Not The Prom Queen


eliot_icon.gif zoe_icon.gif

Scene Title Not The Prom Queen
Synopsis Eliot sets about enlisting Zoe into his effort to recover the Brill paintings.
Date February 23, 2009

Linderman Group Building - Archives

The archive is actually accessed through a special elevator, with careful security passes required for entry. It doesn't stop the likes of Hiro Nakamura, but for the mundane, it'll certainly do. It is a sizable room with carefully apportioned shelving and storage, a walk down staircase at its entrance and a front area that serves as an office for Zoe. The redhead is presently typing away at her computer, with what looks like a Ming Vase set on a table next to her.

Eliot has, luckily, the necessary security passes and access to the archives. He brushes his palms together a bit and smiles as the elevator door opens, stepping in, smile at the forefront. "If I didn't know better," Eliot says as he walks towards Zoe. "I'd assume you spend -all- your time down here, tap-tap-tapping away." He makes a face she might be able to see the reflection of on her computer screen. "Hi, Zozo."

Spooky and now Zozo. Doesn't anyone know her name? Faintly flustered, she swivels in her seat. "Eliot." she says politely. She unconsciously twists the hem of her unbuttoned sweater and shoves her glasses up her nose. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at your club?"

"Hi." Eliot flicks a pair of thin brows upwards. He's not wearing his usual sunglasses, so those pale blue eyes are nice and wide and visible. It's a wonder he ever covers them up at all. "I was at the club; but then your uncle came by." Eliot twirls a fingers a bit in the air as he reaches her. "Mentioned he was missing some paintings, still. Asked me for help." He puts a hand on the back of her chair and leans over. "And then said I should talk to you! So here I am." Big smile for Zozo. "Talking to you. How are you, Zoe?"

Zoe blinks. "Oh. He. Oh. Um…" she looks to the side. "He said he wanted me to try and take care of it. But he sent you? To help me?" She smiles. He makes her nervous. "That was nice of him. I mean, it's because of your empathy, right?"

"It's because I'm good with people." Eliot smiles, tapping his fingers on the back of her chair before he peeks over her head, looking at her computer screen. "He said to talk to you and Kain; but Kain's in Staten Island, so I figured I'd pay you a visit first. Besides, I haven't seen you in forever." He winks down at her, briefly. "Missed ya."

She is unable to keep from sounding incredulous. "Why?" The question is rhetorical. She swivels in her chair to face the monitor again. Somehow having him at her back does not make her feel more comfortable. She ignores her stomach flutters and starts typing. "I've been going through my aquisitions list. Dealers, collectors…even the fences that my uncle would likely not want me to not know about."

"I need a reason now?" Eliot doesn't sound insulted. Just amused. He leans against the back of her chair. "So bring me up to date, Zoe. Where do you think your uncle's paintings've disappeared to?"

Zoe swallows and admits, "I have no idea. I need to get ahold of the security tapes to see what happened. I was in Russia at the time. I'm assuming that whomever took them wanted to sell them unofficially. These are the product of an Evolved prescient…Brill was in trance when he painted them."

"Ooooh." Eliot nods and leans over to rest his chin on the top of her head, very lightly. "So how many paintings were stolen, and do we have digital or photographic copies?" His voice is mellow and soothing.

"We do." Zoe says, trying not to squeak. Eliot is invading her personal space and her fingers start to mistype for a few moments before she corrects. "Um. Could you step back? The passwords - security. You um, know how it is."

"Oh!" Eliot smiles at her reflection on the computer monitor. "Right. 'Course." As if. Eliot steps back. "Well, do we know what event the paintings lead to? Are they connected to the same event? It would help if we knew if this was random snatch-and-grab, or if they were looking for these particular paintings."

These are the only items that were taken, so I'm certain the theft was specific. I just don't know how or by who." Zoe feels much more certain with a little distance, typing and letting the images appear.

Zoe notes, "I think I'm somewhat familiar with this one." She indicates. "I think I've done a psychometric scan on an item tied to it. It was…" she shudders.

"Hrm." Eliot takes a step forward again, to get a better look at the picture. "D'you have any idea at all of what Kain might know? I'd rather not have to go to Staten Island and fetch him if I have enough to just summon him over." He smiles down at her, easily. "I mean, if it's not an inconvenience."

"Staten Island is very hard to extract from." Zoe says. Is there a hint of concern for Kain in her voice? Maybe. "Truth is, I don't know what he knows, but there are likely easier means to communicate with him then actually going in. Unless my uncle told you to?"

"He told me to contact Kain. But if I'm going to work with the man, I want him closer than in some hole in Staten Island rotting away any kind of talent that might be of use." Eliot frowns a bit, and adds: "Besides, Staten Island isn't a nice place for anyone. Kain doesn't deserve that."

"If he's there, he's likely there for a reason. I doubt he's trapped." Zoe shrugs. "I've compiled a list of likely sources that might give us leads. Did you want to see it?"

"Yes, please," Eliot says with a nod. "I'll need somewhere to start looking."

"So I take it that I'm not longer needed for any investigative efforts?" she inquires. "The most likely contacts involve the Sievers Gallery, and a private collecter named Aaron Rodgers who picked up some paintings from an auction that included a piece called 'Our Father' by Brill. There's also Warehouse Nihil."

"Zoe," Eliot says in his softest tone, "You will always be needed. Besides, I don't know when I'll need your expert opinion, and your uncle clearly still wants you on this case, so you'll be sticking with me during it." He smiles at her easily. "No worries. I'll take care of you."

Zoe smiles from the assurance, unable to help herself, though it's edged with nervousness. "If you insist." She resumes typing. "Warehouse Nihil is a cover for some high profile art thefts…it's run by a fence named Damon Lang. He's got rave out in the actual warehouse he runs once a month that he uses as contact periods for business arrangements."

"Hrm. Sounds promising. What about this Aaron Rodgers? He picked up a Brill already, right?" Eliot sticks hishands into his pocket. "D'we have an address?"

"Shouldn't be too hard to aquire. I can work on that, if you want to handle the uh, rave thing. It's not really my um, scene."

"You don't say." Eliot gives her a sympathetic, friendly smile. "I was so hoping you'd go as my date."

Zoe blinks. "Eliot." she says, letting out a nervous laugh. "I wouldn't fit in at all. I'd be awkward and it would be awful, and you need to be you know - as smooth as possible."

"Aw, Zozo, I know. But you know, maybe that's the kind of thing you need to do, to get out a little, get to know the world." Eliot makes a motion, circling a finger, signaling the archives as a whole. "This, is important. But not so important you need to not have a life outside." He shrugs, and glides his hand to her shoulder, squeezing softly. "Don't worry. If you don't want to come with me, you don't have to, 'course."

"I'll go," she says, resolve weakening when he touches her like she just got suffused with some kind of amiable-creating drug, "If you stop calling me Zozo. It's bad enough that Kain calls me Spooky. Zozo makes me sound like someone's pet terrier."

Eliot smiles quietly and taps her shoulder gently, sliding his fingers off. He offers her his hand, like for a handshake: "It's a date, then." Beat. "I mean, it's a deal, then." And there's that wry, gentle smile again.

"Are you sure you wouldn't want to go with someone more…capable?" she asks, despite gingerly shaking his hand. She absently rubs her fingers against her palm as she settles it back into her lap. "I'm not smooth, Eliot. Not in the slightest. I'll probably end up embarrassing myself, and possibly you."

Eliot's handshake is very sweet, very gentle. He lets his fingers trail off her palm before he scratches his short beard briefly, his other hand in his pocket. "D'you know anything about magicians, Zoe?"

Zoe's lips part, and then ruefully, "I'm going to be embarrassing myself so no one's paying attention to what you're doing?" she hazards.

Eliot pulls his other hand from his pocket, with a single rose on it, and drops it on her lap. "Smart girl." He winks and grins widely at her.

Zoe stares at the rose in her lap, abruptly shoves her glasses up her nose. Of all things, she looks like she might cry.
Eliot eases up on the smile and then reaches down to pick the flower up from her lap. "If you put it in water, she'll stay alive longer," he prompts in an almost hushed whisper.

"You - " she says, almost as if she can't finish the sentence. "You come in here, with your good looks and your charm and your practically patting me on the head and I'm sitting here lapping it up like some dog, and I didn't even go to school in America, but I know I'm not the prom queen and I never was and this is the first time someone who wasn't related to me has ever given me flowers." That is probably the most bizarre articulation to come out of her mouth in…well. It is Zoe, so nevermind that. Eliot just seems to naturally be able to get her to take him into confidance, even when she's mortified. She starts to reach for the rose. "I'm being silly." she says with a sniff. "Thank you. It's lovely."

Eliot holds it for her until she takes it, and says in a quiet sort of tone, "I never liked prom queens." He shrugs and takes a step back, and leans against her desk. "Besides: I'd rather have you there than someone I don't know."

Zoe gives him a confused look. "You own Rapture, and you don't like prom queens?" Even his amazing charisma won't get her to buy that. She shrugs. "I'm the distraction, I know. Dance like a spazz, say something stupid, humiliate myself, but as long as we get my uncle's paintings back, whatever it takes."

"Tell you a secret, Zo? The prom queens? Are the ones that end up married to the captain of the football field, mother of four kids, in a trailer park." He stands up straight, and brushes his palms a bit. "Rapture doesn't get many real prom queens. It gets queens. But not of proms."

That earns a giggle from her, fingers pressed daintily to her mouth. "In all seriousness, though." she says, because no time for love, Dr. Jones! "I think these are our two best leads for right now. Have you tried calling Kain? I think the towers on Staten Island still work."

"Not yet. I was going to give him a call after I was done here with you. Like I said, you were closer, and a better bet." Eliot adds, after a moment, with a sugary smile, "And more pleasant."

Zoe smiles back, despite herself. He just tends to bring it out. "I shouldn't keep you, then." She ducks her head a little bit.

"No, prob'ly not." Eliot sniffs a bit, turning away; and then turns back, asking, with some possible hope in his tone, "Why? Were you planning to?"

Zoe blinks owlishly. "Uh." she says. "Not unless you thought monitoring one of my trances was your idea of a good time."

Eliot bites back the urge to make that into the dirtiest double entendre she has ever heard. Instead, he just smiles down at her and takes a step away. "You're giving me idea. Maybe some time when I'm not engaged in pressing business for your uncle."

Zoe cocks her head. "An idea?" She doesn't get the dirty. It's doubtful in the years that she's known him, Eliot's even seen one of her psychometric trances. But he may have heard the rumors of her going silver-eyed and how…spooky it is. "What idea?"

"It's just you've never invited me to stick around for one of your trances," Eliot points out, smile nice and easy. "I mean, I'm flattered."

"It's not terribly exciting." Zoe tells him apologetically. "But if you are going to monitor, you'll need to help me a little. They can go on for quite a while."

"I actually can't right now," Eliot says with his most apologetic tone. "Like I said? I need to get ahold of Kain. But…" He leans over and smooches the top of her head briefly. "I will be glad to monitor you some other time."

Ah yes, there's nothing like being kissed like you're a guy's sister to further deflate a fragile ego. "Well, um. It's really no big thing. I mean. You should get on with it. Calling Kain. Um. Tell him I said hello!" Oh, awkward. "I - I need to get some water for my flower. Thank you. Again."

Eliot smiles at her, and winks. "I'll bring you a bouquet next time." He pauses in his step as he heads for the elevator, turning and walking backwards. "A whole plant, rather! So it doesn't die after a few days. You will have to find a place to put it with some sunlight, though."

"I do have an apartment." she points out to him patiently.

"Do you?" He sounds genuinely surprised, but then the elevator dings, the doors open, and Eliot flashes her a sharp, coy smirk. "Maybe you'll show it to me some time, hum? See you later, Zo." At least he dropped the 'Zozo'. He steps into the elevator, and lets the doors close behind him.

Zoe curls her fingers around her rose, unexpectedly tight - a thorn bites into her flesh. Still watching the elevator doors after they close, she absently sucks on her bleeding thumb before finally turning to eye the vase. In a moment of whimsy, she drops the rose into it before calling upstairs to have a glass of water brought down.

February 23rd: Whispers In The Dark
February 23rd: Strange Flesh
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