The door slammed open, a dark shape slid inside and the door slammed shut just as quickly as it had opened. As their eyes reacclimatised to the gloom, the shape resolved into that of a tall man, long hair spilling down his bearded face as he pulled off his cap. Without a word he hung his leather trench coat on a hook on the back of the door and held his finger to his lips, staring into the women's eyes.
Moments later, the light of a flashlight streamed in through the windows and rustling could be heard outside, some kind of argument.
"This is unit 3 to control, we lost the target. Requesting further instructions."
There was a muffled response from a radio, something the 3 individuals couldn't quite make out. Another, different voice spoke up.
"Maybe we could explore, check things out?"
"That sounds like creative thinking, private!" the first voice spat, "We follow orders, without question or thought. Is that clear?"
"Y-Yes, sir, Captain sir!"
"Good, one more word like that from you and you'll be heading to the Furnace with the rest of the rebels and the books they love so much."
The radio muttered again.
"Orders say return to base. They want us to bring back the one we did capture immediately. They are hoping he might have information on Nick."
"Nick, sir? But he's just a..." the voice quickly stopped himself mid-sentence.
"What was that private? A story? A myth, perhaps? Accusing our leaders of peddling that filth, that..." he paused, saying the word with venomous contempt, "fiction!? That's sounds like treason to me, Private Addams!"
"N-No sir! What I was going to say is that, that..." the voice stuttered, "I was going to say that it's great news sir! Great news!"
"Indeed private. Run along and see to the truck."
"Sir! Yes sir!"
The sound of feet running faded into the distance. "Captain Grey to control. Reporting Private Addams as a possible collaborator. Questioned authority, engaged in creative thinking. Recommend the furnace, over."
The sound of feet moving started up again and faded away.
The man nodded to the others, holding up his finger for another ten minutes until the sound of a truck starting up and driving away faded into a tense silence. Breaking the tension, he breathed a sigh of relief.
"What was that, Dark? You almost led them to us!" Gwen remonstrated.
The man shrugged at the complaint and examined his cap disdainfully. "Man, I hate hats, but it's a necessary evil. Being different means being creative means the furnace and I'll be damned if The Man is gonna make me cut my hair." He said, his deep voice and British accent echoing in the dusty room.
He threw the cap into a dusty corner of the room and looked at the two women.
"Sorry about that, it couldn't be helped and for your information Gwen, they were already here. I wasn't the one they lost track of. Look, I had to get here, I have some important news. We failed the last mission."
A look of frustration and defeat crossed their faces.
"What happened?" Asheyna asked.
"I don't know. They passed the bill, it's now an offence to even own a thesaurus. Only government approved words are legal now."
"According to the law, you just made yourself a traitor. Ridiculous isn't on the list."
"So what do we do now?"
"I dunno, some of the other cells are pushing for a departure from non-violent means but I don't agree, not yet anyhow. One thing is certain though. This place is no longer safe. Their Antagonists will put two and two together and have this area searched. Damn them, they're the real traitors."
Dark Liquid, or Dark as everyone called him for short, not knowing his real name, reserved a special place in his heart for the hatred he had for the Antagonists. The governments crack down on intelligence and creativity wasn't going to work without some intelligence and creativity behind it. That was the Antagonists, people who betrayed everything that made humanity great by destroying everything that they were themselves. They were the ultimate hypocrites, the worst of humanity. No, they weren't even human, they'd lost the right to be called that. They were scum, pure and simple and a fiery hatred burnt in his heart whenever he thought of their betrayal.
Dark Liquid checked his watch. It would be dawn soon.
"Look, unless you two have anything to report, we'd best get moving now. You aren't expecting anyone else are you?"