A Good Ghost Hunt


claudia_icon.gif corbin_icon.gif

Scene Title A Good Ghost Hunt
Synopsis A ghost hunt leads to a job opportunity.
Date February 14, 2011

The Memorial Ampitheater

Arlington National Cemetary

Arlington, Virginia

White marble pops out against the slate blue of a clear sky. Hanging low, the sun shines across the top of the pointed roof of the Grecian architecture of the Memorial Ampitheater at the Arlington National Cemetary. Towering white columns that have weathered ages here in this solemn place meet at an enormous structure that serves as a stage, one themed in classical architecture that evokes a sense of size and significance.

Walking between the rows of white benches in front of the stage, one man braves the chilly Virginia afternoon to be out here among the memories of the fallen. Corbin Ayers' presence is inoffensive to the tone of his surroundings, suitably meek against humbling artifice. Passing by the last row of benches, Corbin's upwardly cast stare is towards the stage, where an enormous archway is engraved with tall lettering. When we assumed the soldier we did not lay aside the citizen is written within the curvature of the apse, and as Corbin turns to start heading up the steps along one side of the stage, he can see writing on the arch itself, perhaps more personally resonant to him after his last dream:

We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

On reaching the top of the stage, Corbin catches sight of someone within the shadow of the apse, bundled up in a long, black wool jacket belted at the waist. Gloved hands hold aloft a lit cigarette, smoke twisting from the head in thin coils. She's old, older than Corbin, probably somewhere near Sabra Dalton's age, but more blonde than gray. Less grandmother and more wicked stepmother by her posture and mannerisms, very Cruella de Ville.

"And they say that the dead can't walk," is smoothly offered by the husky-voiced woman, and as she reaches down to the collar of her jacket, she pulls the lapel aside to reveal a brass brooch pinned to the inside of the label, resembling the same ochre-colored sigil on the business card that had led Corbin Ayers all the way here. Somewhere between flame and fishhook.

"You're looking good, for a dead man." Arching one brow, the old woman leans away from the wall, heels clicking on the stone floor as she moves her cigarette from her lips, pinched between two gloved fingers.

"Guess that makes us a matching pair."

"Being dead has it's advantages," the younger man says with a shrug in his thick coat, hands deep in the pockets making the shrug even more exaggerated. "Smoking isn't good for you— but if you're dead, then I guess it doesn't matter, right?" Corbin Ayers says with a lopsided smile, only half hidden by the beard he's tempted to shave off thanks to a certain dream he'd had when he dozed off. To show it's a joke though, he shakes his head. It's not really his place to comment on someone's smoking habits.

There's a pause, before he pulls a hand out of his coat pocket to fish said card out of the one against his chest, flipping it over to confirm the symbols are the same, before he holds that up for a short moment as he says:

"So how'd you'd manage to find me? I thought I was getting good at staying out of sight." With the question asked, the card is tucked away again. He's trying to look relaxed, but there's an anxious tick to his blue eyes, the way he glances around carefully.

The hook and the flame are equally as dangerous to what they draw in.

"You are," Claudia opines with a raise of one brow, flicking ash from her cigarette down on to the marble underfoot. "Unfortunately miss Dalton knows best how to keep tabs on her former employees." A smile crinkles at the corners of Claudia's eyes, even as she closes the last bit of distance to Corbin, offering out a gloved hand to the once reporter.

"Claudia Zimmerman," is a name that sends chills down Corbin Ayers' spine, she's a dusty old name from the archives. The dead wife of former Company scientist Jonas Zimmerman. "Miss Dalton has been looking to get you back to work, mister Ayers. I hope we're not chasing the wrong ghosts…"

Nothing like a good ghost hunt.

There's a quiet exhale of relief that follows the names mentioned. Mostly because he recognizes them both, and he gets what she meant by being in the same company. Dead, but not dead. "If anyone was going to find me, I was hoping it'd be her," Corbin says after the relieved exhale has finished. "Though I admit, I didn't expect you to be among the living dead. I read the file…" Though he hadn't really been supposed to.

Getting all that extra information thanks to Akado Ichihara had helped… Her blood may not have been on Ichihara's hands, but it seemed somehow connected to what had happened.

"If you're working with Dalton, then you found the right ghost. I was hoping to get to do something more than just run." Even if running is exactly what the woman he's been staying with is good at.

"We have something, a failsafe." Voice hushed, Claudia steps in closer to Corbin, flicking her cigarette aside to the ground, striking with a spark of embers and leaving a dark streak on the white marble. "It's not the Company, not even close. We don't have the money, resources or strength to be anything like that… but what we can be is a guiding light for people who need it, a push in the right direction for those without it." Looking askance to one side of the stage, Claudia breathes in deeply, then exhales a breathy sigh, visible as a cloud of steam.

"You're a good man," Claudia explains as her attentive stare fixes back on Corbin. "Dalton wanted you with us after the riots, but we lost track of you for a little while. We… picked up a little postcognitive in Pennsylvania a few months ago, he helped us track you down. He came with a, ah, good recommendation."

Tucking her hands into the pockets of her jacket, Claudia turns to look out over the ampitheater.

"The world's a screwed up place these days, Ayers. More so for people like you and I…" The walking ghosts. "If we can iron out a little of life's kinks, help where we can… maybe it can make up for all the damage that was done by people like us?" Claudia doesn't sound so certain, though as she offers a look over to Corbin, at least she's smiling.

A good man, or one who tries his best to be good. There's a sheepish quality to Corbin's smile, and the downcast eyes, as if he both is happy to hear he's thought of like that, and a little ashamed. Likely at the things he doesn't think are good that he's done.

Like kill Hokuto's father. Even if he's convinced the man was on a suicide mission anyway.

"Admitedly would have felt better if it were Ms. Dalton making the pitch, but I saw your picture in the file, and you don't look very different." That part is a compliment, but he still sees the woman, around the eyes especially. "I don't think anyone would claim to be Claudia Zimmerman if they weren't."

A dead woman. A woman of the Company, killed by the Company. Part of those terrible things, and a victim of them at the same time.

"You can count me in. There's a lot that… I'd like to make up for." Not even his own sins, but his own are among them. There's a hesitation before he adds, "If you have a post-cog looking into me, you probably know the reason I've been able to move around so much. That there's someone who's been helping me stay ahead of those who might want me to be very dead. I may have a difficult time keeping this secret from her— especially considering she's the one who dropped me off here." And his running ride home, no less. The Daphne Express may not be the most comfortable, but it's certainly one of the fastest.

"Miss Milbrook?" Claudia asks without really asking, one hand withdrawn from inside of her jacket, another Deveaux Society business card pinched between two fingers, held up at face-level to Corbin. "Mister Thompson may not have been very cooperative with his secrets, but his relationship with Daphne wasn't a terribly discrete one. It would be a boon to us to have someone like Milbrook working for us, but she doesn't get carte blanche like you do, Ayers." That much sounds more like a warning than anything, coming from Claudia's husky voice.

"Tell Daphne that if she's interested, she can show up at the address on the card. Alice will give her an interview, and if she passes, then there'll be some opportunities for you two to work together in the future."

This second buisness card is taken and pocketed next to the first one after a customary glance over. The name of Alice is not one Corbin recognizes offhand from the files, but it's a common enough name, and could be a nickname. "She's a fairly good asset, and I'm sure she'll pass." Though there's a hint of a smile, as if he wishes he could be there to make sure.

He's quite fond of the speedster— more than fond really, but he knows there are some people who would find her mouth troublesome.


"Anything that I need to be doing in the meantime? I'm guessing you guys are the ones who ended up with the files I helped Dalton… move."

"Actually, we've agreed that you should get directly into work." Corbin only notices as he pockets the business card that it's a neatly arranged stack of three, presumably something to do with his feet first entry into the Deveaux Society. Reaching inside of her jacket, Claudia withdraws a leather-bound organizer with a small notepad, buckled closed. On the front, the initials C.D. are written in gold cursive script.

"There's a list of names written in that ledger, I need you to deliver cards to the two that I highlighted in orange." Nodding to the ledger, Claudia looks back up to Corbin, brown eyes intent on his fairer ones. "There's written instructions on what to do with them when you find them, we'd like you to initiate contact as soon as possible and push them in the directions listed without drawing too much suspicion to yourself. They're not potential candidates," she clarifies with one brow lifted, "but they'd be better served elsewheres than what life is offering them right now."

The ledger handed over, Claudia feels fit to offer a warning up as well. "Don't lose it."

"I wasn't the one who would lose files," Corbin says with a grin, even as he looks it over quietly, eyebrows knitting. There's only so much discreteness he can manage, especially with some people, but he's sure he can come up with a way to nudge people in certain directions. "Except once or twice," he adds after a moment.

Part of him wonders, if, maybe, he could use a certain other asset of his to plant hints more discretely.

For a moment he wishes a certain ghost was hanging out on the corner of his vision. Dreams are much more discrete than the Tom Sellick act.

"It was nice to meet you, Ms. Zimmerman. I'll get to work as soon as possible."

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