2007-06-22: Geeks Will Inherit the Starbucks

Starring:

Erin_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif

Summary: Gene runs into Erin in Starbucks. Literally. She has a bad temper, and is unimpressed by Gene's geekiness.

Date It Happened: 22 JUNE 2007

Geeks Will Inherit the Starbucks


Starbucks, NYC

A lot of people find their way to Starbucks on any given day of the week. Considering this is one of Erin's only days off, she's using the atmosphere (and free Wireless Internet) to catch up on things in the news. It's much easier than buying a newspaper, plus, she can search her name in Google, which makes finding celebrity gossip a whole lot easier than standing in line at a supermarket.

This is also nice, because not a whole lot of people - on average - seem to be addicted to soap operas. There's a specific group, and she usually doesn't run into them in public. Considering she hasn't been on screen much, either, she's still slightly less than outright recognisable, and the slow descent back into acting is just fine with her. No one likes to be mobbed. No one likes to sign autographs whenever the step out their front door.

She's got a Macbook, mostly because they're a whole lot prettier than PC laptops, and also because they're kind of designed for internet use, as well as art and design. What use does she have for gaming, seriously? Okay, so she's been known to stop by Neopets on occasion, but that's /beside the point./

—-

This is not just any Starbucks Erin finds herself in. She is at THE Starbucks. Why is it the best or the special Starbucks? Because it is the one place that Gene goes almost religiously. Patterns are safe to those that live in an uncertain world and when you deal with people with godlike powers, Gene can use a place that is seemingly safe and stable. This Starbucks exceeds in both.

Moving into the location with his laptop tucked under his arm, Gene makes his way toward his usual spot The table in the corner. He notices someone already there, but he doesn't mind. He'll just set his stuff over in the seat next to it and wait. He's a patient man. He WILL have his seat.

Gene is a gentleman, so Erin is left alone. However, Gene's slightly bulky companion that follows after is not quite so well-mannered and graceful. Erin's chair might get a good shove to the side. The source? A life-size replica of R2-D2. If it hits the chair, it gives a couple of beeps and blips in response, causing Gene to turn his head around after putting his stuff down. "Artoo…" he says with a sigh, moving toward his partner in crime.

—-

Hey, she can't help it if she sat in someone's chair. It's not like there are name tags stapled to each one. For Erin, it's much easier at first to just ignore anyone who happens to be around, considering the fact that she's here for a little private time. However, it's pretty much impossible to miss the robot that follows along behind the newcomer, especially when it shoves her chair and spills the coffee that Erin had in her hand at that exact moment. At least it's been sitting for awhile, so it's no longer /hot,/ but it /is/ all over her clothing now. Blue eyes look upward at Gene when he chastises the thing, and it's /incredibly/ difficult not to just lose it here in the middle of a cafe. The thought that she could end up on the news because of an outburst calms her enough so that she has a chance to count to ten, and when she reaches that milestone, she heads to the counter for some napkins.

Maybe it's also the fact that she finds the robot-thing interesting that prevents her from attacking it.

"You know. It's a little crowded in here," she hints to Gene, voice controlled as she dries her shirt.

—-

"Sorry, so sorry! I'll get some stuff to handle that!" Gene exclaims as he sees that the young woman got coffee all over her. Trying to be polite and redeem his robot for his past mistake, the young geek gets moves toward the napkins. The woman is heading up as well, but Gene tries to move faster. Perhaps it's due to him being flustered, as shown by the red in his cheeks, but the young man tries on himself. Hopefully, Erin can move out of the way or she might have a (semi-) sexy genius on top of her. If Gene lands on her, he will just freeze up, in a classic deer in the headlights moment.

R2-D2 just watches the drama unfold. R2-D2 LIKES to watch.

—-

She can just take care of this and continue sitting quietly in her seat, playing on the internet and possibly ordering new clothing for the ones Gene just /RUINED,/ but fate has a different idea, because as Erin seeks to return to her table, Gene, who is attempting to help, runs right into her. She can't get out of the way quickly enough because her mind is on other things, and the fact that there's coffee on the floor under her feet doesn't help matters, either. That stuff can be slippery, apparently! Because Erin crashes down onto the floor with an /OOF,/ seriously stunned and seeing stars for a moment through closed eyelids…

And then she opens her eyes and /stares./ Intently. Angrily. Like she's about to deck him and is really trying to control the urge. Yes, she's well-aware that this is an accident, but the coffee, the embarrassing collision, the people who are /staring…/ "GET. OFF!" she practically yells, reaching up to grab his shirt collar and give it a shake for good measure.

—-

As he falls, Gene lands on Erin with an 'ooff!'. Considering he had a lovely lady to cushion his fall, he isn't nearly as dazed as her. He looks at the woman with her eyes closed, his mind going a mind per minute.

Whoa, this is awkward. Is my chest laying on her… Yeah, it is. Yeah, now I'm sure I'm not attracted to men. Don't think about that, think about-She's opening her eyes! Maybe we will have this awkward moment and smile at the same time, lost in each other eyes just like in the mov-Oh (@*$, she's gunna kill me!

Finding a hand upon his Vador shirt, Gene gets shaken once before he starts to get up as best he can. Once he does, he tries to offer her a hand, hoping she doesn't end up trying to kill him or something. She wouldn't do that just for falling on her after his droid got coffee on her right? "You okay, miss?" he says, already wincing in preparation for the negative answer he's sure to get.

—-

Definitely not a great first impression, Gene. In fact, this might be one of those impressions that completely dooms any minute chance of friendship these two might have had! Still seething, the emotion plain on her face, she nevertheless accepts Gene's hand and allows him to pull her up off the floor. "People are /staring!/" she hisses, doing her best not to look around at the other patrons. If anyone has a camera… Jesus. Thankfully, no one really seems to know who she is. Yet.

Erin won't kill him. She's not violent, just angry. Even so, she's tempted to smack him or something, and her hand is, in fact, curled into a fist. With a couple deep breaths, she calms down, still giving Gene a sour look despite the fact that he's trying his damndest to help. "I'm fine," she mumbles, looking back over toward her table, trying to see if anyone's looking at them still. There are. "Thanks to you, I'll never be able to come here again. Were you out to ruin someone's day? Because you did a good job."

—-

"People stare at things all the time whether you notice or not," Gene offers as he looks around, trying his best to avoid eye contact. Avoiding eye contact is the best way to try and de-escalate, right? He thinks about her words for a few moments, perhaps pausing to let her also calm a bit. Finally, he sighs as he glances back up. "Never be able to come here again? Why's that? Did I screw things up that much?" he inquires with an arched brow. "I apologize for what I did and all, but isn't that a little overdramatic here?"

—-

Overdramatic!? OVERDRAMATIC!? She's on a god damned soap opera! This? NOT OVERDRAMATIC! This is real life, where— Where people probably won't give a damn what happened in here tomorrow. Sure, it'll be a fun story to tell their friends, but in a week, in a month, they're not going to remember her face. Using the napkins that she still has in her hand, she dabs at the coffee on her shirt.

"You know, if you're trying to smooth things over, calling me overdramatic isn't the way to do it. I have my reasons." And they're damn good ones. She could see the tabloids if something like this got out. It's entirely possible that she's worried for /no reason,/ but … who really knows? All she needs to see is 'Soap Star has a Romp with a Nerd in Starbucks' in tomorrow's Inquirer. "Trust me, I have a good reason for being worried." Anyway. "Seriously, who brings a robot into a coffee shop?"

—-

"Obviously, I do. Sure there are other people that do it as well," the young man points out as he runs a hand through his hair. "Artoo's handy to have around, aren't you?" Gene looks toward the robot at the end, who gives a "Weeequirpquirp!" in response. "And what would those reasons for everything be? After all, EVERYONE has a reason for what they do, it's the reasons themselves that determine if a person is good or not." Leave it to the geek to overthink a situation instead of focusing on smoothing it over.

—-

Well, she's not going to outright say it here in the Starbucks, but she has a way to let Gene know her reasons. "C'mere," she says, heading back over to her computer, opening a text file so she can take down some information. "Do you trust me enough to give me your mailing address?" she asks, smiling, looking for all the world as if she's /up to something./ Still, this is the best way to let him know, because someone in this cafe has a cell phone, and there's a good chance that said person recognises Erin if they're taking pictures. God bless the shy ones, though.

—-

The request causes Gene to arch a brow as he takes a seat next to Erin to try and see what she's doing. "Mailing address? That's not really necessary… I'll give you my hotmail account if you want." The one that's filled with junk mail and he can delete at any time. "UltimateCageMatchWarrior-Underscore-1 at hotmail.com."

—-

Well, mailing address would be a lot easier, but Erin can manage with this. She'll figure a way, anyway. And… She jots the email address down in her text file for use later. It's an odd address, but she's used to seeing those by now. "All right then, I'll be sending you a few things so you can see why I'm worried." Actually, Erin doesn't look all that worried anymore, mostly because most people aren't so interested, since the fiasco appears to be over. /APPEARS TO BE./ Erin knows better, or thinks she does, anyway, because she's just a little bit full of herself. "I'm Erin, by the way. Erin McCarty."

—-

Haha, like a paranoid man would give a stranger his mailing address. That's like asking a clean freak to pick up dog poo for a living. "I'm Gene. It's good to meet you. I understand what it's like to be cautious, so I'm honestly sorry if I caused you any trouble. Here, I'll be right back, need to get my drink." He gets up and looks back. "It's no trouble at all, after all, I kinda cost you one, so getting you another is the least I could do."

—-

Well, if she really wanted it, she could probably get it from him, at least as far as she believes. Email should work fine, though, besides… Continuing to ask for his address would cause yet another scene that Erin doesn't want. As Gene heads up to the counter for his drink, she adds the address to her Outlook address book, saves it, and shuts the computer. If he's going to return to the table with hot coffee, she's going to keep her laptop /safe./ And as he's away, she eyes the robot again. Yes, he /would/ bring a robot into a coffee shop, but that's the point in its entirity right there… No one else in their right mind /would./ Seriously, though, it's kind of cool. Some sort of AI has to be behind it, probably. Hopefully it doesn't learn, or it'll start running over people. Leaning across the table, Erin gives the R2-D2 a poke.

—-

R2-D2 gives a little couple beeps as it gets poked, looking over toward Erin with its 'eye' for a moment or two before giving its final thoughts on the matter. "Beweeeooooo."

Gene looks back to see what is going on, but considering that everything seems to be fine, Gene just turns back and resumes ordering the drinks. Getting himself a fruit blended creme and paying for the drinks, the young inventor soon makes it back as the barista makes the orders. "It's got touch sensors on it. Basic ones, like you see in toys these days."

—-

"Where'd you get it?" is the next question. She's never seen anything quite like it before, except for watching Star Wars - which she /has./ Is there anyone left in the world who hasn't? Probably somewhere. Notably, she hasn't forgotten what the thing did to her, making her spill her coffee and all, and she hasn't yet forgiven it. Even so, she's not so sure it'd be a great idea to dump coffee on it, considering she'd then have to /pay/ for it. After one final poke, she sits back in her chair, and, using some of her remaining napkins, mops up the mess left on the table. Thankfully, the droplets missed her MacBook.

And… "I guess a better question is, why is it following you around?" Yeah, he brought it here, but /why?/ "Seems to me like it'd be a pain in the ass to make sure people don't break it."

—-

"I made it. A few people that like buildings as much as I do build units like this for the heck of it. I always like robotics a bit… This is the best I can do and it took me years to make it, but well, I'm impressed with it."

This is both a lie and a truth. Gene's creation is the best he can do AND it took him awhile to make. However, he always downplays how powerful R2-D2 really is. After all, let people think he has too much time on his hands… Let it be a secret that the robot is more than capable of defending him from threats from gangsters to fearsome soap opera stars. Though this one seems to have calmed down. Looking back to R2, he taps it. "He's made out of metal, so it takes quite a bit to break him, but when he does, yeah, it's a pain in the butt."

The robot merely repeats its actions that it did the first time when it was poked, perhaps not as an advanced an AI as most would hope or expect.

—-

The look Erin gives him is incredulous. He /made/ it? How old is this kid, like, fifteen? "Oh. Well. Good job?" is her reply. Likely, she figures he got it from one of those geek catalogues and /maybe/ added his own personal touch to it, but… He's just too young to build something like this from scratch. Even if it does seem to have little quirks that hint that it's not quite as advanced as it looks.

Yeah, she still hasn't been introduced the the World of Weird People who can Do Weird Things. Most geniuses hang out at Harvard, not at the local Starbucks. And then she seems to note for the first time that he's sitting at her table, which… well, she /clearly/ didn't invite him to do so. Oh, well. It's not like she was getting much done on the computer, anyway, nor was it very important. "So, how's it work?" Might as well grill him on it. Erin isn't above embarrassing people who she things are lying to her.

—-

Gene doesn't really notice that he is seated next to woman he annoyed awhile ago, but Gene is easily distracted by techno-babble or requests there of. Opening his laptop at Erin's request, Gene begins to turn it on. "Well, it's rather simple. First you need to have a good electric battery. You can use a car battery, but there are better stuff you can use out there. There is a design out there where you can use it and copy it just about entirely…" Gene pauses a couple of seconds to wait for his laptop to warm up. "…And here we go, I'll show you the site where I got the inspiration."

The young man opens up some seemingly Open Source Internet browser as he goes to the website http://www.robotbuilders.net/r2/ and smiles. Well, the smile fades as soon as he clicks on a few things. "Aw, dang it, it seems like the site isn't working like it used to… Guess they messed around with it since I last went here." Gene has used this site before. While he DID actually use the plans here to make his own, like most things Gene creates, he modified the R2 plans heavily to make the unique robot he has right here.

—-

Still not entirely convinced, Erin nevertheless leans over in order to look at what he's doing. Even though Erin is pretty good with technology herself, she's not all that great at actually building things on her own, and takes the proof as it is - it's entirely possible that he read the blueprints for a R2-D2 copy and built it, but… "You had help, right?" It doesn't seem like she's taking him entirely seriously.

And she also glances toward her watch. She should make an excuse to get out of here. Hanging around with nerd kids isn't exactly her idea of a good time, and she can /surely/ find somewhere better to sit than /here./ After she gets back to her apartment and changes, of course. It's bad enough that she's going to have to walk around for even a few moments with a coffee stain on her shirt, especially if there are people watching for her. "I… Should go. I have an appointment." Which is true! It's just… not today. Still, she can try to sneak off with as little fuss as possible.

—-

"My grandfather helped a bit." Granted it wasn't in the way SHE likely thinks it, but that's fine. Gene is not a liar, but he has no qualms in keeping things vague. When you work on top secret things, you have to learn when to keep your mouth shut.

As the woman offers her excuse on why she has to go, Gene watches Erin for a moment. He's not entirely sure that she actually has an appointment or not. She was likely still upset at him or at best, merely tired of geek talk. Sighing, Gene turns off his laptop, closing the machine as it powers down. "I guess so… Sorry about before. Hope the rest of your day goes better," the young inventor offers with a weak smile.

—-

Erin doesn't hate the kid, but she's not entirely keen to stick around him. Ah, but that /sigh!/ She's not heartless, as much as it seems like she is sometimes. "Look, I still plan on emailing you, okay? Just. Take care, and make sure R2 doesn't bump into any more people who're drinking coffee."

Taking her MacBook and the replacement cup of coffee, she heads out of the Starbucks.

About an hour later, Gene will get that promised email. She'd initially intended to send him a copy of a gossip newspaper clipping in the mail, but this should do well enough. It's just a link to her page on the Internet Movie Database, with an added message of 'Don't know if you watch soap operas or not, but this is why I was worried.'

And a few days later, there'll be a little blurb without a picture in Star, stating simply that Erin McCarty had been seen in public with her potential new main squeeze. But tabloids can't be trusted!

—-

Gene blinks as he goes EMO kid to OMG kid in under a second. "Oh cool," Gene replies with a small smile before she goes out. He doesn't really say much else, far too distracted by the idea that he was on top of her for awhile. He taps himself against the side of his head. Bad Gene, don't think those thoughts, Jesus is your homeboy! That done, Gene goes back to his Fruit Blended creme and finally does what he wanted to for the last half hour. Sit in his feet in the corner. Score.

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