I stood in the Op Hall with the other Frag Mentals, listening to our CEO read out the new briefs.
“Frag Mental 070 you are assigned to Project Washboard Abs. Celebritype 4. Congratulations.”
Cougar Rand had a voice so cold that ice crystals torqued round her lips as she spoke, vaporising in the relative warmth of the Op Hall before they could hit the floor with a tinkle.
Well, in my imagination anyway.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw 070’s profile. Unmoving. The man was a perfect Mental. He went forward, collected the brief, and exited the hall. I re-focused on Cougar’s chill red lips, willing the bitch to assign me a Neesh.
“Frag Mental 029 you are assigned to Project Twerk. Celebritype 13. Congratulations.”
“Got a Neesh?” I said under my breath as Mental 029 stepped to the podium. “Just for me, just once in my life, have you got a Frag Op Neesh for me?” A Neesh was the only op where you could build a Frag any way you liked. No budget restrictions. No pimping to the market. Just rifﬁng on Frag.
But Neesh Ops were as rare as ambergris round here. The last Neesh to be assigned at ConsumOdor had gone to 066, a dark horse, said to be a genius. I wouldn’t know. 066 vanished before I arrived in this vale of tears - day after he’d presented his Pyramid to Cougar, and taking with him a stash of forbidden phials from the Rare Frag Archive...
I felt ice-drills on my face. I looked up. Cougar’s eyes locked on mine. “Frag Mental 079 you are assigned Project Sextape. Celebritype 4.” A faint smile snickered on her lips. “Congratulations.”
Someone prodded me in the back and I stumbled forward to the podium. As she handed me the brief, Cougar crooked a ﬁnger and I leaned in closer.
“See me in my ofﬁce after the Brieﬁng,” she said. When I turned to go I felt a tiny freezer door open behind my back. Her breath on my neck.