Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 9 – Clever Boy

The two doctors led a very wobbly Faux-verlord suit across teh stone floor of the cave when a very startled Red looked up from her tablet.

“Jesus!  Wait… Is that…”

“If you are about to say a damned handsome man, then yes.  Woah!”  The Orange Overlord suit stuck it’s arms out and bent at the hips and knees to stay upright.

Red smiled at Donnie.  “So, you got it to work?”

“After a fashion.  It’s still early, but a few things work.  At this point, we’re just testing the exoskeleton.”

“I thought you said that would kill him.”

Lorenzo stepped in.  “Yes, but we paralyzed him and made his muscles relax.”

Red raised an eyebrow to Donnie, who explained.  “He’s like a ragdoll in there and the exoskeleton is getting input directly from his brain.  It keeps him from struggling and getting whacked around by the suit.”

“And that’s going to keep him safe?”

“I think so.  It’s really hard to tell.  Theoretical limits of human endurance and all that.  As long as we don’t get muscle or tendon tears, he should be good.” Donnie shook his head.  “He’s liable to pull a lot of g’s in there though.  I don’t even want to think about combat.”

Red gave Donnie a reassuring pat.  “As long as he pulls off getting Ted walking out of prison, it’s all good.”

Donnie squinted and Red asked, “What?”

“Well, it’s just that… Why hasn’t Ted gotten himself out?  Why hasn’t he used his power at all?  He doesn’t have to do flashy, all he has to do is slip handcuffs or something.  He knows the gig is up and hsi secret’s out.  Why not bust himself out of jail?”

Red looked at the hesitant but moving overlord suit driven by Rog and guided by Lorenzo.  “I’ve been wondering that very thing, Don.  None of it makes sense.  I talked to the girl he was having dinner with and she said a waiter whispered something to him that upset him and he went to the can.  Next thing she knew, he and The Mad Bomber were at each other’s throats, tearing up the restaurant.”

Donnie nodded.  “You find the waiter?”

“Why don’t you stick to your project?  Hm?”  Behind them they heard an exclamation, a teetering crash, and an expletive.  “It seems like the suit has a few bugs to work out.  Don’t worry, I’m working on this.”  She walked off looking down at her tablet.  “Nothing, no detail, escapes my notice.”

 

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

 

Wilson tried to ignore the other boys.  He’d talked to them, tried to reason with them about their situation, show them that they were not in control here in the least.  None of them believed him.  They all, except Fred and one other, had insisted that they were tough and would somehow kick ass out of there.  It was pointless.  So, he ignored them.

Now though, he was done with his homework and had nothing but time to think.  Bagsy was a tough guy for the boys, but at heart he was a manager.  He would have done much better trying to manage a burger joint than his current situation.  He just wasn’t much of a badass.  Yes, he got angry, yes, he wanted things done his way and set up the systems, but shit, that’s what a manager does.  He doesn’t bust down a door, guns blazing.  It wasn’t in him.  He was a boss, not a crime boss.  And this meant that they were fucked.  And Tony didn’t even factor into it, he was an assistant manager.

The guy who took them, Trevor, he was a different story.  Trevor wanted to hurt people.  The fact that they were currently unharmed meant that he had some other thought in mind.  They were being used to play for power.  What was it?

The obvious thing was money.  With all of them locked up in here, Bagsy wasn’t making a dime.  In fact, he had lost everyone’s stash when they were picked up.  All of that capitol wasn’t good to loose, but Bagsy had been a good manager and Wilson was certain that he’d squirreled away his money and hadn’t spent it.  the man was boring, what the hell was he going to spend all that on and not have it be obvious?  He probably bought a modest house in the suburb with it or something.

But Bagsy liked money.  It was his primary motivation, that and not getting caught.  Now there Wilson had something to grab on.  Bagsy wouldn’t move on his own.  He’d call in to the Orange Overlord, however that worked.  And if the Orange Overlord was actually gone, then what?

And what was the relationship between Trevor and Bagsy?  They weren’t rivals.  The rivals to Bagsy’s drug runners were the neighboring drug runners.  And all those guys were kept in check by … Agreements with the Orange Overlord.  Trevor wasn’t a rival because he was in a different business but the only reason he was in that business was because of his agreement with the orange overlord.  Now that the Big O was gone…

“Shit.”

Ok, so what does that do to him and his?  Does that mean that Trevor was going to wipe them out?  Was Trevor going to come and kill Bagsy?

Trevor is a bastard and a sadist.  But, he’s not completely stupid and hadn’t been so far.  Their gang was the dumb muscle.  The few times he’d crossed paths with them had been when they bought his stuff and none of those guys had impressed him as very smart.  They were smash and grab men.  And they were men, not boys like Wilson and his crew.

So, what did this mean?  We are a different type of workforce.  Wilson puzzled.  Rome.  When Rome conquered a territory, it maybe wiped out the chiefs, but it spared most of the nobility, even bringing them back to Rome to become Romanized.  They absorbed them.

Trevor wants to flip us. Or rather, he wants Bagsy to do something stupid so he can kill him, then flip us.  Those of us who resist will be gone in that purge.

Wilson was certain of it.  He could see it clearly.

He could also hear a fucking racket over by the door.

“Hey!  What are you doing?  Hey!” He put down his book and trotted over to the door and a couple of kids moved to block him.

“What are you doing?”  He looked at the kids blocking him.  “Get out of the way, dumbass, I’m right here and I can see him.  What do you think you are hiding?  Besides, I’m taller than you and can just look over your shoulder.”

Fred, who was bigger still, sidled up to Wilson.  “Ya heard him.  What’s going on?”

The kids at the door stopped and came over.  “Shut up, Wilson!  Pete’s trying to jimmy the door!  His brother is a locksmith.”

“That’s fucking stupid.  You are going to get us all killed.”

“What?  You think there’s a bomb on it or something.  We can hear the fools when they come to give out food and shit.  Nobody’s here.”

Wilson nodded.  “You are sure of that?  You absolutely positive?  Because if you aren’t, they aren’t going to be really happy with what you are doing.  And didn’t I tell you that our job now is to be real fucking patient?”

“Yeah, and you are a book fed wimp.”

“Better that than a fool.  Look, you are going to do one of two things to that lock.  First, you are going to break it, which means no one can get in and they may just leave us here or two, you get out.  So, what happens then?  Do you have any idea where we are?  Anyone know how to drive a car for real?  A stolen car?  Actually, we’d have to steal a bus given how many there are here.  And we’ll have to do that while potentially the entire armed and way more serious than us gang is after our asses, and they may not be as kind to us as when the snatched us the first time.”

The boys looked at Wilson with suspicion, but they didn’t go back to the door knob.

“Look.  I’ve been thinking.  I know what we’re up against.  We’re up against Trevor’s gang.  They are making a powerplay for Bagsy’s entire business. ”

“What?” one boy said.

“Damn!” said another, wiping his head and face with his hand.

“Yes.  That’s the only thing that makes sense and we are stuck right in the middle of it.  And the only way we can stay safe is to be united.”

“Bullshit.”

“Not bullshit.  Solidarity.  If you prefer, safety in numbers.”

“How you figure?”

Wilson shook his head.  “Look, at the core of this, it’s a business issue.  Up till now, the business has been controlled by the structure the big O set out, right?  But he’s gone, and Trevor wants Bagsy’s turf.  Only his dudes are dumber than rocks.  They don’t know how to hustle.”  He looked around at the faces.  “We do.  We understand how to do this.  We know the customers, we know where the people are who will call the cops or worse, we know how to conduct ourselves.”

“So, what?  What’s that give us?”

“A bargaining chip.  A seat at the table.  We come to Trevor with a combined workforce that he can use to run his new business without any problems, that is money to him.  That’s a lack of headaches for him.  That’s power.  We’re in here and not in the morgue because Trevor, at some level, understands that.”

“So what?”

“So, we need to send him a message to tell him we understand that too.  But it doesn’t mean shit unless we’re all in agreement.”  He looked around.  “Are we all in agreement?”

“What happens to Bagsy?  Tony?  The counting crew?  the guards and suppliers and the bodega?”

“I do not know.  I don’t know what others have in mind.  And honestly, I can’t help them.  I’m trying to help us get out of here.  It sucks, but the king is dead, and the princes have decided to have a war of ascension.  We gotta do our best to not get in it.”

“Whatever the fuck that means, but Ok.  I’m in at least” Said the boy who was the most active at the door.

“Anyone not in?”

Silence filled the room.

“All right.  Now I guess we send our note.”

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

Trevor sat at his bar.  It was late night, and yet another day had gone on to squeeze Bagsy, without so much as a peep from him.  Trevor was wondering if he’d hear anything from him.  Maybe the wimp would just skip town, which would be fine by Trevor.

“Sir.  I got a message for you!”  The voice came from one of the guys he’d sent with fried chicken to the drug runners he was holding as bait for Bagsy and his fools.  He hadn’t expected a message to come from him.

“Good,” he said, as if that was part of the plan.  “Let me see it.”

The big man brought Trevor the folded piece of notebook paper and he smiled.  It read:

To: Trevor

From: The Organized Labor of the Snake Gang.

 

Sir,

We are aware of your current attempts to take over management of the operations of our gang.  We are writing to inform you that however that arrangement comes to be resolved we are here to continue to fulfil our employment contract.  As such we do have some terms and some preferences.  In return, however, you will be the beneficiaries of our knowledge base in working with the public and each other.

It is our fervent hope that you appreciate the need for a smooth continuity of operations even in a time of management turmoil and I implore you to act in good faith on our behalf just as we will act on good faith on yours.

To that end, we would like to remind you that we are children and if we are continually absent from our homes, law enforcement will be involved.  This is in no way a threat, but it is an unpleasant situation for you, should we continue to be so incarcerated.  To alleviate this issue, we will voluntarily suspend our work activities for the amount of time necessary to resolve the current conflict.

It is also our wish to avoid any harm to our employers, either present or future, in the time of transition.  This is, again, something you can do as a sign of good faith. And an action that will seek to reduce the potential for police involvement.

We have elected a spokesman to speak on our behalf, one Wilson Yates.  Please be assured that Mr. Yates speaks for the group in this matter.

We look forward to meeting with you.  The sooner the better as this room is not well equipped for long term habitation by so many of us.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

The Organized Labor of the Snake Gang.

 

Trevor looked at the note and snorted.  “Wilson.  I knew you were a clever boy.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 8 – Birds and Cages

The organizing committee met in the church basement as planned.  Though the crowd had been interested, there was a big difference between interested and “I’m going to spend my evening doing this” which showed in the attendance.

“Ok, so I think we’re agreed.  We target the city council of all four cities, and the executives and we petition to… What did you call them Max?”

Max spoke up from behind Lucius.  “Refundable tax credits.”

“Yes, we petition to have refundable tax credits amended to the next six year’s taxes to repay to the citizens the total amount of the tithe we have incurred over the reign of the Orange Overlord.”

“But what about the damage the Overlord did?”  It was Maria, a woman from Hollins, the northernmost of the quad cities.  “We never had crime as bad as we did once the Overlord came in.  We never used to have addicts and now our kids are hooked and need help.  And the industrial base is hozed.  The furniture factory, the breaks factory, all we really have left is a community college and a place that sells non-lethal crowd control munitions.  Not exactly a stand-up place to work!”

“And what are we supposed to do about that?  The companies ran out on us.  Ok, so what do we do?  Beg them to come back?  The city needs to find the Orange Overlord’s money, is what they need to do.  It’s not like it didn’t go anywhere, we know exactly where it went, it went into his dank orange rind.”

Maria pursed her lips.  “Please, Lucius, I’m on your same side here.  If the idea is to get the money for these tax credits from assets seized from the Orange Overlord, then we need to put that into our platform explicitly.  Otherwise, it’s just looting the city coffers.”

Lucius put his hands up.  “I’m sorry.  I over reacted.  And there is a good deal of wisdom here.  But at this point, we’re no longer pushing a single idea, it’s more like a political platform.”

Maria looked around at the faces and nodded.  “Well, yes.  The idea, it’s a great idea, but in order for it to work, details need to be worked out.  Lucius, you are an excellent voice for this change and I do not want to diminish that, but we need to work as a committee to refine the idea and push for that change.”

Lucius looked at Max who nodded.  “That’s how it was in my time, young blood.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  I was my group’s writer, but we had an orator and figurehead and people behind the scenes doing work and still others that fanned out and knocked on doors.  We do this together.”

Lucius nodded his head.  “I’m sorry again.  I’m new at this.  I just … I want justice, real justice.  That jackass in the jail has been keeping us down for so long, most of my adult life, that we are owed something now that we have him.”

Maria smiled as did others at the meeting.  “We understand.  We want to follow your ideas here.  And we’re here to help.  Now I think Max had a decent idea.  we need to formalize roles.  Now when I was in the PTA we had a Chairman, a vice chair, a treasurer,…”

“Why do we need a treasurer?” Lucius asked.

Another voice chimed in.  “Not everyone who wants to help can do so in person.  Those folks will want to donate.  Plus, we’ll need paper, computers, phones, maybe even signs, ads.  Political pressure isn’t free.  Not completely.”

Max nodded.  “Sister Vivian has a point.  If we intend to change the mind of a politician, we need to change the mind of the electorate.  That takes some scratch.”

Lucius nodded.  “Ok, Treasurer.  Anything else?”

“Maria thought.  That was all we had, but all we were really doing was extra stuff at the school.  Maybe we need someone to concentrate on the PR message? Like a contact person for reporters that isn’t the chairman or vice.”

“Well that sounds like what I’d be doing… or would like to do, if you have me.”

“No way.” Maria scoffed.  “You have the chair in a lock.”  Nods around the room showed that she was right on that point.  “Should we put it to a vote?”

 

After a solid day of nothing interrupted only by the arrival of shitty pizza and a couple of gallons of water, the kids paced the linoleum covered room and got on each other’s nerves.

“Dude, you should speak up.”

Wilson hung his head and tried not to think of his mom.  “And say what Fred?”

“I don’t know.  If I knew that I’d be doing it myself.  But the mood has gone sour here, man.  People are ready to pop.”

“And I’m one of them.”  Wilson snapped his book shut.  “My mom is probably freaking right out right now and I’ve got nothing to do but wait for something to present itself before I can even think of doing shit.” Wilson looked at the other boy.  He didn’t really think he had many friends in the Snakes.  really it was just a job, but Fred was the closest thing to someone he actually knew and now he’d clearly hurt his feelings. “Look.  I’m sorry.  I feel freaking helpless.”

“Not as helpless as I feel, man.  You ain’t the only one with a freaking out moms.”

“Yeah.”

“And dude, I been talking to the other guys.  They want to know what you think.”

“Why me?”

“Because you study history and shit and we all don’t even have a clue.  Some of these guys understand that.”

Wilson tilted his head.  “You think they’d listen?”

Fred smiled.  “What else they got to do?”

 

Rog woke up, having fallen asleep in the chair in the middle of Donnie’s lab.  Once again, he could not move.  “Donnie!  What the fuck?” he yelled.

Doctor Lorenzo strolled in smiling.  Oh good.  “You are awake.  Do you remember when we put you to sleep?”

“No… wait… yes.  Donnie said he wanted to try some kind of helmet thing.”

“Precisely.  Well, I might have gotten a bit over anxious about the dosing for the relaxant and we thought, hey, it’s almost time for a dinner break anyway.”

“Doc, I swear to god I’m going to kick your balls into your throat.”

The doctor looked at Rog with a dimmed smile.  “My, what an unpleasant promise.”

“I’m serious, here.  Why the fuck can’t I move?”

“Ah!  Well once we had you asleep, I had an epiphany.”

“What the fuck is that, Doc, speak English.”

“It is English, Rog.  And epiphany is a sudden flash of inspiration.  You see I’ve expanded my consciousness and studied it to the point where I instinctively take these things very seriously.  Sure, sometimes they are nonsense, but not in this case.  And Donnie agreed with me, so I went straight to work.  And … Ta Da!  Here you are.”

“Here I am and… What did you do?”

“I solved our super strength problem.  That is, if Donnie came through on his half.”

“Wait, what?  I can’t lift a finger and I kinda feel like I’m going to fall over.  I can’t even move my neck.”

“Yes!  you probably don’t feel the electrodes on your head, either.  Don’t worry, they are about as harmful as shaving, which we had to do to get a good contact.”

“You shaved my head?  I’m… Donnie!” he yelled again.  “Donnie, I’m going to wring your fat fucking neck for letting this creepy maniac touch me!”

“What the hell is going on?” Donnie came in, still eating a chocolate bar.  “Lorenzo, are you freaking him out or something?”

“Why no!” Lorenzo protested, checking the IV line that went into rog’s neck.  “He just woke up and immediately started threatening me!”

“Donnie.  What the fuck did you guys do?”

“We solved the super strength problem.  Didn’t Lorenzo tell you?”

“No… Yes… Why the fuck can’t I move?”

“Oh!” Donnie said. “Well, you see, that’s part of the issue. What Lorenzo noticed is that while you were aestheticized, you were a proper rag doll.  You could be manipulated without much effort because you weren’t consciously or even unconsciously trying to do much of anything with your body.”

“Donnie.  Get to the fucking point.”

“You are going to be like that inside of the suit and all of your movements will be propelled by the super strong exoskeleton.  You won’t be able to move, but you won’t have to.  You will be mentally moving the suit.”

“That’s fucked up.”

“Yes, that’s what I said.” Lorenzo chimed in. “I mean, if you are going with a brain interface arrangement, why have the body along at all?  Terribly inefficient.  And I can keep your brain going perfectly fine in a medium of protoplasm that would replicate the cerebral Spinal fluid in it’s entirety.  The interface would be better, more space for weapons without the need for space in the limbs or body cavity.  Much more efficient.”

they both stared at him.  Donnie in horror and Rog in anger.

“You know what, Don?  I hold you responsible.  Him?  I don’t think he can help himself but be an evil crazy fuck, but you?  You know better.  So, if he fucking touches me again, I’m using your face as a speed bag.”

“Um… Ok.  Look.  Just let me boot things up.” Donnie went to the prototype suit and switched some switches, yelling all the while. “The paralysis is temporary.  I swear.  Right Lorenzo?”

“I’m highly insulted and not talking to either of you.”

“Cool.” He checked the wires that led to the helmet on Rog’s head.  When he looked at Rog’s face, the scowl told him that he dared not get too close to his mouth.  “Ok.  In 10 seconds you will experience a little bit of vertigo.  It will pass… I think.”

“You think?  Ugh!”  Rog felt the feeling of his stomach lurch but without the physical presence of a stomach.  It was horrible, but did taper off.  “Woah, that felt like an entire bad night out all at once.”

“Sounds about right.  Now can you try to, very gently, raise your right arm?”

Rog looked down at his right arm and tried to move it.   On his screen, Donnie could see the wireframe of Rog’s body slowly raise his right hand and give Donnie the finger.”

“Um.  Don?” Lorenzo said.

In the far corner of the lab, the Faux-verlord suit stood in its rack and gave everyone the bird.

Donnie smiled.  “Fuck you too, Rog.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 9 – Clever Boy

[Authors Note: This bit has me searching for Wilson’s natural slot.  I have an idea of his arc, but he needs to slide in and I don’t think I have that yet.  I’m also not a hundred percent on the timing of the various threads yet.  But hey!  First draft!  Once December rolls around I can work my perfectly functioning delete key!

Hope you are enjoying the ride.  Likes and follows are appreciated.  I don’t do much outreach, being a cyber hermit, so mentions go a long way while I’m doing this instead of The Strange.  Another thing that’s mostly going to wait until December.  Damn, going to be busy in December!

Stay Weird.

-SC]

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 7 – Squeeze and Strength

In an old industrial center made of concrete and metal in odd structures, the orange overlord faced off with the latest incarnation of the allies.

“Give it up, O.  You can’t possibly defeat us.”  The man in a quasi-military outfit said, giving a wide grin and a macho pose.

The Orange Overlord said nothing.  He turned and slashed a hand through one of the structures made of concrete, sheering it down to dirt and letting the entire structure canter over near the assembled heroes.

“Scatter!  Beta 2 formation!”

A young woman in a skin suit flew, taking the smirking man with her while the rest moved as fast as they could to avoid the rubble.  The orange overlord didn’t move a muscle.  His force shield protected him from the rocks and he walked away from his scattered foes.

“Ok.  Hold that frame.” Donnie showed this to Red, Lorenzo, Rog, Nasim, Annabel and a few others.  “I wanted you all to see this for two reasons.  One, there was particularly good footage of it from the allies drone copters, the narcissistic bastards, and two, I’m never going to be able to replicate that.  No way, no how.”

They all rolled their eyes.  “What can you replicate?” Red asked.

“I’m working on the big O’s super leap – landing’s a problem – and his remote fist, which is something he relied upon as a primary weapon near the end of his more active phase.  We clearly have some armor, but it’s not nearly as tough as it looks on account of the fact that Rog here has to be able to move.”

“I thought you were going to give him extra strength through an exoskeleton?”

“I was.  But after repeated simulations I realized that I was either going to break his bones or rip his tendons to shreds.  Given that the suit was powerful enough to make a difference, it was going to also move his arm, leg, whatever faster than he can move it himself.  Since he’ll still be keeping it rigid, the counter force will pulp his body. Maybe not right away, but over time, the operator,” and here he shot a look at Rog, ” would be a mess.”

“Well can’t we just let that happen… and then fix him later?”

Lorenzo jumped in.  “If I follow Donnie’s issue – no.  The person would be disassembled enough that the body would be unable to heal.”

“Well then, this isn’t going to work.  Can we do, I don’t know, holograms of him or something?”

“Well, I was looking at holograms.  And remote force projectors.” Donnie said.  ” It just wouldn’t be believable for the Faux-verlord himself.  People would notice, especially in the dark.  And it would limit the kinds of deployments we could set up.  No.  The suit itself has to be there.  And before you ask, yes I looked at robots.  I just can’t get a natural look out of a robot.  Not in a week.  It would move, but it would look mechanical.  Not to mention that it would be seriously limited due to the proscription on remote control or EM radiation going too or from the unit.  I need to have a dude in there and the current suit is perfect for Rog.”

“Why are we sending him, again?” Asked Nasim.

“Because if he gets shot in the face we’d only be out one dumb asshole.” Red said as a statement of objective fact.

“Oh, yeah, that.”

“You know, I’m right here.  And I gotta say, the idea of enhanced strength would really be a good one.”

Red squinted.  “And why is that, Rog?”

His head whipped around and he smiled at Red.  “Well because it’s really flexible as a power.  And it can be close up showy.  Sells the con better.”  He pointed at the screen.  “That stuff?  That stuff you can set up in advance.  Stage your fight so the wall crumbles due to judicious use of C4 or something when the Faux-verlord points at it.”

“Is that really what you are going to call it?” Annabel said as a side conversation to Donnie.

“Well, it ain’t the big O, and I need to keep reminding myself of that.  Rog made me internalize the distinction.  We are in the deception game here.”

“But,” Rog continued. “That isn’t interaction with the public.  That is the sneaky shit we need to do.  We need to convince people that the orange overlord didn’t go anywhere.  That means up close examples of power, not something that is mundane for anyone with a wrecking ball and a plan.”

Donnie grimaced.  “Maybe I can make the hands grip strong or something.”

“That would help.  Being able to lift a car, though, that would be much better.  I’m sure there are plenty of examples of the big O throwing something heavy.”

“Yeah, he took to doing that when he realized that he needed to save his force field for the really hard battles.  Needed to keep some abilities secret.”

“Ok.  And maybe we get some help from your force projectors or something?”

Donnie shook his head.  “Doesn’t work like that.  And not strong at a distance.”

“How much is this all going to cost, Don?” Annabel chipped in.

“So far, I’ve burned through a quarte mill.  I can’t get development to go fast enough to make much of a dent in the budget so far.  But to do what we need it to do is not going to be cheap.”

“A quarter mill isn’t real money?” Rog almost shouted.

“No, it isn’t.  Annabel replied.  But the thing about money is that shifting it around leaves a trail, and we can’t have that.”

Red looked at Annabel.  “This going to be a problem?”

“Short term, no.  But we will need to squeeze the vice enterprises for more cash if we want to keep this all off the books.”

“And we can do that?”

“For now.  These arrangements take a while to unwind.  After all, it’s not like someone is going to find a new distribution network overnight.”

 

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

 

Bagsy walked into the warehouse and looked at the two tables.  They had nothing on them.  Two people at each table sat, stone faced while four men with guns stood at the perimeter of the space.

The big man held out his hands.  “Where the hell is everyone?”  Bagsy looked at one of the counters.  “Where’s my fucking money and where is Tony?”

“T – Tony is in the upper office.”

“And my money?”

“I – I don’t know.  I got called in as a replacement.  I don’t know what’s going on please sir!”  The kid stammered.

“All right, all right.  I’m sorry.  Take a break.”  The man stormed over to the stairs that led to a catwalk.  “TONY!”

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

Shutting the door behind him, Bagsy looked down at the four counters having coffee and chatting.  “What the fuck Tony?”

“It’s like they disappeared, Bagsy.  They all, or at least most of them – normal turn out for a Sunday – They picked up the day’s product and then they just vanished.”

“How do thirty of my salesmen just vanish?  You think they decided to union up and run?”

Tony shook his head with a grimace.  “No.  Not like this.  If it were just a couple, maybe.  But we treat our people right.  You make sure of that Bagsy.  They come back because we don’t fuck with them.  We might have a couple of quitters, but nobody takes the package and runs like this.  Who would?”

“I don’t know,” Tony looked out of the window toward the empty factory floor below, “But when I find out, someone’s going to fucking die.  This is utterly fucking my system here.  That was a lot of loss,” He shook his head.  “And I really hope our guys are ok.”

He thrust away from the window with an audible grunt.

“Can’t you call up the cops?”

Bagsy stopped his pacing.  “What are you, nuts?”

“What?  To report missing people.  The Orange Overlord has the police looking out for our guys.”

“But if you haven’t noticed, the Orange Overlord is in jail right now.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean that the protection he paid for is gone… does it?”

“It does.  Or it might, so I’m not poking the fucking pig like that.”

Bagsy continued to pace.  “You say one of our counters is also down, did I get that right?”

“Yeah,” Tony shrugged.  “Vincent Duce.  Real goomba, but he’s got soft hands.”

“Anyone else see anything?  Any of the others get fucked with on the way here?”

“What you thinking, Bagsy?”

“The Overlord doesn’t do protection directly.  There’s a gang out there like ours that does it.”

“You mean Trevor’s guys?  The Turks?”

“Yeah.  Stupidest fucking name in the world, but yeah.  They run the protection racket that is supposed to keep the streets clear for us.”

“You think they swept us?”

Bagsy looked out the window to the floor again and bumped his fist against the pane.  “I don’t know.  It’s a place to start though.  And get a line in to the Orange Overlord.  Use one of the burners from the park.  They need to know about this shit at central.  If the big O gives the man the slip and reasserts dominance, I don’t want anyone to think that I was the man that threw the first punch in this shit.”

“Got it.  I’ll get it done, boss.”

“Yeah,” Bagsy nodded.  “Yeah.  We’ll get it done.”

 

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

 

Wilson sat in a corner of the room on the chipped linoleum floor and scribbled into his notebook.

“What cha doin’ there Wil?” Fred, a boy his age and a fellow runner asked.

“Doing my homework.  We been here for hours.  Might as well get topped off, you know?”

“Nope.  Me and homework don’t hang, Wil.  But you be you.  And anyway, you figured out what’s going on?”

Wilson frowned.  “What do you mean?”

A laugh hissed out of Fred.  “I known ‘bout you for years, boy.  Live on the block.  And that was shit what happened to your dad.  Anyways everyone knows you are a bright bulb.  So, what have you figured out about this shit?”

“What shit?”

“The shit we’re in!  Please don’t tell me you just think this is some kinda study break.” Fred threw up his hands in frustration.  “Me, I got nothing, but you…  What’s the smart play?  What’s going on?”

Wilson frowned, sighed and thought.  “In the middle ages, when two tribes settled a war, they would each take a member of the royal family from the opposite side into their court.”

“What, like a marriage?”

“No, like a hostage.  The idea is that if the other side crossed the line, the hostage would be forfeit.  Usually it was something like a young kid or a cousin.”

“So, they are going to try to ransom us?”

“No.”  Wilson concentrated then went on.  “No.  I think whoever took us wants us unharmed, but not quite in the same way we’re talking about.  It’s close, though and hopefully Bagsy understands this.  Or will.  So long as he doesn’t make any hostile moves, we’re safe.  As soon as he starts to be hostile, though…”

“We’re fucked.”

“Yep.”  Wilson scratched something into his notebook.

“So how can you just sit there and do your shit?”

Wilson was exasperated.  “Because what else am I supposed to do?  We’re pretty thoroughly stuck here.  There aren’t even any guards or nothing to talk to.  If we’re fucked, we’re fucked but if not, I got an assignment due second period tomorrow and I may as well be prepared.”

Fred nodded his head.  “Be prepared.  Now I guess you are on to something.”

“What are you thinking Fred?”

Fred smiled.  “If we’re at war here, I’m thinking we need a king.  What do you think, your highness?”

Wilson’s pencil stopped scratching.

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 8 – Birds and Cages

[Author’s note: I’m not going to lie, I’m starting to feel the burn here.  I am forcing it, but I can’t say that I’m more or less disappointed with the result.  This CLEARLY needs work.  It’s overwritten and some of the relationships between characters don’t feel right.  Also, I’m developing a disturbing (and utterly unconscious) trend of minorities being antagonists with white people in power.  I don’t really know what to do with that because you can’t just flip someone’s race.  And just about everyone is female.  I don’t know.  And it’s hard because this is a story about bad guys.  Do I really want to make more villains of people? Just about everyone is a villain here.

Oh well, got to get it down and then fix it in post if it’s not realistic.  People may be upset with it, but I’m not filling quotas.

And on that cheery note, I hope you all are enjoying the ride. Likes and follows are helpful and appreciated.

Stay Weird

-SC]

 

 

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 6 – Building Your Beast

“Brothers and Sisters!”  Lucius yelled out above the crowd gathered outside of the police station.  “Brothers and Sisters!  Please.”

“Yeah, who are you?” Someone from the crowd asked derisively.

“I’m someone with a purpose.  And an answer.  Who are you?  I know who you are.  You are someone, a victim of the Orange Overlord.  He has picked your pocket clean and now you want blood, am I right?”  Before anyone could respond he continued.  “Of course, I’m right.  The Orange overlord has stolen from us all.  He’s taken our cities.  All four of them.  He’s taken our jobs unless we want to work as criminals and scumbags.  He’s taken our dignity.  Our community.  But our self-respect?  We gave that away.  We gave our selves away.

“I’m here to talk about the Orange Overlords true crime.  His biggest crime.  You see, the media, the politicians, the heroes, they want to say that his biggest crime was when he killed Captain Courageous.  Fool in a mask.  No.  His biggest crime was when he made us all slaves.

“SLAVES!  Word hurts, doesn’t it?  And you can say, but Lucius, I’m not a slave.  But you are.  You are a slave every time you work in that filth the orange overlord has set up to suck in all the vice and vile from all over and into our town.  When you work at the munitions plant.  When you do nothing.  Because you are paying into the system, the taxation system through which the orange overlord draws his true power to corrupt and coerce and crush anyone who would defy him.  You are owned by that system.  You are owned by him.

“They say that when you work, you are trading your time for money.  That time is a little sliver, a piece of the life you have to live on this planet.  So, you are actually trading your life, your soul for money, which is fine as far as it goes.  That would be fine if you turned around and spent your money on your wife.  Your mom, your kids.  But if that money is then taken and given to the Overlord?  You have just given him a piece of your soul.  He owns you.  He has taken your soul from you.

“But now we have him, right?  So, it’s all good.  Right?  Wrong.  We still pay the tithe.  We’ve still had our lives taken from us and we will continue to be slaves to this orange freak until we get our money back.” The crowd was nodding and now they had turned to clapping.  “We will not be whole until we have had reparations delivered to us.  To our kids.  And to our communities so they can fight back against the corruption, the coercion and the filth that crushed us.

“And to that end, we are organizing.  I can’t do it alone.  I don’t have super powers like the orange piece of shit that enslaved us, but together we can effect this change.  We can make ourselves whole.  We can take back our souls.”  The crowd cheered, not huge, but not just a polite smattering.  Those who were into it, were all in.  Those who weren’t stayed skeptical.

“I see you all here.  You wouldn’t be here outside the jail that holds the Orange Overlord if you didn’t hate him.  But are you just going to yell and scream?  You think he hasn’t heard that and not let it bother him countless times?  You think Captain Courageous didn’t scream?  Or the League, or the Allies, or the armed forces that attempted to drive him from the city?  Or the countless civilians and politicians he’s assaulted in his reign of terror?  He could give a shit about you yelling.  But, now that he’s in a cage, the politicians who still collect his outrageous tithe, who aided the evil bastard in his work, those people will answer to us IF and Only if we organize and speak with a united voice.

“I understand that many of you are burned by politics.  But it is the political machine that took from us our souls.  It owns them now and so that is the thing we must fight.  We must fight it on its terms.  But we are Right.  And we are righteous, and we will be free of not only the orange overlord but the stink of his lackeys and his vice and his pain.  We will be repaid and made whole!”

The crowd gave him much more energetic and unanimous applause at this.  Max stepped up to the microphone and gave a much more informative rap up.

“Thank you, brother Lucius.  Now I have flyers up here for our first meeting of the reparation committee.  We intend to meet in the basement of the first Baptist church on 39th street, but” he looked at the stack of flyers going faster than anticipated, “But if we need to, we will relocate to the courtyard to give everyone who wants to participate a chance.  Remember tomorrow, Monday, at 7 PM.  Brother Lucius and I will see you there.

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

“So, who is Doctor Rust?”

Donnie looked up from his computer to Rog.  He sat in a chair in the middle of the floor.  Nothing was within arm’s reach but several things appeared to be pointing at him.

“That’s me.  Or at least, it used to be.”

Rog snorted a laugh.  “What, were you some kind of super villain, or better yet, a hero?!  I can see it now.  ‘give me your cookies or I’ll rust this car to its axels!'”  A heroic pose in the chair completed the look and Donnie gave him the stink eye.

“No.  It’s my fucking name asshole.  I was even on the Tenure track at Quad cities college before I went to work in the private sector and got swept up by Ted to work here.”

“Really?  Oh shit!  You’re a real-life professor.  Can I call you doc?”

“That would be confusing with Doctor Lorenzo hanging around.  By the way, I’m going to need him for the next phase here.”

“That guy creeps me the fuck out!”

“Ah, he’s not all that bad.  Best acid ever.  Don’t get on his bad side or you’ll be kissing the sky for a week.”

“I kinda figured.  So, what is this “next phase” bit?”

Donnie pulled back from his computer and grabbed his humongous sized soft drink.  “The next phase is consolidating all the components into a rig that might work.”

“What?  I thought you were basically doing all this yourself.  Like, just making the thing.”

A chuckle moved Donnie’s belly.  “You think I’m going to be able to get what is essentially a personalized tank moving by myself in a week?  Haven’t you ever built anything?”

“I rebuilt an engine once.”

“By yourself?”

“Well, no.  I was one of a couple of guys that did it over a weekend… oh, I seen now.”

“Well, I don’t think you really do.  You see, you are going to need weapons that could potentially be explained using the powerset the Orange Overlord exposed to the world.”

“Yeah, you’re right I didn’t get any of that … whatever that was.”

Donnie punched a few keys and something in the back of the lab started to hum.  “I can’t just send you out in a suit that looks like the Orange overlord with a machine gun.  You would right fully look like a guy that was on his way to a costume party while armed.  No, you have to both look and act in a way that the big O would act.”

“Ok.  So, what do I have to do?”

Another flick of the keys and a video of the Orange Overlord in action came up on a screen.  “Here’s Ted kicking the ass of the Allies in 06.  You see what he’s doing there?”

Rog watched the screen as the big man in the big orange and brown suit put his right arm up and punched at people at a very far distance.  “He’s shooting them with his fist.”

“Correct.  That’s what he wanted everyone to see.  The idea was that he was using a force cannon, but what he was actually doing… “ Donnie hit a button and the frame froze.  “He was projecting his force field out from his hand and making a solid bar of force to hit someone.  And he fucked up a couple of times and swung it like a baseball bat, but not so much that anyone noticed.  The cycle time was actually pretty good, but not perfect.”

Rog nodded and looked blankly at Donnie.  “Why do I care?”

“Because we need to make a force cannon that works like that.  And that fits within the housing of the suit.”

“Ok. so that’s cool.  How hard is that?”

Donnie looked up from his computer.  “It’s really hard.  I’m glad we have some guys in Santa Fe working on force projection tech for a manufacturing process or else we’d be cooked.”

“Wait!” Rog’s head snapped around.  “I thought you were doing this?”

“I am getting the plans, hurrying things along, delivering specs.  And Then eventually integrating everything into a suit I have a top-flight costume designer creating.”

Again, Rog shook his head.  “Why?”

Donnie looked up from his keyboard.  “Because no one can know we’re building the thing.  A little part here, a little power system there.  Some systems, like the pulse cannon can’t be broken down into smaller systems, but many things can.  The motivators for the exoskeleton, for instance, will be sourced from five different vendors under numerous different names.”

“I still don’t get it.”

“That is because you have not opened your mind to the possibilities that the infinite universe surrounds us with constantly, my lad.”  Doctor Lorenzo glided in as if he were on roller skates.  “I understand you need a neural interface, Don.  I came with my latest biofeedback rig.  Hopefully it will do the trick.”

“Yeah. Thanks Lorenzo.  Can you put it on the dummy.”  Donnie quickly poked to the side while continuing to type.

Lorenzo looked at Rog and Rog glowered back at him, full of senseless violence.

“Um, excuse me, Don?”

Donnie looked up at the scene and then pointed to where he’d pointed before.  On the dummy, the mannequin.  It should be coming out of the three dee printer over by the wall.  Hang the thing there and I’ll be over in a bit to get the interface specs.”

Again, Doctor Lorenzo looked at Rog.  “Ah yes.  Very good.  Are you finally going to go for the direct neural interface I’d created for your computers?”

“Oh, no.  I still think that’s a good way to get brain damage.  It’s for Rog here so he can pilot the suit.”

“What?  I heard brain damage in there.”  Rog started to get up and Donnie raised a hand.

“Please don’t get up.  I’m still measuring.”

Rog looked at the pieces of equipment pointed at him and sat back down.  “I’m not liking the idea of brain damage doc,” he nodded at Donnie then turned to Lorenzo, “Doc.  It’s not much, but it’s the only brain I have. ”

“A master of understatement.  But not to worry my strong, uh… strong friend.  The thing Doctor Rust fears is the interface’s display.  You will only be working on the input devices to the suit.  In other words, the interface won’t push anything into your brain, it will just take things out.”

“Oh.  That still sounds like it won’t be good.”

“Rog,” Donnie interjected.  “You are going to be the first person outside of the titanium avenger to ever successfully wear a suit of powered armor in an act of super villainy.  Congratulations.”

“Uh… Thanks?”

“And for that honor, all we need is to take a little risk with your autonomic nervous system.  Small thing, really”

“So, if it’s small, that means you can, not do it?”

“No, dear boy.  We are using you to make the thing balance and walk.  You will likely be fine, but we’re in new territory here.”  Lorenzo looked at the screen and nodded.  “Oh, I like the boots.  That will be interesting.”

Rog squinted.  “What’s the worst-case scenario here?”

Both the doctors looked up from Donnie’s screen.  “Worst case, Red finds out you are getting cold feet and she kills you right here.”

Rog flinched.  “Ok, so what’s the best-case scenario?”

“You become a second-rate version of the orange overlord and become beneficiary of all his hard work, raking in about six million dollars a day in profit from both the illegal enterprises and the legal holdings of Flanderal.  Of course, you only get to keep a little bit of that.  Mostly Red doesn’t shoot you in the eye.”

“Well, I don’t want to be shot in the eye.  How much beer can you buy for six million?”

The doctors looked at each other, puzzled.  “It.  It is difficult to make that kind of conversion.” Lorenzo ventured.

“You’d have all the beer you wanted.  All the bud and babes as well.”

Rog smiled.  “Well then, hook me up!”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 7 – Squeeze and Strength

[Author’s note: In this bit, I’m trying out a few things.  I’m also going light on attribution an ambiance, which is how I normally do my drafts – dialog first.

Anyone who’s seen The Strange knows that I get very wordy, but this is a bit much even for me, I think.  Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the episode.  Likes and follows are always appreciated!

Stay Weird

-SC]

 

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 5 – Totally Screwing up my Posts!

Lucius was lost in his thoughts as he and Max made their way to the police station.

“You know what you’re going to say, right?”

“Hm?” said Lucius.  He was pulling a battery powered amplifier and a microphone borrowed from his wana be rapper cousin T-bone on a weak handcart.  Max, for his part carried a backpack full of fliers.

“You know what you’re going to say… I mean, you practiced your shit, right?”

“I know what I’m saying… More or less.”

“More or… Jesus young blood, you’ve got to have your shit together if you are going to start talking about the Orange Overlord like that in the middle of a crowd!  Dude is serious.”

“Was serious.  He’s seriously behind bars right now.”

“Yeah, but his people aren’t.  You are talking about fucking with the way things are.”

“The way things are is fucked, and you know it Max!”

“Yeah, but there are people who make their living off of the way things are now and they won’t want some nappy dread headed jackass mobilizing against them.”

“Is that what we’re doing?  I thought we were showing people how much the Orange Overlord takes from us and demanding that the city stop taking it.”

“You say it one way, I say it another.  That money goes somewhere, Lou.”

“And you think that us saying it should stay with people instead of criminals is a problem?”

“No.  Of course not.  If I thought that I wouldn’t be here helping you.  Look, I’ve been an activist for a long time, trying to get our people a fair shake.  Thing about the Orange overlord, he fucked everybody pretty equally, so that shit sorta went away.  But now, the lids off.  We don’t even know how messed things are going to get and you are going to go in and throw bricks.”

Lucius nodded.  “You know as well as I do that shits’ got to change, Max.  Having the city stop taking the damned Tithe for that Orange piece of shit is the very least we can ask for here.  We’re asking for people to be reasonable.”

“And then what?”

“Then we build, right?  Then we look at what we have and build.”

Max looked him up and down.  “All right Lucius, it’s your show.  I’ll help you.  but examine your motives, keep your shit pure.  Understand?”

“I understand Max.  I’m just tired of having my shit stolen from me by that orange Mother fucker as just a matter of course, like it’s no big thing.”

“I feel you.  We’ll work to make things right.”

“Damn straight.”

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

“Wilson, you had better not be out there doing drugs with those no-good friends of yours!  Your father would die again if he found out.”

Fifteen-year-old Wilson Yates rolled his eyes as he put on his hat.  “Come on mom.  Don’t use Dad’s name in vein like that.”

“Then Don’t shit on his last name by being a druggie.  I’m no fool Wilson, I know what pot smells like on your clothes!  Just because I haven’t caught you yet doesn’t mean I’m not going to warn your ass.  Stay away from trouble.”

The berating from the other room in their small apartment continued as Wilson got ready.  He had a couple of apples in his pack, a book and a small hand scale.  He also threw in a new spray bottle of deodorant which he hoped would freshen his clothes a bit

Mom was a total drag, but so was the idea of having to find someplace new to live.

And it wasn’t like Mom was able to give him anything that his job could.  Ever since Dad had died, she struggled.  She struggled so badly that she didn’t notice how the fridge rarely had anything in it or how the pantry was almost always empty.  Forget nice things, his part time job, as he had come to think of it, paid for the clothes on his back and the food in his stomach.  It took the pressure off of mom.  That was his gift to her and it would work as long as she could kid herself that it wasn’t so.

“I’ll be back by ten Mom!  I’ll do my homework at the library.”

“You make sure you do.  School is the only way you are going to make it.”

The lecture continued, but it was unnecessary.  Wilson had no intention of having crap grades.  Besides, school was easy.  They literally told you what to do!  Just do that and you pass, at least.  Only fools flunk, and Wilson was no fool.

He grabbed his hat and stuffed his afro into it.  Thank dad for his white guy hair that prevented him from having legitimate dreadlocks.  He clamped it down tight and went through the door, ignoring his mother’s sad voice behind him.

Like all brownstones, the elevator was suspect, so Wilson took the stairs.  The rhythm of pat pat pat thump, pivot, repeat was a balm from childhood, when dad was around.  It brought a smile to his face which lasted until he went through the front door.  He put on a street face and hopped down the front steps of the tenement.  A right at the sidewalk had him walking toward the bodega and his first pickup of the day.

He was no fool.  It was drugs.  Neatly packaged in little plastic vials with syringes and even instructions.  The Orange Overlord himself had mandated the packaging.  He wanted his junkies alive.

Along with that was something that was actually more problematic to Wilson – a half pound of herb.  That is what Mom could smell and he kept it tightly wrapped and in the bag.  His supplier rang up a customer as if he hadn’t just handed Wilson a couple hundred dollars’ worth of vice.  Wilson kept it as cool as if it were just cheese like the wrapper said.  If the customer thought anything of it, if their skittles were suddenly more interesting than they likely should have been, no one cared.  It was all cool.  Wilson would hit the park and turn these into cash.  Maybe he’d go back and get another front from the bodega and try to turn that before hitting the library for real.  Weekends were a good time to try to hit a double.

Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t notice the van pull up ahead of him and park.  He didn’t think twice when the side door opened, and a guy got out and stepped onto the sidewalk.  He did, however, notice when Trevor got out of the passenger’s seat and turned to face him.

“Wilson.  So good to see you.”

“Oh.  Hi … Mr. Trevor… Sir.”

“Are you surprised that I know your name Wilson?  You shouldn’t.  You’re one of the not so stupid ones.”

“Um.  Yeah, that’s me.” He looked into the van and in the dark of the blacked-out windows, he could see two other of the gang he sold with tied up with tape on their mouths.  Fear in their eyes.

“You can see, Wilson, that we’ve been busy.  Your friends are, unfortunately, not as bright as you.”

Wilson’s heart raced.  His vision tunneled.  He wanted to run.  But Trevor was right, he wasn’t stupid.  “Any way I can just give you the bag?   I’d rather not get my ass kicked.”

Trevor nodded.  “Yeah, we’ll take the bag, Wilson, but you’ll be coming along as well.

He looked into the back at his friends.  “I don’t guess I can just sit in the back and do my homework?”

The man that had gotten out of the side of the van made to take the bag and Wilson did not resist.

“It will be a short trip, but the tape is optional, provided you stay quiet.”  Trevor grinned as he put his hand on his shoulder and led him to the back of the van.  “The handcuffs, I’m afraid, are not.  I’m sure you can understand our caution.”  Wilson sat next to his friend who was bound hands and feet with tape and tape over his mouth.  He was spared that treatment, but the other man held him.  Trevor continued to speak through the door.  “As far as the homework, you will have plenty of time on your hands.  And really, I insist.  Idle hands are the devil’s workshop after all.”  The van door slammed shut, leaving Wilson in darkness.

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

Donnie’s lab was the same mess it had been the night before.

“What did you talk me into, Donnie?” Rog immediately started playing with stuff and stopped as soon as Donnie gave him a horrified look.  “I take it this shit is dangerous?”

“Unbelievably.  Look Rog, just find a seat.  And what I’ve gotten you into is the only thing that will keep Red from killing you.  You don’t understand, she is ruthlessly efficient and has absolutely no morals.”

“Oh that can’t be right.  All chicks are the nurturing type.  It has something to do with their girl parts.”

Donnie squinted.  “What?  … Actually I don’t want to know.  Just … you are wrong.  Red …”

“What she doesn’t have girl parts?”

Donnie looked towards the ceiling and sighed.  “I’m sure I don’t know with accuracy, but I’m going to guess she has girl parts.  Don’t touch that!” Donnie took the cylinder from Rog’s hands.  “Jesus, dude, didn’t we just cover how some stuff in here is incredibly dangerous?”

“Unbelievably.”

“What?”

“You said it was unbelievably dangerous.”

“Yes.”

“Well, I maybe can believe anything this small is dangerous, so it can’t be unbelievably dangerous.  So I guess I can just handle it with the caution I know it should take to handle it safely.”

Donnie shook the cylinder.  “This and just about everything in this lab is incredibly dangerous or fragile or both.  So, don’t touch anything unless I tell you to, ok?”

“Yeah.  Got it.”  He looked up.  “Should you be shaking that like that?”

Donnie looked up, went white and then gently put the cylinder into a form fitting foam case.  He put a note on it and then turned to Rog.  “I will need to measure you.  You don’t happen to know your measurements, do you?”

“What, like for a tux?”

“Yes, exactly.  That would be perfect!”

“Nope.  I mean, I know i got measured once but I’ll be damned if I remembered it.”

“Damn.  What were you measured for?”

“Combat armor.  We got some cool stuff when I suited up for bomb tech.”

“You were a demolitions expert?”

“Assistant.  Had a few go up pretty close to me too.  You think rock concerts are loud!”

Donnie shook his head.  “Ok fine. I still need your measurements.  And this stuff is going to be pretty exact because the suit has to be able to bend with you yet remain stiff.”

Rog raised an eyebrow.  That sounds impossible.  Moves and doesn’t move.”

“The Orange Overlord did a lot of impossible things and now that suit will have to do the same.  Come on, let’s get started.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 6 – Building Your Beast

[Author’s Note: You know, posting on wordpress is really not that hard, yet I seem to be finding every possible way to FUCK IT UP on this project.  Oh well, getting back on par with this part.  Now all I have to do is stay on the beam and tell a story.  No sweat, eh?

Hope you all are enjoying the ride.

Stay Weird

-SC]

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 4 – So Why Don’t We Use the Suit?

Rog sat back.  “So, you don’t have the suit?  He has it?”

Donnie put his hand out in front of the bewildered Rog.  “Dude.  There is no suit at all.  It’s a trick.  An illusion.  It’s something the Orange Overlord created to hide himself.  It does protect him from close in things, but that’s just because it’s a very short range force field.  The power is with him.”

“Ok, Ok.  Fine.  But ok, hear me out.  Why don’t you just put someone else into the suit?”

“Oh, for the love of God!” Red shouted out.  “Donnie, are you sure we can’t kill him? I want to shoot him again.”

“Why are you all so pissed?  Put someone in the suit and … I don’t know… knock over a bank or something.  Solves your problems!”

“And how would it do that?” The mystic called out.  “What the hell do we need with money?”

The older woman put in, “We’ve got plenty of money.  We’re currently in a very good cash position.”

“Ok, then.  Not a bank.  Maybe go beat up some cops.”

“But there isn’t a suit you dumb fucker!”

“So?” Rog shot back to Red.  “And who are you calling a fucker?  We ain’t that close yet, though I’m willing to put you on a fast track.”

Red pulled her sleek white gun and Rog said ” Here we go again.”

“This time can you shoot him in the head?  The morphology of the darts would be totally different if introduced into the cerebral-spinal fluid as opposed to being blood borne!”

The room was suddenly quiet as everyone looked at Doctor Lorenzo.  He shrugged.  “Didn’t want a good opportunity to go to waste.  You know… research?”

Everyone was quite an awkward moment until Rog spat, “Remind me to kick your ass later, doc.”

Donnie stood up and put his hands out.  “Hold on.  Let’s take it easy.  Red, I think I understand Dumbass here.  There is no reason why we couldn’t make a suit.  I can make a suit.”

“You can do that?” Red and Nasim said almost simultaneously.  Heads around the room nodded.

“Well, not really.  I can make something that looks like the suit.  That part’s easy.  Making it work is the tough part.  In theory, I can make a robot.  I think.  But There’s a lot that can go wrong.  I definitely need to limit any signals that could be traced to the bot.  the Orange Overlord never did that, so I can’t.”

Red looked at Rog down the barrel of her gun, but then thought of it and holstered it.  “What about capabilities.  We can’t just drop a statue somewhere and say ‘here you go!'”

Dan picked up a tablet and started to scribble on it.  “I’m…  Anyone got any paper?  this thing… I need paper.”

“Just, what do you think you might be able to do, Donatello?” Red used his full name and it seemed to slap him.

“I…” He looked into her fierce eyes and shook his head.  “If there is a pilot, maybe I can make it walk, talk sounding like the big O and maybe fly a little?  I need time.”

“You’ve got a week, max.  Things haven’t started to turn ugly out there, but it’s inevitable.  Ted has his first pre-trial in a week.”

“So we’re telling him to not guilty?” Nasim said, lifting his ring.

“Yep.  Red said. “Rog, as remarkable as it is, is right about this.  We throw up enough doubt and they will let him off.  What do the lawyers say he’s saying?”

“They say he hasn’t said anything.  Not to the cops.  Not to them.  Not to anyone.” Nasim shook his head.  “He’s not in good shape.”

“Well tell him we’re going to get him out of there and to sit tight.  Donnie?” Donnie’s head shot up at the mention of his name.  “Make the suit.  If you need a pilot…” she pointed at Rog “There’s your man.  I’m not putting anyone who isn’t expendable in that thing and make sure it’s got a suicide switch.”  Rog shot Red a look.  ” Congratulations, Rog.  You’ve found your job.”

Rog looked from Donnie to Red and then at his hands.  “I still don’t get why they can’t just use the suit.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 5 – Totally Screwing up my Posts!

[Author’s note: This one is short.  Likely the next one is also going to be short as I haven’t even started.  You see, I’m painting.  If that isn’t explanation enough, you’ve never painted over stubbornly colorful walls before.

Thanks for reading.  I’m finding this energizing, though a little hard to manage.  Hope you are enjoying it as well.

Stay Weird

-SC]

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 3 – Off on a Jog

The beer sat awkwardly in Rog’s stomach.  He paced the room and though it was nice, he couldn’t help but feel caged.  Not that he cared about being caged, as long as the cage was nice, but he wasn’t in the mood for it.

He tried the door and was surprised to find it open.  Not only that, it wasn’t much of a door.  A single good kick could have broken the thing to pieces even if he’d had a key that could have locked the thing.  At this point, the best he could do was lock himself out by doing the knob and only stupid people did that.

He was off down the hall before he’d reconsidered.  Donnie was right, this really was like a hotel, right down to the weird wall mounted light things, the stripped wall paper and the carpet that hid stains in the patterns.  It even had that rigidly air-conditioned feel to the place.

Not letting the weirdness get to him, he thought “hotel” and followed the hallway to where an elevator would be.  He didn’t find one, but he did find stairs.  Going down, he found himself in a polished stone and concrete lobby that would have been nice had all the windows not terminated in raw stone instead of sky.

“You like it?”

His head whipped around, and he saw Red in the same kind of track suit he currently wore.  “Uh… It’s freaky.”

Red nodded.  “Yeah, I can see that.  But Ted liked this kitschy little hotel he stayed in in South America and he wanted to recreate it here for the living quarters.”

“That’s…” Rog blew out a sigh, “That’s a little much, don’t you think?”

“Yeah.  And to be fair, we were half way through doing it when he said he would have been happy with a rough outline using the layout and just getting it done, but we’d already gotten the original architects and the managers…”

“And that’s crazy.  Why the hell do that?”

Red stopped looking around at the lobby and faced him.  “Because we can.  Or could.  Look, the moment you stop doing things to impress people, and this installation is quite impressive, you haven’t seen the pool yet, the moment you give that up is the moment that people think they can take you for granted.  Ted…”

“The Orange Overlord, you mean…”

Red demurred.  “Of course.  The Orange Overlord, for all his power, was always punching up but he always had to make his opponent think he was punching down.  That is the real key to success.  Ted brought it with him from his business.”

“And you buy that?”

“I took it and ran with it.  And speaking of running, I was going to get in a jog before turning in.  I take it Donnie didn’t show you the gym?”

Rog smiled.  “I’m not sure Donnie is the gym type.”

“No.  But he is brilliant.  Losing that mind would have been a real shame.  I don’t believe I thanked you for preventing his brain damage.  Lorenzo said he was very close to a cerebral hemorrhage.”

“Yeah, well, it’s the job.”

Red nodded.  “You are still thinking about your fare, aren’t you.”

“Kinda.  It’s a little hard to shift gears.”

“Well, that’s fine.  We’ll find a use for you or you’ll be eliminated and won’t have to worry about it.”

Rog stopped walking.  “What?”

“It’s nothing personal.  It’s just that this,” and she waved her hand around, “is a conspiracy.  If we had a bunch of people walking around with knowledge of it, we’d never be able to keep it secret.  And the Orange Overlord is a villain and owns the police in any jurisdiction that matters so, yeah.” She pointed out the door to a larger chamber beyond.  “Gym and track are right out there.  Come on.”

They ran in silence around the track.  Apparently in the original building, this was a walkway around the perimeter of the pool deck.  In this replica, the walls were made of rough-hewed stone and the path was a two-lane, cushioned AstroTurf track that went around a gym pagoda, past the pool, also cut into the stone, and then around the hotel building its self, including an out-building restaurant-come-kitchen and a roundabout for golf carts.  It was all very impressive.

“How many people live here?”

“Right now?  We have a full compliment of a dozen.  It’s just the people who are in the know.  We have people who supply the building when we are in lockdown elsewhere.”

“Again, seems like a waste.”

Red panted and kept jogging.  Rog didn’t even sweat.  “You wouldn’t think it was a waste when we were calling up the Orange Accords and the entire US delegation was living here.  It was damned impressive and useful.  Plus, we’ve hosted villain conferences and at one point jailed two entire teams of supposed heroes here.  These walls are thick and I bet you didn’t even notice the blast doors.”

“Hang on, you imprisoned heroes here?”

“Yes.  Ted wanted the world to think they were dead. And the Villains are way easier to mobilize if you give them some perks.”

“You’re crazy.”

“I live in crazy times.”

“Yeah, and I was walking around here to try to not feel like a prisoner.”

“How’d that work out?”

“Well, I no longer feel like I’m in a prison.  Now I feel like I’m in an asylum.”

Red started to unzip her track suit and made her way to the pool, leaving Rog behind.  “Maybe you aren’t so stupid after all.” She shucked the jacket, revlaling a one piece swimsuit and a lithe body.  “Go get some rest Rog.  We’re meeting again in seven hours.”

“Why seven hours?”

“Becuase Ted gets arraigned in eight.”

 

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

 

Lucius woke with a jolt.  His purpose from the night before had crystalized in his sleep.  It was clear, and sharp and like all sharp things, it’s edge cut.

Breakfast was hurried and done.  Marsha was up and over to his cousin’s apartment next door before he even thought about it, his wife Marcy having already braided her hair the night before.  The purpose put blinders on him.  Though his family mattered, the purpose *had* him.

“You ok, Lou?” Marcy asked.

“What?”  He shook his head.  “Um, yeah.  Yeah, Marcy, just distracted is all.  By this Orange Overlord thing.”

“Nothing but good news I think.  Maybe now they will clean up those drug dens and get some of those other factories going.   Maybe people won’t have to work for the Overlord any more.”

“Yeah.  But I think it’s more than that.  I’m… Marcy, do you believe in me?”

She squinted and gave him the side eye.  “What kind of question is that?”

“No, really.” He looked into her yes.  “Really, I need to know.  Becuase I think I got some things to say to people, some things that other people may not like, but I think they are the right things to say.  Do you believe in me?”

Marcy leaned forward and put her hand on his.  “Lucius, I believe in you.  If you think you need to get something off your chest, go for it.  Just don’t get killed or fired.”

Lucius smiled.  “You’re my rock, Marcy.”

“Yeah, well.  I’ll use that rock to beat in your head if you loose your job.  Is this why you are up so early?”

“Yeah.  I wanted to have my thougts lined up.  Wanted to know what I wanted to say.”

Marcy again looked skeptical.  “Ok.  Look, I’m going to be out wiht your cousin and the little one until five.  You can tell me how it went, that cool?  And is Max in this with you?”

“Kinda.  A little.  We talked about this last night.”

She nodded.  “Max knows how to get people riled, all right.  Ok, well.  Just let me know if you need help with anything.”

“Thanks.  I promise I won’t let you down.”

“Let me down?  Honey, you’ve never let me down.”

“And I aim to keep my promises.”

 

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

 

Red stormed into the room.  Rog recognized it as the same room where he’d been shot, and it didn’t make him terribly comfortable.

“Please, Rog, Take a seat.” She said, seeing him lurking in the shadows.  “Everyone, I’d like to introduce Rog.  You all met him briefly yesterday and he’s decided to join our little team.”

“Uh, Hi.” Rog said as everyone looked at him sitting down.  “Hi.”

“Rog, this is Dr. Lorenzo, the person you have to thank for the paralysis darts.”

“So how are you feeling, Rog?”

“Like someone shot me with melting freaking darts, Doc.” he said

“I was wondering if I could run some testes.  I’ve never been able to witness the metabolism of the darts because… well, usually they are pretty pissed off.”

“Yeah, I can understand where they are coming from.”

Red interrupted.  “This is Annabell, our financial and corporate wizard” Red gestured to an unassuming older woman with glasses and curly hair.

“Glad to meet you Rog.”

“Yeah, well I’m kinda…”

At that point a man in a turban and robe flew into the room.  “Red, they moved up the arrangement by twenty minutes and the lawyers are asking for guidance.  Are we really considering pleading down?”

“Rog, Nasim.  Other intros can wait.”

“You are the guy who immobilized me with my eyes open.  Do you have any idea how bad it hurts to have your eyes dry out like that?”

“Am I supposed to care?”

“Shut it!” Red said.  Turning to Nasim, she asked, “You can still talk to them?”

“The ring of far speech will let me talk to them undetected.”

Looking up at the people around the room, Red said, “Here’s the deal.  Ted pleads out he can leverage the Orange Accords to try to get immunity, maybe get extradited to Suriname, which was his backup plan anyway.  Or we go not guilty and make them prove that he’s the Overlord.  If they do, he dies.”

Annabel spoke up.  “I’d think Ted would rather have a chance to win and a quick exit if he loses.  I go not guilty.”

“Yeah, but they had him dead to rights,” A voice Rog didn’t know said.  How could there be any doubt?”

“Nasim.  Ted has always lacked a motive for the actions of the Orange Overlord.  If they hadn’t pulled him from that pile of rubble that had fallen on the Orange Overlord, then no one would have ever believed they were one and the same.  We’ve certainly kept his secret.”

Rog spoke to Donnie, but his voice carried further than he wanted.  “Why don’t you just have someone else wear the suit and bust him out of jail?”

Red spoke up.  “What was that?”

Before Rog could answer Donnie replied.  “There isn’t a suit.”

“What do you mean, there isn’t a suit?  That’s like, the most elemental thing about the orange overlord is that he’s got this kinda armor that projects a forcefield. I’m a dumbass and even I know that!”

“But I’m telling you, there is no suit.”

“What?”

Red rolled her eyes.  “Rog, he’s telling you that there is no suit.  How many times do you need it repeated.”

Rog looked back and forth between the two.  “Are we talking about the same guy here?”

“It’s not a suit.  The armor is mystical in nature.” Nasim said.  “He brings it forth around his body through his mystic power to hide his identity and channel his otherworldly force.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 4 – So Why Don’t We Use the Suit?

[Author’s note:  This was a terrible way to end this section, but it was getting late, my mind was starting to fuzz and I had Cub Scouts in the morning. Priorities, you know.

Hope you’re enjoying the show.  I’m already itching to give this an editing pass but down that road lies madness.  Only another 27 days of first drafts to go until I get a shot.

Please consider liking and following if you find this to be amusing.  It’s helpful to both keep going here and in general with the other stories I have not forgotten I’m neglecting.  After I rip up some carpet and paint a wall, I may give that the attention it deserves.

Stay Weird

-SC]