Story Concepts: Carmen Sandiego [Hard Drive Archive]


Author’s note: I wrote this nearly ten years ago (prior to my first website). it was a fun, little thing that I whipped up one night on facebook when the “Notes” application was still a thing that people used. Hope you enjoy it!

Carmen Sandiego the red trench coat and matching fedora wearing grave robber is one of the most iconic character’s in education PC games ranging from Geography to History. It didn’t matter how hard you tried, no matter how many nations capitols you could name in under three minutes the woman was neigh impossible to capture. Even if you did manage to crack her riddles and make it past her henchmen all you’d get in return was a laugh and a wise latina quote just to show she was only toying with you this whole time before escaping on a jet pack or helicopter. She could solve the Da Vinci Code in less than thirty minutes and still have enough time to translate the Akkadian languages of Mesopotamia. Laura Croft and Gina Diggers have nothing on this woman. However, before she was a double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery and running scams in Scandinavia she was actually a hunter of grave robbers herself.

Though Ms. Sandiego’s origins are unknown she was for a time an aspiring archeologist with a fascination with ancient Egypt, but was recruited into Interpol because of her unique ability to infiltrate and bring down several art smuggling rings throughout Europe and the United States and after subduing her enemies she would disappear without a trace to the next job, dubbed by many in the underworld as the “Trans-Atlantic Ghost”. Crime Families and aspiring cat burglars tried to best her, but most ended up dead or driven into madness over several hours of geography questions. She even scouted out and hand picked Harriet The Spy, the dirty blond from the New York’s Upper East Side to train her in the arts of detective work and riddle solving. Later on Harriet with the help of Carmen would be recruited by the newly formed A.C.M.E Detective Agency and serve several years with Carmen.

However, as most of these stories go there was only one person who could best her in the art of hiding and infiltration. Going by the code name “Waldo” a scrawny middle aged man with an affinity for white and red stripped turtle necks, blue jeans and wearing thick glasses was a man of exceptional skill. Where Carmen’s ability to hide in the shadows was her strongest asset, Waldo could hide in plain sight. Blending with the environment around him he could track down and with the occasional help from Carmen capture the thief and bring them to justice. Many in A.C.M.E would say Waldo was Carmen’s better half and after a few years their relationship together became more than just professional.

That was until one day Waldo went missing, gone without a trace. “Where’s Waldo?” they exclaimed. Searches throughout Washington D.C and Hollywood movie sets found no trace of him. At the same time a lot of priceless artifacts were turning up missing as well. Famous works of art stolen from the London and New York Museums only to be replaced with a white and red scarf. This was a job for Carmen. After several weeks and seven continents later Carmen finally found Waldo in Siberia Russia and learned what she hoped from the beginning wasn’t true: Waldo was the one who stole all those priceless artifacts.

Carmen learned the truth that day, she learned that A.C.M.E Detective Agency, had been over the years through money laundering and other criminal elements using the artifacts to bolster the anti-crime agency and in collusion with wealthy art dealers and well funded crime syndicates drive up the prices of artifacts well above reasonable levels so that public museums would be unable to afford to keep them on display. By doing this A.C.M.E’s top brass and art dealers would in effect keep the artwork out of the public’s hands, barring them access to the wealth, culture and learning that back in Waldo and Carmen’s day was taken for granite. Only the exceptionally wealthy would have the privilege to display Van Gogh’s paints in their mansions while the people were deprived of a piece of history that should be available to all, and of course A.C.M.E would get a cut from those profits made by the dealers.

It wasn’t until Harriet and the gang showed up that Carmen learned that A.C.M.E had no intentions of arresting Waldo and giving him a fair hearing: He was to be killed on sight and the stolen property be brought back, Carmen had been sent on an assassination mission. There would be loot but no warrant. Waldo didn’t apologize for what he did. Both he and Carmen knew she had a job to do, they were both professionals. Against the protests of Harriet Carmen left Waldo to die in the tundra after one last fair well kiss. Carmen emptied the bullets in her gun, Harriet doctored the logs. Waldo was pronounced dead at the scene no body was found though, presumed buried under the snow only a white and red scarf remained.

Waldo’s death and “betrayal” shook the agency, but not as much as Carmen’s guilty conscience. Shortly after the mission Carmen disappeared as well. Carmen had thought a lot about what Waldo had told her and was beginning to see things differently now, but she wasn’t going to go into hiding like he did, she’d do things out in the open if she had to if only to get back at A.C.M.E and if your gonna steal, steal big. She went from Nashville to Norway, Bonaire to Zimbabwe stealing several artifacts and treasures from the shell companies that operated under A.C.M.E’s art dealer network, but soon she got more daring.

In a stunning display of skill and masterful thievery she managed to steal both the Statue of Liberty and the Space Shuttle in a single day claiming it for the people. Interestingly enough these acts were done a week before both monuments would be seized by a private firm working with the art dealer cartels and were to be transferred to private estates. Things were bad when A.C.M.E found out Carmen was behind the jobs in Norway and Bonaire, but now Carmen had raised the stakes. However, despite the media’s depiction of her as some terrorist stealing artifacts and national treasures, she had no interest in selling the items back through shady art houses. She was going to do anything she could to coax out the bastards who betrayed her, using A.C.M.E for their own selfish gain and sending her out on a mission to kill the one person she ever cared about. Hell hath no fury like a female scorned.

Harriet now 26 has been elevated to senior detective status at A.C.M.E and has been put on the “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego Unit” and the higher ups are breathing down her neck more than usual. It was a job Harriet never wanted, she knows the truth as well, but still has faith in the agencies original mission statement. Hopefully she thought, by staying here I can bring the agency back to its former roots. Meanwhile Carmen, pushing forty is still on the run and still at large and if you’re gonna catch her, you better make sure you bring an Atlas

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