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Date: Unknown

Location: A prison 


"Do you know the history of Ethiopia, 'Weekend'?" 


It was the first time the man in red had spoken, his face hidden behind a dizzying shimmer of digital distortion. The voice was deep, yet soft and mild, accented with the rolling vowels and curt consonants of another country. He smelled faintly acrid, like dusty books and ruins. He dressed finely, with an air of not just wealth but aristocratic and elegant bearing.


The others hadn't said anything, but even so Roland could feel their presence. 


That is, they were tightly clustered behind the chair Roland was tied to, thick, gem-studded manacles binding his hands and feet together and behind the chair legs. He could feel and hear their breath, the slight shifting as they adjusted their feet, the rattle and clatter of something metal all of them carried in their hands. All of them started fidgeting the moment the man in red started talking. 


"Once, the kingdom of Shewa was a power that could defy even the Emperor. Even when Tewodros the Second defeated their Negus the region rose again and again in revolt. The Emperor settled their capital at Barara, the Negus' old seat, to claim that man's power and legitimacy for his own. The prince of Shewa, Menelik, became Emperor of Ethiopia in his own turn, a final insult to the pretender and his brood who thought they could take power with fire and sword."


"I tell you this to remind you, sir, that what you have taken from us will soon be returned. My wise sister says "Wait." I say "Now", and no stripling boy untried by arms will defy me, not even in this, the seat of your pallid, wasting, leprous might."


"In a few minutes our getaway vehicle will arrive and you will accompany me back to Africa. I cannot promise you such charming accommodations as this, but in time you might learn to accept gnawing, endless hunger and the surety that every chance to escape is a sham of my creation."


The man in red held up the suitcase Weekend Man had, seemingly moments ago, been taking from the hands of a bunch of animal-themed robbers who had snuck into an ASTRO Lab wing. "Are you aware of the significance of daka crystals, Weekend?"


This time, he paused and waited for an answer.

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"Alien element based fuel source for several super sciences? Found in East Africa? Guess I do know a little bit.He says, laughing weakly.


"But I guess that wouldn't be much of a surprise, considering that many people who use the crystals are also publicly known figures."


He knew he wasn't getting out of this unscathed at the very least, but looks like these people are trying to recreate that old kingdom. That or their hoarders wanting this crystal for themselves. Either works for him.

Edited by Mafia Whale
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The man in red bristled "It's significance, Weekend, is that it is why my kingdom has survived. Why my people were able to escape the depredations of European invasion. Its value is in cementing my foothold in the land I was meant to rule." The man in red tossed the suitcase to one of the men behind Roland.


"And do not think I miss your threat, Weekend. A little here, a sprinkle there, and soon all of it will be gone and in my hands. They are very public figures, yes. Which will make their loss of Dakana's stolen treasure all the sweeter. I have already stolen all of daka to be found in the rest of this country. Once I have ensured your powers will serve me, I can gather the rest at my leisure. Another year will be nothing."


Despite the shimmering mask, Roland vaguely picked up a frown. "Do not underestimate your value, Weekend. If you knew how much suffering could be undone by turning the course of a river, even that tourist Tsunami wouldn't waste her time thrashing brigands and drug-addled meta-criminals. Once the repairs to your brain patterns are complete, you will forget about these paltry dreams of crime-fighting and bend your powers to the service of the weak. As I have."


"Men, your Lion will return shortly. There is brief business to be concluded downstairs. Keep your eyes on the prisoner."


With a curt nod, the man in red stepped out of the room and marched down the hall, soon out of eye and earshot.


"What a clown," Roland heard one of the men behind him mutter "What else would we do?"

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"Fancy looking manacles. Though why all the gems in them? Guess they got some purpose. Now, what's your employer like? How is he going to take over? And would he share the crystals?"

As he says this, he begins to fidget a little in his seat, but not in the way that he was trying to get out of the manacles, but to rather subtly signal that he needed to go. He didn't need to, but it was worth a shot.

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One of the crew, a stocky and brawny fellow with a red grinning wolf mask, sidled a little into Roland's field of view, favouring the bound hydrokinetic with a sour eye. "The 'gems', as you term them, are crystalline formations growing from the manacles' absorption field. In due time, they will entirely cover your hands and carry on the device's work indefinitely. And if you need to urinate, sir, please be so good as to say so. This American vague insinuation business is intolerable."


Hoisting Roland, chair and all, over one broad shoulder, the man told his fellows "Back in a bit. Need one other. Fox?" The fox-mask nodded, and the two fell in step out the door and into the building beyond. 


It was all grey corridors, beige walls and white doors with bare teal carpet. Some windows were passed, all papered over so whether it was day or night was impossible to tell. All Roland could hear besides the breathing and footsteps of his guards was a faint thrum of power running through the walls.


Stopping before a pair of doors identical to every other pair they had passed on the way, wolf and fox released Roland from the chair and led him inside a strikingly clean restroom. All green and gold with antelopes on the walls. 

Stopping outside a stall, wolf took out a coin. "Heads or tails?"

Fox paused, weighed his options. "Heads."

"Your skin, not mine." Wolf flipped the coin into the air and caught it on the way down, slapping it onto his other wrist.' He sighed.

"...Heads. Wait out in the hall, I'll shout if anything happens."

"Got it."


Wolf let Roland into the stall, closed the door after him and barked "Well, get on with it. Your fingers still work."

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"All right, will do." He did as commanded, pulling down his pants. Then he started his big bluff, at first grunting quietly, then steadily increasing his volume until it sounded like he was screaming at the top of his lungs. He was trying to mimic constipation, so that he would have a bit longer to get himself out of his cuffs.


While he was screaming, he was fiddling with his cuffs to the best of his ability.

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  • 3 weeks later...



"Well that does it."


Barging into the stall, Wolf picked up Roland by the neck with one hand, a knee with the other and began to furiously shake him up and down. "This would never happen if you people spent a fiftieth of your military budget on your food supply! Honestly! Fruit and vegetables could be a universal right in a country this wealthy, but no! You cram yourselves full of bread and meats and other materials never meant for human consumption! This foolery will ruin you all!"


"You alright in there?" Fox called from outside

"Yes! Fine! Just an unexpected complication, ignore any sounds you may hear, it's all fine, nothing is ruined!"

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  • 1 month later...



With a WHAM the man in the wolf's-head mask bounced off the ceiling, collapsing in a boneless heap that took off the bathroom stall door at the hinges, the whole pile crashing the ground in a cacophany that didn't go unnoticed.


"Wolf! You there? What's going on?" 


The man's belt was stuffed with bits of super-tech that Roland couldn't begin to understand, though a few had been demonstrated shortly before his sudden defeat and capture during the "robbery". One had the general shape of a key, and had been in the eagle-mask's hand when the crew was clustered around the ASTRO Lab's vault.


Before he could try and use it, however, the door burst open to admit the fox-mask, who took one look and launched into action with a bicycle kick that sent Roland crashing into a wall and briefly seeing stars.


"You'll pay for that, brute!" Fox roared, dropping into stance for another deadly blow!

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