Crystal Cleanser Dem #2

In the second installment of this great story, Dem applies for a job with the crystal mining company…

Please take a minute and explain to us why you did not make the appointment yesterday and why you think we should still consider you as a viable candidate for this position.”

Dem felt the calm of the crystal and projected confidence as he responded to the question.

“I am truly sorry.  There is no excuse for having missed the appointment.  I will not try to justify it.  I do swear to you that this is a once only occurrence, I will never again be late for any appointment with any of you.

I am deeply honored that you have given me an opportunity to meet with you and try to convince you of my readiness to learn from the great master cutters who work here.  I know that the skills of your team are beyond exceptional and that I will be working with the very best if I can convince you that I am able to learn the requisite skills.

I have learned many of the basics from my father, working with dead crystals, and hope to be able to perfect the techniques required of a cutter under the guidance of the master cutters my father tells me are greater than himself.”

That’s her, the one that smiled.  She is the master cutter.  They are all nodding, so I have struck the right level of contrition.  Time to ask for the opportunity to interview while I have them on my side.

“Please, ladies and gentlemen, allow me the opportunity to answer your interview questions and demonstrate my desire and preparedness to take instruction.”

The young woman looked to the others and they all nodded.  She turned back to him and spoke.

“Very well.  We will begin with a set of rapid fire questions designed to determine how well you handle pressure and how well you think while under that pressure.”

As she paused for a breath, the others started firing questions at him about color, clarity, and uses for the various crystals that were mined here.  These were easy because he had spent his life cataloging and looking at crystals, researching their traits and uses.

Then came a bunch of questions about cutting and angles.  It was interesting because three different people asked the questions, But Dem knew who the master cutter was and directed his answers to her.  He watched the others to ensure he was pleasing them with his answers, but he spoke to the master cutter.

The questions came rapid fire and Dem had to stay focused to ensure he answered each question in a manner that he got positive responses from all the interviewers.  The man on the left tapped his index finger if he wanted more, and sat back when he was satisfied.  The master cutter pursed her lips when she wanted more and had a slight smile when she approved of the answer.  The HR lady was the best of the bunch at hiding her emotions, but her eyes glistened when she was satisfied and they narrowed ever so slightly when she was expecting more.

All that ran through his mind in the background as he focused on answering each question completely enough to get approval from everyone without running on so long that he lost anyone.

And then suddenly the questions stopped.

“One moment applicant Dem, we will consult and may have a couple more questions.”

The wall turned back to the mirror state and Dem could see the absolute calm on his face and in his eyes.  He looked like he was preparing to cut a crystal.

Then the wall cleared once more and the five interviewers were all wearing the same calm.

“Applicant Dem.  The interview committee is satisfied with your answers.  They were accurate, clear and well expressed.  You can expect to receive an offer of employment in the next day.  The specific position and pay will be determined by the master cutter before you receive that call.

Assuming we reach agreement on position and rate, are you prepared to accept a position and begin work day after tomorrow?”

“Yes, ma’am.  My thanks to the entire team for taking the time to speak to me today.”

Again the smile from the master cutter, and the looks of approval from the others.  He had them.

“Excellent.  The only remaining item then is for you to pass the crystal sensitivity test.  A crystal tuner will be with you shortly.  Please remain in the interview room.”

The mirror wall reappeared, and Dem had to fight to keep his calm focus.

I did it!  Dad will be so proud of me.  I’m to be a cutter like him.

Then the door opened and a middle aged man walked in and took the chair opposite him.

“I am crystal tuner first class Kez.  Please hold out your hand, open and palm up.”

Dem quickly did as he had been asked and the man produced a green crystal and lay it in the palm of Dem’s hand.

Dem could feel the crystal, both physically and with that calm connection he had experienced with the key crystal.  This one was very clean, only a few memories existed and most of those were from this man forming the same weave over and over again.

Dem watched as the man stared at him and saw the glint in his eye.

“You have the talent.  It is not sufficient to be a tuner, but clearly too much to be a miner or cutter.  Sorry kid.  I’m going to disqualify you.”

Dem felt his heart sink.  And he looked the man squarely in the eye as his mind cleared once more.  He felt the key crystal respond to him as he remembered the weave that was used to reach out to another person’s mind.

And suddenly he could feel the man’s thoughts.

“Why would you find pleasure in disqualifying me?”

“Get out of my mind!  Damn, I could have sworn that you did not have enough talent to form that weave.  You might be able to become a tuner after all, but get out of my mind now!”

Dem felt the connection drop, and saw the change in the man’s eyes.  The confidence and arrogance was gone.  Now there was something else.  What was that?  Respect?  Or Fear?  He could not tell.

“I will recommend you for the tuning program, based on your demonstration of skills I still do not see the strength for it in you.”

“Thank you, sir.  You are absolutely certain I cannot be a cutter?”

“Why would you want to be a cutter when you can be a tuner?”

Dem thought about that for a moment.  Tuners were the highest paid skilled labor in the factories, and most considered them to be near to masters.  Some were even rumored to have gone on to study in the mastery.

“You are right.  I’m sorry.  It is just that I spent my entire childhood hoping to be a cutter like my father.  Thank you for recommending me to be a tuner.”

The man nodded then got up and left the room leaving Dem sitting there stunned.

I have the talent?  And how in the heck did I touch his mind?  I just remembered the weave and then I was in his mind.  Unbelievable.  Dad won’t like hearing that I have the talent.  He really hates the tuners.  They are the ones who decide crystals are unusable.

I wonder if he will still speak to me if I reject one of his crystals.  Will I be able to reject one of his crystals?

“You may go applicant Dem.  We will inform you of the results by the end of the day tomorrow.”

Dem nearly jumped as the sound came out of the air.  He pulled on the crystal’s calm once more and got up turning calmly for the door and walking out of the plant.

…Dem checked his messages again.  Three days and nothing.  The comp unit had told him he would be notified of the results two days ago.  This was extremely unusual.  If they were going to reject him they would have done so by now, but if they were going to hire him that should have been done by now as well.  Dem had no idea what to do now.  His parents were understandably concerned as well, they had never heard of this situation coming up before either.

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