Thanks for the feedback and encouragement, everyone! All right, if Len's onboard, then I guess we're a go! Thanks Len! Without further ado, here it is:
Agents of Scholastic
Normal is defined as what's ordinary, regular, routine, right? It doesn't necessarily mean that it's exactly like everyone else. Thus, when one begins with 'It was a normal day at Scholastic...' that doesn't necessarily mean that it was a boring or simple day. It just means that it was...well, normal to everyone working there.
So, it was a normal day at Scholastic - or, more specifically, in the Scholastic 39 Clues section (they weren't solely dedicated to just the one series - i.e. Infinity Ring - but that was their main one). Computers were up and running, fingers were flying across keyboards, fairly regular bursts of laughter erupted here and there as someone read out a hilarious post that an agent had submitted on the Message Board, the odd random flying object sailed across the room from one admin to the other, and the stacks of papers that were piled up all around the office that were often a used as a threat ("Stop annoying me, Gavin, or I'll make you sort through all the papers!") were constantly being added to, moved around, or riffled through. Once in a while, someone would take a break, collect orders, and do a coffee run, but otherwise the team did their work amidst the 'organized chaos' as per usual.
"Len, you want anything?" Jen T. called out as she paused near the door, having already talked to the others on her way out. Len lifted his eyes from the computer screen to glance her way, shifting his focus from the posts he was currently reviewing for a moment as he called back, "No thanks - I'm good!"
Jen T. just nodded as she walked out, heading downstairs to get some lunch. Gavin glanced up as she left, pushing his chair out and stretching.
"A break...what a good idea..." he muttered to himself mock-thoughtfully as he stood up. He had been working for several hours already, most of that time spent either on the computer or on the phone, so he figured he was due for a bit of a break. He had forgotten something in one of the other rooms the day before anyway, and he'd been meaning to grab it. Now was as good a time as any.
Walking into one of the adjoining conference rooms, Gavin bent down and retrieved the file he had left on his chair. As he did so, an odd glimmer caught his eye at the edge of his vision. Straightening up, Gavin looked to his right with a confused expression on his face. The windows were covered with blinds, so there was nothing to reflect off the row of books that lined the wall.
It was a collection of every 39 Clues book that had been published so far, all the way back to The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan. The 39 Clues team always kept copies on hand in case they needed to reference something while working on the newest missions, books, or projects, and Gavin easily admitted to having checked some obscure facts and details himself many times. He studied the shelf for a moment, trying to figure out where the flash had come from, but finally turned away as he decided that his eyes had just been playing tricks on him. But as he looked back down at the file he was holding, the same spark caught his eye yet again.
Gavin jerked his head up, examining the books a little closer as he walked around the table for a better look. There had been no mistaking the second glimmer, but the colorful novels looked just as they always did, lined neatly in order of their publishing.
The admin was just about to give up and leave when suddenly the last book on the shelf pulsed. There was no other word for it as a soft glow appeared out of nowhere and expanded out around the book, hovering just past the hardcover edges before receding so fast that one second it was there and the next it was gone. Gavin stared at it in disbelief, wondering if he was finally going insane.
"Hey Gavin, have you seen-" Len stopped as he entered the room, taking in Gavin's expression as the other man stared at the row of books in front of him. "Wha-?" he started, but Gavin cut him off.
"Len, come here for a second and tell me I'm not crazy," he said. Len bit back his reflexive response ("But Gavin, you are crazy.") on account of how seriously unnerved his co-worker sounded and stepped up beside him just as the book pulsed again. It was clearly no trick of the light. Len staggered.
"What the-" he said in shock. "Gavin, what did you do?!" he half-asked, half-demanded as he stared with wide eyes.
"I didn't do anything!" Gavin protested. "It just-"
But he was cut off as the book suddenly pulsed again. However, instead of the several beats between pulses that there had been before, the next pulse was right after the other ended - and then the next, and the next, growing faster and brighter with each consecutive flash. Before either admin could say anything, there was a huge explosion of light that sent both of them sprawling backwards into the conference table. Blinded, Gavin and Len threw up their hands with muffled cries of shock.
But then, just as abruptly as it had appeared, the light vanished. And suddenly, Len and Gavin weren't alone in the conference room.
The two men stared at the random group of people who now filled the space between them and the shelf. Most of them were young, teenagers, and looked like a completely mis-matched bunch, with various clothing styles, postures, and overall appearances. But what made Len and Gavin gape in shock wasn't just the fact that these people had appeared literally out of nowhere - it was that somehow, inexplicably, impossibly, insanely, a girl who could only have been Amy Cahill herself stepped forward with narrowed eyes and demanded, "Who are you?"