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]

 

 

All That Remains – Part 5

The rocket was ten by four by six meters and shaped like a stubby airplane.  The rear held seven large engines in a hexagon and the nose had a half-extended ramp to match the half-buckled supports on two of the three landing skids.  As Pez watched, leaning against a boulder in the shade of the parasol, a steady stream of bent parts and curses poured down the ramp.

“Not that it isn’t lovely out here, but how are you doing in there?”

Another bent piece of metal rang out as it flew down the ramp and joined the pile.

“It looks like the robos were actually fixing it after a fashion. I mean, all the guts are all over the place, but the computer still works. They fixed the power reactor – having previously shot it out from under me – and the anti-grav…” Mixie’s head popped down upside down, her short hair fanning out below her.  “Maybe they were trying to make a friend?” She grinned.

“Ah, again, levity. You humans are much more about levity than my people. I like it.”

Mixie retreated into the ship but continued to talk.  “Yeah well, it’s either laugh or cry.  And…’Your people?’ You mean, you’re not human?”

“Nope. I just look like this to keep you from being … thoroughly unhappy, though the Neplax are not so different from you, though. Bipedal, big head, scrawny.”

“Now who is making jokes.” Mixie started to squeeze through the partially open ramp to join Pez.

“Yeah. I believe you humans make jokes about things you find too painful to talk about directly. Ironic… your pain makes you funny. You touch things without actually … touching them this way, feeling the softness of the skin of a thing without confronting the …” Pez smiled at Mixie as she joined in the parasol’s shade. “…The fact that my metaphor has run off a cliff. Sorry.”

“Look, I know this is a sore subject, but you realize that I don’t actually believe much of your story, right?  I mean, what’s the most logical thing – explorer comes here, gets stranded, figures out how to live but loses their mind … OR you are god.”

“A god.  The Neplax were polytheistic.”  Pez sniffed.  “Is it possible that you have such a hard time with this because you, yourself don’t believe yourself worthy of love?”

“You are dodging the issue.”

“Yes, but it’s a brilliant dodge.”  Pez grinned, then pressed on.  “Why are you so resistant to possibilities?  You have been out in the universe and seen it’s wonders.  Why is this so challenging?”

The question hung for a moment.  Mixie showed new interest in her boot print in the sand. Finally, she sighed and said, “Your assertion is extraordinary, and you are putting it on me to justify my unwillingness to just take it on your word?  Come on.”  She walked around and scuffed at the sand.  “And besides, I’m a spy, Pez.  I kill people.  We’re in a war and my job is to gather intelligence that will get people killed and sometimes kill them myself.  And they are not all robots.  The only god I’m aware of frowns upon that shit.”

“So, you think that there are actions that make you less deserving of love?”

“Yes!  No!”  She kicked a rock “I don’t know!  You know, Pez, I am thoroughly uncomfortable talking so explicitly about this stuff.  Not to mention that I’m not at all convinced that you are not completely nuts.”

“Nuts?  Nuts!?  Of the residents of this conversation, there is exactly one who travels lightyears across space, bypassing the wonders of the spirit and the physical while armed and ready to murder people and destroy walking trashcans.  I tell you that I love you, without expectations, because that is what I do and how I feel and instead of that being warm and reassuring it gives you the willies and makes you barf up your every shortcoming and doubt.”

“Well, what do you want from me?”

“Nothing!  That’s the point!  I want you to be happy!  This murdering thing clearly isn’t doing it for you, now is it?  So stop.  And beating yourself up for what you’ve been told you must do to keep people you might one day love, because no one in their right mind goes out and kills strangers for no reason.  I’ve looked into your soul.  You aren’t the type.  Every one of those people haunts you.  You are … human for lack of a better word in your language.”  Pez trailed off with a mumbled, “Little ethnocentricity in that language choice, by the way.”

“Look, I’m sorry for not immediately buying your delusion.  I… I just… proof would help me.”

“But proof destroys the divinity of the divine.  Turns it into a tow truck.” Pez smiled. “I’m sorry, I’m not doing parlor tricks.  I do not want this to get in the way of our friendship, for I do believe you are my friend, Mixie.” Pez smiled and Mixie found herself smiling back.  “And the nice thing about my divinity is that I do not need you to believe me for me to continue to be” Pez posed with a flourish of the hand, “divine.”

Mixie snorted.  “Quite!  And Pez, you… you are my friend, as much as these few days at any rate… I just don’t know… And maybe, if you’ve got this delusion from some kind of trauma, I can maybe get you help.”

Pez sighed.  “Is it so bad a delusion?  I mean, if I’m truly mad and delusional, would this particular delusion be all that bad?  For me?  For you?  Would believing it really cause you any great harm?”

They sat in silence for a while.  Mixie drank from the canteen while Pez rifled through the backpack and brought out some toasted gecko and some roots cut into long sticks.

“That lunch?”

Pez smiled up.  “A picnic!”

“More gecko? I’d think with all your godness that you’d be a vegan.”

“I am not wasteful, nor do I delight in the killing, but food is important to you.  These beings are hearty and easy to trap.  And the greens of the roots here make a decent rub with the ever so plentiful salt.”

The two ate in silence for a while with Mixie taking heavy swigs from the canteen.

Finally, she asked, “So, what happened to them? Your people?

“Oh, a mix of things. Many of them fled this world. Too few… And not enough who would accept the old teachings enough to … let me go with them. I let them go with the love of a mother for her wayward child.” Pez sniffled, then added, “That’s one of my many aspects, you understand.”

“Of course,” Mixie smiled. “But I was more interested in why this world is so… dead. It’s got the ability to sustain life, but it just doesn’t.  Not the way it should.  It’s fucked up how much salt is everywhere.  You would think it would … I don’t know… migrate with rain or something?”

Pez packed up the rations and dusted one hand on the other. “Ah. Well. That’s both a simple and a complex story that’s best shown, not told. You said the ship was mobile, at least a little, any chance we can take it somewhere?”

“Actually yeah. I can anti-grav the thing and just throw the computer inside.  Won’t go much faster than walking, but… I don’t see much of a point. Rebuilding the rocket from scratch will take forever…”

“Well, I’m sure I could help you pass the time. I am the god of love after all. Billions of creatures have coupled in my name.”

A laugh erupted out of Mixie.  “That’s your pick-up line?” Pez continued to smile, which should have been unnerving, but it wasn’t.  “Yeah, and don’t think I don’t appreciate the offer, but … Pez? Are you male or female? I haven’t figured it out yet.”

Slinging the backpack over a shoulder, Pez said, “You humans are so cute! All ‘detail oriented.’ But suit yourself, the offer still stands to lie with a God. But come… Not all things on this planet are ruin.”

[Author’s note: Hi.  Trying to get this out before NaNoWriMo hits next week.  Please like if you care to spread the word of the site and my work (I could use it).  And feel free to look around.

Come November 1, I’ll be posting my daily NaNoWriMo output under the “Minions of the Orange Overlord” page.  With any luck it won’t be a total dumpster fire but I’ve probably only got about 5K worth of story in my head for it.  Luckily, those parts are the beginning, the middle, and the end, so I got that.

Hope you like the story so far.  It’s not that much longer but I’m doing a fair bit of editing, as with everything these days.

Stay Weird

-SC]

All That Remains – Part 4

Morning broke as a red haze above the planet. Mixie watched the local star split the horizon and light the ever-present dust clouds.  Her quick calculation told her that days here would be longer than Earth standard, but not so much as to completely goof up her sense of time.  Morning was still morning and noon was still fast approaching.  They burned this crimson daylight at their peril.  Night on this planet rivaled space for darkness.

As she scanned the motley landscape for any sign of threats or pitfalls, Pez plodded past her carrying a parasol. Despite herself, Mixie grinned at her companion. “You know, Pez, you really didn’t need to come out with me. This could be dangerous.”

“Well, I couldn’t let you roam out here by yourself!  I’m both touched by your concern and unconcerned about my wellbeing. And even if I was, I wouldn’t be. … Concerned that is. Sorry if that’s a bit of a tangle.” Pez waved and stared into the distance.

“No, I get it. And that is…”

“Because I am the selfless embodiment of love.”

Mixie pointed at Pez.  “Yeah, gotcha. That’s how you roll. Ship should be over that way, I think.”

“Yes, good.  Dead reckoning and all that.”  Pez looked over at Mixie as they walked side by side.  “You know, there is the not insignificant matter of your not giving yourself adequate time to heal from your injuries.  I can’t believe you didn’t tell me right away how hurt you were.”

Mixie shrugged.  “Didn’t really know until I took off the suit.  Got hit in the thigh and the hip.  Didn’t really want you gawking.”

“How…“ Pez shook with the effort of finding the word. “…Puritanical!  Really!  And here I thought you were this practical soldier and all and you couldn’t let someone help you with your wounds without being all shy.  Be glad that silliness didn’t kill you.  There are still infectious organisms on this planet that I highly doubt you’ve had your shots for.”

Rolling her eyes, Mixie said, “Yes mother.”

“I am not your mother.” Pez smirked.  “If I were, you’d still be convalescing not hopping about the dunes after only a few days.”

“Yeah but… I thought you said that the geckos were a top predator here.”

“Predator yes, but a rockslide or a cave-in or a bad storm will make you just as dead.”

Mixie pressed her side.  “I’m fine.  I’m as mobile as I ever am, even if I’m not happy about it.”

They pressed on in silence, passing the edge of the plains and the strange rock columns.  The frozen bodies of the robos could be seen already being steadily eroded and covered by the sticky red dust and the corrosive white sand.  Past the pillars lay the shallow canyons and broken landscape in which she took refuge immediately following the crash.  Compared to that time of hiding from cover to cover, they made excellent time.

They came to a box at the end of one of the canyons and decided to climb up the dozen-odd meters to higher ground.  Mixie learned two things upon standing on this strange plateau.  One is that it was noon.  The other was that she was not the only thing the Robos had troubled on this planet.

“Well, there she is. Fuck!” She dropped her binoculars. “I sorta figured the robos would mess with the old girl, but this…”

“Is not entirely space-worthy,” Pez finished for her.  The ship was still a good way off but it was obviously partially disassembled.

Mixie shook her head.  “To say the least.  Fucking Flange!”

For a moment the two just stood, surveying the damage from afar, and then Pez used the folded parasol as a cane and precariously started across the precarious landscape to the ship.

“Come on, bitching will not help. You may as well see exactly how bad it is.”

“Is that some sort of love thing?”

Pez smiled up at her as she continued to pout.  “I believe you’d call it tough love, but not really. I just understand that if you didn’t work on the ship you’d be simply miserable company. Intolerable!”

All That Remains – Part 5

[Author’s note: I had a “great idea” for a piece that went before this one that, upon reflection, sucked with the power of a supermassive black hole.  Sorry it broke the string of posts for the people following this in real time.

Please like or follow to help grow the site if you enjoyed this.  It helps get the attention of the robots out there.  Nice robots, not Robos.  Also, check out the other things I’ve offered up on the site.  I definitely do weird fiction, but I try to hit diverse topics.

And most of all, Stay Weird

-SC]

All That Remains – Part 3

Through the curtain and down a hall, a much brighter and utilitarian room opened up.  In contrast to the high ceilings and echo of the front room, this room had human dimensions.  More important, in the center of the room held a large table adorned with big dishes of different foods and pitchers of drink.  Mixie dug into it with abandon.

“I take it the food is to your liking?” Pez said with a smile and just a hint of revulsion.

“Yeah!”  Mixie said through a mouth full of something starchy.  “This is great! A real lifesaver. I’ve been going on rations for a while. It’s…”

“A miracle?”

“I was going to say wonderful, but I guess it’s that too.”

Pez sauntered around the kitchen.  “I am so glad you like it. I get so very few opportunities to entertain, you understand.”

Mixie cast a wary eye while continuing to eat.  “I don’t want to sound ungrateful or nothing, but, what are you doing here?”

“I’m feeding the hungry.”  The tall man made a display of looking off into the distance.  “I believe it’s called a form of charity where you come from.”

“No, I mean, you’re out here in the middle of nowhere with enough power to take out a robo pursuit pack. And let me tell you, we could really use what you’ve got.”

“Yes. Yes, you could.”

“So, what gives?”

“Why I do. I give without the expectation of repayment. It’s one of the things I do.”

“No, I mean, why are you here with enough firepower to save my behind?”

“I’m…” Pez started to say with a grand air and then stopped.  He eyed the eating woman and sat down on an adjacent stool.  “Mixie, you are not likely to believe me.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. For you would like the truth, but it runs counter to your beliefs.”

Mixie frowned.  “I’ve only been here an hour and you think you know what I’d believe?  I believe what I can see and I saw you, or something you did, save me.  Why do you think I wouldn’t believe you?”

“Because I know your heart, Mixie.”  He stood up and struck a grand and dramatic pose. “You see, I am the god of love.”

The last word hung in the air and dropped into silence as Pez retained an exagerated pose.  Inspite of herself, Mixie started to giggle.  When he broke his pose by glancing sideways at her the tension of the past days broke out in full out laughter.

“Ah! Levity!” He became once again friendly and happy. “I Adore levity! Yes, you’ve found an incongruity and as such you laugh. I’m most pleased!”

“And mad as a hatter.  You? You’re the god of love?”

“Well,” Pez became defensive. “A god of love, yes. More specifically the god of love to the people of this world.”

Mixie looked around.  “But Pez, this world… It’s a rock. No one lives here.  I did scans before I lande… Ok, so I crashed, really. And I was under fire, but … I’ve been here a couple of days and all I’ve run into are little gecko-looking things.”

“Yes. So, you can see why I haven’t had much company lately, and I do so enjoy entertaining.”

“You’re mad.” she said, still chuckling. “But fine. Keep your secrets.”

“I assure you that I have no secrets, only mysteries.”

“Oh, yeah, of course, because …” She waved a fork in the air.  “yeah.”

Pez continued to be a gracious host, but became short and miffed.  “I told you you would not believe me. Regardless, I am who I am and you are welcome to stay and heal. I grant you the sanctuary of my altar.”

“Uh, yeah. Thanks.” Mixie scraped a fork across her plate, but noticed the sudden chill in the room.  “Hey.  It’s.  I didn’t mean to be … It just … I’m sorry.  Your pronouncement just hit me funny.  I didn’t mean to laugh.”  She looked up.  “That is, I didn’t mean to laugh at you.  That was wrong.”

Pez started to clean the empty dishes and take them over to a sink set into the stone of the wall. “Apology accepted,” came from the turned back in a way that meant that it wasn’t, at least not fully.

After a few moments of awkward silence Mixie tried again. “Hey, listen. I am going to need to get to my rocket so I can at least try to get out of here. Not that you don’t have a very nice… altar, but there is a war on out there in the galaxy.”

“I’m aware of your wars.” Pez said coldly, still cleaning the dishes.

“Really?  This place just seems… remote.  Do you have some kind of hyperspace uplink or something?”

“I have no need for your technology so I do not possess it.”

“Yet you have stores, can lay out this kind of spread.  How can you do that without technology?”

“In the face of love, all things are known. Plus, I’m a God remember? It does come with a few… perks.”

Mixie shrugged.  “Whatever you say. You don’t happen to have a perk that will just grab my space ship and drag it here, do you?”

“I’m afraid I’m a bit weak at the moment. After centuries with nothing but my pets, it’s been quite the busy morning. Exhilarating!”

“I’m glad I could get you warmed up… Look, Pez, that thing you used to make the robos self-destruct, that’s a damned handy thing. Can you at least consider telling me how it works?”

“You are unconvinced of the reality of my being. However, I am pleased that you do not find me to be a threat to you, because I am not. You amuse me. But you will find that I am not good with your technology nor am I a fitting replacement for it. Love is not a tow truck.”

“Shame. I’d love a tow truck right about now.”

“Ah, more levity!  That one I get!” A smile stretched across Pez’s face and for the first time, Mixie had the presence of mind to examine it.  Pretty, with eyes that were a little sunk and a nose slightly too big, but not so much that it made the face unfriendly.  If anything, the imperfections made the whole more relatable and endearing.  In the face of that draw, Mixie became more curious.

“So, you know of the war going on, yet remain here?  In a place not exactly rich in resources?  You must trade.  Who are you allied with?  The Alien Federation?  The Floon Empire?  The Bakag Holding?  You aren’t allied with the Terran Colonies or else you’d have been marked on my navigation map and you clearly aren’t with the Robo Central Collective.”

“I am with them all.  And none.  Well, all except for maybe the purely synthetic ones. Those are as rocks to me.” Pez waved a hand.  “You are curious, cautious, likely paranoid and distrustful.  Fortune placed you within my influence and you are rightly wary of fortune.  I will not judge as that is not in my nature.   But I have no place in your war and will take no sides, even yours.”

“But the Robos…”

“… have no love and no life. I will not betray you but I do beg you not to bring your conflict to my world.  Now, as I mentioned, it’s been a long day.  I will leave you now. You will find quarters including a bath through that door. My chambers are through that door. I would be pleased if you would join me, for levity is not the only thing that gladdens my heart. You are very lovely, Mixie. I would like you to lie with me.”

“Um. thanks? I’m flattered and all but … I think I’ll just … turn in, if that’s OK.”

“Of course. The invite is open and there is no obligation. Overcome your caution and suspicion.  Love is patient and I have nothing but time.”

All That Remains – Part 4

All That Remains – Part 2

It was too good to be true.  Whatever it was knocked all of the robos totally dead, frozen in mid step.  After a moments rest, a few minutes from the first aid kit in her flight suit cargo pocket, she was up again and able to limp through some rudimentary recon.

Hope fled with the realization that she had no water, no map, no food and was injured.  No one knew where she was and she had set out in such a panic from the crash of the ship into the dust storm, neither did she.

“Time to pick a direction,” She said, just to hear something besides the wind.  Regarding the direction where the energy wave originated, she pointed and said, “Might as well be that way.”

 

The cliff was a surprise.  It rose across the desert like a wall and extended as far as the eye could see through the haze in both directions.  The door was an even bigger surprise.  It was high, wide and massive, made of stone and pitted with age.  When she touched it, it swayed effortlessly, but betraying its mass.  With one last look at the cliff face, impossible to climb, and the certain dry death of the desert, she readied her blaster and stepped into the darkness beyond the door.

“Hello?”  She felt stupid.  Nothing but trouble in here, but maybe there was water.

To keep the dust out, she turned and pushed the massive door shut again.

“Ah, you are house trained. Good!” a flippant voice said from the dark.

Mixie fired her blaster near but not at the voice and the report echoed off unseen walls.

The voice was unconcerned.  “But not so well mannered as to refrain from threatening your host. Ah well, Kids these days. So impetuous!”

“I’m…” Mixie caught herself.  She wasn’t sorry.  She had followed her training.  “Who are you? You don’t have the Robo voice.”

“Then I clearly am not a… what did you call them? ’Robos?’ Yes, definitely not one of those.”

Mixie hardened.  “Well then who are you?”

Soft footfalls padded in the dark.  Mixies eyes were adjusting and she could barely make out the room, a large rectangular hall made of stone.

“You see,” the voice instructed, “when one is caught breaking into a house, it is usually customary to make introductions, especially when the owner has had the grace to save you from certain unpleasantries at the hands of your ‘Robos.’

Her head swam but she kept her resolve.  “You did that?  Um… I’m Mixie. Now who are you?”  She stuck her blaster out for emphasis.

The room lightened slowly and a thin person trailing a robe stepped into better light.  “Hello Mixie,” the being said with a dramatic, unperturbed flair.  “I…  am Pez.”  The figure, draped in sheer robes and stuck in an exaggerated pose as the name echoed around the hall.

The echo died as Mixie continued to point her gun.  All at once the pose broke into an exasperated flap. “Well? Are you going to shoot? It seems a rather a curious way to say, ‘thank you for saving my life back there, with the ‘about to suicide’ and loss of limbs and all’ … But I suppose some cultures are just like that.”  The being crossed the room to a fountain and dipped a cup in, mumbling, “Seems rather rude to me, really…” The figure approached on soft feet and held out the cup.  “…or is it just that you’ve been running for so long that you no longer recognize kindness in strangers?”

Mixie considered it, then quickly lowered her weapon and slid it into her hip holster.

“Ah that’s better.  Isn’t that better?”  The being handed her the cup and she took it.

The room seemed to be much lighter now, though the corners were still lost in shadow.  The figure turned a door that had been lost in the shadows. She contemplated her hosts exposed back. “Mr. Pez…”

“Just Pez, if you please.”

“Fine, Pez.”  Her feet followed. “What are you doing here?”

The figure stopped with a hand on the doorway and half turned.  “Why, this is my home.  I putter about. What do YOU do at your home, young lady? And since it’s almost mid-day, I’m making lunch. Come,” Pez’s eyes wandered up and down Mixie. “You look like you could use some.”

All That Remains – Part 3

[Note: Thanks for reading.  Likes and follows are helpful for getting traffic flowing to the site again if you find the story amusing.  I’ll be back to my usual stories as well pretty soon.

Till then, Stay Weird

-SC]