The Price of Entanglement - Chapter 3, pt. 4

The city spread out below her like a carpet of lights in the night, mesmerizing in its intensity. In order to avoid light pollution that would impede the progress of science, some long-gone ruling body had decreed that lights should be blocked from shining into the sky. The results were a boon to astronomers, but it was just as lovely from on high. Jo's vantage point at the top of an old apartment complex let her look down on a big swath of the cityscape; from a distance it looked like stained glass.

Even the air felt fresher than usual. Maybe she'd climbed high enough to rise above the smog, or maybe it was all the rain; it had just about stopped, but a misty drizzle still made itself felt. Instead of feeling damp and depressing, she felt somehow more alive.

Maybe that was due more to the interview; she had shown up with Quinn and talked with a company representative for fifteen minutes. She'd left feeling buoyed, sure that she'd landed the job.

The line of questioning had started off standard enough, but as the interview progressed, the rep seemed more and more interested in her athleticism, especially her climbing hobby. She'd spent the last five minutes describing past climbs in detail, and she was sure the woman she'd been talking to had taken more notes during that time than at any other point in the interview.

How'd yours go?

Quinn. She hadn't seen him after her interview. Went well, how was yours? she sent back.

Pretty much what I expected. Very straight forward, very easy. Do you think you got it?

Yeah, I think so. She paused a moment. Did they happen to ask you about climbing or anything?

No, just the standard stuff. Why?

No real reason, she just seemed real interested in my climbing. Guess it's nothing. She paced the rooftop as she messaged. Her home lay to the south-west, toward old town. A dark spot in the glowing stained-glass city caught her eye out beyond where she lived. She was just thinking it must be the old ironworks when a tiny spark dragged her eyes to itself; a blue spark, out in the middle of that patch of darkness. She frowned and tried to image it, though it was hopeless at this distance without a tripod for the imager. She got about a second of it before it winked out. She felt a touch of that creepy dread she'd experienced walking out in front of the place the other day and shivered.