2008-01-19: All The Best Heroes Have Mommy Issues


DaphneM_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif

Summary: The speedster wants a slightly illegal favor but morals, and a pesky aversion to family drama, sends her away. But not without a parting message of companionship.

Date It Happened: January 19th, 2008

All The Best Heroes Have Mommy Issues

Pinehearst Building, NJ

Pinehearst. A shining example of progress and hard work. Or something. At least, there are plenty of employees finishing up their late or long lunches and wandering back to their desks. A few people are still milling about the water cooler and wandering if Bill down in En—

WHOOSH! A burst of air from outside. And it streaks purposefully through the zig and zag of every cubicle, desk, and office until it stops with pin-point accuracy at the desk of one Geek. Er, Gene. Er, same difference. "Hey," Daphne greets briskly, unceremoniously dropping a generic cell-phone in front of Gene, "Got something for you."

"I… um."

Gene pauses from his reading. Which is… The same durn handbook he was reading before. He's almost at the end though, instead of almost at the beginning like when he first met the speedy woman. He didn't expected to see her again. At least not without the presense of an HR person. "Something else?" A hand cautiously gets the phone. "I really liked the book, but um… I already got a cell phone," Gene admits with a sheepish smile.

"Not like that," Daphne retorts, dismissing both of his comments at the same time. She steps forward to lean over Gene and tap a finger against the phone in question, "I want you to use your geek magic for me and see if there's anything you can dig up from that phone for me. You can do that, right?"

The young man hrms as he looks toward the phone. "Well, that could be easy enough. Should be able to find out the provider. Once I do that, might be able to get a call history that's a bit better than what would be listed in the book." Gene begins to mess with the phone, pressing buttons here and there. Hopefully, Adam didn't put a keyword password so he can get right to the beginning of data extraction. As he continues to press buttons, Gene frowns faintly. "So, why do you need me to do this? I take it you took this phone from someone."

Daphne watches with a certain kind of fascination that keeps her still leaning obnoxiously — and quite personally — over and almost against Gene's shoulder. "Provider, that's good. Does provider lead to, like, accounts and bank numbers or anything?" She only straightens when the question is asked and she takes up the old pose of leaning against his desk so she can pick at her nails idly, "Well, it's certainly not my phone. Does that bother you?"

"Possibly. Whoever had this phone had to pay using a credit card or at least had a mailing address. It'll give a lead, that's for sure… The address book would give additional numbers, which could be traced to other people as well." Glancing up toward Daphne, Gene sighs, holding the phone like it was a camera to let Daphne see more of it. Like that will change anything. "Well, you do know that it would be illegal to look into this person's phone information, much less hack into a phone provider's network… The first being a bigger deal than the second." Either he doesn't know Pinehearst does illegal things or he's playing dumb and doing a decent job for a change.

Daphne raps her fingers against the edge of the desk and then idly crosses one leg over the other, "Come on, Geek, haven't you ever heard of doing a favor? I mean, this is letting me peek into the phone of one lousy ex-boyfriend. It's probably really easy for someone like you and I'd be seriously grateful. Look—look," she reaches back into his private space to press at the buttons on the phone, and then turns to look at him, putting them pretty much cheek to cheek with her (deliberate) movements, "There's women's numbers on this phone. Women I don't know."

As soon as Daphne gets up close, Gene pretty much loses the ability to discern lie from truth. Of course, there is a bigger issue than the story itself. There is a deep pause as Gene takes his eyes off the attractive temptress and stares at the phone, the heat from his cheeks likely detectable in waves as he blushes deeply.

"…I can't.." he begins softly, only growing in volume as he speaks until he gets to a regular conversational tone. "The only times I ever did hacking was to help people. To try and find out the truth about things that might have been evil. If I start hacking for selfish reasons." Gene puts the phone down softly, as if it were made of eggshells. "I'm sorry. I really wish I could help you, but I… I just can't-err, I won't." He looks down, almost as if ashamed at himself.

Well, that's one story bust. Daphne considers her position from, well, her position. Also, she considers how totally worked up Gene was getting from all this. Sometimes, it's just too easy… But now is not the time. Instead, she darts a hand forward and takes the phone from off his desk with a jerk, as if it's a punishment, even though he already refused the task. Then she straightens, her voice growing short as if she's constantly holding back from a pout or something equally irritated, "Oh, I get it," she says, "It's selfish if I want to know what some creeper's been up to. If he's been messing up some other women's lives. I thought that would matter to you."

Since she's not quite sure what to do after that, Daphne just crosses her arms and uses this time to think over the options. One of which apparently causes her enough annoyance that she kicks sulkily at Gene's still-conveniently-nearby trashcan. With her shiny new shoes. From Lady's Footlocker.
"Hey, it does matter to me!" Gene exclaims as he swiftly looks up, looking clearly conflicted. It might seem trivial to most, but Gene has few people that even talk with him. "But there is a difference in confronting someone that hurt you and doing something illegal to do it. I mean, there are people in my life I'd love to deal with But my grandfather made me promise I'd always try and do the right thing, even when it hurts."

The young geek looks down, not sure what else to say. Thankfully, Daphne provides his own way out. "So you found the gift card?" he says as he looks up with a small smile.

There goes that grandfather stuff again and it has similar effect. Daphne stops what she's doing and folds her arms uncomfortably until the gift card mention also provides her an out. "Yeah, I was looking for the gag to pop out," she informs him snappily. No mention of how she likes citrus. Or that the basket is currently in a place of semi-honor next to the Mona Lisa.

"And, look, this is the way I like to do things. Maybe your grandfather and you were bosom buddies but my p—" With a tilt of her head and a bite of her lip, the speedster cuts herself violently off and then gives a 'whatever'-sigh, "Fine. I'll just find somebody else who'll do it! But they probably will just suck it up."

Gene is silent for a long time, before the Geek God tilts his head to the side. He just looks at Daphne, as if trying to figure her out. As he sighs at the end, seemingly admits defeat as he looks to the book. "You are a recruiter, right? That must mean you can look at files of employees."

Daphne takes the time that he's silent to regain her cool ground because really, really, this isn't the time to be thinking about that. Somehow, Gene just keeps managing to bring it out. At his question, she eyes him, "I hope you're not about to ask me a favor about your employee's file after all that conscience stuff."

The young inventor pauses as he just opens up the handbook to read about proper password protection and which sites are allowed to access while at Pinehearst. As he speaks, he doesn't even look up. "Nothing illegal, something you might have done already. Read mine."

Long looooooong second and then Daphne smacks her lips together with a decided pop and a deliberate, "Why?"

The Geek God's face is still in his book. "Then you'll understand where I come from. I figure since you showed me your special gift, you should be able to look at what I can do." Is this a special plan of Gene? If it is, it is an odd one. "If you don't want to or aren't allowed, that's fine. Just wanted to put that idea out there."

Gene's an odd one. Daphne measures his words, trying to find the hitch or the joke or where the strings are attached or something. "If we're playing it that way," she says, "Why don't you just tell me, yourself? You tryin' to get rid of me, huh? Look, you don't have to worry about the phone. It's no big deal. I get where you're coming from, even if it /is/ super boring…"

"Because some of it… Is really awkward to talk about." Clearlying his throat, Gene takes a deep breath before offering a startling fact. "Like how my mother was murdered."

The last bit is given like a fact. The sky is blue, the cow says 'Moo', and Gene's biological mother was killed in a fire that was thought to be arson set by the father.

"Usually talking about myself is what drives people off anyway," Gene admits softly, burying his head even more into his book.

Bam. You just… wouldn't expect it out of this real quiet guy. Jesus, it's like a terrible underaged soap opera.

But Daphne doesn't want to talk about families in relation to all this. She doesn't one bit. Which is why she first mutters, "I'm not really getting what this has to do with my speed…" Because he said 'abilities', right? Not dramatic life-stories. But then, because you just can't sit around awkwardly with that kind of elephant in the room, she steps away from the desk and says, "Actually, telling people to go away kind of does that, too. Look, I'll. I'm gonna go. But I'm not saying I'm gonna read it or anything." Her thumbs rolls across the open cell-phone a couple of times. "And this thing's pretty useless to me…" Which always translates as 'dump it in Gene's trashcan'.

"You can do what you want, Speed Racer."

The voice is quiet, but definitely firm. "In the end, people can tell you what they want you to do, but it's always up to do if you do it. The last thing I'd ever want is to force someone to do something against their will."

Blue eyes glance to the phone for a moment and then to meet Daphne's dark brown eyes, but Gene doesn't move toward the phone or her in anyway. "Take it easy. … Thanks for the book."

Daphne's eyes suggest for a single second that she has a million things that could be said. She might even have started to mouth one—but some part of her is on 'flight' instinct and she whooshes back the way she came without even having formed the first word.

The phone sits completely abandoned and alone in the trashcan with only two numbers in its address book and a brand new text message started on the screen that flashes 'My mom's dead too' to its uncaring inside cover.

A small hand pulls up the phone, glancing over it. The message is read and Gene gives a small chuckle that is entirely devoid of mirth. Closing up the phone once more, Gene tucks it into his pocket with final thought, said mostly to himself.

"Sucks to be us."

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