The interview began normally enough. A full-time job as a personal assistant. As it was explained to her, the person she would be assisting was a successful businessman who needed someone to organise his life so that he could focus on the content of his discussions. The job paid well and came with some great travel options. This businessman was often meeting with foreign governments and the like. Things began to get strange when he entered the interview room. His name was Armando Scorpius and he spoke with an accent that she couldn’t quite place. It was eastern European but beyond that, it was impossible to tell. He sat next to the man conducting the interview. Scorpius dressed in an immaculate white suit. He had a strong jawline and tightly groomed grey hair. His most notable feature, however, was a deep crimson birthmark that curled out from his shirt cuff and swirled like a tentacle onto his right cheek. The man conducting the interview began to talk about the great health care plan. Then Scorpius cleared his throat. The room was quiet except for his voice.
‘No fraternising on company time,’ he told her authoritatively.
Scorpius Industries was a weapons manufacturer. She had made peace with that grey morality that she now occupied. Admittedly, when Scorpius began meeting with foreign powers in secret she began to have questions. Powers very much in opposition to places like the US and the UK. He explained his position when she confronted him over one of his weapon deals.
‘We must operate in the margins of war. It is true. To think that the nation with the biggest weapons must dictate morality is imperialism,’
That night she thought seriously about how much she needed the job. She briefly considered deserting this whole thing and handing Scorpius over to the government. However, one question kept lingering in her mind: ‘In this economy?’. A steady shady job was better than no job at all. She was good at her job too. Scorpius noted that his last assistant was hopeless and that she had organised him so efficiently that he had more time to devote to ‘grander pursuits’. She would stay. Better to serve a corrupt king than to become a peasant again.
So, work began again as usual. Well as usual as it could be. Then as Scorpius sat down to a meal prepared by his personal chef Hans, he asked her to sit.
‘I have a private island. I am heading there soon. Will you accompany me?’ he asked her. ‘Strictly for work purposes. I want to stress that I am not one of those bosses’
She reluctantly agreed. They would depart in two days for this mystery island hidden in international waters. He told her that it was somewhere in the East Asia region. She packed her suitcase with suits and a myriad of tools to battle the blazing heat she expected. A requirement of the job was that she ‘look the part’. Thus, her pay included a supplement for clothing purchases. Tailor-made work attire.
A handful of people were on Scorpius’ jet the following day. They boarded the plane on a private airstrip. She noticed that Scorpius’ guards were both armed. A dozen or so armed men protected the plane as they boarded. They were dressed in black tactical gear. As the plane rose in the sky, she heard the faint sound of gunfire. She threw a look at Scorpius whose blank face was somehow reassuring. The flight itself was unremarkable. Hans prepared their in-flight meal. Scorpius’ fell asleep shortly after the meal. She began to watch an old spy film before nodding off herself. When she woke, Scorpius was wide awake as they descended towards the island. The plane approached a runway that seemed far too short and ran straight into a mountain. As they approached, Scorpius pressed a button and the façade of the mountain faded before her eyes and a tunnel that continued the runway lead deep into the mountain. Lights flooded the runway. The plane landed in a room as white as Scorpius’ suits. Then he gave her the guided tour.
Armed guards dressed in tactical gear marched along metal platforms. Below, she watched a factory in motion. Like the factories Scorpius had at home. Here, though, the bombs were far bigger. He explained that the island was entirely self-sufficient. She began to notice that those who worked here were dressed like workers in an old Eastern bloc country. Here Scorpius seemed less like a businessman and more like a dictator. He spoke to the crowd below.
‘Gentlemen, today begins a new era. Those who would oppose us have been defeated and the countries of the world will soon beg and cower before the power of Scorpius. Hail Scorpius!’ he announced to the workers below.
All around came the shouts of support. Hail Scorpius! She was way in over her head but what could she do? Money was money and we must do what we can to survive.
‘Hail Scorpius,’ she said so that only Scorpius could hear.
Time to admit that she was working for a supervillain.
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