[ooc: Technically not an OOM, but....]


A typically disgruntled Zed has been sitting in the bar he hates, drinking the bourbon he loves, surrounded by people who make him crazy. But the bourbon has been a welcome break from all the after-action reports he's been reviewing from a delicate mission for a rookie agent that went badly wrong.

That sort of thing doesn't happen very often back in Zed's world. Just about all of Zed's missteps during the whole of his thirty-plus year career in the MiB have happened in the last five years and been oddly clustered within the confines of one particular multiversal bar.

Funny how that happens.

Which is why Zed normally spends as short a time in Milliways as possible, and that usually means he never has to use the facilities (or as he's wont to say, take a leak). But those depressing reports back in the office made one more bourbon sound like a good idea, so now he's feeling the urge. Of course, in theory his office is only on the other side of the Door, but people are people and it only makes sense to take care of business before heading back.

So Zed is washing up in the men's room of Milliways when an apparition appears in the mirror. Inevitably, it's former rookie Agent F, standing behind him.

Zed sighs and mutters, "Goddamnit."

He turns. "Agent F."

Agent F stomps forward, "What the hell, Chief? I mean what the--?"

"Now wait a goddamned minute!" Zed barks. F stops in his disembodied tracks.

"Did I not warn you ahead of time?" he growls.

"Yeah, but--."

"Did I not warn you three times?"

"Yeah, but--."

"Did I not specifically tell you not to call the Xigawak ambassador 'Ambassador'?"

"Yeah, except--."

"Did I not tell you exactly what you'd be saying about his mother if you did?"

"Well, yeah--."

"Did I not I tell you exactly what would happen? With three diagrams, a spectrometer, and a holographic simulation?"

"That was a pretty good simulation," F allows.

"And then what you did do?"

F mumbles.

"Huh? Speak up!"

"I, uh, I went right up to the Xigawak ambassador, and said, "Welcome to Terra, 'Ambassador Blowak!"

"And what did he do?"

"That simulation really was a pretty good."

"Wasn't it just? Goddammnit, F. I can't save agents from themselves. And don't think I don't wish I could sometimes."

F ruminates on that for a while. Then: "So what happens now, Chief? Am I stuck here, like you used to be?"

"No, this is just the Landlord fucking with me. It's got nothing to do with you, F. You've earned your leave, with interest. I'm taking care of the paperwork now."

"It's not gonna say--."

"--It's my call, F. You made a mistake, but you're not the first agent who did, and not the last either. Full honors and reputation in good standing. My word on that."

F beams. "Thanks, Chief."

Zed nods. "Get some shuteye, Agent."

F is still beaming as he fades. And when the vision has completely disappeared, Zed sighs and looks up.

"There, you sonuvabitch, had enough holiday fun now?"

The Man in Black heads for the door back into the bar, but just before opening it, he stops and turns back toward the room. "One other thing."

"You want to screw with Agent K, you want to screw with me, fine. You dragged the both of us in here, and we're prepared to put up with Your demented fun and games."

He pauses.

"But if You fuck with another of my people like that again, then whatever and wherever You are, You and I will be having words. Count on it."

Zed slams the door on his way out. And the room remains quite silent after him.



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