Seeking Security


laura_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Seeking Security
Synopsis Inspired by old memories, a borderline paranoiac goes in search of material reassurance.
Date March 5 2011

Morgan Security Consulting

Like many such places in the very large city, Laura's 'shop' is a small little couple of rooms, tucked away on the ground floor of a building that hosts many such office-type units. From the outside, it's extremely unremarkable, little more than a door with a frosted-glass window and a simple sign: Morgan Security and Locksmithing. There are no posted hours, no slogans, no advertisements; the kind of place tourists walk right by and never realize it was there. But then, Laura isn't interested in attracting touristy business.

She's been in New York for about a year, now; a curious researcher might trace the business' trail to Denver, Seattle, its origin in San Francisco some eight years ago. Her advertising is largely word of mouth, or accessible by those who know where best to ask, in the way of a truly top-notch professional. The interior of the front room matches that reputation, its color scheme neutral but in a pleasing rather than institutional palette; the carpet neither thick nor spare, and scrupulously clean; the desk and chairs simple but comfortable; enough art on the walls for a waiting guest to study, but nothing garishly distracting.

Laura had expert help in developing the image and impressions she wanted to convey; by this point, years later, it might as well be a second skin.

Sunny and — by recent standards — positively warm, the day might seem a very good one indeed on which to be out for a walk… save for the presence of a distinct breeze, and the swirling vortices of trash, grit, and litter that the stronger gusts snatch up to send whirling down any stretch of street insufficiently cared-for by either locals or municipal authorities.

As a result, though the day would not normally be judged by the Briton to justify it, Ygraine presently has her chin tucked down behind a scarf, breathing hot, damp air behind its protection, eyes narrowed as another swirl of dirt whips past her. En route, the breeze also tugs at the long, heavy trench coat she half-wears — one leather-gloved hand reached across to grasp the opposite lapel, to stop the wind snatching the garment away from her shoulder. For on that side, the sleeve is wholly empty, the arm that should be inside it immobilised across her front by a sturdy sling.

A broad-brimmed hat has been pushed firmly down on her head, complementing the deliberately archaic style of her dark attire — she appears to be somewhat Gothically or Steampunk-inclined, with high boots and old-fashioned practical elegance, albeit in a masculine style.

Reaching her destination, she eyes the low-key sign with wary curiosity, then opts to move straight inside rather than risk another mouthful of dirt, hoping that the place is indeed open for business.

There’s no sound as the door opens, nothing more distinctive than the quiet ssh of displaced air — no jangle or jingle as many a shop might use to signal someone’s arrival. The shop’s interior is as plainly understated as its exterior — soft tan carpeting, walls a pale moderate blue, hung with just enough prints to be engaging should the visitor be left waiting… not that Ygraine is. Laura doesn’t make a habit of leaving customers to cool their heels.

The desk she sits behind is dark-stained, monitor and a bare couple of file folders neatly arranged on the surface. The computer isn’t visible, but presumably lives under the desk, behind its backboard. As for the woman herself — her pale, pixie-cut hair is somehow familiar, perhaps especially in its contrast with her professional-looking navy-blue blouse. There’s a little too much glint in light blue eyes, at first glance — though maybe that’s just an artifact of the thick eyeliner Laura opted for today. Certainly, as she stands up and steps around the desk to greet her unexpected guest, her smile and extended hand are pure polite welcome.

“Welcome to Morgan Security.” A momentary pause while Laura studies Ygraine. “You look like you suspect you’re lost.” She manages to say that without even a twitch of lips.

A soft laugh, and Ygraine inclines her head to the woman, her one available hand coming up to tug aside the protective barrier of the scarf, before accepting the offered shake. Her own grip is rather firmer than might be expected for someone of her current appearance.

“I hope not. Elisabeth Harrison suggested that I speak to you.” Her accent is immediately recognisable as both British and educated, her voice warm and quite genuinely hopeful. “Not for a grand job, I’m afraid. But I am interested in enhancing the security of my apartment. At the very least, I’d be interested in knowing the legalities of a few things on this side of the Pond.”

"Ah! Not lost, indeed." A sweep of her hand that doesn't quite cross the line into flamboyant directs Ygraine towards the designated visitor's chair. "By all means, take a seat, and we can discuss this." Laura suits her own actions to words, moving back behind the desk and dropping into her own chair.

The blonde folds her hands beside closed file folders, tipping her head slightly to consider the Brit. "Legalities, is it? You going to be pitching me into murky water?" she asks, hint of playful smile to her expression. "How is Elisabeth these days, anyway? It's been a while."

“…stressed”, Ygraine offers after some consideration, her expression sincerely rueful as she shrugs carefully out of her overcoat then folds it to and fro onto itself on a chair before folding herself onto the seat indicated by Laura. “As you might imagine, attempting to deal with the Dome was nearly as ‘interesting’ for her as it was for those of us caught inside.”

“For myself….” Her shrug is carefully one-shouldered, the cautious avoidance of any disturbance of her slung arm a constant feature of her movements. “I was, in all honesty, somewhat paranoid about security even before I got stuck in a supernatural prison with a load of terrorists, saw first-hand how Humanis First operate when they feel they have the opportunity to act without restriction, and then wound up getting shot while attempting to negotiate for people to trade clean water for food. Logically speaking, my concerns are probably… excessive for life out here, but some extra reassurance would be very welcome. And I am hoping to avoid murky waters, I confess. The Dome immersed me in those for quite long enough.”

"Hm." Leaning her weight on her elbows and her chin across folded hands, Laura doesn't quite nod, but gives the impression of one via a flicker of blue eyes. "Well, to be honest, if your concerns are excessive… you're very far from alone. Also, it's better to have good security and not need it than the reverse." She sounds more sincere than sales pitch. "Why don't you start by telling me what you want? I presume you have at least an objective in mind, if not particular features?"

Ygraine nods, offering a slightly apologetic smile. “I… just thought I should be clear that I’m not a Lady Who Lunches, anxious about keeping out rival hounds from my lap-warmer’s doggy-door, or the like. My… the apartment is on the top floor of Le Rivage — which I believe you know. In theory, at least, it should be safe from entry via the windows, but I’m considering providing myself with a little extra security there. The main focus would be the door. I added an extra lock, bolts, and chains when I first moved in some years ago” — back when much of Southern Manhattan was indeed rather loosely guarded by the servants of city and state — “but I’m tempted… well.”

Offering a somewhat self-conscious — but again distinctly lop-sided — shrug, she clears her throat. “In Ulster — Northern Ireland — I’ve seen defences set up to buy time for householders should a terrorist death-squad come calling. The obvious things are bars over ground-floor windows and the like… but one of the key ones was a wrought-iron cage or gate, set a short distance inside the front door. Either close enough that people can reach through it and open the door while leaving the cage locked, to allow for things to be passed around the door, or far enough back that the whole door can open and people can step inside. But I have no idea how such things would relate to, say, fire regulations, nor how practical it would be to arrange them.”

A distinct grimace crosses Laura's face. "In a private house, no problem. In a rented apartment?" She shakes her head a bit. "Almost positive that won't fly with the landlord, even if you pledge them their own key. And yeah, wouldn't go over well with any inspectors either." The woman goes quiet, sitting back in her chair and looking somewhere past Ygraine's right shoulder.

"Your concern is personal safety, more than material?"

“I own the apartment — well, it’s mortgaged. I bought it back in oh-eight, when prices were still… affordable”, Ygraine explains with a slight smile. “So I can give myself permission… but city regulations might be a problem. And… my concern is largely personal, yes. But I prefer to think of my home as being an… inviolable haven. I cannot claim to have managed a perfect recovery from the Dome, I am afraid, and having somewhere in which I feel truly safe would be very welcome indeed. So if I can make the place simply impractical for anyone to break into….”

"Hm," she says again, a meaningless I'm thinking noise. "There's a couple things we might do," Laura finally replies, a few moments later. "But first and foremost, I think it'd be best if I see the apartment. While I know Rivage's floorplans pretty well, that's not the same as being on the ground." Which has nothing to do with the ground floor.

Blue eyes refocus on Ygraine. "That okay by you?"

A momentary pause, then the self-confessed paranoiac musters a smile and nods. “Certainly. From what little I’ve seen of the other apartments, mine is not exactly in a standard configuration. Though I should probably check up on what this will cost me before I take up any more of your time. I’m far from impoverished, but… I want to be sure that I know what I’m getting into.”

Pale brows arch a moment before Laura shakes her head. "For today? Don't trouble yourself. We'll discuss possible revisions, and in that context I'll give you a fair bid. You decide not to take it, then you don't owe me anything." Her lips quirk sideways. "Though if Elisabeth didn't say, I'll also give you fair warning: it won't be cheap."

Cracking a wry smile, Ygraine again inclines her head. “I didn’t think that you would be. But obtaining the opinion of a professional — especially one with links to my own building — seemed to be a good idea. And I’ll gladly hear your advice. Very gladly. Anything I can do for peace of mind would be nice — if there are things I can meaningfully do to actually improve my security, I’ll be inclined to think very seriously about undertaking them.”

Laura smiles, and twists her hand to indicate the door behind Ygraine, head canted at an inquisitively prompting angle. “I could go give it a look right now if you like,” she offers. She nods towards the monitor at her desk. “I just need a minute to close this down. Unless you’d rather set an appointment for later?”

“I’d be happy to take you there as soon as you’re ready to go”, Ygraine responds eagerly, clearly pleased by Laura’s active interest in the commission. “Not, admittedly, that you’ll need me to show you where to find it. But I think that I left the place in sufficient order to receive a guest. Should we take my car, or do you want to get there under your own steam?”

The consultant turns away from Ygraine, looking to her computer long enough to hit a few keys. "Oh, I'm not nearly that proud," Laura quips, grinning faintly. Scooping up a nearly-black jacket and sliding it on, she gestures for the Brit to precede her out the door. "You can drive."

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