Remember to respect the locations you visit at all times.
GRANGE JETTY, SECOND BENCH
Wait on the jetty. Near the second bench.
Those were the only instructions The Firm sent to you.
The rest is shrouded in mystery: who they are and what they do. All that you know for sure is they are looking for a person of your specific talents. You have been handpicked to be here to meet with your Handler, your liaison with the mysterious organisation.
And you’re determined to solve at least one mystery today.
On both sides of the beach you see seaweed strewn across the sand like unkempt tangles of mermaid hair. A variety of people are walking up and down the jetty; many of them staring at the screens of their phones. There is a laid-back atmosphere here, the chilled-out vibe of a coastal community. Sea birds drift lazily about the thermals, tracing invisible spirals in the air.
There is a tap on your shoulder. A tall man stands behind you, wearing a trench coat. He is the sort of fellow who seems to wear the trench coat convincingly, as though he would wear it no matter the weather or the time of day.
“Walk with me,” your Handler says in a voice that’s deep and sonorous. He takes a few steps towards the coast.
You follow at your Handler’s heels. “Why am I here?”
But your Handler seems more preoccupied with the wooden planks beneath your feet. His demeanour suddenly grows warm as he tells you, “Jarrah wood. Each one still shows the character of the tree it was stripped from. See the markings in the grain?”
Your Handler clearly feels some kinship with these nostalgic wooden planks. Many of the indentations have filled up with sand, smoothing the surface of the jetty like putty.
“I don’t even know your name,” you say. “And you’re telling me about wood.”
“I don’t know your name, either,” he says, then continues blank-faced, “To me, you are simply Recruit-458 and I’ve been sent to protect you.”
“To protect me from what?”
Your Handler points out across the deep blue ocean and the rolling waves. “Do you see that?”
Squinting, you make out the hulking shadow of a ship on the horizon. A green light flickers, somewhere above the deck.
“The Firm is watching,” he says. “Everything that you say and do from this moment forward is being tracked and recorded.”
“Protect me from what?” you insist.
“From making bad decisions,” your Handler replies and there’s that hint of a smile again, creeping across his face, a flickering emotion like an old TV channel. Your Handler spreads his arms wide to encompass the scope of the beach stretching away in both directions. “But now you must decide. If you’re a warrior, battle-hardened and eager to engage in the most… explosive of The Firm’s missions, then you must check-in at The Marines. It’s Australia’s only three-storey Victorian beachside dwelling. In fact, you can see it from here.”
“Didn’t you say there was a decision?”
Your Handler is smiling broadly now and despite the fact that he’s standing right there in front of you there’s a certain fuzziness about him. Trying to read his face is like trying to tell how a person was feeling on the day an old photograph was taken.
“Perhaps you’re inclined to ask more questions?” he says. “To watch from afar? If that’s the case, then seek out a memorial bench, not far from here. I think you will find it the perfect place to sit and contemplate the strange situation you find yourself in.”
“These choices seem kind of cryptic… what’s the catch?” you ask.
“Only that you must decide,” your Handler tells you, slyly.
So which will it be?
Do you go to:
The Marines — where they require a warrior? With your back to the jetty, turn left and follow the coastal path to the ornate set of buildings nearby.
Memorial Benches — where they require a thinker? With your back to the jetty, turn right and follow the coastal path until you come across two memorial benches, side-by-side.