Gatherings were always quite a lame endeavor. People stood around and watched as the officials went by; announcements were made and then people dispersed to their daily lives. That was virtually every day. With all the trivial work they were being forced to do in order to show their support for the government, Dom was getting incredibly sick of wasting his time.
Shifting his backpack, he stood with the rest of the crowd, watching the leaders pass and wave. Mephanie Styer was currently standing on one of the floats while her cronies, Crispy Panini and Haurell L. Kamilton followed in another float. Keeping his poker face on, he slid his backpack to the ground. Kneeling to tie his shoe, Dom used the cover of the crowd to unload his bag. Setting out a remote control car he started to drive it through the crowd and onto the streets. Pressing a button on the control box, he watched as the weapon popped out the top and aimed itself at the tire. Currently the crowd was too focused on the parade to realize what was happening on the ground.
Managing to dodge the danger of some parade walkers, Dom launched the car at the tires on one side of the float. A hissing sound filled the air as the float carrying Mephanie Styer shook and shifted to one side. Almost as if in a trance, the crowd gasped or screamed, worried their precious leader would fall. The little car raced back into the throng of people and straight into Dom’s bag. Putting his stuff away as quickly as he could, he immediately stood and reacted with the rest of the people. Little did he notice the onlooker as he turned and began to walk back towards his work.
She followed him. Few people made any sort of protest while at the parades. Most did it at the offices with pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails. Passing through the people as they observed the float getting repaired, she made sure to keep an eye on him. He was a fast mover through crowds, which made him hard to keep up with. As the people thinned, she finally caught up to him.
“Hey! Car guy!” She saw him freeze in place, thinking he was caught. Turning to face her and expecting one of the law enforces, he was mostly surprised to see it was a woman a few years older than him. “Quite a trick you did there,” she said, approaching him slowly. Holding out her hand she smirked. “Ane. I can see you hate these things too.” Shaking her hand, he nodded.
“Dom. Well, they’re a waste of time,” he answered.
“Let’s get some coffee,” Ane gestured over her shoulder to the café that they happened to stop in front of. Together they entered the small place and sat at a table in the upper floor of the coffee shop.
“That was quite a brave move you did,” she said, before taking a sip of her drink. Luckily they were alone, most people were returning to work and had no time to sit and chat.
“All these brainless sheep just continue on with their lives like nothing is going on. They don’t see that this picnic is going to ruin us.” Watching him as he glared first at his cup, and then out the window as people started to wander back towards work, she laughed lightly.
“They’re geese. What do you expect?”
“I’d hope someone else with intelligence would realize just what this is all coming to,” he said, taking a drink and looking at her. Silence hung between them for several moments. “So are you going to arrest me?” Ane blinked, staring at him.
“Arrest me. Aren’t you one of them?” His eyes observed her for a minute, gauging her reaction.
“Hell no. I’m with you on this one. Actually, that’s why I wanted to talk to you…. I could use someone like you,” she said, glancing down at her own cup before back to his face. Something in his dark eyes informed her that he was brooding.
“I’m so sure,” he said, doubting her. It was hard to trust people these days.
“Dom, I can prove it to you. You just have to trust me,” she said, reaching across the table and putting a hand on his. Underneath her touch he stiffened slightly, not quite used to the contact. “I’m forming a protest group.”
“Those don’t work, if you haven’t figured that out.” Obviously she had to get through his negative thoughts. But if he was the one driving that remote control car earlier, he wanted the new leaders gone too.
“Dom you have to believe me. I want them gone as much as you do. Hence why I’m working on forming a rebellion. We’re going to strike where it hurts them most,” she explained. “But I can’t do it alone. I need others who feel for my cause.” He was silent for several minutes, contemplating. On the one hand he did get the chance to stand up for what was right and show the government that their plans were indeed wrong. But on the other hand, she also had to be careful to whom she spoke to.
“The chances are slim that we’ll succeed,” he said, looking at her.
“Oh don’t worry, I know. But I have a few things up my sleeve,” she said, waiting eagerly for his answer. Silence fell between them once more. He downed the rest of his coffee before looking back at her.
“Alright, I’m in.”
“Great! We need to meet as a group somewhere that’s not so suspicious,” she said, trying to think of good locations. “The library or a school maybe…”
“I own a warehouse. I could ‘hire’ everyone as my night crew,” he suggested, not wanting her to waste her time booking a public place where they could potentially get caught.
“Its number thirteen. Usually during the day we’re handling poster tube deliveries and manufacturing them,” he said, shrugging.
“Yeah. It’s not very conspicuous. Besides, I get big orders all the time,” Dom said, realizing that Ane was obviously very suspicious about his job.
“How’d you land that?”
“My family started the business. I’m continuing it,” he explained. Digging into his backpack he handed her a business card. “Just contact me that way. We can have our meetings there and it’d be no big deal.”
“Good. Just make sure you have refreshments and cookies. The Dark side always has cookies.”
“I’ll get my intern right on it… How many should I expect?”
“Two.” Dom stared at her blankly, not quite sure what to say to that. This was a tiny group so far.
“Two? Just two? Not ten or twenty?”
“I haven’t gathered all the help yet. We’re still working on finding more people. But it’s not easy, okay?”
“Fine, fine. I’ll plan for two. Just reach the main door and knock,” he said, leaving some change on the table for one of the staff to pick up later. “I have to get back to the office and make sure everything is going well.” They shook hands again before they walked out and parted ways.
* * * * *
D00m looked up seeing that her boss was busily working on another oddly shaped item. This one was definitely… not normal. Three legs and a flat side. She watched him try to set it up only to see it collapse in a heap of crap.
“Son of a--!” Swearing in a long string, he kicked a few of the pieces and started over again.
“A table has four legs,” she said, suddenly appearing at his side.
“You’re not helping, Thirteen. Don’t you have a porcupine to go remove the spikes from?”
“The list is nearly finished and I figured you could use some help.”
“Go to level three and get me an ID10T form,” he said, waving her away. This was something he sent all his interns to retrieve at one point in their trial period. Sometimes that was only after a few hours of having them work… if they survived the main list. Otherwise they would face the wrath of level three. She had such promise he thought, frowning at the fact that he had to let her get consumed by the dangerous protective devices that was his most private filing room.
Rebuilding the table was rather quick—it was the matter of making sure it was actually stable that took him forever. Dom was expecting to hear the screams that signaled the death or problem Thirteen ran into. Normally it wasn’t so quiet. Looking up from what he was doing, he blinked seeing her stand before him.
Her clothes were disheveled, burnt, holey and covered in some substance that seemed to be neon green. One shoe was missing and the front half of her sock had smoldered away. Looking up to her face he could see her face was ashen in places that weren’t covered in soot. And part of her hair was on fire. Clasped in her hand was a piece of paper that had “ID10T” clearly stamped across the front. Dom was amazed she actually made it back. No one had ever made it back to him and actually hand him the fake filing form.
“Is there anything else?”
“Welcome aboard, D00m,” he said, accepting the page and shaking her hand.
“I got the job?”
“Yeah… You’re the only one to ever pass that test. Normally that’s how I get rid of people.”
“You mean all those bags are from people that didn’t make it?”
“Yup. You got it.”
“You terminated all of them?!”
“No. They just didn’t make it through there and so were sent into the real world with their minds wiped of the last several days that they were in here,” he said, shrugging.
“Good. I was worried for a second there that you had all these people killed,” D00m said, blowing out her flaming hair.
“No! I’m not that barbaric! Hey listen; we have some folks coming over that share our views about the government. Are you up for some cookie baking?”
“Am I?! Yes!” And with that, D00m rushed off to the kitchen and began baking.