Saturday, August 15, 2015

Crossed Off: Confidentiality Agreement (Part VI)

Once Kathleen had all of the information, she put on her game face and took charge. She ordered Tristan to go fill the car up with gas so that Alec could take a shower, then she started packing Starla’s clothes for her. Reading Kathleen into the situation was probably the best decision she ever made. She had become instantly protective of Starla. She zipped up the suitcase and carried it over to the door, looking outside to find that her brother had not yet returned. “Who is the closest geographically of your confidants?”
“Well, that would be Marissa in Winnipeg, Manitoba,” Starla answered. “Why?”
She looked at her watch as Tristan was pulling up. “You can trust these people, right?”
“Well, yeah, I can. But Marissa is even younger than me. I’ve become friends with her parents, but it took some time and convincing.”
“I hope it was enough. You should go up there, as long as the people from Hudson aren’t aware of her.”
“They’re not, but I’m not so sure about this. I mean, that man told me to stay away from people I don’t already know.”
“You barely know them. You’ve not met this woman who knows languages, and who knows who else they’re bringing?”
“Don’t you trust Denton?”
“No. It’s not like we’re married or anything.”
Starla had no argument, but still wasn’t sure this was enough to run off. She was just getting comfortable in Kansas City. She wasn’t being stalked by the government, or some other shadowy organization. She just wasn’t certain about a small group of normal people who hadn’t given her reason to fear them.
Kathleen could sense her persistent hesitation. “Tristan found this guy and his people in the area, right?”
“If for nothing else, you should put some kilometers between you and them. Like, maybe around 1300. If one of them is worried about the others, then we should be worried about them too.”
“That makes sense.”
She looked at her watch as Tristan was walking up the steps. “I’m sure Alec is almost out of the shower. It’ll take you about seven hours to get there, so Tristan and I will help you get into the car now.”
“Thanks for this, Kathleen.”
“Don’t mention it. You’re family.”
After asking Marissa's parents for permission to visit her in person, Starla received a sort of telepathic call from another of her confidants, Sendoa Michel who lived near the edge of Bayonne. He had just gotten back home from a day of looking for work and was trying to relax on his balcony. Hey, Starla. How’s it going?
Not the best. I’m closing ranks, and going to see Marissa. You haven’t told anyone else about us, right?
Of course not, he replied. Tell me what happened.
Well, what happened with you?
We’ll get to that later.
Both Tristan and I found other people with abilities. One of them told me that I should basically not trust anyone else for the rest of my life.
That sounds kind of harsh, but I can’t say that I’m totally against it.
Are you surprised that I’m not alone?
He shrugged his shoulders. It would be a grand statistical anomaly if you were the only one.
Starla agreed. Did you need me for something?
Well, I have been having this strange feeling about a meeting that’s coming up. It’s a super secret job offer of some kind. I’m not supposed to tell anyone that it’s even happening, and you telling me that you’ve just discovered others like you has only got me worried more.
Why would it worry you? Besides it being so mysterious? she added.
I don’t think it has anything to do with you, but when they contacted me, it just reminded me of when you and I first met, and when I first met Alec. Ya know, just the way they talked.
I don’t understand.
The job is in Usonia, Starla. It’s a factory in the middle of nowhere in a place called Brazil, Indiana. Hell they want with a guy like me? I hear the owner is originally from Spain, but his hometown is over an hour and a half away. I’m concerned that he may know about you.
Maybe you’re just suspicious of everyone you meet, like I’m becoming now.
Yeah, maybe.
Do you want me to stay for the meeting? Starla asked.
If you’re not busy.
I’m just riding with Alec. Here, say hi. Starla pulled Sendoa all the way into her body. “Hi, Alec, it’s Sendoa.”
“Nice to meet you, Sendoa. Are you one of Starla’s multiple personalities?”
“What?!” Sendoa yelled from Starla’s body.
“I’m kidding,” Alec said with a laugh. “We’ve all become so uptight and serious. Let’s try to get back to the joy of life.”
Sendoa didn’t reply.
“Never mind. Go back to whatever you two were talking about. I’m just the driver.”
“Right...” Starla and Sendoa went back to France together. That was weird, he said.
We are all really stressed out, she explained.
There was a knock on the door.
You’re meeting here? she asked.
Yes, just another weird thing. Stay here with me, but don’t say anything.
I won’t, I promise.
Sendoa opened the door and let two men inside. They introduced themselves as Kip and Alonso Silva.
“I’m sorry to overstep, but I’m not sure what this is about,” Sendoa admitted after offering them drinks and a place to sit.
“Honestly,” Kip said, “I’m not sure about this either. But Mister Silva here thinks that you could help us.”
“Don’t be rude.” He turned to Sendoa. “A friend I knew in secondary school has mentioned you before,” Alonso said. “She told us how you cared for her in college, and kept her secret about how she grew up with Amadesin parents.”
“I am known to be a confidant of sorts, yes.”
Starla accidentally took control of Sendoa’s body when she laughed, which meant that, from the visitor’s perspectives, he was the one laughing. Sendoa took control back and coughed apologetically. “Sorry about that. I have many secrets.”
“We’re counting on that. And we’re hoping you could keep one more.” Alonso gave his associate the floor, “Kip?”
Still hesitant, Kip went into his pitch. “We are in need of further employees at our factory. One of our managers is leaving us because her wife got a job on the other side of the country. You see, Mister Michel, we have an extremely low number of employees. Most of production is...automated. We simply must retain at least eleven people in management, or we fall apart. It takes a very long time for us to hire someone new under normal circumstances, but we do not have a lot of time. We would need you to start right away, and we need to be able to trust you from this day on.”
Alonso continued the pitch, “I remembered our mutual friend talking about you, and knew that you were our best option for our confidentiality requirements.”
“Look,” Sendoa began, “I actually know what it’s like to work somewhere that required confidentiality. I won’t even tell you about it. That’s how reliable I am. I assure you that, whatever it is, I can and will keep trade secrets from the outside. I could leave the job later with bad blood, and I still wouldn’t tell anyone what I know. You most certainly can trust me.”
Alonso looked to Kip who gave a nod of approval, clearly still worried that they weren’t able to process him the way that they were used to. “Okay, then I suppose it’s time for me to show you,” Alonso said, standing up.
“Show me what?”
“Please do not freak out,” Kip urged him.
Alonso pulled a hair out of his own head and blew on it. A confused Sendoa lost track of it as it drifted away, but soon it showed itself more clearly. A gray light shone from the floor and expanded until revealing a door out of which Alonso’s clone came out and shook Sendoa’s hand.
Tristan had been right about René’s people, and Starla had been right about there being people with special abilities that didn’t have anything to do with just having a better brain. He’s even more amazing than I am, she said through their psychic connection.
“This is the secret you would have to keep,” Kip told him. “This is why we have so few employees. Most of the work is done by guys like our friend here.”
Sendoa smiled widely. “When do I start?”

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