Kallisti the Janitor sat behind her office desk, engrossed in the latest cleaning bot schedule she was compiling on the computer screen. Since she had arrived in this version of Paragon City, she had been snapped up by the municipal authority that ran Kallisti Wharf. She suspected that her name and association with the Kallisti Girls was the primary motivation for her employment, but since then she had shown excellent organisational skills and she had been rapidly promoted. She found this recognition very rewarding. She wasn’t a super-hero like the other Kallistis – she had no powers to speak of, just an ability to organise and a mechanical aptitude that had taken her through a Engineering degree in Cybernetics. However it was her project management skills that had kept her in gainful employment in her old world.
Her timeline was similar to this one, although it hadn’t suffered quite so much with the Rikti invasion. It seemed that at some point in the 50s and 60s her timeline had focussed on robotics and by the time she grew up, robots and androids were commonplace and much more advanced than in this timeline. When the spatial dimensions ripped and dragged her through, she had conveniently been carrying some of the more advanced prototypes from her employer and these had been very useful to her in the new job. She glanced out of her office window to see that her smallest droid who she had renamed Sweeper was busy pushing the lawnmower across the patch of grass that bracketed this side of the Kallisti Wharf Municipal Facilities Management office. Her thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of her mobile – this was an area of technology that this timeline had exceeded in over her own, although she was not so keen on the ‘surveillance capitalism’ that had grown up around the devices. She checked to see who was calling but it didn’t identify them, just a telephone number – the code indicated it was a public phone booth.
“Good afternoon you are through to the Facilities Management, Kallisti Hamilton-Stathis speaking, how may I help you?”
“Its me” came the female voice on the other end of the phone. The accent was English but it had that sing-song twang that had persisted from the medieval English…
“Friar! Is everything okay?” she frowned. She had not been present at the breakup between Friar and Gold a few days ago but had witnessed the aftermath at the apartment they all shared. Gold had been inconsolable and was still in a state of misery and dejection.
“Well mostly but I have a problem…”
“Is it Crey? Council of Thorns? Banished Pantheon?”
“No nothing like that its just… ” Kallisti the Friar sounded hesitant, if not embarrassed “I don’t have any money and I can’t work out how to use these cash machine things!” she blurted.
“Oh!” she tried not to laugh. Kallisti the Friar had never really gotten to grips with the everyday modern technology that surrounded them in Paragon City. It had never really mattered before because there was usually one of the other Kallistis to cover for her. “So where have you been staying since you left if you don’t have any money?” Hotel’s did not accept influence!
“Um well I went to Granville first…”
“Granville? You mean you went…”
“No no I didn’t go that far but I spoke to Mender Tesseract and he explained how to get the portal to let me travel over there. I didn’t’ stay there as the place just made me feel creepy – the Fortuntas made me think of the priests – watching you all the time while not watching you… anyway then I got the Ferry to Port Oakes but that place smells awful so I went back to Ouroboros and spent the night on one of those floating islands…”
“So where are you now?”
“I’m in Kings Row – I thought I could find somewhere to stay here as I know Kalli Golden found somewhere to live here, but I need money wherever I go and…”
“When did you last eat?” Kallisti the Janitor suddenly felt her eyes well up as she realised just how vulnerable Friar was without the support network the other girls had provided.
“Um…” the hesitancy was enough to convince.
“Okay I’ll be right there. Meet me at the train station!”
* * *
“What are you like?” Janitor hugged Friar on seeing her waiting at the Kings Row station. She’d been shocked at the difference just a few days had made. Friar’s long blonde hair was a mess and she had resorted to the old trench coat outfit she’d used in her early days in Paragon city for warmth. It did not look particularly clean and Friar herself wasn’t exactly sparkling. Friar clung to the Kallisti she thought of as the most practical and ‘normal’ of them all.
“I didn’t think it would be so difficult.” she said. She’d fought giant robots, monsters, helped stop dimensional invaders, Rikti invasions, zombie hoards but the simple everyday tasks of just looking after herself in the modern world were beyond this girl displaced from a mediaeval world. “I never really thought about how we lived and what needed to be done.”
“The rest of us just sort it out and never think about it. We have money coming in from mine and Bronze’s jobs and Gold’s appearances and…” she broke off as she saw the look of sadness in Friar’s face.
“Is she alright?”
Kallisti the Janitor paused and looked into Friar’s eyes, trying to gauge how truthful to be. “She’ll live… she’s a blaster so is used to being knocked down!” she lied.
Friar bit her lip. “I didn’t mean to go quite so far but things just happened…”
“Yes I heard about the kidnap gang prosecutions… or lack of them…”
“Hmmm, yes that is something I have to sort out.” There was a look that chilled Janitor.
“Okay first things first, lets get some cash and some grub. Anything you fancy?”
“Fish and chips!” Friar’s eyes lit up.
“I’ve been trying to persuade Harry Ramsden to open a branch in Paragon City but they don’t see the benefit somehow. I’m sure we can get something in Talos.” Kallisti the Janitor realised Friar had no idea what she was talking about and had missed the joke. “Come on I’ll show you how to use the hole in the wall…” she linked her arm through Friar’s and led her to the cash machine.
* * *
“Fries are no way a substitute for proper chips.” Janitor dipped the last one in the ketchup. Friar had eaten her fill, catching up on two days of missed meals. “Okay so you now know how to use the cash machine – don’t forget the pin number again!”
Friar shrugged, “Will you tell her that you’ve seen me?”
“I don’t know. On the one hand it might annoy her that you reached out to me and not her, on the other hand if I don’t tell her and she finds out she’ll think we’ve been going behind her back – which we have.”
“Oh! You should tell her then, and tell her I miss her.” Friar’s expression softened as she thought of her Angel.
Janitor glanced out the window of the seafood restaurant they were seated in on the board-walk on Talos Island. ‘That would be a BAD idea!’ she thought. “I’ll sort it out, don’t worry” she said out loud. “So I think the next thing will be to find you somewhere to live. I heard there is a nice apartment block in Atlas Park that’s been recommended by Hero Corps. Its called Renaissance Suites and I’ve heard good things about it. So long as the rent is reasonable, it should be okay. Are you going to take on paid jobs now?”
“Well I did meet a couple of people in Granville who wanted me to help rob a bank but I don’t like the thought of that, its wrong.”
“Well yes, I’m glad you haven’t started down THAT slippery slope! You should enrol in Hero Corps, I bet they’d love someone with your talents, experience and influence!”
“Could you help me apply, I’m still not that good at writing and its going to be difficult for Bronze to help me.”
“I reckon we can sort something out… if necessary I could probably get you a job on my staff – how good are you with a boom and a mop?”