At The Archive, Lennie led the way to Brant’s office and he ushered them inside. “Lennie! This is a surprise! Thought you were taking the day off. Now what brings you here?”
“A couple of things I needed to do,” Lennie began with a glance at Nickie. “I’ve submitted the paperwork to make Nickie my Archivist Apprentice. Second, I’ve put in a request to do a complete exploration of an abandoned building at the docks.”
“Your apprentice! Well, I suppose you’ll need a bigger office.” Brant grinned and brought out a key from his desk drawer. “Fifth floor, southeast corner.”
“Killian’s old office? The one with its own bathroom?” Lennie accepted the key.
“Yes. Oh, didn’t I tell you yesterday?”
“Tell me what?”
From his shirt pocket, Brant removed a new ID card. “They promoted you to Archivist First-Class, with all the perks that go with the promotion.”
“Son of a bitch!” She could barely contain her excitement as she accepted the ID card.
Nickie gave her a hug. “Congratulations, Lennie!”
Her mind whirled with this wonderful news, and she left her seat to pace. With the promotion I don’t need to ask permission to explore any building or ruins and the higher pay means moving to a better apartment building.
“I thought getting my ID for Artifacts access yesterday was great. I never expected to reach this rank so soon.” She sat down.
“You’re the best Archivist we have, and that’s a fact.” He rested his arms on the desk. “I’m still your boss, but that’s more a formality. The higher-ups like to keep a chain of command. Keep doing what you have been, but you don’t need to ask for permission to access the lower levels.” He turned his attention to Nickie. “How are you doing today, Nickie? All settled in?”
“Y-yes, sir. Lennie and I did some shopping yesterday. Had my haircut this morning, went to the Clinic, and I received my shots. We’re doing more shopping today, too. I’m getting my own laptop.” She met his eyes. “Thank you for making Lennie my Keeper. I know I’ll learn a lot from her.”
“What makes you think I had anything to do with that?”
“I heard you talking to that man in the dark blue suit yesterday, before we went to Lennie’s office. You told him Lennie should be my Keeper and he agreed.”
“I thought Craig Richardson and I were having a quiet conversation.”
“I have excellent hearing. Something you have to develop if you want to survive on the streets.” Nickie ran her fingers through her hair.
“I see.” Brant rubbed his chin. “Lennie, you can make arrangements to have your stuff transferred to your new office. I’ll put in a call for the ID for Nickie. It should be ready before the two of you leave the building, so stop at Certification.”
“Sounds good. I do want to take a look at the new place. Also need to put in a request to Supply for a desk, chair, and desktop computer for Nickie. Aren’t you going to ask why I want to explore the abandoned building?”
“Nope. I’ll read your final report when you submit it. One more thing, other Archivists will ask you for permission to do things. You hold the same rank as I, my friend.”
“I know, Brant, and thank you again. This means a great deal to me.” Lennie’s smile lit her eyes. “Come on, Nickie. We have things to do.”
Lennie pressed the down button for the elevator. “Looks like the two of us will be moving to a new apartment building. I’ll be able to afford a four-bedroom. This will give us separate studies.”
“I take it we’re going to check out the new office?”
“Yes. After that, we’re going down to the lower level where security found you. I’m curious to see what section you were in.” Lennie leaned against the wall. “I’m also going to request a copy of the report about you from the Scryers.”
“I want to know what they learned from me. None of them said a word when they were there. All they did was stare at me.” She shuddered. “Gave me the creeps.”
Lennie chuckled. “The Scryers give everyone the creeps, but they are good at what they do.”
“On the day the earth shuddered, where were you?”
“In my office. I had returned from the cafeteria with a cup of coffee and a piece of coffee cake. I set them on my desk when everything began quivering. I thought we were having an earthquake. “The air wavered like I was looking at the room through water. Made me feel sick. There was a yellowish-green light everywhere and I could hear other people yelling and screaming. The shaking, strange light, and wavering lasted about ten minutes. I huddled under my desk, hoping I wouldn’t throw up. By the time everything settled down the air felt heavy, sort of hard to breathe. Where were you?”
“At a pet store where I earned money for food by cleaning out the cages and feeding the critters. All the animals started raising a fuss — dogs howling, cats hissing and looking for a place to hide. Even the fish were swimming in strange ways. I ducked under the counter where the register was, hoping the place wouldn’t collapse.”
At the door to her new office, Lennie stared at the brass plate; ‘Lenara Lenquil – Archivist First-Class’. She ran a finger over it. “Need to get a second nameplate for you, Archivist Apprentice Nickie Atlan.”
“Never thought I would see my name on a nameplate.”
Lennie unlocked the door and they stepped inside. The far left wall contained built-in bookshelves. Straight across were windows giving a nice view of the city in the direction of the docks. Lennie walked to the window.
“The view from here is spectacular,” she said. “What do you think?”
Nickie joined her. “It’s as big as your living room and kitchen area put together. I like it.”
“So do I. I’ll finally be able to unpack the rest of my boxes I have in storage.” She headed for the door.
“Where to now?”
“Certification, then to the lower level. The Scryers’ office is next to Certification, so I can get the report from them.” Lennie grabbed her cell phone. “This is Lenara Lenquil. I need to requisition a large desk, a chair, a desktop computer, and monitor. Place them in office 55.” She listened to the clerk in Supply, nodding. “That’s right. I also need two more sets of floor to ceiling bookcases and a second nameplate for the door – Archivist Apprentice Nickie Atlan. She’s in the database.” She paused. “That’s right. Thank you.” She hit the end button.
Nickie watched the numbers flash as the elevator descended to the first floor. “After we finish here, are we going to Electronics Bazaar?”
“Yes, then lunch,” Lennie replied. “You hungry?”
“Yep. Breakfast seems a long time ago.”