The government paid my parents $791 to have me, a lot of money at the time, and especially to my parents. They figured if they planned to have a kid one day anyway, why not let Uncle Sam foot the bill? The fact I was a girl delighted my father but disappointed his supervisors. Still, I was bought and paid for, so the government would do its best with goods received.
There were twelve of us in the class. We went to school at the same time and in the same place as any other kids, but we had our own classroom, a special room designed just for us. And instead of changing teachers every year, we had Mrs. Truehardt. We called her Mrs. T, and there was a lovely confidence in knowing, year in and year out, exactly who would be your classmates each year and what to expect from the teacher.
It was like this from the time I started school at age five until Mrs. T retired when I was ten.
Then they released us into the wild.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Those years with Mrs. T were spent in exploration of our natural talents and inclinations . . . Which would necessarily lead to the exploitation of those gifts in service of the government to which we'd been sold. Assuming, of course, there was anything of worth in us.
But the government had hedged its bets by only purchasing the offspring of its best and brightest, of which my father was one. I recall blueprints spread over his worktable . . . Later, when a "stealth" this or something new for the space program would be revealed, I would look to my dad knowingly; this was his work. To design and create. Where it went from there, he never much cared; he was always on to the next idea, his logic married perfectly to his creativity, so that he could not only dream it, he could make it happen.
Dad's position limited our lives. There were only a few places we were allowed to travel and many more we were not. We were monitored at all times. For our protection, of course. It was a childhood filled with fears of being kidnapped or worse.
But I loved school. And it turned out I had much of my father's logic and creativity, though I leaned more toward words: books and writing. I also had what my father did not: an intuitive understanding of others, their emotions and behaviors.
It was decided I would become a profiler.
Not by me. I didn't decide. Neither did my dad, and my mother had even less say than he did. (She was by all accounts average and of no interest to the government except in their demands for her compliance.) No, this path was chosen for me by men who'd payed to have me born and educated to their specifications.
My dad's nickname in the organization was Sherlock. And I was Sherlock's Daughter.