Michael was assembling the last incendiary, trying not to react to the sweat dripping into his eyes. The trigger was really touchy.
The last meeting with Fi and her Jamaican contact hadn't gone so well. Last report, she'd been stable, but this really didn't-
"Really bad time, Mom," said Michael, not looking up. "High explosives. Not kidding. Could you please leave for a moment?"
"Who was that girl, Michael?"
Michael gritted his teeth, trying to separate the components to a less-volatile state. "What girl, mom?"
"She looked like she should be in school. Are you really bringing children into this business you're in?"
"Look," said Michael, finally separating the components, "if a kid's mixed up in this, I'd rather cripple them. They'd have a better future."
She paled. "Really?"
"Of course not." He pulled off his heavy gloves, then turned. "So what happened?"
His mother was holding a heavy bag in one hand, but had a worried expression just the same. "What's going on, Michael? I mean, I do try to understand, " she said, "but this is... I mean, children?"
"Mom," said Michael, "I can assure you, no kids, not in the US. Oversight wouldn't allow... hold on." He squinted at the seal on the bag. "Did she give you something else?"
"How did you know what-"
"Never mind how! What did she give you?"
"Oh, all right!" She handed him a bunch of celery. "Honestly, Michael, I just don't think I can keep up with this mess, but - "
He untied the cord and unrolled the paper from around the bunch, then studied it for a moment.
He started to giggle hysterically, then stifled it. He opened the bag, studying the small sheaf of paper-thin pieces, then re-read the note. "Twenty times stronger than any I know of," he said. He frowned. "I really hope I can estimate this right."
He started toward the door.
"What was so funny about that, Michael?" said his mother, unintentionally shrill.
Michael paused, then turned around.
"He said..." He took another look at the note.
Michael walked over and enveloped his mother in a big hug. "I love you, mom." Without another word, he turned and walked out the door.
"Michael, what did that note say say? Michael!"
She sighed. "Fine," she said. "You can tell me when you get - hm?"
She crouched down to pick up the note, then began to read:
I was in the neighborhood, and thought you might need a hand. It's high time favors were repaid, in any case. What's in the satchel is roughly twenty times more powerful than what you have in this era - at least, that what Ace assures me of; she picked it up on Rigel 4. Don't worry, I didn't tell her about Fiona; I know she'd cause some mischief, otherwise. Good luck! Perhaps we'll meet again.
- The Doctor
P.S. I know you had your differences last we met, but I think you should tell her you love her, at least once. It is Mother's Day, after all.