Hello everyone! It’s time to find out what Eric Tanner has to say about Sam’s apparent house arrest. If you need to catch up, check the feature hub!
“Come along, and I’ll explain.” Tanner turned and began moving towards the elevator at the end of the hallway, leaving Sam no choice but to fall into step behind him. “Tell me, Mr. Lalonde, what has been the extent of your education at the Academy up to this point?”
Sam thought silently while they entered the elevator’s open doors before he answered, “Advanced math and sciences that I’d expect any first-year college student to learn and strategy and tactics through VR wargames.”
“Yes. And what did you expect to do with this training later on?” Tanner pressed the button for the sixth floor.
“I don’t know,” Sam replied slowly, “I thought it was a natural progression into a position with the military.”
The elevator doors closed and the older man sighed in exasperation, “The Academy is not military, Mr. Lalonde.”
Sam’s head turned to face Tanner, his eyes going wide, “What? But I was recruited. By someone from the military. He was a military recruiter!”
Eric Tanner nodded, “Yes, the military is a rather… cooperative client of ours.”
Before Sam could ask what Tanner meant when he called the military a client, the elevator stopped and the doors swished open. Tanner picked up his brisk pace again, “Come along, Mr. Lalonde.”
Sam ran to catch up, his mind racing, “What do you mean the army is a client? Who do you work for? Who runs the Academy?”
A dry, mirthless chuckle escaped from Tanner’s lips, “I run the Academy, Mr. Lalonde. And we work for Victory Tech.” He was very pointed about emphasizing that last bit.
“Wait. Hold on, I work for Victory Tech? A video game company runs the Academy?”
Tanner rolled his blue-grey eyes, “Do try to keep up, Mr. Lalonde. We’ve almost arrived.” Tanner’s heels clicked on the tiled floor as he somehow picked up his already brisk pace and forced Sam to focus on staying just behind him.
Sam was led through a series of hallways, turning left and right so many times that he worried that he would not be able to leave without a guide. Every hall had office doors lined up and down, all of them shut. Finally, Tanner halted in front of one of these doors. Nothing made it stand out more than the others aside from the name plaque adorning it: “James Baker”.
The stern man’s knock had barely sounded before a muffled, “Enter!” called them inside. The door opened and they entered, Sam looking around curiously. From outside, the offices had seemed small, almost insignificant. However, Sam realized it was quite deceiving, as this office was spacious and comfortable. There was space enough that one of the VR headset chairs that he had used when being put through wargames with Lt. Cartwright sat in a corner. On another side of the room was a row of bookshelves jam-packed with texts of all sizes. A glass computer desk was pushed up against the back wall, the computer screen atop it showing some kind of charts and graphs. And in the center of the room was a thick, oaken coffee table with large, cushioned chairs surrounding it.
In one of the chairs facing the door sat a lanky, middle-aged man wearing a labcoat. His light brown hair was just starting to grey around his ears and Sam could see traces of laugh lines about his green eyes and at the corners of his mouth. When he saw Eric Tanner coming into his office he quickly stood up, “Mr. Tanner, what a pleasant surprise! So good to see you, sir! Is this your son?” Whoever this man was, he had an English accent, though Sam could not really tell which region specifically.
Tanner’s voice sounded annoyed, “Doctor, I sent you a message about this two days ago. This is Sam Lalonde. You will be instructing him about the project.”
Dr. Baker tilted his head just slightly to the side and looked at Sam. His left eye gave a funny twitch and then his face lit up, “Oh yes! Sam! Mr. Lalonde. Sam Lalonde. A pleasure to meet you!” He grabbed Sam’s hand and shook it a few times.
Eric Tanner cleared his throat, interrupting the excited introduction, “Dr. James Baker is a doctor of psychology and, more importantly, is in charge of overseeing the project you will be working on. He will be instructing you on your role and offering any information that he deems is necessary for your success.”
The older man stepped back out of the office and turned to face them, “I’ll leave you two to get acquainted. Dr. Baker will fill you in on the basics of what you’ll be doing. Someone will come by to collect you in a few hours. Until then, pay attention to the doctor and try to retain something.”
The door slid shut, leaving Sam alone with the strange Englishman.