“Buddy, you want another one?” the bartender asked. “Are you gonna drink that one or make love to it?”
“Ha ha, if he was making love to it, he’d be done already,” I slurred as I slammed my hand on the bar. My own drink spilled from the enthusiasm. “Just kiddin’ man. Hey barkeep why don’t you give him a refill when you get me one. ‘Preciate it.”
“Thanks,” the guy in the nice suit next to me nodded as the man behind the bar worked up two more drinks for us.”
“Hey no problem,” I sloshed back at him. “I’ve got nowhere to go right now, really. I was in this game, you know Company Apprentice?”
“I don’t think so,” he shook his head.
“Yeah well it’s big, lemme tell ya,” I replied. “But then they fired me even though I put my résumé on paper. You’d think a paper company would appreciate that, but nooooo. So then what do they do? They go and then ask me to come back to help out my former teammate. Can you believe it?”
“I guess not,” he answered noncommittally.
“But I’ve got a plan,” I hiccupped triumphantly. “I’m gonna screw them all up just like that one chick did on that other Apprentice. What was her name? A’Mimosa? Amaretto? You know who I’m talking about.”
“Heh heh, yeah.” He held up his newly filled glass. “Hey, cheers, man.”
“You got it.” I sloppily clacked my glass against his and took a sip. “Hey, I’ll be right back. I have to drain the main vein.”
I stumbled past my new friend and into the men’s bathroom. As I stood in front of the single urinal, I heard the door open behind me.
“Jus’ a minute,” I called. “Occupied.”
I stuck my thumbs up just as I felt the garrote hit my neck.
Anyone who’s been in the business knows a great way to set up someone perusing you is to act drunk. It will make them think they have the advantage which actually puts you at an advantage. To drink a lot without getting drunk takes a little timing, ice to water down your drinks, and you have to spill a lot.
With my thumbs giving me just enough breathing room between the wire and my neck, I threw my body down and tossed my assailant right over me.
“I should kill you now, but I need you alive.” I quickly wrapped him up in my Superman S-Symbol Snaring Kit. Then knocked him out with a punch to the jaw.
My name is Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator. I used to be a contestant on Company Apprentice until…
Bennet: Blah blah blah. You’re fired.
When you’re fired, you’ve got nothing: no cash, no plane ticket home, no pencil sharpener or LED keychain tchotchkes. You’re stuck in whatever city they dump you in.
Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator: Where am I?
Nepharia: You’re still in New York, idiot.
You do whatever work comes your way. You rely on anyone who’s talking to you. A lightsaber-happy dark Jedi.
Nepharia: Should we stab them?
An old friend who used to inform on you to the FBI…
Private Hudson: You know spies… game over for them, man.
Other friends too…
Private Hudson: [Phone rings] Hey is that your mom again?
Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator: No, it’s Professor X, dummy.
Professor Xavier: Someone needs your help, Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator.
Bottom line? Until you figure out who fired you… you’re not going anywhere.
Oh yeah wait, it was that tool Bennet.
“I’ve got everything we need man,” Hudson grinned. “Check it out! Independently targeting particle beam phalanx. Vwap! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase-plasma pulse rifles, RPGs, we got sonic electronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks...”
“You sure we’ll be OK in this factory?” I asked.
“Yeah, my buddy owns it but it’s going to be closed for quite a while,” Hudson answered. “Looks like the economy is hitting the novelty dog poop business pretty hard, too.”
“Good,” I smiled. I had noticed our quarry tied to his chair had woken up but was still feigning unconsciousness. I tipped my head quickly towards him, Hudson smiled and walked over to the man.
“Wakey wakey,” the private said as he slapped the man in the face. “Hey Jon, I say we grease this rat frack son of a bitch right now.”
“No no, not yet,” I prodded Hudson away from him and looked down at the guy. “Tell me, what’s your name?”
“West,” he sputtered. “Agent Elliot West.”
“Look West,” I answered. “Can I call you West?”
He gulped and nodded.
“Look West, I don’t want to unleash the beast here.” I threw my thumb back at Private Hudson. “But he’s really itching to shoot something—”
“Or someone!” Hudson interrupted.
“Or someone right now,” I continued. “I know you’ve been following me and I’m just a little bit miffed that you are.”
When you have to get info out of someone, the classic set up is always the Good Cop/Bad Cop routine. It’s well known and anyone with the right training can avoid succumbing to it, but there’s no doubt to its simple effectiveness. Of course with Hudson, you might call it the Good Cop/Dumb Cop routine.
“You’re being investigated because we got a tip that you were plotting an attack against the IRS,” he sputtered. “I was ordered to follow you to check it out. I’m just doing my job.”
“I know,” I answered. “I’m the one who made the tip.”
Hudson put the barrel of his pulse rifle against West’s temple. “Lemme kill ‘im,” he growled. “Come on Jon, lemme kill him!”
“No!” West cried.
“Not yet,” I pushed Hudson away again. “Well Agent West, you’re right. I am in a little group called the Americans Liberating the Oppression of IRS Dollars.”
“Altoid?” he asked.
“No thanks, I just had an Ice Breaker.”
“No, I’m saying your group’s acronym is ALTOID,” he explained.
“Shut up!” Hudson slapped the agent across the face. “We don’t need any smart mouth smartness out of you.”
“OK Hudson,” I held the Colonial Marine back like a corner trainer would hold back a caged beast in a boxing ring. “Take it easy.”
Hudson feigned another strike against the agent and then stalked away.
“We want you alive, Agent West,” I said. “Because I want you to get me into the IRS office.”
“I know there’s a security system and badges and codes and I just don’t have time to deal with all that,” I explained. “I need you to get me in and then I’ll turn you loose.”
“Don’t turn him loose,” Hudson pleaded. “Let me have him.”
“You’re going to turn me loose? I don’t believe it.”
I leaned closer towards West. “I’m not a killer like this guy,” I assured him. “In fact I’m more like you. You and I are a lot alike; I just want to do my job and then go home to my wife and kids.”
“Well you get my point nonetheless. And you will help and there’s going to be no funny business or else…”
I pulled Betsy, my blaster pistol, out just enough so he could see it.
“OK OK,” he sighed.
There are several ways to get into a high security installation. You can go in with a squad of well-armed and well-trained commandoes and guns blazing or you can do it the sneaky way. With the sneaky way, you can get in and do the damage from the inside before anyone knows it.
Agent West led me through the secured office. I kept a close eye on him to make sure he wasn’t tipping anybody off. He played it smart though, and soon I was in the main computer room.
“You’re gonna hack into the systems?” he asked. “No way. It’s triple layered super encrypted. Nothing on Earth can get through that.”
“Fortunately, I have this.” I pulled the Intergalactic Serial Port cable out of my Wristcomm and plugged it into the port on the mainframe. In no time at all, I was in the system and putting the false information into the system.
“What are you doing?” he blubbered.
“Just sending out a few official memos,” I answered.
“Oh yeah, and I can’t have you blabbing about what happened here, either.”
“Bu-but you said that you weren’t going to kill me!” he babbled.
I sighed. “Yeah, I know.”
I shot him with the sonic disrupter on my Wristcomm. He’ll remain unconscious for at least a day from the blast. Long enough for the memos to circulate.