Happy Birthday, you're dead

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

Part 12.


1130 - Geoff's room

"Gina, what's wrong?" Geoff asked worriedly.

"We don't know yet," Gina stated softly.

"I heard the code 7 report," he stated. "What do we know?"

"Davy and the others never showed up at the courthouse," Bear stated softly. "There are reports of gunfire in the area."

"Can you pipe communications through here?" Geoff asked.

"Geoff, you're in no condition," Gina objected.

"I'm not going after them, but I want to keep abreast of the situation," he informed her. Then he noticed the look in her eyes.

"Gina, Davy and Rabbit are big boys, they can take care of themselves, and Joey. We have to believe in them."

"But they're unarmed," she objected.

"Davy's unarmed," Geoff corrected her. "That's necessary, but he's got Rabbit watching his back."

"What do you think he'd do?" Bear asked softly.

"Have Rabbit scout ahead, go when its clear. Find a place to hold up until its safe then make a move accordingly," Geoff stated. The experience of a hundred missions ingrained in his mind. "We just have to wait. Move when we know where they are and what they need."

"I'll tell Tommy to keep you up to date," Gina assured him.

"We'll get them back," Geoff assured her with a confidence he didn't feel. This whole thing reeked.

Bear looked at Geoff and nodded. "You need any support on this, count me in."

"I don't want to endanger your status," Geoff answered gratefully. "You have a career to worry about."

"A career that isn't worth a thing if I don't stand by my friends," Bear stated. "Remember PFSC's motto - 'Honor above all.'

Geoff nodded. Bear had always lived up to that motto. "Thanks," he added.

Bear nodded then looked at him. "I need to talk to Duck," he stated. "You okay here?"

Geoff nodded. "Don't tell her if you don't have to."

"I can't lie to her," Bear told him.

Geoff nodded. "I'll keep you up on what we have."

1145 - Duck's room

Bear watched Duck carefully as he read over the reports then looked back up at her.

"Bear," she called. "I can't see your face, but I know what ever you're reading, its not making you very happy."

"The damage to your eyes," he stated.

"Permanent?" she asked softly. He could hear the slight tremor in her voice.

"Yeah," he stated. "You've got13% vision in one eye, the other, maybe 2%."

"Optical Nerve?" she asked.

"That seems fine," he verified after rechecking the report. "No, most of the damage is retinal and corneal."

"So, do I keep my old eye color, or go for something exotic?" she asked with a snort.


"Bear, you never think of technology, do you? That which nature loses, technology can replace."

"You wouldn't mind?"

"Well, the point is rather moot, isn't it. I'd rather add the cyberware than fly blind," she admitted.

"It'll be a little while," Bear warned.

"Approx 2 mos. waiting time for the order, I'm figuring I'm at risk for surgery for at least a month after that, 3 weeks recovery from surgery, another 2 to get used to them. 6 months off and on for maintenance and general adjustments," she stated.

"Where are you getting your information?" Bear asked.

"On-line, Cyber-eyes catalog." she explained.


"I checked," she answered with a shrug. "Judging by the other injuries, and the way you and Gina were acting, I figured something was up."

"How did you?"

"The french, they are very clever, no?" she asked as she tapped her temple.

"Thought you didn't like decking naked," Bear countered.

"On-line advertising's relatively safe," she answered. "Except when the system's sales routine gets too aggressive."

Bear shook his head and smiled at her. "You're amazing."

"No, I'm hungry," Duck corrected. "Which brings me to the real question."

"Which is?" Bear asked gleefully.

What the hell's going on?"

His smile vanished. Bear drew a deep breath and watched Duck as she listened to the movements outside the door.

"Derrick, Davy and Joey," he began then drew another breath.

"What?" she demanded.

"They were going to the courthouse to straighten this whole mess out."

"What happened?" she prompted softly.

"They're missing. Reports say that shots were fired, but we don't have any other details."

"Have you been able to find them?" she asked softly.

"No," Bear answered as he stared at the doorway. "Not enough to go on to get a fix."

Duck nodded then swore. "We need more information. Can you stop by the apartment and get me my rig?

"Which setup do you want?"

"Full compliment, I'm going to need to mix and match to get this to work right now."

Bear nodded then shook his head. "Sorry, I'm nodding my head," he told her.

"I was wondering what that rattle was," she teased. "If its not too much, can you get Tracker's too," she added shifting back into 'serious mode.'

"I don't know if he'll be able to help," Bear warned her. "He's still in pretty bad shape."

"Yeah, but I'd take Tracker on a lousy day over just about anybody else."

"What about Rico?"

"Rico's a strong second," Duck admitted. "Just not enough experience. Tracker and I know how the other works, it makes double-teaming a lot easier." Duck smiled.

"If I didn't know better, I'd be jealous," Bear warned her.

"Ha!," Duck commented as she flipped her head. "You know it would never work out between us, we'd always be fighting over resources."

Bear chuckled in spite of himself, Duck had that effect on him. "I'll get your gear," he promised. "You just stay right here," he added, knowing there was nowhere she could really go.

"Don't get smart!" she groused.

"I'll check in on Tracker, let him know how you're doing," he promised.

"Thanks," Duck stated softly. "Thanks for everything babe."

"Uh-oh, she's 'babe'ing me," Bear grumbled as he headed towards the door. "Need anything else?"

"A pair of sweats would be nice," she commented as she patted the hospital gown.

"Boy do I know that feeling," Bear chuckled.

"Oh really?" Duck asked, pretending to be shocked. "And who's been undressing you?"

"I don't know," Bear answered. "I'm not sure I want to know. My luck it was Kenny."

Duck snorted derisively at the comment. "Get thee hence," she added with a chuckle.

1200 Wilson Family Clinic hallway

Bear smiled as he closed the door behind him. Trust Duck to brighten things up and give him some direction.

"I could use some of that right now," Gina commented when she saw the smile on Bear's face.

"Duck," he explained. "She has that effect on me."

Gina nodded. "Did you tell her?"

Bear nodded. "She knew something was up."

"How's she taking the news?"

"The way Duck takes anything, in stride. I'm going to go get her deck, she wants to check some things out."

"Her deck?" Gina asked in confusion. "You didn't tell her about the tests did you?"

"I thought you were talking about Davy and the others, " Bear objected.

"You told her about that?" Gina chided. "She doesn't need that kind of worry right now."

"Duck knew something was up," Bear answered softly. "And this is just the sort of thing she needs. She hates sitting around doing nothing. This will give her something to do."

"Bear, she should be conserving her energy right now."

"You really don't know Duck," Bear told her. "If she has her deck, she will do her special kind of meditation."

"You can't sell me on that," Gina objected. "I've seen the stats on terminal use, the strain it causes could cause a relapse."

Bear shook his head. "That study didn't include folks like Tracker and Duck. Ask Rico sometime, he'll explain it to you."

Gina shook her head. "She has to face her limitations," she objected.

"You know what she asked me?" Bear asked with a smile.


"She asked if she should keep her old eye color, or go for something exotic," Bear told her. "She already had the stats on the eyes she wanted to go for, including availability and service schedule."

"She did?" Gina asked in surprise.

"Yeah," Bear assured her. "Duck works much better when she knows the full score. You want to drive her crazy, keep her in the dark for her own protection."

Gina nodded. "I keep forgetting..."

"She's been through worse," Bear agreed. "A lot worse."

1230 - Control Room

Rico turned from the boards as Eclipse entered the room.

"Sleep okay?" he asked socially.

"After a while," Eclipse answered.


"Wayne made sure I had a break. Haven't been able to rest though."

"What's up?" Eclipse asked as he took over one of the stations.

"Nobody told you did they?" Rico asked then shook his head. "No, they probably didn't. Davy, Rabbit and Joey are missing."

"What?" Eclipse asked, barely containing his worry and anger. "What where they doing out?"

"Going public with the will," Rico explained. "We've got shots fired and no report from any of them."

"How could they?" Eclipse demanded as he slammed his fist into the console. "They aren't equipped to deal with these people. They aren't playing by any set of rules!"

"Rabbit's Recon," Rico stated. "Ragin' Angels. Davy was their comm-rigger. They can't handle themselves, nobody can. They couldn't just sit around and wait for the next attack."

Eclipse shook his head. "They should have talked to me!"

"Davy's used to leading," Rico stated. "He used the resources he knew."

Eclipse shook his head. "I still wish he'd included me."

"We all do," Rico agreed. "Davy, Geoff and Derrick are the worst when it comes to not askin' others to help out. Gina and Kenny come in second. But that's cause they're used to being in charge, and they're used to protecting the rest of us."

"But Joey's just a kid."

"And they'll lay down their lives for him," Rico stated softly. "That's Davy and Derrick."

Eclipse shook his head. "I don't like any of this."

"Amen to that," Rico agreed.

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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