"Happy Yuletide!~"
rating: +24+x

Office Christmas parties have an odd reputation. They're often portrayed as some of the wildest events you could attend. Spiked eggnog, Nancy from Accounting's nudes being leaked across company servers, extremely tacky Christmas sweaters with suggestive themes.

This is laughably fake.

These are the people you work with. Anyone who so much as misused a copier to spread pictures of their asscheeks would be suspended almost instantly. They're boring, dry, over-glorified company meetings with small amounts of alcohol, at best. The existence of scary magic things that go bump in the night doesn't change that.

The only thing different is that this time, Dr. Maya Whitney was organizing it for her department of the Ethics Committee.

The Foundation-sanctioned dinosaur sat at her desk, her reptilian claws tapping away as she looks at the draft on her computer.

Request for approximately 20 people:

Eggnog (alcoholic)
Cookies
Giant Jenga?
… Music?

The more she planned, the more it felt like a depressing obligation. Likewise, it made Dr. Whitney feel like there were a thousand more important things she could be doing with her time. She needed to stretch her legs; maybe it'd feel better if she got up for something to eat.

Stepping out of her office for some half-decent jerky, she bumped into Mr. Digby; technically one of her bosses, but not high enough to where she had to kiss ass.

"Hey Maya, you handling the Christmas party well?" He asked, more out of concern than anything.

"I'm… trying. I don't know the first thing about organizing a party, and I feel like there are better uses of my time." She confessed.

"Hm… Well, I guess I could do it if you want. Gives me an excuse to stay here." He shrugs.

"You leaving?"

"Mhm. For an assignment in Vegas. Catch is, if I'm gonna cover you, I'd need to find someone to cover for me." Digby chuckles, holding up a file.

Dr. Whitney rolls her eyes. "Of course… What is it?"

"Shit you're actually good at; getting info out of people. Honestly, I'm surprised you haven't been in Vegas before, the site there's got a bunch of anomalously affected staff. You'd fit right in."

"Hm… What happened? What information would I be getting?"

"Alotta vandalism. Some woman in a mask and rabbit cosplay walked in one of our casino fronts with a sledgehammer, and destroyed all of the machines there along with the money inside them. Also, a lot of art pieces. We had a room designed by Damien Hirst that brought in a lot of rich clients, and everything there's busted. Hard to tell right now, but we're looking at almost a hundred million in projected losses. We just wanna know why they did it."

"Any injuries? Deaths?" Whitney asked.

"None, thankfully. She seemed to be there to just break things."

The dinosaur sighs in relief. "That's good, at least. Hm… How was it allowed to get this bad? She should've been stopped at the gates, right?"

"Apparently the alarms were faulty, and she had some kinda signal jammer."

"Alright, fine, I'll cover you."

"Thanks, Whit. Christmas party'll go great, I promise."

"I'm sure it will… One more thing. Why are they bringing in outside staff for this?"

Digby simply shrugged. "She's been silent with all of their staff. Maybe they need an outsider's perspective."




Interviewed: POI-7665

Interviewer: Dr. Maya Whitney

<Begin Log>

<Dr. Whitney enters the room, upon which, there's an immediate reaction to Dr. Whitney. POI-7665 seems surprised at Dr. Whitney's entrance.>

Dr. Whitney: Well, that didn't last long.

POI-7665: <Silence> I'll admit, you reminded me of Barney the Dinosaur. He uh… was kinda a terror for me as a kid. Sorry 'bout that.

Dr. Whitney: Well, that's nice. Now that you're in a talkative mood, I'm going to ask you a few questions.

(Dr. Whitney adjusts her nametag so POI-7665 can see it clearly)

POI-7665: I am not answering anything without my lawyer present.

Dr. Whitney: <Silence> You're joking, right?

POI-7665: Yeah yeah, I know ya'll use human rights as toilet paper. Seriously though, you can ask.

Dr. Whitney: Very well. Could I have your name?

POI-7665: Nope. Sorry, I haven't entirely eliminated the possibility you're fey, and I only just got my name back.

Dr. Whitney: <Silence> I still can't tell if you're joking.

POI-7665: Eh, somewhat. You'll figure my name out eventually, I promise.

Dr. Whitney: <Sighs> This is getting nowhere… Okay, let's try something else. Why did you destroy Foundation property?

POI-7665: You… can't put that together yourself? I had to've set you back one or two hundred million.

Dr. Whitney: So, you planned to just cause property damage?

POI-7665: Mhm. And no one was hurt. I call that a win.

Dr. Whitney: And how's that "win" going for you? You're going to be locked up for quite a while. Why would you even do this?

POI-7665: It's going pretty well, actually! Hell, I enjoyed myself. Have you ever taken a sledge to a slot machine? Cathartic.

Dr. Whitney: <Inhales> Listen, my patience is running thin. Are you going to tell us anything about why you did this, or is this going to have to get ugly?

POI-7665: Maybe I just really hate Damien Hirst.

(Dr. Whitney, at this point, snarls at POI-7665)

POI-7665: <Chuckles> I said you were scary when I was a kid. That was eons ago… Seriously though, that wasn't a lie. I do genuinely hate Hirst. He's gotta be one of the most successful money launderers in the art world. I mean, seriously, he made a polka dot, prescription drug-themed hotel room, filled the counters with medical waste, and made it cost a hundred thousand a night. I wish I destroyed that one.

… How about I ask you a few questions instead? I mean, the chance that a dumb bimbo like me will slip up and reveal too much about myself is non-zero, right?

Dr. Whitney: <Pause> Fine.

POI-7665: Why the Foundation?

Dr. Whitney: It pays well, and there are good benefits.

POI-7665: Implying that if someone paid better, you would work for them?

Dr. Whitney: <Silence> No.

POI-7665: Then you're not doing it for the money.

Dr. Whitney: Are you calling me a liar?

POI-7665: Hm… Nah, I think you were being honest with me, just not with yourself. That must mean you believe in its mission, then? Putting people like you and me in a cage is good for the rest of society?

Dr. Whitney: … Sure.

POI-7665: … Okay, that was definitely a lie. I don't even think the Foundation believes that. I mean, I'm no mind reader, but I feel more like you're doing it because you feel you have to. I mean, it's definitely not because you like the cause.

Dr. Whitney: Well, I'm certainly not like you. You're just some kind of lop-eared thug.

POI-7665: Ow, harsh. Didn't mean to offend ya, Whitney. I get we're different, but geez, that doesn't mean we can't get along.

Dr. Whitney: … I don't think that's going to happen.

POI-7665: Oh? Why not?

Dr. Whitney: You destroyed over 100 million dollars in Foundation assets and revenue.

(POI-7665 leans down, and pulls out a 100 dollar bill from its pocket. She proceeds to tear it into pieces)

POI-7665: It's paper, Whit. It's just paper. It means nothing. There's no such thing as a budget when you can just pull numbers out of your ass.

Dr. Whitney: So this is just terrorism, then?

POI-7665: Ow, again, harsh… I feel calling vandalism "terrorism" devalues actual terrorism, but if you say so… Actually, no. There was one other reason.

Dr. Whitney: Please, enlighten me.

POI-7665: Money's a good distraction. Y'all diverted so much manpower into stopping lil' old me, you had to hold off on raiding a few friends of mine.

Dr. Whitney: <Pauses> Oh.

POI-7665: Yep. I think by now it won't matter, time's already been bought.

Dr. Whitney: Well, I suppose you think you're very clever. Regardless, now you're here with us.

POI-7665: Seems that way for now! While I'm here, any juicy gossip?

Dr. Whitney: No. It seems that we were wasting our time. Unless you have anything else useful to say, I think we're done here.

POI-7665: Hmm… Actually yeah, think I'm done. Once this whole thing is over and I'm inevitably out, look me up. You're pretty cool for a narc.

Dr. Whitney: You seem confident that you'll be able to leave. Assuming that even happens, how would I even contact you?

POI-7665: You'll figure it out.

<End Log>

Closing Statement: POI-7655 proclaimed to have gotten bored one hour after this interview and proceeded to kick the door down off its hinges, which were later discovered to have been faulty. POI-7655 then proceeded to retrieve its sledgehammer from a Secure Storage Locker that was unintentionally left unlocked, and proceeded to walk out of Foundation custody with a stolen vehicle.

Attempts to subdue POI-7665 were met with varying degrees of failure. Guard weapons jammed and attempts to physically restrain POI-7665 failed due to improper footing and/or footwear by the guard team, causing them to trip before reaching POI-7665. POI-7665 then proceeded to choose the only vehicle on-site without a leaking and empty gas tank, flat tire, and/or dysfunctional radiator. The car POI-7665 did take, whose GPS monitoring system failed to activate. The driver, who left the car door unlocked and the keys in the ignition, did not intend to stay in the parking garage for less than two minutes at the time.

Due to the sheer amount of coincidences, it's expected that POI-7665 possesses some form of probability-based reality-bending. Mobilization was not possible until POI-7665's location became unknown.




As soon as Dr. Whitney arrived in Vegas, she was leaving it; with distinctly less pride than before. That feeling was always par for the course when it comes to that city, but the execution was probably a new one. To Whitney's knowledge, no one heard of what happened in Vegas just yet, so at least she could pretend that the POI didn't walk out of the facility.

The more Dr. Whitney thought about her, the more weird the POI was. The animal mask with heart-eyes, the lopped rabbit ears, the black, clawed hands. And yet, that woman acted so… Cavalier. Maya couldn't put a finger on it, but their conversation stuck with her.

Not that it mattered, now; Whitney just wanted to go to bed, but she had to put on a face just a bit longer for the Christmas Party… Which was being held at the on-site Applebees.

Given the fact that some members of personnel couldn't leave Sites for days at a time, creature comforts sometimes needed to come to the Sites. Years of corporate espionage, observation of locations in the field, and almost a decade of gastronomic research had allowed the Foundation to mimic chain restaurants within their Sites. Most commonly, this was something simple, such as a Dairy Queen or a McDonalds; Whitney wasn't sure if she felt lucky or unlucky that her Site held one of only three Foundation-run Applebees.

Honestly, it wasn't the restaurant Whitney would have picked, but she was almost jealous that she didn't think of moving the problem someplace else as Digby did.

She wasn't the first to arrive. Actually, this was the one time she didn't mind being late. Seeing her co-workers chatting pleasantly while enjoying fruity cocktails was the first bit of "normal" Maya's seen today.

"Heya Whitney." Digby greeted her as she took a chair. "How was Vegas?"

"I… don't wanna talk about it. We found out why she did it, mostly, but there was a containment breach. She escaped." Whitney confessed.

"Ouch. Well, it wasn't your job to hold her, so it's not on you."

"That's true." She sighs. At least none of the blame was being placed on her shoulders. "Let's just have a drink and forget about it."

"Sounds like a plan. Waitress?" Digby called out.

As soon as the waitress turned around, Whitney's heart sank. It was her. The mask-wearing bunny dumbass from Vegas. "Good evening!! Would you like to order?"

"We would! How are those Cheetos cheese bites?" Digby asked, not really looking up from the menu as Whitney lost the words in her mouth.

"I've been told to promote them since they're a limited-time offer, but… honestly, I tried them a week ago. It was the oiliest thing I've ever eaten. So much so, I immediately got sick after. I saw god as I was hunched over that toilet. His name was Chester Cheeta, and he was not a merciful god… In hindsight, maybe I should have taken the fact it has 1800 calories as a warning, instead of having that be my only meal for the day."

"Sounds good, I'll have one. The Flaming hot kind." Digby says, not having listened to the diatribe at all.

The heart-eyed mask wearer nodded, apparently having anticipated that. "Of… course you will. And you, ma'am?… Oh, hey, Dr. Whitney! You know, I never got to say goodbye before I left. How are you? Looks like you're doing pretty good!"

"How… how the fuck are you here?" Whitney asked, the spines on her head rising.

"Okay, you got me, I wanted to wish you a Happy Yuletide!~ Hail Sol Invictus, too!~"

"I… You traveled hundreds of miles…" Maya inhaled.

"Uh-huh."

"in a stolen vehicle…"

"Mhm."

"somehow found the site I work at…"

"Lucky guess, on my part."

"after costing my workplace a hundred million dollars…"

"I still don't understand why you're attached to this place."

"to then impersonate an Applebee's waitress…"

"Wouldn't be the first time I've been kicked out of an Applebees.

"… just to wish me a happy Yuletide?…"

"Yes, that about sums it up. I kinda just got the impression that you needed it."

Dr. Whitney had no words. This person must've been so privileged from her own anomaly that her self-preservation instincts became something vestigial in nature. And yet, what she did was the purest, albeit dumbest, gesture she's seen over the holidays. "I… thanks."

The masked woman nods. "Don't mention it… anyway, a real waitress will be here soon. You probably wanna arrest me again, I assume?"

"Yep." Mr. Digby answered for Maya, having called the guards a while ago at this point.

"Well then, I'll get out of your lack-of-hair. Take care! Have fun with the war crimes, everyone!" She said, before casually walking out of the Applebees. Dr. Whitney rose to stop the woman, but Digby stopped her.

"Let the guards handle her, that's not in your job description," Digby advised.

The doctor knew he was right. Furthermore, she knew that the woman wouldn't be captured at all. And if she did, then it wouldn't be long before she "got bored" and left. But that was probably for the best since she's a legitimate agent of chaos.

The Christmas party ended early after that. Answering questions for security tends to bring the mood down a bit. Instead, everyone ended up taking a steak home and not having to deal with co-workers. Thus, Whitney was left to do whatever she wanted with whoever she wanted to do it with.

Which meant that, in her own way, POI-7665 gave Dr. Maya Whitney the best Christmas gift of all.

card.jpg

Happy Yuletide!~

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