17 New Company
Meaghan leaned down, pushed her strappy sandals off her feet, wiggled her toes and sighed. It was Monday, and Cynthia had run her ragged all morning; a coworker called in sick, so she was doing the work of two. It was finally lunchtime, but she felt too tired to go get something to eat. She was contemplating a packet of crisps she found in her desk when she heard Cynthia's high heels heading her way.
"Good, you're still here." Meaghan resisted the urge to give a snarky comment and swiveled to face her formidable boss. She was holding a couple sheets of paper in her elegant hand. "I have a request here from the National Security agency. They are looking to contract out for an analyst position on a special project. They need someone who reads English, French, and Chinese for a minimum of 90 days up to six months. If you are interested, you would still go through our payroll, but you would be working at an office in the industrial area. Interested?"
Meaghan thought for a moment, intrigued in spite of how tired she felt.
"Would the pay be different?"
"During that time, you pay would be significantly increased. Of course, we get to profit, too, as well as getting in a good word with the government!" Cynthia gave a laugh, and then gave her a pointed look. "I hope you agree. In fact," she said smugly, "I've already submitted your name and credentials for their purview." She took Meaghan's silence for assent. "So, if they agree, you'd begin by next Monday. Make sure that you finish up any loose ends on your desk; Jules will be taking over your work until you return."
Jules was one of the newest employees, but she was very capable and eager to help. Meaghan figured that her contacts would be in good hands. Making the decision, she stood up, and bowed to her manager.
"I'm honored, and I will do my best."
~ ~ ~
Rickie was sampling Bourbon's specialty today, tamarind balls, in the lounge area while waiting for Raine. He had received an intriguing phone call, asking for his assistance to create a think-tank regarding suspected Chinese movements along their southern coast.
He was finishing up his second Tiger Beer when his former supervisor showed up, sat down on the rattan sofa across from him and dropped a brown leather briefcase on top of the coffee table.
Catching Bourbon's eye, she held up two fingers. Bourbon nodded, and, giving the counter a final sweep, turned to a cooler behind the bar. In a matter of mere moments, two bottles, tiny bits of ice clinging to the neck, were on the table and expertly opened. Bourbon gave a wink to Rickie and sauntered away.
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"So what are the details?" Rickie asked Raine, after nodding to the retreating bartender.
"Our agents are noticing an increase in both covert and overt movements towards the coastline. In addition, we noticed some strange anomalies in shipping records at their major terminals. We're hoping that, with your analytical skills and some strong backup, we can ascertain what they are planning to do. We've already set up an office near your headquarters, and will have the wiring and the server in there by the end of the week."
Raine opened the briefcase and pulled out several manila folders. "Here are the curricula vitae of several potential contractors to round out the group. Just look them over; we need at least two from this group. My team will also be there."
Rickie nodded, and Raine placed the folders back in the case, and closed it, pushing it towards him.
He instinctively grabbed the bottle before the briefcase touched it, and Raine smirked.
"Glad to know your reflexes are still fast, especially when it's important."
They continued to chat for a short while, and then amicably separated.