Eve of the Hurricane|
Tuesday night. Two days from now.
We had two days to prepare for an invasion by 'drones'. And I don't think Beck meant men in gray suits with paperwork.
"Can you truly trust Mr. Beck?" Norman asked as both men inventoried the weapons in the hangar while Norman's crew continued their study of Dorothy One.
"In this instance, I can," Roger replied.
"Recall that he had attempted to frame you for kidnapping, as well as kidnap, kill, and embarrass you."
"It's changed now," Roger assured him. "Beck's not happy about being under Rosewater's thumb. He would rather be his own evil and not someone else's."
"Yes, that makes sense," Norman agreed.
"Still," Roger mused as he checked cartridges for the automatic machine guns. "I wonder if he was also involved in Gordon Rosewater's project ... according to his profile, he's only a few years younger than me and yet he evidently has memories of knowing how a Megadeus works ... he also seems to have a counterpart from Dorothy Prime's videodisk." Roger's eyes lifted to meet Norman. "Norman, it was implied in the video that the Machinae - I guess they're called - the Engineers, would have some sort of intimate knowledge of each Big."
"You mean one specific person to be the head engineer of a Megadeus just the same as they appear to have one specific pilot, sir?"
"Yeah." Roger leaned on the gun he had picked up to clean. "For Big O - Big Omega - you and me ... "
"And Mistress Dorothy," Norman reminded him. "Big O has allowed her full-access to his programs and ... thoughts."
Roger nodded. "So, what about Big Duo? I've pretty much gathered Michael Seebach - the man behind Schwarzwald - is the Dominus of Duo. And if what Angel said is correct, this Vera Ronstadt is his Machina. Luckily, they don't seem to get along as well as we do."
"Thank the heavens for small favors, sir."
"Are there anymore Bigs? And what of the lesser Megadeuses?"
"The ghost case from several months back, sir," Norman reminded him. "The Megadeus that Mr. Frasier had found."
Roger flashed back on the incident. "Yeah, you're right. He said he had been rescued by Osrail, then his memories came flooding back." He cleaned the gun."But Bonnie was barely ten years older than me, still too young to have been the original Dominus ... and there wasn't even a model like Osrail on the disk ... "
Roger and Norman's eyes met.
Norman closed his eye. " Do you wish to speculate further along this line?"
Roger shook his head vehemently. "No." He continued cleaning. "We also now have 'Big Fau' which Beck had mentioned. On the disk, Jason Beck was the Machina of 'Big Faust'. Dorothy is convinced Fau's Machina is Beck, but that still doesn't answer why Beck is disinterested in working on Fau if he is the Machina."
"It appears that he loathes predestination just as much as you do, sir."
Roger gave the old man a Look, which Norman dutifully ignored.
The elevator dinged and the doors open, revealing Dorothy and Tami.
Dorothy was clad in her usual tight black mini-dress …
"That's bright," Roger commented as he looked up at Tami.
Tami twirled around in the electric blue dress with lots of ruffles, showing off the flying hem effect. "I like it, Mister Roger! Miss Dorothy says it's just the thing for growing girls - never enough color!"
Roger raised an eyebrow toward Dorothy. "Broken rule ... "
Dorothy wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his ear. "She is not living here, my love, so the black rule does not apply to her. Besides, she refuses to wear what she calls 'mourning clothes' because her grandfather made her promise not to. I could not argue with a belief held so firmly."
"Excused for now," he replied. "Found anyone for her yet?"
"I will be interviewing candidates tomorrow in the parlor while you and Norman work on the security systems in the penthouse. I met Cassandra Neuwirth while out shopping and Tami asked to see the theatre, so Cassandra will be looking after her tomorrow."
"That's good ... Hey, why doesn't Cassandra - "
"She is an actress. She doesn't keep a steady schedule, and a child needs stability. By the way, she says we're having a boy."
Roger rolled his eyes. "Of course we are, considering how you explained the cloning process to me."
"And she says that my second month is going to be the roughest for you."
Roger felt uneasy, as he always did when Cassandra's words smacked of predestiny. "It's almost time for dinner - why don't you toss something together for us? Nothing fancy since we'll be working most of the night."
Dorothy nodded. "I'll take Tami with me." She looked around and found Tami staring up at Big O's silent face.
Dorothy approached her. "Come along. We need to make dinner."
Tami clasped her hands behind her back. "He looks like he sat on a pin cushion."
"Excuse me?" Dorothy asked, hearing a faint chuckle in the back of her mind.
Tami pointed at Big O's face. "He looks too serious. And he looks like Mr. Roger, too." She looked up at Dorothy. "So, Mr. Roger is the Dominus of Omega?"
Dorothy found herself blinking, which surprised her. "How do you know that?"
Tami giggled and gripped her hand. "He said so. Let's make dinner, I'm hungry."
Dorothy allowed Tami to pull her to the elevator as she gazed back at Big O who seemed to smirk slightly.
A trick of the light, Dorothy told herself. I know you cannot really smirk with your faceplate.
' ... if you say so ... ' said a ghost of a whisper behind her.
Dorothy looked back over her shoulder at Big O, her eyes narrowing in suspicion. But the great Megadeus was as immobile as a statue.
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