The elevator dings. Ms. Okuda steps out, all leather and lace – though no one can see the lace. She keeps a brisk pace through the Terra Corp. offices, stepping in even strides across the white tiles. The cubical drones, going about their tasks, barely raise their heads or bat their eyelids. They see Ms. Okuda, but they’re trained not to react. Pay packets and families depend on being ground down, on not being attentive to anything other than the decimal points of the productivity ratings. A secretary does react, however, as Ms. Okuda strides towards the office at the end of the hall. She intercepts. Ms. Okuda side-steps without breaking pace, causing the secretary to give chase. “Why are you here,” the secretary pants. “To see Mr. Gerard,” Ms. Okuda snaps. The secretary stammers and grabs Ms. Okuda’s arm. “You need an appointment,” the suddenly brave secretary hisses. A quick motion and the secretary’s grip on Ms. Okuda loosens with the loss of blood from the long, neat, gash across her throat. “No,” Ms. Okuda smiles, stained blade no longer concealed in her hands, “I don’t.”


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