Arthur hates his birthday. He hasn't mentioned it for thirteen years. One time Eames asked him when his birthday was, Arthur gave a curt reply that stunned the whole room into silence.
"I don't celebrate my birthday"
"Why? You can't be worried about getting old already, you only look 26."
"Oh come on just tell me when it is." Eames was pouting now.
"Because if I tell you and someone wishes me a happy birthday, they will get punched in the face."
The subject was dropped immediately.
2 months later.
"The CEO of the Tyler Corporation, the biggest gaming company on this side of the Atlantic, has announced the launching of their new satellite will take place this weekend."
Ariadne switched of the TV. "I never did like Richard Tyler. Man's a smug asshole."
Arthur looked like he was trying not to smirk.
"Well tough because he's our new mark" Cobb paused for the collective groan. "Anyone not know his basic background?" Yusuf shook his head.
"Richard Tyler's brother Michael founded the company in 1987. Michael Tyler died in 1999. He was murdered on a Georgetown street along with his wife and daughter. In his will he left 49% of the company to his brother and the rest to his son, Samuel, who witnessed the killings. Samuel Tyler hasn't been seen or heard of since that day. He let his uncle do whatever he wanted with the company. Our job is to get inside Richard Tyler's head and get him to not launch that satellite."
"Why?" Arthur asked "What's so bad about a satellite?"
"Our employer believes it' purpose is to spy on people who buy their products" Cobb replied "Anyone got any basic ideas?"
"We could forge his nephew, he has more of the company, so he could just order Tyler not to launch it." Eames suggested.
"You know what he looks like then, do you?" Ariadne asked.
Arthur looked like he wanted to say something but then changed his mind and closed his mouth.
Eventually they came up with a very basic idea. Ariadne created a copy of the Tyler Corporation building and the plan was to break into it and work their way up to Tyler's office and force him at gunpoint not to launch the satellite. When Tyler woke up he should be shaken enough to do it for real.
On the day of the job, Ariadne commented to Arthur as they waited for Cobb and Eames to bring the mark back so they could hook him to the PASIV.
"You look rather pale. Are you ok?"
Before he could reply, Cobb and Eames burst into the hotel room dragging an unconscious Richard Tyler.
"Hurry" Cobb ordered. Five needles were slipped into wrists and the button pressed. They were drenched with rain instantly as they stood outside a huge skyscraper.
"Obviously Tyler's office is at the top of that thing." Ariadne said with a sigh. They entered the building as inconspicuously as they could. Eames quickly slipped into a pretty brunette and approached on the employee projection to flirt his way into being told where exactly it was.
They made their way to the seventh floor, but that was where their luck gave out and projections swarmed from all sides.
The clattering of gunfire was deafening, the iron smell of blood clinging to their nostrils and blinding halogen lights swung above, not helping their progress. When eventually they were alone in the hallway they approached Tyler's door.
"Dammit, it needs a code." Cobb swore.
A six digit number was needed to unlock the door.
"Tyler's in there, how do we get in" Eames said.
Arthur spoke for the first time, "Cobb, you and Eames go and guard each end of the corridor and warn us for projections, I'm going to see if I can work out the code."
Both men nodded and left. Ariadne turned to Arthur.
"Are you any good at this sort of thing?"
"No idea, never tried it before. However I'm about to do something that will confuse you, but I swear I'll explain later."
Ariadne opened her mouth, probably to ask him what the hell he was on about, but Arthur didn't give her a chance. He turned to the digit panel and typed in 311099. The door opened at once and Arthur slipped in the door and closed it not giving her a chance to follow.
The dark haired man with his back to the door turned around.
"Cobb! Eames!" Ariadne yelled. Both men came charging down the hallway.
"What the hell? Where's Arthur?" Eames asked.
"In there" she pointed at the door "he knew the code"
"Well that's good we wanted to get in there" Cobb said.
"No I mean he knew the code. Without guessing. Like he's been here before."
There was a silence.
"I told you to call me Arthur the next time we met."
"And I think all this hiding is ridiculous. Why don't you just take back the company?"
"I told you I don't want it."
They locked glares for a while, and then Richard Tyler sighed and sank into his chair.
"Why the visit Samuel?"
"Don't call me that. The satellite launch, you need to stop it."
"Is that an order Samuel?" his tone was mocking.
"If it has to be" Arthur's gaze narrowed. "I may not want to be in charge here but I will not have you use my father's company to spy on people."
"Very well Sammy."
The three people outside the door jumped at the lone gunshot.
"What was that" Ariadne's hand was on her heart.
Richard Tyler gazed at the bullet hole slightly to the left of his head, embedded in the chair.
"Call me Sammy again and I won't miss. Only my parents could call me that"
"I raised you after their death. Doesn't that count for anything?"
"No. You were a lousy guardian. I was miserable, lonely, scared and a child. You manipulated me into getting everything you wanted. I've let you do anything you wanted with this company, but now I'm putting my foot down. Call off the launch.
The next shot didn't miss hitting Tyler between the eyes and kicking him out of the dream. He would remain unconscious for five minutes giving the others time to get out.
Arthur exited the office, to the stunned faces of his teammates. He raised a hand to stop them asking questions.
"Not now, we have to leave." He shot them all and then himself.
In the warehouse they called home. Cobb, Ariadne and Eames sat waiting for their explanation.
"Do you remember when I told you about my birthday" he paused while they nodded "the door code was 311099 or the 31st of October 1999. The day I turned eleven and saw my parents and sister murdered."
"You're Samuel Tyler?" Ariadne asked.
He nodded. "Arthur is my middle name."
Nobody knew what to say.
"Why didn't you tell us?" Eames said.
"It's not the sort of thing you just blurt out. Anyway my uncle brought me up afterwards and we never got along. He's always wanted dad's company but I never gave up my share because it was all I have left of them. It came in handy today though, I ordered him straight out to call off the launch, so job well done."
"Do you think he will?" Ariadne said.
Arthur felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders and he told his friends it was time for him to stop ignoring his birthday, his parents wouldn't have wanted it.
2 weeks later
"Wait a second. Your birthday's on Halloween!" Eames' grin was positively evil.
Arthur put his head on his desk in defeat.
"I knew there was another reason I hadn't told you."