Author’s Notes: This fic was in response to the Subordinates Challenge on Fried Potatoes.
I went for the bonus points and included: bitching, moaning, whining, conspiracy, alcohol, and implied sex. Well, okay, I added the last one. But it's more fun that way. Oh yeah, and no fourth wall.
Now, read it or I'll send you to Alaska!


By Margaret Price


Voice off screen: “Do we even want to give that much away?”
Author: “Trust me, they’ll guess that much when they find out who you are.”
Voice: "Okay. Sorry. Go ahead then.”
Author: *sighs heavily* “Starting over…”


Twenty-six very nervous looking Alphabets were gathered in one of several Cyber-cafés in the…er, undisclosed location.
Voice: “Thank you.”
Author: “Shhh! We’re in the fic now!”
Voice: “Sorry.”
Agent A was sitting in front of a computer, waiting for his IM to connect.
“He’s going to get mad at us,” Agent B said in a hushed voice.
“What difference does it make?” G replied as he checked his makeup in a small compact mirror. “He gets mad at us all the time.”
“He’ll send us back to Alaska!” Agent J wailed. “I just got back to Germany. I don’t wanna go back to Alaska!”
“Stop whining like an old woman,” Z snapped impatiently, “or we’ll have you do the next assignment that needs a woman instead of G.”
J’s eyes grew wide and he looked over at G, who was in the process of putting his compact away. He sat back in his chair, his mouth snapping shut.
“Finally!” A said with a sigh.
“Are they on?” Q asked.

James: “Hey!”
Author: “Quiet!”
“They’re on!” Bonham announced happily, rubbing his hands together.
“His lordship isn’t going to like this,” Jones said nervously, looking over at James.
“I don’t care,” James replied with unusual vehemence. “He’s been pushing us around too much. He spends all his time mooning over that…German and not thieving. He won’t let me sell anything, and I have bills to pay. And nothing to pay them with!”
Bonham opened his mouth, only to be cut off by James. “And I’m not cashing in any of the—”
“Alright, James,” Beck said calmly, stroking the little man’s arm. “We’re all in this together. We won’t make you cash in anything, will we?”
Everyone shook their heads. They would agree with anything if it kept James from a tantrum.
“We’re even stealing the internet connection,” Jones said proudly.
This made James perk up. “What do they say?” he then asked.
Bonham typed in the question and waited for a reply. When it came, his eyebrows went up. “Ah. They want to go on strike.”
The thieves all looked at one another in a stupefied silence, which was finally broken by Beck. “When?”
James’ eyes grew wide. “You’re not actually going to agree with them, are you?”
“Why not? The Earl has no idea how much we do for him. It’s high time he found out.”
“Quite right!” Bonham agreed wholeheartedly.
“Traitor!” James snapped.
A small smile curled the edges of Bonham’s mouth, his mustache twitching slightly. “When was the last time the Earl said any kind of a thank you to you, James?”
The accountant raised a finger, his mouth opening.
“And trying to get something out of you doesn’t count.”
James’ mouth snapped shut. He thought a moment, and then tears started to well up in his eyes. “Too long,” he said pitifully, receiving a consoling pat on the shoulder. He pulled out a handkerchief and blew his nose. Once he got control of himself, he looked over at Bonham. “Tell them we’ll do it. Starting tomorrow morning.”
Bonham blinked but knew better than to argue. He turned back to the keyboard and started typing.
While in Germany, the whole Alphabet waited impatiently.
“They’re not going for it,” H moaned. “I knew this was a bad idea.”
“They’re probably talking it over,” A replied, trying not to sound disappointed. “It took us a while to agree to this, don’t forget.”
“I just don’t—” H’s sentence was cut off then the computer beeped as the reply came up.
“They’ve agreed!” A announced happily. Then his eyes grew wide. “And they want to begin tomorrow morning.”
“Tomorrow?” G gasped, a well-manicured hand going to his mouth.
“Why not?” P said resignedly. “The sooner we get this going, the less likely we are to back out of it.”
“Solidarity!” S cried happily. He received twenty-five disapproving scowls.
“This isn’t Poland, S,” B admonished darkly.
S gave a snort. “It worked against the Commies! It’ll work against the Major.”
“You’d better hope he never hears you compare him to the Commies,” Z said knowingly. “Or you’ll be on a plane to Alaska for sure.”
A’s fingers were clattering on the keyboard again. “I’ll tell them that we’ll rendezvous at this time everyday to see what progress has been made.”
After a few more minutes working out the details, A signed off, making certain the others didn’t see as he ended the session with “Solidarity!” He sat back, rubbing his hands together. “I think this calls for a drink.”
“I think this calls for several,” B agreed.
A grinned as he got to his feet, leading the way to the tavern across the street. “First round is on me,” he said happily.
In England, Bonham sat back, closing down the computer. “Well, that’s that, then.”
“This is going to be so much fun,” James squealed with uncharacteristic glee. “I feel like celebrating!”
The response to this was a stunned silence as no one dared contemplate what the little man’s idea of celebrating might entail.
“Dinner and drinks are on me!” the accountant cried happily.
Bonham’s mouth dropped open. Recovering himself quickly, he practically jumped to his feet, bundling the little man to the door. “Don’t just stand there, Jones! You lot, bring the cars round. Come on! You heard James. Let’s get a move on. This calls for a celebration.”
Taking their cue, the band of thieves practically fell over themselves to get out the door. It was always best to take advantage of the rare occasions when James willingly spent money. And who knew how long it would be before he would want to do so again.

“Major, I never knew computer hacking was one of your other skills,” Eroica drawled as he leaned in close to read the computer screen.
“’S just another machine, isn’t it?” the Major replied matter of factly. He gave the Earl a disapproving scowl. “Don’t lean on me like that!”
“But I can’t see the screen otherwise,” Eroica protested back.
“Then put the champagne down. I don’t want it spilled all over the keyboard again. Makes it sticky as hell.”
“Oh. Sorry, love.” Eroica gave the officer a quick kiss on the cheek before putting the glass down on the table beside him. “Now, what are the boys up to? Playing nice, I hope.”
“Your men are conspiring with mine, it seems.”
Eroica’s eyebrows went up. “Really?” He snuggled in closer to see.
“They’re going on strike,” the Major chuckled. “Tomorrow.”
“I can’t say I didn’t see this coming.”
“Nor I.” The Major gave an amused grunt. “Look at this. Solidarity. They think I’m as bad as the Commies in Poland.” He sat back against the headboard of the bed upon which he sat, reaching out to pick up his own glass of champagne.
“Nonsense,” Eroica purred in his ear. “You’re much warmer than Poland.”
“Idiot, be serious,” the Major admonished playfully. “What should we do about it?”
“Mmmm?” The Earl sighed and continued to nuzzle the officer’s ear, going on to rub a hand over his bare chest. “Let them be for a bit.”
“How long is a bit?”
“Oh…a week?”
The Major gave him an amused sideways glance before closing the laptop and carefully setting it on the bedside table. “You think they’ll notice we’re not around that long?” he asked, taking the Earl into his arms and drawing him close.
Eroica started to nibble on the other man’s neck. “Don’t ask me. I’m on strike.”
“It’s not supposed to start until tomorrow.”
“Don’t care.”
The Major put his hand under the Earl’s chin, lifting his face to look in to his eyes. “You really are evil, you know that?”
“That’s why you love me, Klaus, darling.”
“You’re right. It is.” Klaus leaned in to give the man a kiss, only to stop and pull back. “Oh, sorry, I forgot. You’re on strike.”
Klaus grinned wolfishly. “That’s why you love me,” he said before kissing the Earl very passionately on the mouth.
Eroica gave a satisfied sigh, and lay back on the pillows, striking a seductive pose. “Klaus,” he whispered, “isn’t it a bit…bright in here?”
“Hmmm? Oh, sorry,” Klaus reached over, switching off the light. “Time to fade to black.”
“And you say I’m an idiot.”
— END —