Buying Restraint

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Ms. Sharp. I’m Restraint,” the tan young man in a black suit shook Ms. Sharp’s hand before gesturing at the pair of seats in front of his desk for her and her assistant. “What can I do for you?” Restraint asked. He returned to his own seat as Ms. Sharp sat down; her assistant remained standing.

“I’m here to tell you what I can do for you,” Ms. Sharp replied. “You have a decently successful business here but it can be more.” Restraint was used to fending off business ideas from people that have no clue how to run a business. Everyone was eager to tell him how to make more money off the Supers that visited his spa anywhere he was. At least Ms. Sharp had the courtesy to make an appointment.

“Alright,” Restraint nodded. He let a short sigh escape then continued. “Go ahead and tell me how I can be making more money.” Ms. Sharp smiled at him.

“I’m sure everyone in this room knows you’re not doing this for the money,” she said. Restraint was surprised. He glanced at Ms. Sharp’s dark-haired assistant and she gave him a slight nod. Every other idea he’d heard was intended to boost his profits. “As I said, I want to help you make your business into more. To reach further and help more people than you already are.”

“That takes money…,” Restraint said. He was actually hoping she meant what she said. But, he did not want to let her know how close she hit to home. The only reason he ran the spa was to help people in his own way. He had the strength to be a superhero, not to mention his ability to nullify powers. But to him, it was more important to create an island of peace than to suit up and fight villains.

His spa was in the center of town and every year its influence grew a little larger. Heroes and villains were more civilized the closer they were to Restraint’s spa and he hoped that’d cover the whole city eventually. It surprised him when Ms. Sharp shook her head in response to his comment.

“It takes resources,” she said. “Money is just the middleman, I have all the resources you’d need.”

“And you have a plan to use those resources?” Restraint asked. “I doubt you’re giving them to me just like that.” Ms. Sharp nodded.

“You’re aware that alternate universes exist?” Ms. Sharp asked. Restraint nodded and chuckled.

“Yeah, we get a few travelers through here sometimes. Why?”

“I run a multiversal corporation named Sharp Development,” she said. “While we offer a wide variety of products and services, I still need to address the Super sector. Unfortunately, my knowledge and contacts in that area are thin at the moment, which brought me to you,” she said.

“Okay, you’re here,” Restraint said. “What’s your plan?”

“Simple as can be,” Ms. Sharp replied. “We’ll start off simple by having sign-up sheets available in the locker rooms. Once we get enough interest I’ll host a presentation laying out the whole thing. I’m envisioning a service that allows clients from other universes to hire Supers.”

“You think Supers want to get hired to help with honey-do lists and bodyguarding?” Restraint asked. 

“I think that Supers would like the chance to use their abilities freely without risking their lives. I also think they’d like to travel and see other universes. If the local Supers are off in different universes they won’t have much time to cause trouble here,” Ms. Sharp said. Restraint had to admit he liked that idea the most.

“Okay,” Restraint nodded again. “I’m willing to give you a shot, what’s the next step?” He was surprised when Ms. Sharp’s assistant stepped forward with a red clipboard that she wasn’t holding a second ago. The clipboard only had one sheet.

“I just need a couple of things, first a signature,” Ms. Sharp said.

“What’s this?” Restraint asked. He was curious to see where her idea led, but he wasn’t ready to sign a formal contract.

“This is just giving us permission to distribute flyers in your business,” she smiled. “You’re not committing to anything else yet.”

“Oh, okay,” Restraint nodded then signed his name. “And the other thing?”

“This isn’t a requirement as much as it is advice,” Ms. Sharp said as she stood. Her assistant collected the clipboard. “This isn’t true for everyone, but it is for you. Get a tattoo. It will change your life,” she said. He watched her assistant wiggle her fingers at the air, then a tall black portal opened. “And make sure it has your favorite number, 42, on it,” Ms. Sharp added before she stepped into the portal and disappeared.

Sharp Restraint

“Restraint? That’s a boring hero name,” Charlie couldn’t help but comment as he shook the young man’s hand. Although, he couldn’t deny Restraint fit his name perfectly. Restraint appeared to be in his young 20s. He had a healthy tan and wore a perfectly tailored black suit with a white tie. A pair of round, red-rimmed glasses drew attention to his hazel eyes.

“I’m no hero, just the representative,” Restraint replied. “So…,” Restraint sat down in front of Charlie’s large oak desk. “…what kind of hero are you looking for, and for what purpose?” Restraint asked.

“What for?” Charlie asked. He walked around his desk and sat in a high-back leather chair. “I need a bodyguard for my daughter. I thought that was the extent of your services, what else do you offer?”

“Almost anything; Supers, like people, have a variety of interests. Sharp Development can find a Super willing to help you with anything you want to accomplish. Although, we do limit clients to one Super per contract period,” Restraint said. “How long would you like your daughter protected?”

“Forever, obviously,” Charlie laughed. “Or, at least as long as I can afford it.” Restraint tilted his head at Charlie with slight interest.

“There is a way to get a Super assigned to you on a permanent basis,” he said. “And, it wouldn’t count as a timed contract, so you’d still be able to hire Supers for temporary jobs.” Charlie sat up straighter, then leaned forward over the desk.

“You can really protect her permanently?” he asked. Restraint nodded.

“Sharp Development accepts souls as currency. However, since you only have the one, it can buy you nearly anything.”

“You’re serious?” Charlie asked. The question was directed both at Restraint and himself. He couldn’t believe he was seriously considering selling his soul. “If I sell you my soul, my daughter gets a Super to protect her for the rest of her life?” Restraint gave a curt nod.

“Can I get a permanent Super and a timed contract?” Charlie asked with a grin. “It’s the only soul I’ve got,” he said.

“Sure,” Restraint nodded again. This time, a faint smirk tugged at the corner of his lips. “The maximum contract is only three years; Sharp Development will own your soul forever.”