On the Sixth Day of Christmas, the Matrix Refugee fanficced for ye:
Redpills stealing a Christmas tree,
Harry Dresden for the holidays,
Frank Sweitz adopting a David unit,
One Chateau Christmas party,
One American Gods fic,
and An A.I. fic with David decorating his first Christmas tree.
by "Matrix Refugee"
Disclaimer: I don't own the "Matrix" series, its characters, concepts or other indicia, which belong to the Wachowski Brothers, Paul Chadwick, Warner Brothers, Village Roadshow Pictures, Joel Silver Productions, Burlyman Entertainment, Monolith, Sony Online Entertainment, etc.
Author's Note: This was a Christmas fic I'd wanted to write for some time, but there was never any place, even in my MxO storylines, to fit it in.
An ordinary morning in Sieges's construct office on board the Quinotaur, going over the spreadsheets of the family's recent income from some of their not-so-suspect sources of income, which Tranque had sent her earlier that day. Morraeon the reaper lay snoozing on a large dog bed beside the desk, sprawled out, with Danny-boy the sim lying beside her, the teeth marks on his shirtless chest starting to close up, while Vic the Sim stood at a table nearby, stripping and cleaning a shotgun: what the seven-foot monstrosity with the slave ring through his septum lacked in intelligence, he made up in knowing how to care for firearms.
Someone knocked on the door to her office. Sieges looked up from the spreadsheets laid out on her desktop. "It's open, come in," she said.
The door opened and her brother Merrill entered, adjusting the skirts of his long red leather trenchcoat. "Sister-mine, might you be able to bestow a moment of your time upon your brother?" he asked.
Sieges almost laughed, but she smiled instead. "Of course I can, what's up?"
"Sister-mine, it is almost Yule-tide as you know, and I was wondering if there was a favor which I could request of you," Merrill asked.
Sieges looked at him over her glasses. "What did you have in mind?"
Merrill rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "I wondered if I had leave to borrow the taller of Morraeon's homunculi."
She glanced to the Exile sleeping on the dog bed. "Well, you'd have to ask her about that, but what would you need Vic for?"
The simulacrum lifted his head, recognizing his name, but receiving no further orders, he returned his attention to running a wire brush down the inside of the gun barrels.
"I have need of him because there is a tradition I would maintain, even though I now dwell in the world beyond the world you and I were born into," Merrill said, his ivory-colored cheeks turning slightly pink.
Sieges tried not to laugh or roll her eyes. "Merrill, you don't mean sneaking into the city and stealing a Christmas tree."
He laughed a little. "Aye, that was the trick which I had in mind.
"We work for the Merovingian, we can afford to buy a Christmas tree, Merrill; we don't have to steal one," Sieges said. The tradition had started when Merrill was putting himself through college, sharing an apartment with three friends and just scraping by. They'd been too poor to afford a Christmas tree, so they'd swiped one from a lot two days before Christmas, when the dealers pretty much wanted to see the greenery gone. Since then, he'd continued to do the same stunt every Christmas, though often he would slip an envelope with a twenty dollar bill in it under the door of the small shack generally found on the lot.
"It is still a tradition I would like to continue. Since we are Redpills, the ones with the gnosis of this world, it should go easier for us," he said.
"In theory, yes," she said. "As long as the Agents don't spot us," she replied, leaning back in her chair.
"The guardians of the gates will not bother us: I scoped out a lot in Richland, where their watch is generally not so strict," he said.
"Well, all right," she said. She got up and nudged Morraeon awake with the toe of one foot. Morraeon growled, flicking one dog-like ear half hidden by her dense black mane of hair, her gloved hands twitching slightly. "Hey, wake up, lazy bones."
Morraeon snarled and the slit-like pupils of her lidless crimson eyes widened as she awakened and sat up. "Whut?" she demanded.
"Merrill's got something to ask you," Sieges said.
Merrill came around the corner of the desk and knelt. "Mistress Morraeon, Lady of the Thousand Knives and the Iron Talons, I would ask a favor of thee."
Morraeon's ears pricked up and her thin lips curled back from her dog-like teeth in a grin. "Ooh? A favor? I'd be delighted to have *you* in my debt, you handsome devil," she said, reaching up and tweaking Merrill's chin beard mischievously.
Merrill laughed nervously. "It is but a simple thing: I would like to have leave to borrow your homunculus known as Vic."
"Mmmr, and what for?"
"I need someone tall in order to help me steal a Christmas tree from a lot in Tabor Park," Merrill said.
Morraeon grinned like the proverbial rat-trap. "Say no more: he's aaaall yours for the night." She looked over her shoulder. "Hey, Vicky-boy." The sim approached and knelt beside her. "Go with Guitar-Guy here, he needs yer strength, yah big bunch of code." She reached out and squeezed Vic's bicep. The sim sucked a breath through his teeth, which somehow sounded like a pleased noise if it wasn't so unsettling.
"Do you want me to come along?" Sieges asked.
"Of course, this is a matter of the family and you are the matriarch of the clan," Merrill said, rising to his feet. The sim stood with him, eyeing him with something that could have been curiosity
"That 'n Vic is more likely to listen t' you, Miss Innocence, since I was part of you when I first made him," Morraeon said.
"Ugh, yeah, I remember that," Sieges said, wincing. "You're not coming?" she asked the Exile.
"Nah, I been delivering packages with the hot slice of Nerd Cake all day: I had a 'nuff o' that Christmas-Yuletide shite," Morraeon said, rolling over on her back.
Sieges reached for the phone and dialed the operator. "Gormanz, we're going Downtown to pick up the car."
"I'm on it, Madame le Nautonnier," Gormanz rumbled. The line clicked and she felt the skin prickle of her RSI decompiling and passing into the phone.
...She stepped out of the Baldwin Heights Central hardline, a cold winter evening breeze blowing under the skirts of her heavy white velvet trenchcoat. The code crackled behind her and she turned to see Merrill and Vic tumbling out of the hardline, Vic landing on top of Merrill.
"Oof... my fancies might run to the sterner sex at times, but Victor, you are not quite my type," Merrill grunted. The simulacrum got up, but made no move to assist Merrill off the ground. Sieges turned and helped her brother off the ground, leading him and the sim into the garage behind the hardline.
Once they reached the top level, she lead them to a car under a cover in the far corner and drew the tarp off it, revealing the black Impala she used from time to time. She took a key from around her neck, unlocking the driver's side door, getting in and opening the passenger side door for her brother. The sim stared at the car with its usual sinister blankness.
"Come on, Vic, get into the backseat," Sieges said. The sim bowed its head and climbing over Merrill, shoved himself into the back seat.
"Is this homunculus... functional at all in certain areas?" Merrill asked, nervously.
"A previous version was, I don't know about this one," Sieges said, taking a large pillow from under the seat and tucking it under herself before she keyed the ignition.
"How many incarnations of Vic have there been?" Merrill asked.
"I think this is number five," she said, pulling out of the parking space and steering for the ramp leading down to the exit.
They drove south, taking the viaduct bridge across the wide river that bisected the Mega-City, and pulled into Tabor Park, one of the more prosperous districts of Richland. Traffic had died down, given the late hour: the dashboard clock read just after midnight. A light snow had started to fall as they drove down a side street behind a vacant lot now turned into a forest of fir trees, surrounded by a high chain link fence topped with barbed wire. The string of Christmas lights draped on the wire fence still glowed, but the lot looked deserted.
"Okay, I see why you wanted Vic now," Siege said, staring up at the fence as she killed the ignition.
"Aye, it is a high fence and I will need a high perch from which to vault if I am to get over it," Merrill said.
The three of them got out, the sim loping along behind them. "Okay, Vic, just stand close by the fence," Sieges said. Merrill took off his coat and carefully taking off the beret which SenaDe, his captain, had granted him as a sign of his taking on the challenge of serving on the Cherubim and setting the beret carefully on the passenger seat of the car. He flung the coat over the barbed wire; he clambered up onto Vic's shoulders and vaulted over the fence, landing in a large pile of snow. On his head.
"Oops," Sieges said. "Need some help?"
Merrill burrowed out of the pile of snow, spitting out some of the fluffy stuff. "Not in the least, you have only to keep watch that no one comes by to trouble us," he said, brushing himself off. He rummaged among the trees, picking out several and showing them off to her. She finally selected a seven foot Frazier Fir which Merrill propped against the fence. He shinnied up the tree, leaped over onto Vic's shoulders and tugged the tree over the top of the fence.
"Nice tree! I just hope we've got enough ornaments," Sieges said.
"If not, I can code more." He turned to Vic. "Can you put the tree into the back of the car now, Vic?" Merrill asked the simulacrum.
Vic gave them a crooked grin and lifting the tree, hurled it into the back window of the Impala.
Sieges glared up at Merrill. "Next time let me give him the commands: he's fairly simple-minded, so you have to spell things out to him."
"His Excellency... won't be angered that we damaged this chariot, shall he?" Merrill asked, nervously.
"Not him, but one of the Lupines might," Sieges said. "Feronus likes to use this from time to time."
She made a note of the location and pulled the price tag off the trunk of the tree, pocketing it before she got into the driver's seat of the car.
The Sentinel December 23rd -- Christmas Tree Lot Manager Reports Miracle Compensation
TABOR PARK -- "I never expected to find that much cash," says Mike Gutenburg, owner of the Dan-Dee-Lyons florist and ice cream parlor. The night before last, a seven foot tree was stolen from the Christmas tree lot behind the store, but this morning, a satchel containing close to twenty thousand dollars was found in the sales office in the lot. There was no sign of forced entry and the bills do not appear to be linked to any robberies. "This windfall could not come at a better time," reports Gutenburg. "My wife recently had a kidney transplant and we're having a hard time paying the hospital bills. Business hasn't been great either, and we've gotten behind in paying our rent. Whoever gave us this money is nothing short of an angel."
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