Quick-Thinking

Written to kelkyag‘s prompt.

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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.

 
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2 thoughts on “Quick-Thinking

  1. Labeling, people! Labeling! And when you’re labeling, try to avoid overloading near-homophones.

    I’m surprised a senior scientist didn’t realize that security — and presumably interns, but that’s less certain — were in fact off-limits. Perhaps he’s just been good at covering his tracks.

    Dear interns: having a slap-fight with something that can be absorbed efficaciously through the skin is perhaps not such a good idea. Exactly what was so important that you couldn’t put it down first?

    Finally, she really does need that Henchman T-shirt. Her handling of the situation was near textbook henching. And as a proper henchling needs some sort of quirk, maybe she can put through a requisition for a whip and an Indiana Jones style belt hook for it.

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