TinySprite: (eyes burning in writing fury) This is for a friend...and also because the plot bunny is holding my candy stash hostage...
Kamakura: (looking around) Has anyone seen Sensei? Scarlett's looking for him.
Tiny: Later! (snaps fingers) Disclaimer now!
Heavy Duty: (looking at a list) Guess it's my turn.
Disclaimer: TinySprite owns nothing of GI Joe aside from Hasbro approved items. Only the original characters are hers, if that.
It started out a good day, really honestly. Cobra hadn't attacked, the sun was shining, and the temperature was just perfect for spending time outdoors. In addition, many of the greenshirts were enjoying some down time, intending to relax as much as possible. Especially a certain group, who were ignoring the absence of a group member in hopes of a (somewhat) normal day off.
Then, the missing member called a meeting and the day rapidly soured. In the chosen place, a small closet in a random hall in the Pit, a short male greenshirt in the standard uniform was waiting. Having previously been a supply closet, much of its contents had been slowly transferred to various other closets to make room for a beat up table and five small folding chairs.
At the head of the table was where he sat, his eyes focused on the papers and charts before him. His dark hair and dark eyes seemed even more so in combination with his pale skin and the bad lighting of the closet. Muttering under his breath, he visibly was losing himself in whatever scheme he was cooking up in his head.
He actually missed the door opening to let in a grumpy male taller than himself, also in the standard greenshirt uniform. His light brown hair was cut short and his also light brown eyes quickly narrowed in on the other. Stomping over to his own chair, the newcomer flopped himself into it, growling, "This better be good Napoleon! I was about to take a nap!"
He was ignored, as usual, in favor for a quick jotting down of whatever had come into his fellow's mind. With a sigh, he sat back, knowing nothing would break Napoleon out of this mindset until they were all here. The door opened again to let in a very tall male, again in the standard uniform. With his deeply tanned skin, well defined muscles and normally playful green eyes, all that was missing was for his blond hair to be grown out to complete the surfer look.
The new greenshirt sat himself next to the brunette, exchanging a companionable nod with him, "Mercury, you look tired."
Mercury snorted, "Got denied my nap. What about you Atlas?"
Named mainly for his height, the blond shrugged, "I was about to play some cards. I think this just saved me maybe fifty bucks."
The smaller greenshirt made a noise of possible agreement, "You know what this is about?"
His question was countered with another, "Do you?"
Silence answered them both, revealing Napoleon had yet again shared no information about this meeting. After a minute, the door opened yet again, letting in two females. One, a petite reddish-brunette with lightly tanned skin, was yet again in the standard uniform. The other girl, a medium brunette of average height with skin a darker tan, was instead in mechanic's coveralls. Both had blue eyes, but the mechanic's were a much darker shade.
They seated themselves in the two free chairs, the smaller girl lightly while the other dropped herself almost rudely into the chair. Leaning back in her chair, the brunette pulled a piece of hard candy out of her pocket. Peeling the wrapper off, she flicked it onto the table, popping the candy into her mouth after asking, "So, what are we doing today?"
Her harsh tone seemed to snap Napoleon out of where he was, earning her a light reprimand, "Candy, no trash on the table."
Candy ignored him, but the other girl helpfully plucked the wrapper away to toss into the little trash can in the closet. The small male nodded at her, "Thank you Squeak. Now, as for the matter of today, I've looked into our budget and noticed we are quite short of funds."
The other four looked at each other, clearly not understanding. Atlas tried to reason with him, "Um, Napoleon, GI Joe is one of the best funded units, I don't see -"
The short male slammed his hands on the table (earning a sharp and almost painful squeak from the petite girl), eyes full of fury, "No no! OUR budget is lacking! We do NOT have sufficient funds for our projects!"
At once they all groaned, realizing this was going to be one of 'those' days. Squeak sighed, "Better than helping out in the kitchen...I'm on dessert duty tonight."
Atlas gave her a confused look, "But you make great pi-"
She surprised all of them by jumping up and slamming herself into a corner, shrilly yelping out, "Don't say that! You'll bring him here!"
Even Napoleon looked at her like she'd lost her mind. Candy tried to soothe her, "Squeak, it's been weeks. I'm pretty sure he won't know it was us that started that trap fad."
The brunette girl gave her a look, "Sgt. Major knows his..." she stopped herself before continuing on, "his p-i-e-s! He'll know I was the one to make the first bait!"
The other four sighed, Mercury rubbed his forehead, "Squeak, you're taking this too far. After all, he'd only recognize it if you made the same one again, right? Isn't tonight's supposed to be banana cream?"
She stayed silent, a clear indicator she knew something they didn't. Napoleon's eyes lit up and he leaned forward, eager for the information, "What is tonight's dessert flavors?"
The small girl muttered something. Atlas prompted her gently, "Come on, you can tell us. We're your friends Squeak, promise."
She was silent for a minute more, before finally admitting, "Tonight we're serving banana cream...and shoofly pie."
Everyone was so silent, they probably could have tricked Storm Shadow into thinking the room was empty..if he wasn't paying strict attention. Napoleon finally broke it, disbelief clear in his voice, "That...that was banned..."
The cook shrugged, "Someone convinced Hawk to allow the kitchen to serve it again. Sgt. Major's been visiting the kitchen and surrounding area as much as possible since about lunch."
Now they knew why she'd reacted so earlier. BeachHead had probably tried to convince the greenshirt cooks to let him have an early slice of the previously denied treat. Another brief silence came about, which Napoleon broke yet again, a wide smile on his face, "This is perfect!"
"It is?" Mercury stared at him, his remark mirrored on the others' faces. The short male chuckled, standing up out of his chair to properly divulge his plans, "We need to raise money for our cause, the Sgt. Major is distracted by a rare good, which gives us time to put our plan in motion."
He started to strut around the table, which prompted Squeak to sit back down to avoid being in his way, and continued on, "You see, we need to collect our money just so, to avoid raising any suspicion."
Napoleon stopped himself in front of his seat, looking out at the four before him, "Assignments are as such: Atlas and Mercury, you're both to run interference and collect subjects, I don't care how. Kidnap them if you have to! Candy, you're also to collect subjects and help set up. Squeak, you're on snacks and set up as well. As for myself, I shall take care of information and layout."
Everyone stared at him. Napoleon stared back, clearly wondering why they weren't jumping up and doing their jobs. Candy sighed, placing a hand over her eyes as she crunched her now thin candy, "What are we doing? This sounds kinda big this time."
Their self-claimed leader blinked, "I didn't say?"
"No!" was the resounding answer from all four. The short man seemed shocked that he'd missed such an important detail and quickly clarified, "We're taking pictures."
Mercury couldn't believe it, "Pictures? Really?"
He received a nod as an answer. Atlas threw his hands out, clearly about to just up and leave, "Why are we taking pictures?"
The received answer confused the other two men, "For the calender of course."
The girls however clearly got what he meant. Candy sat up straighter, eyes lit up in interest while Squeak blushed and ducked her head down some. The mechanic giggled, "Like those firefighter and construction worker ones?"
Napoleon nodded, without shame, "I've done some extensive research and noticed a surprising lack of military ones...well, at least ones with male subjects."
Squeak stammered, her entire face a deep red, "W-who are we g-getting?"
Their leader's face fell somewhat, "Whoever we can get."
Mercury groaned as it all clicked in his head. Those calenders...as much as he wanted no part of this, he just knew he was going to be dragged into it somehow. Looking at the larger man, it was clear Atlas had the same line of thinking. With a sigh, the chemist asked, "And just how is this going to make money? They're going to want to know where the money's going and I doubt they'll just hand it over to us."
Napoleon smirked, "From the calender sales of course. Those profits will pad our budget nicely."
Atlas shook his head, "No, no it won't. First off, how are we getting them made? And second, do we even have permission for this? If we were any other unit there wouldn't be that much of a problem, but this is GI Joe. I doubt Hawk will allow the sale of anything that could be used to identify a Joe."
Napoleon's face fell a little, but he still had a small smile on his face, "Who said we were selling to the public? There's a large number of women here that we can cater to. Who knows, this might even win someone a date! As for getting them made, I figured we could do it. Just get some supplies and all that, using the profits to make up for it."
The other two men frowned but quieted down. It seemed that unlike most of his plans, the short male before them had actually taken the time to think this through. An idea popped into Atlas' head, prompting him to ask, "And just what is this money being used for? I'm not going to trick honest guys into giving money for something selfish."
Napoleon actually looked somewhat hurt at that, "That's a surprise but trust me, it's not a selfish subject."
Mercury tried a last ditch attempt, "What if we got more people than we need? There's only so many months in a year!"
Their leader regained his smirk, leaning forward to put his hands on the table, "Lottery system, but profession might play a factor. Like guys with cold weather jobs would get the cold months and those with warm jobs would get the warm months."
Candy nodded, adding in, "Like Snow Job might get December and Dusty would get June?"
Napoleon smiled at her, "Exactly! Any extra photos would be compiled in a portfolio with permission and sold separately. If there's a tie, we'll see if the men in question wouldn't mind sharing the month, as in they take a picture together. If not then we'll have a tie-breaker judge come in or just give it to someone else if possible."
Squeak piped up, "Who'd be the judge?"
He hesitated, "Still working on that. Hawk would be a good choice, but I'm tempted for another lottery system using the ladies of Joe. This calender does appeal to them more than us men so it seems more practical, yes?"
Candy and Squeak happily nodded while Mercury and Atlas were resigning themselves to this. Atlas came up with another stalling tactic, "Just how are we getting people and who are we using? Joes or greenshirts?"
Napoleon pointed at him, "Like I said, anyone we can get, anyway we can!"
Mercury tried one last attempt, "And where are the pictures taking place?"
The short greenshirt smirked, "Subject's choice, if possible. Otherwise, whatever fits them best. However, I doubt we'll be able to do anything off base and I don't want any subject completely naked. Shirtless is very much preferred but nothing shorter than Ranger panties if they've got them. If not, swim trunks at the least."
Mercury sighed and finally gave in completely, knowing he wasn't winning this time. Atlas had a similar expression on his face. The girls simply looked too happy. Their leader clapped his hands, in full swing now, "So, let's get to work people!"
The girls jumped up with a cheer and shot out of the room, while the two guys dragged themselves out of there. However, a second later, Squeak poked her head back in, "Hey Napoleon, when are we doing this?"
He clarified it for her, "For now, we're trying to set everything up. We'll actually take pictures in about next week at best. But still try to get subjects and find out what times we can work with them."
Seeing a sudden doubt on her face, Napoleon smiled kindly, "Don't worry Squeak. I already checked with Hawk. So long as the calender stays in GI Joe or at the very least, nothing identifiable to GI Joe or the subject's identity is within the photo, we've got the all clear. Have trust in your leader!"
She smiled, clearly relieved and scampered off, hopefully to spread that information to her fellows. Napoleon walked over to close the door after her before returning to his seat. Straightening his papers, he double checked that everything was in order before tucking them away in a manila folder. Assured of that, he left the closet, turning off the light behind himself.
This plan would succeed. There was no way it couldn't.
Tiny: Okay, here's the first part! More to come soon!
Snake Eyes: (hiding a bag behind his back, trying to sneak it out)
Jynx: Sensei, is that can-(gets cut off by furious hand-signing)
Tiny: (hasn't heard them) Feedback is very much appreciated!