Neither Going Alone


barbara_icon.gif jessica2_icon.gif

Scene Title Neither Going Alone
Synopsis Jessica relays Niklaus' message to Barbara, but can offer precious few details about the mysterious seeming resurrection of Claudia Zimmerman.
Date December 17, 2010

Speakeasy Hotel and Casino

The interior of the casino has that curious, old smell. Stale beer has been absorbed into the thick red-patterned carpet and absorbed through the walls over the years. There is brass railing, permanently dulled from a hundred thousand touches and countless layers of dirt. The lighting is poor and low. The brightest illumination in the entire establishment comes from the row of new video slot and poker machines that fill up a whole corner. There's twenty or so machines in total, many with different themes and with varying costs and payout.

The Speakeasy used to be one at one time. Its jazz influences can be seen in the colour scheme and a large chandelier hanging over the old wooden billiard table. Both the table and the chandelier are decidedly art deco in appearance. The class of the place is decidedly faded around the edges. It has the feel of a place that is far past its prime, and the previous owners tried to keep the look updated, but either ran out of money or desire to. The place does not serve food, though there are bowls of peanuts on the bars and tables and vending machines that pop out chips and candy.

The drinks are cheap, but seating is limited to three tables and the stools along the bar. Clearly the establishment encourages gaming over drinking and socializing. Along the side of the bar are a bank of five TVs that usually show different sporting events when the season is high, or all the same one if there's a big game on. One monitor displays the current odds for betting on various sporting events and bets can be placed with a bookie on-duty during high times or with the bartender when things are quiet.

Twice a week, there is a poker game. The game on Tuesdays is low stake with a hundred dollar buy-in. The Sunday night game is higher stakes, with a five hundred minimum. On Saturday nights, there's two blackjack tables and a roulette table with dealers and chips.

The last time Barbara Zimmerman had come to the Speakeasy, she had come to meet her sister - Niki, specifically, regardless of the surprise she had gotten. Now, as she sits here and waits, she can't help but think about how ironic it is for their positions to be reversed. She had been trying to reach Jessica- Niki- whoever was in possession of her sister's mind at the moment for several days now, and of course when that had finally happened, her schedule was much too busy to accommodate it at that immediate moment, despite how much she wanted to otherwise.

It had been a phone message Jessica had left her at some point, that she had only received late Wednesday evening that had spurred all of this to begin with. That she had met with Niklaus, much to Barbara's surprise. But more important;y, that her mother wanted to see them.

Her mother.

That is to say, Jessica was claiming that Claudia Zimmerman is alive.

Perhaps that's why Barbara's hat is pulled low down her face, to hide the scowl she wore across her face. She's not normally the type to be angry or upset. In fact, she often just channels it into other things. But you don't tell someone their mother, who's been dead for 19 years, maybe be alive. And that's why Barbara's here. She needs some answers.

The woman in Niki's body comes to sit across from Barbara with a tall glass of beer in one hand. She tugs her own hat similarly low. Not so much to hide a scowl, but to hide from any curious onlookers how identical the two woman are, save for the dyed shades of their hair. "Barbara," the brunette murmurs, inclining her head in greeting. "Niklaus says hello. He misses you."

"I would hope so," Barbara replies dryly. She's looking down at the table, and it's only once that's said that she looks up trying to catch her sister's eyes. "Am talking to Niki or Jessica," she asks bluntly, still scowling, "Because I want to know who it is that either knows something about my mother I don't, or felt like making a really cruel joke." There is just a hint of anger to ehr voice as she stares ahead at Nikessica or whatever would be an appropriate name for when doesn't know who happens to be in control at the moment. "Or is this Nik deciding to be a dick?" She doesn't seem- confrontational, but she does seem agitated, at the very least.

"Jessica," Barbara is informed. "Niklaus may be lying, but he didn't seem like it when Niki asked him about your mother." She shakes her head, and has a drink of beer. "I have a folder in my room for you." For now, she procures a business card for something called The Deveaux Group. "This is who your mother's working with right now. She wants you to replace your other sister."

Jessica, at least when Barbara's in this mood, is likely the best of the three forms of her sister she could have been faced with - directness is appreciated, and Jessica delivers. "Nik? I…" The redheaded sister wrinkles her nose as she reaches forward and takes the business card, looking over it carefully. "Deveaux Group?" she reads aloud with a bit of a start, eyes widening. "Jessica, the only Deveauxs I've ever known… were Charles Deveaux and his daughter Simone. Charles… I think he was one of the big people at the Company. I know my father worked with him. I was friends with Simone." There's a bit of a sorrowful look on her face as she leans back in her seat, the card set down in front of her. "Richard told me she was dead, and I haven't heard anything of Charles. But…"

She exhales sharply, pursing her lips as she stares at the card for a moment longer, before finally looking back up at Jessica with narrowed eyes. "Replace… Tracy?" She hopes, unless suddenly they aren't just triplets. "How do you mean?"

The alter listens maybe not entirely patiently, but Jessica doesn't interrupt at any rate. "The name is not a coincidence." But what ever is in this city anymore? "And yes. They want you to replace Tracy. I have copies of her schedules. Your mother wants to see the both of us."

"Of course it isn't," Barbara replies with a bit of a sigh, shaking her head. "I… have no idea what to make of this. Besides that someone has to have… tricked Niklaus. My father… he saw my mother dead. Whoever it is saying it's her, I…" Her eyes close for a moment, her arms crossing as she slouches a bit in the seat. "I don't know about this."

"I suspect Niklaus has the answers here," Jessica surmises. She certainly doesn't. Isn't sure she cares what the answer is. Except that if someone's toying with Niki by claiming her real mother is alive, Jessica may have to tear someone's limbs off. "You want me to tell your brother to go take a flying leap on your behalf? I'd be happy to assist him in that endeavour." She's joking!


"I need to talk to him," Barbara mumbles out, still staring down at the business card in front of her. A grimace is clear on her face, fingers tapping on the table. "What's in this folder you said you had? Just… something more on this switch with Tracy?" There is clear scepticism in her voice, the redhead finally looking up at her brunette counterpart. "If he really thinks this is our mother, I need to find out why. And probably meet her. I- as much as I don't believe it, at all, I can't… turn my back on the possibility." Her expression falters a bit, more sorrowful for just a moment before returning to the seriousness it had possessed. "But before I do any sort of people switching, I have to speak to my co-workers."

Jessica nods. "More information, yes. Means you'll have to go blonde." Is she teasing? She might be. "I'll pass your number along to Niklaus so he can get in touch with you directly." She doesn't feel the need to question if this is acceptable or not. "I wouldn't do it, if I were you. Replace Tracy. I'm not sure you have it in you to be lying and deceitful. In politics."

Barbara still knows very little about her other sister, but what she does know has her nodding in agreement with Jessica. "I- doubt it," she remarks, shaking her head. "I don't know anything about politics, and- well. I just can't see something like that working." The slight but noticeable Canadian accent probably doesn't help either. "But I still have to get to the bottom this. See what- others think about it." She clearly means the Ferry, hoping that Jessica knows what brought about Barbara's introduction to Niki in the first place.

Either Jessica's aware of Barbara's connections to the Ferry, or she doesn't feel the need to ask questions. The former is more likely, if only by a slim margin. "I'd be careful how many details you give to your co-workers. I'm doing the same with mine. Niki has the right idea on this one. This is a family affair. It should be kept that way."

Barbara falls silent, thinking on that - and she smiles a bit. "I suppose so. I do think- they should have an idea what's being asked of me, at least. But my mother… that detail is staying out of it, for now. I know there's at least one other person involved would likely be more sceptical than I am if her name comes up." She has no idea how well Noah Bennet might have ever known her parents, but she's willing to bet that he heard about the death of her mother. Reason enough to keep her name out of it, for the time being.

Jessica nods once. She doesn't get much choice in trusting Barbara's discretion or not. But she does, to an extent. She covers a moment of contemplation with a drink of beer. Jessica isn't the contemplative type. She's the intense, stare-down type. And it's not like she doesn't glare daggers at her mirror self often enough. That part shouldn't be jarring about Barbara. But something is. Something she can't put her finger on. "Just be careful who you trust. We should find out the details on our own first."

Her foot tapping audibly on the floor, Barbara makes no attempt at hiding her own thoughtful look as she considers exactly where all of this should go, who should know. "I think you're right. But, if something happens and we end up involved in this, I'm going to have to tell them something before one of us up and disappears." Particularly given her position, but… her status on council is something best spared even her sister, for her own safety. "But… I'll be around for another day or two, and then I have to handle some things. If we haven't spoken to Niklaus by then… have him leave me a message on my phone, and I'll get in touch with him. And you. Neither of us is walking into this alone."

"That's a given," Jessica all but purrs. "Once you know if you're going to be involved, then maybe some people deserve to know the details. But until then?" She shakes her head. "No point. It's just inviting opinions and interference."

Another swallow of beer leaves the glass only half full now. "I have no intention of letting you go without me." That's not to say Jessica didn't maybe consider doing this on her own, however. "Somebody has to provide the muscle if it's a trap of some sort."

Relief paints itself on Barbara's face, the postcog giving a nod and a bit of a smile. "Good. I… wouldn't want to go alone anyway. Just… promise me you won't go on without me. I know you can handle yourself just fine, but…" She just sort of trails off, a moment spent adjusting the hat on her head. "Hopefully, no one will worry too much about why I've been out of contact most of the last week. I'm sure it'll be fine, though." A glance is given past Jessica, and Barbara tilts her head. "I would like to see that folder, though, before I leave."

The glass is brought to Jessica's lips one more time. She chugs the remaining contents like a pro. Or at least like a college binge drinker. She tips her head upward as she pushes away from the table and gets up from her seat. "I won't go without you. C'mon." She jerks her head toward the door, leading her way toward her rented room.

A bit more relief to stave off the anxiety she feels about looking at this folder that Jessica possesses. For Barbara, that's better than nothing, considering the fact that this entire situation seems both surreal and highly suspect to her. The fact that something resembling a plan is starting to form helps as well, sje just hopes she's around on the mainland to see it through when opportunity presents itself. Rising up from her seat, she slides the chair back in and sighs, offering a nod to Jessica. There was still the matter of what, exactly, was being asked of her, and contacting Niklaus.

But no matter what, she knows that before this is over, she's going to know more about her family than she ever may have wanted.

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