Episode 1

Happy Hero(ine)s™ Super Secret Headquarters, New York Campus: Deployment Department

In a brightly lit room, painted in subdued blues and reds, several people were sitting around a table, deciding the fate of the year’s third batch of super heroes and heroines.

At the head of the table sat George, thinking happily about his upcoming vacation and staring into space. He’d had quite enough of working for the time being; it wasn’t easy leading the world’s biggest firm for the training, deployment, and management of super heroes and heroines. Sometimes it seemed like he was just slogging through mud, and at the worst times the mud was filled with piranhas. It was after these times that he decided to go on vacation. No one ever bothered to stop him. He didn’t actually do half as much as his council led him to believe, and if he decided he wanted a little time off, then that was just more time that they didn’t have to spend on him.

If George had known this, he would have taken more vacations.

“Well, George,” said a woman near the head of the table, breaking into George’s reverie and recalling him to the onerous job of leading the deployment meeting, “I think this one should go to Seattle.” The woman’s name was Jane, but she insisted that everyone call her Ms. Sativa. Jane just wasn’t particularly impressive.

“Who’s that again?” asked George.

“A woman who calls herself the Wet Blanket. She says that she can detect all criminal activity as long as it’s raining, so I figure that in Seattle she’ll have a bit of job security.”

“What sort of stupid super heroes are we dealing with these days?” asked someone farther down the table. “The ‘Wet Blanket?’ I mean, seriously, where’s the self-respect?”

Ms. Sativa made a note to herself to look into having the man who had spoken transferred to some tedious bureaucratic job. Bureaucracy worked wonders on people who thought of themselves as witty.

George ignored the comment in the hopes that it would go away.

“Does the committee agree that the Wet Blanket will be posted to Seattle?” asked Ms. Sativa.

“Yes,” said the committee. At times like these it was much easier to ignore snide comments and stick to the script.

George watched enviously while his secretary relayed the decision through his Happy Hero(ine) Communicator Wristwatch®. Sometimes it seemed like everyone but him was tricked out with the newest and neatest cool gadgets. On the other hand, he was going on vacation…

“All right now,” said a man who was extremely fat. “Here’s our next application. It’s from someone who calls himself Dirt Man.” As the man spoke all four of his chins wiggled, but no one noticed anymore; the novelty had worn off several hundred meetings ago.

“Well,” said Ms. Sativa. “What does he have to say about himself?”

“He apparently learned how to be a super hero from the Happy Hero(ine)™ Correspondence Course for Busy Bodies, and now he’s looking to get into action,” wiggled the fat man. “He says that his uniqueness stems from the fact that he uses all natural ways of fighting crime, such as his soon-to-be patented Clod Flinger 2000.5 which flings dirt clods. He also swears to protect the innocent, apprehend the guilty, and always recycle plastics with the number two on them.”

“Any super powers?” asked George.

“Nope.”

“Past experience?”

“Not a bit.”

“Cool gadgets?”

“No. Says he doesn’t have the budget.”

“Sidekicks?”

“None listed here.”

“So the guy’s basically a wannabe superhero without even money to back him up,” said Ms. Sativa.

“Summed it up pretty well,” commented the fat man.

“You’ve looked in on him?” said Ms. Sativa. “He sounds a bit too gung-ho about this all natural thing to me. Is he a possible threat?”

“About as threatening as a wart,” said the fat man.

“Couldn’t get any dirt on him, huh?” said the snide person down the table. Ms. Sativa put a little check mark next to her note. Strike two.“Is there anywhere we can put him?” asked George.

“There’s a low priority place on the list called Gargle City,” said Codename X. Codename X had decided years ago that being known by your actual name was just asking for trouble, and he would have no truck with it. Although everyone who was anyone knew his real name, and knew that he changed it to Codename X, it actually appeared to have worked.

“Gargle?” asked George.

“Yeah, like what you do with mouth wash,” said Codename X.

“And salt water,” said someone down the table.

“And tapioca pudding,” added the snide man.

“Tapioca pudding?” George was incredulous.

Ms. Sativa added another checkmark. If three strikes was good enough for baseball…

“Does the committee agree to send Dirt Man to Gargle City?” asked Ms. Sativa.

“Yes,” said the committee.

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