Spacer Aside 220d
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Aside |





Scott finished looking through the Lancaster University course catalogs and signed up for a few correspondence courses towards a Variant Studies major. He'd have to find some good tech classes to take to mollify his father at some point, but he was on his way.

Phoenix Talon finished making his decision at long last and called Agglomerated MegaPublishing. He'd found a second reason to do so after that date with Candi; courting her was going to be more than a bit expensive.
    "Hi, is Peter Paulson there?" he asked the receptionist.
    "I'm sorry, Mr. Paulson's out sick this week, can I transfer you to Mr. Jenkins?"
    "May I ask who's calling?"
    "Phoenix Talon of the Revolution."
    "Oh, hold on just a second."
    Pause. "Hi, Phoenix Talon, Wendell Jenkins here!"
    "Hi, Wendell. About the whole comic book and the Revolution project...."
    "Yes, in fact I wanted to let you know we've got the animation stills set up, so the cartoon should be on the air within the next couple of weeks."
    "Well, I've been giving it some thought, and maybe I was a little too hasty in turning you guys down," Talon said carefully.
    "Really?" Wendell's voice rose excitedly. "That's great!"
    "There are financial rewards for this, right?" He cut right to the heart of the matter.
    "Well, technically according to the contract there are financial rewards that are going to the city for the use of the Revolution name and the concept, as well as money that's going towards your favorite charitable groups... if it's remuneration that you need, we should be able to arrange something," he assured Talon jovially.
    "Okay. Why don't we get together and talk about 'something.'"
    Wendell clapped his hands briskly. "Whenever you want to come down. I'm going to be here the rest of the day, be here tomorrow... I'm afraid Peter's gonna be out of the office, that might make things easier in some ways, but he's gonna be thrilled when he finds out."
    "I'll be down there this afternoon."
    He took a hard look at the receptionist when he got there. She didn't look like a toy. She asked for his autograph.
    Jenkins met him near the door. "Phoenix Talon, hi!"
    "Call me John."
    "John. Come on in."
    He was alert to the point of vibration, but no attack was in the offing. Wendell, as usual, looked a bit brittle. Maybe the man had been pushing himself too hard.
    "So, what made you change your mind? The stills, the sketches... have you gotten the movie synopsis we've been working on?" Jenkins inquired.
    "No, I haven't, do you have a copy of it?"
    "It should be in the mail to you. Sally, could you have another one of the movie synopses done up?"
    "I thought you said we were gonna have to... rework it?" she hinted with a slight cough.
    He remembered. "Yeah, you're right--they're constantly doing rewrites on these things," he told Talon apologetically.
    "Yeah, we're gonna have to talk about that, too."
    "In fact, the one that's already been sent out, don't even bother with that," he proclaimed.
    "I was hoping you'd say that. What was it, Shadow... Fist?"
    "Shadow Phantom."
    "One of the reasons I'm real glad to be on this project now is 'cause we can get rid of him." Phoenix Talon smiled meaningfully and relaxed into his chair.
    Wendell held up a drawing of the old character, ripped it in half.
    "So, we were talking about some financial remuneration," Talon prodded.
    "Yes. Well, there is money set aside for charitable donations...."
    "I've got an idea for that, too, but I personally need a little, uh...."
    Jenkins raised an eyebrow. "Okay.... Well, within the structure of the contract set up with the state, we can't directly pay you," he went on reluctantly. "We were gonna pay the state and you guys were gonna get raises. But—but—"
    "I think I've got an idea. How much is the charitable donations portion?"
    "Every year it comes to about $12,000, portioned out monthly, mind you, out of the profits that we're anticipating from it. You planning on setting up a Phoenix Talon Foundation?"
    "Something like that."
    He looked thoughtful. "There is another opportunity. As you know we're working toward the animated series, the television show, the movies, all the rest of it, in fact we're planning on the Revolution characters, once we get the actors who can properly portray them, being regular members on the soap opera that we're working on."
    Phoenix Talon nodded for him to continue, red flags going up.
    "We're probably going to need a professional consultant, to ensure for example that the fight scenes are properly done, that we're getting the life correct."
    "Okay, yeah."
    "Probably would be a well-paying position."
    "Keep going, this sounds interesting," he prompted. Actually, it kind of did.
    "So we would simply hire you, John, to be a professional consultant on the Revolution properties. Not as Phoenix Talon or anything like that, but as a sort of variant heroics expert and stunt choreographer. You have a degree in Variant Studies, correct?"
    "Yeah, University of Houston."
    Jenkins smiled broadly. "You're perfectly qualified for it. There'd be no reason for anyone to complain about anything. We'd be able to hire your directly, minimal hours, just occasionally overseeing production, and it already goes along with the degree of script authority that you'd have with agreeing to go along with the project."
    "That sounds good," he agreed.
    "That just means that you're becoming an employee of Agglomerated MegaCorporation."
    I know the Toy Man works for you guys. I just have to find out how. And since he seems to have a sick obsession with us, I don't think I could be around without him coming after me. All according to plan....
    Jenkins went on, "So we'll just have the paperwork on that drawn up, you'll be able to meet with the director of the soap opera. I think you'll like the people that we have lined up, although we haven't been able to find actors to properly play various team members yet, with the exception of the woman we have playing Witchfire."
    "Who's she?" he asked out of residual wariness.
    "I have a picture somewhere." He rummaged around for a bit and produced a photo of a waiflike Asian model who looked almost nothing like Needle. "She acts, too, which is even better."
    The agreement was sealed, if not yet signed. Phoenix Talon returned to base, running a gauntlet of ecstatic AMP employees before he managed to leave. The amiable bumbler had already been replaced by an intense professional, which left the comic relief to Witchfire; fine with him. He called up his old advisor at UH to see if they could come down next month and have him take a look at Dawn.
    "Yeah, we can definitely do that," Professor Kandel told him. "It'll be good to see you again, I understand you've been doing the whole 'alumni makes good' thing. I've been hearing positive reports about you. Some of us had our doubts, but I trusted you all the way."
    Doubts? Phoenix Talon thought, sorely offended, once he'd hung up.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson