“Thank you for coming in today,” Patricia said. “We just have a few more questions.” Patricia gestured to the chair at the head of the table. Once Kira had settled, Patricia asked, “Would you care for some coffee?”
“No thank you.”
Patricia sat. “You would think that we would jump at the opportunity to have you on the team, but there are some issues here. Not only are the lives of the victims on the line, but our lives are at risk as well.”
Kira, her face dead-serious and her back ramrod straight, nodded.
Patricia smiled trying to ease the formality. “I understand you joined the military right after high school?”
“Yes.” Kira’s posture relaxed a bit.
“Thank you for your service.”
“Military service during active combat is dangerous.” Patricia leaned forward. “Would you mind telling us what attracted you to the military?”
“I was recruited.”
“No interest in college?”
Kira straightened. “No.”
“How’d you get into the Medical Corp?”
“I applied and passed training.”
“Why the Medical Corps?” Patricia pressed, watching Kira for any sign of stress.
Kira’s composure remained in place. “I like helping people, people in trouble, people who are hurting.”
Patricia settled back in her chair. “I understand you served in Special Ops?”
“I’m not at liberty to discuss that subject,” Kira said in an even tone through tight lips.
“I need to know,” Patricia prodded.
Kira remained as poised and polished as Patricia’s family silver. “I can assure you my Special Ops specialty has nothing to do with rescuing abused women.”
“So,” Meredith said, “why do you think you would be of value to our team?”
Kira’s eyebrows rose as she turned toward Meredith. “In order to help the women your organization serves, I assume you must gain their confidence, which is something I’m very good at.”
“You do make an excellent first impression,” Patricia said, picking up the stick pen in front of her. “Any other special skills?”
“Other than Special Ops skills and medical skills, I speak several languages, I’m adept with leading-edge electronics, and, as a team leader, I’ve planned and lead many missions.”
“Those are extremely impressive skills.” Patricia made a written note of Kira’s answer. “But getting close enough to an abuse victim for them to trust us so we can get them to safety is very delicate work.”
“I’ve often worked undercover with civilians. And I’ve never once had a problem gaining their trust.”
“Okay. But I have to admit your former line of work gives me concern.” Patricia paused to let that sink in.
Kira showed no sign of stress.
Patricia returned the pen to the tablet in front of her. “You served twenty-four years. Why’d you retire?”
“I recently married a wonderful, supportive man and was ready to settle down.”
“Why do you want to join our group?” Meredith asked.
“Let’s say joining the military right out of high school had more to do with escaping a terrible home life, something my mother was never able to do. And that’s all I’ll say about that.”
Patricia looked at Meredith, who nodded.
“Since this is a volunteer group without pay,” Patricia said, “you’d think we’d jump for any and all volunteers. But this work is potentially dangerous, dangerous for the abused women, and for my crew. Plus, we walk a fine line with the law. And we all have reputations to protect. And we are very private about what we do, very private. So with that said, what don’t we see how you do in our training program?”
Kira sat back. “Training?”
“Our procedures. Role playing.”
“Until you get everything right. Or we decide there’s no fit.”
“When do I start training?”
“Tomorrow if you’re available.”
“Do you have a weapon?”
Kira placed her hand on her purse and nodded.
“We’ll need a copy of it. Do you own a ballistic vest?”
Kira shook her head.
“Get one by tomorrow, if possible. Bring your weapon and vest to this address tomorrow morning at nine.”
Patricia gave Kira a business card with the address of a Pooler gun club.
Kira held up the card. “I shoot here all the time.”
“So do we.” Meredith slid the confidentiality agreement and a pen to Kira. “This is a standard non-disclosure agreement. You can sign it now, or take it home and bring it with you tomorrow.”
Kira signed the agreement and returned it. “Anything else?”
“That’s it.” Patricia stood and gave Kira a wide smile.
Patricia and Meredith walked Kira to the front lobby of Meredith’s bank. After Kira left, Meredith turned to Patricia. “She a keeper. Definitely cool under pressure.”
“I agree,” Patricia said. “I hope she works out. She has a great background and she’s interested. But like a landing gear, we’ve got to be sure she’ll function right the first time and every time there after.”