Day 1 - 13:00 hours.
Codename: Rohmer reporting. This is the most dismal time ever for the AICEFF. It seems we have done our job too well. The government has decided that the holiday coalition is no longer a threat, and stopped our funding. We thought we had a reprieve when we learned that our supervisors had found a corporation to back us, but it seems to be only the beginning of a long nightmare. We were told that 1/3 of us will be fired immediately, 1/3 will be fired, but not for a year and they will have to spend that year training their replacements. The rest will stay on, but will be transferred to other states. Bad news indeed, especially for our newest recruit Codename: Antithesis. We have also learned that that the Corporation has done a study and decided our supply budget can be cut by 83%, and who needs belt-fed weapons anyway? When Codename: Devils Dance and Codename: Immortal Sin heard that news, they took out the Corporation HQ's with what was left of our explosives. Unfortunately, they didn't hit anyone important and were assigned to stress management seminars. Our training areas will be reduced to cubicle size. Our benefits have been changed too, and we will have to fill out 40 page forms and our value to the Corporation will have to be assessed in a processes that is estimated to take 2 years before we can be returned to the regen tanks. I think our brave leader Codename: Ibidis Mortem finally snapped when it was revealed that we will have to follow the Corporation's dress code, which is business suits with the company logo conspicuously displayed, and he will only be allowed to wear his kilt on causal Fridays. We've been so worn down by paper work, we don't have the strength to resist. Is this the end of the glorious AICEFF? Day 2 - 10:33 hours.
Chained to my desk, pouring over bankroll records, I notice something. I dig around deeper and my suspicion is confirmed. The Corporation is really a front for a member of the holiday coalition. That most insidious of all the holidays. . . Labor Day! A holiday with no recognizable icon. Thought they could do us in from the inside? We'll show them! I send coded email to the other members of the AICEFF to give them the heads up. 10:45 hours.
I pick the lock on my chains with a never-fail lock releaser looking suspiciously like a bent paperclip, which Codename: Druidic Concoctions slipped me, and casually meet up with the others at our prearranged coffee break meeting. I'm worried about Codename: Immortal Sin. He almost looks like he likes wearing that suit. Our leader Ibidis tells us it's time to put operation: Kick Corporate Ass into action. No time to lose, the Corporation people have spotted us together and are moving in. Day 2 - 12:14 hours.
Time to hoof it out of the base before all exits are blocked, but our brave leader insists on heading towards the basement. He keeps shouting something about a secret weapon. I hope so, we've been low on ammo since Devil's Dance and Immortal Sin's little escapade at the phony Corporate HQ's. We head down and defend the basement with our last remaining bullets while our brave leader (henceforth to be known as OBL cause I'm getting bored of typing the whole thing out) searches through boxes looking for the secret weapon. The ammo is all used up and OBL still hasn't found the secret weapon. It's down to hand to hand combat with the Corporate mongers. Ligeia and Cat take down the most with their patented iguana maneuver, but we're still badly outnumbered. "I found it!", OBL screams, "The unionizer!" Finally! I turn around to look as Ibidis loads the thing. I don't know what it is or does, but it sure looks nasty. He signals us out of the way and takes aim at the mongers streaming down the stairwell. What looks like papier-mâché comes shooting out, sticks to whatever it touches, and burns deep holes. Ohhhh, messy. Better stay away from that stuff. The mongers fall away fast and we're able to force our way out of the base. Now that we know who we're dealing with, we know where to go: The Labor Day group's board room. Day 3 - 2:00 hours.
We reach the Labor Day Group's office HQ and fight through security with nothing but our bare hands and the unionizer. Soon we have enough weapons confiscated from the corporate mongers casualties to arm all of our team. This makes the ascent to the boardroom much faster. The new recruit Antithesis is given a turn with the secret weapon and NAP sets charges on the doors. Before the debris has a chance to settle we're charging through to confront the suits. That's all they are too. Three piece suits, nothing else. Creepy. Suddenly, I notice Immortal Sin getting that strange look that he had by the coffee bar. He slowly starts to aim his weapon at us. I also begin to feel oddly sleepy. I manage to give a warning. Quick thinking Pixie hops over Immortal using her jetpack and gets behind him. She just barely keeps him from firing into the team by pinning his arms. I notice everyone looks like they're suffering from lethargy to some degree. "They must be using some kind of mind control. "OBL says, "Find some way to block it." There's way too many radio frequencies to check so the best bet is to find where the mind control waves are coming from. I scan along the walls then I remember how insistent the Corporation was that we wear their corporate logos. I rip my clothes off and toss them out a broken window. The sleepiness leaves immediately. "Everybody strip!" I yell. The team gives me looks, could be my idea or it could be my leather and lace bra and panties. "The mind control devices are implanted in the suits they gave us!" I explain. The others start ripping out of their clothes. Too late I remember that OBL regenerated out of his boxers several missions ago. We've lost more than half of the team. Besides me only NAP, Immortal Sin, and Antithesis had the presence of mind to keep their eyes averted to prevent being blinded by the flash. Too bad it had no effect on the suits. Semi-conscious Cat murmurs something about her pack. I grab it, search around, and find a kilt. Amazing what she thinks to bring along sometimes. Good thinking, we can't afford to lose anyone else. Careful to keep my gaze averted I make my way over to OBL. I trip over some debris. I turn my head around to get my bearings and..... Oh no! I've been struck! As I slip into unconsciousness I can hear Immortal Sin say, "We don't need no corporate sponsors!", and the remaining team tearing away at the suits. I'm annoyed I won't get to see the mission come to its conclusion, but I know we've proven our value to our country and will have our funding reinstated. ©   4/98   Rohmer