talked, Lucy spots a young family with kids chasing each other around the Mermaid fountain. Their parents try to wrangle them but are unsuccessful. The scene helps her to forget the anxiety and smile.

Julie noticed her young companion observing the happy activity going on in front of them. Glancing over at the young woman, Julie noticed that she seemed very observant; which was always a good skill for a detective. Julie smiled a little.

“Sure.” Lucy replied, grabbing some drawing paper from inside her backpack and starting on something.

Julie finishes the square of chocolate, and drinks a little more milk. Picking up her napkin, and dabbing her mouth a little, and wiping her fingertips a little.

Standing up, and she puts her notepad and pen back in her pocket. She ties her bag of chocolates closed before picking it up; and taking a step back from the table.

The young woman seemed very intent on what she was doing and Juile didn’t want to interrupt her. Finally, Julie says to Lucy, “Our ride will be here soon. Are you ready to go?” Lucy nods and closes her sketchbook, putting it away.

Julie pushes the “locator” button on her watch, putting it on “silent mode.”

“Good,” Julie says, and the two women begin walking off the patio.
A few minutes later, Julie sees an ACME squad car; a Ford Caprice vehicle, with a tan color on the front and back and white doors with the left-facing-magnifying-glass and the word ACME in matching letters and underneath the word ACME the motto; which reads: “Vigilance * Dedication * Courage.

The car slows down; and two officers get out, and begin walking toward them on the patio.

“Is one of you Agent Justice? Did you call for a ride?”

“Hello, officers. Yes, that would be me. My ID is in my pocket. If you give me a minute, I’ll show you,” Julie says, showing both of them her ID; and then putting it back in her pocket.

“Okay, thanks for that, agent. Is she coming with you?”

“Yes, my purse was almost stolen; and this young lady was a witness to it,” Julie said.

“Ahhh, okay,” the officer said.

Julie, Lucy, and the two officers walk over to the car. The officers open up the two back doors on either side of the car.

“Just remember to watch your head,” they said, with a chuckle.”

“Yeah, I know… I usually don’t sit in this part of the police car, “Julie says with a little chuckle, getting into the backseat of the car, in the cage-like partition, where the suspects sit.

Lucy hesitates but climbs into the backseat. “Glad I’m on the right side of the law.” Lucy thinks, closing the door behind her.

Arriving at ACME a short time later, the two women get out of the police car.

“Well, here we are,” said Julie, looking up at the facade of the 1920’s red brick building with a big sign that says ACME DETECTIVE AGENCY. Lucy has stopped for a moment; and Julie can’t tell if she is feeling nervous again; or if she is just taking a moment to look at her surroundings. “It’s okay, you can follow me,” she says.

Julie reaches into her pocket again, and takes out her ACME ID, putting it in a slot in the door. ACME agents and other employees can use their IDs like a keycard,” she said.

“The push-pull door next to it, can be used in emergencies, if the power is out, or by ordinary citizens, who need help. There’s a camera over the door.” Julie walks through the door, and Lucy follows behind.

After the two women walk through the door, to the left, there are 2 security guards, one on either side of the doors.

Julie says to Lucy. “I have a feeling that you might want to explore a little, on your own. Let’s get you one of these,”Julie goes over to the Information Desk and says,”I’d like a One Day Visitor’s Bracelet, for my young friend, please.”

The woman behind the desk hands Julie a purple ID bracelet, with the numbers 2262*4411*VISITOR . Julie says, “This bracelet does have a tracker in it; but it has a limited range of this building and our campus. You can go in any Common Area; but the tracker keeps you from opening the doors in a Restricted Area. Because you are wearing a Visitor’s Bracelet, anyone here, in this building, or on campus is required to help you, even a Student, or Cadet. If you really have a problem, you will find Intercoms like this one, usually by the doorways of a Common Area. The Yellow Button is for General Info and Assistance. The Blue Button is for Emergency Medical Assistance. If you use one of these buttons, just stay where you are; and if you need it, someone will come and help you.”

The teen takes the bracelet from her friend and attaches the two ends together around her wrist, nodding at everything Julie told her.

Julie looks at her watch, and says,”I don’t know about you, but this little adventure has made me hungry and it’s almost 1:00. Let’s go have a proper lunch,” and Julie leads the way to the Cafeteria.

The Cafeteria has a pleasant ambience; but is not very crowded right now.

“Along with all the classic cafeteria foods, because we are an international law enforcement agency, we have cooks that can make anything, from anywhere. And if you have a special diet, just say so’ they can accommodate you. Students, cadets and other employees never pay for their meals; and we try to keep the prices as affordable as possible for our visitors and guests.”

"That's cool." Lucy responds, Thinking of all the possibilities but ultimately settles on a simple burger and fries.

Julie ordered a small 4 piece tomato, mozzarella, and basil pizza, and picks up a medium size take out food bag, knowing she’ll need it later.

Julie says,”There are plenty of tables open. Where would you like to sit?” Lucy looks around and walks over to the nearest table; and Julie follows her. They put their food on the table.

Lucy puts her backpack against one of the legs of her chair. The teen then sits down, puts a napkin in her lap and digs into the food.

Julie opens the lid on her small pizza box and takes the mini pizza cutter, and begins to cut a slice. The pizza is still hot, so she uses her fork to take the first bite. She always enjoys this very simple, classic pizza.

Julie wipes her mouth with her napkin a little, and asks,”So Lucy, can you tell me what you saw, today?” Julie takes another bite of her pizza.

Lucy blushes trying to think what to say, then gets her sketchbook out again; flipping through a few pages looking for something. After a few minutes of this she seems to get to what she’s looking for and sets it in the middle of the table so Julie can see.

“I drew a picture of the suspect.” Lucy answers.

Julle very thoroughly wipes off her hands, and stands up, taking a few steps over to where Lucy is sitting, but does not stand too close to Lucy.

“Ahhh, so that’s what you were doing all that time,” Julie nodded approvingly.
“You know we can always use another good sketch artist at ACME that can draw, as well as do things on the computer.”

The young woman smiles at this and returns to her burger and fries.

Julie walks back to seat, and reaches into her pocket for her notebook and pen.
“So what else can you remember about the suspect? About his behavior?”

“Well, umm. He looked to be around 5’ 5” and before you got on he couldn’t sit still.”

Julie writes in her notebook, before finishing the last bite of her slice of pizza. Wiping her hands off thoroughly again she says, “That’s very helpful, thank you. May I have the picture to put with my notes?”

“Of course.” Lucy carefully rips it from her sketchbook and hands it over; finishing the last of her food.

Julie takes the picture and very carefully tucks it in her notebook;standing up from the table she puts the notebook and pen in pocket. She closes the small pizza box. After the two women finish their lunch, Julie says to Lucy,”I need the things you’ve been holding for me, before I forget, please.”

Lucy hands Julie’s things over with a little smile, and says,”Here you go, Agent Justice.”

Julie opens the white paper take-out food bag, and puts her small box of pizza and bag of chocolates, and puts them in the bag. She says.”If you can remember anything you want to add to your statement, before you leave, you know how to use the intercoms; please page me.”

Julie reaches into her purse, and takes out an ACME business card with her contact number on it. “If you remember something you want to add to your statement after you get home, call me. We are open 24/7 and we all work long hours; you won’t be bothering anyone. In the rare event I’m not here, leave me a message, and I’ll get back to you.” Julie puts her purse in the bag.

“Yes, Ma’am” Lucy answers, taking the business card and putting it in her wallet. Then Lucy adds “It was nice meeting you, Ms. Justice.”

“It was nice to meet you, too Lucy; I’m not happy that my purse was almost stolen; but I did enjoy our little adventure. I hope we meet again, sometime,” Julie says, heading back to her office.

Leaving the cafeteria, Lucy learns as much as she can on the history of ACME. There is some of it she already knows, because her mother told her. Sanchez finds the statues and content interesting. When finished she heads to the front desk.

“Hi. May I have an application?”

The End


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That's a good origin story about yourself and how you met Julie Justice, Lucy, thank you for sharing.

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