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Jameson: Redux (or It Can Be Done in the Lab)
"Good morning, Agent Jameson," came the cheerful greeting from Tabitha, the Office's receptionist. Tabitha was always in a good mood, and had been since she secured this position in 1963. She never missed a day; not to illness, not to family matters, not to anything. Tabitha was a mainstay, which was no big surprise to anyone affiliated with the Office.
"Good morning, Tabitha," Jameson responded, and began to walk by. He paused, then approached the receptionist's desk and peered over the top. "You're looking beautiful today," he said with a smile.
"Why, thank you, Agent Jameson! I'd like to think I've been keeping myself in good shape."
"More like someone else has been keeping you in good shape, am I right?", Jameson joked.
Tabitha laughed. "Well, yes. I guess you could say that. I'm just glad that the tech department has so many men willing to help me," Tabitha responded, with a grin.
"So, ah, any chance they're going to build you a set of legs, any time soon?", Jameson asked, looking at the metal box her torso was attached to. Visitors would need to do as Jameson had done, and look over the desk, to see that Tabitha was actually a construct, and not a real person.
"I've spoken with Dr. Metzger about the matter, and he informed me that he was looking into it. As soon a funds are available, I would be provided legs and, as he put it, 'schönes Gesäß'."
"Really? He's a little bit of a pervert, don't you think?"
"Oh, I understand his intentions. He's 72 years old, and sees me as his personal eye candy. However, I feel that he's the man who made me who I am today."
"Literally and figuratively."
"Of course, Agent Jameson! Until 1963, I was little more than a metal box in the lobby, greeting visitors. Now look at me," Tabitha gushed. She looked down at her chest and continued, "I'm a metal box with these."
"Yes. Yes, you are. Well, I need to get down to the lab. I'm supposed to go see Metzger. He has some new gear for me."
"Agent Jameson, Dr. Metzger hasn't checked in yet. Would you like to wait here for him?"
"No, although I don't mind the company. I should probably just meet him in the lab."
"Oh, poop," Tabitha responded, pouting a bit. The "pout application" was one of Dr. Metzger's favorites. It was a cute pout.
"Oh, don't pout, Tabitha. If I go in, I have to come out again, right?"
"Ah. That's a good point. Well, I'll do my best to come back," Jameson said with a smile and wink.
"Okay! I'll be right here. Waiting. For you," Tabitha replied, looking like a love-struck automaton.
He continued to the elevators, and placed his keycard against the reader. The doors opened after a few moments, and Jameson entered. A voice immediately came over the elevator speaker. It was a friendly voice. It was a downright pleasant voice. It was a voice with a Southwestern drawl. It was the voice of the Telecybernetic Elevator Express; the T.E.X.
"Mornin', Mister Jameson. Where can I take ya?"
"Sub-basement six. Lab Vault, please," Jameson replied. He didn't really like dealing with the T.E.X., as it made him think of a past assignment, in which he had to spend an afternoon playing a bizarre game of chess against an insane, and thankfully former, Texas politician.
"Shoot, I'll get ya right there, Mr. Jameson, quicker 'n a coyote in a jalapeño patch!"
"What is that supposed to mean?", Jameson asked. This is one of the things he hated about the T.E.X.
"Well, sir, what I meant was that I'll get you to Sub-basement six, Lab Vault, as fast as a cat with a prickly bur a-hangin' off his tail pipe," the T.E.X. clarified.
"A what, now?", Jameson asked again, his irritation increasing.
"I'm runnin' ya there with the speed of a cowboy that's been out on the range for two months, when he gets inta town to see the local girls."
"Okay, just hold on. Can you stop with..."
"Ding! Yer here, Mr. Jameson! And I'd like to add that it's been a gall-durned hoot talkin' with ya! Happy trails!", the T.E.X. interrupted, as it opened the doors.
As Jameson exited, he could have sworn he heard the T.E.X. exclaim, "For America!", as the doors closed. He shuddered, and started toward the Lab Vault. As he walked, he could hear noises coming from Dr. Metzger's lab.
"Dammit," came a strange voice that Jameson had never heard before.
"Dammit! F*ck you, you damned thing! Just work with me here, and I promise I won't solder anything else to you!"
POP-POP-POP-POP! During this series of pops, a strong smell of ozone was detectable, along with a sound like something frying. Jameson approached the door to the Lab Vault with caution, reaching for his custom-built, collapsible, 48-inch ASP. It was a bit overkill with the reach, but he liked to have his bludgeoning weapons bigger than everyone else's.
Jameson quietly entered the Lab Vault, and viewed the man at the source of the popping, sizzling, and cursing. The man was working at one of Metzger's soldering stations, but Jameson couldn't see exactly what he was working on. He didn't appear to be a threat; in fact, he appeared to be a normal lab tech. Jameson approached with caution, and tapped the man on the shoulder with his ASP.
The man quickly spun around, knocking the ASP away from his shoulder, and assumed a very Wing Chun-like stance. Jameson immediately brought the ASP back, catching the man under his leg, swept up and took him off his feet. The man landed on his back, and scrambled to get back up. Jameson stopped him by pointing the ASP directly at the man's trachea.
"Can I help you?", the man asked indignantly, almost as if he belonged in Metzger's lab.
"Well, you can tell me who you are, and what you're doing here," Jameson replied, "and I may not make you miss breathing."
"Wait. What time is it?", the man said, looking at his watch. "Ten thirty? You're Agent Jameson?"
"Er... possibly," Jameson responded, "How would you know that?"
"It's on Dr. Metzger's schedule. 'Ten thirty, AM. Jameson. Give him his new toys'."
"Yes. That's right. And you are...?"
"Oh, yeah. Greetings and salutations, Agent Jameson. I'm Wes; Dr. Metzger's new lab tech. Although, I prefer the term 'minion', because he's like a mad doctor."
"He is a mad doctor."
"Well, then, it looks like I picked my terms accordingly."
"Where's Metzger at, anyway? Tabitha says he hasn't been in today."
Wes, a wistful grin on his face, replied, "Ah, Tabitha. I'm going to ask the doc to let me take a crack at that leg and schönes Gesäß project he's been talking about. Or, as I like to call it, 'Project: Dat Ass'. Anyway, he left me a message that he'll be out for the rest of the week, and that he's on sabbatical in Las Vegas for something he calls 'Mann braucht'. I assume it will involve hookers or something, but I don't pry into the doc's affairs."
"This is a little different. Metzger has always been the one to give me my gear. Guess the old crackpot could use the break, though."
"Agent Jameson, with all due respect to Herr Doktor, I think he's way overdue. He was at the point that he was talking to the vacuum chamber, chuckling at points when he said it sucked. I mean, yeah, it does suck. That's what it's supposed to do, but it's not that funny."
Jameson nodded his head. "Uh-hunh. Sounds like Mann braucht to me. Hope he feels better."
"Oh, me too. But it does allow me the time and freedom to improve on your new gear," Wes replied, looking very pleased with himself.
"You... improved on Metzger's gear?", Jameson asked, looking slightly surprised.
"I did, indeed! His gear is awesome, but he's not much for incorporating newer technology into things. Like I said, it was awesome. I made it awesomer."
Jameson looked incredulously at Wes. "Really? Okay, young Wes. Show me what you've got."
"That's what she said," Wes quietly muttered, as he made his way over to the gear locker.
"Come again?", Jameson asked.
"Standard joking protocol, Agent Jameson."
"How is that standard joking protocol?"
"Well, when someone says something that sounds like something a female would say just before sex, or during sex, or after sex, someone in the conversation comes back with 'that's what she said'. Everybody has a laugh. They move on to whatever they were talking about. You didn't know about this?"
"No. No, I didn't."
"What?", Wes asked, truly shocked. "Where have you been?"
"Around," Jameson replied. "So let's look at this gear. How many pieces are we talking about?"
"Only two, but they're kick-ass! Let's start with this," Wes said, while pulling a pencil box-sized Pelican case out of the locker. He opened it, and retrieved an item that looked like a pen. Wes held it out to Jameson, with a big grin on his face.
"Another pen? What does this one do? Knock-out gas, again? Hidden knife, again? Dart gun, again?", Jameson said, already looking bored. If Jameson had a dollar for every trick pen Metzger had given him, he'd have enough to buy a small, but nice, eco-friendly car.
"Well, originally, Dr. Metzger had a device in here that would fire a .22-caliber round. The problem with that is the round is so large, you only had room for one round. So, after every firing, you'd need to re-load. I fixed that problem," Wes explained as he handed the pen to Jameson.
"I made it into a micro rail gun," Wes replied. He then proceeded to do an almost muppet-like dance and yelled, "Ta-daaaah!"
"Rail gun. Ta-daaaah!"
Jameson was looking less incredulous than before. "How did you do that?"
"You see, the rails are... hunh. It's kind of complicated to explain. Do you really need to know? Because I'll tell you, if you have time."
"Just tell me how many shots I have with it."
"Six. They're micro projectiles, in a micro magazine that attaches to the micro rails. It's all pretty..."
"Micro. I get it. Very nice change of pace. I was actually dreading this one. Metzger had been talking for weeks about making a sword pop out of it."
"He saw the 'Percy Jackson' movie, huh?"
"Wow. He's seriously got a case of Mann braucht."
"Seems that way. What else do you have?"
"I have this." Wes pulled a decidedly larger larger Pelican from the locker and opened it. The device inside appeared to be something that would be produced if a crazed lab tech had attached an iPod to an assault weapon. The "weapon", however, had what appeared to be a completely sealed black PVC pipe attached to where a rifle barrel should be, and the iPod was attached where the rear sight should be, sitting on its side.
"And this is?", Jameson asked, with some of the incredulous tone coming back. Maybe the kid got lucky with the first device. Maybe Wes shouldn't be in the Lab Vault without adult supervision. The more Jameson looked at this second device, an overriding thought crept into Jameson's head: maybe this kid is crazy.
"I see you're looking at this like I'm crazy," Wes said, correctly reading Jameson's previous thought. "Would you believe this is an EMP gun?"
"But I thought an EMP..."
"Would disable anything in the radius of the pulse itself? Nope! That crazy-looking thing on the front is a directional antenna. I made a special app that goes into the iPhone on the back. It adjusts the power for the rangefinder, which is included in the app. You can shut down a car, a generator, a pacemaker..."
Jameson was clearly shocked by Wes' improvements on anything Metzger had come up with. He looked at Wes with a bit of admiration, which was unusual for Jameson. Usually, he just approved of something with a hardly-noticeable nod. For this, he gave the ultimate Jameson compliment. He gave a thumbs up.
"I'm impressed, Wes. Good work. I'm almost, almost, hoping that Metzger takes his time in recovering from his Mann braucht. You're going to be my go-to guy until he gets back."
"I dabble a little, outside the normal parameters of my minion duties, Agent Jameson," Wes replied, "I could probably be more help in that capacity."
"So you're looking to..."
"Moonlight as your personal gear guy? Yep. You ask for it, I make it. Off the clock, of course."
"I'll assume it requires extra money."
"Just five per cent of what I'm making here, on an hourly basis."
"That's kind of cheap, don't you think?"
"A mad scientist needs to start somewhere, right?"
"Just don't make me a Frankenstein monster, okay?"
"No promises. I have a mongoose on ice for the occasion."
"I work with what I get, Agent Jameson," Wes replied with a shrug.
"You're going to get all cowboy sciencey on me, right?"
"Yeehaw, pardner!", Wes said, making a motion of swinging a cowboy hat around.
"Okay. I guess you're my huckleberry until Metzger gets back. I just hope he's not too peeved about your recent improvements."
"As far as he knows, you're getting the same gear he specified, " Wes said with a sly grin, "I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful, and mutually beneficial, friendship."
Jameson left the Lab Vault and approached the T.E.X., unsure if he'd just secured the services of a gifted genius, or a madman. Well, at least until Metzger gets back. Wes may possibly come in handy for more than just his tech skills; his martial skills when the first met showed promise. He could be Jameson's next protege'. The T.E.X. arrived and opened its doors.
"Howdy, Agent Jameson! I assume you'll be vamoosing right about now?"
"Yes. Main floor, please."
"Sure as shootin', I'll get ya there, quicker than a bobcat with a flamin' bag o' dog doo tied to its tail! Jes' leave it to me!"
Jameson hated the T.E.X.