“So agent Price,” the Director for Extra-normal Relations looked over the tops of her glasses at the agent, who sat and met her gaze through dark glasses that looked frankly ridiculous. “What is it that you have for me?”
“Files ma’am,” Price placed them gently on the table, “Adelaide has recently contacted me and provided me with the names of those she has recruited.”
The Director picked up the files quickly and rifled through them, giving each image a perfunctory glance before setting it down once more.
“I’ll be honest with you Price,” she said when she’d finished, “this isn’t exactly what you might call an impressive line up. Besides, they’re all teenagers, how do you suppose they’re going to… fight crime?”
“Director you may recall that when the idea was first mooted it was suggested that teenagers would be more relatable to the public,” agent Price sighed and readjusted his shades, “it’s all just a big media stunt.”
“Let’s be honest with ourselves Price when we, and by we I mean you, ‘mooted’ the idea the rest of us weren’t exactly listening with any great interest. Much as we all like your little pet project it’s really not going to get the job done. I know you think it’s all very clever Price but what’s it honestly going to do?”
At these words Price seemed to deflate, as though he were some kind of giant balloon that the Director had applied a pin to. For a second it looked almost as though he were going to cry. Then he rallied around and stood up.
“Look Director with the right training they could be a real asset.”
“By constantly getting in the police’s way, yes I see it now,” the Director grimaced.
“Please Director, one more chance,” Price, “one more chance before you move on to project Prodigy.”
“Project Prodigy?” the Director leaned forward, “who told you about project Prodigy?”
“Doesn’t matter, it won’t work.”
“Neither will telling a bunch of kids that they can fight crime and yet you seem intent on trying it.”
“Look Adelaide is a good kid, she’s capable, she can and will lead them. You saw how she… tricked me… on the surveillance, she’s got initiative and drive. I’ll admit it I had my doubts too but when I realised that I’d recruited her, admittedly at random, I knew we’d lucked out.”
“She is very capable yes,” the Director smirked, “not that it takes a great deal to trick you of course, as we all learned at the twenty-fifteen office party. Look Price that’s not the point. You’re a good agent, there’s no doubting that, probably one of my best. You kid… re-appropriate people like a dream, honestly. You don’t even ask questions, I like that in an employee. Thing is though you appear to be ignoring the first rule of being a secret agent.”
Price sat back, arms folded. He tried to look the Director straight in the eye but it was like trying to stare down a snake.
“Which is?” He mumbled.
“People,” the Director gestured with one hand, “are for controlling. That is their purpose. Most people are perfectly satisfied to be controlled, in fact leave them long enough without a master and they’ll come begging to you for instructions. Some however, like to take things into their own hands and do whatever the hell they want to. You appear to have recruited one to lead a team of heroes and fight crime. What you see as ‘good use of initiative’ I see as a dangerously rebellious attitude. If we can’t tell this team of super-weirdos what to do… who knows? They might actually start to fight crime.”
“Right,” Price put his head to one side, “that’s what we want though right, to improve people’s perception of super-humans.”
“Yes,” the Director nodded quickly, “of course that’s what we want. I’m the Director of Extra-normal Relations Price why on earth would I be doing anything else?”
The Director let out a long, exhausted sigh. Eventually she nodded.
“Fine Price,” she muttered, “against my better judgement. Definitely against my better judgement. In fact so much against my better judgement that you better make sure it works or you’re fired. If your little team of heroes can actually do some proper… crime fighting or whatever and get themselves some beneficial media coverage I will be happy to say that your idea was a genius one and I will give you a promotion.”
“Thank you,” Price nodded and stood up, “I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
“Let’s hope not,” the Director smiled with all of her many bright white teeth, “off you pop then.”
Price hurried out. The Director breathed out slowly and leaned backwards, folding her hands behind her head. She liked Price, he was the kind of person who never asked questions. He’d go a long way, she was sure. Some day he may even make a good right-hand man. Until then she’d allow him to keep his sweet little plan going. You never knew, she might be able to get some use out of this proposed team. This Adelaide in particular was interesting. Too clever by half, but potentially very useful.
Dialling the phone on her desk she picked up the handset and wedged it between her chin and her shoulder as she flicked through the papers once more, gazing at the images of Price’s team with renewed interest.
“Evening Larry,” she said, twiddling the phone cord between her fingers, “can you bring me up the file on project Prodigy? I think it’s time we got going with that.”