C.K. sat reading the requirements he'd received from his Johnson. He hated taking an assignment on Christmas eve, but it had several things going for it. First, he and his team were in the right place to take the job; second, the pay promised to be better than anything they'd seen in over a year; third and finally: there was no one else.
The Johnson had been desperate. Corporations were trying to squeeze him out and they were making their big play on this, the holiest of nights. If you believed that stuff. C.K. wasn't really sure anymore. He'd seen too many signs that God was not in residence these days. He thought about it and realized, He was still there, people had just stopped listening.
'That's the trouble these days,' he thought to himself. 'Nobody listens.'
He looked up at the old man and nodded. "You got yourself a team, sir," he told him.
The man nodded and smiled. "Thank you son," he stated. "I'm too old to take these people on myself."
C.K. nodded. "Don't worry about a thing Mr. J, this 'Series Amalgamated Technology and Associates National' will be dealt with accordingly. My team and I will handle everything."
The Johnson studied him for a minute and then nodded. Hope played across his eyes. C.K. had seen that look before, almost afraid to believe. When 'Mr. Johnson' spoke, he was unprepared for what he said.
"Are you sure?" he asked. When he saw C.K.'s confusion, the man continued, "sure that it is all right with your team I mean. This is Christmas Eve we're talking about."
C.K. was about to answer when he thought about his team and how they'd take the news.
'Gardener', an elf from Tir na nOg would have no problems: he wasn't big on the holidays, especially not Christian ones. Garndner was a Druid, and since Solstice had already come and gone, there would be no problems. He could probably round up some of his countrymen to help round out the team. No, Gardener wouldn't mind at all, neither would his friends. That would give him the magical cover he needed.
'Dancer,' the team's transport specialist would be in; no doubt there. Dancer did his job because he liked it. Hell, if Dancer had his way... they'd be on a run every night: Christmas eve or not.
With 'Mrs. C.' running security and information through the Matrix, they'd have the decking skills they needed. She'd be a bit harder to convince. Mrs. C. took Christmas very seriously, but if he could convince her that it was the 'Christmasy thing' to do, she'd be in. Still, he'd never known Mrs. C to turn down some one in need, and this Mr. Johnson was in serious need.
That left the actual infiltration, and that would be his bailiwick.
"It won't be a problem," C.K. assured him. "Just leave everything to us, and believe me, you'll have a Merry Christmas this year."
The man smiled wearily. "There's just so much to do..."
"We'll handle it," C.K. promised, and that was that. He'd promised and the Johnson had accepted.
C.K. checked around as he entered the team's base, the last thing he needed was somebody to follow him, not after all the trouble he'd gone through to hide it in the first place. He checked his ATV and then headed inside, there was no point in keeping the team waiting and they had some extra preparations to do...
"WHAT?" Mrs. C. almost went through the roof. She shook her head and began pacing. "Tonight... you want us to do this tonight!"
C.K. took a deep breath. "Dear, we have to, this guy's got no body else, and we can do it..."
She was still shaking her head. "You know I've got plans, and now I have to change everything so you can make an extra little delivery..."
"Who's the mark," Garner asked, trying to draw attention back to the matter and hand.
"Lou... something or other," C.K. answered distractedly. He was still trying to figure out how to straighten things out with Mrs. C.: he needed her.
Dancer looked up tensely, then sighed. "I'll go check out the equipment and make sure everything's ready."
He hated it when the boss and his old lady started fighting and the equipment check was a good excuse to get out of the way.
"I'll go with you," Gardener offered as he grabbed his coat.
C.K. watched the two make their exit. He didn't really blame them, if could have, he'd have gone with them.
"Give me the details," Mrs. C. sighed as she warmed up her deck. He may have ticked her off with accepting the job, but she knew it was up to her to keep the team together and alive.
"Civer," C.K. stated.
She typed in the name and shook her head. "Not on the list." she stated.
"Senior V.P. Series Amalgamated Technology and Associates National," he added.
"Them?" she gasped. That was all the incentive she needed. It was a very old battle, but now that she knew who they were up against, there was no doubt in her mind. "Why didn't you say so in the first place?"
C.K. smiled at her. "I love you," he whispered.
She looked at him and smiled. "Here you knucklehead," she growled as she tossed him his hat.
He caught the hat and grinned as he holstered his MP5's. "You are a good wife," he told her.
"Why else would I have put up with you this long," she groused affectionately.
"What about Mr. Civer?" he asked.
"I've plotted in a course that will get you there in the right time frame," she told him with a smile. "I've even added him to the list, under bad mind you."
C.K. smiled and activated the comm-link. "Dancer, go-no-go?"
"Team's all ready," Dancer informed him. "We are go."
"Gear's loaded," the elf confirmed. "Go."
"Mrs. C?" he asked turning to his wife.
"Wouldn't miss it for the world," she told him and kissed him on the cheek. "Go."
C.K. donned his red battle armor and the hat Mrs. C. had tossed him. As he inspected himself in the mirror, Mrs C. came over and gave him a quick hug. "Be careful Chris," she told him.
He winked at her and was gone.
It was in the news the next day:'Louis Civer, the Senior V.P of Series Amalgamated Technology and Associates National, had been found dead in his apartment. There had been no visible signs of forced entry, but since he had been crushed to death by a ton of coal, the police suspected foul play.
Mrs. C. smiled as C.K. sighed heavily and propped his feet up by the fire. He was tired after a long night's work. "I guess he was a very naughty boy.." she sighed as she turned off the Trid.
"Maybe I should take up shadowrunning as a full time job," C.K. told her with a tired wink.
"Chris," she sighed. "We're too old to change now... besides, who'd deliver all the toys?"
C.K. grinned at her for a minute. "Maybe we could get some shadowrunners to do it next year, and we'll take the night off..."
Mrs. C. laughed as she envisioned C.K. trying to explain the job to a group of potential runners. "They'd never believe you," she sighed.
Peace and Love,
Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker
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