"Sir, there is an order alert." Janice's robotic, autotune voice pierced through Red Scope's hyperfocus like a jackhammer at dawn. "Immediate action is required."
Red gave a little jump in his chair. The algorithm sequence was so close to being deciphered. "Whatever it is, it can wait, Janice. I have other business more impor..."
Janice interrupted. "Your instructions were very clear, sir. Instant notification of orders exceeding one million dollars requires immediate action."
Red Scope sighed. "Fine, Janice. What is the order?"
"One thousand type 87 modulators, Fifteen hundred compression canisters, fifteen hundred sensor devices, one hydraulic detonator, three air compressors, three thousand cactus grenades, five hundred oversized boxing gloves, and ten thousand oversized, green balloons with image."
Red sighed. "I think I have the detonator in storage. I'll have to dig out the...wait. Janice, ballons? Ten thousand green balloons?"
"Yes, sir. Ten thousand oversized, green balloons with image," repeated Janice.
Red Scope laughed. "Get Alpha on the phone, would you? I can't believe we are doing this again!"
A moment of silence passed. Then, a voice echoed through the speakers. "Hello, Janitor. What mess have we got today?"
Red sat back in his chair. "Alpha, a certain friend of ours, has managed to, yet again, escape his doctors. He has placed an order on the credit line. Seriously, I am starting to think this is on purpose. This has to be the third time in two years!"
"Is this confirmed?" asked Alpha.
"There is only one man in Gotham who orders five hundred boxing gloves and ten thousand oversized green balloons with his face on it! I think we can safely say yes to the confirmation!" laughed Red. "You would think that he would learn by now. I'll send you a copy of the order." He leaned up to the keyboard and pressed few buttons. "You can have a look for yourself."
There was a moment of silence. Then, it was broken by laughter. "All right, Janitor. Fill the order. We will take care of the rest. Same frequency as last time?"
"No, no. He will suspect. He is dumb, but not that dumb. I'll send you the correct frequency and install the BRB protocol," said Red.
"Big red button protocol? Do you think it's necessary?" asked Alpha.
"Yes. I am not exactly sure what he wants to do with the hydraulic detonator. A little caution goes a long way." Red Scope paused. "You know, I think this time the button will be green. I'll place it under the modulators. You'll know it when you see it."
"I will inform the correct playboy. Thank you, Janitor," said Alpha.
"Before you go, Alpha. The order is a few million dollars. I don't need it all, where should it go this time?" asked Red.
"St. Jude is always a good place, but you may want to put some in United Way. It's better to spread it out," said Alpha. "I can cover for you if you need it."
"I can't keep sending it to the DAV. Thanks for the input, Alpha."
Janice cut the call. "Sir, will you need anything else?"
"No. I want to get back to the algorithm. But now I have actual paying work to do," Red Scope sighed and shook his head. "Do you know how long it takes for me to install the BRB's?"
"Fifteen minutes per module," said Janice.
"Yeah! And I have one thousand and one to do!"
"Someone is going to do it. It may as well be you, sir," said Janice.
"And I get no thanks for it either! How do they think that button gets there? Don't you think I feel guilty for feeding the beast? I wish I didn't have to do it at all!" shouted Red. "And it is always the same damn thing! The exposed power source to the giant doomsday machine, the button on the bottom of the laser gun, the signal frequency that the good guy "just happens" to have, the self-destruct program that is easy to hack! And the hero gets the credit every single time!"
"Well, sir, if they knew it was you, they would not purchase the parts from you anymore, would they? They would find someone else who would do the job "better." It is easy to save the world when a hero is in the public eye. It is harder to be the shadow of the puppeteer."
Red Scope relaxed. "Yes, Janice. Thanks. I needed that reminder."
"That's why I'm here, sir," said Janice. "It is one of my many functions."
"Janice, for an LCI, you sure are beautiful," said Red.
"I bet you say that to all the LCIs," said Janice.
"You know I don't," chucked Red. "Let's get to work."