‘I won’t ask how that combat training was for you – partly because I saw enough of it to despair but mostly because I don’t care. Time waits for no hero. Let’s crack on with your formal interviews.’
‘We’re being interviewed? Don’t we have the job already?’ Nymph was alarmed.
‘What if we don’t want the job?’ Joules asked.
‘I thought working here wasn’t exactly a choice?’ Vixen added. ‘And what’s she doing?’ She nodded at Phreak. ‘I thought she already worked here?’
‘I’m new and under assessment.’ Phreak said curtly.
‘As am I.’ The robotic voice floated through the air from Phreak’s mobile phone. ‘BOB will also be applying for a permanent position.’
Everyone groaned. Psylocke ignored them, pointing to the large table in the centre of the room, set with six chairs, pens and paper.
‘I will ask you a series of questions.’ Psylocke said as they sat down. ‘Please answer them as fully as you can. Bear in mind that my powers allow me to tell if you are lying in your responses.’ Here Psylocke narrowed her eyes at Cassandra who pretended to look the other way.
‘First question. What would you say is your best quality?’
Joules rolled her eyes. Really? My focus, she wrote.
‘What kind of a lame question is that? That’s what they ask in job interviews for bank cashiers. We’re superheroes!’ Vixen said.
‘Just answer the question please.’
‘Fine’. Telekinesis, obviously, she wrote. How many people do you know who can move objects with the power of their mind?
I’m adaptable, Façade wrote. This was a lie, of course. How the Hell did she know what her strengths were? She woke up in an alley six weeks ago with no memories. Not that she was going to let on. Perhaps joining MI13 would be her best chance of discovering who she was and what had happened to her?
‘Question two.’ Psylocke continued as they finished scribbling. ‘What is your greatest weakness?’
Nymph sucked on the end of her pencil as she thought carefully. I hit like a baby. I fall after a baby hits me.
I’d rather not say, Devi wrote, glancing under her lashes at Nymph.
I have none, wrote Façade, a statement which anyone who had been on the receiving end of her fists would disagree with. Her temper was a pretty big weakness and her blatant lies were starting to give Psylocke a headache. She glared down the table at Façade who was now doodling a stick man with a sword stuck through his head on her answer sheet.
‘Question three. Who is your hero, real or fictional?’
Einstein is my hero, wrote Nymph, confident that Psylocke wouldn’t know her real hero was Poison Ivy – sexy, clever and a total badass. That Nymph thought she could hide the truth from a psychic Super was almost as questionable as her taste in women.
My grandmother. She encouraged the little rebellious streak in me, wrote Devi.
‘Question four. You are out and about, minding your own business, when you notice an altercation on the street between two civilians. While dealing with them is not technically part of your jurisdiction, they are causing public disorder. What do you do?’
Leave it to the authorities. So not my problem, thought Joules.
It depends wrote Vixen. If it was two drunks fighting over who got off with whose bird, I’d walk on. If it was, say, a mugging, I’d probably give out a ninja kick to the guy’s happy sack.
I am a computer programme, BOB texted.
There was no sound in the room now apart from pens furiously scribbling across paper.
‘Question five. BOB has given you orders from Central HQ. You disagree with them. What do you do?’
Cassandra snorted. I acknowledge the council has made a decision but as it’s a stupid ass decision I’ve decided to ignore it.
Vixen took a moment to consider before answering, if I don’t agree with them I’ll make a formal complaint through official channels. This wasn’t true but she didn’t feel that she could write the truth - she would do what she wanted and then blame it on Cassandra.
‘Question six. You hear a knock on your door and answer it. Standing there is a person who claims to be your child from the future. What single thing surprises you most about this situation?’
Our heroes exchanged looks. Nymph snorted and tweeted, ‘Weirdest job interview ever #strangeboss.
That I had a child, Joules wrote. Like that was going to happen.
I would never have a child - alternate or otherwise – so it must be some sort of shape-shifter trap, wrote Façade.
I cannot propagate, texted BOB.
‘Question seven. You are battling some villains and it’s not going well. Do you risk the humiliation of calling for back up and all the negative publicity it will bring or go it alone as a group and risk civilian casualties?’
Vixen took a moment to reflect on their combat training in the simulator.
It galls me but going for back up is probably the best bet. The chances of us thinking of one decent plan is remote, never mind a back-up plan.
Phreak’s handwriting was neat and expression concise, not unlike herself. I wouldn’t lose.
‘Question eight. Your mother is in need of an organ transplant to save her life. A bad guy is the perfect match. What do you do?
Nymph looked pensive as she answered. What organ is it? I’d leave the bitch to die I guess. Although I wouldn’t mind trying out my surgical skills and setting up my own sterile hospital ward. Why didn’t I think of that before the bee stings?
She clearly had #parentissues.
Cassandra showcased her colourful attitude to superhero-dom with the answer; I give them to Vixen to cut open and we’ll do the transplant ourselves. Dude, we have awesome on our side!
At least she was showing a willingness to work with her team mates.
‘Question nine. Would you sacrifice a fellow team member if it meant saving innocent civilians?’
There were furtive looks around the table. This was a tough ask. At least Cassandra won honesty points for answering; WHICH TEAM MEMBER? I’m not risking myself for the nutter who punched me in the face during training.
I would save my team mate. They would help me later. Phreak was optimistic, not to mention self-interested.
Psylocke looked hard at every one of them. ‘And finally, question ten. Do you want to be a part of MI13? Explain yourself.’
Our heroes looked around at each other once more. Did they want this? Did they want to give up on their old lives and become tied down to a mysterious organisation that, if today was anything to go by, expected them to risk their lives on a daily basis? Did they want to work with each other at all? And what about the pay? Even superheroes had bills and Psylocke hadn’t so much as mentioned the salary.
‘Should you be successful you will be able to keep your regular jobs.’ Psylocke added. ‘In fact, we encourage you to keep up as much of your old lives as possible. It’s good cover.’
‘And what? Moonlight as a crime-fighting ninja? I don’t have time.’
‘Just answer the question please.’
No, wrote Joules. I like my life; which wasn’t exactly true.
Yes, wrote Phreak. I can utilise my skills.
I don’t need the money so the pay cheque doesn’t necessarily interest me but I never really had a family so being part of a group might be kinda awesome. Plus, being a government official might have its benefits. Like a Government funded lab. Nymph felt all warm and fuzzy inside.
Façade doodled a giant fist punching a face.
And as Psylocke collected their papers, the alarms went off.
|Nymph's hero, Poison Ivy - from here|