With the guy, Donnie, Roj had to correct himself, his name was Donnie, still over his shoulder Roj limped into the room. The guy weighed a ton and based upon the squishy feel of his torso it wasn’t from lifting weights. Roj slit the man clumsily into the nearest seat and his hand reflexively scooting to the circle in front of him lit his chair.
Roj stepped back a pace. He was amazed that the guy could still move. A beating like that should have left him leveled for a good couple hours if not longer, but in his experience he knew that was a rule of thumb. No one could ever tell what a beating would do to a guy.
From the head of what he could see was an oval table, an alto voice broke through. “Ah good. Hi Donnie. Glad you could fit us into your schedule.”
“Had to…” he swallowed. “Had to drop by the lab first.”
The woman, red hair now blazing in the overlight at her position made the sound of a frown. “You were to come here immediately. Did you not get the message?”
The man raised his head with a drunken sway. “No. Broke in the fight.”
Around the table the half dozen or so other people Roj could see made little scoffing noises. He knew better. Donnie is lucky to be here at all.
“Ah… Well I really didn’t think you needed the combat version, but I guess I’ll have to reasess. Seems the time for that anyway.” She stood and stepped around her chair. The front of the room lit up as she moved, revealing wall screens. “It’s good that we’re all here because we have some work to do. You see, the Orange Overlord has fallen. More specifically, he is in the custody of our local police force.”
Where there had been scoffs, there was now the non-sound of tension. The red head hit a button on a remote and the screens lit up. News reports and video from multiple sources appeared on the monitors. A fight between the Orange Overlord and Commander Pain played on all screens. “This is what I believe happened. Ted took a date – Marcy, I think – to ‘La Province’ and somewhere while there he found he needed to power up and fight his way out. Commander Pain has been making his plays for the city ever since the Heroes gave up and worked out the Orange Accords to grant the Overlord dominion over a huge swath of territory in exchange for peace. Apparently he made his latest play at Ted himself, though how he knew Ted Cal was the Orange Overlord is anyone’s guess.”
“This is very disturbing,” A man in a robe said.
The older, bookish woman next to him added, “And expensive. This is going to kill Blazon industries. When people hear that the majority stock holder of Blazon is the Orange Overlord…”
“Yes. And that’s what we need to figure out. Ted’s in jail right now. What are we going to do to help him?”
She looked around at the faces at the table. No one said a thing. Aside from the man in the robe and the librarian lady, there was Donnie, a big muscular guy in a polo and a little sprightly guy. None of them said anything.
“Well what the fuck is he doing in jail?” Roj said. He couldn’t help himself, really. The silence was just creeping him out and he just hated that.
Everyone in the room looked at Donnie, who swayed, turned green and dry-heaved between his splayed knees. Nothing came out. He’d left it all in the back of Roj’s car.
“Who is that? Donnie? Who have you brought here?”
“Dude didn’t bring anyone. I had to drag his ass here from the car, past his pigsty of a lab and here. Ain’t no other way he was going to make it.” Roj was greeted by more silence so he added, “Dude took a pool cue to the head.”
“And you are?” The redhead asked.
Roj started to look around in the shadows to try to find the door he’d come in. Something didn’t seem cool all of a sudden. “Me? I’m Roj. I had to go pick up your boy here using some kinda compass thingie. Executech dispatcher gave it to me and said to make sure the guy got here.” He motioned to Donnie. “Here he is. You know… I figured he’d be leaving as soon as you realized his brains are scrambled, so I hung around.”
The redhead’s smiled with her mouth but not her eyes. “How very industrious of you. Tell me, Roj,” she said his name as if it were a joke. “How much of what was discussed here did you hear?”
He scoffed. “Look lady, I’ve been driving limo’s for five years now and I just never hear anything anymore, know what I mean?” He smiled and looked around the room. No one could see the smirk on his face. He was still in shadow.
“How much?” Her tone was cold and humorless.
Swallowing hard, Roj said, “Um… Just about everything, but really, I don’t say shit to nobody. I mean, who the hell am I going to tell, amiright?”
“That is a very good question, Roj.”
“I’m pretty sure I was speaking hypothetically. That’s … I mean sometimes I … people misunderstand. I meant to say I can keep a secret.”
“And I am very good at ensuring people keep secrets, Roj.” The Redhead pulled out a large white plastic gun from her hip holster and aimed it at Roj. Darts the size of toothpicks slammed into his chest, sticking in and then melting into his punctured flesh.
“Ha. Ah! Oh. Oh good I thought you were … we … I … park … shirt …” Roj hit the floor thinking unhappy thoughts about punching a woman.
[Author’s note: I wrote today, the first day of National Novel Writing Month, but this is not what I wrote. What I wrote will be the next posting. Be forewarned. This is a rough draft, even rougher than this, which is pretty rough.