1964-08-01 - What Happened in St. Louis
Summary: A telling of what happened at the librarian convention in St. Louis.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
rosemarie lindon 

One month ago, at a convention for librarians in St. Louis…

Lindon is bright-eyed and flushed. There are so many luminaries in the field to be found here in the convention hall, walking around like normal people! Using his height to his advantage, he looks around the sea of faces. "Rosemarie," he says, "there's Wilfred Vann. He invented the Vann binding technique, oh my gosh, he's here!"

Rosemarie bites at the scar on her lip in nervous excitement as her eyes follow Lindon's attention and, indeed — there's the man himself. Her shoulder bumps into her coworker's arm as she rises onto her toes, still shyly given how she holds her clasped hands against her chest.

"Oh w-wow, it is!" Her voice is soft and squeaks slightly. The color in her cheeks is inevitable beneath her freckles and just like her friend, she's a veritable kid in a candy shop here at the convention. "I c-can't believe we found someone on the g-g-guest list." She glances at the brochure held in one of her hands. "Should w-we see if we c-can find anyone else? Or d-d-do you want to attend a l-lecture? We're t-technically here to learn, n-n-not follow the stars," she adds, laughing quietly.

Lindon juggles the papers and pamphlets he has in his hands, all related to the convention. Producing the lecture schedule, he consults it, flipping the pages way faster than the average person could read the thing. "There's a few that might interest us," he says. "Mr. Vann is going to present a lecture on his technique. There's one on the future of the Dewey Decimal system. Ha, there's one on cataloging on computers." He sounds dubious about this. That would be one big and expensive computer.

Rosemarie's cinnamon-brown eyes shift from her rectangle pamphlet to the papers in his hands. Absolutely, they're flicked through too fast to read, but she smiles to herself nonethless. She accepted not long ago that there was something…different about Lindon — and it doesn't bother her, whatever it is. It's a genius on a level she can appreciate. She hums to herself while scanning what she can see of the schedule, brows knitting lightly.

"I've heard about the computers. I thought I even overheard Mrs. Ketch speaking with one of the representatives from a company who makes them. Do you think we should attend that one?" She bumps into him again to avoid being plowed over by a group of chattering librarians from another branch in-state. "Oops, sorry!"

"I'd like to go scoff at the idea," Lindon says. He may be a shy fellow outside his wheelhouse, but this is library sciences, man. He's ruthless. Steadying her with a hand, he says, "It's all right." He frowns at the press of bodies around them. "This place is filling up. Let's go find that lecture." He shuffles his way toward one of the sets of doors, using his body as a shield for the smaller Rosemarie. "I think I see a way out." It's getting a little chaotic in here.

"I'll follow you," Rosemarie replies as she slips into his shadow. It is fun, in a way, seeing this more assertive side of her friend emerge, and she tags along like the freckled duckling she is within Lindon's wake. There's something about his walk and carriage that seems to part the crowds here at the convention.

Absolutely ruthless. Shark-like in expression. Who would have guessed such a core existed in the normally meek librarian?

They escape out into one of the smaller sidehalls, not nearly as busy, and she sighs, tucking a loose strand of hair back from her face. Her bun remains mostly intact. "Is this the right hall then? Hall D?"

This is Lindon's territory, his waters to swim in. "I don't know," he admits once they're in the side hallway, and he glances at the schedule again. "Not for the computer lecture. I'm not seeing anything in Hall D." He looks up. "But there's a lecture," he says. At least there claims to be. A piece of paper tacked to the wall beside the door claims that, in about five minutes, there will be a lecture here titled Esoterica.

Lindon looks at the sign, looks to Rosemarie. He glances back out into the main hall and doesn't seem enthusiastic about going back out there. "This one must have just been added to the schedule."

The brunette walks over to the door and attempts to peer through the narrow window. It's not a very full audience, but…the title of the lecture has her intrigued.

"It must have been just added, yes," she replies softly, walking back over to Lindon. "Is there any description in the list at all? I mean, there might not be, but…it sounds interesting, Lindon." Her brown eyes rise to his face. "Exciting, maybe…? This one instead of computers?"

Lindon shakes his head and says, "There's nothing about it in the schedule." He smiles at Rosemarie and says, "Let's do this one. I like the esoteric. I'm curious to see what they've got to say about it." He opens the door for Rosemarie.

Inside, the people attending are an interesting lot. There are some dressed in older fashions, which isn't so unusual, but a few attendees' sense of 'older' harkens back to the 1920s. Not that Lindon would notice such a thing. Men's suits haven't changed a lot, and women's clothing is some foreign thing his mind can't wrap itself around.

The air in the auditorium is cooler than the hallway and Rosemarie's thankful for it. After the crush of the main hall and even the closeness of the sidehall, she's ready to sit in the semi-darkness for a while. The various clothings worn by the rest of the audience does catch her interest and she raises her eyebrows; her first thoughts are kept to herself.

"Over here," she whispers, beckoning to Lindon even as she steps into an entirely empty row. Middling seats it is and she settles in, ducking to lift the strap of her courier purse over her head. It leans against her legs as she glances over at him. "I wonder why people are dressed as they are…?" Her voice is still kept barely above a breath, making it necessary for her to lean in towards him.

Lindon looks at the other people, then gives Rosemarie a blank look. That middle-aged lady's dress right out of the 1940s has nothing to do with books, so he just shakes his head and shrugs. He leans toward her in turn and whispers, "I wonder if it's part of some presentation." The other attendees wait patiently. Close observation might note pensive faces. Some of them look at the newcomers.

One man in a tab collar that went out of fashion in the late 30s gets up and makes his way to the door. Just then, a man breezes in with a briefcase, his stride confident enough to cause the other man to step back. The door closes, and the lecturer makes his way to the front of the room. "Good morning, if you're here for Esoterica, you're in the right place."

"Like the audience is involved some — "

Rosemarie pauses in her questioning reply and perks up at the sudden appearance of the lecturer himself, briefcase and all. Feeling just a little like side-talking is now inappropriate, she centers herself in her chair again.

"He seems l-like he means b-b-business," she very quickly whispers to Lindon before falling silent again.

"He definitely seems to know his stuff," Lindon says, "whether he actually does or not…" The man in his tab collar looks at the lecturer, who looks back, and he slinks back to his seat.

Then the lecturer regards the audience, and he smiles at Lindon and Rosemarie. "It looks like we've got two new faces. Hello, I'm Professor Allen Brandine. Today, we're going to talk about the Archive."

Rosemarie immediately flushes deeply beneath her freckles at being addressed by the lecturer. The man is well-spoken, jaunty in a way, well-dressed in his suit, and she even does a very goofy little wave of her fingers back. The "Thanks" spoken back is barely audible, more a sigh than anything else.

"I wonder what an Archive is?" She only has eyes for the man at the podium — there's something so attractive about intelligence. Any reaction on Lindon's part, at least at first, is entirely lost to her.

Lindon stares at the lecturer. He sits up slowly, and some of the color drains from his face. "Maybe we should find that computer lecture," Lindon says quietly.

The lecturer offers Rosemarie a winning smile. "The Archive is a concept, a revolution. The sum of human knowledge in one evolving, everchanging vessel. This, ladies and gentlemen, is about as esoteric as it gets."

He opens his briefcase. Lindon tenses. The man brings out a handful of notes. "Now, let's start at the beginning…" As he starts to discuss the theories of some ancient mystics about the preservation of knowledge, Lindon tugs on Rosemarie's sleeve and whispers, "We should go."

Rosemarie is all about this preservation of knowledge, especially if the lecturer keeps doing his gesturing with his hands. It's so graceful somehow and the lilt of his voice is near-mesmerizing. Is that an accent…?

The tug on her sleeve breaks her concentration and she looks to it before up to Lindon's face. Her momentary irritation melts at the realization that her friend looks honestly frightened.

"Oh, o-okay," she whispers back and collects her purse from the floor, sliding the strap back over her head. "Are y-you okay?" Her hand rests briefly on his arm in concern.

Lindon gets to his feet, and all awkwardness is his as he interrupts the lecture to say, "I'm sorry, we're in the wrong place. Sorry." He takes Rosemarie by the hand. "Let's go."

Professor Brandine frowns faintly. So disappointed. "Are you sure?" he asks. "We are talking about the sum of all human knowledge." Other attendees look at each other. Is… is that man leaving the lecture? Can he do that? Tab-collar looks at the pair of them then to the door with a sense of urgency.

"Y-Yes, sorry, w-w-we're sure," Rosemarie replies this time, attempting so very hard to convey a sense of apology in her expression even as her pulse begins to dance in sympathy for Lindon's discomfort. Keeping her grip in his, she attempts to follow him up the stairs and towards the door.

What's…tab-collar up to then? The Otherness in her blood perks at the man's interest in them, its presence summoned up by the increase of adrenaline in her body. The brunette's eyes begin to flood faintly gold about the centers and that devilish itch begins behind her ears.

When Tab-collar stands up, the lecturer tells him, "You can sit down." Which the man does, looking somewhat defeated. The lecturer then looks to Lindon and Rosemarie each in turn. Then, with a thin smile, he says, "I'm sure I'll be seeing you two later."

Lindon, at his social best, says, "Nope." He makes his way for the door, not letting go of Rosemarie, as if she might somehow get torn away from him. The door is heavy, too. He pulls and pulls..

The brunette winces slightly at the unyielding grip, but does brush it off as a panic on Lindon's part. Whatever could be bothering him so much? She hasn't seen him this frantic since Mrs. Ketch briefly spoke with him about dating her grown daughter — now that was a terribly amusing sight from her desk. Rosemarie remembers it fondly — and then forgets it nearly immediately as she looks back at the lecturer again.

"See us again?" She sounds…dreamy almost and her hold on his hand slackens noticeably.

"Urk!" Lindon reaches for Rosemarie's hand. Oh, no you don't, young lady. He puts his shoulder into the door, and slowly it starts to pry open.

The lecturer watches, his expression brightening. "Yes, we come around every once in awhile, looking for curious minds who like to explore the lesser known wonders in the universe." He gestures to the other attendees. Then he says, "Back to the Archive. If such a thing could be harnessed, it would be a boon to mankind. Imagine a library contained within one book, every word ever spoken, written, shared or discovered at one's fingertips."

Despite themselves, the attendees murmur with wonder. It does seem pretty wonderful, Rosemarie. Or maybe it's just the compelling way the lecturer says the words. His tone has the timbre of a patrician. He goes on to say how these ancient mystics passed on their learning regarding such a (potential) relic, of what it would take to create it. It's all magic mumbo jumbo, but his delivery makes it seem somehow accessible.

"Oh. Oh, y-y-yes, that sounds am-m-mazing," murmurs Rosemarie despite herself. There's something the cadence of the information presented — she wants to stay and listen more, to absorb all the information…attend all of Professor Brandine's lectures forever and ever and —

"Ow!" Her knuckles pinch together and she blinks a few times, looking over at Lindon and his efforts at the door. "What — oh!" Is the wooden panel that difficult to shift? It was effortless upon entry. Her mind boomerangs back to the actuality of the situation, to the fright still apparent on her friend's face, and then it's not only his shoulder. It's hers as well, both of their body weights leaning against the door.

The lecturer continues talking about the wonders of the Archive and what it could mean if it were properly harnessed. Lindon is not so enamored of the man. He is in a hurry to get out of there. With a final shove, the pair of them go toppling into the hallway.

The door thumps shut after emitting them, and right before their eyes, it fades into the wall. The paper tacked next to where it used to be comes unfixed and flutters, just a blank page when it hits the floor.

A high-pitched grunt from Rosemarie and whoosh — she stumbles out into the airy brightness of Sidehall D. Catching her balance, she wheels around in time to see the impossibility of a…vanishing door. And a page devoid of writing.

Her off-hued eyes go wide and turn even more gold. The Otherness draws up tall in her psyche, equally perturbed by what its host is seeing — or rather, not seeing.

"L-L-L-L — " The brunette has to swallow and try again. "L-Lindon. Wh-Wh-Wha — The d-d-door, it-it-it-it — " Her lips zip firmly shut as she then stares at him, heedless of her lightened irises. Still no crests, but those are awfully close to surfacing from behind her ears. The librarian clutches the strap crossing her body like a lifeline.

Lindon's eyes widen as the door fades into the wall. He startles back. Ah! Then he points at it with his tightly-clutched convention program, and says, "I did— I did not see that coming!"

Panting for breath he turns his startled gaze to Rosemarie. "Let's go." Out of this hall, now please. At least the crowd has died down since most people have split for lectures.

Rose stares for a little longer back, her attention shifting about his face, and realizes that she's not getting an immediate answer out of her friend. A quick nod, nearly spastic, and the brunette gets to making her way back to the main hall. Indeed, it's far less busy, and most people at their tables are eating lunches or, of course, reading books. Someone's knitting, the odd person out.

She makes her way farther into the broad space and then takes an abrupt right at the compass-point of the building. This section of the hall is sparse with demonstration tables and she's quick to find a swathe of unclaimed flooring, by a perfectly normal door labeled 'JANITOR'.

Taking a moment to itch behind one of her ears, she then tightly folds her arms and returns to this staring business at Lindon. "The d-d-d-d-door," she machine-guns at him, a bit pale beneath her freckles, her eyebrows fighting to climb higher up her forehead simply for the frightened frown.

Lindon worries his program until it's getting buckled around the edges. "I don't know," he says. Hands shaking, he says, "I need air. I don't think it's a good idea to join any lectures at this point anyway." Because interrupting academia and the embarrassment thereof is still a prominent anxiety. He starts toward the exit of the convention center, pausing for Rosemarie. "Let's get out of here."

Another nod on her part and side by side, they exit the building as a whole. The air outside is warm, touched by summer, and laden with the scent of food vendor stands and trucks that linger around the convention area. Rosemarie immediately heads for the shade, not wanting the glare of the sun upon her right now, and it's beneath the greenery of a small tree planted in a cement island filled with soil. Someone strums a guitar softly nearby and it's blissful out here, the opposite of tinterhooks and esoteric lectures.

"The d-door d-d-disappeared, Lindon." His friend puts her fingers over her mouth and closes her eyes, scrunching them tightly shut. Her hands drop. "I saw that…didn't I?" When they open, her irises are no less golden than before.

There is a bench in that patch of green, and Lindon gestures to it as he takes a seat on one end. He's getting some color back, and the startled look he had earlier has dimmed. Pitching his voice so it doesn't carry far, he says, "Mystical shenanigans." Yes, he does use the word 'shenanigans' unironically.

"Look, I'm not sure how to put this," he says, "but the mystical arts are real and I think you just caught your first glimpse of it."

She sits down beside him, hands tightly folded in the bottom of her lengthy blouse. 'Shenanigans', the librarian mouths, her brows rising only briefly before knitting together again.

"Mystical…arts," Rosemarie then repeats. If her expression doesn't convey it well enough, she continues. "I d-d-don't understand."

Lindon shakes his head and says, "I don't either, not really." He looks around, people-watching as he speaks. It looks casual enough, but this is also how he monitors the volume of the conversation, so it's handy! "I know it's real. I've seen it done, like we just did now." Keeping his voice calm calms him. "There are those with knowledge of the mystical arts who can use, um, for lack of a better word, magic."

Rosemarie sits up taller again, the action in time with the perk of the Otherness. Her fingers fold tighter into her clothing, knotting it in her lap. Lindon is probably getting a bit tired of being stared at, but at least, for a little while, the blatant look is accompanied by the mild hanging of her jaw.

"M-M-M-Magic," she hesitantly echoes. "I, uh…" A faint laugh is covered by a hand and she then clears her throat. "L-Lindon, m-m-magic." A beat and then third time's the charm, with a heavy lacing of plaitive disbelief in it, as if she doesn't want to have to consider accepting its existance. "…magic?"

Lindon bows his head and says, "I know, I know, it sounds weird even as I'm saying it." He rubs at the bridge of his nose, then sighs. It really does sound ridiculous. "At least the nature of magic remains something that's largely unknown," he says, trying to make this all better somehow. "It could be science so advanced most of us don't understand it."

Science. She can do science…she guesses.

"I…d-d-don't understand, b-but that's okay." Rosemarie glances around them, more nervous habit than anything else, before looking back to her friend. Her eyes are nearly cinnamon-brown again, the Otherness and its influence fading back into hibernation. "Lindon, what w-were they t-talking about? An Archive? W-Why is that…scary?" She can't find a better word, it seems, to describe the reaction he had to the lecture's focus.

Lindon studies Rosemarie, maybe unaware of the Otherness consciously but his mind whispers absurdities on the edge of awareness, often more confusing than enlightening.

He finally glances aside at a couple walking by not too far away. He watches them pass, silent until they're aways away. He does some quick mental math. Rosemarie has only just learned of the mystical. Just how much does he want to put upon her? "I know what it is," he says quietly, "and there are plenty of bad men who would do everything they could to get their hands on it."

"Oh." Rosemarie's attention is all for her lap at the moment. Her discomfort is palpable, down to the subtle rise of her shoulders. "So it's…a source of knowledge. A weapon?" Loose hairs tickle her cheek and she threads them away behind her ear again as she glances back at Lindon.

Lindon grimaces. "A weapon?" He shakes his head. "Nah, not like a gun or anything. But it could let you research guns. Every gun ever, and you could take all that knowledge and use it to build an ideal gun, the best in human history even, and that… yeah, I guess that's a weapon." His brow knits. He never thought about himself like that before.

Still. it's a lot to put on Rosemarie, so he tells her, "Don't worry about it. It's safe. I just got unnerves that that guy was talking about it. I think he might be looking for it."

"Y-You w-w-were…very c-concerned, Lindon. I h-hope he d-d-doesn't either, if th-that's the c-case," Rosemarie replies quietly. "Knowledge is p-power and p-p-power is…scary at times." This coming from the one attempting to court a certain fallen Archangel. She rubs at her own forearm momentarily before seeming to force the sigh and the relaxation into her posture. Long practice in self-calming has panned out well for her, it seems.

"No m-more lectures t-today, I th-think. W-Want to go g-get some f-f-food?" She attempts a small smile and succeeds, a sweet and encouraging expression.

"Power is…" Lindon shivers a little. Something he knows he has because he has the knowledge, and what that lecturer might've done if he could've permeated the Archive's mind like he did his audience… "It's dangerous," Lindon says to Rosemarie.

Then he smiles, an awkward thing in it how strident it is. "Yes. Food." He gets to his feet. "I'd like to leave here and find something to eat. Let's just enjoy the weather. They won't miss us."

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