1963-11-15 - A Sorcerer and a Paradox Walk Into a Bar...
Summary: Frankie has the opportunity to sit down and touch base with Dr. Strange in the Bar with No Doors.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange frankie 


Frankie is visiting the The Bar With No Doors and finds it most interesting. She also likes that she can hover for once, instead of walking everywhere outside. She drifts in the entryway, perusing the various knickknacks, odds and ends with engaged interest. She's in a simple A-line red dress and black Mary Janes for shoes. Her overcoat must be put away already.

An artifact resembling an old rag doll left out in the rain too long sits inside a sealed glass case with no obvious way to open it. "Oh," Frankie says to herself, surprised and curious. "How interesting…" She drifts in a circle around the pedestal the case rests on, inspecting the ratty old doll from every angle.

*

Tacky, but with all the right touches to make it obscenely singular: that's the Bar with No Doors for you. Tiki masks, pineapple motifs, carved pillars and braided banisters - the decor of the South Pacific is clearly the leading style within the place. Shadowed booths host secretive discussions while the rest of the small circular tables allow for familiar chit-chat of the arcane sort. Behind the bar, the invisible bartender mixes up drink after drink with uncanny prescience and all sorts of inter-dimensional flourishes. Want some spice from the Realm of T'Yorek in your Manhattan? Done. Blood from the fish-like Oow'emypa from the Fifth Dimension? Just ponder on it and poof - it's magic.

The Sorcerer Supreme is currently ensconced in one of those darker corners, clearly not expecting any sort of company. His drink of choice? Soda water, plain. No liquor, not after the exertions of the last few days. Acting as conduit for the Vishanti is a rather trying existence at times. He sips at his drink as he flips another page in the small grimoire held in one hand with a dexterous touch. Scarring means nothing in the face of focus. Dark brows knit as he considers a phrase within it.

*

Peering through the glass case, Frankie spies Strange on the other side of the parlor. "Oh, Doctor!" she exclaims, excited to have spotted him. She looks distracted for a second, mutters, "Right, 1963, yes." More audibly, as she drifts around to hover before Strange's chair, "Sorcerer Supreme, it's an honor to meet you, sir. Frankie Clarke." She leans forward, offering her hand in greeting.

*

"He can't possibly mean that…" Strange is grousing to himself even as he brings his soda water to his lips. Abrupt movement brings his steel-blue eyes from the cramped writing on the yellowed page to see…a young woman in a red dress, clearly looking to speak with him. She's hovering - that's interesting.

"Oh, yes, that's me," he replies, setting down the highball glass and placing the green ribbon acting as bookmark in place. The little diary is then secreted away into an inner pocket of his black Belstaff coat and he reaches out to return the handshake with what seems like an expectant sigh.

Fascinating, this one. The fluidity of her aura is akin to molten metal in reflective hues of argent. Never still, never immutable - and all hissing with the continual ebb and flow of waves on a gravel beach.

Letting go of the stranger's hand, he settles back into his chair and gives her a once-over. "Dr. Strange. Nice to meet you, Miss Clarke. How can I help you?"

*

"Well," Frankie starts, and then glances around to make sure they're alone. At least here, at The Bar, they don't have to worry about magical snoops. "I'm from out of town, but I wanted to meet the Sorcerer Supreme. You know, to check in. Make myself available. I'm at your disposal if I can be of any help. I'm also on assignment as a kind of mystical historian, to document as much about you- I mean, /our/ world as possible. For future generations."

*

Mirroring her, Strange glances around as well, but it seems that his reputation precedes him. Nobody wants to be caught snooping on the Sorcerer Supreme, especially not here in the Bar, where gossip burns like wildfire and reputations can be destroyed in a sentence if worded correctly.

Plus, let's face it - the lesser-lit corner is clearly an unspoken implication that interruptions would not be appreciated between him and his conversational partner.

"I appreciate your offer of assistance," he replies with a nod. All the help he can get these days, since the Mystical world is having a brief moment of topsy-turvy. "Mystical historian though? What precisely does that entail?"

Forgive any hint of suspicion he puts off. He dislikes surprises.

*

"I maintain a tradition of documenting human history from the point of view of someone in the mystical arts," Frankie says as if she's reading it off of a job description. "Sometimes mystics have strange effects on timelines, and my research is focused on documenting as much as can be recorded."

Frankie glances over her shoulder and nods at a comfy looking chair in the other corner. It appears directly behind her and she takes a seat, crossing her legs demurely, angling the chair to be at ninety degrees to Strange's chair, rather than staring at him straight on.

And in fact, if anyone had a protractor ready, it is as precisely at ninety degrees as it could possibly be.

*

Hmm. Even more interesting. "It's true that magic, in the wrong hands, can certainly affect the future in unexpected ways. Mind you, so can errant transitions from one place in time to another. What are your thoughts on such a thing?"

No, Strange is not prescient, just taking advantage of a fellow educated being on the matter. After all, he does have a new predicament on his oh-so-Mystical hands that involves precisely said situation and it comes with a name and dimples.

"Feel free to order anything," he adds, nodding towards the bar. "You'd be surprised what they can create." A small smile. There's a story there, clearly, but perhaps for another time.

*

Frankie nods, smiles and is openly enthusiastic. "I am somewhat displaced myself. I got to choose a one-off shift, and I wanted to come here and be a part of what's happening."

Glancing at the bar of infinite options, Frankie smiles when a simple Manhattan appears in her hand. Best to keep things simple.

"And that's why I wanted to check in with you. Like a passport check. I didn't want you to think I'm just here, nosing around in things that aren't my business." Frankie grins, "I want to nose around with permission!"

*

"I see. So…you're from the future, I assume?" Strange asks before taking a mouthful of soda water. The crimson scarf about his neck adjusts itself - of its own volition - to a more comfortable position, a slouchy sort of hang overtop the Eye of Agamotto. All that can be seen is the glint of gold through multi-hued threads that wrap about the length of chain.

"I can't precisely grant you permission until you explain the repercussions of your visit here, if that's the case. After all, you're directly affecting this current time-flow, if you are previously from another arc of time entirely."

*

"Our best theories indicate that my presence is calculated to have the most minimal impact on the current flow of events, while providing my people with the information they need," Frankie says, sipping her Manhattan.

She sets her drink down and moves her hands in the air in front of her chair. Silvery threads of magic form and follow her fingers as she illustrates complex, circular algorithms and calculations. It's an example of math and myth living in harmony together, working together, empowering each other. But this isn't a spell she's weaving. She's a student showing her work in class.

And the work is impressive. It somehow illustrates an enormous series of possibilities, and it actually reinforces her argument about her presence being minimally impactful. "See, these here?" Frankie says, sort of narrating her work. She traces the original timeline and the one with her here. "The fluctuations are all within probable limits anyway."

*

Strange's steel-blue gaze takes in the information shown to him with a few slow and thoughtful nods. He's relieved to hear that, according to her calculations, her impact will be minimal. Most proper indeed.

"Very good then, that your people took this into account. After all…it would be a shame if you were to accidentally erase yourself from the future by coming here." He finishes his glass of soda water and turns his attention to Frankie.

"Now…do you exist in both the present and the future at the same time then? After all, how can you report your information to your superiors if you are here, in my time stream, and nonexistent in the future? I believe it becomes somewhat of a paradox, if I remember what my roommate explained to me back at Columbia."

*

Frankie smiles and nods, attentive while Strange speaks. She picks up her drink and is about sip when he asks about the possibility of paradox. Her eyes glaze slightly and she delivers a rote, "I'm sorry Doctor, I'm not able to discuss the particulars of our paradox theory with you."

Frankie blinks, and refocuses on Strange, "Oh… Uh, sorry about that. I'm barred from discussing a lot of that, I'm afraid. But I can tell you I'm here to stay. I can't return. And my research is being gathered in a capsule to be opened… later." She smiles apologetically and shrugs.

*

"I see." Those two words, delivered dryly. Strange shifts in his chair and sighs. His right hand is set on the table's surface and fingertips drummed lightly across it. "Well, if you can't return to your own time, then yes, I suppose that you are indeed, here to stay."

A glance up towards the bartender and the crystal highball glass before him begins to fill once more with soda water, from the bottom up. The good Doctor lifts a finger at the appropriate amount and grants the invisible barkeep a nod. From a distance, a sense of a nod back.

"I assume you intend to outlive most of us as well? Unless that's why you're using a capsule, in case of death?"

*

"Yes," Frankie says, still congenial and a little apologetic. "A 'drop-in' if you like. But I'm honored to be here. This was a prestigious assignment." She shifts in her seat and recrosses her legs after the precise amount of time that the average woman recrosses her legs.

"I… don't want to die," Frankie says, choosing her words carefully. "But my primary intention is to document as much of this period as I can. I think it's highly unlikely I will be able to survive back to my home period, so yes, the capsule is a back-up plan, assuming I won't be able to report in person. It's also likely that I'm not even in my own past's timeline."

Frankie blinks, apparently surprised that she was able to say all of that. She pauses in idle mode for a moment, entirely, /much/ too still for a long few seconds. Then she blinks again. "How long have you been in the position of Sorcerer Supreme, if you don't mind my asking?"

*

Strange makes a little humming sound as he exhales and squints at the young woman briefly.

"I get the impression that you just might survive, Frankie. Give yourself some credit where it's due. After all, you're brave for accepting such a task." He swirls the soda water for a moment before wetting his mouth. It keeps his stomach settled, thankfully. Frankie's odd little moment of pause is lost on him amidst his own fidgety actions involving the drink and then adjusting the scarf around his neck.

His eyes flick back to her again and narrow slightly. "Just shy of three years, officially, though…time is an odd thing. I may have been in the position of Sorcerer Supreme for much longer, though not in an official capacity. I'm not sure what was preordained or merely a twist of fate. My mentor chose to let me figure things out from time to time. Figured it was good to gain experience of my own volition." He laughs, somewhat ruefully. "Mind you, it's been a while since I've had to maroon someone somewhere to get answers, but…it is tempting from time to time." His expression softens in honest amusement now, tempered with the brief appreciation for memories. "Not you," the good Doctor quickly adds with a shake of his head. "Someone else."

*

Given how much she's said already, Frankie smiles away the discussion of how long she might survive. "Ah, three years, ok," she says, mentally tallying something, and confirming. One might get the impression of checkboxes being filled out. "I imagine marooning someone is a very humane way to get them to share information. Loneliness is a powerful experience for most people."

Frankie drains her Manhattan, and winks at the empty bar, nodding as the invisible bartender refills it for her. Drinking is sociable for humans! And she remains unaffected by alcohol, so. "For the record, Doctor, my inclination is to cooperate with any line of questioning I might be able to help in, excepting only my barred topics. Marooning would be the most cruel punishment you could inflict on me, should you ever need to."

Frankie should probably learn about what to share, and what not to share.

*

Yes…yes, she probably should. The good Doctor's eyebrows rise high on his head before he gives her a slow nod and an uncomfortable smile.

"I…shall…remember that in case I ever feel the need to maroon you, Frankie. I hope you never give me a reason." Truly. He can be creative, what with all of the dimensions and planes available to him.

His attention is briefly drawn to another practitioner entering the Bar - oh, it's only Robert, the bald-headed cleric. Never play poker with that man, he's got a mean game face. Strange returns the wave offered to him with a nod and a flash of white teeth before returning to the discussion at hand.

"I appreciate your cooperation as well as your earlier offer of assistance. I have been deeply involved in personal affairs as of late and could always use another set of eyes and ears beyond Greenwich Village. Should you come across anything odd - and I mean in the 'mortal' sense of things - do find a way to tell me."

*

Frankie looks openly curious, narrows her eyes while she studies Stephen's face. "Oh, I've said something awkward. Interesting!" She doesn't seem embarrassed or apologetic at this point. Just fascinated. More mental tabulation, and then Frankie sits forward on her chair.

Extending her free hand again, this time holding a card, Frankie smiles, "Well, I imagine I've monopolized enough of your time, Doctor. And thank you for that. I do hope you'll contact me if you need to." In her hand the card has a circular drawing of some kind. It's advanced magic, but Strange would recognize it as an alerting charm. Draw the thing, light a candle in the middle of it, and the subject is alerted. Frankie being the subject, in this case.

Pretty handy until pagers are invented.

*

Strange accepts the card and frowns at it briefly until it clicks. Yes, indeed, alerting charm. "Thank you, Frankie," and he slips the card into the same inner pocket as that which contains the diary. With a riffling of the air around his fingers and a flick of his wrist, he offers her a card in return. Deep blue, thunderstorm-black, the same shade as the battle-leathers of the Sorcerer Supreme. Gold font, antique in style, reads out an address on Bleeker Street as well as a telephone number. He places it on the table between them.

"Here you are, just in case. You know how to use it, I'm sure." A wry smile curves his lips and then he settles back into his chair once more. "You haven't bothered me in the least. I'm not normally here, but - if you see me again, you're welcome to stop by and chat." With that and a final nod of dismissal, the Sorcerer pulls out the diary and flips open to the green-ribboned place within the pages. "Forgive me, I've got some studying to do." And he gets to reading once more.

*

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