One Burger, Two Burgers, More?


cat_icon.gif jennifer_icon.gif

Scene Title One Burger, Two Burgers, More?
Synopsis Jennifer brings food and offers consoling words.
Date December 15, 2008

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

Time has passed since she and Helena spoke, sharing that news and talking over how to proceed. Cat's down off the roof now, leaving Stormy to the alone time she probably wants, that possibly having been the reason she was up there to begin with. Or maybe the Leader is out hoping to find Claire. She doesn't know. There are things to attend elsewhere in the building, after all.

It's the keys of a computer terminal she'll be found at, entering information into the Catabase.

Jennifer makes her way into the Library, now that classes are out for the day. She takes a look to see who's about, and calls in a loud voice "Hey everybody! Delivery! Chow time!"

Her head leans out around a corner from where she's typing information, and Cat's voice follows. "Jennifer. Hey." It's a subdued tone, but pleasant enough. "How are things at Columbia going?"

Jennifer sees Cat, and looks a bit stricken. But she's going to have to deal with it at some point…she moves up towards the typing woman. "Hey there, Cat. Well enough. You hungry?"

The expression Jennifer shows is spotted, and Cat's own face shifts a bit. She becomes more somber, the voice subdued. "I am, a little," she replies. "And trying not to be sad, mostly failing. So I try to stay busy." Her fingers stop typing for the moment, and her eyes start to seek out the food. "What've you brought today?"

Jennifer unslings her backpack. "Today, Italian subs, burgers, salad, and potato/garlic soup. Name your poison, and I'll copy it up for you." That's easier than discussing the alternative.

"Burgers," Cat replies, as her eyes return to the screen. Information is entered about Peter, and in a few other areas regarding events of late. Then she scans other areas, looking at what's there and comparing it with what she'd seen before. One entry causes her to stop and tilt her head to one side, then look over at Jennifer.

Jennifer takes out the burger and a can of coke. "Okay. How many would you like?" she asks, with a smile.

"Two," she answers. Her fingers stop moving, and Cat turns away from the terminal. The work is set aside for the moment, in choosing to focus on food. "I'm still curious, too, last night you mentioned duplicating money. How do you handle the serial number problem?"

She chuckles. "I prefer to duplicate objects of value, then sell them. For serial numbers…I don't worry about it, in small quantities. If I take a pile of hundred dollar bills, and make one copy of each, the chance that'll ever be found out is pretty infintesimal.

"Especially if they're spread out over large areas," Cat muses. "If the same serial numbers aren't used in the same place, that probably covers it. I.. I remember the serial mumber on every bill I've seen since sophomore year at Yale." A quiet grin is managed, she adds "But then again, I'm me."

Jennifer nods, and looks amused. "So far as I know, unless they have reason to suspect something's up, they don't go tracking serial numbers. Plus, like I said…if I copy a gold ring, or something like that, that's a couple hundred dollars resale, untrackable.

Her mind is at work, behind those eyes, the expression shown might be recognized as one of calculation. Cat replays her contacts with Wireless regarding how to use her wealth to funnel money into Phoenix accounts anonymously, and she now reflects on how that could eventually impact her bottom line. Two million now, perhaps ten percent of the whole, she's arranged to be moved. But what if she used a much smaller portion to buy precious metals, gems, and other items, then gave those to Jennifer for replication… A plan is perhaps forming, and her features curve into something which might be close to smiling. "Are there limits, I mean, does it drain your energy to do that, make you need to eat or sleep more to do large amounts?"

Jennifer nods. "Yes. I mean, it makes me a little tired…." she leans against the wall. "But I hadn't really noticed it till the miracles project. Usually if I'm duplicating something, it's one or two items. That was a lot, over a whole day. That beat me up some."

"Fascinating," she answers. "Is there a place I could find you, other than here or campus sometimes, if I had things to duplicate? Little trinkets, bits of gold and diamond, that sort of thing, from time to time?"

She reaches into her backpack, and pulls out a slip of paper and a pen, jotting down a number on it. "Sure. Here's my cell phone. If you need me to whip something up, just let me know. Anything to be helpful."

The piece of paper is looked at, but not taken. Cat doesn't seem interested in the written copy beyond that initial sighting. "Thanks, Jennifer," she replies.
Jennifer leaves the paper there; she doesn't need it back. "Okay…if you need anything, just call me, okay?"

"Well, right now I could use that other burger," Cat replies. She nods toward the one already provided, her fingers reaching out for the can of coke and opening it. "What about things you need?"

Jennifer smiles, and touches the original burger from her backpack, duplicating it and passing the wrapped sandwich over. "Don't really need so much. When you can create stuff, it kinda strips out that need thing."

"This is true. Although sometimes I'm sure you'd love to be able to duplicate hours in a day, when the crush is on and midterms are due. Papers, finals, you find yourself cramming for the exams."

Jennifer nods. "Tell me about it. And with more all this week. I'd better finish deliveries, and see if anyone else wants anything, then get back to studying. So much for being all heroic." she quips.

"That's where I can help you, maybe," Cat suggests. "I could sit in on some of your tougher classes, just sit there and listen, then later help you study." Her voice drops to a mock conspiratorial tone. "In law school, to hide, I had to fake it. I'd pretend to be taking notes."

Jennifer laughs. "It's just college classes. If I can't make it on my own, I don't deserve to pass. I mean, I appreciate the offer, and I'm happy for a study buddy, but you don't need to do that."

"True enough," Cat admits. One hand takes up the first burger and starts to open it. "I'm still studying sometimes myself. Italian, and a bit of Hebrew too."

"I wouldn't think you'd need to." she admits. "I mean…couldn't you pretty much check out a dictionary, and a grammar book…one read through each, and poof?"

"I've done that," Cat relates. "But there's always more to learn." What's in play here, it seems, is how she defines studying. Maybe she picked up a book on Italian, and another on Hebrew, and held herself to ten pages a day. But, it seems, not quite. "Italian's fairly easy. Hebrew, though, harder. Having this memory doesn't retrain the eyes, or how the mind works. It's all weird. They go right to left, instead of left to right, so sometimes it gets in the way."

Jennifer nods. "I guess I could see that. I never did much with languages. High school Spanish was about it. So…what are you working on?" A nod to the computer.

"It's called the Catabase," she answers, turning her eyes back to the screen where the various tabs are showing. Intelligence/Projects, Persons Of Interest, Kazimir Volken et al… Choosing the one marked Persons of Interest, she begins to type. The name entered is Gillian Childs. Augmentation? None. 5' 6" brunette, early twenties. Proximity may cause unexpected power boost.

When that line is entered, Cat sits back to avoid blocking Jennifer's view.

Jennifer nods. "Got it. Data entry." She smiles back at Cat. "I get enough of that writing papers."

"It's something I created, originally using a pad and easel, to demonstrate organizing information to Helena, we were going over things known about various subjects. After we got established here, and had a computer at this central spot, I recreated it. And if anything happened to the machine, I look at it often enough we'd not lose anything. Or if…" Anything happens to her. This she avoids saying, Jennifer's sunny disposition not being something she wants to dull with such a heavy topic. Instead she just says "Redundancy is our friend."

A quiet nod. "I'm really sorry." She had a peripheral connection to Dani, through Cat and Ygraine. "I know that doesn't count for shit…but…I am. I wish there was something more I could do, but my power is as useless as a screen door on a submarine for fighting."

"She doesn't have a will, and I was all she had in the world, still I let her down. She's probably dead now, I don't know if a body will ever be found to bury. It's possible she might still be alive, that sadist hurting her more and more, mocking her that she was abandoned. I don't know… don't know if she can forgive me. Or if I can ever forgive myself."

Jennifer steps up and rests a hand on Cat's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Cat. I really am."

Her own hand rests atop the one found there. "Thank you," Cat replies. "I'll get better, day by day." An effort of will is applied, not so much as what it took to remain stoic under torture, but a decision just the same, and she shakes off the burst of melancholy. It'll strike again, and again, but for now, well, enough being like Captain Emo. "Screen door on a submarine? No, you just have to be a little creative, maybe. I mean, if you were in danger and all you had was a screwdriver, that isn't much. Until you make it two and throw one. Duplicate, throw, duplicate, throw…"

There's a faint smile. "Screwdrivers aren't much good in the average fight." She gathers up her backpack. "Thanks for the talk. And don't hesitate to call!" With that, she turns, to get off to that studying.

And there is eating. Cat sits at the keys and enjoys her food, she even drinks the cola there too. IT people always say don't do that, because spills can cause damage, but she's undeterred. Everything in it is securely in her head and if the machine gets damaged, well, she's got twenty million dollars. "Take care, Jennifer. When I call, maybe we can ring up Alley Cat and get one of their couriers to bring food from Piccoli's. I know just the one, she's really at home in academia. Excellent debater."

December 15th: Flavors Of Guilt
December 15th: Skinned
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