I stood there staring at the five doors in a semi circle. This was it. My life for the next year. I didn’t know who I was going to meet or what I was doing here. Three others had already arrived and had chosen their rooms. The first three doors on the right were claimed, that left the two doors on the left available. I didn’t want to choose the one right next to them and risk them thinking that I was forcing my way into their already formed friendship but if chose the one furthest away It could look like I wanted to create space. So I stood staring at the brown victorian looking doors for a moment. I wondered if they had been put together before. I must have been there a little too long before they had noticed me staring. They looked blankly at me, trying to assess if I was acceptable or if I was going to be a burden to them for the next year. I gave them a small smile and wave before I picked the door furthest away. In those few seconds I think we could all feel that the option of space would be a great thing for us.
The room wasn’t small but it wasn’t big either. White surfaces covered the walls, enough room for a double bed, one wall had a fitted desk and shelving units. A door on the right led to what I assumed was a bathroom and next to the door was a board with all the timings we could possibly need, meeting times, contact numbers, etc. The boring stuff. Near the window was a desk which had a kettle, a microwave, and a clear surface with buttons next to it which I assume would request snacks. At least it would keep me going until I found my way to the canteen or learnt the local spots which would no doubt soon become my favourite hideaways. The rooms were built to have everything you need in them because outside of them is a little gathering space, a few chairs and then a walkway to the door. I don’t know much about this place but I do know that we’re grouped by skill. Everyone in this group has a skill that the other doesn’t, it’s designed to that each team or group can overcome most problems, making it the most efficient process to solving problems.
I didn’t know what I expected, maybe after the first hour or so of unpacking perhaps someone to introduce themselves? Instead nothing happened. I didn’t know any of the names of those I was grouped with. I unpacked everything within the hour, I didn’t have much to begin with, so I decided to go and say hi. I knocked on the middle door, the one that was open, and the girls stopped talking and looked up at me. There were two three brunette, each of them stunning in their own way. They all looked expectantly at me, “Hi” i managed to choke out. “I figured I should introduce myself since we’ll be working together for the foreseeable.”
“Hi” the middle one smiled. She seemed to be the smallest and although she smiled the corner of her mouth seemed like it was hiding a secret. “I’m Kate, this is Lucy” she pointed to the tall woman with blue eyes. Lucy nodded. “And this is Rachel” Rachel smiled a bright white smile. I seemed to reflect this myself and offered her one back.
“I’m Evelynn. People call me Evie for short.” The ladies nodded before turning their heads again and going back to their original conversation. I decided it was my time to leave and left the room. I was about to close the door back to my room before I heard Kate again “We’ll see you at work tomorrow, 9am.”
“Sure, see you then” I figured that was Kate’s way of ending the introductions and today’s associations. We were here to work and that was all.
The next morning I decided to get up bright and early. I didn’t have time for breakfast, I just chucked on a blue and laced shirt and some nice black fitted trousers. Grabbed my bag and headed towards the huge office buildings and tried to find the one which was mine. I had been looking for a good twenty minutes, there was just so flipping many of them. A notice board seemed to be where people would stop for a moment before changing directions, I’d follow their lead. I looked for my name, it would help if I knew what department I was even working at or what skill of mine they highlighted as the most useful. After another ten minutes I felt someone standing next to me and learned a little over me (I was so small at 5’2, it happened more often than not) I turned around to see a man standing next to me. Messy Blonde hair, bright blue eyes and a smile firmly placed on his face. He knew how to work a room, I could already tell that his skill was charm. “You’re lost too huh?” he smirked.
“Yes! This place is so flipping huge I had no idea where I’m going.”
“That’s okay, I’ve yet to meet my group.” he didn’t seem bothered by this. I carried on looking and found my name. I did a mini fist pump before realising I was in public. “Excited?”
“No, I’d just rather go sit at my desk than wander around this place.” I shrugged before walking away. He winked at me just before he left the notice board himself.
I followed the map I had stolen from the board and made my way to office 6B. It was a huge room, there were four groups of tables each with the capacity to sit five people. Two rooms built of glass, I assume for secret projects talked and each desk had a Macbook Pro and a PC desktop sitting on it. I looked around until I found that group placing I thought we were placed, it had my group number attached to it and chose the one I thought would cause the least problems. I pulled out a few photos, ones that reminded me of home, a fake flower because I never had the patience to keep them alive and logged began organise my office space. The other tables were beginning to fill up and I was still waiting for Kate, Lucy and Rachel.
It wasn’t until 9:20am that they arrived, making the general first day excuses for being late. I had already set up my email and started my own filling systems. I was nothing if not organised. They gave their distance smiles and made their way to the desks, the only empty table being next to me. Kate sat at the head of the group, nominating herself as leader. Rachel sat opposite me behind her computer making it impossible to pretty much say anything or see anything and Lucy sat next to her. We all started filling in the obligatory forms and sets up of the computers before a bag suddenly dropped onto the empty table next to me. I looked up and there he was; the good looking blonde from before. He gave me another wink to which I smiled and turned my head back to my computer screen. “ Fancy seeing you here” he smirked.
“Imagine, of all the gin joints in all the world” I laughed, the girls had stopped their incessant typing and looked up.
“I don’t think I got to introduce myself this morning. Max” He held out his hand and I took it trying not to melt into his touch. He really did look good.
“I’m Kate, team leader” I tried not to giggle. No one had actually chosen her as team leader. “This is Rachel and Lucy. I assume you moved in to your room late last night?”
“Yeah, you know family things and such.” he smiled. I didn’t believe him for one minute. “Oh look at this, it appears you can’t get rid of me…” he paused, he was yet to learn my name.
“Evie.” I finished for him.
“Bump into me this morning and not you’re stuck next to me. I warn you now, I snack a lot. I’m a sharer too, so unless you have good willpower, you’re going to end up eating crap”
“Don’t worry, I have a giant bag of M&M’s in my drawer” I grinned.
“Be still my beating heart” he laughed before taking a seat. He turned to Kate “So Boss, what’s the plan?”
“We’re just doing the admin before we get an email to tell us our skills and what we’re actually supposed to do.” Kate shrugged like it was obvious.
“Of course.” He spotted Lucy starring and he gave her a wink too. Charm, this boy was definitely going to be using his charm in whatever the hell we had to do.
I had a bit of spare time whilst waiting for an email to tell me what I was apparently really good at so I decided to try and look up my family. Only thing is all of a sudden, I couldn’t really remember much. I could make out faces, and hear their voices but when it came to their names, or places where I lived my mind was blank. I turned to Max who looked surprised at me, he couldn’t of possibly knew what I was trying to do, could he? My email notification popped up. It was Max.
Max: Brain scanners will do that to you. You won’t remember whilst your here.
I took a moment, trying not to give my thoughts away before replying.
Evelynn: How do you even know that? Have you been here before?
Max: Here? No. But I know my skill.
Evelynn: Do tell?
Max: Wait for the email.
He was smiling, I could see it out of the corner of my eye. It was as if he could tell the future because we had an email come up from Barringdon Corp.
Dear Group C,
By now I trust you have enrolled yourselves onto the system. Each of you will be wondering what you have to offer us, but you have been chosen carefully and we know that you all have a place here at Barringdon. You have been nominated either by yourself or by your family members for a place here. Don’t try to contact your family, here you will barely remember the outside world, you won’t need too. Barringdon will provide all that you need. The purpose of this group is to discover what we really need to know, you will look into the campaigns of others and discover what they are not telling us. Some may call it background checks, others will call it detective work, we call it necessary. Every project will be approved and run through you. You’ll be given confidential information and you may not always agree on what you decide to do but majority will always rule and you will have the power to reject and accept the projects and morals that this company stands for.
You’re skills are the following:
Kate Smith – Delegation and defence
Rachel Cross – Distraction and surveillance
Lucy Thomas – Defusing and manipulation.
Evelynn Green – Knowledge and history
Maximus Jackson – Observer and technology
Use them to the best of your ability and in you we trust.
We thank you for your service.
That explained why Max already knew, he’s good at observing, he appears to be confident to know himself pretty well. He uses his charm to hide the fact that he’s observing everything about you, ready to use the knowledge. Plus he may have hacked into the system already to figured this out.
As soon as the email went around I felt like had something inside me wake up, my understanding for things around me just was turned up to 100. It didn’t explain why I couldn’t remember anything, images and people yes, but names and places? No. I didn’t know how I got here, did I nominate myself? Did someone nominate me? Where was I even from? My understanding is that I got off a train and headed straight for the Barringdon HQ. I looked around me and everyone seemed to be okay with this. How could they be okay with this? I was struggling to breathe with all this new information. I suppose the key word was new, perhaps this wasn’t knew to them. How long had they been here? Had they re-nominated themselves or volunteered for an extra year, could you even do that? I somehow stumbled my way through the morning and decided that lunch in the canteen was a bad idea. I couldn’t even control my thoughts at the moment let alone small talk with the three musketeers, besides if Max was observant he had probably guessed I’m was having an internal discussion with myself. I headed back to the he group quarters and stay firmly in my room. I needed to process this.