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Games without Frontiers

By Crack Alchemist

Prologue

Rating: PG

It had been a lazy day at work, which left Jean lethargic as he puttered around his small flat, scraping the last bits of meat from the flimsy paper take away container. He paused in front of his laundry in the corner beside his bed and squinted at the rather large, offending pile. As he considered it, he wondered how long he could go before he would have to get it done.

He saw from the sad state of his closet that he was down to one regular uniform, his dress uniform and one suit that he wore when he went on dates. He grimaced and made a face at it, hanging there in near pristine, virtually unused condition. Looking down at his shirtless self, he realized he was down to his last pair of pajama bottoms. He probably could go another two or three days before the Colonel gave him that look that said he noticed that the uniform he wore was on the verge of mutiny. He certainly couldn't go much longer than that before the First Lieutenant pistol-whipped him all the way to the laundress.

He chucked the container in the trash and collapsed on his couch just as the phone rang. He sighed and answered it, wondering who would be calling him at that late hour. Certainly it wasn't a potential date; as far as that part of his life went, his well had definitely run dry. He listened attentively when he heard Lieutenant Colonel Hughes's voice on the other end.

Then when he heard the Lieutenant Colonel's crack-pot scheme unfold, Jean thought that perhaps the fumes from ink used to reproduce all those papers in the Investigations Division at Central had finally rotted Hughes's brain. But, he told himself, the Lieutenant Colonel out-ranked him, so he kept that opinion to himself.

He had absolutely nothing to say while he processed the scheme and the request that came with it, and could only listen to the crickets calling outside of his window while he summoned up some sort of intelligent response.

After a moment, he gave up. He had nothing.