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 –
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.