2007-12-29: The People People


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A speedster and a Brit continue their vision of the future - and of Cass helping them create it.

December 29th, 2007:

The People People

Pinehearst, NJ

"Everyone has their own vision of how the world should be," answers Linderman as he leads Cass through the halls of Pinehearst. He slows down at a corner, so that he may turn to Cass and say, "This is our vision," before leading her onward.

The laboratory is everything the white-bearded stranger indicated it would be. It is state-of-the-art, large, well-equipped, and not likely to be the only one of its kind in a building of this size with goals such as Pinehearst's. It is, at the moment, empty aside from Mister Linderman and the newest visitor, Cass Aldric. It doesn't look like the kind of place that remains that way for very long. It is a place of studiousness, of scientific breakthroughs, of—

"Making the world a better place," Linderman says, standing beside the frame of the door and gesturing at the lab they stand in. "One project at a time. Sure, it's quiet now, but to see this at its peak…" A fondly appraising look settles into the man's astute blue eyes, reflective, before he looks succinctly to Cass. "Now, where were we?"

The lab is an impressive sight for someone who enjoys labs as much as Cass does. That doesn't ease her wariness of this whole place and situation, however. This is all too weird, too much like a dream come true. Some rich British guy basically telling her to basically just play in a state-of-the-art-lab that's easy on the eyes, too. "We were at the point of you telling me why I'm here and why it is that you want some med school drop out to work in a lab that is probably worth five times a Columbia Med School degree." And that's a severe chunk of change. They're the only ones here, so she doesn't feel totally amiss moving forward just a bit to put a hand on one of the tables, as if to steady herself as well as get a closer look at the equipment there. "What is this place?"

Zip zip! It's still possible for Daphne to move at the normal pace, but, hey, if you don't need to, then why do it. Not to mention that her new job as impromptu PR agent asks her to be all sorts of places anyway. But when you've run out of files then you /do/ need to do a little run by for more. The blur that is her arrives first outside, then in the lobby. Nothing and more nothing. Frowning, Daphne kicks back and then dashes right into the first lab available. Loose papers scatter along her path until she skids to a stop on the other side of a table from another woman. A woman… demanding to know where she is. To an empty room. Riiiight. "Woooow. He leaves this in /really/ capable hands…"

"It's like I said," Linderman replies — to Cass and Cass alone, "There's more to you than just your credentials." Or lack thereof. "It's your vision." He leans lightly against the wall, folding his arms. As the med school dropout explores, he smiles appraisingly. Approvingly. Daphne's appearance doesn't seem to faze him in the slightest; although he certainly sees her, he makes no indication of welcome, and continues talking to Cass as if the speedster is the one who does not exist. "Pinehearst is a biotechnology company. A blend of science, medicine and technology that makes the world a better place to live. You mean you haven't read our brochure?" Is this mysterious gentleman trying to make a joke?

At least in Cass' defense she has no idea that she looks like she's talking to herself. And when Daphne slides to a stop in front of her, the woman quickly straightens. Glancing over at Linderman and then at the newly arrived woman, she pauses a moment and answers the British man first. "Your brochure doesn't mention anything about people with special abilities. And brochures are meant to sell you something. I'm not here to be sold a new vacation or some sort of miracle cure." That's for Linderman and then she gives Daphne a strange look. "I'm not here for anything to be left in my hands." Even if she does kind of look like she belongs here with her lab coat from Bat Country.

"Are you even supposed to be here at all?" Daphne returns, having no idea of the other conversation supposedly going on over her head. To her, she's just being presented with a sudden argument from a woman in a lab-coat that doesn't know what lab she's in. Daphne doesn't have a brochure, but she does have a card. They just seem to be one step past that. The speedster shifts, hands going to pat the messenger bag around her shoulder, "Hey, I'm just looking for the old man. He doesn't want to give me anything, his loss. But if someone tried to sell you the Pinehearst pitch then, yeah, ya probably /are/ here for a reason."

"Ah, Daphne." Linderman steps away from the wall, as if emerging from a shadow into the light to be seen by the new arrival. Of course, there was no shadow. There was nothing. "Impeccable timing." Not exactly. The man looks between the two women. That Miss Aldric certainly has a comeback to everything. "I'd like you to meet Cass Aldric. She's on her tour of Pinehearst. Miss Aldric, this … is Daphne."

There's a pause before the gentleman addresses the topic once more. "With all due respect, Miss Aldric, we're not trying to sell you something. We're trying to give to something. To work here, with us. We even have a training program. And every lab and piece of equipment at your disposal. Should you choose to walk away from this opportunity… an opportunity of a lifetime…" He spreads his hands, closing his eyes briefly, "That is your decision."

"Well, I was led here, so I think I'm supposed to be here." Cass takes a step to the side so that she can look at both Daphne and Mr. Linderman at the same time without craning her neck one way and another. "Nice to meet you," she tells the speedster warily. "I'm not about to say this isn't an opportunity of a lifetime." A training program, an entire lab at her disposal…it's too good to be true. "But, I know nothing about this company other than what I learned on your website and what you've just told me right now. As far as I know, you could be just as bad as the Company. What exactly would you wanting me to be doing here? And, well, what do you do?" That last question is directed at Daphne.

Okay, double weird. Because was he here the whole time? Daphne starts a little to the side but easily recovers, choosing this moment to lean against the table she's at instead. She gives Cass a brief, not altogether honest, smile when they're introduced. The rest of it goes by with Daphne picking at her nails until she's questioned. "I'm a people person," she informs Cass, with a small smack of her lips, "Speaking of which…" she straightens, eyeing Linderman with lingering suspicion of her own, "I'm all out of people."

Linderman's aged eyebrows raise at Cass. "The very same thing you do now." Only better. It's not spoken, but it's implied. Just look around. Linderman addresses Daphne before continuing. "Ah, very good. Check back in the morning. I've a neurologist who may be perfect for our program." Now, back to Cass. "Miss Aldric — may I call you Cass? — we are, after all, everything you want; say for a moment that you believe me, you must realize it's true. You would be another bright mind to add to the team. We have projects underway you would be quite interested to see, and who knows, your input could change a life. Those who are special," A look to Daphne comes and goes on special, "Just like your friends, your patients, treated with … the utmost of care, the same kind you try to provide. Not jailed for being the way they are."

"A people person." Cass is skeptical, but returns Daphne's smile with something not altogether genuine, but certainly not threatening. Hand still resting on the table, she looks between the strange British man and the strange blonde woman. The way she ran in here it'd be impossible to think of her as anything but special. "I'm not saying that I'm not interested, that this isn't…" she looks around at the lab. "An amazing facility. But you still haven't answered and my of questions in any specific way. You know my name, what I've done, where I work…I have no idea how how you got any of that information." She looks over to Daphne as if she can provide some answers. "How did you get involved here?"

When Daphne is told to come back later, she turns off to the side and makes a face but holds off on the zooming immediately out of there. Instead, she crosses her arms over her chest and listens quite blatantly to the goings-on. It works out, because she gets asked another question. "Some dude at my door, just like everybody else," her head tilts, "They're real face-to-face 'round here." Her gaze goes to Linderman in an 'I'm on to you' sort of way. See, he gives her special nods, she's giving them back.

"We take the human approach," the man clarifies Daphne's words. Linderman takes in a slow, deep breath, or so it would appear. His deeply lined face grows sombre; Cass is about to get her answers after all. "We've had our eye on you for quite awhile in one way or another. Since you were just a baby, because of who your father is." On that note, he takes a seat on a wheeled stool that sits in front of a desk. The monitor on the screen displays a Pinehearst screensaver: the bold name double helix logo, every so often flipping through bright pictures of hands holding seeds, a verdant green plant, a blooming flower at high speeds.

"The truth is … we thought you may turn out … like myself or Daphne here. You may not have superhuman speed or strength, but you are special in a very human way, Cass." The man steeples his fingers loosely, an idle, relaxed gesture, not quite so scheming as it has the potential to be. "When so many people began seeking help in you, at your store, at the clinic you then created, we, too, took notice. Curious girl that she is, Evie took a particularly close look. We took her into our care, you see, the… child who can dream herself anywhere. When we heard about your labs, we were delighted."

"Me? Why would I turn out with an ability?" That's a thought that, while has crossed her mind, never really seemed to be any sort of possibility for her. Obviously, she's a human and her entire family has been humans. Why would it be different? Special nods are noticed, but right now she's a little more interested in that computer screen, even if it's just a screen saver for the moment. "So, wait, you used a girl to…look at me? What exactly does that mean?" There's a shake of her head and a step backward, looking over at Daphne. Maybe she can explain this whole situation better to her. "This is a little…strange. I've never heard of this place before and you know my father, what I've been doing…"

Daphne isn't in the business of explaining better. In fact, she's going to contribute more questions— "Actually, I have no idea what you've been doing. What's the clinic for? If someone gets a superhuman injury, do you treat it?" She sort of eyes Cass up and down, as if trying to size up if she seems like she could do such a thing. Steepled-fingers over there already said she didn't have an ability. The speedster juts a hip out while resting a hand there.

After the speedster has her say, Linderman has his. "Life is strange, though, isn't it. I know it's a lot to take in. I can assure you, we have nothing but your best interests at heart. As for why we thought you might turn out with an ability, well … that's a family matter." And not his to answer, it would seem. "Get a good night's rest. Think about it in the morning. The world always looks its best in the light of day, when the flowers are blooming, wouldn't you say? Daphne can escort you home."

"Um…something like that. Sort of." Cass is all confused about this whole thing. "No, I meant him knowing all about this…" There's a shake of her head. It would make sense that not everyone knows everything. Watching Daphne size her up, she lifts her chin just a bit. What is this whole place. "Strange is right." There's nothing but truth to that statement. A family matter? That's certainly…odd. "What?" All these answers are just leading her to more questions. She sighs. Looking over at Daphne, she frowns. Take her home, huh? "Okay." Well, at least they're being accommodating about getting her home. "So. Uh, how do I get in contact with you?"

Oh, so now she's getting volunteered? Eh, whatever. Daphne didn't want to stick around here anyway. She zips the short distance around the table to be standing next to Cass but pauses long enough to let Linderman field his last question, and then tip her head, "So, home is /where/, exactly?"

"Home is…well, Brooklyn." While this place know a lot about everything, she's not going to let them all know everything from her. She can just be general and walk from wherever Daphne decides to drop her off. Cass nods at Linderman, figuring if they can come and grab her from Bat Country Labs, they should be able to know how to find her by more conventional means. "Yeah, I'm sure we will." One way or another.

Without further ado, the speedster takes a hold of Cass' wrist so that she can take her along on the fast-track back to Brooklyn. It may be akin to how a bullet feels coming out of a gun. On caffeine. Because bullets can be on caffeine. Whatever, it's really fast.

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