Sting Marydel and the Cliffs of Anterior, Part 4

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Sting was fast with a door slam. He had practiced on ex-girlfriends, bullies, evangelists, and, once, the cops. But the woman from NABU was faster with her foot, at least when she was expecting it, which she clearly was.

“Mr. Marydel, it is very important that you listen to us.”

Her boot was not getting out of the door. Sting opened it again. “What, national security, safety of the world, that sort of thing?”

She smirked at him. “Very few teenagers are all that interested in saving the world these days. Even if we had a true emergency on our hands, we might be hard-pressed to recruit based on young people’s altruistic urges. No. I want to appeal to your vanity and sense of adventure, your desire to get out of your parents’ house, and your clear lack of interest in attending college. No submitted applications,” she answered before Sting could ask.
“And? Why me? I don’t like fighting, I tend to lose.” It wasn’t exactly true. He’d gotten a lot better at not losing in the last few years, but that was a far cry from winning. “I’m not Army material. I told the recruiter that at the booth, too.” Why wouldn’t she just go away? The rain was dripping down her head and down her team’s wires. That couldn’t be good for anyone.

“We don’t recruit from the same pool as the Army, and Army recruits are almost always unsuited to work for us. Tell me, how much do you know about NABU?”

“Enough to know you’re all experimental stuff. Nobody’s making mechs yet commercially, not even in prototype. And ‘unknown power source’ is just asking for trouble!”

“All of this is true. Now, tell me – how do you know all that?”

Shit. Sting swallowed. “Uh… web search?”

“Mmm-hrrm. And that, Mr. Marydel, is why we want you. It’s also why you’re going to end up signing up with us.”


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