This fic is dedicated to Gatchamarie, who wanted a story about Ken as a child at Christmastime.

Introduction

Dr. Nambu stepped out of the private plane and onto the runway at the small South American airstrip. Subdirector Anderson held out his hand to greet the scientist, his suit jacket flapping in the temporary breeze created by the aircraft's arrival.

"It's good to see you, Dr. Nambu." Anderson greeted his protégé.

"And you as well, Subdirector." Nambu replied, shifting his arm to adjust for the weight of the bag on his shoulder.

"Is that… are those… the files?" Anderson asked nervously.

"Yes." the Doctor replied. "All of my files on the regenerative metal project. I am eager to present them to the ISO Board."

"They are very eager to hear more details on your work." Anderson responded. "Are those the only copies? We need to ensure that they don't fall into the wrong hands."

"I have one other copy of the primary files, for backup purposes." Dr. Nambu replied. "The data is securely stored, I assure you." His mind thought back to that morning, when he had hurriedly packed for this unexpected trip that had been scheduled only minutes before. He had been thrusting his files and his laptop into his bag when he had suddenly thought to make a backup. After all, if there were a mishap with the plane, if something happened to his luggage, he would be glad for a way to retrieve his files. Hurriedly, he had copied the primary research information onto a data key, then locked it in his safe in his office. Had he re-covered the safe with the wall panel? He frowned as he thought back. Yes, he had. He had been in an incredible hurry to depart, yet he recalled doing that.

There had been so many things to take care of for this spur-of-the-moment trip. Subdirector Anderson had decided last night to hold this briefing over Christmas, to better cover their tracks. No one would comment if the ISO Board Members were away from their offices during the Christmas week. And so it was that Dr. Nambu found himself in an isolated region of Brazil, ready to present the results of his painstaking research to the very men who could offer him sufficient funding to realize its full potential. It was very heady stuff for a man who had only finished graduate school less than a decade before.

Still, he had left home so quickly this morning. He couldn't have forgotten anything, could he? Surreptitiously he patted his jacket. His wallet and passport were there. Any mundane item he had forgotten to pack could be purchased locally. There was nothing important he had left behind.