The conference room doors slamming shut startled me out of my reverie. I had been going over my DVR list in my head, trying to figure out if I wanted to watch all my back logged shows, or splurge and go to the movies. But then again, the newest book in my favorite fantasy series was out. I had just enough in my entertainment fund to pick it up. That would kill Saturday night quite nicely.
"Could everyone take their seats please?" A young man stood behind a podium at the front of the room. It took a few minutes for everyone to get seated, and he waited patiently before continuing." I would like to thank everyone for attending the Chiliad Corporation's recruitment seminar today. Most of you were personally invited by Mr. Pettyjohn, and he sends his apologies for not being here to greet you. Something came up unexpectedly that required his immediate attention. He will be available later today, if anyone should desire to speak to him about anything. "
Recruitment seminar? I had heard of the Chiliad Corporation, and not all I had heard was good. Most recently, they had offered to help fund NASA, so that the space program could continue. The catch was that they would have complete control over where the next manned flight would go,and who would man it.. Rumor had it they wanted to use Mars as an experimental breeding facility. Quite a few of their holdings were medical research labs. Of course, no one can prove this, its all internet gossip at the moment, but I don't totally discount it. I have always been one to think outside the box, especially when it comes to science.
"My assistants will be handing out information packets. Please do not open them until instructed." Two teenagers dressed in khakis and crisply starched white shirts pushed carts down the middle aisle, stopping at each row. Reminded me of test days at school. Take one and pass it down. The plain manila envelope was slightly heavy, and had no writing on it. Once everyone had one, the two kids went to stand by the door, hands clasped behind their backs. Their military stance made me a bit nervous. Chiliad was also rumored to own several private security companies, the kind that contract to unsavory regimes in foreign countries. Conspiracy theorists have linked them to the fall of certain governments.
"The Chiliad Corporation is currently recruiting participants for a very exciting project. All of you were hand picked because either Mr. Pettyjohn or myself saw something in you that we thought would be beneficial to the project. This project is highly controversial however, so you will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement before you leave today, regardless of whether you decide to join or not. This will be strictly enforced. If anyone would like to leave now, you may."
I glanced around, expecting at least a few people to be off put by the implied threat, but apparently everyone was as curious as I was, and no one left. Whatever crazy offer they had, I would have no problem keeping my mouth shut if I decided to opt out. I don't have a lot of friends, and certainly no one I would feel compelled to tell about this. Whatever this is.
"Good. I am glad you all decided to at least hear me out. As I said, each of you were selected personally to participate in what I like to refer to as the Program. You possess a skill or talent that we think will be beneficial to our goal, which is the recolonization of another planet." He paused as gasps and snickers passed through the group.
Did not see that coming. Even knowing about the Mars rumor, I would never expect them to recruit people off the street. My heart was beating 90 miles an hour as I let myself hope that this was not a scam, or someones idea of a practical joke. Never have liked the punked concept. I looked around for cameras, and caught several others doing the same.
Going into space has always been a dream of mine. A pipe dream, but a dream none the less. Even if I won the lottery and could afford to pay the outrageous price for the trip offered by Russia, my extreme motion sickness would keep me on the ground. When I was young, I wanted to be an astronaut. Then I saw the training they went through, and knew I would never be able to see Earth from orbit.
I am so in.