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Meredith's Miscellany

Meredith's Mischief

Avendel: The Job Interview

The rain dances in the blowing wind, prancing to the beat it makes plunging to certain death. I feel the spray. I feel the pain. I feel the rain as it eats through the acid-resistant coating on my environmental protection gear and wonder what it feels like splashing on bare skin, or, more specifically, what it would feel like if it weren't toxic to the touch.

It is rumored that on old Earth people were able to walk in the rain without fear of being permanently disfigured or dying, but having spent all my life on Avendel, it's hard to believe those old tales. Besides, from what I remember, old Earth was hardly a paradise compared to the wonders of here. There were no sentient plants on Earth, no wandering rocks, no water sprites or any of the other wonders of Avendel. Sounds dreadful.

Still, some of the old literature is intriguing and the idea of walking in the rain or this odd thing called snow, the thought of desert tempts me and sometimes I wonder… but that's hardly on topic.

Nope, today I need to focus on my upcoming interview. I'm pretty lucky, really. It's not everyday that the perfect job drops out of nowhere and chooses you. Of course, it's not guaranteed that it's mine. First there's the interview, but I never have problems in interviews. The way it usually works is if I get to the interview portion of things, the job's mine. This time might be different, but I doubt it. I've done my research on the company, the position and the people who work there. I even know the interviewer's favorite color and food. I'm in. I just can't blow it!

Most people think of the toxic rain as a curse, but for me it's always been a blessing. Not only does it nourish my friends; it's always been an answer, a comfort. It has rained on most of the happiest days of my life and I take this as a sign that my interview will go well. I just need to be sure that I avoid the inevitable puddle that's at the end of the walk.

I'll never understand why the designers of the city didn't plan better, but we should be happy we have cities at all, given the history of our planet. But that's another tangle of things I don't want to get lost in. I'll just say I'm glad we figured out what the plants were saying before there was all-out war because I know we wouldn't have won. You learn these things when one of your close friends is a 1000 year old Fragat.

"Look out!" I whirl myself against the corroded wall of the building as a water sprite goes skimming by, leaving a terrible splash in his wake. I sigh. What else is there to do? At least he warned me he was coming, that's more than most of them. Or maybe I'm just being bitter. After all you can only need to get burned by a sprite once to get over their nominal charms. But they do bring in a fair number of tourist dollars, so I really can't complain.

Peeling myself from the wall with which my suit was attempting to become one, I reclaim my path to the Voga building, perhaps one of the most fascinating buildings in all the known worlds, if you're into that sort of thing.

The Voga building had started its life as a citadel built by the early human settlers, back before they made peace with the Fragats and sprites. Actually, it was begun before they realized that the Fragats were an intelligent race. For some reason, humans didn't, and for the most part still don't, seem to believe that plants can be sentient.

The base was made of local rock, some of which caused great unrest when they wandered away in the middle of the night. Naturally the original settlers were too busy thinking about little things like survival to pay much attention to the fact that some of the rocks wandered from place to place on their own.

These early escapades amused the Fragats until the humans, in their thirst for building materials, cut a Fragat down. There are non-sentient trees on Avendel, but the early human settlers couldn't make that distinction. Whether incapable of distinguishing sentience or just plain arrogant, the humans ignored the early warnings and drove the creatures of Avendel to unite against them. It was, in fact, a small human child that prevented the destruction of the humans. For, though it took quite a while for them to believe, eventually the humans paid attention to this child which resulted in the signing of a peace treaty at the Voga site and now the bonds between human and Fragat were long established. As a side benefit, children on Avendel received a higher degree of respect and honor than children in most other cultures I've studied. This higher regard as children leads to more mature, well rounded, open-minded adults, at least in my opinion.

But back to the Voga. After the signing of the treaty, the purpose of the building changed and it was made an open sanctuary to all creatures of Avendel. Through the years, however, it was built up and offices were eventually created which house many of the more profitable companies on planet and off.

That's why I'm so excited to be headed there. I have an interview with Comet Tail, Inc, which is only the most widely respected archiving company in the known worlds!

Granted, the position for which I'm interviewing isn't what I really want, but you have to start somewhere & data archiving is the quickest path to the really interesting jobs. I just need to impress the interviewer and my boss. I know I can do it, I'm a whiz when it comes to doing data archiving, but then, if rumors are true, compared to the archiving techniques used at Comet Tail, I know nothing. The crystals they use for the data are rumored to be too complex to be duplicated and no one has ever broken their security codes. This in and of itself is cool, but one of the jobs they offer in the data division is trying to break those codes and get the data.

Of course, where I really want to work is in the antiquities. They are cool. You have all the great parts of working with ancient arifacts without the hassle of having to dig them up yourself.

Comet Tail preserves and stores them. This means if I can get in there, I get to handle things most people only see on screen or in 3-d. Of course, I'm sure there are even more complicated ways that they have to store the actual aricles, after all, those, as well as the data crystals are taken up on a weekly basis and placed in the storage in the tail of the Peace Comet. Oddly the stable core and orbit of the Peace Comet would seem to make it an easy target, but, from the number of people who havne't succeeded in getting into those facilities, I think flying into the tail of a comet and breaking through the security is far outside the realm of possibilities for most people.

I reach the door of the Voga building and pause. This is it. The knots in my stomache pull more tightly as I pull the door open.

The smell of warmth and life surrounds me, silence embracing me. But it isn't really silence, just a sustained calm, amplified by the noisy rain which I just departed.

Looking around I see very little has changed. People are sitting on the cleverly placed benches which give the illusion of privacy while being in plain sight. Young children played quietly with their toys, evolving worlds of which only they could dream. A class was touring the historical area, making the rounds and reviewing all the wonders of Avendel history. And I stand absorbing it all. This was the moment I'd been waiting for. A few short steps would bring me to the lifts and then to the doorstep of Comet Tail, Inc.

With the weight of hope, joy and anxiety, weighing even more heavily on me than they had outside, I stripped my enviromental suit off and dispose of it in the appropriate receptical, I hope. I'm far more nervous than I though. Yep, got it in the right one. That's something at least.

Come one, Temporal. You've walked before. Just one foot in front of the other. This isn't the end. You'll do fine. And why am I giving myself pep-talks? Deep breath. I can do this.

Lift your chin. You are anyone's equal and can do anything you put your mind to. Better look out, Comet Tail, I'm on my way.

Now if only I don't pass-out from nerves.