Capable Hands


remi3_icon.gif caspian_icon.gif

Scene Title Capable Hands
Synopsis Remi hires Caspian to do the electrical work on the Novelle Vue.
Date April 23, 2019

Bay Ridge Pier - Novelle Vue

It’s a rather beautiful day out today, in the 70’s and without a cloud in the blue sky. A rather perfect day, really, for the kind of work that most gathered here at the pier and on the Novelle Vue are here for. It’s a busy day, with men carrying lumber into the skeleton of the theater that is estimated to be completed by July, the sounds of general construction lancing through the quiet of New York Bay.

With all of the plans in place, Caspian Dussault has been called in to go over said plans; the man comes highly recommended by many sources, and after much debate among a few other choices, she’s decided to hire him to do the wiring for what Richard Ray has dubbed as the “New Broadway”.

The fairer member of the pair responsible for this project is standing atop the upper deck that leads to the bridge. Taking advantage of the weather and the fact that she doesn’t live in a flooded world with a ruined atmosphere, Remi wears a pair of rather short shorts and a slightly loose t-shirt bearing a Raytech logo; her hair is up in a messy bun, and a pair of oversized sunglasses block the sun. As per the foreman’s rules, a white hard hat rests atop her head.

Waiting for her appointment with the electrician, the redhead is passing the time by surveying the work done. The bones of the first floor are nearly complete, with another floor and an upper deck to come. In one hand, the woman holds a glass of bourbon, condensation collecting on the outside and catching the sunlight as she occasionally lifts it for the tiniest of sips.

If her ability never comes back, Remi might become a functioning alcoholic.

With the marketplace install wrapping up, Caspian has found time to start taking on new jobs. His address is well known and is passed around, so work, when he needs it, is fairly easy to get. Not that the work is easy, of course - it just means that there’s opportunity coming from all sides. With the seeming success of the Market solar array, requests for residences and businesses all seeking their own backup power sources are flooding in. Several are discounted almost immediately - mostly requests for power to run a building from something that’s too small to even hold the array or charity work. He needs to at least pay for the equipment. Despite being in the aftermath of a war, Caspian is well and truly middle class. A successful businessman with a service that’s in demand, It’s in the midst of the sorting that he comes across something interesting - a boat, that will be a theater, looking for a complete install of theater wiring and enough juice to handle it all. The little things are passed off to the later pile and a few hours are put into doing an initial plan before reaching out through various sources to get in contact with the person in charge of the Novelle Vue.

An appointment is made for the afternoon of April 23rd and, after his daily rounds and inspections are done, his battered van pulls up into the parking space alongside the dock where all the work is going on. Most of the construction workers - or at least the foreman - recognize him from around town, since he’s given a good chunk of men work on the marketplace, and he’s allowed into the ship proper with a folder stuffed full of papers beneath his arm and a graffitied hard hat perched on his head to keep his brain safe from falling debris.

Dressed in work boots, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up past the elbow, Caspian looks like he belongs in a place like this. Dusty ray-bans are perched on the bridge of his nose to help cut down the glare, and as he makes his way through the ship to the spot that he’s supposed to meet this mysterious theater patron, he takes notes of things like potential locations for batteries, routes for cables, locations for solar panels, and the like. Finally, pulling himself to the top deck near the bridge, Caspian is greeted by a stunning view of the bay off the stern, the theater under construction, and a very short pair of shorts.

“Miss…um…?” Caspian looks at his notes - he never got a name, glossing that over entirely. “I’m Caspian Dussault? You contacted me about…well…” He gestures to the ship. “All of this?”

As the man approaches, Remi is briefly caught unawares, lost in thought as her gaze wanders off toward the view of the Manhattan Dead Zone off in the distance. It’s really quite a stunning view — one must wonder how lovely it was back when the city was still in tact and functional. She stiffens very briefly, before turning to peer at Caspian.

The sunglasses conceal most of her initial appraising look, eyes traveling from Caspian’s head to his feet and back up again. An added bonus, she’s sure, of hiring the guy seems to be that the view will be enjoyable.

“Amelie Laurent.” The redhead flashes a bright smile, shifting her bourbon glass to her left hand as she offers her right out to Caspian for a brief business handshake. “Thank you for coming out, I’ve heard a large amount of praise for your work.” She pauses, glancing out over the workers as they swarm about the deck.

Then, she flashes another smile to the man, her hand lifting to push the sunglasses up atop her head. “If you’ll come this way, Mr. Dussault, I have the plans inside,” she murmurs, before turning to lead the way through a door into the interior of the ship. “This is a pretty unique project, I’m sure. The entire ship is pretty much a generator, but I’d also like other sources of power that might be less costly than the fuel it takes to power the Novelle Vue.” She’s certainly right to business.

“I can imagine, Miss Laurent.” Caspain’s hand comes out to shake hers, his grip firm. His hand is clean, but stained with various hues of spray paint, possibly from parts of his job that require color coding and just haven’t been able to get scrubbed entirely out. “Generators do work really well, but they cost a lot more in the long run than the sun. With an initial outlay, you can get enough power to run this place and only kick on the generators when there’s a big show to be had for spotlights or something like that.” Or they could go all out and power the whole thing off of solar, with the generators there to push the final thing over the edge if necessary, but that’s neither here nor there.

A quick motion pulls his glasses off, tucking them into his breast pocket as he follows her into the depths of the ship that’s already in the middle of reconstruction. Bulkheads are stripped bare, wires hanging out of panels that need to be doctored, and walls and signage beg for updates and a new coat of paint. “Were you wanting me to rewire the entire ship, or just your theater?” he asks as they walk, stepping aside to let a workman with a welding torch and bottles scurry to where he’s working next. “I can do it, but it’ll take a little longer than I estimated.”

“Just the theater, but I need it to be able to run on alternate sources while also being able to pull from the ship’s power if needed.” she replies as she leads him into a conference room of sorts, with a long window overlooking the waters of New York Bay. On the table, there is a jungle of papers for those who need them — ship blueprints, construction plans, blueprints for the theater itself. “My main goal is to keep the costs of powering this thing as low as possible, and if you think your work van guzzles gas…” She pauses by the window, the ice tinking against the glass that still has amber liquid within, looking out over the bay.

Then, smiling, she turns and settles into a cushy looking chair, gesturing for Caspian to join her as she fishes out the proper plans. “The main goal here is to be able to run this place no matter what the status of the Safe Zone’s grid.” She leans back in her chair, allowing Caspian to peruse the plans and blueprints at his leisure.

“We have a working goal of July — is that a realistic expectation?” She raises her brows a bit, taking a small sip of the amber liquid before setting it on the table.

“If you had asked for the ship to be outfitted fully by July, yers, that’d be a little much to throw against the wall. Sure, I could probably swing it, but the overtime alone would probably run into enough to completely retrofit the ship. Just the theater? Shouldn’t be too much of a problem.” Caspian circles around the table to the blueprints of the theater, turning it to look at the finished approximation, then flipping a few pages in to see what, exactly, they have in store for this ship. And as he reads, his eyebrows lift, another page is turned, and he looks over at where she stands. “You’re requesting a lot here. I mean…” Caspian taps the plans. “This’ll be around fifteen miles of wiring, a dozen apprentices…breakers everywhere to keep surges from cooking portions of wiring. It’s a lot of work…”

He looks up with a grin. “Looks like fun. Got a copy of the blueprints I can have so I can make an estimate?”

A spare copy of said blueprints is plucked from a pile of paper, deftly rolled up; a rubber band is pulled out next, and then the rolled up design is offered to Caspian. “It’s why I called you, anyhow. You’re one of the most recommended electricians in town.” She flashes a charming smile, lifting her glass once more and taking a small sip.

She certainly won’t mind having this one around, in any case. He’s certainly easy on the eyes.

“I need my theater to work. Electrical issues can kill a production. Lighting is so important, and in a larger theater like this, sound will also be important. I can’t have the lights or sound go out in the middle of a big play.” She peers up at Caspian, taking a moment to let her eyes visibly wander, before they return to the man’s face. “I’m putting myself into a lot of debt by making this thing, so I can’t afford setbacks. I need it done right.” She raises her brows.

“Glad to hear you’re up for the challenge.” She stands, then, momentarily in Caspian’s bubble space, before slipping past him over to the bourbon set. “Drink?”

Caspian lifts a hand, shaking his head in the negative. “No thank you, Miss Laurent. I've still got to drive home after this, and the roads are bad enough without a belly full of what smells like good brandy to work through.” The blueprints, though, are taken with a smile and a salute using the blueprints for the motion.

“Getting your theater to work won't be an issue. Getting the things to make it work by the deadline will take some doing and maybe a little scavenging.” The blueprints are tucked into his bag that's slung over his shoulder, the man looking out the cleaner bow window. New things are hard to get, but if she doesn't mind a few repurposed boxes, he can certainly get it done. “I'm not saying scavenged, cobbled together stuff, of course, but things like conduit that is hard to get. Anything out of sight will be done right, but might have been in a skyscraper first. Nothing wrong with alternate sources of course. If you're putting out as much cash as it appears - and it looks like you are - I'll try and keep it as inexpensive as I can.”

He looks at the plans on the table again, flipping to the middle of the bundle. “Do you already have audio and stage lights lined up? Rigging? Or do you just need the power routed to the right places and your stage techs will take care of the rest?” He looks up again at her, scanning her from head to toe before looking down again to read, his mouth moving as he does some back of the napkin computations. “Twenty-one spotlights? And stage lights on top of it, too? That's going to take a lot of juice.”

Caspian grins. It's not going to be as hard as Red Hook, but it's going to be up there.”

“I haven’t gotten stage techs set up just yet, but I have a few interviews lined up over the next week or two,” she replies, pouring herself a few fingers more of the bourbon and scooping a few cubes of ice from the bucket and into her glass. This is lifted, and she quietly takes a sip as she peers out of the window.

She then turns, smiling up at the man. “Well, I trust that you can do it, and do it well.” She tips her head in his direction. “You’re taking care of the blood of the theater, and it’s been pointed out that this is the new Broadway. No pressure.” She offers a wink and a charming smile, taking another, more obvious, look at him.

“Yeah, no pressure there at all.” Caspian responds with a smirk, leaning against the table with the blueprints sticking out of his backpack, crossing his feet at the ankles in a very comfortable position. “I’ll see if anyone has come up with anything from Broadway that’s not completely destroyed or unrepairable. Get you a marquee or something to light up when you’re ready to put on a show to get some attention to really cap it off.” It’d take a lot of work to get it done, of course, since most of the signs have been used for cover, scavenged, shot, or otherwise destroyed, but there might be one or two out there that can be repurposed for the ship.

Patting the blueprints, he looks out the window, letting her look at him and, yes, taking a look at her from time to time. “It’ll take a few days for me to get estimates up - do you have a budget number in mind, because I can go crazy and spec this thing 100% and find that it’s blown your budget or start with a number plus or minus ten percent and see what I can swing. Whatever it is, though, know it’ll be done correctly and up to pre-war codes, so you won’t have short circuits or meltdowns in the middle of “Hello, Dolly.”

“Anything that can add to the theater atmosphere would be a great help,” she replies, lifting her glass and taking another sip. Perhaps she already is a functioning alcoholic, at this point. She never used to drink this much — not that Caspian has any frame of reference to tell as much. “I’ve been slowly collecting decor. Chandeliers, paintings, furniture…anything else I can find that will add to the atmosphere would be very much appreciated.”

She smiles to the man, shaking her head. “This is a no expenses spared kind of deal. Just charge me fairly and we will be good friends.” For a moment, her accent seems different, but she manages to pull it back into Northern California before it falters too much. “I look forward to seeing you around here in the coming months.” In more ways than one, but that’s best left unsaid.

Caspian lifts a brow at the comment of ‘no expense spared.’ That’s something you hear about coming from fabulously wealthy folks, or folks who have backers of some kind, or just people who know what they want. “I’ll be fair, don’t you worry.” Caspian says, and when he says it, he means it. Over the next few months Remi will be inundated by paperwork; receipts mostly, showing where payment goes, what for and where. And thanks to the war, the Mob doesn’t have its fingers in things as much anymore, and even if they did, Caspian is the sort to not care so much. After all, he’s giving those guys solar panels, too.

Glancing at the unrolled plans, Caspian looks back over to Remi. “I’ve already got a few things in mind, as far as decoration goes. There’s a place up north in Brooklyn that might still be around. It’s where all the old signs went to get recycled when the big electric boards went up a few years before everything went bad. The good ones, they kept, There might be one or two that I could persuade them to give up for a little bit of barter.” Imagining the boat with a broadway marquee, going down the river, would be a sight to see.

“With the amount of work this is going to take, you’re going to be sick of me. July?” A few pages are flipped, some mental math going on again. “You got a show planned on the fourth? If not…might be a good way to open the old girl up.”

Oh, she likes this one. She’s coming to understand why he comes so highly recommended — it’s pretty clear from first impressions that he’s the type to throw himself into his work with a passion. An admirable quality — and one that is hopefully sure to lead to success for the man. Couple that with a generally friendly personality, and she has hopes that this one will do well in the world.

She chuckles. “I’ll leave that in your capable hands. There might be multiple places for signs, too,” she murmurs. One hand lifts, pointing out the window to where the pier meets the land. “An “entry” sign, so to say,” then she gestures in the general direction of the pier, “And one on the boat itself, of course.” She turns back to Caspian, smiling.

“My Fair Lady,” she replies, lifting her glass and taking another sip. “I’ll be putting up casting calls pretty soon, and I just signed a lease on a small practice space to use during construction. Can’t have a finished theater just sitting there while we rehearse.” She chuckles, and after another sip of bourbon, places the glass down along with the rest of the whiskey set. “I’m hoping to make opening night into something big.”

He makes a soft sound at classic Broadway making a comeback. “My only request? As part of the compensation I get for this , the Eric Doyle Children’s museum gets a show they can come to every run. Early on a Saturday or something. It would give the parents and kids of the safe zone somewhere to go and just forget where they are for a while. Just let them come and watch whatever show is running for no charge, with popcorn or something. Hell, or just run a movie. I'm not saying pack the house, but it's give the community a place to dream, every once in a while.” It's a good idea - making the theater more of a community thing and gets the floating boat a name as a friendly spot, which drives business.

A big opening night? That's something Caspian can help with, surely. If she wants. “I can introduce you to a few people on the Council, the chief of police, some Yamagato people, stuff like that.” He says, moving to look out the window of the bridge, where the skeleton of the theater is already being tacked together with bright sparks and glowing rivets. “Get some names for the opening night and you'll be printing money.”

That is actually quite a good request — from a business standpoint, something like Caspian has suggested is a sound strategy. It makes the theater look good and charitable, and it gives back to the community. One can almost see the gears turning. “That’s a good suggestion,” she points out, turning to peer up at the man, leaning against the counter that the bourbon set rests on. “I was/ planning on putting in a screen and a projector. Perhaps a semi-monthly family movie time,” she adds, grinning.

“Any help you can offer is always welcome. I’m in this to succeed, after all,” she replies, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. “We’ve already got the backing of Raytech — they’re partially responsible for any of this even happening. I’m sure people will want in on this project, I think the Safe Zone has been without a source of good, mostly family-friendly entertainment for far too long.”

She wouldn’t actually know, having only been in this world for a bit over three months, but Caspian doesn’t know that.

“Yeah, no kidding. There’s a reason disney DVD’s and cooking shows are such big sellers in the market.” People, after the hell of the war, wanted comfort, and watching cooking shows and children’s movies were the thing that they went to. You build a place where people could pretend like the world outside is like the world before the war, there would be lines around the block to get in.

He shuffles his messenger bag back across his chest, cinching the straps to make sure it’s tight, the blueprints sticking up past his shoulder like a Samurai’s sword. “Thanks for your consideration on this, Miss Laurent. I’m sure that we’ll get it up and running just in time for Hello, Dolly to wow the city once again. Not to mention new plays, too. Are Tony awards still a thing?” He waves a hand. “Ah well.” This is followed by a smile. “Anything else we need to discuss before I get to it?”

“Well, if they aren’t still a thing, I’m sure we’ll have to revive them,” Remi says of the mention of the Tony awards, chuckling softly as she peers over the man once more. She’ll probably be enjoying the view over the coming months, but that’s not much of his concern unless he starts noticing her looking.

“I don’t think there’s anything else to be discussed, no,” she replies, pushing off of the counter. “I should probably leave you to your planning. The boat is open, so feel free to come and go as you will — though try not to make too much noise if you come by at night, I sleep in the Captain’s quarters.” She winks.

Caspian chuckles softly, reaching for a bottle of water to hide his blush a little and to keep from coughing at the innuendo, tucking it away after a moment. He’s not used to being flirted with on the jobsite like this. “Ah, well…in that case, I’ll be quiet if have to come by after hours, I promise. I’ll just need to be sure to warn you before I head over in the evening so you’re not walking around underdressed or something.” He reaches into the small pocket of his pack and rummages, pulling out a simply printed business card, leaving it on the table, before moving over to where Remi stands, offering his hand for her to shake. “Thank you very much for your time, Miss Laurent. If you need to get a hold of me, I have a number that works most of the time. You know how it is around here, after all.”

The woman takes the offered hand and gives it a firm shake, making eye contact and smiling to Caspian. “Thank you, mister Dussault — I look forward to seeing what you can do.” Remi offers a charming smile to the man as she tucks the offered business card into a back pocket — she’ll file that away when she gets to the office downstairs.

The flirting doesn’t get any more traction — Remi may be thirsty, but she’s not going to be too unprofessional about it. Even though in another life, she almost definitely would have pursued the man. “In any case, I’m sure you have plenty of planning to do.” She makes sure the bourbon set is nicely laid out, leaving her own glass with it, and moves toward the door — unless Caspian has anything else he’d like to address.

It’s not that the flirting isn’t getting traction - it is - but after having his previous girlfriend blown up, return from the dead and then leave for Africa, and his most recent girlfriend killed in a gangland slaying, it’s kind of bouncing off the shields, as it were. “No, that’s it. Thank you, Miss Laurent.” With a smile and a salute, Caspian heads off into the ship to do some initial research on where things are to be run.

If only Remi had her ability to find out such things — but alas, she doesn’t. The woman smiles faintly, dipping her head in Caspian’s direction as he turns to leave. “Thank you.” With that, she turns back to her liquor set — it’s late enough in the day that she can certainly stand to drink some more without too much worry.

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