A blog where one NaNoWriMo Seattle Duck posts the chapters of the novels she never wants published for people to enjoy in the literary abandon.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Writers vs Ritters: The EPIC Battle Chapter 8

Dropping Dom and D00m off so early was not in her plans at all. Right now, Sola wanted to be sleeping; but no. She got roped into taking them to the airport. Grumbling about how late or… early it was, she helped them get out of the car before she hugged D00m briefly and then stood awkwardly with Dom.
            “So, I guess this is good-bye,” she said, wishing D00m were back over here and not just off somewhere probably checking in the baggage.
            “Well, we’ll be back. So it’s not… definite,” Dom said, hands in his pockets. He didn’t know whether it would be appropriate to hug her, or show some amount of affection. After all, he did ask her out—not in the most romantic way, but he was trying.
            “Have a good trip then. Call and let us know you arrived safely,” Sola said, seeing that she needed to move the car soon. A few more awkward seconds and they hugged briefly before they departed. Dom watched as Sola got in the car and drove off back towards the warehouse while he stood there, dumbfounded. That was probably the worse and most uncomfortable good-bye ever… and he loved it.
            Turning, he headed in the direction he saw D00m standing, checking them in. They were soon rushed through security, and then to the gate outside their plane. Few people were taking that flight out, which meant the jet was going to be empty… more room to stretch out though—and the possibility of more privacy. Lounging outside the gate, he and D00m watched the news and caught up on some reading or lost sleep. It was a few hours before their plane was prepared and in the gate. Most people were sleeping across several chairs, as the flight attendants were getting the walkway ready for passengers to board the plane.
            Getting up from his spot, Dom grabbed his backpack and moved with D00m towards the gate’s entrance. Flashing their passports, they headed down the walkway and into the plane. Dom moved to his seat, settling himself into this place while D00m was nesting in her own at the end of the row. Just as he had suspected, at the end of the all the passengers boarding, only twenty to thirty more people had gotten on. The flight attendants let the passengers choose wherever they wanted to sit. It was another hour or so before the plane finally taxied onto the runway and waited in line for its turn to lift off.
            Sitting quietly he waited for sometime as they finally lifted off. Dom flipped open his composition book and started to go over his supply list. Leaning his head back, he closed his eyes, hoping everything was going well on the ground. His mind must have drifted because before he knew it, he was roused from his thoughts and day dream by the plane suddenly shuddering—causing him to hit his head on the window.
            “Ow! What the--?” he said, rubbing his head as he unbuckled and stood up. Many of the other passengers were doing the same, all incredibly puzzled at the sudden quake that everyone felt. D00m and Dom exchanged a brief glance before moving from their parallel rows and to the center of the aisle. “Something is definitely off,” Dom said, looking through to where the flight attendants were currently gathered. They all seemed to be in quite the tizzy, and appeared to not know what to do. At last, one of them got on the intercom.  
            “Is there a doctor on the plane?” The voice sounded like the woman was going to crack any second. This definitely confirmed Dom’s suspicions. Seeing only one person get up and head forward, it put his mind at ease that at least there was a doctor on the flight out of the thirty-some people onboard. What still bothered him though was who exactly was sick? Moving forwards with the doctor, he stopped and listened to the workers bicker for several moments.
            “What seems to be the problem?” The doctor inquired, looking at the group.
            “Our pilot and copilot are throwing up. And it just seems to be getting worse. We’re nervous that neither of them will be able to land,” explained one woman, panic very evident in her voice. Looking to D00m, Dom knew that there wasn’t much to do in this situation. Except maybe pray to God that the doctor could help them both. Seeing the doctor nod, he entered with a flight attendant to have a look at the two.
            “What about the rest of the passengers? Don’t you think you should tell them?” Dom asked, worrying about the minds of everyone else.
            “If we told them no one was able to drive, there would be widespread panic,” one said to him.
            “Move everyone to the middle section of the plane. D00m and I can fly it,” he assured them. D00m looked at him, obviously confused.
            “We’ve never—“
            “Don’t worry. I have my license,” he said, shooting her a glare for a moment. The two of them helped the doctor move the pilot and copilot from their chairs, enabling Dom and D00m to take their places. The instant the door closed, leaving them alone, she turned on her boss.
            “Are you nuts?! Have you lost your mind and are that delusional? We’ve never flown a fucking plane!” D00m exasperated, obviously disturbed that he was openly lying. All the controls were spread out before them in an array of colors, confusing numbers and names.
            “We can do this D00m. Out of everyone on this plane; we’re the only ones that can do this. Most of those people are lawyers, stay-at-home moms, and regular civilians,” he explained, remaining incredibly calm despite the large situation before them.
            “So? That doesn’t mean we can. It just means you are dumb enough to volunteer us and lie to everyone out there that things will be okay,” D00m argued.
            “If I knew you would object this much, I would have fired you D00m. I know you trust me enough to at least follow when I lead… Besides, we can do this. We’ve seen the Detective Conan movie where they were in this situation,” he said, grinning at her. This caused D00m’s head to ultimately explode. Here her employer was basing everything he knew on a movie they saw only a few days ago. Pulling on her headset, the two of them carefully got their bearing on the controls. Some of them they recognized from the movies, while others they had to question and look up through a manual that they luckily discovered behind the door.
            “Okay, so if this is so simple, where do you propose we land?”
            “At the airport. And if not, we’ll use maps to guide us to a safe location,” he said, making sure they remained at a proper altitude. It was getting towards the time when they had to alert the control tower that the plane was going to be preparing for landing. After all, the flight was only supposed to take a few hours to get them all up north into the capital region of the country.
            “Are we going to mention anything about the pilots?”
            “Oh, I’m sure that’s already been done when they first started throwing up,” Dom said, glancing at the current meters. The plane was already starting to lower in altitude very gradually, which indicated that they were getting closer. Looking out the windshield Dom could see the lights of a city ahead of them, followed by the flashing bulbs of the airport. “We’ll just take this slow and land easily. It’s pretty simple, right? Once we get to a certain altitude we lower the elevators and the landing gear. How hard could that be?” Just as he finished speaking, an indicator started to flashing, causing them both to nearly jump from their seats.
            “What the hell does that mean?” they said in unison. D00m quickly flipped through the book, searching for those particular call numbers on that button.
            “The hydraulic fluid… for the elevators is running out, or has a leak,” she said, as they had just tried to slow the plane down doing what was standard procedure.
            “Does it tell us the fluid mixture?” Dom asked, glancing at her. Skimming the page, D00m shook her head.
            “No. We’ll have to use something else,” she said, slamming the book shut.
            “Great. Time to land without it then,” he said, adjusting their descent altitude. They would need to come down slowly and lessen the force of the engines, otherwise they would go to fast and merely complete a touch-and-go on the runway.
            “So, no elevators?”
            “Well, if you’ve got a better idea, then do share,” he said, glancing at her.
            “Would Monster or Rock Star work? I have a bunch of it in my suitcase,” she said, sitting up completely believing that was a brilliant beyond brilliant idea. Staring at her blankly, he hung his head.
            “Unfortunately, Monster and Rock Star don’t fix every problem like they do with you,” he said, lowering the engines a bit more. As they approached and the engines were carefully being altered, he heard a knock on the door. “Come in.” A flight attendant entered, obviously very confused.
            “It seems that the engines are not at regular power like they should be,” she said, trying to be as courteous as possible.
            “The elevator fluid is leaking and won’t allow them to come down any further than they are. We are working on slowing us down as much as we can and still fly, that way when we do full reverse, we’ll be able to stop almost completely when we touch down,” D00m explained in complete clarity. It was rare for her to sound this intelligent when much of the time she just rambled on about her caffeine and her work.
            “Have everyone prepare for landing. We’ll be down soon,” Dom added before she left. The door closed once more and the two sat quietly. As time passed, they saw the lights of the runway, which made Dom less at ease. Normally he was very calm, but he did have over thirty other peoples’ lives on his and D00m’s shoulders. If they screwed up, everyone was dead.
            Lowering the landing gear, Dom briefly talked to the tower, informing them of their dilemma. After explaining exactly what his plan was, he saw flashing lights, signaling him that they had a fire crew standing at the ready just in case. Closing his eyes and exhaling, he prepared his mind as he concentrated on how the movie worked. As the plane was on its final descent, he eased it onto the runway, eyes now fully open and his mind clear. The back wheels made the whole plane shake, and as they brought the nose down, D00m suddenly sent the engines in reverse as the momentum of the plane kept forcing it forwards. Applying the brakes, the jet finally came to a stop some distance farther than where it normally would have had everything been working properly. Both Dom and D00m were sweating bullets.
            With the guidance of the crew, Dom quickly powered down the plane and instructed the passengers to please make their way to an emergency exit. He and D00m both got up and grabbed their stuff and immediately slid down the large safety slide. All the passengers gathered a good distance from the plane and waited for a bus to come pick them up and return them all to the main terminal.
            “Well, that was fun. I think we should do that again,” he laughed, as he and D00m joked for a few moments before finally boarding a bus.

* * * * *

            Arriving at their hotel, Dom glanced at his phone, seeing that his cell was ringing. He and D00m were settling in and were planning on heading out for supply pick-up in a few hours, despite the events that had taken place earlier. Flipping open his phone, Dom was about to say hello when a loud voice suddenly screamed at him.
            “What the hell were you thinking?! Are you both brainless? You landed a plane and merely shrugged it off! And every single one of the flight attendants wants you both to get commended by the government! What if they discover you and your cause?!” He instantly recognized the voice as Sola’s. Obviously she had seen the news report.
            “Hi, how are you doing?”
            “Don’t speak so casually to me. You could have died! Doesn’t the thought of your own lives being in danger worry you at all?”
            “It sounds to me like you are actually caring about me,” he said, grinning at her sudden silence. Across the table from him, D00m rolled her eyes and chugged another can of Monster.
            “I’m mad at you for not taking your own life seriously! Don’t you ever, EVER do that to me again, you understand? I will personally find you and kill you myself. And if you’re already dead, I will crush your remains myself and make sure no one can identify your stupid corpse,” she shouted, before finally hanging up in hurry. Hearing the dial tone come through the speaker, Dom shook his head.
            “Well, that went well,” he said, taking a bite of the sandwich he had bought. After finishing their meal, he and D00m cleaned up, changed and then left the hotel to place orders for the parts and supplies they needed. Being careful with the amounts, and items they ordered, they both arranged for all the orders to arrive at the warehouse during the night shift the following week and at regular intervals after that. Very slowly they were able to check off items from their list, before finally they managed to get everything accomplished.
            Walking down the street, Dom was glancing in the store windows, mostly window shopping. He figured the only way to apologize to Sola would be to get her a gift… or two… maybe five. And of course pick up a few things for Minari and Ane as souvenirs. D00m walked next to him, a can of Rock Star in her hand, and her backpack stuffed full of the energy drinks.
            “Stop looking and just relax. You are so stressed about finding the right thing for her you are barely paying attention to where we’re going. If you just walk and glance every so often, you won’t look so desperate,” D00m said, crumpling the can against her head and throwing it away as they passed a garbage can. In an instant she had another open and was already half-way through it.
            “Is it really that obvious?”
            “You are as obvious as a washing machine is noisy,” she said, shaking her head. She had already finished another can and was disposing of it.
            “So you’re saying I should just casually look and I’ll find something for her?”
            “Yes. Besides, if you really want we can go to some kind of mall and search more thoroughly for you,” D00m added, shrugging as she downed another can in a few large gulps.
            “That makes sense, I guess,” he nodded. This whole love-life department was incredibly new to him, so for Dom this was a major learning curve. Never before had he truly struggled—well, except for in kindergarten when he was forced to only color in the lines and never experiment with the crayon colors. Leading him for some time, D00m finally entered the mall with him, which gave him more shops to look through. Many of the stores were on the high-end, which Dom figured Sola wasn’t all that in to. Judging by who she was, she seemed to like more simple pleasures, and of course relaxing. But he distinctly remembered her always looking for purple items. It was an odd color to search for, but he was determined to find something for her.
            From when they originally arrived in the mall, it had taken them an hour just to circle the first floor. So far, Dom had found nothing. Out of 57 shops on the bottom floor, he had found nothing. Moving to the second story, he and D00m started their circle. Just as they began, he stopped right in front of a small store. In the windows he saw several items that definitely suited Sola, or at least that’s what he felt. Moving inside, he examined the hats and scarves for sale. It appeared they had every color possible. After skimming the shelves carefully, he at long last found a purple beanie hat that he figured she would love.
            Now it was getting to that time of year when it would start getting colder, so Dom figured this would be pretty practical. Grabbing the scarf that matched it, he moved to the register and bought both. Stuffing the items in his backpack with the receipt, he then continued to look for other souvenirs for Minari and Ane. They were much easier to shop for, as he bought them some trinkets that would come in handy. To a regular person, they would see just some key chains and pins for a lapel. To Dom, he saw a communication device and hidden camera. These would definitely come in handy. Buying several different kinds, he then put them away and grabbed some dinner with D00m.
            Wandering back to their hotel, he munched on his pretzel. Dropping the bakery wax paper into the trash, he collapsed on his bed and stared at the ceiling. Another day here and then they would be returning home tomorrow night… It was amazing how fast time flew. Looking over he saw D00m was busy working on a Sudoku puzzle from a large book she had purchased while in the airport; it was one of many that she was going to finish before the trip was up. Setting his alarm clock on his phone, he drifted asleep, not bothering to get under the blankets.
            A few hours later and his alarm clock roused his sleeping form. Turning it off with a simple button, he got up and stretched. Showering and changing his clothes he made his way back to his stuff and checked to see if he had gotten any missed phone calls over the night. Glancing over the top of his phone, he could see that three of the ten Sudoku books D00m had purchased were finished. Boy was she chiseling away at those; granted, not sleeping did help her work through them.
            Double checking his schedule, Dom could see they only had a few more stops for today. There were a few “shady” characters he wanted to meet with. They had supplied him with interesting items before, so there was no doubt they could really show the goods this time. He was promising to pay them upfront in cash, any illegal dealer’s ideal customer.
            Taking his time down the streets, he and D00m acted normally, not wanting to raise any suspicion. Wandering down a block, he then turned the corner and into an alley that he had been to a while back. Remembering the smell of urine, moldy garbage and rotten fruit, Dom found the exact stairwell he had used when he had first come here looking for the right security system. Heading down the metal steps, he knocked on the door and waited as he could hear someone stumbling around inside. The door opened a crack, revealing an eyeball peering out at them.
            “Well, look who ‘tis,” the eyeball said, before the door swung open further, allowing them entry. From the outside, this basement appeared unbelievably dark, but upon entering, one could see that it was actually very well lit. The lighting of course now revealed a small man that hobbled around on two crutches. He led Dom and D00m some distance into the shop, which was filled with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos from the world over.
            “Hadrian, I want to see what you have for me,” Dom said, following the man to the middle of the store.
            “What I have? Depends on what yer looking for,” he said, eyeing D00m.
            “She’s a friend, Hadrian,” he said, rolling his eyes. Boy was this guy on the paranoid side; any new person he would have completely background checked by his assistants in the matter of a few minutes.
            “Fine, fine. But if she blabs at all, I know who to come after,” Hadrian said, pointing at Dom. D00m at this point, was happily drinking down another can of Monster, which was easier to come by than Rock Star.
            “I’m in the need for some items to help me make a few things,” he said, trying to keep his plans as vague as possible. The less Hadrian knew the better.
            “I’d need to see a list, Dominic. Nobody just waltzes in here just looking,” Hadrian grumbled, raising a crutch at him and stabbing him in the gut. Nodding, he dug the list out from his bag, handing it to the man. Studying it for a bit of time, he than huffed and shoved it back at Dom.
           “Is there something wrong, Hade?” Dom asked casually, one hand in his pocket while the other accepted the list.
            “Power cells? You want power cells at that quantity?! What about them small fuel generators? Those don’t come cheap, ya know,” he said, hurrying about the shop and to his counter. Disappearing behind it he suddenly rose up in a chair that made him about the same height as Dom was.
            “I know. I need those, and some of the laser imprinters too. The ones that are little and could fit into a gun,” he said, rocking back and forth on his feet.
            “You sure are asking a lot. What do ya got cooking up those sleeves?” Frustrated with the questions, Dom sighed.
            “Can you get me the parts or not, Hadrian?”
            “It’ll cost ya,” he said, hand on his chin in thought. Rolling his eyes, Dom looked around the shop for any other items he could possibly buy or barter with him for.
            “I will pay you up front, in cash,” he offered.
            “What’s the catch?”
            “Why do you always assume there is a catch?”
            “It’s something I learned from dealing with your father. Your haggling skills didn’t come from just anywhere, you know. You learned ‘em,” he said, eyeing Dom before grabbing an order sheet and scribbling down the items and their quantities. “What else you want?”
            “Let me take a look around and I’ll tell you. But you have to promise me those items in no less than three weeks… and I can take home whatever I want today and have it shipped back home by tomorrow night,” he reasoned. A fast delivery and through a private shipping source was Hadrian’s specialty, meaning Dom wouldn’t have to deal with any shipment papers from the government.
            “Fine. Look all you want. Not everything is here,” he said, shrugging as he double checked his numbers.
            “I want to see all of it, Hade. Weapons, armor… you name it, I want to see it,” he said, looking at the vertically challenged man. 
            “You heard me. I have to see what new items you have in stock that I might potentially buy off you. Besides, you could make a pretty penny,” Dom said, shrugging simply. “Of course, we could just call it off, and I could go to one of your buddies instead.” Threats like that was the best way he could get exactly what he wanted. Grumbling, he reached over and typed in a pattern into the keys of his register before suddenly many of the items disappeared into the wall.
            Observing this sudden change in inventory, D00m was not surprised to see that Hadrian not only dealt in items that came directly from science fiction novels, but he was also an arms dealer. All around them were weapons from every sci-fi book she had ever read, every movie ever made and all were in perfect working order. Continuing to drink her energy drinks, she wandered through the store, amazed that all these items were hidden so easily.
            Dom carefully examined some of the items right before him at the counter before taking his time strolling around the shop. Some of these weapons had been here before in the few times he had come with his dad. The armor was all carefully arranged along one wall while the weapons were opposite them. His eyes skimmed the racks, not really seeing anything he wanted or needed… although everything here was spectacular.
            “Add all that armor back there, and some of the smaller, handheld guns you have,” he said, gesturing to the wall loaded with armor. Hadrian eyed him before jotting all the items down. Walking down the way, he had finally come upon the weapons counter. It was definitely a sight to see. Compared to everyone else, Dom was amazed to see that there was a weapon here that he had never before seen. This gun was impeccably large, ranging in the size of a missile launcher or heavy duty sniper rifle. Looking at the magazine, he noticed it was empty. Raising an eyebrow, he closed it in its case and brought it to Hadrian. “What’s this?” The man looked at him, before moving his list and gesturing for Dom to set the gun down on the counter.
            “This beauty is the Duckotymous,” he said, loading the magazine and then double checking the gun itself. “Or just the Ducky.”
            “What does it shoot?”
           “You’d think for being almost a genius you would have figured that out just by hearing the name,” Hadrian said, rolling his eyes.
            “Will you just tell me? I don’t have time for your guessing games.”
            “It shoots ducks, boy-o.”
            “….Ducks. As in rubber ducks? Or the real ducks, as in it only shoots and kills them? Not anything else?”
            “This isn’t made for killing, boy-o. It’s made for distracting. It can kill, but not all the time. You just load the magazine here and aim and fire. Take it out back to the shooting range to try it,” he said, waving his hand for Dom to go off and leave him with his calculating.
            “How many of these are there?”
            “There were only ten made… and this one is one of that ten,” he said, adding up the total with the calculator. Nodding, Dom shouldered the gun and headed for the shooting range. Upon arrival he looked at the target in the distance. Aiming, he pulled the trigger after shutting off the safety. Surprisingly, there was no kick-back at all, just a mere jolt and then a loud quacking noise. Watching the round launch itself, he was amazed to see that indeed the ammo was a duck. But where did it come from? Upon hitting the target, the round exploded in a cloud of feathers and it was gone.
            Taking the gun back to Hadrian, he packed it into the case and shut it, locking it tightly. Boy was this going to be a great weapon. It wasn’t completely light, but it could definitely pack a punch.
            “I’ll take it.”
            “Fine, fine. Leave it here, and we’ll ship it to you tomorrow. Anything more?”
            “Some of those slugs I bought last time. They are definitely one of the best things you have here,” he said, shoving his hands in his pockets.
            “The blast-ended ones? Or the regular variety?”
            “Both. And of course their guns too. They’re easier for some to handle,” he said, shrugging. Hadrian looked him over before sliding the order sheet so Dom could see the price and the quantities. Seeing that everything was in order, he then signed his name and slid it back to Hade.
            “Alright, now pay-up,” he said, holding out his hand. Laughing, the boy shook his head and dug into his bag.
            “Of course, old friend. I wouldn’t cheat you when you cut me a great deal like that. Nice of you to throw in some of those other items too.  I appreciate it,” he said, taking out several large wads of cash that were in large bills. Setting them down on the counter, he made sure to show him how much he put out.
            “This all of it?”
            “Yeah. And some extra for the wife and kids. You have to send them all to college somehow,” Dom said, handing him two extra large wads.
            “They all have already gone. It’s graduate school now. One of them is becoming a doctor, ya know? Medical school does not pay for itself,” he said, double checking the money count before he put a bunch of it in the till and then pocketed the rest. Dom knew it was going to be put in a safe later once he and D00m left. Moving towards the door, he nodded to D00m that it was time for them to leave.
            “Thanks for all your help, Hadrian. I appreciate it,” Dom said, as the man was now behind them. The two shook hands before both Dom and D00m departed and joined the others on the street.
            “You know him from your dad?”
            “Yeah, my dad used to do business with him quite often. Hadrian used to provide us with new equipment, but now he deals in weaponry and armor. Nice guy. His family is really sweet too,” he said, walking with D00m towards their hotel. Together they gathered their stuff—what little of that there was—and checked out. A bus took them to the airport where they were able to lay around waiting for their plane to arrive.
            The ride home was surprisingly smooth; no hitches or dangers of any kind. Dom slept for an hour or so, while D00m rocked out to her music and continued to drink can after can of Monster and Rock Star. Ane was there to pick them up with Minari hiding in the back of her car. Upon arrival at the warehouse, Dom hit a button on his watch—after they had pulled around to the backside of the building—a large ramp suddenly appeared, enabling Ane to just drive straight downstairs. Once they were downstairs, the ramp was hidden once more and so was Ane’s car.
            “Why couldn’t I use this before?” She said, glaring at Dom for a moment.
            “Well, I had to make sure I could trust you. And I just installed this before I left,” he said, rolling his eyes. Getting out he unlocked the basement and entered. Inhaling, Dom could smell food was already cooking. Sola was standing in the kitchen stirring a pan of food that smelled heavenly.
            “Finally you get back. What took you so long?”
            “The plane ran a bit late, no worries. What are you making?”
            “Just sit down, shut up and eat,” Sola demanded, gesturing to the already set table. Obeying her command he took his seat, followed by Ane, Minari and D00m. Once Sola was finished cooking, she served it all up and took her seat also.
            Dom was very pleased to see that supper was stir-fry and a large helping of rice with salad. It was good to know that Sola cooked, but he remembered her mentioning it. Making a mental note to have her cook more often—or when she felt like it—he started to eat.
            “Bring me back anything?”
            “Yeah, actually, I did. I had to bring you guys some souvenirs, or else it would just be downright rude,” he said, digging into his bag and pulling out a scarf and hat for each of the girls. And then he also dug out the large bag of key chains and pins.
            “That was mighty nice of you,” Minari said, pulling on her hat and hanging her scarf on the back of her chair.
            “I figured it would be a polite gesture to our friendship,” he said, taking a sip of his water.
            “How’d you know I liked these colors?” Ane asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
            “I paid attention to what you have been wearing the past few meetings,” Dom said, between bites. Boy was this food good.
            “And the trinkets are for…?
           “Oh those. Well, we figured we could turn them into a camera and a walkie-talkie sort of item,” Dom explained. D00m nodded as she ate through her third bowl and probably twentieth can today.
            “As long as they work,” Sola said, glancing at him before taking a bite.
           “I’m sure they will…. I also took the liberty of purchasing some weapons and armor that I could enhance for us. After we have more people, I’ll look at ordering us more for later,” he said, finishing off his water.
            “The weapons are for what exactly?” Minari asked, not exactly sure how this was supposed to work. They were only in the early planning stages right now anyway.
            “In case you get attacked at home, or on your way here. It’s just a few small handheld items. And don’t worry, I got you all concealed weapon papers already signed and stamped. No worry there,” he said, holding up his hands so that they wouldn’t object. “It’s vital that we all stay protected. I’ll keep working on our supplies if you all keep finding more people for us.”
            “Sounds good to me,” Ane said, getting up and serving herself more food.
            “So, what has been going on around here?” Dom looked around the table, curious to know if anything had changed while they were gone up north.
            “The brain washings are getting more severe. More and more people are ending up not knowing who they are. Some even return to fill menial tasks like filling a gas tank or even sitting in a store watching for theft,” Sola said, taking a bite of salad.
            “Shouldn’t you have seen this occur up north where the capital is located?” Minari asked.
            “Well, we saw some of it, but not in the brain washing department. Mostly we saw a lot of people getting arrested,” Dom said. D00m nodded in confirmation. “What are they doing with the people now? Are they being returned?”
            “They are all getting sent to work camps, or being imprisoned,” Sola explained. “Recently they issued a protocol that all re-offenders are to be sent away if they violate the law. No one knows quite where these camps are. But if we can get to all the one-time offenders, we could bring them back and help them.” Dom blinked, looking at Sola.
            “You seem awfully determined to help them,” he said, surprised.
            “This is getting ridiculous. Before they know it, they will have the whole country imprisoned just because they believe that the government is doing wrong,” Sola said, staring him down.
            “So what are you saying?”
            “I’m saying you need to get to work to reverse all the brain washed victims. If you can then we can bring them here and have them join our cause,” Sola said, flicking him in the forehead. Frowning, he rubbed his head as he thought about what she said.
            “It is plausible. But I’m going to need some of these people first in order to test how the brain washing was done. Does anyone here know?”
            “If we knew, we wouldn’t be talking, now would we?” Minari said, rolling her eyes at him. Boys sure could be dumb sometimes.
            “Right… That makes sense. Okay, then we’ll need to find people we know that we could use to work on reversing them. I’m pretty sure I have a few things that might work, but I will need to know just how they were brain washed. Otherwise some of these people could potentially be seriously injured,” he said, shaking his head.
            “Fine. As long as we can help them, I’m fine with it. But you better get working,” Sola said, reaching over and taking his plate suddenly.
            “Hey! I was going to eat that!” Dom exclaimed.
            “No. Less eating, more working. You’ve been away for two days prancing about ordering stuff and shopping. Enough is enough. You work and I’ll bring you food when you need it,” Sola said, pointing towards his work bench. Staring at disbelief at how dominant she was being, he got up and went to his blue prints and got to work. Minari had a huge grin on her face, while D00m and Ane were looking at their usually quiet friend in amazement.
            “Good show, Sola,” Minari said, smiling at her.
            “Thank you. I wanted to make sure he would stop goofing around and actually get to work,” she said, smirking as she resumed her meal. Sola set his plate aside and glanced over at him, seeing he was getting to work already. His blow torch sat at the ready next to him, and several of the parts were already spread out across the workbench.

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