I love working at the Psychic Service of Investigation (PSI for short). Though our acronym sounds “CSI-esque”, we are in fact subsidiary of the FBI – “PBI” did not roll off the tongue so good. As we uncover cases, the FBI manages which ones they keep for themselves and which ones trickle down to the proper local law enforcement office. All the same, I play a part in our country’s safety.
Albeit an official operation, our agency must prove its worth every other day. Our funding is scarce and unstable, hesitantly green lit each trimester. Psychics are still uncharted and potentially dangerous territory. But even though the pressure to perform requires a steeled backbone, I remain grateful for the opportunity.
Our founding members have shed light on our existence, moving the psychic community from charlatans to respected members of society. Quite a feat in and of itself. They had gone as far as to prove our worth to the Department of Justice. The PSI was born from the demonstration of a usefulness we have yet to outlive.
The PSI hires only the best and the selection process treats us like lab rats. Its harshness is almost anti-constitutional: we’re freaks. I understand and accept it, and so does every aspiring employee who submits to the interviews and tests with a smile. I was one of the first to get a job and three years later, entering this building still makes me prouder than I dare say. I beeped my access card at the tourniquet as I greeted the security guard, then proceeded to the elevators.
“Hey Square! Wait up!”
God, do I hate that nickname! It is right on the line between compliment and insult. Most coworkers use it to underline the qualities the Bureau loves and I happen to possess, which ironically makes them eager to loosen me up. Others don’t go as far and chalk it up to my glasses’ shape.
I nearly let the elevator’s doors slide shut but my social skills decided against it. A breathless Casey joined me with a wry smile.
“You wanted to let it close, didn’t you?”
“And I should have followed my heart.”
He laughed at that, knowing very well how I feel about the nickname. He has a knack for gently nagging just about everyone. He pushes us to the edge before offering up kindnesses that outshines his faults. As soon as we absolve him, he gets right back at it.
If I’m the cute and conservative know-it-all agent, he’s the tan and muscular poster boy. We have an intense love/hate relationship. We traded weekend stories over our Styrofoam cups on the way up to our floor.
The doors opened on Amy, manning the front desk. A glance at Casey brought a blinding smile on her lips. She has that huge crush on him and can’t, or won’t, take a hint. “Curse of the chiselled jaw” is how Casey put it. He had become an expert at encouraging any relationship gossips that might discourage Amy.
“Have a nice day, Honey,” he said, slightly patting my rear end two times. I stuck out my tongue, he smiled, she frowned. We then parted ways to reach our respective workstation. His is in the public relations department, a place I would not set foot in if my life depended on it. I’m a people person alright, but putting me in front of a crowd is jinxing a train wreck. My cubicle in the agents department suits me just fine.
“Hey there, partner!”
Rebecca was on my heels, stomping in her steel-capped boots. She sported her usual slacks and t-shirt topped with crew-cut brown hair. She had been in the army and insists on being tomboyish. She has nice curves and was at ease – and utterly stunning – in her cocktail dress at the last Christmas party. I’d never understand why she wears outfits that make the boss squints. It’s tolerated only because she is a hell of a telepath. I dare not play with my job like that.
“Hi Becky! How was the party Friday night?” And on with the small talk while we moved toward our conjoint desk, so to speak. We share a computer and a desk but it isn’t nearly the main equipment of our cubicle.
I checked my emails while Becky fondled with my chair. That psychic-special, government-issue technology needs a lot of love and care.
“Are you a 30 or a 45 today,” she asked. I absentmindedly answered 30 while cleaning my inbox and logging out. When I turned around, Becky had adjusted the chair’s angle at 30 degrees. Perfect! I felt like almost lying to work today. Some colleagues sit straight but I never quite managed to do well in a sitting position. Go figure!
Rebecca was now double-checking the wires of the headband, making sure they were all attached and in good condition. She’d never forgive herself if I was electrocuted. Not that it is a big risk, but it had happened with earlier models of the chair. No one died but a few got a good scare.
Once the hardware was good to go, we traded places. She checked her emails while I fine tuned the wave settings.
This science-fiction looking chair facilitates the brainwaves scan of a designated area. It acts as a filter, though not a perfect one, so psychics can focus more easily on crime patterns. Each agent has his own setting depending how much information he can handle without overloading his cerebrum. I have one of the loosest ones: my chair hardly filters anything. I cranked it up last Friday to accommodate a headache. Since I’m fine today, I switched it back to its usual setting.
I lied down in my chair and Becky took her place by my side, holding my hand to ease her connection to my mind.
“Ready,” she thought.
“You know it, girl!”
She switched the machine on and the soft humming of the headband lured me to the Ocean, the ethereal reality where psychics fish their premonitions. I listened to the emotions and sorted through the feelings, my office completely out of perception.
“Lunch break in fifteen,” Rebecca beamed. She’d start to reel me in smoothly. I stopped her.
I had just snapped onto a crime thread.