Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1 Revisited! (Part 4)

Since this is part 4 of this section of my novel, you need to be filled in on what happened in the first three. If you’re new to Awesomesquad! Assemble!, then you should go back and read them when you’re done. I promise you won’t regret it (a lot).

Back in May of 2009, Jessie James (our mechanic/ vehicle builder) came to us with the theory that Donald Trump was up to deeds more dastardly than his usual dastardly deeds. Against Damien Walters’s (our fighting/ parkour trainer) wishes, we flew to New York City to run some surveillance on the orange skinned millionaire. We stayed at a hotel the night before we were to carry out the stake out.

The next morning, Damien left to break into the lower levels of the Trump Tower and download a program onto the Security system so that we would have access to the cameras, while the rest of us minus Lady Caggiano (my second in command/ stubborn crazy person) went to stake out the atrium of The Trump Tower and to try and bug Trump. Our first attempt was a failure; Jessie was unable to get Trump to talk to him at all. Then, I recieved word that Damien was in trouble with security, so I had Criss Angel (Mind Freak/ the team’s wizard) distract some of the guards. Finally, when our second chance to bug Trump arrived, Jessie was about to do just that when Trump’s body guards found the bug Jessie was trying to plant. Thinking quickly, I had Criss, plant the bug instead. He successfully managed to do it, but we were all caught and thrown out of the Trump Tower. When we made it back to the hotel room, we waited for any information from Damien, who still hadn’t come back. While we waited, we watched the security camera in Trump’s private elevator, and discovered that Jessie’s theory was actually correct.

Meanwhile, Damien was found out by security, and had to fight his way to the security station deep within the lower levels of The Trump Tower. Once inside, he was able install the software and the router that GMZ needed to take over the security cameras. However, the building’s security team gathered enough forces to attempt to break down the door. Damien, in a brilliant display of enginuity, managed to knock out most of the guards and escape through the ceiling. However, the ceiling panels couldn’t hold his weight, and he fell back through. On the run again, he made it back to the elevator and into the ventilation ducts, where he overheard a conversation about Trump buying an apartment complex and forcing everyone out- thus proving Jessie’s theory. Damien made it out  and back to the hotel, where we planned our breach of Trump’s loft.

And that’s where we are now. So,now I give you Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1 Revisited! (Part 4).

*Disclaimer*

This is a work of fiction. All the characters- even the ones based on real people- are simply parodies and noting written here should be taken as the truth. Trump, Please don’t sue. I don’t have any money, and I won’t learn my lesson.

***

As we ate our dinner and waited for Everett to return, we talked about whether or not Dan Brown’s latest novel was going to be any good, and how hard of a left turn down Crazy Street the ending would take. We all agreed that it wouldn’t be “’Deception Point’s’ swirling shark vortex,” hard left, but had to be at least above “The Da Vinci Code’s’ British geriatric with crutches holding a gun” left.

“I’d want the ridiculous, over the top ending, over the clever one” Nut’n Fancy noted. When I looked at him with mild surprise, he defended himself by saying, “What? It’s an action novel. You’re not supposed to learn some great truth about the universe from the action, you’re supposed to sit back and enjoy all the ‘splosions.”

“I’m just impressed that you read books,” Lady Caggiano quipped jokingly.

Nut’n Fancy shrugged and replied with a grin, “Well, I gotta keep y’all book lov’n Liberals on ya’lls toes, don’t I?”

“I guess,” Lady Caggiano answered pleasantly enough, “But in any case, out-of-left-field action sequences that only exist to be as over the top as possible only entertain, and action has the opportunity to be deep as well as entertaining. And action is even worse when it’s so over the top that it makes no goddamn sense. It’s like the writers don’t give a shit about the reader.”

Once we had finished our sandwiches, we stuffed the wrappers in the already overflowing trash bin, and began to prepare for our mission. Lady Caggiano emptied out her suitcase and loaded her belongings into mine. Then, she began loading up her guns, vest, pants, mask, gas mask, knockout gas, and knives into the emptied suitcase.

As for the rest of the group, we each loaded up our book bags full of weapons, extra ammo, and other assorted equipment. GMZ loaded two bags: the first simply had his laptop, his Bluetooth headset, a pair of binoculars, and a couple of stink bombs, the other had a lap top, plus everything the rest of us put in ours. I realized that second one was for Everett, as he made sure to add the flame throwers and extra bottles of butane. I eyed the metallic hand torches longingly; Everett at this point hadn’t made any more flame throwers than the ones he already had, so he was the only one to use them. Damn it I wanted to use those things.

By the time we had finished loading our stuff into our book bags, and loading the rest of our belongings back into our duffle bags, it was almost 9:30, and Everett and Derren had arrived.

As he marched through the door, Derren announced, “OK, everyone. I need to sign us out of the room and take our luggage to the Awesomecopter!, so everyone but GMZ needs to help bring the bags down to the Lobby.”

We all nodded in understanding, and then I turned to GMZ and said, “Go up to the rooftop bar and get set up. I’ll text you when we’re headed up.”

“Right on,” he replied, and without another word, grabbed his book bag and headed out the door.

The rest of us headed down to the lobby, and as Derren checked out, Damien and I hailed a taxi and we loaded it with the remaining five duffel bags. Once we were finished, and Derren had boarded the taxi and left for the airport, everyone but Lady Caggiano and I returned to the lobby. I looked at her, and for a brief second, I couldn’t help but think of how she actually did look kind of cute in the schoolgirl outfit.

I shook that awkward thought from my mind and said to her, “Walk around the Trump Tower until I radio you and tell you that we’re in position.”

“Got it.”

“Do you have a gun on you right now?” I asked in a hushed voice.

“Of course,” she replied.

I answered, “Good. If anyone tries to bother you when you’re walking around, don’t be afraid to threaten them with it.”

Lady Caggiano smirked, “Like I would ever let someone bother me.”

I chuckled, knowing that that poor soul would never be able to walk again, and then said, “Good luck.”

I opened my arms for a hug, but she just stared at me.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked, “We only fist pound, bro.”

Taken aback, I dropped my arms and instead held out my fist for her to pound it.

She laughed, “I’m only fuckin’ with you. Of course I’ll hug you.” She stepped into me and wrapped her arms around my chest. With her voice slightly muffled, she said to me, “You guys be careful.”

“Same to you,” I replied into the top of her head.

We pulled apart, and confidently, she walked off in the direction of the Trump Tower, dragging her suitcase with her. I watched her go for a second or two, and then headed back into the Lobby.

Once inside, I was greeted with a chorus of “awe’s” from the remaining four team members.

As firmly as I could, I spat, “Each one of you can blow it out your ass. Let’s get to the roof.”

We entered the first empty elevator and rode it to the roof. Once it began its ascent, I texted GMZ and let him know that we were headed up. I didn’t get a response back. I didn’t need one, however, because the in pouring of panicked bar patrons and bar tenders, each of them covering their mouths and noses from the putrid, sour stench that washed in behind them, was enough indication that he had thrown the stink bombs. Criss, Damien, Nut’n Fancy, Everett, and I pushed our way through the packed elevator, covered our noses and mouths with our shirt sleeves, and set off to find GMZ through the acrid smoke. I walked through the haze, the smell from the stink bombs making my eyes sting and tear up in defense. After a few seconds of fumbling over overturned chairs, we found him right where we planned: in the seating area closest to the intersection we would be zip lining over. He was already wearing his gas mask and was typing feverishly at his computer.

Although the mask muffled his voice, I heard him say, “You guys are gonna want to hurry up, because security will probably be up here soon.”

We all nodded, GMZ lit and threw the last of the stink bombs in the direction of the elevators, and Everett began unpacking a bag full of our zip line gear. GMZ pulled the mask off of his face and handed it to Everett, who stuffed it in the now empty zip line bag. Once he got a whiff of the foul air, he gasped, “Jesus Crist in a neck brace, this is awful.”

“Stop take’n The Lord’s name in vain!” Nut’n Fancy shouted.

“Minigan does it all the time!”  GMZ cried back as he covered his mouth with the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

“I’ve told him to stop saying that a hundred times!”

“Enough already!” I shouted, the stench becoming too much for me to handle, “Let’s just get going already.

Nut’n Fancy obliged, assembled the heavy duty grappling hook gun in a flash, and fired the hook diagonally across the 5th Avenue intersection. The Hook lodged itself into the center of the roof of the building on the opposite block. Everett fastened the wire to the roof, seeing to it that it would be safe enough for us zip line across without it coming loose. Then the five of us put on our harnesses, our gloves, and our protective goggles as fast as we could, and then one at a time attached our zip line trolleys to the wire.

Damien went first. Fearlessly, the man jumped off the building flew through the air high over the busy street. Within seconds, he pressed his hand down the on the wire, and once his feet touched the roof, he ran to a stop. I looked over the railing to see if anyone on the street had noticed. Everyone down there was bustling on, completely unaware that someone had just zip lined from one building to another.

Nut’n Fancy was up next. He slung the grappling hook gun across his shoulder,  grabbed a hold of his trolley and jumped. He awkwardly spun to one side as he whipped across the rooftops, but managed to correct himself before he landed. I checked again to see if anyone on the ground had noticed (they hadn’t), and then Everett  and Criss followed.

It was my turn. I fastened my trolley to the wire, and before I jumped, I reminded GMZ, “Once I make it across, start unfastening the wire. Everett will reel it in, so let go once you feel it tug.”

“Got it. And I’ve already got my WoW game set up for when security gets up here,” he replied.

Figuring that Security would immediately suspect him of setting off the smoke bombs, GMZ decided his best alibi would be to act like he was in the middle of an intense quest in the MMORPG World of Warcraft, and that he was too preoccupied with the game that he wouldn’t move, even if someone set off smoke bombs or if security was bothering him. This also meant that he could talk to us freely and not look suspicious once the bar patrons and workers returned.

I jumped off the side of the building and rolled backwards. I pulled my knees up to my chest, and zoomed across the intersection. The cool night air rushed past my face and filled my nostrils with the smell of car exhaust, which was a welcoming scent after the stink bombs. Poor GMZ was going to have to deal with that for a while. Once I got close enough to the building, I pressed my gloved hand onto the wire behind my trolley, and slowed myself down. Once I reached the roof, I dropped my legs and let my feet slow me to a stop. I immediately unclipped my zip line trolley from the wire, and Everett freed the wire from the hook lodged into the roof. He then fed his end through a reeling device, and the other four of us stepped behind him as he pressed the button. The machine lit up with a bright orange light and let out a loud “whir” noise. In the matter of only a couple of seconds, the other end of wire shot out of GMZ’s hands on the Peninsula’s roof and across the intersection. Once the last inch was inside the reeling device, the light went out and the sound ceased with a light click. When I looked back up, GMZ was already staring at his computer screen.

“Alright, guys,” I said to my team, “let’s go.”

Quietly, we crept across the roof top until we reached the glass wall of the office building separating us from the Trump Tower. Nut’n Fancy reloaded the Grappling hook gun, and shot it up the side of the building. Nut’n Fancy tugged on the rope to make sure it was secure, and once he was satisfied, we began to creep up the wall of the building. We made it to the top, making sure to step around any illuminated window, and once we climbed over the wall we prepared ourselves to do it again.

Nut’n Fancy changed the rope on the grappling hook, this time to one that several loops at the end so that we could fasten our carabiners to. He attached the looped end to the gun, put the grabbling hook into the barrel, and fired at the Trump Tower’s roof. The hook sailed up into the darkness, but after a moment or two, found an edge to hook onto. We all hooked our carabiners into a separate loop, and then Nut’n Fancy (who was hooked into the last loop) fastened the gun to his chest. Together, we jumped off the roof. In one motion, we swung across East 56th Street and slammed into the glass. Luckily, we slammed into the levels that housed offices, so the rooms were dark and uninhabited. As soon as we all had our feet planted on the wall of the building, we began to scale the Trump Tower with me leading the way up.

After only a few minutes of climbing I began to feel the burn in my muscles. I closed my eyes and forced my body to work through the pain. As we moved higher, the winds picked up, and we had to move even slower so that we could brace ourselves from the gusts. The sounds of the street below were growing distant at an unacceptably slow rate, and beads of sweat formed on my forehead before rolling down my face and evaporating, making the cool gusts feel icy cold against my skin.

After what felt like hours, we were finally getting close to the top when I noticed that we were coming up on a window that was dimly illuminated. From such an extreme angle that I was looking up at even just twenty feet below, I couldn’t see the light until just then.

“Guys,” I said as quietly as I could but still loud enough so that they could hear me, “We’re coming up on a window, move to the right.”

They heard, and slowly we inched up the wall and gradually drifted to the right. As soon as I got up to the window, my curiosity got the best of me and peered inside.

“Holy shit you guys!” I exclaimed a little bit louder than what I should’ve, “Jay-Z and Beyoncé live here!”

“Shut up, Minigan!” they answered in unison in what I assumed was disbelief and not aggravation by my outburst.

But it absolutely was them. The entire room was dark, but the light coming from their TV illuminated their faces to the point that I was sure it was them. Jay-Z had his arm wrapped around Beyoncé and was holding onto what I guessed was a beer bottle with his free hand. Beyoncé was draped in a blanket with her feet poking out of the side. On her lap was a bowl of popcorn that she was eating out of, one kernel at a time. I paused and watched them for a second or two, confident that black I was wearing (my cloak was in my book bag) and their complete absorption in whatever they were watching would render me invisible to them.

I had every intention to watch them for just a little while longer, but Damien punched me in my leg and whispered, “Hurry up, you bloody git!”

I obliged and hurried my way past the window, the couple inside completely oblivious to the people climbing right outside their window.

“Holy shit! That is Beyoncé and Jay-Z!” Everett exclaimed.

“I told you so!”

After another long minute or two of climbing, I finally reached the top. I climbed over the side and then immediately turned around to help pull Damien up. Once he was over, we both helped Everett, Criss, and Nut’n Fancy over the railing. We unhooked ourselves from the rope, and then wasted no time setting up. Everett began setting up his laptop near the access door that Lady Caggiano was supposed to open for us. Nut’n Fancy, Damien, and Criss unpacked their bags and began placing their weapons and extra ammo in their belts and holsters.

I pressed the button on my earpiece and announced, “We’re on the roof. Lady Caggiano, head towards the Atrium’s entrance now, but do not engage until I say so.”

She coughed twice, which I took as meaning “affirmative.”

“GMZ,” I asked, “How are things on your end?”

“Pretty good so far. Security asked me a few questions about the stink bombs, but I had them convinced that I was way into WoW to care about the smell. Lady Caggiano, there is a doorman and two of Trump’s guards at the Atrium entrance, so you’ll have to take them out before heading up to Trump’s loft.”

She coughed again.

“Alright,” I added, “I’ll radio you both when we’re ready to start.”

As quickly as I could, I loaded my guns and fastened the holsters to my bullet proof vest. I then loaded up my belt with extra magazines, knives, my grappling gun and hooks, smoke and flash bombs, and a tube of what Everett called “Sticky Bombs.” I pulled out my folded white cloak from the bottom of my bag, shook it, and let the lightweight yet strong cloth unfold itself into its normal cloak shape. With one fluid motion, I twirled the cloak at the base of the hood around my neck and fastened it. I then checked the secret pocket inside and felt the blade of my Justice Stick. I had never used it in battle before, and if everything went smoothly, I wouldn’t be using it tonight either. I sighed. I had been training at night with Damien over the past few months with practice poles, and I was just itching to whip it out and swing my big stick at people (Trust me, I’m going to be making those jokes through this entire story. Be prepared for it).

Once we were all ready and had gathered back at where Everett had set up his computer, I radioed Lady Caggiano and GMZ. “Alright. Let’s do this.”

“OK,” GMZ replied, “I switched the camera footage being played in the Trump Tower security to footage from the night before and I’ve also blocked radio communication for Trump Tower’s security. So, Lady Caggiano, the only people watching you on those cameras is us.”

She sniffed, which indicated that she was getting into character. I crouched down with the rest of the team on the roof to watch. Everett brought up the view from one of the Atrium cameras where the entrance, the doorman, and Trump’s two private guards were all in view. The doorman was pacing back and forth, one of the guards stood near the elevator, and the other directly in front of the camera. Thanks to the bugs we planted in the morning, we could hear the doorman as he griped about Trump forcing the three of them to stay the night.

“This is some high class, premium cut bullshit.” He yelled out with his Brooklyn accent, “I was gonna meet up with some bitches tonight.”

I murmured to my group, “If Lady Caggiano heard that, that man is already dead.”

From outside, I noticed the murky image of Lady Caggiano appear from the darkness. Everett zoomed in as the doorman turned around and saw Lady Caggiano at the door. She waved at him. She smiled, but she was clearly distraught, and I was pretty sure that there was a steady flow of tears running down her face.

“Don’t let her in,” one of Trump’s private security commanded.

“What?” the doorman replied, “It’s just some girl. What’s she gonna do? Besides, there was no women in the group that got kicked out this morning.”

The doorman turned around, headed to the door, and let the sobbing Lady Caggiano inside. “What’s the matter, miss?” he asked politely.

“I,” she sniffed, “I lost my school group when we got off the subway and my cell phone is dead and I don’t know where to go and I… I…” she broke into full body sobs that made Helen Miren’s acting look unfit for B horror movies.

“No, no, don’t cry!” he said as he patted her reassuringly on her shoulder. He then turned to the nervous guards and said, “See? She’s just a lost little girl in the big city.” “Would you like to use my cellphone, hun?”

Lady Caggiano’s eyes lit up as she replied, “Oh, yes please, please, please! Thank you so much, sir!”

He pulled out his phone, leaned in to hand it to Lady Caggiano, and then stood perfectly still for a second. Then two seconds. Then five seconds. I looked to everyone else watching the video feed; they all had puzzled looks on their faces, but their eyes had not turned away from the screen. The man was still standing in his awkward stance, partially bowing towards Lady Caggiano. From the position of the camera, we could only see Lady Caggiano’s pigtails- everything else was blocked by the doorman. Apparently, guards were just as curious as we were, because one slowly moved off to the side to see what was happening.

Lady Caggiano stepped to her right, gun in hand and the barrel lodged in the doorman’s mouth. She fired. The doorman shrieked and fell to the floor, and the security guard near the elevator fell to the ground, dead. Before the other guard could react, Lady Caggiano aimed and fired at him, hitting him in his chest.

She walked away from the writhing and moaning doorman whom she had shot through the cheek, and fired the kill shot into his head after saying, “Don’t call me hun.”

The five of us stared slack jawed at the laptop where we had just watched Lady Caggiano casually murder three people. GMZ’s flabbergasted and mildly terrified voice came through my earpiece, “What in the entire cosmos of celestial fucks just happened?”

Lady Caggiano strode to the elevator doors, and with her gun in one hand, the handle of her pink roller suitcase in the other, she stole the clearance card from the dead guard and swiped it. Then, as the elevator doors opened, she looked to the camera and made a couple of gestures with her hands and forearms.

Damien looked up from the screen, the golden light illuminating half of his face and asked, “What does that mean?”

I answered as I rubbed my forehead with the tips of my fingers, “I have no fucking clue. We didn’t plan out hand signals.”

After she was finished making nonsensical hand signals, she stepped into Trump’s private elevator and let the doors close behind her.

Everett toggled up the camera inside the elevator, and the image of three dead men in the Trump Tower Atrium was replaced with Lady Caggiano changing in the elevator.

I covered the screen with my hand and said, “Let’s give her some privacy-)

The screen went black.

I pressed the button on my earpiece and asked, “Lady Caggiano, what happened to the camera?”

“I covered it with my BIMBONIA ACADEMY jacket,” she replied, “that way, you dirty pervs couldn’t watch.”

“I was covering you up with my hand,” I insisted. Then, I made my voice harsh and asked, “And what the hell was with you murdering those three guys? Did you not bring the tranquilizer gun?!”

“Hey,” she snapped back, “Trump wants them to use deadly force on us, so why shouldn’t we use deadly force back? Plus, Damien shot two of those darts into that one guard’s neck and that didn’t even knock him out, and the two guards in the Atrium were much bigger than that guy was.”

“She’s got a point, Minigan,” Damien added.

“But this is still our first real mission, and I don’t immediately want to get a bad reputation-“

“From whom?” Lady Caggiano asked sarcastically, “No one knows we’re doing this. That was the whole point, remember. Besides, I don’t give a damn about my reputation.”

“Well,” I snapped back at her, “It’s a good thing you don’t give a damn about your bad reputation, Joan Jett, because right now your reputation is that you’re a grade A psychopath.”

I pressed the button on my earpiece to turn off the speaker, and then said to the other four men, “I hate it when she’s right.”

After about a minute or two of silence from Lady Caggiano’s end, she uncovered the camera, revealing herself in her bulletproof vest, black pants, and goggles. Her guns, knives, and canisters of knockout gas were strapped to her vest and belt for easy access, and her long, light brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail.

GMZ’s voice came through my earpiece and announced, “OK Lady Caggiano, you’re getting close. There are three men outside the elevator door. Use a can of knockout gas to take them out.”

“Sure,” she replied as she grabbed the canister on her chest. She ripped it out of the pocket, but the ring got caught on her vest and pulled out of the top. “Oh shit,” She muttered.

“Oh shit,” The five us on the roof answered.

“Oh shit,” GMZ’s voice echoed.

There was about a second where I could clearly see the expression that I can only describe as “pure fucked” on Lady Caggiano’s face before the cloud of knockout gas enveloped her head. Within seconds, the entire elevator was filled with the gas and the whole computer screen went white.

“GMZ!” I shouted as I jumped to my feet and pressed the button on my earpiece, “We need to save her! We need to break into the Trump Tower now!”

“OK,” GMZ replied, his voice shaken. He steadied it and continued, “If you guys are on the grass, that means over the ledge should be a glass roof. That’s the roof to the elevator shaft. The doors open in your direction, and then the hallway in Trump’s penthouse head left parallel to East 56th. If you rappel down either the shaft you could save her before the doors open.”

“Too late,” Everett interjected, “the elevator is at Trump’s floor.”

“Nut’n Fancy and Damien,” I commanded hurriedly, “Set up ropes to rappel down the side of the building. We’ll need to create a diversion.”

Both men ran off without another word in the direction that GMZ said. I pulled out one of the sticky bombs, pressed the center of the green gel disk as Everett directed, and threw it at the glass skylight. It beeped for a few seconds and then exploded, shattering the glass which sparkled for a brief second as it fell into the dark shaft.

“Derren and me are in the Awesomecopter! and on our way,” Jessie’s voiced announced in my ear.

“Great,” I answered back, still looking into the dark pit I was about to jump down, “There was a complication at Trump’s loft, and we’re about to break in, so the sooner you get here, the better.”

I tied a rope to a tree and was about to rappel down the shaft when Everett cried, “Guys, get back here!”

I hopped over the wall and ran to Everett and Criss, who were staring at the computer. On the screen, they had brought up the camera right outside the elevator on Trump’s level. I watched as the beating of my heart drowned out every other noise. The doors opened. I bit my lip. The three guards turned around to see what caused the doors to open. Smoke billowed out. Then, a knife sliced through the dense gas and into the first guard’s throat. The other two guards raised their guns, but a still conscious Lady Caggiano sprinted out, still awake and moving faster than I’ve ever seen her (or anyone) move before. She slid past the guard on her left, jumped and bounced off the wall, and landed on his back. She threw another knife at the third guard before he could shoot, getting him in the neck as well. She the then pulled out her hunting knife, held it to the guard who’s shoulders she was sitting on, and slit his throat. He fell to the ground and she rolled off of him. With a single bound, she was behind a pedestal holding a large vase. I was relieved, until she bumped the pedestal and knocked over the vase.

Everett pulled up another camera. There were nine other guards in Trump’s kitchen, hanging around an island that looked like it could hold a queen size mattress. They heard the crash and ran to the other end of the hallway. Just then, Nut’n Fancy and Damien came back, claiming that the ropes for us to rappel down were ready. When they saw the look on Criss, Everett, and my faces, they circled around the computer to get a look at the screen. Everett put up a spit-screen view of the hallway, one facing the hazy elevator entrance, the other down the narrow, bookshelf lined hallway itself.

The guards filed down the hallway, each with his gun drawn and a determined look on his face. Lady Caggiano sat behind the pedestal, holding a glock in each hand. She looked tense; even through the smoke, I could see her tightly gripping her pistols. The guards were all in the hallway now, and had stopped far enough apart and staggered that it would be impossible for anyone to get to the other end of the hallway.

GMZ warned Lady Caggiano, “There are nine men in the hallway. You’ll never make it. Do not engage.”

Lady Caggiano’s face twisted itself into a look of pure rage, and she jumped from behind the pedestal. Bang. The first man went down. The other guards started firing. Lady Caggiano ran at a full sprint, zigzagging back from one side of the hallway to the other, shooting her guns. The men aimed and shot. She dodged, rolled, and fired back. Guards two and three were down. She shot the fourth in his knee, and jumped up to punch him in the face before shooting the fifth between the eyes. She ran forward, kicked the sixth onto into a book case and shot him in the chest. She released her empty magazines from the guns. She then threw up two loaded magazines and caught them in the handle.

“How is that even possible?!” someone on my team asked in awe.

There was no time to consider it. Lady Caggiano jumped up, grabbed a hold of the bookcase nearest her, swung back and fired at the fourth, who was about to raise his gun again. She jumped off the book case, and charged at the seventh. She shot at his wrist, making him drop his gun, and then shot him in the chest and head. The eighth dodged a few of her shots, but she delivered a swift roundhouse kick to his face before shooting him a few times in the chest. The ninth walked backwards, firing wildly in Lady Caggiano’s direction. She shot the gun out of his hand, and then threw her guns into the air. She dove over the table, planted her hands on it, and swung her feet between her arms. When her legs came up, she kicked the man hard in the chest. Lady Caggiano landed on her feet, spun around, and caught both guns. She spun back around to face the man on the floor. She squeezed the trigger. Click. She was out of ammo again. Just then, a faint ping from behind her warned her that a new wave of guards had arrived. She took a running leap and dove onto the island. She slid to the other side and dropped to her hands and knees onto the kitchen floor.

“Shit,” I said, looking up to the other four members of my team, “Let’s get down there.”

We abandoned Everett’s laptop, and the rope I was going to rappel down to get to the elevator car, and we climbed over the wall that separated the grassy area from the rest of the roof. I sprinted across the gravel topped section of the roof, jumped down the set of stairs that lead to the final section of the roof. I somersaulted the landing, but I was immediately back on my feet and running to the edge of the building. I reached it, and a couple seconds later, Criss, Damien, Everett, and Nut’n Fancy joined me. I grabbed one of the four ropes and- Shit. Only four ropes. Of course there would only be four ropes because the fifth was hanging down the elevator shaft where I left it.

Noticing the problem at hand and proceeding to make it worse, Damien said, “That’s not the only thing, Minigan. This glass is too strong for us to kick out when we rappel down, and the angle is too sharp for us shoot at or throw a sticky bomb at.

“Well, shit.” We were running out of time. Lady Caggiano was hiding behind that island while more guards, probably heavily armed and protected, rushed into the penthouse. Maybe it was because the panic that image had caused, but my mind went blank.

“Wait!” Everett interjected, “Criss, that card trick you did this morning- the one where you made them fly around- could you do that with a sticky bomb?”

“Maybe, but I won’t be sure if it lands on the right floor,” he answered.

Everett directed Criss to the edge, pointed down, and said, “Just aim for those lighted windows. That’s Trump’s loft.”

“That’s great and all,” Damien added, “But that still leave the issue with their only being four ropes for the five of us. If one of us rappels down after the other four, that one will get blown to Hell.”

Building off of Everett’s idea, I replied, “Criss can just levitate down!”

“What?!” Damien and Criss cried in unison.

“Yeah! If you levitate down with us, then you won’t need a rope,” I answered.

Angrily, Criss asked, “What makes you think I can even levitate off the side of a building?”

“Because you’re a wizard, and that is one of the many things that wizards do.”

“I AM NOT A WIZARD, MINIGAN!”

“Quit your argue’n!” Nut’n snapped, “We’re outta time!”

Without another word, Criss snatched a sticky bomb out of Everett’s hand, pressed the button, and threw it over the side. It made a wide downward arc and stuck onto the illuminated window below. There was a loud bang and a flash of light. The sounds of screaming and gun fire rang out from the new opening. Damien, Everett, Nut’n Fancy, and I rappelled down the side of the building (I made it to the window in two bounds), and we swung inside the High end loft turned battle zone, our gloves hot from the friction on the ropes.

To my right, the island and the kitchen walls were riddled with bullet holes. On the floor in front of me was the guard that Lady Caggiano couldn’t kill before backups had arrived, dead with three kitchen knives lodged in his chest. Behind his corpse was the bookshelf and dead body lined hallway, and in it were three terrified looking guards, two of them being Trump’s personal body guards from earlier that day. The guard I hadn’t seen before saw me and raised his automatic rifle. Before I could even process the thought, my hand had pulled out my hand gun and fired a shot into his chest. He fell backwards onto the other two, knocking one of them down. With the guards momentarily distracted, the five of us dove behind the battered island.

We were greeted by Lady Caggiano’s who was sitting pensively with her back to the island, and holding a bunch of pots and frying pans. Her pupils were dilated to the point where I could barely see her brown irises. Then, in an unsettlingly calm voice, “Trump is coming. He’s bringing more guards. Cover me.”

I nodded, raised my gun and peeked my head over the counter top. Lady Caggiano did the same, and then threw each of the pots and pans on the stove. She lit each burner, making sure that the flames were as high as they could go, before sitting back down. I heard commotion coming from the hallway, and I knew that the new series of guards, as well as Trump, were on their way.

I handed Lady Caggiano one of my hand guns, and then whispered to my team, “Get ready.”

We stayed silent as several pairs of footsteps came down the hallway and into the livingroom. I nodded to my team, and as one, we jumped up and started shooting. We only managed to kill one of the guards before the others dove behind various pieces of furniture. We were out of rounds within seconds, all of our bullets expended into the inexplicably impenetrable couches and chairs. The guards popped their heads out from behind the furniture and began firing at us as we ducked down and reloaded.

As they fired, lady Caggiano stood up, grabbed one of the now red hot frying pans, and chucked it across the room. There was a clang, followed by a loud shriek, which told me that the pan had hit its mark. As the other three men were distracted, I stood up and threw a throwing knife at the one behind the couch. It missed, and he fired back at us in retaliation.

I looked to Lady Caggiano, who was taking deep breaths and clenching her fists, and asked, “Are you okay?”

She looked at me with an expression of anger that genuinely scared me. Her face was red and the veins in her neck and forehead were pulsing. Her eyes were bloodshot, and her pupils still dilated, and her jaw muscles bulged from how tightly she had her jaw clenched. She looked me directly in the eyes and growled, “Fuck hiding.”

She then stood up, grabbed a pot in each hand, and charged at the guards. Damien, Nut’n Fancy, Everett, Criss, and I were taken so much by surprise, that when we managed to scramble to our feet and follow her, she was already on top of a guard beating the hell out of him with the hot pan. One of the guards took aim at her. I reached into my cloak pocket, pulled out my Justice stick, and charged at him.

Gunshots rang out all around me. I jumped feet first at the man. My feet connected with his chest, and the blade of my pole-arm with the side of his face. He fell backward, firing bullets from his semi-automatic rifle up the side of the wall near Lady Caggiano. I lost my balance, fell over the coffee table, and landed upside down on the couch on the other side of it. The guard with the burnt face, which happened to be the spray tanned, bald guard from that morning, stood up and aimed his gun at my face. He fired. I rolled. He flew across the room and smashed into a large portrait hanging on the wall. Criss was standing several feet behind where the guard was standing with his hand raised.

I jumped back onto my feet and called, “Nice one, Criss,” before kicking my Justice Stick into the air, catching it, and going back to fighting the guard with the semi-automatic.

More guards rushed in- maybe seven or eight, and immediately found themselves in the center of an intense battle. Damien was crushing one guy’s face with his knee, Criss was tossing guards across the room like they were superballs, and Lady Caggiano was bludgeoning anyone stupid enough to come within swinging distance of her and her pots. I had successfully knocked the gun away from the guard I was fighting, but he came back at me with two large, Arabian looking swords from over the fireplace mantel. He sliced at my chest, but only shredded my vest. He swung his swords down at my shoulders, but I blocked them with my pole-arm and kicked him in the stomach. He stumbled backward, but right as I was about to charge at him, two big arms wrapped themselves around my chest and knocked my weapon from my hands. It was the fat black guard from this morning.

I struggled to free myself, but the arms were too strong. The guard I had been fighting ran towards me, the thought of murder in his eyes. I lifted my legs and kicked him in the face. He stumbled backwards, clutching his nose, but not before swinging one of his swords at me and slicing my leg. I ignored the sharp pain in my thigh from the gash, and instead focused my energy on swinging my legs back down and slamming my feet into my captor’s knees. He screamed in pain right into my ear, and then fell… right on top of me.

I felt all the air rush out of my lungs as the man’s heavy body fell on top of mine. I struggled to free myself, but he still had his arms around me.  My face was sandwiched between the cool, hard floor, and the guard’s warm, doughy body, so I couldn’t hear what was happening, but after an excruciatingly long second or two, the guard’s body went limp, and a pair of boots kicked him off of me. I took a deep breath of gunsmoke and blood scented air, and looked up to see Nut’n Fancy extending his hand down to me.

He pulled me up, and said, “You know you’re bleed’n from your leg, right?”

“Yeah,” I answered smartly, “But I’m kinda busy right now.”

“I know,” he joked back as he fired a couple of shots at the guards in the hallway, each bullet hitting its target, “I saw you let’n that guy fool around on top of you. I had no clue you were inta bigger guys”

“God is a lie,” I snapped back at him, knowing that would piss him off more than any insult I had in my arsenal at the time.

Without another word, he went off to shoot at the other guards in the hallway, and I turned to face the guard with the swords again. He spun the swords around in his hand and charged at me. I ran at him, and kicked up my Justice Stick once again. I twirled the pole in my hands, and then plunged it into his chest.

He stopped. His swords dropped to the ground. I was leaning forward, bracing myself for the impact, so when he stopped, his face was less than a foot away from mine. I watched at the expression on his face shift from anger, to pain, to fear, and then to nothing. The light behind his green eyes went out, and for a second, I stared at the expressionless face of the man I just killed. I pulled my Justice Stick out of the mortal wound I created, took a few steps back, and let the man collapse in front of me.

“ENOUGH!!!” a voice roared from the hallway.

It was Trump. His face was red, redder than his hair, and his normally dead looking eyes were burning with rage. He stepped into the room, and all fighting stopped. His guards backed away from him, and looked to the ground as if staring him in the eyes would turn them into stone.

“You little shits,” he shouted, his lips so thin that they were practically invisible, “All of you! You destroyed my living room! Well, I’ve had enough!  You’ll all pay dearly, and by my hand.”

“Sir,” The bald, spray tanned, and burnt guard pleaded, “We were only trying to protect you. They came very prepared.”

“I don’t care!” Trump raged as he strode to the middle of the room and up to the guard, “They shouldn’t have even made it up here in the first place!”

“They- they managed to get control of the security cameras somehow, sir!” The guard said, his voice shaking.”

“So you failed.”

“No!” the bald guard cried, now visibly shaking with fear. The other guards backed as far away as they could. Some managed to slip into the hallway and into another room. The bald guard continued, “They only-“

“No,” Trump interrupted, “You failed, Silvio, and you will pay for it.”

Silvio gasped, and what happened next I would have never predicted. From atop Trump’s head, his hair quivered, and suddenly, a long tendril of red hair reached out and wrapped around Silvio. We all watched in shock as Silvio was raised into the air, and the hair tightened around his chest. Within seconds, all the air was squeezed out of his chest and the blood vessels in his eyes started to pop.

Trump’s hair tightened until Silvio was dead, and then a disembodied voice, the gravelly voice we heard from the bug Criss had planted, spat, “You are worthless!”

“You are worthless.” Trump’s normal voice repeated, right before his hair whipped Silvio’s lifeless body around in the air and threw it out the shattered window.

The other guards began to run away, completely ignoring the intruders they were trying to kill moments earlier.

The Gravelly voice growled, “Where do you think you’re going?” as the men sprinted for their lives.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

Several more hair tendrils erupted from Trump’s head and grabbed the guards. A few of the tendrils even broke through the doors that guards had stepped through and pulled them out as well. Then, with a single flick of the hair, they went sailing out the window and down to their bloody deaths on the street and roofs below.

My fellow members of Awesomesquad! and I regrouped and stared at Trump, our jaws dropped in shock and confusion, as his hair retracted back into his head. I wasn’t sure how to react to what I had just seen. I practically dropped my polearm as I squinted at Trump, trying hard not to believe what I had just seen was real. Had Trump’s hair really come to life and thrown a bunch of people out the window? I asked myself. Was even thinking that thought enough of a reason to have myself committed? Seriously, what the fuck did I just witness?

Just then, either refuting my insanity or irrevocably confirming it, Trump’s hair shifted again. This time revealed two large, red eyes and a mouth with rows of vicious looking fangs. When the mouth spoke, the gravelly voice came out and said, “And if that’s what I do to people that work for me, just imagine what I’m going to do to you.”

“And if that’s what I do to people that work for me, just imagine what I’m going to do to you.” Trump’s regular mouth repeated.

I still needed some time to process what I was looking at, but unfortunately, Trump wasn’t willing to give me that time. The tendrils shot back out of his head and at us, and the six of us managed to run screaming back to the island. We each dove behind it just as the hair tendril wrapped themselves around various appliances and attempted to bludgeon us with them.

“What in the spiraling shark vortex of fuck is happening right now?!” Lady Caggiano cried as she swung the pot she was clutching at a tendril of hair with a microwave.

“How in the hell should I know,” I yelled back. I quickly grabbed a dish towel and tied it above the cut on my leg before trying to fight of one of Trump’s hair tentacles.

I was on my back, jabbing my pole-arm at the tendril trying to crush me with the refrigerator door. I rolled to my side just as it slammed the side of the door down. As it raised up the door again, I pulled out a throwing knife and threw it at the hair. The knife sliced through the air and Trump’s hair tentacle, and the refrigerator door fell on top of Everett and I. It smacked me in my lip and Everett on the forehead. Trump’s hair let out a high pitched, ear-piercing shriek, which was followed by the monotone wail of Trump’s mouth. The other tendrils of greying red hair dropped their various makeshift weapons on us and then pulled back.

With Everett and me clutching each end of the refrigerator door, we pushed it off of us and against the cabinets of the island. I then pressed the button on my earpiece.

“GMZ!” I yelled, panic ringing in my voice, “What in the flying Hell are we dealing with right now?”

After a second’s pause, he answered, “Wha? Oh, shit. The mission, right.”

“What did you mean by that?!” I screamed at him.

“Well,” he explained, “I had to make it look like I was playing WoW, and I thought the best way to do that would be to actually play it.”

“YOU’RE PLAYING WORLD OF WARCRAFT RIGHT NOW?!?!” I roared.

The other five members of my team barricaded behind the kitchen island looked to me with a look that was equal parts confusion and fury.

“He’s doing what?!” Nut’n Fancy cried.

“At a time like this?” Everett added.

“I’m sorry!” GMZ replied, “I just got really into the quest.”

“I don’t care! Just look at what we’re dealing with right now and help us figure out how to stop it!” I looked to the rest of my team and added, “That little shit.”

The other five members of Awesomesquad! replied with various “yeah’s,” and “what the hell’s.”

“Hey, I heard that!” GMZ replied.

“I know, I meant for you to hear it, now get to work!”

Everett let out a terrified cry and shuffled away from the island as the short piece of hair that I had severed from the rest slowly inched towards him. All of our screams joined in as each of us grabbed anything we could and began beating the possessed lock of hair.

Once Lady Cagginao beat the hair into submission with a frying pan, I picked up the newly limp hair and put it into a bag that Everett was holding open for me.

As he sealed it up and put it into a small plastic container from one of the cabinets, he nervously whispered to me, “Do you think this can hold it?”

“Let’s hope so,” I whispered back, “We need to get it back to the base to study it.”

That’s when I noticed how silent the room was. There was no footsteps, no rustle of clothing, no breathing coming from beyond the island. In fact, the only other noises other than my team’s heavy, panicked breathing, was the distant sound of what I hoped was the Awesomecopter!.

We sat, huddled together like refugees, for a few long seconds of tense silence when I decided to see what was happening. Pressing my raised index finger to my lips, I slowly, silently climbed to my knees and peeked my head above the countertop. Across the room, glaring at me with all four of its eyes was Trump, his hair holding up a large flat screen TV. The face in the hair let out an evil laugh (which was parroted by Trump’s body), and then it threw the TV at me. I ducked back behind the island as the TV soared over our heads and smashed against the wall over the sink.

“What the hell am I looking at right now?” GMZ asked, just as perplexed as we were just before the hair began to attack us.

“We don’t know,” I answered, “That’s why you need to find out for us.”

Trump’s hair let out another scream, and began hurling books from the hallway at us from over the island’s countertop. We all screamed, and Everett and I lifted the heavy refrigerator door over our heads and sheltered the other three from the onslaught of literature.

“Where do you expect me to get that information,” he asked smartly, “Google?”

“You’re the hacker!” I shouted at him as a hardcover copy of “Angels and Demons” smacked me in my already sore and bloody lip, “Go search for it on some secret government Database or something.”

Trump’s hair threw another book at me. I dodged it. I looked at the cover and realized it was Trump’s own, “Time to Get Tough.” I clenched my teeth and nodded to Lady Caggiano, who looked down at the cover and understood. She grabbed the end of the refrigerator door that I was holding, and I pulled out another throwing knife. I jumped to my feet. Books were flying at me from several directions, but I dodged them. I pulled back my throwing arm. Another book flew past my face. I threw my knife. It sliced through the air, and I dropped back to the floor.

After about a second, Trump’s hair shrieked in pain. I peeked my head back out from behind the island and saw my knife lodged in Trump’s leg. Shit, my aim was off. That should’ve gone in his chest.

I dropped back down and said  to my team, “Aim for his body, he can feel the pain that we inflict upon it, and that’s a bigger target than his hair.”

They nodded in understanding. But just before they could pull out their assorted knives, several hair tendrils exploded through the island’s cabinet doors. We all screamed in terror as the hair tentacles flailed at us, blindly wrapping themselves onto whatever they could and pulling it back through the holes.

Damien barely dodged one of these tendrils before he cried, “fuck this!” He then pulled out one of his sticky bombs, and threw it at the window. The deafening boom from the explosion was followed by the clinking sound of the glass hitting the tiled floor. Damien stood up and ran. He sprinted at the window, narrowly dodging the hair tentacles as they rushed at him, and dove out the window. Nut’n Fancy, Criss, Lady Caggiano, and I looked at each other in shock.

“Did that limey bastard just abandon us?” I asked.

“I think he did,” Criss replied as he smacked a lock of Trump’s hair away from his face.

Nut’n Fancy interjected, “Son of a bitch…”

I pulled out my hunting knife and chopped the hair tendril closest to me. I cut the hair, which inched away, and I added as I bludgeoned the lock with a knife block, “If we get out of this alive, I say we track Damien down and beat the hell out of him with socks filled with limes.”

Everyone but Everett agreed, but right at that moment, another hair tendril broke through the door between Everett and me, taking both of us by surprise and knocking us backward.

“Ahhh! Kill it! Kill it with fire!” I screamed.

Everett and I looked at each other, the two of us thinking the same thing: his wrist mounted flame throwers. Not wasting another second, Everett torched the hair tentacle with a fiery blast from his wrist. The other four of us shielded ourselves from the intense heat of the column of fire as it set the hair ablaze. Almost instantly, the hair reeled backward, shrieking in agony. The scent of burnt hair filled the air. It was hard to breathe through the stench from the smoke, but taking the opportunity, I jumped back to my feet, and began rummaging through the cupboards. Lady Caggiano, Criss, Nut’n Fancy, and Everett were now on the offensive. They stood up and provided me with whatever cover they could with their remaining knives and butane. In a drawer, I found one of those long lighters for grilling. I grabbed it and continued my search. Next, I found a half drank bottle of vodka, a washcloth, and some cooking spray.

I stuffed the washcloth into the vodka bottle and flipped it upside down to get the rag wet. I passed the cooking spray to Lady Caggiano, and she lit it with one of the stove’s burners.  I lit the lighter and then the alcohol soaked rag. Trump stepped back to the opposite end of the room. I chucked the bottle.

I held my breath as it flew through the air directly at the multimillionaire and his evil hair. With a single swipe with one of his hair tendrils, Trump managed to smack the Molotov cocktail out of the air. It shattered on the ground, and almost immediately a circle of fire roared up between him and us. The sprinkler system went off, extinguishing the fire and my hopes for getting out of this alive.

Trump stepped forward through the falling water, his hair whipping its wet tendrils around. In its gravelly voice, it said, “You idiots will never defeat The Donald.”

Just as it was about to whip its hair arms at us again, the sound of jet engines roared from outside. Everyone looked to the windows and saw a bald man in a heavily armed jetpack.

“It’s Damien!” Everett exclaimed.

I looked closer. Well, damn. He was right, I guessed I owed him an apology. Damien smirked at us and then took aim at Trump. Then, he squeezed the trigger on the handle.

I couldn’t hear what Damien screamed over the roaring of the rocket thrusters or the machinegun blasts, but if I read his lips correctly, he screamed, “FUUUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUU!”

Bullets shattered the remaining windows as Damien fired at the fleeing Trump. Trump sprinted across the room, his hair lifting his body off the ground and out of the line of fire. Trump’s hair then reached out the window, and before he could dodge it, wrapped around Damien.

With one quick flick of his hair tentacle, Trump’s hair threw Damien back inside the loft and up against the wall.

“My Prototype!” Everett cried.

“Screw your prototype,” I snapped, “What about Damien?!”

“Him too!”

Damien had barely touched the ground before Trump’s hair had begun wrapping around him, winding around his body like a boa constrictor does with its prey. Within seconds, it had wrapped around Damien’s throat and began to squeeze.

Still holding the lighter, I grabbed the cooking spray from Lady Caggiano’s hands and sprinted towards Trump. Trump continued to squeeze. I watched as Damien’s face turned blue. I pressed the spray button and lit the oil. The heat and light came back. I ran at the tentacles between Trump and Damien. The smell of burnt hair returned, as did the hair’s pained howls.

I was about to change my direction and head straight for Trump when one of the locks of hair grabbed me by the waist and lifted me into the air. It whipped me around for a second or two, and then I was soaring out the window.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuck!”

Thinking quickly, I pulled my grappling hook from my belt and shot towards the roof. I kept falling. Still falling. I was about to panic when suddenly I stopped falling. I heard a pop in my shoulder, and then felt pain shoot up and down my arm. I screamed and grabbed a hold of the grappling hook gun with my other hand before my injured arm had a chance to let go. I was in so much pain that I didn’t notice the building rushing back at me.

Smack. I hit one of the windows hard. My arm was still racked with a stabbing pain, which was now accompanied by the stings of my face and knees hitting the side of the building. I bounced backward and then back into the window again, but this time with a softer “thud.” My right arm felt like dead weight- I must’ve dislocated it. I let it drop to my side, and then struggled to get my footing on the glass walls of the Trump Tower. I was somewhat dazed by the pain in my shoulder and the collision with the window, but not dazed enough to not notice the people watching me.

I looked through the window to the scene I had witnessed earlier- Beyoncé and Jay-Z sitting on the couch, watching a movie. But this time it was different: the bowl of popcorn had fallen to the floor, neither of them looked relaxed, and both of them were staring directly at me.

I smiled weakly at them, and then, once realizing that they couldn’t see my face, I raised my injured hand and waved. Pangs of stabbing pain shot up and down my arm, so I immediately dropped it. Inside, Jay-Z and Beyoncé mouthed, “The Fuck?” I gave them another apologetic grin that they wouldn’t be able to see from under the hood of my cloak, and then I began to scale the side of the skyscraper again.

With only one arm able to help pull me up, climbing up the building took some time, but I eventually made it around the corner and to the shattered windows of Trump’s penthouse. I peeked in and saw the rest of my team fighting Trump’s hair. Each of them dove and rolled out of the way right as his hair lunged at them, and they each attempted to cut it apart without also getting grabbed.

Holding onto the ledge with my good hand, I raised my right hand to my ear, ignoring the soul piercing pain, and pressed the button in my earpiece. “GMZ,” I whispered, “Do you know what this is yet?”

“No.” he replied regretfully, “It doesn’t seem like our government- or any government for that matter- has any information for possessed hair. The closest thing I could come up with was an old Simpson’s Tree House of Horror episode, and they had to rip the hair off the head and kill it in order to stop it.” “Hey!” he added, “What if you scalp Trump?”

“What?!” I half whispered back as I watched Trump’s hair swing the refrigerator door at Nut’n Fancy.

“You know,” he replied, “like what the Native Americans used to do. Just cut around the scalp and then grab the hair on the sides of his head and yank.”

“I don’t think I can do that,” I breathed, “I think I dislocated my shoulder.”

“Well, you’re gonna have to try.”

He was right. Right now I had the element of surprise, and if I blew it, it could mean the death of me and the rest of my team. Slowly and silently, I rolled over the edge and back onto the tiled floor. Shards of glass sliced the skin on my forearms and cheek as I rolled, but Trump’s hair was too distracted to hear the clinking of the glass. I stood up, and with my knife drawn, I charged.

I jumped onto Trump’s back and dug my knife deep into the side of his head, his hair (and then his body) roared with rage and pain. His hair flailed around, frantically taking swipes at me as I cut along Trump’s hair line. A tendril of his hair wrapped around my ankle and threw me at the wall.

Lady Caggiano ran to me as the other four fought off Trump’s advances. “Are you alright?” she asked.

“My shoulder’s dislocated,” I grunted back at her.

She knelt down beside me, and I saw a kindness in her eyes that calmed me down somehow. In a warm and motherly tone of voice, she stated, “I’ll put it back in its socket on the count of three, OK? One…”

She pulled. My shoulder popped. I cried in pain. Trump’s hair threw his coffee table at us. Lady Caggiano threw herself on top of me and pinned me to the ground. The table smashed into the wall and the broken pieces of high quality wood fell on top of us.

 

“I thought you said three.” I gasped, my arm throbbing.

“You would’ve tensed up,” she answered. You needed to be relaxed.

She helped me to my feet, and we both joined the fight again. The fight continued for several long minutes. His hair would swipe. We would dodge. His hair would lunge. We would roll. We would slash. His hair would whip back. It was like the dangerous fight dance between a cobra and a mongoose. Except, that the mongoose was six people with knives and flame throwers, and the cobra was a rich man with murderous hair tentacles- so it was way more fucked up than a cobra/ mongoose fight, I guess.

Everett blasted Trump right in the face with his wrist mounted flame thrower, and Trump stumbled backward. His hair swatted at the flames and then screamed, “What the Hell do you guys want, anyway?!”

“What the Hell do you guys want, anyway?” Trump’s normal voice repeated.

“We want you to not take over New York City!” I shouted at him. “Also,” I added in a more conversational tone, “It would be nice to know what the hell you are.”

“Me?” His hair asked and normal voice echoed, “I am just an ancient being looking for some room to expand and reproduce, and have been controlling your greatest business owner and billionaire for the past four decades.”

“Please,” Lady Caggiano scoffed, “Everyone knows that Steve Jobs is the greatest business owner and billionaire ever.”

“STEVE JOBS IS A BALD HEADED CULT LEADER OF A BUNCH OF STUPID HIPSTERS!” Trump’s hair roared.

“Steve Jobs is a bald headed cult leader of a bunch of stupid hipsters.”

“Woah,” Everett replied, “Steve Jobs has cancer, you monster.”

“Monster, MONSTER?!” The monster raged, his tentacles whipping into a frenzy again, making each of us dive for cover.

“Monster, monster,” Trump’s human mouth parroted.

“You’re not proving us wrong, dickbag!” I screamed as I dodged a section of the island that Trump’s hair threw at us. It slid to a halt between me and Damien.

“You think I’m the worst celebrity out there?!” Trump’s hair screamed and his body soullessly repeated, “I can name dozens of celebrities who are far worse than I am. Why aren’t you going after them, Huh? Why aren’t you trying to stop Sean Penn and his terrible, leathery face?”

From somewhere behind the overturned couch, I heard Nut’n Fancy’s voice call out, “That’s just what I said!”

Trump’s hair wrapped one of its tendrils around the couch and lifted it into the air, and then slammed it down at Nut’n Fancy. Nut’n Fancy rolled out of the way at the last second. The couch crashed into the floor and broke apart. Trump’s hair then picked up the pieces of the couch and flung them at us until the six of us had rolled and dodged our way into the same spot in front of the fireplace. I quickly glanced out the window as I felt for one of those sticky bombs. I had none. Fuck. They must have fallen out.

“You were foolish to think you could stop me!” Trump’s hair spat has he threw a chair our direction.

“You were foolish to think you could stop me.” Trump’s body repeated.

Criss threw his hand out and to the right, and sent the chair flying out the window.

“I’m the Donald!” he shrieked, “And I wouldn’t be where I am if I let little fucks like you stop each of my plans!”

“I’m the Donald. And I wouldn’t be where I am if I let little fucks like you stop each of my plans.”

Several new hair tendrils stretched out from the back of Trump’s head and raised themselves high into the air, each one pointing at us. Basically, we were fucked.

My team and I braced ourselves for the onslaught that was about to come, each of us clutching to anything that could possibly be used as a weapon, when  Jessie stepped into the room from the hall, carrying a bazooka, and yelled, “Hey Trump, You’re fired!”

 

Jessie fired. Trump turned to attack Jessie, but it was too late. The rocket blasted out of the barrel.  Trump’s hair tendrils went limp and blanketed his body right before the rocket hit him squarely in the chest. Trump flew out the window, both is body and his hair screaming, “NO!”

The Rocket propelled Donald Trump flew out into the night, and his ride climaxed in a brilliant and blinding explosion over the streets of New York City. The six of us jumped and cheered at the giant fireball as it billowed up into the night sky. A jubilant Damien jumped onto Everett’s back, knocking him to the floor. I turned to Lady Caggiano and we high fived.

“Seriously,” she asked me, “Why do you give such weird high fives?”

“I don’t give weird high fives!”

Jessie interrupted our celebration by running towards us, a look of childlike excitement on his face, and exclaimed, “I did it, guys! I saved the day!”

We all stopped. Damien and Everett picked themselves off of the floor, and the six of us glared at Jessie.

“And what the hell were you thinking?!” I shouted.

“Wha-?”

“Why did you think it would be a good fucking idea to leave the Awesomecopter! to come down here?” Lady Caggiano snapped.

“I thought I could help!” Jessie replied quickly, “Plus Derren is watching the Awesomecopter!!”

“YOU LET DERREN WATCH THE AWESOMECOPTER!?!” I roared.

“And where the hell did you get that bazooka from?” Everett asked.

Jessie frowned, his heroics were clearly not going over like he had planned. “I found it and I thought I could-“

“You thought what?” Damien interrupted, “You thought it would be fun to shoot a bloody bazooka in the middle of New York City?!”

Nut’n Fancy added, “And now pieces of shrapnel and Trump body parts are rain’n down on everyone below, you dang idiot!”

“But Criss, didn’t you just cast a chair out the window?” Jessie asked as panic began to creep into his voice.

“Don’t try to change the subject,” Criss spat, “What we’re talking about right now is how you fucked up.”

“But…”

“But nothing.” I said, “Get back upstairs and wait for us at the Awesomecopter!.”

“But…But…”

“Go.” I demanded.

Seeing the furious scowls on all of our faces, Jessie realized his defeat and turned around. He bowed his head, and then sulked his way out of the war-torn living room and into the slightly less war-torn hallway. As soon as we heard the door to the roof click shut, we relaxed our faces.

I turned to the group and asked, “So, I think we all agree that what Jessie did was the greatest thing ever?”

“Absolutely.” Everett answered.

“It was brilliant,” Damien added.

Lady Caggiano noted, “That was probably one of the most badass things I’ve ever seen. He even had that amazing, “You’re fired” line. That just made it perfect.”

We all nodded and murmured in agreement. Then, I added, “Good. Let’s promise to never tell Jessie how incredibly awesome it was.”

“Agreed,” The rest of my team answered in unison.

“Great, Now let’s get out of here.”

“Wait a second, Minigan,” Damien interjected just as I turned away, “Don’t you remember why we planned this in the first place? We need to destroy his plans in case his hair survived the blast.”

“Shit,” I replied, “You’re absolutely right. Let’s destroy that information!”

As a group, we filed out of the living room and into the study, which showed not a hint of destruction. Everett walked up to the computer and sat down. From his right pants pocket, he pulled out GMZ’s flash Drive and plugged it into the computer. The Screen flickered for a second, and then in the password bar, a line of dots formed. After not even a second’s pause, they vanished and were replaced with another line of dots. Then another. Then another. After about a minute of the program’s rapid fire password guessing, it had chosen the correct one and the home screen came up.

As Everett combed through the various word documents and any program that might lead us to Trump’s hair’s plans, the rest of the team walked back through the Penthouse for any evidence of our presence there (other than, you know, the total destruction of the living room, kitchen, and hallway). When we returned, Everett had found the files and was about to delete them.

“Wait! Lady Caggiano cried, “Don’t delete them, save them!”

“What?!” Everett and I replied in unison.

“If we destroy all that information, and Trump’s hair is still alive, then it can start its plans over without anyone knowing,” she explained, “But if we send in the information of what he’s doing to a news site, then it could go viral and the people of New York will know not to sell to him.”

“Plus, if we destroy this evidence and Trump did survive, he can try to get us thrown in prison,” Damien added, “After all, we did break into and then destroy his home.”

Seeing their points, Everett and I agreed, and he downloaded all the information onto a flash drive before wiping it off the computer. We then did one last search of the penthouse for any weapons that could incriminate us if found. We hadn’t missed much on the first time through, so on our second search we only found two throwing knives, the plastic container with the lock of Trump’s hair, and one of Lady Caggiano’s hand gun magazines. With our mission complete, I radioed Jessie and had him start the Awesomecopter!, and then my team and I filed through the corpse lined hallway to the roof access stairway. We rushed up the stairwell, careful to make as little sound as possible in fear that more of Tump’s guards were on their way. They weren’t, and we safely made it to the roof without incident.

I untied the rope I was going to use to rappel down the elevator shaft and the five of us who had left bags on the roof gathered everything back up and stuffed them into the already pretty full Awesomecopter!. Once everything was secured and we made sure we left nothing behind on the roof, we climbed aboard the Awesomecopter! and flew  towards the Peninsula’s rooftop bar to pick up GMZ. We hovered twenty feet or so above the roof, the downwash from the spinning blades kicked dirt and paper into the air, and made the bar patrons flee to the elevators for the second time that night.

With the fuselage door open, I threw the looped end of a rope down to GMZ, who stuck his foot into the loop and then raised himself off the ground. As soon as he was secure, Criss and Damien began pulling the rope back inside the cabin.

“He’s clear!” I called to Jessie, and he banked the Awesomecopter! hard to the right.

Despite my still sore shoulder, I joined Criss and Damien in helping pull GMZ up. Once he had his feet on the landing skid, Damien and Criss pulled him up by the arms, and I grabbed onto him by the straps of his book bag. We pulled him through the door, leaving us in an awkward pile on the floor.

Damien got up, brushed himself off when he let out a startled cry. The rest of Awesomesquad climbed to our feet and looked to see what he had seen. Ahead of us, floating in the spring night, was a great wispy looking sphere with a man’s form attached to the bottom. We flew past it, staring at the floating hair bubble as we did. Trump’s body looked dirty and his clothes burnt, but other than that, in good shape.

His hair, which had spread itself out like a giant afro to catch the wind currents saw us staring at it and shouted, “You will pay for this! YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE LAST OF ME, YOU BASTARDS!”

***

Sorry for how long that was. I even cut out over 1,500 words (I could have cut more, but I really enjoyed ripping on Dan Brown) of stuff that you’ll have to wait for when I finish the novel.  But just imagine how epic that book is going to be.

Alright, go outside and play, kids.

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Awesomesquad! Assemble! 1 Revisited! (Part 3)

Since this is the third installment of the revisiting of my first Awesomesquad! post, you should read the first two if you haven’t already done so. They are here, and here.

Here’s the summary of what happened in those two, if you don’t have the time to read 17,000 words of pure written magic:

Back in May of 2009, Jessie James (our mechanic/ vehicle builder) came to us with the theory that Donald Trump was up to deeds more dastardly than his usual dastardly deeds. Against Damien Walters’s (our fighting/ parkour trainer) wishes, we flew to New York City to run some surveillance on the orange skinned millionaire. We stayed at a hotel the night before we were to carry out the stake out.

The next morning, Damien left to break into the lower levels of the Trump Tower and download a program onto the Security system so that we would have access to the cameras, while the rest of us minus Lady Caggiano (my second in command/ stubborn crazy person) went to stake out the atrium of The Trump Tower and to try and bug Trump. Our first attempt was a failure; Jessie was unable to get Trump to talk to him at all. Then, I recieved word that Damien was in trouble with security, so I had Criss Angel (Mind Freak/ the team’s wizard) distract some of the guards. Finally, when our second chance to bug Trump arrived, Jessie was about to do just that when Trump’s body guards found the bug Jessie was trying to plant. Thinking quickly, I had Criss, plant the bug instead. He successfully managed to do it, but we were all caught and thrown out of the Trump Tower. When we made it back to the hotel room, we waited for any information from Damien, who still hadn’t come back. While we waited, we watched the security camera in Trump’s private elevator, and discovered that Jessie’s theory was actually correct.

And that’s pretty much where we ended it. Now here’s the next section, told almost entirely from Damien’s perspective. Enjoy.

***

This next part was written by Damien so that he could tell the story of his time in the Trump tower in his own words. I apologize in advance if his Britishness offends any of you.

While Minigan tried to convince Lady Caggiano to come out of the WC, GMZ handed me an ID card with my picture and the name, Aaron Matthews. He explained to me that the card would get me through the service entrance. He then handed me the flash drive with the program I was supposed to install, as well as well as a router that I was supposed plug into the server that ran all the security cameras. I hid both items in my tool belt, along a my miniature keyboard, a multihead screwdriver, some wire, an electric torch, and my mobile phone.

Then, lifting his heavy hold-all and placing it on top of what turned out to be Minigan’s ( for some reason, the loveable git Minigan decided that identical bags was a clever idea), Everett rummaged through the weapons hold-all and pulled out a tranquilizer gun, a Taser, some smoke bombs, a can of black spray paint, and a small plastic canister of knockout gas. As I hid them under my baggy blue polo shirt, which only then did the size make sense, Minigan began to rummage through what he thought was his bag, but turned out to be Everett’s and began his second argument with a teammate within two minutes. Everett took the bag away from Minigan and sat on in a corner, winking at me as he did so, confirming a promise that Everett made to me the day before.

See, after Minigan and I argued about how bloody stupid this mission was, Minigan told me that I could just stay at the base and stormed off to his room to mope. I was just about to unpack my things when Everett came up to me and begged me to come along. He promised me that if I came along, he would let me test out a new prototype of his. He also pointed out that I would be the best person to keep Minigan from doing anything rash, which, honestly, I didn’t need told to me. He wouldn’t tell me what it was then, but he told me that he wanted me more than anyone to test it out. On that promise, I agreed to come.

Minigan found his actual bag, and got what he needed out of it before he sent me off to do my job. Seeing as the poor bloke didn’t need another member of his team arguing with him, I gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder and wished them all luck as I exited the room.

I took the lift down to the main floor and briskly walked out the main doors and headed directly to the Trump Tower. As I was informed, the entrance I needed to use was on 56th street, right past the Trump Bar, because that bloody business man needs to have his name on everything, apparently. Once there I found steel door with a sign next to it that read,

Mailroom
590

IBM

Deliveries

Security

That was the door. I opened the door and was greeted by a gloomy hallway, a large electric fan, and a descending stairs. At the bottom of those stairs, I came face to face with a large and tough looking security guard. He was an older man, probably in his late forties, with a thick brown walrus like mustache, a wide, flat nose, and a pair of menacing grey eyes. Looking back, he kind of reminded me of Nick Offerman. I gave the man a friendly smile, showed him my fake ID badge, and explained in my best New Yorker accent (it might have been Bostonian- I cannot tell the two apart, honestly), that I was filling in for their regular I.T. guy, who was sick.

Without smiling, he snatched the card from my hand and studied it. After a few seconds, he handed it back to me and noted in his actual New York accent, that I was there early. I explained it off as me still having to get this one done early so that I could get another job done later that morning. He grumbled, which must have meant that he accepted that excuse, because he turned on his heels, strode down the hallway, and ushered me to follow using his index and middle fingers. I obliged.

We walked down the hallway and turned the first corner in stiff silence. I followed him, despite having memorized the path I was supposed to take, and the locations of the cameras and guards. After we had turned our third corner, passed the fourth camera, and our second guard, the security guard leading me explained how this building was a maze if you didn’t know where you were going. That was all that was said between us for the remainder of the time we zigzagged through the hallways to the lift. Intermittently, I would receive a text on my mobile letting me know when a team member had reached their position in the Atrium.

We reached the lift, and the large guard pressed one of his stubby, fat fingers into the down arrow button, and we waited. We didn’t talk; we just stared straight ahead of ourselves at the dented and scuffed lift doors. They opened, revealing the tiny lift car itself, and without a word we stepped inside. There wasn’t much to look at on the inside of the car: the walls were covered in coarse, beige, noise cancelling fabric, which was stained with what I hoped was coffee. At waist height, a resin handrail wrapped around the car, and the floor of the car was covered in a deep red carpet, which just concealed more coffee stains.   Once inside, he pressed the button for the floor I needed (it was marked “S”), the doors closed, and the lurch behind my navel told me that we had begun our trip down.

I was beginning to feel pretty at ease with making it to the security room when the guard’s walkie talkie crackled to life. A young and unconfident sounding man’s voice came on and asked someone named “Rome” where he was.

The security guard leading me grabbed his walkie talkie and answered that he was leading the I.T. guy (me) to the room with security’s server.

The young man on the other end replied, “Well, Mike, our regular I.T. guy is here and not sick at all, so who are you with?”

Security guard Rome turned to me, his face hardened with what was probably anger, and said, “I don’t know.”

Much faster than what I expected such a large man to be capable of, he pressed the emergency stop button on the lift’s control panel, and stepped between me and the door. The alarm buzzed over our heads, and I felt the lift car stop. He swung hard with his left fist. I ducked, narrowly missing the hook. Standing back up and with my hands behind my back, I grabbed the handrail, raised my legs in the air, and kicked him hard in the chest. He stumbled backwards into the doors. When he hit the doors, he hit them hard, and the entire car began to sway.

Almost instantly, he was coming back at me, swinging his heavy fists at me. The first one caught me in my jaw and knocked me down into the corner. I jumped back onto my feet just in time to take another punch to the face. That one spun me around. Before I could stop him, he had his hands on my shoulders and was about to ram me against the wall of the lift. I managed to run up the wall and somersault over his head. I kicked out my legs once I had passed over him and kick him into the wall again.

I landed on all fours, and jumped back to my feet before he could try to pin me down. I spun around and saw that he was slightly dazed, which gave me an opportunity to get out my tranquilizer gun. Unfortunately for me, my tool belt (which was totally necessary for this mission) was wrapped around my shirt, and I was unable to reach my gun without taking it off. Taking advantage of my distraction, the man grabbed me by the back of my neck and threw me against the wall. He pinned me. I head butted him with the back of my head.

He let go, stumbling backwards, clutching his nose, and groaning in pain. Quickly I spun around and threw a couple of punches at his face while reaching down my shirt from the neck to grab my gun.

He came back at me with even more vigor, and I was left on the defensive, trying to block his blows while still trying to free my tranquilizer gun. After only about a second, I was backed into the corner. A left jab of security guard Rome’s got me in the mouth, and I could taste the salty, metallic taste of blood leaking from my lip. With my hand still down my shirt, I charged at him, catching him off guard and ramming him in the stomach up against the opposite corner. My hand had my gun by the handle.

Then, GMZ’s voice came in over my earpiece to let me know that we had ten minutes before Trump was due to come out from his loft.

The announcement distracted me enough that Rome managed to grab hold of me and try to pin me to the wall. As soon as I was close enough, I planted my legs on the wall and pushed back. Rome stumbled backward and fell into the opposite wall. He hit the wall, and presumably the handrail, because we both tumbled to the ground. He groaned in pain as I freed myself from his grasp and my gun from my shirt. Despite his pain, the inhumanly tough security guard stood back up and dove at me.

I shot twice. Pampf. Pampf.

Somehow, I managed to get him in the neck both times, plus was able to get out of the way before he could tackle me. He fell to the floor with a heavy thud, and the entire lift shook. Shakily, the man climbed up onto all fours. Shit, that bloke was hard to take out. I kept my gun pointed at him as I circled around and pressed the emergency stop button, ceasing the buzz and starting the car back up. Rome did not attempt to get back up. The darts may not have knocked him out, but they did leave him dazed enough that when the lift stopped at my floor, I was able to rush out without him stopping me.

I watched the lift doors close, separating the incapacitated Rome and me, and then I took a deep breath and turned around. The hallways down here were brightly lit, but narrow, which meant I would be easy to spot and would have to rely on my tranquilizer gun and my close quarters combat skills. I wiped the sweat off of my forehead and then the blood away from my leaking lip as I rushed down the hallway and made the first left. At the end of that hallway, I saw a thin guard with short black hair waiting for me. He mumbled something into his walkie talkie and then began to run at me. Quickly, I reached into my shirt, grabbed one of my smoke bombs, pressed the activate button on it, and threw it. Within seconds, the hallway between us was filled with smoke. I ran at a full sprint down the hallway, listening past my own footsteps and heavy breathing for the guard’s. As soon as I reached where the smoke began, I held my breath and ran up the side of the wall, bracing myself with the other wall.

Without taking a breath, despite how much my body yearned for one, I crept along the hallway’s ceiling, perfectly parallel to the ground. I could hear the man’s footsteps, then his breathing. And then I could see his shape forming out of the smoke. He rushed under me, his truncheon raised into the air, missing my stomach by an a couple centimeters. Right when I was confident that he was far enough away for me to take a breath, the guard came rushing back, whipping his head from left to right.

He screamed, “Where are you!?”

He stood directly under me, completely unaware that the intruder wasn’t even a meter above his head. I bit my lip, just trying to keep myself from taking a breath. My lungs ached. By body was on fire. My head was swimming. The sweat on my palms was making it harder to stay up on the wall, and my muscles ached from both the effort of keeping my body up and the lack of oxygen. Unable to take it anymore, my body forced my lungs to expand and take a breath.

The man gasped when he heard the breath come from above him, but before he could do more than that, I let myself fall on top of him.

I knocked him to the ground and managed to slap the truncheon from his hand. The guard squirmed beneath me, his cries for help muffled by my chest. With a few swift punches to my sides, the guard managed to knock the wind out of me and push me off of him. He crawled away from me on all fours in the direction of his truncheon.

Gasping for air, I dove onto his legs and delivered a punch right to his right kidney. I then sat on his lower back, pulled out my tranquilizer gun, and shot a dart into his shoulder. He struggled for only a second or two, and was then rendered unconscious by the sedative in the darts.

I checked my watch. It was five before eight. Shit. Already, this mission had gone tits up, but I was still determined to reach the room with the security monitors. I pulled out my phone and sent a text to Minigan and GMZ to have Jessie stall Trump. Once the message was sent, I pocketed my phone and headed down the hallway, in what I thought was the right direction. A second later, GMZ’s voice came on the earpiece, telling Jessie to stall Trump.

I hurried to the corner and made the right. At the end of the hallway was a group of guards standing at the lift doors, helping a disoriented Rome to his feet. Shit, I went the wrong way. Before they could notice me, I ducked down the nearest hallway on the left. I quickly pulled out my mobile and called GMZ’s number. Before he had a chance to say anything, I explained the situation to Minigan.

As soon as I finished explaining, GMZ’s voice rang though my earpiece that he had a visual on Trump. Knowing how far away from the room I was, I decided to take a chance at being spotted and head there. I pulled out my gun and an extra smoke bomb through the neck hole in my shirt. Then, I stepped out from the hallway I was in and back into the one with the elevator. At a normal pace, one that wouldn’t draw attention for being too fast or too slow, I walked the opposite direction of the elevator to the hallway where I left the skinny security guard.

“There he is!” I heard Rome’s voice yell.

Jessie’s voice yelled in my ear to Trump. I ignored it, and instead sprinted around the corner, muttering the word, “shit.” Now back in the hallway I fought the skinny guard in, I sprinted away from the others’ echoing screams and footfalls.

I was still holding the mobile, just not up to my ear. And when I did put it back up, I heard Minigan’s panicked voice ask, “Do you think you’ll make it?”

The fog had dispersed a lot in the hallway, so from where I had stopped, I could easily see the guards chasing me turn the corner. I pressed the smoke bomb’s activation button, dropped it, and then fired several shots into the charging group of guards. Just before the curtain of thick, white smoke obscured them from my vision, I watched as the darts hit two of the guards and sent them to the floor. I turned onto my heels, and continued to sprint down the hallway, making sure to jump over the unconscious guard lying across the hallway floor.

I made it to the end of the hallway and turned right, when I responded to Minigan that I should be able to make it, But Jessie was going to have to plant that bug before I’d get to the security mainframe.

I was sprinting down the new hallway, which looked identical to the last three I had been in, minus the smoke bomb and lift, and I managed to make another left without incident. This hallway was short, and within a few seconds I had reached the end.

Minigan said that it was too late, and that Trump had left.

I made my final left, and was left facing a long hallway with the security door blocked by a dozen or so guards.

“Damnit” I said more to myself than to Minigan.

Minigan reassured me that we would have another chance to bug Trump. I quickly explained my situation and then hung up the phone. I was going to have to fight my way through these guys.

I sprinted at the nearest bloke, and at the last second ran up the wall. As I did, I hit him with a left hook, which was more like an uppercut from his perspective, and sent him up into the air. I jumped off the wall and kicked him in the chest, sending him crashing into another guard and the wall. The next guard raised his truncheon at me. I fired. The dart hit him in his shoulder. I jumped up, planted my hands on his shoulders, and flipped over his head. When my feet swung down, I made sure that they hit the backs of his knees. He fell on his face.

The next guard was ready for me, and swung his fist at my face. I dodged it, grabbed his head with my free hand, and brought my knee up to crush his nose. After three hits with my knee, the man fell to the floor. I dive tackled the guard behind the one whom I just kneed. Holding on to his shirt with one hand, I tumbled with him twice before letting him go and launching him with my feet into another guard. They both fell backwards, and as I ran past them, I fired a tranquilizer dart into both of their necks.

The next three guards had made a wall from themselves and charged at me all at once. I sprinted at them as well. As they crouched down to take me at my waist, I jumped over them, grabbed the middle by the head, and threw him to the ground. Then, I roundhouse kicked the bloke on my left into the wall. His head bounced off the hard white tile, and he fell to the ground. I spun around to the remaining guard, pointed my gun, and fired. Nothing, I was out of darts. The guard smiled, thinking that the situation had turned in his favor. That is, until I punched him hard in the face. He collapsed, unconscious on his fellow security guards. I sprinted at two more guards, jumped up, and kicked through their faces. They both flipped in the air, and landed on their chests.

The last obstacle was a single guard blocking the door. I stormed up to him, staring directly into his eyes, which were wide with horror.

“Move.” I commanded.

As if he was happy to help, He jumped out of the way and even held the door open for me.

I walked into the cramped security room, where a single, terrified looking security guard sat at the lone desk. He was pale, balding, and overweight. Despite not being in nearly as good condition to fight me as the over a dozen men I fought and beat before him, he bravely stood up and raised his fists. I smiled at him. He swung wild swings, each one missing me, and within seconds, I had his chest pinned against the desk and was removing his walkie-talkie and truncheon. I then lifted him over my head, carried him to the door, and threw him out and into the crowd of fresh security guards that had just arrived.

I slammed the door shut and locked it. Then, I broke off the wheels to the desk chair and wedged the chair under the knob. I took off my tool belt and placed it on the desk before taking out my can of spray paint and painting the square window on the door. It was one of those windows with the wires imbedded into the glass, so I was reassured that they wouldn’t be able to break through it if they tried.

With everyone on the outside of that door’s vision blocked from what I was up to, I went to the main computer, pulled out the router, the thumb drive and the keyboard. I looked up at the wall behind the monitor and saw that it was made entirely of telly screens, each one focusing on a different hallway or part of the atrium above me.

Curious as to where they were, I searched for my team. First, I found Derren on the monitor that was labeled “6th floor atrium-1.” He was casually leaning on the railing, looking down the Atruim to what my best guess was the waterfall. Then, I noticed the elevator doors on the floor I was on open and two more security guards stepped out. They were heading my direction.  A pounding on the door swiftly refocused me on the task at hand, and I plugged in the flash drive and began installing the software. As I waited for it to install, I stood up to plug the router into the server. That’s when I looked up and found Criss on one of the monitors. He was chatting with one security guard, and had his arm wrapped around the man’s shoulder, as if to hold him there. Criss then let go of him and placed his hand on the guard’s forehead.

Forgetting momentarily about the router, I watched the monitor as the security guard that was talking to Criss rose into the air, followed by a second security guard that tried to pull him back down.

“What the bloody shit is going on up there?!” I muttered to myself, not knowing if this was supposed to be a distraction or how it was supposed to help at all.

I continued to watch in amazement and mild irritation as Criss did something to a third security guard’s arm which caused him to rise up as well.

Not sure of what else to do, I grabbed the walkie-talkie I took off of the portly guard, and posing as a guard in the Atrium, I explained to the rest of the guards how there was a psychotic magician holding three other security guards hostage. One guard replied that he and some others would check it out, and from behind the door, I heard some of the men rush off. Knowing that the remaining men would continue to try to break through the door, and seeing that Criss had let the terrified security guards down, I knew that I didn’t have much time left to install the program and the router.

Replacing the belt around my waist, I rushed to the server, which GMZ had described as a large black metal box that that would go up to the ceiling, and opened the front panel. The inside of the server was a jungle of different colored wires. I pulled out my mobile, and pulled up the directions that GMZ and written for me.

  1. Plug Ethernet cable into both server blade 1 (the computer at the top of the chassis) and router.Check.
  2. Plug USB cable from Router into USB port on server blade 1Check.
  3. Install NIC (Network Interface Card) onto side of server blade 1 (use screwdriver and flashlight)OK. I think I did that one right.
  4. Connect the WAN (Wide Area Network) to the SAN (Server Area Network) via router (Use “Enter” and “Shift” on Keyboard)…OK, I didn’t really understand that one, but I plugged in the keyboard and did just that. The router light turned green, so I think it worked.
  5. Hide Router above server blade 1Done.
  6. Establish connection between user interface dataport and RAM server portal.What the bloody Hell does that mean?
  7. Just kidding. You’re done.That bloody nutter really needed to find better occasions to insert random jokes for us.

Once I finished adding new labels to the door panel of the server to throw off anyone who would be checking after I was gone, and then I closed the Server. The men outside were no longer pounding on the door, but I could hear them planning their next move and I could see their shadows from the crack under the door.

I checked on the software. It still had about a minute. The guards outside of the door got quiet for a second. I watched as their shadows melted away from the crack of the door. Something wasn’t right. I looked to the wall of monitors. There were about twenty guards outside the door, each one with their backs against the wall to let one through. It was Rome, and I could tell by the twisted look on his red face that he was furious. In his hands was a long metal pipe with a handle and a flat square welded to one end. It was a battering ram.

Acting quickly, I took some superglue that was in the desk and glued my knockout gas canister to the carpet. I then took a length of metal wire from a pocket on my tool belt, and tied one end to the pin of the canister, and the other to the doorknob. I checked the computer. 30 more seconds. Trying to think of another way to distract them from what I’ve installed, I grabbed a stack of important looking papers and threw them in the shredder. Then, using my spray paint, I drew a smily face on the floor around the knockout gas, making it look like the canister was in its mouth.

The computer pinged just as a loud metal “clang” rang out from the door. Without checking on the program, I pulled the flash drive out of the computer, pocketed it, and gathered my belongings. Then, I removed the chair from under the door.

“CLANG”

The whole door shook that time. It wasn’t going to last much longer. I closed out of the program (GMZ said that it would connect to his computer automatically if the router was installed), and looked for a means to excape.

After a few seconds and another collision between the door and the Rome’s battering ram, I decided that through the ceiling was my best option. Granted, at the time, it was my only option; there were no windows in the room, and the only door was about to be broken through by an impressively resilient security guard. I climbed onto the desk and up through one of the square ceiling panels.

“CLANG”

It was pitch black inside. I pulled out my torch and turned it on. I replaced the panel and gingerly crawled across the rafters with the torch in my mouth, its narrow beam illuminating only a half meter or so in front of me.

“CLANG”

As quietly and as softly as I could, I climbed over the cinderblock wall that separated the security room from the hallway. I found my footing on the steel rafter, and began it inch along it once again. I was maybe five meters away from the door when I heard another “Clang.” It was followed by the crash of the door swinging open and hitting the wall, and then by the hiss of the knockout gas.

I paused and listened as the hissing was momentarily drowned out by screaming. Several muffled “thuds” told me that the knockout gas did the trick, and the guards were left unconscious. Feeling that my distraction was a success, I started moving again, this time with a little bit more confidence and speed. And that’s when I slipped.

I managed to wrap my legs around the I-beam when my torso fell over the side, and that just kept me from falling through the ceiling. I hung from the beam, upside down and swinging side to side, with my head touching the ceiling panel at the bottom of the arc. As soon as my body stopped swinging back and forth, I swung my body forward and grabbed onto the top of the beam. But the beam was so dusty that I couldn’t keep my grip, and my legs slipped as well.

I felt the soft ceiling panels crumble beneath me as I fell. The world of darkness was instantly invaded by the blinding fluorescent lighting of the hallway. And I fell hard on my side. I heard a soft crack of plastic from somewhere beneath my thigh, and from above me, more pieces of ceiling tile crumbled and fell. One of the metal brackets that hold the tile came down and sliced my cheek. After a second or two, I could feel a warm drop of blood run down my wound to my jaw. My whole body ached, but I heard screaming from somewhere behind me, so I forced myself up and sprinted the rest of the way down the hallway. As I ran, I felt something hard bounce off my left leg. It was half of GMZ’s key board, connected to its other half by a single wire. GMZ was going to be furious.

I made the right into the short hallway, when smoke started pouring out of my shirt, because life’s a bloody bitch sometimes. During my fall, I must’ve activated the smoke bombs. Now leaving a noticeable trail to follow for my pursuers, I ran down the short hallway with my hand reaching down my smoking shirt and my torch still in my mouth.

I made it to the next hallway, where I had to turn right again. Grabbing as many of the smoke bombs as I could, I pulled them out of my shirt and threw them to the left. I made the right and started running again, this time using my free hand to stow my torch back in my belt. I grabbed the remaining few smoke bombs out of my shirt and threw them ahead of me. I then turned left down the hallway where I fell on the one guard. The smoke had cleared, and the guard was gone, but in their place was another two guards charging at me.

The first guard ran at me, upright and with his truncheon raised in the air. Once I got close enough, I dropped. I slid on my knees right up to him, and then grabbed both of his legs as I jumped back to my feet, effectively flipping him over my head. The second bloke ran at me the same as the first. Instead of flipping him, I quickly stopped, stepped to the side as he passed. In his moment of confusion as he passed me, I grabbed onto his shirt and swung him around. He ran face first into the hard, white wall, and then fell on his back dazed and with a bloody nose. From behind me, I could hear the yelling of the security guards that weren’t knocked out by the gas, and I knew I needed to get to the elevator.

I started sprinting again, and within seconds, I had reached the end of the hallway and made my final right. In the distance, I could see the lift. The doors were closed. Thinking quickly, I pulled out GMZ’s destroyed keyboard and ripped it the rest of the way apart. Knowing I would only have two chances at this, I sprinted down the hallway toward the lift with a piece of the keyboard in each hand. The guards, I think there was two of them, turned the corner and chased after me, screaming for me to stop. They were gaining on me. I didn’t stop. Once I got close enough, I threw the keyboard like a Frisbee at the lift button. The half of the key board spun through the air, down the hallway and at the lift door. It missed the button, and instead shattered on the wall to the right. The pursuing guards’ footsteps grew louder in my ear. I threw the second half. Luckily, I managed to hit the button this time, and the lift doors opened immediately.

I pumped my legs as hard as I could, but I could still tell that the men were getting closer. I took a deep breath and dove at the lift doors. I spun over right before I hit the ground and slid into the lift car. I then hit the door close button with my feet. The two furious looking security guards vanished as the doors closed, and their images were replaced by the sound of their fists pounding on the other side of the doors. Taking a deep breath, I quickly climbed to my knees and pressed the button labeled “G.” For a second, the car moved, and I thought I was going to get out, but it abruptly stopped after moving less than a meter.

The banging on the door, now just slightly lower, sounded louder. They had opened the lift shaft doors. I pulled out my screwdriver, and shoved the back of it into the door close button, breaking it, and hopefully buying me some time to think of a plan of escape. After about a minute, I heard more yelling come from outside the doors, and my heart, which barely had a break since the last time I was in this lift, was pounding again. I paced the width of the tiny car, my mind racing with increasingly stupid and desperate escape methods. Without a canister of knockout gas to take out most of them, I would never be able to take on a bunch of guards at once.

In frustration, I grabbed the sides of my head and looked up. Bloody hell, the access door in the ceiling! How could I be such a git and forget about that? I jumped up and pushed open the door. With another jump, I managed to grab onto the outside of the lift. I struggled for a few seconds to find a good grip with my sweaty palms, but once I did, I climbed out of the car and shut the access door behind me. It was dark in the lift shaft. Not as dark as when I was crawling in the ceiling, mind you, but still dark. The air was cool and smelled of industrial lubricant, and other than the unmuffled chatter of the security guards, the tall lift shaft sat with a heavy silence. I quickly located the nearest wall mounted ladder and began climbing up it when my mobile rang. It was Lady Caggiano. I answered it before the guards could hear it coming from the shaft and realize that I was out of the lift car.

Lady Caggiano explained to me that there was an air duct three floors up that would end right outside of the door I used to enter the building. She warned me that the path would be confusing, but as long as I followed the path of fresh air, I should make it out alright. I hung up my mobile and then turned it off, ensuring me that there wouldn’t be any more ringing giving away my position. If they needed to contact me, they could contact me through my earpiece. Except, that’s when I noticed something was off. I dug my index finger into my right ear, the ear where my earpiece should be. Nothing. Well shit. It must’ve fallen out when I fell through the ceiling.

Deciding that then wasn’t the best time to be hard on myself about losing my earpiece, I hurredly climbed the ladder, up three floors like Lady Caggiano stated, and then used my screwdriver to remove the grate from the air duct. I stuck my head inside the rectangular tube. It was pitch black inside, but despite the darkness, I could feel how cramped it was going to be. Tight spaces like that always make me feel uncomfortable, as if I was being buried alive, but I bet my lower lip and climbed in.

Once I was inside, I pulled out my torch, turned it on, and began crawling on my belly through the narrow ventilation duct. I moved slowly through the ducts, trying to make absolutely no sound that would be detectable to anyone near a vent. I tried to follow what little fresh air I felt, but my discomfort and my heavy breathing only made the air thicker. I crawled along like this for an hour before I had to stop. The discomfort of being stuck in such a tight space was slowly creeping into panic attack territory, and as soon as I found a vent, I pressed my face against the grate and took several deep breaths of cool air. I lied there for a while just taking deep breaths and focusing on the hallway beyond the vent grate.

Right as I was about to continue my trek to the outside, I heard footsteps. I pulled my face away from the grate and watched two security guards meet.

“So, you have any news about the perp?” the first one, whose voice I recognized as the one who tipped off Rome, asked.

“Nah,” the second one replied, “The camera in the elevator showed him pacing back and forth, but when we finally got the doors open, he was gone.”

“Gone?”

“Yep, gone. We figured he must’ve escaped through the access door in the ceiling, but we’re not sure where to or how long he had been gone. He must’ve rigged the security cameras somehow so that he could slip by undetected.”

The first guard then asked, “So what did he want anyway?”

“Apparently the only thing that was different in the control room was that Doug’s novel had been shredded. You know, that awful novel Doug has been writing about kids with super powers? Yeah. That one. It’s destroyed.”

“Oh shit.”

“I know. Doug was devastated. But it’s for the best probably. Like I said, the novel was terrible. No one was gonna want to read that anyway.”

“You’re probably right,” the first guard replied. His tone then got brighter when he asked, “Hey, I’m having a cookout this weekend at my house. Do you want to come?”

The second one replied, “I’d love to man, but I have to start packing my shit and looking for a new apartment. Old man Trump just bought my apartment complex and is forcing everyone out.”

“No shit? Why’s he doing that?”

“He wouldn’t say,” the second one answered, “But the letter I got said that I had until July to be outta there.”

“That really sucks, man” the first one replied, “let me know if you need help moving or something.”

“Sure.”

And with that, the two men passed each other and continued to their destinations and I clenched my teeth at the thought of having to admit that Minigan was right all along. That bloody tosser wouldn’t let me live it down.

I continued to crawl along the ventilation ducts for about another hour or so before I began to feel the claustrophobia kick back in. Maybe it was because I was desparate, but just as I reached a cross section in the cuts, I felt a breeze come from my right. Excited to finally feel fresh air, I rushed as best I could down that duct. My feelings of excitement were extinguished after about a minute when I began to feel the bottom and sides of the duct become sticky. The more I pressed onward, the tackier the metal got, and the more the air smelled like grease you use to fry chips with. I kept going. The further on I pressed, however, the more the sticky substance, which I decided must have been cooking grease, rubbed on my already dirty and probably bloody clothes. I began feeling bumps in the grease, and with close inspection with my torch, I deduced were corpses of flies looking for food. I would have started backing up then if it wasn’t for the light at the end of the duct. I was so excited to see it that I didn’t even care that it was coming up from the bottom instead of from right in front of me, and it wasn’t until I got  to the end that I realized that I had wandered into the ventilation ducts for a kitchen. Through the vent and past the fan I could see the griddle and burners of an industrial sized cooker.

With my hands on either side of the grate, I lowered my head to listen for anyone in the kitchen. Silence. Relieved, I began to lift the grate, when the whole vent gave in to my weight and dropped me onto the cooker. With a loud clang, I bounced off the top and onto the red stone tiled floor. That fall hurt much worse than when I fell through the ceiling, probably because my head landed right on one of the metal burners.

As casually as I could, I stood up, walked out of the kitchen, past the terrified wait staff that were setting up for the day, and out the front doors. As soon as I was outside, I looked around and realized that I was a mere ten meters from where I entered and that I had just exited the Trump Bar. And with that, I ran back to the hotel and up the stairs (I dealt with enough elevators for one day, I think) to our room to tell everyone what I had heard.

***

Damien finished telling his story, and then I told him about Trump’s conversation in the elevator. Damien grumbled something about me being right, and then the limey prick (yes, I read what he wrote. The douche called me a git) went to shower off the dirt, blood, sweat, and grease off of himself.

I turned to the rest of the group and said, “OK, well it looks like we’re going to have to force Trump to stop his plans then.”

“What are you thinking?” Criss asked.

“Well, we’re gonna have to break in,” I answered, “but I’m not sure how…”

“The roof!” GMZ chimed in as he spun in the desk chair to his computer. We all looked at him as he began to bring up images of the Trump Tower’s jagged triangle roof. He continued, “The rooftop of the Trump Tower is a private space for the building’s tenants. If you guys scale the building and reach the roof, you can take the staircase down to Trump’s penthouse.” He continued to type feverishly on his computer. After about ten seconds, he added, “Damn- that might not work.”

“Why?” I asked.

“The doors to the roof from the penthouse are kept locked, and they have a key code lock that can only be turned off from inside the Penthouse.”

“What if we blow them doors open with some of Everett’s explosives?” Nut’n Fancy asked.

GMZ shook his head no, “The doors are made of reinforced steel, and the only explosive that would open them would kill all of you in the process. We would need to get someone into his Penthouse in order to open the door.”

“Who?” Everett asked, his cheek swollen and black and blue from being thrown out of the Trump Tower, “They’ve seen all of our faces. We’ll be immediately recognized.”

“Not all of our faces,” I replied with a smirk as I and the rest Awesomesquad! looked to Lady Caggiano.

“No,” she stated, “Not if I’m going to have to wear this.”

“Well, that’s unfortunate,” I bluntly replied, “Because you are going to break into Trump’s loft, and you are going to wear that to get up to it.”

“But why this, Minigan?” she asked as she waved her hands at the outfit she had been wearing, “How is this going to help me get into Trump’s apartment?”

“Not Trump’s apartment,” I answered, “The Atrium. The atrium is open to the public until 10:00PM. And since they had some serious security breaches today, you can bet that they won’t let just any random person in if there. If you show up as a lost schoolgirl, however, the guards will be more willing to help.”

Lady Caggiano looked at herself in the mirror over the dresser and then cried, “But I can’t wear this into the Atrium! I look like a slightly less slutty Britney Spears!”

“Nah. You don’t look like Britney Spears,” I reassured her,” you don’t have the boobs for it.”

Offended, lady Caggiano retorted, “Excuse me, but I have exquisite boobs, thank you very much.” Then, she continued, “But I still don’t see how the guards are going to want to do anything other than hit on me with me wearing this.”

“Fine,” I said, “We’ll fix it.”

I tried to undo the knot she tied in the dress shirt, but she slapped them away. I tried again, this time grabbing tight to the knot so that she couldn’t stop me. I undid the knot in her dress shirt and let the bottom fall over her stomach. I buttoned the buttons, and as soon as I did I told her to tuck the shirt into the skirt.

“But how will doing that make me look like a slutty schoolgirl?” she asked.

“You weren’t supposed to look slutty- this is just a regular school girl’s costume!”

“It would’ve saved us a lot of time if you told her that earlier,” GMZ burted.

“Then why is the boarding school I’m supposed to be from called, ‘Bimbonia Academy?!’” She snapped. After a brief pause, she added, “Also, what GMZ said.”

I looked at the name sewn into the sweater and then back to her face. It absolutely did say Bimbonia Academy, not Bim Bonia Academy like I thought. “That,” I argued poorly, “Is just an unfortunate coincidence.”

She glared at me. Obviously, she didn’t believe me, but she didn’t argue. Just then, Damien stepped out of the bathroom looking much less haggard than what he did when he arrived.

“So,” he asked, “What’s the plan?”

“We’re going to climb up the side of the Trump Tower, and wait there while Lady Caggiano breaks into Trump’s loft and lets us in,” I answered confidently.

Damien sighed as he scratched the back of his bald head and said, “There’s, ah, just so many stupid things about that plan.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Well,” he replied, “First of all, why do we need to scale a 58 story skyscraper when we have a perfectly good helicopter that could fly us up?”

That was actually a good point. “Jessie,” I asked, “Could you drop us off on the roof?”

“I don’t think I can, Minigan,” he replied, “The flying permit I got to fly low over New York is only for a thirty minute flight. I wouldn’t be allowed to fly you guys there and then wait around until you were done.”

“Well, shit.” Damien and I said simultaneously. Damien, undeterred then continued with his list of objections, “You guys said that he was preparing for us and that he wanted us all shot if we tried to break in, so how does Lady Caggiano stand a chance between all those armed guards when she’s only going to be wearing a school girl outfit?”

“Yeah!” Lady Caggiano added.

I pondered that question for a minute, and looked around the room for inspiration. When I spotted Lady Caggiano’s hot pink suitcase, the one she insisted on using instead of the black duffle bags I bought the rest of the group, I had it.

“Here’s what Lady Caggiano will do, She’ll use her suitcase to carry her bullet proof vest and weapons with her. Once she gets into the elevator, she’ll change into her battle gear.” I turned to Damien and asked, “So, the knockout gas really worked for you?”

“Absolutely,” he replied, “It took out at least eight men at once.”

“Good. Lady Caggiano, take a gas mask and two canisters of it, just in case. Use one as soon as you get into Trump’s loft to knock out as many guys as you can. Save the other one in case you need to escape.”

I looked at my watch, it was 6:30. We still had three and a half hours until the atrium closed, and another hour after that before we could start the mission. Jessie, Derren, and Everett gathered up all the bags we wouldn’t need, and took them down to the lobby. Jessie and Derren were going to load up the Awesomecopter, and Everett claimed that he had something important to do at the airport as well, but he would be back before 10:00.

Feeling the pangs of hunger for the first time since this morning, GMZ and I also left to bring back some food for the group. We got a bunch of subs from a nearby deli, brought them back to the hotel and the remaining six of us ate and plotted out the best way to climb a 52 story building in the middle of New York City. If this morning was any indication, tonight wasn’t going to go anything like what we had planned.

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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