“Shh,” Vector tells me, reaching out to pat my arm.

It takes her a few tries, because instead of looking at me, she’s staring at the next table over, where Sass and Apogee are about to have a conversation with Pom.

As soon as she sits down, Bartok looks in a random direction, waves enthusiastically at – well, it looks like she’s saying ‘Laces’, but he’s still in the weight room, and picks up her tray. On her way out the door, she pauses to shoot me a horrified expression. Then she shrugs.

“It’s amazing. I think the moron doesn’t even know what’s going on,” Vector says to me.

“Vector,” I sigh. “That’s…not nice.”

“She called someone ‘the spic’ this morning, I heard her,” Vector says, “I think it was Kitty.”

I shake my head at the girl, because, really, seriously, really? “Carry on.”

“…and then I told him that it wasn’t my job to do intake paperwork and made him do all three of them himself,” Pom concludes.

“Made who?” I mutter to Vector.

“Keller,” Vector says, “invisible Keller. Damn it, Travis, don’t say it, I know he’s not invisible.”

“I wasn’t going to,” I protest, and lean away from her again.

“It kind of is your job, though,” Sass tells her.

“Whatever.” Pom shrugs and starts rearranging her food. “That’s what he gets for staring at my ass all shift.”

“You’re sure it was Keller?” I ask Vector.

She gives me the scathingest Look I’ve seen from anyone all week, even Pathos.

“That was,” Sass says, trying not to laugh, “very rude of him.”

Pom stands up and turns around, bending over slightly, patting her rump. “I know. I mean, is there something worth staring at about this? It’s just an ass. You’ve seen them before.”

“Yeah,” Sass agrees, agreeably inspecting her ass.

“Well,” Apogee says, “he was supposed to watch your ass, you know, that was his assignment.”

Pom laughs and pats her hand. “Oh, Apogeegirl, you’re so funny! No, that phrase means a different thing, you see, it means he’s supposed to protect me, and open doors, and stuff.”

Sass stuffs the rest of her sandwich into her mouth.

“I should’ve brought popcorn,” Vector tells me.

I hand her a packet of M&M’s.

“You’re a saint,” Vector says.

“Shh,” I say, just because I can.

“And then Yang tells me that I can’t change the files because I don’t have administrator access,” Pom continues, “even though, hello, look at me –”

“Look at you?” Sass says, raising an eyebrow.

“I unzipped my suit almost all the way, because if they’re going to be like that,” Pom says, “I think he’s gay. And, anyway, it’s not like those files weren’t about me, so I should have access, right?”

“Should you?” Apogee asks.

Pom shakes her head and smiles indulgently. “Yes, Apogeegirl, I should.”

“That’s terrible,” Sass tells her, with no inflection whatsoever.

“Right?” Pom waves a hand. “He thinks he’s so smart because he has, like, a computer science degree, from, I don’t know, Yale or Harvard or wherever.”

Sass just adopts a pained look at that one, and I can see Apogee making a mental note to ask her about it later.

“Meanwhile, Erica is totally trying to steal my job,” Pom continues, with a sigh.

“Steal her job!” Vector repeats, in a hysterical whisper.

“Steal her job,” I repeat, laughing not nearly as hard. But, then, I don’t know her.

“Oh, good gravy,” Apogee says.

“You’d think it’s enough for her that everyone thinks she’s so fucking perfect, right?” Pom says, smacking her hand on the table. “With her perky little tits and all.”

“They’re kind of normal sized,” Sass says, but Pom doesn’t hear her.

“Who wears a skirt that short?” Pom says, “you won’t see me crying if anything happens.”

“Are her skirts really that short?” I ask Vector. “Short-short? I mean, how short?”

Vector shrugs. “Not, that I’ve noticed. Watch the show, Travis.”

“And do you know what she says?” Pom yells, “she says to me, to me, that she’d be happy to schedule someone else in for the interview. To me! My interview!”

“I don’t think she meant her,” Apogee says.

“Oh, Apogeegirl,” Pom says, “I know you don’t get it yet, but that’s the way things work here. When a girl tries to get you not to do a thing, she’s either trying to steal your job or your boyfriend.”

“O,” Apogee says, “kay.”

“Was she trying to get you not to do it?” Sass asks, “or was she just not trying to get you to do it? You know. Leaving you an out?”

“Aw,” Pom says, “this is your first job, huh? Okay, no, see, she thinks she’s being clever, hun.”

“Right,” Sass says, with an eager nod. (Sometimes she is kinda Sassy, honestly.)

“But I see right through her!” Pom shakes her juice angrily. “I know the shit she’s up to, and I’m not putting up with it. I’m filing another complaint.”

“Remind me to remind Sheridan to lose that complaint somewhere,” Vector whispers.

I nod.

Pom sighs. “But I totally got to beat up Paragon on the range today, and let me tell you, that felt good like nothing else. That guy has it coming like wow.”

Sass and Apogee agree vehemently.

Vector and I give each other a teeny tiny high five, sort of at table height and quiet-quiet.

“Did you know he actually told me girls shouldn’t fight crime?” Pom shakes her head.

My eyes bug out a little at that one.

Vector snorts at me. “What, you didn’t know he was one of those?”

Pom flips him off across the room (he doesn’t see). “Girls can do anything men can do, motherfucker! What a sexist piece of shit.”

Everyone shakes their head at her. She kind of settles in to eat after that, only jumping in when she has a little something to redirect the topic at hand.

“It’s like performance art,” Vector tells me.

“You hate performance art,” I tell her.

Vector pats my arm. “I hate things some student group threw together in ten minutes to try to get a passing grade. Also, anything that defaces someone else’s art.”

“I wasn’t including plays,” I say.

“Look, sometimes you can put on spandex and leap around and it’s meaningful,” Vector says.

“Well, you get paid more, at least,” I tell her.

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