I was so excited it didn’t even bother me that the inside of the building was rather boring and a little old-fashioned, instead of the gleaming monument to futurism I expected. It didn’t even slow me down to discover that I was only there for an interview. I was actually here!
I smiled at everyone. The security guards, the janitors, anyone who I happened to pass in the hallways and see in the elevator, the guy that told me where to go and how to get there, and even to everyone in the room when I got there. There was about 12 or 15 of us by the time we’d all arrived. I think I even bounced in my chair a little as I waited.
The girl sitting ahead of me to my left was unbelievably cute. A little shorter than me and curvy, with black hair that looked actually dyed rather than just an avatar color adjustment. She also had tattoos. There was an augmented element to them, but most of them looked real. An octopus wrapped around her arm writhed it’s tentacles and looked around.
She didn’t reveal much of her profile besides her name, Helena, and that she was reading a N•Vel as she waited. My heart leapt when I saw it was a book that took place in the Zombalien universe. Her clothes were simple and black, unbranded, and accentuated her figure beautifully.
There was one other person that caught my attention as he walked in. He’s clearly a fan of turn of the century anime. His augmented reality suit was rippling dramatically in the non-existent breeze. He wore tiny half-moon shades just under his slightly enlarged eyes, and his hair was orange spikes except for a fringe that stuck down at an angle half over his left eye. The N•Viron tagged him as Psi•Man, a rather obnoxious nickname. He dropped into a chair next to mine, one knee up. He rested an elbow on the knee allowing his hand to flop casually toward his crotch.
His performance was so distracting I didn’t really pay much attention to anyone else. At that point Fred walked in accompanied by Abrahm, the project manager. They introduced themselves politely, which is unnecessary because we could all recognise Abrahm from the N•Viron feeds about the Hermes project, and I assume we all met Fred in person. plus, of course, they were both tagged.
It amused me to notice Fred’s profile was now fully public, while it had been mostly private, much like Helena’s, when I had been repairing everything for him. He welcomed us all warmly and explained that the interview process would be a little unusual, basically involving a tour of the facilities while he and Abrahm gauged our responses, our attitude and general enthusiasm.
There was a little more to it than that, but I was distracted by Helena moving forward in her chair to listen. Ichecked myself when I noticed Psy•Man was checking her out too. He winked at me to acknowledge he’d seen me.
Luckily I didn’t have much time to dwell on it as we then all left for the tour, which was an awesome overload of information. The N•Viron took longer than usually to tag what we were looking at since very few people had ever gotten to see it. Fred pointed out and described some of the equipment before the system had a chance. Most of it had been designed by Fred specifically for the project.
We got to see early design and a scale model of the gateway. Sadly, not a working model since it would interfere with the real thing. It used augmented reality to simulate the effect. There were also concept sketches of the Hermes orbiting station and detailed plans of the upgrade. Including original handwritten notes where they calculated the spinning speed and distance necessary for the habitat ring and nested counterbalance ring to produce a realistic gravity without tearing the spacecraft apart. There was even an actual EMv3 engine.
Psy•Man kept barging ahead of me, claiming I had the best view. He must have decided we were friends because he sent me a chat with images of a busty technician. I tried to give him a meaningful look to make him knock it off, but he just winked and pointed toward the woman with a leer.
Once the tour was over they sent us home, advising that we’d be notified if we’d advanced to the next stage of the hiring process. I’ve spent most of the rest of the day too nervous to breath even, but I just got notice that I’m to be there tomorrow at 8am sharp, just as I am with no avatar. I’ve barely bothered with mine since Tanisha anyway. I wonder what Psy•Man will look like?