An Impromptu Interview


cassandra_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title An Impromptu Interview
Synopsis Cassandra seeks out her savior to ask for a job.
Date January 19, 2019

Secure Facility, Kansas City, MO

Description of location, if any.

Quarantine gave Cassandra a lot of time to think. To catch up on her sleep. To gain back some of the weight she had lost in her year of going through a wasteland, a flood, and a bucking bronco of a tunnel to wind up in the aftermath of the second Civil War. A war fought over people like her. Like Liz.

And apparently like Mr. Ray.

The brunette was just out of quarantine when she sought their savior out. It was early in the day - probably not much past ten in the morning - with the coolness of dawn still lingering in the shadows of the conifers and scrub bushes that surrounded the observatory. Dressed in clean, comfortable clothes - with hiking boots that fit and everything - Cassandra made her way to the main offices that Richard had set up for himself. She really didn’t know what to expect. Her first thought was a small corner office with a desk, a chair, and a couch. Something quirky, perhaps. Maybe the couch was in a garish 1970’s floral pattern, or maybe the chair squeaked if you turned left but not right. It would definitely be a place that could be closed off to separate himself from the world outside. Cassandra definitely couldn’t blame him for that.

It may surprise her to discover that Richard doesn’t have an office— he was, in fact, in the same quarantine as the rest of them. She was directed to the room that he was occupying when she asked about his location; the door open as he packed up his sparse belongings, perhaps surprisingly for someone of his apparent wealth and influence.

He certainly hadn’t used it to get any luxury for himself during this time.

As she arrives, he looks up from a briefcase, dressed in simple jeans, boots and a t-shirt, eyebrows lifting over the edge of dark shades. “Baumann,” he greets after a moment’s hesitation — no doubt reminding himself that it’s not the one he knows.

It did surprise her, to be honest. Men that can muster the kind of resources to catch the travelers and haul them securely from an observatory in New Mexico to Kansas City in the aftermath of a civil war are the kind of men who have an office. When she was directed to an out-of-the-way room on the first floor, coming face to face with their rescued wasn't exactly what was expected.

“Mr. Ray.” Cassandra says from the doorway of the room. “I….” She blinks. “Isn't it a little dark in here for sunglasses? I know Liz said you were a dapper sort, but a rockstar that wears sunglasses inside?” She chuckles, shaking her head, and stammering our an apology.. “I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I just…” Cassandra straightens, seemingly missing that he knows who she is. “Let's start over.”

With a nervous motion, Cassandra smoothes the front of her pressed shirt, chasing away invisible wrinkles before she speaks. “I know you've probably heard it from everyone, but I wanted to thank you for…being here. To catch us. To fight off whatever that thing was that came through with us. And if there’s anything I can assist with, just let me know. I did work on Looking Glass for several years, but I'd like to focus on something less dimension-shattering for a while, if that's okay.”

The briefcase is closed, the latches snapped shut with a click before he fully straightens. “Hemeralopia,” Richard explains first, one hand lifting to tap a finger against the brim of the dark glasses, “I have issues with…” He motions a bit with his hand in a gesture towards the light fixtures, “…light. It’s easier to wear these than to try and make everyone talk to me in pitch black rooms like I’m some special guest star on the X-Files.” He pauses, “Did they— have the X-Files where you were from? Sorry, that might’ve gone right over your head.”

Hands spread then, “And there’s no need to thank me. Entirely selfish. I was rescuing my family.” He pauses, “You actually worked on the Looking Glass? I’d— well. If I were you I’d keep that quiet. Honestly this technology is the most dangerous thing anyone’s ever invented.”

“I’m sorry if that was rude.” Cassandra blushes a little, glancing away. “After going through the Wasteland and the Flood, I kind of lost my filter. I do know what you mean, though. More or less. When I use my ability, I have to cover my eyes too. They turn black as night with inky tears. I’ve been told it looks like something out of a Japanese horror film…although I haven’t seen one exactly like that.” At least there seems to be more than a passing commonality between the two universes. With that passing mention of the X-files, Cassandra relaxes a little. “We had the X-files. I really identified with Scully, going out and investigating all those paranormal things while Mulder stayed back in the lab to prove her right. She was a really good role model for girls growing up. Whoever wrote her really showed that girls could do anything.” A person rescuing their family is a noble goal. “I’m just glad that I was there to hitch a ride. And I still want to say thank you.”

She takes a step into the room as he refers to Looking glass, glancing around before turning to face Richard. It’s a strange thing, to be sure, but Cassandra, despite everything, is a little proud of her work. “Honestly, my involvement isn’t something I’m planning to broadcast to the world. The fewer people who know about it, the better. I never really got my hands in the actual research or building of the thing, with the nuts and bolts construction and planning. I was mainly a researcher, looking back on Michelle Cardinal’s past like a fly on the wall…anyway.” She waves a hand dismissively. “Looking back on their lives using my ability to figure out how she did things.”

“I’ve seen you use your ability. Not… you you, but the Baumann from here,” Richard admits, “It’s quite useful, although I imagine it makes you as much of a target as what you might know about the Looking Glass.”

He smiles a bit wistfully, “I imagine after all that delving into time you know my mother better than I do.”

“Oh?” That information that she’s been met before is interesting, and that gives her a view into the world. “You’ve met the me from here? I guess we’re both pretty much the same, all things considered, with powers and such. What does she do now? And why is she a target? People wanting to discover historical precedence on the second amendment or something?” Her initial guess is college professor, but with the war, who knows?

She nods to his wistful remembrance. “Your mother? Michelle Cardinal? But your name is…” She wrinkles her nose. “Nevermind.” Making sense of things across dimensions is a quick way to get a headache. “From what I’ve been told about the whole string thing, everything is the same up until a point or two when it diverges into the different timelines so…up until a point, I probably do know more about her than you do. A slightly different version, of course but….”

Reaching beneath her shirt, Cassandra draws out a dull disk of metal on a chain, a few other tidbits dangling on it. “One thing I did discover about myself.” She lifts the thing to show it to Richard, the dull metal stamped with a few letters and numbers - a world war 1 dog tag. “I discovered that if I had something with me, I make my own memories that are stored in it. I probably have a couple of memories of your mom in here. It’d be like watching a copy of a copy but…” she shrugs. “The offer’s there if you’d like a little information.”

“It used to be Cardinal, my name, I mean,” Richard says with a shake of his head, perhaps saving her something of a headache, “Michelle— well, this world’s Michelle, died before I was born. I didn’t know anything about her until just recently, to be honest.” A hand comes up, rubbing the bridge of his nose, “The Flood and this timeline have some major deviations, compared to the others in this string-cluster anyway.”

He eyes the tag consideringly as he explains the first, “As for the other you, she’s a government agent, does investigations with SESA— the guys that have us in quarantine. She’s a good woman, but a lot of people like their secrets to stay put.”

Finally he shakes his head slowly, “No, though, I— well, I have her for real, now, so we can get to know each other the hard way.”

When more detailed information about her present self - just what she was told earlier - Cassandra wilts just a little before nodding. “I guess I was hoping to learn a little more about the me that's here. You don't think it'll cause too many problems if she's in New York, too?.” She tucks her dog tag back into her shirt, and the way it settles gives the impression that it's been with her the entire journey. Who knows what it's seen?

After a moment of quiet, Cassandra speaks. “I don't suppose SESA could use another postcog on staff. The doctors I talked to…they were SESA, right? They seemed to think I could be a lot of help with things.” she asks quietly, finally shaking her head. That would probably cause too many questions with her duplicate. “How about museums hiring around New York? Or how about RayTech? I'd like to stay as close to Aurora and Liz as I can. And I know I have several hundred thousand dollars, but if prices are like you say, that could be gone in a few years if I'm not prudent with my funds. Besides.” Cassandra grins. “I don't like just sitting around all the time, just watching the world go by.”

“I… think that as much as SESA would love to use your talents, all things considered given the terms of your emigration they wouldn’t take you,” admits Richard with a slight wrinkle of his nose, “Too much risk of running into someone who was close with Baumann and who isn’t… the sort that could safely let into this secret.” A bit of scorn there, irritation shown with the secrecy.

This isn’t what he agreed to, after all.

“There are certainly restoration projects that would appreciate your skills, and we could make use of them as well,” he admits, “God knows that we have enough of our past that we need to dig up.”

“As long as the parts of the past that we expose are the ones that should be brought to light. I’d rather leave some of the darker parts of this world’s past left alone right where it is. You saw how well it worked out the last time for all of us.” A little gallows humor from Cassandra. Despite the pride in her work on Looking Glass, she knows that there are certain secrets that are best left right where they are.

“How about this, then.” Cassandra leans on the door jamb. “If you’re willing, I will offer my services to Raytech on retainer. For research purposes. With the backstory that they’re cooking up…what was it? Face-stealing by the institute?” Cassandra sighs and shakes her head. Seems too much like a Twilight Zone episode. “Anyway, you can offer my services to people who you think might be able to use them, giving me information on what they’re looking for so I can decide if it’s something I want to do. Keeps me out of the limelight, gets my ability some use that does some good, and gets you some good research and press. Sound good?”

“Don’t I know it,” Richard admits— his tone and expression darkening briefly, head shaking slowly, “Don’t I know it. As much as I’m taking a more… open stance about things lately, I’m not so naive as to think we can reveal anything. Although I’m more open than our government is, apparently.”

A purse of his lips, then he brushes it aside with a wave of his hand, “That’ll work for me. You can get paid, keeps you out of the spotlight— ideal situation.” He flashes her a smile, then, eyebrows going up, “Once you’ve gotten settled when we’re out of quarantine, come by the offices and we’ll get you set up. I’ve got something for you to look at already, even, although it’s probably not time-sensitive.”

“No pun intended.”

“I’ll do that.” Cassandra says with a nod. “Thanks very much, Mr. Ray.” She takes a step back towards the door, giving Richard a chance for the last word.

“Anytime, Ms. Baumann,” Richard replies, walking her to the door, “Anything for a friend of Liz’s, anyway.”

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