Setting: Alternate Reality
When I was little, everything was so simple.
The teacher once gave us a project to make a hand turkey. A hand turkey. If she asked me to go out and bring her a real turkey, I'd be more than obliged. But instead, the teacher insisted we placed our hand on the paper, draw around our hand, cut out the picture, and then glue a bunch of feathers on it—of all the offending objects she could conjure up…
So, instead, I used my saber sword to slash through it. The paper, I mean.
Then there was that time the teacher wanted us to color and cut out an egg for Easter. That was one of my unspoken rules back then—I Do Not Cut. I Slash. Those went along with Do Not Talk To Me and Do Not Touch Me. I grew frustrated with the stupid coloring. It kept on going over the lines. So I cut it up.
I'll never forget that time when I was supposed to mush up acorns. It took so long; I began to get very frustrated. So I sliced.
Basically, whenever I had a problem, I would use my saber sword and hey ho! No more problem. Not much of anything left, actually. I'm not clever, or witty, or big, or strong. I just chop things up. It's fun.
If only I could have chopped this problem up…
"No—no—listen to me, you stupid robot!" I shouted into the screen, banging on the keyboard, "It's 31258, not 31285!"
"NO! That's what I'm saying is the wrong number you stupid—GAH!" Instantly I was on my feet and with one swing of my rippling blue electro-saber sword, the computer was sliced into two pieces.
It slowly fell apart, the wires starting to spark.
I paused to take a deep breath, massaging my temples. Robots. They'd be the death of my someday, and I don't mean the fighting ones. I mean those stupid accounting ones, or the stupid ones that work for the government, or the ones who ask you for your order whenever you drive up to the drive-thru window.
"Secretary?" I called our wearily, pressing the intercom button.
"Yes?" the pleasant female voice said.
"I need a new computer."
There was an awkward silence.
"WHAT?" Her voice wasn't very pleasant anymore. I winced, rubbing my ears. It wasn't that bad, was it?
"This is the THIRD one this WEEK! EGADS, can't you just HOLD your stupid TEMPER just this ONCE? You know what? I QUIT. Yes, you heard me right, I QUIT. I'm sick and tired of ordering new computers or new paintings for you and I'm sick and tired of you chopping down the wall every half-month! I QUIT."
The buzzing sound echoed throughout my office as the line was cut off.
"You can't quit," I muttered darkly to myself, "You're fired." I placed my head on the desk. She was the longest secretary yet. Three weeks.
Mumbling angrily to myself, I stepped out of my office into the hallway. All the people were bustling somewhere in a great hurry, so I just let the flow ebb me towards the elevator. I needed to go to the Head Office now, to fill out the forms for hiring a new secretary.
I'm always very pleasant to my secretaries. In fact, I go out of my way to appease them. Every morning I make them coffee—or get them coffee, because they won't let me near the coffee maker anymore—and I run my own errands. In fact, for the first few days, all they have to do is sit at their desk and look professional. If they want more work, I'll let them help me with the paperwork. I'll even file for them, the case may be. I only have one rule: they always had to be the ones who ordered me the new stuff.
And that one little task seems to be getting the best of many people.
My longest a secretary lasted under me was the last one, for three weeks. The shortest? Half hour. I grew angry and chopped down the wall, which made the poor dear faint after declaring she quit. In fact, I went through five secretaries that one day.
They usually lasted an average of three days.
I don't MEAN to hold the record for the shortest time the secretaries quit. It just happens. In fact, I'd love it if someone would stay and help me for a few months at a time. It'd be—great.
"THIRD LEVEL." The robot turned and looked expectantly at us, the passengers. I hurriedly got out. It was strange. The Head Office was in the middle of the building. I have no idea why.
Stepping happily along with the furry red rugs, I maneuvered my way smoothly towards the golden door. The Golden Door. It was where the President of Heroes, Inc, did his work. He was usually there. Only a few privileged people got to see him. I saw him on a regular basis.
"Knock, knock," I said, opening the door slightly and leaning in. He had this AWESOME window view of the ocean from there, with a few boats bobbing here and there. The whole room was big, full of trophies and awards, and he was sitting behind this chestnut desk that stretched almost halfway across the huge room.
"Hello," he greeted, looking up. He was a distinguished old Santa Claus, if you get my drift. He looked aged, but peaceful with his salt and pepper mustache and hair.
"A new secretary," he sighed. "I know. I know." He pulled out the forms at the same time I pulled out my filled ones. He raised an eyebrow.
"I took a few extra. Just in case." I abashedly looked down on the floor.
"You simply cannot keep on scaring or harassing your secretaries away," Mr. Quest—that was his name, no relation to Johnny Quest—grumbled.
"I do not harass them! I go out of my way to make sure they're comfortable! Dagnabbit, I even let one lady bring her pet cat that always sat on my head whenever I did my own paperwork!"
"Most heroes, here," he said slowly, leaning forward, "Use their secretaries to say—I don't know—paperwork. They do not establish a single rule that said that they may do whatever they wished as long as they would buy new things for them when requested."
"Why not? It's great. Look how many secretaries are lining up for that one job. It looks like easy street," I insisted.
"Yes, but it isn't. You and I know that. The poor secretaries don't. So in the end they're trying to buy you three different things at the end of the day while replacing the wall and the window."
"Are you going to throw me out?" I asked in a small voice. He sighed again.
"No," he admitted, "I would never. You're too important to this company."
"YES!" I pumped my arm up and down, and then froze. "Sorry, Mr. Quest."
"Very well, your secretary will arrive at the end of the day. Try not to destroy anything in the meanwhile, or else you might scare him away," Mr. Quest grumbled.
"Thanks, Mr. Q." I tipped my head towards him, and then scampered away. The best thing to do now was to see if I could follow along any missions where you're supposed to destroy stuff.
"How's my favorite half-robot?" a genial voice said.
"Touch me and die, brat," I grumbled, holding up my electro-saber. That didn't curb his enthusiasm, apparently, as he jumped towards me.
"You wound me," he said, his gray eyes dancing in front of me. Like me, he was a just a hero. It was better than sidekick. It just wasn't as good as superhero.
I was referring to Royal, a cocky sure guy who was my co-worker and sometimes partner. We were assigned to the same section of the city, anyways. I dealt with robbers and other things that needed slicing. He dealt with things that needed a more…delicate handle. I just called him Peeves for short.
His weapon of choice was a futuristic shotgun with laser zaps, colored red. I guess you could call him handsome. He had that nice, square jaw and his face automatically twitched into a lanky grin. His hair was a brown color. There were fan girls after him almost everyday, asking him for autographs. And he signed them, too. Loser.
What every girl loves, right?
"Get out of my way, Peeves." I shoved him with the bunt end of the electro-saber. I wished it was the other end, but all's well that end's well. And hopefully he would be the one ending.
"Aw, is that how you treat me?" he whined, hanging on to me as we went down the hallway.
"I have to get a new secretary, okay? Now will you leave me alone?" I snapped, spinning around with the sword in the air.
"Already?" he sneered.
"Yes, already, and it is all your fault!" I snapped. No, it wasn't, but maybe it'd shut him up.
"No it wasn't."
"Shut up." I slammed my office door in his face. He was one weirdo, and I don't use that term lightly. I've shared a room with a guy who had a tail. Not to mention that girl with the silver hair and eyes who kept on muttering about peace on earth. Or that guy with the huge white wings and fangs.
No, of all the people I know, Peeves was just the weirdest.
And that guy who eats tables for lunch? Peeve beats him by a dozen times.
Grumbling to myself, I sat down at the secretary desk. I remembered the last time that I did the job myself…
The phone rang. I picked it up, listening to the voice on the other end. "Hello, this is Don from Accountings. May I speak to 31258, please?"
"Uh, speaking—hold on, I've got a call on Line Two—"I apologized, switching quickly.
"This is Gina from the Albury NewsPaper, and we were hoping that maybe we could set up an appointment with Hero #31258 this week? She was the one who saved the bus from going over into the river, yes?"
"Um, yeah, let's get out my appointment book—whoops, that just went on the floor—hold on—oh, damn. I got a call on Line Three. I'll be right back. Y'ello?" I blabbered frantically.
"Yes, we just wanted to make sure that you could come down sometime and pick up the papers for the approval of all the new items you bought?" a familiar voice asked.
"Oh, is this Don? Oh, hold on. I'm sorry. I got to get to Line Three." I chuckled nervously, lunging for the button.
"Hello, honey? Is this Hailey? It's me, her mother, and I just wanted to get an appointment to talk to my own daughter, which really shouldn't be this hard, and—"
"Hi, Mom, can we talk later? Because I'm juggling two calls on the line and whoo! Heh, here comes another one. We'll talk later, I promise—"I crossed my fingers.
"I shouldn't need to sign up to talk to my own daughter! Hero this, hero that! Back in my day, the people decided who'd we call heroes, not these big corporation—"
"Uh, be right back Mom. Hello, who's this?" Anybody would be better than my mother.
"This is Dina from Heroes Magazine, and we were wondering if Da-xia would like to be interviewed, or if she had any openings this week to do so?"
"Um, yeah, I do—where'd I put my appointment book—uh, please hold. Hello?" I pressed a button on the stupid machine, beginning to feel overwhelmed.
"Yes, I would assume Accounting people would be the ones holding the other person. Listen, all we need you to do is come on down and pick up these papers: Secretary Sheets #1-19, Transfer papers #30-44, and—"
"Uh, could you hold on? Um, is this Dina? Or Gina? Which one is this?" I cried, banging my head against the desk.
"This is your mother, for goodness sakes, and—"
"ARGH! There's someone at the door. Um, come in!" I called, holding out the phone at arm's length as my mother blabbered on. A lady peeked in with an alarmingly big smile.
"It's me, Dinah? Remember, I was your old rival back in school?" she said sweetly, waving some papers at me.
"No. I'm kind of busy right now with like five phone calls, so—"Get the point, lady, and get out of here.
"This won't take long at all! No, we're having a reunion here soon and we have some papers you would like to see, and—"
"Um, yeah, sure, just drop them off over there." I waved vaguely towards a paper-covered couch.
"Hailey, this is YOUR MOTHER speaking, I am STILL on the phone!"
"No, I was talking to the person at the door, Dinah, apparently my old rival—" I swiftly said, but too late. She was off on another tangent.
"Well, I'd never…"
"Um, Line Two, Line Two—is this Gina? Dina? Dinah? Anybody?" I begged, tears running down my face now.
"This is Gina, from—"
"Yeah, that magazine thing, I have a free day on the—" I said, hoping to have a firmer handle on all the phone calls.
"No, I'm from the newspaper, and—"
"AAAHHH! I'm free on the 16th all day, I will pick up the papers, and Mom, shut up already!" I hung up the phone and then used my electro-saber to slice right through it.
And then the next secretary took a look at it, screamed, and ran out. In fact, I think she was the one who stayed with me for the shortest time.
Royal opened the door and leaned on the frame as I unplugged my phone—that was all my experience taught me.
"Well, well, well, looks like the famous sword-slasher isn't quite so happy being her own secretary," he smirked.
"Talk to me one more time and die." I flared up my electro-sword.
"Right, right." He backed away and closed the door.
Okay, a little time out here to clarify: I am Hailey Gonavales, Hero #31258 who works for Heroes, Inc. I have gone through all the levels of Hero school, and am a Hero. A few more levels—my guardian doesn't tell me how many more—and I'll be a superhero.
Heroes, Inc. is a company designed to support and give out heroes throughout the world. It's a worldwide corporation and works alongside the government. They train heroes and they basically go out and—well—save people. It takes a long time to become a hero. A long time. We learn the essentials of what to do and what not to do. There are just some fires that you can't go into. And our heroes are loaned out to specific departments.
I'm an unhired hero, a ronin. The police are skeptical about me and SWAT accepts any and all. But they all think I'm too hotheaded and would cost them too much. There are some smart people over there.
I prefer my electro-sword. What's awesome about it is that it's energy, not really electromagnetic waves. It can transform into a blue dragon, or a phoenix, or a bird, or any form. It's energy.
I used some of my energy to slash through the desk. It was annoying me, anyways.
On a brighter note, my code name is Da-xia. If you ever in your life needed someone to save you, I would not be the one who would do it. I swing my sword. I chop. It breaks. Whoo.
Currently, Royal and I share the same area as employees of Heroes, Inc. His file is still pending for SWAT. My file was sitting in a dusty little corner somewhere in the main office. We go on regular patrols and get blamed if we aren't there, basically. It's actually a pretty good area.
I'd never imagine the day you'd buy real estate depending on which hero patrolled your area.
"Da-xia," Royal called in a singsong voice. Whenever he uses my hero name, I know he can't be up to any good.
"What?" I snapped. Flare up sword.
"Well, it's just that your guardian wanted to talk to you and since you didn't have a secretary for some reason," he said, putting one hand on his mouth with a sly wink towards me.
"Get out of here," I growled. Flare up sword bigger.
"Temper, temper." Royal ducked out and my guardian gracefully entered. Did I ever tell you about guardians? Yeah, they're pretty cool. Mine is, at least. He's this big guy whose weapon is the lasso. Typical, I guess, but so is a sword. But mine is better. I'll tell you later.
"Hailey," he began, trying to sit in the tiny chair.
"Is anything wrong, Guardian?" The guardian is the guy who oversees you. He oversees about twenty people and makes sure they're doing well. He upgrades them a few levels and then turn them into superheroes. But he doesn't tell you what level you're on, which sucks.
"Yes, actually," he said carefully, "I've just found out that you haven't submitted your paperwork yet for your last mission—the bus saving escapee? The police need your file on record."
"I'll get right on it," I promised.
"You always say that," he sighed, standing up.
"And you haven't heard any complaints, have you?" I said with a grand smile.
"No, no I haven't," he admitted, shaking my hand. Mine was like one fourth of his.
"All right, see you later then." I closed the door after my guardian. He's nice, but he's misguided sometimes. I checked my costume once more, and then walked down the hallway to the office on the other end. Basically, you don't want people knowing your secret identity. I don't really care. I lie on everything.
I'm serious. If you want to know the truth, my name isn't even Hailey. It's Halle. I don't even live where I say I live. If anybody checks up—which they never do—I'll just say I was in the middle of moving. And what's the best part about that little lie? I don't even get the Hero Newspaper they send out weekly, which is full of junk.
It's great to lie.
"Knock," I said, kicking at the door.
"Who is it?"
"Roy, get your butt out here. I want to go patrolling." There was a deep sigh inside. "Come in."
I obliged, tucking my sword back into my sleeve. Royal didn't have a secretary, but he didn't want one. He managed everything on his own. He was sitting in his desk, filing paperwork.
Okay, I hate that guy's guts. Don't get me wrong. But I'm bored and lonely often, and he's the guy who goes patrolling with me. It just makes me feel safer; knowing someone's got my back.
"Da-xia, what brings you here to my humble adobe?" he asked, raising a suave eyebrow and leaning forward. "Did you destroy your office again?"
"No," I mumbled, kicking at the carpet. Okay, I destroyed one wall. But that was better than the time I did destroy my whole office.
"Ah, you came to bask in my charming company," he smirked, leaning back and kicking his feet up.
"Never!" I spat out vehemently. "I just wanted to see if you'd come patrol with me."
"Afraid you can't take on the robbers on your own?" he asked, his smirk growing bigger. It almost fell off his face.
"Look, I'm growing very frustrated." I held up my sword again. "Very. Frustrated." I'm a brute force person. No, I don't use brute strength. I'm not very strong. I just use force.
Lots of it.
"Well," he said, actually sound regretful (absurd), "I have some paperwork I need to file."
"Come on, you can finish later," I whined, pulling at his sleeve. I know. I'm a brat.
"No, I cannot. Da-xia," he grumbled, "I have piles of it, literally."
"I don't care. You can always do it later. Or do you want me to do them for you?" I raised my sword above one said pile.
"No!" A laser shot bounced off my sword and hit the window, shattering the shards to down below.
"That wasn't even my fault," I marveled. Royal groaned.
"Now that's even more paperwork," he predicted, "And the window guy isn't going to even come up for a few days, and they've predicted rain, and—"
"Relax, Roy. Peeves. Whatever. Just go down and walk and talk with them. It's easy. They'll fix your window for you if you're nice to them, give them cookies and stuff like that," I shrugged. "I give them food, drinks, and nice breaks even. It's like my discount for their discount. I have window people fighting to get my office."
"I would think they would just assign one person to you by now," Royal said, raising an eyebrow.
"Hardy har har. You coming?" I asked, letting the sword disappear back into my sleeve.
"Sooner or later." Royal picked up the pen and began scribbling down stuff again, referring to his computer screen every so often. "Besides, my talent should be saved for the more important stuff."
"Roy, listen to me. Paperwork isn't important," I whined, flopping on the couch.
"Yes, it is! The government wouldn't let us run if there weren't any," Roy insisted.
"I haven't done my paperwork for fifty years," I said, putting a hand over my eyes. There was this silence after I said that statement. "What?"
"You'd better be joking with me," Roy finally managed, his eyes turning a slight shade of red.
"I—I—you—" He stood up, shaking his head, and pulled on his trench coat.
"Cool! Fight and talk at the same time!" I chirped, bouncing after him.
"I wanted to go some place more private where there wouldn't be any witnesses—I mean friends around." He glared at me sharply, taking the elevator down.
"Hey, hold up for me," I said cheerfully, "Am I going to die a long, painful death?"
"Oh, yes." He held up his gun. "Oh, ho, ho, yes."
And that's it, folks. Well, not really, it's more like that's the first chapter, but NTP. It's like a prologue—confusing, I know. And it's never well done, and I have no idea what's going to happen, and it's really confusing. But this is just the prologue!
All I have to do is convince myself that there are people reading this and liking it. Right? RIGHT?
Oh well. This is an office humor/ alternate fantasy reality fiction. You'll get the fantasy in the next chapter, anyways.