The Wombat World control room featured row after row of computer units, stacked neatly on steel shelves, all connected to a bank of monitors hanging on a wall in the back of the room.
Craig, a white man with blonde dreadlocks and a grungy beard, toked on a fat spliff as he put his feet up on his workstation and closed his eyes.
“Clock that grip bitch,” Craig sang. “Oh, you gotta clock that grip bitch. You down with Stank Daddy, Ron?”
Ron, Craig’s straight laced colleague, was all business. His head was shaved bald and he wore a pressed white shirt with a red power tie as he watched the monitors intently.
“I wish you’d be down with your job,” Ron replied.
“Please,” Craig said. “This whole operation practically runs itself.”
Ron flashed Craig a look of utter disgust. “Millions of dollars worth of complex machinery and thousands of lives are in our hands. How you can be so blasé about that I’ll never know.”
“You do those people no good when you’re stressed out of your gourd, Ron,” Craig said as he offered his coworker a hit of his ganja.
“No thanks,” Ron said. “Something tells me that Carruthers Brothers Amalgamated Studios wouldn’t take kindly to their ride technicians being baked.”
Craig sat up and started flipping through the camera feeds. “Look. Berserkasphere? Running. Dinosaur Puncher? One hundred percent. Infernacoaster? Fabulous. Shock Rocket? Awesome. Happy Little International Children Experience? Great. I don’t know why the hell anyone rides that shit ride anyway but its firing on all four cylinders. Will you unclench your butt cheeks and hit this shit already?”
Ron rolled his eyes and took the joint. “Oh why the hell not?”
Just as Ron lifted that sweet refer to his lips and was about to take a drag, a fist rapped on the metal security door that led into the room.
Craig put the door’s camera feed up on screen. Though the person at the door appeared to be an average, run of the mill Wombat World Security Guard, it was, in fact, Brother Klaus in Earl’s uniform.
“Shit,” Ron said as he stubbed out Craig’s joint into his trash can.
“Aw come on, man!” Craig protested. “That was my best Bolivian Brain Crush!”
Ron pressed a button on his board, turning on the intercom. “Can I help you?”
“Inspection,” Brother Klaus said in an American accent.
Ron and Craig looked at each other. “Did you know anything about an inspection?” Ron asked.
“Do you think I’d be dumb enough to be sparking up a doob if I knew there was an inspection?” Craig answered.
“I do,” Ron said. “You definitely look that dumb.”
Ron pressed the intercom button once more. “No one told us anything about an inspection.”
Brother Klaus coughed in order to clear his throat. In his mind, he weighed the various phony responses he could give to Ron until he finally settled on, “It wouldn’t be a surprise inspection if anyone had told you about it, now would it?”
“Shit,” Craig said. “He’s got you there.”
“Damn it,” Ron said. “Just be cool and let me do the talking.”
Ron hit another button. The door buzzed as Brother Klaus stepped in.
“Hello,” Ron said.
Brother Klaus looked around the room, ignoring the two technicians.
“Are you new?” Ron asked. “Don’t believe we’ve met before.”
The faux security guard sniffed the air. “Strange odor in the air.”
“What’s that now?” Ron asked.
“An odor,” Brother Klaus said as he sniffed. “A peculiar, pungent smell.”
Ron trembled. “I don’t smell anything. Craig, do you smell anything?”
“I don’t smell anything at all,” Craig replied. “I think your nostrils are lying to you, man.”
Brother Klaus sniffed the air again. “No. I definitely detect the distinct scent of marijuana in this room. I’m sure of it.”
“Shit,” Craig said. “Since when do you guys do detective work? I thought you all just stood around drinking coffee and handing out wombat stickers all day.”
“Aww,” Brother Klaus said. “So you admit it?”
Ron gulped. “Look. It was just one joint. We’ve both been loyal employees for years.”
“I didn’t even smoke it!” Craig said. “It was Ron! It was all Ron!”
“Craig, you weapons grade asshole,” Ron said before turning his attention back to the fake guard. “It was all him. He smoked it. All I did was put it out.”
“You were going to puff it,” Craig said. “You know it.”
“Boys, boys, boys,” Brother Klaus said as he stepped behind a bank of computers. “This is a very serious offense.”
“Son of a bitch,” Ron said. “We’re going to lose our jobs. Thanks Craig. Thanks a lot.”
“Man,” Craig said. “Do you really need to report this?”
“Yeah,” Ron said. “Surely we could reach an agreement? Perhaps a certain amount of cash falls out of our pockets by accident and then very coincidentally, you forget all about this at the same exact time you pick it up?”
“One of us will suck your dick,” Craig said.
“What?” Ron asked.
“Ron will totally suck your dick,” Craig said. “He just volunteered.”
“I did not,” Ron said as he looked at the computer bank the fake guard was standing behind. “Hey, honestly, this isn’t that big a deal right? I mean, what could the punishment for smoking a joint on the job be anyway?”
Brother Klaus stepped out with his silenced pistol drawn. He fired two bullets into Craig’s cranium, killing the hipster pothead instantly. He then pointed his weapon at the last technician standing.
“Whoa,” Ron said as he put his hands up. “OK, you made your point. Wombat World Security isn’t screwing around anymore. But come on…”
Brother Klaus stepped over Ron’s body, took a seat at the dead man’s workstation, and punched away at the keyboard. The security door locked.
Soon, the Heretic’s hooded face appeared on one of the monitors on the wall.
“Herr Heretic,” Brother Klaus said, now in his default German accent. “We are now in control.”
“Excellent,” the Heretic replied.