“In case you change your mind,” he said, and the two of them strolled out the door.
Frederica waited a minute, then she became visible again. Karen laughed and gave a little sigh.
“Do you really think they’ll try to shut us down?” Frederica asked.
“Oh, I hope so,” Karen said. “It’ll make a great story.”
“I don’t know how you can be so calm,” Frederica said. “I can’t even use my phone anymore without it ringing off the hook.”
“Well, if you really want it to stop, you know what to do,” Karen said, and tossed the business card to Frederica.
Frederica stared down at the card in her hand for a moment, until it burst into flames. She brushed the ashes into the garbage.
“Good answer,” Karen said. “This’ll all blow over eventually. They’re lashing out right now because they don’t yet realize how screwed they are. But they will.”
“I hope you’re right,” Frederica said.
“Of course I am,” Karen said. “You made a difference here, Fred. Remember that.”
“I will,” Frederica said. “Thanks.”
She grabbed her bag and headed downstairs. She shifted her appearance to that of an older man with a buzzcut before stepping out of the Student Union Building. She glanced around warily as she made her way across campus to the dorm.
The men from City Hall had been asking around about her for days, and she wasn’t particularly thrilled at the prospect of running into them. Karen had offered to run the corruption story under a pseudonym, but Frederica insisted on standing behind her work. She was beginning to regret that decision.
She climbed the stairs to her floor, scanned the hallway for unfamiliar faces, then approached her door.
“Excuse me, what do you think you’re you doing?”
She glanced back over her shoulder. Nila stood behind her with her arms crossed.
“It’s me, Nila,” Frederica replied in her own voice.
“Oh, sorry,” Nila said. “I thought maybe you were one of the Gestapo.”