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The entire point of a fort is to insulate oneself and one’s friends from members of the opposite gender, which makes things awkward when HR holds their annual antidiscrimination seminar.

“It’s not that we don’t want women in the department!” says Walmsley, his careful stresses muffled by the cushions they brought from home. “But the productivity gains we’ve achieved in here certainly encourage more–”

“Segregation?” snaps DJ.

“No!” says Walmsley. “Merely separation! A separation of equals.”

“Keep ’em talking, Agent W,” mutters Northwood. He’s almost finished scrawling out their attack plan, and Smithfield is due any second with the water balloons.


One of the empty cubes is starting to accrete stuff–first a chair, then a phone, now a workstation and some binders. There’s more every time DJ walks by.

Nobody sits in it after a day, though. She has the impression that the miscellany is building toward an invisible occupant: spontaneous generation.

“Know what I heard?” Kohler is telling Mott. “‘An employee is what a meeting uses to make more meetings.’ Huh? Right?”

DJ walks by the cube again and feels a sudden, slow horror. There are picture frames there now, but empty, without faces. Maybe not spontaneous generation after all…