Richard was a recruiter. His "prospects" rarely knew they were on his list until it was too late, nevertheless, his record was nearly flawless.
He had faithfully served the Organisation for years, targeting scientists and other "assets" for recruitment. Most of the "recruited" were so suitably impressed with the act of recruitment that they cooperated willingly, but there were a few notable exceptions.
In one case, a particularly stubborn computer scientist had protested quite vehemently... refusing to do the software development that the Organisation had mandated. His resistance had quickly melted when he was shown his wife, collared and reduced, trapped under a glass cake cover in a terrarium filled with vicious Australian funnel web spiders, their fangs clicking greedly against the glass as they strained to get at the juicy and appropriately terrorized morsel inside. The scientist had immediately agreed to do the work-- a new software algorithm for sequencing genetic code, and had wound up doing quite a good job of it. The results were "leaked" to the Human Genome Project, allowing it to be completed well ahead of schedule, thereby furthering the Organisations efforts in the field of Eugenics. Rumor had it that the scientist had actually become a willing participant from that point forward, and that he had acquired a taste for keeping his wife reduced and at his disposal.
But all good things must come to an end. Richard knew and accepted this. At the ripe old age of thirty five, he was feeling the heat of the younger Members nipping at his heels. He was losing his edge. He was taking less chances. But his career with the Organisation had been the stuff of legends. Daring abductions under the tightest of security. It didn't matter if the targets were corporate, university or government assets. Richard had been the "go to" guy. Richard was the recruiter that delivered.
Sitting in the Director's reception area, he thought about his impending retirement. He knew the Organisation would find use for him as a trainer and consultant-- that much was assured. No... his concerns were much more self serving. He was wondering if his "gold watch" request would be granted.
The receptionist rises from her desk and smiles cheerfully, her hybrid collar just barely visible under the open top of the crisp business blouse she wore.
"Sir, the Director will see you now" she says, leading him to the dark mahogany doors that opened into the Directors office.
He smiles politely and takes a deep breath, rising and following the girl. He doubted that the Organisation had ever been presented with a gold watch request quite like his!
The Director rises to meet him, greeting him warmly with a firm handshake and offering him a seat in the nearby conversation area. Richard takes this a good sign... they would be speaking frankly and as _near_ equals. Had he been directed to sit before the huge desk, he would have known that his request had been denied. There was still a chance.
Over steaming mugs of coffee, they talk about the Organisation and Richard's career. Laughing... swapping war stories... musing on the shortcomings of the latest crop of young new Members, as well as the declining quality of their adversaries. While they chat, CNN hums on a television monitor mounted in a nearby wall bookshelf-- audio/visual wallpaper at the moment... things had been relatively quiet as of late. The Organisation was currently in "heads down" mode... trying to integrate the latest genetic findings with their admittedly old fashioned human breeding programmes. Eventually, the discussion wanes. The Director takes a sip of coffee and sets his mug down, leaning forward with a questioning look on his weathered and hawk-like face.
"Now Richard, about this gold watch request..."
Richard nods slightly, his eyes searching the Director's face for some clue...
"...are you sure this is what you want?", the older man continues... "You know that we appreciate the contributions you've made to the Organisation. Your work has been invaluable. Nor do I question that your request would expose us to any unecessary risks....", at this the Director chuckles... "compared with your other accomplishments, this strikes me as taking candy from a baby. But thats my point exactly... is this _all_ that you want?"
Richard smiles, nodding confidently as his eyes track to the nearby television screen and the soft drink commercial that blares loudly... selling soda and sex... the dancing pitchgirl gyrating and singing with a thousand watt smile, her enthusiasm and youthful beauty enough to get a rise out of even the most jaded male.
"Yes Sir... I want her", Richard replies simply.
The words "Bethany and PopCola!" blaze across the screen as the girl finishes her dance with a flourish.