Taste The Rainbow


liza_icon.gif robyn5_icon.gif

Scene Title Taste the Rainbow
Synopsis Skittles, introduced in 1974, have been a part of many happy and exuberant moments in the lives of many. Jury's still out on if this is one those.
Date Junary 19, 2020

Fort Jay, Breakroom


Thunk. Thunk. THUNK.

“Did this thing seriously eat my dollar?”


Elizabeth Anne Messer has her arms around a vending machine, pushing her weight on it as she knocks it back and forth on its legs. Dangling from one of the spirals labeled ‘E5’ is a package of Skittles, tauntingly close to falling down where it can be reached. It, however, is not budging, leaving Liza to push on it and knock it back and forth in hopes of breaking it free.

“There’s not even anyone with some ability to get me those?” She looks around, as if hoping to find a savior, but the hallway is fairly empty. There’s no one to bring that sugary goodness to her hands, the hands that bought them. “Come on, I’ve not got another dollar. Just the one. Please?”

She squats down, banging on the glass as she stares at spiral ‘E5’. “I won’t be bested by you,” she murmurs.

It would be a little impressive if the repeated banging against the glass of the vending machine didn't attract some sort of attention, but when Robyn Quinn pokes her head into the break room, it's with a Cheshire grin that perhaps Liza may not have wanted or expected. She lingers there for a moment, before sliding into the room with something almost resembling grace.

She doesn't announce her presence; in fact she tries to make as little noise as possible as she saunters her way up to the vending machine, two dollars in hand. "Messer, it's unbecoming to threaten an inanimate object. Unless it's making threats back, in which case we should get you registered. I hear that's a really annoying one."

She slides both bills in the machine, letting the mechanical whirring sound out , staring at the candy, gum, and chip selection as she pretends to consider what to get.

Liza isn’t startled, nor does she move when addressed. Her eyes move very slowly from her quarry to the agent standing near her. “Agent Quinn. It’s unbecoming to sneak up on a fellow agent like that, especially one in desperate need of fruit-flavored bite-sized pieces.” She knocks on the glass, as if knocking on a door, but there’s obviously no reply.

“Besides, everyone threatens inanimate objects. Surely you swear at table legs when they give you bruises or cracks in sidewalks when they cause you to trip. It’s a natural process. Everyone does it. Perhaps you are unaware that verbalizing your frustrations, even against an object, can help you through trauma?”

She squints at the machine, then shoves her arm up under the slot where the candy is supposed to drop to. “Get over here you guttersnipe!”

Robyn's expression is flat as Liza admonishes her, never looking down at the other agent. The other agent isn't wrong, of course, Robyn used to have arguments with lights, for goodness sake.But she chooses to not share this particular detail, instead remaining focused on this traitorous vending machine before her.

"Were you a theater student, Messer? Or just well read? I can't remember the last time I heard the word guttersnipe thrown around." A lie, she'd definitely heard Elaine use it before. Her finger hovers over a button, before landing down on "E". "Come to think of it, of all my former colleagues from the Ferry, I believe I know you the least."

Her finger moves to 3, then 9, and then finally to hang over 5. "I think we should fix that sometime," she offers with a sly smile. "Dinner optional." There's a lot of ways that could be taken, most not work appropriate. She doesn't elaborate on exactly which meaning she's trying to imply.

Instead, she finally hits that "5", sending the desired Skittles tumbling down, with a second, not stuck bag to boot.

“Oh, I’m certainly very well read. I read everything I could get my hands on as a kid. Still do, really, but bookstores are much less exciting these days,” Liza is certainly lamenting the days with freshly printed books filling a brightly lit clean store, the crisp scent of paper in the air. She almost seems to be visually picturing it by the look on her face before she hears the thunk of the Skittles.

Her attention is drawn back to the candy and she fishes out the two bags before standing up fully. “Looks like your bag gave mine a friendly push, how nice of it.” She offers the second bag towards Robyn with a cheerful smile. The mention of dinner and the sly smile don’t seem to really phase the blonde. “Hanging out would be nice, I don’t think we’ve really gotten to do that and it’s good to get to know the people you work with a little better.”

Robyn's smile downturns, becoming a much more muted expression. "Yes, hanging out would be nice," she offers with a small, nervous laugh. "I used to work in bookstores for a living. I kind of miss it, to be honest. One of those pre-war things you can't get back." There's a lot of those, but that's weirdly one of the ones she misses most.

"Yes, well." Agent Quinn's smile returns, one hand offered down to Liza. "It's such a travesty to see a pretty lady fighting with a vending machine, so I thought I'd help." Once Liza is on her feet, she shrugs and takes the other bag. "Besides, I have had a craving for Skittles all day. This works out really well, if I say so myself."

“Did you really have a craving of Skittles, because it’s an awful funny coincidence that I was craving it and you happened to have a dollar that I didn’t have. I bet if only one packet had fallen out you would have altruistically offered me the packet.”

Liza’s tone isn’t accusatory, it’s more that she’s a twelve-year old prodigy detective solving a mystery with a hat and a magnifying glass. She’s sleuthing. “That’s because you’re nice even if you do fill up the swear jar faster than a sailor lacking a thesaurus.” The packet of Skittles is opened deftly—she’s had years of training for this moment. “Also, to be fair, this is a very sturdy vending machine and I do appreciate the help so… thank you.”

"Oh for fuck's sake, Messer." As if to prove a point, though Robyn does laugh genuinely. "Well, I'm glad you think so. A lot of people don't think I'm very nice at all." They aren't wrong. "And yes. I would've given you the Skittles. I'm surprised they even still make them, to be honest. I was hoping we'd start getting Canadian candy after the war. Have you ever had a Wunderbar?"

She tears open her package, much less elegantly, and pours several into her hand. "Whenever I'm in Quebec I try and grab some candy to bring back. Next time I make a trip, whenever that is, I'll grab you some." There's a satisfied nod at that. "And yes. I was actually craving Skittles. It was either that or a Twix."

“Wunderbar? From Canada?” Liza sounds as if Robyn had presented her with the knowledge of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. “What is it? Is it good?” The idea of Robyn smuggling precious cargo over the border is one that interests her. This is absolutely relevant to her interests. “Oh, get me some please, I’ll be sure to find something interesting to offer in trade.” That could certainly mean anything with her.

“Twix are also good, they’re handy because you can share and then make friends with a coworker.” She certainly seems to think that sugar somehow boils down to life itself. “But you know, you’re not innately nice. That’s why people sometimes call you the ‘b’ word. You choose to be nice sometimes which is way more interesting. Choice is just as important, motivations rule all.”

"It's peanut butter wrapped in caramel and chocolate," Robyn remarks with a small chuckle. "It's one of my favourites. They don't sell them here." She's trying hard not to sound condescending or like she's talking to a child. "But sure, I will absolutely bring some to you the next time I venture out of the country. It's a shame I wasn't able to bring anything back from Brazil."

That she's not "innately" nice thins her smile noticeably. "People call me a bitch for a variety of reasons, Liza." Clearly she's not worried about the swear jar. She never is. "Not everyone understands who I am. Not everyone is worthy of a genial approach." She offers a small shrug. "Earned, not assumed."

“Caramel is the best. Peanut butter and chocolate are good too, but it’s all about caramel.” Liza certainly seems enamoured of the candy. “You should definitely bring home more when you travel, the Safe Zone is sparse with their selection of international candy.” She catches the look from Robyn, giving her a bright smile.

As per usual, her smiles feel entirely genuine. There’s nothing fake there. “I hope that didn’t offend you, I made the assumption you preferred the straightforward approach to things.” She studies Robyn again, as if now trying to reassess her. “How do you determine who deserves that genial approach then? They say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but I don’t know if that means you’re trapping good flies or just the ones who don’t say ‘excuse me’ after they burp in public.”

"I do, so your assumption is on point, Messer." A smile returns to Robyn's lips, this time thin and small. "I suppose that's how you ended up working at the Company, and here at SESA. I've always wondered how someone so…" She rolls her shoulders. "Thoughtful." That's a nice way of putting it, right?

Her eyes flit around the room for a moment, before lets out a small sigh. "It's impossible to explain. It's something you feel out. Something you observe. Something that can change on a moment's notice." There's a bit of a bitter tone to those words. "Most people don't earn it. Most people are awful. But… so am I, so it all works out." There's no sardonic tone to the words, no knowing self awareness. Just said matter of factly. "I was trying to be more open about who could earn that place in life. But it rarely turns out to be worth it."

“Me being with the Company was different. It was a family thing. It was a kind of natural path of progression and along the way I found out something I really enjoyed and was actually good at. That’s the kind of thing you should jump at in life: stuff you enjoy and stuff you’re good at. If they align, you’re gold.” Liza throws a few Skittles into her mouth, eating the colors all mixed together like a heathen.

“I see. So you make a pre-judgement of a person’s character to determine if your approach should be kind or harsh. That’s one way of doing things, certainly, but it prevents the ones who might look like shitheads from receiving the kindness they need to shine through to their good side. That, of course, makes the assumption that you care about that at all. We all have our own levels of caring. I like to lure people in with my nice demeanor and then determine who needs to be culled from the crowd of actually nice people.”

She shrugs. “I’d rather scare them off by choice than not have them show me what they’re made of first.”

Contrary to Liza, Robyn plucks her Skittles out of her bag one by one, one colour at a time until it runs out. It's only then that she moves on to the next one. "I've grown tired of the culling," she related flatly. "Most people are a disappointment anyway." She throws a green piece of candy into her mouth, chewing it with a smirk.

"Mm," she remarks, pointing at Liza. "You just got one for the jar. I think that's a first." That Robyn is aware of at least. "But the people who aren't a disappointment? That makes them that much more special, Liza. You may have fewer people around you, but they are truer than you could hope."

Another green piece, and Robyn chuckles. "I suppose I practiced too hard at being an aloof rock star. Though I could've ruled this nothing town, once upon a time." There's a rare moment of something resembling nostalgia in Robyn's eyes.

“See, swearing is supposed to be used for when you really mean it. Shitheads are just really, really bad people and the swearing is supposed to indicate it. When you throw swears around willy-nilly, then you just diminish when you’re really mad. People always know when I’m upset.”

That, of course, is possibly because Liza’s never upset. “I don’t disagree with you that people aren’t all so great, but sometimes it’s hard to find the good ones. They’re hiding in nooks and crannies like English muffins. But you gotta know where to spread the butter and jam so every bit is delicious.” She throws in a pair of Skittles, red and purple. “You can be aloof if you like that sort of thing. Some people have solitary personalities, they like to be alone.”

She gestures with the Skittles packet at Robyn. “I haven’t decided yet if I think you’re one of those. Most people aren’t. But you’re sure good at making it look like you want to be alone. Self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Starting to grin again, Robyn holds up two fingers to Liza - that's two. After all, if she's going to get held to this asinine jar, she's going to make sure others are too. She pulls out a red one, and looking towards the trashcan, tosses it towards it. It falls well short, a victim of Robyn's poor depth perception.

Another green one is pulled out, Robyn squaring her gaze with Liza's. "Have you ever known me to be otherwise, Messer?" Moving away from Liza, Robyn makes her way over to the pop machine, sliding a dollar into it. "Disaster and chaos seem to happen around me." She tosses the candy in her mouth. "Maybe it's better not to catch others up in it."

Grinning as she chews, she shrugs. "Or maybe I just don't care anymore. Like I said, I could've run this nothing fucking town."

“That second one doesn’t count because I was using it to refer to the first.” Liza rolls her eyes. “Excuse me for clarifying.” But she’s immediately distracted at the attempt to throw a Skittle in the trash. “What are you do-ing?” The word is stretched out as the blonde looks over at Robyn in utter shock. “That was a perfectly good piece of sugar-filled sugar that you tossed there onto the ground.”

She folds her arms over her chest. “Or was that to indicate how little you care about the fate of the little Skittles of the world around you?”

"It's because I don't like the red ones," Robyn deadpans. "I sent it where it belongs." She pulls out another green one, and chucks it into her mouth. "Stop trying to be a college philosophy major. I dated a girl like that once. She wasn't any fun." Reaching up, Robyn taps two fingers against Liza's cheek. "You seem like fun, though. Or at least a sugar overdose waiting to happen."

Turning her attention to the drink machine, she hits the button for it to dispense some sort of orange, "citrus cherry" soda. "And that second one absolutely counts," she notes, retrieving her drink from below.

"For goodness sake you don't throw them away." Liza sticks a hand out at Robyn expectantly. "Give me the red ones, I'll give them a good home." She keeps her hand out even as she speaks about other things. "I don't need to be fun, though. I just need to be me and people can decide if they like my flavor of Skittle."

She looks at her extended hand, then up to Robyn. "Cough up the goods, buddy."

The look Robyn gives Liza sits somewhere between "…you're serious?" and "Whatever", rolling her eyes as she pulls out a yellow candy. "When I get to them. I'm not dumping my bag just for some red ones." The yellow one is tossed back, and a red candy produced - which she immediately offers to Liza.

"I really want to tease you Messer, but you're too god damn nice. Cute too. Is anyone ever mean to you?" There's almost a judgemental tone behind those words. "You don't have to be fun because it just comes to you. Or because you make people not care about 'fun'. I suppose that's your superpower."

The red Skittle is popped in her mouth, and Liza shrugs a bit. “I mean, people have lashed out at me in anger before, usually people who are dealing with something and don’t know any better. I don’t think I’ve made any intentional enemies though.” None that are living, at least. “People generally like me, though. I think that’s probably because I give people a chance. I’m not perfect, but generally if you’re nice to people they’re nice to you. That’s how it’s worked for me. Can’t say it’s always easy, like I said, not perfect here.”

There’s a bit of a shrug. “Can I get the super part without the hero? I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m someone to be idolized. I’m just someone who tries to be an okay person.”

Popping another yellow skittle into her mouth, Robyn shakes her head. "We don't get a say in that," she states very matter of factly. "Who idolises who and who makes us their hero. I had a friend once who wanted nothing more to be a super hero. Instead, it just got him banned from places." Another yellow candy examined and eaten. "Faced nothing but backlash. Meant well, but it didn't matter."

She folds the top of her bag of Skittles closed and slips them into her pocket. "Meanwhile, if people like Arthur Petrelli had gotten to do what they wanted, you bet people would be idolising him." Except Robyn knows this as fact, from many different stories and experiences. "It's all a matter of whim and perception. There's little we can do to actually affect that chaos. Sometimes people just like or hate something, and nothing will change that."

Her eyes once more level with Liza's. "I certainly shouldn't be considered a hero. And yet, somehow I'm one of the modern faces of the former Ferry." She shrugs. "You might already be someone's hero and not know it, Liza. Get used to it."

“Intentions only get a person so far, I suppose. But if you’re doing it just to be a hero, you really aren’t being a great hero, you’re just being a person who wants accolades and attention.” Liza shakes her head. “So if I’m someone’s hero I hope they’re idolizing me for a good reason. I hope something I do makes a positive difference in someone’s life by example.” She grins at Robyn.

“I dunno that people know I exist, there are flashier heroes out there, Robyn Quinn. You’ve certainly got the flashiness down.”

"Not anymore." The lighting in the room seems to dim just the slightest bit as Robyn lets a sly smile creep onto her face. "Not for a long time." Again she shrugs, this time turning away from Liza. "Intentions are irrelevant. The road to hell, and all that." Holding up a finger, she looks back over her shoulder at Liza.

"Perception is everything. Why do you think PR people hold so much power? And even then…" She twists the cap off her drink, throwing some of it back. "You can't always pick who thinks of you how. And that's why I've stopped putting so much effort into it."

Liza tosses a few Skittles into her mouth. “If perception were all that mattered, we’d all run around being fake bitches for the rest of our lives.” She says the swear pointedly, though she scrunches up her face at doing it. “Intentions mean something because they at least reveal your character, your motivations. I don’t just go around pretending to be a happy person, I am one. I don’t like to live a lie, I don’t like to be dishonest about who I really am. People tend to like the honesty… kind of a novel thing in this day and age.”

She looks at her nearly empty packet of Skittles. “I can’t make people think whatever I want about me, but I can certainly enjoy when people like who I honestly am. It’s pretty refreshing.”

Turning the cap back on to her drink's bottle. "Most do though. You're a diamond in the ruff, Messer." She half turns back toward her, smiling as she holds up three fingers - yes, she's still counting that second curse from earlier. "Don't take any of this the wrong way. I think you're good as you are." Eyes look up towards the ceiling. "It's a shame most people aren't any more."

With that she turns and begins to walk away, chuckling to herself. "I just wish you weren't so damn oblivious," she adds in a low, sly tone.

“The world could use a few more good people,” Liza agrees. She’s seen enough of the world to be fully aware of that. “But maybe we’ll get lucky. Maybe we’ll have some heroes who’re just good enough to be an example to people, right? Just gotta keep trying.” She’s at least looking at it positively. Someone has to.

As Robyn retreats, the petite blonde tilts her head to the side. “Oblivious?” She looks around briefly, checking visually if there was something around her. Another packet of Skittles, maybe? Finding nothing, she turns back to the direction Robyn had headed in.

“Oblivious about what?”

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