Routine Stigma


goodman_icon.gif maria_icon.gif

Scene Title Routine Stigma
Synopsis Different Day, Same Routine. At least in some respects.
Date February 12, 2009

Biomere Research, Inc

"Good Morning Miss Delgado!"

It's the same routine every morning; Check in with security, get her pass-card authenticated, move into the labs. There's a rythm to it that is usually uninterrupted, as much as the click of shoes on tile floor serves as a meteronome to this rythm, a measure by which the pace of the day is set. With work-days that typically are longer than Maria Delgado get to sleep, it's a welcome stability.

"Good Morning Maria!"

Past security and to the elevators, Maria ascends to the fifteenth floor where active research projects are managed. Most of the workers here at Biomere are friendly people, but with a company that has as many employees as Biomere does, there's always bound to be a new face here and there, someone that hasn't been seen or heard from, a familiar face in the halls without a voice attached to it.

"Miss Delgado?"

That voice, is one of them. Rich and smooth, with a confident assurance behind it. The voice and the man who projects it ambushes Maria in the hall not long after she's moved off of the elevator, and by the quick glance given in his direction, there's a bit of a surprise to discover who it is. Most people in Biomere know of Roger Goodman, the public face of the company in print and digital media, the proverbial voice of technological and biological progress in the 21st century. Few people in Biomere, however, know Roger personally.

"Do you have a minute?"

For Maria Delgado, that is about to change.

She had arrived at the building where she works in the usual unusual way, collecting a copy of the Times and a cup of coffee along the way, enjoying the view of Columbia's campus as she passed over it, keeping to the speed limit in a sort of whimsy. As far as she knows there's no speed limit for what she does, but while over public streets she stays within it just the same. Partly also because while she's got no trouble at all being seen airborne, she keeps to herself just how fast she can be if needed.

Inside and through the building she goes, returning the greetings she receives with smiles and her own good mornings. Into the elevator, waiting out the brief ride, and stepping off of it to encounter him.

She stops, takes a moment to compose herself for making the best impression, and adopts a position very similar to the parade rest she used often enough in her days as a naval officer. "Mr. Goodman," she answers. "Yes, I do."

Roger offers a bit of a smile, taking a few steps up towards Maria and past her, heading back towards the elevators. "I'm actually headed down to see Professor Long, but if you don't mind doing a little backtracking — " He presses the call button and turns slowly, casting his eyes over his shoulder towards th researcher. "I've been wanting to touch base with you for a while now. Public Relations isn't just about external relations, after all. It's good to have," a thoughtful sound slips out from him, "good internal cohesion." With a ding, "Going down?"

"I am now," she answers, as he summons the elevator and it opens. Maria steps into the elevator car, curious as to what this is about. "It's interesting to meet you, sir," she offers calmly enough. This is, for her, somewhat like her Navy days when she'd be at work and an admiral would happen by. Except the admirals were seldom there for anything good. It was usually about wanting her to lean on a late or underperforming contractor.

And in her view, adjusted to Biomere terms, Mr. Goodman is an admiral.

Stepping into the elevator, pressing a button labeled B4, Roger casts his eyes towards Maria as she slips in and the doors slide shut. "It must be difficult for you, here." His expression shifts to something more thoughtful, brows furrowing together as his eyes drift to the flood, hands folding behind his back. "You're one of only a handful of Evolved researchers here, and given the current political climate… well, I know people are looking everywhere for a finger to point and blame to be delivered."

Shifting his weight to one foot more than another as he talks, Roger turns to face Maria a bit more directly. "How has everyone been treating you here since you started? We do have to look out for our own, after all."

"I've been treated well, sir," Maria replies, looking up at him. Very up, given she's five feet three inches tall in flat shoes. "I arrive at work in the mornings, am met with smiles and good mornings. I've not hidden what I am, what I do. I touch down outside the building every workday at eight thirty and make my way up to the lab." Inside the elevator, while speaking and being spoken to, she's in that military position again. Feet eighteen inches apart, hands clasped together behind her back, facing him with a minimum of movement.

"It's outside that some people act oddly. But I have to hope that by seeing it, and coming to accept it as normal, even the worst of bigots will ease off someday. I get warned of dangers being seen what I do, of course, and I do have contingency plans if hostile actions take place."

"We shouldn't have to hide what we are, Miss Delgado. You're very right." Now there's an open conversational door to open. "Every one of us that does, is only furthering the suspicion and confusion about who and what we are." His head inclines towards her ever so slightly, "You have a unique gift, and there is no reason why you shouldn't have all of the opportunity in the world to persue it at your leisure. Though," His head begins to learn back, "you must be able to see why people like ourselves are viewed with apprehension?" One dark brow raises.

"Our world has changed, and in historical terms it may as well have been over night. Suddenly fears went from your neighbor being a child molestor, to being a walking nuclear bomb. It's a terrifying possibility, that any one of us could suddenly manifest a power that we are not able to control, and greatly hurt othrs with it." His eyes wander down from her to the floor, "I, personally, wish there were opportunities such as registration when I first discovered what I could do. Young people and adults in this age, they have opportunities I — and perhaps you — did not."

"I would far rather, sir," Maria replies, "that registration didn't exist, truthfully. Prior to the Linderman Act, the only people treated in that manner were sex offenders, and by the law's nature, it assigns us stigma of the same level. It should be a personal choice, whether to be public or not. I believe persons with powers that are dangerous won't simply explode without warning, just the same as persons with severe mental illnesses leave a trail by which they can be discovered and gotten into treatment well before they take lives."

"But I'm also used to being a minority. Intolerance exists, I suffered examples of it before I fell off that mountain just after graduation. You, sadly, may have suffered something of the same. We can't hide our ethnic origins, we wear them proudly come what may. Flying is the same. It's as much part of me as having olive mocha skin."

"We're feared, because we're different. And many of us react to that fear by hiding who they are. I fly openly, because I won't let fear rule my life."

One dark brow raises as Roger gives Maria a long and thoughtful look, "I think you have your correlations incorrect, Miss Delgado. You're correct that sexual offenders were forced to register, but that is because of the danger they posed to society as a whole. Peple like yourself, without a dangerous ability, aren't made public at all. Their records are kept private. It's those of us who have the capability to cause undue harm that truly need to be kept in check. We don't allow people to wak the streets with a handgun on their hip because it poses a public safety hazard. The same can be said for somene with the ability to create bioelectrical energy."

"We're not feared because we're different, that is ignorant. It's the easy answer. We're feared because we're powerful." Goodman's voice lowers a touch, hands clapsed behind his back flexing sightly. "We're feared because examples have been made of the bad lot of us, the untrustworthy who are ruled by their abilities — not the other way around. Too many times, I've heard people like us decry the national order and proclaim that they would rather not register, that they would wish to keep their abilities a secret." His head shakes sightly, "That is what got us where we are today. You know as well as I do, we didn't emerge overnight after the bomb…" The elevator slows, then finally comes to a lurching halt as the doors roll open. Roger is quick to slip through the elevator doors as they open, though he keeps one hand resting on them as he looks back to Maria.

"If I may make a recommendation, Miss Delgado." The smile on Roger's face wanes slightly, "Your light tan and upbringing in rural Virginia may not exactly be comparable to my childhood in Chicago." His head tilts to the side, "And what people fear about your ability…" Dark eyes track up frm the floor to Maria, "They have far more reason to fear in mine. Consider the people you're talking to, next time you decide to climb up on to a moral high-ground and preach about stigma," His hand moves away from the doors, "and what you believe people with dangerous powers are won't to do or not do."

Roger's hands tuck into the pockets of his pants, and from his posture and the way the conversation turned so sour from Maria's clashing opinions with his, it's clear he's inviting her to stay in the elevator. "Have a good day at work, Miss Delgado. It was enlightening to have this conversation, I appreciate your time."

"Sir," she replies, "we don't agree. You asked a question, and it would be ill-fitting of me to tell you what I thought you wanted to hear, rather than what I actually believe. The expression of honest opinions is the cornerstone of democracy. The other cornerstone is using the process properly. The law is the law, those disagreeing strongly enough are perfectly free to communicate that with the Congress. Those who disobey must accept the price of that disobedience."

"I regret offending you by seeming to preach, and I won't pretend I know your experiences, sir. I can only say we're both minorities, and fear exists in the world, which is likely to have touched us both to some degree."

"The idea of racial minorities, is a bygone era Miss Delgado." Roger's lips crok into a hesitant smile, "And as far as genetic minorities, well, Charles Darwin would presume there will be a time when we'll be on the other end of that spectrum." Someone from and upper floor must have pressed a call button, as the elevator chimes with the up arrow illuminated. "No offense done, today, Miss Delgado."

As the doors close, Roger watches the woman quietly for a time, "Have a good day, Miss Delgado. It has, indeed, been enlightening." When the doors roll shut and the elevator begins to be drawn up, Roger withdraws a slim cell phone frm the pocket his hand was in. He presses a speed-dial button, pacing away from the door with his head leaning more towards the phone than not.

"I just finished speaking with Miss Delgado." There's a pause in his stride, followed by a slow shake of his head. "No, I don't think so. I'll keep my ear to the ground, but I do not feel comfortable further pursuing her integration." A pause comes, followed by another nod as Roger looks down the empty corridor. "Yes, Miss Dalton. I'll keep you informed."


February 12th: Cross
Previously in this storyline…
Cat and Mouse

Next in this storyline…
So That's Where You Are!

February 12th: Carousel Horses
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