Welcome To The Team
Here's Everything You'll Need
[SFS 3 & The Mystery Box] There was a package waiting at her door. It couldn't be for her. No orders had been placed, no one planned to send her mail. No one could, without knowing quite where she lived. Yet it could not be for anyone else. The address affixed to the brown paper was entirely correct. Her name was written perfectly.
Looking both ways down the empty hallway, she picked it up, and immediately hear a buzzing sound to her left. Above her, a drone flew away out the open window. Had it delivered the package, and then watched, making sure the box was received directly into her hands? Was it that important... and who, then, was behind this?
Bringing the package inside, dropping her other things at the door, she took it straight to the table. She opened the paper wrap, and lifted the top of the box. Facing her were three cards with the letters M, N, O. Lifting and turning them curiously, she saw words behind each. Measured, Magnetic, Magnificent. Nuanced, Neutral, None. And then the O was just another O, on both sides. There was nothing evident about their purpose yet, but they felt significant somehow. They would come to mean quite a lot to her, she realized, in an uncanny feeling of full awareness, beyond a premonition. Holding her breath, like the air before a thunderstorm, she set them aside to see what was next.
Underneath the cards was a silky black cloth. It looked like a black tarp or blanket at first, wrinkled, with a sheen to it. Lifting it up, she soon recognized a sleeve. She ran the material between her fingers. Malleable yet tough, impossible to tear. To test her hunch, she grabbed a few items within reach. Poured a flower vase on it. Waterproof, and defense against what else? Scissors were no match for it. Weapons, then? Matches snuffed out. Resistant to fire... radiation? Now why would she think of that? Magical powers? She laughed at the absurdity, then stopped herself short.
This already wasn't making any sense. Until she got a handle on the situation, she shouldn't rule out anything as unreal.
He picked up the letters P, Q, R. He sensed their importance even before he knew what it meant. Then he turned the cards over to read their backs: Pleasant, Patient, Persistent. Quizzical, Quaint, Quandary. Reminiscent, Reasonable, Risky.
Looking at the uniform, he frowned skeptically. It looked like big ol' garbage bag. Sturdy like one, too. Might not be much of a style, but it was clearly meant to serve as a protection. And... he could not quite be sure, but there was something about the material under his fingertips... could it change?
By that point, he had pulled it far enough out of the box to see that there was a booklet underneath. With instructions, perhaps, and hopefully answers.
Welcome To The Team!
The cover title greeted her cheerfully. By all appearances, it was an orientation booklet for a job she'd never applied for.
Congratulations, you've been recruited. You are one of a select few.
After a secret vetting process, it has been determined that you can withstand the rigors of travel between various times and spaces, inter-dimensionally, and have both the physical and psychological capacity to handle engaging in this unique line of work. Therefore, you have been chosen as an agent of our organization, and are being equipped with the tools you will need to carry out this training, along with future missions for the wellbeing of our world.
Right, not mysteriously creepy at all. But she often had hunches about things, and they were never wrong. Hers told her to keep moving forward on this. Keep reading.
Put on your suit, place your cards in your pockets, and we will be contacting you shortly.
Well, they certainly picked the right person, considering that he'd be rash enough to try this rather than question it further. Or rather, he was questioning all of it, but the only way to get more answers was to follow the mystery as far as it went. He put the floppy black bag over his head, found some holes he supposed were sleeves and tugged his arms through them, then located the slits that seemed to be pockets. He ran his hands along the fabric again, and where he willed it, the color seemed to fluctuate. There were a few more pages in the book after all, and it would be a shame not to read them too...
"Supernatural occurrences!" she exclaimed. "Correcting time skips? Subduing spirit beasts? They can't be serious..."
As she turned each page, it seemed evident that whoever "they" were, the leaders of this organization, took these matters quite seriously. Enough to provide introductory instructionals for each. She found some pictures of wolf-like beasts with sharp fangs. "I can see the need for a sturdy outfit," she noted, eyeing the cloth in her hands again. She had wanted to learn more, before buying into this unexpected and rather intrusive orientation. But when she thought about her life as it was, and what it could be, there really was no question. She raised the protective cape, and surrounded herself in it. Tucked the cards into her pockets. "Now, let's see now this works..."
"These letters will be your names" the book read. "The characteristics you embody in each of your forms. You can add more to this list, anything that falls within the jurisdiction of your letter."
"The appearance of the suit can be altered, like a costume, to blend in with the surroundings of wherever you find yourself next. But its essence will remain the same, and it will revert to its initial shape when not assigned a new one specifically."
"As always, be on the alert for other agents. Sometimes, they may be an ally on your missions, sent to help you achieve your goal. At other times, they are your opponent, or even an enemy."
So you could gather from this that even amidst all the supernatural forces of the world, humans could still manage to be the worst. Or by agreeing to join the organization, perhaps we are no longer quite human, but have become a version of these fearsome supernatural forces ourselves?
Ironically, there wasn't much housekeeping necessary to be ready. No, it was probably intentional. Choosing agents with less belongings or personal relationships anchoring us. Living with a few boxes that never quite got unpacked... we could stay or go at the drop of a hat.
That's when a top hat dropped out of thin air, flipped upside-down in the middle of the floor, and a glowing portal opened in the air above it.
"Abracadabra" a voice shouted, as a white rabbit popped out. "Are you ready for some magic?"
"Are you serious?" M/N/O said, rolling her eyes. Whether this was her official trainer, or a mysterious other entity making an entrance, it felt overly dramatic and absurd.
"Yes please!" P/Q/R shouted back excitedly, but kept his fingers balled into fists in case things went sour suddenly.
"Not to fear," the magician said, waving a plastic wand. "I'm only here to teach you your A, B, C's! At that, three cards appeared in his hands. But instead of your usual playing cards, they were the first three letters of the alphabet. "See? It's a C?"
"Yes, I get it. But if everything is this cheesy, am I still allowed to change my mind?"
He frowned at her in disappointment. "I'm supposed to make this fun for the new recruits. But if you lack appreciation for creative taste, I guess it can't be helped..." he clutched his heart in sorrow, "we'll go straight to practical matters."
She didn't really mean it though. For all his silly antics, she had just seen several things occur that were far beyond belief. How much was trickery, and how much was real? Would she be able to teleport like this too, if all agents could? There was no backing down from this now. She was thoroughly intrigued, and determined to get to the bottom of this, wherever (to whenever) (and whoever) it might take her.
About the Creator
Visual artist & writer immersed in drawing, illustration, and creative experiments @EllesaurArts.com
Community arts in NYC/LIC Queens and online, NaNoWriMo "The Ellesaur"
Love participating in challenges to motivate new work!
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