Janette’s routine was simple: Come early, stay late, leave work, go home and work even more. Her dedication was abundant, but the schedule signaled desperation.
When things were going well, people did not normally need to put in so many hours, but when things were not going so well, the extra hours happened to be the only way for them to remain afloat. Drowning under the crushing waves of the daily grind was nothing new but increasingly peculiar for a non-commissioned position. Was she applying for a grant or bidding for some other type of funding – a research contract perhaps?
After a week of studying Janette, Boyd had no idea, and at this moment, he really did not care. Loitering directly outside the entrance to the Power Authority with an unlit cigarette dangling between his lips and a trench coat masking the suspect details of his combat gear, the Enforcer awaited the timing of clockwork. All for keeping schedules, maintaining prioritization, and priding oneself on organization – he was hear to say that the rigors of routine were a predator’s dream. But of the patterned proof, these next actions would be doing the talking for him.
No judgment was being passed by Boyd because these people were really not any different than the coffee crowd, the snack machine crowd, or even the watercooler crowd. What they were, however, was on time. Addictive cravings also beget an exploitable routine.
Shielding Boyd’s presence by the emergence of the boisterous camaraderie which burst through those once locked Power Authority entrance doors, no mind was paid to him as the people went about their business – allowing the intended unawares so that he could go about continuing his. Rushing the doors was not going to be a way in that the Enforcer would probably be allowed to walk away from with either his life or his cover intact, but the timer on the minicomputer was counting down the next piece of a preplanned option that had the potential to complete this infiltration puzzle.
For once, the problems could not be attributed to the government. This time around, it was the fault of the developers who saw the potential of Dio Qze’s water-ice content for a sale, disregarded the vegetational crevice which featured a Deew, and ignored the initial warning signs from the missing and dead first colonizers with a fully terraformed cover-up.
On the contrary, Galaxy Bloc had been quick to respond when they learned about the ‘issue’ which lay beneath the surface. There was no hint of pride and no time to place blame when needing to call in outside help from the likes of Burdlit, and Janette was just fine with that. He did not get all into the scientific aspects of everything because she was more than qualified to deal with those matters, so they worked well together.
In Janette’s eyes, Burdlit was more of a facilitator and, where that did not work, a warrior. When she needed custom builds of antiquated and expensive portable nuclear power generators brought in to help satiate the Deew without having to sap the planet’s dwindling reserves, he got Galaxy Bloc to make it happen. Synthetic worlds like Dio Qze usually did not reside within traditional solar systems, so no centralized sun existed as an energy source.
If the vile Deew started to sprout and grow out of control, Janette’s impression of Burdlit was that he would do his military best to have a bonfire at the core with that plant. Initially, nobody even noticed the vegetational crevice because it functioned like a core, but the growing yearn to replenish its own energy reserves by eventually seeking out alternative sources became the fodder which caused nightmares to have pleasant dreams.
The transport module ride from Inner Corridor on up to the surface had Janette in a daze of contemplation – so much so that when she turned the corner upon exiting the entrance to the Power Authority, the botanist accidentally collided with a man who was walking along the sidewalk. Previously fascinated by thoughts of the past and future, this startling jolt shook her back to a focus on the here and now.
“Oh, my fault!” The man cried almost chivalrously as he labored downward in his trench coat to help pick up Janette’s gear which had gone flying during the unusually blunt impact.
Needing to be careful here, Boyd had blurted out his apology almost prematurely of him turning the corner and walking forcefully into Janette to cause the collision that jarred the botanist’s backpack loose from her.
“No worries,” Janette said – accepting the apology while watching Boyd kneel down awkwardly in his trench coat to pick up the gear and hand it to her. Almost in stride of the incident occurring, she was right back on her way.
With the belongings retrieved, Janette shook off the occurrence and kept on moving. Venturing into the brisk evening, she would reach the destination of a highrise living unit in less than six city blocks worth of walking distance.
It was not long after Janette arrived at home and noticed that the codekey which she had been holding loosely in her left hand was no longer there. Where was her head as of late? Oh right – trying to figure out how to save the planet from the voracious Deew.
Fortunately, codekeys were tied to GPS, so Janette could track the location of hers from her slate computer. Unfortunately, chivalry was absent because she could not have left the Power Authority without it, however its movement was now inside the complex – heading down toward a destination of Inner Corridor! “That son of a bitc-.”
The intent was for Boyd to project a gentlemanly trait which would deflect attention away from the purpose that was to swipe Janette’s codekey. His ultimate prize, however, was unforced entry into the Power Authority.