This is as close to an origin story as Carol gets. There are other decisions along the path that calcify her destiny: choosing to work for Hurricane, choosing to cover for HR’s murder of Ferris, choosing to bring in JJ Berten. But this choice is what made HR and his product into her whole world.

She wouldn’t have had the easiest time refusing, mind you. CEO/founders whom shareholders consider visionaries have a lot of latitude with subordinates (see the accounts of Joss Whedon as a boss emerging recently). HR could dismiss her, sharply curtailing her other prospects, if he decided things were “just not working out.”

But she’s still young and pure enough not to focus on that, and she thinks too well of HR to treat it as a serious possibility. It’s more important that he’s already felt her out and knows she seeks self-actualization in her work. She needs to feel like her job is a cause, and he can very much work with that: in his own way, he believes that to be true. She may not yet know the details of this plan… she may have some inkling of the magick he can do, or she may think that this is just a revolutionary leap forward in VR interfacing and the “Realm of Being” is more of a guiding philosophy than a physical place one can go. But regardless, she needs to believe. Ultimately what pushes her to join in is not any insidious boss-employee inequality, but the weight of her own idealism.