Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1! Revisited!

Ok, so this is only the first part of what I wanted to post, but this is long enough already. There will be two more parts after this (This Awesomesquad! Assemble going to be pretty damn epic). Also, just as some background information, this section takes place back in May of 2009. Enjoy.

“If you could fuck any celebrity, which one would you choose?” Jibbles asked, peering at me through squinted eyes as if my reputation depended on choosing the right one.

“Jibbles,” of course, is only my nickname for him. For his and his family’s safety, that’s what I can tell you. Sorry. What I can tell you is that Jibbles was one of my two best friends (the other being Lady Caggiano). Quite frankly, he didn’t look like he belonged in this century. With his light brown mutton chops, grey cabbie hat, and the build of a linebacker, Jibbles looked more like he belonged in an underground bareknuckle boxing  den in late 19th century London than in a college campus cafeteria. His black Jolly Roger t-shirt, jeans, and wallet chain balanced the old timey appearance of the mutton chops, but he still looked mismatched. But not nearly as mismatched as how he looks compared to his music tastes. For a man who looks like he could easily break your arm if given enough provocation, he certainly does love pop music. He refuses to tell me why.

“Well?” he said to me, jogging me from my thoughts. He took a massive bite from his sandwich and hurredly washed it down with two large gulps of Coke.

“I’m thinking I’m thinking,” I replied. I sat across from him at the table, picking at my cafeteria food and pondered. After some serious deliberation, I answered, “Hayden Panettiere.”

“The chick from Heroes?!” Jibbles replied, “Sure she’s hot, but the show’s terrible!”

“The first season was good!” I shouted maybe a little too loudly, as some of the other students in the cafeteria stopped their conversations to look at us.

“What?” I snapped at a nearby couple, “How about you cram your heads up your asses so that you can mind your business for once.”

Ignoring the couple who promptly cleaned up their trays and hurried off, Jibbles added, “I would have guessed you would have said Olivia Wilde.”

“That was my first choice,” I replied after I swallowed the last of my greasy and over-seasoned fries, “But she’s so attractive that I’m afraid I’d just ruin her. I’m mean, would you mouth fuck the Mona Lisa?”

“I guess that makes sense,” he noted as he stuffed the rest of his turkey club into his mouth. But once he swallowed, he asked, “But have you ever tried?”

“What? Mouth fucking the Mona Lisa?! I don’t think you can even get that close to it.”

“No!” he laughed, “Fantasizing about Olivia Wilde.”

“Of course I’ve tried!” I snapped at him, “But every time I only get part of the way in before I insist that I take her someplace nice and buy her something.”

“Oh, I understand now,” he replied, “That’s happened to me a few times when I fantasize about her too.”

“Who’s your number one pick?” I asked.

“Miley Cyrus. I would let her sit on my face for sure. Hell, my ultimate fantasy is have a three-way with her and Hannah Montana.”

“You do know that Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana are the same person, right?”

Jibbles grin melted into a look of disgust, and he spat, “Don’t ruin my sex fantasies with your logic, asshole.”

I let out a loud laugh, which the other students were smart enough now to pretend to ignore, when my phone started vibrating. Jibbles turned his attention to his pile of fries and I pulled my phone from my pocket. I had received a text message from Lady Caggiano. It read:

Awesomesquad! Assemble- Urgent.

There were five levels of Awesomesquad! Assemble alerts. The first one is Request, which is the only one where the members have the option of not showing up. It’s usually for a mundane task or activity where no one is required to show up, but it’s better for them if they do. This one usually has a meeting time attached.The last time we used this, it was so that each of us could pick out our rooms in the Awesomebase!. The second is Mandatory-Group, which means that everyone is required to be there, obviously. This one also comes with a time that we’re supposed to meet. As does the third one, Mandatory- Single. This one is just like the previous one, except that the text only goes out to the person/ people that need to come in. This one is more like a reminder, because the date and time is usually agreed upon in advance. The fourth is the one I received: Urgent. This one means that everyone is required to show up as soon as they finish whatever it is that they’re doing. Since Lady Caggiano, GMZ, and myself are all still in college, that means it could take several hours before some of us would arrive at the Awesomebase!. The fifth and highest alert is Immediate, or as it is sometimes texted, Fucking Now! With this one, we have to stop whatever it is we are doing, and head directly to the Awesomebase!. It doesn’t matter what it is that we are doing- whether it be sitting in class, working out, or even bathing, we stop what we’re doing and head directly to base. This one has only been used once, mostly because it’s usually signifies an emergency or a disaster that we need to deal with right away. The only time it was sent out, GMZ had sent it because there were no more of Lady Caggiano’s baked goods left in the dining lounge. It took a large amount of personal fortitude from all of us to keep ourselves from beating the baked goods out of him with rolling pins.

I looked from my phone back up to Jibbles and back down to my phone again. Urgent. I was supposed to hang out with Jibbles tonight. Since Awesomesquad! had been taking up most of my free time, and other than our occasional lunch, we barely got to see each other, but this was clearly serious. And it could take a while. Sure, by this point we had only roughed up Chris Brown for beating up Rihanna, but we still have had a lot of work to do with finishing the interior of the Awesomebase! but even if it was just a construction emergency, it would still take us well into the night before we finished whatever it is. But I still wanted to go see X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Jibbles tonight.

Hoping that whatever the urgent call was wouldn’t take too long, I sighed, scarfed down what was left of my mediocre hamburger, stood up, and said to Jibbles, “Sorry man, I need to go. Lady Caggiano needs my help with something.”

“Sure thing,” he replied, “You still on for the movie tonight?

“I’m not sure yet,” I replied apologetically, “This might take a while.”

Jibbles sighed and said, “Forget about it then. I’ll just go hang out with my sister. She’ll want to see it with me, at least.”

Jibbles’s sister, whom I like to call Phlegm, had recently graduated from college with a Master’s degree in Psychology, which I took note of because Lady Caggiano tried to claim that she could do what a therapist does when she coerced me into letting her be a part of Awesomesquad!. I had been meaning to get her number from Jibbles to try and recruit her. Now, however, was clearly not the time to do so.

“I’m really sorry, Jibbles, but this sounds like it is an emergency.”

“Go,” he commanded with a half smirk. I could still tell that he was annoyed.

I thanked him, grabbed my bookbag and rushed out of the cafeteria.

From behind me, I heard Jibbles call, “Tell Lady Caggiano that she better give you head for this!”

I exited the cafeteria and then the building laughing at the thought of saying that to Lady Caggiano and how she would absolutely punch me in the face for even suggesting it.

I spent most of the time driving to the secluded Awesomebase! thinking up ways that I was going to make it up to Jibbles for ditching him again. I eventually decided that I would get him a couple of butterfly knives for his birthday. He already had an extensive collection of weapons, but he always appreciates a good knife.

Feeling a little better about cancelling our plans, I turned onto the gravel path that lead through the woods to the Awesomebase!’s main gate. This wasn’t supposed to be the member’s entrance, but more of a utility or delivery entrance. However, since the secret corridors were sealed shut so that the construction crew didn’t know about them, they would be sealed from us until construction was finished, which was still going to be another month.

I pulled into an empty parking spot near the outer wall, and then quickly and stealthily wrapped myself in my white gown. Then, while looking in my rearview mirror, I drew an eye on the center of my forehead with green face paint. I put on a large and clearly forced smile, and stepped out of the car. I walked slowly towards the entrance, doing my best to look like I’m gliding across the gravel, and made my way into the main entrance of the Awesomebase!

Right inside, there were two Latino construction workers talking to each other. I believe their names were Pablo and José. I grinned my large and unnatural grin at them and proclaimed, “Praise the intergalactic Gate Keeper who allowed me safe passage to the den of His glory!” I tilted my head slightly to the left and then asked them, “Have either of you been told the ultimate truths of the universe?”

Both men threw up their hands and began speaking in a very fast paced Spanish as they backed away from me and hurried through the door to the Great Room. Damn, did Lady Caggiano’s idea work perfectly.

See, since Awesomesquad! is supposed to be a secret group of vigilantes, we both need a high-tech base of operations, something that would be impossible to build on our own, and for our secret to remain intact. Those two needs contradict each other-hard. With the architects, the engineers, the safety inspectors, the construction workers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, truck drivers, roofers, and other assorted personel, there have been hundreds of different people, strangers, on the Awesomebase!, getting used to know the floor plan, and potentially becoming suspicious as to why a group of people need such an impenetrable fortress, we needed a way to keep them from connecting the dots. And since the only other person to do anything remotely similar to this was Batman, and he never revealed how he did it (Alfred probably murdered every person who worked on the Batcave and buried them somewhere on the Wayne property), we had to figure out our own way to keep the workers in the dark about what this building was actually going to be used for.

That’s when Lady Caggiano cleverly came up with the idea that we pose as a cult. She theorized that, with us being a cult, none of the workers would ask any us any questions about why the Awesomebase! would need to be built this way, because they would assume that we would try to get them to join. And as long as we acted weird enough, they would want to avoid us as much as possible. To my amazement, the ruse worked perfectly. The first person to ask why a gymnasium had to be underground but also have a retractable roof (We had them build the AwesomeHangar! as a gymnasium to throw them off and we would replace the flooring once construction was finished), got an earful about the Great Intergalactic Gate Keeper, how our calisthenics were a metaphor for lowly mortal beings trying to achieve the physique of The Great One, and how this was where the spaceship was supposed to land to take us to paradise. No more questions were asked after that.

I made my way across the Great room, and then down the sloped hallway to the briefing room, or as we called it when the builders were around, the “Praise Chamber.” Inside the briefing room was my team, each dressed in white, except for Derren who was wearing a gold lined blue gown, which signified him as the leader. Everyone, wore the same grin that I had on. I quietly stepped inside, and we all chanted in unison, “All hail the Intergalactic Gate Keeper: the Avatar of Truth, The Great One, The Protector of the Chosen.”

As soon as the door was shut, I asked without relaxing my face, “Why was the meeting called, and why was it so urgent?”

“Nice to see you too, Minigan,” Lady Caggiano quipped smartly at me without letting her oversized grin falter, “Jessie, of all people-”

“Hey!” Jessie James shouted, offended, but still grinning.

“Jessie, of all people,” Lady Caggiano continued in a slightly annoyed tone, “has come up with a lead on a potential threat.”

“Really?” I grinned, “Who?”

“Someone Donald Trump is in league with. Possibly even Trump himself,” he answered, “I first realized that something was up when I was a contestant on his show, ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’ I was one of the final three, when I overheard a conversation between Trump, and two other men. One had a really raspy voice. Anyway, what they were talking about was buying up all the real estate for sale in poor neighborhoods of cities. Then they would build huge high-end apartment complexes to drive up property values and force all the remaining people to sell their homes.”

“This is Bullcrap!” Nut’n Fancy shouted, “Why is it that we’re going after a good, hardworking American, when Sean Penn is out there, actively trying to ruin America.”

“Shut up, Nut’n Fancy!” I shout-smiled, “Yes, Sean Penn is a horrible leather faced monster, but until he does something really awful, and not just act douchey, we’ll focus on this twat waffle.

Everyone murmured in agreement, and I distinctly heard Damien say, “His face does look like someone wrapped a skull in skin from an old man’s scrotum.”

Nut’n Fancy sat back down in a huff, impressively, still grinning, and glared at me with his eyes. I looked to Jessie and he continued.

“Once they found out that I heard this, Trump fired me.”

“So why are you telling us this now? The episode where you get fired was on last night,” Lady Caggiano asked.

“Plus,” I added, “rich people do that all the time. That’s what happened with the East Village in New York City.”

“That’s true,” Jessie replied, “But then I watched the episode last night. In the background of one of the shots, you can see a map of New York City with all of the poorer neighborhoods circled in red. I think he’s planning on driving the lower class out of the city.”

The rest of the group glanced at one another, but before I could respond, a knock came on the glass window. Everyone turned their heads towards the door slowly, still keeping up with our cult facade. It was one of the workers, a Mexican named Raul. Unlike the rest of the workers who usually tried their best to avoid us unless it was absolutely necessary, Raul seemed to be more amused our fake religious beliefs than creeped out by them. Of course, this meant that we tried extra hard at creeping him the hell out.

Derren stood up and ushered Raul with his hand. As soon as he opened the door, we said in unison, “Greetings, Brother Raul!”

Supressing a smirk, he replied, “Hello.  We are done-“

“Don’t stand there in the doorway, Raul!” Derren urged, “That’s a transitional space. It’s impossible to tell which way you want to go. Come into the room- with the rest of us.”

“Yes, the rest of us,” the other members of Awesomesquad! said perfectly in sync, just like we practiced. We were really going at it hard to try and make him uncomfortable. He smiled back at us and stepped inside. Damn, this man was difficult.

I shot up from my chair and proclaimed, “I give my chair up to our guest to the Praise Chamber!” Then, I awkwardly pushed my chair around the table up to Raul, making sure that I got it stuck on Criss’s on my way up. It took me about thirty long, silent seconds to get my chair the five feet from me to Raul. “Here you go!” I exclaimed to him, making sure I sounded slightly winded.

“Thank you,” he said, “but I just came down here to say that-“

“If Brother Raul refuses to sit, then so do I,” Lady Caggiano announced as she lifted herself from her chair. The remaining six members of Awesomesquad! followed suit, and with the clacking of  chair legs, everyone in the room was standing and grinning at Raul.

“We are done for the day,” Raul announced, totally relaxed, “See you all tomorrow morning.”

“You’re leaving?!” Derren cried (which was followed by a chorus of disappointed ‘oh’s’ from the rest of us), “Well, we should see you out!”

The rest of Awesomesquad chattered in excited agreement, and without pushing our chairs in, we awkwardly made our way to the door.

“No, that’s OK,” Raul insisted, but it was already too late- we were forcing him through the doorway.

Everyone in the fake cult formed a tight circle around Derren, as per custom, and we made our way to the main entrance, stopping at every doorway to ask “The Intergalactic Gate Keeper for safe passage through the transitional space.” Raul politely waited as each of us fell to our knees and pleaded to The Great One. I admit, by this point, our cult wasn’t giving off a creepy vibe as much as we were just being weird and annoying, but Raul continued to wait patiently for us to finish our bizarre rituals.

I kept close watch of Raul from my position to the right of Derren, doing my best to see the side of his face and catch a glimpse of any telling facial expression. Don’t take it the wrong way- I liked the guy. He was friendly, hardworking, and willing to listen to our peculiar building preferences, like a room made out of concrete walls that juts out from the ceiling of the Great Room that’s only accessible from a catwalk, or heavy, armor plated doors for each of the member’s private quarters. But his comfort with a group of cultists that regularly tried to coerce him and his coworkers to join made me particularly unsettled. Every time he suppressed a chuckle, it made me suspect that he actually knew what we were up to.

Eventually, the group of us plus Raul were on the opposite side of the Great Room, through the doors leading to the Entrance Hall, and were praying for safe passage through the transitional space that lead outside. At this doorway (being one that separates the indoors from the outdoors) we broke into a choreographed dance in which we would make our way through the door one at a time. No music was to be played while we did this. “It would ruin the beauty and sanctity of the dance,” we claimed.

With the last of us out of the door and back in formation, we waved to Raul as he walked across the parking lot to his blue Taurus. Inside were four of the other construction workers, two of which I recognized as the ones I accosted earlier. Once they spotted us, they immediately averted their gaze, as if staring at us too long would turn them into stone. Raul waved back to us, got into his car, and drove through the open concrete sliding gate. The gate shut behind them once they were through, and once the gate was closed completely, we let our faces relax.

“That was damn near unbearable this time!” Nut’n Fancy cried as he massaged his cheeks with his fingertips. The rest of us followed his lead, and began to rub our cheeks as well.

In between stretching and relaxing her jaw, Lady Caggiano asked, “Am I the only one who thinks that Raul might be on to us?”

“No,’ I replied, “I was wondering the same thing.”

“What should we do about it?” Everett asked.

“I’m not sure yet,” I answered as I turned around and headed back inside, “But we’ll figure that out once we finish dealing with the Trump situation.”

“What Trump’s doing doesn’t sound to be nearly as pressing as this, Minigan,” Damien noted.

I turned to Damien and replied, “If what Jessie said was true, then we will need to act now in order to stop him.”

“But what he’s doing isn’t uncommon! You said so yourself!” he reminded me.

“Yes, but then he mentioned how he was doing that with every poor neighborhood. Do you have any idea what kind of repurcussions that would have?”

Everyone stared at me. Apparently, they didn’t.

I rolled my eyes and explained, “OK, so if all the poor neighborhoods get replaced by high rise apartment buildings for the upper class, then were are the poor going to go? They won’t be able to move to other neighborhoods in the city because those neighborhoods will still be too expensive for them to live in. So disenfranchising the poor is the first part. Secondly, the poor will eventually move into the suburbs where they’ll find affordable housing.”

“But that doesn’t sound so bad,” Criss noted, “I mean it sucks for the lower class, but this doesn’t sound like that serious of a situation for the rest of us.”

“Well,” I replied, “that will cause the poorer suburb neighborhoods to both boom in population and in size, neither of which are good. And then there’s the fact that most of the displaced lower class people don’t have cars to drive to work, and now you’re forcing them to find their way into the city from the suburbs. And then you have to think about how that influx of people will affect the neighboring towns where the influxes will occur.  And then, of course there’s the issue of who’s going to buy the new apartments.”

“Rich people will,” Everett noted.

“Ok,” I then asked, “Then what happens to their old places? They will be left vacant. And they will still cost too much for anyone in the middle or lower classes to buy, so eventually, either half the city will be a ghost town, or all the rich people will start buying multiple apartments to make their places even bigger. And that’s still at the cost of the poor who were forced out of their homes in the first place.”

“Alright,” Damien admitted, “But that still doesn’t require us to go and fight him.”

‘No, we’re talking about Trump here. He’ll try to sue you if you tell him what he doesn’t want to hear.” Lady Caggiano noted.

“But that doesn’t mean we have to ruff him up!” Damien shouted, his voice echoing off the walls of the empty great room. “Plus, all we have is an overheard conversation from months ago and an image of a map with circles on it, most criminal investigators build up weeks’ worth of evidence before that haul someone in for questioning! And they usually get their information from more reliable sources.”

Damien (as well as the rest of us) glanced over to Jessie, who cried, “Hey, I’m very reliable!”

Ignoring him, I asked Damien, “Well, what do you suggest we do?”

“Seriously guys, I am reliable.”

“I say we do some reconnaissance before we make any kind of move. Bug his phone, his office, his loft. Just try to get more of an idea of what he’s up to and if there is a nonviolent way to stop it.”

“C’mon!” Jessie cried, “You trusted me to drive you to and back from LA when we beat up Chris Brown, but you don’t trust me when it comes to finding information on bad guys?”

“No!” the rest of us cried back in unison.

Then, I added, “Now be quiet; the adults are talking.” I looked to the rest of the group and announced, “Alright, it looks like we’re going to be going on couple day stake-out in New York City. Everyone except GMZ and Derren, pack your incognito city costumes.”

“Please no, Minigan, not the city costumes!” Lady Caggiano begged, “Mine’s terrible!”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“EVERYTHING! Can I please have, literally any other costume that we have?”

“Like what?” I replied  sarcastically, “The costumes we have are the only ones I could find at the time. We’re lucky that we’ll blend in in New York with them.”

She glared at me, and then left in a huff to her room to pack. I turned to everyone else and continued, “Derren, I need you to book three rooms at a hotel near the Trump Tower.”

“Five… For tonight… In New York City? Are you high?” he replied, “How the hell do you expect me to pull that miracle off? I’m not Criss.”

“I swear, I only preform magic tricks. Where did you get the idea that I can perform miracles?”

Ignoring Criss, I replied, “Well, standing here debating it with me isn’t going to get us them, so how about you try calling them. We need two for the eight of us, and one for Lady Caggiano.”

Derren rolled his eyes and began to walk away. From over his shoulder, he called, “I’ll be lucky if I get one!”

I called back, “Use your mentalist abilities to get us three! That’s why I hired you in the first place, remember!”

“Wait, so I’m going too?!” GMZ said as his eyes lighted up behind his thick framed classes.

“Is the Watch Tower completed and set up yet?” I asked. We all looked up to the looming concrete box in the center of the Great Room ceiling. A single doorway was cut into the box, like a jet black rectangle drawn onto a heather grey cube. There was nothing but open air on the outside of the doorway.

“No,” he affirmed.

“Then yes. If we’re going to be spying on a celebrity millionaire, then we’ll need a hacker to get into their security cameras.”

He wooted and punched the air, and then ran off to his own room to grab his gear. I turned to the rest of the group and commanded, “Get your stuff ready, both recon mission and battle gear, just in case. Trump’s going to have guards that we’ll need to subdue. Jessie, once you get your stuff, send the flight itinerary to LaGuardia Airport. We’ll need a place to keep the Awesomecopter! while we stay overnight. Then begin fueling it up.” He nodded, we walked down the one hallway and into our rooms.

Within five minutes, I was packed and pacing back and forth in my room, mentally drawing up our plans for the reconnaissance part of the mission. The Atrium at the base of the Trump Tower in New York was six stories high, with shops, dining areas, a Starbucks and several sets of escalators and walkways. That was the public area, and a place that would be hard to cover even with triple our man power. Doing the best I could with the information given, I wrote up the plan, stuffed the paper into my bag, and headed down to the armory.

Unfortunately, since the Awesomebase! was still partially under construction, we had to keep all of our weapons locked in fireproof crates in the Armory. We told the construction workers that they were filled with religious relics that were to be placed about the compound once the construction was finished, and were not to be touched by hands not first cleansed with a mixture of sea water, sassafras leaves, and the oil from a piranha. Of course, they tended to avoid the armory anyway, since we told them that that room was going to be our chapel. I casually mentioned that that would be where most of our sacrifices would occur when they didn’t look too put off by Derren calling it the Chapel. That did the trick.

I began unlocking the crates, looking for my cloak and pole arm, but I left them unlocked if I found any of the weapons or gear that would be useful on this trip. Mostly they were Everett’s tools or failed prototypes. Eventually, after searching through crates of knives, crates of guns, and for some reason, a crate of all our explosives (because in one accidentally goes off, the others will just cancel out that explosion, apperantly), and found my cloak and pole arm tucked into the bottom of  the crate with our protective vests, pants, and goggles.  Opening my duffle bag, I rolled my cloak into a ball and stuffed it into the least empty corner.

As I carried my bag and pole arm off to one side, echoes of footsteps bounced down the hallway, through the open door and across the empty armory to me. A sullen looking Lady Caggiano walked in, followed by the other seven members of Awesomesquad! Derren and GMZ each had excited grins plastered onto their faces, both of which reminded me of the smiles we were supposed to wear around the construction crews.

Once he saw me, GMZ raced up and began to talk at me so fast that I barely understood him. I managed to get, “Thanks for bringing me along!” and “I promise I’ll do everything I can to make this mission run smoothly.” The rest of what he said was a rambling gibberish to me. He could’ve been saying that my mother is such a whore that she shoots babies out of her vagina like a machine gun, and I would’ve just to continue to smile and nod like I was doing.

Once he finished saying whatever the hell he was saying, I said nothing to him, but instead paused for a second and asked everyone who was just then walking up to me, “Is everyone ready, clothing wise?”

“Yes,” they all answered in almost perfect unison- Lady Caggiano drew hers out to make it more of an annoyed groan.

“Good,” I replied, only glancing briefly in Lady Caggiano’s direction, “Then all we need to do is gather up the weapons we’ll need-“

“If, on the very rare chance we cannot reason with Trump and we need to fight him and his bodyguards,” Damien added over me.

“We’ll be able to reason with’em,” Nut’n Fancy assured us, “Trump is a standup guy who wouldn’t intentionally ruin the poor’s lives. He’ll understand.”

“Yeah?” Lady Caggiano added, “Well, he also seems like the kind of person who would sue you if you said he wasn’t as rich as he wanted to hear, so I say we be prepared for anything.”

“Ok,” I said before anyone else could add anything, “Let’s pick out our weapons and get ready to go.” As Lady Caggiano, Everett, Criss, Damien, and Nut’n Fancy went to rummage through the crates, I turned to Jessie and asked, “Is the Awesomecopter! ready?”

“Sure is!” he exclaimed, “All we need to do is get our stuff packed into it, and we’ll be ready to go!”

No shit.

“Good, I replied before turning to GMZ and asking, “We’ll need to keep in contact with you at all times, and you’ll need to hack into Trump Tower’s security cameras, and possibly his computer, so what will you need for that?”

He had calmed down by this point, so I was able to understand him when he replied, “If we just do reconnaissance, then we’ll each need ear pieces, some spy cameras, and I’ll need someone to get to security and download a driver onto their mainframe that will let me in- they’re security will be pretty tight, so I won’t be able to do that from the hotel room without them finding out. If we do have to fight him, then you’ll need the wrist communicators, and we’ll probably have to delete the files off of his computer.”

“So,” I asked, “A virus?”

“No, a virus is too destructive and would find its way onto other computers. You’ll have to get on his computer and wipe his hard drive, and maybe a backup flash drive, but that’s it.”

GMZ strode over to one of the small crates at the far end of the room, rummaged through it for a bit, and then returned with a thumb drive of his own.

“This,” he said with a smirk, “Is a password cracker. Just plug it into a locked computer and it will run through the combinations until it finds the correct one. You can also use the program on it to get into private accounts and encrypted files.” His smile became mischievous when he added, “It’s how I hacked into Obama’s and Britney Spears’s Twitter accounts earlier this year.”

“I really think a virus would be simpler, but if you insist doing it this way is best, we’ll try it. But this means that if he doesn’t change his mind, we’ll have to break into his loft. And Damien clearly doesn’t want us to do that.”

With a dismissive wave of his hand, GMZ replied as he walked away, “Fine, be a little pussy about it and let Trump control half of the properties in New York.”

Falling for his taunt, I called after him, “You’ll need to get me the floor plan to his place if you want us to break into it. You know that, right?” He raised his index finger into the air, which I took as that he understood, and he went back to the small crate, closed it, and carried it out of the armory.

I sighed to myself as I thought about what GMZ said. I was completely behind the idea of breaking into Trump’s apartment and forcing him to stop his plans, but there was no way Damien would ever be up for it. I grimaced at the thought of having to try to convince Damien, the man whom I hired partially to train us all in hand to hand combat, that we may need to use force, especially since he should be the one most willing to fight. And somehow, I was going to have to not only convince him that we would probably need to break into Trump’s apartment, but that he was going to be the one to break into security, probably fight some of the guards without drawing too much attention to himself, then download the driver GMZ was talking about, and get back out. And judging by the floor plan of the Trump Tower, he was going to have to sneak in through the service entrance in the Atrium and make his way through a maze of hallways and service elevators just to reach the room where the guards watch the cameras.  I gritted my teeth, knowing that he was going to fight me on this, and walked up to the crate he was half-heartedly poking through.

“Damien, When we get into the Trump Tower, I have a special assignment for you.”

“Oh, really? What is it?” he replied without looking up at me. Despite how long he had been looking through that crate, he had only pulled out one handgun and two magazines.

I replied to him, “You’re going to be breaking into The Trump Tower’s security area so that GMZ can tap the cameras. The route to the room where the security cameras relay to is pretty long. You’re gonna have to pose as a maintenance man, but if they find you out, you’re going to need to fight your way out.”

“Why can’t GMZ just hack into the security system remotely?”

“He said that they’ll find out if he does,” I answered. “All you’ll have to do is download a program onto one of their computers and open it. GMZ will do the rest of the work.”

“Except that that won’t be, ‘all I have to do.’” He snapped as he stood up to face me. Damien glared at me and continued, “I’ll probably have to fight a load of security guards both on my way in and out of the bloody place, yet still try to be inconspicuous. How in the bloody hell is that even going to be possible? Are there cameras lining those halls to security?”

I gritted my teeth. “Yes,” I said.

“So you want me to beat the piss out of a bunch of people while on camera and then walk into the room where they watch the cameras?! What drugs are you on, Minigan, because they must be powerful if you think this is going to work.”

Even though he was slightly shorter than me, Damien still had about fifteen pounds on me, and it showed. And somehow, despite his size, he still managed to tower over me.  This intimidated me a little, but I masked my intimidation by shouting at him, “Well, this is what you wanted Damien! I was perfectly fine with just forcing him to stop, but you wanted us to do reconnaissance first!”

“No!” He shouted back, “I didn’t want any part of this! And I especially didn’t want us to jump into this right away like we are doing! Sure, taking the reactionary approach was fine when we bloodied up Chris Brown, but Donald Trump is a powerful man! And we’re going after him with just an overheard conversation and a bloody screenshot from his show! What we should be doing is at least a month’s worth of digging into this lead before we storm the Trump Tower like we’re an invading army! Why do you think this will play out any other way than us blowing our covers and ruining this entire mission? Hell, we’ll probably screw up so much that if Trump is actually plotting what Jessie says he is, then he’ll bump up security and the secrecy of his plan, making it virtually impossible to stop him!”

I clenched my fists and pressed my nails into the palm of my hand. It was the only thing keeping me from punching Damien in the face. If I did, not only would he kick my ass, but he would also quit Awesomesquad!, and despite how much of a pain in the ass he was sometimes, I knew that he was the best at what he does- or at least, the best that I could get.

I took a deep breath, took a moment to make sure my voice was going to be steady and not come out as a scream, and said, “Fine. You can choose. If you don’t want to join us, then stay here and watch the base. Lady Caggiano claims to have ninja skills anyway, so I bet she’d be happy to do your job and not wear her costume. If you do want to come, take some normal weapons IN CASE we have to fight Trump’s security, but also bring nonlethal weapons. A tranquilizer gun with extra rounds and a hand-held stun gun in case someone grabs you should be fine. Also, bring any kind of equipment you would need for sneaking down to the security room.”

With that, I grabbed my bags- one with my clothes, and one with my weapons and gear, and exited the Armory. As I left, I noticed everyone staring at either me or Damien. I ignored them. I stormed out of the Armory and into the hallway where our private rooms were located. I was about to kick my door open when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Lady Caggiano. I could see that mine and Damien’s argument had gotten her hopes up, but she was kind enough to hide it as much as she could.

“Yes,” I said to her, annoyed, “I meant that if Damien backs out, you can take his place breaking into security. You’ll need a Taser, a tranquilizer gun, and extra rounds. Plus whatever other nonlethal and stealth equipment you think you’ll need.” “Excuse me,” I added, “But I need to print out the floor plans for the security area.”

I stepped into my room and shut the door behind me before she could say anything. Immediately, I was at my computer, pulling up the files that GMZ and Jessie had sent me. I opened up the folders with the schematics and floor plans, printed them, and then drew a red circle where each of the security guards and cameras should be. Then, with a blue pen, I drew a path through the corridors to the elevator, and then to the security room. Folding the stack of papers I had just printed in half, I stormed back over to my door and swung it open. It was my plan to find Lady Caggiano and give her the papers, but instead she was waiting for me. The look of triumph that she discretely wore before was wiped clean from her face and was replaced a look of slight disappointment.

I thrusted the folded stack of papers at her, but she refused and said, “Damien plans to go. Give those to him.”

The anger from before had still left my blood hot, so  without another word, I headed back to the armory.

From behind me, she called, “I hope this means that I still don’t have to wear that horrible costume?!”

“That’s exactly what that means, Lady Caggiano,” I called back.

Right as I crossed the threshold into the armory, Lady Caggiano yelled back at me, “Go suck a million and a half dicks, Minigan!”

I didn’t react to her outburst, but instead headed right for Damien who was packing a black dufflebag with rope and extra grappling hooks. He saw me enter, and stood to face me. I could tell his clenched jaw muscles and the redness of his face that he was just as angry at me as I was with him.

Once I got close enough, I shoved the papers into his free hand and stated, “Here’s the floor plan and the path you should take. I’ve also marked where the security guards are stationed along the route and anywhere one could spot you.”

“Thanks.”

I was about to walk away and grab my bags, but I stopped myself and turned to say, “You know, it’s not like I didn’t just hear about this too.”

“That’s exactly what makes it so bad!” he cried, “You’re just rushing into a job that you don’t even know if it’s real or not. Bloody Hell, you don’t even know what Trump’s motivation is behind all of this! You just want a fight for the hell of it!”

I had nothing to say to this. Which I hated. I knew that he was right about everything up until the fighting part. Which I hated more. And I especially hated him for pointing all of this out to me. Instead of continuing to argue, I grabbed my bags from the corner where I had left them, locked up any remaining crates and headed back out of the armory. Unfortunately for me (as well as Damien, I guess) he had finished packing and was heading to the Awesomecopter! as well. Both of us, being the stubborn bastards that we are,  refused to either slow down or speed up in order to break away from the other, so we ended up walking through the hallway, into and then out of Great Room, into lobby, out the front doors, and around to the back of the building.

At the far end of the back yard, a section of the compound wall was swung open, revealing  a woodchip laden pathway into the woods. Together, we walked through the gap in the wall and pulled the gate shut, leaving the wall that surrounds the Awesomebase! yard unbroken once again. Still side by side, we walked along the path through the woods, refusing to say a word to each other.

After about a minute, we passed a large wooden sign that read: “Have you donated all of your belongings/ extra bodily fluids to benefit The Great One?”

I should probably explain. Since we’ve had the Awesomecopter! before the Awesomebase!, and particularly, the Awesomehangar! hasn’t been finished yet, we’ve had to hide the Awesomecopter! in a nearby clearing. To keep the construction workers off of the trail and away from the clearing, we told them that that path was for spiritual and sexual walk-abouts. We figured that that would scare off most of the workers, but on the chance that it didn’t, we put up signs along the path in order to discourage anyone from walking any farther.  We tried to make the signs as sexually disturbing as possible in order really make the intruder uncomfortable. Along the way, we also have an altar area covered in fake blood. This all must work, because after we watched the first curious come sprinting out of the woods shouting a lot of Spanish obscenities and looking like he was about to throw up. None of the construction workers even looked in the direction of the pathway after that.

After a few minutes of silence between Damien and myself, we passed a second sign. This one had the sentence, “Open your eyes, your hearts, and your rectums to receive The Intergalactic Gatekeeper’s majesty.”

After about another minute or so, we came upon a set of three signs. The first one said, “Have you fucked a goat lately? Why not?”

The second sign had the phrase, “I mean, it’s not like it’ll kill you.”

And finally, the last sign read, “You know what? Turn around right now, and bring back a goat to fuck.”

If you turned around at this point, you would then see on the back of the “It’s not like it’ll kill you” sign another sign that read, “Make sure it’s a virgin goat, and bring the sacrificial blade with you.”

Once we passed the final sign which read, “The Intergalactic Gatekeeper watches you masturbate- And he likes what he sees” (A work of Lady Caggiano’s genius), I knew that were coming up on the fake altar area.

Damien and I rounded a corner in the darkened woods, and came upon the altar area.  The tree canopy provided cover for the trampled earth below, with the exception of a small area in the center, which directly below it sat the fire pit. Behind the fire pit stood the altar, which was more like two tall piles of rocks holding up a slab of concrete. Obviously, it wasn’t stable enough for me to confident to place an empty beer bottle on, so we never did anything more than pour a bucket of red paint on it to look like it was covered with fresh blood. We also painted bloody hand prints on the trunks of the surrounding trees and on the smaller rocks that line the fire circle. Everett and Nut’n Fancy then nailed various goat bones to the trees and stuck two goat skulls on sticks at the entrance of the circle. Which we then slapped some paint colored blood onto as well. Basically, it looked like a massacre occurred there. I could understand why the man was so freaked out- with all the red, the area was noticeable immediately, and if you believed that that was all blood, it looked as though we had slaughtered twenty goats, coated ourselves with the blood, and began rubbing our bodies on everything. Honestly, I don’t know how we never managed to scare the construction workers into calling the cops or at least refusing to come back.  Clearly, Latin Americans (or possibly construction workers in general) are a n incredibly resilient people.

When we reached the fire circle in the center of the altar area, Damien and I split up, and walked aound the opposite side of the fire ring from each other. We reached the other side at the same time (damn) and headed for a large bush directly behind the altar. Damien lifted the side of the bush to reveal another path, and ushered me through with his hand. I wasn’t sure if he was doing it sarcastically or not, but I stepped passed anyway and then held the bush for him. I’m not sure why, that seemed to remove a lot of the tension between us, and I at least eased up on hoping he would just stop and look at a fucking rock for five seconds so that I could walk a head of him.

Within thirty or so seconds, we had reached the edge of the clearing and were approaching the Awesomecopter, which was being packed by the rest of the group. They saw us coming, and quickly averted their gaze back to trying to fit all the equipment and clothes into the Awesomecopter!, while still leaving room for the nine of us. Miraculously, we managed to stuff all the baggage into the helicopter with just enough room for us to sit down.

The Awesomecopter! was heavy, but Jessie managed to get it off the ground, and within seconds we were darting over the Awesomebase! and flying towards the setting spring sun. Most of the trip was uneventful. We changed out of our cult clothes and wiped the painted eyes off of our foreheads. Then, I explained to everyone the course of action for the recon mission, and GMZ interjected with any of the technical information that he had. I also explained to the group what Damien was going to be doing at the time. He barely said a word, still clearly irritated by the whole situation, but at least he didn’t try to argue with me about it. Well, since we were on our way to New York City, I guess there wasn’t much for him to say at that point.

After I finished briefing them, we decided to do what we did on our last mission: Play a single song on repeat for the entire length of the trip. I was about to play the Offspring’s Shit Is Fucked Up, when Lady Caggiano stopped me.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she asked me as I thumbed through the communal iPod.

“Looking for the song Shit Is Fucked Up. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“No,” She stated, “We’re listening to The Fame by Lady Gaga.”

“That crazy chick that wears bubble dresses and Kermit the Frog corpse outfits?” I asked, “Why the hell would we listen to her?”

“Yeah, she seems like a sexual deviant to me,” Everett added.

Many of the other members nodded in agreement, and GMZ added, “I heard she’s a dude!”

“Well, I don’t care if you think she’s weird, I like her and her music, so that’s who we’re listening to, not some band that was big thirteen years ago.”

“I swear,” GMZ interjected again, “She supposed to have a full dong!”

“Why do you think you get to choose?” I said to Lady Caggiano.

“Because you’re making me wear that stupid costume!” she cried, “Clearly I have it worst today, and I deserve to choose the song we listen to on repeat.”

Damien snorted. Lady Caggiano casted him a dark stare, before turning back around to me and daring me to challenge her claim.

“Since Damien is the one who’s being forced along on this mission,” Everett said, “Maybe he should be the one to choose.”

“I think that sounds fair,” Criss added.

“Me too,” came from Jessie, Derren, Nut’n Fancy, and Criss.

GMZ added once again,“I’m tellin’ you. Lady Gaga’s a dude.”

“Fine,” I said, “Let’s have Damien decide.”

Lady Caggiano growled at me, and if she weren’t strapped into her seat, I’m pretty sure she would have lunged at me with a knife.

“Well, if it were up to me,” Damien said slowly as he scratched his chin, “I’m gonna have to say that I feel like I’m in a Lady Gaga kind of mood right now.”

That bastard. He looked directly at me when he said it, and I could tell by the look in his eyes and the smirk on his stupid British face that he was only doing it to piss me off. Lady Caggiano, on the other hand, was delighted, and she and Damien shared in a high five.

“Did you see that, Minigan?” she asked as she lowered her hand back down to her side, “Damien actually knows how to give a proper high five’s.”

“So do I!” I yelled at her.

“No you don’t,” she retorted with venom in her voice, “Yours are always weird and static. Now play The Fame.”

I obliged, and for the remainder of the trip everyone was subject to Lady Caggiano singing over Lady Gaga.

“I love her so much!” she cried at one point, “Gaga is such a strong, independent woman!” She then continued to sing, “Isn’t it a shame, shame, baby? A shame, shame/ In it for the fame, fame, baby, the fame, fame…”

What felt like weeks later, we arrived in La Guardia airport, and poured out of the cramped Awesomecopter! and into the cool evening air. Derren, brilliantly, had called ahead and had two taxi vans waiting for us right outside the tarmac. The nine of us packed the vans full with our bags and then everyone but Jessie, who had to stay behind and do pilot things with the Awesomecopter!, piled into the now cramped vehicles for what was likely to be an awful journey to our hotel.

In about a half hour, we had reached the Peninsula Hotel of Fifth Avenue, the closest hotel to the Trump Tower. With the help of a bell hop, who, judging by the subtle holes in his face left from piercings, probably dressed up in emo clothes when he wasn’t at work, we were able to cart every one of our twenty or so bags into the main Lobby. As soon as I stepped inside the lobby, I was bludgeoned over the head with extravagance. The floor, the walls, and the ceiling were all covered in white stone tile, a giant  chandelier with tens of thousands of clear crystals hung down right above where the leaf print carpeted stairs split. On either side of the first  set of steps before the split, sat two brown marble columns with large vases filled with fragrant pink and purple flowers.

Confidently, Derren lead us directly to the right and up to the front desk. Behind it was a short and thin middle aged man, wearing an all-white uniform and a pencil mustache.

The man seemed somewhat bothered by the amount of us and our luggage, but he smiled anyway and greeted us in a stiff formal tone, “Welcome to The Peninsula Hotel. Under what name is your room registered?”

“Derren Brown,” Derren answered.

The man typed the name into his computer and then said, “Ah, yes. Mr. Brown, your request was last minute, but we did manage to find a suitable room for you and your, well,” he glanced at the rest of us, “party. Fortunately, we did have a room with the amenities your requested become available at the last second, so you will have a room facing Central Park with two queen sized beds. That is what you requested, correct?”

“Yes” Derren answered with a smile, “That’s perfect. But can we please have an extra cot brought up to the room if it isn’t too much trouble?”

The man looked taken aback by this request, which is understandable given how nice this hotel is, but the man smiled once again and replied, ‘Certainly. One will be up shortly. But Nathan here,” he waved his hand at the bell hop, “will show you to your room.”

The man handed Derren the envelope with the key cards, and Derren accepted them and thanked him. And that was it. Derren and the rest of the group followed the bell hop Nathan back across the lobby and into a lounge area where the elevators were.  When the first elevator door opened, The bell hop, Lady Caggiano, GMZ, Everett, Criss, Nut’n Fancy stepped in. There was room for about one more person, so I let Damien go in and I said that Derren and I would meet them on our floor.

As soon as Derren and I were in our own elevator and traveling up, I yelled at him, “Only one room?!?! Where’s everyone going to sleep?!”

“Excuse me,” Derren snapped back, “but I told you that was going to be impossible. Especially in New York, and especially in this Area of New York. Shit we were lucky enough to get a room facing the Trump Tower. What the hell more do you want from me?”

“But where is everyone going to sleep?” I cried.

“I have them bringing up the cot, so Lady Caggiano can use that. Then we’ll just have three people squeeze onto the beds, one person can take the chair, and one can take the floor. May I suggest that  Jessie, Nut’n Fancy, and I take the beds since we’re the oldest, as well as Everett and GMZ since they are the smaller of the young men. You, Damien, and Criss can fight it out for the last spot on the bed.”

I sighed, and said, “I guess that works. But you can choose who’s getting the last spot on the bed, and I’ll just take the floor. I don’t need to give me any more reason to want to fight me today.”

“I know,” Derren added, “Do you really disagree with him on how quickly we’re moving on this, or do you just not see a problem?”

I was about to answer with a strong and admittedly telling, “fuck you,” but the elevator pinged and the doors opened to reveal the rest of our group. Nathan lead us down the hall to our room,  and then helped us unstack our luggage once we were inside. Derren tipped the young man and closed the door behind him before he left.

The next hour or so was a mess of trying to get everything organized while also leaving enough space on the floor for us to move around and for me to sleep. After a while, Jessie knocked on the door, and he was followed shortly thereafter by the cot. By then, the stress of the trip and everything else from the day had worn us down, and we were all ready for bed. Derren gave the extra spot on the bed to Criss, who ended up sharing the bed with Everett and Nut’n Fancy. I stole a blanket and a pillow from one of the beds, found the biggest empty spot on the floor, and collapsed into a pile there. Despite the discomfort of the floor, my eyes immediately became heavy, and I was asleep within what felt like seconds.

Sorry for how little (zero) action there was in this post. I promise that the next two are going to be chalk full of it. Also, due to how long it took me to write, I did very little editing to this. Sorry about that too.

Until then,

Peace

P.S. To continue reading this story here is part 2

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2 Comments

  1. […] Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1! Revisited! […]

  2. […] Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1! Revisited! […]


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