Oh sure, there had been some oddities. The fact that the higher-ups never appeared, communicating only by email, intercom, and sticky note. The fact that there were always free parking spaces in the company lot, parking spaces being about as common on Manhattan as Republicans. The fact that all of the other cube-jockeys always seemed to be there before Jaz arrived and stayed after she left.

But hey, she had talked herself out of any suspicions along those lines. Jaz was, after all, working at one of the most prestigious law firms in New York and by extension the civilized world. It didn’t matter that she was an intern acting as a glorified secretary; she was getting face time and experience and even a modest stipend (unlike most internships which treated people like chattel laborers). In a few months’ time it would all be worth it: the long hours of studying, the stupefying student dept, the lack of a social or romantic life after eighth grade or so, all of it.

Then one morning Jaz found a sticky-note directive from above in the usual place on her monitor: “Please report to the 23rd floor conference room for an urgent meeting.”

Sighing, Jaz had resolved to check her messages before she went. She’d accidentally been included in a company-wide blast email, which usually excluded her, and popped it open:

“Directive: Secure all entrances and exits and report to the 23rd floor conference room for our yearly success and team-building meeting. Bring the virgin/maiden sacrifice if you see her. Convocation and dinner to follow.”