HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 28

“But nothing,” he said. “Either you fix this for me or you go find someone who can. I pay too much to have to put up with this kind of incompetence.”

The guy started ranting, just a long unbroken string of insults and complaints.

“Sir,” she said.

He just kept going, not even stopping to breathe.


He was on the topic of women in the workplace now, arguing that a man would’ve taken care of this by now. Angela rubbed the bridge of her nose. Took a deep breath. A vein in her forehead started to throb.


The room shook and flipped upside down. Angela stared at the ceiling, listening to the crackle of static on her headset. The line was silent for a long minute.

“I want to talk to your manager,” the man said.

Angela climbed to her feet, righted her chair, and disconnected the call. She took a seat and propped her elbows on the desk, rubbing her temples. The screen on her laptop was bent back, the image flickering faintly.

“Miss Osbourne,” a voice in her ear said, “can I have a word with you?”

She clicked on her boss’s private line.

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Phillips,” Angela said. “I don’t know what came over me. I just… lost my cool.”

“You did more than that,” Phillips said. “You screamed in that man’s ear.”

“It was an accident,” Angela said. “My… superpower has been acting up lately.”

“Superpower, right,” Phillips said. “Look, I don’t think this is going to work out.”

“What… what do you mean?” Angela stammered.

“This job,” Phillips said. “Your performance has been quite poor lately. This incident is just the most recent in a long string of problems. I can’t keep giving you second chances. I’m afraid I’m going to have to let you go.”