HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 51

Karen leaned back in her seat and linked her fingers behind her head. She smiled.

“I was worried for a while there,” she said. “I thought you might actually go through with it.”

“Wait… Was this all some kind of test?” Frederica asked.

“Yep,” Karen said. “And you passed.”

“I can’t believe this!” Frederica said. “I’ve been torturing myself about this for the past twenty-four hours, and none of it…. Was Griff in on it, too?”

Karen chuckled.

“He’s far too honest for that,” she said. “I just had to make sure you’re not the kind of person who’d take advantage of that.”

“You could’ve asked.”

“I wouldn’t be a very good journalist if I took everyone at their word.” Karen picked up the camera and scrolled through Frederica’s photos. “Some of these are actually pretty decent. Nice use of perspective.”

“Do what you want with them,” Frederica said, turning for the exit. “I’m out of here.”

“Oh, one more thing,” Karen said. “You’re friends with Magh, right?”

“Yeah,” Frederica said. “What of it?”

“She’s a fantastic little writer,” Karen said. “One of the best who’s come through this program in a while. And yet she keeps insisting that she couldn’t do it without the help her friend Fred.”

“She’s just being modest,” Frederica said.

“Nevertheless,” Karen said, “I’m in fairly desperate need of an assistant editor to pick up the slack around here. It doesn’t pay anything and it’s not glamorous at all, but it’s good experience.”

Frederica took a step back.

“This isn’t another trick, is it?”

“Not at all,” Karen said. “The job’s yours if you want it.”

“Well, in that case,” Frederica said, “when do I start?”

“Right now if you can,” Karen said. “I want to make one thing clear, though: this isn’t a reward. You don’t get a cookie just for not being a bloodsucking vulture. I expect you to work hard and work ethically or you’re out. Understood?”