an employee for correction. Yes, I count beans for a living. I would like to
thank Holly Quinn for beta reading this for me, and Lori McDonald for her input
as well. Comments/criticism welcome. Anyone who wants to archive this is free to
do so, as long as you slap my name on it somewhere.
Disclaimer: only the accountant is mine. The rest belongs to Tatsunoko and Lori
McDonald, with some inspiration by Dan Rush. I have no expectation of profit of
any kind - this is just fan worship, so please don't sue me. To get the full
effect (especially the last several lines), read "Encounters" and "The Comm
Channel". Just dont be drinking anything when you do.
Warning: mild language, adult innuendo
By Katie Phillips
When did I start to hate Fridays? There was a time in my life that I looked
forward to Friday all week. It was the last day of work, and from 5 p.m. until
8 a.m. the following Monday, my time was my own. What happened? Where did that
TGIF feeling go?
I put my coffee down on my desk and saw the small pile in my in-box.
Oh, yeah, thats what happened. Hakase, why cant you do your own dirty work? You
send a bunch of kids to deal with Galactor for you, and you send me to deal with
that bunch of kids.
In two hours I was going to have a series of five extremely unpleasant,
possibly even near-death, experiences.
Id better call maintenance and give them a heads-up.
The problem with being an accountant is that when someone disagrees with a
financial decision, you get blamed for it. I just count the beans and tell the
Board of Directors how many we have, I don't tell them what to do with their
But I do have a few suggestions for them.
I sat down at my desk, opened the top drawer, and pulled out the bottle of
Tylenol. Call it a pre-emptive strike, but I would be lucky if I didn't walk
out with a migraine at the end of the day. All ISO employees are required to
turn in their expense reports every Friday morning. Fortunately, I only have to
review five of those reports.
Unfortunately, those five reports belong to the Kagaku Ninjatai.
I glanced over the Eagle's report as I tried to fish two pills from the bottom
of the bottle. So far, so good. Just one or two little problems.
I managed to drag two pills out of the bottle and down them with some coffee as
I moved on to the next report. I looked that one over briefly, put it down, and
grabbed the bottle bottle again.
It was going to be a long morning!
By 10 a.m. maintenance was on standby with various wall-patching and furniture
repair supplies, and the Kagaku Ninjatai were waiting on the bench outside my
I called the Eagle in first.
"Well, once again, yours is probably the most impeccably neat report in the
stack, Ken," I started. It always goes easier with him if you soften him up a
bit first. He smiled back at me with a smile that melts most girls hearts. It
doesn't work as well on this girl. "As you know, the ISO's position is that
your bar tab has no bearing on ISO business, and as such, is not a reimbursable
expense. You know I read these things every week, and yet you still try to sneak
this one past me every time you turn it in," I said, while doing my best to give
him that stern you-know-better look. The smile on his face quickly shifted to
that scolded-puppy look that I hate.
"The rest of your report was approved. Your credit card statement came in
yesterday and I have a few questions about the charges. What on Earth did you
buy at Barnes & Noble for $84.96?" I asked.
"Well, you see," he said, "the team therapist wouldn't release me for duty
until I purchased a few books."
"I don't want to know any more," I said. When it came to the team therapist, my
policy was "Don't ask, don't tell".
I reached into the petty cash box and withdrew $115.23 to cover his mileage for
the week. I really wish Hakase would just take an unmarked ISO fleet vehicle to
his meetings, instead of having a member of the KNT drive him around. It would
be so much cheaper.
The Eagle stuffed the five twenty-dollar bills down the front of his pants, and
the rest of the cash in the front pocket before he opened the door to the hall
and walked out. The swan held her hand out to him and said, "Cough it up, Ken."
I saw him hand her the cash from his front pocket and say, "That's all Ive got!"
I looked at the next report, and immediately decided to deal with that one
last. That made the Swan next.
"Good morning, Jun," I said, "Hakase has agreed to reimburse you for the cost
of your film, processing, enlargement and framing. He also thanks you for the
Jun smiled gratefully, "I think he'll find it useful."
"Now, when you signed up for your culinary arts course at the Junior College,
you knew that tuition reimbursement was conditional on you making a C average.
Id need a copy of your transcript before approving the rest of your request." I
knew darn well why there was no transcript attached. Jinpei had already posted
her grades in the break room by the coffee pot.
The smile disappeared and was replaced by a look that would freeze boiling
water, if she could actually boil water. From somewhere in her pocket she
produced a yo-yo and began carefully sending it up and down, her eyes never
leaving mine. Most people would probably not be intimidated by a 17-year-old
girl wielding a yo-yo, but I happen to know what she can do with it.
Her tuition reimbursement had been the bulk of her request, and I knew she was
counting on it, even though it was less than a hundred dollars. I did the books
for her cover operation, mostly because I didn't want to lose touch with private
sector accounting, but also because she could use some free financial advice. I
knew how tight her funds were right now, and that reimbursement could be the
difference between paying rent this month or losing the place. Then a thought
occurred to me, and I smiled ever so slightly.
"I'm sorry, Jun, but the Board is cracking down hard on anyone who deviates
from their budget. If the Eagle hadn't driven Hakase around in his personal
vehicle this week, I wouldn't have had to reimburse him $115. If it weren't for
Now, with the Eagle, all hints must be applied with a sledgehammer if you want
him to catch on. Fortunately, Jun was much more receptive to the subtleties of
statement I had just made. And more importantly, she put that yo-yo back in her
pocket! A devious grin spread across her face. I handed her the cash for the
photo and waited with great anticipation as she walked out the door. When the
door closed behind her, the muffled sounds of a rather short scuffle reached my
The Swallow didn't have an expense report to review, but I had to take a moment
to flip through my insurance file. There was a damage claim from Utoland City
that I had to discuss with him.
When I opened the door to call Jinpei into my office, it was all I could do to
keep my composure. Ken was on the floor, stomach down, arms and legs hog-tied
behind his back (interesting use of the yo-yo, I must say), still protesting
that she had gotten all he had. Jun was perched on his back, threatening a
strip search if he didn't hand the rest of the money over. Boy, was she going
to have fun when she figured out where he put it!
Jinpei walked in and sat in the chair facing me, propping his feet up on my
desk. He dangled his bolos in front of him, knocking them together annoyingly
as I picked up the damage claim. "Hakase wants you to have a look at this," I
began, "as your paycheck will be docked until the entire amount has been
He put the bolos down as he looked the paper over. "What!" he shouted, "It's
not my fault!
"I don't care if she took a picture of you lying butt-naked on a bearskin rug!
It does not give you permission to take out three squad cars and five street
lights with your bolos! They are for use on official ISO business, nothing
else," I responded. "Furthermore, if paying the ISO back does not make enough
of an impression on you, perhaps the new artwork behind the Monet in the dining
hall will. And if you don't remove your feet from my desk in three seconds, I'll
take everyone down there right now to have a look at it."
Like his sister, the kid could take a hint.
I sat down at my now foot-free desk and said, "You may go. Send Ryu in next."
Jinpei sulked to the door and opened it. "Where's Ryu?" he asked Jun. Jun now
had Ken on his back and was working at his belt buckle.
"He's around the corner at the vending machines," she told him, then turned
back to Ken. Ken tried unsuccessfully to wriggle away from her grasp.
"Goddammit, Joe! Help me!" he shouted, shooting a desperate glance at his
"Ken, just sit back and enjoy it while you can," Joe advised.
"Joe, I order you to get off your ass and get me out of this!"
"Well, in that case," Joe responded in a voice that said Ken was going to
regret that particular order. He walked over to where Ken was lying on the
ground and shooed Jun off of him. He grabbed Ken by the belt buckle and lifted
just a couple of inches enough to grant not only access, but an interesting
view as well. "Here ya go, Jun!" Jun took her time retrieving the wad of cash
as Ken shouted, "Shimatta! I am going to get you for this you sonofabitch!"
"What the hell do you want? You ordered me to get you out of it, so I got you
out of it! That's gratitude for you," Joe muttered and leaned back against the
Just then, Ryu returned and walked into my office, shutting the door behind him
as a gleeful Jun began releasing Ken from bondage - slowly.
"Geez, I miss all the fun!" the Owl whined. Of all the expense reports turned
in that morning, Ryu's would probably be the easiest, if only I could read it.
The tell-tale smudges, stains and wrinkles indicated that it had been filled
out as he dined on sushi last night, then wadded up and stuffed in his pocket
for the trip to my office the next morning. If I had any doubts, the
overwhelming smell of fish removed them quickly. I pulled out a fresh form and
rewrote the whole thing while we talked it over.
As he stood to leave my office, Ryu turned to me and asked, "Want me to send
Joe in now?"
"No. I'll call him in soon enough," I said.
"Suit yourself," he responded and he walked out the door. When the door shut
behind him, I rifled through my desk one more time. Tylenol, aspirin,
ibuprofen, morphine, ANYTHING!! Nothing.
I had no idea what to expect. Things had been a little different since Joe's
return from BC Island. Hed been crankier. I had already lost my favorite Ansel
Adams print to a flurry of shuriken, and the armory had experienced a fifty
percent employee turnover in three weeks.
I got up and turned around to the Picasso hanging behind my desk. I carefully
lifted it off its hooks and placed it gently on the floor, facing the wall. I
reached behind the filing cabinet and removed the dartboard that I had tucked
away back there, and hung it in place of my precious artwork. I glanced over my
Let's see! Letter opener, in the drawer you go. You, too, scissors. Pens and
pencils off the desk. Hmmm. Better get the stapler, too cuz you just never know.
Satisfied that the more dangerous office implements had been safely stowed out
of reach, I took my second visitors chair and moved it behind my desk.
If he has to get up to grab it, I might have time to escape.
I leaned out the door into the hallway, "OK, Joe, I'm ready."
Joe entered my office and sat down in the remaining visitors chair, promptly
placing his feet upon my desk. When I opened my mouth to tell him to remove his
feet, he glared at me as if to say, "Make me!"
I decided to drop it.
"First, Hakase wants to know how you managed to get a speeding ticket while
responding to a bird scramble," I said, "why did you pull over?"
"I didn't. They mail the damned things now," he said.
"Well, switch to bird-style before breaking the speed limit from now on, OK?"
Shuriken number one landed in the middle white ring of the dart board. If I can
just keep him out of the center, I might survive this.
"Second, munitions reports that they had to reload your weapon on Sunday. You
haven't been to the firing range or on a mission since your last reload. I need
an explanation or were going to have to take it out of your next paycheck," I
said, with more than a little trepidation.
Shuriken number two - bullseye! K'sO!
"I had a date," he explained, his icy stare pinning me to my chair.
I recovered quickly and quipped, "Perhaps you should consider the priesthood,
Joe. It's safer."
I never saw the shuriken fly, but the disturbance of hair at my temple and
resounding THUNK! behind my left ear told me I had just had another near-death
I really need to ask Hakase what happened on that island.
"Or perhaps you ought to stick with ISO personnel," I suggested with a nervous
He leaned over my desk, placing his face close to mine and said, "Are you
offering?" Millions of girls would kill to be in my spot at that moment, and at
that moment, Id have gladly let any of them have it. I sat back and tucked the
shuriken-loosened blonde strands behind my ear.
With Joe's luck, Id be dead before the entre arrived.
"Thanks, but I'm seeing someone." It was the best lie that I could come up with.
I was relieved when he walked out of my office shortly afterward, cash in hand.
I looked forward to a day of reviewing audit reports and analyzing accounts,
where my greatest danger lay in paper cuts. But first, I needed something for
my headache, so I sent a requisition to Medical.
By the end of the day, I was sitting behind my desk with my head in my hands,
fingers covering my face. The migraine I had feared earlier was well on its way.
Where are the pills I ordered this morning?!
The sound of two soft raps on the door brought my head up momentarily. "It's
open," I called, and put my head back down, squeezing my eyes shut. The door
slid open quietly and shuffling steps moved to the front of my desk.
"Nambu Hakase asked me to discuss this requisition you sent to the medical
personnel earlier," said a familiar voice.
Where do I know it from?
"Karen? A CASE of codeine? An entire case? What pain are you repressing? What
tortured nightmare deep inside yourself? Please! TALK to me! CONFIDE in me!
This repression, it's... it's..."
He wouldn't! I thought as I recognized the voice.
"It's not healthy!"