HoH figured we'd let our guard down and they could hit us with a sneak attack. It worked, to some extent. While I was eating tasteless, greasy burgers at a Grade C restaurant, a
group of men in brand new suits arrived at The Lab. Harrington was inspecting one of the newest projects, so, for the first few minutes, Paul had to face them alone.
They practically barged in through the glass doors of the lobby and demanded to be told where Paul's office was, as Annie later told me with plenty of insults thrown in. They were rude, snobby, and had little to no regard for anyone that worked at Heisenberg. One of them had spotted Annie flipping them off as they entered the elevator, and he shook his head as if she simply didn't know any better.
I don't know exactly how it went when they were alone with Paul, but I can guess that it didn't go well. Luckily, Annie called both me and Harrington before they were in there for too long.
I left Kumar at the restaurant, took a taxi and almost sprinted to Paul's office. Harrington was already in there; I was the last to arrive. I could feel the tension in the air as I walked in. There were either four or five of them, I can't remember which, but all of them turned to look when I went around the desk and stood on Paul's right.
"This is Todd Anderson, the man I mentioned earlier-" Paul began, his voice steady.
"Yes, yes, but you still haven't answered my question." The leader of the group, who was sitting in the chair I normally sat in, had short black hair and a pointed nose. If I were a dog, I would have had the urge to bare my teeth at this man who, like so many others, was looking down on people I cared about.
"Yes, he did. Several times actually." Harrington didn't bother to hide the annoyance in his voice. "All volunteers are volunteers. We're not forcing anyone into this."
"Slow down, Robert." Paul said calmly.
"But are you telling them exactly what kind of dangerous experiments these people are signing up for?" The pointy-nosed man sneered.
"Yes, we tell each and every one of them exactly how it's going to go, and we make sure they're comfortable with it before proceeding." The old man smiled a smile that suggested he had nothing to hide. The men from HoH took it as a smile that meant he was lying to them.
"It doesn't matter how comfortable you are when someone starts injecting you with some kind of acid or another!" The man narrowed his eyes at Paul. Both me and Harrington tensed.
"We don't inject them with acid, Mr. Barnes, we just do simple tests."
"What kind of tests?"
"Medical tests mostly. We've also recently started researching allergies-"
"So you're using drugs that haven't been approved?"
"We're the ones who approve them. Now, as for their pay-"
"I don't give a shit how much you're paying them!" The man was standing now, his hands on the desk.
Harrington frowned. "Sit down or I will have to call someone to escort you-"
"I know you're hiding something!" The man finally screamed. His colleges were nodding in approval. I took a step forward. I was enraged. He had interrupted both Paul and Mr. Harrington. But, one look from Moore and I remembered I wasn't supposed to do anything. "You think this is a game?!" The man continued.
"No." Paul said, completely relaxed. "But apparently you do."
The man sneered again, his wrinkled nose almost comical. "You, your son and your nigger friend are going to know what hell really is when I'm through with you!"
"Thanks, but I already know plenty. Oh, and he's not my son." Paul smiled. I felt a new burst of respect for him.
The man suddenly went from commanding to flustered. One of his buddies spoke behind him. "No problem boss, it's an honest mistake. They do look a lot alike after all..."
"That's not what I'm-!" The man stopped mid-sentence, frustrated. He looked back at Moore. "You haven't seen the last of us." He muttered. Paul waved at him as he turned towards the door, closely followed by his companions.
They left, and, as Annie recounted with a grin, they looked a lot less like the uptight business men who had walked in, and more like children being sent to their rooms as they trudged back through the lobby.
"That was completely unprofessional." Harrington said in disgust.
"As was expected." Paul was still smiling.
"I don't think I'll be able to keep my cool in front of people like that." I admitted.
"No problem. You'll get used to it." If I had a nickle for every time I heard that one.
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