2019-04-08: Evil Managers

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Featuring Black Mamba, Fusion
Rating PG
Synopsis It's time to hire a new assistant for Fusion and Mamba, Erana is not very nice, and Zara tends to over compensate.


It's pretty rare for Sentry to need new assistants. Very, very few people actually leave their job with Sentry, they enjoy it, and if they don't, they find somewhere else within Sentry Tower to work. Lady Locomotive's made sure that all employees receive proper medical, benefits, and those that stay long enough, even a share with the company. If there are personality conflicts, it's properly taken care of through a fair and neutral Human Resources. In New York City, it's like the -perfect- place to work, and when jobs open up, there are many different applicants who apply. (And considering Sentry's popularity with the people, that doesn't hurt, either.)

Still, LL has made certain that everyone is treated fairly, and if a bully gets hired and can't find themselves changing with the proper encouragement? They're asked to leave. It's as simple as that.

Today, however, is one of those rare instances when a high ranking position has opened up. The previous assistant, Melody, needed to move out of state in order to be with her aging parents. Sentry gave her a very warm farewell party and even a bonus for all of her hard work. She was a great assistant to Fusion and Black Mamba, taking care of little things - big things - things that due to Fusion and Mamba's schedules, they couldn't do so well on their own. Things like, scheduling appearances, scheduling podcasts, being the go-between for annoying reporters, being not just a secretary, but a personal assistant that helped in everything Sentry related.

So, in finding a replacement for Melody, Erana and Zara are pretty well set on finding someone just as talented as her. Human Resources have narrowed the field down to ten potential applicants, and Erana and Zara get to choose which one they like the best through a very intense interview process.

Erana is just NOT a very good person to be doing interviews. She sits like a stone in her chair, eyes narrowed, mouth pursed, an intense and unwavering stare given to the individual seated across the way from them. For this interview, they've forgone a desk in front of Mamba and Fusion, instead the room is a small office, two comfortable chairs (one designed just for Zara) at one end, and another chair (not quite as comfortable) for the interviewee opposite them.

The man is a bit nervous as he comes in and offers a, "Hello, m..my name is Jim Powell." He draws towards the chair, misses it entirely and sits on the floor with a splat. His age is twenty-one, he's just finished college, and this is literally his first interview and it shows.

Erana doesn't even crack a smile at the boys antics.


Well, it's the perfect place to work if you don't mind being called in at ungodly hours when a crisis hits, or staying at Sentry HQ until it's resolved. Or potentially getting kidnapped by a vengeful supervillain... the benefits are great, and it looks good on a resume, but it's not work that would suit everyone.

Plus there's the interview, which might not be so bad if it wasn't with Fusion. If Zara wasn't in the room to provide a bit of balance, they might never manage to recruit anyone!

The human-snake hybrid is curled up in an oversized - not to mention reinforced - spherical chair that allows her to pull her whole tail in with her, and generally arrange herself as she likes. When Jim opens the door and steps in, Zara looks up from her notes and offers an encouraging smile... too late. Far, far too late. Fusion's already caught his eye and Zara can almost see the colour and the confidence drain out of him.

Even so, missing the chair is a particularly bad start, and Zara turns to look Erana's way. Be Nice, she mouths at her team leader, when she sees that she's still sitting there stony-faced, and Zara takes it upon herself to rescue the hapless applicant. Flowing down from her chair like a scaled waterfall, Zara glides over to Jim and offers him a hand up. "Hi Jim. I'm Zara, and this is Fusion. Take a minute to get your breath back and we'll start, OK?"


Catching Zara's annoyance at her, more than actually seeing it, Erana's calm gaze turns silently onto her friend. The barest, tiniest, little bit of a twitch of a smile creeps into the corner of Fusion's expression, before it fades just as fast. She's fighting everything she can not to bust a gut laughing right now! Still, if the applicant can't take a #FusionGlare, well, they couldn't take a rush of reporters seeking for a 'quote' or an 'interview'. It's important that they get someone who isn't nervous under fire, and so that is a huge strike against the young man.

Jim is quite embarrassed, and thankful when Zara comes over to offer him a hand up. "It's my first interview after college." He confesses, in a truthful manner. The young man is on the skinny side of things, not too tall, not too short, probably about five foot nine. Long, perfectly brown hair is pulled back into a professional ponytail that hangs loosely down his back. He isn't anything too good looking, but he's got a charm to his smile as he sits down and composes himself, the flaming red cheeks finally returning to their normal color.

Erana is the first to actually ask the questions of him, starting with. "If that had been a hoard of reporters, all demanding Zara or my attention, you would not have done so well." Her voice isn't evil, it's neutral in tone and yet still holding a tinge of disappointment. In Era's lap is the man's information, including to his resume. "You've made it this far, Jim. That's an accomplishment in and of itself, remember that. So to begin, I'll let Zara ask the first question."


There are hardened reporters, who've kept their cool through natural disasters, civil strife, and even war, who wilt under the force of a #FusionGlare, so Zara's got a little more sympathy with Jim than Erana does. And she knows that her friend's on the edge of laughing at the poor man's misfortune. Green eyes are duly narrowed accusingly!

Zara's grip is firm, and she pulls the man to his feet without much apparent effort - which may or may not do his self-esteem any good - and she waits within arm's reach until it's certain he's actually going to land on the chair this time, before she undulates her way back to her chair. She sits down humanly enough, on purpose, but the way her tail coils around her is anything but.

Once Jim's recovered some poise - and probably had it shaken again right away, by Erana reminding him that he just fell on his butt - Zara takes the offered cue. It might be more merciful to let him off the hook now, but a catastrophic first impression might be hiding real talent. Although Zara has to admit, it's hiding very well...

"Thanks, Fusion." Zara says, lightly, hiding the //Thanks//, //Fusion// undertone rather well, and instead favouring Jim with another smile. "The role does involve managing people who want to talk to us. As you can imagine, there are a lot of calls on our time, and we can't talk to everyone. Sometimes it's reporters, but other times it's people with legitimate problems that would be better dealt with by the regular emergency services." Context matters! Zara takes a moment to let that sink in, then says, "First, tell us a little bit about yourself, and then, how you'd manage a situation like that?"


Zara's annoyance of Erana only furthers her amusement. She knows she's going to hear an earful about this, and Era's quite bemused by the entire thing. Yet, she can't really let her own emotions enter into a very important interview. They are interviewing someone who is going to have personal contact with them day in and day out. They can't whither under anything, not even Fusion's most evil of glares, or contemptuous of emotions. They must have the strength of will and confidence to stand up for themselves without falling on their behinds. So, really, Erana's going to stick to her guns and her glares, leveling her eyes back onto Jim with an intensity that has made even super villains pause.

The young man does recover nicely, even if he keeps side glancing at Erana with a nervousness that shows. "I'm a pol.. pol..political science minor with a psychology major. In college I was on the Dean's List, averaging a three point six throughout." Getting more into things as he goes, Jim does recover enough to list his achievements in college, as well as express what he would do in a situation that would place him in front of a lot of people.

The answers aren't /bad/, per say, and he does recover nicely, but his nervousness in dealing with Erana is evident, a fact that as Jim leaves, Erana does bring up. "Nice enough guy, but if he can't handle being glared at, I have severe doubts he can handle a rushed situation of multiple telephone calls and reporters banging on his door."


Zara is The Nice One, mostly by default because Erana is professionally incapable of being The Nice One, but she's not The Soppy One. She let the interview run its course, even got up again to show him out and shake his hand as he left, but once the door is closed behind him Zara turns back to Erana and shakes her head 'No'.

"I think you're right." Zara remarks as she slithers back to her seat, although she leans her arms comfortably on the back rather than sitting in it for a moment. Subtly adjusting her height to make things perfect as she does so. "I agree. He would need a lot of coaching, and if we had time for that much coaching... we wouldn't need support staff as much. With only you, me, and Airman for now, we need someone who can hit the ground running." She smirks at Erana. "Don't say it." She adds, waving a finger at her.

"So, who's next?"


"I wouldn't dream of it." Erana offers with a wry grin. "By the way, with him dropping to the ground like that. Who was Mrs. Grey in that instance, you or me?" There's a devilish tone to Era's voice at that, as she relaxes just briefly chortling under her breath. "I swear, if he'd bit his lower lip in a come-hither expression, I probably would have completely lost it. LOST. It." Shaking her head, white hair bounding about her shoulders as she does so, Erana flips the waves back and rubs her eyes.

"Okay. Contestant." A pause, a beat, and Erana clears her throat. "I mean, applicant number two is a twenty one year old female, business major with a psychology minor. She finished a year earlier than most, and is not a native American, but French with dual citizenship. Interesting. I can't see any other.." Erana's fingers idly rustle through the papers, "Experience other than college."

With a shrug of her shoulders, Erana calls in the next applicant. "Can we see the next person, please?"


"Definitely you. My life's an open book, literally. You're the powerful, mysterious one. Who //knows// what you're hiding behind that glare?" Zara snickers quietly, enjoying herself far too much. "But of course I've never seen that movie and have no idea what you're talking about." She adds the last in a very proper tone, and slides around her chair to drop down into it once more as Erana reels off the next victim's greatest hits.

"Coming from another country is a plus." Zara says, her tone becoming businesslike. There's just the smallest glint in her eye that might betray her. "It gives a broader worldview, an appreciation that everyone doesn't see things the same way, and that there are other ways of working and relating to people." She pauses. "Not to mention that it isn't mandatory to eat your recommended daily intake of food for //breakfast// and, actually, you //don't// have to put cheese on everything." Zara grins. "We need more people like that around here." The Swedish snake-woman adds, thoughtfully, and after a final smirk, schools her expression into something neutral and friendly.


Erana doesn't get the opportunity to respond back, because of course, she's never seen the movie in question either. Cough. Cough. Though there is a brief bob of her head as Zara offers her immediate like of the fact the applicant is from a different country. "According to my nutritionist." Erana states in a quiet whisper while waiting for the next applicant. "All you're supposed to eat for breakfast is yogurt, or fruit, but not both." Erana plants a hand on her stomach which rumbles at the mention of food. "I'll be glad when lunchtime gets here."

Sitting back in her chair, Erana's elbows rest comfortably on the arms of the chair, hands lifting upwards as her index fingers steeple together. Again, the expression of professional detachment is given to the applicant. The expression on Erana's features is the same as she gave to Jim, an unholy emotion that seems to judge your worthiness by a mere flick of Erana's eyelashes.

The door opens and the applicant steps inside. She's petit, probably around five foot six or seven, but might seem a bit taller in her straight shoulder, perfect posture that she offers as she steps over the threshold of the doorway and enters the room. She wears business attire, though with a flair of color splashed in. While her suit jacket is black, the silk shirt beneath is a daring dark blue hue, matching in fact, to the splash of blue in her dark brown hair. A long, black maxi skirt drops neatly down from her waist to end at her ankles, where a pair of blue pumps can be found. The skirt has pockets along the sides, and buttons down the front. A beaten up old wrist watch is the only jewelry to be found.

With a confidence that comes from within, the potential assistant offers a bob of her head. "Hello. I'm Nikki Rousseau." And she waits very patiently and politely in the doorway until Erana gestures to the chair, which Nikki slides into with a grace that defies (almost even) Zara.


Zara has the kind of indifference to Erana's dietary woes that only a genetically-engineered carnivore with a fast metabolism can have. The idea of her ever being put on a diet is laughable, and she's more often being reminded to make sure she clears her plate, and would she like seconds?

When you're a snake-monster, little victories like that matter!

"Try not to eat the next applicant." Zara says, watching Erana out of the corner of her eye as she says it. If she's trying to make her smile and break the death-glare for the next applicant's benefit, she's unsuccessful. Erana has that look down to a science.

As the applicant walks in, Zara has to give her a point for holding her professional pose under Erana's scrutiny, and then another for actually finding the chair on her first go. In fact, if it wasn't for that streak of colour in her hair, Zara might almost have gotten the impression that she was a little //too// professional.

"Hello Nikki, I'm Zara Breinholst, and this is the leader of Sentry, Fusion. Thank you for coming in today. I hope we didn't keep you waiting too long, but there's been a lot of interest in this role so we have a number of people to interview today." Zara might be The Nice One, but she's still watching Nikki as she goes through the pleasantries.

"Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, and what made you want to join the staff of Sentry?"


And so the interview process begins, and continues. Nikki is a nice person, polite, professional, but has an easy going manner to her. Out of all of the ten applicants, she does stand out as one of the better ones. She doesn't even wilt a single bit at Erana's best #FusionGlare, yet still shows the necessary respect that is expected towards the leader of such an influential group. (Which says something.)

As the interview comes to an end, Erana actually stands up to shake the hand of Nikki, pausing only a moment as she does so, before stepping back and letting Zara finish the interview off.

It isn't until all of the interviews are done that Erana and Zara get the chance to speak about each one, in turn. As the topic of Nikki comes in, Erana offers a laugh.

"Out of all of the applicants, she was the less terrified of me, and the best one to answer questions on the fly. Very quick to answer, very confident in how she did it - and she is super powered, though it isn't anything really earth shattering, she has the ability to change the hair pigments, any hair pigments to any color, from her entire hair, to just a few strands. " Considering it's been right at the fifteen minute mark, Erana's hair suddenly shifts hues, turning from white, to the hue of her wig a dishwater blonde, then back again. "I have to admit, having someone around who can change my hair color without me having to wear a /wig/ is an added bonus to me. Even if it means I have to give her my secret identity in the process."

"Opinions on the applicants?"


Zara //might// have written 'Patience of a saint?' with a little smiley face next to it in her notes, at the point that even she, Zara, might have found Erana's perpetually grim expression and fairly blunt questioning getting a bit wearing, but credit where it's due, Nikki didn't show any irritation.

She must //really// need this job.

That might have been another note, crossed through for being unfair. Still, Zara's tapping her pen by the side of it as they go through the applicants one by one. Jim got the shortest review, unfortunately. That wasn't a hard decision to make.

Erana's laugh makes Zara look up quickly, her eyes narrowing slightly even as she smiles. She'd almost managed to convince herself she'd imagined Erana's moment of hesitation when she showed Nikki out, but now she knows there's something Erana hasn't shared with her yet. "Out with it." She says, mock-sternly, pointing the top of her pen at Erana as she delivers the instruction. Naturally Erana picks this moment to be professional and list all the key points from the actual interview before she gets to the punchline.

"She didn't tell us. I think I like that. I have to field enough questions about 'superhuman bias'... it's like they've forgotten Brass Ring already. A lot of people would tell us that up front, and hope it gave them an edge." Zara's thinking that over while Erana plays with her hair colour, but the display does still make her smile.

Flipping back through her notes, Zara gives a one-line summary of all of the other applicants. "None of them were bad... all right, a couple of them were. But I liked Nikki. Anyone who's not scared of you is someone worth keeping around. And if we can cut costs on the wig budget, so much the better. I say we make her an offer, and see if she can keep up."


"She didn't even wince when I poured on the absolute full brunt of my annoyance. I was impressed." And Erana doesn't say that lightly. Sitting back in her chair, Fusion shifts over her own notes, "Jim would have had better qualifications, but his performance was very poor. We might have HR suggest a few jobs for him that are more behind the scenes, instead of being right there in front of everyone. See how he does for another position within the structure."

"I also like the fact she kept that from us. Though, how do you really say, oh yes, and I can change the color of people's hair in an interview topic." Erana lets out a quiet laugh at that, shaking her head from side to side. "So I agree with you, we'll have HR make an offer, on a temporary six week basis, and see how she does with things. If it doesn't work out, I'm sure they have some position that is fitting for her skill set."

Moving towards the door to set things in motion, Erana turns back around. "Hey lets grab a bite to eat in town today. I just do NOT feel like eating whatever salad of the day I'm going to be served." Her nose wrinkles, and then Erana heads on through the doorway, moving to talk to the head of their hiring department.