Meet the Intern

August 10, 2017:

Welcome to Frost International, Miss Noguiera. We're so glad you're here! …most of us, anyway.

Frost International


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's probably felt like a whirlwind for Noemi. The package for her internship application went in on Friday and, true to George Peter's word, he shepherded it down the appropriate channels for maximum expedience.

By the end of the day on Monday, she's heard back and a few times for interviews were laid out for her to choose from. Peters, who promises to see the thing through to the end, is quick to assure that it's a cursory thing for HR's benefit. Meet with a couple members of prepared R&D staff, meet with HR. And, Noemi learns, Miss Frost intends to spend a few hours in the office all for the purpose of meeting her newest acquisition in the comfort of her own dominion. …Although, perhaps not in that order.

All Noemi need do is choose the AM or one of the late PM meetings, and then arrive on time at the expansive Manhattan tower that houses the corporate office.


It was neurotic and anxious and wonderful. Some of the people in a community meeting Noemi went to were baffled, and then slightly standoffish, when she shared why. They were happy for her, of course, but there was that subtext: Easy for you to do. You only have one head.

She felt guilty enough that she went with the AM period. Three hours of sealing shut food packs for the homeless and she said nothing during the usual complaining over whether or not this is actually accomplishing anything. Fortunately, the later meeting gave her time to get home -

Dress up in the best thing she owns—

And show up.

The blazer on top of the blouse is navy blue and obviously freshly pressed. The pencil skirt, deep gray verging on black. The blouse, extremely familiar. Hair: Pretty much perfect. It is not a very adventurous look.

During the elevator ride up, she says - to herself, or at least so she thinks - "I can't believe this shit is happening. No, don't say shit." She straightens up and - ding! - out into the office she marches, one hand on the strap of her handbag, as if it were a life preserver. Maybe it is.

From there, filling out forms is a whirlwind. If Noemi has any remarks about the process - it's that there is WAY less waiting in line than she's used to from college.


Most of the paperwork is mind-numbingly boring. Citizenship and current address. The hefty hourly salary. The generous hourly benefits package, available after 30 days. The process for applying after the six months internship has ended… should a position become available. Security procedures and expectations for the R&D lab.

A few releases for intellectual property, to include everything found in FI's labs.

The staff who helps the young woman moves along the required steps briskly, but are eminently courteous. The one elder woman, an woman who—through a lengthy retelling while Noemi's filling out the pile of paperwork—admits that the paperwork is really just the start of the new hire paperwork. Because she hates doing things twice and assumes Noemi's just going to be back anyway.

But then it's time to met the R&D team. Namely, one of the department's leads—a wiry man with dark hair by the name of JT Wallace—and the R&D intern coordinator—a dowdy woman named Alice Hernandez. They await their newest addition in one of the small conference rooms on the 15th floor, looking… fairly unfriendly, all considered. But they do at least offer to shake hands, introduce themselves, and fork over business cards.

Then, JT starts, once all of those painful opening introductions are done, watching her intently from behind thick glasses. "So, Miss Nogueira, I suppose we would just like to hear for ourselves about what you'd most like to gain during your time here."


Noemi fills out forms. She brought some copies of key documents. American citizen. American salary. (That one makes her eyes bug momentarily.) Security procedures. Everything. Everything! The releases slip by like corn through a goose.

It's the older woman who makes her start feeling that this is real. Is this because I said my prayers? she wonders as she moves forwards, and then—


Noemi shakes hands and gives over her own business cards, which are gunmetal gray and are a year old. The email address is at ESU. Even so. Her grip is firm, but when JT speaks, she is momentarily startled.

This is a question Noemi, not alone in her generation, hates. The answers whirl through her head as she smiles at JT, in a way which is obviously buying herself a second and chance to think. Those whirling answers—'money,' 'a job that isn't the bad kind of whipping,' 'food,' 'full communism'—get pushed aside, and Noemi's hands clasp together as she answers.

"I'd like to get my hands on the full process of a product's lifecycle," Noemi says. "Most of my experience is in efficiencies in inorganic chemical production, and I think that from what I understand about the company's product lines, there's a lot of places where I could make improvements. I suppose the obvious thing would be electronics but I think I can make some real contributions to the ah, the transportation products line as well."

"That's kind of wordy," Noemi says. "If I had to boil it down, I want to use my abilities to make things better. Kind of high concept…"

SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT, Noemi thinks while continuing to smile enough to put a little dimpling in her cheeks.


JT and Alice share a Look.

JT continues to smile kindly, but Alice just stares flatly at Noemi for a long moment before closing her eyes, taking in a long breath, and then releasing it. When she reopens them, she begins flipping through what Noemi will no doubt recognize as her internship paperwork, flipping to the section on work history.

Meanwhile, JT continues on as though Alice weren't frantically trying to figure out how new the intern is to working at all. "It's not very glamorous," he admits with a shrug, "but there are definitely people in our lab who have been at this a very long time and are very good at what they do. A lot of what you'll be doing in the beginning is learning the documentation and helping them get it all down. But, depending on who you're helping, I'm sure that you'll be able to find openings to explore the things that interest you personally."

Alice looks up from the pages, and narrows her eyes. "That won't be a problem, will it?"

JT shoots Alice a look of warning. Alice fires back a 'what are you going to do about the words coming out of my mouth?' sort of look right back at him.


When the pages of supporting documentation are found, Alice reads it slowly. An eyebrow pricks upwards. "What were you doing in Mutant Town?" she asks, only to earn another look from JT.

Then JT, finally, frowns. "You don't have to answer that. It doesn't matter," he tells Noemi, his voice far more reassuring. "Unless you think it has direct relevance on this position. I think your credentials are very much in order. You're going to start on my team; Alice will only be making sure you get rotated through our project teams and help you if there are any operational issues during your time here."

Like ice on a lake top in a wintery storm, Noemi stiffens up. The smile on her face doesn't go away but it does recede and become more pro-forma. So this is where it happens, Noemi thinks: Well; did I really expect this to be that easy? Did I expect this to be so smooth and slick?

"It's fine," she tells JT with a moment of the smile being real. Then she looks at Alice.

"I live there; I'm a mutant," she says. "It's actually what got me into chemistry, because my body is structured completely differently than you'd expect, actually. I can change phases and stuff, it's great; I'll tell you all about it sometime."

She takes a deep breath as she looks at JT. At least I'll go down swinging, Noemi thinks, as her hands clap together lightly in front of her. "Thank you so much," she says to him: "I'm really excited about all of this. If we have time, could you give me a quick tour just so I can hit the ground running…?"


"Ms…" She doesn’t even attempt to pronounce the last name. Instead, she simply lets the word hang as though that were the only one she’d intended to use. "I don’t know what kind of operation you think we’re running here, but this is a 4.6 billion dollar, international company. Our shareholders trust that—"

A hand slamming down on the table, atop Noemi’s paperwork, interrupts her. The look that JT gives to his co-worker is one that seems nearly impossible, given that just moments earlier he was, by far, the friendlier of the two. Now his expression is equal parts fury and dare.

"One more word, Alice," he threatens with a single finger lifting emphatically, his voice a hiss of warning as he leans in. "One more word, and it’s going straight to H.R.. I’d think about which one you’re going to pick if I were you."

Alice makes no secret of her displeasure, but she is effectively cowed into silence. She wordlessly stews in her vitriol, sitting back in her chair and crossing her arms unhappily.

JT gives her a long moment to prove that she’s going to bend, to change tack.

She does so with a sullen "Fine."

That’s when JT reclaims his professional smile, weaves his fingers in front of them, and leans forward. The dark cloud that continues to hang around Alice is ignored. "Wonderful, so, Miss Nogueira, I would be delighted to show you the lab. We’ve only got the one here in town. The better facility is just north of the city, and that’s where you’ll be commuting once we get everything settled here today."

Disentangling his hands to push up from the table, he casually pushes his hands into his trouser pockets and finally turns his attention back to Alice. "If you could just leave the paperwork and let Miss Frost know that our new intern will be up to see her in a half hour if that's okay by her, that would be great. I'll take care of all of the formalities."


Part of Noemi wants to answer Alice in a flat and direct tone on what she is feeling coming off the woman; she has no sensitivities to such matters, but the challenge of 'are you saying i'm unprofessional because I’m a mutant?', perhaps with a piquant challenge at the end, isn’t far from her lips.

But. It doesn’t quite reach there.

This is Frost International. A major company. A place where you can actually launch yourself, whether you end up working for the long term or just getting your connections and plans together. Something other than the transient glories of a rent-controlled apartment and street life in a neighborhood that will change and grow and rot and die in its time.

So she stays quiet, especially when JT gets involved. "Oh, of course," Noemi says about the lab to the north, and her eyes turn down and away from Alice. She would like to think she’s actually thinking about how to get on the northbound commuter lines and how it’s going to be funny to be going in the reverse direction flow-wise, but she isn’t.

She’s seething inside.

The seething ends abruptly, as if struck by… FROST… when JT brings up the woman herself, the namesake, the legend, the boss who Noemi has thus far only seen once underneath an extremely stupid logo banner. (That banner is now in the garbage. Forever.)

The startled look on her face may gratify Alice, but who knows.


It doesn’t gratify Alice. But she does—to her credit, perhaps—keep her mouth shut as she rises herself and departs the room.

“I apologize for that, Miss Nogueira,” JT says with a bright, professional tone that sounds more like a customer service rep ready to soothe an irritated customer than one of the lab’s research leads who just exerted his authority. He doesn’t look at her, save an all-too-brief glance over the thick lenses and black frames of his glasses, as he picks up the paperwork left abandoned by the intern coordinator. “Please, do let me know if you experience any further… incidents.

Once the papers are gathered neatly up and into a manilla folder, he tucks the packet under his arm and sweeps the other hand towards the door. “Shall we, then?”


And away she goes. Noemi’s cheeks puff out as she exhales in evident relief, but then she looks to JT. Some part of her wonders if he’s actually an ally, or if he just is covering his ass, but then she tells herself: Stop thinking poorly of people, Jesus, Noemi. Don’t screw this up.

“We shall!” she answers, stepping forwards.


Noemi’s escort certainly doesn’t do anything to make it clear, either way. Instead, the man just moves to go and push the door out and start leading towards the elevators.

JT wordlessly punches the down button and waits for the elevator to come, and then holds the door open to make certain it doesn’t close on her.

It’s once they’re inside that he continues the conversation, punching a button to take them into the basement. “There’s nothing that makes you a risk in the lab, right?”


Noemi takes a deep breath and lets it out. Time to sell yourself, she thinks.

"No sir," she says. "I don’t expect I’d be in any other state than the one I am in right now, unless there was an emergency. Right now,” she says, raising a hand and flexing it slightly, "my skin’s a silicone polymer. Non-reactive and flexible. If anything, I’ll be safer than most people.”

“I’d show you… but, I’d shed a lot of hydrogen right now if I did it in here.”

“Alrighty,” is the only word of response as JT plunges his hand back in his pocket. As he watches the numbers tick down to their destination.

Once they’re down a few floors into the ground, he steps out.

It’s opens into an expansive, open lab, running the majority of the floor, likely. There are stations set up, and—if what’s out is to be believed—it looks like most of the work conducted here is electronics. It’s motherboards and wires and spools of solder and tools and flatscreen monitors everywhere you turn, with the occasional drafting board thrown in among the more common tables and steel legged stools.

“So, it’s nothing fancy,” he tells her, although there is a bright note of pride. “But we do cool stuff sometimes.”


“Oh my god! I LOVE IT,” Noemi says and she is not, it seems, blowing smoke. Stepping out and looking around, her mouth splits into a smile. “This is awesome - Jeez! If we had stuff like this at ESU, we would’ve… I don’t know what we would’ve, probably something great.”

After this she moves along with things, looking at monitors, examining drafting boards, exclaiming over fabricators -

JT gets another tidbit throughout the tour, at a point where Noemi pauses to jot down a summary of a lock-out procedure for some of the extra-expensive gear. “This is stuff for chip fabrication…? I guess this isn’t the time, but I think - well - I’ll bring it up after the tour, haha!”

Noemi would love to say ‘she forgot all about Alice’ but that is a lie; she is, at least, HAPPIER now that the actual workplace is being shown. So close, she thinks. So close!

The tour isn't desperately long, but JT promises to give a more thorough run-through once they are in the more extensive laboratories at the secondary site. When his smart watch makes a faint tinkling sound, he smiles and promptly (but politely) begins herding his new intern towards the elevator doors.

“Annnnnnd, that's my cue to get you upstairs, Miss Nogueira. You learn pretty quickly that Miss Frost doesn't like to be kept waiting.”

Once they're inside the bright silver interior, the steel practically mirror like, he pulls out his badge and swipes it before punching the second to last button so they can begin their ascent to the upper heights of the building.


Noemi isn’t sure how long it’s been. She doesn’t have a smart watch. She has a smart phone but even that’s a little dopey, and also, turned off, and also, in her bag. Because if it went off in the meeting with someone she would, of course, instantly die.

Morally, anyway. “Oh! Sure, I”ll remember that!” Noemi says as she’s scooted into the elevator. When the silver light of the walls reflects her face back at her, Noemi takes a half moment to make sure her hair is perfect.

“Silly question,” Noemi then says: “Is the top floor an observation deck…?”

“Board room,” JT replies, looking up at the shiny ceiling and rocking on the balls of his feet with his hands back in his pocket, “and the literal C Suite, but my badge won’t get us that far. Security gets a little tight. There's probably only a couple dozen folk who get the VIP pass. And if you thought the security guys in the lobby were prickly, just wait ‘til you get a gander at Frost’s aide.”

The ride is blissfully short, coming to a halt at the 38th floor. A small screen flares to life with a young brunette’s image, and JT looks down to it. “Heya, Tasha. I’ve got Miss Frost’s 11:30. Can you buzz me up?”

There’s a pause as Tasha regards the pair of occupants, and then she primly replies, “Of course. One moment, please.” The screen goes dark.

Then, true to her word, the elevator then beginning its ascent a moment later to finish rising the final floor.

The suite is a testament to fusion design, contemporary architecture and mostly contemporary furniture, offset by the occasional traditional piece of furniture or antique decor.

Tasha, with her elegant asymmetrical bob, looks as much a part of the decor as anything else as she sits behind her desk in the fishbowl-esque room. “She’s waiting for you.”


Noemi’s lips purse for a moment at the word of “Frost’s Aide.” She doesn’t interrupt when JT speaks to Tasha, and from there Noemi emerges. It may be remarkable that she stepped ahead of JT for a moment, but in actual fact she simply is conditioned to not hesitate in elevators.

And she’s presented with the contemporary space.

Not bad, she thinks, before looking at Tasha. “Oh! - OK,” she says in reply, with another smile. “Thank you so much.”

I’m not even left waiting, Noemi thinks. This is completely new. Even her faculty advisor always gave her a couple of minutes to sit. She didn’t mind it in the slightest, given that she was usually left to recover.

But she’s this close. Is SHE going to make EMMA FROST wait?


Noemi steps forwards and opens the doorway… to destiny.


There’s an eyebrow that pricks upwards as Noemi walks by, and then Tasha shoots a look towards JT that might be attempting to flay him with the powers of her mind. Alas, the terrifying psychic abilities exist—unbeknownst to her—in the body beyond those doors.

JT is entirely unhelpful in the regard, as he’s still in the elevator with both hands in his pockets and entirely too busy grinning like the cat who ate the canary. ‘She’s new,’ he mouths with a schoolboy’s charm. ‘Have fun!’ and with that, he gleefully punches the button to descend back to his labs.

Tasha simply glares.

Whether or not Noemi’s aware of the exchange, the glass doors open into the cavernous office that is Emma’s domain. Black marble tile covers the floor, decorated here and there with area rugs. The ceiling soars overhead, and every exterior wall, is a wall of beautiful, glittering, tinted glass that shines in the bright sunlight. There’s a wall of greenery that shields the office from Tasha’s view, lush palms and ferns in a varied collection of plaster, ceramic, and metal planters.

Once past that, to the right, there’s an expansive desk that is an ornate arrangement of glass and chrome. Several chairs orbit it, but all of them are utterly unoccupied. Dead ahead, closer to the wall offering a spectacular panoramic view of the city, there is a long table and eight chairs of similar design.

And then, to the left, down a few steps is a small sitting area with a white couch, two arm chairs, and a low coffee table. It is there that the dragon herself, Emma Frost in all of her fearsome glory, is presently reading a tablet as she sips on a cup of tea with her glasses on. Her garment is hardly appropriate for the office: a white sheath dress with an exaggerated sweetheart neckline that plunges to give a generous view of ample cleavage, a skinny belt about her trim waist, and the white Alençon lace that covers her collarbone, shoulders, and back.

She does not look up, but her mind silently races ahead of her to begin perusing the girl’s thoughts. How did the morning go so far? Where, if any, did problems occur? She wants all of the girl’s inner narrative, in all of its gory details.

Does the concept of a personal boundary apply to the interns under her care? T’would seem not.

“Good morning, Miss Nogueira,” she purrs once her sip is done. “Do come in.”

‘Welcome to my parlor,’ said the spider to the fly.


HEEDLESS of having made a foe of the woman with the spectacular hair, Noemi persists. She opens the door and almost feels taste pour over her, slick and elegant. She looks at the marble - the sunlight - the lush plants, growing in this confined and curvilinear environment.

The marble draws her eye particularly. She has a subtle relationship with that stone. It can be a problem for her, or so she has liked to think to herself, a sort of flattery that puts her among the brave, bold, astonishing and mighty. Maybe she should be there. She doesn't know.

Then she looks at Emma Frost.

Noemi feels a strange twist in her mind as she struggles: am I overdressed? Underdressed? There is uncertainty there which is a nice place for Emma's thoughts to slip into her mind, which anticipates no intrusion. How did the morning go…

Emma can see the company's facilities, seen through the dazzled eyes of someone whose previous high benchmark was ESU's entirely credible but not exactly exalted chemistry department. The tedium and exhilaration of paperwork. The sharp bitter taste of Alice's presence. The complicated relief when JT accepted her explanation of why she wouldn't be a problem - that's got sediment to it; a layer of resentment, beneath a thicker layer of 'thank god, he doesn't hate me'. The peculiar vivid memory of Tasha's hairstyle.

All of it has the throughline of: I can't believe I'm here, with the counterpoint of: Don't FUCK IT UP, NOEMI.

Noemi steps forwards, essaying a smile. "Good morning, ma'am," she says, but then she falls silent. ('DON'T FUCK IT UP, NOEMI' lights up in her mind again, and it is obvious she has chosen to risk seeming withdrawn, rather than stick her foot directly into her mouth.)


"I'm given to understand that you've had quite the morning,” Emma offers matter-of-factly, her smile the sort easily given when inquiring after the weather. She sets down her tea cup and tablet, and the glasses are folded and set neatly to the side.

The woman then crosses her legs as she sits in her wingback chair, indicating the couch and other chair still open and available.

"Nothing like starting the day with a bang."


That looks like an invitation to sit, and so Noemi, like a cat confronted with a box: Sits. She goes for the chair, because it feels more professional - the decision is clearly visible in her mind, as is a terrible desire to make a good impression (obviously…)

The chair doesn’t creak beneath her, but she settles in more than she ought. As she slides off her bag to set down in her lap, Noemi says, “It’s been more of a slow eruption… everyone’s been wonderful,” EXCEPTING ALICE, “but I was surprised at how complex the process was… “

There’s another dithering ‘should I say more,’ which Noemi cautiously accepts, leading her to say: “Thank you for meeting with me, ma’am; I’m flattered.” With this her eyes turn round, admiration for architecture scoring brief victories over ‘firm attention to the boss.’


“Well, I just wanted to make sure you settled in,” Emma says as she settles her elbow on the arm of her chair and her chin atop upturned fingertips, and there’s the ring of truth to it. Her other hand floats with a delicate whimsy, vaguely emphatic, with fingers always in some elegant arrangement. “I want very much for this to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. And I like to take the opportunity to say that my door is often open,” if one can convince Tasha to let him or her near it, “and to extend friendly professional advice.”

Her reputation is not ‘approachable’, but perhaps it might seem a mistake that she’s earned it in a moment such as this. What is a reputation, anyway, except a moment of time generalized to represent all moments?

Emma’s lips turn upwards a little more overtly. “After all, there is a great deal to be gained when we are both benefitting, hm?”


She sounds like a fur coat, Noemi thinks again, laterally. Emma’s casual control of the situation, her sleek and subdued motions, all of them are making an impression. Noemi thinks but does not say: I thought she was supposed to be colder than this. Maybe it’s just from her last name, and her hair, and people being prejudiced.

The connection between her own struggles and this are enough to make her smile. To smile back, in fact. “I hope I’ll be quite a benefit to the company,” Noemi says: “I was speaking with JT, actually, while he was giving me the tour, and I think he’s got good hopes for what I can bring to the electronics division…?”


“I’m honestly still shocked by all of this,” she then says, with a slight note of laughter as her eyes raise towards the ceiling. There, she thinks, much better.

No it wasn’t!! She thinks an instant later.


Emma chuckles in kind. “Ah, but there’s also the matter of Ms. Hernandez, yes?”

The woman in white uncrosses and then recrosses her legs as she shifts position, the hand that was supporting her head now moving to drape languidly across her lap.

Her emphatic hand continues to serve as such, although now it simply lifts to pause whatever words might come from the younger creature across from her. “Who was certainly out of line. But I would to discuss that whole…” Crystalline eyes lift ceilingward for a moment as that moving hand twirls as she theatrically and unhurriedly searches for the word. “…scenario,” she chooses, appreciating its neutrality.

“If that’s alright by you? I’m certainly not H.R., who would need to hear any formal complaints.”


How did she know that all so quickly, Noemi thinks as her eyes widen slightly.

Did Hernandez call up and immediately get dressed down? Was someone watching?

“Of course, I’d be glad to - discuss it, ma’am,” Noemi says then, straightening up in her seat and letting her face shift down into a more neutral, professional demeanor. “It didn’t seem like a matter that needed escalation in any event.”


Emma just continues to smile, offering no insight as to how she gathered her intelligence. Rather, the blonde simply takes a deep breath and then picks up her teacup from its place beside her prescriptionless, useless glasses. She’ll probably trash them later, she thinks to herself, having grown a little bored of them.

“Allow me to suggest something, and you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to make anything of it.”

Sipping from her cup, she then balances the thing on her knee.

“The world is filled to the brim with people like Ms. Hernandez. Close-minded. Unimaginative. Bigoted. You, however, have all the makings of a diamond in a Swarovski shop. Others can be shaped—molded, fired, cut—to resemble what you were born to be. Enough to perhaps deceive the untrained eye.”

Her voice is eminently gentle. Nearly kind.

“But, you are more than your genetics, yes?”


Noemi feels… it’s not quite her pulse pounding, because in a real sense she doesn’t have a heart; the fluid layers inside of her body are more an accident of accreted functional knowledge than blood. But the sense of tension is there as Emma speaks. She thinks her cheeks are darkening (not reddening). They are.

The flattery gets Emma everywhere. Noemi takes a breath - that much is normal.

“Of course,” she says. “It’s part of who I am. But,” and here she looks to Emma, perhaps for approval: “It’s part. Not everything.”


There is a small, nearly imperceptible lift at the corners of Emma’s smile. Her eyes drop to her drink, giving the pretense of allowing the younger woman across from her a moment to herself.

She’s not. Not really. Rather, confident that her psychic intrusion is entirely unnoticed, she intently listens to the run of surface thoughts as they pass through Noemi’s head. It’s a skillful, special sort of multitasking that she’s honed over a very short number of years.

“Precisely so,” the CEO encourages, sipping again from her cup. “So, how do you think you might go about best proving it? You needn’t have an answer right now, either, lest you panic. But it’s worth considering. Having a plan helps you to be strategic. Gives you goals. Goals chart futures.”


Noemi's thoughts are a pretty clear stream; Emma no doubt can tell that she has a stronger sense of self-image in the literal sense than is usual, but this doesn't translate to mental discipline any deeper than you might develop playing a few games of poker and striving not to be the sucker.

The ongoing chord here is awe and a deep desire to do things right. There's a weird lingering thing over Tasha. There is also a fluttering sort of desire to melt, which is not a very typical thing to imagine, but it seems to be in the same key as "relax" or "flop on the couch" - doubtless a reaction to pressure.

A tiny bit to the side, though - the running dialogue sort of stream -

When she hears Emma speak, Noemi's thoughts go something like:

'prove it, how do I prove it? this is the competitive side isn't it. shit. ok, how are you gonna show up the flatscans.'

Externally her lips purse in thought. She laughs slightly, with a bit of effort. "This is kind of a big question, yeah, isn't it?"

'plan plan plan, what do you want to do. get rich. have your own fancy semi-penthouse office. people paying you money to breathe at them. oh christ i have to say something here not just look cute. fuck i am such an imposter, she's going to figure this out. at least in the lab i can cover. argh shit shit shit'

"I think," Noemi says, "I can get more patents than any of them, in a year." A pause, and she says, "Make it thirteen months since I have to learn how to get a patent in order."

“Well, that would certainly be something,” Emma agrees amiably, recrossing her legs to allow her to lean on the arm of her chair once she sets her tea aside once more.

“Allow me to offer you a friendly bit of advice if I may?”

She doesn’t actually wait for permission before continuing, but the lift of her eyebrows says that she wants Noemi to at least pretend that there was an opportunity to interject.

“Today’s incident with Ms. Hernandez was… unfortunate. Unavoidable, really, given the paperwork. But an excellent teachable moment.”

“There are, presently, four people who know very well that you have a genetic edge. You. Me. Mister Wallace. Ms. Hernandez.” A pause, and then Emma allows a little more. “And a member of HR reviewing your paperwork. So, five.”

“So we keep that circle very intimate as you go about that race for patents.”

Noemi seems to accept this polite fiction and looks at Emma directly, eyes wide. She is Listening, with a capital Intern, and then she lingers for a moment.

She’s suggesting I keep it more quiet, Noemi thinks. Some part of her resists against this, pushes back. Right now, here, in a place of power and glamor and extremely nice furniture, that part is shamefully weaker than it ought to be. Nobody else is watching me, Noemi thinks: “I understand.”

“The patent office doesn’t care how you go through so many formulas so quickly, right?” Noemi adds, with a hesitant smile.

Is this what selling out feels like? Noemi thinks, with no conclusive interior answer.


“They don’t,” Emma sweetly confirms. “And I know that it might be a little difficult at first. But it invites less trouble. Keeps you off the more undesirable radar screens, keeps you on the ones that matter.” Her voice is filled with an unhurried certainty. She has no doubts about that.

Then, she leans in, shining golden hair spilling over her shoulder like it was a commercial for hair conditioner. Her voice drops low with a touch of warning. “More than anything, though, I want you safe.”

She pulls back, and she’s back again to the matter of her tea, refreshing it from the delicate white ceramic pot that sits beside her. “You should be free to pursue your natural talents without hindrance or bias. And, to show you that I truly looking to help, I’ve also taken a liberty and informed Mister Wallace that fifteen percent of your paid hours are to be spent pursuing whatever your heart desires in the lab. And you and he can discuss any arrangements for off-the-clock use of the R&D labs.”

Crystalline eyes consider Noemi as the business woman lifts her eyebrows in inquiry. “Does that sound reasonable?”


Some small part of Noemi thinks, with a sort of curdled jealousy: She’s even making POURING HERSELF MORE TEA look good. How does that happen?? Are there schools??

However, the seething whirl of first-day (or is this zeroth-day?) jitters calms somewhat in the face of this eloquent gift. It feels queenly to Noemi. She settles back in her seat, and then perhaps - spots the note: off-the-clock R&D use. Mm, she thinks to herself.

But I did put my foot in this one, Noemi thinks.

“It sounds incredibly reasonable,” Noemi says, folding her hands on her knee. “I’m already thinking of ways to make use of it.” Which is not entirely false, though the idea in her head makes use of freshman-grade programming to give her heads-up views of - molecules? This is an insight on how she works, isn’t it, if Emma is still listening.

“It’s so reasonable I feel like I should be looking for hooks,” Noemi says with a smile that is not exactly kidding. “I mean - I don’t dispute what you said - but it’s just so mind-bending to think about. I keep expecting to stub my toe and wake up.”


The corner of Emma’s mouth quirks upwards, tugging her smile briefly uneven in amusement. However, it’s fortunate that Noemi’s attempt at joking is timed very conveniently to obscure the fact that what the mind witch is really chuckling airily at is the interior, hidden dialogue.

Yes, Emma is still very much eavesdropping.

“Well, if you feel differently after going to bed and actually waking up, do let me know?”

Behind them, there’s a brief buzz from an intricately carved box—scrollwork and floral elements coaxed out of the grain of a tree at knifepoint—on the coffee table. Emma leans forward and taps a part of the carved top, one of the peony blooms, and then asks, “Yes, Tasha?”

Tasha’s voice, prim and precise, cuts into the room from the speakers hidden in the dark of the box. “Mister Yardley is on the line for you, Miss Frost. Shall I send him to your voicemail?”

There’s a small sigh, and then a theatrical force applied to her smile. “No, no. Just give me a minute, and then transfer it through.”

Frost then smiles in Noemi’s direction, offering a soft and slender hand. “I’m afraid I do have to take that, but… Welcome aboard, Miss Nogueira. I look forward with anticipation to all that you’ll accomplish in your time here.”


Noemi takes a deep breath and rises to her feet crisply. She looks at Emma and her mind actually calms for a moment. This is an absurd sort of thing to connect with someone about, on a psychological level, but it makes perfect sense to Noemi: She has to deal with irritating calls as well.

Emma extends a hand.

Noemi takes it in both of hers. It feels right. She is room-temperature to the touch and there are textural differences to the squeeze she gives, but her eyes have honest joy in them. “Thank you, Miss Frost. I won’t let you down. Now with that I’ll get out of your hair -”

She lingers for a moment for some kind of dismissal indication, not knowing quite why, and then heads for that door, probably to be killed and eaten by Tasha.


The promise is enough to elicit a warm smile from a woman who—by all reputation—is a shark as cold as they come.


Rising to her feet, she begins to walk up the stairs out of her comfortable pit, with every intention of encouraging Noemi to her feet and then setting a hand gingerly at the small of the younger woman’s back.

“Tasha will see you safely out. Have a lovely day, hm?”

And then, at the top of the stairs, Emma diverges paths, making her way towards the desk and settling behind it as it starts to ring. She settles into her chair and picks up the phone.

“Hello, Mister Yardley, darling! Oh, no! No, no. Not interrupting at all…”

Emma wiggles her fingers in farewell to Noemi, a secretive smile of amusement on her lips.

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