RP Absent Faith

illirica

Breaker of Forums
Staff member
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Laine had a feeling and she did not like it.

It wasn't something she could explain easily, or perhaps it wasn't something she could explain at all. It was a little bit like Alex is gone, except it did not have anything to do with Alex. Alex was still gone, but she did not belong here.

This was not about her. This was about something else, but Laine didn't have the experience to know what it was about. It was one of those subjects that probably needed more research, so perhaps it was a problem that Alex was gone after all. L-14 had many researchers, of course, but they were not her researcher, and it wouldn't have been quite right.

There had to be something that would work, though. Sometimes, maintenance was about making things work because they were what was available, even if they were not ideal. She didn't have a researcher, but... she did have someone who had almost owed her a favor, although Laine had put a stop to that before it became a problem.

Still, perhaps she could ask for help.

She arrived at Dr. Kallie's lab not too much later, knocking at the door even though it was open. It was important to be polite, especially if she was not sure what she was doing.
 
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Kallie was not having a good day.

Archer had broken containment yet again and had to be chased down by no less than four staff members before he was recontained. Lilly, number Five Zero Zero Seven, had once again set fire to everything in her CU and was distraught. Kallie had spent the entire morning bringing new furniture into the room and comforting the girl. It wasn’t her fault that jets of fire erupted from her head every time she sneezed.

And then she had to remind several of the Class-D personnel, for what felt like the millionth time, of the new ethics code. While they had seemed embarrassed, that still hadn’t stopped them from their infractions in the first place. Damien, Seven Nine Two Zero, would likely recover fine from the test, but comforting the young boy while avoiding touching him had been an exercise in restraint. She didn’t want to develop fungal infections for the next few weeks. Unlike Dr. Redd, she didn’t have a medallion that prevented her from illness.

All this to say, that when the knock came at her door, she breathed in deep and held it before sighing loudly. She nodded to herself, trying to make sure that her temper was under control before she called out,[font color=purple] “Come in. Just come in.”[/font color]

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This was not a good time.

Laine did not need to be good with people to understand that, because she was good with time. Or perhaps it was something else. This might have been one of those situations where Come in actually meant go find something else to do. Statistically speaking, that was quite likely, although less so with Dr. Kallie. She seemed to be one of the few people who actually said what she meant most of the time, and so Laine decided to take the statement as it had been made and step into the lab.

[font color="a0522d"]"Dr. Kallie."[/font] Laine considered the researcher, running through the lists she had memorized about posture and expression and what it might mean. It could mean many things, unfortunately, which was why Laine was not usually good with people. [font color="a0522d"]"You are experiencing feelings. I am sorry. I think I am about to make you experience additional feelings. Something is... not the way it is supposed to be and no one has filed any paperwork about it. I don't know what it is, but I think maybe it is an isn't. I do not understand it and I do not like it, and I did not know who else to ask about that. I am aware this is uninformative. Perhaps in the meantime I can assist?"[/font]

Dr. Kallie seemed to require maintenance, of a sort.
 
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Something was wrong.

That’s what Laine was saying to her. Of course, she didn’t know what it was that was wrong, which meant there were a lot of things it could have been. That just about summed up the day right, didn’t it? Of course, there would be some kind of nebulous thing wrong in the facility. That was also not Laine’s fault. Her anonymous abilities were registering something completely new. Completely new things with anohumans were worth immediate attention.

[font color=purple] “You are not wrong, Laine. The emotions I’m currently experiencing are anger and disappointment, however, none of that is your fault, nor is there anything you can do to make my teams behave as they should. So while I greatly appreciate your offer of assistance, I believe it is you who requires assistance. And immediately, by the sound of it. Can you elaborate more on this feeling?”[/font color]

Kallie stood from behind her desk and smoothed out her black turtleneck. She took a deep breath and let go of the anger at her colleagues and the way they constantly disappointed her. Some of them would love to pretend nothing was changing in the Foundation, but it was clear it was.

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Dr. Kallie explained her feelings, which was very helpful. She also cited their source. Proper citation was important. Laine nodded at the citation, agreeing with Dr. Kallie's assessment on the matter. [font color="a0522d"]"I am not authorized to affect the behavior of Foundation personnel via anomalous means."[/font] Therefore, she could not help with the research teams, as Dr. Kallie had surmised.

Dr. Kallie asked for further elaboration, which Laine understood was an acceptable followup. It was a good question, but she did not have a good answer. There could have been many answers, and she did not know which one was correct. Laine had a feeling that she would know the correct one when it occurred to her, but as it had not yet, she did not have it.

[font color="a0522d"]"It is vague."[/font] This was an answer, and a correct answer, but it was not the correct answer. She tried to think on it more, as she had been. [font color="a0522d"]"Something is... not correct. It is not correct here. At L-14, not this lab specifically. I do not have a proper measurement. But it is L-14. I am sure of that. Something is different. There isn't any paperwork about this. There is supposed to be paperwork."[/font]
 
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Kallie considered this information. While it wasn’t a specific direction, it was enough that she trusted Laine’s abilities. That would have to be enough. She walked out from behind her desk, approached the young woman, and gave her a firm nod.[font color=purple] “Well, then, I think we should begin looking for the issue. Maybe someone else has already spotted it, but I feel like that likely wouldn’t be the case if your senses are telling you there’s a problem.”[/font color]

Unfortunately with such little direction, there was no telling where they should begin. She placed her hand under her chin, her fingers curled. Her eyes shut as she considered the options. The first thing they should check was anything that needed a containment unit. That would be the biggest issue. If it was an anomaly that was otherwise stored in a different form, it was unlikely to be as big a problem. They had quite a number of high-grade and low-grade Risky anomalies contained on site. If any of them had breached, they could be looking at anything from an inconvenience to a real problem.

[font color=purple] “We start with containment units, and we’ll work our way down the list of anomalies from there. We should alert Isaac that something is wrong as well. Then we’ll have more coverage as we search for whatever is wrong. Hopefully, if it’s something to do with a staff member, this will also help us to locate them. Let’s begin.”[/font color]

Kallie went back to her desk and picked up her phone, She scrolled through her pinned numbers until she found Isaacs’, then hit the call button. It rang for a moment before he picked up.[font color=purple] “Agent Cotta. Yes, this is Dr. Reed. Agent Cantille has come to me with some concerns, and I’d like to request more assistance. We need to check all the containment units and ensure there have been no breaches. Yes, we have reason to believe something might be missing. Alright, thank you.”[/font color]

She hung up the phone and turned back to Laine.[font color=purple] “Isaac is going to dispatch some agents to assist. We should begin looking as well. After you, Laine.”[/font color]

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Oh. Dr. Kallie knew what to do. That was very helpful. Laine had been uncertain and had not been able to find any procedural notes for this in the ACF handbook. She had expected that Agent Cotta was to be notified at some point, but she hadn't had anything to notify him about yet. Laine had intended to wait until she had something more concrete and then fill in a form about it. She was somewhat relieved to defer to Dr. Kallie's expertise on the matter, though she would definitely have to sit down with her and write up proper procedural notes for this sort of thing for future reference.

Hopefully they would be unnecessary, but procedures should still be documented, even if the documentation was never required.

[font color="a0522d"]"It isn't a staff member."[/font] She'd thought about that a little, while Dr. Kallie was on the phone. She had been sure of it immediately, but it had taken a little while to try to figure out why. Laine was still not entirely certain, but she had some ideas at least. [font color="a0522d"]"Staff members are changing. They move in and out. Sometimes they belong at L-14 and sometimes they do not. But they never belong to L-14."[/font]

Was this helpful? Laine didn't know. Perhaps it meant something to Dr. Kallie, or perhaps it only meant something to Laine. [font color="a0522d"]"Also, I do not think I am authorized to know where staff members are."[/font] That did not seem relevant at the current moment, but perhaps it would be relevant at some future point. Keeping track of staff was management's division. It was not Laine's department.

Her department was security and maintenance and anomalies and L-14.
 
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Kallie nodded her head at Laine’s explanation. It might not have made entire sense to the researcher, but it was enough that it made sense to Laine. So that meant it was an anomaly. Under normal circumstances, Kallie rarely cursed. She found it very often did little to help a situation. However, there were certain circumstances where things were just fucked enough that it called for a few choice words. This felt like one of them.

[font color=purple] “Shit. Fuck. Okay, we had better get searching then. We’ll start with the upper levels and make our way down. That’s what I assume Agent Cotta will instruct the other agents to do. If something tries to come up from below, we’ll be able to stop it before it reaches the surface. If it’s staying on the lower levels, then we’ll find it as we go down. And of course, if something is already completely missing… We’ll broach that if it comes to that.”[/font color]

With that she gestured for Laine to follow her and strode out of the office, heading directly for the Household grade storage units. Ideally, she would prefer to go straight down to the bottom and search going up, but she knew that protocol would call for the opposite. Honestly, her immediate reaction was “check on the children”. It took an immense amount of willpower to not do just that. It was unlikely that one of Kallie’s kids was the cause of this.

Even though she could think of a few who it could be.

[font color=purple] “I understand this feeling is new for you, Agent Cantrille, so I’m going to ask you a few more questions, if I may. What does your gut tell you about this feeling? Not your brain, but your initial and immediate response to it.”[/font color]

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Dr. Kallie's response would require editing before it went into the paperwork. This was common with many personnel, but it was not reported to be common with Dr. Kallie. Laine made a mental note of that as something to add to the paperwork as well. It would be an appropriate footnote.1

In the meantime, she would focus on Dr. Kallie and what she could do to assist. The question of initial response was an interesting one, and Laine paused to think about it for a minute. This was, of course, exactly what she was not supposed to do. That was frustrating. Laine did not like it when there was not time to think about things properly. It led to problematic responses.

[font color="a0522d"]"There was [font color="acacac"]a hole in L-14[/font]."[/font] Oh.

Yes, that was indeed problematic.

She'd said it in a tone that seemed somewhat annoyed more than anything, as if someone had taken a piece out of a completed puzzle. There was not supposed to be a hole in L-14. [font color="a0522d"]"It is not there any more. But it was. And then it wasn't. An unauthorized hole. Not like Pepper's."[/font] Pepper made holes in L-14 on a regular basis, but those were properly documented and authorized by the Foundation. There was paperwork. This one did not have paperwork.


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[div style="font-size:80%;"][1]Note: Dr. Kallie is not statistically prone to excessive use of expletives and this marks a deviation from the standard behavior patterns observed by Foundation personnel.
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That didn’t bode well.

It was definitely an improvement, however, on what they would be looking for. More likely, something missing than something escaped. A hole like Pepper’s, but not authorized like Pepper’s. That didn’t bode well indeed.

She ran a hand through her unkempt hair and nodded again.[font color=purple] “So a hole. That narrows things down a little, but we should still check everything. We’re going to start in the Household archival room, and then go down from there.”[/font color]

She flashed her badge across the security lock on the storage room’s door and it beeped and flashed green in return. She pushed the door open. It was a large warehouse-sized archival room, like one you’d find in a museum. Drawers and drawers under shelves of items, with larger items stored on racks that lined one of the long walls. There were a few tables here and there, obviously for examination.

She walked up to the first shelf and sighed.[font color=purple] “Let’s begin, I suppose.”

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Laine followed along somewhat placidly, not saying anything for a while. Dr. Kallie accessed the archive room and Laine scanned her own badge in as well, because proper logging of entry was critical to Foundation operations. Dr Kallie moved forward, and Laine stopped in the doorway and looked around the room.

She considered it, then closed the door. That was better. Now the room was contained. It was contained and it contained... exactly what it was supposed to. [font color="a0522d"]"ACF-1983 is mis-shelved under ACF-983, and ACF-5602 is in the cabinet under the third lab table. All other anomalies are approximately where they should be in this room."[/font] Laine had been through this room several times before on various maintenance routes, and she knew where things belonged. Some of the anomalies were with researchers, of course, but there was documentation for that and it did not bother her.

[font color="a0522d"]"I understand if you need to check again."[/font] Laine was an anomaly, after all. It was not advisable to trust an anomaly without verification. She was not going to be at all offended. In fact, she would much prefer people did their jobs properly. [font color="a0522d"]"However, if you wanted to verify later, I would also understand the desire to expedite."[/font] Dr. Kallie was authorized to make that judgment call. It was much better, having someone with the proper authorization to decide these things.
 
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Kallie blinked in surprise but turned away from the shelf.[font color=purple] “You can tell that just by being in the room? Impressive. That anomaly of yours is incredibly useful.”[/font color]

She walked away from the shelf and back over to Laine. She was about to ask her if she could do that with all of the warehouses, or if she could only do them to ones she had walked before, when her phone dinged. Twice. She pulled it out and read it. Then she read it again. Then she pinched the bridge of her nose, pressing her glasses up into place. She sighed and put the phone back in her pocket.

[font color=purple] “That was Agent Cotta. James, the agent who has watched over One Zero Zero Three for the last few years, just came in in a panic. Apparently, that hole you felt was from Ira. Which is decidedly, not great. Our hunt has become a manhunt. They’re going to communicate with L-9, specifically the Hocus Locusts, and see if they might have some insight. Until then, we are to search each floor for her..”[/font color]

This was exactly the kind of fuckery she didn’t need right now. She shook her head and looked at Laine with clear annoyance on her face. It didn’t seem directed at anything, just… there.

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Dr. Kallie spoke of anomalies, and Laine just shifted the direction of her gaze slightly - still not at the researcher, but in a differently contemplative direction. [font color="a0522d"]"Anomaly? I am a security agent, Dr. Kallie. This is my job."[/font] Laine did not think of what she was doing as anomalous. It was the same thing that other maintenance agents did. Enter a room, determine which anomalies were present, check them against the lists, take notes. It was in Laine's job description, the same as any other A-Class-C. Laine was very dedicated to her job and was very good at it.

The phone call was important, so Laine was quiet again while Dr. Kallie communicated. It seemed like there was an answer for the problem, and the problem was Ira - ACF-1003. This was progress. Now they knew what they were looking for. [font color="a0522d"]"ACF-1003 is not reported to have an ability to make [font color="acacac"]holes[/font] in Foundation locations, according to the paperwork I have access to. It is possible that additional information exists at a higher clearance level, but I think that is something that would be important security knowledge, so it is not likely, unless it is a new thing. That would require additional paperwork. Alternately, there could have been something else that made the hole. Is ACF-1003 likely to be a specific target, or opportunistic?"[/font]
 
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Kallie nodded her head at Laine’s explanation of knowing where everything was. She wouldn’t argue if that was how she viewed what she had just done. She did reply though.[font color=purple] “Most security agents would not be able to do what you just did, Agent Cantrille. Most would have to manually check everything against the archival lists and the present tags. For most agents, it would have taken us hours to get through this warehouse.”[/font color]

Then she paused. She knew something about this that Laine didn’t, but as far as she knew, the fact that Pepper and Ira’s dimensions were one and the same wouldn’t help the situation. Unless, something else there could also open portals? But surely that would have been vital information given to any Class-D researcher who could work with Ira. There was one thing she was very certain about.

[font color=purple] “If it was Ira, there’s no doubt. It was intentional.”[/font color]

You see, this was why she didn’t fuck with Ira.

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Dr. Kallie's information that what Laine had done was not what everyone else did was somewhat surprising. Laine had always been under the impression that other security agents acquired the ability when they were promoted to Class C, just like she had. The notion that the others had to continue doing it the same way that she had been taught as an intern was somewhat concerning.

Of course, Laine always verified her knowledge by doing it that way as well, under standard circumstances. These were anomalies, after all. It was possible that this was the reason for the surprise, as she had just assumed everyone else was doing it the same way she was. She did not know exactly what to do with this information, and decided to file it away for future reference, as it was not currently the most critical process to be working on.

[font color="a0522d"]"If it was Ira, it is statistically probable that it was intentional,"[/font] Laine stated, which managed to be both an agreement and a correction at the same time. She considered asking who ACF-1003 would have gone with, but given the anomaly's files, Laine thought it likely that the answer was anyone she thought was interesting, which was not particularly useful information. The real question, then, was who would have taken her out, and where they had come from.

[font color="a0522d"]"Who or what else is missing?"[/font]
 
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[font color=purple] “It’s our job now to find that out. We have a few anomalies on site that could generate a portal, but that also implies she breached on her own and then went and sought one out. Ira has never attempted to escape before, with one notable exception. As far as anohumans with portaling abilities… I think it’s likely we could assume that they came from outside if that were the case.”[/font color]

Kallie moved back out from the warehouse and toward the staircase. With so many across the facility, it was easier to take them than head to the central elevator. Besides, this staircase would lead them down to another warehouse, this one of the more Risky nature. More restrictive containment measures were taken for this warehouse, as well as the other two located on this level.

She looked over her shoulder at the staircase to look at Laine.[font color=purple] “I hope you’re wearing good shoes. We’ll be walking quite a bit.”[/font color]


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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Laine nodded a little at the assessment. There was something else that was part of this, but she didn't know what it was. Finding out was now the priority. Laine was not sure if she was supposed to be finding out or escorting Dr. Kallie while Dr. Kallie figured it out, but since the procedure was much the same in either case, she did not need to determine that until there was a deviation point.

For now, she decided it was best to function as a security personnel in case Dr. Kallie was in danger. That was why she was wearing armor, after all. Whether or not she had been prior to this moment was one of those subjects that people did not like to think about very much. Laine's answer was always that it did not matter. Right now, she was supposed to be wearing armor, and so she was. People tended to overcomplicate things.

She'd left the helmet off, though, since there was not currently any danger and she didn't like it. Like the rest of the armor, it would have been there if she needed it. Dr. Kallie looked back and said something odd about shoes, which Laine didn't know what to make of.

[font color="a0522d"]"I do this all the time. What do shoes have to do with it?"[/font] A genuine question, not an impertinent one.
 
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Kallie looked away from Laine for just a moment, and when she looked back, the young woman was wearing armor. It was standard security agent armor, it was just that it hadn’t been there before. She wasn’t particularly phased by the appearance of the armor– she had seen the Lepidopterists around before, had seen their armor suddenly exist– she was just surprised to see Laine do it.

She chose not to comment on it. It wouldn’t change anything, nor would it do any good to mention it. Instead, she took a mental note of it and moved on, hurrying down the stairs. As she descended, she looked down at her black Nursemates, thankful she had chosen to wear them over the low black pumps she wore the other half of the time. Then she responded to Laine’s question.

[font color=purple] “I wear impractical shoes sometimes for the point of professionalism. My job before the Foundation required us to wear heels in the office. I’ve never broken that habit. My comment merely meant that I hope your shoes are not impractical, as they wouldn’t be good for the amount of walking through the facility we are about to do.”[/font color]

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"][font color="a0522d"]"Why would impracticality be considered professional?"[/font] Laine did not understand how this could be the case. It seemed to her as if the opposite should be true. Practicality was important, and therefore practical choices should enhance professionalism.

Dr. Kallie had said it was due to a job before the Foundation, so perhaps that was why. Laine did not know much about things outside the Foundation. She had no particular desire to. The Foundation was where she belonged, after all. L-14 was where she belonged.

And there had been a hole in it, and that bothered her. [font color="a0522d"]"I think I am always practical, Dr. Kallie. I do not think I would like it otherwise."[/font]
 
[div style="background-color:purple;border-top:purple 4px outset;border-left:purple 4px inset;border-right:purple 4px outset;border-bottom:purple 4px inset;"][div style="border-top:purple 4px inset;border-left:purple 4px outset;border-right:purple 4px inset;border-bottom:purple 4px outset;"][div style="background-color:white;color:black;padding:15px;font-family:courier new;"]
[font color=purple] “There’s this social system that exists in most places outside the Foundation where your merit is tied more to your gender than the work you do. It’s gotten better, as far as I’m aware, but when I was a psychiatrist in the eighties, it was particularly difficult. Trying to be a woman in what was perceived to be a man’s job meant I had to dress a certain way to be taken seriously. That included high heels. Very impractical, and uncomfortable if I’m honest, but necessary to look the part.”[/font color]

They reached the bottom of the stairs, and she scanned her card again, opening the door for Laine. She left space for the agent to also scan her card as she went past. Kallie thought about the last day she had practiced psychiatry outside the walls of the Foundation. Then she remembered the accident and the violent death of her husband. A pang flickered in her heart, a pain that she wished after thirty-three years would just lay itself to rest.

[font color=purple] “I consider us lucky here at the Foundation that the dress code allows for a bit of freedom in our general choice of clothing, within certain parameters. Being able to switch to slacks when I started working here was a blessing. I absolutely detest skirts. I don’t know how my daug– I mean, Pepper wears them seemingly whenever it pleases her.”[/font color]

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