The Phoenix Lord was in the middle of some speech when Jocelyn received the order to strike. Even though she was newest member of the right arm, she was in charge of the killing blow, a complicated manual control that required finesse. The rest of the crew stood around her console, shouting encouragements. She could do it. As she began the crank, tension built, and she steadied herself. She spun the wheel faster, pulling out the pegs as necessary, in even intervals.
“You’ve got it.” Murmurs from all around her gave advice, but she maintained her concentration.
“Pull the switch!”
“You have to do it now!”
She waited. The official go-ahead hadn’t yet come through, and she couldn’t make a move without their say-so. A sudden quake knocked her from her seat.
“Are you going to finish the job, or do I have to take over?”
She looked up. The final lever was only a few feet away, and she leapt toward it. Her fingers fell into place around the shaft.
“Why isn’t she pulling the lever?” asked her head of operations. The crew around him made no suggestions, though they clearly had ideas of their own. “What’s going on in the right arm?”
“We’ve lost communications. Most likely, they’re waiting for our go-ahead.”
A hand pushed her back to the floor. Jocelyn looked up at her coworker, a stodgy fellow in a bird costume. “You had a chance to prove yourself, but that moment is over. You will have to defeat me if you want any professional glory, but as you can see, I’ve already won.”
As he yanked down on the switch, Jocelyn struck him in the eye, a perfectly tuned punch that knocked him cold. Her coworkers gasped.
“What’s gotten into you?”