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The U.M.I. Corp Connection By Mark Anthony Tierno Characters: 8898

Updated: 2018-04-10 12:02


A Mother's Visit

I punched in my security code, presented my thumb over the scanner, and opened the door to my apartment. A quick glance at the security monitor as we came in, showed that there were only three break-in attempts today; two of them were jailed by my security system and one was hospitalized. An off day for the local hoods. ICy must have had some fun.

It's not that I live in a rough section of town; after all, it's only a mid-level apartment, it's just that I like making sure. It may not be the best of places to live, but it's all mine. It's in a pretty good section of town- not too many break-in attempts per day, and only half a dozen murders every couple of days- and the light on this level is almost up to the early-morning brightness of Outside most of the time… Well, if you could see the sun regularly through the "air". Not as dismal as the down-side sectors. The power can be a bit unreliable at times, but I keep a back-up generator anyway. All in all, rather homey.

I cleared some of the debris- memory cubes, print-outs, papers, magazines I never read, that sort of thing- off the auto-form couch for Tiff to sit on and went on to my little kitchen nook.

"Want anything?" I offered.

"Yeah, " she sat down, "a holiday."

I punched up a couple of drinks and some cheese on the food-synth, waited while it spat out the tray of goodies and then went back into the living room.

"All part of an average day's mayhem, " I put in.

"You must have some days."

"ICy, something relaxing, please, " as I sat down next to her.

Immediately, the Wall screen lit up with a holo-view of a forest, stream, and the like, as the air-vents began pumping through some pine-scented air, and sounds of birds and wind blowing began to be heard faintly in the background.

"That's more like it, " she purred.

We snuggled together.

I took off my jacket.

I folded it and put it aside.

And found the note.

Tiff glanced over, "Want me to guess who it's from?"

"Not really."

It read:

"Sorry to mess up your lunch, but I needed the diversion of attention. I'll be visiting soon.

–Mother.

PS: I think you got a cute one."

Below the PS was a small stenciled platinum angel.

"Oh no, " I sighed

"Now what?"

"Every time she uses that stencil that means she's definitely on a big scam. Usually dangerous."

"So one might surmise by the game of tag we just played. By the way, would you want the license numbers of those vehicles?"

I smiled, "ICy! The lady has some numbers for you."

She spoke them out into the air, after which ICy's disembodied voice acknowledged he was on it. We waited a couple of minutes for the results to come back, snuggling even closer while we waited.

The sounds of birds chirping and streams trickling got cut off as ICy's voice announced his findings.

"Okay gang, I got the dope. All vehicles are registered under United Medical Industries Corporation; U.M.I. Corp for short."

"And they are...?" I prompted.

"A multinational medical conglomerate. Sells pharmaceuticals and medical equipment all over the planet, and rakes in a couple of giga-bucks a year doing so. Anything else will take a bit longer."

"That's fine ICy."

The birds and stream resumed their relaxing audio massage.

"Now what did your mother do to get them so mad. And why didn't they just tell the metros."

"Mother usually tends to engineer a con so that it would be even worse for the mark to go to the authorities."

"Which means that she's got something on them, " Tiff remarked.

"And may not know exactly how big a something it is."

"Which is why I came to see my faithful son. Oh your apartment does need a bit of cleaning."

We both looked around and, sure enough, my mother had just come in the door behind us. ICy must have let her in; have to talk to him.

She had gotten out of her earlier dress and was now done up in a street outfit, ragged jeans, day-glow colors, a multi-colored wig (which she was presently removing), a gang jacket, and a pair of orb-like earrings that could double as door knockers.

"I come to visit and the least you could do is clean this place up a bit, " she began dusting off a nearby chair, "and all these papers. And you look like you don't eat well. I do hope that you're a good cook, Tiffy."

We just stared.

"My boy so needs a good diet. Oh and this atmosphere! Too quiet. ICy, a good soft ro

ck beat please, " the sounds changed to some electro-rock rendition of the Beatles, "That's better. Oh, and congratulations on your recent promotion. I knew my little boy would go up in the world."

Part of the reason that my mother is such a good con artist is her unequaled ability to talk incessantly for hours without anyone seeing her take a breath.

"And you haven't called me in weeks! I know that you have a busy schedule and new girlfriend but still -"

I put two fingers in my mouth and let loose with an ear-shattering whistle.

"Yes darling? You wanted to say something?" looking completely innocent.

Tiffany had a look of relief on her face that said she was glad that there was some unused air left in the room.

"Nice to see you again, mom. Now, what mischief has this latest con gotten you in to?"

"Oh, that, " she sat down between me and Tiff, "I just met this upper-management type, works at U.M.I. Corp I think, and got him interested in one of my investment schemes. It seems he needed a tax dodge for some not-quite-so-legal cash he had and had to launder it, and so I got him to invest and put it into an account and then pulled my old false-account-money-drop shtick."

Tiff cocked half an eyebrow, "You came up with that bit?"

"Oh, ages ago; when I was working with your mother."

Now, the bit about the account-drop is a cute little gag you can get rigged up with a bank. You just ask for an account with an automatic transfer feature, such that everything deposited into it above a certain specified amount, say one dollar, gets automatically transferred into a different type of account, only you don't tell the other person this. Then, you just have to con him into putting his money into an otherwise secure account and, a couple of minutes later, whoosh, away it goes. Neat really.

"Mother, they sent everything but hover-tanks at us."

"Remember the truck, " Tiff put in.

"Okay, ...so including tanks. But, do you have any idea why they might take it so personally? I mean, exactly how much did you bilk him out of?"

"Oh, not too much really. Just about five hundred grand and a private yacht in my name. Just a quick three-day job while I'm in town."

Not one of her larger jobs, but still.

"What happened to Tampa Plex?"

"Oh, that place got so boring. I scammed enough retirement checks to make it over here, though. I think I'll use the yacht to sail around the world; see if it's changed since the last time I was there."

I sighed. Guess why I don't work in Tampa Plex. I mean, I love her, but still...

"Doesn't sound like anything that that type of person would get worried over, " Tiff contributed, "What was his name?"

"Let's see. A Mr. Thed Everest Klein. Nice black-furred Doberman pincher, around thirty-five."

"ICy!" I shouted into the air.

"Working."

Pause.

"He's vice-president of their medical dispersement division, earns fifty grand a year, and has five million in his account."

"Say what? I've heard of fringe benefits before but, ... how long has he worked there ICy?" I smelled something wrong.

"About five years."

"He sure knows how to squirrel away his savings, " Tiff put in, "what kind of account did he get the five hundred grand out of?"

Pause.

"A special company account, not specifically his own."

Tiffany straightened up and stretched, "Sounds like he was trying to launder some cash for the company and lost some cash he shouldn't have."

"And then got into some deep trouble for it."

"I guess they thought that I gave the new account number to you, dear, " mother looked so apologetic.

"But what type of account would they get so concerned over? ICy?"

"Don't got nothin' boss. They clean as a whistle."

Tiff looked at me, "Sounds like a field trip, Henry."

"Yeah. Mom, you got another place to stay?"

"Of course; you don't think I'd actually let them know where my real apartment is, do you? I rented two, he only saw one, which is now emptied out, checked out of, and paid in cash for."

She always was thorough.

I got up and got my jacket. "Then we'd better get going. Let yourself out when you want to mom, I'll treat you to dinner sometime soon." Guess at which restaurant. "ICy, tell the office that I'm on a field inspection or something."

"Yes, boss."

"Don't sell my apartment while we're gone, mom."

Tiffany got up, put her arm around my waist, and out we went.

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