I don’t have the same standards for danger that humans have. A human would look at, say, a swarm of twenty rats, and see impending death. Whereas I would see combat practice, followed by a large lunch (at least, if I wasn’t previously cut in half and low on resources). Only a threat to my core mattered, and rats don’t exactly use guns, or have lightning powers, although I'd be in trouble if they ate my core; I’d seen them eat rocks on purpose. Nevertheless, I had plenty of resources and much more experience now. I wouldn’t be caught off-guard by rats again.
Which is why I thought Sandra was overreacting.
“What do you mean you were chased by rats?!” yelled Sandra. I had been trying to explain why I felt safe in using the sewers. Obviously I had taken the wrong approach.
“It happened after I escaped Magenta. I had to be rescued that time, but other than that I’ve never been in danger in the sewer.”
“The job last week? Why am I only hearing about this now!? Why didn’t you tell anyone?”
“I told Mikey.”
“I meant a lieutenant!”
“Tofu, that...” she took a deep breath and let out a long sigh, rubbing her temples as she did so. Then she faced me and said, “How have you liked being a part of Hellion’s Henchmen so far?”
This was a sudden topic shift. “I’ve liked it a lot.”
“So I can assume you plan to stay with us?”
“Great to hear. Then there is just one thing I’d like to go over with you.” She folded her arms on the desk and leaned forward. “As you might have guessed, Hellion’s Henchmen is a bit different from other villainous organizations. Both in how we operate, and in temperament. To date, we’ve been in operation for over fifteen years, when most similar enterprizes last two to three at most.”
“Thank you. Would you like to know the secret to our success?”
She grinned and leaned in further. “Teamwork. Simple as that.”
“It doesn’t seem very simple. I’ve found it to be rather complicated myself.”
She laughed, “Well, I meant teamwork as in a goal we aim for, but thank you for recognizing the minutia. Keeping so many personalities and experience levels organized is admittedly a full-time job for me and my staff. That’s part of the reason we have separate teams; keeps people who cooperate well together, and abrasive personalities separate.”
“I see… have I been abrasive?”
“Pfft no, that’s not why I brought this up. You’ve actually been contributing a lot so far, and we’re glad to have you on the team. The point I’m worried about, is that you seem to have a penchant for getting into trouble, and then you try to solve it by yourself, without asking for help. Part of a team is that everyone contributes to the group, but another is that the group looks out for its individual members. The next time you find yourself in one of these situations talk to us. We can make sure you have proper backup, or at the very least, help prevent the problem from happening again. Alright?”
“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Good. Then I’ll let you go. And… what you do on your own time is your business, but if you go into the tunnels take some backup okay? And not just your friend Mikey! If it’s really that important then you can ask one of our lieutenants, someone with experience. There’s worse than rats down there.”
I made it back to my apartment rather late, and decided to go to ‘sleep’ after fixing myself a snack of sugar and leftover burger buns. Normally I could keep Human.exe going for days if I needed to, but Poena’s power had definitely caused some premature fatigue build-up. I suppose I could just continue on without Human.exe, since I had enough resources to avoid torpor, but why bother? To do so would just be an inefficient use of resources, to no immediate benefit; better to sleep.
I placed a few sheets of paper that Sandra had given me on the kitchen counter for later. She gave me ‘after-action reports’ to fill out and return. Strangely, she seemed concerned that I wouldn't be able to read and understand them, but I assured her I would be fine. Admittedly my understanding of written words had been substandard when I first interviewed with Sandra, but I’d had an entire week of school with which to learn reading and writing since then.
I crawled under my bed, but took a few moments to consider what Sandra had said about HH’s goals. My understanding of being part of a faction was that the individual benefits were provided because it suited the faction. I received a helmet and suit from HH because protecting its members from death was important to the group’s strength. I received food and money because that was a requirement to keep me hired. But Sandra was saying that the overall goal of the group was also to specifically look out for individual members? That was like… me looking out for an individual micro unit, or cell. It didn’t really make sense… but it almost did? Bleh, I definitely needed to shut down Human.exe for a few hours. I wouldn’t figure this out without Human.exe, but it was obviously beginning to malfunction again. It had been a long day.
The next day was Sunday, and there wasn’t any work, so while I woke myself up promptly at 5:00am, I stayed under my bed until 5:30am to go over everything that had happened yesterday. Three things concerned me: Trebla’s concept of “living is not surviving,” Sandra’s concept of “the group cares about its members,” and the general human concept of “entertainment.” Of these three concepts, the only one I could claim to understand was entertainment. When a human was acquiring everything it needed to survive in excess, it then switched to a form of proactive improvement. The Alley Run hardlight chamber from yesterday was a perfect example of this; it tested both reactive reflexes, and endurance, while presenting the ‘players’ with the unlikely scenario of having guns, and enemy targets that wandered out of cover. While the odds of such a scenario were low, if it ever did happen, we would now be ready for it. Human entertainment covered a wide spectrum of unlikely, but possible, scenarios, a quality I found most admirable.
As for Sandra’s and Trebla’s concepts… nope, I wasn’t really getting it. I felt like I could almost grasp Sandra’s concept, if I put it in terms of individuals working together for a goal they all wanted, but an entire group looking out for a singular person? In a way that wasn’t just to retain a valuable member? Too strange. But then, HH supplied lawyers to even its non-powered members… aspects of this concept made some sense, so I’d keep it on the back-burner for now.
But Trebla’s concept was just false; surviving equals living, there was no getting around that. Maybe this was one of those eccentricities that super villain’s had.
I tabled my musings, and left my apartment to head to the base for breakfast. Until 6:00am I drank coffee and ate breakfast foods, using the time to chat with the minions coming off of night shifts. Once I was done, I went to the gym and met up with Adder for morning sparring. I took this opportunity to ask her about Wandergheist, and about how its fighting style matched hers. She explained that it was because both of their styles were based on ‘hyper-efficiency’. Rather than focusing on a practiced selection of combat maneuvers, they focused on thinking multiple steps ahead, and applying minimum force to maximum effect. Easy to say, but not as easy to do, as Adder demonstrated by knocking me to the mat while I tried to practice the concept. Real combat was messy, so spending valuable processing cycles on prediction rather than reaction was dangerous. Still, as proven by Wandergheist and Adder, it was scarily effective once mastered.
After an hour of practice, I headed to the shooting range to experiment with and practice designs. The sling-shot tongue idea had worked rather well, all things considered. Just needed to make a few changes so I could talk while using it. Modifications to the vocal cords would solve that problem. As for ammo, I actually needed something slightly less lethal. If my goal was to leave the target alive, I didn’t want to have to maim them before letting them live, as it would cause them to prioritize targeting me in future encounters. I was glad now that Ifrit had warned me against it, I hadn’t realized how adverse humans were to superficial damage like losing a hand. Tim had once mentioned there were medical supers who could regrow body parts, so I had thought it a non-factor.
I needed non-lethal ammo. To that end, I turned to the decoy design I had used on the stitched rats. While that design had been mostly to lure the rats with smell, I wanted to focus on the fact that it was a non-solid projectile that decayed. When I made something using micro machines, the resulting object is laced with micro units that are still connected to my core. The unfortunate result is that anything I make decays in seconds when separated from the signal my core produces. Up until now, I had thought of it as a design flaw, but I might actually be able to use it to my advantage. If I made the projectiles myself I could time them to decay before impact, and the result would not be as lethal as a solid metal slug or spike might be.
I tried a few different variations until I had a design I liked; a small pellet about the size and composition of an eyeball. When I tested it on the targets on the range, it had enough impact to push the lighter targets back, but not enough to put holes in anything. Hopefully this would be a good deterrent without having to maim.
...But it was sooo resource intensive, and I couldn’t reuse them like metal slugs. Bleh. I’d save these for fragile targets like sidekicks and civilians.
At 8:00am I wrapped up my experimenting, and after picking up my paychit, headed to Maggie’s Sunrise Diner for another breakfast to regain some of my expended mass. While there, I got into a conversation with the people sitting next to me at the counter seats about lockdowns. None of the eastern sectors had entered a lockdown yet, which was apparently a rarity? Odd Summer has officially been declared in effect for two weeks now, and while bad things had happened, nothing bad enough to warrant quarantining a whole sector.
“Why is it odd to not have had a lockdown?” I asked one of the older males sitting at the counter.
“What, ye daft? The wall’s right over yonder,” he replied.
“Oh be nice Harold,” replied an older female, “Are you not from around here young man?” she asked me.
“No ma’am, I moved here a few weeks ago,” I replied. Both of them had accents that reminded me of the way Jasper sometimes talked.
“There Harold, you see? Young man just moved here. Why don’t you answer his questions proper?” she said.
“Yeah yeah, I’mma getting to it,” he turned to me, “Y’see lad, like I said the wall is only three sectors away. All it takes is fer one particularly nasty critter to get over, and then you gotta lock it down.”
“I thought the wall was impenetrable.”
“Ha, maybe once upon a time when Overlord was in charge, rest his soul, but them U.N.A gobsmackers can’t pull their heads out of their ars-”
cough “-out of the ground without five commitees and a permit. Thank God fer New Dawn. Without them we’d be up to our eyeballs in vampires ‘n banshees ‘n other shi-”
“-shtuff. Other stuff.”
“Still ain’t as good as when Overlord were around mind,” said another old timer, to unanimous nods among the ‘older’ humans.
I spent an hour talking and eating with the ‘old-timers’ before moving on. It was somewhat disheartening to learn that New Dawn Inc. was for the most part in charge of the wall’s security, along with ‘the army’. The installation I had escaped from had been near S5 or SE5 depending on how well I was judging the distances involved. But apparently there was a New Dawn installation in NE16 next to the wall, which was much closer to E13. The big question was: would New Dawn Inc. become an obstacle? They had spent the resources to create me, and as far as I have seen, I was somewhat unique as a weapon. Was I valuable enough for them to attempt recovery? How long had my ruse delayed their response? Would they even bother to track me down? Could they even track me down? With the right super, anything might be possible. Too many variables...
For now I tabled the thought. New Dawn Inc. was a large faction, but Hellion’s Henchmen had been operating out of E13 for quite a long time now, which made it an ideal place to solidify my position. A stable environment meant predictable factors. If New Dawn Inc. came after me I’d just have to be prepared.
To that end, I spent the next hour mapping parts of E13 I hadn’t been to yet. I wouldn’t get close to finishing even if I spent days doing it; even a single sector was absolutely massive (especially the outer sectors), but it made me feel better. I paid particular attention for possible tunnel access points (and food vendors) since knowing about possible escape routes was always a good thing. Especially since the architecture of E13 could vary greatly depending on where you were. It was easy to get caught in a dead end, or unsafe alleyway if you weren’t careful. One alley I cut through actually had some wires strung across it that I ran into. The annoying things were sharp enough to cut, and tangled easily, so I was forced to destroy them with micro units to untangle myself. Annoying. It was probably a Tinker Tot trap since it was close to their territory.
At 10:00am I went back to my apartment building to knock on Cindy’s door, and ask if she was still coming to the arcade. With the rats attacking the mall yesterday, we had all made plans to meet up at our usual hangout instead. Cindy answered the door, but seemed somewhat dazed; had she been sleeping?
“Tofu? Wha -yawn- ‘s up?”
“Are you still coming to the arcade?”
“Arcade?...Ack!” Her eyes lit up. “Sorry, sorry! Give me a moment, I’ll be ready in a sec!”
Once she was ready, we headed off. I found it a bit odd that she had slept for so long, and on a hunch I called Mikey and Tim to make sure they would be there on time. Tim was on his way, but Mikey had been asleep.
And he skipped morning practice again. I’m going to have to drag him there aren’t I.
Once at the arcade, Tim and I settled our plan to bet on the outcome of games. After trying a few different games, I realized that my reflexes were simply too good to play against him in two-player games like Alley Fighter 2, so I surreptitiously challenged him to beat the high score on some of the single player ones instead. Mikey and Cindy went to play the two-player games while I tried to give Tim a challenge, but after a while we wanted to do something we could all participate in, and we gave up on power testing to try the four players games instead. We did that for two hours, and then at 12:30pm decided to get lunch at a nearby Mega Burger (I had the triple stack).
“What should we do next?” asked Tim, “I think I’m kinda burnt out on the arcade myself.”
“How about we go see a movie?” suggested Mikey.
The others agreed, and we left the arcade to go to a ‘movie theater’ at 1:00pm. It was a few blocks away; a large, stylized building meant to stand out from the blockier (efficient) buildings. In previous explorations of Ashwood St. I had avoided it due to the apparent security at the entrance. Guards constantly checked pieces of paper (tickets, I now knew) presented by entering humans. Mikey bought a ticket for a small group room, and after presenting it to the door guard, we entered the main chamber of the building.
Where I was immediately inundated by the smell of butter, salt, and something that was slightly burned.
“Wanna share one big popcorn since we just ate?” asked Tim.
“Um, better make that two,” answered Mikey. What was he looking at me for?
Tim and I got two large containers of ‘popcorn’, a strange snack that was apparently just for taste and texture, as it had almost no nutritional value. There was also a complimentary soda packet stand, and I stopped to make myself a drink.
“Ugh, dude. Did you really mix Nectar into there?” said Tim, “It’s so sweet, how can you stand it?”
“It’s my favorite.”
“Ugh, and you already mixed two other sodas in there. That stuff is meant for mutants in the first place. You’re gonna get kidney stones.”
“I’ve been fine so far,” I replied, brushing it off. I wasn't going to stop drinking Nectar if I didn't have to.
We went down a corridor that had lots of doors with red and green lights over them, and Mikey led us into the first room with a green light. Inside there were six plush seats in a row, all anchored to the floor, and facing a wall that was one large screen. Mikey went to a touchscreen that was mounted next to the door and asked, “Alright, what do you all feel like watching?”
Mikey, Tim, and Cindy all discussed options while I sipped on my soda concoction. I didn’t really have a preference beyond not comedy. Humor was still something I hadn’t gotten a firm grasp on, and the few times someone had told me a ‘joke’, or when something ‘funny’ had happened, I hadn’t reacted appropriately.
“Tofu, help us out here. What do we pick?” asked Mikey suddenly. I didn’t know enough about movies to answer such a complicated question, so I just blurted out the only movie I knew of.
“How about The Thing movie you were telling me about?”
Mikey paused, and then grinned, “Ha! Excellent choice. What do you two think?”
“Uh, that’s that one horror movie you keep telling me about right?" said Tim, "Maybe we should watch something none of us have seen…”
“I think that’s a great choice,” said Cindy, also grinning.
“That’s three votes to one. Sorry Tim, seems you can’t avoid it any longer,” said Mikey, as he hurriedly punched it in.
We got ourselves seated, and the room automatically darkened before two ‘advertisements’ played. One for Puzzle’s Pretzels, and one for some type of home security system made by New Dawn Inc.
The movie itself was amazing. It depicted a “monster” with remarkably similar shapeshifting abilities as my own, slowly infiltrating and consuming the occupants of an isolated human outpost. According to Mikey, this movie was made over one-hundred years ago, before Odd Summer had ever started! Human imagination was truly incredible. As far as I knew, something like me had never been made before (the scientists had specifically called me a prototype after all) so to think they could have predicted a combat scenario involving an organism similar to myself was simply marvelous predictive thinking. There were differences true, like the creature’s ability to replicate, but our strengths and weaknesses were so similar that it was easy to create parallels and begin thinking up countermeasures.
I took a lot of notes.
“You were right Mikey, my shifting does look a lot like The Thing.”
“Heh, hope the movie wasn’t too on the nose,” Mikey replied.
“No, it seemed very evenly distributed.” There was a lot more than just the monster’s nose changing.
The movie was about two hours long, and Tim had to leave once it was done to attend a ‘family function’. Since it was just Mikey, Cindy, and I, we were using the opportunity to discuss topics more related to my abilities, and Hellion’s Henchmen. What Cindy called “business talk.”
“Anyways, I wanted to ask, did anyone from work mention the rats?” asked Mikey, “Whoever did it isn’t like, a client or something right?”
“Hell no!” said Cindy, “Hellion’s Henchmen wouldn’t work with some dick who attacks civilians indiscriminately. It’s probably just the Espada trying something assholish again.”
“Uh, right! That’s kinda what I figured,” said Mikey, apparently surprised at Cindy’s sudden vehemence. Cindy also seemed somewhat embarrassed by her response, although that was probably because her voice had started becoming raspy towards the end. She covered it up by coughing, and searched through her bag for her inhaler.
“I talked to Sandra about it yesterday,” I supplied. “She said that if the heroes didn’t take care of it she’d get some cowls to do it when they got back from their activities.”
“Ah, that’s a relief… wait, there are even more super villains in HH?” asked Mikey.
“Of course. You didn’t think it was just Hellion, Imp, and Socket right?” said Cindy.
“Nope. Most of them are off doing their own thing.”
As we wandered down Ashwood St, Cindy gave us a more in-depth description of the cowl situation at HH. Most of the details I knew about, but learning about the other “real villains” that worked with Hellion was interesting. HH operated predominantly on several legal loopholes that labeled minions as accessories to a crime when a super villain was involved, and not truly criminals themselves. Using this quirk of the laws, HH rented out teams of minions to villains who needed a little extra muscle, or support. However, this didn’t mean that HH didn’t have its own cowls. Before Hellion had started Hellion’s Henchmen, she had been part of a criminal organisation that had just begun setting up the Red Zone. That organization hadn’t been as… neighbourly, as HH was, and once Hellion triggered, she and other like-minded cowls had ousted the old leadership, and set up the Red Zone and Hellion’s Henchmen in the state they were in today. Many of those cowls, like Socket and Imp, stuck around permanently, while others went off to do their own thing, only coming back if they were needed. One ran several ‘casinos’ in the Red Zone and almost never left them. Another had been arrested and sent down to Panama, but when his sentence was up, had found he liked the constant warfare and had stayed. As Cindy described more absent cowls, I got the feeling that most of them were… eccentric.
“Wow, I didn’t know HH had such a history,” said Mikey, “How do you know all this stuff Cindy?”
“Huh? Oh, uh, my mom, um, works in the legal department with Sandra.”
“Ah, that’s cool.”
“But Cindy- cough cough,” Cindy stepped on my foot, signaling me to stop talking. I covered it up nicely I think.
We wandered around a bit longer, just 'window shopping', eventually passing by a store with several mannequins in the display window. They were wearing white ‘dresses’, used for something called a ‘wedding’, and looked positively impractical. The entire store was apparently to sell just these? Bleh. Why would anyone want non-convenient clothing? Something like these dresses would rip and be destroyed in even the smallest scuffle.
“That reminds me; would either of you know a good place to buy clothes? I need something that won’t rip if I fight in it.” I kept meaning to acquire clothes, but somehow never got around to it. Plus, The Thing movie had me leary about not having real clothes. The monster in the movie had been revealed by taking small pieces off of its disguise, and that could easily happen with the fake coverings I had formed. Real clothes would make my disguise more realistic, and as a bonus I wouldn’t need to constantly waste resources shifting to change what I was “wearing”.
“Been having wardrobe malfunctions?” asked Mikey, grinning.
“No, I just don’t have any clothes I can use with my power.”
He frowned in confusion, “Oh. Well what about the ones you’re wearing now? They look like they’ve held up well, where’d you get them?”
“These aren’t clothes, they’re made with my power, see?” and I briefly shifted the color along one sleeve of my 'hoodie'.
“But if your power can make clothes, why buy them?” asked Cindy.
“It still costs calories every time I change them, and if it tears it bleeds. It’s still part of me.”
Mikey and Cindy were both silent for a moment. Then they looked at each other. Then they looked back at me.
“Hey Tofu,” started Mikey, “Shot in the dark here. But if the clothes are part of your body… are you technically naked right now?”
I thought it over... “Technically yes.”
Both of them took several moments to give me odd looks, then Mikey threw up his hands in a shrug, “Nope, not as surprised as I thought I’d be. C’mon emperor, let’s find you some clothes.”
“Follow me,” said Cindy, “I know a good place.”
By 3:45pm, we made it to an out of the way shop, a few blocks off of Ashwood St. Inside it were a few small stands with clothes, but mostly there were mannequins and posters, displaying all manner of mutants in different clothing designs. Seems this store specialized in mutant clothing.
“I come here all the time,” said Cindy, “Babs is cool with HH, so you can tell her exactly what you need Tofu.”
Babs turned out to be the owner of the store. She was a tall woman wearing a pinstripe dress, and her straight black hair hung down one side of her head, while the other half was shaved clean. To my distress she also had a ‘nose ring’, with a chain that connected it to an ‘earring’ on the shaved side of her head. Why didn’t humans attach ‘jewelry’ to less strategically vital parts of their bodies? I’d rather lose an arm than my sensory organs in combat, but humans put all that sharp metal hanging right next to their eyes. I kept all my sharp metal bits internally, where they couldn’t be used against me, like any sane individual should.
“Cindy, what a pleasure,” greeted Babs as she approached us. “And who is it you’ve brought with you?”
“This is Mikey and Tofu. We’re here because Tofu needs clothes and he’s picky.”
I wasn’t picky. Like I told them on the way here, I just hadn’t found a store that sold what I was looking for. The clothes they sold were impractical, didn’t fit my disguise, were too expensive, or wouldn’t hold up under combat conditions. I still regretted that the jacket I took off Frankie hadn’t been usable. I hadn’t found one like it since.
“I see, I see,” said Babs. She looked me up and down. Then frowned. Then did it again, moving closer, and staring intensely. It gave me that uncomfortable feeling like when a crowd of people were all looking at me at once. I didn’t like having my disguise under scrutiny.
“I don’t recognize any of these,” she said, “Are they custom? It looks almost like generic brands, but there’s too much effort put into the seam work. I don’t know anyone with this style either. Curious.”
“I made them using my power,” I answered. Then I shifted the color of the sleeve like I had with Mikey.
Her eyes widened, and she grabbed my sleeve. “Your power can make… this isn’t cloth.”
“It’s technically flesh. I’m a shapeshifter.”
Her eyes grew even wider, if that was possible. Then she grinned. It reminded me exactly of Trebla’s smile...
The next few hours were… interesting. Babs began with closing the store, before barraging me with questions about my power, and having me display some of what I could do. It was basically like working with Socket, except for the lack of dangerous machinery. She seemed especially excited when I told her I could grow extra limbs and mimic mutants, but I balked at doing so since I didn’t want to waste the calories. Then she offered to give me several outfits for free if I ‘modeled’ for her. I did a quick food-to-money conversion calculation, and accepted since buying sugar was cheaper than clothes.
For the next three hours I shifted, and tested her outfits. She didn’t ask me to do any of the more heavily modified combat models today, but there was enough variation even among only slightly altered humans to keep me busy. Besides an extra pair of arms, changing other things like skin color, ethnicity, and sex were all easily done by moving fat deposits and slightly readjusting bone alignments. I didn’t keep my skull as one solid piece, which made changing my face easy.
“Thank you for modeling these pieces for me Tofu,” said Babs, after I had peeled off the final outfit for the day. An odd piece, meant for someone with two right arms and a stronger left arm. “Sometimes I get ideas for these outfits and can’t resist making them before I realize I have no one to try them.”
“Oh no, I’m no tinker,” she laughed, “Just an enthusiast who gets over-enthusiastic. I moved here to have more customers for my designs, but even E13 can’t keep up with my imagination it seems. I don’t suppose I could interest you in a job?”
“Sorry, I already have one.”
“Drat. Well, if you ever have some time, feel free to drop by.”
I left Babs’s store wearing a brand new set of clothing. My T-shirt was made of a durable material that could stretch to multiple sizes. The ‘jeans’ I was wearing had built-in holes by the knees, which would allow me to shift parts through them, and were guaranteed to last even if more holes got poked through them. And finally my favorite item: a large and bulky pseudo-leather jacket, with lots of hidden pockets on both the outside and inside.
I headed back home, with two large bags of clothes in tow. Mikey and Cindy had been almost as interested as Babs in my shifting, but Babs had just kept going and going, so they had both left ahead of me. I would have left a lot earlier myself, but Babs kept promising me more outfits, and admittedly her knowledge of different styles, and clothing in general, was immensely useful in explaining why humans wore the things they did. I especially enjoyed what she had to say about how certain color combinations and patterns could be used to signify danger.
But, as interesting as it was, I had somewhere to be. I hurried home, and by 6:55pm I headed to the base. The Trebla job had been a big job, therefore tonight there should be a company dinner. Hopefully I wasn’t running late. I was looking forward to it.
I was distraught.
“I’m sorry Tofu,” explained Sandra, “But I’m afraid the dinner got canceled because of this rat debacle. A lot of people went missing, and we’re waiting to see what the heroes do before we decide how we’re going to handle it.”
“Ah. I see.”
“There’s still snacks in the cafeteria, why don’t-” her phone rang, “Oop, excuse me I need to take this,” and she began rapidly talking to whoever had called her.
Indeed, it didn’t seem like a very celebratory mood amongst the minions at the base. While I was grabbing a donut from the cafeteria I heard multiple mutters amongst the minions such as “Espada again? Shit, do you think they got new recruits?” and “My niece was at that mall. She almost got nabbed!” I hadn’t realized they’d be so concerned, but apparently the nature of a ‘mass kidnapping’ had many of the normal employees spooked.
I nibbled on my donut, but it only replenished a fraction of the resources I had used shifting all afternoon. I had been expecting a big dinner.
I left the base.
I needed to make a phone call. Then I was going to go wander down some dark alleys.
I had an appetite for meat.