Title: Part of the Team
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Lana Lang, Lois Lane, Ava Wilson, & Jo Harvelle
Disclaimer: Don't own Smallville/Supernatural
Summary: Chloe & Lana founded Tara Paranormal Investigations, and they'd grown so famous Lois isn't enough help. Only problem is that all the applicants for the jobs available know nothing about the paranormal...and then Jo Harvelle and Ava Wilson apply...
Written for my Paranorma25 150 Prompt Table. Prompt of the day: #46: EMF meter
“Chloe!” Lana arrived at the door of Chloe’s office, eyes wide, breathless. “You need to come out here now.”
Turning off the power to her screen, Chloe stood, eyes narrowed. “What is it?”
“I don’t know.” Lana admitted before hurrying away.
Knowing in the pit of her stomach that this was not good, Chloe hurried out after her friend and froze in shock once they reached the kitchen area of the building…where shadowcreatures were circling a wide-eyed Lois.
“Lois!” Chloe was half worried and half annoyed. “What did you do this time?”
Lois looked over at her cousin with a wide-eyed, guilty expression. “I was trying to make a better, more advanced EMF detector with the materials our contact shipped to us from Bangkok, but, uh—I think instead of sensing ghosts it’s attracting ghosts.”
“What have I told you about going onto those technopagan websites and trying to construct those things on your own?” Chloe asked, growling slightly, not even flinching as a couple of shadows floated around her, playing with her hair and clothes.
“Not to?” Lois winced.
Chloe’s eyes narrowed. “Then why did you try it again?”
“Because I was so sure I could do it this time!” Lois announced, stomping her foot somewhat childishly. “It was a simple EMF detector! It wasn’t supposed to do anything like this! It was supposed to be harmless yet useful!”
“Lois…” Lana sighed, shaking her head as an unruly shadow creature, or, er, maybe ghost, picked up the coffeemaker and smashed it on the ground.
Chloe’s eyes went furious. “I just bought that coffeemaker!”
Even the spirits stopped what they were doing, faltering, and turning to look at her in slight trepidation.
The fury she was emanating was that great.
Lana took a couple of steps backwards.
It took a little while for Chloe to manage to undo the damage Lois’ ‘EMF meter’ had done, but thankfully soon all the ghosts were gone and the three women sat down to a nice warn coffee (brought over by an apologetic Lois) in the conference room.
When Lana had gotten her divorce settlement from Lex, Chloe had been surprised when the brunette had come to her about a partnership. They’d use Lana’s money and Chloe’s knowledge to form Tara, named after the goddess of Peace and Protection.
As Lana had said, they all (well, mostly Chloe) had been battling the weird and unnatural all of their lives…so why not help others and make money off of it at the same time?
And that was how Tara was born.
They took in high paying, odd, and often dangerous cases that no other sane person would, and somehow Lois had gotten herself onto their payroll and a part of the team. The fact that she could kick the butt of almost anything (supernatural or not) was a plus, of course, because while Lana knew some self defense Chloe really wasn’t that good when it came to hand to hand.
Or, well, she hadn’t been when they’d begun, but considering that their lives were on the line here, they’d all taken self-defense classes and had learnt how to shoot and use other weapons that they’d be needing in their job.
“So, how are the job applicants looking?” Lois asked over her cup of coffee.
Lana and Chloe shared looks.
Lois frowned. “That bad?”
Lana put down her cup. “Well, what could we expect really? The add said ‘Anyone with knowledge of the occult and with the willingness to use it to combat evil may apply’, we should have expected the whack jobs that applied.”
“Most of them are people who read a little too much Anne Rice.” Chloe snorted in disgust. “It’s annoying.”
“Chloe.” Lana sighed.
“It is.” Chloe exclaimed, turning to Lois. “I had them do the test.”
“Oh, the test.” Lois blinked.
“Yeah, the test.” Lana pouted.
The test was designed to weed out which applicants actually knew squat and would be useful, from those hoping to be abducted by aliens/soulmated to werewolves/claimed by vampires---you get the picture.
“How many took the test?” Lois asked, intrigued.
“A hundred and eighty nine.” Lana recalled.
“Wow. Interviewing that many applicants must have been hell!” Lois grinned. “How many passed the test?”
Lois looked from Lana to Chloe. “Someone did pass the test, right?”
Lois’ eyes widened in shock. “NO ONE passed the test?!?”
Chloe grumbled into her coffee.
Lana pouted deeper.
“Unbelievable!” Lois exclaimed in horror. “Not one person! We’re sunk!”
“What are we going to do?” Lana whispered, worried, gaze on Chloe. “We’re horribly understaffed as it is! We need someone to man the phone constantly plus we need at least two more people to help us in the fieldwork! We’re barely managing to meet the needs of our growing list of clients and we’re going to have a nervous breakdown as it is! I will not go bald from stress and be a matching set for my ex!”
Lois snorted into her coffee at the thought of a bald Lana and bald Lex prancing around some field of daisies together holding hands.
Lana, obviously not needing to be a psychic to know what was going on in Lois’ perverse imagination, sent her a glare.
Chloe just sighed, trying to keep her wits about her. “Look, something will turn out, okay? And if push comes to shove, we could always ask Clark or Ollie or one of the boys to help us out if they have a spare minute.”
“NO!” Both Lana and Lois jumped to their feet, palms against the surface of the table, at that.
Mentioning their exes probably hadn’t been the best idea, but Chloe really wasn’t seeing any other options. Lana and Clark, and Lois and Oliver, had both ended on horrible terms, but Chloe was still friends with both males, members of the Justice League of America. If she needed to, she was going to bring them in to help, whether Lana or Lois agreed to it or not.
“Okay, look, I’m going to say this once and once only.” Chloe stared down both brunettes with narrowed eyes. “You’re going to have to learn to be professional and separate professional relationships and personal. Sure, you two had bad breakups, but guess what? The Justice League and us will most probably cross paths again while on jobs or need each other’s assistance, like we have in the past, and we will rise to the occasion like the professionals we are.”
Lois and Lana looked away, pouting darkly.
The phone rung.
Three pairs of eyes swung towards the wall and Chloe cleared her throat, hopeful, as she went to the kitchen phone and picked up the receiver, placing it to her ear. “Tara Investigations, how may I help you?”
“Um, yeah, is this Tara?” The voice on the other end asked.
Chloe, used to this questioning, and just sick and tired of having to explain the reason behind the name, just nodded and sighed. “Yes, speaking, how may I help you?”
“Well, I know that the deadline for handing in applications ended a week ago, but I only saw the add this morning and I was wondering, if you haven’t filled in the position of receptionist as yet, if you’d allow me to hand in mine.”
Chloe didn’t know whether to wince at the fact that this was probably yet another whacko who thought reading one or two Nora Roberts’ books made them experts, or dare hope that this female, whomever she was, could be the real deal. “We have received many promising applications for the post.”
Lois and Lana’s eyes widened in horror.
“What are you doing?” Lois hissed as she and Lana hurried to Chloe, trying to eavesdrop on the conversation.
Swatting them away like annoying bugs, Chloe took in a deep breath and continued. “But would you be willing to undergo a small telephone test? If you pass it we will accept your application and consider it as seriously as the ones already handed in.”
“God, I hate orals, but give it to me anyway.”
Lois, who’d pressed her ear as close to the receiver as possible, snorted in laughter at that.
Lana whacked her away and took her spot, trying to hear better.
“You do know, miss, that this is a job in which we will deal with the paranormal.” Chloe began.
“Yeah, kinda got that from the add.” The woman declared with a snort.
Chloe smirked. “Well then, I’ll ask you some questions and you tell me a false myth about them.”
“Hmm…this is different.” And yet she sounded amused. “Go on.”
“Can’t go out in the sunlight.”
Lois and Lana exchanged surprised glances at that.
“Werewolves.” Chloe continued, smirking.
“Once bitten you can be cured.”
The brunettes smiled at each other.
“Are only female.”
Chloe turned to the other females. ‘I like this one’ she mouthed before clearing her throat. “And last but not least, tell me what you think about Halloween.”
“Safest night in the whole damned year supernaturally wise.” The woman replied immediately. “Nothing really bad would do anything during that night, it’d be embarrassing for them. You have to look out for the human baddies though.”
‘Hire her!’ Lana mouthed as she jumped up and down in happiness.
‘Or suffer!’ Lois threatened, hand-pumping the air in thankfulness at the sign that having to work with her ex might not be in her future.
Chloe smiled. “Well, you’ve passed the oral, feel free to submit your application through either email or post, or by handing it in yourself at our front desk. If shortlisted you will be contacted within the week to perform a written exam, and then if chosen you will be notified.”
“That’s a lot of procedures to be applying to be the receptionist.”
“Yes, well, in our line of work we need to be sure of the person we’re relying on.” Chloe declared.
There was a moment’s silence. “I like the sound of that. I’ll email it in. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Chloe smiled.
“The name’s Ava, by the way.” The woman announced. “It’s going to be a pleasure working with you all.”
And with that she hung up, leaving Chloe to wonder at the certainty in her voice when she’d said that.
Putting the receiver back in its place, Chloe turned to the two brunettes currently congratulating themselves on a job well done. “Well, she sounds the most credible out of all of our applicants.”
“This is a sign, an omen of good.” Lana grinned brightly. “This just shows that we’re going to get better applicants soon! I mean, we have three positions (at least) to fill in, and while receptionist is the lower position it’s still a vital part! We’re going to get the other applicants, I know it!”
“Tara IS a big business, and we do have more and more clients every day that we’re stretching to impossible lengths to accommodate.” Lois agreed, going back to her coffee to celebrate. “We need more fieldworkers, we need a techie since I obviously will not do in that department, and maybe a consultant?”
“Look, needs and wants are different.” Chloe exclaimed, hands on her hips. “We need fieldworkers, at least two, and we need a consultant. You leave the technobabble alone Lois.”
Lois pouted. “But I’m telling you that I read online that if we make the stuff ourselves its better because its blessed with our energy and its more in tune with our aura and…” She stopped, noticing the way Lana and Chloe were looking at her. “What? It’s true! You don’t know what childhood trauma the creep who makes the stuff you buy in stores had and it infects our gear and ruins them!”
Lana turned her hesitant gaze to Chloe. “You know, we have seen weirder.”
“Not you too.” Chloe whined. “You can hardly turn on a computer without frying it, and Lois can barely work the microwave without short-circuiting the whole building!”
“Hey!” Lois cried out. “That only happened once!”
“And since when have our equipment given us any trouble?” Chloe sent a glare in Lois’ direction. “When someone hasn’t tampered with them, of course.”
“Upgraded.” Lois murmured under her breath resentfully, folding her arms over her chest and huffing at the ungratefulness of it all. “I was trying to upgrade our equipment.”
“If we get someone, if, you are never allowed to much less look at technopagan websites again, understood?” Chloe threatened her cousin.
Lois’s eyes widened, not knowing whether to grin at the fact that Chloe was considering getting someone to do those things for them so they could have clear and pure energy, or pout at the restriction being placed upon her.
She turned to Lana, seeking some support.
“Don’t look at me.” Lana raised her hands in the air. “I just hand in the money, Chloe’s the Big Kahuna here.”
In the end, Lois decided to just nod her acceptance to Chloe’s terms.
“Good.” Chloe nodded. “Now I’m going to go check out our email, she might have sent in her application already.”
“I thought you were going to make her wait a few days to downplay the ‘we’re desperate’ part.” Lois called after her cousin.
“I am.” Chloe nodded, stopping at the doorway. “Doesn’t mean I’m not going to investigate her though. Won’t do to have some psycho or monster working for us.” And with that she disappeared.
“Hmmm.” Lois blinked. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
“That is why she’s the Big Kahuna.” Lana pointed out.
“Hmmmm.” Sipping the last of her coffee, Lois linked her arm around Lana’s. “How about we go get some movies to watch while Chloe’s busy being Dick Tracy?”
“How about some horror?” Lana asked, grinning, as they walked out of the kitchen area.
Lois grinned. “You read my mind.”
Looking over the application once more, Chloe sent a peek in the direction of the laptop, in which WILSON, AVA was being checked thoroughly. A glance at the clock told her that it was way past midnight, and she knew that Lois and Lana had clocked out hours ago to go home and do whatever it was that they did whenever they weren’t together badmouthing their exes or working at Tara.
Sighing, the blonde leaned back against her seat and gave the application a speculative glimpse. She’d printed it off so that she could read it without the glare of the computer’s screen, and she couldn’t help but admit that Ava Wilson mightn’t be an adept in paranormal knowledge or anything, but she was a fair enough secretary, working in Peoria, and according to her, she was a psychic.
That, of course, was listed under the section that asked what ‘skills’ the applicant had that he/she considered would make him/her useful for the job being applied for, and if Ava Wilson really was a psychic, then Chloe could find many uses for the woman.
Wondering if there were any tests she could put the woman under to prove the validity of that power, Chloe jerked when sensor alarms went off. Her eyes narrowed as she went to her main computer and typed in a couple of codes, the security cameras around the building lighting up until she found the one in red and zoomed in on it, surprised when instead of finding a monster or villain trying to break intoTara, she instead found a pretty, young blonde leaning against the front door---which was what activated the alarm system in the first place.
Hesitating for a moment, Chloe reached for the intercom system at her desk and pressed a button. “Can I help you?”
The female on the night-vision screen jumped at the voice, looking around her, trying to find the voice.
Chloe tried not to be amused, instead imagining her own scare if a bodiless voice spoke to her in the darkness. “Do you see the white box to your right? Press the button when you’re speaking and release it to get replies.”
The blonde turned towards the box and followed the voice towards it, pressing the button and leaning towards the box. “I’m here for the job advertized on the web?”
Two new applicants in one night?
“The office is closed now, office hours are from 8: 30 to 6:00.” She watched the other woman pull a strand of blonde hair from her face. “You can come back tomorrow and give in your application.”
“Um…okay.” The blonde pushed away from the box and looked around before walking away slowly.
Chloe followed her on the cameras, switching from camera to camera until she saw the blonde hunch down in between the trees by the side of the building and put her backpack on the ground, lying down on the ground.
She’s going to spend the night out there.
Knowing it wasn’t exactly safe for a young woman to be doing that, Chloe sighed and gave the computer still running a thorough search on WILSON, AVA a quick look before grabbing the swipe key and heading to the front of the building. She exited into the chilly night and stalked around the building to where she’d seen the woman lying down, finding her right where she’d seen her last.
“You know, that’s not very safe.” Chloe announced, clearing her voice. She didn’t even know why or how she knew in the darkness, but she moved liquid-like and reached out with her hand, catching the blade that would have slammed into her heart otherwise.
“Oh my god!” The blade-throwing blonde exclaimed, climbing to her feet. “I’m so sorry! I thought you were some weirdo trying to---you caught it!” Even in the moonlight it was obvious to see the shock andawe in those brown eyes. “And its so dark---how?---cool! I’m definitely going to work here!”
Despite the fact that this girl had just thrown a blade at her, Chloe kinda liked her. She tested the blade before handing it back to the other girl. “So you’re here for the application for fieldworker I presume.”
The girl grinned brightly. “Yeah, I am.”
“Nice skills, with the blade.” Chloe looked her up and down thoughtfully. “Got any other skills?”
She nodded. “I’m handy with guns, I can fight hand to hand, I have a basic knowledge of what is what and how to kill it, and I can make any kind of alcoholic beverage you ask for.”
Chloe raised an eyebrow, amused. “You’re an interesting individual.” She pulled out a Tara card from her pocket and passed it to the other blonde. “There’s a small yet homey bed and breakfast two blocks east called Cozy Tiemz. Go there, ask for Marty, give him this card and say that Tara sent you. Leave your application with me, have a good night’s sleep, and come here around 10:30 tomorrow for the written, physical, and psych examinations.”
Looking up from the card, the woman blinked. “Are you Tara?”
Somewhat amused, Chloe gave a little sigh and nodded, thinking once again, that that was what she got for letting Lana name the company. And since Chloe was the one who dealt with the people, most assumed she was ‘Tara’, and she’d gotten sick of correcting them. “Apparently I am.”
The stranger grinned and stuck out her hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She shook Chloe’s hand, and her hold was strong, calloused, used to hard work. “My name’s Jo----Joanna Beth Harvelle.”