Terribly Normal


chess_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title Terribly Normal
Synopsis Somewhere in Louisiana there's a woman who looks a lot like Chess whose normal life is going to be derailed soon.
Date August 12, 2018

Somewhere in the Safe Zone

The suggestion for lunch was made after the support group meeting, which was participated in varying degrees by the three women. Luckily not far from the warehouse meeting stands a cafe. There’s no menus, only the daily special, given the scarcity of some ingredients and a shortage of most ingredients in general. Tomato soup with cheese bread sounds a little warm for the warm late summer day, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Three rounds of that ordered, the trio sit a corner booth far from the ears of anyone who might wish to listen in on the conversation. Chess sits next to the window, sipping water through a straw as she stares out at the street, watching for signs of any dangers or threats. She sits facing the door as well — habits that she’s had for some time made all the sharper by her current situation.

"No need to be so nervous," Robyn Quinn remarks plainly as she makes her way back over to their table, drink in hand. Unlike at the meeting, this one may be a bit less dry, but she's certainly not saying so. She had a messanger bag hanging from her shoulder, one that had been stored out of sight at the meeting they'd all been at earlier.

"If you aren't comfortable here, we can ajourn to somewhere else," she notes as she settles back down into her seat, looking at the simple Ruban sandwich in front of her. "I'd rather you be so before we get into this." WHich maybe paints a different picture than Robyn intends. She seems less like she did at the meeting,more talkative than normal, friendly with Jim, and more like the quiet, taciturn woman she did when they met at Benchmark.

"I have good news, and I have weird news." That maybe doesn't help either.

Lynette dips a piece of her bread into the soup as she looks over between the other two. She's mostly here as social lubricant. But also because of a protective streak she has over Chess. If there was something to deal with, she's making sure Chess knows they can all handle it together.

"Weird news?" Lynette lifts her eyebrows there, surprised that it isn't all awful news. Surprised, but happily so. "Is one of them an acrobat? That would be very strange," she remarks, wryly. But her attention turns to Chess, her head tilting. "It'll be alright. Anyone suspicious happens by, we're here with you."

Chess glances at Robyn and lifts a shoulder. Comfortable is a relative term. She hasn’t been comfortable since maybe 2010. “I’m all right,” she says, with a nod to the window. “Sort of my life these days, keeping an eye out.”

She picks up a spoon, though, to drag through her soup slowly. “Good news and weird news is at least better than all bad news. I mean… I don’t know what I expect, honestly. I talked to a psychic I guess, and she told me something but it was pretty vague. I’m not going to look for someone in an entire state without more specific information.”

Lynette’s quip makes her huff a little laugh. “Am I suddenly one of the orphans in the Series of Unfortunate Events? That seems like something that would happen in those books.”

"I wouldn't call any of it bad," Robyn muses as she reaches into her bag and pulls out a folder. "I have to apologise for the delay. It's been… busy as of late." None of which can reasonably talk about in public, even if she gladly would in private. "As much as I like to be dramatic and as which you want first, that order's been decided for me."

The folder is placed down on the table. "It took time and digging. Got a hit, though. That's the weird news." Delivered with a straight face and with no offense meant even if some is taken. "Kimberly Oliver. Abbeville, Louisiana." This spoken in a low voice as she offers the folder over to Chess.

"This has as much information as I could get without drawing attention. I had to handwrite some of it. If it's not legible, let me know."

"Well, there have certainly been a series of unfortunate events," Lynette says, with a crooked smile, "although, I think Luther would be sad if I dubbed you an orphan." She falls quiet to eat— something that she rarely did before she got clean, but now she has a newfound appreciation for food. She listens and watches and tilts her head a bit when the news actually comes out.

"Kimberly Oliver is a terrible normal sounding name, isn't it? I hope her middle name has a little flare." She chuckles a little at Robyn's concerns about her penmanship, but doesn't comment. Just looks amused.

A hit. Just one — it echoes what Chess was told by Tamara, and yet not. For Tamara had somehow found two — one too far away or too quiet to grasp.

“Louisiana,” she repeats, reaching for the folder, staring at it for a long moment, as if she’s afraid to open it. “Tamara said Alabama, but it’s probably the same one.” Kimberly.

Lynette’s attempts to lighten the mood earn her a small smile. “Look, not everyone can be Francesca Leiling Lang,” Chess says wryly. “Thank God, right?” Robyn already knows all those stats, of course, but it might mean something of the trust she’s learned to forge with Lynette that she says her name aloud in its entirety — adoptive and mostly abandoned as it is.

Her fingers flutter for a moment against paper before she gives in and opens the folder.

"I managed to find an address. Some basic information." Robyn quirks an eyebrow, watching as Chess turns her attention to the file that's been given to her. "Kimberly Oliver isn't just a terribly normal sounding name. By all accounts, she is a terribly normal person too."

Robyn motions to the cover page of her report - very formally composed - which contains a summary of the information within. That Kimberly Oliver is a receptionist, that she'd been registered under the Linderman Act (But, it seems, not the Chesterfield Act). Her poor credit score. Her simple Jeep Wrangler.

It is, in many ways, the polar opposite of the life the women at the table have come to know over the last many years. Simple, inelegant, and likely uncomplicated from the sound of it. For now, at least.

"If Tamara said Alabama… there may be something to that. Tamara's a tricky one, but I trust what she has to say," Robyn notes with a bit of a grin as she leans back.

"Well. That's suspicious." And this time, Lynette is not attempting to lighten the mood. "She has to have something like… a foot fetish Instagram account. No one is actually normal. And if she appears to be, we should find out if she's just good at hiding her oddities or if this is an overly crafted cover."

When the precog is mentioned, Lynette tilts her head. "Maybe she was in Alabama at the time. Or will be when you actually find her. If they find her first, it might send her running."

Chess’ brows draw together thoughtfully as she looks at the information — information belonging to someone who is not only a relative, but her identical. She half listens to the women speaking, before she huffs a short laugh, though there’s no real amusement in her eyes when she looks up.

“Terribly normal sounds amazing to me,” she says a little wryly, before she cocks a brow at Lynette. “The fact she’s secretly a genetically engineered clone isn’t enough?”

Chess taps the employment information. “The address is current?” Her voice drops a little — in volume and confidence. Now that the possibility of actually meeting ‘Kimberly Oliver’ has stepped closer into the realm of real than theoretical, she’s uncertain.

"As far as I could find it is," Robyn offers as she turns her attention back up to Chess. "Normal sounds…" Her lips quirk side to side. "It used to sound amazing. I don't know that I could do it anymore. You make a fair point though," she adds with a bit of an honest laugh. "Lynette, am I that used to the insanity of our lives? That that seems normal?"

It certainly sounds normal compared to some of the stuff she's grown used to.

"There's a home address too," she adds in a low voice to match Chess'. "I don't know which you'd prefer, but you have both options." Assuming Chess still wants to seek her out at all. "She doesn't stand out at all. Finished high school early, but no college. Unassuming vehicle and job. I wonder what that's like…"

“It’s all about perspective.” And the trio here at this table may have had theirs skewed a bit toward the irregular. Lynette smirks a little, adding, “I tried normal for a while while I was getting clean. I find there’s not much to recommend it. If she knows she’s a clone and is doing her best to hide, she’s probably bored out of her mind. If that’s all she’s ever known… well, in this world it just means she never took a stand for anything.”

Because she would not be living a normal life, if she had. She’d be like the rest of them.

Decidedly not normal.

“Are you planning to show up at her door? Hi, I’m your genetically cloned twin, nice to meet you? Hell of an icebreaker.” Also difficult to avoid, considering.

“Home is probably smarter, if … you know. Creepy,” says Chess with the air of distraction, as she stares at the pages. “College… things were already bad by the time I graduated high school. I only started before we- before I decided to make a run for it, before they started rounding everyone up. And that was in Denver. It might’ve been worse in the south. Even if she’s unmanifested.”

She looks back up. “She doesn’t know she’s a clone, I don’t think. The others didn’t know where she was — they only found me. Maybe because I came to the Safe Zone.” That deepens her frown. “Shit, I don’t know. I want to warn her but I also don’t want to bring her trouble if she’s fine where she is. I mean, that was the plan, to warn her, or maybe enlist her to our cause. But it’s so much to drop on someone, you know? Hi, you actually had at some point 26 siblings and 8 of them are your carbon copy, and four of them — is it four? I forget… are trying to kill you.”

With a sharp, unamused facsimile of a laugh, Chess rubs her hands over her face, before remembering her manners. “Thank you, so much, Robyn. I really appreciate it. Even if I sound ungrateful.”

"I would say, warn her," Robyn remarks in a low voice. "Yes, maybe you're making her life more dangerous doing so… but if I could find this information, so can they." Another glance down to the folder, and she leans back in her seat. "I wish I could offer her some sort of protection, but I certainly can't stay, and SESA can't without it becoming an official matter." Which definitely none of them want.

"I wouldn't lead with clone," she offers lightly. "Twin. Honestly, the difference is negligible." She quirks an eyebrow, shrugging. "She may like her normal, so if you're going to break that down, do it one step at a time."

Unwilling to offer her thoughts on normal, she instead waves a hand back and forth dismissively. "Think nothing of it," she says with a small smile. "I may be government now, but I still like to help people however I can."

"It would be better for her to know there's some possible danger out there than have it blindside her. And Robyn's right. If they're looking, they'll find her." Lynette frowns at the notion, but better she be prepared and not need to be than have these people descend on her without warning. "Twin might be better, yes."

Because it's a lot to take in. As Chess well knows.

"If she wants protection, we'll work something out. If we wants us to go away and never speak to her again— well, we have to be ready for that response, too." She glances over at Robyn, her head tilting at those last words, some amusement entering her expression. "You say that as if the government isn't in the business of helping people," she comments, wryly.

Chess nods, slowly closing the folder and staring at it a moment. Until she saw the information, it was theoretical, but now the decision of bringing this mess into someone else’s life — even with good intentions — is quite real. Almost palpable.

“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. It’s just a lot,” she says, looking up again. “Twins is more friendly, to start with. You’re right.” She sets it down and finally reaches for a spoon to eat some soup. “I wonder what her power is. It says unmanifested, but she could be hiding it. Especially since she’s not registered with Chesterfield.”

After a spoonful or two of soup, she adds, “Time for a road trip, I guess.” It’s not as much fun as it sounds.

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