Monday, March 13, 2017

Ergo Fornicationis

     After putting the Tesla-C2 Dune Rider in park, Tech Sergeant Rydel climbed out of the vehicle and walked to the back where he dropped the tailgate. He removed his service revolver from its holster and pointed it at Major Derrick Peters, saying, “sir, please get out of the vehicle.”
     “Sergeant, you don’t have to do this,” Major Peters said.
     “Get out of the vehicle, sir.”
     The major scootched to the edge of the Tesla-C2, dropped his legs off the tailgate, and stumbled down. He said, “if you do this, there’s no going back.”
     “You got that wrong, sir. Soon as I get you set up, I’m going back,” Rydel replied.
     “Why do you think we’re out here?” Peters asked.
     “Orders, sir,” Rydel answered.
     “That might be why you’re out here. I’m here because I reported Dante. It’s why he got sent up the creek. You see? That’s how he handles his problems. He finds soldiers who follow orders and he gets them to do his dirty work. Don’t you get it? You’re his henchman.”
     Laughing in the major’s face, Rydel waved his revolver, “nobody says, ‘henchman.’ Where are you from? Whole mess of better words: muscle, minion, lackey, even thug. Keep going, sir. Up there,” he pointed to the top of the sandy slope, “on the left. Stop. Sit down.”
     “Think about it, sergeant,” Peters urged. “You do this, there’s no going back.”
     “Don’t know who you think I am, sir,” Rydel began, “but I ain’t gone back since I signed up. Guess you never read my file. ‘Member what Commander Dante said in the tower about no one getting sent to Camp Polkner for good behavior?”
     “Not quite his words, but yes, I remember.”
     “Good,” he howled as he gleefully pulled the trigger. “If you’d read my file, you’d know that I don’t play well with authority.” Rydel holstered his gun. When he was back inside the Tesla-C2, he turned the engine, and cranked the music. He rocked out to his favorite band, Death Daemons, all the way back to Camp Polkner.

     As the last sheet of paper landed in the Done pile, Captain Randle Dante, Jr. leaned back in his chair and popped his back. He wondered at the strange feeling of accomplishment that had overcome him upon completion of the most tedious task he’d ever been assigned since leaving Officer Training School. How do these paper pushers do this shit day in and day out? he wondered as he stood up, grabbed the stack, and then kicked his chair out of the way. He walked the stack down the hall, stopping at the third door on the left. He rapped on the door twice. When no one answered, he walked into the office. Like all nondescript military offices, the walls were covered with pictures of high level government officials. While placing the paperwork on the desk, the captain stared at President Scrub Thicket’s portrait. One day soon, he promised himself.
     “What are you doing in here?”
     Captain Dante turned toward the voice. Upon seeing the major, he answered, “I’m dropping off this.” He flicked the stack with his forefinger. “What about you, Major Dickinson?”
     “It’s my office, Captain,” Major Dickinson answered.
     Rolling his eyes, Dante agreed, “at least, that’s what the plaque on the door says.”
     “I don’t think I understand your meaning,” Dickinson said.
     “You wouldn’t. Not your fault. You were born that way.”
     “Watch your tone, Captain Dante.”
     “Oh, my tone hasn’t changed,” Dante said. “It’s time we have a conversation. Why don’t you close the door behind you.”
     “Tread carefully,” Dickinson warned.
     “I will. So should you,” Dante reciprocated. “Now, if you would,” he waved a hand toward the desk.
     The major’s right eye twitched as he closed the door and approached, passing within a foot of Dante. It took every ounce of self-control not to clock the cheeky bastard. When he stood in front of his desk, he looked at Dante with disgust. “What do you want?”
     Laughing, Dante said, “please sit,” he motioned to the chair. “Why thank you. I will,” he answered as he sat down. When he was completely comfortable, he raised his eyes to meet the irate Major Dickinson. “If this were a normal day in paradise, neither of us would ever cross paths. Obviously, this isn’t a normal day. We’re stuck working together. It doesn’t have to be a bad time. Let’s just admit it outright. We’ll never be friends. We’re not drinking buddies. And, I’m sure if we had a choice in the matter we’d choose to go our separate ways.” He paused for a moment to let his words sink in. “We don’t have choices. We’re military men.
     “Don’t think that this is about your favorite nap spot. It’s not. Major, when you’ve fully grasped the gravity of the situation, you’ll finally comprehend the extreme kindness I’ve shown.” He waved a hand at the major who’d thrown both of his hands onto the desk top and was slowly rising from his seat. “Please, don’t get up on account of me. We have much to talk about. Not the least of which is your role in the...” Dante leaned toward the major, “Slaver’s Consortium.”
     “I never!” Major Dickinson hissed.
     “As the head auctioneer, I believe you have contact with every slave that walks the stage.”
     “Lies!” Dickinson shouted.
     “Lower your voice, sir,” Dante instructed.
     “I’ll not stand for these accusations!” Dickinson declared.
     “You’ll do like you’re told. Like you always have. Only, now, you’ll do what I tell you.” He smiled, and then said, “I see you calculating. Stop. There’s no sense in this moment interfering with our long term plans. Though I’m not a cop, I have more than enough proof of your indiscretions to unveil the largest scandal in military history. Or, you can cooperate and nothing changes.” He nodded, saying, “good. Good. Think it over. You see, I need your answer before I leave the office. It’s important that we are in complete alignment.” Sitting back in the chair, he crossed his ankle over his left knee, laced his fingers on his thigh, and stared at the nervous major.
     “Alignment?” Dickinson snorted, “right. So. You come into my office. Make accusations at me. And then demand I capitulate. I have this right?”
     “Felix Horatius, the famed Auctor Nonus,” Captain Dante pulled an envelope out of the inside pocket of his uniform jacket, “of the Slaver’s Consortium gave me problems for years.” He flipped up the flap of the envelope, “he always managed to wear hats that interfered with cameras. So, I had a real problem getting a good shot of his face.” Picking slowly through the pictures, he continued, “perseverance rarely nets so perfect a picture,” he dropped the photo of a hatless Major Dickinson wearing the formal attire of a professional auctioneer. And, next to that, he dropped a photo of the major standing next to a petrified, naked girl. “You can keep those for your scrapbook,” Dante offered. “Now, Felix,” he began, “I’ve completed the mountain of paperwork you made such a show of assigning when I arrived,” he leaned forward and tapped the stack. “That’s the last thing you ask of me. I have more than enough work to do without you tacking on crap best handled by some staff flunky. My talents are far too important to waste on such triviality. It would behoove you to pretend that I don’t exist. The less we interact, the better we’ll both feel at the end of the day. Questions?”
     “Don’t you recognize the girl? This was the Sanctuary City sale. You were at the top of your game. I really admire your lung capacity. Did you have to practice that to become an auctioneer, or, does it just come naturally over time?” Dante grinned, “it’s fine. You’re under no obligation to chit chat. In fact, if we’re now in alignment, I’d like to get a cup of coffee. Are we aligned?”
     Major Dickinson held the pictures in his hands and quietly nodded.
     “I need you to vocalize.”
     “Yes. We’re in alignment.”
     Dante clapped, saying, “perfect. I’ll just leave you to it then.” He pushed himself out of the chair, crossed the room, and exited the office. He walked right to the break room. While standing in front of the coffee pot, he relaxed his shoulders, and broke out in a shit-eating grin. I really thought that smug bastard was going to come across his desk. Dante stirred the milk and sugar, then took a quick sip, before adding more milk and sugar.
     “I don’t know what you did,” a throaty female said from behind Dante.
     Facing the coffee pot, the bemused captain replied, “I’ve no idea to what you refer.”
     “I saw you leave his office. A minute later he slams the door as he leaves. He only slams it when he’s pissed and his hands are tied. What did you do?”
     “I’ll make a deal with you. Tomorrow, you bring enough of that delicious smelling coffee for both of us and I’ll tell you what I know.”
     “Why wait until tomorrow, sir?” she asked.
     “You’ve got enough for two?” he asked.
     “Of course, sir,” she answered. 
     “Ah, well,” he stepped away from the coffee pot, waving her over, “please. I’ll wait.” He sipped his generic coffee and watched her prepare gourmet grounds from her secret stash.

     A blond and a brunette straddled the two Hellions who were oblivious to everything happening inside the Stadium save the women in their laps. Unlike the last boys, these had one track minds which were screaming to escape their pants. Making eye contact, Caramel and Praline winked a code at each other, and then simultaneously began stripping the Hellions.
     Rolling his head over his shoulder, Jessup took one look at Domino, before righting his head and losing himself in the feel of Caramel’s touch. Not much earlier, the men had dragged the girls off to one of the private rooms over-looking the Stadium. Now, Jessup was putty on the couch with Caramel massaging his chest. And, Domino was sprawled upon a chaise lounge chair, topped by Praline who was expertly sucking his fingertips one-by-one. On the field below, a tree burned, an A-Track ran circles, and the Death Daemons played on: “They’ll nevah live it down. City burned to the ground! Rock it! Fire it up! Show me how you burn!” 

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