The Invincible Iron Fold
The Invincible Iron Fold
By Superfolder Noah
By Agent Tilly Waterson
Oh, wow. This is my first actual, written chapter for a case file…wow. Okay. Keep it together, Tilly. Breathe. Okay. Got it.
To understand the collected file before you, you must understand the long, storied history of the war between Kirby High and Wheeler Academy. Anyone who has ever lived nearby knows the story, and most have in some small way contributed to the battles. For reasons unknown, the town of Madison, New York has two schools. It’s not a big town by any means, and so both schools are relatively small. Families who come here usually end up settling, and because of that, many kids might be the third or fourth generation to go to these schools. This works against the war in some instances; the rivalries run deep. Very deep.
For years, Kirby was the only school in Madison. However, during WWII, Wheeler was started, and somehow just after it started, some people who thought we were on the wrong side of the war, i.e. “Bad Guys” took over and planted seeds of aggression throughout the whole school. It was a jerk breeding ground.
The students at Kirby had been antagonized by Wheeler ever since it was opened, but, in the 50’s, when our mascot Marvin Monkey was stolen, the war began.
It started as mere pranks of the innocent sort, but evolved over the years into basically a gang war. People at both schools have been beaten up because of their association. Careers have been sabotaged. Walls have been graffitied. Attempts at a parlay have been attempted, but always fail spectacularly.
That’s where the weird stuff comes in.
The students of Kirby High are seemingly ingrained with a love of Marvel Comics. Could have something to do with our name. In some cases, these characters do more to influence us then our parents. For as long as we can remember, a love of folding origami has also deeply influenced this school. Marvel superheroes, usually Avengers and related characters-based, are created wielded by those deemed worthy of the responsibility. The students of Wheeler Private have reacted accordingly, usually creating villains to combat the heroes. Some see themselves as heroes of their own right, but are usually not recognized as such by Kirbians. It’s a tradition that has carried us through the decades, with a new Avengers team forming every so often, the characters passed down from student to student.
However, the OrigAvengers, as we call them, haven’t formed in years. Probably the work of the 2000’s. Gah. The war has continued without origami for too long, many people believe. But the Folded Origami Logistics Division, F.O.L.D. has remained strong through the years, working in secret this whole time to keep the war from reaching a head. But we’re outmatched.
That’s why this case file was started. This is the case file that begins our efforts to reform the OrigAvengers. We have candidates all over Kirby High, collected data from several years. That’s what I’ve been told, at least. (I just joined F.O.L.D. so I still don’t have all the specifics.) The first candidate, however, is the only one who can bring together the OrigAvengers in a the way we need, and only one person can wield the Iron Fold.
Just a shame he’s so adamant about not joining.
By Agent Robby Boone
I am Agent Boone of the Recruitment Sector of the Folded Origami Logistics Division, who’s been working for F.O.L.D. for about 2 years now. Like Agent Waterson said, the war has been getting worse through the years with no signs of stopping. The ruling council of F.O.L.D. decided that the OrigAvengers have to be reformed. New members, new origami, new everything, but it might be the only way to stop the war before more people get hurt. So, we have to recruit. Just my luck that the best candidate for Iron Fold is my best friend. A best friend who doesn’t want to join F.O.L.D.
To illustrate this point, I have transcribed a meeting between me and The Consultant about the proposition. Recorded on the new recorder thingy that Trent got:
RB (Me): So, Clark, what’s 12 divided by 8 again?
C (Consultant): 96.
RB: Duh. Thanks.
C: Dude. Pay attention.
C: It’s 1.5. I’m messing with you.
RB: So, Clark, did you hear about what Nard did to those Wheeler kids?
C: Those were the blackest black-eyes I have ever seen.
RB: Totally. Um…don’t you think the war is getting out of hand? Things like this are happening every other day now.
C: To be perfectly honest I could care less about the war.
C: It doesn’t really affect me at all. I keep to myself. I’m not involved. As far as I’m concerned, the war isn’t happening.
RB: But what about the kids constantly being picked on and tortured just because of their school’s history?
C: If they want the fighting to stop, just ask one of the sides to offer up a surrender. And honestly, Rob, we need to stop calling it a ‘war’. It’s little more than a prank fight that’s lasted way longer than it should have.
RB: But…say it isn’t. What if…the school needed defenders again?
C: Oooooh no. Not this again.
RB: I’m just saying-
C: Rob, I’m not joining your super secret boy band just to wave around a piece of paper. It’s humiliating.
RB: It’s not humiliating…well it kind of is, but it can be cool. Look at the one I have. (I produce Cardboard Machine from my back pocket. He is black, silver, and really shiny.)
C: So, what does that make me…Iron Crease?
C: You actually have a name for him. This is ridiculous.
RB: Clark, just give it a chance.
C: Heck. No. Come on, we haven’t even discussed what Emily would think about it. And Emily is amazing. I don’t wanna get rid of her like that.
RB: Well, fine.
C: Don’t ask again.
I am planning on asking him again tomorrow.
It’s a tough job, but I’m the only one willing to do it. Or, they give it to me because they want to torture me…I dunno. The jury’s still out.
The OrigAvengers needed to start with an Iron Fold. He was essential, as was whoever used him. The person to use him would have to be smart, mechanically inclined, a leader; The Consultant is all of this. He even has the legacy to match. He just won’t join.
I had to report this, once again, to Director Adams. Trenton Adams, to be precise.
I was waiting for Trent as he came down the steps into the school’s basement (F.O.L.D.’s headquarters), clipboard in hand. Trent’s eyepatch was slightly askew, so I helped him fix it before launching into my report.
“That isn’t good enough,” he muttered. His jaw twitched. It always did that when he was annoyed.
“I’m sorry sir. I don’t know what else to do. Robby is doing the best he can.”
“Hmph.” He walked into the file room, and he always does when he’s stressed, just started thumbing through files absentmindedly. He pulled out one from the 90’s, which had a red origami figure with what appeared to be a blue hoodie on the front. He started reading, silently.
“Sir?” I asked. “What…what do we do?”
Trent placed the file back in the cabinet. He turned and walked back into the main room. I followed.
“Agent Waterson, how many assets do we have hidden at Wheeler?”
“You heard me.”
“Um…” I flipped through the myriad papers on my clipboard. “Why do you ask?”
“I’ve seen Clark. How he acts. How he reacts. I know he’ll join the Initiative if he has enough incentive. This might give us that incentive.”
I gulped. I could see where this was going. “But, sir…isn’t that…underhanded?”
“Not if he doesn’t find out.” He turned to look directly at me. “Contact a few of our assets. Let me talk to them. If the Consultant doesn’t do anything after my idea is put into action, consider him a lost cause and find a new candidate. Got it?”
By Clark Largent (In email to Agent Robby Boone)
Why don’t I want to join this elusive F.O.L.D.? It’s because I have what I like to call A REPUTATION.
Dude, we’re sophomores. I’ve built up a reputation that I don’t want to lose. I qualify, I believe, as a jock. I’ve led our Lego robots team with my fellow engineers Lane and Leena. I’m on the student council. My younger brother isn’t a pain in the butt. I have a, if you don’t mind my saying, super hot girlfriend, Emily Madison. You know all of this.
If I relent and you get me a finger puppet, all of the popularity points I’ve gained go down the drain. It won’t take long for people to start thinking I’m some kind of idiot by walking everywhere with a Marvel finger puppet.
I mean, in the past weren’t there kids like me who just wanted to have a normal school experience? No origami, no wars, just education, friends, and the occasional prank on the teachers.
I’ve asked Emily what she thinks of all this and she totally agrees with me. She seems to have pretty strong feelings about this, which surprised me. She’s usually really chill.
“Clark, I’m not the type that will break up with you just because you put on a finger puppet and start waving it around,” she told me. Is there a type that does that? “But I don’t want you to either. Finger puppets can have…interesting effects on those who constantly wear them.”
I’m pretty sure she’s just referring to that weird school board fiasco from a few years back.
Anyway, that’s why. So stop asking.
Spoilers: We Get Him
By Director Adams
My plan worked perfect.
Clark has finally listened.
At long last, he’s in.
I Changed My Mind
By Clark (In Email to Agent Robby Boone)
I can already hear you saying ‘I told you so’ so shut up before you say it again.
I left the cafeteria with Emily and walked outside on the way to the second building for English with Mr. Raisey. We were talking, joking, normal stuff.
“Yo!” shouted a kid on the other side of the fence. He looked big. Really big. He had another thug right beside him. They had obviously walked over from Wheeler. I think I’d seen them on Wheeler’s football team.
“Yo yourself,” Emily shouted back.
“You’re at the wrong school, dude. Or did you get lost?” I said. Probably not the best idea, I realize.
“Nah. We’re ditching, but for good reason. You beat Wheeler in the Lego Robots tournament last month, didn’t you?”
I smirked. “Wheeler’s ‘bot looked like it was made with Mega Bloks. I didn’t beat them as much as put them out their misery.”
“Come on, Clark, these guys aren’t worth our time.” Emily grabbed my hand.
“Okay.” We started walking across the yard again.
“Wouldn’t want to forget this…” The meathead said, mysteriously. I turned around. He produced from his backpack the winning Mindstorms robot that me, Lane and Leena had spent countless hours constructing. It’s name was Dummy. If it was alive, it’s photoreceptors would have been begging for help. I didn’t know how they’d gotten him, but I wanted him back immediately.
“You put that down, dude,” I stammered. I ran to the fence. They were too far for me to reach.
“Very poor choice of words.” The thug grinned. His buddy started laughing. Then…oh, it’s too horrible to say. Let’s just say that in a matter of seconds, Dummy was no more. His pieces lay strewn about all over the outer lawn, his motherboard split in two. Both of his photoreceptors were obliterated. Emily walked over, stunned. I was absolutely furious.
“You’re gonna regret that, man.” I clenched my fists as the two idiots ran back in the direction of Wheeler, cackling and high-fiving.
I was late to class trying to pick up Dummy’s hacked-up corpse. Emily helped too, so that made it a tiny bit better.
“It’s okay Clark. They’re just some dumb jocks looking to pick a fight.”
“They want a fight?” I muttered. “Ha.”
“Don’t you dare do anything stupid, Clark.”
I grinned in spite of myself. “Robby’s getting that new recruit after all.”
So, here I am, Rob. Sign me up. Wheeler’s gettin’ what’s coming to them.
The Other Side
By Nard Broderick
It’s a difficult thing to keep up with so many students, but I do my job well.
I dropped the first paint bomb-a balloon filled with paint. Very effective for area damage and overall mess. It landed on one of the girls’ head, and exploded. The ground was coated dark red, the girl’s clothes were ruined, and the friends she was walking with were affected as well. Might as well drop the rest on them, too.
I you haven’t guessed by now, those are Wheelerians. I am a Kirbian. I’m just giving the Wheelerians what they deserve.
It’s my self-appointed mission to make life a living heck for anybody who goes to Wheeler. Teachers, students, you name it. It’s their fault they go there, so I’m making them pay for it.
You might think I’m misguided, but there is a reason for it. They made my older sister suffer, so I’m going to make them suffer.
Oh, here comes their principal to help those girls clean up. I’m glad I have one more.
As soon as the balloon hits the principal, I leap out of the tree and run off Wheeler property. A few of my friends high five me when I make it home free. But, I don’t think it’s something worth being celebrated. It’s just my duty.
By Agent Robby Boone
“Dude, why are you wearing a bow tie?”
“I want to look good.
“Why? Don’t these people already know you?”
“Well…yeah, but I still want to look good. You’ve been my mission for about the last four months. I finally completed it.”
“But don’t you think a blue polka dot bow tie is a bit much?”
The day had finally come. And it was easier than expected, actually; Clark had come to me instead of me to him. I wonder what happened.
It was now after school, and most students had already gone home. I led Clark down the hallway until we got to the basement door. I slipped Cardboard Machine on my finger, opened the door and led Clark down.
Director Adams was standing where he usually was; the middle of the main room, surrounded by students working on their laptops, giving orders whenever the need arose. Agent Tilly was standing right next to him.
“Agent Boone,” Trent started. “I see your mission was finally a success.”
“Yes sir. Introducing Clark Largent, the Consultant, and new recruit.” I stepped aside so introductions could be made.
“I know you…” Clark began, looking inquisitive. “Aren’t you the kid in elementary school who would bring a glue bottle from home every single day and drink it when the teacher wasn’t looking?”
Trent cleared his throat. “Not important.”
“By the way, the eye patch is fake.”
“It’s ceremonial. Passed down from F.O.L.D. Director to F.O.L.D. Director. Just like the origami.”
“Isn’t your depth perception severely impaired? I mean, I know you got that whole Nick Fury thing going on, but at least Fury needed one.”
Trent sighed. “I’m regretting this already. Mr. Largent, do you know why you are here?”
Clark looked around the room absentmindedly, tapping on computers nobody was using. “I believe so. You want to start a group of those weird OrigAvengers that everybody had here. The OrigAvengers don’t exist anymore, and with the war getting worse we apparently need them. I’m your first recruit. Which means I’m Iron Man. Excuse me: Iron Fold.”
“Exactly. Remember, your role is not to go around picking fights,” Trent said, taking a clipboard from a nearby table. “You protect people. First priority will always been Kirby, but your reach even extends to Wheeler when it needs to.”
Trent took a page of red and yellow paper off of the clipboard and handed it to Clark. He produced three Sharpies from his jacket-gold, blue, and silver. “This will be your starting point to create Iron Fold. I’d suggest making some prototypes first. And, it can be based off of any Iron Man armor that Stark has created, comics or movies.
“Clark Largent. Do you understand the role given you, and will only use your role as the Iron Fold for protect, not harm, and, as the first OrigAvenger, agree to helping recruit others like you?”
Clark shrugged. “Whatever. As long as Dummy can be avenged.”
Trent turned to me. “Robby, I want you to go with him and help him make his puppet. Take the engineering room.”
As we left the basement, I could hear Trent mutter one last thing; “Finally. We’re on the clock now.”
Robby led me into the art room of the school. It didn’t make sense to me that F.O.L.D. apparently have all access to the school in the off hours but here we were. Rob turned on the light and sat down at one of the tables. He motioned for me to sit as well.
“So, since Director Adams gave you a red and yellow paper, he obviously wants you to make one of the more iconic armors, like the Mark 3, maybe. No other colors, like the Mark 1, or the Gemini, or heaven forbid the Endo-Sym. However, if you really want to make any of those, I bet Director Adams would let you; just please, promise me that you won’t make the Liefeld armor.”
I stared at him like a deer caught in headlights.
“I have no idea what you just said.”
One reason I was kind of surprised that they wanted me for this job is that I’m not that big of a Marvel fan. I mean, I watch the movies when they come out…sometimes…so I really had no idea what he was talking about.
He looked at me like I was a complete and total idiot.
I sputtered. “Ah…how bout the one that was in the newest movie? The one with all the nanobots and crud.”
Robby rolled his eyes. “You mean the Mark 50. Yeah, that’s fine.” He pushed the paper and the Sharpies over to me.
“Woah, man, I can’t make this. I’ve never folded a piece of origami in my life.”
“It’s protocol. Every OrigAvenger folds their own character.” He grabbed a few pieces of regular paper from a nearby table and handed them to me. “Practice folding with these. And I promise you, you’ll probably be surprised with what you come up with.”
“It’s in your blood, man.”
I had no idea what he was talking about, but under Robby’s watchful eye I learned all about folding, pleats, creases, reverse-folds…everything. And, even though Robby’s statement was weird, I could do it. I completely messed up the first piece of paper, but by the third even single one of my folds my perfectly crisp, not a pleat out of place. It felt…good. Folding is a great stress reliever, I gotta say. It has nothing on assembling a Bionicle figure, or snapping on a Mindstorms hinge…huh. I made myself sad again.
It took about an hour of sitting there; aside from folding, I also had to practice the drawing design on some scrap paper. I never realized how complex all the doodads on Iron Man’s armor is. Robby showed me the best way to get it a bit stylized with his own Cardboard Machine.
Finally, I held it up, and for the first time, put an origami figure on my finger. It was…interesting. Suddenly, it didn’t seem quite so stupid. It was pretty fun, to be honest.
“I christen thee Iron Fold!” I announced.
Robby rolled his eyes. “You could at least quote Iron Man, for crying out loud..”
My least favorite teacher is Mr. Rainey. He doesn’t understand my vendetta.
For instance, after dropping the paint bombs yesterday, it was Mr. Rainey who grabbed me and gave me my third detention of the month. He doesn’t understand that my jobs need to done.
“Please tell me you at least understand why you’re here,” Rainey groaned while babysitting me in detention.
“I do,” I stated, mildly.
“Okay, why are you here?”
“Because you’re a stinking pacifist who won’t look the war in the face and avenge the casualties.”
Mr. Rainey groaned once again. He put his fingers to his temples, like he had a headache. I’d seen that move a hundred times, probably; it signaled to the kid that the adult was smarter, that he knew better, and that the kid was not worth their time and every second spent with them was torture. Like I said, I’d seen it a hundred times; it didn’t phase me.
“Another incident like that, and you’ll be suspended. After that, expulsion. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t want you gone. You annoy the heck out of me, but you’re still one of my students. Get it?”
And then I said it. Something along the lines of “If you weren’t such a *BLEEP* *BLEEP* you’d understand.” I had never cussed like that at a teacher before, but it was necessary. He needed to know my stance and that I was sticking to it.
Mr. Rainey just sighed. “Now I don’t know what to do. I have to let you go, as time’s up. Can’t do anything more today except send your parents a note. Just…don’t do anything again. Please?”
I had him pleading. That’s when I knew I’d won. And I needed him to know that because of his position in my way, he needed to be removed. So, I did the one thing that would show him he had no power, and that his end was coming soon.
And then I left the room.
It had been a simple day. A very normal Friday.
I’d made it to school, same way I always did; my dad dropped me off, handed me some lunch money, gave me a hug and sent me on my way. Homeroom was fine, all my classes were fine…until right after lunch.
First, let’s talk about Leonard Broderick. Broderick, or ‘Nard’, as he prefers to be called, in an extremist in this war. He thinks that anyone that goes to Wheeler deserves what he does to them, and that’s bullying the shorts off of anyone from that school. In some cases, literally. It doesn’t seem like the war is ending anytime soon, but it’s people like Nard that keep it going.
F.O.L.D. has had to deal with him a few times. Sometimes…rarely…someone from Kirby will see what he’s doing and stand up to him. They usually get the same treatment. A crew of agents once had to unstick Jerry Hedder from the wall. That was some strong Gorilla Glue.
He’d never done much of anything to get on F.O.L.D.’s main radar, because frankly most agents don’t care about what happens to the Wheeler kids. Today, however, he made a name for himself. A bad one.
Back to the story. In the middle of History class with Mrs. McGregor, the fire alarm went off. Of course, immediately Mrs. McGregor stopped teaching and led us outside. As soon as we got outside, I looked all around the school. No smoke anywhere. Suspicious. I met up with Trent.
“No smoke,” I started.
Trent nodded. He took his eyepatch out of his pocket and put it on over his left eye. “Of course there’s no smoke, Tilly. No fire.”
“How do you know?”
“I had agents in every corner of the school when the alarm went off. None of them smelled or saw smoke anywhere. Of course, they left their position due to protocol, but there is no fire. This was either some idiot’s prank…or someone wanted the school empty.”
The firemen came about five minutes later and explored. Trent’s assessment was correct, as no fire had been started. And pretty soon, a blinking blue light on my watch meant that F.O.L.D. headquarters had been infiltrated.
“Who would want the school empty, sir?” I asked later, as we were all walking back inside.
“I have sources that told me Leonard Broderick was in detention again yesterday, while we were meeting with the Consultant. He was with Rainey. He became exceptionally irritated during detention, and cussed Rainey out. Their feud seems to finally be coming to a head.”
“But why would he flush out the school in the middle of the day?”
“Broderick might be looking for some way to get Rainey back. It’s a weak lead, I’ll admit, but it’s the only one we’ve got at the moment. As soon as the day ends, go down to the file room. See if any of the teachers files are missing.”
“How does- nevermind. Yes sir.”
Spoilers: The File Room
By Director Adams
Of course, I was right.
Mr. Rainey’s file was gone.
I hate being right.
Target: The File
It was on Monday that we learned the full extent of Nard’s agenda.
He had had the file since Friday, and no one knew what exactly he wanted to do with it. Trent seemed to have a bit of an idea, but he didn’t share it all with any of us.
“But what could he do with a file like that?” I asked him immediately after class on Friday.
“Just take my word for it when I say it could be very bad. And Rainey’s one of the good ones; he was a member of F.O.L.D. back when he was our age. We can’t lose him.” Trent looked me in the eye. In the stress of the ordeal, his eyepatch was sliding off and his other eye was just poking through. “Do all you can to get it back, Boone. Before it’s too late.”
Well, I was at least partially too late.
On Monday, as soon as everyone walked into the school, there was papers clipped to every visible surface. They were photocopies of a newspaper clipping from the 90’s. It looked front page, and Mr. Rainey’s name was on the headline.
“Woah, can you believe it?”
“Mr. Rainey would never…”
“Dude, that’s awesome.”
All of these were responses to the posted newspaper clipping. I grabbed one from off the wall and read:
MICHAEL RAINEY SUSPENDED: KIRBY HIGH STUDENT CAUGHT VANDALIZING SCHOOL WITH PROFANITIES.
How had I not known about this? I prided myself on my unprecedented knowledge of all the teachers, and yet I’d known nothing about this incident. I knew there were many possible ways this could be very bad. One: It could lose Rainey all of the respect he’d gained from the students. Two: Rainey could be suspended from his position, giving Nard his revenge. Or even three: Rainey could be fired from his position. I knew that this single headline wouldn’t necessarily do that much, but I suddenly started wondering what else was in that file.
If Nard had many more of these, he could plant them everywhere, each one that much more damaging to Rainey’s reputation, finally ending in the man’s utter defeat. This was a maniacal plan at it’s finest. Nard was obviously a threat, now.
“Hey Rob. You seen the headlines?” I turned and Clark and Emily standing behind me, each looking at a clipping.
“This is terrible,” Emily said. “Rainey’s a great teacher. This could really hurt him, and I don’t want to see him leave.”
“That’s the conclusion I came to as well.”
“So, what are you going to do, man?” Clark asked.
“Actually…” I looked at Clark, then at Emily, finally at Clark’s shirt pocket. In it, he could see the head of Clark’s Iron Fold just barely peeking out. After all, as the only OrigAvenger currently active, Clark’s duty was to protect the people of Kirby from threats that arose, and Nard was obviously one of them. “How’s your Wheeler vendetta coming along?”
Clark clenched his fist. “I’m working on it. I’ve been working on a hydraulic mud pie launcher.”
“Well, your revenge is going to have to wait.”
“What?” Clark and Emily said at the same time.
“Then, as of right now, Nard’s your mission. Find the file. Stop him from spreading this chaos.”
“But-” Clark sputtered.
This proposition made Emily mad. “He can’t do that! I mean, I know he did join your Men-In-Black crud, but he can’t just take down Nard by himself. I’ve seen how Nard works. Wheeler is has always been his main target for personal reasons, but anybody that gets in his way from Kirby is his enemy too. That kid is way too smart for his own good. Clark…might even get hurt.”
“He knew that when he signed up.”
“But…Dummy…I must avenge him…” Clark looked down, dejected.
“This could be your chance. Not against Wheeler, but by not letting Dummy die in vain. Do right.”
Clark thought for a moment, then looked up at me. “Fine. I’ll do it.”
“Clark…” Emily started, knowing she wasn’t going to get through to him.
“Great. So, come down to the basement after lunch. Emily can come too. There, Trent will brief you. You got this, man.”
Briefing (That’s A Funny Word)
Let me first of all say that I am not okay with this. I joined F.O.L.D. and the OrigAvengers to get back at Wheeler for destroying one of my most prized possessions, and I have not had the chance too. However, I’m still working on that catapult.
But, I did it, because that’s what they want me to do. And Nard’s been a jerk for awhile, so it might be good to knock him down a few pegs.
As soon as me, Emily and Robby walked into the “briefing room” (the boiler room with a table in it), Trenton Adams and his assistant were already standing there. Trent groaned. He turned to Robby.
“First of all, how dare you. Second of all, how dare you. Clark is nowhere near ready for this.”
“See, I told you,” Emily whispered to me.
“You trust my judgement, yes?” Robby asked. That was the most confidence in a single sentence I had ever seen Robby display.
“Most the time, yes. But this time…fine. We’ll go through with it. Tilly?”
His assistant, Tilly, pulled a sheet from her ever-present clipboard.
“This is everything we currently know about Leonard Broderick, Mr. Rainey, and the events surrounding the two,” she explained.
“With a name like Leonard Broderick, no wonder he’s the villain,” I muttered. Emily punched me. Then, she stepped forward.
“Trent, why is this going on? Why can’t the principal take care of this?”
“Um, his first name is Director,” I interrupted.
“Emily, the principal has given us free rein in areas of this sort. He trusts us with this responsibility, and that’s the way it’s been ever since F.O.L.D. was started. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just how it is. And since Clark joined, it’s now part of his responsibility too.”
“Since when have you guys been on a first name basis?”
Trent glared at me. “Now, Clark, it’s your mission to simply get the file back that Nard stole. Rainey’s career depends on it. We’ll provide assistance, of course, but this is on you. I may not think you’re ready, but this is your time to prove you have what it takes to be the Invincible Iron Fold.”
Iron Fold waggled on my finger. “Great!”
“And Clark? Work on the Iron Man quotes. Know your character. And, it makes the puppets feel more real.”
“Uh, sure,” Iron Fold said.
Probably Was A Mistake
By Trenton Adams
I trust Clark Largent.
But he’s a big idiot.
I hope this won’t fail.
So I had no idea how to go about doing this.
I asked Emily: She won’t talk to me about this at all, and still says it’s really dangerous to go after Nard. So that went nowhere.
I asked Robby: He said I should drop an anvil on him then steal the file. No word on how to get the anvil.
I asked whoever I could find at F.O.L.D.: Nobody answered. So much for assistance.
I asked Lane and Leena, my Mindstorms partners: They just helped me finish my hydraulic mud pie launcher by using a lab in the F.O.L.D. headquarters. Also, turns out they were secretly F.O.L.D. agents this whole time. You think you know a guy/girl.
I asked my younger brother, Cal: He laughed at my problems, thought this whole thing was amazing, and wanted a puppet of his own. I told him not until high school. He shrugged and started doodling again.
I asked my mouse, Mario: He didn’t answer. He just gulped.
So, I finally turned to the last person I could think to ask: my mom.
My mom and I are not currently on the best of terms. Two years ago, my dad walked out on us and I haven’t seen him since. Good riddance; he was a jerk. Anyways, it didn’t really affect me and my brother, but my relationship with my mom hasn’t been the same ever since. We talk…sometimes. We watch movies…occasionally. We try to reconnect, but every time we think things are going good some big fight comes along and ruins it all. The last fight we had was about the fact that my mom didn’t think I was old enough to have a girlfriend. That fight has been hanging over us since the beginning of the school year, and Emily hasn’t been at my house in the same amount of time. And, I know my mom is doing the best she can, but sometimes…she annoys the ever-loving heck out of me. But, she was the last person I could go to. So I did.
“Hey, um…mom?” I asked as I came down the stairs. My mom was sitting at the table balancing the checkbooks. My brother was playing Fortnite on the TV. He started shouting excitedly as he got a “Victory Royale,” whatever the heck that means.
“Yes, Clark?” She replied. She looked up. She looked exhausted.
“Uh, well, I’ve been having some problems at school…”
“Sounds fun. Related to Emily at all?”
How dare she play that card. But, I pushed onward, ignoring that hurtful comment. “No…no. It’s related to a…well, a club I joined recently…”
Suddenly, Mom immediately perked up. “Club. Honey, what club?”
Huh, she hadn’t called me honey since dad left. “Yeah, it’s like, um, S.H.I.E.L.D., from those superhero movies. The ones with the Avengers.”
Mom jumped out of her chair and looked straight at me. “Tell me Clark, who are you?”
“Who are you? Who did you get?”
I was flabbergasted by this sudden burst of energy, energy I hadn’t seen in a long time. “It was, uh, Iron Man- um, Iron Fold.”
“Yes!” Mom shouted. She was so excited, and I had no idea why. “I knew you would be. Alden had told me you’d be first in line when the time was right, and I knew it!”
“Knew what, mom?”
“Wait here.” She bolted off, upstairs to her room. After I heard her rummage through her drawers for awhile, she came downstairs holding something behind her back. I had a feeling I knew what was going on. “Okay, Clark. Show me your version first.”
“Okay…” I stuck my hand in my shirt pocket, and pulled out Iron Fold. I hadn’t put him on my finger since I had made him. He was still perfectly crisp. I handed it to her.
“It’s adorable…” She held it and inspected it from every angle. “This would be the armor that he had in Infinity War, right? Who helped you fold it?”
“Robby,” I replied. “He has Iron Man’s sidekick.”
“Robby has Cardboard Machine?” She giggled. “Your uncle was Cardboard Machine back in the day. But then, that would make me Iron Fold, wouldn’t it?” I knew it.
She handed my puppet back to me and held out hers. It was a bit well-worn, but it held up remarkably well for being made in the early 90’s. It had a much simpler design than mine, and the yellows and reds were much brighter.
“You were Iron Fold when you were my age?”
She nodded. “I was. I started when I was a freshman, and kept it until I graduated. Maria Leon, the Iron Fold. Sure, I was teased quite a bit for taking on the boy’s role, but I led the team for a long time…who’s the new team?”
“The OrigAvengers, of course!”
“Oh.” I told her all about how the OrigAvengers hadn’t been a thing since the early 2000’s. How the war was getting worse, and how I was the first recruit of the new team.
“Well, that’s terrible. No wonder it’s been getting worse. The OrigAvengers protected everybody.”
“Yeah well, not anymore. Now, that job is all up to me.” And then I told her the whole story of Nard and Mr. Rainey.
“Ugh, Rainey…he was my nemesis back in the day. But I don’t wish that on him. Now, if I were you…and I was, to an extent,” she started, “I’d let this Nard kid destroy himself.”
“He thrives off of other people’s suffering and his own twisted brand of justice and revenge. If you can turn him against himself, nobody will get hurt, he’ll be defeated and you’ll win the day.”
“Huh. Uh, thanks, Mom.”
“No problem, um, sweetie.” She smiled. A true smile. That was another rarity these days. Finally, she gave me a hug. A true, honest-to-goodness Mom Hug™. It felt so good. I had forgotten how much I had missed it. It made it even better to think that I now had the inklings of an idea on how to beat Nard. So, of course, I hugged her back. Then Cal jumped on both of us, and we spent the rest of the afternoon in a giant pillow fight.
In the Way
Well, the plan was working well.
Mr. Rainey was losing his respect at a remarkable rate. His class was well known for being one of the most well-behaved, but after those newspaper clippings mysteriously appeared his class was turned into a rowdy barn-house overnight.
As I walked into his Math class, I could see the toll already having an affect. He glared at me. He knew I was the one to blame, but he had no proof that I had done anything.
See, that’s how I worked best: in ways that cannot be traced. I never let myself get caught. While my crusade against Wheeler is obviously justified, some of the stunts I’ve pulled would get me in some serious trouble. No, I’m not going to record them here. That’d be idiotic.
Anyway, like I said, my plan was working. And with Rainey’s file, his career would be ruined within the next week; Rainey had apparently been a bit of wild child when he went to Kirby. There was a wealth of material to use.
However, an unforeseen kink in my machine showed up.
I was in the cafeteria, just disposing of some soggy pizza boats when a guy came up to me. I knew him at once; one of the most popular kids of Kirby, star football player, Lego Mindstorms champion, and an all-around nice guy: Clark Largent. The only flaw I knew about the guy was that he cared next to nothing about the war between the schools. He was sipping a coffee as he walked up.
“Leonard Broderick?” he asked.
“I prefer ‘Nard’, but yes, that’s me.”
“The name’s Clark. I’m a part of…ahem…the Folded Origami Logistics Division.” He was obviously uncomfortable in the role. And he should be.
I audibly groaned. “Don’t tell me you joined the safety patrol. F.O.L.D. are sticklers and they’ve got their heads wound way too tight.”
“True. However, I,” he pulled an origami figure out of his pocket, “and Iron Fold have a few questions.”
“So, is it true that you’re the guy that’s been posting the newspaper articles?”
I chuckled. “Kid, how many times have you led an interrogation?”
“This is my first time.”
“Obviously. You don’t go for the kill immediately. You let the subject get comfortable, then you strike when they don’t expect it. And even if you had, I wouldn’t tell you a thing.”
“So you did. Great. I would like to ask you to stop…pretty please.”
“With a cherry on top.”
Okay, I’d found another flaw; he was an idiot. “Rainey deserves it. He’s in my way of defeating Wheeler. He needs to learn; People who get in my way usually get worse than wedgies.” I turned to leave. “The schools are better off warring. Wheeler needs to learn that we can’t be beat.”
“Can’t let you do that.”
“So, you’re in my way now?”
In response, Clark ‘accidentally’ slipped, and his still-steaming coffee cup spilled all over my white t-shirt. I growled.
“If this is my Iron Man origin story, that must make you Obadiah Coffee-Stain,” he chuckled.
“Congratulations, Mr. Largent. You have just made an enemy.”
The Second Story
Pretty soon, another clipping appeared around the halls of Kirby. It said, in a big, bold headline: STUDENT MICHAEL RAINEY STRIKES AGAIN: PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT BROKEN. This story recounted, in great detail, how the young Mr. Rainey and his posse had destroyed the local parks’ monkey bars, broke the slide, and thrown the swings all the way to the other side of the playground. It was so interesting, and kind of depressing, to learn how big of a delinquent Rainey had been. I wondered how many other teachers had pasts like that.
As I was walking down the hall and passing the lockers, trying to collect as many clippings as possible (to dispose of them, of course), a loud bang came from inside the one of the lockers. Clark’s, to be exact.
“Hello?” the muffled voice of Clark Anthony Largent called from inside his locker. “I’m a little stuck.”
“Clark, it’s me, Emily,” I replied.
“Oh, hey. What’s up?”
“Clark, why are you in your locker?”
“Do you need help?”
“Yeah, could you let me out?”
“Sure.” I sighed, set down my stack of paper and turned to his lock. “What’s your combination?”
“It’s 39, 4, 63.”
I turned the key and it clicked. Immediately, the door flung open and Clark tumbled out, clutching his backpack.
I put my hands on hips. “Now, what were you doing in there?”
He looked up at me, sheepishly. “Uh…it was Nard.”
“Clark!” I helped him up, then lightly smacked him on the face. “Does my opinion mean nothing to you?”
“Of course it means something,” he replied. “Just…I have to do this.”
“You’ve just been shoved into a locker for, I’m assuming, standing up to him. You still want to go through with this?”
“Emily, this is very important. If I can take Nard down, then I can finally take my revenge on Wheeler.”
“Clark, this is what I was worried about. Yes, you getting hurt, but I’m also worried that you’ll lose yourself. All of this over a robot that can be rebuilt?”
“As soon as you take revenge on Wheeler for what they did, you will become no better than Nard. It’s people like him, and potentially you, that keep the war going. And if you see anything about the puppet wanting you to, don’t.”
“But I wasn’t-“
“These origami puppets, as stupid as it sounds, can very influential. Don’t let them take control.”
He nodded. “But…I still made a promise to help F.O.L.D. with this problem. If you want to help me, help me, but if not, just let me do this. Even if I don’t get payback, it still feels…right.”
It surprised me, but he sounded genuine. He sounded like the old Clark, one not obsessed with revenge and finger puppets.
“Ugh…fine. Do it. I won’t be much help to you, but you can do it now. Got it?”
He nodded. He placed Iron Fold on his finger. “Uh, thanks,” it said.
“You have no idea what Tony Stark would say, do you?”
I gingerly picked Iron Fold off of his finger and placed it on my own. I always loved the feel on the paper sliding on, making a character your own. “Okay, Clark,” I/Iron Fold said in my best Stark impression, “It’s time you work for a living.” I handed him back.
“Yes, sir,” Clark laughed, with a mock salute. “Now let’s go get that idiot.”
Plan of Attack
The school of Kirby High is always unlocked, which seems like a stupid policy. However, F.O.L.D. agents have used Kirby after hours many a time, so the faculty, which is almost completely made up of ex-agents leave it unlocked for the purposes of the active members. This gave us a very good opening for our procedure to start to unfold. Excuse me; Clark’s procedure.
“Could you lead me to the security cameras, Rob?” he had asked me that afternoon.
“Nard has the entire school covered in clippings before anybody else gets to the building in the mornings. Thus, he has to do it at night. I want to check the cams to see when he does it.”
F.O.L.D. agents also have access to all of the school systems. Side note, it does seem pretty idiotic to have kids run a school, but it’s worked for the past 80 years, hasn’t it?
Sure enough, after checking the camera feed for the past week, Nard came in at around 9:00 PM and posted the clippings.
“Well, that’s when we strike.”
“But don’t we have to be at home at that time?”
“What time is your curfew, man?”
“Um…I have to be in bed by 10:00.”
“Dude.” He groaned. “Fine, we’ll catch him in an hour. We can do that.”
So, here we were, at 9:15 on a Thursday night, searching through the school for Leonard Broderick and his Papers of Doom.
“This feels stupid,” Emily confessed at around 9:16.
“Tell me about it. I told my parents I’d be back in about…” I checked my watch. “44 minutes from now.”
“Dude, stop,” Clark moaned.
Our march brought us outside the teacher’s lounge. We were about to pass, before we heard the hum of the copy machine.
“Aha!” Clark tried the door, but it was locked. “You got any F.O.L.D. stuff that could open the door?”
“Well, he has to come out at some point.”
So we all sat down. And waited. And waited. Until 9:30.
“He could just be taking a very long time to copy things,” Emily offered, helpfully.
“I doubt it. I have the sneaking suspicion that A) he knows we are here. B) This is a diversion,” I replied.
We stood up to leave, but when we got to the hallways, they were covered in the biggest newspaper clipping of all, each blaring the words “MICHAEL RAINEY EXPELLED; PRANKS GO TOO FAR.”
“Holy crap,” Clark gasped.
“He works efficiently,” I admired.
“This is terrible,” Emily breathed.
“We have to take these down,” I said. We all three immediately started working on taking down the papers, but they were printed on huge sheets and were hard to carry. They weren’t just down that first hall, either; they were everywhere. Man, was that guy malicious. And efficient. But mostly malicious.
After seemingly completing the task, and exhausting ourselves in the process, I checked my watch to see how much time was left. It was 9:45. But more importantly, it was blinking blue. Somebody had infiltrated the headquarters, which was all the way at the other end of the school. I ran across the school for the third time that night and downstairs, with Clark and Emily following.
“Robby, what’s wrong?” Emily asked.
I checked the file room first, but a quick scan told me nothing had been touched since the prior afternoon. Then into the computer room; again, nothing tampered with. Finally, into the makeshift lab; something important was missing.
“You were working on a special mud-pie launcher, right?”
He walked into the lab and gulped. As I guessed, the launcher was missing. Nard had stolen it.
“You gotta admit, he’s pretty smart,” I chuckled.
“I told you guys,” Emily groaned.
I checked my watch. I was 9:53.
“Your parents are gonna be mad, man,” Clark said, looking over my shoulder.
By Leonard Broderick
I must admit, I really like most of my plans. But this one was something special.
The catapult edition was a last minute add-on, as soon as I saw that Clark was in the building. See, I’d stumbled on it the first time I’d broken into the headquarters and hadn’t thought much of it. However, when the trio tried to catch me last night, I knew I could assimilate it into my plans pretty flawlessly.
Anyway, in their frenzy to remove every paper in the halls, they neglected to remove a single paper from the most obvious place you can think; the bulletin board. The unrest was immediate. And I knew, within 12 hours, parents would demanding Rainey step down and a new teacher reinstated.
I also left a special note, just as I left last night; “Clark Largent, meet me on the playground immediately.”
And thus, the tacked-on yet completely fantastic part of the plan was in motion. I stood on the lawn chips playground, looking the launcher all over. I’d made a few modifications, such as adding a firing chair to the side, but it was admittedly very cool by itself. It was mostly made of plastic, so it was easy to carry. It had a shape a lot like a trebuchet, but with no cloth carrier. The carrier itself, which could be filled with whatever projectile the user desired, was a bowl shape and was disproportionately large. It was intended to fire mud, but for my purposes it was filled with a paint balloon the size of Kentucky. Anything struck by this would come out looking like a tie-dye factory gone wild.
As expected, Clark stepped outside first thing. Robby and Emily were with him.
“What do you want, Nard?” Robby asked.
“Nothing from you, Mr. Boone. However, Clark’s expertise is needed.”
“Yeah, right,” Clark sneered.
“See, Mr. Largent, I need help using this catapult. It’s a marvel of invention, especially considering the fact you built it in a little over a week. I can’t quite figure out the more precise mechanics.”
“Why would I help you?” he shouted. “You just destroyed a teacher’s career, and stole that thing in the first place!”
“Eh, Rainey was collateral damage that could have been avoided if he’d just listened. However, I stole it for your benefit. Observe.”
I snapped my fingers, and two people walked onto the playground. I’d snagged them on their way to school. Nothing illegal, of course; I just gave them the promise of cake and they came willingly. They weren’t the brightest thugs in the world.
“If I remember correctly, these are the two goons that destroyed your robot.”
I angled the catapult accordingly, then jumped down.
“See, Clark? I grabbed this for a reason. It’s time you got your revenge.”
Clark just stared, blindly. Emily grabbed him. “Don’t do it,” she urged him. It wouldn’t work. He started to walk over, in a trance.
“There’s no catch?”
“None at all. Balloon pops, soaking them, destroying their phones, schoolwork, everything on them. Pretty full-on vengeance.”
The man actually sat down in the seat. He fingered the extended control panel I had installed, and placed his hand on the firing button.
“Clark!” his friends shouted. Emily herself ran in front of the catapult firing line. “He’s using you, trying to turn you against us.”
He shook his head.
“Press that button, and you become just like him.”
He stared. What did she mean by that, just like me? However, I didn’t have the time to react. Clark swiveled the catapult, so it was facing me. He pressed the fire button, then he jerked the arm backwards, snapping its connection.
“No, don’t,” I stammered in vain. The enormous paint balloon was flung into the air, hovering there for a moment, before coming crashing down, right on top of me, Clark, Robby, the catapult, and Emily. The two muscle-heads were unscathed. Bored, and seeing there was no cake anywhere, they just left.
“HOW DARE YOU!” I shouted. “If you had just let me mess with Rainey without you ruining everything, Wheeler would pay. I’d finish my personal war, and you’d get your vengeance, but no. You just had to be the hero. Well, Rainey lost, now you’re going to lose too.”
“Well, I dunno…performance issues can occur, one out of five…”
A crowd of students who had been witnessing the unfolding events from the windows and ran outside to see what happened next. Suddenly, I realized I’d sabotaged myself; I’d given a confession. And what happened next, I will admit, wasn’t pretty.
Blood on the Battlefield
I stood facing Nard on the school playground, covered in paint on every surface of my body, a rainbow Iron Fold held proudly on my finger. The crowd of students all around didn’t make a single sound. I could see his anger starting to boil to the surface. I may not have exactly…won, but he’d certainly lost.
“You…you can’t…” he sputtered.
“You lost, man. Rainey might have been ruined, but now everybody knows that it was you that sabotaged him. If you want, I could pull some strings, let your suspension be a bit lighter…”
“No!” He lunged at me and tackled me to the ground. The wind was knocked out of me as my back hit the hard, packed dirt.
“You could have had your revenge. Wheeler would pay. But you just had to lose your sense.” He picked me up and threw me up against the wall. “Now it’s your turn to pay for what you were too scared to finish.”
“Scared, or smart?” I croaked.
He punched me in the nose, and immediately I could feel blood starting to spill down my face. A couple girls in the nearby crowd gasped. It almost certainly felt broken. So, Emily was right; I did end up getting hurt.
“Hey!” I heard a voice yell. An older voice. Even through the paint, I could tell Nard was white as a sheet. He dropped me, and turned around to face the irate mug of Mr. Michael Rainey. “Mr. Leonard Broderick, did you or did you not just punch that student in the face?”
“The name’s Clark,” I croaked, as I stood up. The blood was still streaming. It had even dripped onto Iron Fold, turning the bright rainbow/red of his design into a much darker shade of brown. “And yeah, he totally did.”
“He got what he deserved,” Nard growled. “All of you should see that.” He turned to face the crowd. “You guys don’t realize that it’s us, or them. They tortured my sister…so I have to torture them. So, the war goes on, whether you like it or not. But it doesn’t have to, if you’d just let me win! Do you think the war hasn’t gone unnoticed by the higher-ups? It’s gone on for a long time, but it can’t go on forever. Something is going to have to happen to stop it. And Wheeler is a school for complete jerks…they deserve what’s coming to them.”
“And what have you become trying to stop your enemies?” I asked. “Wouldn’t you say your actions are those of a complete jerk?”
All of a sudden, Nard stopped. He didn’t have a single retort, and I knew that he realized what I meant. With no struggle, he let Rainey take him off the playground, presumably to his demise at the hands of the principal.
Emily came running up to me. “You’re an idiot.”
“I won, didn’t I?” I grinned.
“If you’re expecting a congratulatory kiss or something like that, it’s not coming. You look terrible.”
“Says the walking bowl of rainbow Trix.”
“Ha.” She did, however, give me a hug. “Good job, Clark.”
“Group hug,” I heard Robby say as he grabbed us both from behind and lifted us up.
“I did not give permission,” I croaked as my ribs cracked.
Rainey was not fired, surprisingly. Most of the parents, since they had gone to school with him, knew of the whole affair already and Rainey was saved. So, it was a full victory for the latest iteration of Iron Fold any way you shake it.
It came to my responsibility, as one of the more public faces of F.O.L.D., to talk with Nard after the fight. He was sitting outside the principal’s office as his suspension was discussed with his parents.
“Leonard Broderick?” I asked, rhetorically. I sat down next to him. He was still covered in paint, but it was dried and crusty now.
“Agent Tilly Waterson of F.O.L.D., I presume,” he replied. I didn’t ask how he got that information.
“So what’s your suspension time?”
“A while.” He sat quietly for a moment. “I became the thing I’m trying to destroy, didn’t I?”
“Yes.” I twiddled my thumbs. “I’d have to work it out with the higher-ups, but if you come back to school rehabilitated, and are still interested, I could probably find you work as a F.O.L.D. strategist. Even get you a puppet of your own.”
“So you don’t know.”
“Don’t know what?”
He chuckled a deep, dark chuckle. “T.H.A.N.O.S.”
“Thanos? Like the Titan, Thanos? Infinity Gauntlet Thanos? What’s that got to do with anything?”
“No, not Thanos. T.H.A.N.O.S. As in, an acronym. I don’t know what they stand for, but sources tell me it’s names within a name. They’re a radical group, and they want retribution for both schools. They’re everywhere.”
The principal’s door opened, and his parents walked out. They started to leave and motioned for Leonard to follow.
“Think about that before you go all in. It was nice to meet you, Tilly.”
By Agent Andrew Gardner
As a new agent, recruitment has often become my responsibility. That’s where I was after school, sitting in an empty hallway with a clipboard and a very angry girl staring at me.
“So, Ally Weber, are you interested at all?”
“Why should I be? It’ll just give people more of a reason to think I’m a weirdo.”
“That might be true.”
We sat in silence.
“But it also gives them a chance to see you for more than you appear.”
She perked up.
“The OrigAvengers protect people. Didn’t you see what happened with Clark Largent?”
“But he did totally sell that kid out.”
“Maybe. But, he saved two other people from a colorful calamity. The OrigAvengers are needed for things like that.”
She looked deep in thought.
“So, do you want in?”
“Which puppet will I have?”
“I think you can figure that out for yourself.”
I handed her a big, green square of paper.
I grinned at her. “Make it…unshreddible.”