Something Going On At The Pier

Anja Storm

OK. So. Something big has been going on at the pier. I want to tell you all about it, but first. You know where I live, right?

In case you don’t know, I’m in a small bayside suburb, which is kind of like a small town. I’m not in the big smoke, that’s for sure. But it’s also not rural. It’s this weird in between village town suburb thing, but feels more like a small seaside community. Except it’s not by the sea. It’s by the bay. It’s called Mornington. There are nice cafes and galleries and if you walk down the end of Main Street you end up at the pier.

Anyway. A while back I got a call from City HQ. The Superhero HQ in the city. The Big Boss, actually. I don’t often get in on big jobs. I mean, I’m usually doing small time freelance stuff on the peninsula here to pay the bills. But the Big Boss calls. It’s 10PM and I’ve got to get down to the pier ASAP. There’ll be backup. I don’t get any further info. I don’t ask questions, because that’s not how the job works.

So I get my stuff together. I get out of my jarmies and into my outfit. Leggings with pockets, t-shirt, jacket with more pockets and secret pockets that I don’t even remember where they are, boots, a scarf because it’s night and cold and there’s always a breeze down at the pier. You know how most people have a checklist of keys/wallet/phone? (or is that just me?) Well, when I get a call out, my checklist is coffee, keys, phone. Just a small coffee in a reusable cup for the drive. I don’t bring a wallet. Too much bulk and risk it’ll get stolen. My work phone can settle any expenses. Wish they’d switch it to a watch though. That’s what the city heroes are all using now. They’re so cool. And less likely to get lost. But anyway…

I’m not far, so it’s a short drive. I park near the pub opposite the park and walk through the dark shadows of the trees. I need to be fast, but I also need to be careful. It might be urgent, but nothing is more important than staying safe.

I make my way from shadow to shadow, edging closer to the top of the exposed road leading down to the pier. I stay in the shadows up high until I see a slight movement down below. It’s a hero standing behind the toilet block.

Something I’ve perfected is running silently. It requires a slightly different gait than regular running, but with practice you can get pretty fast at it. So I go nice and fast, nice and silent, down to the shadow behind the toilet block.

He doesn’t jump. He’s good. He knows it’s me. We work well together. He indicates there’s one more of us, and a total of two guys in the back of the fish and chip shop that we need to bring in. I want to ask why. But he indicates –

OK. PAUSE.

Now is the time to mention his powers. Zeb can communicate telepathically. He just sends his thoughts to me, but he calls it indication, because sometimes it’s just an indication of an idea. Especially if we get along well, he doesn’t need to think out whole sentences to us. It’s more immediate than that. He can talk too. But obviously for operations like this, indicating is much more appropriate.

SO ANYWAY…

He indicates that the local senior sergeant is having a meeting with the owner of the fish and chip shop. They’ve got a deal going on with one of the cargo ships through the bay. Their runner (someone with a small fishing boat) is late, and the cargo ship is passing by right now. Right now! (That was a double indication, where he means something is happening right now, and we also need to move in right now).

So I turn invisible. Oh yeah, that’s my superpower. I’ll go into it more later, but I’m invisible, running silently with Zeb to the front of the fish and chippery. Dan, our third guy, is nowhere to be seen. But we know our fish and chip guys are having their moment now, which means it’s our moment now too.

Zeb kicks down the door and I sneak in silently, invisibly. Zeb’s good at action, so he’s got the two guys in cuffs fast, and I do a tour of the back room with my phone camera. I get footage of everything. I run it all in slow motion so when it’s played back, everything can be taken in. There’s stuff on a desk I should take. Papers, invoices, a Rolex (I don’t know if it’s real or not, but it’s quite heavy so I take it), and several thick unmarked envelopes. I take them all and slip them into my jacket pockets, covering them with my invisibility. Zeb indicates to me that he’s got the guys in his car and he’s taking them to The Basement. That’s what they call one of the lower floors of HQ. It’s not the actual basement. There’s no such thing! But The Basement (capital letters) is where the questioning and interrogation happens.

I don’t have to go in for that. Dan still hasn’t shown up. So I check my phone and apparently I’m done for the night.

Well, not entirely. I’ve got to get all this gear I took to HQ. So I get to my car. And drive home.

Because being invisible is tough. It’s exhausting. And that’s the thing that no one at HQ understands. I’ve told HR. I’ve told the Big Boss. But she says I just need to get to bed earlier. She doesn’t get it. It’s really exhausting. So I go home. Keep the lights low. Make a cup of coffee. And flop on the couch with my cat, Cleo. Big Boss is just going to have to wait for me so I can do my best.

It’s hard to explain the exhaustion from my powers. It creates a fatigue that’s really only cured by me being still, calm, and with the opposite of the intensity of my job. It actually takes days to recover, but I’ve got important work to do, so after twenty minutes I know I’m right for the hour-long drive to the city. I don’t know why they don’t have another branch closer down my way where I can drop off this stuff. It’s probably a budget issue.

Now the action part of the job really only took a few minutes. Ten at most. But this part of the job? This is what takes me well into the night and the early hours of the morning.

I’ve got the gear from the fish and chip shop. So I need to scan myself into City HQ. Then go straight to Processing. They take the goods and write it all up. They get the footage from my phone. Since I’m already here, I go to Super Logistics, and file my report – my story of what happened – directly with them. This includes noting when Zeb used his powers to indicate to me, noting my powers, when I used them, and declaring that I used them to essentially steal this stuff I was told to steal. Even noting basic stuff like where I parked my car and how long I was in the park before finding Zeb. These details are really specific. It’s a pain in the arse. It takes up time. It wears us out. And for the city heroes where there’s a lot of action, it slows them down from doing real work. But we have to do this or we could all be out of business. So we joke and complain, but we know it serves a purpose.

My filing must’ve auto-pinged Big Boss, because suddenly she’s at the elevator I wanted to take to get down and out of there. She calls me to her office, and from her watch device orders her assistant to get coffee. Hmm maybe Boss really is learning that I need a few accommodations here after all. Or maybe she’s being nice to me for a reason.

Hey look, I’m going to pause here because this is turning out to be way longer than I expected. It’s all over the news so you can read the version for the public that’s out there. But if you stick with me, I’ll write up the rest later so you can get the full behind-the-scenes version.


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