Dom was sitting idle at his desk, sketching something down in a composition book. Checking several of his calculations with the computer that sat to his left, he then resumed scribbling numbers and equations down. Just as he was jotting down some last few items before he looked up seeing a red light flash above the door.
“Ah, right on time,” he said, dropping his mechanical pencil and getting up. He made his way over towards the stairs, and ascended to the floor of the factory. A loud knock at the front door told him that Ane had arrived with her partner in crime. Waiting several moments, Dom strode to the side door in the alley he told them to head to. Listening for their footsteps to reach the door, he finally pulled open the door the instant he heard them stop.
“Took you long enough,” Ane said, looking at Dom as he poked his head out the door. He couldn’t quite tell who the other figure was as they were shrouded in darkness thanks to a cowl and hood. Holding open the door wider, he waited as they entered into the dimly lit warehouse. Leading them past the small amount of equipment, he took them down the stairs. Entering his code, they all strolled into the basement. “You live down here?” Looking back at Ane, he shrugged.
“Yeah, and? It’s comfy, has its privacy and has plenty of room,” he said, escorting them to the table he was building earlier. It had a smooth, vintage wood surface that had a dark tint to it. The legs were also wood, but much sturdier since they were two by fours and welded to the underside of the table. On the center of the table sat a large plate of cookies. Some of them were round while others were triangular, square, and randomly shaped in terms of simple cookie cutter silhouettes.
“You made cookies?” The voice from the hooded figure was finally heard. Dom blinked, recognizing it. It was someone familiar and yet… not at the same time. Two hands came out of the cloak, and moved the hood in order to allow him to see. Her eyes were a bit teary at how thoughtful he was to make them some dessert for their talk. Seeing who was currently standing in his home, Dom’s eyes bulged.
“Y-Your Highness!” Instantly Dom bowed to the woman across from him.
“Dom, please don’t bow. Minari doesn’t like it when people do that,” Ane said, grabbing a cookie as she took a seat. Rising from his bow, he took his seat with them.
“Please, don’t be so formal, Dom. Ane has told me a lot about you,” Minari said, sitting down and munching on a cookie. Getting up from his seat, Dom got each of the three of them a glass of milk. Just as he sat down, a loud crash echoed through the basement. Remaining still as he waited for any sign that his intern was either dead or just merely injured, he glanced at Ane and Minari.
“What was that?”
“My intern…” he said sheepishly, scratching his head. “D00m? Are you alive?” A long stretch of silence was between them, only to be interrupted by the barking of Uno.
“Do you have a dog?” Minari perked up, hearing the barking.
“Well, sort of yeah. I’d call him a dog, but most people would call him disgusting,” he said, taking a sip of his milk.
“I’m okay! Just toppled the spare parts on myself,” came a voice from the other side. Pausing as he let the information process, Dom nodded.
“I take it you want to meet my dog?” Seeing her nod, Dom set down the glass of milk and dusted his fingers of cookie crumbs. Putting two fingers in his mouth, he whistled for his beloved pet. Expecting to hear a thundering noise of feet, Minari and Ane were quite surprised to only hear the tick of nails on the cement and linoleum floor. Appearing before them was suddenly a little dog. Exchanging a glance, Minari then looked to Dom.
“That’s a very different dog,” Ane said, turning back to look at Uno as Minari began to pet him. Uno barked happily, rubbing against Minari as his tail wagged furiously. She saw that he was currently being held together via lots of thread and by sheer luck.
“How’d you find this adorable puppy?” Minari looked up at Dom with eyes wide in curiosity.
“Well, he—“ he started, only to be interrupted by D00m as she approached.
“Whoa, what happened to you?” Ane blinked, looking at the newcomer. Her shirt was a little torn, and rather wrinkly. Meanwhile D00m’s face had several small cuts across it.
“Just a minor accident. It’ll buff right out,” she said, going over to the fridge and pulling out six cans of Rock Star. Opening the first she downed it in a few quick swallows before popping open the second. “Ah, that’s good caffeine.” D00m sat down at the table with them.
“Minari, Ane, this is my assistant, D00m. She made the cookies and does a lot of the odd jobs around here,” Dom explained. Shaking the hands of both Ane and Minari, she glanced at her boss for a better explanation as to who the two new people were. “D00m, Minari and Ane want to form a rebellion against the Feds.” Nodding as she understood, she grabbed a cookie and munched on it.
“Anyway… Since we all know each other now, let’s get down to business,” Ane said, looking at those before her. “I need all of your help. We need to start over and show people that they have more options than just those provided by the government,” she said. Many people were afraid to share their opinions, since it was a dangerous practice with government agents hiding everywhere. Privacy almost didn’t exist thanks to all the agents and universally tapped phone lines.
“So you found us?”
“Yes. That was the only way to find anyone that was remotely uninterested in this whole gov thing like me. I need to rally people to my cause. So I need all of you to find more people and start to add them to our group. I don’t care what it takes,” Ane said, looking at D00m and Dom.
“What about Princess Minari?”
“She’s in hiding so obviously she’s not going to do any sort of soul searching. No offense, Nari,” Ane said, patting Minari’s shoulder.
“Hey, you’re the one hiding me, Ane. I owe you my life,” Minari said, shaking her head.
“Then we should start meeting more regularly to work on plans and make sure everyone is still out of jail and not brainwashed,” Dom said.
“Brain washed? I thought that was after the first warning,” Ane said, blinking. Dom shook his head. He didn’t want to break the news to them so suddenly, as he hoped it wasn’t true, but sadly it was a true fact. People were getting brainwashed before they even had the chance to answer to the warning.
“They’re getting smart, Ane. Rather than waste their time and money on just hauling the same repeat offenders into jail, they’re just taking them straight to the work facilities. From there, they’re released and set into the world… changed people,” he said, describing what he had witnessed several of his friends go though.
“I wouldn’t expect them to move to that conclusion so quickly,” Minari said, frowning. Her family was the ones that were previously in power… a monarchy that did everything for the good of their people. But obviously this assault proved that not everyone thought that.
“That’s why we’re going to restore the monarchy, Minari. And if not a monarchy, something better and more adaptable to this country and its needs. But either way, there was no way in hell they were going to be able to succeed with this rebellion alone. They needed people, and lots of them.”
“We’ll do our best to find people to add to this cause. If there’s anything else we can do in order to help, we will,” Dom said, looking between Ane and the Princess.
“Seriously, he could build you something, or do whatever you asks,” D00m said, gesturing to Dom. All six cans before her were currently empty and it appeared that she was practically vibrating from all the caffeine surging through her bloodstream. Staring at D00m blankly, Minari and Ane weren’t quite sure what to say to Dom’s vibrating assistant.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Ane said, resting a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m great! It’s a great day, and it’s just. Great! Man I really gotta get back to work! Have a great day!” And with that D00m was off back about the basement.
“Is she always like that?” Minari looked curiously to Dom.
“Yeah. You get used to it though. And she’s a great help to have. Not to mention so far she’s survived everything I’ve thrown at her. Literally,” he said, laughing.
The group discussed further plans and the current happenings of the government. Dom got up and made all four of them dinner, rather than just munching on cookies. Their discussion lasted several hours, and into the late hours of the night. This talk also included exchanging of information so that they could contact each other. Going to his desk, he dug out some paperwork and brought it to them.
“What are those for?” Ane looked at him as if he were nuts.
“If you’re going to pretend to work here, we have to make it look as legit as possible. Otherwise we could get caught,” he said, setting down the small packets before both of them. “Minari, I just need you to give me a fake name. That way I could add you to my employees. Ane, as long as you aren’t on the watch list, you can just put down your name and I’ll just claim you came to me looking for a second job,” Dom explained, handing them both pens.
“Ah, smart plan,” Minari said, starting to fill out the paperwork. There was a great deal of items they needed to sign. Confidence and privacy papers, payment plans, and of course, the hours they were available. It wasn’t going to be easy to pass off having a job like this… especially making poster tubes, but it had to be done for the rebellion.
“Do you want me to donate my organs too?” Ane looked at Dom once she was finished filling out all the papers; all the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed. Flipping through it as he scanned the sheets, he nodded.
“Yup, that’s everything. Now, just one more thing,” he said, disappearing for a moment as he dug into a closet. Several items fell out as he rummaged through the mess… pipes, clothes, boxes, books, and what appeared to be a couple of blow-up toys.
“Are those sex toys?” Minari looked at Dom as he stepped out of the mess. Glancing down at the items she gestured to he laughed.
“No! Those are what I used to use if I wanted to drive in the carpool lane. Unfortunately the cops started wising up so I figured I’d stow these here until I needed them in the future,” he explained, approaching them with a box. Setting it on his chair he opened it, sending dust into the air. Pulling out two items, he handed one to each of his new employees. Ane blinked at the hard hat he handed her.
“What are these for?”
“Just use it, okay? It’ll make people believe you work here. Even though we are just working with cardboard, I like my employees to be safe. When you arrive that’s how they’ll assume you work the night shift,” he said, closing the box. Ane carefully took hers out of the package; it was brand new and an incredibly shiny yellow.
“Anything else, Mister Knight?” Minari raised an eyebrow expecting a full uniform.
“One more thing,” he said, grabbing a camera off his desk. “Could you both get in front of the gray wall right there?” He gestured to a wall that was just a short distance from them. Taking turns, both girls got their picture taken. Attaching the camera to his laptop, he waited several moments before his printer whirled into life and spat out two badges with barcodes. Dom attached clips to both and passed them to their owners.
“And these are?”
“That’s how you’ll get into the building. It’ll alert me that you have arrived, that way I can come and let you in down here. Just don’t lose those,” he said, looking between them both. “Wave those in front of the card reader at the front or side of the building and the doors will open. But you each have to do it, not just one of you. If you have a guest with you, wave your card once, and then push a little blue button on the side of the card box. Understand?” Both the girls nodded, as they took their new supplies.
“We won’t actually be doing any work will we?”
“If you are, it’ll be for maybe twenty minutes or so. Besides, all the machinery is automated from my office upstairs. I can just set it to not start until after you get inside. During the daylight it’s all turned off and my actual workers run everything. But really, there’s no need for you two to worry,” he said, laughing.
“You sure have thought of everything,” Minari said, pocketing her badge.
“I hate the government. It’s time to see their downfall. Rather than get myself screwed, I want to make sure I’m well protected. And of course, you three too,” he said, gesturing to both girls and D00m who was off somewhere in the basement. The three hugged, before Dom escorted them back upstairs.
“Alright then, same time next week?”
“You got it,” Ane said, as both the women stepped out the side door they had entered. Minari had her hood up, hiding her face. At this hour, no one would really care, but she needed to remain hidden no matter what. Her whole family was killed off, leading to quite a devastated public… at least until the Ritters party claimed it was all for good reason. A whole monarchy, murdered in just one night. Ane was glad to have helped Minari escape, which proved better for their cause anyway. Watching them as they moved away from his warehouse, Dom closed off the door and made sure the security system engaged. Heading back down his stairs, he figured it would be best to get at least a few hours of sleep before work.