The Unshreddible Hulk
The Unshreddible Hulk
By Agent Robby Boone
I sprinted through hallway, ducking past Ms. McGregor.
“Don’t run to the exit!” she hollered.
School was finished. It had been the final day of the first semester at Kirby High. Everyone was excited to leave, but that’s not why I was running.
I turned the corner. This particular hallway was empty. Finally, I made it to the door. Checking each way to make sure I was alone, I flung open the door and ran down the steps.
F.O.L.D.’s headquarters looked the same as usual. Agents were on their laptops, typing away, while Director Adams strutted about the room. They hadn’t heard the news yet.
“Robby?” asked Tilly in surprise as I crashed into the room.
“Sir!” I said to Director Adams. “There’s a message for you. Someone put it in my backpack when I wasn’t looking.” Director Adam’s face went from surprise to concern very fast.
“Show me,” he said.
I pulled it out. The paper had been folded before, so the unfolded version was wrinkled and uneven. It was simple as ever.
See you behind January.
Oh, and give my regards to the Director.
Director Adams looked me straight in the eyes. “Get me Agent Gardner.”
Online Diary Entry #1
By Ally Weber
I almost miss Wheeler.
Wait, this is an online diary. I’ve never done one of these before. Am I supposed to start with “Dear Diary”, “Hey”, “Howdy”, or something else?
Anyway… I almost miss Wheeler.
Sure, that school had been a mess. It was a battle to survive the first day of school. The cafeteria food was less than okay. The teachers were sometimes oblivious to anything that was going on right under their noses.
It had some positives. Most of the kids there liked Marvel. We had a common characteristic there. I loved Marvel. Plus, I met my best friend, Mars, there.
Well, his real name is Martin, but I call him Mars. When I’m in a bad mood, which tends to happen occasionally, he’ll call me Al. For some reason, it’s always made me laugh. It’s kind of an inside joke.
Mars was the only friend that seemed to really understand me. Everybody else saw a troublemaking girl that ended up in detention a lot. Mars actually saw that I was the one standing up for myself. Unfortunately, when I switched schools, Mars remained at Wheeler.
I started my first term in Wheeler, but my Mom and I decided to transfer to Kirby for the second.
We had promised to meet up at his house after our first day of the spring semester.
Right now, that day is tomorrow. I’m sitting in my room, typing this all up. My computer is the nicest thing I have. My parents are some of the few people that know I’m a writer. They got it for me for my birthday. It’s a laptop. Theoretically, this means I could take it to school, but I’ve learned to be careful about bringing what you care about to school, especially when it’s high school.
I like my room. Posters hang on the walls, some of my drawings are pinned to the corkboard, and strings of lights connect the room from corner to corner. My laptop is on my desk. Pictures sit on either side of it.
The pictures are nostalgic for me. One shows me and Martin at one of our birthday parties. I’m wearing a bright green t-shirt. I’ve always liked the color. To say party is an overstatement because usually it’s just us and our families. We don’t have many friends. Did I mention that already?
Despite the positives Wheeler had, it was definitely time for a change. I hoped Kirby would be better.
When I transferred, I was hoping for a fresh start. Wheeler had given me a rough first half year of high school. Kirby is apparently a rival of Wheeler, so maybe they’ll band behind me for deserting Wheeler.
I hope they do, anyway.
Disclaimer: They Did Not
Hmm… sorry for that start. I’m experimenting with ways to open an online diary.
Well, that was not a perfect first day at Kirby. I didn’t expect it to be, and some things did go well. Still, it was far from good.
It started out okay. My Mom dropped me off at the front of Kirby’s entrance. The school’s brick wall filled my view. Everyone was heading toward the front doors, so I did, too. I pushed into the crowd, and soon was absorbed into the chaos that is high school.
Given it was the first day, everyone seemed to be extra energized. The inside of the halls sounded louder than a jet plane taking off. A paper airplane whirled past my shoulder. Everyone was talking, having known each other from past school years.
That’s the problem with transferring schools. Whenever you do, you have to meet people and make new friends. For some people, that sounds like a fun opportunity. Not me.
You know how I mentioned I get in a bad mood occasionally? It was one of those mornings. I was tired, nervous, and bewildered. I hoped it would pass. Nobody likes me when I’m angry.
We all went to homeroom for our orientation. I had Mr. Rainey as my homeroom teacher. As Mr. Rainey talked, I ended up looking around the classroom. There were tons of posters all over the walls. Some of them had quotes, and others had puns. A few had both. One of them advertised an upcoming soccer game between Kirby and Wheeler. Behind Mr. Rainey’s classroom desk was a giant calendar.
“Welcome to the second term here at Kir… Robby, please sit down. Ahem. Welcome to the second term here at Kirby. Today is January 3.” Mr. Rainey pointed to the day on the calendar behind him. “I am Mr. Rainey, Social Studies teacher. I understand that we have two transfer students for this new semester. Ally and Jasmine, could you both please stand up?”
I felt my face turn red. I hated being a point of attention. I stood up awkwardly. To my left, Jasmine stood up. She had short, curly brown hair, freckles, and brown eyes. Her expression looked just as nervous as I was, but she stood up with determination. To be completely honest, I hadn’t seen her before. She seemed to blend in with the classroom itself. Sometimes I wish I was better at doing that.
The rest of the classroom was watching both of us. “Ally and Jasmine, could you please introduce yourselves?”
“Hi,” said Jasmine. It was loud, clear, and confident. I was impressed. “I’m Jasmine Verninski, and I transferred from Tippett Academy.” There was a bit of nodding, and then an awkward silence. Then I realized I was causing it.
“Oh. Uh… I’m Al. Ally. From Wheeler.” Immediately I regretted saying it. There was a general murmur of disgust.
“Wheeler?” demanded one kid loudly. I glanced over at him. He was sitting back in his chair with a look of revulsion. He quickly tried to modify it into a look of curiosity.
Another kid snickered, “We’re going to destroy them in the soccer game.”
“Enough, James,” Mr. Rainey said. “It’s our job to welcome any new students. Ally and Jasmine, welcome to Kirby. If you have any questions, please feel free to stay after session. Now, when…” I realized I was still standing up and quickly sat down.
I heard some snickers. I tried not to let it get to me. I glanced over at Jasmine. She smiled and gave me a thumbs up.
Once orientation had concluded, Mr. Rainey asked Jasmine and I to stay. The kid named James also stayed.
“James will show you your lockers,” Mr. Rainey said. “Numbers 1212 and 1213, James.”
“Will do, sir.”
I made my way toward the door with Jasmine and James. As they went out, I heard Mr. Rainey’s voice behind me.
“Ally,” called Mr. Rainey. I turned. “If anyone from Kirby gives you trouble, let me know.” I nodded and stepped out.
I caught up with James and Jasmine. We walked in silence for a minute, then James started talking.
“So you’re from Wheeler?” he droned. “I didn’t know they had humans there. Unless… are you a scientific experiment?” I said nothing. I had seen James’s type too many times before. I knew better than to engage.
Another kid joined our group. “Hey, James. What’s going on?”
“Sup, Brian. Just showing these transfers their lockers. One’s a Wheelian.”
“No way,” gasped the kid dramatically. “She won’t survive two days. They just aren’t as clever—”
“Shut up.” If I hadn’t seen Jasmine’s mouth move, I wouldn’t have believed it.
James stopped walking and turned around with a look of fake surprise. “What did you just say?”
“Shut up. I’m new, so I have no idea what this whole feud is, but I hate it already.” For a second there seemed to be a standoff between James and Jasmine, then James just shrugged and went back to leading us through the halls.
“You can’t avoid it,” he said sympathetically. “Nobody, not Wheelian, nor Kirbian, will stand for this. It’s just the way it is. Sorry. Here are your lockers. Oh, and—” he bowed mockingly to me. “Welcome. Glad to see you have a pet already.” Jasmine glared at him and he disappeared back into the crowd. Then she started unpacking her backpack and putting some of it in the lockers.
“Be careful,” I said suddenly.
She looked up. “What? From them? No. Bullying is an age-old problem, and while everyone else just watches, I am going to stand up for myself. You should, too.”
I took a deep breath. “Uh… I… I do. I did, anyway. That’s why I’m here.”
“Hmm?” asked Jasmine, confused.
“I tend to lash out when that happens. That’s why I had to leave Wheeler.”
“Ah,” nodded Jasmine. “Well, there are other ways to communicate.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve never been very good at them.”
“That’s what practice is for.” She placed several large books in her locker.
“You’re a nerd,” I noted.
“A public speaking club nerd.”
“That’s why you’re so good at talking to the class? You do public speaking?”
“Signed up the week before term began,” she said. “I also did it at Tippett Academy, though.” The bell rang. “Come on, high school is a storm. Let’s brave it together.”
Making a friend? Positive. I ended up sitting with Jasmine at lunch, and she was really nice. We sat alone at a table with several seats still open. Nobody wanted to sit with us, but we didn’t really care. We talked about movies, family, art, and anything else we could cram into the lunch segment. However, the rest of the day was less positive. I ended up getting a lot of evil glances from Kirby students. I felt like a bit like an alien. Kirby students seemed to think there was nothing worse than someone from Wheeler. Worst of all, I still managed to get myself in detention.
The setting of the showdown was just before Math class. I had run to my locker to get some of my books, but immediately I was distracted by the fact that the locker had thick tape over the combination thing. Someone had literally put tape over my lock. I had never heard of that before. By the time I had finally taken the tape off of the lock and retrieved my books, I was at least ten minutes late for the class. From there, the math teacher swiftly gave me a note for being tardy.
I was frustrated. I had come into Kirby looking for fresh starts, and now it seemed as though it was going to be worse than Wheeler had been. For the rest of the day, I felt like a cloud was hanging over me.
I was glad to go home.
By Agent Tilly Waterson
After successfully recruiting Iron Fold to the team, our next focus was looking for other members for our team. One, in particular, was a Hulk. We knew that the Hulk was an essential part of the OrigAvengers. In the first instances when a Hulk had joined the OrigAvengers, the entire tide of the war had shifted, if only briefly. That was something we needed right now.
I borrowed the Director’s Radio Shack Voice Actuated Desktop Cassette Tape Recorder CTR-67 Model 14-1152 for our 2,084th meeting. It’s an absolutely beautiful device. Some kids prefer to use their phones to record things, but I love the look of the Radio Shack Voice Actuated—
Sorry. I’m getting off-topic.
Anyway, I recorded the following conversation about the Hulk recruitment.
TW (Me): We are rolling. This thing is so awesome.
TA: Ahem. Attendance in meeting… [TW]?
HE: Always watching… muahaha.
TA [sighing]: Can you say it normally for once, just for the recording?
HE: Fine… present.
TA: This recording regards the recruitment of the Hulk, student number…
RB: Can we just say their name?
TA: No. [RB], you know very well that this is a secret operation and we must keep it as such. This student has the qualifications to be the Hulk. They are strong and are learning when to stand up for themself. They can be lonely but they care about others. We also think that they like green. [AG], you will be overseeing this mission and its subsequent recruitment. Please make it quicker than Iron Fold’s.
AG: Will do, sir. When will I begin?
AG: Like, tomorrow immediately or tonight immediately?
TA: Whichever works best.
AG: Tomorrow. There’s a meteor shower tonight and I’m going to a clear area to watch.
RB: That sounds—
TW: Can we focus, please?
TA: Thank you, [TW]. Now… a quick word on H.
TA: While we have not heard again from the entity known as H, their message was clear that we would meet them in January. Part of the reason for this recruitment is to counter this force. Understood?
TA: Good. Now, let me conclude the meeting. Now, as I mentioned, [AG] will oversee this mission. You have a deadline of by the end of the week. The rest of you, back to your normal duties.
HE: Wait, if only [AG] gets a job from this meeting, why did you invite us all?
TA: As members of F.O.L.D., you all must be kept in the loop. The Hulk is a project of utmost importance. Understood?
[Muttered agreement from the rest of the group.]
TA: Meeting adjourned.
Series of Texts
Uh, I’m not totally sure what this whole case file thing is yet, but Ally said I should send these texts over to her.
ALLY: hey mars, you free?
MARTIN: ya! how was day 1?
ALLY: imma come by ur garage in 5m ill tell you
MARTIN: k cya soon
Journey to Mars
What’s up? (Better than “hey y’all”, I suppose.)
I went by Mars’s house after the first day. I was tired, but I’ve never regretted a trip to his garage.
Mars’s garage is where he does every single project he has in mind. Materials for future projects are stowed on shelves to the right. Random creations are dispersed all about the garage. There is no car. Mars’s parents park their car in the street. A wooden desk is against the back wall of the garage. It could be described in a whole chapter on its own. Its drawers are filled with drawings and the surface has all sorts of tools and equipment, varying from pencils to X-Acto knives.
As I walked up to the garage, Mars greeted me with a wave. He appeared to be working on a bike. It was raised up. Mars was holding up a wheel near it, as if checking how it looked. Then he set it down.
“Hey Al,” he yelled. He ducked under a wire coming out from the ceiling. These were new. There were wires hanging all about the ceiling, stretching across the entire garage.
“You called me Al,” I noted. “You already knew I had a bad first day?”
“Well, it wasn’t much better at Wheeler. Someone, ah, accidentally tripped me while I was carrying my lunch tray. My next project is a grave for the never eaten pasta. My condolences to Mr. Spaghetti and Ms. Ravioli. Oh, and the sauce has destroyed one of my shirts and now it looks like there is blood on it. Anyway… how about you?”
“Not great. Detention because someone taped my lock on my locker. I was late for class,” I informed him.
“Never heard that one before,” Mars said, raising his eyebrows. “Sounds like a sticky situation.” I chuckled, somewhat with humor and also with weariness. I crushed Mars with a hug.
“Hey, on the bright side, I made a friend!” I said.
“Don’t sound so surprised,” I muttered. Mars laughed. “She’s on a public speaking club, apparently.”
“Hey, check this out.” He motioned me over to his desk. I had been lingering outside the garage, but now I finally stepped inside. I had to lean down under a wire hanging from the ceiling. As I made my way over to Mars, I saw that switch next to his desk.
Mars looked at me happily. “Go ahead, flip it on.” I did. Suddenly, I noticed all of the wires hanging from the ceiling were actually strings of lights. They flickered to life. Mars dimmed the normal lights. It felt like we were in outer space. We were silent for a minute.
I sighed. “I wish there was a way to make school as peaceful as this.”
“Hey, did you hear about those kids, uh… what were they named… oh, Clark Largent and Dove MacLeash?”
“I was at Wheeler for the first semester, Mars. Of course I know who Dove is. It was kind of hard to miss that showdown between him and Jude. As for Clark… who is he?”
“He’s at Kirby. He seems to be part of a beginning of new origami characters. Marvel ones.”
“Well, it sounds pretty silly, but at least they chose Marvel.”
“I don’t think it’s silly,” Mars said. “Maybe they can do something about this rivalry thing between Wheeler and Kirby. Everyone’s always fighting.”
I nodded hopefully. “I wouldn’t get involved, though.”
Mars sighed. “You can’t give up, Ally. You can’t keep running from this stuff. What happened at Wheeler wasn’t your fault. Anyone who looked close enough would have seen that you didn’t do anything wrong. I’m sorry I failed to help you. I should’ve—”
“Hey, we’ve been over this. You’re my friend. Stop beating yourself up.”
“Yeah,” said Mars, subdued. There was a long pause between us, then he said, “Hey… if I became an Avenger, what character should I be?”
“Stan Lee,” I suggested.
By Agent Andrew Gardner
Today was the big day. Recruitment time.
I had asked Robby for some help in this one. I had never met Ally Weber, but just based on the fact that she was (hopefully) going to be the Hulk of the OrigAvengers, I was apprehensive.
Robby and I had worked out a plan. Robby… ah, did not want to be involved in the recruitment mission itself. He hadn’t met Ally either and was worried about meeting her for the first time. Still, he helped me draw it out. The plan was extensively produced and rigorously worked through.
Finally, we were ready.
The Mysterious Note
After getting lunch in line today, I made my way over to Jasmine and our table at the back. The day had been average so far. I had been able to concentrate a bit more in classes and was getting used to the crowd at Kirby. I was glad for a break with Jasmine. I walked through the center of the cafeteria.
In an instant, I lost my balance.
A force collided with me from the side. I was knocked over and my tray went sliding out of my hands. Everyone’s heads snapped to us.
My head snapped to the one who had run into me. I did not recognize him. It was a lanky boy with long, light brown hair. I could not concentrate on his face because he was frantically making apologies.
“Oh my gosh, I am so, so sorry. Oh my gosh. Are you okay?”
“Fine,” I said, dazed.
“Right then. Here’s your tray. Sorry about that.”
“It’s okay,” I replied, trying to calm him down. “Thank you.” I took my tray back. Luckily, neither of our lunch trays had been lost to the collision. He picked up his tray and walked away.
I frowned confusedly at the sudden departure, but continued walking toward Jasmine. The rest of the cafeteria returned to talking, as if nothing had happened.
I sat down with Jasmine. “Are you okay?” she asked with concern.
“Yeah, fine. Who was that kid?”
I looked around. I didn’t see him anywhere in the cafeteria. He must have disappeared into the giant crowd of people.
Shrugging the event off, I took a bite of my sandwich.
“Ugh—what in the world?”
“What is it?” asked Jasmine.
“There’s…” I looked in my sandwich. A piece of paper jutted out from the bite I had just taken.
I held the note in my hand.
Meet us outside Social Studies class. 4:00 P.M.
I turned it over. On the back were four letters.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I stayed behind after school. The note and entire situation leading up to it was confusing. Yet, here it was. A note from F.O.L.D., whoever they were. Jasmine offered to come along, but I decided it would be best to go alone.
So, there I was, outside of Social Studies class in the school hallway. I checked my watch. It read 3:59. I slid back against the wall and sat by the classroom door, tapping my foot nervously.
Then, 4:00. I looked up from my watch. Sitting in front of me was the scrawny kid from lunch.
“What in the world—” I started. I’m not sure where he came from. I looked down at my watch and when I looked up he was right in front of me. It was a bit of a jump scare. “What—how did—”
“Are you interested in joining?” he interrupted.
Curiosity helped me recover quickly from the shock. “Joining what? What is going on?”
“Come on, Ally Weber. Surely you’ve figured it out by now.”
“Can you not use my full name?” I requested. “That’s creepy.”
“Don’t change the subject. You know who we are.”
I thought back to the note. “F.O.L.D.,” I remembered. “You’re, what… starting the Origami Avengers again?”
He tilted his head. “OrigAvengers.”
“So, not only are you trying to start a crazy group, but you’re also using puns for the names?”
“We already have started, Ally Weber.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “Ah, okay, uh…” I frowned. “What’s your name?”
“Agent Andrew Gardner,” he supplied.
“Okay… can I call you Andy?” He shrugged. “Okay… Andy,” I went on, “I transferred to Kirby because I tried to fight for what I believed in Wheeler.”
“We are aware.”
“So, how is this any different from that?” I demanded. “If you F.O.L.D. people are so sophisticated and have spies and everything, surely you saw what happened to Dove? He was punched in the face.”
“In the process, he stood up to Jude and saved the school from being ruled by a villain.”
I was quiet. I had been there at that school gathering. At the time, Jude had seemed like a cool person. When Dove stood up to him, he helped the school, but I couldn’t help feeling that it had shook Wheeler. Ignorance is bliss, right? It was a rude awakening to find out Jude had been a fraud.
“So, Ally Weber, are you interested at all?” he prompted. I really wished he would stop using my full name.
“Why should I be? It’ll just give people more of a reason to think I’m a weirdo,” I said.
“That might be true,” he admitted. “But it also gives them a chance to see you for more than you appear.”
I sat up a bit straighter.
“The OrigAvengers protect people,” Andy said. “Didn’t you see what happened with Clark Largent?”
“But he did totally sell that kid out,” I pointed out.
“Maybe. But, he saved two other people from a colorful calamity. The OrigAvengers are needed for things like that.”
I thought carefully. In a few sentences, Andrew Gardner had managed to appeal to part of me. A part that wanted to be understood. I was tired of others judging me for what they heard or how I looked. The OrigAvengers would give me a chance to show the school—both schools—who I truly was.
“So, do you want in?” Andy prompted again.
I took a deep, calm breath. “Which puppet will I have?”
“I think you can figure that out for yourself,” Andy smiled. He handed me a green sheet of paper. “Make it… unshreddible.”
There was a moment of silence. Andy stood up. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” I complained. “That was a pun, wasn’t it? I’m the Incre—Unshreddible Hulk? Also, why all of the fuss with the note in the sandwich? You could have just talked to me, you know. Plus, that was gross. Just put it in the backpack next time. It was coated in peanut butter! What I don’t get is… how? How did you plant a note inside my sandwich without ever having time to open it up? And—”
“I’ll tell you how it was done in a case file chapter,” said Andy. He started walking down the hallway.
“What case file?” I yelled.
“The case file of the Unshreddible Hulk! Come on, I have to introduce you to the Director.”
By Director Adams
Ally Weber joined.
She is intimidating.
The perfect Hulk, though.
The Unshreddible Hulk
There I was, back in the school basement. It’s pretty dull there, but F.O.L.D.’s headquarters make it a bit more interesting. Our team sets up laptops while Director Adams walks around with an eye patch like a supreme, very important pirate. It does feel weird occasionally.
Anyway, that’s when it happened. Agent Andrew Gardner came down the stairs, followed by Ally Weber. I looked closely. She was carrying the green paper of the Hulk. Apparently this recruitment had gone a million times better than Robby’s recruitment of Clark Largent. (I don’t care if Robby reads this. It’s true.)
Director Adams walked forward to meet the two of them. “Ally Weber,” he said. “Well done, Agent Gardner. Ally Weber, welcome to the team.”
“Hi,” Ally said. She appeared to look tough, but I noticed hints of self-consciousness. She hesitated for a split second before shaking Director Adams’s extended hand. I expected that he noticed as well, but he continued on as if he did not.
“I am Director Adams. We are F.O.L.D.,” introduced Director Adams.
“Nice eyepatch,” noted Ally. I couldn’t tell if she was being sarcastic or not. “So… what is F.O.L.D.?”
“F.O.L.D. is a secret student organization that monitors Wheeler and Kirby High School. We have been trying to put an end to the… feud between the two of them.”
“That feud, as I’ve seen it, has been pretty intense. How do you expect me to help?” asked Ally.
“We are reassembling the most powerful team these two schools have seen. Years ago, they helped greatly with the war. Helped continue it, maybe, but helped. Now the roles must be passed on. It is time for the OrigAvengers to reform.”
There was a dramatic pause. Then Ally said, “And I’m Hulk.”
“The Unshreddible Hulk,” agreed Agent Andrew Gardner.
“As such, you need a case file.” Director Adams handed her the folder. “This is what we have so far. If you have anything you’ve written over the past week or two, feel free to add it in.”
“Like diary entries?” Ally asked. Agent Robby Boone snickered next to me, and I slapped his arm.
“Um, yes. Those work fine,” responded Director Adams.
“Okay… so… uh, what do I do?” asked Ally.
Director Adams turned and started pacing again. “You’ve seen each school, Ally Weber. You know the problems. If you focus on fixing those, we can start to transition to the big ones.”
“What happens if I find a big one?” asked Ally.
Director Adams stopped and looked at her. “The teachers of the school—even those who were formerly part of F.O.L.D.—have agreed that the Dove MacLeash situation got out of hand. It is lucky for us that Clark’s main showdown was under the radar. At any rate, keep vigilant and don’t make any of these problems a big deal. If you do find something big… we can’t help you. The events of the Thorigami crisis are too fresh on the minds of everyone. They need a bit more time to die down. For the next week or two, our operations must be completely quiet.”
Ally dropped her gaze to the floor. “I guess the Hulk isn’t very quiet.” There was an awkward pause.
Director Adams sighed. “Ally, you are very important to the team. That’s why we did not wait to recruit you. Fold the Hulk. Write. Record. Become acclimated with the schools. These situations… Dove’s, Clark’s… they tend to happen on their own.”
“I was in a situation at Wheeler,” Ally reminded the director. “It didn’t go so well.”
“That is in the past. We believe in you.”
There was another silence, but this time Ally looked up. She nodded in understanding and turned to leave. Then she looked back at Agent Andrew Gardner. “So, when are you going to tell me how you planted a note in my sandwich?”
Agent Gardner shrugged. “I’ll add a chapter below this one.”
“We’re in a chapter right now?”
“Of course. Tilly records everything.” Ally nodded once more, then walked up the stairs and out the door. I watched her go.
Once he was sure she was gone, Director Adams turned to Agent Gardner.
“You planted a note in her sandwich?” he asked, with a hint of admiration.
“I knew you would be proud.”
How It Was Done
Perhaps you’re wondering how I planted a note in Ally’s sandwich without ever having the time to take her sandwich from her, open it up, and place a note inside.
Look, it was a recruitment. I wanted to do a good job for the director. Recently, he’s been on my back about everything. Recruitments, schedules… all of it. Oh, and there was a little thing involving pizza. Anyway, this was a chance to prove myself as an agent of F.O.L.D.
I didn’t want to risk placing the note in her backpack only for her to find it later. The note needed to be found before 4:00. It was guaranteed that Ally was going to bite that sandwich before then. A perfect element in the plan.
So, here’s my official report on how it was done.
I followed Ally up to the lunch line. As predicted, she ordered a sandwich and apple. We had researched her lunch from the previous day in hopes that she would make the same order. Our agents at Wheeler had informed us that had been her general lunch at their school as well.
Now came my turn. I ordered the same lunch as Ally. A sandwich and apple. Ally exited the line ahead of me and started to her table at the back of the cafeteria. She walked straight down the middle of the cafeteria. I had to move quickly.
I performed the master trick. Taking the note, I placed it inside my own sandwich. Speed-walking, I deviated around other tables until I was ahead of Ally on her way to the back. Now was the time.
Sprinting across as fast as I could without attracting attention, I cut into the middle of the cafeteria and collided with Ally. I really am sorry, by the way. It had to be done.
To my defense, I did it lightly enough that I was able to prevent either tray from losing the food on top of it. They landed right side up and the food was preserved.
Now I needed any of my acting skills to come into play.
“Oh my gosh, I am so, so sorry!” I said. “Oh my gosh. Are you okay?”
“Fine,” Ally said. She looked a bit confused.
“Right then,” I said, continuing to act extremely surprised by the turn of events. “Here’s your tray.” I pushed my own tray to her, giving her the sandwich with the note in it. Of course, it looked identical to hers, so she did not notice the difference. Luckily, she did not see that our trays had the same food.
“Sorry about that,” I apologized again.
“It’s okay,” she replied. “Thank you.” She looked pretty confused by the very fast turn of events. I swept the remaining tray, without the note in it, into my arms.
Well, the seed had been planted. I got up quickly and disappeared into the crowd, my mission complete.
Crumpled Note in Trash
By Agent Robby Boone (Recovered by Tilly)
Ugh, Andrew already recruited her?
I mean, I helped with the plan, but that was too quick.
It took me forever to get Clark to join as Iron Fold. Hope Director Adams doesn’t hold this against me.
Folding the Hulk
Well, this is my first chapter written specifically for the case file of the Unshreddible Hulk.
That whole F.O.L.D. thing was weird. A couple of the agents in F.O.L.D. have given me chapters to add to the case file. I’m a bit uncomfortable with the fact that the guy with the eyepatch (Director Adams?) said that situations seemed to find those within the OrigAvengers. I’m certainly not ready for another one.
Then, I got this casefile.
Look, the Hulk is a chance for a renewed attempt. That’s what Kirby is about. I am stepping up. It’s a little scary. Plus, I do have to admit that I’m not too happy that we’re calling this a “case file”. That means that there is a case. I really don’t want to make this a bigger deal than it has to be.
After I biked home from school (I apologized to my Mom for being a couple of minutes late) and had dinner, I decided to head to Mars’s house again. He wasn’t expecting me, but I knew he was always in his garage during the evening.
I had two main reasons for going to Mars’s house. One was that a trip to his house almost always cleared my head. The other was slightly embarrassing, but I guess I should tell the truth about everything.
I have no idea how to fold origami. Mars does a ton of projects like this. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want him to fold the Hulk. The Hulk was my piece, and it was important that I folded it myself. Rather, I wanted to learn how to fold pieces in the first place. For the first time in a long time, I was starting to feel pride.
The OrigAvengers have been my first chance since Wheeler that I have a sense of unity. I wanted to make a Hulk that would show the school who Ally Weber was.
So, off I went to Mars’s house. It didn’t take me long to find him. There he was, as usual, working in the garage. This time he appeared to be handling a kite.
I was hesitant about talking to Mars. F.O.L.D. had seemed very secretive. Plus, I was uncomfortable talking to him about joining the entire OrigAvengers thing. It was a whole new level of nerdy.
Yet I did talk to him. If I couldn’t trust Mars, I couldn’t trust anyone. It took me about twenty minutes to explain everything. Mars’s expression made it seem like the holidays had come early.
“Well, what character are you?” he asked in awe.
“The, uh, Unshreddible Hulk,” I muttered. That pun would have to take some getting used to.
“That makes so much sense,” he whooped. He went into a mini dance.
“Why does it make sense?” I demanded. “Because I’m angry all of the time?”
Mars stopped. “No!” he said. “You’re just like the Hulk. You have anger, sure, but you’re learning to manage it. You’re strong. You’re awesome. And… you, uh, like green.”
“Great,” I frowned. “Now that you’ve finished your speech, can you teach me how to fold origami?”
“Sure. Wait… do you have a Hulk roar?”
“Like Hulk roars in the movies. Can you do that?”
I put a palm to my face. “Just teach me origami.”
The lesson was simple enough. I had never realized origami took so much patience before. I ended up practicing with a bunch of Mars’s plain paper first. A lot of them came out weird. In addition, I guessed that it had to be a finger puppet. Both Dove and Clark had put their puppets on their fingers. Still, at the end of the night, I was able to have the satisfaction of making a good design.
I took out the green paper F.O.L.D. had given me and made it. By the time it was done, I felt a joyful sense of pride.
Mars had taught me well. It really looked like the Hulk.
Notes from Economics Class
By James and Brian – Gathered by Agent Tilly Waterson
James: dude what is that green thing in the wheeler girl’s hand
First Day Updates
6:34 A.M. The Unshreddible Hulk’s first day is upon us.
I feel slightly uncomfortable because we withheld a couple of details from Ally on that first meeting. I understand the secrecy of F.O.L.D., but given the mystery behind the entity that had given us just one note at the end of the first semester, I’m on edge. Ally’s recruitment had been greatly influenced by that single event.
9:15 A.M. Despite the anticipation behind the first day of the Unshreddible Hulk, nothing big is happening, according to our agents around school, anyway.
12:04 P.M. A couple of kids (James and Brian) evidently intended to find out what Ally has been holding, but they seemed to back down at lunch.
2:36 P.M. It still looks like few people actually know that Ally is wielding the Unshreddible Hulk. She hasn’t bothered to make it too obvious yet. It looks as though she wants to introduce it gradually.
3:33 Well… that ends the first day, I suppose. That wasn’t too eventful.
Everyone in the school keeps discussing the upcoming soccer game between Kirby and Wheeler. As a former Wheeler student, the students seem to think that they can use their intimidating lines to Wheeler on me because I used to go to that school. Some have been inappropriate, but most are just annoying. It’s all really annoying.
As the game gets closer, I think it’s been getting worse. This school feud is really starting to annoy me. Did I mention that?
So, to deal with it, I have listed the common ones out. Here are the Top Three Most Common Annoying Soccer Soundbites.
- “Haha, Wheeler’s gonna lose.”
- “My prediction is 6-0, Wheeler wins.”
- “Go Kirby!”
I keep hearing these three lines. Everyone is shouting at me like it’s supposed to help them win a soccer game.
The Unshreddible Hulk hasn’t done much, yet. I mean, how exactly do you respond to lines like this?
By Ally and Mars
When the game was a day away, I decided to text Mars.
ALLY: hey mars remember the soccer game this saturday?
ALLY: people keep taking out their hate toward me cuz im from wheeler
MARS: dont respond. not worth it. or ask jasmin
By Ally and Jasmine
After trying to continue to not respond to the Kirbians, I finally gave in. At lunch, I asked Jasmine what I should do.
“You’ve got to have a comeback,” she said immediately. “I’ll show you.” It didn’t take long for another Kirby student to say something.
“Yo, Wheeler’s going down!” someone called out to us. Her friend snickered.
“Well, uh… wheels!” fired back Jasmine.
“What?” asked the girl in confusion.
“Great response, Jasmine,” I nodded. “That’s how I’ll fend them off.”
She sighed. “I have a speech at the game as part of the public speaking club. I’m nervous.”
“She still hasn’t used Hulk,” Robby said. “Why?”
Robby and I were heading toward the doors of Kirby after another tiring Wednesday. We were walking with a bit of a crowd, so it was taking forever to make it out there. It was our shift today, so we would be patrolling the school once outside.
“Andy?” Robby said.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“I was wondering why Ally hasn’t used the Unshreddible Hulk.”
I thought back to my recruitment of Ally. She had seemed to be determined to show the school a different side of her. Still, I had noticed that she was a very conscious person. “I guess she wants to use it well. She hasn’t seen anything big enough yet.”
We pushed our way out of the school doors and turned, starting our patrol around the school. The sounds of the crowd died away as we made our way around the first corner.
Suddenly, Robby stopped walking. I tripped over his leg. “Dude, what—”
“The wall,” Robby said in a near whisper.
“Huh?” I looked up, and my blood chilled. An envelope was taped to the brick wall of the school, just below the window of Social Studies class. Inked on the outside was a thick, black H.
There was a moment of silence between us. We had not seen a message from the so-called H since the end of the previous semester. With shaky hands, Robby took the envelope from the wall. Inside was a folded, square piece of paper.
We read the riddle.
Congratulations on the recruit.
Consider my message as a thank you for that move. Even I can see that F.O.L.D. is trying to lay low about previous events. Remember that by giving me an opponent, you have just elevated the situation. Good luck at looking beyond words and laying low in the midst of my ideas for your Unshreddible Hulk.
(Unofficial) Meeting 2,093
RB: This is crazy! Who is H?
AG: And why are they showing up now? Why?
HE: The envelope smells like the cafeteria!
TA: Enough. [AG], H is showing up now because they know we are vulnerable. As the letter said, we are trying to lay low. Our involvement in the events of Iron Fold was too high. Despite less involvement with Thorigami, it nevertheless has brought tensions high.”
RB: So what do we do?
TA: Don’t you understand, [RB]? We shouldn’t do anything. If F.O.L.D. is exposed, then the Initiative and the OrigAvengers cannot survive. It pains me to say this, but H somehow has information from inside F.O.L.D. If we are incompetent, H could reveal it to the entire school. F.O.L.D. simply cannot solve this case.
[Angry shouts from agents, including me.]
TA: But there is someone who can.
[Shouts die down.]
JV: Who? [Iron Fold]?
TA: With all due respect to [Iron Fold], he is not the choice for this mission. H has used wits against us. It is time that we countered it with strength.
TA: It’s time to contact Ally Weber.
(Unofficial) Meeting 2,094
AW: I don’t get it. Why me?
TA: Like we discussed, the entity in question has employed tactics of deceit and mystery to give power to their name. All in all, they are using wits.
AW: Isn’t there a saying that goes something like, “Strength has to bow to wisdom”?
TA: Well, yes, but there is a difference between wit and wisdom.
AW: Whatever. What do I need to do to solve this?
AW: So… nobody knows? You’ve had these notes for weeks, and still nothing?
AG: Um… I’ll help.
RB: Yeah, me too.
TA: No, you won’t. F.O.L.D. is going under, starting today. My apologies [AW], but we can’t help you. F.O.L.D. has a larger fight.
AW: So… I’m alone?
TA: Look… we’ll help you where we can. [TW], where’s the other note?
TW (me): It’s… here…
[I find the first note from H and hand it to TA.]
TA: [AW], this is the first, and only other note H has given us.
[AW accepts the note from TA.]
AG: This is your chance, [AW]. Use the Unshreddible Hulk. Show the school who you are.
Examining the Notes
I stumbled out of the F.O.L.D. headquarters in a daze, holding two notes in one hand and Hulk in the other. I knew that when I joined the OrigAvengers I was going into a group that would protect the schools. I had little idea that there would actually be villains.
I mean, I’m not a superhero. I’m just a person trying to survive high school.
I turned the corner and started making my way toward the school doors. They shined brightly, straight ahead. I picked up my pace. I needed to get outside.
Wrapped in my thoughts, I hardly noticed that I was about to run into someone.
I looked up Jasmine. “What—Jasmine? What are you doing here? It’s after school.”
“I, uh, saw you run back in,” she said. “Everything okay?”
“Fine,” I said. I hesitated. Mars was the only friend I had told about Hulk. Still, I needed help. If F.O.L.D. wasn’t going to give me help, I might as well talk to my friends. “I need help with something. Can you come with me to Mars’s house?”
Before I knew it, we were biking furiously down the street.
“Ally!” Jasmine yelled. “What’s so important?”
“I… I can’t really tell you.”
“I can’t tell you that either.”
When I brought up the idea to him, Mars was just as confused as Jasmine was. “What is going on?” We were once again in Mars’s garage. He set down a bike gear and looked at me in question.
“I need you to look at these two notes,” I said. “They’re… uh, from that thing I’m doing. You remember, right? That thing? So, this is for my first, uh, thing.”
Mars failed to maintain a poker face. “Woah, so this is like… wow, thanks for thinking of me.”
“Uh, am I missing something here?” asked Jasmine. She was lingering in the corner of the garage.
“Oh, hey! You must be Jasmine. I’m Mars.”
“Hi. So, what am I missing?”
“Wait, you haven’t told—” Mars started. I glared at him. “You haven’t told her about the, uh, job, have you? That you got accepted?” The tension was thick. It was far too obvious that Mars was lying. Jasmine frowned.
“Fine,” I sighed. “Jasmine, you know that thing that happened with Clark Largent? The Iron Fold incident?”
“Yeah…” said Jasmine, raising an eyebrow.
“And Dove MacLeash?” I added.
“Yep… what about it?”
“I joined that group. The OrigAvengers. I’m the Unshreddible Hulk.”
“Oh,” said Jasmine in a small voice.
“Right, that’s sorted.” I put the notes on Mars’s desk, sat down in a chair, and turned around to look at them. Both Mars and Jasmine looked very apprehensive of me. I took a deep breath. “Look, I know this is weird, but this person has been sending creepy messages to F.O.L.D. I need you two to help me solve this fiasco, because I don’t know where to start.”
They looked at me silently, and then Jasmine said, “We’ll do it.” Mars nodded in agreement.
“Thank you,” I said.
“So, what do we have?” asked Mars, looking closely at the notes.
“Note number one,” narrated Jasmine. “‘See you behind January. Oh, and give my regards to the Director.’”
“See you ‘behind’ January?” Mars asked with confusion. I shrugged in agreement.
“Note number two,” said Jasmine. “‘Congratulations on the recruit. Consider my message as a thank you for that move. Even I can see that F.O.L.D. is trying to lay low about previous events. Remember that by giving me an opponent, you have just elevated the situation. Good luck at looking beyond words and laying low in the midst of my ideas for your Unshreddible Hulk.’” Once she reached the end, Jasmine continued to stare at the notes.
“These notes are worded weirdly,” Mars said.
“F.O.L.D. told me that this person is using wit,” I remembered. “There has to be something more to this.”
“A hidden message?” asked Mars.
“Why not? They know that I’m the Hulk,” I thought aloud. “So they know that one of my attributes is strength. They’re playing me at a game that they think I can’t handle. They’re testing my own wit.” Jasmine stopped looking at the notes and watched me.
“What if they’re right?” I asked. With that, all of the doubts I had been enduring in myself came out. “What if I’m only strong? What if I let everyone down? I’ve never been good under pressure. That’s why I stutter when I speak in public. It’s why I don’t respond well to bullying. I’m not good enough to solve this.” I buried my face in my hands.
“You’re smart, Ally,” Mars said suddenly. “This is what everyone has been missing. They don’t see past who you look like to understand that you’re a very smart person. Prove them wrong, Al. This is your chance.”
I let out a breath and took my face out of my hands. “Okay.” I studied the notes and thought aloud again.
“Okay… let’s see… the notes were found outside the wall of the school once, and in Robby’s backpack. To be in the high school and put the note in his backpack, they would have to be a student. This person is using wit. That’s why their notes sound weird. It has to be why… I mean, nobody is this pretentious in high school, right?”
Jasmine nodded vigorously (while Mars looked unsure). “So, it’s probably a student, and the notes are probably riddles,” Jasmine summed up.
“What about that really weird line?” I asked. “The ‘behind January’ one.”
“How could something be behind January?” asked Mars. “Do they mean they’ll see us in February?”
“No, it has to mean more than that.” I closed my eyes, frustrated. “January would have to be something physical, like something in January, or…” I opened my eyes. “Or a calendar.”
“Mr. Rainey’s calendar!” cried Jasmine excitedly.
“Of course!” I realized. “One of the notes was found below the Social Studies window. H is trying to point us in that direction. They’re testing us.”
“Let’s go!” Mars said, stuffing the notes in his backpack.
“It’s after school hours, though,” I said. “How will we get in?”
“We’ll do it in the morning,” suggested Jasmine. “The public speaking club sometimes practices over the weekend. If anyone asks, I can tell them that I’m practicing for a speech.”
Kirby Patrol Report
By Agent Molly Watkins
Incident Report: At 10:11 A.M. this Saturday morning, three unidentified subjects ran through the main entrance. The Kirby and Wheeler soccer game is at noon. It probably has something to do with that.
Personal Notes: They were running super fast, like they were excited to go inside. Since when have people been excited to go to school?
Social Studies Class
“We’re here!” I said, creaking the door open.
The Social Studies class looked the same as it had on the first day. Posters covered the walls. Light filtered through the window. Mr. Rainey’s desk had a neat stack of books.
Also similar was the fact that Mr. Rainey was sitting behind that desk.
“Oh,” I said.
“Morning, Ally and Jasmine,” said Mr. Rainey, looking up from his book in surprise. “What can I do for you?”
“Uh, hi, Mr. Rainey. We’re sorry to bother you, we just have to look at your, um, calendar.”
“Yes.” There was a long, awkward pause.
Suddenly, Mr. Rainey smiled. “F.O.L.D. business, I take it? I was never part of the OrigAvengers or F.O.L.D. when I was a student, but I’ve come to admire it.”
Astonished by the turn of events, I walked over to his calendar. The large sheet read January. My hands trembling slightly, I lifted the page up. Taped onto February was a plain white envelope. Mars gasped.
“Thank you, sir,” said Jasmine.
Mr. Rainey simply nodded and returned to reading his book. Unnerved by our luck, I stumbled out of Social Studies class, carrying the clue. As soon as we were in the hallway, I opened the envelope. Inside was a tiny, folded square piece of paper covered by another H.
Mars at my one side and Jasmine at the other, I unfolded the paper and read.
Awful, naughty one,
Might you stop and take a seat?
End your bleak hiding.
“A haiku?” asked Jasmine.
“A what?” asked Mars.
“It’s a type of poem,” explained Jasmine. “There are five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third.”
“Weird… that reminds me of something…” I murmured. There was something there. Something about a haiku, but I just couldn’t remember it. The three of us started to walk down the hallway.
“Okay…” Mars said. “What else?”
I looked at the crumpled note again. “Are there any patterns in the folding? Both of the notes were folded into a square, too, right?”
“I’ll fold it up again,” said Jasmine. Once she was done, the note looked the same as how we had found it—a little, square piece of paper with the letter H spanning its width.
I started to brainstorm aloud again. “The letter is lined up perfectly with the sides,” I muttered.
“Is that to look elegant?” wondered Mars. “This person’s wording sure sounds like their going for the elegant vibe.”
“No, they’re trying to get us to think bigger than that… but what are they trying to communicate? The H also creates a line across the middle… oh.” I stopped walking.
“What?” asked Mars slowly.
“It’s a soccer field. The soccer game,” I said with absolute certainty. “The H is creating the lines of a field. This H person is going to make a move there.”
“Are you sure?” asked Jasmine.
“Yes,” I said. “I know it sounds crazy, but I’m positive. What about the other notes?”
Mars took them out of his backpack and folded them back up. “They were folded the same as the haiku,” he noted. “Ally, this H could mean anything. These two previous notes look the same.”
“But the letter H isn’t covering each of them,” Jasmine pointed out. “Ally’s right. It’s making a soccer field. We’ve got to go there!”
“This doesn’t make sense, though,” protested Mars, unfolding the notes again. “We’re going to make this decision based on a whim?”
“Welcome to the OrigAvengers,” I said flatly.
“Is there a connection between the notes?” asked Jasmine.
“Other than the haiku being hidden behind Mr. Rainey’s calendar?” I asked, looking over at Mars. He looked at the notes again and shrugged. We had made it to the doors of the school. We pushed them open and started walking outside.
“Wait… look at the first letter of every sentence,” Jasmine realized.
“What about them?” asked Mars, annoyed.
“Look!” insisted Jasmine. “Put them together!” We stacked the notes on top of each other.
See you behind January.
Oh, and give my regards to the Director.
Congratulations on the recruit.
Consider my message as a thank you for that move.
Even I can see that F.O.L.D. is trying to lay low about previous events.
Remember that by giving me an opponent, you have just elevated the situation.
Good luck at looking beyond words and laying low in the midst of my ideas for your Unshreddible Hulk.
Awful, naughty one,
Might you stop and take a seat?
End your bleak hiding.
“Read the first letter of each sentence, Mars,” said Jasmine with a hushed voice.
“S, O, C, C, E, R, G, A, M, E,” read Mars.
“Soccer game,” I translated.
“Okay, it is the soccer game,” Mars said in awe. “Jasmine, you’re a genius. How’d you notice that?”
“We learned about it in poetry class once.”
“Okay… what about the haiku itself?” Mars asked. “What does it mean?”
“Let’s figure that out at the soccer fields,” I suggested, turning toward the direction that they were in. I had never been to the soccer fields before.
Mars checked his watch. “But the game’s in one and a half hours.”
“I’m going to have to do a public speech at halftime,” offered Jasmine. “We didn’t have to come until the game begins, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to be early.”
Kirby Patrol Report #2
By Agent Molly Watkins
Incident Report: At 10:43 A.M. this Saturday morning, the same three subjects exited back out of the school and headed toward the soccer fields.
Personal Notes: I guess they’re trying to get good seats for the game. Kirby does have loyal fans.
F.O.L.D. Agent’s Group Chat
By F.O.L.D. Agents
ROBBY: lol that cat is so cute
ANDREW: Hey guys, have any of you seen the director this morning?
ROBBY: gosh andy why u always use proper grammar
MOLLY: nah andy but three people went in the school
Public Speaking Practice
By Leslie Green
Okay, Andy, here you go. An email about what happened before all of the drama at the game.
Our speeches as part of the club were going to happen at halftime. The participants were myself, Jasmine, Mark, Todd, and Chloe. Since the teachers were quite aware that this soccer game was showing the rift between Wheeler and Kirby, they asked us to write speeches that would, as they put it, “bring us together”.
It took us forever to get this chance to speak at a game, so we agreed.
At practice, we lined up at center field and worked on a couple of exercises. There are a couple of weird lines you can say that help you loosen up and your vocal cords are better equipped to speak. At halftime, we would walk out onto the field, pass around a microphone, and give our speeches. They were to be about two minutes each.
Nobody was really talking. We were all nervous. I had to speak first, then Todd, then Chloe, then Mark, and finally, Jasmine.
So, yeah, that was our practice.
Now can you stop emailing me? It’s driving me crazy.
Mars and I waited in the bleachers while everyone arrived. The teams eventually made their way out, while Jasmine and her public speaking club stood just off the field.
Both of us were on edge. I could tell we were both wondering the same thing—how are we going to find H before they made a move at the soccer game? The crowd around us at the bleachers was growing larger by the minute. It would be hard to spot anything suspicious.
Then, of course, there was the last puzzle piece.
“What did that haiku mean?” Mars asked, taking out the paper again.
“Can you read it again?” I requested.
“Sure. ‘Awful, naughty one, Might you stop and take a seat? End your bleak hiding.’”
I concentrated. “Okay… uh, where would a naughty one sit down to end their ‘bleak hiding’?”
“Detention?” asked Mars.
“Detention?” I wondered. “Detention. Detention! Mars, that’s it!”
“I was joking,” Mars said, looking at me like I was crazy.
“It makes sense! Where else would one sit down in school for being naughty?”
Mars scowled. “Okay… what does this mean, though?”
I concentrated harder, my head buzzing. “I don’t know,” I admitted, “but we have to check detention for clues.”
Mars continued to look reluctant. “What if something happens here?”
I stood up. “Look, stay if you want, but I’m going to detention.” The sound of a kick broke my concentration. The crowd roared. The game had begun.
I ran through the school hallways again, this time alone. I followed my familiar route to detention. This time, I needed to be there. There was the door at the end of the hall. I charged toward the door.
Before I opened it, I hesitated. Then I put Unshreddible Hulk on my finger. I had held it before, but this was the first time I had put it on.
I flung the door open. What confronted me was not what I expected.
Nobody was there. Detention was empty. I turned on the light. The desks were the same as ever.
There was only one difference. On the desk in the middle of the room lay an envelope. I felt my hands curl into fists. It had all been a diversion from the game. I had left the soccer game undefended from whatever was going to happen.
I picked up the envelope. To my surprise, there was not an H on the outside. It was a name. I could hardly believe the name. It wasn’t sealed. I opened the envelope and took out the paper inside.
It has been only two weeks since we met, but you have been an incredible friend. When I moved north and we transferred from Tippett Academy to Kirby, I was looking for a new path.
F.O.L.D. was almost immediately in touch. As a transfer student, I was a new, unknown face among the crowd. I had a lot of appeal to F.O.L.D. They approached me for recruitment as an agent of F.O.L.D. I accepted.
However, soon after I accepted, I was also approached by “H”. They explained to me the flaws in F.O.L.D., and how it had corrupted the two schools. F.O.L.D. is fighting a lost cause. The rivalry between these two high schools is keeping them alive.
You can disagree with me on this, but the competition between Wheeler and Kirby is allowing a whole spurt of Marvel characters and battles. I suddenly have purpose.
Then H asked me for a favor—to be a spy.
H asked me to write the messages that have placed F.O.L.D at risk. I fed H inside information about F.O.L.D., and in return, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I am continuing the prosperity of the schools.
My first job was to monitor you. Protect you. So I did, and to my surprise, I actually became true friends with you. I am your friend. Yet it has only made me more convinced that I am doing the right thing. By maintaining the divide, you continue to have a purpose as the Unshreddible Hulk. Do you think that F.O.L.D. will care about you once the war is finally over?
I had to divert you away from the game because I knew you wouldn’t listen to my speech. The teachers won’t agree, but all it takes are a couple of words to fuel the flame between these schools. Did you enjoy how I suggested the director was trapped in detention? I even wrote in a haiku, like he does.
No, I am not H, but as their messenger I ask you to consider their view and remember that the competition is the reason you are who you are today.
“So, are you going to solve your first case?”
I spun around, the letter still in my hand. Director Adams stood in the room’s doorway.
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Ally,” Director Adams said, “I have F.O.L.D. agents throughout the entire school. While we cannot get involved, we can watch.”
“You had Jasmine watch me,” I said angrily. “You had me monitored.”
“She was there to protect you.”
My mind was swimming. “But Jasmine… she betrayed us.”
“Yes,” sighed Director Adams. “She will believe what she wants to believe. Now… are you going to solve your first case?”
“How can I?” I asked in desperation. “Jasmine could be making her speech right now.”
“There are different ways to save the day,” smiled Director Adams. “As a Hulk, I understand your appreciation of strength, but there is more to strength than physical power.” With that, he stepped out of the room.
“But—” I followed him out the doorway, but by the time I did, the director was nowhere in sight. It was as if he had vanished. I was getting tired of F.O.L.D. doing that.
Then, I remembered the speech. I had to get to Jasmine. I dropped the letter and ran, pushing open the doors and sprinting to the fields. With a crowd of both Kirby students and Wheeler students, Jasmine could turn them against each other easily, pushing the war on for even longer.
I had made it outside. I ran along the pathways, finally turning toward the fields and then sprinting across grass. I squinted. There were five kids out on the field, standing around a microphone. It was half-time; the public speaking had begun.
“No,” I murmured as I finally made it to the edge of field. My legs were burning. I hunched over to catch my breath. Everything had gone strangely silent. I wearily looked up at the public speakers.
They were leaving the field.
I looked at the crowd. Wheeler students and Kirby students in the bleachers were pushing each other and arguing. The atmosphere was heated.
I had failed. Jasmine had already made her speech.
I glanced over at the bleachers. Mars was trying to push his way onto the field, but evidently he had been stopped by a teacher. The teachers who were at the game were standing, desperately trying to get the crowd to calm down, with no luck.
I turned back to look at the microphone at the center of the field. I couldn’t believe it. Jasmine had made her speech, and there was nothing I could do to reverse what had been said. A teacher was going out into the field to take down the microphone. I remembered what Director Adams had said.
There are different ways to save the day, he had said. This was my chance. In a moment, several things happened. I had my idea, my hearing returned, I listened to the angry crowd, and I ran out to the microphone.
I was able to make it there before the teacher. I stepped back. Public speaking had always been one of my greatest fears. I struggled to even speak to my Social Studies class.
This time… I felt different. I stepped up to the mic.
“Wheeler and Kirby high schools,” I said. The rowdy crowd died down for a moment. The teacher on their way to get the mic paused in the center of the field, and, to my relief, turned back. “My name is Ally Weber, wielder of the Unshreddible Hulk. I’m afraid I was too late to hear the speech that Jasmine Verninski just made. Clearly, it has turned the two schools against each other.
“I ran out onto the field because there’s something else you all need to hear.” I took a deep breath. “You know, I’m from both Kirby and Wheeler. Neither school has been perfect. Yet there is something between both of you that connects you. Each other.
“Look at the rivalry. I agree that the schools can compete, but are we going to forget that we have friends on the other side? Neither school is good and the other bad. Both schools have both good and bad. You have a choice on whether to tear yourselves apart or work to build something more.
“I’m proud of both of these schools. They have given me a home. Teachers at both schools, with all due respect—” I looked around at the teachers in the stands, “—you have often not seen me for who I truly am. There have been times where I have stood up for myself, and the teachers have been convinced that I am at fault. I’m not. I’m just a kid trying to survive high school.
“Kirby and Wheeler, please don’t make the same mistake. See each other for more than the surface, and I promise you will find a layer of peace. Some of you may choose to ignore me, and some of you may listen. Whichever it be, I love you both. And… that’s all I have to say.”
The crowd broke out into a cheer. I wouldn’t say everyone was cheering, but I had said my message. I had calmed the storm that Jasmine had caused. I walked off the field and back up into the stands, ready to watch the second half of the game.
TA: Well done, [AW]. You solved the case.
AW: I mean, not completely. We still don’t know who H is.
TA: It doesn’t matter. H made their move. They tried to take advantage of a time when F.O.L.D. had to be quiet. They tried to turn the two schools against each other.
TW (me): They succeeded, to a degree.
TA: Perhaps, but [AW], you went out there and gave a counterargument. You told the schools a message that they weren’t expecting to hear, but desperately needed. In that light, you have completed your first mission.
[AW nods and walks toward the exit. She stops.]
AW: Hey… you know why I got kicked out of Wheeler, right?
AW: You know the truth, right?
TA: Of course.
TW: She’s a good Unshreddible Hulk.
TA: I knew she would be.
TW: Sir, this whole H business… do you think that this revolves around the threat that Leonard Broderick had told us about?
TA: Of course. It looks like we have had our first encounters with the H in T.H.A.N.O.S. Five more letters to go; five more people to find.
Jasmine has remained at Kirby. There was no reason for her to leave the school. All she had done was make a speech that divided the schools. While it might not have been good, there was no reason for her to be kicked from the school.
However, we do not talk as often as we used to. Jasmine has even apologized for what she did, but she still seems to believe it was for the greater good. It’s a shame; she was my best friend at Kirby.
I’ve made other friends, though. Since I made the speech, more people have approached me as friends. It’s been a nice change.
Mars is back at his house, now. He apologized for not doing anything to stop Jasmine. Apparently he couldn’t get past the teachers. It was actually lucky that I went to the detention room before Jasmine’s speech, as I wasn’t trapped in the bleachers. It gave me a chance to make my own speech. I’m getting better at speaking in public.
I still have the Hulk. I carry it around in my backpack and watch the schools closely. Maybe I helped a bit with the rift, but there are always bullies. So, I am here to help. I might not need to make an inspirational speech every day, but if I am here to give strength to those who need it, I will have done my job.
I am Ally Weber, student of both Kirby and Wheeler.
I am the Unshreddible Hulk.
I have so many people to thank for helping me in my first official EU story. Thank you to Noah, CJ, and SF_PrincessElla for letting me bounce ideas off of them. Thank you to the amazing Superfolders who are reading this story. You rock!
Finally, I have to thank those who helped with the cover. Thanks again to CJ for compiling the origami and designing the cover. The Hulk design was by Henry Pham and folded by Superfolder Jar Jar Pleats. Thank you both so much! If you want to fold that design, please see Henry Pham’s video here.