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"That was great fun, singing for the masses before downtime," said Glory with a satisfied smile as she glanced at her friends in their beds. She sat up in her own and shook her head. "You know what, though? If I really want this job, I shouldn't go in there looking like some local. I need to look like I'm ready to take on the worlds!"
"I agree, you totally ought to lose the gold, and wear something more exciting," said Venus, grinning.
"Exciting wasn't quite what I had in mind," Glory complained. "I want to look like I'm capable of doing the job, V, not like I've showed up ready to party."
Lacey giggled. "No, Glory, I think this calls for a little bit of each. But I know just the thing. You've got several hours yet before Richards' event even begins--what d'you say we all go shopping? My aunt owns a great little boutique on level seventeen."
"You read my mind," said Glory as she tugged off her golden nightgown and stepped back into her golden jumpsuit. "I can't wait to try on something else!"
Sometime later, after they'd eaten a meal and cleaned up a bit, the three of them headed down to the little shop in question. Mrs. Beta, as Lacey's aunt referred to herself during working hours, was quick to drop everything she was doing and hurried over to help the girls pick a few things out.
"I'll not hear of you accessing your own credits for that attire," she scolded Glory after they'd found her a deep brown pants suit with a cream blouse. "Firstly, because any transaction you'd make on your father's card would show up on his database in moments, which might alert him to the fact that you're in a clothing store. I imagine that normally you would have no need to shop for new clothes in here, since if you were remaining on your planet, you'd never get to wear them, you know."
"Your aunt's one smart lady, isn't she?" Glory asked appreciatively. "If she wasn't so on the ball, my parents would be able to stop me before I ever managed to get to the interview at all."
Beta scoffed. "We wouldn't want to spoil the whole adventure before it even begins. What would be the fun in that?"
"Speaking of fun, it's about time we got Glory back," said Venus then. "We need enough time for her to get dressed and make sure her resume is top notch. Come on, girls!"
With all the excitement over, Glory gave herself one last cursory inspection in the mirror, then headed out into the corridors. She was thankful for the easy navigation of the base--all entertainment was to one side of the structure, and all the offices and businesses were to the other. That meant no matter which floor she was on it was simply a matter of finding her way to one of the lifts to get where she was going.
Captain Richards' rented office was near the top, of course. The man was as close to elite as a starship captain could get. He did not own just one starship, but several, and she had also learned that the company he worked for, GalactiCorp, had placed him in command of numerous worlds within his original sector. If she did get hired by him, she would definitely be headed for the wormhole.
"Excuse me, ma'am, I've come to apply for the assistant position," said Glory to the receptionist she found just inside the door.
"You--you're awfully young, aren't you?"
Glory shrugged. "I am twenty years old. And more than capable of taking up the post."
The woman smirked. "If you believe that, feel free to place your thumb on the panel and join the queue."
"Thank you, ma'am," she said, and stepped forward to do so.
"The line is right through there," said the woman with am impressed smile. "The waiting room is right through there."
When she stepped through the inner door she found about twenty other people waiting. Some were human, some were humanoid, one was obviously a mechanoid, but not one of them was as young as she was herself. Glory felt a strong bout of nerves coming out, but she was quick to talk herself out of it. She had just graduated at the top of her class; she had just as much right to be there as any of them.
"You're from the planet, aren't you?" asked a woman in her thirties with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. "I've never heard of a Primer who hoped to take a job in space travel."
Glory scoffed. "Have you ever tried to live down there?"
"No, sorry, I have never lived on any world," she said with a slight smirk. "I was born on a ship, and I expect to die on one. Preferably one owned by GalactiCorp if I play my cards well. If not with this captain, then certainly with another."
"What do you mean?"
"GalactiCorp captains come to this station all the time--though I suppose a Primer kid like you wouldn't know that. You must have come up here straight from the schoolroom."
"What if I did? That doesn't make me any less skilled."
"You're wasting your time on this one," she scoffed. "I've got this job hands down. If you want to impress these employers you really have to do your homework. Now this job's mine, of course, but I'm gonna help you out. You want to impress him? You got to impress his libido."
Glory rolled her eyes. "Why is it that everyone I talk to seems to think sex is the only thing that's important here? This guy is in charge of worlds. Ships. So many crew members it isn't even funny. Something tells me that he's got a lot more going for him than just a hard cock."
She laughed. "Look at the mouth on you, little girl! I didn't even think you knew that word."
"Oh, so you think just because I come from a backwater planet out in the middle of nowhere that I'm some sort of an ignorant dirt-pusher? I'll have you know that Regulus Prime has access to the neural grid, same as everybody else. A girl could learn about a lot if you could get the right access codes. Even the forbidden files."
She laughed. "You are much more than you seem, child. If you'll excuse me, my number is flashing on the board."
Glancing up to where the woman pointed at a monitor on the wall, she saw the number ten flashing there, and looked down at her own. Twenty-two. This was going to take forever.
Except that it didn't. Miss braggy-pants wasn't in Richards' office two minutes. Several others were dismissed without ever stepping through the door. People were culled down until just two more applicants were before her own.
"This captain is quite impossible to please," complained the last man who stepped out of his office. "I begin to wonder if he will select any assistant today."
Glory said, "Just because he sent someone away doesn't mean he is displeased. Maybe he's the kind of man whose decisions are not taken lightly."
He cast her a look like she'd gone nuts. "Who is this crazy kid anyway? Kid, have you ever even been to a job interview?"
Glory laughed. "No, sir, this will be my first."
"I don't envy you, then, cutting your teeth on such a man."
While they were talking, the first of the remaining candidates stepped through the door. She, at least, was gone for a couple of minutes before she came out looking every bit as discouraged as the people who had gone before her. Glory began to wonder just exactly what it was the captain was looking for. Was he a man of integrity and intellect, as she hoped, or was he more like the man that woman had described, who was using his power and position as a way to score?
Well, it looked like she was going to find out in another moment. The mechanoid had just been dismissed after only a few moments before, and now there was another number flashing on the board.
It was time for her big chance. Everything was riding on her getting this interview right. She stood up, and her legs barely worked. Her knees literally knocked together as she stepped across the floor. She walked through the doorway to where the live version of Mr. Supernova was seated behind a desk twiddling with a digitex pen. It was casting a hologram of her resume about a foot in front of his face in translucent green letters.
He looked up from the document and saw her face. His jaw dropped for a brief moment before he closed his mouth and shook his head, suddenly laughing.
"Sir? What's so funny?"
"I didn't know the next great lounge act could have test scores that were so astronomical," he replied, sitting forward in his chair. "Have a seat, Miss Star, and see if you can impress me some more."