Opinions Department Front for Spy Agency: The Conspiracy

The mission to reveal and stop the Opinions department and their covert operations.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

My jacket flowed in the cool fall breeze—well, as cool as anything could get in this world predicted to die of global warming in 2040. I looked around me to see if anyone was following. I was alone. Good. This wasn’t the kind of thing you wanted company for. As my steps echoed on the tiles of the school, I opened up the note written in bad handwriting on looseleaf, one of many I’ve gotten in the last few months.

3:21 a.m., Senior Bar, don’t trust anyone, T.C.

“So, Ms. Javier. You had the guts to come.” A dark figure with a mask called from the shadows.

My mind began to rush. Could this be T.C.? What if they weren’t? What if they were taken and the people who took them had now come for me? I brought a drafting compass and a granola bar so I could fight back or bribe them with nutrition, just in case they weren't the person I was expecting. “Why now? Why did you want to meet?”

“It is time to take action. On SpecOps.”


I joined The Spectator as a naive freshman. Blissful. Unaware. It didn’t take me long to realize something was amiss, however. The News department never reported on real news—the only people they ever interviewed were Principal Contreras, Vishwaa Sofat, and William Wang. The Copy department wouldn’t allow important information I wrote to get through under the grounds of “Chrisabella, this isn’t even a real word. What the heck? Also, so stop interfering with our editing process.” They would also always say it while looking behind their shoulders and sweating nervously. I was the only one proposing new ideas in the Humor department, and whenever I said something implying any criticism of the SU, they yote a chair at me. It was as if everyone else was afraid of something. Something big.

As I began to investigate what was going on, strange things began to happen. A guy from my genetics class, Jonathan Schneiderman, invited me to a study session in the room where the Chemistry department keeps the polonium. After swim practice, I found a dead rat inside my locker with a note telling me to stop with the inquiries. A man in a trench coat aimed an umbrella at me on the bridge as if it were a gun. It wasn’t until a note reading “Chrisabella, we are threatening you. Shut up, signed Opinions” got thrown at my head during AP World that it hit me: SpecOps was never Spectator Opinions, a mere writing department. It is the front organization for the SU’s spies and hitmen. It’s Special Operations.

I had no idea why on earth they would be targeting me. I was a sophomore who wrote for Humor! I was irrelevancy squared. But when I got the message from T.C., I wondered if I had more leverage than I thought.


T..C. first began writing through coded messages in my locker. When it became apparent that I was too dumb and sleep-deprived to understand them, they stopped being coded and became regular messages. I wondered who they were from. But as our communications continued, as if there was some sort of direness to it, we began to share information. Like how I learned that the SU ordered the Opinions department to blackmail Rodda John into making Talos useless. Or why Contreras stayed: the Opinions department performed advanced interrogation techniques in order to prevent him from leaving the school and sharing the SU’s secrets with the Department of Education. In return, they told me new things. Like—as I suspected—SpecOps forced the editors of The Spectator at gunpoint to write the same things: that the SU is amazing and is not, was not, and never will be corrupt, that elections matter, and that the 11th floor pool is a good joke. But when I got today’s note, I wondered, “Why now? What made our cause so urgent?”

So, when I saw T.C. for the first time, they gave me a laptop. “This, my friend, is Vishwaa Sofat’s personal laptop. All you have to do is attach the document with the SpecOps truth and e-mail it to everyone in Stuy. The world will see what they have done. Hurry. We don’t have much—”

“FREEZE! Stop right there in the name of the SU!” I looked back, slowly grabbing my compass. The agent was decked out in the pretentious debate kid uniform, khakis and all, with Opinions embroidered in gold lettering on his trenchcoat. Even in the dim light, as he lifted up a handgun, I could identify him: Jonathan Schneiderman. The same man who had targeted me before. “Back away from the laptop. Don’t make any sudden moves.” I slowly backed away. He knew what he was saying. I’d seen the files of all the writers—he was one of the elites. Both a SpecOps member and within the ranks of the SU. Shot his cat in order to prove his loyalty.

“Over my dead body.” T.C. then made a vague political reference I didn’t understand, jumped forward to attack, and was immediately shot down. In the heat of the moment, I was able to take down Jonathan as he slipped on his trench coat (SU didn’t provide much physical training for their SpecOps agents—it turned out most of their training was dedicated to BS-ing and dressing like a paralegal on a Tinder date) and stab him before rushing to T.C.’s side.

“Hey, it’s okay, we’ll get you help—”

“No,” T.C. said. “My time has come. All I ask is for you to remove my mask.”

I removed the mask and saw the face of the previous SU dictator Tahseen Chowdhury! “Why did you do this? What did you have to gain?”

He smiled, and with his last breath, he said, “The knowledge that no other SU will ever outshine me.”

I got up. “Well, Jonathan, you still failed. Sorry. The whole school will still know about the blood spilled by the SU and SpecOps.”

And as I clicked “Send To All” on the laptop, gingerly stepped over the bodies of former corrupt school politicians, and headed home to finish my Humor article, I knew that T.C. would probably not die in vain.