X-Men Librarians Senior Class.
The scene is in a gargantuan hall in Washington which is filled with row upon row of shelves. Within those shelves are literally millions of books of every description.
Specially invited guests mill around the floorspace area as they enjoy a lavish champagne reception. The institution will be opening the following day to great fanfare.
The gathering includes celebrities, newspaper and magazine journalists as well as local and national TV crews. Among them is Lyndon Chuff of the WNKR radio station in the city. He is interviewing the Operations Manager of the building.
Chuff: "We are here today for an exclusive visit to the new Excella Library Complex, the first significant library to be run entirely by the X-Men organisation. With me here is the Curator of the library. Good morning Professor X"
Prof X : "Good morning"
Chuff: "Or can I call you X?"
Prof X: "No chummy, you can call me Professor"
Chuff: "Ah! OK! Tell me Professor, the first thing that strikes me is the sheer scale of this building. I mean it is truly massive isn't it?"
Prof X: Absolutely! It's the biggest library in the world for sure. It's the size of two football stadiums with over 40 million books under its roof.
Chuff: "And how many staff do you employ?"
Prof X: "Twelve"
Chuff: "Wow! You can't possibly run this place with only a dozen people"
Prof X: "Of course we can. Our staff are quite amazing"
Chuff: "But there must be lines of around 200 yards of bookcases here stretched over 10 acres. Not to mention that the shelves are stacked 8 storeys high. How do you do it?"
Prof X: "Easy! We've got a lot of specialisation."
Chuff: "I see, tell us more"
Prof X: "Well, all our staff are semi-retired X Men, and women of course. But they're all getting older and slowing down a bit.
Chuff: "There is a huge distance to travel across this floor. Would it not be really time consuming"
Prof X: "Not at all. We've got it all worked out. The 'Time and Motion' guy was very impressed. You see, for books that are nearby to the main desk we have Kitty, or Shadowcat as we like to call her, who can walk through walls, or bookcases for that matter. It cuts down the time to find things. She's also handy for inter-departmental liaison."
Prof X: "She surely is and if we're really busy then our Phoenix can help out. With her telekinetic talents she can lift a book off the shelves from a hundred yards"
Prof X: "Just so. Although Phoenix is restricted to the upper shelves. In practice the lower volumes are a bit of a hazard. They're usually the bigger ones too.
You know the atlases, encyclopaedias, picture dictionaries and such like. It could give you a nasty concussion if one flew out and cracked you on the skull.
Chuff: "No I suppose not. And it is still a stretch, is it not, to cover the whole place?"
Prof X: "Well that's where Quicksilver comes into her own. Old Quickie can scamp around at the speed of sound"
Chuff: That must be an incredible sight to see"
Prof X: "Not in here I'm afraid, she's on a speed limit. The sonic boom would disrupt our 'Quiet Room' regulation.
Chuff: "Yes, I understand. But you certainly have a very capable team under your helm"
Prof X: "Even better than you think. For those far away sections we have Nightcrawler who can teleport in a second"
Chuff: "I would imagine he could work the upper shelves then?"
Prof X: "He can do that but as you see we have no gantries up there for him to stand on"
Chuff: "Oh yes! I hadn't noticed the obvious"
Prof X: "He does have sticky hands and feet but it is leaving things a little to chance. Makes a mess of the book spines on the way up anyway. Takes days to clean them up"
Chuff: "So, with no gantries how do you get to the top shelves then?"
Prof X: "The marvellous Angel deals with that side of things. He can shoot up there like a rat up a drainpipe.
Before you can say 'Roget's Thesaurus' he's on the job and no need for ladders or walkways."
Chuff: "It sounds like your customer service will be excellent"
Prof X: " We like to think so. In fact it's so fast and efficient that we reckon we could provide a back-up to Google in an emergency"
Chuff: "You could do that?"
Prof X: "Oh yes I'm sure we could, although after tangling with Magneto we're a bit wary of dodgy types planning world domination."
Chuff: "Magneto was certainly a tricky opponent"
Prof X: "That's for sure, the bugger kept bending the spokes on my wheelchair"
Chuff: "Truly an evil man. I mentioned customer service just now which brings me to ask how you will respond to public requests. For example, if someone is at the far reaches of the library how can they ask for help if there are only 12 members of staff?"
Prof X: "No problem young man. They get instant attention"
Chuff: "Right! So one of your staff can be there immediately when they have an inquiry"
Prof X: "Before they have an inquiry!"
Prof X: "Abso-flippin-lutely!! We have our resident telepathic Psylocke. If there's anybody needing something she'll know as soon as they think it and then Quickie, Angel or Phoenix can get to it. Of course Phoenix has a similar mental ability but when we asked her to double up duties she called in the union."
Chuff: " Still, Psylocke is a valuable lady to have around"
Prof X: "She is and terrific for home delivery. We reckon on a good day Quickie or Nightie can have that book in your hand in around 20 seconds. Not a bad turnaround. Tell that to Amazon!
Chuff: "I believe that you .......
Prof X:" ..... will sometimes help out with the mind reading. Yes that's right"
Chuff: "Ah! Very good. But it.........
Prof X: ".......would be better for the interview if I didn't finish your sentences"
Chuff: "If you don't mind"
Prof X: "Of course not dear chap. Just teasing"
Chuff: "Well I must say that this sounds the most perfect way to run a library system. I wish you well"
Prof X: "Thank you. I can't possibly disagree with you."
Chuff: "But can I ask how you deal with books that aren't returned or even folk who refuse to pay their fines"
Prof X: "Oh that's easy. Wolverine knocks on their door at 2 in the morning"