A Chaotic Job Interview
Safiana Vialena needed a minute. This day was going a mile a minute, and not in the fun way when supersonic transport was involved.
Who could possibly have thought that a job interview at one of the better-known secret agencies in the world could actually be anything but normal? Well Safi to name one. Her thoughts were so, so far from the truth. In her defense, they had sort of told her she’d gotten the job before she’d been told there was an interview. Okay, that wasn’t really the truth but that was the explanation that she was planning on going with once she miserably failed at whatever the agency was going to throw at her.
On that wonderfully optimistic note, Safi made her way towards the room she’d been told to head inside of. At least it had been easy to find. The door was a little hard to miss. Amidst the shiny white tiles that adorned the walls, it stuck out like a sore thumb. A sturdy piece of oak, with the words “New Recruits” burned right onto the surface.
She’d seen doors with plaques, even doors with names engraved onto them, but this was a new level of permanence when it came to labels. She couldn’t help but think it was an ironical choice designed to hint at how not permanent of a fixture the people who walked in there tended to be.
She reached for the handle. The metal was cool to the touch. Before she could appreciate it or turn the handle, the feeling of a thousand little needles being driven into her skin overloaded her senses. Safi jumped back, releasing the handle, just about managing to stop herself from screaming. What in the world? An electrocuting handle?
Her eyes widened. Was this the first test? Was she failing already? Was this somehow not the door she was supposed to go through?
She was broken out of her thoughts by a voice from behind her.
“Safiana Vialena, as I live and breathe.”
She whirled around immediately to come face to face, well that was a generous statement, the woman behind her was a solid foot taller so really it was face to neck. Safi looked up to find a face that seemed vaguely familiar.
“Serafina?” asked Safi, curiosity now lacing her voice. Well, this just got interesting. She’d been told of the chances of running into people in her batch of course. While graduating agents from the same group of classes tended to be split up among different branches of the agency, this year had contained enough of them that a couple of branches would be getting multiple recruits.
“The one and the only,” replied the woman, with a small smile. “So… guess we’re both in this branch huh?”
Safi nodded. “That seems to be what’s happening here, yes.”
“So do we just go in? That dude at the reception was a little vague,” said Serafina.
“He was. I probably should’ve realized that,” said Safi, nodding. Well, that made a lot of sense now. Figuring out how to get into the room was a test. That meant Safi was in fact failing before this had even really started.
“So, I take it the door didn’t exactly open?”
“That would be an accurate assumption,” said Safi, with a little sigh, “Well not from the handle at least, I would not recommend that unless your power happens to have something to do with electricity or you enjoy being struck by lightning.”
“So, I’m going to be avoiding that handle,” said Serafina, with a nod. “Thanks for the heads up.”
“So, any alternate plan for getting into the room?” asked Serafina.
“Truth be told, I didn’t think too far beyond the door and the handle.” Safi flushed. Wow she was doing badly. How could she be this bad at going inside a room? She was better than this. There had to be some way to get inside, and it was probably going to be something very simple and very stupid that she’d just missed because she’d never bothered to really look.
“Window?” suggested Serafina, breaking her out of her mini spiral.
Safi blinked a couple of times as she returned back to the world around. She gave the place a cursory glance. There wasn’t a window she could see. It was simply the white tiles everywhere, the only other standout being the smell of old parchment and vanilla that seemed to be everywhere in the agency and the quiet drone of what Safi assumed must be some sort of air conditioning unit.
Safi just shrugged.
“Yeah, stupid question, the only option is some alternate way to get that door open, well either that or one of these tiles has gotta be some kind of secret entrance or something, although I get the feeling tapping all of these tiles to see if one of them opens up a secret entrance will not look good on us.”
“The tiles are like the sanest option we have at the moment,” said Safi. She wasn’t wrong. “I’m very tempted to just commit, but we should probably exhaust all the avenues on the door first.”
Serafina nodded. She sized up the door as Safi stepped aside to give her a better view.
She pointed at the fire etched letters. “That’s odd. Do you think that could be some sort of clue?”
“Well, it’s a wooden door. I’m sure with the right equipment we’d have absolutely no trouble busting out way through with plenty of fire, but I don’t know. That seems a little extreme, even for this lot.”
“Remember the first rule of being a secret agent?”
“If the answer to something is needlessly complicated or dramatic, there’s a good chance you’re on the right track.” Safi rattled it off before she even realized what she was doing. That statement along with several others were engraved far too deep into her memory.
“So… do you have some perfume on you, I have a lighter.”
“Wait you’re not suggesting we actually...?”
Serafina shrugged. “What have we got to lose? Besides no one said we couldn't."
Safi dipped into her handbag and pulled out her emergency perfume bottle. “Nothing like a bit of arson to make a good first impression on your employer.”