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2012-04-11 20:08:01 GMT 2012-04-13 08:51:06 (GMT -06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) Yes (click here to learn more about ) Closed - Note: This project was manually closed by the voice seeker before it reached its original deadline. 0 0 4 direct invitation(s) have been sent by the voice seeker resulting in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far. Voice123 SmartCast is seeking 50 auditions and/or proposals for this project (approx.) Invitations sent by SmartCast have resulted in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far.
It was starting from a low baseline, though. He had always been of a solitary nature, had always concentrated on his work, had never made friends easily. His older coworkers were married and very settled. They didn't socialize with each other and had never shown any interest in seeing him outside the office. Their families occupied their time after work.
This new batch he was hiring for the Colliery project were different, though. They were younger and livelier, and partying was much more important to them than building software. All of a sudden, Benton found himself being invited to parties every weekend. True, he would be introduced by some deferential subordinate as “the boss,” and that was dampening. In fact, some of these subordinates were older than Benton, but they all treated him as though he were older than they. Sometimes he wanted to protest that he was still young, less than thirty in Earth years, but he had to admit that the automatic respect had its appeal, too.
Once the novelty wore off, he began to find the frequent parties pleasant but not involving in any way. They provided a break from the hours of work and pressure, but little else. The conversations tended to stay safely shallow.
At one party, it all turned very serious very suddenly.
Benton was chatting with a girl who seemed to know as few of the other guests as he did. She was short and slender, with a nervous intensity that bothered him even while it attracted him. In a period when most young women on Farandhazy were changing their appearance, and especially their hair, every other day and using everything cosmetic technology offered to disguise their true appearance, this girl was remarkable for being so obviously undisguised. Her straight black hair, cut simply just below her shoulders, was obviously her own. No lenses changed the dark brown of her eyes, and her face, perhaps too thin to be considered attractive by most men, was innocent of cosmetics.
Her name was Augie Syen. When they were introduced, not able to think of anything else to say, he said, “That's an unusual name.” She grimaced and said, “I had unusual parents.”
She was Benton's physical opposite, and he supposed, looking into his drink to avoid her intense, searching stare, that that explained his sudden, strong physical attraction to her. Nothing like this had happened to him since he had come to Farandhazy five Earth years earlier, fresh from college, to work for Contco.
Was it the physical difference, or that intensity of hers, the way she concentrated on one thing to the exclusion of everything else? A touch neurotic, perhaps, but right now she was concentrating on him and he was having some difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, she insisted on talking about Colliery and the contract he was working on.
“It's immoral,” she said. “If you help The Jacksonite Corporation in any way, that's immoral. It'll just increase their stranglehold on the Galaxy.”
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