2008-01-22: Desperately Seeking Sanders


Gene_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: Niki seeks out the help of a computer-knowledgeable employee to help her dig deeper into her past. That employee is Gene. However, it's not quite as simple as point-and-click.

Date It Happened: January 22nd, 2008

Desperately Seeking Sanders

Pinehearst Research

Fort Lee, NJ

Captain's Log, Star Date: 1/22/08.

My mission to break into Pinehearst has worked perfectly. A little too well if I do say so myself. The fact that I have gotten a regular job here without any difficulty suggests one of three things:

1) I have found myself in what is actually a normal job and am stuck in the hell that is a white collar job, until the sweet mercy of death or the end of my contract comes about.

2) Underestimated by my enemy, I am currently allowed to do as I please until the time is right, unknowingly giving me the time to prepare and save the day for if/when the hammer drops.

3) I have been drawn into a clever trap by the one known as Evie and I will die a painful death by something other than a painful ailment much like brain cancer. I am unsure if this is better or worse than the first possibility.

* * *

Typing away from his modified phone, Gene writes in his 'Captain's Log' as he waits for his first assignment. The slightly pale inventor has nothing really to do other than sit in front of his computer, having gotten through his individual part of the orientation with a couple days to spare. He doesn't dare work on the work computer, not wishing to reveal the inner workings of his brilliant (if not stunningly bored) mind.

The monotony of Gene's day is about to be interrupted — at least a little.

It's done. The folder in Niki's hands holds the basics of her life — inasmuch as a few sheets of paper can explain a whole life. Not very well, as it turns out. Names, dates. Every word has meaning, but every word draws more questions. Stepping into an area of Pinehearst she's not yet very familiar with, the woman, dressed in clothes that suit the professional surroundings — a grey wool skirt that's only a couple of inches above standard regulation, a satiny, rose-coloured blouse and similarly-coloured high heels. Her hair is pulled back loosely into a twist. An ID badge is clipped to one of the pockets of her shirt, unabashedly identifying her as SANDERS, N.

Glancing about almost cautiously, she hones in on Gene — but her mission doesn't seem very exact. She only starts to head over to him because he's there and he only looks somewhat busy. "Excuse me," she interrupts politely. "Are you busy? Sorry, I can— "

Putting down the phone as he hears talking, Gene blinks as he hears a woman talking to him. The phone is put down and Gene wiggles the mouse to turn off the screen saver of a spinning DNA strand that is noticeably the symbol of Pinehearst and, if inspected closer, THE SYMBOL itself. "I just sending a message, I'm ready for anythi-Niki?"

Gene swivels in his seat, learning forward somewhat. "I didn't expect to see you here."

Niki's polite smile becomes frozen, given Gene's reaction. "…Yeah," she says, willing her smile to soften. Her hand tightens around the plain, manila folder she holds. "I— " she begins, about to ask for the favour she came here for — but instead, she takes in a quick breath and gives the young man a considerably intent look, more than the casual glance he got before. Recognizing him is futile, but how much does he know her…? "I'm sorry, do we know each other…?"

She doesn't remember him at all? Maybe it was that he doesn't stick out in her mind. "I was the guy that had the Artoo unit. Your son found out stuff about him and you were a little upset. We talked a few times and we got to an understanding?" Gene pulls the edge of his white collar dress shirt, letting his black tie flop about on his chest a bit. "You ARE Niki Sanders, right?" he inquires. After all, if that Evie wasn't real, maybe this 'Niki' isn't either.

Gene has actually adopted split personalities and in a strange twist, Niki now lives inside Gene's mind.

Only not.

The reality is only slightly less confusing, however; the blonde's searching stare is decidedly uncomprehending. Niki glances down, pressing her lips together in a tight smile that becomes more and more … amused? Yep, she's laughing quietly under her breath. She lifts the folder up, holding it in both hands, between her two thumbs, and shakes her head in disbelief. "I, um… sorry. Yes, I am. Niki Sanders, I mean. Sort of, anyway." Closing her eyes once she tips her head back up, she takes a second to make a more dedicated effort to make sense, for this guy's sake. "Can I ask you for a favour?" Her smile is gone, now, and she looks as somber as she does hopeful. Whatever this favour is, it's not as simple as fetching a cup of coffee.

A quirked brow shows that Gene is really really not too sure about this. The last woman here that asked him for a favor wanted to break into a phone. "You can ask and I'll see what I can do. Obviously I can't promise anything until I know what I'm doing here," Gene offers with a slightly awkward smile.
Gene has partially disconnected.

"Right," Niki obliges with a flash of a smile that, while not exactly awkward in the same way that Gene's is, turns out a little discomfited all the same. She steps in closer to Gene and his workstation. "I just wasn't sure where to go with this. It's not really my … department." Let's not ask what the hell her 'department' actually is. "I have this file— names and places…" The folder is opened with a gentle twirl of fingers and she slides out a few pages, dropping them neatly on the desk. There's a photograph pinned to the first page, a picture of her — recent, by the looks of it. The pages splay, slightly, when she puts them down, bits and pieces of text obvious here and there:



"I … I need someone who can look deeper."

A Pinehearst personnel file on Niki. Gene takes it and begins to study it. All the facts he can get are taken in as he knows that these people understand the Evolved and seem to be tracking them. Could they be a branch of the 'Company'? After all, he never heard Elena or Peter give those people an actual name.. "This has stuff on your son. Your husband. But I can't tell much. But…"

Gene frowns faintly as he leans in forward. "This is a company file. I KNOW I don't have the access to get in here. If there is someone with a similar gift to mine… Or if I can't get into the system and they find out, there is no telling what would happen." Moving back, Gene closes the file, making sure that people passing by don't see that the geek has something that maybe he shouldn't. "How important is this to you, Niki?"

Gene's answer is met with narrowed eyes from Niki, who suddenly looks confused. It takes her a second to work through what, exactly, the young man is trying to tell her. "I'm not … asking you to look into Pinehearst's files," she says, as if they thought hadn't even occurred to her. "As far as I know, that's it. I just want to know who Niki Sanders is," says Niki Sanders, her tone one of need-to-know — with a distant hint of desolation and desperation both. She plucks the photo of herself from its paperclip. "There has to be public records or … something, right?"

Niki is given a careful look by Gene, clearly not understanding the logic behind all of this. "Why would Niki Sanders ask about Niki Sanders if Niki Sanders is actually Niki Sanders?" Yes, he says it all with a straight face.

…Okay, he has a point. "Yeah, well," the woman says quietly under her breath, glancing aside with a tiny roll of her eyes - but she smiles. "Welcome to my life." Alright, if she's asking this guy for a favour, she's going to have to explain a little bit-well, in theory. In theory, there are other possible ways to lure information out of someone, but Niki has very little to hide, these days. Niki turns to lean against the corner of Gene's desk, facing him more. "I don't remember. There was— a kind of accident. Before I go back to my old life, I wanna know what I'm walking into. Can you help me?" All sincerely hopeful blue eyes, she reaches out to tilt Gene's ID badge up from… his… pocket protector, killing the glare of the plastic in order to see— "Mr. … Kensington?"

Gene thinks about it for a short time. It's a fishy story, but he has a plan. Then again, Gene usually does. Putting the pieces together, he comes to a conclusion after watching Niki closely to hear her tale. "I can, but only on ONE condition," Gene says with determined look in his eye.

This is considerably more complicated than Niki expected. She was expecting a few taps of a keyboard and away we go, more information than the basics sketched out in a thin personnel file. "Sure," she answers with a slightly hesitant tone. "What is it?"

"I need to make sure you that you aren't a mental representation or some sort of non-corporal illusion. Hold on for just a second."

There is a second where Gene is forced to make a choice. Will he go the way of the hero or the villain? Considering that there is a beautiful woman asking him of a big favor, he might die at any time, and he is feeling a tad selfish, he moves a hand to touch with two fingers.

Attempted boob touch.

As is summoned by awkwardness, a random office worker walks in as Gene tests how physical Niki is. The man says nothing but merely turns and walks the opposite direction.

Provided Gene's fingers aren't broken and he's too busy screaming in pain, he will admit, "Nope, not a mental representation of Niki Sanders. I'll see what I can do."

Broken, no, but screaming in pain, maybe. WHAT THE FREAKING HELL WAS THAT? …. is an accurate summary of Niki's expression. There's only a few second delay, if that — and only that long to begin with because she's so lost by what he said prior to testing his theory — before she instinctively lashes out to grab Gene's wrist. "What's wrong with you?!" Maybe she'll be looking for her information elsewhere, jeez.

The young man winces as there is the sound of cracking joints, Gene moving his hand back, but still getting gripped painfully around the upper hand. Thankfully, Gene has become manly enough that he doesn't cry out in pain. "You want to hear about involving my tragic past, the incurable disease that is killing me, the fact I'm removed from the few people I've ever trusted with any venerable bit of my life, or the fact that I have difficulties lying under stress?"

Can anyone honestly blame Niki for still looking completely incredulously at Gene? … Even as she still holds his hand in a vice (and why shouldn't she)? She doesn't realize, at first, that she's put him in any sort of pain — once she does, she lets go and folds her arms. The incredulous stare, however— that's still on full blast. "…" She twists to reach for the file, making moves to gather it up and away. "I think maybe I'll just ask someone else."

Rubbing his own bruised hand, Gene dismisses Niki as he turns to his computer. "Fine, if you want to get some second-rate expert to do it, that's your right. I figured after all the stuff you were dealing with; you'd be a little more empathic to someone else with their own baggage. Surprise, surprise, I was wrong about a person." That said, Gene begins to pull an Internet browser. Thankfully, Gene used his keyboard hand to try and touch Niki, so he can use the mouse without much trouble.

The folder, with the couple of pages on top, have been drawn into Niki's arms and the photograph tucked back in place by this point, but she doesn't go anywhere. The perplexed expression she has for Gene is pretty indicative of the fact that she doesn't fully understand what the hell he's talking about, let alone his baggage, but she's not entirely callous. Holding the file, she wraps her arms a little tighter about herself and looks searchingly at Gene with a flicker of hope. "You can still help," she ventures. "If …you want to. But," The woman's eyebrows both arch. "Hands off." Because Niki is not a non-corporeal illusion, clearly.

"I've done my best to prove you're a physical representation of Niki Sanders… That's all I needed," Gene offers softly, inwardly beating himself up for being so impulsive. She doesn't understand and he knows she's justified in that. Of course, a lack of understanding is a common threat for those that deal with the young genius. Perhaps the closest ones are a woman he hasn't talked to for weeks, a 'boss' he hasn't seen since working for Pinehearst, and a fellow geek that Gene wishes he could get to know better.

Eyes remaining on the computer screen, the young geek replies, "I'll find everything I can about you, this D.L., and Micah. If you want, you can just give me a place to put it down and I'll send it up when I have it all complied."

Right. And she wouldn't be a physical representation of herself why? Niki decides it's best not to ask, right this second, and so she just nods, a few, tiny movements of her head. "Sure," she says quickly, moving away from the desk's corner. "I don't … have an office or anything — can you find me? I'll be here all day." A brief pause, a hint of a sincere smile, despite how every weird the young genius is coming off to Niki. (…Again.) "And— thank you."

To Niki's offer, Gene shakes his head. "I don't want to wander around this place until I have to. It's kinda intimating for me here," Gene admits with a faint blush upon his pale cheeks. Which is true… And he wants to stay under the radar as much as he can. "Come talk with me tomorrow. I'll have all I can for you then, if you just want legal public records and nothing requiring actual hacking." The thanks gets Gene a long pause and his soft blue eyes look toward Niki's, the words hitting him harder than he expected. Gene swiftly looks back to the screen, likely in fear of committing another socially improper act. "No problem… Just doing what I'm here to do."

Tomorrow, always tomorrow. Hiding any disappointment she may have, for the most part, Niki smiles at Gene — even if his focus is on the screen and not her. Oh well. Her smile is made a touch quirky by the weird look she gives him, still trying to figure him out. "Here," she offers, laying the file on his desk just in case he needs it for reference. "Then I'll see you tomorrow," she confirms and walks herself out of the geek's domain and back to whatever part of Pinehearst she emerged from.

Once Niki goes, Gene takes the folder with his hurt hand, using his good hand to pull out a drawer. Adam's phone rests there, the folder with Niki's information placed upon it before Gene resumes his work. Like hell is he doing personal projects for cute girls here. He's a professional guy… Save the boob touch.

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