My Job Description Includes What?
Author's Notes: Congratulations readers, it continues! And as requested (and already planned): how it all got started. Enjoy
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Mission City, 2007
Shots rang out overhead. Explosions rocked the street. Buildings shuddered as various pieces of large urban shrapnel pelted them from all directions. And in the midst of it all, tiny fragile humans ran screaming in any direction they thought would lead them away from the sheer destructive power displayed by the giant mechs waging their war in the streets. Nancy Anderson was another in the screaming, terrified mass that shifted one way and the next seeking escape. And her morning had started so well too.
She had a job as a secretary slash personal assistant for an extremely popular interior designer in Mission City. She would get up in the morning. Dress cutely in her designer outfits that flattered her physique. She drive her cute little Porsche Boxster to the coffee shop for breakfast and then to the office to take care of business.
It had been a great day. Business was doing well. Her boss had sent her on a coffee run and she'd hopped into her beloved car and took off down the road. Only to be held up by a military blockade that was only moments later hit by a missile from an jet-fighter. And then everything fell to pieces.
And so she ran and screamed and cried. Until she'd tripped and twisted her ankle, going down on a sidewalk. She looked up in time to see a large vehicle being tossed through the air. She hunkered down as it sailed over her and into the storefront window behind her. The shattered glass from the window peppered across the exposed portions of her back and down her left leg.
By this time she was dizzy as well as panicked. She soon blacked out from the pain in her wounds. When she awoke, she was in a military hospital on a base some ways away from Mission City. The shrapnel was already removed and the wounds bandaged and stitched. Her twisted ankle was broken and casted. She would require not only physical therapy, but the nurse had informed her that she was being taken to a psychologist as well.
Some man in a military uniform arrived and informed her of her options. Accept a package that gave her a fair amount of money, covered health and recuperation costs and all she had to do was sign an non-disclosure agreement. The other option was to be admitted to a hospital where she would be cared for and kept quiet by government personnel. She took the first option.
The next six months were a blur of doctor's visits for her ankle and her post-traumatic stress disorder. She returned to Mission City to find her apartment building had thankfully been spared. The interior design office however, was nothing but a pile of rubble. Her boss had already been identified and buried. She then also got to talk to her new therapist about depression and survivor's guilt as she looked for a new job.
The payout from the government thankfully kept her in house and home until she found a position as a receptionist for a large multi-company office building. Her new boss had no concept for customer service or simple courtesy and she soon found herself spending each day scrabbling to keep not only the customers from being angry, but soothing the ruffled feathers of the various corporate executives that paid the pricey rent for their high-rise offices. She'd found her personal hell.
Another six months passed in a similar fashion. The post-traumatic stress was gone although she still had nightmares about once a week. The corporate executives got her boss fired and she found herself unwillingly promoted into management. She had always chosen secretarial work for the simple reason that she was just really good at it. Management however, the art of making subordinates want to do their jobs, was not something she was good at. She was rather horrible actually.
The depression lifted but was soon replaced by anxiety attacks as she worried about her job. Which she found was simply a deeper level of her personal hell. Her therapist was now talking about placing her on medication. For some reason this morphed her nightmares from giant robots chasing her to giant robots shoving dreadful tasting pills down her throat.
It was almost a year since her life had simply exploded and died. She slumped home from work, bone exhausted and dreading the next day's therapy appointment, only to find two men in military uniforms standing beside her apartment door. They talked lightly to each other, clearly sharing a funny story about a mutual friend. She, of course, was instantly wary.
She took a breath and put on her professional face before stepping around the corner and coming down the hall. "May I help you gentlemen?" she intoned politely.
The shorter of the two males, a caucasian with kind blue eyes, smiled brightly and said, "If you're Nancy Anderson, then yes. Yes you can."
Nancy arched an eyebrow before unlocking her door and allowing the two men in. She dropped her purse and keys on the door side table and then walked into the kitchen. Calling out behind her, she asked, "Would either of you like something to drink? I have water, milk and orange juice. I can also make coffee or tea." She set about putting a kettle on the stove and arranging at least one cup of tea on her counter.
The caucasian male seeing that she was starting tea, nodded, "Tea sounds nice, thank you."
The taller, an african american with a mischievous smirk shrugged before saying, "I'll have water."
Nancy nodded and arranged everything on the kitchen table and gestured for them to sit while she finished waiting on the kettle. Once they were settled to their drinks and seats, she smiled professionally again and said, "So, what can I do for you?"
The two men looked at each other and then smiled kindly back at her. Taking the lead once again, the first man spoke, "Ms. Anderson, my name is Major William Lennox and my companion is Sergeant Robert Epps. We were members of the military outfit that was involved in the Mission City incident a year ago." As he said this, he pulled a folded piece of paper from a pocket and slid it across the table to her.
She left her professional smile fade to an unhappy frown before taking the paper and looking at it. On it was written a single phrase that had been arranged with her when she signed her NDA. It was simply to let her know that they had clearance and it was safe to speak with them. She sighed and returned the paper to Lennox. "I see. I haven't broken any of the rules without knowing have I?"
Lennox shook his head, "No, Ms. Anderson. We are here to ask a few questions at the moment."
Nancy blinked suspiciously at them before nodding to them to continue. Lennox smiled comfortingly and then began with a series of questions asking her to detail her job history, training and education.
Epps took over the next portion and asked her several open ended scenario questions that she recognized were designed to determine temperament. It went on like this as they took turns asking her different kinds of questions that she thought sounded like they belonged in a job interview.
After about half an hour, a cell phone rang in Lennox's coat pocket. He answered it with a simple, "Sir." He nodded to the muffled sound of the voice before responded, "Yes, sir." Holding out the phone to her he said, "One last question, Ms. Anderson."
Nancy worriedly took the phone and took a deep breath before putting it to her ear and speaking a calm, "Hello?" She noticed Epps give Lennox what appeared to be a meaningful look. She didn't have time to wonder about it long before a deep set, baritone voice, that demanded her attention despite it's gentle tone, asked her a single question.
"If you could change any one thing about the incident in Mission City, what would it be?"
Nancy blinked before exhaling softly. For some reason, she knew that her answer was beyond important to this voice. She relaxed slightly and leaned back in her chair. "If I could change any one thing… no one would have died," she said simply. She thought briefly of not only her former boss, but of the various friends she knew who died or had left the city because they could no longer stay.
The voice spoke again, this time with a lighter air, "Thank you, Ms. Anderson. If you would please, hand the phone back to Major Lennox."
She silently did so and then listened as Lennox spoke again with that respectful "Sir." The muffled voice spoke to him and then hung up. Lennox then nodded with a smile to Epps that was brighter than before. Epps responded with what appeared to be a relieved and excited smile of his own.
Lennox then turned back to Nancy and said, "Ms. Anderson, how would you like to work as a secretary for an organization that is the representation of the alliance between our planet's nations and a group of alien refugees who are trying to protect us from their enemies?"
Nancy blinked and sputtered in shock, causing both men to chuckle. They then, working in tandem, explained everything to her. Three hours and an order of chinese take-out later, she'd signed employment papers and was falling into bed exhausted.
Her therapist called the next morning before she left for work and canceled her appointment. She turned in her letter of immediate resignation and then returned to her apartment. A week later, she was standing on the tarmac of Diego Garcia as a few soldier's loaded the belongings she had chosen to keep into the apartment in the civilian housing building on base. She watched them silently and wondered briefly what she had gotten herself into.
She turned to the sound of heavy footsteps and craned her neck to look up at the towering form of the mech she'd been informed was Optimus Prime. Major Lennox trotted beside him and waved cheerily at Nancy. Lennox shook her hand briefly and then waved her attention up to Prime, "Nancy, I want to formally introduce you to Optimus Prime. Prime, this is our new secretary, Nancy Anderson."
Nancy murmured her hellos and then allowed a startled smile as she recognized Prime's voice from the phone. "Ms. Anderson, a pleasure. I cannot express how grateful I am that you accepted our job offer. I understand that you have many a reason to be unhappy with what my kind has done to you."
Nancy shook her head and smiled at him, "Firstly, if you wish to be formal with my name, use Miss. I have never been married and Ms. feels so awkward for me. Although I would prefer to be called Nancy if at all possible.
Secondly, if what I have learned about you and yours is true, then you would never have allowed any harm to come to our world had you any more say in the matter than what you did. We cannot control the actions of others, only ourselves."
Prime smiled and nodded at her, "I am going to enjoy having you here on Diego Garcia, I think. Welcome to N.E.S.T. and Diego Garcia, Nancy Anderson."