What You Signed Up For


nicole_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title What You Signed Up For
Synopsis Nicole stops by to offer Robyn some advice.
Date February 27, 2018

Fort Jay: Robyn's Office

Fort Jay is a coastal star fort and former Army post located on Governors Island in New York Harbor. Fort Jay itself is the oldest defensive structure on the island, and was named for John Jay, a member of the Federalist Party, New York governor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of State, and one of the "founding fathers" of the United States. It was built in 1794 to defend Upper New York Bay, but has served other purposes. From 1806 to 1904 it was named Fort Columbus, presumably for explorer Christopher Columbus. The National Park Service administered Fort Jay together with Castle Williams as the Governors Island National Monument until 2015, when it was repurposed to once again service official government operations in the wake of the civil war. Fort Jay is now the home of the New York branch of the SLC-Expressive Services Agency, or SESA.

Robyn Quinn has been a phantom in the halls of Fort Jay as of late. The majority of the month of February has been spent not in the New York Safe Zone, but instead out of the city - in Rochester. With Wolfhound. Her assignment hasn't circulated to the entire office left, resulting in notes, voicemails, and all sorts of other things waiting for her whenever she does return to her office in the SESA-NY headquarters.

Today was no different. Numerous people mill about the halls, many of them giving her a second glace as she she made her way to her office with a stack of folders under her arm. She hadn't been planning on being in Fort Jay for too long - she was due to return to Rochester tonight, and neither the flights nor the drive are terribly pleasant. When she'd arrived at her door to her office, it had had three post it notes, with two others notes slid under the door - mostly folks looking for lunch meetings, or wondering if she was okay.

The answer to that question was uncertain, at best.

Still, she's thrown herself into her work today, working on February reports and assessments for the Wolfhound assignment. She was drawing them out - there wasn't a terrible amount to talk about yet, if she was being honest. But the office is the only real place she wants to be tonight. With her turntable in Rochester, however, the hours seem to run torturously slow.

Not that she's paying attention to the time anyway. Just the folders on her desk and the computer screen in front of her.

There comes a soft knock at Robyn's door just before it pushes open. Nicole Varlane knows she should wait to hear if she's allowed entry, but she frankly doesn't care. And she's smart enough to wait at the door instead of heading straight inside and seeing something she isn't meant to see.

As much as she'd like to.

There's a pink box in her hands, cardboard with a cellophane window at the top. "Brought you some crullers," Nicole offers with a pleasant smile, almost shy. "I thought you might need a snack. Some sugar for your blood." Nicole knows what it's like to lock herself up in her office most of the day, and what that does to her.

The knock on her door reluctantly draws Robyn's attention upwards, but door opening earns a furrow of her brow. There were few people who would do that to her, but the sight of Nicole answers that question. She purses her lips, sliding papers back into the folders - though she doesn't otherwise take her attention off the computer screen.

"Nicole Varlane."

The last name is said with distinction - not a rude sound, but a distinction none the less. Even still today, Robyn is still getting used to this, her visible eye flicking up to look towards Nicole. It was a little strange, she had known Nicole longer now than any other Varlane she had met. And still somehow, It's only just starting to get less weird to say. "Something happening?" There might be just a bit of sarcasm slipping into that - usually if Nicole there's a chance she's going to be left with her stomach in knots afterward.

The crullers, though, that eases any tension that may have been in the room. "Oh!" She's surprised, but she did miss breakfast, so this will do nicely. "Been talking to Cooper?" Her love of crullers wasn't a secret, but it rarely came up often. "Thanks you," she replies, reaching in to take one.

"I might have asked what you'd like," Nicole admits, setting the box on Robyn's desk along with a small stack of napkins. "Nothing's happening on my end. I came to see how you're holding up." The smile she gives the younger woman is sympathetic. "The Wolves can be kind of… intense at times."

Moreso than their Ferry days, if Nicole is any judge.

Robyn regards Nicole with a wary look for a moment, before turning back to her computer - and the cruller. "No idea what's happening," she admits. minimizing the window on her computer and then sliding back a bit. "Would require anyone to talk to me." Which is as much her faukt as anyone else's - she has been reluctant to engage most of the Hounds so far, for one reason or another.

"They're tight knit. Not surprised," after all so, were all the folks in the Ferry, "but it's impenetrable." A finger taps against her jaw, a frown settling on her face. "It's hard. Always being 'on'."

"It is," Nicole responds, turning to half-sit, half-lean against the edge of Robyn's desk, politely ensuring her view of the woman's screen is obscured. She knows how this works.

"It's politics." A brief shrug, a tug of lips into a rueful smile. "This is what you signed up for. It sucks, doesn't it?" Nicole seems to thrive on it, but she's well aware it's not for everybody. It's not for most people. "Being professional doesn't always mean being a bitch, though." She's quick to add, "No offense. And not that you are."

Robyn turns her gaze to Nicole more directly, her eye settled on the woman. Theres a moment, before she closes it, and lets out a soft chuckle. "I know what I am." Maybe not to Nicole, and maybe not all the time, but she knows she has a bit of a reputation this days. Her casual approach to it makes her feelings on that particular topic a bit harder to read.

Finishing her cruller. she reaches for a napkin. "Thank you, " she reiterates. With that, she leans back in her chair, hands folded into her lap. "Politics," she repeats. "Didn't think of it that way." Her expression is thoughtful for a moment, eye flicking to her folders for a moment. "Wish I had. I would've asked for better advice." Better advice than how to handle her sister, among other things. As it turns out, that was the least of her worries.

Nicole cracks a grin. "They're all snakes, lesson one. So don't get bit." Her head tilts back, chin up as she looks down the length of her nose to Robyn's desk, as though she could see through the top and into what's in the drawers. "You still keep a flask in there?" There's a twinkle in her eyes, which are their normal shade of blue for a change.

"You can be friendly with people. The trick is to figure out where the balance is between friendly and familiar. I could have laughed with Sylvia Lockheart all day in a crowded room, but I wouldn't answer the door for her at 3am if she came to me with an urgent question." Not like she and Jenn Chesterfield had done for one another. Friendly versus familiar. "I loathed that woman."

Robyn, out of habit, quirks an eyebrow at Nicole question - not that Nicole can see it behind the black band that rests over her eye. "I upgraded," she remarks, her smile retreating a bit. "Decanter I bought at the Vault. Full of whiskey." She closes her eye. "In Rochester." She let's that sit for a moment, like that's that, before she reaches over to the draw an pulls it open, withdrawing a metallic flash lined with dyed violet fake leather. "Emergencies," she remarks, holding it up, and then setting it down on the table. A motion to it, an implicit go ahead, and then she looks up, her eye into Nicole's eyes.

"Lockheart was professional only," Robyn assumes. "No personal connection." She frowns a it, sitting up straighter in her seat. "Did I tell you? About the people in Wolfhound." She levels her gaze, all sense of humour fading from her expression. Of course Nicole knows about them, but- "It goes deeper than the Ferry or the war." She spreads her hands out. "Very personal. I have to be at my best, Nicole."

"But also my opposition," Nicole points out. There's a brilliant smile and a mouthed thank you when the flask is set out, which she takes and drinks from. Modestly. Her tongue darts to the corner of her mouth to catch a little of what's left over, rather than wiping it away with her thumb or the back of her hand.

The flask is set back down on the desktop and Nicole turns to look at Robyn full on, instead of over her shoulder. "I know. You and my sister had that mentorship thing going. And the ginger used to date you." Nicole knows the score. It's not like she and Colette never talk. And it's not like she picked up nothing from her time at Bannerman's Castle. There wasn't much to do at that time but absorb rumors. "Point is, you need to think of them as your opposition. Friendly rivalry. You're playing a game of… Battleship."

Nicole shrugs and pulls a little face like just roll with it, okay? "You can laugh and have a good time, but you're trying to sink each other, so you don't want to give anything away. You need to figure out what they're hiding, if anything, and they need to figure out what you're really there to do." Not that Robyn's mission is anything different than what it says on the tin.

"Fought alongside their logistics man. Escaped Bannerman with him," Robyn adds to Nicole's list. "Immense respect for their leader," that's two more. "And…" She closes her eyes and leans in what might usually be uncomfortably close between the two women. "One of them is my sort of daughter," is said real low, in the hopes anyone who may be listening can't hear. "That's the worst of it."

From there, though, she simply listens to Nicole, nodding occasionally, but otherwise remaining respectfully quiet. It has been made clear to me that I cannot laugh and have a good time." She leans back in her chair, looking thoughtful. "For the most part, this is fine." She takes a deep breath. "I'm new to this game. Still believe my insight is second to none." She raps her knuckles against my desk. "I have to not get eaten alive."

So, the conflict goes deeper than she thought. And she nods in complete understanding with regards to her sort of daughter being on the team. Nicole's been candid with Robyn about Ingrid's identity. "Shit," is all that can really be said to that.

Which calls for another drink. A sharp exhale follows, and this time she just kind of… holds on to the flask while she talks. Dark brows knit together, the inside of her lower lip is sucked between her teeth, and her jaw juts forward slightly while Nicole thinks about that information. Her conclusions spell nothing good.

"Well, that's sucks!" The presidential liaison chimes in a suddenly cheerful voice. The flask is set down next to her hip so she can reach across the desk for a pen. Uncapping it, she writes on the palm of her hand, then flashes it to Robyn, angled slightly downward:

Happy hour. 7:30.

Robyn watches her flask move in Nicole's hand, eyeing it like she wants some too. Her expletive is appropriate, thought. It sums up how Robyn has started to feel rather succinctly. Her follow up catches her off guard enough thought that her eye widens, sitting up a bit at the… suddenly cheery remark. She blinks, looking as Nicole palm is held up.

Her expression thins, and she opens her desk again. From inside, she draws an accordian strip of post it notes, and another pen. She begins writing on the front facing post it note, before abrupting flipping to the second, and continuing to write. She repeats this a few more times before, a grin forming on the scarred side of her face, she turns back to Nicole. Angling the posted down a bit, Nicole can see what it says:

"Thanks, But!
I hardly

And then, she relaxes her wrist, and several others fall down from it, and the whole message is revealed:

"Thanks, But! I hardly think… That a date is appropriate. <3 For real though, I have to head back to Rochester. I'll do what I can."

She stifles a laugh as she waits for Nicole's reaction, nodding afterwards.

Robyn's antics are met with a withering look. Nicole is unamused by the joke at her expense. The price for that is another pull from the flask, this one longer, with Nicole holding up one finger like one sec! as she gulps once, twice, three times. Then she sets the flask down with a thunk.

"I think you're in over your head," Nicole says candidly, pushing off the desk to stand so she can start heading for the door.

"Thank you for youe confidence," Robyn is quick to offer back, scooping up her flask. "I don't disagree," is said a bit quieter as Robyn tips back her flask. Just like Nicole, one, two, three gulps. "I always rise above," she asserts. "With the right push." She thinks this is true, at least. Everything she's been pushed into the last seven years, she was out of her depth. Everytime, she champed it.

This, she hoped, would be no different.

Maybe all of that is what Robyn needs to tell herself in order to stay sane on this assignment, but it rubs her the wrong way. Nicole stops at the door, her hand on the handle, and turns back.


Holding a beat, gaze fixed on Robyn with concern, Nicole shakes her head.

"Don't fuck this up."

Robyn matches Nicole's gaze, staring at her in the doorway for a few moments, before turning back to her computer. "The advice is appreciated," she notes, looking down at her posted notes. They're picked up, slid into her purse. "And I will continue to appreciate it," if you have more is the tacit implication.

"Thank you," is offered a bit quieter. "I'll find you later, Nicole."

"You know where I'll be." With that, Nicole takes her leave. The rest of the day is going to drag.

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