1964-07-27 - Don't Worry About the Pill: Act I, Part I
Summary: Vesper is made an offer she can't refuse.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
vesper remy-lebeau 

It's an absolutely beautiful day on campus. The sun is shining. There are only four clouds in the visible sky. It's not too warm. It's not too cold. It's perfect.

Vesper is on her way to the Reynolds Building, having been beckoned by Alistair Rooney, one of the vice-chairs of the science department for the whole university! He's asked her to come across campus and asked for her by name.

Beautiful and sunny, which is all the more reason to be thinking about the work done in the lab. With her kerchief tied over her hair, sunglasses up, Vesper needs to forcibly concentrate on her work. She is dressed not for science. The daylight warms her in more ways than one. It's going to take a long complicated trial to put her thoughts back on track. The week's work must be set to run over the weekend. Some of those results won't process for a few days. The mental checklist goes on while she eats the last of a croissant.

Something essential to settle the stomach before she heads into the office. The science chair paying attention to her other than by reading the biology department newsletter is concerning. Should she have brought her lab coat? Too late for that. The best she can hope for is her present state as she pulls open a door and heads into the building. Her heels don't make much sound when she crosses the linoleum floors. Navigation by sign and memory should bring her to the right quadrant, and eventually office.

There's a space in between the entrance and the second entrance on this particular building and as Vesper passes through to the other side, she'll see someone who looks most certainly like he doesn't belong. A tattered trenchcoat with a stained white t-shirt underneath. Large sunglasses that match hers—it almost looks as though they are made for women, and chestnut colored hair that goes in every different direction. In dire need of a shave, and judging by the odor of cigarettes and booze, maybe a bath.

The moment passes in an instant, though, as Vesper moves on towards Professor Rooney's office. Off to bigger and better things.

A girl raised primarily to the nun run boarding school outside Paris has precious little firsthand experience with the homeless. Or frat boys. They exist, true, but Cambridge took an awfully dim view of them fraternizing with any students. International ones held their own little world inside a nice boarding house and that was that. The brunette slips a look over her sunglasses and makes a mental note. Someone on campus surely has an idea of the resources appropriate to the situation. Telling, if she were to speak: her first reaction is not to find a gun or a policeman. But bigger and better things as they say. Her research rides on having grants and a black mark here might jettison all she does.

Through the corridor goes the young lady. Her thoughts move almost at the speed of light and the warmth of the day is a battery to fuel her future endeavours. She'll knock on the door of the office if no secretary intercepts her first to make her wait in an uncomfortable chair for twenty minutes.

"Greetings, Miss Mezieres," says the cherubic faced Dotsy Perron, who serves as Dr. Rooney's secretary. "You can head right in, ma'am." The blonde, middle aged woman, has a sunny disposition and her daily cheer is the type that brings happiness to what might otherwise be thought of as a dull office. "Can I get you anything? Water, coffee?" In front of Vesper one of those old timey doors with his name stenciled over opaque glass.

Ma'am! Is she that old? Vesper nods to the secretary. It pays to be polite to the others employed gainfully as she is. "Thank you very much." Ma'am is going to sting for a few minutes yet. She doesn't even know that her youth will be with her for another forty years to the envy of all. That DNA strand holds its secrets tight. In the immediate moment she will go forth to sit. "Non, thank you. I should be good without." Pouring coffee on herself is doomed to happen, surely. She draws a deep breath in to face the obvious. Onward into the breach as they say.

Inside is a simple office in the style of the previous decade. There are lime green filing cabinets, a metal desk, some metal chairs with a slab of padding. Nothing at all interesting about the decor. But from behind the desk sits Dr. Rooney. Though she has seen him before the pair have never talked. He rises with a bright smile upon his face.


But he is not the only person in the room. There, leaning on the filing cabinet, is a tall, gaunt, middle aged man who idly smokes a cigarette. While Rooney seems delighted, the other is as cool as a cucumber, idly dragging from the tobacco as he watches her.

"Thank you for coming! I really hope this might be something you'd be interested in. I personally think it's perfect."

"Sit! Please, sit!" he says after holding his hand out for her to shake.

The cigarette smoke is a poison, short-term and long, something that settles into purified lungs and triggers an immune system into overdrive. Vesper is well used to choking back a cough. Her recent forays to the seaside have helped somewhat alleviate those symptoms. But there's always a handkerchief.

She politely nods to the gentlemen inside and does not immediately help herself to a chair until greeting them both. "Dr. Rooney. Sir, Vesper Mezieres. Good to meet you both today." Her gaze lifts as she pushes her sunglasses back onto her head, those wide brown eyes full of curiosity. "I confess you have me at a disadvantage about the topic of the day."

She returns that handshake with customary ladylike grace. Say what one will, she is neither weak nor limp-wristed. Nor is her English anything less than exquisitely precise with a definite trace of her recent time in the rarefied academic climes of Britain's finest.

"Right," Dr. Rooney says with a smile. "I'll get right to the point, Miss Mezieres." He takes a seat and folds his hands across the table, leaning forward as if his excitement is trying to get him to leap across the desk like Tom Cruise on Oprah. He is downright giddy.

"I have just secured funding from outside sources to study the effects of pharmaceuticals on DNA. Our goal is to unlock the potential of DNA adaptation in order to cure people from all sorts of disease. We aim to develop our program and hope to begin testing on animals in a few short weeks."

"After looking through dozens of student profiles, we came across yours. As one of our best and brightest here at NYU we wanted to offer you first. There would be a small stipend. The workload, however, may cause you to want to consider taking a lighter courseload this fall. I'm trying to get it through administration to see to it that this could also suffice as some field work for you so as not to put you behind for graduation."

"Weeks?" The shockwave of that goes roaring right through her. Vesper has no little interest in the effects of different compounds on the varied biological systems of the body. Tick, tick, tick goes her brain as it turns over the idea.

"This is very generous." Her manners do not cease nor fade. They remain as stubborn and kind as ever. "I see. The opportunity sounds like the very sort of thing I would be crazy to pass up. What kind of timeframe are you anticipating for trials and research? Is it all to be performed at the university or off-site in a lab? I think most of the equipment here is sufficient for many tasks." But one never knows.

"More of the former. I agree we have much of the equipment we need for successful experimentation. That being said if we feel as though we need to up the ante we can see about renting laboratory equipment or space from some of the higher tech laboratories. I am told that money is no question." Rooney sits back and smiles happily, "I am not sure if your plans are in academics or in the business field. Either way I think that this could be the trampoline to put your name forward as one of the great young minds in the world. It's a chance I hope you take."

Dangling a scientific opportunity in front of Vesper is a dangerous love affair she'd warn her best friends to think twice about. It will be all consuming, demanding, rewarding. With it goes exhaustion and faint smiles when asked where the hell you've been all those past hours and weeks. Anyone with an ounce of sense steers clear for a normal routine and a regular life. But Vesper will not be told. She chooses to take a risk and turn it into a celebration of discovery.

"I leave the finances to those better equipped than I. You can put my name forward, please. I do imagine my references from Cambridge will be adequate but they can be reached if more are required. My current work is ongoing or postponed? Once I see the outline of the project, I may be able to speak better to the time management."

Rooney looks almost hurt as if he is pained to tell her this information. "Postponed, unfortunately. I know how seriously you have taken your studies and your research." His voice picks up pace as if he can almost feel it might be something that causes her to turn him down. "But it's something that you certainly will come back to and, potentially, from a much better standing professionally that will give you more clout and funding in the future. This opportunity could actually help your current studies and do more good than you could without it."

It never really dawns on Vesper to even think her brother might upload her work into his network, run it through the computers, and give her the results. Time management indeed. Instead, she listens with appropriate gravity to the situation while finally perched in her seat. The chair doesn't much even creak. "I can see the benefits. As long as my advisors and the dean are satisfied, then of course. Make the arrangements that must be made, I suppose."

Rooney brightens immediately, "Excellent!" He even gives a little clap as he stands up, reaching across to shake her hand once more. "We shall start right away. Tomorrow even. I will show you your workspace and we shall get down to it. Oh this is absolutely fantastic and so exciting!"

He is far too excited for anyone's good. Rooney is a man of sunshine and energy to spare for the running of a small town for the next month. His enthusiasm infects her with one of those polite Gallic smiles and a look to the other fellow who has remained quiet, standoffish in his fashion. Then back to the doctor. "I am happy to participate in such a worthy endeavour."

See, she's not exactly English. She hasn't the stiff upper lip. Only the good knowledge not to prance around like the doe she resembles, some days.

"Mr. Collins here and I have to go through some details, but you and I will catch up right away in the morning. Thank you very much for coming, Vesper," Rooney replies. Collins, meanwhile, doesn't seem to even register to the acknowledgement. He smashes the butt of his cigarette out into the ashtray atop the filing cabinet and reaches for another cigarette.

"Excellent." Taking this to be her dismissal, the young woman looks briefly to Collins for confirmation he needs anything. If he intends to say nothing, then she gets to her feet unchecked. Her hands slide down over her sides to pull her garments straight. Not that anything was really out of place, but precautions prove necessary. "Thank you again for this opportunity. I shall do my best with it. Is there anything else you would like?"

"Just for you to have a fantastic day and enjoy that sunshine out there," Rooney says with a clap of his hands. If he did a twist-dance right now it might not be surprising. He pulls out a file folder and smiles faintly at Collins, who again, says nothing.

Vesper does not hesitate to back her way out of the office. Unlike the French Court of Versailles she is not about bowing and never showing her betters her back. Quelle surprise! Imagining her state of being in the Sun King's court is possibly an amusement she's considered over coffee or a bubble bath. The Sun King and his sun court indeed. Would she have been the mascot, imprisoned for imperling his majesty or welded to the royal throne in some fashion?

Or another Madame Pompadour. Or Athenais. It all turned out spectacularly wild for even the French.

Doors shut behind her, she nods to the secretary again. "Thank you. Is there anything else you needed of me?"

"No, I don't think so, sweetie. Thank you very much for stopping by! I think either I or Dr. Rooney will give you a call before your first day if we need anything. Thank you so much."

Out in front of Vesper the long dark hallway leading to the gleaming outdoors.

Back inside the room, Rooney deflates in happiness as if he just finished a great meal, or perhaps had a great night of love. Give the man a cigarette.

"Do you think she can crack the codes?" Collins asks quietly.

"I sure hope so. She is rather talented."

"I hope so. It could really help Emmett."

"God, I hope so."

The hallway provides no reason to really wear the sunglasses so they stay perched on Vesper%<u2019>s head. Already she mentally ticks down the list of tasks awaiting her to wrap up her findings, the work that has yet to produce a quality result for any scientific journal. A few crash courses documenting her findings and her questions, the work to be done, all that waits lie ahead of her. She walks without a cigarette, wrapped up in her thoughts.

The transition from cold shadow to hot sunlight through a window is a physical shock. She doesn't smoke but sue her. She could probably use the equivalent. A chocolate croissant, an eclair maybe.

Once more into open air, though a look is spared for anyone who stands out and smells off.

Out on the stoop sits the man from before. Apparently he spent the entire time here smoking. As the door opens, he doesn't even so much as look up at her, at least not right away. He's fiddling with something on his pack of cigarettes, lost in thought maybe. Just another hobo, to be sure.

Hobos in NYU… not so common. For one, there's no train. Nor is there a king hobo anywhere to instruct the lesser hobos and tramps in their camp to stamp and… let's not finish that statement.

"Pardon me," the inestimable Gallic introduction, "but do you require any help?"

"Help?" A mischievous grin grows across the vagrant's face. "Nah, chere. Dun need no help, non. Jus' waitin' for a friend of mine t'get outta class." The way his voice changes. Becomes smoother. Flattens out. It could be found to be disconcerting. "Whass yo'name, chere?"

How does the world shift a little on its axis, separated by a degree from the place that was? She who walks in may not be the same woman who comes out. Quantum theory holds all kinds of nascent philosophical ideas on the promise of possibility, and if the universe really splits every time someone chooses one path over another. French of any kind, bastardised Creole or Merovingian Gallic, greets the ears. For all her life - known, anyways - she's lived in the cradle of the Francophonie.

"«Vesper Mezieres»." French comes to the lips as a native made. Though not born. "«Ah, then please forgive me for interrupting you. I had the impression you might be lost. Please don't think me rude for asking.»"

«It's no thing, cherie. We're all kind of lost anyways, aren't we?» the man says back with a bit of a grin. Out flicks the cigarette and it hits the opposite step with a soft thud. «The pleasure is over here, Vesper. Hope you do enjoy your day.»

"I know exactly where I am," Vesper replies with the ease of someone adopting their native language in a foreign country. "Perhaps it's a stroke of luck on my part. But I know where I am, and hopefully you do as well. Sooner or later, your feet will find the path you seek." She pulls down her sunglasses onto her nose rather than end up blinded by the golden light shining down through the cloudless sky. "And who are you, since you were so kind to ask my name?"

"Do you now?" Remy says, his grin growing wider against his thick cajun accent. "Ain't be too worried bout findin' my way chere. Always do end up headin' where I be meanin. You can call me Etienne, if you fixin' for de name."

The answer isn't so far off the wisdom heard elsewhere. It has less of a fortune cookie taste to it, but she can appreciate it. Vesper smartly nods. "Isn't that the way of the world?" Still in French, she rolls her shoulders back. "Enchanted, Etienne. I hope your friend comes along before you have to wait too long. It's bound to be a rather hot and sticky day."

"Well, hot an sticky never bothered ole Etienne either. Some prefer it that way, specially down on de Bayou, chere." Remy's long fingers reach into his pocket to pull out his soft-pack of cigarettes. A small flick changes what looks like an empty pack to one with a few smokes left. One even slides out just for him and he grabs it with his teeth. "Hopin' you enjoy de day. Sticky or othawise."

"That's good. It would be a disappointment if someone did not enjoy it. The wait in those conditions without any signs of fulfillment might be a cruel punishment, though." She tucks down the collar of her shirt to leave the knot of the kerchief under her hair visible, and the better in hopes she won't melt under the weight of the weather. Though heat isn't really the problem so much as the sweat. New York summers have a way of wringing out every last drop of moisture. "You're the first Louisianan I have met here. Is there some secret haven they all hide in?"

Remy takes a deep drag from his cigarette and watches her from behind those giant sunglasses. "Heaven hate t'be disappointed. Nuff t'make ya lose yo religion, chere." He raises his eyebrow and shakes his head, "Not dat ah done seen, non." There was Bella. His ex-wife. She's dead now. That's a different plot.

No hidden enclave of the lost children of the dissolved empire? No doubt the next step is establishing a fresh court, bringing out the cognac and bourbon, some crayfish (crawfish!) and practicing smartly saluting to an image of a long lost monarch. Maybe that idea needs to sit on the back burner. "You strike me as a man who has a very complicated relationship with religion. Or seeing things satisfied." A bold statement out of her, but the blade of her wits isn't dull; she rarely draws it. Or perhaps it's the other way around, the disuse lacks an edge. One way or another, she turns and flashes a smile. "I won't bother you any more this day. Be you well."

Remy waits until she turns to leave and gives her a little distance before he calls out to her. "Have you know I satisfy things all by mahself!" he exclaims. "Sometime it even be better that way." The smile on his face fades almost as soon as he's done speaking. The cigarette is quickly smashed against the steps and discarded of very quickly as he moves way too quickly around the corner, disappearing between buildings, and heading somewhere rather quickly.

She's not one to linger too long in the sunshine, but given the situation a recalculation is in order. Time to go bask on the lawn somewhere. It might dispel the feathery pang of something nebulous, nameless, dancing around her veins.

Better than pondering if she can dance around on the moon.

|ROLL| Vesper +rolls 1d20 for: 18

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