Bad Habit

Cold Open

Jim Beam is a hero of a first-person shooty action game. (Only ironic relation. I introduced this character almost exactly a month ago.)

This time he’s at a ritzy party where Dr. Nitro is courting patrons for his new mad science project. Beam is here with his girlfriend, Reia Deal on a special mission to uncover the nature of Dr. Nitro’s plot. Beam is under strict orders not to engage at this engagement.

That was the plan.

Beam doesn’t finish his third Martini before he is apprehended by Nitro’s goons and taken to a serious room. Jim is bound, gagged and smacked around a bit. His hero powers finally kick in, at which point he breaks free, busts up the chair and brings industrial-strength hurt to the goons. Not necessarily in that order.

Beam trashes the maintenence area, the kitchen, the courtyard with the erotic fountain and and the goon’s lounge. Someone activates the send-reinforcements silent alarm, and soon the area is swarming with Nitro’s Ninjas™ cat-suited assassins with silenced pistols.

That’s it. The hardware comes out. First, the revolver that can explode the head of a moose. Then the bullpup-combo scoped assault-rifle hybrid with high-explosive armor-piercing rounds. Ninjas die horribly. Then the heavies. Then the police. Then the SWAT guys. The gunships are closing in when Reia swings around with the car and picks him up in a back alley, and they speed into the night.

Reia is livid. This was totally supposed to be a covert op. And you blew it, Jim. Three drinks? You promised. We found nothing on Nitro’s project and besides I only got to hit up three of the patrons for sponsorship, and I need more art supplies. This is a big project Jim. Please don’t mess this up for me.

The Stan Studdly Event

Mr. Studdly is an official at Ace Ames and Acme Industrial Supplies (AAAIS), a colleague to Dr. Nitro and personal friend to Reia. Reia is invited to Stan’s next big do (Hopefully she won’t bring him.) This serves as a perfect cover to probe for AAAIS transactions between Studdly and Dr. Nitro. Also to for Reia to find patrons for her next big gallery show! Reia is so excited!

Beam must sneak into the office and grab Studdly’s invoice history for the last six months. And not get discovered.

It’s all going according to plan. Reia is at her foxiest best. Studdly’s office unguarded and removed from the social areas. The confusing art nouveau hallways allow for easy evasion of the security detail.

And look! It’s Bob the Bodacious Bartender, master of the magnificent mudslide, serving in the garden. That’ll make it exceptionally easy to take the edge off and have valid cause to visit the bathroom. From there to the office without a hitch. We’re in like…

It’s A Trap! Nitro’s Ninjas™ storm from all sides and converge on Beam in the office. There’s–just–too–many!

Beam goes dynamic. Weapons hot. Fire-at-will. Mass panic. People scatter. Goons. Heavies. SWAT… Reia finds Beam in the smoke and leads him to the emergency steps down through the back. What was that about? Ninjas? All this just for ninjas?

Beam and Reia sneak through a couple of backyards out to the street. Police are cordoning off the block as Beam walks away.

What happened Jim? You’re losing it Jim. You’re ruining me, Jim. I’ve getting sick and tired of the loose cannon routine, Jim. Where’s the invoice history Jim?

It Gets Worse

It’s happens some more. And then some more.

Movie night with friends: Nitro Goons with SMGs. Big firefight ruins the entire night. Jim, you’re writing them an apology.

Big business meeting: Ninjas storm the western meeting room. Firefight. Maintenance closes the floor for three days clean up. Lecture from boss.

Intimate dinner with Reia: Traffic. Gunships. Ninjas in the ally-way. Three hours late. Sleeping on the sofa.

The Shadow Council

Mr. Shade leads the review. A mark of death is not an easy thing to live with, Mr. Beam. Recent events seem to suggest your profile has elevated. Nitro wants you dead, and this makes you… unsuitable for covert ops.

Ms. Silhouette asks, have you considered work as light cover?

Mr. Haze notes that he wouldn’t be able to receive newcomers, which is a typical light cover duty.

Ms. Silhouette notes that there is plenty of need for diversionary agents to keep Mr. Beam busy.

Mr. Shade points out we’ve not yet decided whether a permanent career change, or even retirement are required, but the current trend cannot continue. Mr. Beam’s very own life is on the line.

Ms. Silhouette suggests that a temporary reassignment to less risky position might be in order. Along with a rehabilitation regimen.

Mr. Shade finally levels the question, Mr. Beam, are you willing to honestly reconsider your lifestyle in order to preserve your career at the agency?

Mr. Beam has to think about it.

The Gauntlet

Reia’s cleared her own house of booze. Reia’s willing to forgive everything if Beam will stay on the wagon. I just want my old Jim back.

Beam pops by home to gather some clothes. His fridge is full of beer. Ninjas.

Beam goes to officer’s lounge at work for lunch. Bourbon station. Ninjas.

Beam encounters a friend on the street. Let’s talk. Bar. Ninjas.

Beam discovers hidden booze at Reia’s. Ninjas.

Beam colleague cracks out some liquor to de-stress at the cubicle. Pours Beam a shot. Ninjas.

Outing with Reia to hang with mutual friends. Everyone’s drinking fancy beers. Ninjas.

Beam’s mission: Get from morning to work to bedtime without shooting anyone. Without ninjas.

Inspired by this. Thanks, Onion.

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