Human Resources: Just Enough
rating: +19+x

"You definitely have a very impressive resume," she said, eyeing the papers up and down in awe.

Dr. Luxall's CV was a body of Adonis in itself, from his three—yes, three!—PhDs and his prior experience with the UIU. He had received awards, commendations—most of them in secret, of course—but anyone who was anyone in the realm of anomalous psychology knew Dr. Luxall's name. There were Foundation guidelines he had penned himself. Multiple containment files of which he had seen the creation. He had even contributed to the design of two Keter-class containment units and personally oversaw the containment design and subsequent reclassification of an anomalous object from Keter to Safe—a feat accomplished by few.

He tried to sound humble as he sipped his paper cup of hot tea. "I appreciate that. I'm only where I am now because of the people who came before me laying the groundwork."

She nodded. Dr. Luxall honestly didn't know what to make of her. Petite, possibly athletic build. Hard to tell underneath her suit. A firm but polite demeanor. No ring, no indent on her finger—single, for a while at least. Slight redness between her eyebrows. Evidence of waxing? A potential there for self-confidence issues. Perky breasts, though it was hard to judge through her suit. No glasses, but the thin line of contact lenses. She also—

"There's a lot of trust put in you, Doctor. The kind of trust that puts you here. Human Resources doesn't headhunt directors out of anything less than the best."

"Nor would anyone expect you to," he replied with a smile. Time to get down to the brass tacks.

"You've had quite the career, Doctor. You seem to like to take on some of the biggest challenges we have. And then, of course, out of work, it's the same." She leaned in, her eyes squinting like she was sharing the juciest gossip. "Is it true you climbed La Dura Dura without a harness?" She was showing off now—displaying how much she knew of his outside life. Trying to put him on the defensive. It would never work. His demeanor was unbreakable.

He laughed. "No, no, I'd never do it without a harness. There's never an adrenaline rush that's worth such a huge safety risk." A safe, calculated answer. The answer of someone who only takes the right kind of risks.

She took in a deep breath through her nose. "You're very confident in your abilities to perform the tasks required of you." It wasn't a question. it didn't need to be. "So let's discuss this." From her paperwork, she produced a single sheet. She slid it across the table.

The color drained from Dr. Luxall's face.


The text was scrawled, somewhat haphazardly, across the page. It wasn't possible. It was. Not. possible.

"I iterate," She said, rising from the desk, "That we don't headhunt out of anything less than the best. For that matter, Site Directors are investigated on an unimaginably deep level. We don't just probe your records, Dr. Luxall."

Luxall was already playing out multiple possible ways to escape from this hell unscathed, though few seemed practical. And if they'd been inside his head, they probably already knew what his evasion tactics were. He stalled. "Can you explain what this is?" he said, as calmly as his demeanor could muster. "Because I'm not sure I get it."


"I'm not here to play games with you, Dr. Luxall. You know what this is. You know which of these containment files you have access to, which ones you don't, and which ones you shouldn't know about at all."

He swallowed involuntarily. "So you…went in my head, found a piece of information, and assumed its context?"

She walked around the desk. Daintily—delicately, even—she leaned against the desk and picked up the paper. "Oh, there's no assumptions. There are pictures, Dr. Luxall. pictures of your fantasies." She sneered. "If you'd believe it, lists like this in one's head are relatively normal. The friends and coworkers and acquantances we know who we secretly fantasize about. Who we'd risk our marriages and jobs and situations for. But you…" She traced a finger over the paper. "There are no names. Only numbers."


There was silence for a long time. Luxall was sure that his heart was beating loud enough to be heard.

She spoke again. "Have you ever wondered why you've never been assigned to these objects, Dr. Luxall? As such an expert in anomalous psychology it's certainly crossed your mind that for some reason you never get assigned to these."

He looked up, fixing her with a glare. "So you've known this a long time." The game was up. more room for pretense.

"And you might have been perfectly fine, Doctor. You might have been able to just live with your fantasies. But then, you started scheduling consults, didn't you? Utilizing your authority to get a foot in the door for some off-the-record consults. And that is a problem." Her explanation was calm and measured. "Who approved that consult, Doctor? Had to have been someone with a decent amount of influence, I'd imagine."

Luxall's skin was burning, feeling like it was peeling from his bones. "Armstrong," he replied. "Agent Armstrong asked me personally. I didn't request it or anything—"

"But you took advantage of it, didn't you?" Her voice was ice as she tapped one of the numbers on the page. "She told me what she saw."


She opened her laptop and turned on the camera, turning the screen to face him. His own pallid, sweaty face stared back at him.

He "What—"

She was fast. Her foot, with its vicious heel, found Luxall's stomach. He doubled over, screaming, as his body exploded into pain with the sudden traumatic invasion. Her hand was at his throat and her lips were at his ear. "You are a waste of a human being." The pain was so intense he could barely feel the grip of her fingers around his throat. "Do you like the thrill of it, Dr. Luxall? That is the root of your fantasy, isn't it. THe thrill of…touching the supernatural. You just didn't expect it to touch you back."

She dropped him on the floor, leaving him squirming on the carpet. Walking to the desk, she put the papers away in a folder and then put something into a small case and into her pocket.

His heart was racing. No, not racing…absolutely pounding. He was sweating. He was cold. He was hot. He was——

"Overdosing," he coughed out. "Epinephrine?"

Things were becoming bright. And swimming. His blood pressure was skyrocketing. Any moment how he'd go into cardiac arrest, or have an aneurism. "You can't…you'll…"

"I can," she corrected. "You're not the first and you won't be the last." She turned the computer to be sure Luxall remained inside its field of view. Luxall squirmed in the chair, fighting the pain between his legs and the creeping darkness around his eyes as the room shuddered and then went dark. Luxall folded over in the chair and slumped onto the floor, blood dropping from his ear and eyes.

She turned off the webcam, clicked on the video, and uploaded it.

Kristina was a psychic. That had been the determination when she was almost seven years old. An unhappy child, she talked to herself and to people who weren't there. She knew when her parents were angry or resented her. She used words she had never read. And she knew things—things a girl her age should not possibly know.

So her parents had called an expert.

It took one single round of tests for them to determine, unequivocally: The child was a psychic. The voices she was hearing were in the heads of those around her. And she needed very specialized care. A government agent contacted her parents, telling them that they had a place for people like her, where she could be an asset to protecting freedom and the American Dream. She would be paid well. She would be cared for and protected.

Her parents said no.

It's an interesting thing, when you examine how people react to opportunity. Some squander it, some cherish it cautiously, and some sieze it, squeezing it for every drop it is worth. This last option is the route chosen by Kris' parents.

Each weekend, her dad put her in a car and took her somewhere. Sometimes it was a long trip, the hours spent winding through forests and hills and small towns, while other times it was less than an hour and a few highway exits away. But they were always the same kind of place: loud, smoky, and with lots of tables. Not large establishments, with ID checks at every door—those would not do. the places to go were ones where "I've got custody this weekend, ya know" would merit a pitiful guffaw and a seat at any number of card games where, with careful whispers into daddy's ear, he tended to come out ahead.

He was a smart player. He didn't win every hand. But he won more than he lost and, when the bets were big, that was enough. Just enough.

"Armstrong again." Scranton's brow was furrowed in concentration as Lee adjusted strings on the investigation board. The board only held a few things: the faces of Drs. Luxall and Winthrop, an image of Agent Armstrong, a

"His reach was longer than we originally thought," Kris replied, closing her laptop bag. "And in every case, he targeted people in the Foundation who already had issues. It's almost like…like…"

"Like a whistleblower?" Scranton looked away, seeming to zone out for a moment. "Pointing out the flaws in the Foundation so we have to use the resources changing protocols and replacing people."

Kris started toward the door, glancing back as two D-class personnel entered the office to begin cleanup of her meeting. "There had to be a reason. A bigger plan. Where's the connection? An electronics HMCL. A Psychologist. A containment specialist. Different levels of the organization, different departments, different locations. Why is the Chaos Insurgency helping us take out the trash?"

Scranton said nothing until reaching the door of the secured site, had signed out, and exited the facility. "Kris."

"Hm?" Kris glanced at her phone and dismissed three more Fred notifications.

Scranton stopped, taking out their hawkbill pipe. "You know I wouldn't have authorized this," they said, gesturing to the facility entrance. "Had it not been for the context. I do not like terminating employees in this manner."

She put her phone away. "But you approved it. And I'm fine," she added with more than a hint of indignation in her tone. "I do my job."

"And sometimes more than your job." Scranton lit and puffed on the pipe. "Go see your sister."

"Scranton," Kris protested, "We have to find out more about who else Armstrong came into contact with. I don't have time to—"

Scranton held up a hand. "You will make time."

Kris glared for a few long moments. "Why?"

"Because you are not a tool here like you were at the UIU. I need you at your best and you're not if you're distracted. I'll see you back at the office tomorrow."

OONeverAgain updated her Showcase: https://jack.███@@/NeverAgain/Showcase + - Score: +117


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