Wayward Queen


bf_alia_icon.gif elisabeth_icon2.gif

Scene Title Wayward Queen
Synopsis Also called the Queen's Excursion, it's an unorthodox opening to a chess game.
Date January 21, 2012

New York Public Library

It's morning in the library. Not exactly a busy time. A perfect time to be owrking on a computer that is being a slow pain in the ass. WHich is something that happens all too frequently. And, let's face it, libraries are underfunded no matter where you are. THat's why a database specialist is delousing the card cataloug system. And why Alia's shy self is actually not in the back rooms as she works.

The blonde who makes her way through the library is looking for a very specific set of online card catalogs — dissertation databases. Elisabeth hasn't been here in a long time, and she looks around curiously to see what's different. But she's directed to the research centers and heads that way, carrying a heavy winter jacket over her arm as she moves through the building. Unfortunately, finding someone to ask for what she needs is turning out to be a hell of a lot harder than anticipated. Catching sight of the back of Alia's head, she makes her way toward the woman…. but she stops dead with very wide eyes when she gets a look at her, nearly backing up.

Because that doesn't look suspicious at all.

Alia pauses as she looks… confused. "Book search?" She asks, as she finishes devirusing the abused windows machine. But it's back to running as good as it ever was now. Alia looks perhaps nervous as it isn't often she has to help patrons directly. Isn't exactly her strongest suite.

Clearing her throat, Elisabeth has to swallow once. "Actually… scholarly publications. Do you guys have access to the online dissertation publication databases here?" She offers a faint smile. "I know my university library has them, but I wasn't sure if the public library does or if I need to go over to Columbia or somewhere to access those…" Trailing off, Elisabeth bites her lip. She really would like to immediately snag Alia and drag her into this whole situation she finds herself in, knowing the other woman's talents… but the last time she did that, Alia was trapped in digital form and it's hard not to feel guilty about that still.

Alia frowns a moment as she thinks, then shrugs. "Some." She answers, just as wordy as the other self she is unaware of. "Which publications?" She's trying to be helpful at least!

"Uhm…. well, I don't know the names of the actual journals. They'd be physics-related, though. I really really could use someone who's good at internet digging," Elisabeth admits quietly. She seems reluctant to ask Alia for her help, though. "If you could point me in the right direction for … I guess science journals, maybe I can start there?"

Alia offers a smile…. and nods as she spins back towards the computer… and she types in an address to the bar… and somewhere in there, now you are looking at… a search bar, and a list of journals. This isn't the usual search engine though. It has the library's own logo at the top. Alia smiles a bit, and selects the few of those journals that the library actually has subscriptions to… even as she frowns a little. "… thin selection. Sorry. Cuts to funding. And subscription rates."

Moving closer, watching her work, Elisabeth can't help but miss home with a pang. "I don't suppose you know enough about computers… if I were to maybe offer a little extra incentive under the table, maybe?… that you'd be willing to do a little deeper digging on the down low?" she asks. "It's…. a really rude request, but well… the stuff I'm looking for is kind of esoteric, and … maybe a little …. weird?"

She grins ruefully. "And I really suck at computers."

Alia freezes a little, and looks… confused at Liz. "… weird? that worth it." She laughs, at some stray joke or thought. "What are you looking for, miss?"

"Well…" Elisabeth sighs, and moves to pull up a stool next to the one Alia's sitting on. "I'm looking for some research done in the mid 1970s to 1980s. The only search terms I can give you right now are quantum strings, string theory, Einstein-Rosen bridges. I know there were scientists working on these theories at that time and they were pioneers in the fields. And I could probably go sit in a physics department and get my brain overloaded. But I really want to read the works myself before I do that. I feel like I need to understand how far the field has come before I go asking questions of people who are actually brilliant. You know?" She grimaces. "I dont' want to look stupid."

Alia blinks… those are not exactly light weight topics. But the custom search engine is already grinding away… someone who's paying attention might notice that it started BEFORE Alia had even hit the enter key though. "Warp Speed 10, Mr. Sulu." She quotes, though… and, surprisingly, also brings up another web-browser, and brings up, of all things, youtube. Or in particular, a channel on youtube called PBS Spacetime. Huh.

Elisabeth knows what she's seeing, so she doesn't miss what happens. But she doesn't draw attention to it, either. She grins at the Star Trek reference, though she only remembers the barest basics about that show. Her father was a huge Star Trek fan when she was a kid! "It would really make my day if someone could actually narrow the research down some — I know there was some really groundbreaking work being done at MIT back then, but I wouldn't begin to know who the scientists were or anything." She tilts her head and asks mildly, "You sound like you're really interested. Wanna part-time gig as a research assistant to a computer ignoramus?"

"As I said. Weirdness. Worth it. Compared to what cleanup around here finds?" SHe laughs a little. "Teenagers never change." Alia shrugs. "Narrow some, yeah. Might take a while though. big search space if you ask all journals, stead of just therese ones."

Tilting her head, Elisabeth offers, "I'll definitely pay a research assistant." She grins a little. "Especially if said research assistant took it upon themselves to expand the search a little if something relevent presented itself. I'm not on a timetable here — it's all old research anyway." She pauses. "The only thing I'd ask of you is not to trip any digital triggers out there and bring people worried about proprietary information down on your own or my heads. You know… like the government had to be funding some of that research back then. It was still the height of the Cold War. But… .it shouldn't still be classified stuff, right? So… if you happen upon classified stuff, just…. cover your tracks really well?"

Alia blinks and tilts her head, looking… confused. But intriguied. "Why would I have access to classified anything?" she offers in a low tone, not a secreative one, just the kind you'd use with someone who just sounded very very weird indeed to you.

Elisabeth shakes her head. "I don't think you do," she replies candidly. "I just said if in following cool lines of inquiry, you ran across any… just be careful." She grins a little and offers, "You strike me as exceedingly good with computers and research." Reaching for a small piece of paper and a pen off the desk nearby, she jots down her name and a phone number. "I'm Liz Cranston. That's my number." She grins. "If we're going to be surfing the galaxy of physics hidden inside these damn machines together, the least I can do is give you all my information, right?"

Alia digs into her purse… which is decorated in a pattern that Liz likely recongizes. It's a classic pac-man maze on it alright. And out comes a business card, which Alia adds her personal number to. Alia Chavez, NYC Library, Database Specialist. It reads. Which might explain some of the differences. With that though, Alia smiles, and nods. "LEave you basics, I go find deep stuff?"

A wicked smile quirks the blonde's lips upward. "Go find deep stuff… as deep as you can get without bringing the Men in Black down on us. Okay?" Elisabeth's heart skips a beat, and for a moment she strangles on the worry that she's just set this young woman up AGAIN to be nailed by the government. "Alia Chavez…" She meets Alia's eyes, dead serious for a moment. "Be careful. Some people don't like to share information. And I honestly believe there is information to be found."

Alia… actually gives a nod. "Lots of people hate sharing." She shrugs. "It's why this place important."

Elisabeth studies her for a long moment, but she's given the only warnings she feels like she can at this moment without creeping out a young woman she's just barely met. 'Oh, I know you in an alternate universe' is just not a good conversational starter. But maybe… if Alia gets interested enough… maybe she'll be willing to do some other research when the time comes. And Liz has a sneaking suspicion that it will come.

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