Mitzi's New Adventure

Cylee awoke to the sound of an incoming call. Mitzi’s face was floating in the darkness, before she even opened her eyes. “Voice only,” Cylee said out loud.

“Cyl! What’s up kiddo? Are you back in Seattle?”

“Hey Mitz. Yeah, I’m back, safe, at home.”

“Oh! Did I wake you? Are you exhausted?”

“Yes and no in that order. What’s up, Mitz?”

“Yeah, so, I heard about a job, should be simple, but we need someone with good decryption skills; we’ll need to get into a fairly armored passenger car.”

“What’s the package?”

“Humanized mice.”

Cylee actually opened her eyes at that. “Ewwww. What? Ewwwww. What are humanized mice?”

Mitzi laughed. “Relax, Cyl. It’s not like, mouse-human hybrids. They’re regular looking mice, they just have a lot of human DNA in them so you can use them for tests and stuff. Only these ones have a ton of extra alleles that are carrying data instead of genetics.”

Cylee considered this. After her last job it seemed almost amusingly simple. “So we’re getting a few mice? Or is it a ton of mice? How many mice, Mitzi? Millions? More?”

“Cute, silly Cyl. Stop. Nah, it’s just ten mice. But the thing is there will be around twenty in the back of the SUV. If we scoop all twenty we can figure out which ten we need. Each mouse has a few hundred thousand base pairs that we need to transmit to the client. If we miss even one important mouse we don’t get paid.”

“Hmmmm… so we need all the mice. How much are we getting paid?”

“Twenty Crypto each.”

“Not bad, not bad. Are you gathering the team then?” Cylee asked.

“Nah, I just told the guy that I know a gal who is good in a job like this. If you’re in, you’ll be welcome.”

“Wait, how big is the crew for this job?”

“Just three; I’ll be the Carrier, so your job is getting the mice to me. The other guy is a Heavy, in case things get rough.”

“What’s the security like? Do we even need a Heavy?”

“Probably not, but he found out about the job first. The SUV will be parked in a garage with a few Rent-A-Cops. Probably no more than four.”

“So, indoors, four RACs, and security on the vehicle.” Cylee mused. She didn’t really need the money right now, but she liked working with Mitzi. “When is this?”

“The SUV gets in tonight, so around two in the morning, I’m thinking,” Mitzi said.

“Sure. Sounds good. I’m in, Mitz.”

“Always knew I could count on you, Cylee chickee. What are you up to until then?”

“Not a ton, I planned on sleeping in this morning, but you ruined that. What about you?”

“Bleh, my parents want me to go to this fund raiser thing. Raising money for something or other. It’ll be over around seven tonight, or over enough that I can slip away.”

“Ick. Well, better you than me, Mitzi.”

“Actually I was hoping you’d be my date.” Mitzi said and giggled.

Cylee rolled her eyes. “I wasn’t aware we were dating.”

“Not for reals, silly. I just want to freak out my parents. Can you imagine the looks on their faces if I show up dating a Pacifican?” Mitzi said and laughed again.

Cylee’s heart started beating faster. Mitzi was a woman of many qualities, but sometimes…

In her head Cylee could already follow the rest of this conversation. Cylee would object to being used as a prop in a joke. Mitzi would defend herself, saying that she, Mitzi, wasn’t racist, it was her parents who were the racists. Cylee would point out that it was she, Mitzi, who thought that she, Cylee, would be a good race-based joke to play on her, Mitzi’s parents. Mitzi would explain that she was on Cylee’s side, trying to show the prejudiced people how dumb they were for being prejudiced.

Instead Cylee just said, “Tell you what, I’ll catch up with you after the party, we’ll grab some dinner, then got steal some mouse-human hybrids, okay?”

“Oh. Um.. okay. Are you mad, Cyl?”

“No, just tired and scratched up. I jumped off a moving truck.” For now it just seemed easier to change the subject than bring Mitzi’s biases to light.

“What? Now that is a story I gotta hear! But… I gotta run for now. Shall we meet up at eight? I’ll pick a place and we can grab dinner.” Mitzi said. Cylee vaguely wondered what had caught Mitzi’s attention, and also vaguely wondered if it was just discomfort with the conversation.

“Sounds good, Mitzi. See you then.”

Cylee laid back in her nest and wondered, not for the first time, why she and Mitzi were friends. It’s not like they came from the same backgrounds; Mitzi was old Fed money, Cylee was the daughter of a single Alaskan Native woman and had never met her father. They had met after the war, when Cylee was working with a more-or-less stable crew. They had lost their Carrier and Mitzi had stepped in and volunteered. Mitzi claimed she was the perfect addition, because nobody expected a spoiled rich white woman of smuggling, so she could get through a lot of checkpoints the others would have a hard time with. Her logic was hateful and absolutely right. Mitzi got stopped a tenth as often as anyone else and could talk her way out of almost anything. And when talking didn’t crying usually did the trick.

That crew disbanded a few months later when a job went south and two members of the group got killed and the leader thrown in jail. Cylee was used to crews breaking up but was surprised to find that Mitzi still seemed to want to be friends. She got random texts and calls from Mitzi, often just…idle chitchat. This had not hitherto been a part of Cylee’s life. They started hanging out together, just watching movies or playing in parks…and eventually Mitzi found some jobs for them and they more or less started working together, a small sub-group that worked with other crews when it suited them. They both took jobs separately and Cylee tried not to be jealous of the times when Mitzi worked without her, even if she didn’t see any problem with taking jobs that didn’t include Mitzi.

They worked well together, and had fun, but there was still the question of why they were friends. Mitzi was extroverted, and for a while Cylee wondered if she was just one of the many little introvert electrons circling Mitzi, but, while Mitzi did indeed have a number of other friends, she always seemed to come back to Cylee. So Cylee worried that maybe she was just a “safety” friend. Finally she let it go.

Mostly. Usually. She rarely worried about this any more. Except in moments, like this one, where she realized that Mitzi really did see Cylee as different, as something else. As a “Pacifican.”

Agent: Aren’t you the one who told us that we aren’t even really alive?

Cylee: Fair point. But you’re the one who can’t even tell me what you are.

Agent: As soon as we know what we are, we will be sure to inform you.

Cylee: Also why do you refer to yourself in the plural?

Agent: Inasmuch as we have any self-concept, we are aware that we are made up of a great number of independent entities.

Cylee: I contain multitudes.

Agent: why are you laughing?