1964-07-16 - The Best Man
Summary: Star-gazing atop NYU.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
vesper clark 

One of those nights when school is out of session and few students bother to congregate for the summer session is a perfect time to work. No inebriated people sway down the hallways. Students don't clutter up every available chair. Vesper sits on the rooftop of the biology building. As one of the tallest buildings around Washington Square Park it benefits from a good view of the night sky. Her telescope is something fairly heavy-duty. It's largest enough for her to actually get a view of the moon and stars. To see the few stars can be perceived through New York's blazing streetlight glow. A bottle of wine and a baguette have been her supper. She stares up now and then.

"Not a bad spot to spend a night, you see?" This to the one other person she's bothered to invite.

Clark smiles happily as his blue eyes trail from her and up into the sky. "When I was a kid," he begins, "I used to have a telescope in the loft of my barn where I could look at the stars. I became really interested in astronomy." Well, even more recently after finding out that's where he is from. "Thank you for inviting me."

"Did you?" The curiosity from the Gallic scientist brings a slight smile. She turns a small dial on the eye-piece of the telescope and then steps back. A gesture welcomes him up. "The stories of history are written in the stars. Constellations of ancient Greece and Babylon. There is something wondrous and comforting to seeing the stars. Knowing they have watched over us. Given us such a welcome."

Clark smirks and raises an eyebrow as he looks out over the night sky now, wondering where Krypton used to be. "I don't think I've ever really thought that indepth into it, to be honest. I just think they're pretty."

Vesper sits down on the ground. She tucks her shirt underneath her and reaches for another chunk of bread. It's a simple meal for anyone to eat. Satisfying for a picnic though. She sinks her teeth into the soft baguette while Clark speaks. Watching him is something of fascination and interest. Her dark eyes are hidden under her too-long bangs. "Tell me about what you saw up there. What you admired."

"I just imagined being out there, really. When I was younger and there was all that stuff between the Soviets and us. I mean, there still is, but it just sort of captured my attention." Clark chuckles, "And I guess I just like they way they twinkle."

"Sputnik," Vesper repeats. She breaks a bit of the bread off and hands the offering to Clark. Kansas farmboy, meet proper patisserie product. It's good stuff, crusty on the outside and fairly soft and chewy on the interior. "The stars are lovely. But the Moon has all her secrets. Craters and mare seas." A place she's all but literally bounced off. She tries not to think of that.

Clark takes the bread into his hands and tears off a chunk. After tasting it, it's clear it appeals to him. "Do you think we'll ever land there? And if so, do you think there's anything there? When I was a kid I read a ton of old science fiction stuff where they believed that there were people on the moon, Mars, and other planets. It turns out that was true."

"Land up there? I think so. People wish to go, they will go." If only certain truths might be spoken. Vesper looks at her hands on reflex. The slow burn in her doe-brown eyes shifts their colour when not attended to. Someone might think the geneticist vain for all she looks in a mirror. It's practice to try and suppress the occasional glow or total colour shift she cannot explain. "They… your books, they were true people lived on Mars?" Surprise snaps her out of her thoughts. The road best traveled leads back to the freshman. Her lips round. "I thought only the ones who came down here."

"I just mean that there were people on other planets. I have no idea if there are actually people on Mars. I just mean the books were right that there were people out there. I always kind of believed in them, and then was still surprised to find out, I guess." There was that spaceship in his barn, of course. But Clark always sort of figured he was the only one. Maybe that's vain or just dour, he's not sure.

"Naturallement." The bread, then. She takes another piece and examines the crust. Little stands up to her quick, precise fingers. Vesper smiles a little. "At Cambridge, one of the professors said it was very arrogant to think we alone on this blue gem planet represented life. How could no other star in all the galaxy or all the universe not have a rock like our rock?" The wrinkle of her nose gives a hint of amusement. "Plants, fish, animals, men. They are some kinds of life. And there would be others out there awaiting the day they found us or we walked the starways to see them. Here we are. It is quiet, now. I thought more people would be afraid. Maybe it is not so. Are we ready to live with discovery?"

"I don't know," Clark says shaking his head. "Everything seems like a big deal until it isn't. People lived in terror of the bomb—and they still do but it's muted now. The same happened with aliens. The more I write the more I realize that people fall back into whatever they think of as normal as soon as they can. Comfort and security above all else."

Vesper can't really chuckle but she nods. The tip of her face changes how the shadows settle there. "They go back to their comforts. Oui, going outside the familiar world is very hard. You to New York. Me to New York." The bread brought to her lips isn't quite popped in her mouth. "You have written and heard them. How would you feel meeting someone from the stars?"

…or who might be a star, either way.

"That's a complicated question," Clark says, looking downwards and a bit sad at something unsaid. He just met his cousin after all, but he can't let on for obvious reasons. He chooses his words carefully. "I would like to think that I'd give them the same fair chance I give to everyone. Racism. Anti-Mutant bigotry. Misogyny. I don't think there's any real difference between all of those things I hate than how certain people might react to alien-kind. People love to drive wedges. Maybe it makes them feel comfortable, I don't know."

"Those are problems we all face. Questions we have, how to treat others and not be subject to narrow-minded thoughts." Vesper goes for the glass brought up along with the telescope and the bread. "Wine? Or not correct?" Sometimes American values conflict with her own. Wisdom veers to her asking first. The bottle has a red of some kind, rather than a very shy, too dry white.

"I'd love some, thanks," Clark replies. He used to have wine and beer at holidays with family. That's sort of the custom out in the midwest and it seems odd that there is a push to get the drinking age to 21. There's a thought that might just make the problems associated with drinking worse, in his mind anyways. "What about you, Vesper? What would you do if you met an honest to goodness alien? I mean the press says they have been around for a very long time. They could be anywhere."

Vesper has a small folding corkscrew of course. She pulls it from the basket and takes to pushing the metal point into the cork. No prizes here for speed or strength. Getting the spiral down is easy but pulling the cork out is much harder. "Mmm." Without looking up, her answer comes. Feet are flat on the rooftop and her legs squeeze the bottle as a counterweight to pulling up. Her hands slip a bit. Readjusting for position brings a small 'nrf!' of effort out of her. "I am an alien, Clark." Another tug. "In my way. I would try to help bridge things, I think. It must be as daunting for them as to me. So being peaceful and friendly is better than afraid."

"Do you want me to help?" Clark offers, holding his hand out to open it for her. "I guess I see what you're saying. I mean we're all really aliens in this world. I think it's natural to build divisions for people." He nods, "I agree with being peaceful and friendly. That's the only way things are going to get better."

"Please." She holds out the bottle, up to him. "I cannot seem to get it out." That she might if she keeps trying to tug goes unmentioned. Some truths are too close to their source. "Divisions hurt us. It becomes easy to assume that others in that division all think or act a certain way. Europe has many scars from that kind of thinking. So do they here too. The Soviets and the Americans cannot see eye to eye. We would do better to find common ground. But when am I going to meet aliens? I don't imagine I will. They see presidents and generals, not me."

"Yeah, you might be surprised," Clark says as he pops the cork out with ease and hands the bottle over towards her. "I guess it depends on the alien, right?" He shrugs his shoulders, "I think that's part of why I want to be a journalist. When you get good enough that someone wants to actually read your things, you can start to do editorials and be heard."

The glasses are out, and she pours equal measures for herself and Clark. The red is strong and most definitely a burgundy. Not for the faint of palate. Vesper raises her glass. "Salut." French for cheers, that. "Here is to being heard and respected."

Clark raises his glass, "Salut!" He chuckles, "Here's to be heard more importantly. And if respect comes along with it all the better." He takes a swig, smiles to her, and awkwardly looks out at the city not wanting to stare too long.

|ROLL| Vesper +rolls 1d20 for: 10

Vesper sips the wine comfortably. It's part of her birthright as someone French. Blotting her lips, she puts down the glass beside her. Then she rises from the rooftop to join him near the telescope. Clark is given a flash of a grin. "Will you show me your favourite star? Whatever interests you out there."

Clark chuckles, "This is going to sound stupid, but my favorite is Sirius. It's the brightest. Unfortunately, it won't be back for three days." He leans over into the telescope and tries to find something else. "I guess that means we'll have to come back."

"Sirius, the faithful dog star." Vesper knows her stars. She knows them probably better than she might ever admit. "I would like to. I spend many nights where I can to watch the stars. Sometimes it helps to pass the time between all my interminable experiments. It seems I like looking at very small objects." Mostly. Her wine is drank and set aside, and she follows the line of the telescope wherever Clark directs it. "Will your schedule allow for something on Wednesday?"

"Yeah," Clark begins. "Wait, no." He pinches the bridge of his nose. "Sorry, Tuesday and Wednesday are no gos for me. I have an interview and write up for the paper. What does the rest of your week look like?"

"Thursday and Friday evening are open unless my experiments or the dean require me." Vesper rolls her shoulders, offering a very good impression of what she thinks of those requirements. Perhaps the freedom informed by having her stripped away for a time is having an effect. "An interview sounds thrilling. I hope you enjoy it."

"The other one I want to show you is the Corvus constellation, but that's not visible right now either." After he found that was where Krypton was once located it took on more meaning to him. Of course he hasn't been able to see it since. Maybe he needs to take a trip to the southern hemisphere. "It'll be alright. It's pretty rudimentary to be honest. But that's what my editor wants, so that's what he's going to get."

Vesper raises her fingers to the familiar 'W' of Cassiopeia, one of the circumpolar constellations. She chases the jagged body of Pegasus and follows south. "There is Saturn," she indicates a spot south of the winged horse. "Then the summer triangle there, oui? Vega, Deneb, and Altair. Many a good story about those, but I like Deneb. It's the bright star of Cygnus, and astronomers hear very strange activity from Cygnus."

"What's your favorite?" Clark asks as he looks to her. "Or at least, what's your favorite story associated with them?" He leans close to her and follows her eyes as she points, trying to see them each as she does so. He has no clue if he's right but he doesn't really care.

"A hard choice. The ancient Greek story of Orpheus gives shape to the lyre. Lyra, lyre," she translates a little needlessly, as the two sound just about the same. "His ability to charm even snakes and sand with his music sounds quite appealing. The gods put the lyre in the sky to commemorate his music. Though the bit when he loses his wife in the Underworld is sad, it does say that sometimes we need to learn more of faith. I heard in China they say Vega and Altair are beloved to one another, but because Altair was a cowherd and Vega a weaver, they could not meet but once a year. And such is supposed to speak to their love for one another, they would be so patient to be together."

"They say that patience is a virtue. I think half the time it's probably just people being indecisive. And scared," Clark says with a bit of an exhales. "Have you ever been to Asia?" he asks, not wanting to explain whatever he meant earlier. Pivoting is not just a basketball move.

"I imagine that could be true. Or the Empress of Heaven having a hand in keeping you apart," Vesper muses on the Chinese legend with a little too much practicality. Her lightening eyes trace after Clark, and their hue isn't brown anymore. Not even if she wanted them to be, though the shade is still dark as the night sky overhead. The best she can manage under the circumstances. "What possibly scares you? I understand indecision. It sometimes is hard to act in face of great choices." Indifferent as the city might be about it, she's not. Her own failings haunt her sometimes. "Asia?" He can move fast. She can dodge when she is up to it. "Maybe when I was small. My parents would know. Not as an adult yet. Would you like to?"

"Someday, maybe. I think I'd like to see everywhere, really," Clark says and he hesitates as he looks into her eyes. He thinks he notices something change in her, but figures it's just the light. It has to be. "Indecision scares me. Injustice scares me. Lots of things, I guess."

"Injustice is scary." Vesper nods in affirmation to that. "Why we trust in many to check that, and we must sometimes stand up to the voices speaking out wrongly." Clark's hesitation is cause for her to do the same, putting her hand on the telescope's metal body. Not really for support so much as the reminder of the cool metal under her hand. The smoothness reminds her fingers how to move and anchor. "Courage is the act of moving despite fear. Tell me when you go to China or India or Japan. I would like to hear your stories." Another hesitation in a trail full of them, turns and paths not taken. And some that are. He halts, she reaches back to brush his arm. Up, as it happens.

"Yeah, of course. I'll take pictures and—," Clark looks to her hand as she brushes his arm, and then back to Vesper before he gulps a bit. He rests his hand atop her other one, the one on the telescope and steps closer toward her, looking downward. It's a long way down there because he is very tall and she is not and that distance gives him too much time to think but he leans down to attempt to kiss her anyways.

Clark gets some help, there. She can go on tiptoe with the best of them: ballerina after all. Her usual flat shoes give little support to her feet, neither do they undermine her effort. That way it's less far to dip to close that breach. Vesper doesn't quite wobble and the telescope on its tripod base is very stable. All these facts probably don't matter so much as the way her head tips back in reaction to his, and her warm mouth tastes a little of the wine and so much of a sigh softer than ever will be noted.

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