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[center][img]http://img483.imageshack.us/img483/7946/wwheaderzu0.jpg[/img][/center][size=1][indent]Liam Schuster took a deep breath before walking through the front door of the Weekly World News offices. Although he had visited before during his brief job interview, the crowded newsroom seemed like a totally different place now that he was an official employee. The headquarters of the famed Weekly World News were a labyrinth of paperwork, cubicles, and knick-knacks, yet somehow in this environment the most widely read tabloid on Earth was published every week. It was loud, it was foreign, and now to the young employee it was home.

This was a far cry from the laboratories and libraries he dreamed of working in someday, but it would do for now. After all, a paycheck was a paycheck, and it certainly beat waiting on tables.

A heavyset, balding courier pushed a large cart of envelopes past Liam. The two locked eyes for a moment

“[b]Mr. Schuster?[/b]” the stranger asked, sorting through the mail in front of him, “[b]I‘ve got a letter for you…[/b]”

Liam’s eyes widened as the man handed him a small, nondescript looking envelope. There was no return address, only a stamp and the name ‘Mr. Schuster’ on front.

“[b]H-how did you know who I was, and what is this?[/b]”

The man continued sorting through letters as he pushed the cart past Liam.

“[b]Heck if I know kid,[/b]” he replied, “[b]I’m only a mind reader. I don’t have X-ray vision...[/b]”

Liam smiled politely and stuffed the strange delivery into his pocket to read later. Right now he had to navigate his way across the room to meet with his new boss, Editor-In-Chief Loren Fignon. [i]What strange people here,[/i]Liam thought as he walked through the hallway, [i]I can't imagine what my parents chose this line of work in the first place...[/i]

Phone calls, shouting, and bizarre dialects could be heard bouncing back and forth across the walls. This was normal background noise for any respectable publication, but to an outsider like Liam it seemed terrifying. The few staff members outside of their cubicles seemed like a very eclectic bunch. Liam was not the most fashionable man in New York, but the rhinestone-covered leather jackets and tie-dyed burkas others were wearing made him look like the homecoming queen in comparison.

“[b]Excuse me?[/b]” Liam nervously asked an odd looking man in a trench coat and mirrored glasses, “[b]I’m trying to find the Editor-In-Chief. Today is my first day on the job, and she said to…[/b]”

The unusual figure raised his sunglasses to reveal a pair of bloodshot red eyes.

“[b]You can see me!?[/b]”

There was an awkward silence.

“[b]Uhhh… of course I can,[/b]” Liam awkwardly replied, “[b]…Why… wouldn’t I?[/b]”

The man withdrew a small tape recorder from his coat pocket and began to speak into it.

“[b]Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating,[/b]” he whispered, “[b]It appears the effects of the serum were only temporary…[/b]”

Liam backed away cautiously before accidentally slamming into a set of glass doors, knocking over several signs that were attached to them. Immediately he leaned in pick them up, reading them as he did.

“[b][I]WWN Bullpen?[/I] Huh?[/b]”

There was a loud tapping on the glass behind Liam, startling him once again. He turned around to discover his new boss, Loren Fignon, standing on the other side of the door with an annoyed editorial board behind her. Loren was a short woman, she had no trouble intimidating the young reporter twice her size.

“[b]Schuster. Get in here,[/b]” she said as she motioned for him with her index finger, “[b][I]Now[/I].[/b]”[/indent][/size]
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[size=1][B]OoC:[/B] Hope you don't mind me borrowing your character, Blayze![/size]
~~~~~

[B]"Aye, Moongold! Come here!"[/B]

Eowyn Rivendell walked her slow pace towards Alex Mason, the Head Photographer of WWN, who was sitting back casually in his chair with his feet propper on his desk.

[B]"Yes, Alexander?"[/B] she inquired, knowing all too well how he felt about people refusing to call him by his nickname.

[B]"Listen, before we head to the Bullpen, I want to inform that I'll take the Kansas crops circle shoot if they decide to make the article"[/B], Alex said, clicking his pen. He stared at the woman over thirty years older than him defiantly, like a preteen at the mother ordering him to bed early.

[B]"Oh, Alexander... It's your call, so go ahead. Helicopters and I have never been in good terms with each other"[/B], Eowyn said with a gentle, understanding smile. The article was big, and getting good pictures was essential, but Eowyn wanted to show trust to her superior. She just felt that Alex Mason needed to be reminded every now and then that he wouldn't be sitting on that chair had Eowyn not refused the position many times during the ten years she had been in the paper. [B]"I'll take the Arizona ghost trailer, it'll feel good to get back to action after a while."[/B]

Yes, it had been over an year since she last had the chance to capture ghosts on film. Her previous case had been an interesting one: three brothers who had all shot each other simultaneously over a century ago in the Wild West, and were now chasing each other eternally as ghosts, unable to get revenge. It had been exiting to go after three running ghosts in the chill of a nightly desert.

[B]"It's settled, then"[/B], Alex said with a wink of an eye. [B]"Let's head to the boardroom before 'Miss Large' comes to get us."[/B]

[B]"Hah, just worry for yourself, dear boy"[/B] Eowyn said with a coarse giggle.
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[I][SIZE=1]Half an hour earlier...

[/SIZE][/I][SIZE=1]Alex strolled through the glass double doors of the WWN Head Office and into the lobby, chugging back a can of Dr. Pepper as he walked.

[B]"You know that stuff is bad for you, Alex," [/B]said the pretty blonde receptionist sitting behind the desk with a gleaming white smile. He winked back, shifted his bag a little higher onto his shoulder and said:

[B]"Might be bad for my health, but nothing can stand in the way of true love, and I do love Dr. Pepper." [/B]She smiled, and Alex walked past, slamming the can down into the bin by the desk, and headed to the elevators.

Alex was always glad of his "cute" British accent over here in the states - it always gave him a starting point to talk to women in bars, and gave the receptionist good reason to flirt with him. He smiled quietly to himself as he hit the button for his floor.

---

Half an hour later, Alex and Eowyn headed to the boardroom. Secretly, Alex always felt a little intimidated by the elder woman, knowing that she had far more experience than him, and realistically it should be her sitting in his chair. Even if she was named after a character from Lord of the Rings.

They passed by Loren Fignon's office on the way to the boardroom, and Alex peeked in through the tiny gap between the bottom of the blinds and the windowsill.

[B]"Uhoh," [/B]he said, [B]"Looks like Fignon's chewing out some poor intern or something, as per."

"New addition?" [/B]asked Eowyn.

[B]"Not on photography," [/B]said Alex, [B]"I would have gotten a memo. Maybe he's a new reporter. He had that kind of "Peter Parker" look to him."

"You can't compare every new member of the team to Peter Parker, Alexander."

"I don't!" [/B]protested the head photographer, [B]"Sometimes I compare them to Clark Kent."

[/B]The pair continued their playful banter until they met a man in a trenchcoat in the middle of the corridor, whispering into a tape recorder.

[B]"Alright, Morris?" [/B]asked Alex with a nod, [B]"Still not mastered that serum, then?"

"Sshh," [/B]spluttered the man, [B]"I'm taking important notes."

"Well...keep up the good work," [/B]said Eowyn, and the two photographers side-stepped him, Alex making the universal sign for craziness behind his back, looping his index finger around his ear, for which he got a gentle slap from Eowyn.

[B]"Don't hit your superior," [/B]he said dryly, but with a tiny smile. People always said that Alex was a good boss - he didn't take his "superiority" too seriously, and was always up for a joke.

As soon as the pair pushed the double doors of the boardroom open, they were greeted by the hustle and bustle of the entire Weekly World News Team, minus Fignon herself. Reporters, photographers, researchers, they were all there, including Spence Fulbrook, the freelance reporter, and a young intern, John something...maybe Jake?

[B]"Good morning, team," [/B]said Alex, sitting down in his usual swivel chair and slapping his folder on the desk, before leaning back and placing his feet up on the boardroom table.

[B]"What mischief are we going to get up to today?"[/B]
[/SIZE]
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[SIZE="1"]Spencer simply sat in the corner of the room as cub reporter Liam Schuster stood quaking in front of WWN editor Loren Fignon. From behind her, Spence could see just how tense the thirty-six year old woman's shoulder were. Scribbling in his notebook, he waited to see how the conversation would play out.

"[b]...and get Fulbrook in here too. He's supposed to have a story for me![/b]"

"[b]I do.[/b]" They jumped. It would have been quite funny if Spence still had a sense of humour. Adjusting his tie, he stood up out of the chair and walked casually over to his boss and his junior colleague. Slowly he watched as colour filled back into their faces, Loren face went from white to crimson in about four seconds. Spence braced himself.

"[b]I'VE TOLD YOU A THOUSAND TIMES NOT TO DO THAT FULBROOK !![/B]" Despite standing nearly a foot taller than the woman, Spence flinched slightly, pushing his sunglasses back into position. Other than that slight movement, he hadn't really reacted at all. Scribbling into his notepad, he noted he still had work to do to purge his remaining exterior emotions.

"[b]My apologies Loren.[/b]"

She blew out a derisive breath, he'd said the same thing the last four times it had happened. Opening his briefcase, Spence removed six pages filled with his neat handwriting and passed them over to the editor. She glanced over the material, her face already returned to the normal creamy olive colour it maintained when she didn't want to kill Spence.

"[b]No pictures ?[/b]" The younger journalist shook his head.

"[b]Too many G-Men. I was fortunate to get what I got.[/b]" Fignon nodded solemnly before placing the sheets down onto her desk. Rolling her eyes, she waved a hand over towards Liam and sighed.

"[b]This is Liam Schuster, he's just joined our staff.[/b]" Fulbrook tipped his hat without saying anything. He silently wondered whether or not the man might be related to the Boston Schusters, and if he was, whether or not he was willing to accept that here, they dealt with the uncensored truth. He turned his head to face back to Loren.

"[b]I'll be in the boardroom with the others if you need me.[/b]"

Walking out of the office, Spence once again seemed to blend in with his surroundings again, as after a moment, he couldn't been seen. [/SIZE]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]Loren pushed back a stray lock of her hair for the umpteenth time and strode towards the door, snatching her things from a low table as she went. A huge stack of files, a clipboard, a pen, because god knows she hadn't already stuffed two in the bun at the base of her neck. Another intern whose name she still hadn't memorized leapt with great alacrity to get the door for her, the hand that wasn't lugging her enormous attache case working the handle like it was on fire. Since there were none of her senior staff in the hall, she gave the hapless boy a brief nod.[/i]

"Thank you. ....er.....your name?"

"Jack Jones Ma'am."

"Yes, that was it. Thank you Jones."

[i]Short burst of courtesy expended, Loren charged down the hall, scattering administrative assistants and secretaries, papers scattering in the wake of her rampage. The door to the morning meeting was already standing open, and the smell of coffee, an ever present scent in the WWN office was wafting through the air like temple incense. Making the sort of dramatic entrance usually reserved for necromancers and Presidents, Loren Fignon burst into the room, slamming her effects down on the table, shaking cups of coffee, and making everyone sit up a little straighter. Short fuse wasn't the word to describe her. Neither was perfectionist. Perhaps a better term would be 'a monstrously huge ogre trapped in the body of a petite woman and trying to get out by any means necessary.' Be that as it may, Loren still ran WWN like a military compound, and produced the results that were responsible for everyone's paychecks.

Behind her, Jones shivered nervously, clutching her briefcase like it would eat him if he dropped it. First things first, she sat, drawing up the first file and nearly hurling it at her subordinate's head.[/i]

"Griffon!"

"Good morning Ma'am."

"Someone phoned in a lead. Something about Lindsey Lohan getting caught with Bigfoot in her BMW. Look into it. Alex, you go with him, I want big and splashy. ...I hate that stupid redhead bimbo..."

[i]Nobody made a comment to that, and she tossed another file in Alex's direction. Then she turned her gaze to Eowyn Rivendell and all but dragged Jones by the ear to her side and then propelling him towards her oldest reporter.[/i]

"Rivendell, take this nice young man with you into the field today. And these files go with him. Try not to go too easy on the sap. He needs experience and I know what a softy you are."

[i]She slid a stack of files across the table to her, neatly avoiding the trays of snacks that some other intern had put down earlier. Then she turned to her three remaining employees and narrowed her eyes.[/i]

"Jurgunson and Fulbrook. You have 10 hours to get your own stories and impress me with them. The bigger the stories the better. Oh yes, and you two will get to arm wrestle to decide who gets to take this dishrag of a reporter with you."

[i]She waved a hand vaguely in Liam's direction, not even looking at him.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[FONT="Times New Roman"][SIZE="2"]as soon as he excited Fignon's office, Jack breathed a sigh of relief.
rubbing his ear, he sullenly gouged the carpet with the spurs jutting out from the back of his sneakers.

he shouldn't be so perturbed and terrified by Fignon, but
something about those huge hips always seemed evoke a flicker of darkness
and pages flapping in the moonlight.

[B]"she should know my name by now" [/B] he grumbled to himself.
then he turned to Rivendell and immedietly cheered up.

[B]"hey!, you're the old lady that did that thing with the ghost cowboys in the desert"[/B] his eyes grew wide [B]

"how cool was that? were they real cowboys, gunslingers, and the like? did ya find any neat cowboy items or native american artifacts can i see them? "[/B]

they talked as they walked out, with Jack desperately, hoping that Rivendell wouldn't notice that he was no longer lugging the oversized attache case. unfortunately, Rivendell's experience saw through our young intern's ploy and after a good 5 minutes of mostly ignoring Jack's intentionally incessant pestering she stopped, turned, and pointed directly at the case.

jack sighed again and drew his trusty lasso. he threw a section of the rope onto a protruding hunters head trophy of a grey and deftly used the loop to snare the brief case. he tugged to test the hold, and once satisfied that the loop would stay he used the head as a pulley and quickly retrieved the case. coilling his lasso he turned to present the case to Rivendell

[B]"so... ...where to now boss?"[/B][/SIZE][/FONT]
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[size=1][b]"Well, that was rather brief,"[/b] Naomi muttered to herself as she picked at her longish nails.

[b]"What was that, Jergunson?"[/b]

Terrified at the tone of voice Loren had used, Naomi sat stiff as a board, looking at the older woman like a deer in headlights.

[b]"Oh, um... Well, it's just that..."[/b]

The editor began rubbing her temples, a habit she developed quickly after Naomi joined the staff.

[b][i]"Spit it out, already."[/b][/i]

Clearing her throat, Naomi finally managed to organize her thoughts into something she hoped wouldn't irritate the woman further.

[b]"Well, I got a tip from the guy I did a story on a while ago. You know, the one with the B&B that has a haunted floating bed? He says other things have started floating around and it's drawing in a lot of customers."[/b]

[b][i]"And?"[/b][/i]

[b]"Oh... Well, I thought it would be a good follow-up..."[/b]

[b]"Jergunson, people expect things like that to happen in a place where things are already floating around. Not exactly what I call 'impressive.'"[/b]

[b]"...Right. I'll look into some other leads I've gotten."[/b] Sinking into her chair a little, Naomi glanced at the new reporter her boss had so gracefully shoved into the fire, silently wondering if she had actually heard what his name was. her memory had never been what most would call "perfect."

[b]"Um, I suppose if you want to see how we start from scratch around here, I can show you some things...?"[/b][/size]
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Eowyn just smiled at the youngster doing his lasso stunts. Jack Jones reminded her of Bilbo Morndew, her youngest son. Always showing off and trying to be the center of attention.

[B]"Now Jack, we will head to Arizona, where a mysterious trailer has been sighted to drive along the highway in the middle of the desert without anyone on it. I need to catch photos of it, and you get to assist me"[/B], Eowyn explained.

[B]"Really? Cool! It feels great to get straight into the action, Mrs. Rivendell!"[/B]

[B]"Please, just call me Moongold. It's the name Mother Nature gave to me. Of course the pot might have had something to do it as well..."[/b] Eowyn seemed to get lost into her memories for a while. [b]"Ah, but that's ancient history now. I'm afraid you won't be seeing much of action in this trip, though. It's mostly waiting on the side of the road for something that may not never come."[/b]

Eowyn lowered her voice and stepped closer to Jack, staring straight to his eyes over her round sunglasses. [b]"You should know, Jack, - and this is sort of a secret of this house - that sometimes the clues we get turn out to be fake."[/B]

Jack Jones stared at the elderly woman blankly for a moment, then answered with a big grin. [B]"No kiddin'."[/B]

[B]"Let us go now, dear. It's a long drive to Arizona." [/B] Eowyn waved the intern to follow her.
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[size=1][indent]Liam slowly scanned the crowded ‘Bullpen‘ with his eyes. With so many people in the room it was surprising how quiet this meeting was. He wondered if they weren’t too afraid of Loren to speak up; he knew that was definitely case with him.

“[b]M-Mrs…. F-Fignon?[/b]” He asked sheepishly as Loren took a sip from her ‘The Bitch is Back’ coffee mug.

The woman cringed in response to hearing her name being called.

“[b]What is it, Ian?[/b]”

“[b]Liam.[/b]”

“[b]Sure.[/b]”

“[b]I got this letter earlier,[/b]” Liam said sheepishly, pulling the envelope from his jacket, “[b]And I was hoping that you would--[/b]”

Loren quickly snatched the letter from Liam’s hand and tossed it onto the floor.

“[b]LOCAL BOY RECEIVES LETTER; MAILMAN SUSPECTED![/b]” She announced to the room./

“[b]Er, um…[/b]”

“[b]Talk to me if you have a story, Ian. The people in this room are far too important to deal with you and your newbie questions,[/b]” Loren motioned for Naomi, “[b]Jergunson![/b]”

Naomi dropped her clipboard in shock.

“[b]Me, chief?[/b]”

“[b]Yes. You’re deal with Schuster and his newbie questions. Until then… someone find a [I]real[/I] story for these two.[/b]”

Several voices started calling to the two reporters, each suggesting a story more bizarre than the next. Time travel, government conspiracies, talking frogs, Liam couldn’t make out everything being said to him. Naomi began writing notes of what she was hearing, hoping to make sense of it later.

Liam felt a strange force pushing him from behind, not entirely realizing that his editor-in-chief was forcibly kicking he and his partner out of the room.

“[b]I’ll save a space for your article on page 24, 5 column inches, next to the beauty supply ads.[/b]

Naomi raised an eyebrow out of the door of the offices.

“[b]5 inches? You’re kidding, right?[/b]”

“[b]That’s prime real estate Jergunson. Show me your chops with this article and maybe you’ll get a little more down the line.[/b]”

“[b]Um.. Thanks boss?[/b]” Liam replied.

“[b]Now everyone get out! I’ve got a meeting with the publisher in 15 minutes!![/b]”

A small stampede of copy editors, reporters and photographers rushed out of the office, almost knocking over Naomi and Liam in the process. A loud slam of the door echoed throughout the office, a signal for the two reporters to get on their way.

“[b]So, Naomi,[/b]” the young man extended his hand towards her, “[b]I’m Liam Schuster. It’s nice to meet you.[/b]”

“[b]Naomi Jergunson, nice to meet you. Let’s get started on that story, shall we?[/b]”

They stared at Naomi’s notes for only a moment before realizing how terrible her handwriting was. With everyone calling out story ideas to her so quickly she never had a chance to turn the page. As a result several dozen story suggestions were written over others, making the entire page an indecipherable mess.

“[b]Elvis… hunts… Chupacabra in… Mexican tourist town?[/b]” Liam struggled to make sense of what he was reading, “[b]That can’t be right, can it?[/b]”

“[b]I’m not sure. I can't read my handwriting either,[/b]” she replied dryly, “[b]Just fill up your car with gas and let’s go.[/b]”[/size][/indent]
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"][i]The now mostly empty boardroom was pleasant by comparison to earlier. It was quiet. Loren could think, and think she did, while rubbing her temples counter clockwise and jiggling her left foot, the peep toe heel nearly wiggling right off of it. She inhaled the scents of coffee and varied perfumes from her female employees and then stood abruptly, nearly knocking back the chair once more.[/i]

"I honestly hope you won't have a heart attack in the face of all this aggravation."

[i]If anyone had taken a closer look, one would've seen Loren Fignon's pupils contract sharply, her body language tensing up in an instant. That deep, hoarse voice, the voice of her boss. The publisher of the newspaper. Mr. Johansen. He frightened her in every way possible, he was far more evil than her, and he wrote her paychecks. She snapped to attention in an instant, faster than she had ever for any other human being on the planet.[/i]

"I'll be quite fine sir. The new recruits will turn out just fine."

"I sincerely hope that to be the case."

[i]He smiled at her the way a crocodile smiles when a particularly foolish and lame zebra limps across the river. She didn't cringe specifically, but she had drawn her shoulder's closer together, giving him a stunningly lovely example of deferential and powerless body language. She was a master of such things, not that her actions weren't learned. Once she'd stood against him and paid for it in more ways than could be easily imagined, even by her creative staff.[/i]

"You realize that if even one of your stories flops, and if one of your employees fails you...it's your funeral, not just theirs."

"Absolutely sir."

[i]In an instant he was gone, and Loren's shoulder's visibly slumped forward. She was rankled at his condescending tone, angry at the way he threatened her, and even angrier about the way he'd threatened her own employees. Say what you like about Loren, but she did all she could to protect what she considered her own from her publisher.

Grabbing her files, she stepped out the door towards her own office where there was a lock, and call waiting. She snagged two more doughnuts and a cup of fresh coffee on her way out, the door slamming behind her on springs. Ducking behind cubicles, she avoided the eye contact of her employees that remained in the office, her secretary giving her what could've been a sympathetic glance when she turned a corner.[/i]

"Don't worry Ma'am, you're too valuable for him to really fire. He just likes to see you flustered."

"....yes Marcie. Go back to your desk please."

[i]Loren's voice was almost distant, as if the please she had spoken had sapped her strength.[/i][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[SIZE="1"]Leaving the boardroom had definitely been a good idea. The first twenty minutes after Loren's meetings with the publishers were never good times to be within fifty metres of the woman, at least not if you wanted your limbs left intact.

Spencer's tip had told him that the Scientologists were trying for something major down in Hollywood, and that it involved some of the time-travelling equipment they'd managed to procure from the branches of the faith outside of Earth. The freelancer suspected that if Cruise was running the show, they could be looking at a major temporal infraction.

His car was parked just around the block from the WWN building, a rather unambiguous looking black Ford sedan who's trunk was filled with recording built especially for the work that Spencer would be doing. The radio was quitely leaking out some obnoxious music from whatever artist had managed to become the flavour of the month.

The trip would take a few hours, but the story waiting at the end would certainly be worth it. [/SIZE]
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