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"I presume you are aware that they broke into the mansion on Saturday," she said, flipping through a manila folder on her desk.
"No," I said. "We have a mansion?"
Christi looked up from her desk. "Yes, we... Jesus. Alright. You must not have been briefed, since you've been spending so much time on Project Everywhere. Sit down."
"How is it," I asked while pulling up an Aeron (which Todd must have "borrowed" from one of the conference rooms the last time he was in here), "that I've been assigned to JPG since January and am completely unaware of any mansion, while you, the newest on the team, are so in the know?" She glared at me, so I added, "I didn't mean to suggest you weren't fit-"
"It's alright," she interrupted, though her expression relaxed. "If you're asking about clearances, you'll have to take it up with the Pool Man."
That's the worst part, the code names. They're so ridiculous: "The Pool Man," "Bruno," "Mr. D." I tend to eschew such nonsense, but "Jaschu" tends to stick around the offices, regardless.
I asked, "So what happened, that you had to call me in here? I've got a bunch of usability issues to work out this week."
"No, you don't." She closed the file and stretched to hand it to me. "You're being reassigned. In fact, first thing you need to do when you leave here is report to Section L."
My head jerked up. "Section L?! You're sending me to the Dentist. You gotta be fuckin' me."
Christi shook her head. "It's no big deal. They're going to stick an RFID chip in one of your teeth. Strictly a security measure while we figure out what happened at the mansion. We're locking it down. The chip will identify you and grant you access."
I couldn't help but sigh. Augmentation was always a possibility when you take this job. My most recent partner, D-Haze (see what I mean about code names?), got a parallel processor installed all up in his brainpan, and now he can think out MySQL queries almost as fast as our servers. Me, I considered myself lucky to still be 100% flesh and bone. Up until now, at least.
"So fill me in already."
Christi nodded. "They threw a party. We didn't know about it until after the fact. They called it the JPGers Ball and it was all done behind our backs."
I arched an eyebrow at her. "I'm getting a chip in my head because of a shindig? Besides, don't we wantthem to do stuff like this? Sounds pretty flattering that they'd do such a thing, get all excited about what we're trying to do here. I don't see what the big deal is."
"No, you're absolutely right. In fact, if they had just asked, they could use the mansion any time they want. That's not the issue."
"Then what is?"
"We have reason to believe that there was a theft that night. You're to go and investigate. Shouldn't take more than a day out of your schedule."
So now I got a chip in a tooth. The things you do for art.
In the story The Mansion's Missing Mass.
Also by Jason Schupp
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