The Best Lunch Date


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Scene Title The Best Lunch Date
Synopsis Richard Ray and Robyn Quinn meet up on a whim. Much is discussed, and several plans made.
Date March 4, 2018

Red Hook Market

The Red Hook Market resides within the gutted shell of Textile Factory 17, a turn-of-the-century mill building that once served as the headquarters of New York's FRONTLINE civil defense organization. Miraculously, the building survived the civil war largely unscathed except for the total collateral loss of its electronics to the EMP that ravaged Manhattan. When the building was reclaimed by Gilbert Tucker in late 2015, it was remodeled with the intention of turning it into a central community hub for the entirety of the Safe Zone. Today, the multiple above-ground buildings serve as meeting halls, council chambers, offices, and storage rooms for the Safe Zone Cooperative. The basement levels, a labyrinthine maze of brick corridors, vaulted storage spaces, and small nooks, have become the sprawling home of the Red Hook Market, an open-air bazaar with free admittance to every Safe Zone resident. The market features pop-up vendor stalls, a single bar called the Red Hook Tavern, and food vendor stalls. Be sure to visit Eleanor, who has the best coffee in the safe zone at the corner in the main square.

It was just a spur of the moment thought to send a text over, but it resulted in plans for lunch with a mutual collector of… certain things. There's a series of tables outside a sandwich stall someone's set up in the Red Hook Market, and Richard Ray's settled in at one of those beneath a broad umbrella, dressed more casually than last they met. He's wearing new jeans, a nice t-shirt, and above all that a battered-to-hell flight jacket, the collar turned up against the chill of late winter. A sandwich is set out on unwrapped foil beside him, and he's sipping coke through a straw as he relaxes and people-watches, waiting to be joined by a certain Agent.

Robyn doesn't really know casual anymore - not unless she's out drinking. So, as she makes her way towards the stall Richard has picked out for lunch, she's easy to pick out of the crowd - all black, just like before, with that band pulled over her eye. Curiously, she carries in her arms a wood crate of some sort, and as she approaches, he can see what sits inside - vinyl.

Because of course.

"Hello, Richard," she offers with a smile and an incline of her head as she walks up to the table. A foot is hooked around the leg of a chair, pulling it out so that she can sit down and set aside her crate. "Glad you called when you did." She chuckles. "Was headed to the other side of town."

"Robyn, good to see you… and shit, you didn't need to change your plans for me," Richard lightly protests, both brows lifting as he straightens up, sweeping his free hand in her direction, "I didn't mean for you to drop anything just for lunch."

Of course, since she's here…

He cranes his neck a bit to peer at the box with interest, "What've you got here, though?"

"It's fine." Sliding the box under the table, she chuckles "I would've been out here today. At some point." She leans back in her seat, chuckling. "Better now, honestly. Can check the market for anything else." She says this with a motion down to the crate. "I take… records to WSZR. Every week." A smile creeps across her face, a fond one. "I know the DJ. Figured I'd so it in person this time."

A glance is give down to the box. "Let It Be. Bad Reputation single. Tori Amos, From The Choirgirl Hotel. Stars, Set Yourself On Fire. Nine Inch Nails, The Fragile. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever To Tell. Blondie, Parallel Lanes." She pauses, before looking back up at him. "Robyn Quinn, Glass Wonderland. Only a few vinyl made. Thought they might appreciate a few."

There's a self deprecating laugh as she picks up a menu to look at. "More than that, but those are the best."

"Jolene…?" Richard's brows raise slightly at the mention of the DJ at that particular station, having heard - and recognized - her voice over the radio of course, "How's she been doing, assuming that's the DJ you're talking about…?"

Then he's pushing up a bit to crane his neck and look into the box, even as she lists off the vinyls in the box. Whistling softly at the names, "Shit, I didn't realize they made so many vinyls of— oh-ho. Glass Wonderland?" He grins over, "So you did finish an album. Nice."

Robyn purses her lips. None of these are things she wants to dwell on. She doesn't regret bringing it up though. "You should ask her yourself. Not my story." She says this with sympathy in her voice - she doesn't feel it's her place to say. "Haven't seen her in years. Seemed like a good time." She offers a weak smile, nodding. "Early 2011. Only a few copies on vinyl…" She glances down at the crate. "I brought three. Would you like one?" She taps her foot against the table. "I still collect records. I keep a turntable in my office."

Ray flickers a sidelong look to Robyn, his lips pursing. Well. That doesn't sound like things are going well for his ex-assistant. "…guess I'll have to," he murmurs, and he picks up one of the copies of Glass Wonderland. "I'd love one, actually. I mean, I've only got one song by you, I need more for a fair judgement."

A bit of a grin as he sets it down, and then settles back in his chair, "I've got a turntable, mostly— well, for listening to the few records I've got."

"Be careful," Robyn says, motioning to the vinyl. "There's only nine left." A collectors item, really. "You should check out the market. Always interesting selections." She sits up a bit straighter, looking thoughtful. "Had to rebuild my collection. It's… been fun." And costly. But she can afford it. After a moment, her smile starts to fade a bit, and her head cants slightly to the side. "What brings you out, Richard? Can't be music." She chuckles. "If it is, I won't argue."

"I can't sit around in my corporate compound all day," Richard replies in wry tones, reaching over to pick up half of his sandwich and motioning with it a bit, "I'd go fucking crazy… I wasn't born to that sort of thing, can't handle it twenty-four seven. Sometimes I've got to get out, see the people, get a feel on the pulse of the land, you know."

A chuckle, then, "Well, I didn't expect you to have a crate of music, but I'm not complaining. Got any more Robyn Quinn specials hidden away somewhere?"

Robyn doesn't actually much like talking about her music, but it seems to be coming up more and more lately. It was inevitable, as she started to find herself reconnecting to forgotten friends. Still, she sits back a bit, eyeing the vinyl Richard has pulled out. "I have a vault," she admits. "Of sorts, at least. Stuff that never got to see the light of day. Never will." She drums her fingers once in rhythm across the table. "An old friend saved it. Really lucked out."

Sitting up a bit, she smirks. "I tend to stay in my office as much as I can. You get used to it." Which is the honest to god truth. "It is nice to get out, though. Work is life, but…" She looks up from the menu at him, offering a small shrug. "Maybe I should follow your lead. Particularly these days."

"Pity." Richard is silent a moment as he takes a bite of his sandwich, chewing while nodding to her words, and then he swallows and washes it down with a sip of soda. Tilting his head in her direction he notes, "Can't let yourself be too isolated. You start getting crazy thoughts, and take it from me…" Wry, "I know what happens when those crazy thoughts get too much."

The Institute happens, for instance.

"How's life with SESA, anyway? Never pegged you for government work."

"Used to think that," Robyn remarks, setting down the menu. "Used to hate being in offices all day." She gives a small shrug. "I don't know. It keeps me fromdwelling too much on other things. A trade off." She taps a finger on her lip, eye looking up towards the sky for a moment. "But I do get out occasionally. Usually to bars. Or on assignments.:

Like Wolfhound, for instance. Though that had the opposite effect - she was even more cooped up than usual lately.

"It's satisfying," is an honest answer, though she does look off to the side as she gives it. "Got an offer after I testified." She tilts her head back slightly, looking thoughtful. "Last night, I saw somone at the bar I went to that I hadn't seen in years. Surprised I went to SESA too." Her hands are placed on the table, and she smiles. "Told him we can't all be librarians, or soldiers, or consulars, or whatever else people are doing. Some of us find ways to keep fighting. Doing right." Making sure this doesn't happen again.

"To be fair," she offers back, smiling, "Never pegged you for corporate work."

"Touche," Richard chuckles under his breath, setting the soda down and leaning back in the chair with a wry expression, "Like you said, though… some of us find ways to keep fighting. To work for a brighter future. Like the motto says on the flyer, anyway."

He shakes his head, "Killed enough futures in my time. Figured I'd try my hand at building one."

Robyn squares her gaze with Richard's for a moment, her smile smoothing out into something a bit more genuine. Leaning over in her chair, she reaches down to her purse, digging around for a moment before pulls out a small flask. Eye flicking to Richard's drink, she tilts it forward slightly, cap still on - offering some if he wants it.

"I can drink to that," she says with a shallow nod. "Not sure if it conflicts, but… If there's anything I can ever do." Ask. "Doubt you've need of money, but." She has that, if she can ever make a donation. "A noble aspiration," she append, smile turning into a grin. "We need them these days."

The offer brings a grin to Richard's lips, and he pries off the top of his drink before offering it out towards her in wordless acceptance.

"Same, same," he admits, "I know you've got your hands a little more tightly tied than mine, what with working for the proverbial Man, but I appreciate the offer."

With a shrug, he adds, "Nothing noble about it. I want a better world for my kids to grow up in."

She screws the top of her flask in, pouring just enough to be noticable into his drink - they aren't here to drink, after all. But a toast never hurt anyone. "Lots of eyes on me," she admits. "But, it'll be fine." She stops though, regarding Richard with a visible bit of surprise. "Kids. Congratulations," she remarks, though not without a hint of a forlorn tone in her voice. "Just makes it nobler."

She gives a shallow nod. "Made sure a lot of kids were safe, before and after the war. Still do. So I can respect that more than anything." With that, she raises her flask. "To a better future."

The cup is upraised in an easy toast, and Richard flashes her a smile. "To a better future," he allows, taking a sip of the spiked soda then, his gaze hooding slightly.

"And, mm, yeah. I've tried to keep it quiet," he admits, "You know, obvious reasons. It was just before that November." He doesn't need to say which November. Anyone who lived through it knows what that November was.

"Huh!" Robyn takes a long swig from her flask - One, two, three quick gulps, before screwing the cap back on and slipping it back into her purse. "Congratulations," she repeats, folding her hands into her lap. "If you need a babysitter, and I'm in town…" A small shrug, and she cants her head to the side. "More of a relief than you might think." Maybe because they aren't her kids, but still.

That November. Of course. "I have decided,' she says with a serious tone in her voice, "Every November, I leave the country. Quebec, probably." She wants to smile, to be amused, but she can't quite muster it. "It's cursed. Glad something made it through unscathed though."

At that offer, Richard grins. "I'll keep it in mind… they don't live with me, but I get to see them enough," he confesses, taking another sip from his cup.

Then he snorts, "Don't blame you. It seems to've quieted down once we closed the— I mean, once everything happened that day, at least." Whatever he almost slipped on, he quickly carries on, "So what do you do at SESA, anyway?"

Robyn quirks her eyebrow, but doesn't question - they all have something from that day, and from what she knows Richard is no different. Best not to pry, outside of the questioning and curious look she gives him.

"Just a regular Agent," she answers, spreading her hands. "Like to think I specialise in events that involve kids and such, but…" She rolls her shoulders. "I do whatever I'm put on." She bites at her bottom lip, before looking up at Richard again. "Which I suppose is part of why I am their Wolfhound liaison now." That part is said low, and with no details offered. "Hence, all eyes." It all comes back around, after all. "It's good work. Hard, but… like I said, satisfying. Poltical, but I get to help."

"Wolfhound, eh? Well, Hana's good people, generally," Richard admits with a shrug of one shoulder, "So it could be worse. Hell, I think one of their teams is almost entirely comprised of people who used to take orders from me…"

A hint of rue in the curve of his smile, "You'll probably see more of them than I do."

Then he digs into his sandwich again.

"Oh, Richard." There's a humour and a cadance to her words that almsot feels uncharactaristic, a rueful smile spreading across Robyn's face as well. "If only it were that simple. Having to oversee a team full of people you almost died with, among other complication…" She shrugs. "It is what it is." Richard may or may not know some of the finer details. She's not supplying them.

"I would tell them to say hello if I could." She wants to say more - that she trusts Hana. That she doesn't trust the situation. "How are things on your end? I know only some of what Raytech does. I know it's good work, but…"

"Ah. Yeah, I can see where that might get…" Richard pauses, "…awkward. Especially if there's politics." He breathes out a chuckle, "I've always tried to avoid those if I can, but sometimes it's inevitable."

Then he motions with his free hand, "Oh, pretty well. Wolfhound's usually carrying around our combat prototypes, we sell patents to Yamagato, and we're working on infrastructure improvements. We've done a lot with solar, we're looking into maybe hydroponics for the Safe Zone. Some medical… stuff, too." He's not being evasive, he's just really not a scientist.

"Stuff," Robyn repeats, smirking. "You sound like me. Friends used to babble at me. Scientific and stuff. Never really learned much of it." A small laugh escapes her lips. "Amazing I knew production work well as I did. As for politics…" A deep breath, and she quirk an eyebrow - this time making sure it's the visible one. "It's what I signed up for. As people keep reminding me." A world she's not used to, but. Here she is.

"It'll get better with time. The assignment." She leans her chin against her hand. "No one is happy about the situation. They'll get used to it." They have to, and so does she. "Sounds like a lot to help a place like this." She nods and smirks. "Suppose I'll get to see some prototypes up close now."

"You might've already seen the AEGIS armor, I know SESA's one of our customers there," Richard allows easily, "And the X-LRADs… the Banshees…" He pauses, gaze drifting across the other tables as he admits quietly, "I used to call it a 'Harrison Gun'."

A shake of his head, and he flashes her a smile quickly again, "Wolfhound gets a lot of the crazy shit that Warren cooks up in his basement before it hits full production, though."

Harrison Gun. Robyn only met Elisabeth Harrison a few times, but she knows the story of her fate well - how could she not, since it involves one of her best friends and more? She closes her eye. "Haven't used one. Seen them, though." She tilts her head slightly, smiling. "Seems appropriate," she remarks in a hushed, reverent tone.

Lifting her chin from hand, she grins. "Warren? Your… head scientist person? Chief? Well. Can't wait to see what he brings us next. I know nothing about tech, but… still interesting."

"My brother," says Richard in wry tones, "And yeah, he's our head… technologist, I suppose. The man's brilliant with machines, his ability makes it completely intuitive for him. Completely fucking crazy. Married Elle Bishop, if you ever met her."

He grins back, "Still, he's my brother, and he's made us a hell of a lot of money."

"Elle Bishop." The name rolls of Robyn's tongue in a neutral tone, lifting her chin from her palm. "Believe she electrocuted me, once." Before a response can be offered, Robyn raises a hand and shakes her head. "Years ago. Glad she's doing well." And, hopefully, is more stable minded. If they're both crazy, well. Who was Robyn to judge.

"Your brother though. And Kaylee, too? A family business?" She smiles at that. "You're lucky, to have such capable family, Richard. I'm jealous. I had no idea, it makes Raytech's success that much… neater?" A shrug.

A soft chuckle escapes her mouth. "One of these days, we should make a chart. Who do we both know?" She taps a finger against her nose. "Between the two of us, might have the city covered." She's joking, of course - she's more than realised they both ran in the same circles. They've talked about this before, after all.

"The three of us and Valerie," Richard admits with an easy tip of his head, "And it's— well, it's weird even still. I grew up with nobody, and now I've got an embarrassment of siblings and in-laws and all…"

He chuckles as well, "We probably do. You ran deeper with the boatmen than I did, and I dealt more with… well, other groups."

"Another sister?" Robyn assesses Richard for a moment, before smirking. "Is she cute?" A joking question of course - she rarely makes those kinds of jokes anymore, but it seemed like a good moment. She takes a deep breath, sitting up in her seat. "Mm. Deep. Deep friends, deep work. Deep cuts." She turns her scarred cheek towards Richard to emphasis that last point. "Wouldn't change any of it."

"Yeah. I've got my scars too, but…" Richard leans back a bit in the chair, and he offers a faint but honest smile, "Like me and a friend were saying the other day. It might not be utopia yet, but we have to start somewhere. We could've done worse."

He knows well. He's seen some of those futures.

"And I mean, I'm not one to judge," he chuckles, "You'd have to meet her yourself."

"I-" Robyn chuckles, shaking her head. "Maybe at some point. Need to see Kaylee anyway." That is one regrettable thing she hasn't been able to get around to yet. "I would enjoy it. I…" She stops short of saying she doesn't have many friends, waving a hand back and forth dismissively.

"It's not, but…" She glances down at her purse, considering another toast - and decides against it. She shouldn't finish her flask before she eats. "With people like us? Someday, maybe."

"Someday," Richard echoes, a hint of wistfulness to his smile, "We'll have the world that the innocents in it deserve… but, anyway. You should come over for dinner sometime, then, visit my sisters. You probably won't see Warren, he spends most of his time in Detroit…"

A chuckle, "But if you know Kay, I'm sure she'd love to see you again."

Robyn looks a bit taken back at the offer for dinner, her eye widening slightly. Response after response plays out in her head, and it's only after a moment or two that she realises it probably looks like she staring. She gives him a sheepish look, looking down at the table. "That sounds wonderful," she admits after a moment. I would love to."

Her eye flicks over to the vinyl. "Maybe I'll bring some more music with me. Shame my collection was lost." She taps a finger on the table, looking wistful. "Sometimes, I wonder. How did some of my old haunts fare?"

If Richard meant anything by that dinner invitation other than to be friendly and offer a reunion with an old friend from the Ferry, he doesn't show it. But he does have a good poker face. There's a brow's raise as she stares at him, questioning, and then she answers and he chuckles. "Well, let me know…"

The other brow joins the first, then, at the later words, "Your collection was lost? What happened to it?"

"That November." Succinct, to the point. "I assume." She takes a deep breath, that wistful look not fading. "Lived at the Village Renaissance with…" her lips quirk side to side, "my fiance. Pretty sure it burned." She gives a small shrug. "Never went back, nut… considering how things went… It's a shame, but so it goes."

She taps a finger on the table, offering a small smile. "Life moves on. Rebuilding it now. It's been fun."

"The Verb?" Richard looks thoughtful, "Chesterfield had that place pretty decked out and reinforced… wouldn't surprise me if it were still standing."

He leans back in the chair, musing as he brings the straw back to his lips, "I could probably get clearance to send in a team…"

Oh no, he's getting ideas.

Robyn purses her lip, regarding Richard with curiosity. "Always assumed it'd be gone by now. Manhattan and all that." She sits up a bit straight, leaning forward a bit closer. "Outside the Safe Zone? Hmm." She looks thoughtful for a moment. "Salvage teams," she offers after a moment. "Not that… I think the Verb is worth the effort. But…" She chuckles, grinning. "A new business venture?"

She could always talk to someone at SESA, see who has those contracts, if it's a Yamagato exclusive deal. "You should consider it."

"I mean, I'm saying saying that I have a Hazardous Area Team…" Richard leans in as well, a grin tugging up at the corner of his lips, "…but I do for just such occasions. I'm sure we could wrangle access for a day to salvage the Verb."

"Just a matter of filling out the right paperwork." And between corporate contacts and SESA, surely they could get the paperwork filled out.

"Were I in a position to oversee," Robyn says with a laugh, "I could see about getting it fast tracked." She folds her arms, leaning back in her seat with a widening smile on her face. "My free time is mine, though." As in, she would love to. She let go of the Verb a long time ago, but this sounds like an adventure, and Robyn Quinn is always one for a thrill, regardless of how inscrutable she tries to appear.

"Let's make it happen," she offers. "Would be to SESA's benefit. Look into illegal scavengers too." She doesn't even bother to ask whatever Richard may have a Hazardous Area Team for - she is very clearly all in.

"Let's," Richard grins, "We should be able to go in well-equipped enough that any scavengers and criminals will give us a wide berth, and… well, I'm sure all the rumors about the place are just that."

He's not sure about that. But he's been dreadfully curious about them, and, well, two birds, one stone…

"I'll send in a query about the paperwork."

"Magnifique!" The way Robyn smacks the table after that exclamation is likely the most emotion Richard has seen her show, in general much less during this conversation. "When you have a date, let me know." Threading some loose hair out of her vision, she grins. "Live in Rochester most of the time, but," she spreads her hands. "Obviously I come back. Office is still here." Her main one, at least.

She lets out a sound of contentment, settling back into her seat. "Best lunch date in years."

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