When I came back on Wednesday, Emmy wasn’t at the front desk. That gave me pause and I wasn’t alone in worrying. I’d kept Vaughn informed of everything I’d seen. So it wasn’t a surprise when he leaned over the counter to her desk, moving the computer mouse.
“Her name’s still the most recent log in.” He pushed himself off the counter. “I don’t know if the medical division’s got rules about dating other employees, but technically, she’d have been dating someone from another company. So she shouldn’t get fired for that. On the other hand, I bet there’s something in the Employee Handbook that would let them fire her for dating a married guy. I wonder where she is?”
“No idea.” We walked together until we came to Vaughn’s office. Continue reading Deeper In: Part 10
“Wait. What do you think they’re likely to do? From my experience they’re likely to break in and look at the birthing chambers or worse.”
She raised an eyebrow and looked up at me, saying nothing.
“Their minds had been messed with, but they weren’t puppets. Whatever the Mayor told them, they decided on their own that it was worth trying to take out the whole Heroes’ League at once—including Jaclyn. Even untrained, she’s out of their league. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was only the second time that they were doing it under the Mayor’s control. The first time, I think they did it of their own free will.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 9
After looking around for a moment to find the source of my voice amid the chatter mechanical hums of the lab, Victor stood up in his cube and faced me. “Breakthroughs with the user interface? No. And believe me, I’d know. That would bring everything in the lab to a stop. Why do you ask?”
Now that was something I hadn’t thought through. Why would I be asking about the user interface, something I wouldn’t be working with at all? “Well, you’d said that that you were having people from that other lab come here. I didn’t phrase it well, but where do we need the help? Is it the user interface? Does it need power? Something else?” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 8
“Uh-huh,” I said, wondering if I’d just seen the beginning of a crime.
His smile widened. “You’ve never worked at the high levels of a business—any business, I bet, given your age. Trust me, there are things that are normal in a business that look scary to outsiders. That guy I talked to? He’s not going to go rob somebody. He’d go to jail, right? No, he’s going to think creatively now. That’s part of what being a manager means, knowing what will motivate your people to do their best. He needs a kick in the pants.
“Now before we were interrupted, I’d asked you what you’re interested in professionally. What’s your answer? Remember, there’s no shame in thinking big.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 7
When I walked into Higher Ground’s office, I had two minutes in front of my desk to check email before Stephanie all but dragged me away to the lab. I’d literally just clicked on an email she’d written to me. The subject? “COME TO THE LAB NOW!”
Even as I logged out of my computer and stood up from my chair, I heard the door open and Stephanie grabbed my arm and led me out the door to the lab.
Letting go of my arm as the door shut behind us, she said, “You’re meeting with Ryan McCall. He’s the lab’s chief scientist.”
Walking next to her on the path to the lab, I managed to get out an, “Uh-huh.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 6
Not a lot more happened that weekend worth mentioning—at least in terms of events with world-ending stakes. On a personal level, Haley and I went out on Saturday and had a good time. Also, I spent Sunday studying and I enjoyed that too. On Monday though, I went to Dr. Strazinsky’s class. That wouldn’t be worth mentioning either except that when it was over he said, “Nick, could you stay after class? I’ve got a couple of questions about your internship.”
I continued putting my books into my backpack but said, “Sure.”
We walked out after he’d answered a couple questions from students and walked to his office.
“I’m going to assume it’s going well, but I can’t ask more until we’re inside.” He unlocked his office door. Continue reading Deeper In: Part 5
“It’s complicated,” I said, and after a pause to put the story together in my head, I told her about Sandy and Emmy, Victor, the birthing chamber, the ansible, and the walk down the beach. I didn’t mention everything Kals had told me because if there were ever a time to go into that, it wasn’t now.
“So, basically,” I finished, “now everyone’s going to believe we’re an item or want to be.”
Jeremy looked up from grabbing two more pieces of pepperoni pizza. “I did my internship this summer at a physics lab near Chicago. I’m pretty sure nobody was having sex with anybody there and if they were, I don’t want to imagine it.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 4
“I guess,” I said. “I think she’s on our side, but she kind of tricked me into doing what she wanted. I think I’d have been just as uncomfortable with having people think I was cheating on Haley if I’d known she was setting that up. She could have asked me.”
Vaughn glanced right and moved his car into the right lane, roaring past the three cars that had been ahead of us, hitting close to ninety miles per hour as he did it.
On a Saturday morning, the freeway would have been almost empty, but this was Friday around 7 pm in the middle of the city during one of the last weekends of summer.
There were cars—not as many as rush hour, but more than Saturday morning. Vaughn weaved back into the middle lane and I reminded myself that he’d only ever crashed cars when he was drinking and driving. Continue reading Deeper In: Part 3
Stephanie stopped walking, letting a wave wash across her feet. “Dammit. Look, I didn’t tell you not to tell him, so that’s on me, but I wish you hadn’t. The guy’s been dropping unsubtle hints ever since I started working here.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.” I searched her face to try to figure out how angry she was at me and how much at the situation. She scowled more as she talked about Victor than when she was telling me she wished I hadn’t said anything.
“It’s not your fault.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 2
By the end of the day, I’d been shown everything I’d need to know to start work. At any rate, I knew how to get at my files, what programs I’d need, and been told multiple variations on, “You can’t tell anyone about this.”
Around five I got a text from Vaughn saying, “Copter’s leaving late—6:30. Execs going to old hotel to get hammered.”
I texted back, “Are you going with them?”
“No choice. Family. Higher Ground’s going too. U?”
“Don’t know. I’ll ask.” Continue reading Deeper In: Part 1