EXCERPT: Captain Justice Saves the Day by Genevieve Valentine

CATEGORY: Logistics and Support of Evil Programmatics

RULE 5917.N/18.3e: Never Trust a Job Posting on Craigslist

SOURCE: Brenda Bryce, executive assistant

VIA: Genevieve Valentine

How do evil geniuses get it all done? They have theories to spin, hypotheses to test, devices to create, and evil to plot, and each of these tasks requires time, effort, and often a large number of unusual materials. There’s so much work behind every nefarious deed, it’s remarkable anything evil ever gets done.

In our next story, one mad scientist’s secret is revealed: a remarkable assistant. Someone has to be in charge of the office, and in this tale, it’s Brenda. She knows just who to call to order the ignition for a doomsday device and she’s got the skills it takes to edit a truly evil ransom note. She’s a truly capable woman, ready for whatever her job demands—and as a mad scientist’s assistant, her job will take some unusual skills.

The question is: will she survive long enough to get that well-earned raise?

Captain Justice Saves the Day
by Genevieve Valentine

Brenda had been working for Dr. Methuselah Mason for two years the day he mentioned strapping her to the doomsday device.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” he said. “Captain Justice can never resist the prospect of some helpless civilian. He’ll stop to save you, and by the time he realizes the mechanism is unstoppable . . . ” He sighed. “I’ll be rid of him forever.”

Brenda hit Mute on the speakerphone. “Beg pardon?”

“Don’t worry,” he said. “He always gets there before the timer runs out. I’ll leave some clues for him like usual. You shouldn’t be there long, and you don’t have to really do anything.”

“He said he wanted birch,” came the lumberyard service rep through the speaker. “Birch isn’t mothproof. He never told me the place was at risk from moths.”

“Of course it’s at risk from moths,” snapped Dr. Mason, “it’s an abandoned farmhouse lair.”

Brenda said, “You told me not to tell him that. Also, he can’t hear you.”

“Look, I’d pay you overtime for the doomsday stuff,” Dr. Mason said with a trace of disdain for time-clocking. “I don’t see why we have to have a big I’m-having-feelings meeting about everything I suggest.”

“I’m not giving your boss a pass on something he bought free and clear,” the lumber rep said.

Dr. Mason slammed his hand on the Mute button. “You listen here, you’ll give me that refund or I’ll send some radioactive geese to your house at night, you lying—”

“Dave, let me call you right back,” Brenda said, and hung up.

Dr. Mason shook his head. “Unbelievable! It’s just impossible to get good customer service these days. The only reason Captain Justice has ever gotten anything over on me is because he has a better support team. You really need to find out who he’s buying from.”

“I’ll make a note,” Brenda said. “Now, the doomsday thing?”

“Well, I’m blacklisted at all the temp agencies,” he said, “so there’s nothing doing on that front. You’re going to have to be a team player here. We don’t have any other options.”

After the first three months, she had given up mentioning the option “Don’t build a doomsday device.” He was disorganized enough that she’d figured it was a safe bet he’d never finish, anyway.(If she had any coworkers, she’d have just lost out big in the office pool.)

“You’ll have to file preemptive worker’s-comp papers with the insurance company,” she said finally.

He huffed and leaned back against the wall of the farmhouse lair. “I’m so tired of that bureaucracy nonsense. That’s your job. My last assistant wouldn’t shut up about all that stuff, either. I hated it.”

Brenda blinked. “What happened to her?”

He traced a figure in the air with one hand. “Went to grad school,” he said vaguely, and disappeared into the lab.

Brenda dug around for information about her predecessor, but didn’t find a thing. Either Enid Evans had ditched the Master’s degree and gone off the grid, or this was not the first time Dr. Mason had had a brilliant idea regarding his assistant.

***

4:53am

To: Brenda Bryce <bbryce@mmasonenterprises.net>

From: Dr. Methuselah Mason, PhD <doctor@mmasonenterprises.net>

Subject: EMERGENCY NETWORK BREACH

Miss Bryce—I need the number of the Overlook Park office so I can bribe the officials to plant my doomsday device for me, and the address of The Ledger so I can send the ransom note, but something is wrong with my address book. What did you do???

***

5:46am

To: Dr. Methuselah Mason, PhD <doctor@mmasonenterprises.net>

From: Brenda Bryce <bbryce@mmasonenterprises.net>

Subject: EMERGENCY NETWORK BREACH

Dr. Mason,

It seems something is wrong with your address book because you erased it trying to password-protect it. I am on my way in to re-populate your address book from my computer. Please do not try to fix it until I get there.

—Brenda

***

6:09am

Well, I already overrode your computer’s security so I could get the numbers because you weren’t getting back to me and I need to get this done, but your address book is blank, too. I don’t see how that helps us.

***

6:11am

Dr. Mason,

Please do not touch my computer again until I get there. I will get you the information as soon as I can call The Night Cipher for tech support and have him restore our address books.

—Brenda

***

6:20am

But that’s going to take forever! Don’t you have a faster method to access this?

***

6:27am

Brenda, do you have a faster method? I really need to start bribing ASAP.

 ***

6:35am

Brenda, I think my email’s broken, too—none of my messages are getting through to you. When you get in, please address this.

***

 “I think this ransom note is missing something,” said Dr. Mason, a few days later. He dropped it casually on her desk and folded his arms. “What do you think?”

Trick question, is what Brenda thought.

[End Excerpt]