“There are two schools of thought when it comes to how to deal with family as a free agent. The cynical agents like to say that you “sold your family for a big payout” but I and others like me have people we consider to be family and so we had to figure out how to deal with it. Some people made a point of not letting their family members know anything about what they did. I don’t think this is very wise because when someone kidnaps them they won’t know what is going on and no one will believe them.
I have found that the best option is to tell them what you do and train them. Reynolds agreed with me and thus his daughter knew a man’s vital points by the age of 6. By 7 she could outshoot most first time agents. The one time someone tried to kidnap that little girl, it was some random street punk who thought he could ransom her back to her parents, she pulled out her little pistol and shot him in the groin. By the time the local security responded she had him pinned and begging to turn himself in. Reynolds would have been proud of his daughter.”
“Trust your instincts, Little One.” John ordered his daughter as the training pole swept her feet out from under her. She had been training between her study sessions since he had brought her back to The Bunker. Her hair had started to grow back and she was starting to ask about going to this school thing she had heard about online. “I’m not letting you go somewhere alone until you can look after yourself and that means. Trusting. Your. Instincts.” Each word was punctuated by a poke from the training pole.
She closed her eyes for a second to steady herself and picked herself up. She had made remarkable progress since she had come to The Bunker. Academically she had almost caught up to where a child of her age should be and she had absorbed the knowledge of the scientists at the facility, so in many respects she had passed her peers. What had been going slow was acclimating her to how things worked on the outside. She had never been fed real food so the first time they had had a meal together he had had to explain what each thing was and how to use the utensils.
The pole came in on her right and she managed to dodge it this time. John sped up the next strike and she dodged it again. He repeated this until it finally touched her. Her speed and reaction time had increased from .8 SH, standard human abilities, to 1.2 SH in the last few seconds. That put her on par with the low end augmented agents. “See what I mean? Continue improving like that and I will look for a school to send you to when the next semester starts. If that is still what you want.”
“Why wouldn’t I want to go to school? I thought that is what kids were expected to do.” She ducked the blow when it came next and managed to catch it in her hand. That signaled the end of training for the day.
“School moves slower than you are used to. I can still challenge you if you want me to teach you but at school you are going to have to slow down to normal human levels. Also, you will be the only one with an implant and that can separate you from the rest.” John tossed her her water bottle and flopped down in a chair. He had been that kid. A bad car wreck had put a piece of metal in his heart and it had needed replaced. It had been done before but it was risky to give a child an implant, especially in those days. Maintenance was also a chore, John remembered having to go to the hospital at least once a month to make sure it wasn’t killing him and Fixer had said that Little One would need to get checkups at least twice a year.
She nodded that she understood and sat in the chair next to him. She drank from her water bottle while she pondered what to do. “I want to give it a shot.” She finally decided “I’ll go for a month or two and if it is too slow I will go back to studying here.” Her watch buzzed and she jumped up “Uncle Johnny said he would take me to the movies today. I’ll be back later.” Johnny was the driver on the mission and had insisted that she call him uncle when they first met. He had officially stopped taking jobs a week ago and found himself in the same boat John had, he had too much time. Him and the other “regulars” had started to help with Little One’s education.
John smiled and tossed her a chip card, so she could buy food and stuff if Johnny would allow her. “Be good and remember to show Johnny respect.” With some of the others he would have told her to call him when she got out of the theater but Johnny had set the wagon, which he drove everywhere now, to send him an alert when they were headed back.
“Cute kid.” Prometheus’s voice came from the door way. He sat down in the chair Little One had just been occupying and pulled out a hip flask. “I honestly didn’t expect to find the fabled Angel of Death had a soft spot for kids. You never seemed like the type.”
“I always wanted kids one day.” John reflected “After the battle and the procedures your former scientists put me through I couldn’t have any of my own though.” John turned to face Prometheus “Are you here as a man or as a corporation?”
“Both if I’m being honest. I’m getting ready to retire and write my memoirs.” He sighed and drank from his flask. “I was looking around the other day and I realized that I’m all that is left of the old group. It’s just a bunch of young up and comers who think they know best. So I decided to say fuck it and get out before they try to take me out. I’ve got one last official job to give out though.”
“I’m out of the game Prom. You know that.”
“I just need to borrow your gun and your reputation.” Prometheus laughed “I know you have that cannon from the war stored somewhere around here. I am going to shoot the guy who is in my office right now.”
John laughed and got up. “It’s on the roof. Just type my rebirth day into the keypad up there.”
Prometheus thanked him and went to do what he had said he was going to. It made sense to someone like John. The first person to take his job was bound to be to ambitious and view Prometheus’s retirement as a victory. The alarm for the firing went off throughout the building and the lights dimmed as it fired. The surrounding buildings were fine but the sound of screeching brakes and pissed off people coming from outside meant that someone’s windshield had cracked, and possible their mirrors too.
The news reported on the shot the next morning. Prometheus had managed to catch the new guy as he was addressing the company. The whole company had watched the grubbiest member of the leadership get turned into a fine red mist in real time. The stock went up and made John just a little bit richer. It was a good day.