Sleeping Giants Page 7

—Does it matter if I’m not?

—It certainly matters if you entertain any hope of being selected for this project.

—You’ve already called me impulsive and unable to work well with others. It sounds as if you have a pretty good idea of what you think of me.

—Let me present this to you in another way. Let us assume that I already know you are not suited for whatever task I have in mind, and that I have purposely chosen to fly here and waste several hours of my time for no other reason than to make your life a bit more miserable. Under this scenario, it would seem preferable for you to get through these questions as fast as you can so that you may return to whatever it is you do, now that you can no longer fly helicopters. I might also not be a complete imbecile and have a genuine interest in your answers. Either way, you have ten seconds to answer each question. Are you ready?

—…

—What are your three worst qualities?

—My three…Last we met you called me—what was it?—obdurate, volatile, irascible. I guess that’s three. I’m also vindictive, and I never forget anything. How many is that?

—What are three qualities you admire in others?

—Loyalty. Honesty. Courage.

—OK. You must answer the following statements with true or false. First one: You trust reason rather than feelings.

—You want me to answer that with true or false? It’s a bogus question. I know you want me to answer true, but sometimes you need to listen to your gut.

—Then it sounds like your answer should be false.

—But if I say false, you’ll think I’m an emotional time bomb.

—I might already be thinking that. I might also think you are completely heartless. You still need to answer with true or false.

—False.

—You often think about mankind and its place in the universe.

—I do.

—So your answer is true?

—Yes.

—You feel at ease in a crowd.

—False.

—You are usually the first to react to an unexpected event, like an accident.

—Hmmm…True. I guess.

—You like to assume responsibility for something.

—True.

—In a social event, you position yourself in the center of the room, rather than on the sides.

—That’s an interesting one. I can’t remember the last time I was at a social event.

—Let me repeat the question. In a social event, you position yourself in the center of the room, rather than on the sides.

—I don’t think I do. No…False.

—You have difficulty expressing your feelings.

—That’s another bogus question. It depends on the feeling. I have no problem expressing anger. I don’t think many people do. I could say the same about joy, gratitude, frustration, amazement. Things like love, fear, shame, desire, helplessness, now that’s another story.

—That is a very well considered answer to a completely different question. Now please answer this one with true or false.

—But I can’t. I just told you there is more than one answer.

—This is unfortunate because this is a true or false question. Average it out. Do you have difficulty expressing your feelings?

—Yes…or true! My answer is true!

—There is no need to get angry.

—I’m not angry.

—If you say so. You have a problem with authority.

—You don’t need a test to figure that one out.

—It is a question. It is part of the test.

—Oh. True…What? You’re surprised? I know, now you’ll ask me why someone with authority issues would choose a career in the military.

—This is an interesting conversation you are having with yourself. Can we move on?

—Yes, we can. I talk when I’m nervous.

—You believe in the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence.

—What?

—You heard me.

—…False. What could that possibly tell you about me?

—That you do not believe in extraterrestrial intelligence. Had your answer been true, I would now think the opposite.

—You’re very helpful.

—Thank you. I will now give you the beginning of a story and you have to finish it in one or two sentences. Do you understand?

—I think I do.

—Tommy sits on the doorstep alone…

—Really? You want to understand the depths of me and you come up with “Tommy sits on the doorstep alone.” That’s just stupid…Why don’t you just ask me what you want to know?

—We could be here for quite some time if you do not answer the questions. It is a very simple exercise; it should pose no problem for someone of your intelligence.

—Don’t insult me.

—I am not. I saw your file, remember. Your qualification testing shows you have an IQ somewhere between 125 and 130. That would make you moderately gifted. Therefore, as I said, it should not be a problem for someone of your intelligence to complete a small story in one sentence or two, even under a time constraint. Shall we proceed? Tommy sits on the doorstep alone…

—Fine…His friends said they would come get him, but they didn’t. Tommy’s making up great stories in his head. When his friends finally come, he doesn’t want to play with them anymore. Moderately gifted?

—Next story. On the way to the supermarket, Lisa found a lottery ticket on the ground…

—Do you come up with these yourself or did a team of psychologists create these little gems? I mean, would anyone really say they’d steal it? Then again, what if there’s no one around? It’s not like you can put an ad in the paper…

—I do not belie—

—Never mind! Sure enough, there was a name and address on the back. She returned the ticket to an old man who lived a few blocks down. When the man died, she found out he put her in his will and left her everything. Is that touching enough for you?

—Very well. I will now enunciate a word, and you will tell me the first word that comes to mind. What is the first thing you think of when you hear…War?

—Death.

—Luck?

—I don’t know…Friend.

—Defeat?

—Rise.

—Country?

—Gratitude.

—Father?

—…Loss.

—Trust?

—…

—Ms. Resnik?

—Fund. Are we done?

—We are for now. I have a few more questions, but they are not part of the test.

—And yet you’re still going to judge me based on my answers.

—I will, but in a much more subjective way. Can you tell me what a Night Stalker is?

—It’s a member of the 160th SOAR, Special Ops Aviation Regiment. It’s an elite force. They specialize in low-altitude night-flying operations.

—Are they good?

—They’re the best of the best.

—And you are one of them.

—I am now!

—Why now?

—I lost my flight status. I got a teaching job at the Sabalauski Air Assault School after I hurt my eye, but you already know that.

—So you teach them how to fly but you cannot fly with them?

—I know you expect me to see some irony in there, but I never could. It’s special ops. They don’t take women other than in a support role.

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