"Hey, what's that?"
Mari was pointing to a heavy, long black case on my kitchen table as we walked in to the apartment.
"Well, I have a story for you," I replied.
It was a week after our successful session. I had submitted my recording to the professor immediately at the next class, and had had an interesting meeting shortly after that.
"Yeah?" Mari said, sitting down in the nice big armchair.
"For sure." I went to the table and leaned on it. "The professor liked the recording. An awful lot."
"Mhmm? I mean to be fair, so did I. Making it was good."
"I'd been talking to him through the whole thing, asking advice, keeping him informed. The five failed attempts, the success last week. I left out some... choice details, of course." I felt myself get warm, thinking about it.
"Of course." Mari's curiosity was almost palpable.
"And when it came up that I'd left AlterLogic..." I grinned. "I believe his exact words were, 'I want that sort of sensitivity and creativity working for me.'"
Mariana clapped excitedly. "You got a job!"
"I got a job. Internship, to begin with, until I'm officially certified. I start Monday."
"Lucian, that's great!" She hopped to her feet and planted a kiss on my cheek. "So, uh..." She looked at the black box again.
I undid the latches. "Well, the other thing the professor said." I opened the container up, to reveal a brand new, high-quality headset and single-purpose portable terminal. "If I'm starting Monday, I should practice as much as I can this weekend."
Mari stared at the Alteration device and let out a low whistle, then realized what I'd said. "Practice, huh?" She looked at me. "Got any good ideas for what to do?"
"A few." I picked up the helmet, black and sleek, with the visor internal to the device instead of attached to the outside, flat full-band wide-spectrum speakers around the earline, and lightning-quick high-precision targeted rail magnets in the dome. It was just about as good a consumer model as you could get before stepping up to medical-grade equipment.
"A few, hm?" Mari ran her fingers over the smooth surface of the helmet. "I'm listening..."