Of all the job interviews Minx has sat through (and there have been a lot of them these past months, because it seems a great many people want to hire her - except that when they say 'hire' what they really mean is 'buy', and Minx does not consider herself for sale), the one with the Inspector is probably the strangest.
"The pay is ... not so very good," he says, when others have promised her millions.
She takes a sip of her coffee to hide her smile as she wonders how many people have been swayed by the promise of a 'not so very good' salary.
"We do not have the same kind of resources and facilities the big corporations do, naturally." His tone is not the least bit apologetic. If anything, he sounds bland, as if he assumes she knows all this already (she does) and is only going down the list as a formality.
She wonders if he thinks she's going to say 'yes'. It would not be a very good reason to say 'no', but then, it wouldn't be a very good reason to do as he expects, either.
"The benefits are fairly standard." Hydra-Cell has offered her a lab of her own, including an annual budget of two million. Royalton, a luxurious mansion, a personal trainer and a masseur. (Sexist, if not for the fact that one of her male classmates got the same offer, except for the gender of the trainer and the masseur. Merely presumptuous, then.)
Minx has made a list of things she wants to get out a job. 'Fairly standard benefits' was not on it.
"I don't really care about any of that," Rex says, and for all that he is almost of the same age as she is, he sounds much younger. Angry and hurt and capable of making very poor decisions, even if Minx thinks taking the job the Inspector is offering him would not be one of them.
He barely seems to have noticed her.
The Inspector frowns so slightly Rex may have missed it, even if Minx doesn't. The CIB needs a talented driver. A smart driver. At this point, Minx isn't sure if the CIB really needs Rex Racer.
"You could help us a great deal." She wishes there was a way to get a look at the Mach 5. She's seen it on TV, of course, and as part of the audience. She's never gotten a really good look at it, though.
"And what could you do for me? For my family?"
Even if Rex joins the CIB, the Mach 5 will remain behind. They'll get a driver without a car.
"I can't make any promises," the Inspector says, genuinely regretful, firm but honest. "Only that we will do our best. With your help, I think our chances are very good."
Rex shakes his head. "That's not good enough. I'm sorry."
Minx thinks there is room for argument, yet, but the Inspector rises, shakes Rex's hand. "As am I. Should you change your mind at any time, here's a number on which you can contact me." He hands over one of his business cards; Rex takes it. "I wish you good luck."
"With a car like this, I doubt I'll need it," Rex says, grinning. He's not yet wearing his costume - still Rex, for the moment, instead of Racer X.
The Inspector looks pleased - not so much at Rex's confidence as at his words, Minx judges. The car is lovely; her best work yet, and more tangible than most things she has put together.
A paper may earn her the respect of her colleagues, may get an old classmate to write her an e-mail in order to tell her nothing at all. A car, though - a car is different. (Also, according to Rex, female, an idea that would normally amuse her, but seems halfway appropriate in this particular case.)
"Perhaps you are correct. Still," the Inspector continues, "these are dangerous people you will be facing."
Rex's grin widens. Minx is not surprised. "I'm a pretty dangerous man, too, Inspector."
"Be careful," Minx says, and to hear the words come from her mouth does susprise her, a bit. She's seen Rex drive the car, her Shooting Star, now his. He's good.
"Always," Rex says, meaning 'never'.
He's not going to be in the car all the time.
"Be cautious, at least," the Inspector says. "Men like Benelli are not easily caught. For a case to stick, we will need solid proof."
"I'll get it," Rex says.