Even though I’ve been working here for two weeks now, I still haven’t really had a chance to get to know my co-workers that well. Dr. Cranor doesn’t really believe in breaking the ice or making idle chit-chat, so she didn’t even really introduce me around to the rest of her team. Since then, most of my direct interaction has been with her. Occasionally someone else will tell me what to do, but I get the feeling that they don’t really see me as part of the team so much as Dr. Cranor’s personal assistant.
But hey, at least I’m getting paid. I’m sure that if I could keep in touch with my former classmates, I’d find out that a lot of them are stuck in volunteer positions or unpaid internships.
The fact that we all wear badges is pretty much the only reason I know anyone’s name. Dr. Li is grade 8, the same as Dr. Cranor, though this seems to be her show. Beneath the two of them, there are seven other research associates, mostly Grades 5 and 6. The only one who’s close to me is Buddy Dacote, who’s Grade 4. I don’t know exactly what the difference is between Grades 3 and 4, but to judge by the way that Buddy looks at me—or right through me—you’d think the upgrade comes with a throne, a golden crown, and a choir of heavenly angels.
Well, whatever. He probably started off as grade 3 or lower.
What little socializing I’ve done has been in the living quarters. There’s a food court in the hub, but most of the time I eat in the employee cafeteria attached to the dorm. The food’s actually better there, and it’s free. I don’t know anyone, but there aren’t enough tables to really sit alone in a corner so at first I mostly just looked for one that was sparsely occupied and asked the people there if it was okay to sit there. I eventually found a group of people who genuinely don’t mind the intrusion.
There’s C.B. Gordman, who I figured out right away is a serious talker. It’s hard to get a word in edgewise with him. I can’t complain, since he went out of the way to make me feel welcome. He’s Grade 5, but he’s not haughty about it. He works in the Applied Science High-energy Particle Department, the same as I do.
Eva Calnyx is part of the Heuristic Algorithms for Learning project, in the computer science department. I’m pretty sure she’s mainly a hacker, but her legitimate project is apparently in trying to improve AI to make it less annoying to interact with. She optimizes pathfinding procedures in her spare time.
Then there’s Don, who’s Grade 2 security. Security and science don’t seem to mix that much in the common areas, but being a victim of cliquish snobbery, I don’t feel any need to piss downwards. Don’s a good guy. When he heard about my flashlight troubles, he gave me a part number to request from the commissary: HKN11910LED. An LED flashlight would be a huge improvement over the one I’ve been lugging around.