The soft "Ding!" sound notified me that the elevator has stopped, snapping me out of my day dream in the process. Agents wearing fully fledged suits poured out into the seventh floor corridor and I followed their lead. As they all went towards their individual cubicles, I kept moving forward, listening to my own footsteps whispering to me. When I reached the office I was looking for, I breathed out, and knocked the door.
"Come in" said the cold voice of the director, and I opened the door as slowly as I could, sliding in to find myself staring into medals and certificates inside big shiny frames. I felt my heartbeat speed up as I subconsciously shut the door with a swift motion of my hand. The director, bent over a file when I entered, shot me a quick glance and smiled, seeming to have noticed my shocked expression.
"Oh don't mind those" he said modestly, closing the folder he was reading and putting it back in a drawer. He motioned me to sit down, and I walked as quickly as I can, having felt his eyes studying me intently. That must be how they start evaluating a newbie around here, I thought, as I handed him the khaki folder I was carrying.
"Sit" he said firmly, and I sat down. I immediately started taking in as much of the room that my eyes could allow. The right wall was mostly windows and the light entering through them illuminated the whole room. My eyes kept being drawn towards the wall facing me, decorated with medal of honors. I ached to ask about them. The director was a tall man with a well built body. Most of his hair on the front was gone, and those on the side were turning gray. The black suit he wore and the orange tie around his neck seemed to go well with his skin tone, and give him an air of seriousness at the same time.
After reading the file silently for minutes, he handed me the folder, smiling happily. I smiled back, pleased with the way things were going.
"Why did you want to become a special agent?" he said unexpectedly, and I froze in shock. The question was normal enough, of course, but the fact that I did not know the answer to the question bothered me. This was not something that I had thought about, since my attraction towards all thing cop related was automatic since I was a kid. I swallowed and tried to collect myself. I must not screw this up.
"I wanted to make the world a better place." I said; projecting the most confident facial expression I can manage.
"That's good." He said, not looking satisfied with my answer. "But with your grades and IQ, you could have done just that, but in a more..." He hesitated to say the words he had in mind, but managed to finish with "Safer environment."
It was true. My grades were excellent and my teachers, parents, and friends expected me to go into the medical profession when I graduated from high school. But fortunately for me, and unfortunately for the others, my interests were in criminology. The decision was quite disappointing for my whole family, but I was not the one to go hunt down a field of study which had no appeal to me, no matter how attractive the salary promised to be.
"This is what I want to do." I said, still wearing my confident face. He nodded in agreement and pressed a key on his desk phone.
"Send in Special Agent Robert Morris." He ordered.
"Yes sir." answered a female voice in return. He turned to me and gave me a smile. I felt my eyes being dragged into the wall behind his comfortable looking office chair.
"30 years in the FBI" he said proudly, rotating his chair to face the opposite wall. "It affects your life in ways that you can never imagine. The challenge never fades away, whether you are in the field, or in the office." He paused. "Every single day, you have to make difficult decisions. Some work out well and some don't."
"Isn't it worth it?" I asked. That, was a question I struggled with these couple of days. The fear of messing up someone's future because of an error in my judgment was something I felt that I couldn't handle.
"It is." He said, turning back to face me. He wore a sad expression and his eyes unfocused a little, as though they were glancing back into an ugly past that he was struggling to drown forever. "But you have to be ready to accept the consequences of any bad judgment you may make in the future."
I shivered. He was voicing my greatest fear.
"Not only that" he continued, "But there is always going to be collateral damage. It's just something that comes with the Job."
Collateral damage was something I thought about before. In a Job like this, when you save a life, it's set on stone that you destroy another, knowingly or unknown to you. It doesn't really matter whether your intentions were good or not. Collateral damage was unavoidable.
"So…" he interrupted my train of thought. "Are you absolutely sure that you don't want to think this over? As I said, the job is tough. Your life won't be the same after this."
Yes. That was what I was looking forward to. I wanted to move away from my textbook world and into the cold realms of reality.
"I have done all the thinking, sir" I said, smiling brightly.
"Well, in that case, I'd better stop pretending that I am not happy to have such an amazing young lady with us." He smiled, extending his hands. "Welcome to the FBI Violent Crimes Unit" He said, and I felt butterflies dancing in my stomach. I stood up and shook his hand with a little too much enthusiasm. He winced; surprised by the unusually firm hand shake he was receiving.
"Just in time?" a voice asked behind me.
I spun around, startled. A man about 50 years of age stood by the door, smiling with a curious face.
"Yes Robert" answered the director, and the man walked towards where we stood, eying me with curiosity the whole way.
"This must me the new Special agent" he said, shaking my hand. He looked a little older than the director himself, but still looked physically fit. His all white hair, made him look like a completely messed up Looney tunes character, since it didn't fit in with his short, plump body.
"This is Special agent Kim Warner" said, the director. "And this…" he continued, motioning towards the man shaking my hand "Is Robert Morris. He is the Special agent in charge behind our serial killer division under the violent crimes unit."
"Nice to meet you." I said, letting go of his sweaty hand.
"Why don't you show her around?" said the director.
"Sure." Answered Robert, and sped out of the room. "This way" he called from the corridor, and I followed.