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 31, 2011

Writers vs Ritters: The EPIC Battle Chapter 12

Dom checked off the shipment as it arrived in the shipping dock. He glanced down at his clipboard, knowing they were to expect a third truck sometime tonight. So far he had gotten almost everything on his list. Once the items were unloaded from these large semis, they were then reloaded into smaller cars that left at sporadic intervals towards the mother ship. In his trips down there, he had managed to get the solar panels installed and feeding into the generator, which was now powering the facility.
            If he was going to get more power, he required more help to aid him in setting up the windmills. Those took the longest, and had to all be specifically tuned. Dom was hoping he could train someone to do it so he wouldn’t have to, but right now, none of the recruits seemed remotely interested. A good portion of them wanted to train with the weapons or the computers… but none of the general maintenance things. All of those tasks sounded too menial and pointless—or unimportant that there was really no point in having them as jobs. In the end, Dom had to drive down and get to work on installing everything—which caused him to have to put whatever he was currently building, on hold.

            Out of all the techies he had met so far, he was hoping a few were interested. One of them did, which he was glad for. He was young, and not very tall, which Dom figured would be the best requirements for a lot of the maintenance duties. And thankfully this kid wasn’t afraid of heights. All he had to do now was train this kid and they would be set. Right now though, this techie was virtually Dom’s little puppy. The boy followed him everywhere he could—within reason of course.
            Sola liked to observe this occurrence. It made her smile that Dom had taken this kid under his wing, but now the boy was taking the whole training too seriously and trailing him anywhere and everywhere. Even right now, he was standing by Dom’s side looking at the clipboard clasped in his hands and all the things he was jotting down. Occasionally he would pose a question, which would be answered promptly and in the most logical explanation Dom could give him. She thought back to a conversation she had with Dom the previous night about this kid.

            “What’s his name again? Kevin? Clark? Kent?” Sola inquired, sprawled across Dom’s bed.
            “Collin,” he answered from where he was putting away his laundry.
            “He’s just like a puppy. Or if you had a kid, your son,” Sola said, laughing. She watched the expression on Dom’s face change, which caused her to laugh even harder.
            “Collin is not a puppy. Nor is he my son. He’s fucking fourteen, Sola,” Dom said, looking at her and shaking his head.
            “Whatever! He’s adorable! Where’d you find him, the pound?” Dom stared at her blankly. Obviously he wasn’t finding this as funny as she did.
            “Come on, Sola. Please? He was dumped by one of the girls that is active in the GFU party. He’s hurt and just needs someone to look up to,” he said, trying to justify the kid’s weird behavior.
            “Or he’s fallen in love with you and wants to have crazy raunchy sex. I’ve seen how he stares at you all day,” she said. Not hearing a response, she knew she had won that argument.
            “No. Honestly, where do you get these ideas? Tabloids?”
            “Actually, I happen to watch his body language, thank you very much. And from watching you two interact all day, I can tell he’s head over heels for you,” Sola said, grinning. His only answer was to roll his eyes and shut the drawer before climbing in bed with her to get some sleep.

            Giggling quietly at the thought, she continued to watch for a time. Collin was incredibly cute, respectful, and really put a lot of effort in what he did. From what Sola could tell, Dom definitely cared for the boy like he would any friend… but he did treat him a bit different. He always said Collin was a special kid, but he never specified how. She saw that Dom favored him, and did everything in his power to make sure the boy was well equipped in all facets of his learning.
            Together, they were going through the check list of items they were to receive today. Gesturing to a box that was just unloaded, he took a good look at the barcode before he scanned it with a small item that resembled a pen. After a moment it blinked, informing them both that it was indeed the supplies ordered—chocolate chips and other baking items to be exact. The small code reader even told them that there were several baking pans and other things that someone, probably D00m, had ordered.
            “Is this everything?” Collin looked up at Dom, curious to know if there were any other shipments they needed to expect.
            “Nope. That’s everything for today. We’ll have more tomorrow,” he said, patting the younger boy on the back. “Come on. Let’s make sure these are all loaded on the next few trucks down to the mother ship,” Dom said, turning and walking with him back towards the stairs. As he went through the factory with Collin, Dom exchanged a glance with Tom, smiling at his mentor.
            It had occurred to Dom that he needed to pass on the legacy that Tom had taught him. Thus, he had chosen to take on an intern that he could train and teach anything and everything about this factory. From what he had read in Collin’s file, the boy didn’t have any real role models to look up to and according to any other information provided, he really had no family to care for him. Dom knew what that was like. With his dad always being at the factory or away at some protesting event, he never had the chance to really get to know his father.
            From what Sola had heard from Dom—and of course secretly read in his and Collin’s file—they were kindred spirits. She found it a bit eerie that the two of them were very similar, except at the same time it was nice to know he cared about others that were once in his situation. Turning her attention back to the crates she was having loaded into a truck, she continued to steal glances at them. Together, they walked down the stairs and disappeared into the depths of the basement. Seeing that she had some time before the next vehicle needed to be loaded, Sola casually strolled to where Tom was.
            “I hope you’re doing well,” she said, hands behind her back as she slowed to where he was currently working. Reaching up she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear to keep it out of her face.
            “Quite well, little lady,” Tom answered, maintaining his work pace.
            “It’s nice to see him branching out,” Sola said, looking to where the two had disappeared earlier down the stairs.
            “Yup. He’s really mindful of others. Sometimes I feel bad for him. Despite never bein’ around too often, he still shows great respect to his old man,” Tom said, nodding.
            “I’m glad to see him wanting to really be there for this kid,” Sola said, smiling.
            “I remember one year, Dominic wanted so badly to have a little brother or sister for Christmas. It was amusin’ how he always bragged that was what his mom and pop were gettin’ him,” Tom said, laughing. “Seems to me he finally got his wish.” Smiling at the thought of Dom’s childhood, Sola turned her attention to the foreman.
            “What’s his mom like? He never talks about her,” Sola said, not ever remembering a conversation about Dom’s mother, but only about his father. Around his room were a few photos, and maybe some other obscure objects she found deep in the recesses of the closets… but really it was like the woman didn’t exist. Once or twice she tried to pressure him into actually talking, but to no avail he would not say a word and merely change the subject.
            “She been gone a long time—since he was young; its why he spent so much time here,” Tom started to explain.
            “I’m so sorry… I guess I didn’t know she had passed,” Sola said, eyes downcast. The foreman stared at her for a moment, before bursting into a hearty laugh.  Now she didn’t know what was funny at all. “How is laughing at a dead woman, funny?”
            “You thought she was dead? Now that is indeed a first,” he said, reaching up and wiping his eyes from the tears that had started to collect there.
            “She’s… not dead?” Sola stared at him, face blank.
            “Not one bit. She and him don’t get along, so they try not to get involved with each other,” he said, still laughing here and there. “Occasionally she comes by the warehouse and makes sure things are still running smoothly. He don’t like it when she does.”
            “Why’s that?”
            “His mother likes to alter production and really put a damper on the way he runs things. You see, she has stock in the company, but not as much as Dominic. Boy has sixty percent of the company’s stock, while she has fifteen. The other twenty-five belongs to other shareholders and the employees,” Tom said, pressing a button and removing one of the poster tubes. He examined it before placing it back on the line to be shipped off to their most recent order.
            “Ouch. I guess that would be a rather annoying factor,” Sola said, frowning. She didn’t like the idea of her parents owning stock in a company she owned. It would become quite a hassle.
            “Yup. She has it out for him sometimes,” he said.
            “Why do they fight so much?” Sola inquired.
            “His mom left his father, not really enjoying that her husband was always protesting. Now granted, they were both protestors, so it’s funny to imagine them on the opposite ends of arguments at times. Might be where Dom got his level-headedness,” Tom said, shrugging. “Either way, once his dad died, Dom was the only one written into the will that inherited everything. His mom got a bit and some money, but either way, she had to work for her own stock.”
            “Mr. Knight wrote his wife out of the will? Harsh,” Sola said, shaking her head.
            “Boy was she downright infuriated. I never seen a woman so angry before. Besides my own wife at times I forget our anniversary,” he said, laughing. “She tried to convince the employees that Dominic wasn’t ready to take over the company. But after a bit of coaching, and living with my family for a time, he felt he was ready to step up.”
            “And so he prepared himself as best he could. Or rather, you did,” Sola said, arms crossed.
            “Yes ma’am. I did help him get ready for his role as owner of the Knight Poster Tube Company. He’s taken the reins from there and really gotten us beyond the normal companies. Probably one of the greenest around,” Tom said, smiling. “His father would be proud to know his son is maintaining the motto of the company at always being ahead of the technology, but make a tiny impact.”
            “That’s handy,” Sola said, shrugging. She thought about what Tom had told her. It all made sense as to why he cared so much for this young adult.
            “He’ll make a great dad, someday,” Tom grinned, winking at Sola. Seeing it and his words sinking in, she blushed furiously.
            “I-It was great talking with you. See you later Tom!” And with that, Sola rushed away. Going to her desk, she sat down, face still incredibly red.
            “You look flushed. Did you just get back from a make-out session with Dom,” Mizzy inquired, leaning over in interest. Hearing such the question posted to her, Sola could tell everyone in their small area was now listening, hoping to hear some kind of gossip from her.
            “No. Tom was saying how Dom would be a great dad. We were just talking about him with Collin,” Sola said, clearing her throat and shuffling through her papers. To the best of her ability she was trying to come up with some kind of way to distract herself. This pathetic attempt was definitely not fooling anyone.
            “Oh, so you’re just getting opinions on whether or not to bed this guy?” Ane asked, raising an eyebrow.  She was incredibly curious to know if this had happened. Sure, the women in the base would go out for a night of relaxation and gossip; it didn’t always mean that they would divulge all of their secrets. This conversation was not going how Sola wished it would go… and she knew none of them would let the subject go.
            “Dom and I both agree we’re not ready to take our relationship to the next step. We’re both busy around the clock so there’s no real chance for us to do anything. Besides, we also agree that we won’t further our relationship until this whole rebellion is over,” Sola finished, ignoring the stares she was now getting from all the young women around her. Planning to leave them with just that answer, Sola took out some paperwork that had recently been turned into her so that she could review it. Hoping they would return to their own duties Sola dove head-first into her own tasks. After a moment or two, the others resumed to paying attention to the screens and devices before them.
            Sola knew it was about time she and Dom talked about their relationship before any rumors spread. It was getting to that time of the week when the three of them—and by three of them she meant herself, Collin and Dom—would have to make the trip all the way down to the mother ship. These ventures were used as training exercises for Collin, and gave both Dom and Sola a chance to take it easy. Otherwise she was forced to remain underground surrounded by all this gossip and pressure from the other women.
            Double checking some figures on one of the accounts, Sola stamped the paper and put it in the “OUT” tray that sat on the small shelf above her desk. It would mean someone had some paperwork to come pick up. And hopefully they actually did so she wouldn’t have to waste her time tracking them down. Granted, she didn’t mind. Being able to get up and move about from time to time was relaxing. Furtively glancing at the clock, she kept in mind how long she would have until she absolutely had to go meet up with Dom. A part of her wanted to remain until he promised to meet her, but the other half wanted to shirk her duties and go enjoy some time to herself in her room.
            “You seem anxious,” a voice behind her said. Ack! Caught, she surmised, not happy that she was that obvious in wanting to go home. Turning in her chair, she blinked at finding Dom behind her.
            “Where’s your puppy?” Sola inquired, looking around for him.
            “Oh, he’s checking the supplies for D00m. The ones that she requested a few days ago; I figured he could do that much on his own,” he said, shrugging. Sola nodded, not really sure what to say. “Do you want to go?”
            “Go? Like, go where?” Sola perked up, always looking for the word “go” in the conversation.
            “You know, head down to the mother ship. Once Collin returns and informs me that he’s finished with the upload, we’ll be set to go,” Dom said, gesturing over his shoulder. “I figured you’d want to pack some stuff.”
            “Yeah. Actually that would be nice,” she said, getting up from her seat. This wasn’t quite what she imagined him asking her, but it was close enough. At least she finally got to get up from her seat. Taking her ID card from the slot it currently resided in on the keyboard, she waited a moment to make sure it locked properly. Seeing that it indeed did, she followed him out the door.
            They headed into the hallway where the council members resided when they weren’t working or training. Turning into her room, she grabbed a back pack and started to fill it with some items—clothes mostly. Going down the hall, she then filled a smaller bag with some of D00m’s items. It was important she still got her necessities, which clothing was one of them. Dom did stress how much he hated having to order women’s clothing, as it made him feel like a pervert, or some kind of pimp.
            Dom was loading all his climbing gear. He and Collin needed to finish setting up some of the windmills that had arrived. So far, they only had the bases set up, which really wasn’t going to do them much good. The wires were already running from the wind turbine generators all the way to the facility, so all they had to do now was connect the heads and adjust the propellers to provide them with the maximum amount of power with the least amount of force by the wind. Once they were finished with that task of about four windmills, they then had to scale the roof and finish laying out all the wire and solar panels they had. Case after case had arrived and sent down to the old military base. Being cautious with how they were all ordered Dom had gotten enough to cover the entire roof of both the base and the warehouse.
            Thankfully, Collin wasn’t afraid of heights, so this installation would go quicker than expected… or at least that’s what they both hoped. It was so hard to determine if they would be able to finish early or if they would have to enlist the help of several other recruits.
            Tying the last of the rope and harnesses among the other tools on his bag, Dom hoisted it onto one shoulder and slid it on. He was glad it wasn’t as heavy as it would normally be, but thankfully he was able to cut back on supplies now that they had traversed the entire base once before. Running through his own check list in his head, he nodded, glad to have everything. Heading across the hall, he leaned against the doorframe.
            “You about ready?” He raised an eyebrow at Sola, hoping she was indeed completely packed. They traveled as light as possible since they would only be staying for a short amount of time.
            “Yeah. Almost,” she said, stuffing some more socks into her bag before zipping it shut. She looked up at him, seeing he was all decked out with his climbing gear adorning his bag. “Do you need my stuff for Collin?”
            “Nope. Those things are yours. I got him his own,” Dom said, holding up a bag similar to his own that had several brand new items.
            “You’re really going all out for this kid,” Sola said, the grin returning to her face. She watched him roll his eyes as she could just imagine he was thinking of their conversation.
            “Yeah, yeah. Are we going or not?” The frustration was very evident in his voice.
            “Of course. I wouldn’t leave you and your boy lover alone. What a scandal that would be,” Sola said, totally pushing Dom’s buttons. But she had to admit, Dom caring for someone other than her, was rather adorable. She could just imagine him as a father to a small child—a girl probably—and do everything for her, including buying the moon. That last thought caused her to frown. Who did the moon belong to? Ah well, nothing she needed to worry about now. Although she knew he would make a very loving father and adore the child more than anything in the world. Before she knew it though, she was being poked in the side by Dom, who was trying to get her attention.
            “Hello? You in there?” He said, waving a hand in front of her face. Blinking from her revere of imagining herself and Dom married with a child, she stared at him.
            “Huh?” Her face was as blank as ever.
            “Are you going to get in or not? If I reach across you and put on your seat belt, Minari will shout either rape or assault. And I’m not ready to deal with her about either,” he said, holding open her car door for her.           
            “Oh, right. Duh,” she said, laughing as she climbed into the backseat. Collin was already in the front, examining the map and layout of the facility. Connecting the mp3 player they were going to use as entertainment, Dom passed it back to Sola. Being the music guru she was, she got to choose their song choices for the trip down to the base. Glancing into the back of the car, Dom saw that they had all the supplies he had made sure Collin packed in there: solar panels and the other items that D00m requested specifically. Among those items were also the climbing equipment, Sola’s stuff, and of course all the tools they would require to hook up the solar panels and wind turbines to the generator.
            As they drove, Sola changed the song to something with more of a rock beat. Grabbing the pillow and sleeping bag she kept in the vehicle, she hunkered down and took a nap. Her rest lasted for about an hour, which gave Collin the opportunity to choose the music. Dom slowed the car, and parked it outside. A few of the recruits came out and started to unload the items, one of six automobiles that had arrived today. Slipping from the car, Dom woke Sola gently while Collin grabbed their personal bags and the climbing equipment. Groaning, she burrowed her head inside the sleeping bag.
            “Come on, ducky. It’s time to get up,” Dom said, patting her head gently.
            “I don’t wanna,” Sola said, trying to stay warm in her little area.
            “You can sleep more in a bit. I just need you to head to your room rather than me carrying you. You’re slippery in a sleeping bag,” Dom said, laughing. Grumbling to herself, Sola got out and shuffled to her room as she pushed past the recruits. Watching her go off towards where she had chosen their room to be, Dom took his bag, Collin’s and Sola’s from Collin, and headed after her. It didn’t take him long to find her already back on her bed. Setting her bag down, he then threw his into the corner.
            “Collin and I will be out working. Get some sleep,” Dom said, kissing her forehead before leaving the room. He nodded to Collin, who was waiting outside the door. Taking his bag from the boy, the two of them headed outside to get working on their first project for the weekend.
            They started by burying the lines from the first wind turbine all the way to the main generator line where they were able to hook them up. Next was the smaller generator within the turbine. From there it was time to install the head and propellers. All of the equipment was already out there, which was a big relief to them both because then that meant they didn’t have to take it out there themselves. It would have wasted a lot of time for them to have to make trips back and forth in order to get everything out there on their own.
            Heading down to the first place, they got their harnesses on and finished attaching the last of the wires to the interior of the windmill. Now it was time to scale the machine and finish attaching the large propellers. This was the most dangerous since if you fell and were not properly harnessed; one could fall to their death.
            Grabbing onto his line, Dom started up to the top. After a moment, Collin followed suit on his own line. Together, the two scaled the windmill and reached the head where they had the propellers secured. Changing his clips from the climber rope to the safety line, Dom crossed to the front and started to get to work. It took Collin a moment or two to get the hang of hoisting himself up to the top, but somehow he managed to.
            “Okay, now just to adjust these and make sure they’re attached properly,” Dom said, unhooking one of the propellers and bringing it to the head that had folded up to meet them. Making his way to where his mentor stood, Collin grabbed some tools and started to help him attach them. It took a bit longer than they had anticipated, but this needed to be very precise work in order to give them the maximum amount of power. Pressing a button for the head to go back down, it swung into place and soon the propellers began to move as they caught the wind. With a wide grin on his face, Dom patted Collin on the back. “Congratulations on your first success.” The two of them watched the props spin a few times, listening to the whoosh of the wind and the constant whirring of the generator and gears. Carefully they repelled down the windmill and moved to the next one.
            It was the same process for the other three, which made it simple for Collin to help a bit more during the second wind turbine, and then completely take control of the installation for the third and fourth. Gathering up their gear, the two headed towards the base, both grinning as they stopped at the edge of the woods to look at their spinning creations in the waning sunlight. Ruffling Collin’s hair, Dom turned and walked with him into the woods along the deer path and towards the facility. After a few minutes, they stepped into a clearing and frowned. For a time while they were walking, they hadn’t heard a single animal—bird or squirrel.
            Glancing back at Collin, Dom took a tentative step forwards and suddenly felt a sharp pain in his chest as he was thrown a good distance across the space. Gasping for breath, he tried to force air into his lungs and figure out what just happened. Across the clearing from him, Dom saw that Collin had also been thrown by some kind of force. Above them swung two logs—which he deduced was what hit them both—at about chest height. Coughing several times, he stumbled to get up only to be knocked down again by a large sack like object that had also swung from a tree.
            Pushing himself to get up, he and Collin exchanged a glance as a small group of short creatures came from the forest and surrounded them with weapons aimed at them. The boy looked slightly panicked, probably having never been in a situation where a gun—or close to—was being aimed at his head. Swallowing, Dom raised his hands up in submission as he heard the little creatures start to talk. He tried to follow or even translate what they were saying, but it was definitely in a very foreign language. Both Dom and Collin were forced together where they stood in the center of the group. Looking around, there actually weren’t that many—or at least so he thought until he turned his gaze to the trees. They were surrounded by close to twenty waist-high creatures that resembled teddy bears.
            “Umm… Dom, what are they…?” Collin had an edge of panic to his voice, which Dom knew meant the boy was incredibly nervous.
            “I think… they’re Ewoks,” he said, staring down at them. He had heard they inhabited the forests throughout the country, but no one had ever truly seen one or had been able to document that even one existed.
            “How… do we get out of this?” Collin inquired, choosing his words carefully. Neither he nor Dom carried any sort of weapon on them, so really they were no threat to any of these creatures—just significantly disadvantaged. Dom’s mind reeled as he tried to make out any forms of speech he could use or interpret to inform them that they meant no such harm.
            “We’re unarmed, guys. We were on our way to the military base,” Dom said, looking around at their glowing eyes. They continued to speak in their own language, before many of them lowered their weapons. Both of their bags were brought to them. The two parties stared at each other, not quite sure what to do. Digging into his bag, Dom pulled out a small bottle of shampoo and kneeled, which made him close to their height. Holding out his hand, he handed one of them the small bottle. One of them took it, and popped it open. After sniffing at its contents, the Ewok then dumped the whole thing onto its fur before wiping it onto another.
            “We’ll get you more,” Collin suggested, seeing that they were enjoying playing with this new kind of war paint. They spoke and discussed before parting ways and letting both Dom and Collin pass between their ranks and back onto the path. Before they knew it, they had a small group of them trailing behind them on the deer trail. All of them stepped into the main clearing where the facility was located. A few of them were hesitant, but slowly they all joined the two that had followed their new friends into this inhabited area.
            For a second the guards raised their guns, unsure what was going on. They saw Dom hold up his hand and signal for them to lower their weapons. It was quite odd seeing him with a bunch of waist high teddy bears with cowls running around. Dom counted how many there were, knowing that they had enough beds to fit two to a bed… and then plenty of shampoo.
            “Go bring our shampoo bottles,” Dom said, looking at one of them. Both the guards hesitated before they hurried inside and returned several minutes later with two large boxes of travel soap bottles. Taking the boxes, Dom kneeled and the other Ewoks each took a bottle. “You use them to wash your hair with. Not war paint,” he explained, gesturing to them how it worked. A few of them gasped in surprise, finally understanding it all.
            “I think they have their own homes and families,” Collin said, glancing at Dom, who nodded.
            “Could you help us? I’m sure they’ve destroyed your homes a time or two,” he said, looking around at the small group. It was at that point that a few of them made noises that sounded vaguely like “Yes” or an answer similar to it.  “Why don’t you guys return home, and we could discuss this tomorrow?” In this time it had already gotten dark, which meant the interior lights had finally turned on now that they had power to use. Many of them grunted and started to disperse into the trees, disappearing in the underbrush. Only two remained, which they stared at Dom and Collin in interest.
            “Do you not have a home?” Collin looked into the glowing eyes of the one closest to him. It seemed they shared a moment because he looked to Dom as if pleading to keep them. Dom held his hand out to the one before him and walked with it into the base with Collin close behind. The four of them headed into an office—Sola’s office to be exact—where they found her sitting at her computer typing away. Turning to see who had entered her office, Sola blinked, not sure what to say at the Ewoks that Dom and Collin had brought into her office. Shutting the door behind him, Collin picked up the Ewok by him and set it in a chair.
            “What are those?” Sola raised an eyebrow at Dom, looking for an explanation. She expected this sort of behavior from Collin, as he was just a boy… but her boyfriend too? Granted, Dom was known for doing unexpected things; it was just a matter of knowing what unexpected things he was going to do.
            “Ewoks,” Collin said, grinning from ear to ear. He resembled a little kid on Christmas morning, eager to get to play with his new toys.
            “I thought those were just rumored to exist,” she said, continuing to look at her boyfriend for an explanation.
            “Well, we were walking back, and we had a bit of a run in with them. But we managed to work things out and I think they’re going to help us,” Dom said, smiling at her. The look on his face was just about as giddy as the one on Collin’s. They did need more support. So far the aid from any other country had not even been addressed; nor had the number of recruits they would need. With their numbers dwindling, Sola knew they could use as much help as possible.
            “You do realize that this won’t be easy to explain to Ane or Minari, right?” Dom frowned, not having thought completely about either of the leaders.
            “They won’t care. Just look at them. Even I have to say they’re adorable,” he said, grinning at Sola.
            “You just made my job ten times harder, you know that right?” Sola gave him a blank look that he might have guessed would be what he would see if she were going to kill him.
            “Oh, don’t complain,” he said, picking up the Ewok before him and setting it on the desk in front of Sola. “See? Adorable.”
            Staring at the little creature before her, her face remained blank. It stared at her, tilting it’s head sideways in curiosity. Glancing back at Dom, it then nodded and held out its hand to her. Taking it gently, she found its fur very soft, which was a bit surprising. The pads on its paw were a bit rough, but they continued to look at eachother. Watching each other, the Ewok said something, which Sola was a bit surprised she could sort of figure out meant “Pleased to meet you.”
            “Okay, I have to get to work. You four, get back to work,” she said, waving them off. Sola immediately involved herself in her work the instant Dom picked up the Ewok off her desk. Glancing over his shoulder, he watched Sola try to seem involved in her paperwork. Watching them leave, she waved to the Ewok that was bidding farewell over Dom’s shoulder. It was pretty quaint to see that they were getting help from somewhere. They were small, but sometimes, mighty things came in small packages. For now, they would have to wait and see what would be in store when it was time for battle.

* * * * *

            Dom adjusted one of the ropes as he walked across the roof. Looking to Collin he gestured for him to move along and help finish hooking up the solar panels. Teek and Moose both wandered along the ridge of the roof easily, not needing any sort of safety line. Being still worried, Dom had them both secured with a smaller, simpler line that would hold their weight but wouldn’t require them to wear as complex of a harness as his or Collin’s. Moose grumbled something and pointed at the wires sticking out from every single set of solar panels.
            “I’m sorry Moose. We have to hook all of them up,” Collin said, kneeling next to him and taking some of the wires. It took him a minute to show him exactly how they needed to be attached, but afterwards they fit snugly once they were connected. Now it was just running the lines together, hiding them inside some very specific grooves that he and Dom had carved out a few days before—and then added some covers to protect the wires from the weather.
            “How’s it going over there?” Dom shouted, looking up from where he was currently attaching some wires and then covering them.
            “We’re getting there! Just showing Moose how to do this,” Collin answered, watching his friend copy him. Grinning at the male Ewok, Collin moved down the way a bit and started to work on another row of solar panels. Each row that was completed was then connected to the main line that ran down the center of the roof and all the way down to the main electricity generator. Teek was in charge of attaching every row to the center line. And so far, she was doing a spectacular job.
            Walking along the crest of the roof, Dom moved down towards the edge, needing to start on another row. He was on the opposite side of the roof of Moose and Collin. While they worked from the left to the right, Dom worked in reverse order. Seeing him changing rows, Teek followed suit and made her way down to the row next to him. She wanted to help and was getting incredibly tired of just sitting at the peak to attach the wires.
            Grabbing his wires and starting, Dom started to work. Teek started to begin when she suddenly slipped. Having turned to observe, his eyes widened seeing her start to fall backwards. His hand instantly shot out to catch her hand. Suddenly they were both over the edge of the roof. Hugging Teek to himself, he swung down with her and into the side wall. Wincing as they hung there, he waited for his heart to stop beating so fast.
            “Are you okay?” She nodded and made a kind of noise that he assumed was asking him the same. “A bit of pain, but I’ll manage,” he said, remembering that he had his hand out to catch them; being the idiot he was, he didn’t think the speed of falling like that and then swinging thanks to their safety harnesses would cause them to go that fast. He could hear footsteps above them as Collin and Moose ran to the edge and peered over. Glancing up Dom saw both of their heads appear.
            “Dom are you okay?!” The look in Collin’s eyes was very panicked and almost frightened.
            “Yeah. Just find a way to get us down from here,” Dom answered. After his response, Teek started speaking quickly to Moose, who nodded, jumped up and hurried off across the roof and towards the direction of the ladder they used to climb up here. A moment later, Sola suddenly burst through the door below them.
            “What the hell are you doing? The whole wall shook like it had been hit by a tree!” Blinking, she saw that Dom and Teek were hanging there. “How’d you manage that?”
            “Could you just get the cherry picker? We uh… need some help,” he said, glancing down at Sola. She could see that something was wrong; especially by the tone of his voice. Disappearing for a minute she hollered into the facility, which immediately brought out some of the council members and recruits that happened to be there. Now Ane, Minari, Aldorel and several other faces were staring up at him and Teek as they just hung loosely.
            “Good going, Dom. What’d wanna do, commit suicide?” Minari said, smirking.
            “Hah ha ha. You’re so funny,” he answered, glancing up and hoping that Collin was going to get them down.
            “Just sit tight, okay? We’re coming up to get you,” Sola said, as one of the recruits started to ascend towards them. Stopping under them, Dom turned himself so that the recruit could take Teek first. Making sure he had her, Dom reached up and unlatched her harness in which she easily landed into the basket. He quickly did the same for himself, and landed gently, taking care to not bump his hand. The cherry picker immediately descended, bringing them both safely to the ground.
            Teek jumped down and hugged Moose, who had somehow made it down in a flash. Collin had followed him shortly after the cherry picker started to descend, so he suddenly appeared. Sola hugged Dom as he hopped down, keeping his wrist close to his body to protect it. He hissed in pain as his hand was quickly crushed by her.
            “What are you nuts? Don’t you ever do that to me!” She said, stepping back and hitting him in the forehead.
            “Okay, okay. It won’t happen again,” he reassured her. “Hey, Aldorel, can you take a look at my wrist?” Dom held up his left arm that was swollen and pretty bruised.
            “Why didn’t you say you were hurt before?!” Sola was starting to freak out even more, which didn’t assure Dom that she was going to be okay with this. Aldorel stepped through the group and frowned, examining his wrist.
            “Come on, Dom. Let’s get you to the infirmary so I can examine this more carefully,” she said, heading off ahead of him. Kissing Sola briefly, he gave Teek and Moose a thumbs up before following their medic inside. Collin sighed, scratching his head.
            “Sola, I’m sorry… I should have been watching him,” he said, looking to her and then keeping his eyes downcast. Glancing to the boy, Sola smiled, and pulled him into a hug.
            “Don’t go beating yourself. Let’s just call it a day,” she said, turning and walking with an arm over his shoulder inside. The two of them wandered into the infirmary where they were able to see how Dom was doing.
            He sat on one of the gurneys with his hand resting on a pillow on the tray next to the bed. His eyes met theirs as Sola and Collin approached him. This gave her the opportunity to see his hand up close and under the proper light. It was indeed horribly swollen and colored from broken blood vessels. She knew it probably hurt a lot. Sola hoped he was given some kind of painkiller to dull his senses at least a little. But right now he seemed pretty alert, which tipped her off that he was still running on a mix of shock and adrenaline.
            “How bad is it?” She was at his side, holding his right hand in hers.
            “Al says it’s broken, but I can still work,” he said, grinning. “No way will a broken wrist keep me down.” He gave Sola and Collin a thumbs up. Dom noticed that Collin seemed to remain fairly quiet, and not make any eye contact. He knew that something was up, but otherwise he couldn’t figure out what it was.
            “Dom, can you please tell Collin it is not his fault that you fell off the roof?” Sola looked at her boyfriend, who was watching them. It took a moment longer for the command to register before he blinked and nodded.
            “Seriously Collin, don’t go blaming yourself. If I were me, which I am, I would have fallen either way. This is no big deal, dude,” he said, raising his hand and pointing to it. The corner of his mouth twitched in the slightest bit of pain, which Collin knew to be a bad sign since Dom was trying to not show he was in pain.
            “I should have been making sure you weren’t going to do anything insane. I’m so sorry, Dominic,” he said, still looking down.
            “Hey, I’m not mad at you at all. I’m glad you are okay, and so are Teek and Moose. Besides, this just means I need to take things a tad slower and not be so reckless,” Dom said, reaching over and pulling Collin into a one armed hug. Releasing him, he ruffled the younger boy’s hair. Laughing together now that the tension Collin had was released, Aldorel entered with the material to make his cast.
            “Alright, let’s put this thing on now that it’s set and ready,” she said, grabbing the chair and pulling it up to where he sat. Al glanced at Sola and Collin. “You two going to watch?”
            “I was actually going to ask if Dom’s had any painkillers,” Sola said, shoving her hands in her pockets. She wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them right now. Grabbing Dom’s chart, Aldorel read through it. Being the only medic they really had right now, one would figure she would remember giving her patient any sort of drugs, but of course she couldn’t right now. Her mind was on other things which to her seemed more important than tending to Dom’s wellbeing.
            “Just a little bit, but nothing hardcore. He could probably just take some Tylenol or Advil if he’s really in need to sleep. I could give you a prescription if you would prefer that,” Aldorel said, looking at Dom.
            “I don’t think I’ll need it,” he said, as Aldorel set down his chart and started to wrap his arm. She worked carefully but quickly. With all sorts of people coming in and out of her doors at all hours, she really needed to treat people quickly. Luckily having seen broken limbs on a daily basis, she was able to take the x-rays and get him treated as soon as possible. Just as she finished applying the wrap she started with the plaster. It went on easily, but it didn’t help that Dom would get distracted and gesture with both hands.
            “If you don’t knock that off I will break a few of your fingers,” Aldorel growled, warning him that she required him to sit still.
            “Dom, please, just don’t move so much,” Sola said, frowning. Collin had disappeared for a little bit to find Teek and Moose… and to clear his head. It brought a lot of relief to his mind that Dom—who was practically his big brother and biggest mentor—wasn’t angry with him for what happened. In the back of his mind, Collin knew it was just a freak accident; but still, he fretted. There was just that part of him that always worried about the little things.
            Passing down the hallways by groups of recruits, techies and other members of their growing group, he continued to keep his eyes on the floor. The whole walk Collin felt as if people were gossiping about him, but in reality he was just imagining things. Dom had always told him he had a wide imagination. Turning into where his bunk was, he looked up to see that Moose was putting a small band-aid on a cut that Teek had on her face and then bandaging her hand. It seemed she had cut it during the fall—probably frantically grabbing at the roof to attempt to catch herself. Sitting down behind her on his bunk, Collin smiled at them.
            “Do you wanna go see Dom?” He saw that Moose had a lot of skill in tending to wounds. Sure they were different species, but he knew that they probably had doctors or healers of some kind. Apparently Moose was one of them. Together, the two Ewoks nodded and got up from their seat on Collin’s bed. With him in the lead, they made their way down the long maze of corridors and into the infirmary where Dom sat signing paperwork. Sola wasn’t anywhere in sight, which told Collin that she was probably back at work or talking with Aldorel. Seeing Dom sitting there, arm bandaged in a colored cast, Teek moved forwards and managed to climb on the bed. Moose followed suit, but sat down at the end, rather than closer to Dom’s lap.
            Holding out his arm for her to examine the cast, Teek looked up at him and then pointed to her fur. The two arms were the same color, which seemed to confuse the little Ewok. She was incredibly interested in why he suddenly had a different shaded arm. Glancing over her shoulder at Moose, she gestured to it and then to her own and then to his. Nodding, he moved closer and peered at it. Taking the cast in her paws, she examined it and found his fingers were sticking out… but they were his usual skin color. Dom was grinning down at them as they continued to ponder this strange phenomenon.
            “It’s called a cast. I wear it to make sure my arm doesn’t hurt,” he explained, showing them that he could still move his fingers, it just hurt a bit more than usual. Teek tapped at one of his fingers with a claw. Wiggling around his fingers, he poked her in the nose. “See?” The two Ewoks nodded and then continued to contemplate the cast.
            “They found their way to the barracks,” Collin said, shrugging. “I was surprised to find them there.” Both had only been to and from the barracks, but had come through different hallways. It was a maze that sometimes many people still got lost in despite posted signs. But somehow these two had managed to make their way there—maybe with a bit of aid from a few of the members that knew how to answer their questions.
            “Well, I’m glad they’re at least making it around,” Dom said, grinning. Sola reentered, beaming as she saw both Moose and Teek sitting upon Dom’s bed.
            “Okay Dominic. I’ve got you signed out and a prescription if you need it,” she said, holding up a typical illegible doctor’s note. Go figure it was something else he couldn’t read. Collin got up, knowing that Dom was probably going to go to bed thanks to all the excitement. He appeared to be physically drained and maybe running low on his energy since he probably hadn’t eaten anything while just sitting here.  Pushing off from where he resided leaning against the wall, Collin helped Moose down and then set Teek down next to him. Climbing from his bed, Dom picked up Teek so that she was riding on his back. Moose jumped up onto Collin’s and the five of them left the infirmary.

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