2010-07-02: Bath, Interrupted



Date: July 2, 2010


A former Protocol agent emerges from hiding to look for a new job in the private sector.

"Bath, Interrupted"

Elle's apartment, New York

The eclipse has passed, and with it, Elle's powers. While the blonde is still in some despair over this, Claire's words had her thinking. What were some of the things she'd never been able to do when she had her power? The first thing that came to mind: water. Elle tried to avoid it in all of its forms, given the debilitating power it had over her ability.

So something she'd never tried before? A nice, luxurious bath. She'd gone out and purchased bubble bath, bath salts, bath beads, and a rubber duckie. It was when she had fully submerged herself, magazine in hand, that her cell phone rang. At first she tried to ignore it, but on the third ring, she dried one hand on a nearby washcloth and put the phone to her ear. "Hello?"

Hartford, Connecticut

Nothing much has changed in Carl's life over the past few days - or the past few weeks, for that matter, other than a couple of new short-term computer contracts. Which is why he's finally getting around to making this call now: by now, he figures he's probably safe from any reprisals involving his old bosses. Besides, he's getting tired of this place anyway - it's too quiet, and there are no beaches. And if he never has to work on insurance software again, it'll be too soon.

"Hello," the unfamiliar voice replies, "I'm looking for Elle Bishop? Is she available?"

At the sound of an unfamiliar voice, Elle's heart speeds up slightly. This wasn't a readily available number; just how had this man - or at the very least, male-sounding person - gotten a hold of it? Cautiously, she replies, "Speaking. May I ask what this is in regards to?" Elle stares at her electric blue painted toenails that peek up through the bubbles in the tub, curling and uncurling them nervously.

Whoever he is, his tone of voice is polite enough, at least. Anyone he called would be surprised - except maybe Noah, but Carl didn't want to start with him, in case he was being monitored. "It's about Primatech. I understand you did some consulting work with them at one point?"

Easy, Elle. Breeeathe. The years of calm she'd had to work into her mind to control her power weren't just for that, apparently. They kept her from sitting bolt upright in the bath, and hanging up. Instead, she licks her lips, takes in a quiet breath, and responds calmly, "I did, yes. Who, may I ask, am I speaking to?" Elle isn't about to impart anymore information onto this stranger until she has some from him. "And what is your interest in Primatech?"

"My name's Carl," the stranger replies, glancing over at a scanned copy of the blonde's dossier: one of several that he grabbed copies of before leaving New York. Not just a consultant; just one step removed from the top brass, in fact. A good starting point.

"Up until a few months ago," he continues, "I was working a government contract similar to yours. I've since come to the conclusion that it was badly managed— I'd like to see it done better. To help, if I can."

Okay, Soothing Bath Time was officially over, if it'd ever began. Elle rose from the tub, stepping out and wrapping a towel around herself. All the easier to pace her apartment's tiny bathroom, droplets of water splashing upon the floor. Her voice is guarded. "Just what are you proposing, sir? I'm not one much for subtley, you can speak plainly." Better cut to the chase.

"In a word? A job interview." Yes, that's three words, you're very clever. Shut up. "See if I'd be a good fit for the organization, and vice versa. I don't know if that's something you can set up— if not, hopefully you could at least pass the word along to someone who can?"

"I'm afraid I can't help you." Elle runs her free hand through her damp hair. "I'm no longer a part of the…" It takes self-restraint not to say 'Company', complete with the uppercase C, "organization. We parted ways a time ago. My contacts with them aren't particularly up-to-date." The last sentence, stated as blandly and politely as the rest, was an outright lie, but Elle wasn't about to hand their names over to this stranger.

Carl purses his lips. Maybe she's telling the truth, maybe not - reading people isn't one of his major strengths, especially when it's not face to face. "All right, thanks anyway. I should be in town in a week or two… if things don't work out otherwise, I may call back. Even a chance to discuss your past experience would be helpful."

Elle nods, then realizes he can't see it. "Very well, Mr. Carl. You have my number, evidently. If you need to get in touch again, do so." Was it a genuine offer or not? She wasn't quite sure. It was always tricky business, dealing with the Company and things linked to it. "Good luck on your search." Again, it's not quite clear whether Elle's tone is sincere or not.

"Thank you. I suspect I'm going to need some." With that, Carl hangs up, and lingers on the dossier a while longer. There's more than just an employment history there; another section explains the nature of Elle's ability, and a terse list of references hints at the extensive testing to which it was once subjected.

You seem a nice young woman, Miss Bishop, he thinks to himself, before moving on to the next name on the short list. I hope you don't turn out to be an adversary.

Elle presses the red 'end' button on her phone, terminating the call. She's completely unaware of how much information Carl has on her, but she's wary all the same. It can't be good, someone peering into Company business. Even business she wasn't a part of anymore. She'd need to make some phone calls, herself.

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