Happy Birthday, you're dead

(or a funny thing happened to Geoff on his way to a surprise birthday party.)

Part I.


March 8th- 1750

Danniel TwoBears watched the video Tracker had compiled. It was a combination of feeds from his own video recorder, surveillance tapes from the Backer's office, audio tapes, and Duck's visual feeds. The idea was for everyone to see what had happened from every available angle in an attempt to understand what had happened.

The others hadn't seen it yet, it was better this way. None of the Wilsons were really ready to relive this morning's events. He wasn't even sure he was up to it. He took a deep breath and started the tape.

Tracker looked at his watch as he shut off his Harley. 0930 exactly. He was a hair late, but his informant told him it was important. He tested his comm-link as he removed his helmet.

"Duck, you there?" he asked, sub vocalizing the words.

"Reading you 5-by..." Came Duck's response.

Tracker nodded to himself as he placed the helmet on the seat and headed into the quicky mart. He nodded towards the shop keeper as he walked towards the back room.

"He's not alone," Tracker stated into the comm-link as he drew his gun and entered the room. He held his gun out, ready, but the man made no threatening moves.

"Mikey," Tracker called to his contact. "What gives?"

"Man needs to talk to you," Mikey answered evenly. "Didn't know how else to contact you."

"Hmm," he grunted a noncommital tone. His mind clicked into combat mode. It wasn't like Mikey to include somebody in one of their meetings. Mikey didn't like company.

"Mr..." The guest stated, unsure of how to address him.

"Tracker." he answered curtly. "And if you know you need to meet me, than you sure as hell should know my name."

"Easy there buddy," Duck called over the line. It wasn't like Tracker, but he was right, something here just wasn't right.

"Look you wanted to talk to me," Tracker stated as he gave the guest a once over. "Start talking, or I'm gone."

The man looked from Mikey to Tracker and nodded.

"I'm a legal assistant," the man stated. "Geller, Nasaki and Jones. There's an estate that's currently in probate. The requirements for the inheritance are rather, unconventional. Very illegal, but carefully worded, if nobody calls attention to it, I'm afraid of what will happen.">

Tracker nodded. They man had peeked his curiosity. "Go on, you have my interest."

"The will is contingent on certain actions being carried out." The man stated. "That's where your friend comes in. In order to inherit, someone has to kill your friend."


"His name is Geoffrey Edward Mays," the man answered, watching Tracker's face for a reaction.

"Geoffrey Edward Mays?" Tracker asked.

"Tendown," Duck answered over the comm-link in disbelief.

"Tendown?" he asked, his voice echoing Duck's shock.

"I guess," the man answered. "I don't dare contract him directly."

Tracker nodded, "What's in it for you?"

The man looked up in surprise. He'd forgotten the world he'd entered was one where nothing was done without a reason. Life was cheap and there was no such thing as a friend.

"Nothing," he stammered. "I just couldn't sit by and let it happen."

"Yeah, sure," Tracker answered coldly. "Be sein' you. And Mikey... don't pull this stunt again. You got somebody that wants to meet me, you tell me.

Tracker moved quickly back to his bike. The whole thing reeked to him, but he knew they'd have to follow up on it.

"You got that?" he asked as he put his helmet on.

"Got it," Duck answered with a sigh. "One of us has to warn the Backers"

"You take it, I'm not sure I'm clear."

"Kay-Oh," Duck replied cheerfully. "Tell TwoBears to meet me there."

"Will do!"

"Be careful," Duck added.

"You too," Tracker answered. "Something just doesn't feel right." >

TwoBears stopped the tape as Tracker entered the room and sat down. "You want to watch?" he asked quietly.

"No more than you," Tracker answered. "I've seen it, but it doesn't make too much sense to me."

Bear nodded. Duck was Tracker's best-friend. It was hard on both of them, but it was personal. Bear started the tape back up without another word.

The city speeds by in front of the vid sensor.

Duck's on her bike

The bike slows as she parks in front of the office building. The tint changes as she removes her helmet.

The view does a quick bob as Duck bows her head and flips her hair back, then puts her baseball cap on and adjusts it.>

The time on the tape reads 0955 hrs.

"I figured it best to keep everything in," Tracker warned Bear. "I want to make sure we don't miss anything, outside, or inside."

Bear nodded, still focused on the screen in front of them.

The angle changed to the surveillance tapes as Duck walked into the front office.

"Hey 'Livia, I need to see Ten, he in?" Duck asks casually.

"Something up?" Livia answers as she looks up and smiles at Duck.

"Maybe, we don't know for sure, but I need to see Ten."

He's in his office. Why don't you go on back, I'm sure he'd be glad to see you.>

Bear squinted as the tape played the sequence from Duck's point of view, but saw nothing new.

"The big part is next," Tracker stated distractedly. "Better warn you, its bad."

Bear nodded. He'd been with Duck within an hour of the explosion. She had been lucky. If she had made it into the office, she'd have been killed in the blast. As it was... Bear took a deep breath. This was not helping them. The facts, he told himself. Stick with the facts.

Duck walks down the hall, it's the surveillance tapes again. Voices are coming from Geoff's office. >

"The voices are clearer on Duck's tapes," Tracker warned.

Duck draws her weapon and eases herself closer to the door. As she pushes herself around the corner, a bullet catches her in the chest, knocking her to the far wall. > >

Bear could feel his pulse racing as he watched the image Duck trying to get up.

Duck rolls to the left and is trying to get back up when the explosion rocks the office.

The tape goes blank.> >

Bear steeled himself against the next angle, knowing that this will be the telling one. He looked over at Tracker and saw his jaw muscles twitching. This was the angle he had to see.

The hallway is clear as Duck heads towards Geoff's office. She stops as voices reach her ears.

"You are about to die," a strange voice whispers.

"That may be, but you'll never get away with it." Geoff answers evenly.

"I'm not your..." the voice stopps as Duck draws her gun.

The view is clear as Duck moves around the doorway. Geoff is there, and standing to his side is a man with his own gun drawn. There is a bob in the camera angle as Duck tries to compensate and fails. Then a puff a smoke from the gun and a roar as a bullet races through the air between them.

There is a sense of vertigo as the camera is thrown against the wall by the impact and Duck with it.

Geoff yells as he tries to reach Duck, but it's too late. The Camera shakes as Duck tries to regain her bearings, but as she turns back, there's a blinding light, and then static. >

Bear stared at the static as he tried to gather his thoughts. The tape gave them a lot less than he had hoped for.

"I'm assuming you've already sent his image through the system to see what you can find on him," he stated to Tracker.

Tracker nodded. "And a couple of systems I shouldn't know about," he added.

"Any idea how he got there?"

"None," Tracker answered curtly. "He's not on any of the tapes. The only record of his being there was Duck's video feed."

"They're still sifting through the wreckage," Bear stated as he tried to piece it all together. "Getting shot probably saved her life."

Tracker nodded. He'd seen the room. There was no doubt in his mind that if the Duck had been in there, she'd have been killed in the blast. As it was the she wasn't all that well off having been outside the room.

"Lets go talk to the others."

March 8th - 2150 -

Bear rubbed his temples as he went over his notes.

The clerk who had talked to Tracker had turned up dead. One shot, through the back of the skull. All the marks of and execution.

Wayne, 'Boomer' Wilson, the demolitions expert of the Wilson clan reported that the blast was caused by something akin to a rocket launcher. The charge was designed to take out one room with minimal damage. That indicated good footwork and a surgical flair.

Kenny 'Clear Water' Wilson, the 'mojo healer' of the group reported no trace of Geoff or his uninvited guest. Results are inconclusive. The blast most likely took them out-- most likely.

Gina Wilson, 'the Doc,' she reported that Duck said there was a flash before the explosion. Again, inconclusive considering the shape Duck was in at the time.

Livia 'Oh-no, not again' Wilson reported that Geoff had a conference call scheduled for 1000 hrs.

That information, along with the tape was all they had to go on. Bear closed his eyes and forced himself into a trance. He didn't have a vid link to record what he'd seen, he had himself. As his breathing slowed he called to mind what had happened from his view point. It meant reliving everything. >

0945 hrs

He's waiting for a call from Duck, they're going to take the day off and go climbing, but she wants to back Tracker up on something first. He turns as his pocket secretary beeps, and he knows plans have changed.

He looks at the screen and reads Tracker's message. "Meet Duck at the Backer's"

He grabs his gear and heads out to the car. As he's driving his thinking about the mountains, but he can feel something in the air. Something is very wrong. As he closes in on the block he hears the sirens and smells the smoke.

A green prowler drives past him. >

He stoped the image in his mind and focused on the plates. He concentrated until the license plate came into view. R71-KAX... he couldn't get the rest.

Things go back to their normal speed as he rounds the corner and sees the police. They signal him to drive on past and he sees Duck's bike in front of the building. He can feel his pulse rate start to quicken. He drives past the police and rounds the corner. More police are there, but then he sees the back of the building and the gaping hole in the wall.

1010 hrs

He finds a parking place and walks around the block to the Wilson Clinic. Once inside Rabbit stops him. He can feel Rabbit's agitation. >

"What happened?" Bear remembered growling.

"Bomb," Rabbit answers quietly. "Geoff's office."

"Duck?" Bear all but screams.

"Gina and Kenny are working on her," Rabbit answers slowly.

"Gina and Kenny," He asks in disbelief. "What about Geoff?"

"Ten's gone man," Rabbit answers in a shocked voice. "Ain't no way he coulda survived."

"Where ?" He demands.

"Down the hall, room 3."

He is running down the hall, his mind racing. Duck was there, he has to see her. He has to know. >

They were working on he when he barged in. Cuts, bruises, burns, she was a mess. Duck groaned in pain as Kenny tried to calm her down

1030 hrs

Bear remembers feeling the magic Kenny's calling on to ease her pain, but he sees the look in her eyes and stops.

"No," she manages to groan.

"Katya?" Bear calls gently. He can hear the strain in his voice as he moves to her side. "Katya, can you hear me."

"Bear, he needs you," she whispers. "Flash.. There was a flash before the explosion. The guy reeked of magic." >

Bear forced himself to remember her exact words. Trying to filter out the painful gasps that made him want to scream. Trying and failing.

The dreaming ends.

March 9th - 0130>

When he focused on the world around him again, he nodded

"Anything new to add?" Davy Wilson asked. Bear could hear the tension and worry in his voice.

"A partial plate...R71-KAX ," he answered. "And Duck's message."

"What did she say?" Tracker asked, as he typed in the plate numbers.

"She said," Bear paused. He was trying to keep the images from his mind, but he could hear Duck's ragged breaths as he tried to remember her message. "She said he needed me and that there was a flash of light before the explosion."

Bear paused as he called the moment to mind again. "She said that the guy reeked of magic."

"Meaning what?" Gina asked in frustration. "She was in shock Bear."

"It meant something to her," Bear replied. "Something very important, important enough for her to resist your efforts to help so she could tell us."

"But we still don't know what it means," Davy countered.

Bear turned and faced each of the Wilsons in turn. He could see the emotions as they played across each face. The horror of the attack, the outrage of the news Tracker bore, the worry for Duck, the sorrow at the potential loss, the desperate hope that Geoff had been spared.

"We have to be ready for any eventuality," Davy stated before Bear could say it. "You listen to Duck," he added as he fixed his gaze on Bear's. "You try and find out from that end, Kenny, you work with Bear. The rest of us will follow up on the physical leads."

Bear nodded as Davy went over the information gathered to date. "Tracker, have you gotten any information on our visitor yet?"

"Calls himself Eclipse. He's done some clean-up work for a few of the corps. He's discreet and efficient..."

"Clean up work?" Gina asked in surprise. "An assassin."

"Yeah," Tracker confirmed. "But this isn't his style. Too loud, too flashy. And he doesn't do personal jobs."

"Then we need to figure out why he was here," Davy stated.

"Exactly," Tracker stated. "I'll follow up on that."

"Tracker, do me a favor, take some one with you," Davy offered. "This whole thing reeks and I don't want anybody else to get hurt."

Tracker nodded then looked over at Wayne, "Boomer, you game?"

Boomer nodded once and stood.

"No unnecessary risks," Davy added. "You hear me?"

"Life can be an unnecessary risk," Tracker asnwered without thinking, then added, "and... I hear you."

Bear watched as Davy passed out the assignments. Livia was going to check into Geller, Nasaki and Jones, Gina and Rabbit were to stay with Duck.

He was glad someone would be guarding Duck while they worked on the case.

He waited as the others filed out of the room.

"What's on your mind," Bear asked as Davy looked up at him.

"Tomorrow's Geoff's and my birthday," he answered softly. "I really hope Duck is right."

"Me too,"Bear answered. "Me too."

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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