The pay at the Lab was really good, and the benefits were literally unbelievable.
Jess reminded herself of that whenever she started feeling like she needed a Henchman t-shirt or an old lion-tamer’s ship and chair. She had two kids of her own and a niece at home; the Lab gave them a place to live that was probably the most secure three-bedroom house on the planet, had a top-notch school, and paid Jess enough that she could take them all on a really good vacation every year.
Which she needed, because right now she was supervising a slap-fight between two interns who just happened to be handling vials of what she thought was probably a neurotoxin.
“Not many female security guards here,” commented a voice behind her, and Jessica executed a move she had gotten far too good at in recent days: she put the wall at her back and the interns between her and the new voice. Some of the interns here – especially on this floor – had some funny ideas.
That wasn’t an intern. She could tell because the lab coat didn’t have the red intern stripe but rather the nice silver-grey-silver stripe of a senior scientist. A strange senior scientist – that is, one she hadn’t seen before. They were all more than a bit strange.
And the scientist was holding a needle in one hand and a rag in the other.
“No.” Jess moved the left-hand intern closer to the rag and the right-hand intern closer to the needle. Their self-preservation instincts – they’d lasted here longer than a week, they had to have those – kicked in. The left-hand one tossed their vial in the senior scientist’s face while the right-hand one grabbed the needle in a rather impressive disarming move.
“You can stay,” she told them, releasing both of them. Interns were her favorite. “But call the medic team for Dr – Dr. Melty-face here.”
“I need a research subject,” Dr. Melty-face coughed. There wasn’t actually any melting going on, although the effects were stripes of color in a dripping pattern like wax and a certain wooziness evident in posture and swaying. “They told me to come down to the Basics floor.”
“Hold off on that call.” It wasn’t going to hurt Dr. Melty-face to wait and, well, if it did, then a lesson might be learned the hard way. “So.” Jess parried an attempt by the senior scientist to grab her and side-stepped a second needle, because of course there was a second needle. “One. I am not a research subject. Two. I am security. That means you cannot touch me. Not only because I will kick your ass-”
“You impudent wretch!” This attempt to grab Jess ended with Dr. Melty-Face flat on the floor, Jess’s steel-toed boot on the scientist’s back.
“-but because I am specifically off limits by your contract. Three. Research Subjects are not on Basic and neither are you. They are on B-six, and you are in bio-engineering, sexual motives division. Bio-sex. Have fun with the interns’ new test product. Interns, you might want to shovel him into a clean room so you can watch him.”
She really, really didn’t like it when the scientists got handsy.