2007-02-16: A Lunchtime Approach


Jane_icon.gif Rianna_icon.gif

Summary: Rianna unexpectedly joins Jane as she's about to have lunch at the Madison Avenue Bistro and clues her in on a mumber of important things.

Date It Happened: February 16th, 2007

A Lunchtime Approach

Madison Avenue Bistro, Upper East Side, NYC, around noon.

It was a fairly good morning for M. Jane Forrest, Juris Doctor. She woke up around nine a. m. after a fairly interesting night in which she made a new discovery, had an incredible experience, and met a guy to boot. Two hours later, deciding to treat herself, the Yale lawyer/guitarist set out from her lodgings at the Wellington in Midtown Manhattan and made her way to the Madison Avenue Bistro on the Upper East Side. Wearing a charcoal gray business suit with skirt and two inch heeled pumps, her hair tied up in a fashion common to courtrooms, she enters and is seated. A glass of red wine sits before her as she peruses the menu quietly.

The day had gone smoothly so far for one Arianna Johannsen as she walked into the Madison Avenue Bistro. She was greeted warmly by the staff who knew her only all too well, as she has been here many times before. "Your usual table, ma'am?", she is asked before she politely declines. "I'm meeting someone already.", she says before scanning the establishment briefly. She pulls a photo out from her pocket as she spies Jane at her table and then puts it away just as quickly before approaching. "M. Jane Forrest, I presume?", she inquires politely. "Do you mind if I join you?"

She is similarly attired in very professional business dress, though her color remains solely black.

She pauses in her reading of the menu, and slowly sets it down. Her eyes lift to find and study the source of this voice, her expression calm and a bit curious. "That's me," Jane answers. "Not at all, Miss." A hand gestures toward an open seat opposite her at the round table. Her glass is lifted, the wine is sipped from, as she waits to learn what this might be about. ("Interesting," she thinks. "Mid-thirties, maybe, professional. Could be someone connected to bluebloods my parents told I was in New York. Or maybe a Yale alumna who saw me in the registers.")

There is a smile from Rianna as she takes a seat at the table. "You reacted significantly different than I expected, Miss Forrest.", Rianna says as she takes a seat at the table. As the server approaches, she turns with a friendly smile and says, "I'll have the Monte Cristo with a glass of the Sigoura Valley white, another glass waiting for a bit later, and a slice of that heavenly chocolate cheesecake for dessert.". As the server goes off, Rianna turns back towards Jane. "Most people would want to know exactly how I knew them, especially since most do not know me in return. Logical reasoning over the classic human response, very admirable. I am Arianna Rockford-Johannsen, Miss Forrest. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Her attention goes first to the server, Jane states "I've not selected yet. Thank you." Then she focuses on her unexpected lunch companion, an intrigued expression forming on her features. She chuckles slightly, replying "It's likewise a pleasure, Miss Rockford-Johannsen. I do confess being quite curious what this is about, but I have some ideas, it's not entirely unexpected to be contacted. My thought is you're connected to Yale University in some way, or the New York legal machinery, told I was here by my family. Maybe each of those." She flashes a smile and takes another sip of her wine, with the wheels turning slightly in her mind. ("She dresses like an attorney, and the hyphenated name, it sounds blueblood. Just like calling myself M. Jane instead of Michelle.")

"The Monte Cristo is delicious, however I must confess a certain delight for the sweeter fare. It doesn't always match with everyone's tastes.", Rianna says. She takes her cloth napkin and folds it neatly in her lap before leaning back in her seat. At the mention of Yale, she only laughs easily. "My only connection with Yale is the many years-old rivalry between it and my alma mater, Harvard University.", she says. "Nor in a legal sense. I leave all of that nonsense to my husband. I have many more important things to do than to embroil myself in the many intricacies and eccentricities of the law. No offense intended, of course.", she mentions quickly afterward, her eyes focused intently on Jane. "No, it is more of a… delicate matter that brought me to your table today."

As she listens, her thoughts wander a bit. ("This is a really great restaurant. And not much chance of running across people with dog whistles in this area… Monte Cristo. I might try that. But I did have a taste for the lean steak sandwiches. Although… the chocolate cheesecake sounds sinfully divine… No offense? Not at all. Guitars are far more fun, I have to agree with you… Delicate matter? That doesn't sound good. What's up here?") Her eyebrows lift a bit once that last sentence is uttered and her eyes focus entirely on the woman opposite her seat. "What might that be?"

There is only a moment of silence from Rianna before she states calmly, "Your… shall we say… outburst? A few days back?". Her eyes remain looking over Jane's face, studying her reactions and obviously skimming lightly over her surface thoughts. "Though I did not witness it myself, an associate of mine did and brought you to my attention."

Her lips twitch a bit, betraying her nervousness at that being mentioned, though she tries to remain outwardly calm and display a poker face. "What outburst would that be, Miss?" she asks plainly. ("Someone saw me shatter a street lamp by screaming? Is that what this is about? Who does this woman work for?" Images flash into her thoughts, the face of a fifteen year old girl at a coffee shop and a pair of marks on the girl's neck. "Is she working for them, am I going to somehow have those same marks tomorrow and not remember anything after meeting this woman? Play it cool, don't admit to anything.") She watches quietly, taking a sip from her glass and setting it down.

"The street lamp, Miss Forrest?", she inquires, the same easy smile on her face. "The bottle? Something mixed with cranberry, right?", she continues. She turns to nod politely at the server before taking her glass of wine and sipping at it lightly. "Have you decided on anything to eat, Jane?", she mentions as the server turns to look inquiringly at Jane.

"Yes," she replies, turning toward the server. "I'll have one of the lean prime rib sandwiches, and the chocolate cheesecake. Thank you kindly." Jane waits while the order is recorded and the server departs before turning her attention back to other matters. It's a long silence, she studying the woman intently, and considering her options. ("Okay, Miss, you've got me. Playing it cool won't work, she knows. Time to put the cards on the table and see what her game is. It wouldn't be bad to have some help figuring out how not to react to sudden high pitched noises. Among other things. But if she's got anything to do with those marks and lost memories, we're going to have a fight.") "Denying it is pointless," she admits with forced calm. "I recently discovered both the ability to project ultrasound and the sensitivity to sounds above the human ear's normal range. All cards are going on the table. I would hope you'll do the same, Miss Rockford-Johannsen. Also, if we're going to be formal, I'd like to be called Doctor Forrest. Otherwise, Jane will work."

"Of course, Jane. I would be pleased if you would call me Rianna. All of my friends do, and I'd like to think that you and I could walk away from this table today as friends. Not because I have your secret, but because we are intelligent women who have the power to help others who are like us.", Rianna says with another sip from her glass. "You know that there are those out there who don't have our best interests at heart, and my sole purpose in life other than the love of my husband is to protect people who have abilities that set them apart from normal society.", she says. "I have no intentions on leaving you without your memories and marks upon your neck."

In silence, she listens, Jane's eyes watch the woman across from her as she speaks, taking it all in. In her mind, however, things are definitely not silent. ("Rianna. Friends. I'd like that too. Yes, I can guess there are some out there who'd take someone like me as a lab rat to be forever poked and prodded. I'm still not…" That thought, however, ceases incomplete when memories and marks are mentioned. Her eyes go wide, the fingers tense a bit on her wine glass. ("I didn't tell you about knowing that, Rianna. Are. You. In. My. Head? Two plus four equals eight. Three plus ten million equals ten million and three. Eight times ten billion is eighty billion. Friends. Don't. Get. Into. My. Head. Without. Permission!") She suddenly looks close to freaking out.

"I do not tell lies, Jane. You wanted all of the cards out on the table, did you not?", Rianna says plainly. "You will have to forgive me, however. I do not go searching other people voluntarily. It is much akin to your automatic reaction to the high frequency dog whistle. I do manage to tune out others in favor of my own when possible. Some people think a bit more loudly than others." She is very calm.

"Now that we both know everything… it's time for you to make a decision. Do you want to know more, or go back to your life as it was?"

A ghost of a smile comes to her face, Jane relaxes a bit and her eyes return to normal. Nothing is said, she simply lifts her glass and sips from it. ("I get it, Rianna. It's just… a freaky thing to learn, on top of all the other freaky things this past week. Sorry I snapped at you like that. And thank you for letting me know, for trusting me enough to know. That's the hardest thing about all this. Knowing who to trust with information and who not to. Usually I have to just take a leap, so… tell me more. I couldn't go back to life as it was anyway. I have what I have, and it's not going anywhere.") The woman chuckles a bit, but otherwise still remains silent. ("You know, this does give me something of an advantage on you. I can keep conversing while I eat." Something in there suggests she finds this a bit amusing.

Rianna smiles as Jane makes her quip about talking with her mouth full. If only she knew the true extent, but such matters were better silent for now. "Indeed. You are very reasonable. I was glad to assume this about you. I run a Foundation, Doctor Forrest. During the daytime, our Foundation provides charitable contributions and other such activities. In secret, our mission is to protect the Children of the Future. Namely, you and I. Because there IS a Company out there who is searching for evolved individuals, Doctor Forrest. They are real, and they are taking people off of the street who manifest more dangerous abilities to study them, and to try and "cure" them of their power.", she says, all seriousness now as she takes another sip of her wine.

Her features take on a neutral, attentive expression, and Jane keeps her end of the conversation mental for the moment. "This… company, then, they're the ones who leave those marks? I can't be certain, having only seen one person with them, but the memory gap might be caused by someone like us. It also could simply be the result of psychological trauma. In any case, I've got issues with acting against anyone where no crime's been committed. Dangerous potential doesn't mean actual danger. Does this… company have a name?"

"They operate under the guise of a paper products company called Primatech.", Rianna says, a hint of a smile on her face as she takes a bite out of her sandwich. "Primatech won't be dismantled publicly, Jane. Any evidence of their actions are being covered up by people who have abilities. Just like you and I. Their actions, just like mine, are being made in secret.", Rianna says, her expression changing just a tiny bit. "I'm not asking you to take action against them. All the action is being taken already. But I assure you, Doctor Forrest. If my assistant saw you during his lunch hour, other people did as well. People who are associated with Primatech, with the Linderman Group, others. You have to be careful, Jane. When you manifested your evolved abilities, you ceased to be a part of the world you knew. The world you are in now is dangerous, and the rules of the real world don't apply."

She nods slowly, mulling over the information within the confines of her mind. ("I didn't think it could be dismantled publicly. The only way to do that would be to expose ourselves publicly, and… I don't believe we can allow that to happen. This… the things I've developed, and others like me have developed, they do change everything. There's no way to know how long it's been going on, I can't even be certain if the things I've always believed are true. Like there supposedly being no real witches at Salem. For all I know, some people there exhibited talents, the public panicked, and it continued until someone somehow convinced most people there hadn't been any supernatural activities. But… I'm rambling, sorry. The point is human history suggests going public only puts us in danger, Primatech benefits from that fact. We can't expose them, and they know it.")

"It is an unstable peace. Primatech knows I am here, and what I am doing. The same reason I can't use what I know about the Company against them is the same reason that they can't make a move against me. I have spent ten years placing myself in a position of public importance so that I could reveal them as a last effort.", she says. She smiles at the server brings the second glass of her wine and takes the first glass away. "I have come to you first. Others will probably come to you. I have told you the truth as I see it. There are groups who are vying for dominance in this new world. The Company wants the status quo to remain unchanged. This means that they will do ANYTHING to keep the truth of the evolved human a secret, including kill or imprison those of us they deem dangerous. The Linderman Group is jockeying for political clout, as am I. But Daniel Linderman… well… I'm not sure what he wants, but from what I know of him, I'm sure it isn't good. Or legal.", she says, taking a larger sip.

"I am willing to help you develop your abilities. Learn how to control them and keep them from controlling you. Whatever assistance I can provide in protecting you. But this help doesn't come freely. I would need to know that as you would want my help, you would help in return. Not only me, but others like you. Others in your position who may find themselves in harm's way."

Her mind is moving at a rapid pace now, each bit of information being repeated within her most prominent thoughts as it's heard and filed into memory. ("Primatech. Linderman group, political clout, the Rianna Foundation. Help in exchange for help, I expected that. Nothing's free in life. Oooh. Food.) Her mental workings are interrupted as the server brings her meal and Jane begins to eat it with the manners of one raised in a blue blood society home. ("This is really really good. Mmmmm. Anyway, I should focus. I can maybe guide people to you. I can carry the word to those I know, people I discover, tell them the full story, and leave it to them whether they come in or not. I'm… really not comfortable exposing anyone without his or her permission. The people I know about, they trusted me. I won't violate that trust.") From that point, she attempts to keep anything about them from her surface thoughts, embarking on strings of math calculations and legal principles regarding musical trademarks and copyrights, her apparent legal specialty.

"I wouldn't expect you to. I also know that you'll give the Company and their operatives their chance to say their piece.", Rianna says, finishing the rest of her sandwich shortly afterward before wiping her mouth. "It is important that you hear their side. I don't expect to hear from you until you have made your decision regarding which path you will walk. Remember that there are always other roads than those that lead to myself or to the Company. But in the end, you will have to make a choice as to how you will embrace your power. I do hope to hear from you, and I thank you for taking the opportunity to hear me out.", she says, reaching into her purse and taking out a business card. "The Johannsen Foundation. There will always be someone answering this phone number, be it noon or midnight.", she says, pointing to a specific number written in pen to the side of the card. "Please stay and enjoy the rest of your lunch. I'll have the bill placed on my account.", she says, rising.

"Thank you, Rianna," Jane replies verbally as the woman rises, her face contemplative. "There's so much to consider. I… I do admit you've got the leg up on Primatech, someone I know was apparently marked by them. Is… is the alteration of memory among talents you know of?" As she speaks, her surface thoughts primarily reflect what she verbally expressed, and when silent again Jane proceeds with the careful enjoyment of her meal.

Rianna nods. "I have seen the face of the man they use to steal the memories of others. A man whose presence seems to quell the evolved abilities of those around him. Whether it is through the suppression of the memory of how to use that power or a manifestation of his own evolution, I do not know.", she says. "He is not a man to be trifled with. Nearly anything you can imagine seems to be within the capability of the evolved human. You must be careful."

"I am," Jane assures. "I even sent an anonymous donation for the cost of that shattered street lamp to the city's public works department. I… I didn't even know it would happen, I simply screamed from pain after hearing a really piercing ultrasonic noise. So… priority number one, learning not to react. Nothing exposes a person more than covering her ears against something nobody else hears." She pauses there, her thoughts containing again the truth of what she said, and focusing on the man who alters memory. "Does he have a name, and can you describe him, so if I see him coming I can, y'know, go the other way?" A hopeful expression settles onto her face and in her thoughts there.

"They refer to him only as the Haitian.", Rianna says, looking down at Jane apologetically. "It is through that alone that you will know him. When he comes, he does not come alone.", she says, giving a brief description of the Haitian. "Do not struggle. Your memories are not deleted, only surpressed. Whatever he takes can be remembered. Do not give them a reason to choose detaining you."

"So if they come for me, I should surrender, Rianna?" Jane asks, her face showing nervousness at the prospect, a condition which echoes in her perceived thoughts. Prominent in them are the image of those marks she saw, and wondering just exactly what they represent. Their purpose. She seems to fear them more than anything, suspecting they're like a marking system used by scientists catching animals in the wild, and it terrifies her she might be viewed in that same fashion. "Maybe if I tell them I know you at such a point, they'd back off."

"Their methods are not always intrusive, Jane. But their end goal is. It is the folly of arrogant, inferior men to stand in the way of evolution.", she says, a small hint of her true feelings towards the matter coming to the surface and just as quickly surpressed. "I have said too much as it is. If they come for you, speak with them. If they want you to go with them, do not. You are not a lab animal, it is not their right to perform tests on you. Stay in public places when you can. ", she says, trying to offer a smile. "My work is never done, so I must be off. As I said, I hope to hear from you when you have made your decision.", she says, nodding politely before walking away from the table. As she does, two men at another table leave shortly afterward, a car pulling forward and picking them all up.

And as Rianna departs, Jane is left in the company of her own swirling thoughts, trying to process all this information and chart her course in view of it. Her fingers lift the wine glass, she swiftly downs its remaining contents, and places it down. Another is brought, she spends the next hour slowly eating her meal and dessert before leaving, looking pensive and troubled.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License