Administrative Assistant
Recruitment 1.1

I had no idea what the hell was happening when I woke up. It was cramped and dark, and there was the smell of blood and a few other, less appetizing odors.

Meh. I'd been in more disgusting situations; so long as it isn't too fresh, I can generally handle it. Dissecting a cadaver was a lot worse than this, and I'll never look at roast beef the same way again.


I probably shouldn't go into more detail on that.

I took a moment to take stock of my surroundings. It looked like I was in some sort of locker...

Which was absurd. I've yet to see a locker I could physically fit into without dismemberment. I'm not the biggest guy I know, but at six feet, broad-shouldered, and with more than a bit of a paunch, there was no way I could actually be in a locker.


I took a moment to take stock of myself. And promptly swore vengeance on the ROB or whoever was responsible for this mess.

I was a girl: tall, skinny, and stuffed in a locker. I ran through the possibilities.

Possibility one, I was having a very, very vivid and bizarre dream. Pinch. Nope, not dreaming.

Possibility two, my memories are the result of a long-running delusion, and my waking up here is my return to lucidity. Unlikely, as someone that delusional would probably be in a nice padded room and certainly wouldn't be allowed in a school. Plus, if I concluded this route, I'd go nuts anyway, so that wouldn't be productive.

Possibility three, I'm not crazy, and I've somehow been transplanted into the body of a skinny teenage girl stuffed in a locker.

Possibility four, same as three, except into another world. Like a self-insert 'fic. I don't know many settings with a teenage girl stuck in a locker, which meant it was either something I wasn't familiar with, or...

I was Taylor fucking Hebert.

Goddamn it.

If I was going to be an insert 'fic, why not one for a setting I actually know?

Granted, I've binged on a lot of fanfiction, but I never did get around to reading the canon storyline.

Okay, so if I was Taylor Hebert, that means this is the infamous locker incident, which precipitated her spending something like a week in the hospital for... reasons I'm not entirely clear on, actually, at least not for canon. Hmm. But more importantly, this was also her trigger, so I should have bug control powers.


How did those work again? Crap.

After a brief debate on how to try accessing her - my, I guess - powers, I tried just closing my eyes and mentally reaching ou-

That was not a bug.

It was a glow, a burning white star in the darkness, but as I looked closer, I realized it was more than that. It was a complex ideogram - I think that's the right word - that spun and whirled in three dimensions. There were multiple facets to it, and somehow... I could read it.


It didn't take long for me to realize what it was. This was Sophia Hess's - Shadow Stalker's - power, or a representation of it, at least. But seeing powers was pretty crappy as powers go. Could I steal it? Change it?

With a mental hand, I reached out, and a rush of incomprehensible information rushed through my head.

I looked down at myself. My own whirling shard was moving too fast to see clearly, but through the blur, the image of Sophia's shard began to take shape within its blurred outline.

No, I couldn't steal it. I couldn't change it. But apparently, I could copy it.

Abruptly, I sensed something else, at the back of my mind. Another presence. The copy of Sophia's shard? No. This felt different. Shoving that thought aside, I considered my options.

I knew about the trio. Madison Clements. Emma Barnes, Taylor's best friend until her mind was twisted by the most idiotic predator/prey mindset I have ever seen. And the real ringleader, Sophia Hess. Shadow Stalker. Ward (probationary?). Emma's father was a lawyer, and Sophia was a Ward, both things which likely contributed to the school letting those three have a free hand. None of the other students ever stepped forward, probably for fear of drawing their ire.

I had seen that pattern far too often myself.

A part of me wondered how short-sighted the school was. Did they not realize that failure to enforce discipline only encouraged further abuse? Did they really think the PRT would thank them for sweeping things under the rug and trying to cover things up without even trying to correct the problem until something blew up?

Well, maybe it was time something blew up on them.

I thought back, pondering. If I have a copy of Shadow Stalker's power now, I could leave the locker... and get back in it. A plan began percolating in my mind. All I needed was a phone connected to the school landline, something which I could use discreetly without anyone stumbling across me.

A hazy thought swam toward the forefront of my mind. The basement. Well, that would work.

Wait, how did I know that?

I tried accessing the copied power, tried to turn into an insubstantial shadow.

Nothing happened.

I frowned and tried again, thinking of where I needed to-

Whoa. That was a rush.

I looked around again. Wherever I was, none of the lights were on, but there were windows on one wall along the ceiling. And I was standing in the shadow of what looked like a boiler. The basement. It had to be.

So, shadow teleportation. That's unexpected.

A small smile creeped across my face as I spotted the phone.


"Nine-one-one. What is your emergency?"

"Oh, God, I can't believe they did that," I whimpered softly, disguising my voice, adding a hint of New York to my accent, and throwing in a good dose of fear.

"Ma'am, what happened?"

"They stuffed that Herbert girl in the locker," I answered. "The three of them, Sophia, Emma, and Madison. I just... someone has to get her out of there before it's too late, but I don't want them to know it was me. We're all just too scared of them..."

"Scared of who, ma'am?"

"Sophia Hess, Emma Barnes, and Madison Clements," I said. "I-I've got to go."

I hung up.

Satisfied, I returned to the shadows and teleported back to Taylor's - my - locker. Then I shifted my position and tried to get some sleep.

Ultimately, they would find me when they found me.

Little did I know I would not be the one waking up when they did.

When I woke up, I could hear it. A voice, mumbling at the back of my mind, asking - begging - to make it stop makeitstopMAKEITSTOP!

This, I decided, was probably a bad sign. I took stock of my situation. I appeared to be in a hospital bed. Well, that was no surprise. I vaguely recalled Taylor had wound up in the hospital for a time after the locker incident.


Unfortunately, what I actually knew of the hospital stay itself was... well... pretty much nil. The stuff in the locker almost certainly included some risk of infection - Silencio even made it a plot point - but there were others suggesting it was... from... sensory... overload...


I'm an idiot.

Taylor? I prodded hesitantly.


Clearly, this was going to be a work in progress. Probably better to withdraw until she was lucid again. But before I did that, I closed my eyes and reached out, looking for other sparks of power. I knew Panacea - volunteered? Worked? - at a hospital. Maybe if I'm lucky...

Nope. Damn. Oh, well.


"Wake up."


"I know you're in there."


Guh, humma, wha?

I blinked awake. Then I felt my mouth move: "Stop that."


I felt my head nodding. That was... creepy. And I suddenly had visions of what would happen if we both tried to control the body at the same time.

Such visions were not pretty, so I carefully pulled back.

Can you, maybe, keep it down? I asked. You - we - are already in here for going nuts; I'd appreciate not extending our stay.

"All right," she mumbled. "Who are you, and what are you doing in my head?"

Call me... I hesitated, call me... Miller. 'Cause I know stuff. As for what I'm doing in here, your guess is as good as mine. I blame ROB.

"Who the hell is Rob?"

Random Omnipotent Being, I clarified. I... I hesitated. Like I said, Taylor, I know stuff. And I want to help.

"How do I know I can trust you?"

How about the fact that I'm stuck here, so anything that happens to you also happens to me. And I'm very much not fond of pain?

"It's a start."