2009-10-22: No Muckity Mucks



Date: October 22nd, 2009


A sharing of information leads to Joel and Aspen remeeting under very different circumstances when Joel has data about some kind of multiple man; agent-to-agent cooperation isn't what it could be.

"No Muckity Mucks"

New York Public Library

In the tumutlutous days with the Company scattered, matters are wild. Their resources are flung far and away, with what is available thin on the ground. But it's due to the planning, the efforts, and the forethought of their agents that even with things so dire… that the Company can still function. It may take a bit of time longer, may not be as rapid in response as it once was, but at the least efforts are made.

One such effort is that made by Joel Nelson. During the course of his observations and surveillance he came across evidence of a fugitive Evolved that the Company's had some difficulty apprehending. As soon as he made the spot, Nelson put out the word. It was just a drop of a precisely worded comuniquee left at a blind drop for a courier to acquire and relay to whomever needed to see it. It took a bit of time for it to make it through the system, and even longer for the response. It was that response that led him here, to the New York City Public Library.

Out front of the building those great and dour stone lions stand sentinel, guarding the sweeping steps that lead up to the old and stalwart building. It's within the bowels of that library that the young man in black and grey entered. He passed the security sensors, flashed a small smile to one of the librarians at the information desk, then proceeded to head over through the stacks, far far into the back. It's at the Ancient Languages section that he finds himself, a dark back room with a pair of tables and eight chairs in it, an empty room with several book shelves along the walls. It's from one of the book shelves that he snares a book, thumps it down upon the tabletop, then promptly slouches into a chair before it.

Footsteps approach behind Joel, telltale signs that someone is joining him in the dark room. They're not instantaneous — he's given time to sit alone for awhile before the visitor arrives. The footsteps belong to a woman who might be familiar to Joel, although the last time he saw her face was a year ago — more than that, in fact.

Instead of wearing glasses and colourful t-shirts with geeky phrases, the person who strides through the library seems like the type to eschew such a wardrobe and lifestyle as beneath them. A white sweater with a soft, wide turtleneck, a pair of black dress slacks, a bracelet of diamonds… a wedding ring. Every aspect of Aspen is pristine. Walking with confidence to the chair three seats down from Joel on the opposite side of the table, she bears only a passing resemblance to "Nina", all told. She even looks older, and refined. No words, just a glance that looks frankly uninterested.

It'd been enough time for Joel to get settled. The book, 'Proto-Indo-European Languages and Their Evolution', is open on the table. A small datapad is also beside the large and heavy leatherbound book. He actually had attempted to read it for a bit, but was thankful for the sound of the young woman's approach.

Turning just enough to see her, Joel lifts his eyes to hers, taking a gauging and measuring glance. There's still that same distance in his eyes, the same hazy sleepy weirdness in his expression. Slowly he tilts his head to the side, and she can almost imagine the thoughts sliding through his mind, bits falling into place. There's an instant of eyes narrowing, a faint pursing to his lips, but then a quirk there that hints at an element of amusement.

There's a sweep of one hand towards the seat opposite, and with it he casually nudges over the tablet pc, as if indicating she should take a gander.

Aspen's expression is neutral, save for the subtle twitch of her lips, threatening to smirk. She glances around the dim room casually, watchfulness behind her otherwise bored gaze, before she draws the tablet closer by its corner. She eyes it while neatly crossing her legs beneath the table. "Learning something or planning for a trip?" Her voice breaks the silence, crystal clear and British. A Londoner. "Proto-Indo-European Languages," she explains. "Fascinating."

His response is easy, casual in its tone as he settles back into his seat. Joel draws the large and heavy book to him even as he reclines. Crossing one leg over the other, he rests there, looking across the way at her. His manner is thoughtful, relaxed. The last time she saw him he seemed like an individual utterly ill at ease in his skin, now he seems a bit more confident if only in her presence. "Any chance to broaden my knowledgebase. S'been a bit, good to see you again." The first sortee is offered, letting her know that he recognizes her but withholding judgement or investment.

What might be more interesting to her, however, is the document that's on the top of the netbook's display. It's a text file, and it merely states a handful of facts.

Name: Grayson Berg
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: August 29th, 1970
Known Aliases: Grey Bergman, Grayson Green
Place of Birth: Dayton, Ohio
Current Location: Unknown
Talent: Self Replication

It goes on to detail the individual, to account for what is known of his abilities… but what is more is that it lists all of his crimes. They are dark ones, murder playing no small part in them. Once she's had a moment to consider the data he says, "Have been moving on him some. He's in the area."

Midway through skimming the information, Aspen gives the young man an amused smirk, lifting dark brows halfway incredulously. "Darling. You never saw me in the first place." Back to business, however; she waves a hand dismissively at the tablet and nudges it back. "You've seen him then? I hate those people, it's like a riddle to find the bloody head of the million snakes. Lucky for us, I'm good with riddles." She smirks and sits back in the stiff library chair, arms folding over the cashmere of her sweater.

It's curious that he seems to give her comment a measure of serious thought. He scritches at his chin thoughtfully, the little bit of stubble there scraping just a tad. He replies, "True, but then does anyone ever see the true us and all that hooha?"

Joel leans forwards and points casually to the display of the netbook, "Well on initial contact didn't know that he could just send them out to do his craziness. So handled the situation, only no bad guy at the end. So he took a few swipes at me, and me back at him. But mainly been accruing data. Flip to page two."

He gives a moment for her to do so, then settles back into his chair. "So I cross-referenced the data of the sightings that were had, also considering the finite lifespan that his lil dopple fellows seemed to have, that gave me a rough grid and radius of functionality." He lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck, still seeming terribly distant and a bit sleepy, "Collate all those points and gives me a likely bracket for where his primary squishy self is. Was going to move on it, but… figured I should talk to some muckity mucks. Guess that's you."

"Hardly," Aspen answers coolly as she leans forward an increment to reach out and scroll to the next page on the screen. She certainly doesn't need glasses. "I'm only half in this part of the business, but there's no point in being out of the loop. I can help pass on the details to our other sources in the Company. He does enough of this in public and he'll be napped by men in black. Power to them and good riddance, I've half a mind to tip them off myself."

A single nod is given, "A'right. I was gonna move on it soonish. You have any backup or an angle on someone that might be able to give me a hand if needs be?" Joel asks this calmly even as he closes the book's cover with a low whumpf. He cants his head to the side, letting a moment drift in between his words before he adds, "Also do we still have any storage facilities?" He doubts it but then figures it's best to ask.

"For now." Aspen, finished with studying the information, busies herself with examining her fingernails. Manicured exquisitely, as it happens. "I wouldn't put anything valuable in there if I were you." Beneath the table, she unfolds her legs. The woman plants both hands on the surface in front of her in order to lean ahead, bright eyes pinning Joel. "If it's gear you need, I can make sure you get it. As for backup — you've the same resources I have." Pause. "…Well, as far as the Company phone tree goes." Though Aspen herself is mysteriously missing from most files. Curious. "Half of them have gone to ground as it is."

She can see his jaw tense, extending slightly, the subtle tell of annoyance or consternation at some of the answers she's given him. His eyes narrow and for once he doesn't seem all that distant. Looking back to her he replies, "That does kinda limit options for handling this guy." He reaches over, leaning somewhat across the table to take back the small tablet PC and pocketing it back into his jacket. "Thing I'm fine for gear, unless you have any advice on what I should use." He snaps his fingers, "Wait, maybe I should put my hair up in pigtails then traipse around in front of his place in a mini-skirt. That's S.O.P. right?" Alright, it's a little bit of a dig, a small volley across her stern delivered with a wry tone.

Unruffled, Aspen only smirks. "It'd be a start." She gets to her feet as well, smoothing down her sweater. "Surveillance equipment, for one, if you've a lead on the places he's begun to frequent … any of him … in the city." She strolls around the table.

"Have a fair amount from the home observation op." Joel gets to his feet as well, while adjusting the hang of his jacket with the sweep of one hand. "Tell you what," The young man meets her gaze and offers a wry smile, his normal expression back in place upon his features. "Find some nifty neato gadget and leave it at one of the drop points. If it suitably impresses me then trust I will forgive my eternally broken and forlorn heart. Oh Nina, my Nina. Alas, alackaday." Of course these words are delivered in that same lazy straight man tone of his.

Aspen strolls toward the door, but stops just short of passing Joel. "Mm. I'm touched, truly," she says, her tone not so dull, but sharp and sarcastic instead. "You should know something, Mr. Nelson. I'm not one of you. I'm not a lackey. I don't normally go on jobs as low as investigating the likes of yourself. I work under higher orders." The fact that she's here instead of another agent may be telling of the state of the Company. "I'll help you with this replicating man if I must but consider me your last resort. Check the drop pooooint," she says, singsong on the last note as she briskly makes her way to the door.

As she wanders off he murmurs to himself, once she's out of earshot, "I look forwards to my burning bag of poo." He smirks to himself. A bit of time is given to let her put some distance between them… and then he starts to depart as well.

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