Si steeled himself. The majestic steel and glass building loomed over him. He sucked in his gut and adjusted the bright red tie he wore over his pale blue spandex suit.
This was it. This would make it official.
He opened the door and strode across the vast marble lobby to the stone arch that bore the title “Superhero and Vigilante, Etc. Society.” S.A.V.E.S. served the Barrelbottom for more years than anyone could remember. Several men in black suits with various-colored ties wandered around. Each man had a bland face and dark slicked-back hair. A few supers soared across the high ceiling.
Si approached the desk. A woman in a bright purple spandex outfit and thick horn-rimmed glasses appraised him. “What can I do for you, hon?”
“Hey, Assistant Professional. I need to put in paperwork for a transfer.”
“Whatever you say,” she answered in a bored voice. “Can I get your name and badge ID?”
“Siberian Husky, badge ID Red Star-351.”
“Sure. Siberian Husky.” She lowered her glasses to gaze at her computer screen. “Looks like you’ve gotten along with your squadmates for years. Not a lot of action, but certainly within your capabilities. Oh, let me guess. Romantic entanglements? Let’s see here. Pair-a-Medic’s in your squad. You secretly pine for her, don’t you? You know we aid in those personal narratives whenever we can, so I can’t transfer you.”
“No! I mean, uh, Pair’s pretty and all, but I’m dating someone else. And I think that maybe… maybe it’s time for me to move.” Si felt his voluminous cheeks redden.
“Right. Well, fill this out, and I’ll schedule an interview with Officepedia. One of his dupes should be available soon enough.” Assistant Professional handed over a clipboard and gestured to some uncomfortably narrow chairs.
Si worked his way through the papers. Name. Address. Contact info. Badge ID. First appearance. He scribbled the answers without thinking, mostly.
His pencil hovered for a few moments. This was it. This was the big moment.
“Siberian Husky?” A man in a clean black suit and an orange tie approached. His bland face held a smile under his dark slicked-back hair. “Hi. I’m Officepedia, dupe designate burnt umber. I understand you want a transfer, based on romantic attachment?”
“Yeah.” Si stood.
“I assume that means the other male on your squad – the Weebler? – he’s probably already interested in Pair-a-Medic. We can’t break up a love triangle like that until there’s at least one fist fight and one group of civilians in immediate danger. You know how it goes.” Officepedia looked down at a clipboard. “Can’t make any exceptions. Storyarcs are pretty standardized these days.”
“No, no, sir, the romantic attachment isn’t to Pair-a-Medic. She’s nice and all, but I’m seeing someone else.”
“Oh?” Officepedia raised an eyebrow. “We might have to go to my office for this. Is she a supervillain?”
“Of course not! She’s a wonderful woman!”
“Right. Supervillain.” The office worker turned away and strode toward a glassed-in-office. “So you need to retire to be with her until the inevitable betrayal. I assume that means you’ll be shouting your resignation and banging your badge on the desk? I really don’t like those scenes, but I’ll comply as needed.”
Si jogged to keep up. A sweat broke out on his brow. “Sir! I don’t want to resign! I just want a transfer to Mundania!”
Officepedia turned in his doorway. “Excuse me?”
“I want to transfer. To Mundania.”
“Out of the question. That place is far too normal for any protector, even of your caliber.” He turned to go into his office and sat down behind a bland desk.
“No! I want to be out there. I can do something good out there! I can actually make a difference!”
“Siberian Husky, you’re not a protector to make a difference. You do it to fulfill story arcs. Get it right!”
Si gasped for breath. For this he dressed up with a tie? “Look, I filled out the paperwork. Can I go or not?”
“You’ll have to resign first. I’m not changing your assignment.”
What? They wouldn’t transfer him? It was a reasonable request. It was a place without any supers at all.
Office rules! S.A.V.E.S. was supposed to serve the community!
Si felt the heat build inside him, more and more, until he finally burst, “Fine! I resign!”
Officepedia smiled. “Good! Thank you for fulfilling your arc. All your privileges as a licensed protector of Barrelbottom have been revoked. I expect you to continue to use your abilities under the radar until you can prove the beauracracy wrong and rejoin after an exciting adventure. Good luck, Siberian Husky! Leave your badge with Assistant Professional.”
Well, it was one way of getting a transfer. He guessed.
But for now, even unlicensed… Mundania had their own superhero.
And as a bonus… this meant he worked closer to Sam!
This is a Barrelbottom Tale.