Sting Marydel and the Cliffs of Anterior, Part 7

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If he’d been asked an hour earlier what he expected from NABU, Sting wouldn’t have been able to answer. Robots, maybe, scary labs, maybe, guys in blood-splattered white coats laughing manically, maybe?

Two seconds after stepping into the NABU office, he had an answer: Not this. Not what looked like a high-end doctor’s office, with soothing paint and a receptionist with an expensive updo and three designer data ports. The frosted glass behind her declared it to be NABU Offices, and her desk had the US Army coat of arms in the front, but other than that, Sting found himself expecting to hear “the doctor will be with you soon.”

“Sterling Marydel?” The receptionist smiled insincerely at him. “Dr. Anjou will be right with you.”

Sting swallowed. This was a level of weird beyond weird. This was like they were reading his mind.

No, of course not. Mind-reading didn’t exist, although some of the vey very best skimmers could do something that looked similar with unsecured data ports.

Sting locked down the security on his own data port – which itself was better than his parents knew it was, through a series of legal-if-questionable upgrades. You couldn’t play the good online games with standard brainware, not and win. And Sting liked playing to win.

“Ah. Mr. Marydel.” A woman in a white lab coat stepped out from behind the frosted glass. “You’ve enabled security, very good. We encourage a certain amount of healthy paranoia in our recruits; the tech that is available covertly is much more invasive and pervasive than the common market. Please come with me.” She gestured to indicate some place behind her that Sting couldn’t see. “I’m eager to get the testing started as soon as possible.”

“That’s not ominous at all,” Sting muttered.

“Well, I could add some evil laughter, if it helps? To properly set the mood?”


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