Kari Machiavelli - 'Cheating'

Leonardo and Kari had been discussing how to deal with the situation for a couple of hours when the phone to their right rang.

Kari, who was sweating furiously, moaned and let her head fall to the table.  Leo picked up the phone instead.  "Salve?"  He said, without a trace of fear in his voice.  Leonardo had always been good at acting brave and calm, and sometimes it annoyed the hell out of Kari.

After a few moments of nodding his head and agreeing with the person on the phone, he set down the receiver and looked at Kari.  "It's Kurt, he says that he wants to see us in the lab." 

Kari banged her forehead into the table a few more times and got up.  "Cazzo."  She cursed.  "If Lucifer's there waiting to collect my soul, I wouldn't be surprised." 

Leonardo put his arm around Kari to comfort her and the two walked down the corridors to the laboratory.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When they arrived, they saw Kurt and Natalia conversing giddily over a large satellite. 

"What in the name of God has gotten into you two?"  Kari said, still in the arms of Leonardo.

Kurt spoke first.  "I bet you didn't know this before, but I found something out tonight.  Something very pleasing."  He grinned wildly.

"You're going to Finland to get sex reassignment surgery."  Mumbled Kari, her brow lowering by the second.

Usually, Kurt would have been quite upset at this remark.  Being raised in an orthodox Catholic household, he had been taught to shun transsexuals.  Surprisingly though, he just laughed it off.  "Close!"  He chuckled, motioning to Natalia.  "Our new aquaintance here is a very skilled hacker."

Leo and Kari's bitterness remained unblemished.  Kurt and Natalia, however, still wore annoying smiles.  "Kurt, for heavens sakes..."  Leonardo started.

"Listen!"  Kurt yelled.  "Natalia, after hearing about the trading problems from space, borrowed the satellite from the east wing..." 

Kari didn't appreciate how he emphasized the word 'borrowing'.

"...And hooked it up with some old-fashioned Linux stuff.  It's like fifty years old, but the thing works like a charm!  She sent a modified Cold Fusion page to the Space trading center and got it to blend in with the encrypted, more contemporary StarFire codes.  The security system can't recognize CF, because it's too old.  Natalia can now access every transaction that involves the Space nation..."

At that moment, Kari could have sworn she felt her pupils dilate with excitement.

"Therefore,"  Natalia picked up, "All the software settings have been changed to before Space removed our trading rights.  All manufacturers run on an electronic order system, so the Space nation won't notice a single thing."

"Isn't that cheating?"  Leonardo asked, regretting his words.

"Who the hell gave us a rulebook?"  Natalia replied, smiling.

For the first time in thirty years, Leonardo and Kari screamed like little girls.  They threw their arms up in the air and enveloped in a strong, heartfelt hug.  Workers from around the building began to look up from their desks to see what was going on.  What they witnessed was their CEO and CFO dancing giddily around the floor.

All eyes away from the heroes, Kurt turned to his partner and looked at her beautiful face.  "Balance," Kurt said, leaning in to kiss Natalia, "Has been restored."

That night consisted of Champagne, Confetti, and celebration.  The Italian Peninsula had set it's sights on the top...  And so far, they were on the right track.

The End

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