The Sailing Club


anselm_icon.gif grace_icon.gif jennifer_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title The Sailing Club
Synopsis In Erica's, Anselm runs into Grace and Ygraine. Brief histories and hobbies are exchanged. When Jessica joins and Grace departs, the idea that Ygraine should be investigated for membership within the Ferrymen sparks.
Date September 30, 2008

Erica's Coffee Shop, Queens

The impromptu gathering at the coffeeshop gains another participant as Grace walks in through the door, its bell chiming softly. Dressed casually in jeans and a dark green shirt, carrying a folded newspaper under one arm, and with her handgun worn openly in its preferred position on her belt, she pauses at the sight of two independently familiar people. One dark brow rises as the woman considers the English pair, and only a moment passes before she quietly takes her own place in the line.

Ygraine glances around in surprise, lifting a brow to give the older man a decidedly quizzical look. After warily studying him for a moment, she nods acceptance, tucking her own wallet back into her pack. "Buying a drink for the accent?", she asks with a wry smile. "I've done the same, I confess."

Ygraine is greeted with a smile once Anselm returns his wallet to his coat pocket. "Call it nostalgia, if you like. You can't blame one for leaping at an opportunity to speak with anyone whom reminds him of home." He turns back to his seat, sweeping a hand in a gentle gesture for the courier to join him, but in the process catches sight of Grace. Unsure if the other Ferryman wishes to be publicly greeted, he simply smiles a bit wider and nods to her.

Now noticed, Grace gives Anselm a definite grin. By that alone, it can probably be guessed she doesn't mind the public meeting. "I take it you two haven't met?" she infers, rasping voice perhaps a bit amused. With the hand that isn't holding the paper, the woman gestures between the two. "Anselm, Ygraine; Ygraine, Professor Anselm Gilbert." Grace smiles at them, then turns to the barista, ordering a very black coffee.

Ygraine is rather surprised to see Grace here — but visibly relaxes a bit when her acquaintance makes it clear that the Professor is known to her. Apparently somewhat reassured that he's not just pursuing an opportunity to chase a young woman in lycra, she flashes a grin at both him and Grace, then collects her pack and mug and moves to follow him to his table — pausing en route to look back at the gravel-voiced woman at the counter. "Do join us, please…"

"Yes!" Anselm says brightly, the softest of chuckles ribboning around the sentiment. "So you see, I have even more of a reason to treat you, Ygraine. It is a pleasure." He nods her toward the table as he pulls his walled out again, this time to pay for Grace's drink. After all, why pay for one young woman's caffeine supplement and not the other's? "You must join us," Anselm says as he leans his head a bit toward Grace. "If you are able, that is."

Because the other one won't accept it; the gesture that forestalls Anselm's wallet is a firm one. "Thank you, but I have it covered." A subtle smile tries to offset the harshness of both voice and refusal, and fails to change the fact that Grace is absolutely set against her drink being paid for by anyone else. She does nod at the dual invitation to hang around and chat. "I can certainly do that, yes," the woman agrees, as she hands the cashier the necessary bill.

A little bit of fiddling around results in the removal of Ygraine's helmet and gloves, both being tucked into her pack, before she settles onto a chair at Anselm's table, stretching her legs out with some evident relief. She watches the other two, sipping gently at her drink.

While some might be offended, Anselm only chuckles and slips a single into the tip jar for the barista before he walks with Grace back to his table. "How do you know Ygraine, Grace?" he asks, looking to the courier so she doesn't perhaps feel left out. "Is she one of the sailing club members?"

Stiffness relaxing into a truer smile as Anselm accepts the denial without objection, Grace follows him over to the table. "She's more a bicycle person than a sailor, or so I understand," she replies, settling into a seat and offering the cyclist a small smile. "We just seem to cross paths often."

Ygraine shoots Grace a mildly amused look. "Sailing? Not a sport I've ever got into, I'm afraid. I do enjoy the wind in my face, but I prefer a bit more speed, I confess. I've spent a lot of time on two wheels, throughout most of my life…"

"And you are probably the fitter for it," Anselm acknowledges as he sits, taking up his tea again. Noting Ygraine's remark in conjunction with Grace's, the professor grins slightly. "I do hope you haven't ever crossed paths while she's been on those wheels, Grace."

A deepening of the curve in Grace's lips acknowledges the humor — both of Anselm's quip and the implication that she sails. "Not yet," she replies, taking a sip of her coffee. "And I have to say I hope I don't — not if she likes 'a bit more speed'," she continues, interpreting Ygraine's remark as an exercise in understatement. "I've seen plenty of the couriers blaze by as it is."

Ygraine cracks a broad grin at Grace. "Bah. Many of them are absolute slow-pokes", she observes playfully. "Though… it might be nice to try sailing. I could see it being rather fun, drifting along before a gentle breeze, with a good back to hand and the sun overhead…"

Anselm settles back into his chair with a tapering chuckle. "Well, if you'd ever like to try your hand at it, I'm sure Grace can put you in touch with the right people. But you can't expect me to believe that you came all this way just to dart about on your cycle for one firm or another."

Grace raises a brow, glancing sidelong to Anselm as he puts forth the invitation. Wrapping both hands around her cup of coffee, she sits back and makes no comment of her own, simply listening for the moment.

Ygraine lifts a brow at Anselm, chuckling as she takes a long sip of her chocolate. "In many ways, I did. I was here, working as an intern in one of the UN's analysis departments - providing translation services, chiefly - in November '06. I'm back here now in large part to try to face down a few demons."
Anselm nods solemnly, his grin fading to the faintest glimmer. "And aren't they everywhere nowadays," he says before a deep sigh and subsequent sip of tea.

Ygraine musters a rather weak smile. "I'd rather face them in the streets, here, than have them taking up residence between my ears. By being here… by doing something directly constructive, I can hope to defeat a few. It's not much… but the lifeblood of a city's communication. And I work for one of the companies that handles commissions that involve crossing the ruined sector."

"You'll have to forgive me, Ygraine," Anselm says with a brief smile as he readjusts his posture in order to lean slightly toward the other Briton. "I am a man of metaphors myself, but what demons are you talking about?" He glances briefly to Grace before settling his cloudy eyes once more on the courier.

One dark brow lifts at Ygraine's remarks. "You cross Midtown regularly?" Grace echoes, setting her coffee down on the table. "That's either brave or foolish, and most people here would probably put money on the latter." Blue eyes glance to Anselm as he speaks again, and she gives the cyclist a curious look of her own.

Ygraine blinks, clearly somewhat surprised by the enquiry, delaying a moment to take another sip. She nods, offering Grace another wan smile. "We do, yes. It's not a requirement — you can choose not to take commissions that'd have you cross it. But Alley Cat's bosses believe that we need to get the city working… and basic low-level commerce and communication are a vital part of that. I'm inclined to agree. For me, I've got more chance of seeing results from what I do here than I had while I was working for the UN translating reports and adding to the paper mountain."

Another drink is taken, before Ygraine formulates a reply to her countryman's question. "I was not merely in the city on the day, Professor — I was on Broadway. Fortunately, I was heading North, and was in full cycle leathers with a helmet. But I was put through a storefront, and my next clear memories involve waking up in a refugee camp hospital. I was evacuated by our government a couple of days later… but it was only in the Summer of the following year that I was released from the institution to which I had been sent. I am — was — an international-level competitive cyclist. I had hoped to be at Beijing this Summer, and the Road Cycling World Championships this month. Getting nuked and turning rather markedly eccentric in my ways — quite apart from the problems they posed directly — rather scuppered those notions. So… cycling through the ruins of Midtown presents me with quite a lot to face up to. Of course, as a survivor who lost no family and little that wasn't insured… I'm exceptionally blessed compared to many."

While others might feel schooled at the young woman's long explanation, Anselm listens with patience and calm. "My little girl was at Julliard," he offers in quiet sympathy. "I can only hope that like you, she woke up in a refugee camp somewhere, and all that separates her mother and I from her is a range of those paper mountains. I apologize for the dashing of your dreams, but you're right — we should focus on the things we have moreso than the things we have lost."

Grace listens quietly to both of the Brits, sipping at her coffee in the meantime. "Yes," she agrees, as Anselm speaks. "At least you are both alive." She, by inference, wasn't in the city at the time of the bomb. A crooked hint of a smile is given to Ygraine. "I know the Cats do get a lot of cross-town business from me," the woman remarks. Her gaze shifts to Anselm. "I hope you do find her."

Ygraine looks rather troubled, nodding agreement to Grace's expression of hope. "I'm afraid that I had precious little contact with most people at the hospital, and wasn't in the best of states to remember with any clarity those I did meet. The consular staff found me because I was conscious and talking, and the helpers were eager to offload anyone they could onto their home countries' resources. But I'm quite certain that many slipped through the cracks, especially if they weren't interacting with doctors as I was. She could very easily be out there, stuck now that things are back to "normal" and the bureaucrats have regained control of people's movements…"

Anselm bows his head and nods at the hopeful expression. "There is a catch, ladies," he says in an even softer tone. "My Beatrice was…how has it been put by those not terrified by extraneous percentages." Anselm lifts a hand to rub at his chin in thought before he continues. "Special. Even if she had so gracefully slipped through any cracks, there is no telling where she may be now."

Grace begins to reply to her companions, but the words are forestalled by ringing from the cellphone in her pocket. She offers them an apologetic look instead. "Excuse me." Standing up, catching the coffee in one hand and fishing out the offending bit of technology with the other, the woman steps away to answer it. "Go."

Ygraine shoots Grace a rather sympathetic look, before returning her gaze to Anselm. "May I… what… what does she do?" she asks quietly. "I can at least keep an ear open for anyone doing that sort of thing, if it's noticeable…"

Anselm is quick to shake his head and lean back, even shaking his hand to brush off the question. "She's harmless. I'll leave it at that. I have every faith in my daughter to be /human/, not a monster like the media is painting these, at time unfortunate individuals." Anselm does his best to salvage a smile though. "I appreciate the offer, though."

Ygraine nods meekly. "Oh, I quite agree. Oddly enough, given my background… I'm not exactly a big believer in repression and paranoia as forces for good. My post-graduate work was in international relations — specifically the analysis of conflicts, and how they emerge and worsen…. This… this atmosphere does not strike me as either healthy or encouraging."

Anselm glances to where Grace has made her exit, intrigued by Ygraine's credentials and viewpoints. "I quite agree," he nods, taking another sip of his tea. "One would think that people would learn from history, but the human race has faltered once again."

Ygraine offers a low, faintly bitter laugh. "Merely look at modern economic history, and you'll see that people tend to repeat the same errors over and over again, whether it's a speculation bubble or excessive faith in a complex system's ability to support its own weight through little more than determined optimism…."

Jennifer yawns. It's been a long day of class, it's cloudy and chilly, and generally not a high-energy day. Plus, being perky takes it out of you! Time to recharge with some caffiene. The young woman enters the coffeeshop in jacket and jeans, backpack slung over a shoulder.

Anselm's mood is quite improved by Ygraine's answer, and a low chuckle rumbles out of his deep chest. "Oh, I'm not one to insult optimism. At least not in its purer form." When Jennifer joins the coffee-drinking throng, the professor briefly smiles in her direction.

Ygraine glances around, locating Jennifer as the target of Anselm's smile after a moment's effort. Looking back to the professor, she quirks an amused smile. "You seem to know a number of visitors to this place. All young and female…."

Jennifer picks up her drink at the counter; chai. Caffeine and tasty, all in one glass! She looks about then, and spots Anselm, and with a tired-but-bright smile she starts over that way.

Anselm 's head snaps around to Ygraine at her quip, then grins brightly. "It is the cross all older Englishmen have to bear. Charm. Suavity. And a voice of velvet. Excuse me for a moment." Anselm stands then, leaving his tea on the table in order to greet Jennifer with open, fatherly arms. Thankfully, the Columbia student isn't in his department.

Both brows lift in response to Anselm's greeting of Jennifer, though she does sit up straighter and draw in her own legs to clear more room for the professor's movement and the addition of another to the table. She watches the pair with interest, gaze lingering thoughtfully on the young woman.

Jennifer walks up and gives Anselm a careful hug so as not to spill any chai on him. She steps back with a smile. "Afternoon, Anselm. How are you doing today?"

"Well enough, Jennifer. Well enough." Anselm motions for the young woman to take a seat lingering so that he is standing until she has done so. "Jennifer, this is Ygraine, socio-political analyst and cyclist extraordinare. Where exactly in the Degenerated Grand Empire are you from, Ygraine?"

Ygraine snorts indelicately at Anselm, before offering a grin to both him and Jennifer. "Hi", she says warmly to the latter, before providing an answer to the professor. "I was born in Southern England, raised in Edinburgh, and… it gets more complex from there. I studied in two other ancient cities, and am now in my second spell in New York."

Jennifer laughs just a little. "Oh, goodness. Two sets of English accents in the same conversation. If you notice me slipping, smack me; too much acting will have me automatically trying to match if I'm not careful."

Anselm laughs as he leans back once again. "I wouldn't hold it against you," he says before looking to Ygraine again. "Sheffield, myself, then Oxford. Here, after the bomb." Grace's earlier words weren't quite accurate. "But now I'm teaching at Columbia, where I had the extreme good fortune of meeting Jennifer here."

Ygraine cracks a broad grin, shaking her head. "I promise to mock you if it's too painful on the ear", she says, "but otherwise I very much doubt that I'd object. Manchester and Canterbury for me. The former, I confess, chosen for its proximity to the national cycling centre rather than any particular appeal of its history department…"

Jennifer smiles, and sips her chai. "Because everyone knows it's MUCH more impressive to meet a drama student than a notable Oxford professor." She seems amused at Anselm's comment. "Face it, professor. You've got me beaten in terms of interestingness. And it's very nice to meet you, Ygraine."

Ygraine politely inclines her head to Jennifer, then quirks a smile at Anselm. "Compared to a washed-up academic turned courier? I think the professor and the actress beat me hands down…."

Anselm chuckles and shakes his head, polishing off his tea with another sip. "Complex is one way of putting that," he says to Ygraine. "And an old man should never be more interesting than a talented young lady, Jennifer. You flatter me too much. Now, if you ladies will excuse me, I am expected to return this book to a librarian before she leaves for the day, and I'd had to angry a Keeper of the Books." He stands, taking the book his referring as he does so. "Jennifer, you must let me know when you next plan to come to dinner. Christine's been asking about you." Nodding to Ygraine, his smile grows. "It was a pleasure, Ygraine." The professor begins to leave then, then turns back to the pair. "Oh, and Jennifer? Grace was here earlier, and while Ygraine is fond of her cycle, she might take to the water quite easily. Don't push her in, but perhaps see if she'd be the sort the club might extend an invitation too, hm?"

Jennifer laughs at Ygraine's statement. "Drama student." She repeats, with an amused look. "This isn't at all the same thing as actress. And of course, Anselm." She looks very curious then, once Anselm mentions 'the sailing club'. "Really?" She looks to Ygraine with more curiosity now.

Ygraine laughs again, raising her mug of hot chocolate in a half-serious toasting gesture to Anselm. "I hope to bump into you again, Professor…." Grinning at Jennifer, she shrugs somewhat self-consciously. "Sailing sounds like it might be fun. And… don't do yourself down. This seems to be quite the club you're a member of, if nothing else."

Jennifer chuckles. "Well, it does keep things interesting, if nothing else. So, you're a poli-sci type? And a cyclist?"

"Ladies," Anselm says at last, his smile wide before he departs.

Ygraine raises a hand in farewell to the professor, then returns her attention very firmly to Jennifer. "My first degree was in history, though I paid far more attention to the cycling. My second… I took partly to prove to myself that I had a brain, but in large part because I really didn't enjoy "normal" work. That was in international relations - particularly the analysis of conflict."

Taking a sip of her drink, she then glances rather self-consciously down at her immodest attire. "Yeah. The cycling… I've competed internationally, but… the Bomb put an end to that. I've still got some hopes of getting back to that level, but…." She shrugs and sighs. "I'm sorry. I'm rambling, when you were almost certainly just being polite."

The student chuckles. "No, honestly, I'm curious. Professor must have liked you if he's recommending you. Seen something unusual in you."

Ygraine coughs. "For most people, that's either the accent or the size of my thighs", she grumbles half-jokingly. "I… I'm not sure. I can't claim to have spoken to him too long. He just heard me talking, and offered to pay for my drink, then invited me to join him and Grace. This seems to be something of a meeting-point for your club today! But… I'm not sure. Maybe he's just glad to hear someone rambling on in a British accent."

The comment automatically provokes a look, as Jennifer peeks down. "Oh, Grace was here too??" She seems amused. "What did she seem to think about it?"

Ygraine shifts position a little, muscles tensing quite visibly through the thin layer of lycra. "I don't think that she had much to say about it, as I recall. But she did get called away by a phone call, so… it's not something we exactly discussed."

The girl smiles. "Got it. Well, it's a pleasure to meet you. As far as the club, that's something I'd need to talk over with Grace…it's really more her call than anything as to what happens with that."

Ygraine quirks a smile, nodding. "No problem. I wouldn't expect an invitation a minute into your first meeting with me anyway. Though… I'd be flattered if one was offered, I admit."

Jennifer smiles. "Well, I tell you what. I'll look into it. Did you want to give me your cell number? If you do, I can call you after I know something."

Ygraine blinks, then nods quickly, carefully setting aside her drink before turning to rummage in her pack. A few moments later, she tugs out an Alley Cat business card and a pen. On the back, she jots down a cell number and the name "Ygraine FitzRoy", before handing it over. "Thank you", she says warmly.

Jennifer takes it and smiles. "I've got to get going, but it was really nice to meet you!" She finishes off her chai. "I'll talk to you soon, all right?"

Ygraine nods again, looking somewhat disappointed - though she hastily tries to hide it. "Sure. I look forward to it. And thank you!"

September 29th: The Insidious Panini Conspiracy
September 30th: Red Heels and Rose Petals
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