2008-05-22: A Lesson Learned


Kory_icon.gif Sophie_icon.gif Jamie_icon.gif Novak_icon.gif

Summary: Sophie and Jamie visit the Secret Lair, Kory receives a surprise visitor, and they all learn a lesson from a Teacher.

Date It Happened: May 22nd, 2008

A Lesson Learned

The Secret Lair

Friday night. Of course the Secret Lair is crowded. That unfortunate stereotype about Geeks not having dates on Friday night isn't completely untrue — but here's where the ones it is true for spend the evening. Big ticket movies? They saw those at 9 am like a proper geek. Kory is sitting in one of the comfy chairs watching a very enthusiastic game of "MWAHAHAHAHA!" going on at the back.

Sophie is chatting, casually, as she pushes open the door to the Lair. She is dressed warmly for the weather, including thin, well fitted gloves. She holds the door as a child walks in beside her. Where better to take a kid than a comic store, after all.

Jamie follows Sophie in. She's far more normally dressed, in a pink t-shirt and jeans. The young girl grins as the door's held for her, "Thank you." She looks around, blinking as she takes in the store, "Wow."

Ping. Ping. Ping. Like a single piano key being plunked over and over, an echo of thought, of concentration, fills the mind of one man. Ping. Ping. Ping. Like sonar, beeping away with every sweep of the surrounding ocean, the man's eyes and ears are focused on the task ahead, for once managing to block out the cacaphony of the city. Not normally someone who goes to comic book stores or the like, Novak Garbaldi nonetheless finds himself standing in front of a place called the 'Secret Lair'.

He's wearing a jacket with a picture of The Shadow on the back, and the slogan 'Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?' above the image, and 'The Shadow knows…' beneath it. He grew up with those radio plays, and he is not quite up to date on more modern heroes. Still, he might fit in better wearing this than his usual suits and coats and such.

And appearance is important. He is going into unknown territory here, and he does not wish to alarm anyone, so it is prudent to appear acceptable. Ping. Ping. Ping. As Sophie and Jamie go through the door, Novak waits a moment, glancing through any windows out front that there might be, to scan the interior, before also entering. Hopefully he spots his quarry before she spots him, but he has only ever met her under unusual circumstances.

Kory is in the back, watching the geek guys try to one up each other. MWAHAHAHAHA! is a ridiculous game of mad science, and the madder the better. There's spirited arguing about which giant robot is going to destroy the world first. Kory is asked to referee.

"Oh, no," she tells both of them. "I'm not touching this. I'm just watching. Work it out like grownups, or ask Professor Nequebaard, there."

Nequebaard, who has only recently started coming back to the store, looks up, glances at the manager, then the game, and says, "Nuclear engine beats heterodyne ether cyclotron," and goes back to the book he had his nose in. The steampunk type mad scientist makes a sulky little groan of defeat, and the game goes onto its next turn.

Sophie looks around, not seeing Kory right off. She pays no attention, at first, to the man she probably passed by to get in. She says, "Well, I know she's here somewhere. But you want to look at some of the comics first?" to Jamie, pretty sure of the answer.
Jamie hesitates, and says, "I guess. I dunno anything about comics, really. Only ever got to read them sometimes, when Joe'd bring me some, back when I lived with him." The girl looks around again, hanging back by Sophie. A little intimidated by the amount of choice.

Novak balks a bit after entering the store. All the voices clamoring for attention in his head, when he is only looking for one. It does not help that he only heard the voice in the medium of dream, rather than in the waking world. If he had heard the voice aloud, he could easily match it up with the correct person. Time to do something he does not normally do. He is going to really focus his senses and try to find one particular thing amongst all the others.

He pauses to look at the little girl nearby, and considers suggesting 'Scrooge McDuck' or 'Donald and his Nephews' but isn't sure if they still print those comics. A shame if they do not. Back to the matter at hand. No more distractions. 'Find the Muse,' he tells his body. It does. She's at the back of the store, based on that one female voice he heard inbetween all the others. He starts in that direction.

Kory glances up, spotting Sophie. "Sophie, hello!" She pats the sulky steampunker on the shoulder, consolingly. "Don't feel bad. You did rock in that Chop Socky game you were playing eariler," she reminds him, getting up to greet her friend.

It should be noted, by the way, that Kory's appearance is rather dramatically altered. Sophie's already seen it, but Kory's hair is the color of artificially flavoured blue raspberry at present. Its style and texture are the same as always, but the color? Yeah.

"…and is that Jamie? Heya, Ariel." A term of endearment, it'd appear. Novak hasn't been noticed yet, in the hubbub.

Sophie grins at Kory, not blinking at the hair. Of course, she /has/ seen it before. She says, "Well, I met up with this ball of energy.." winking at Jamie, 'Then decided she could use a trip here. Though I have no idea what to recommend. I figured you'd know best."

Jamie brightens again on seeing Kory, nodding quickly and says, "Hi. Cool hair! They used to have cotton candy that colour at the circus." Not exactly the best of compliments. She nods quickly to what Sophie says, "I never picked a comic before."

Blue hair. Odd. Not the dark color that Elisabetha said it was. Unless Novak's student has gone color blind. He turns from side to side, looking for something he can claim as a purchase. 'Darkhawk'? Sort of similar to The Shadow. Sort of. Only with armor and a grappling hook or some such. Alright, so not really. Still, he grabs it up and steps forward, waiting, if necessary, for the conversation to be completed, but otherwise making himself known. "Good evening, Miss Alexander." Ping.

Kory has made it to the register and counter, because customers means money, which means somebody needs to check them out. Tito's in the game in back, and Sophie's with Jamie. KeLyssa's off, and thank the powers, nobody has asked Lee to fill in. Which leaves only the blue haired Comic Girl. "Oh, hi, did you fi—" Kory stops in the middle of her normal customer service spiel as her eyes fall on Novak. "…Professor." A pause, and then she adds, "Garibaldi," lest Nequebaard be thinking she was talking about him. "…good evening to you too," she finishes, breathlessly.

Although the phrasing is polite, the tone has more than a little doubleyou tee ephery in it. Surprised would be an understatement, though she's covering it well.

Sophie looks up at the man talking to Kory.. by her last name, yet. The at Kory's tone, when answering, she frowns as she shifts, rather automatically, both closer to Kory, and she reaches for Jamie's hand. She pauses a moment, as if in thought, then her eyes widen. But she doesn't say anything, not yet. Just her right hand, the free one, moving closer to the hand holding Jamie's, both still gloved.

Jamie blinks too at the sudden change in atmosphere. She glances up to Sophie as her hand's taken, then looks back up to Novak and Kory. She keeps her mouth shut for the moment, though she looks between the two curiously.

Kory's tone doesn't even elicit a raised eyebrow from the one she is addressing. He just smiles and says, "How good to finally meet you face to face. It is unfortunate our meeting could not have come sooner, but apparently I was not at home when you met with Elisabetha a few days ago." He shrugs. "It cannot be helped, I suppose." He is absolutely aware of Sophie's change in position, and reaction. He doesn't even need to look at her to feel the tension in the air. He had hoped not to make a scene, particularly in front of a child, but it seems that Kory's unfriendly tone has set off the panic button in one of her friends.

He places the Darkhawk comic on the counter, and says, "I understand that you and my student had a very interesting discussion that night. About life, the universe, and everything else. It made quite an impact."

Oh, he's quoting Douglas Adams. That's amusing. Only in the way it's not. Kory's tone wasn't so much unfriendly as it was startled. Badly startled. And now the conversation is happening.

"Yes, we did. Fascinating curriculum you have your student on, actually," she says, in a more conversational tone. "I can't help but wonder, though, if you have considered a more liberal arts approach. That narrow a focus kind of leaves out a few things." She takes the comic and rings it up, calmly.

Sophie glances to Jamie, and she says, "You know, I saw some comics I did know, that you might like." nodding over to a display close to the desk. If Jamie takes the nibble, it will put Sophie between her and the tense conversation.

Jamie blinks, looking up to Sophie a moment. She looks back towards the conversation a moment more before wandering over towards the comics. Obviously most of her attention is still on the conversation, even if she now has someone standing between her and it.

Drumming his fingers on the counter with one hand, Novak abruptly reaches into his jacket with the other. There is a tense moment as he rummages inside for whatever is in there… And then he pulls out a black leather wallet, which he begins extricating money from to pay for the comic. "Ah, but you see," he begins, as he rests his elbows on the counter and leans forward. "For some, a more limited selection of studies is actually preferable. Particularly those who are disabled. First they must learn to understand how the world works, how people think, and how to react to what they say and do. Only once they understand these things can their curriculum be expanded."

He continues as he turns around to face in Jamie's direction, "There is no point in teaching a young woman such as Elisabetha to ask the big questions in life — questions that no one has the answers to — when she does not yet have the skills or self-control necessary to accomplish the basic tasks set before her."

Kory isn't flinching or tensing as he reaches into his pocket. There are too many witnesses here for the Professor to do anything extremely rash or dangerous. And what she perceived from their brief acquaintance is that he is not a foolish man. "I think you underestimate her," is all she says, accepting the money and making change for his purchase. "I think you give her too little credit. Right 'ism', wrong approach. Buddhism is the middle way. Not the extreme." Oh, for being able to talk plainly, but since the man surprised her in public, it is what it is.

Sophie has to bite her lip hard. Well, she IS the one training to be a librarian, but.. not here, and not now. And probably not wise with THIS man to start on her own perspective on education and the disabled.

Jamie turns her attention to the comics, as things are going way over her head in this conversation. She looks through a few, looking over the covers but still unsure. After a few moments, she looks back up to the conversation, in time to see Novak looking towards her. She does get part of what was being talked about, though. "Can you do a backflip off of a raised surface and land on your feet? That's a *really* basic task. If you can't, maybe you shouldn't be thinking about those things either."

Novak listens to Kory, and then comments when she's done, "Oh, I have a rather fine grasp of her potential. And I think you do too. Otherwise you wouldn't have even bothered trying to help her. You understand she is a very gifted individual. Just as you are." He turns his head back to Kory at that last part. "However, Elisabetha is my student, and I would appreciate it if you would let her teacher do the teaching. It would result in less trouble for both of us."

He accepts the comic book, and turns back to Jamie when she speaks. He glances to Sophie, and then Kory, before looking back to Jamie. He walks over to her, and crouches down halfway, keeping a distance between them so she doesn't feel threatened. In response to Jamie's words, he asks quietly, "Why are we alive? What happens when we die? Are we alone in the universe? Why do we dream? Is there a God? Those are some very simple questions, to which no one has the answers. People spend their entire lives trying to figure them out."

He shrugs. "They don't. They just die unhappy, because they wasted their lives. But you don't have to waste your life." He holds out the recently purchased comic book, and if Jamie doesn't take it from him, he puts it down on the nearest surface. "There is a very important lesson that very few teachers can teach you. The lesson is that you should enjoy yourself while you can."

He then straightens up, and says more loudly, "Because it won't last forever." He then turns and says, "Nothing does. Not even the universe." On his way past the counter, and towards the door, he offers to Kory, "Keep the change."

"Can't do that, sorry," Kory replies to Novak. "I told you about the conflict of interests already. Which is what made me decide you weren't suited to my project. Unless you've changed your mind about that. And given the curriculum we're discussing, it doesn't sound like it. I have seen how you make omelettes. And that's one egg we can't let you crack," she says, as he walks toward the door. She isn't sure he heard. But once he's walked out, the knees give out and down she goes behind the counter. "…augh."

Sophie shakes her head after the man leaves. She glances at Jamie, grinning, "Good one." she looks at Kory, "Flipped through the mental files." she shivers a bit, "That man's definitely a few fries short of a happy meal."

Jamie takes the comic with a smile, "Thanks." Then at the questions she answers, full of confidence, "We're alive to have fun. When we die, we go to heaven. There's lotsa aliens out there, we just ain't met any yet. We dream so sleep ain't so boring, and 'course there's a God. Pretty silly questions, really, they're all kinda obvious." She nods again quickly to his advice, totally oblivious to the negativity involved. When he's gone she looks up to Sophie and grins, "Thanks."

Kory remains on the floor, until she's sure her knees will hold her up again. "Okay. Mental note. Greek name from here on out," she says. "That was really stupid of me. Really, really stupid."

Sophie says, firmly, "Whatever we do, we have to be sure /that/ guy never gets what he wants."

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