It's like Bridget Jones' Diary, but with a super-powered vigilante.

June 18, 2005

My stupid/brilliant plan

I go through my plan for breaking into QuantumWorks for like, the tenth time today, and I still can’t tell if my scheme is inspired or fatally stupid. Sitting in the Secret Chamber in my underwear, I contemplate my imminent doom or triumph while I listen to Iron Maiden and devour shrimp phad thai.

Here’s where I’m at: I got hired some months ago to do marketing for special project called QuantumWorks, which I discover is basically the Mother of All Search Engines. Using mysterious proprietary technology, QuantumWorks allows a user to search for any information that has ever been published on the internet ever – even stuff that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a “comprehensive historical search engine with total recall,” and I think The Company is using dimensional technology to run the thing. As we all know, dimensional technology is highly regulated by the feds. Nobody wants another Pittsburgh Disaster.

Sounds like a big deal, right? The QuantumWorks thing? Like a revolutionary product? The kind of thing you’d hire a whole army of marketing guys for, or outsource it, right? No, there’s just little old me. My bitch Chad and I are the entire marketing department for this incredibly important product.

Naturally, I’m a little suspicious from Day One. I’m a superhero, I think everyone’s a supervillain. But over time my suspicion ripens into full-on paranoia. I’m not the only one who is leery of the whole thing; the unrequited love of my life Margo Thompson, who was brought in as a project manager, is convinced that something illegal is going down.

The three executives who run the QuantumWorks project stink like supervillains to me. I’m guessing that the enigmatic John Quentin is the idea guy, the project visionary. I hardly see him around, but the dude is smug and handsome in that criminal mastermind way. The day-to-day brains of the operation is Aaron Clarke, a professor-type who I have seen chatting with guys in strange hazmat suits. Clarke doesn’t seem dangerous, so of course that means he’s the most dangerous of the three. That’s the way it works. And then there’s Ted Bradbury, The Company’s CFO, a big aging jock with a handshake that could warp cold steel. Definitely parahuman. Definitely a patronizing asshole.

These three guys, the QuantumWorks executive team, seem to know that I am The Velvet Marauder, but don’t seem to care, which worries me. I bugged one of their conference rooms and picked up some interesting info before they found the bug. Oddly, they didn’t seem to care about the bug – they seemed to think I was being “plucky.”

The really weird thing? When I got weirded out by their set-up and tried to quit, they just told me to be patient and offered me a huge raise. I took it of course.

But now my stew of mystery has come to a boil and I’m in a position where I have to do something – something heroic. Margo got pictures of the ultra-restricted Nerd Zone on the Ninth Floor, where techies in radiation suits sequester themselves behind security doors to work on God-knows-what. There’s some kind of strange high-tech chamber in the Nerd Zone, beyond those security doors that I think is the missing piece of the QuantumWorks puzzle, and I have to find out what it is. I think the Nerd Zone on the Ninth Floor is a tesseract chamber, a pocket dimension that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. You could fit a football field into a broom closet using tesseract technology.

So what’s the plan?

I’m going to raid the Nerd Zone tonight and I’m going to prove that, at the very least, these dickheads are using illegal dimensional technology. And then I’m calling my secret weapon –

Silver Striker.

A few months back when I was taking a sabbatical in Costa Rica after (accidentally) killing Parka, Silver Striker himself came down to give me a pep talk. Okay, actually he came down to Costa Rica to determine if I had murdered Parka or if it was a just kill. Striker told me to buck up, get back on the horse, walk it off, etc., and urged me to return to Evergreen City. I was a little concerned at the time about The Malefactors, Parka’s crew, taking revenge on me, so Silver Striker gave me a transat phone. Among other features, the custom Nokia phone has a direct line to the emergency operators at Striker Mountain. You just dial 911.

I’m going in there. I’m going to take some pictures of this high-tech chamber in the Nerd Zone, and then I’m going to send them directly to Striker Mountain. Even if I die, at least I will have got the word out. If shit gets hairy, I’ll just call in an air strike.

Sure, the smart thing to do would be to call Silver Striker and explain the whole thing and let the pros handle it. I’ll admit that I don’t have a ton of experience with vast super-conspiracies, and I may be way out of my league, power-wise. But I feel a certain sense of ownership over this whole scenario. It’s my problem, right? And what kind of hero would I be if I turned cases over to a big time player every time shit got rough? Plus, I don’t want him to get the credit. I know, that sounds really petty, huh? But I’m still trying to establish my brand identity, trying to cultivate the Marauder image – I need big wins like this if I want to keep seeing my name in SuperPeople.

So there you go. That’s my plan. And on Monday I’ll either be dead or not have a job. Or both.

I guess it’s a good thing I sold all my company stock this week.


Anonymous said...

Right on, Marauder – don't give in to insecurity! The Silver Striker only trusted you with that phone in the first place because he knows you can take care of yourself in the field. This is YOUR turf, and nobody else's.

Hey, you stopped a real live devil from releasing Eeevil into the world – you can definitely take out some parahuman republican creepazoids. They aren't worried about the Velvet Marauder working there because they're underestimating you, and that will be their decisive mistake.

A man needs to mow his own lawn, y'know what I'm saying? Just be careful when you go there, don't forget to prepare an emergency "B" plan in case shit happens, and things will be cool.

Oh, and make sure the transat phone's battery is charged. You do not want a dead phone on your hand if/when things get bad enough to justify calling in reinforcements.

David Campbell said...

Yes. Now you are speaking my language brother: "A man needs to mow his own lawn." I'm using that.

Faceless Henchwoman said...

Hey, sometime when you're not about to get yourself killed in a foolish way, how about information on the Pittsburgh Disaster?

Anonymous said...

You have to go into this thing with the firm belief that you're going to win, VM. Your kung-fu is strong. You will triumph over evil. You have to, because you will never get any sugar from Margo if you don't. Maybe that could be your motto for the mission. The Velvet Marauder: Defending the Defenseless, Protecting Evergreen City, Getting Sweet Lovin'

Anonymous said...

Hey, of course getting to taste that sugar is an important factor. Why ELSE would heroes wear all that tight spandex and muscled body armors?

Dammit, having fine ladies swooning over you is one of the best parts of saving the world! That, and getting to punch villains in the mouth. Punching villains never gets old. Best stress-relief therapy I've ever had, lemme tell you.

Anonymous said...

I wish you success, VM.

However, I have two (trivial to your troubles, by all means) questions for you.

1) Sometime next week I am attending a gala, where I am expecting (with enthusiasm, I must admit) supervillain interference. (I am certain of the validity of my sources and am certain that he will not be expecting me) Since, I have no butler, neither a sidekick, nor a partner and do not drive a car nor a bike - what should I do with my suit? Should I wear it underneath my tux? I cannot carry a backpack there, for god's sake.

Surely you would understand my predicament. Please, a word of advice.

2) I am thinking of redesigning my suit. Spandex or nomex? Or something else?

About that grappling hook gun I got from MyGuy - the manual said it featured a tracking device along with a gps unit for the user to track it with. Well, fortunately I ordered it under a fake name and address and had a friend to check it out for bugs. Well, he found it out, plus other 3 bugs. Luckily, he is more than capable in the field of telecommunications and he cleaned the gun.

Watch it with those guys.

PS hammerheart, try kicking evil-doers in the crotch. Many heroes I know have tried it and wholeheartedly recommend it since.

David Campbell said...

Hmm, I'd definitely go with a kevlar/ballistic nylon ply fabric with a nomex outer shell, but that's just me. Re: your gala - looks like you're going to have to "go commando." I've had luck stashing my suit inside a location beforehand, like in a broom closet or something, and then suiting up at the gala if need be. Tough call.

Anonymous said...

You are suggesting I sneak in there, stash it somewhere, leave (undetected) and use it later when need arises?


Not my method of choice; perhaps I 'll wear a lighter version of my suit (spandex and a few kevlar pads (not that the full version is anything spectacular)) underneath my clothes.

And I 've always wanted to pull a Bruce Wayne - I hope it doesn't turn into a nightmare from my primary school age.

Anonymous said...

or: from my primary school days

Greg Silverman said...

Best of luck, man. Maybe after this, you'll finally be more famous than the Midnight Rambler.

gorjus said...

Nice recap, Chris Claremont. This kind of talk just worries me, though, as I don't want the 'Striker to come striking in, only to find Velvet Mangle.

Be safe, man!! Come on!

Dark Blight said...

June 18? and it is now August 23? hmmmm looks like his bosses had done a little preparing for his eventual onslaught, and took him down!!!

now that the coast is once again clear, it may be time for a little havoc reaking!!

mwaa haaa haaa!! *rubs hands menacingly*

i wonder how evergreen city would survive were i to kneecap all the elderly, so they had to ride in those blasted scooter chairs, causing a flood of them on the sidewalks... ooo thereby causing sidewalk and crosswalk gridlock and all the businesses will shut down and people will DIE!!!! HAHAHAAHAHAHA

*ahem* uh nevermind me.. i was just thinking aloud.. at what a terrible thing that would... uh... be.

Anonymous said...

Arrrgh. I can't take the suspense anymore, y'all! Those alien hallway plants are going to come into play, I just KNOW it. And where is Margo?

Faceless Henchwoman said...

Does anyone have the number for Stryker Mountain, or whatever it's called? Maybe we can find out from them what happened, if anything....

Anonymous said...

Should we send flowers, or would the Marauder have liked us to make a charitable donation in his memory? And if so, to whom?