2010-05-04: Passenger For The Crazy Train



Date: May 04, 2010


Laurel gets hired on as the Amazon Expedition's Photographer, and the girliest member of the group.

"Passenger for the Crazy Train"

Mark's Office

> Geeky Adventurer seeks Photographer to join merry band for fantastical jungle excursion into the Amazon. Must have very very open mind.

That wasn't want Mark had wanted for the ad, but then by time he found out Robert got to it… well the ad was already in the paper. In fact, it was his secretary who had circled the ad in red and put it on his desk with a pale pink sticky that said. 'I'm so sorry, I didn't know he got to it.' She was afraid he was going to fire her, which was tempting at first… but it wasn't her fault his brother was a douche bag.

What surprised Mark even more was that he actually got an answer. That answer was supposedly right outside his office door filling out the typical legal paperwork that comes with dangerous hobbies. He had come into the New York offices special for this meeting and he didn't look the part of a Corporate CEO, with his blue jeans and slate gray khaki shirt. His dad would scoff at the use of the offices for his personal use, but he was in Washington, Mark was here.

Robert was in town too, but steering clear of Mark, which the eldest Lane boy was completely alright with. Only reason his little brother was in town, was so that he could help with this branch of offices until Mark got home again.

"«Mr. Lane?»"

Startled out of his thoughts, Mark swings his chair around to face his desk again, finger reaching out to poke as the button on his phone. "Send her in."

Outside the gray haired woman, gives Laurel a polite smile. "You can go in now."

On the bright side, it could have been a lot worse. Even if the very, very open mind leads to many different conclusions. It might explain why Laurel decided not to dress all cute like she might normally for a job interview with a male hirer. Instead, her dark hair is pulled back into a ponytail, and she wears semi-nice slacks. Only the shirt is really cute, and even then it isn't low cut or revealing, just light and airy. And pink.

May be trying to get a job down in the Amazon, but she's still, unfortunately, a girl. If only Rudy would be there to keep the bugs away…

"Thank you," she says with a friendly smile, moving past and into the office, with a large portfolio folder in hand. Moving into the office, she has to drop it down onto a chair before she can reach a hand out to greet him, "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Lane. I'm Laurel Halifax. I look forward to the possibility of going to the Amazon with you. I've never been there, but I've been to a bunch of other places. I spent a while in Africa and a while in Australia, I even went to China once. That was really difficult."

Her resume showed a distinct change from fashion and pretty picture taking things to more wildlife and dangerous expeditions about two and a half years ago. Since then she's barely done anything 'high society' and stuck a lot to things that— fit with exactly what he's wanting.

There is a crooked smile on his face as she rambles on, as Mark leans forward to take her hand in his briefly, before settling back in his chair with a slightly amused look. "Actually, for what we're doing, just call me Mark. When I go out like this, I use the cover name Mark Scotts. My fathers request, to keep my personal hobbies out of the family business so to speak."

Her resume is currently spread out over his desk, various photos of her expeditions the ones he's focused on. He picks up one photo looking it over carefully. "Are you aware of what I do Miss Halifax?" Brows lift as he gaze moves from the picture to the woman across the desk from him. Cody would smack him if she heard his thoughts right now.

"What we're going down there for might seem a little… odd and I won't blame you if you laugh and run." Mark gives her a grin, putting the photo back on his desk, "But I do hope you'll listen before you put on your running shoes."

"Oh good, I like being called Laurel too, or Laur, El even works in a pinch," Laurel says, moving to glance across the desk at the picture he's looking at. It happens to be a very difficult shot, from the looks of it, like she'd have to have the camera hanging from a tree. It's a shot of a lionness with cub from above. And by the looks of it it's not close to a tree or anything. It's not like she's going to explain she created a forcefield above them and crawled out on top of it to take that picture. It would just sound crazy…

"Oh I like that picture, it was one of the best ones, the lionness wasn't actually the mother. Apparently lions in a pride take turns sometimes, but this one was actually not even a mother at all, she adopted it after the cub's mother was killed by poachers, hunters who didn't even really want more than their skin. It was very sad." In fact, some of the other pictures, the edgy ones, happened to be of a skinned lion, left to rot in the heat…

"I've been involved in a lot of weird things, actually, so I think I'm perfect for this! And I have a very, very open mind, I promise. It takes more than poachers and bugs to scare me away." What would scare her away…

"I hope so." Mark says with that lop-sided smile on his lips. Leaning forward, Mark folds his hands together and rest them on the desk, as he studies her. "I'm not sure if you are familiar with a site called 'The Mysterious Truth'?" His shoulder slope upward in a shrug before he continues. "It is where I document what I do, which is to find the truth in the weirdest and strangest stories."

Straightening, Mark reaches to one side of his deskand pulls out a small paper, The Weekly Witness. He takes a moment to find a certain page and folds the paper before handing it too her, a circled article facing her.

> Living Trees Destroy Lumber Camp!
>"Witnesses say the jungle seemed to come alive and destroy all their equipment. Several men died in the altercation."

He taps a finger on the page with a bright smile, much like a kid in a candy store. "That is where we are going and what we will be looking for." Mark gives her a nonchalant look, "Now I know… it seems crazy, Laurel, but I make a hobby of this. With some success." He leans back to pull open a drawer and rummage through it. "Every crappy little rag of a story has to come from some seed of truth. Not all, but the really wild ones tend too." A news paper is pulled out of the drawer and set next to the other one. This one a Brazilian newspaper with a grainy photo of a truck encased in branches, as if the semi had been there long enough to become a part of the tree.

"I love a good mystery, how about you?"

Oooooh, if only this guy knew. Laurel has a whole portfolio at the apartment that would make his head explode, she bets! But— she looks curiously at the page, and the picture, eyes skimming among the twisted trunk as if looking for something in particular, before she nods. "That sounds pretty cool. Something definitely worth investigating!" There's something in her voice that hints she doesn't at all doubt it could happen. After all her best friend, who is half the reason she showed up for the interview, happens to talk to animals. Her boyfriend, talks to bugs. There probably are plant talkers out there somewhere, too…

But will this guy keep a secret if he finds out something that will put them all in danger!? Or if she has to protect herself with a forcefield!?

There's so many questions that make her cautiously look away and down. Only after a few moments does she look back up, hand the paper over, and say, "I love a good mystery. My best friend is already going along with the expedition— she's an animal expert. You couldn't ask for anyone better to have with you in the dangerous animal filled wilds! But she always used to think I was too curious for my own good. I'd like to see these living trees! And get pictures."

Oh if she only knew the secrets he already had."Very cool." Mark says with a slow nod of his head. "Of course, the Brazilian government is calling the photo a hoax and the whole thing a publicity stunt, but… you never know." He points out helpfully, taking to papers back and setting them aside.

"So… I think this is the point in time that I tell you, your hired." Mark offers with enthusiasm. "Downside is we're heading out soon. I'm leaving with… another team member." Girlfriend seems so… high school. "To locate a guide that can not only show us around, but translate… cause I have never mastered languages. I mean… 10 Spanish classes and I barely remember a thing."

"So… job pays ten thousand." Mark announces without batting an eye. "Mainly because the pictures you take, I keep… negatives and all. Sometimes what I find, shouldn't see the light of day." His website, she'd find out doesn't spell things out plainly if he can help it and some of the stuff doesn't end up with pictures. "Also cause we're going into a rainforest on the edge of the flooding season and who knows what we'll encounter. Call it hazard pay."

There's a mixed moment. First of all, Laurel looks excited to be hired, then about to say something, possibly about the Spanish, and then she nearly falls over at the mention of the pay. TEN THOUSAND? "What!? Seriously? Ten thousand— wow. That's just. Wow. I don't even… Wow." Rendered speechless all of a sudden, and unable to say a thing. There may have been words she wanted to say, but they all disappeared with the mention of the money, the pay.

Yeah, that's a hell of a lot more than she ever expected. Especially since the trip is all paid for too, and other various things.

"Yeah— okay, I should be good to go as soon as possible, I just— wow. Ten thousand… Even if this takes a month, that's way more than I would have made without doing like four weddings a week." Cause wedding photographers can be very expensive.

There is no hiding the amusement in Mark's expression. "Well, I can afford to pay a bit more. Keeps people loyal." Keeps them silent sometimes too. "Never know. I might want to hire you again sometime, depending how things go during the trip."

A manila folder is scooped up and offered over. "This is everything for the trip. Plane ticket, which you can switch out of a different date if you need it, information for a room in Manaus, and the stuff for our reservations at the resort we'll be stopping at before striking out into the forest." He nods his head at the folders, "And list of suggestions of what to bring and especially the fact, we're traveling light. We have a pair of jeeps specially made for what we are doing, but there might be a point that everything we need will have to be carried."

"I suggest getting familiar with the local flora and fauna… the creepy crawlies and all that." Mark is all business currently. "I suggest even though it's hot, long pants and a good pair of hiking boots and a rain coat."

There is a moment before he asks cheerfully, "Any questions about the assignment?"

"Traveling light limits the amount of cameras I can bring, and types too," Laurel says, with a whispery thoughtful sound wrapping up the sentance as she thinks on the situation. There are options, though, to which she says, "Digital cameras are way better now than they used to be, so that seems the best bet. I can pack a whole lot of extra cards and not have to worry about lugging film around." It should be easier on her and everyone else, for that matter, considering how bulky some of her camera equipment happens to be. "And my digital can function with video too! So if we see a living tree in action, it better not be camera shy!"

That happens to be excitement in her voice, even if most people might be afraid of the idea, she seems far more intrigued. Perhaps his brother should have put 'Need to be a little insane' into the ad. Cause he's getting that anyway.

"You're surprisingly photogenic," she adds in a comment, before immediately switching to something more called for. "I look forward to working with you, Mark!"

"Why thank you and I do have to say your photos are incredible. I look forward to seeing what you take." There is a moment before Mark comments with a confudent nod of his head. "I think your going to fit right into the group." One would have to be insane to trek around looking for what he is.

Hands on the desk, Mark pushes to his feet and leans his tall frame across the desk to offer his hand again. "Welcome aboard the crazy train… I will be seeing you in Manaus, Laurel. Til then, I have a few more details to wrap up here, before I have to prepare to fly down tomorrow."

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