Amadeus waited outside the office impatiently, drumming his fingers on his knees. The door in front of him opened slowly and Agent Price beckoned him in.
“What the hell’s even going on in there?” Amadeus growled, “I was told to come up here hours ago and I’ve been waiting all that time.”
“Yes,” Price shrugged apologetically, “well, the Director decided she’d rather like to make you sit here a little.”
“Oh did she.” Amadeus pushed past him and strode in.
The Director of Extra-normal Relations looked up from her papers as Amadeus entered the room. A brief smirk flickered across her face. She nodded to Price and he shut the door behind Amadeus and went to stand beside her.
Amadeus snorted. She’d made him wait, typical. A power play like that deserved a response. Like for like. He forced a smile.
“You know,” he said, “it’s nice to walk into a room and be able to say with absolute certainty that I’m the smartest one here.”
“Really?” The Director raised an eyebrow and shot Price a glance, “Personally, I beg to differ.”
“Oh right?” Amadeus grinned, “You’re not suggesting it’s you are you?”
“Nope, not really,” the Director put her hand to her chin, “I was going to say that guy creeping up behind you.”
Amadeus spun rapidly around, hands raised and curled into fists, all in a moment. There was no-one there. The Director nodded to Price, who punched Amadeus. He clamped his hand to his jaw and grunted in pain.
“No, wait a second,” the Director chuckled, “it is me.”
“What the hell was that for?” Amadeus looked up at her with needle eyes.
“To show you your place,” suddenly all amusement left the Director’s face and she levelled an accusatory finger at Amadeus, “listen, super-human superstar you may be, unnaturally smart, strong and swift sure, but you are also one other thing. You are expendable. Don’t think you aren’t! Price here’s more useful to me than you.”
“Thanks,” Price murmured.
“I was joking actually,” the Director said through gritted teeth, glanced sideways at him, “nobody gets my jokes.”
“Okay,” Amadeus interrupted, “shut up now please. This is not what I came for and I don’t want any more of my time wasted. Now, I don’t know if you heard, but I got shot at recently. By the Knight, no less!”
“Oh yes,” the Director pouted, clearing her papers aside so that she could drum her fingers on her desk, “I did hear about that. Poor you! Would you like to have a chat about it?”
“I want you to do something about that flipping Knight!” Amadeus roared and balled his fists at his sides, “why did you even hire her anyway?”
“I’m generally against sending one of my own agents out to do that sort of thing, I’d rather not have them traced back to me if you know what I mean,” the Director said, without raising her voice, “Besides, the Knight came cheap. They always ask for less if they love the job.”
“Well when the job is killing super-humans you have to be careful,” Amadeus put his palms flat on the Director’s desk and stared her down, exasperated, “especially if said employee decides that when she’s finished her job for you she’s going to have a go at killing your most important asset. It would pretty badly wreck your plan if I were to get shot, now wouldn’t it?”
The Director put her head to one side, boredom seeping into her expression.
“Weren’t you listening?” She said, “I don’t need you. You’re just useful. You got one thing spot on though, the Knight’s an inconvenience. As such I’ve got an new job for you. I want you to catch her.”
Amadeus frowned. He took a step back and folded his arms.
“Catch the real killer?” He said, “Won’t that put Hex in the clear?”
“Hex was a convenient scapegoat,” the Director gestured lazily, “but the Knight’s continued murders are increasingly shifting the blame. The police can only be so prejudiced before they realise Hex is innocent. So I need you to get your oar in first and catch her before anyone else can. Understand?”
“She’s not like Hex,” Amadeus said, “she’s armed and dangerous, which is your fault incidentally.”
“You really think Hex is harmless?” The Director gave a shark’s smile, “If he’d wanted to he could’ve left you a gibbering idiot with fewer braincells than fingers. Just count yourself lucky he’s reformed. He’s smart, too, he knows his old crimes can be used against him and he won’t stand a chance in court. He’s just been waiting for the Knight to do something stupid. Surprise surprise, she has. Now you get to clear it up, Amadeus darling. Lucky you.”
“What? Aren’t tough enough to deal with guns,” the Director’s grin grew wider, jostling her cheeks for space on her face, “I thought you were faster than a bullet and stronger than anyone, right? Because if not I can always return you to the shop and get myself a replacement model.”
Amadeus sighed. This was getting ridiculous. It was like talking to children, honestly.
“Empty threats,” he shook his head, “you don’t even know how I was made in the first place and you couldn’t replicate me if you did.”
“Oh I know,” the Director’s eyes had become twin iron nails, boring into him, “now are you going to catch the Knight for me or are you going to just keep on whining? Because really I expected more from the so-called Project Prodigy.”
Amadeus snorted. Then he nodded. Aware that this appeared like defeat, he decided that he would have the last word. He stepped over to the door and swung it open as if to leave. Before he did so he looked back at the Director and returned her stare with his own.
“Fine,” he said, “I’ll clean up after your mess, Director,” he said, “just remember that it’s the highest up who have the furthest to fall.”
He shut the door with a satisfying thunk. The Director exhaled through her nostrils slowly.
“Couldn’t have put it better myself,” she murmured under her breath. She looked up at Price.
“I think wonder-boy there is getting a little too high and mighty for my liking,” she continued, “we don’t need him for the plan to work. Get me Adelaide Bruce.”
Price nodded curtly and left the room. The Director watched him go, her good humour restored. Rifling through the papers in front of you she withdrew Adelaide’s file and studied the little picture intently.
“I think it’s about time you and me had a little chat,” she muttered to herself.