Jameson: Yuletide (or All I Want for Christmas)
24 December, 0459Z
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Jameson slept more deeply and peacefully this night than he had in a long time. Dreams did not come to him tonight, which was a mixed blessing; most nights, he dreamed of someone he'd failed... someone he'd accidentally allowed to die. Given, it was the nature of his profession that people would get hurt. Collateral damage was always a possibility. But this person. This person was special. No, Jameson didn't dream tonight, and on a deep, subconscious level, he was glad for it. A voice began to wake him from his slumber.
"Okay, Agent Jameson, time to wakey-wakey, kid!"
With those words, two powerful hands grabbed Jameson by the shoulders and lifted him up out of bed. Jameson quickly shot a foot out to his assailant's midsection. His attacker dropped him to his feet, and Jameson readied himself for further hostilities. The man, who Jameson had kicked with enough force to crumple a normal assailant, simply backed away and began to laugh.
"Ho-ho-hoooboy, that was a helluva kick! Glad I'm packing a little weight up front to absorb it!"
Jameson simply stared at his intruder, who didn't appear to be hostile. In fact, he seemed to be in the best of spirits. He had a long, white beard. He was fat. He was dressed in the white, red and black of Kris Kringle, of Saint Nicholas, of Sinterklaas, of...
"Santa Claus?", Jameson asked skeptically. "Really? Santa Claus?"
"Indeed, Agent Jameson," the supposed Father Christmas replied with a chuckle. "Indeed I am. I wanted to pay you a visit this year, kid. You seemed to be kind of down in the ol' dumps, and I was hoping I could bring a little cheer to you this Christmas. You used to be a happy guy, but you're just a big ol' solemn, serious, absolutely-no-ho-ho-fun-at-all Office Agent."
"What? How? Wait," Jameson stammered. "How do you know I've been a bit downcast? How do you know what I used to be like, and how, how do you know I'm an Office Agent?"
"Well, I'm Santa, of course. Ho-ho-no, no. I'm kidding. I mean, not about being Santa; that's all on the up-and-up, kid. I actually am known as Santa Claus, or whatever they're calling me by, wherever they talk about me. But actually, I know you...", he began, and placed his white-gloved finger on the side of his nose (rather cherry-looking), and paused.
"Yes?", Jameson asked tersely, pushing for "Santa" to go on.
"Santa" winked and Jameson and replied, "Dramatic effect. It's the suspense that gets ya! Ho-ho-ho! Okay, okay, I actually know you in a more official capacity... one Agent to another."
If it were possible for Jameson's jaw to hit the floor, it would. He just stood there, looking at "Santa" for a few seconds before he was able to formulate a sentence. This was impossible. There was no way this man could be an Office Agent. He was too old, too fat, and probably too crazy for this. Plus, no one just blurts out that they're an Agent. Jameson pressed on for information.
"So you're an Agent? I've been in the game for some time now, and I've never heard of an Agent Claus, or Agent Santa, or Agent Kringle. When did you first start your career with The Office?"
"Santa" scratched his head as he thought. "Well, I guess I came into the service that would become The Office in, hmmm, about 398."
"398? What do you mean by 398," Jameson asked.
"398 AD, of course. The age of Late Antiquity, kid. Ho-ho-ho! I may be an antique, but I'm never late; especially when it comes to cookie time! Ho-ho-ho! But seriously, yeah, 398 AD," "Santa" replied.
"Okay. This? This is impossible. You couldn't have been alive in 398!"
"Yes I was."
"Well, siddown, kid, and I'll tell you a story. It's a doozy."
Jameson sat down on the edge of his bed, and "Santa" took a seat in the (very nice) chair at Jameson's bedroom desk.
"Don't you have packages to deliver, 'Santa'?", Jameson asked with a little bit of snark.
"Hey, kid, don't get all snarky on me!," "Santa" replied, still with a look of mirth on his face. "It was about 2359 EST when I came in here. What time is it now?"
Jameson looked at his bedside clock. "It's... 23... 59. What? How?"
"Twenty-four hour time-stopper field that goes world-wide at 2200 EST on December 24, every single year. Bammo! Magic! Ho-ho-ho!"
"There's no such thing as magic!"
"I know! It's actually science! Science that's been around since 320 AD, or so. It's just... well... secret science," "Santa" replied, with a huge grin on his face. It didn't look like a lunatic's grin, so Jameson was mildly relieved about that.
"Yepper, kid. Science that is so well-guarded, it's what people who aren't in the know call magic. But that's neither here nor there. You asked about how I keep being stubborn and not dying. Welp, around 320 or so, like I said before, a bunch of guys from all over the civilized world who were way smarter than me had secretly developed a lot of scientific advancements, and decided they should be used for the betterment of all mankind. Really esoteric, y'know what I mean? I guess today, they'd be referred to as alchemists. The things they created would blow people's minds, even by today's standards. You know that kid from the lab you recruited? What's his name? Wes?"
"Right. Wes," Jameson answered. This "Santa" really did know what he'd been up to.
"Yeah. Wes would look at this, get a big grin on his face, and probably pass out. It's. That. Geeky! Anyway, these big-brained guys came up with all of this technology, but wanted to keep it locked away, so as to prevent its use by some very bad boys and girls..."
"Bad boys and girls?"
"Sorry. It's hard to break character when you've been doing it as long as I have. Ho-ho... sorry. Right. These technologies possessed incredible power, like the time stop. However, these same well-intentioned and big-brained guys were kind of scared to use it on themselves. They didn't know how it would actually perform on a human being."
"They didn't try using animals?"
"According to them, animals don't have souls. They believed that a lot of this stuff had to do with the human's 'higher self'; the soul. So you can see where this goes."
"You were a guinea pig."
"Squeak squeak, went the Claus! Exactly! They interviewed hundreds, thousands of people to test this stuff out on, in order to find people they felt were 'worthy' of this type of power. I just happened to be one of 'em."
"But what about the others?"
"There were only eleven of us. Ten of 'em couldn't handle it. Committed suicide, sadly."
"Wait. How did they do that, if you're still alive?"
"Oh, they cut out the implant before they did the deed," "Santa" replied, and opened his ermine coat and woolen shirt. Right above his heart, there was a small scar with alchemical symbols tattooed around it. "See? Bammo! Science, er, magic!"
"Okay, so say you have all these 'powers', to include immortality. What does The Office have to do with this, and how are you still an Agent, without the higher-ups getting suspicious?"
"Office History 101, here goes. In 398 AD, everything seemed to be working fine with me. I'd been their guinea pig for at least 10 years. They figured if there was a time to good things with this stuff, then would be a good time to do it. So, the Officium Vigilantem, or Office of the Watchful, was created. I was their only Agent, and I was sent out to right wrongs, support the greater good, ease suffering, and whatnot. Over the years, the science that went into creating me as an Agent was lost. The supposed 'smart guys' still were afraid of the stuff and all died of old age, never leaving their secrets to anyone else. I'm all that's left of it. The Office itself continued on. It evolved throughout the ages; from it's Roman origins to now. It operated, and still operates, as an independent organization. I was still an asset, and only the highest elements of The Office's international branches knew about me. Well, until tonight."
"Why are you telling me, then? I'm only an Agent. I'm not anywhere near the top."
"Jameson, you're different than others. You're not the typical 'shoot 'em in the head, so I can get to bed' kind of Agent. I know. I've seen everyone's dossiers, and I've got an eidetic memory. You, out of all 'em, I can put on the 'nice' list," "Santa" replied, with a fatherly smile on his face and a pat on Jameson's shoulder. "You care."
"Maybe too much, Santa," Jameson said, "There's this one instance I can't get out of my head..."
"I know, kid. I know. Lemme tell ya, it'll get better. I guarantee it." "Santa" got up from the (very nice) chair and made his way to the window. "You'll have a Merry Chirstmas, Agent Jameson. I can guarantee that. We probably won't see each other again, but you never know."
"Thanks, 'Agent Claus'. A Merry Christmas to you, as well," Jameson said, knowing in his heart that the "jolly old elf" was telling the truth. If there were any lingering doubts in Jameson's mind, they were quickly evaporated by the sight of "Santa" stepping out the window... and falling up. Suddenly, Jameson was overtaken by sleep. One without dreams, peaceful, and deep.
He awoke on Christmas morning and felt someone in bed with him. Jameson slowly made his way out of bed, without waking the other occupant, who was covered completely by the blankets. He quickly and quietly secured his ASP, and extended it as he approached the bed. Readying for the worst, he tapped his mystery sleeping partner on the foot with the ASP, rousing them from sleep. Jameson heard a quiet moan, then a voice that he thought he'd never hear again.
"Good mornink, Jameson, and Merry Christmas," Svetlana greeted Jameson, sleepily.
Jameson almost fainted. She was here... alive. Svetlana let the blanket fall from her body, and Jameson could see a small scar above her heart, surrounded by alchemical symbols. He knew the old man wasn't just a guinea pig of the Officium Vigilantem. There was more to "Santa" than he would ever hope to know. But at this moment, on this day, in this room, Jameson saw a true Christmas Miracle, and he shed a tear of joy. The ringing of his phone broke him out of his thoughts.
"Hello?", answered Jameson.
"Bammo! Magic!", yelled "Santa" on the other end of the line, and then hung up.