Banjo stood outside the dome and looked up toward the pinnacle of the construct. The prefabricated building was the third biggest within the colony and only one of two which had two levels. Banjo gazed at the metallic paneling which ran across the dome's outer surface and glanced around at the other dome's close to the large building and marveled at the resilience of the colony since their arrival on this world. He paused, with his hand hovering over the door and wondered whether he should knock or just walk in and decided against the former choosing to push roughly at the door. He stepped across the threshold of the dome and looked through the darkness into the interior of the building and as his eyes became accustomed to the gloom, Banjo could make out the form of several figures scattered around the room. He took several steps into the room and cast his gaze around him. Three burly guards stood motionless at the back of the dome, while a sound disturbed his concentration from the side of the dome. Banjo turned his head to face the source of the sound and he could see the image of Cole walking tentatively down the metal stairwell rubbing his throat. As Cole walked toward him, Banjo could make out marks on his neck and smirked at the discomfort of the other man.
"You came..." sneered Cole as he leant forward into Banjo's face. At this distance, Banjo could clearly see the red mark snaking its way around the neck of the other man and forced a smile out.
"Yeah, well I thought it prudent" Banjo smirked at the puzzled look which crossed Cole's face, "it means expedient...oh sorry that's too big a word for you isn't it" he mocked.
"I know what it means...but you still came"
"A bit too late, it seems" replied Banjo, "looks like I missed the show".
Cole covered his neck with his right hand, "just you wait...if his is what he does to me I can't wait to see what he does to someone like you" he retorted.
"Difference is Cole, nobody likes you and that's the real reason you hide behind Creed".
A flush of anger crossed Cole's face and he raised his hand to strike Banjo, "Bastard!" he spat. A noise from the rear of the room stopped his movement and both men turned to face the guards who were moving toward them. The two men looked at each other and took a step back from the guards as they approached.
"No violence..." said one of the guards.
"Mr. Creed will not allow violence within his dome..." said another.
"Unless he orders it" finished the third. "Take a seat...Mr. Creed is just dealing with business" he ordered as he smiled at the inference. Both men moved forward toward the table, but a large arm stopped Cole. Cole looked down at his chest and at the thick arm which was pressing against him, "Not you..." said the guard.
Banjo glanced back at Cole, held in position by the guard as he sat at the table. He placed his hands on top of the surface and fidgeted with his fingers as he waited for Dillonger Creed. He was worried, but he knew he didn't dare show it. A call from Creed didn't often end well and usually meant Creed wanted something from you. Banjo shuffled in his seat as he listened to the sound of a female's moaning from the gantry above. Despite himself, his eyes strayed to the second floor high above his head. From his position he could see the metal stairway stretching its way around the curved dome to the second floor where the grilled landing was masked by two rooms built off to one side of the floor. Banjo surmised that one room would house a kitchen and living area with the other, judging by the noises coming from the room would be a sleeping area. The expanse of the floor only covered half of the domed area and a rail ran around the edge of the flooring. Banjo wondered as he imagined gazing down over the expanse of the lower section of the dome from the elevated area, then gazed at Cole who was still clutching at his reddened neck and immediately hoped he would never be in that position.
The floor around him was plain and simple, boxes lay discarded across the wooden floor boards and at various points he could make out smaller open crates with the contents slightly protruding from the innards. Banjo strained attempting to see the objects which lay around the floor, spilling from the crates. The sudden silence from upstairs alerted him to his current position and he shuffled uncomfortably in his seat as he realised that Creed had conducted his 'business' and would soon be heading downstairs. His chain of thoughts was disrupted as a sound of a door opening broke the silence. His eyes were drawn upstairs to the top of the gantry and he could see Creed walking from the room. Light spilled through the open door and illuminated Creed as he looked over the railing.
"Ah, Mr. Jax...so glad you could join us" he said, looking toward the sniveling Cole who had moved further back against the wall of the dome, hoping that the shadows would cover his discomfort. Banjo watched as Creed straightened his clothing and walked slowly to the peak of the stairway. "Please, make yourself comfortable" he clicked his fingers as he walked down the stair with one hand grasping the metal bannister, "or as comfortable as you can" Banjo could hear the menace through his voice as he watched his every movement. Creed walked carefully in measured steps as he walked and Banjo noticed his eyes never strayed from him as he descended into the lower part of the dome. Creed cast a glance toward Cole as he stepped onto the wooden floor, the noise from his footsteps burned into everybody in the room as he stalked his prey. He glanced toward one of the guards and nodded in his direction, "drink?" he asked. Banjo shook his head, "really Mr. Jax. Please I insist". The guard approached the table with two glass goblets and placed them on the table as Creed sat opposite Banjo and smiled at the miner's discomfort. Another of the guards lowered a glass decanter between the two men and sat the vessel in the center of the table. Banjo again shook his head and Creed smiled, "Mr. Jax" he spoke softly, but full of menace. "I do not like to drink alone...and I am not use to being said no to"
"In that case..." said Banjo. The confidence of his words was betrayed by the waver in his voice and caused a rapturous laugh to burst from Creed.
"Oh, poor Mr. Jax" he laughed, "damned if you and damned if you don't" Creed clicked his fingers in the direction of the guard who leant forward and lifted the decanter. He stopped as Creed held up a hand in his direction and sighed, "Idiot" he spat, "how many times must I tell you..." he said as he pulled the stopper from the top of the bottle, "you must allow the wine to breathe before serving"
"It's alright..." stammered Banjo.
"No... no... I’m sorry Mr. Jax" he rose to face the guard still with the stopper in his hand. "Stupidity will not be tolerated" he said calmly. "How many times!" he roared at the guard who winced under the intense stare of his employer. "how many times!" he yelled again. Creed grasped the stopper in his fist and grabbed at the collar of the guard. Despite his smaller stature Creed pulled the guard close to him and forced his head on the table. The other guards moved forward from their position and stood by the table. Creed motioned toward the two men and spoke softly to them, "hold him" he instructed and bent forward placing his head close to his guards. "The stopper..." he said moving the glass object into the guard’s eye line "must be removed to allow the wine to breath otherwise the wine will taste rank and bitter". Creed ran the stopper along the face of the guard as he spoke, then glancing at the other two guards holding his arms in place as Creed held his face hard against the table while he spoke. "Do you understand?" he asked. The guard nodded dumbly, "I said, do you understand?" Creed shouted, his voice rising to a crescendo.
"Yes Sir" muttered the guard.
"Yes Sir, Mr. Creed".
"Yes Sir, Mr. Creed what?" Banjo shifted uncomfortably as he realised this was nothing about the wine, this was solely about humiliating the guard.
"Yes Sir, Mr. Creed...I will not..." his words were choked in his mouth as Creed forced the stopper into his mouth as the guard spoke. The guard struggled against his colleagues as he fought against the foreign object being thrust into his mouth. Creed smirked as he forced the glass stopper into the guard’s mouth and pressed his slender frame against the guard’s body. Then as suddenly as it had begun, Creed stood and released his grip over the guard and stood over the table. The guard dropped to the floor, spitting the stopper from his mouth he coughed violently and collapsed onto the floor where he grasped for breath. His lungs scooped up massive extensive gulps of air as he remained on all fours by the table, struggling to regain his composure.
Dillonger Creed knelt by his employee and placed a hand on his back, "Are you alright?" he asked. The guard nodded and Creed smiled at his satisfaction. "Good...good, now back to your position". The guard struggled to his feet and walked into the shadows at the back of the dome. His colleagues joined him and the three men stood silently as though this was a normal occurrence. Creed stood and straightened his jacket before running a hand through his hair, flattening his ruffled black hair. "I am sorry you had to see that Mr. Jax, but I will not tolerate stupidity or insubordination...you understand don't you". Banjo sat in his chair, watching every movement of Creed as he spoke. "Now then...where were we?" he lifted the decanter and poured the red liquid into the two glasses. "Ah, yes...you were about to tell me about your little infraction at the central dome" Banjo frowned, he knew he hadn't said anything since he had arrived. "Oh come now Mr. Jax, you should know by now that I know everything which happens within this colony...or at the very least most things"
"It wasn't anything important, just a difference of opinion"
"I'll be the judge of that Mr. Jax" cooed Creed, "you see I have heard of rumblings from within the central dome which appear to have escaped my..." he waved his hand around in small circles in the air, "network". He leant forward, moving his glass to one side of the table in order to gain a better view of Banjo. "I want to know what's happening in that dome Mr. Jax...and I believe you could help me"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Creed but I don't know anything"
"I will be the judge of that...now of you will begin"
"Err...well how much do you know?" asked Banjo.
"That is not important Mr. Jax, I know you went to see the central government over an incident in the mines. I know you argued, but what I don't know is the outcome. Now...of you would be so kind Mr. Jax" the smile presented by Creed belied the hint of menace in the air and Banjo cast a glance in the direction of the guards hidden in the shadows of the dome, then toward Cole who still stood by the door rubbing his neck.
"There...there was an accident"
"What kind of accident?"
"The storm...the rain, two miners were caught outside from my work party. The doors shut and... we...I couldn't do anything to save them"
"Stephen Dymond-Harris and Bletchley Peake"
Creed nodded, "continue..." he said.
"Well, I wasn't happy and I told them that"
"Told who exactly?"
"Lady Norton, she was the only person present" said Banjo simply, "she sent everyone else out of the room"
"I don't know, I think she may have been embarrassed by the whole situation, you know the deaths" Banjo placed the glass down on the table and sighed, "There really isn't much to tell. I got upset, argued and got sent away with a warning". Creed sat with his hands folded neatly across his jacket and considered Banjo as he spoke. The simple action and the quietness from Creed made Banjo uncomfortable, "I still think the controls should be control from each separate dome and mine rather than the central dome".
Creed stood and walked around to the rear of Banjo, "My dear Mr. Jax, people are simply a commodity to use, they are if you will expendable. You are Mr. Jax and to a certain extent so am I, but until that day arrives..." he trailed off allowing his words to portrays their meaning. "I rule..." he placed his hands on Banjo's shoulders and bent close to his ear. "Now then Mr. Jax, your little tale, while useless has told me something is happening within the dome, something which our good Lady wants no-one else to know about...and so it comes to pass, that I must know what is happening otherwise anarchy threatens to destabilize my very means and I can't stand for that Mr. Jax" he released his grip on Banjo's shoulders and waved toward the door. "You can go" he said. Banjo stood and turned to the door, still slightly unsure over what had just happened. He glanced at Cole as he left the dome and closed the door behind him as he left. "Mr. Cole..."
Cole jumped at the sound of his name and scuttled from his position by the door, half in the shadows. "Yes Mr. Creed" he sniveled.
"I want to know what is happening within that dome...this is your chance to redeem yourself. Lean on the sheriff, see what he knows" Cole nodded his understanding and moved toward the door, "...and Mr. Cole" called Creed as he lifted his glass to his lips. Cole paused and turned back to his employer. "Don't disappoint me again" He downed the contents of the glass and placed it gently on the table and poured a second glass. Cole gulped and left the dome leaving Creed alone with his three guards. He motioned to the men and spoke, "you follow him and report his every movement, no need for discretion. You two get ready, I think we need to confront Miss Norton directly". The guards nodded and as one moved through the open doorway the others prepared to leave with their employer.
"Dillonger..." a female voice trailed from the top of the landing. Creed looked up toward Belle, who was standing with a long white gown draped over her body. The feathers from the ruffled boa attached to the collar of the gown, tickled at her neck and face and she giggled slightly as Creed looked up. She parted her gown slightly and seductively revealed her long leg and smiled down toward the men.
"Gentlemen..." apologized Creed, "it appears I have business to attend to...if you would excuse me for a moment" He bowed his head slightly toward his guards and turned to the stairs. The guards smiled at each other as Creed left them while he walked up the stair. He stood before Belle and looked her up and down, warmly smiling at her. "Slut!" he spat and thrust his hand across her face. The savagery of the blow to her face shocked and surprised her and with force she fell heavily to the metal floor with a red mark expanding across her face from the blow. Creed bent down and grasped her throat with one hand and lifted her to her feet and bent his head close to her face. "Fucking little slut" he whispered in her ear before licking the side of her face, "I fucking love it" he sneered and thrust his other hand beneath her gown. Creed looked directly in her eyes as his hand forced its way between her legs and he smiled as she closed her eyes as it ran up her thigh toward her groin. He released his grip and pushed her back through the door and called over the railing toward his guards. "Be ready..." he commanded, "this won't take long" he said coldly. The guards stood, looking up toward the upper gantry as the light which spilled from the open door was suddenly subdued by the darkness. The cry of a woman echoed through the dome as flesh touched flesh in a sharp sudden slap as the back of Creed's hand made contact with the soft delicate cheek of Belle's face.