One Plus One


colette_icon.gif jennifer_icon.gif

Scene Title One Plus One
Synopsis Colette visits Columbia University to track down leads on Nicole, and discovers Jennifer's marvelous gift.
Date October 24, 2008

Columbia University

A member of the Ivy League, Columbia University was one of the first colleges established in the United States. Its buildings and greenswards occupy over 32 acres in Morningside Heights; the university offers a number of quality degrees, from law to nursing, and is also the home of the Pulitzer Prize. Its student body is very diverse, and active in myriad pursuits, from student-run WKCR, what may be the oldest FM radio station in the world, to the Columbia University Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs. It is home to thirteen fraternities, four sororities, and several multicultural organizations.

In Lumine Tuo Videbimus Lumen.

In Thy light shall we see light — It is the motto of Columbia University, an Ivy League institution that has weathered more social crisis that most still-standing structures in New York City. It is not small surprise that even after the world itself was turned upside-down by the revelation of the Evolved that the university managed to keep its doors open and continue to offer prestigious — and prohibitively expensive — education to all who can afford it.

On the campus, the Low Memorial Library is administrative heart of the college, a palatial-looking romanescue structure seated atop a low hill overlooking a spacious courtyard filled with faculty and students. The building itself is a domed stone monolith on the land, with ten ionic columns forming an architectural phalanx at its entrance. Inside the library, students come and go with prolific frequency, admission to the university has not dwindled more than a slight fraction, even in light of the bomb.

"…I'm sorry, miss. But no, I don't believe I've seen her before. I didn't start teaching until last year. You may have better luck with some of the old-birds of faculty." Robert Aickman is a journalism professor at Columbia, a red-haired man in his early forties with a bit too much weight around the midsection. The girl across from him, looking rather disappointed, is clearly not of college age. Her head downturns, short black hair falling down in front of her eyes as she nods. "Oh, come on now, up with that chin." The hand that reaches out for her chin is swatted away, and the girl takes a wary step back, leveling her gaze up at the professor thorugh her bangs.

"S-sorry…" She mumbles, "It's ah, just, don't touch me. It — It's nothing personal." The professor frowns, mildly, and nods his head as his fingers rub together from the reprimand of the younger girl. "Can ah, you direct me to the senior faculty?"

Robert nods slowly, motioning up towards the balcony above the first-floor of the library, "Second floor, first hallway. Professor Malden should be in his office." A moment of hesitation, "I'm terribly sorry about your…" The girl's already turned around, hastily. Perhaps a bit too hastily as she walks right into the crowd of oncoming students heading into the library…

And Jennifer would be one of those students headed for the library. Thankfully, her books are in the backpack slung over her shoulder, but that just means A) there's nothing in the way and B) She's overbalanced slightly already towards the rear. So when Colette collides with her, she yelps, and falls right over backwards. Depending on her momentum, she may end up with Colette -landing- on her a moment after that.

The speculation is quite astute, and Colette's forward momentum causes her to not only slam head-first into a complete stranger, but also be so disoriented from the collision that the already clumbsy girl stumbles over her own two feet with a yelp as she falls down directly atop her victim. For the second time, Colette finds herself prone atop another person by sheer happenstance, eyes wide and face red as she stares down at the girl beneath her, one green eye and one milky-white eye blinking in unison. She shrieks, face taking on a rosy shade of red that quickly hilights her ears and feathers down her neck, springing backwards and away as she lands on her backside in the hall. Something else falls when Colette springs back, a torn and wrinkled piece of heavy paper that falls down onto the tiles as well. The other students watch on awkwardly, most of them simply walking around the scene.

Professor Aickman tilts his head to the side, fostering a little bit of pleasure from seeing that collision after the hasty way the girl had dismissed him. He, like other bystanders just shrugs his shoulders and turns around, heading back into his office and not offering to lend a helping hand to the matter.

Jennifer oofs as Colette falls on her, and then slowly, finally sits up. She looks over, and sees the paper, reaching out for it. "I think…you dropped this." She says, getting her wind back.

One hand on her head, fingertips brushing against her brow, Colette lets out a wincing whimper as her eyes come a bit more into focus. As the girl spots the other reaching for the paper, the scrambles forward on her hands and knees, protectively snatching it up. The edges of whatever it is are burned, looking blackened on the edges that fade to deep and crispy browns, from the thickness it looks like photography paper. Realizing what she did, Colette grimaces awkwardly, "S-sorry it — " She shakes her head, then pushes herself up to her feet and steps over to the stranger, leaning over and offering her a hand, "I — I'm sorry about that. I, ah, I just…" She glances to the older students walking past, eyeing the pair with smirking expressions. "M'sorry. I'm… a klutz."

The other woman looks back, seeming surprised at the speed with which Colette makes a break for the paper. She doubletakes, pulling her own hand back. "No, it's okay…accidents happen." She stands up, and offers Colette the hand she was GOING to take the paper with. "Are you okay?"

With a quirk of one brow as the girl doesn't take the hand until after she's gotten up, Colette affords her a smile, "Yeah I'm fine, m'used to that sort've thing, thick skull I guess." She raps on her forehead lightly with her off-hand as if to prove a point, though the clicking of her tongue gives a faux hollow sound to emphasize her point. The handshake is brief, looking like the girl didn't quite expect it, and she's recoiled that hand into the pocket of her suede jacket rather quickly.

Jennifer makes an amused expression at the clock-clock sound. She didn't expect the other woman to stand up so fast, so she wasn't expecting the handshake either. But she'll take it. "So what has you in such a hurry."

"Huh?" Colette tilts her head to the side with a swish of her bangs, revealing that white eye again, "O-Oh! Oh ah," Remembering her conversation with the professor, she turns to look over her shoulder, only to notice he's departed, straining a sigh as she does. When Colette looks back, there's a thoughtful look in her mis-matched eyes, "Actually you might be able to help me with something," She rolls that piece of paper around in her hands. "I — Um, I'm actually looking for someone who used to attend here?" She holds up the picture in clear view, showing a brunette woman seated at a table, a grimacing smirk on her face with eyes wide. It's clearly a candid shot of some sort, and thouroughly burned around the edges, though not enough to obscure her face. "Her name's Nicole Nichols, she…" There's a very brief falter in her words, "She went missing two years ago." So many people did, "I wanted to act students and faculty if anyone might have known where she was the night before, um… you know…" Her fingers on one hand make a kablooie gesture.

At first there's a resigned look on her face, but with one brow raised Colette seems surprised when there's a possible avenue of further inspection. "R-Realy? Oh that's awesome!" Her smile grows broad as she takes a step to the side, rocking back and forth on her heels as she talks, hands moving animatedly now while she speaks. "Actually I'm not really sure what she studied. I um — I never really talked t'her about school because she was always so busy." Teeth toy with her lower lip, "She's my older sister." There's a very brief look of emotional response when she says sister, a tension in her brows, in her hands, as if the thought of it still hurts. "I — I just know she spent more time here than anywhere else, and I know she was enrolled. I… We didn't talk about school much."

She turns, as if to get out of the girl's way so she can take her to the teacher, but then stops and lets out a small squeaking gasp, "Oh — I'm sorry! Um," A smile spreads across her face, "My name's Colette! Heh, guess I got a little caught up in my own excitement there, s-sorry!" It seems like she's quite the unobservant one, Colette is.

Jennifer smiles. "Well, we can still ask." A warm smile, and then a look at sympathy. "God, I'm sorry…that's got to suck, a lot." I'll…" She thinks about it. "Hey…you wanna come with me to my room a minute? If I can scan that and print it, I'll have one to show to people. And I'm Jennifer."

Pursing her lips, Colette makes a bit of a wry expression as she eyes Jennifer up down down, motioninig back over her shoulder, "Dorms are like two blocks that way," There's a scrutinizing expression, "But I did see a photocopier down the hall we could probably steal the use of. Just, um, yeah — This is the only one I got." She bites down gently on her lower lip, "Don' wanna damage it or anything." She doesn't respond to how it may have felt, she seems to pointedly avoid that topic all together. "But, I guess copyin' it isn't too big of a deal." Her shoulders roll forward, watching Jennifer with an anxious smile.

Jennifer frowns. "Mmmm…you know what…I think there's a study room over here…c'mere for a second?" She smiles, trying to reassure the other woman. "I have a solution for it." Thankfully, Evolved are more or less common knowledge these days.

"Uh, a-alright?" Colette's a bit oblivious, a touch too trusting, and just a little out of her element when surrounded by college students and older, disapprovingly frowning members of faculty that have noticed she's made a bit of a scene in the hallway with her clumbsy nature. "S-sure I ah," Following along close beside Jennifer, Colette arches one brow as she walks, looking a might bit puzzled. "W-what kind've solution?" She glances around at the other people in the hall. No one is watching, but for some reason she feels markedly paranoid. "Are we not suppos'ta be using the copier or something?"

Jennifer moves to head into the study room. She looks over to Colette as they step inside. "Can I see the picture a moment?" No, that's not really a whole answer, but it will do for the moment. "I promise, I won't hurt it."

Glancing around the rather well-appointed room, Colette seems to have a bit of wide-eyed wonder at the antique looking book case adjacent to the long table in the middle of the room. Her eyes go to the windows on the far end, then sweep around to an area with a plush leather sofa and two couches. She seems to relax when there's no one in the room, but there's also no photocopier. Her expresion turns a bit distrusting, but honestly, she can't figure out what possibly could be done aside from ripping the picture to pieces, and Jennifer doesn't seem like the spiteful type. She holds out the burned and tattered photograph, smiling faintly. "Just… be careful." Her tone is cautious, but her eyes are curious.

Jennifer nods. "I will." She reaches out to take it, and holds it in one hand, her other palm up. There's a shimmer in the air over her open palm, and then from the center of the picture outwards, an exact twin to it appears in her open palm. She then offers the original back. "Here you go." Her voice is quiet. "Please don't tell people."

Eyes widen, mouth falls open, and Colette lets out a slowly building squeak of excitement and wonder as she sees the picture duplicated in the flash of her palm, "Ooooh my GOD!" She shouts at the top of her lungs, "That's awesome!!" Subtlety is most certainly not her greatest art, and Colette rushes over to lean in and take a look at the duplicate, comparing the burned edges and the discoloration to the one in her other hand. Her eyes don't close at all, nor does her mouth close. "Oohhhhh man!" She perks up and brings her face within inches of Jennifer's, "That's so freaking cool!" Leaning away, she clasps her hands together, "Holy crap I had no idea you people could do awesome stuff like that! Can you do that to all sorts of stuff? Oh man you could copy Felix's computer and I could have my own! Ohhh!" She's completely not following the subtlety and secrecy part.

Jennifer blinks at the shout. "Shhh!!! Please!! It's…I kind of want to keep it quiet. I can make a computer for you, if you like, yes." She offers with a bit of a sheepish smile." Yes, little girl, you can have a computer…just stop shouting!

There's an excited squeak that escapes from Colette, a bit of a strangled one though as she tries to keep her voice down. Both of her hands wave back and forth in front of her, hands closed into little excited fists as she bounces up and down in place. "Okay, this is wild! That is like — " She quiets down a little, gently reaching out for the original picture, running her fingers over a blister on the picture's surface from the heat. "This is amazing, you could like — " She gasps, "You have to come to the church with me and work in the soup kitchen! We'd never run out of hot food!" This girl volunteers to feed the homeless?

The older girl looks like she's about to reject it out of hand…after all, feeding a soup kitchen would kind of blow her cover. But then she remembers Helena's whole "Day of Miracles" idea. That would be a -great- place to find drop spots for the care packages. "I…could do that, once in a while…but you can't -tell- people, okay??" She says, trying to impress that more firmly. This might have been a mistake. "It's a secret."

"Totally," She agrees with a crooked smile, "You're not the first girl with a super-secret thingamajig I know," Then, adopting a feigned and terrible southern accent she places one hand on her hip, and motions the other hand in a circular gesture in the air, "This ain't mah first rodeo!" A crooked smile crosses her lips, and she wrinkles her nose before bursting out laughing, practically giddy from the revelation of Jennifer's power. "Seriously, though, I so wish I had your gift when I was homeless." Her lips purse slightly, "You said you knew a teacher who could, like, look at the picture? Did you wanna do that yourself, or can I come with you?"

Jennifer blinks. Again. If Colette was homeless…then she might be the source of info she needs right there. "You can come with me. But I don't think he's on campus right this minute." (Translation: player ain't on.) "And actually, you might be able to help me with a project I was working on."

Colette nods, biting down on her lower lip at the minor delay of the professor not being on campus, but it's the next part of her sentiment that has the girl quirking her head to the side, "H-Help? Me?" Her eyes go a bit wide, and she looks around the large study room for a moment, as if hoping there was someone else in the room. "U-Um, I'm… you know, not… like…" She swallows, awkwardly, "I kinda' dropped outta' high school, I'm — You know, your projects for college are probably…" She's obviously not thinking in the same direction.

Jennifer laughs. "No, not academics. I was planning to put together some care packages. For the homeless people in the city? But I don't know where to distribute them to. But if you were for a bit…then you might know where I can best give them out."

"Oh! Totally, I slept in a lot of uh, interesting places." The girl gives a crooked smile, "I know a bunch'a places that could use some anonymous donations. The church, a bunch of goodwill stores that could use clothing and toys n'stuff." There's a huge smile on her face, the idea of giving back to the city just seems like something she never thought was within her grasp. "Oh! The um," She fumbles for the words, "State shelter? Yeah — For the orphaned kids. Totally there, like, those places suck something fierce." Her smile turns a bit crooked, "What um," She looks around, "…are we duplicating though?"

Jennifer considers. "Well, I was gonna make up boxes and stuff. Antibiotics, some food…I wasn't sure what else would be good to put in there. But I'm totally willing to take suggestions."

Colette nods enthusiasticly, "You gonna' go do it now, or like, later? I've got the whole day free if you can talk to your teachers, so if you wanna go take a look at stuff we could! I know all sorts've things people could need, I heard more complain' about this and that when I was out on the streets than I heard dirty advances from disgusting old men." She wrinkles her nose in a distasteful manner, "Almost."

"Hmmm…." Jennifer looks uncertain. "Well, I don't think Anselm has any classes today, so he's not going to be on campus now. We could hit my dorm room…or your place, if you've got a computer you want duplicated…and we could brainstorm all this."

"Nnh…" Colette winces slightly, "I think the guy who actually owns the computer is at home right now. That might not be a good idea — " The girl grimaces slightly, "He's kind've, like, an FBI agent and stuff?" One brow raises and the girl gives an anxious laugh, "He's cool, though, like, you know — He's one of you people." The girl nods towards Jennifer, not intentionally acting in an almost racist manner with her declarations, but more out of habit. "I dunno, maybe I should go back home, I might be able to swipe the computer when he's asleep." She purses her lips, then looks back to Jennifer. "Oh, hey, do you have like — a way I can get in touch with you? I um, I don't actually know the phone number where I'm staying. Felix's just kind've a temporary thing…"

Jennifer's eyes widen. "Yes. Definitely no copying a federal agent's computer." The "you people" thing doesn't even throw her. "Yeah, sure. I can swap cell phone numbers with you. If you just need -a- computer, I can dupe my laptop for you now." she offers.

Grinning broadly, Colette nods with a smile, "Oh yeah, totally! Er, I um, don't… really have a cell phone either though. Um, I guess I could ask for one though, from Felix. He like — He's taking care of me n'stuff till the other guy I live with gets out've the hospital." Seems she lives something of a charmed life, people in the hospital, homelessness, FBI agents. It's not exactly something one would imagine from looking at her. "You… I mean, you don't have to do this." She finally catches on to how selfish she's acting though. "I — " A hesitant smile creeps up on her lips, "M'not gonna' tell anyone about you, even if you don't. S'not cool t'be a snitch."

Jennifer takes out a notebook, then, and quickly jots down her number on it. "Here you go. You can call me at this whenever you like. And no, it's cool. I mean, you're gonna be helping me with a project I want help with too." She slides her MacBook out of her backpack, and sets the charger on top of it. "Here we go." She reaches out and touches them, laying her fingers on it, and near her other hand, from motherboard out, the thing begins to materialize.

"Hoooly shi — " Colette claps her hands over her mouth, eyes wide as saucers. She swallows, audibly, and then lets out a miffled giggle of excitement on having seen the ability used on something remarkably more complex and large. "O-oh my God," She whispers out sharply, "It works that fast?" She can't stop smiling, this is the first non-destructive thing she's ever visibly seen demonstrated in front of her as a power of the Evolved. "J-Jennifer, you are like, so awesome!" Colette dashes over, throwing her arms around the girl in a hug, then laughs to herself, and swings to one side before letting go. "Thank you so much!"

Jennifer nods. "Yeah, it's pretty zippy. I—" Am getting hugged, apparently. Jennifer laughs a little. "Hey, it's okay. Consider it an early Christmas present." She hugs Colette in return, as she finishes the duplication. "Just give me a call, okay? This care package thing…it's kind of important to me, okay?"

"You can count on it." Colette says with a broad smile, teeth tugging on her lower lip for a moment. She considers the idea of Christmas, and then grins, "You're like, Santa Claus or something!" She reaches over to pick up the macbook, tucking it under her arm with the charger held in hand. Her other hand snatches the paper with the number on it, holding it with her photo. "Don't forget to show your teacher — Remember, her name is Nicole Nichols." A bit of a tongue-twister, "She's 26 — Turns 27 on the 8th of next month." Colette's brows furrow together, "I'll give you a call either tomorrow or later tonight, okay?"

Jennifer grins. "As long as you don't dress me up like a Christmas elf. And I promise. I'll ask him as soon as I see him." A warm smile in return for Colette. "Take care!

Making her way for the door with the laptop tucked under her arm, Colette grins broadly, "You'd make a cute elf!" She remarks, grinning mischeviously before letting the door open out into the hall, smacking square into a student who was walking nearly. "O-Oh! I'm so sorry!" She squeaks out, hustling out into the hall with a hurried mumble of apologies…

October 24th: Black Holes and Revelations
October 24th: Proposition
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