Miranda Hewlett-Packard Gets Inducted
Miranda woke and Holly was sitting in bed beside her, talking on her cellphone. The bedside light was on. It was still dark outside. What
We do have people there, we have at least three liaisons and a shitload of security people. What the fuck are they doing?
What time is it? Miranda said.
Holly pointed to the bedside clock. It said: 4:14 A.M. Have you spoken to Nathaniel? Oh, Jesus. Are you sure?
Miranda sat up.
No. Im not going to try to co-ordinate this from three thousand miles away. Youre on the ground, use your head. Take any opportunity to get them back, but I do not want any more dead executives. You understand? Ill be at work in fifteen minutes. Call me there.
Miranda thought, Dead executives?
Good luck, Holly said, and killed the call.
US Alliance tried to buy out one of our companies morning. A hostile takeover.
We were ready for them, Holly said, going into the bathroom. She turned on the shower. We thought we were ready for them.
Miranda followed her in. And?
Something went wrong, Holly said. Get dressed. Were going to work.
Holly T.A. drove really fast, and it freaked Miranda out. There was so much to hit in Manhattan: cars, mailboxes, bus stations, and more people on the street at five A.M. than at noon back in Melbourne. The roads were straight, thank God, but Holly blasted through traffic, zipping in and out of lanes, talking nonstop to the cellphone wedged under her ear. Miranda gripped the seat with both hands.
Bullshit! Were all in New York, why go to London? At sixty miles an hour, the car nestled up against a cab, almost touching. Holly said, Can you hit the horn for me, sweetie?
Miranda pressed the horn.
Longer, Holly said. Just hold it down.
Miranda held it. The cabbie rolled down his window and flipped them off.
Thats unacceptable, Holly said, but Miranda realized she was talking to her cellphone. Tell the Government Ill videoconference. The lane to the right opened up, and Holly darted out, scraping past the cab. She accelerated so hard that Miranda whimpered. Jesus, all right! Ill go. Make it happen.
Whats happening? Miranda said.
I got promoted. She swung the car around and they bounced down a ramp into an underground parking lot. Valets swarmed around the car, opening doors.
Oh! That was good news for Miranda Hewlett-Packard, the increasingly well-connected Liaison. Congratulations.
Hmm, Holly said. Its not under the best circumstances. She produced an ID pass and swiped at a door, then for an elevator. Sweetie, you need to get inducted. I have to go away, and I need you to do some important things for me.
The doors slid open and they stepped inside. Inducted?
ID pass, set up your office, meet the right people.
Oh, she said. Isthis where Ill be working?
Holly smiled. You didnt think youd be out in that horrible Hewlett-Packard building in Jersey?
Miranda didnt know where the HP building was. I
Youll be just down the corridor from me. Isnt that fun? We cant have Liaisons spread all over the countryside. So get yourself settled, Ill be back before you know it. Theres been some trouble in London, the Government wants to slap everyones wrists. I have to go and look concerned. Christ, this elevator takes forever.
Miranda looked at the display. Holly had pushed for the 77th floor. She blinked. She should have paid more attention to this building when they arrived. What happened in London?
Holly sighed. US Alliance walked in and killed two of our top people. Like I say, not a good way to get a promotion.
They killed people?
Nathaniel ExxonMobil, CEO of one of our most important member companies. And Johan T.A., our President. Things are getting messy, Miranda. Were not going to sit back and wait for the Government to sort this out.
Miranda said, So what have you been promoted to?
Theres only one place you can go from where I was, honey. The elevator dinged. The doors parted. An enormous Team Advantage logo grinned at them: two strong hands joined in a muscular handshake. Im the new T.A. President.
Miranda spent the morning getting IDed: photographed, fingerprinted, retinal scanned, questioned. She had to fill out forms about her background and provide details about herself that no-one else would know. Who gets to look at all this stuff? she asked the admin guy.
Dont worry, no-one outside can get hold of it. Your privacy is totally guaranteed.
What about within T.A. companies?
He looked at her quizzically. Well, obviously we share it internally.
I see, Miranda said. She looked down at the form.
We use it to prevent anyone impersonating you, to screen you for risk factors
Predilection to certain medical conditions, to corporate treason you know.
Miranda decided to invent a fictitious childhood. All right.
You must have been through this stuff before. He craned his neck to look at her writing. Oh... Hewlett-Packard.
He smiled, a touch condescendingly. HP doesnt do this stuff. We call them Hardly Protected.
Mmm, Miranda said.