Breed Book 3, Part 28

“This resume looks amazing,” Liz with HR said, setting the page down, and leaning back in her chair behind her desk. “We’ve known that since you emailed it to us. But we’re more than just some DARPA contractor, and you’re more than a resume with a security clearance. So tell me why you want to work here, Mikaela.”

Mikaela pondered a moment. “Because I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. That’s why I’ve been drawn to work in technologically advanced fields, and likewise why I prefer to work in concert with the public sector.”

“But not directly for the public sector?”

“Government work is good, important, and necessary. But oftentimes by design, it moves slowly and deliberately. Private industry by contrast is designed to be quick and responsive. That’s why they make such perfect partners; we can sprint ahead and find the best solutions to the problems facing our great country, and government is there to vet those solutions, and make sure that anything we put in place nationally is as thoughtful as it needs to be to succeed scaled up. I prefer to be on the bleeding edge of that divide.”

“And why is that?” Liz asked, glancing back down at the resume.

“The main reason is growing up, I’ve seen the dangers of moving too slow. Whether we’re talking about reactions to the AIDS crisis, any of a series of drug epidemics, or even international terrorism, problems don’t go away. They metastasize, and grow, and the longer you wait to address them, the more out of control they become. And I’m smart, and part of a new generation of stewards, so I have a responsibility and a duty to push for solutions.”

“Do you know who I’ve found really thrives here?” Liz asked.

“I don’t, but I’m looking forward to finding out.”

“People who know who they are. Some of them just want to play with high-tech toys, some want to change the world- but knowing thyself, and being true to that, means we can put you to work in the place best suited to fit both what you want and what we need. And that’s why I think you’re going to be such a great fit, here.” Liz put out her hand, and Mikaela shook it. “And you happen to be in real luck, because we’re really expanding. We’ve had some interesting results from a DARPA project, and we just got news today that we’re getting a grant from the DOJ to test whether or not the project might have implications for domestic policing and law enforcement, so we’re in the process of staffing up in a big way. And most importantly what that means for you is that you’re going to have your pick of the litter, at least until I can find a few more diamonds in this rough,” Liz lifted a stack of resumes, pretending to struggle under their weight. “Your email said you could start today, so I hope we haven’t been too forward, but if you take this,” she produced a business card from her desk drawer with four digits scrawled on it, “down to room 329, Walt can get you oriented. That keycode will get you through the doors today, and hopefully by end of business we’ll be able to get you your own keycard.”

Mikaela looked down, and saw a hand reaching out of the mirrored locket dangling from her bag between her feet. “Um,” she said, starting. “Is there anything you can tell me about this DARPA project?”

“Me?” Liz laughed. “Heavens, no. Other than it’s big, expensive, and has defense applications. Beyond that,” she shrugged.

Mikaela glanced back down, as the hand stuffed a keycard into her bag, before retreating back into the locket. “Um, is there a bathroom around here? I’d like to freshen back up, before meeting my new coworkers, if that’s all right.”

“Of course,” Liz said. “To get to 329 you’ll take a right. Before you hit the door with the keypad, right before, there’s an alcove to the left, with facilities.” Mikaela stood. “It was such a pleasure meeting you, and I’m so glad I’ll be seeing more of you.”

“It was my pleasure meeting you,” Mikaela said, and shook her hand. She retrieved her bag and left in a hurry. She walked briskly down to the bathroom, and locked herself in a stall, before opening the locket. The Mikaela inside it pulled herself out, expanding as she did so. She was still wearing a set of rabbit pajamas.

“That was dangerous.”

“I got the keycard, didn’t I?” the duplicate asked.

“Yeah,” Mikaela admitted.

“I was not comfortable crawling under her desk like that.”

“Yeah, well, if you’d come through wearing something other than feety pajamas maybe we could have switched places. Speaking of which,” Mikaela opened the stall door, to check her reflection in the mirror above the sink. A new duplicate crawled through, this time wearing the same formal wear she was.

“Was that so hard?” the third Mikaela asked.

“I was cold, and it was early,” the original duplicate said, before flipping an eared hood petulantly over her hair. “I’m going to go take a nap.” She started pushing her way back into the locket.

Mikaela handed her purse to the remaining duplicate, who held it open while she reached inside and removed the keycard. “Any questions?”

“I’m working an internship while you get to embark on some espionage. I’m sure I’ll muddle through. Just stay safe. And take this.” She handed her the locket. “I’m not sure if Captain Bunnysuit will be much use, but maybe the locket’s a luck charm, at least.”

“Thanks,” the original Mikaela said. “I’ll leave first. Then you count fifty alligators before coming out.” “You got it.”

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