With the rest of their tests, the scores were sent on to someone none of them had yet to see, to sift through and determine who amongst them was going to get the job. Tatsu waited impatiently at the door. She managed not to pace, standing there with her hands at her sides.
Four feet tall, Tatsu was a bit more striking because of the blond streak through her jet black hair. The dye job could have been done better, it was as though the hairdresser messed up, because it wasn’t the same lock. It started at the roots of one and went diagonal to hit other locks of hair further down. While it looked strange now, it would look stranger when it grew out beyond the chin length it fell to all around her face.
The others were congratulating Gio. It was true, they had heard a lot of their scores while out on the floor and it was true, out of all of them Gio had consistently gotten the highest. Tatsu said it was still too soon to say. None of the others appeared to mind as much. Out loud, that was.
“Still have hope?” Gio asked. It was hard to tell if he was being proud or boastful with his tone.
Tatsu’s tone was more clear. “Hope? I nailed this one.”
The woman who had walked through everything with them with the clipboard entered, looking confused. “Tatsu?”
Tatsu turned to her with a calm smile. “Yes, ma’am?”
“You’re hired. Come with me.”
“Yes,” she said, with a low key fist pump. Shooting Gio one last smile, the man absolutely stunned, Tatsu followed after her.
The completely covered woman didn’t react physically to her companion’s words. “Sure I will. Looking down from here is a great way of finding surface thoughts. Especially when they don’t look up.”
“You could always call attention to yourself.”
The blue and black woman scoffed. “Like hell I would, Khaalida.”
“That’s right, how can an attention whore call more attention-” Khaalida had meant to cut herself off with a sip of her tea, but as she was then sucking at air, with an empty cup, it just sounded silly. “Did you just-”
“No,” came the lie.
“I hate you.” Khaalida dropped the cup over the railing and walked away. When it crashed, all of the applicants looked up to see the concealed woman, glowering down at them.
“Ow, really?” Tatsu complained, pushing some fragments of glass away with her foot. She wasn’t looking up with the rest of them.
The other woman followed after Khaalida, then went off in a different direction, not interested in ending up where the older woman was going.
Above, two other people watched Tatsu. They didn’t look at each other. They didn’t really like each other, so that was just fine. The fact they were doing this at the same time was annoying enough as it was.
“I hear the little girl is Isha’s,” said the woman donned from head to toe in cloth. It was dark blues and black. It bound her up so well you couldn’t see much of a shape other than to claim humanoid. Her voice was muffled by the fabric which both clung and hung freely in front of her face. Maybe if one was lucky, they might see her eyes between that and what hung down from her forehead.
Perhaps that was unlucky.
The other person standing with her was an older woman, silver hair brought to a bun at the nape of her neck. Her cloak was inconspicuous, hiding her body which wasn’t as frail as one might think for her nondescript aged age. She sipped at her tea, looking down below.
“Isha’s, huh?” She watched Tatsu move off the field. “Does she know that?”
The obscured woman leaned further over the railing, staring down at the girl below. What she was looking at was Tatsu’s face, her eyes. “I don’t think so.”
“Sure about that? Try again.”
He didn’t budge in the slightest. Maybe because she had no leverage, or maybe something else. In any case, the Elite looked over at their watcher, waiting for her to call it off. The woman began to write something down.
“All right, that’s en-”
Then Tatsu bit him in the ankle. The Elite flinched and though he didn’t lose his balance, he shifted off of her shoulder enough for her to pull herself away. Then, with a shriek, she was on him. Four feet tall, Tatsu still had all of that muscle she was showing off earlier. And, perhaps more importantly, she did in fact have one of the traits that she had claimed earlier to have.
She played dirty. Her hand went right up between his legs, squeezing in a not very welcome way on a couple of things that were perhaps important to him.
The man went down, though he had enough self control not to start whimpering. Tatsu threw herself at him again, elbow down on the side of his head.
“Thank you, Miss Tatsu, that will be enough. Your examination is over.”
Tatsu barely stopped herself in time, glancing up at the pen going back and forth over the paper. “Oh. Okay.” She got back to her feet, rubbing her mouth off with the back of her hand. “Yuck.”
The more well behaved applicants looked amongst themselves, then waited for their turns.
Tatsu had been waiting a total of a very long time when the other applicants joined her. They all moved about the room, keeping their distance. They looked like soldiers, every single one of them, in one way or another. Not unapproachable, just getting read.
Tatsu scooted over to the closest one with a smile. “Looking forward to today?”
The man eyed her. “More or less.”
“The name’s Tatsu. I heard about the opening yesterday. They told me I should apply, that I’d fit right in. Everyone here for this? I thought there was only one opening!”
“Gio.” Gio rubbed his beard. “Yes and yes. It’s not often one can get promoted into a different branch like this. All our COs recommended us. I don’t believed I’ve seen you before.”
“No. Why do you think I introduced myself?” Tatsu smiled before looking away from him and at the others there. “I wasn’t expecting so many!”
“Are you worried?”
Tatsu frowned, then shook her head. “Not at all. I just wasn’t prepared to leave so many people disappointed.” What she meant couldn’t be misconstrued, not with the tone she used. Gio finally gave her a full once over. She was maybe a little more than half his height and he was about average.
Gio promptly did the stupidest thing and underestimated her.