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Gathering

231.04.05 | 8:05 a.m.

After two weeks Kat's probation time was over, and now she stood in the centre of a semi-circle of Keepers. This Gathering would decide her future. What would she be from now on? Cook? Bagger? Most of the Keepers had shook their heads, and Kat hat easily agreed.

“So, what now?”, Nick demanded.

“She's good enough as a Med-Jack”, Clint volunteered.

“Good enough she's also in the Gardens.” That was Zart.

Now Nick turned to Gally, who had not yet uttered an opinion. “What about you? You usually have no problems to make your point.”

Gally straightened. “She's a skilled Builder.”

Everyone seemed relieved, but Gally was not yet ready. “But I don't wanna work with her.”

Kat had listened with growing impatience, and now she couldn't hold back any longer. “May I speak for myself now?”, she asked, doing her best to keep all annoyance out of her voice.

Nick nodded shortly.

She took a deep breath. “I wanna be a Runner.”

A dozen pairs of eyes stared at her.

Then Zart shook his head.

Clint moaned.

Minho rolled his eyes.

Gally spat: “You are crazy. I knew that you are crazy.”

“Out of question.” That was Nick.

“But why?! I could...”

“Out. Of. Question.” With three words Nick put an end to this request.

Kat fumed, but she did her best to keep her temper. She did not mind showing that it kept boiling inside her, she pushed her jaw forward and pursed her lips and scowled, but she uttered no other word but: “Builder then.”

Now Nick's and Gally's jaws dropped, while a grin spread over the other Keepers' face. Show time. They leaned back and watched.

“You heard Gally, didn't you?”, Nick asked in a slow voice people use with the mentally unstable. “He won't have you in his squad.”

But Kat, short as she was, wouldn't back away. “You heard Gally, too, didn't you?”, she hissed. “I'm a skilled builder, and it would be stupid to make me do something I'm not half as gifted in.”

Nick shook his head. “I won't have it, neither. The two of you… that won't work.”

Now Gally blurted out: “You've spent more time inside the slammer than out! You are trouble!”

Nick warningly shook his head in Gally's direction, but he supported his opinion: “You seem to consider the Slammer your living room.”

“What is this buggin' klunk?!”, Kat cried out. “I say I wanna be a Runner, you say no. I say I wanna be a bloody Builder, you say no! Why ask me if anything I say…” She threw her hands in the air and roared in frustration, lost for words.

“She's got a point there”, Clint interjected. “Either you just appoint her to a job you think fit for her, or you ask her opinion and let her do what she's really good at. Why not on probation? If it works, well, good that. If not, you can put her somewhere else later.”

Nick actually seemed to consider this. The moment of silence that followed Clint's proposal was only disturbed by a hiss which expressed that Gally was not comfortable with the proceedings.

“Good that for me. Point taken.” Nick nodded toward Clint, then turned to Gally. “You heard him. What do you say?”

“I still don't like it”, Gally snarled. “But if she sticks to working and…”

“Good that for you?” Nick interrupted.

“Good that for me”, Gally grumbled.

Nick looked at Kat expectantly.

“Good that”, she mumbled.

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