Originals Work Force #1

Stan Lee’s Work Force Book 1, Chapter 9: Operation Paper Trail

Zip and Dorothy come back from lunch full, happy, and engrossed in conversation.

“…so basically, it’s a split personality,” Zip finishes her thought.

“Ooohhhh that makes so much more sense,” Dorothy concurs.

Dorothy stops off at her desk and thanks Zip for a great meal as she heads back to the accounting department. Everything seems normal, but quiet… too quiet. Dorothy looks around. The desks, computers, and copiers around the workplace are all empty. “This is odd. At least I think it’s odd. Who knows with this place,” Dorothy wonders aloud to herself.

Dorothy gets up to investigate the employees’ disappearance. She wanders through the office, finally coming upon all of her new co-workers gathered around the front of the workplace listening to a speech of some sort.

Angel of Justice hovers on her wings, and Zip zooms back and forth at super speed trying to peek over her co-workers’ shoulders. Alter-Ego, Portal, Bolt, and Politenessman stand by as well. All the heroes watch as someone overlooks the group from atop a soapbox, shouting to the workers.

Unlike his fellow employees, this public speaker appears to be a super villain, complete with brooding cowl, evil eyes, and a robotic arm. He expunges to the office his diabolical plans to take over the company… and eventually the world!

“…and after I’ve taken control of the postal service, and installed a puppet regime, I’ll be able to regulate the flow of paper into the office! That’s the key here! Paper! Whoever controls the paper — controls the workplace! The office will be my beachhead. And YOU, my minions, will move forward with operation PAPER TRAIL! Branching out, cutting off paper to the entire city! No one will be able to print! They’ll beg us for parchment!”

No one reacts to the villain’s plans. Alter-Ego even yawns.

“Who’s with me!? Who wants to be a villain today!? Who will stand up with Count Nemesis!?”

There is silence throughout the office.

Dorothy leans over to Zip and whispers, “Oh goodness, should I call someone?”

Zip, who has finally found a good viewing spot, waves Count Nemesis off and replies, “Nah, don’t worry about it. He pulls a stunt like this every week.”

“No one will stand in our way when you are with The Count! No one will tell you when to take lunch, or how to log your vacation days! Join me brothers and sisters! And together we will rule the world with an iron fist… eventually! First we take the office!” The Count pumps his robot arm into the air, accidentally activating a grappling hook feature.

The hook fires out from his mechanical appendage and crashes through the ceiling. Broken ceiling tiles rain down on The Count’s head.

Zip leans back over to Dorothy. “He’s the only villain in the company, so it’s to be expected. Stan wanted the editor to have an opposing viewpoint from the other heroes.”

Suddenly, an office door bursts open behind him revealing none other than Stan Lee! Stan yells, “What’s all the commotion out here!?”

Count Nemesis freezes. He slowly turns around to face Stan with a guilty look. Stan asks, “Are you trying to take over the office again? Dang it Count, I’m the boss around here! I pay you to edit comics, not to promote world domination.”

The Count grimaces and his shoulders sink. “Sorry Stan…”  Stan steps out of the office and grabs the box, forcing Nemesis back down to the floor. “And stop swiping my soapbox! It’s where I keep all my soap!”

Stan bounds back inside his office with his soapbox under one arm. The Count sulks away, thwarted once again. The crowd breaks up and everyone mills around getting back to work. Zip mutters to Dorothy, “See, I told ya there was nothing to worry about. Stan always saves the day.”

“He does?” Dorothy asks.

“Yeah. I mean, it’s the Office Manager’s job to keep things running smoothly out here… but Stan’s the head honcho. If you ever need anything, he’s got your back,” Zip extolls.

“Good to know,” Dorothy sighs with relief.

Dorothy and Zip walk back through the office together. “Hey! I almost forgot I came up with a great superhero name for ya!”

“Oh yeah? What’s that?” Dorothy questions.

“Mouse!”

“Mouse!? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s ironic, you know? Because you’re so strong. But you’re also kind of mousy. Personality wise.”

“Oh, okay. I get it… I think.”

Zip laughs and slaps Dorothy on the back. “It’s a cool name. Trust me!”

Zip and Dorothy arrive back at her desk. “Well, you just about made it through your first day. How does it feel?”

Dorothy thinks for a moment. She looks out over the office and sees all of her kooky new co-workers bustling around. Dorothy smiles to herself.

“Super.”

“Dorothy! Dorothy!” Just as things start to settle down, Bolt comes running up to Dorothy and Zip. “You have to come quick,” he pushes out between breaths.

“What? What is it, Bolt?” Zip asks.

“The computers! I accidentally brought all the PCs to life! And they crave brains! Human brains!”

“Ohhh goodness,” Dorothy sighs.

“Nothing an accountant, IT boy, and Office Manager can’t handle,” Zip declares.

Zip takes a running stance. Voltage crackles from Bolt’s electric dagger. Dorothy, aka Mouse, rolls up her sleeves and makes fists, ready for a fight.

That’s the end of Book 1! Tune in next Tuesday for the start of Book 2!

You’ve reached the end of this chapter.

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