Quintanelle Fillion quickly scanned over the job listings at a work station at the New Delta Unemployment Office, like she had been doing every day for the past few weeks.
The office was empty in the late afternoon. The only other job seeker there was some round thing with tentacles called a Brac’tai searching for some kind of work. Quintanelle wasn’t about to look over and see, but she could hear it slowly coo as its tentacles flashed over the keyboard.
Quintanelle yawned and continued on. She had moved from Teolos, the crystalline home of the Teolian elves, much to her family’s disapproval. Spending her life in civil servitude, like her father, or military service, like her sister, didn’t seem at all appealing. Her choice, her only real choice, was to move to New Delta, the technological dystopia made up of nearly sixteen-hundred mile-high towers. Residing within were every abomination and lesser creature that she had been indoctrinated to hate.
She was a newly minted mage, graduated at the top of her class, mentored by a high mage of the Mage Council of Teolos, a very prestigious honor, but nobody wanted her skills. There was no way she was qualified for summoned-item cost accounting, super-computer programming or DNA writing, despite her superior training and pedigree.
Granted, lighting your hands on fire and summoning things out of thin air weren’t directly applicable to many vocations. There had to be something, but she didn’t see anything. Well… there were jobs, but they were all for stripping, pornography, or legal prostitution, professions she wouldn’t enter even if she had a laser pistol pointed at her head. Not only that, being a Teolian Mage meant she was shut out of any New Deltan Government jobs, for which there were many, in order to prevent spying.
She felt a nudge, she looked to over to see the brac’tai looking at her, then the screen and then back at her. It whirred while it gave her a toothless grin, drool dripping down onto the floor. Quintanelle wanted to kick it away, it was slimy and ugly, but that wouldn’t be nice. It hadn’t actually done anything to her.
“You want me to look,” she asked, taking pity on the creature and giving it a break.
Its eye tentacles raised and lowered.
She leaned over and read out loud from the screen.
“Dear brac’tai designated Dave 237: Ashram-Uriah is pleased to offer you a data-entry position… Compensation is the use of a sleeping tank in our Brac’tai dormitory and an unlimited supply of nutrient solution. In addition, you will be allowed a stipend of twenty thousand credits a year for discretionary spending. Congratulations!”
Dave 237 let out a celebratory chirp, logged off, jumped off the chair and slid out the door, leaving a jubilant trail of slime as it left.
How dare that tentacle thing snag a job while she couldn’t find anything. Then again, the Brac’tai were famous for working twenty hours straight without a break as long as they were supplied with nutritional fluid.
Quintanelle put her head down on the desk. Time was running out. She had rented a small apartment, but her savings wouldn’t last much longer, and once they ran out, she would have to scurry back to Teolos and beg her mentor for a job, her dreams of freedom defeated.
Quintanelle sat up, wiped her tears and starting searching one last time.
Then she saw it, an older listing she might be perfect for. She never bothered to interview because she didn’t think she would get it, but now it was time to try; there was nothing else.
Next to the picture of a scruffy looking human male, it said, “Private detective Alfonso Deegan looking for one assistant to help with cases on a full-time basis. Interview between the hours of 09:00 and 17:00, 3/3/10021 through 3/8/10021. Tower K-23, Height 4100, Suite B. First come, first served.”
Quintanelle checked the date and time, 3/8 at 16:39. Just enough time to get over there and interview. She summoned on her purple mage robes with blue and green trim, and dashed out the office looking for the nearest tram station to take her there.
It was either that job, or back to Teolos for a life wasted as a boring civil servant.