I was sitting in my kitchen when the doorbell rang. I had been working up the nerve to make some breakfast. As I carefully pulled the door open, I saw a businesslike young woman standing there in a simple gray tailored suit the same color as her eyes. She smiled hesitantly at me, and offered her hand for a handshake.
“Good morning, Ms. Wells. I’m here on business, I’ve been sent by my employers to discuss an issue of some urgent importance regarding your account with us.” I couldn’t think of any investments I had with anyone, but on the other hand she didn’t look at all dangerous or threatening. I was most likely the greater threat anyway.
“Um, sure. Come on in. I was just going to make some breakfast, but...” She seemed to shy away from me slightly as she moved past me, made her way to my kitchen table, and set a briefcase down flat.
“Please have a seat," I said. "Would you like something to drink?” I went to the refrigerator and was taking a mental inventory of what I had to offer her.
“A glass of orange juice, but wait just a moment please." She was … typing?... inside her briefcase.
“Sure, let me just grab a glass, they’re in the cabinet behind you-” I began when, without looking up, she held up one hand in front of me, stopping me mid timid stride, and continued to stare into her briefcase intently, still typing something with her other hand that I couldn't see over its open lid.
“Just one... more... second. No glass just yet. No reason to make this any more difficult than it already is.” Seeming satisfied that I was not going to move until she gave me the signal, she returned both hands to her briefcase for a moment, then suddenly looked up at me with a warm smile, her intent expression disappearing with an almost audible pop. She had a really nice smile.
“There we are," she said softly, "now, about that orange juice? That would be great, thank you.” She closed her briefcase and folded her hands lightly on top of it.
I went to the cabinet and gingerly eased it open. My cabinets had a tendency to enthusiastically eject dishes and glasses if I opened the doors too quickly, sending them to a smashing demise on my kitchen floor. But this morning I was pleased to retrieve a glass without any incident of breakage, and poured her some orange juice. I had been thinking of making eggs and toast, but I didn’t know if I was willing to cook in front of her, either. My cooking, much like my cabinets, had a habit of going awry in unexpected ways.
“You had said something about making breakfast, Ms. Wells. Please don’t let me hold you up, it is the most important meal of the day.” I decided that the safest thing to do was to pour a bowl of cereal.
“Can I offer you anything?”
“Oh, if you were going to make some toast or eggs, I would be most grateful. But please, don’t let me be a bother.” I was caught between very much wanting to make her breakfast and fearing the likely outcome.
I got out the bread and eggs. Did I mention her eyes?
I wouldn’t say I’ve led an afflicted life, but it has had more than its fair share of misfortune -- just an increasing trend of random bad luck, if you could call it that.
I used to. But it reached a tipping point. The bad luck got weirder. It got worse. I started to think perhaps I was cursed. Perhaps I was being tested. Perhaps I was an inherently wicked person and was bringing all of this upon myself without even realizing why or how. Or perhaps there truly was a higher power, punishing me for past sins I could hardly remember or couldn’t bother to recall. It starts to prey on one’s mind when eventually every action, no matter how small, incurs an unequally awful reaction.
I put a small frying pan delicately onto the stove, and watched the coil get red underneath it. I had just gotten an electric stove to replace my gas one. It made me too nervous. I dropped a small pat of butter into the pan, and watched it begin to melt and sizzle. I lifted an egg carefully from the cardboard crate.
Lights always turn red when I approach them. Soda cans explode in my hands before I’ve even touched the tab to open them. I once got locked inside a store when it went out of business while I was trapped in the dressing room where I'd been trying on new pants because my own pair had - you get the idea.
Sure, some of the worse ones make great stories for cocktail parties, but that didn't cut it anymore. For one thing, it became wearying to try to make light of misfortunes that were starting to pile up like cars in rush hour traffic, and for another, it’s hard to tell an amusing story when you have just fish-hooked your cheek on a cocktail toothpick.
One thing that made it worse was whenever I would meet someone who never seemed to get a tough break... People who seemed to have whatever good luck charm it was I lacked. Take, for example, my childhood supposed best friend, Scott Meyer.
When I was younger, I had bad days but they had never felt so... I don’t know… malevolent. Of course it sounds conspiratorial, but there was a strange shift one day, when the bad days and bad luck and bad accidents stopped seeming random, and gained the feeling of something that was somehow attracted to me, intended for and aimed at me specifically. I certainly didn’t need someone near me whose luck was as astoundingly benevolent as mine was persecutory.
Scott and I met in elementary school, before the turn of fortune in my life, when things started to get chaotic. He knew me back when I only had your average luck, no better, no worse. But he immediately caught my attention. He just seemed to always squeak out of things that would have worried me even then. He was just one of those kids who would come back from the principal’s office with a lollipop when others would be clutching detention slips. It could have been fine if Scott were a decent person. If he’d been a great guy, I would have been pleased at his charmed existence, couldn't happen to a nicer dude. If he had just effortlessly reflected back into the world the unending kindness it seemed to shine onto him, he would have been a joy to spend time with and nobody would have resented him for a second. But the fact of the matter is, he was an utter asshole, and there was nothing that made me angrier about my own life -- especially as it began to unravel -- than to watch him absolutely revel in his.
Of course I wrote off this feeling as paranoia. I was nonetheless very cautious, and moved through life with a watchful eye for all possible negative outcomes. Conspiracy theories aside, the fact remained that I seemed to attract bad luck with a frightening alacrity.
So you can imagine my surprise when all four eggs cracked perfectly and easily into my frying pan. Four pieces of toast came from the toaster with a lovely golden crispness, not a single hint of burning or under-doneness. I hadn’t broken a single dish, or lost a yolk onto the floor. I hadn’t filled the kitchen with smoke, set off the fire alarm, burned my hands, bruised my knees, blown a fuse or burnt out an appliance. I had uneventfully and successfully made breakfast for not only myself but someone else, too. I brought the two plates of simple eggs and toast breakfast to the table as a great hero would bring the head of the slain dragon back to the castle.
“That smells good, thank you.” She somehow seemed to appreciate the enormity of what I’d just done, but I figured it was more likely her gratefulness for something to eat. If she was already out on business at this hour, she probably didn’t see a good breakfast too often. I sat down, a little bewildered but grateful and dazedly pleased with myself for so far not having done a single dangerous or humiliating thing in front of this woman, and began to eat my miraculous eggs.
Maybe this accident-free breakfast was the turning point, I silently allowed myself to consider. As I sat and pushed my fork gratefully into my sunny side up egg and watched the softly yielding yolk spill orange and perfect onto my plate, I began to think through the morning. What had made the difference? What had I done that could have turned the pattern around? There must be something, this couldn’t possibly be an accident. Please, don’t let this have been an accident.
I knew what was different. I knew what had disrupted my pattern, what might be the key to my escape.
I looked up at her.
She was already looking at me as my eyes turned up to her, as she seemed to have anticipated my thought. She smiled, and brushed a small crumb from the corner of her mouth.
“These eggs are delicious. You are an excellent cook,” she smiled at me warmly, but her eyes sparkled slightly. She took a sip of orange juice and continued.
“Allow me to explain why I’m here. I have come on behalf of my employers, to alert you to a certain irregularity in your account with us. First, I’d like to give you a little background about the company I represent. How much do you know about Isaac Newton?” I blinked, caught quite by surprise.
“Newton? Like... The physicist? Got aggressed upon by an apple, formulated some laws, named them after himself?” She nodded.
“Yes, of particular interest to us right now would be his third law of physics: That every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Now, what do you know about the ancient Egyptian goddess Ma'at?” This drew a complete blank from me, and I shrugged quietly.
“All right, we’ll begin from there, then. Ma'at was both the concept of benevolent reciprocity and justice, as well as the name of a goddess who embodied those same virtues. She was the symbol of a society and religious order built on the contract of, 'I give that you will give.' This also was known as the do ut des formula of ancient Roman religion, a contract between human and deity of gifts in exchange for gifts. Now, I'm certainly not attempting to proselytize any religious belief system to you. Even if I personally followed one, my employer is quite open about this, we hold that no one faith can claim sole understanding of transcendental truth and that any and all genuine explorations of deeper self knowledge pave the way to inner peace and enlightenment. Please do let me know if I’m moving too quickly for you.” She must have noticed the stunned look on my face.
“Now, you have probably heard about this contract before-- the idea that all actions of an individual bring about positive or negative actions towards them in response. The Golden Rule?” I couldn’t see where this was going.
“So here’s where it gets a little strange for most people: Newton and the ancient Egyptians were actually talking about the same thing. Stand up for a moment, let me illustrate a point.” We stood up, and she lifted my hands to her shoulders, then placed hers against mine. The fabric of her suit made me realize I now knew what it meant for something to feel expensive. It was distractingly good. She almost imperceptibly tapped one of my shoulders with an index finger already resting upon it, and I refocused, blushing slightly.
“Ok, now push against me gently.” I leaned in a little after a hesitant second, and she met my hands with equal pressure towards me. We stood there.
“As long as the force you exert on me is returned equally from me to you, neither of us is unbalanced.” She suddenly stopped pushing against me, and took a step backward.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought that you were going to--” I flushed deeper and mumbled, but she waved her hand airily and smiled as she sat back down.
“No, no, it’s all right. I was illustrating my point. As soon as my return force against you is removed, your force against me affects me whether I want to be or not. Still with me?” I nodded, and sat down again.
“Newton discovered this and explained it in terms of scientific fact, but he was unfortunately hindered by the other scientific discoveries of his time. He saw it acted out on a very gross material scale, with physical objects, like the Newton's cradle toy they named after him. You know, the desk thing with the silver balls hanging from a tiny swing set and they go click-click-click..."
"...Anyway, what I’m saying is, he could only perceive it on the most basic physical level. But what scientists began to discover later is that energy transfer behaves the same way. Energetic forces are also balanced and countered by equal and opposite reactions. The religious observers meanwhile were seeing it on a moral and spiritual level, that actions of the energetic entity bring about returned energy upon that entity. So, Newton saw this effect and explained it in terms of scientific evidence. The Egyptians and ancient Romans discovered this, and explained it in terms of religious and civic morality. But it’s one and the same principle: Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. Otherwise, things get all pushed out of place. This is where my employer comes in.
"I work for an organization that maintains a very careful monitor on all positive and negative energy expenditures that all individuals initiate.” She must have seen the incredulous look on my face, because she laughed and clarified, “We have lots of monitors, a very large staff, and some very good technology. James Bond would be envious of our standard issue.” She seemed particularly pleased about that, as she smiled and placed both hands on her briefcase.
“The system does generally maintain itself, but as the population of the world keeps expanding, and our technology makes it easier to hurl negative -- or positive, of course -- energy at each other at higher speeds and over further and further distances, the organic maintenance that general physics provides has proven to be insufficient. The system is getting pushed out of place. Fortunately, there have been various groups working on this for quite some time, and we have discovered a convenient and easy way to sort of rewire the connections to restore equilibrium and maintain it so that certain unfortunate externalities are avoided. Now, this is where you come in.” She leaned in on the table.
“You have been a relatively innocent victim of a faulty rewiring reciprocal rebound. You see, every now and then, the system gets so far out of synchronization that large gaps appear, and create unnecessary suffering because of them -- externalities. The system undergoes a catastrophic rebalancing and large-scale reciprocal energetic events take place, hurting innocent bystanders in the process.
"Now, the system itself couldn’t be considered to be responsible for this any more than you can blame gravity for choosing to pull something onto your foot if you drop it. On the other hand, the system also serves as a kind of educational tool for humankind - when the positive or negative return is spaced closely enough to the original energy that triggered it, it acts as a sort of behavioral training device, encouraging people to do kind and positive things, and discouraging negative and unkind ones. This isn’t necessarily intentional, it is just one of those interesting organizational aspects of our universe. I don’t pretend to understand the larger connotations of it, but the pattern is there nonetheless, and we act to help stabilize it. Our stabilization techniques are still not perfect, but they are far more effective than they used to be, I assure you.”
I couldn’t imagine how one would begin to ‘rewire’ something so abstract as reciprocal energy. “This doesn’t make any sense... Are you saying there’s some kind of gigantic fuse box somewhere, or maybe one of those old-fashioned operator switchboards, and you can just switch plugs in and out?”
She laughed. “Well, the fuse box is the collective subconscious, the switchboards are paths of energy confluence, and the plugs are polarized energetic exchange, but your analogy is pretty good. We essentially rewire where your energetic output is being directed, and so we can make conscious and calculated decisions to best rebalance the system, as opposed to the organic method which does not rewire connections and only exchanges energy along paths of least osmotic resistance, which as I said, works on a small scale but becomes increasingly unstable as population and interaction rate increase. So, are you good and confused yet?”
I blinked a few times, and then nodded. I wasn’t sure if she was joking with me or not. Nonetheless, I was good and confused, and saw no reason to deny it.
“Okay well one thing I don’t quite understand,” I said, “is how I could have incurred so much nasty energetic debt from birth until I was 15, when this nonsense all started. I mean, I don’t think I’m that bad of a person... Am I?” She started to reach towards me then her hand paused in the air.
“Oh, no! I certainly didn’t mean for you to think that... All of this energy that is being returned to you has been accumulating for... well, quite some time.”
“Just how much time?”
She looked a little uncomfortable. “Well, you see, this is why my employers sent me to talk to you. We owe you a bit of an apology, I’m afraid... You see, we’ve been experimenting with this rewiring thing for a while, but as I said, techniques of energetic recalibration have been fluctuating for some time, and they are still being modified, and at the beginning, the trials weren’t really as standardized or well-documented as they perhaps should have been, and so I’m afraid your particular energetic signature became detached from the system entirely sometime during the 16th century, according to our calculations. We didn’t find the discrepancy and get you reconnected until right around your 15th birthday of this lifetime, which is when you would most likely have started noticing the return of the buildup. The length of your disconnection wasn’t recognized when you were reconnected, and so of course the implications and ramifications of it weren’t even understood. It was done by a lower-level administrative, I’m afraid. He has been thoroughly retrained on the latest procedures, if that makes you feel better...” She laughed uncomfortably.
“Wait, wait, wait. So now you’re telling me that there is scientific proof of reincarnation? You told me your company or whatever doesn’t prescribe to a specific ethos. Now this sounds an awful lot like a pretty religious opinion to me, or at least a spiritual one.”
She laughed more genuinely this time, and her smile was proud if unsurprised, like a teacher who is pleased by an interesting line of inquiry that she could nonetheless easily explain away, but that shows the student’s attentiveness. “Well spotted, Doreen! But everyone within our organization are fully amenable to the idea of reincarnation."
"Even the Christians?"
"Why shouldn’t they be? Jesus was.” She seemed to savor watching my jaw drop open, and she pulled a small Bible with several bookmarks from her briefcase.
“We come prepared to answer any and all questions that may arise during these rare little chats with the public. Now, take a look here at Matthew 17:10- ‘And the disciples asked him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” But he answered them and said, “Elijah indeed is to come and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also shall the Son of Man suffer at their hand.” Then the disciples understood that he had spoken of John the Baptist.’ Jesus was telling them that Elijah had reincarnated as John the Baptist. His disciples understood his message quite clearly. Just because the Roman Church declared his teachings of reincarnation, not to mention several others that could have been quite useful to my employer, to be heresy, well… that didn’t make them untrue or undocumented.” She smiled quietly, and gently closed her bible, slipping it back into her briefcase. Any other questions?”
I blinked. This couldn’t be happening.
“Well, yeah... just one more. What is the upshot of all of this? Ok, I got disconnected from my energetic link with mankind sometime in my past life journey through the 16th century, got plugged back in a decade and a half ago, and so now I’m getting whiplash from the energetic kickback. How long until I’m back to a reasonable amount of bad behavior backlash?” She pulled a slip of paper from her briefcase and examined it closely.
“Well, it would appear that you should reenter equilibrium with the system in 5,475 days or so. So, about... Well, that’s about 15 years? You're halfway there! We do apologize for the inconvenience. Oh, and in case you were wondering about the breakfast, I decided to put a temporary freeze on your reciprocal energy account while we were talking... I’ve never enjoyed watching the suffering of others. I do hope you enjoyed the complimentary reprieve. Now, here’s your receipt indicating that we did contact and inform you of the malfunction. I do hope things work out for you. And don’t worry, it will fly by and you’ll be back to normal in no time. Thank you so much for the eggs. Good morning!” She stood and clicked her briefcase closed, swiveling it to her side as she turned and strode from my kitchen.
Just as she was about to walk out my door, I moved impulsively towards the door, and I found myself calling after her.
“Wait! I can’t just sit and wait for this to resolve itself. I.... I refuse to!” I had no idea what I was trying to do, I held no cards with which to bargain my way into anything, and on some level, I knew this, even as I delivered my ultimatum.
“I … I know enough about your operation from what you told me to expose it," I blurted, trying to sound menacing. "It might take me a while, and people might think I’m crazy at first, but I am persistent and I strongly believe that I could fully expose and ruin your business in less than the 15 years you’re asking me to wait.” I held my breath as she slowly turned back toward me in my doorway.
“You have no idea how pleased we are to hear it.” She smiled a large but pleasant smile, and came back into my house.
“There is one way to negate reciprocal energetic repercussions in an individual’s file, and that is to take up employment with us at the company. But we are not allowed to offer anyone a position directly - remember our proselytization rule? - they must approach the company or an authorized company representative with an offer we can’t refuse, and I would say exposure and possible dissolution of the company qualifies. Wouldn’t you? Of course you would.” She flashed me another very big and exciting smile, and patted my shoulder.
I sat down in my kitchen and waved a hand vaguely at the other chair, which she took gracefully, settling fluidly into it while lifting her case back onto my table.
“Well, are you... qualified? I mean, can you really fix this?” She inhaled slowly as she lifted the case open and slid more folders out of its inner accordion pockets. She wordlessly slid a form and an elegant pen across the formica towards my hands, then made sudden strong eye contact with me and winked at me, strongly and decisively. I blinked a confused expression at her, then turned my attention to the paper:
Official Employment Application and Summons for (Summonee Name:_Doreen_Wells_):
To be presented directly to aforementioned summoned party (hereafter ‘Applicant’) by an official, qualified Representative.
Welcome. We hope you are able to accommodate quickly and with minimal difficulty to your duties and position. Should you encounter any difficulties, please feel free to consult your immediate manager to be referred to the proper division for assistance.
Hereafter is contained a list of duties, privileges, and expectations now appointed to the Applicant.
I: Applicant is immediately and summarily a full employee of the company upon receipt of this document. Identification and Access Card are to be immediately distributed.
“Wait,” I paused in my reading, “I’m just employed now? With whom? By whom? I don’t get to think it over, I don't have to sign anything? THEY don't have to sign anything?” She raised an eyebrow lightly, and led my eyes back to the paper in my hands with a glance.
II: Employment may be terminated at any time by Applicant, with all residential, non-employee citizen rights and privileges fully restored in conjunction with any and all remaining energetic debt restored fully and immediately to Applicant’s record.
So, they’d caught my ultimatum and volleyed with one of their own. She inhaled and sighed softly as I continued reading,
III: Applicant is hereby appointed the position Associate Redistribution Executor, as per standard position hierarchy within company mandates. Applicant’s duties follow:
a. Receipt and full acknowledgment of localized reciprocal incursion by parties within Applicant’s assigned client list. (List to be provided upon Applicant’s arrival and orientation at Central Offices.)
b. Assignment of appropriate, poetically just redistribution method best suited to manner and intent of infraction as perceived by Applicant; a full and unambiguous procedural description of said method to be prepared and delivered by Applicant to Reciprocal Redistribution Services representative.
c. Maintenance and subtraction of duly redistributed incurrences from clients’ files.
d. Periodic update of clients’ statistics and dossiers biannually or following major life alteration, whichever comes first.
Welcome again, we look forward to a productive and mutually beneficial professional relationship. Good luck, and good intentions!
I laid the paper down on the table slowly, and looked up at the woman across from me. She folded her hands on top of her briefcase and straightened her posture in the chair, addressing me in a gentle and formal tone.
“Do you have any questions, Ms. Wells?” I was a little taken aback by her suddenly professional and distant attitude, though I still perceived a glint in her eye behind the demeanor.
“Well, it mentions here that my access and identification card will be immediately issued.” She nodded and looked in her briefcase. She reached into it, and pushed a small card across the table to me. It was a nondescript ID card with my picture and name, but no name or company logo. In fact, apart from the picture and printed name beneath it, the card was entirely blank, front and back. More than that, the photo was an unfortunate one, as my expression was one of baffled, dumb confusion. I wondered when on earth such an awful picture had been taken, but as I examined it more closely, I dimly made out my own kitchen cabinets behind me, and realized I was wearing the same shirt.
“Hey, wait, this-” She made the same concentrated eye contact she’d made with me a few minutes earlier, and again winked at me with a decisive and precise movement of her right eyelid, and this time I thought I perceived the faintest of clicks. She then popped her briefcase open, and handed me an 8x10” glossy photograph of me sitting at my kitchen table, looking out toward the camera with a similarly confused expression.
“So... do I get one of those?” She laughed, the first break in her professional facade since handing me my contract, and nodded.
“Yes, you’ll get one of these. Some other things, as well...” She leaned in slightly, and lowered her voice. “...that are even cooler." I had leaned in as well, but had nothing to bid in return except a murmured echo of "yeah, cool."
“So,” I sat back and segued in what I hoped came across as the tone of a woman temporarily caught off-guard but who had quickly recovered her signature charm and brilliant wit, “I don’t even know your name. If we’re going to be working together, after all...”
She glanced up at me and said flatly, “We won’t be. Applicants are never placed with the representative they approached for the position. It’s caused tremendous trouble in the past. But if you think it will help you in the future, my name is Tabby.”
“Ah, like the cat.”
“No, like the silk,” and I didn’t have time to ask for clarification before she continued, “now come on, we have to get to headquarters. Got a closet?”
“Oooh, are we going to beam out of here like Star Trek?”
She inhaled slowly. “No, I just need a wire coat-hanger. My car is outside, and I locked the keys in it when I came in. You didn't seem the sort of person to have a jimmy or picks on-site. So, closet?”
I watched her, fascinated, as she unwound the wire hanger she'd scavenged and then plucked the lock mechanism of the car door open with what seemed a very practiced hand.
“Do this often?” I inquired. She didn’t reply, but gestured at the passenger door and so I climbed into the car next to her. I suddenly realized I’d left the house with only my contract and new identification card, the two things I’d been clutching unconsciously for the last several minutes.
“Oh, hang on, I’ve left my wallet and phone in the house--” She pulled away from the curb so quickly that I could hear the tires spinning in place for a moment before they caught a hold on the pavement. As we lurched onto the avenue, she flipped open a small tab on her dashboard.
“Now we’re going to beam out of here like Star Trek,” she said with the biggest grin yet, and she pressed the small blinking button.
With a strange melt into brilliance like celluloid blistering away in a projector, I watched the neighborhood around me peel back and shrink in large receding circles. As my eyes slowly adjusted to the blank whiteness in front of me, I saw that we were sitting in a pristine, white tile parking garage. Tabby was already climbing out of the car. I reached to unfasten my seat belt, found I’d never put it on, and slowly unfolded myself from the car.
“Welcome to Headquarters. This is just the garage, of course. You’ll most likely come in by shuttle. But we’ll take care of all of that later. Let’s go up and introduce you around, shall we?” We got into what seemed to me an awfully ordinary-looking elevator, and rode up several floors.
Several people glanced up as Tabby and I walked past, but most didn’t say anything and just went back to their computers and papers as we moved by them. A few said a quiet greeting, some reached up and squeezed Tabby’s hand as she reached them, but most of them paid us next to no attention.
“I don’t know which is stranger, all the fabulous sci-fi toys, or the completely normal office they all come out of,” I murmured to Tabby as we strolled past desks and offices.
“Oh, this isn’t our department, this is just accounting. I think you’ll find things a little more interesting upstairs. I just wanted you to get an idea of the size of the company, so that maybe you’d be a bit more sympathetic to the bookkeeping error.”
I laughed. “As long as I get one of those cameras, I’ll forgive almost anything.”
“Well, let’s hope so,” she said softly.
She led me into a large, lovely office and gestured to a chair.
“Please have a seat, I’m sure your supervisor will be with you any moment.” I sat down, and watched as she moved swiftly behind the large cherry wood desk and sat down in the large, soft leather seat.
“Now then, Ms. Wells. My name is Tabby, and I will be your new supervisor here.” She gave me a lovely cat-caught-canary grin.
“Oh now wait, you told me-” She laughed.
“Rules were made to be broken. Now, as you have a good deal of experience in disconnection cases, and as I have made it my business to know a good deal about your personal file, I think I have found a good first assignment for you. It will be a bit of a baptism by fire, but I think it’s nothing you can’t handle. This particular case has yet to be reconnected to the network, and we need someone to do some of the particulars on the nature and timing of the energetic redistribution. Does that sound like something you think you can handle? We need an eye for some particularly poetic justice.” I smiled.
“Well, poetry is one of those things I’ve always had a knack for,” I said and grinned leaning forward in return. She smiled, and slid a manilla envelope across the desk to me, with a tab across the top that read 'Meyer, Scott.'