“Okay, Next Crisis” is the companion flash fic for October’s Canon Blast! post, which was about Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. Just a reminder that Canon Blast! is now exclusively on Patreon, but I’ll post the companion flash on here the month following its appearance on the other site. If you want to keep up with the whole series, in real time, click HERE and maybe become a subscriber?
Sneak peek: November’s Canon Blast! will take on H. Rider Haggard’s She, a lost world adventure story about a magical white lady queen in the heart of the African jungle. I’m 3/4 of the way through it at the moment and hoo boy, it’s a trip.
And now: story time!
Okay, Next Crisis
“The dead voiced but efficient young lady at the other end made a second connection and exchanged a few rapid words, then said to Verisof in a dry, mechanical tone…”
-Foundation p. 80-81
“Mayor Hardin will see you in a half hour, sir.”
She clicked off the phone and groaned aloud. Mayor Hardin was double booked again. That man was constantly ducking off to various secret meetings and not putting them on his calendar. She wasn’t entirely sure how long the Mayor had been gone today—and was very much regretting not conveniently losing the invoice to put in the second exit in his office that he’d requisitioned—much less when he would be back. She was, however, becoming more adept as pawning the callers off with excuses. She was also getting better at lying to their faces. They’d told her in business school that if you sounded confident then people would believe you were in charge. Actually, that might have been learned at the bars outside the business school. Either way, it worked.
The light on the phone blinked twice before it buzzed again.
“Mayor Hardin’s office,” she said, her voice flat and lifeless. Nice stopped after her second cup of coffee, especially if Mayor Hardin wasn’t around to hear her. Besides, she’d been out late the night before killing at karaoke, and her voice was tired. The stage manager had told her that if she could deliver one more performance like that, they’d consider putting her on salary. It wasn’t quite what she was making in the Mayor’s office, but it would be worth not having to make excuses for him anymore.
“No, I’m sorry, he’s out of the office today.” The voice squawked in indignation and she didn’t bother to listen to the reason that they absolutely had to see Mayor Hardin immediately, and no, of course they didn’t have an appointment. After taking their name and number, and reassuring them that the Mayor would call them as soon as he returned, she hung up the phone.
She wandered into Hardin’s office and dropped the memo on top of the lopsided pile which had accumulated on his desk. The top left hand drawer of his desk was open, and she caught a glimpse of a book. The Beginner’s Guide to Navigating a Seldon Crisis.
Curious, she pulled the drawer fully open and lifted out the book. Mayor Hardin would be too busy to notice it was gone, if he ever decided to grace the office with his presence, and she’d put it back when she was finished. She’d been curious about psychohistory when she was in college, but there were very few resources to be found. It seemed the people in the know, knew, and the rest didn’t know.
She smiled and walked back to her desk. She liked to know things. Besides, Mayor Hardin had told her several times how efficient she was. She could only imagine, with a book like this, how much more efficient she could be. She settled back at her desk and opened the book.
This was the perfect way to use her time until the phone rang again and she was forced to douse the flames on the next crisis. She stretched her feet out under the desk and began to read.
Author’s Note: Foundation of course belongs to Isaac Asimov. I have only built a small castle in his sandbox. It annoyed me that the only female character in the first book was a secretary with exactly one line to her name, and she didn’t even have a name. She still doesn’t, but at least she has a little bit of a backstory now.