You Have A Deal


bf_cassandra_icon.gif lucille4_icon.gif

Scene Title You Have A Deal
Synopsis Lucille follows the lead of the pennies.
Date April 29, 2019

Red Hook Market

Blue eyes stare down at the phone screen as Lucille leans against the wall inside Red Hook Market. Just outside of the Tavern, her auburn hair shifts in the breeze that flows in.

Black pants and a dark grey top without sleeves, her asymmetrical blazer open and fluttering in the wind. She had sent a text, asking for a meet. Elisabeth was nice enough to be the middleman for this meeting. Lucille owed her a drink or seven.

The Wolfhound agent stands there and waits for the young woman she knows but has never met. In this dimension at least.

After her experience with Devon and Elisabeth a few days prior, Cassandra had spent a good amount of time just getting her head right. It was difficult to see things but not being able to talk about them, so like usual, she slipped back into her old habits of cooking and reading books that she could find in the market. She was lucky - her apartment was fairly nicely sized and in a good part of town, and thanks to the proximity to the market, she rarely lost power and had a massive number of bookshelves that she was steadily trying to fill with things she actually had read instead of decorations like it must have been before. It was in the middle of one of those books - chapter fifteen of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - that she got a call from Elisabeth, explaining that her name had been passed along to someone in Devon’s group and she might be getting a call about doing a little projection of the past, if she were interested.

“I’m not really doing that for many people, Liz.” She warned. “But I’ll see them and see what they are asking to find out. I’m trying to keep out of as much craziness as I can.” The worst she can be is interested, and the worst that can happen is that she can refuse the request. Money’s not a big motivator for her anymore, thanks to the government supplying a large amount of it for her resettlement and Richard supplying additional funds, along with rent and utilities. So here’s hoping this person - Lucille, she thinks the name was? Here’s hoping they’re persuasive.

Dressed for the weather in jeans and a button down shirt, Cassandra makes her way to the tavern that they were supposed to meet at. Ten minutes late, but that’s easily explained away by the lack of transportation and the crush of traffic going over bad roads. Still, she made it there mostly on time, so that’s something.

"Miss Baumann."

Lucille says as she catches sight of the young woman coming to the entrance of the tavern. She ignores the pounding headache she has from the previous night's drinking with Rue to allow a soft smile to play across her lips. It's rather weird. She met the Cassandra of her world once but that woman had a hand in unveiling secrets to her father that changed everything they knew about themselves as a family. "It is good to see-meet you Agen—" ah fuck. This was going to be harder than she first thought. "Miss Baumann. I'm sure there's a lot of confusion with that happening."

Extending her hand as she pushes herself off from the wall, striding forward, "Lucille Ryans. Thank you for coming. I was sorry to hear about your, counterpart's death. She was a good Agent." From what the Wolfhound Operative knew.

"Would you care for a drink?" Blue eyes looking over the shorter woman, it was truly remarkable and outright insane that she was supposed to believe that this woman who looked identical to the other Cassandra was indeed… someone else. Lucille had thought learning of life force manipulating entities and immortal mad men was the top of what the crazy could show her. Clearly she was way off base. Dimension travelers.

“Cain.” Cassandra corrects. “Cassandra Cain. Cassandra is fine, though, Miss Ryans.” She glances around the tavern for anyone that looks out of place before taking Lucille's hand in a firm shake, turning away from the door and leading the other woman to a corner booth that's out of the main path of traffic. A grainy rerun of the super bowl is playing on an old CRT monitor mounted above the table, giving their conversation cover.

Sliding into the booth, Cassandra grabs a menu, and makes a show of studying it before she speaks again, eyes glancing over the edge to make sure Lucille is paying attention. “Thank you, I think. I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to deal with the fact that the woman you're referring to isn't around anymore. I'm getting by, though. Funny how they didn't go over that possibility when I first arrived out west.” Dimension hopping is a complex, crazy thing, indeed.

Cassandra was very careful not to say the name of the lost in public here in New York - her counterpart was generally known to people in the safe zone as someone that could assist in discovering lost memories, so keeping that name out of things, even if it really was her from a vastly different timeline, was best. Blame the government for keeping the details of her counterpart under wraps and letting her move into the other woman’s backyard without much of a warning. There were many irate phone calls after that fact was discovered.

“No drink, just water, if anything. Thank you.” The menu is tucked into its spot between the ketchup and the sugar carrier, Cassandra folding her hands over each other on the table in front of her. “So. It's not often I'm brought out to play with others. I'm the collector’s edition that's worth more in the package, but Elisabeth suggested we meet. How did you know her? Family ties, or something else?”

Cassandra’s interviewing Lucille? How interesting.

"My mistake, Cain." Lucille says as they go inside and choose a booth to slide into. Luce signals for the waitress who comes over and takes their order leaving with a wink towards Lucille who turns a shade red and looks down, she had taken Colette up on the whole delving into women things. That meant running into last hookups, the Safe Zone was so small but so was Rochester, she'd have to find a new place to drink.

Raising an eyebrow at Cassandra's description of herself but taking it with stride as the waitress comes back with whiskey for Lucille and water for Cassandra. Taking a sip as the other dark haired woman walks away and winks again. "Hm. Richard's evil future self was going to ruin the world, Liz and I went together to stop it." It's said casually enough, "She's close with my father as well so." Take that as she will.

"We all thought she and Magnes died but here they are," a small smile at the miracle. "And they brought friends. Like you." A tilt of her head and Lucille takes another swallow of the liquor. "Did you have experience working as an agent in your home… world?" She wants to know if she's dealing with a civilian, or someone similar to the Cassandra she knew. Or.. well whatever the travelers mostly were, refugees… "I'm curious what sort of jobs you guys are taking up, ones similar to your old backgrounds or… are there rules to that." There had to be.

“It’s one of the rules. The name thing.” Cassandra explains once the water and whisky have been delivered, taking a sip of the stuff, putting it back down on the cardboard coaster advertising a beer that’s long been out of production. “Who I was before…um…arriving…is persona non grata now. To be honest, I’m just glad they let me keep what I could of who I was before.” Losing out on the family name was difficult - for her entire life she was proud to be Baumann and could trace back the lineage to the Acadian Exodus from Nova Scotia with stories about all of her ancestors, but now…with the name of a comic book character, she was all she had in the world. And it was hard. “Still.” She tries to look on the bright side. “Isn’t one of the sayings here ‘if you can be Batgirl, be Batgirl? That’s what I’m doing.”

Cassandra takes the questioning surprisingly well. The background noise of the TV and the crowded pub makes conversation blend into itself rather easily, requiring some high-end recording equipment, a ton of filters, and a skilled sound engineer to even make heads or tails of it. Or Elisabeth working behind the scenes, but chances of her eavesdropping on this conversation is minimal at best. “Back home, my job was research.” There’s emphasis on home, so that’s how she refers to it, it seems. “You can imagine that my ability made finding out methodology of construction that much easier when you could watch the person actually inventing the process in real time.” She turns the glass slightly on the table, the coaster sticking a little before breaking free. “I helped re-develop the gate that started me on this journey.”

And there it is. What she worked on was, more or less, potentially world-ending.

“Back home, I wasn’t an agent of any alphabet department, but understandably I was trusted with the secrets of the universe. Not a lot can be kept secret from someone who can peer back like I can. I mean, it can, but it takes a lot of work, and i’ve gotten very good at seeing things that people are trying to hide. Here, though?” She gestures in a vague ‘thataway’ direction, toward the north of the Safe Zone. “On retainer as a researcher for RayTech.”
The question about rules, though…that brings a small frown and another sip of the ice cold water, the ice clinking as she drinks about half of it. “I don’t know.” She finally says. “I’m to avoid contact with any aspect of my duplicate’s former life, so that cuts off a few avenues of employment. I mean…did you know she helped identify missing people from items found? Solved crimes and stuff with SESA.” Lucille called her Agent, so she must have known that, but still, it was a voyeuristic thrill to do a little research and see what could have been.

“It would have been nice if the people who placed me here would have told me what a wasps nest I was stumbling into, living in the backyard of a place that I” She makes the air quotes when she says this. “Used to live.” She’s run into people who said they knew her and had to fall back on the ‘institute doppelganger’ explanation a couple of times. “Anyway.” Cassandra looks across the table “Exactly what do you need, Lucille? There are rules I need to follow, but I am given a little leeway on requests for good reason.”

"Researcher for Raytech, from interdimensional traveler. I hope they can keep you entertained," a joke because surely the young woman is glad to have her feet on solid ground but Lucille supposes after jumping through dimensions that nothing else would really excite or it's something you couldn't dread more.

"I'm not sure my request will conflict with your rules," Evidence taken from an official Wolfhound operation? Nahhh it's all fine. "There is a former Company Agent named Caspar Abrams, he could steal memories and place them in objects. His choice of object? Pennies." It's still laughable, "People say their the least valuable coin but," Lucille spreads her hands with a shrug, guess not. "I have in my possession a group of these pennies and I'd like your help to unlock the memories inside," She pauses for a moment.

"In this reality, Cassandra worked with my father." As she stated, "A few times, one of these pennies they found showed some history from my family… besides the obvious needing to know what kinds of secrets the Company would be hiding on these pennies. There's a personal angle to it surrounding my family." Out of all the pennies she got from that trailer, the possibility that any of them had anything else to do with her father was slim but you also never knew.

"It's also why I'm offering to pay you." And Lucille takes a piece of paper out of her pocket to slide it across the table to Cassandra, "I'm sure you're well taken care of but more money never hurt right?" Ten thousand extra dollars never hurt, surely.

“It’s not so much keeping me entertained as keeping me from people that might cause world-ending repercussions with the knowledge I have, or reveal aspects to the public of the other places that I’ve been. Lots of metaphysical and religious implications come from my travels, and with the way this place is, stuff like that really doesn’t need to be brought out.” Hard questions that can cause rifts in religions, like if there there a god and, if so, is there a different god for each segment in the multiverse? Is it the same God? The questions can be uncomfortable and endless. Better to avoid them entirely.
The request, when it comes, has Cassandra taking a thoughtful drink of her water and wishing, for just a moment, that she had ordered something a little stronger than this. “That’s….” her nose wrinkles. “That’s a hell of a story.” She finally says, her hand going up to play with the necklace around her neck. “A hell of a story and a hell of a request. It’s actually similar to something I can do to myself…the memories come out of me and go into things, which means I can forget what I’ve seen, so whatever he did, I might be able to pick up whatever he put into those pennies you found if I’m lucky.” So there’s hope.

“Look.” Cassandra rubs her hands over her face, pushing on her eyes with her forefingers on either side of her nose, warning away a headache that’s promising to set its teeth in if she’s not careful. “Let’s start at the beginning. How many pennies are we talking, here?”

The fact that she’s still sitting there without walking away the second Lucille brought up delving into the Company’s past shows that the little seer is at least thinking about it. The paper check slid across the table is glanced at, eyes widening at the number, but is left alone for now. There’s a few very important questions to ask.

“Assuming I do what you ask and we get something useful off of these items, what, exactly, are your intentions with this information? Family stuff, sure, that makes sense.” She waves a hand. “You want to find out the past of family things. I get that. But what about other stuff? There’s no way for you to know what’s on those objects or even if we’ll get anything usable off of them. Even if I can.” She worries her bottom lip for a moment. “Whether or not this can work at all is entirely theoretical right now. If you have a penny I can take with me and work with…” It would, for Cassandra, be just like working on the objects from Looking Glass again.

Something strikes her that she should have thought of earlier. “If you get something that shows, I don’t know…” She waves a hand. “Massive company conspiracy that goes to all levels of government or something, what then? And who else, if anyone, will be there with us while I’m diving in? Where will it be done? And can I bring someone with me if I want?” The questions come rapid-fire, and yes, the person Cassandra is talking about is more than likely Elisabeth. Still, Cassandra needs to know beforehand so she can mentally prepare herself in case she has to do this on her own, if she does it on her own. This is a big ask for her to bring Elisabeth in, but hopefully her friend might help her out in this case.

Cassandra’s help right now hinges on how Lucille answers.

"Then you're uniquely suited, with regards to memories and your ability." Lucille can see thus, the value Cassandra feels for herself and knows that others have of her talents.

Leaning back in her seat as Cassandra unloads her questions, Lucille takes a sip of her drink and watches the woman for a moment. Running her finger across her chin to wipe away the drip of whisky spilled on herself. "Mmhm."

"I had a sandwich baggie before dumping them with the rest of the pennies with my group. There are… more than two hundred let's just say I'm not sure we would be able to get through them all ever." Lucille doesn't address the nature of Cassandra taking the pennies home, that's a no go. Avi or Franch would never allow it. Neither would Lucille frankly. "My father has a house, here in the Safe Zone. He's close with Liz if you want to vet him. We're welcome to go there to discover your findings. Maybe if the strain is too much, we meet over the course of a week. Chip away at it. To get a sense of what we're dealing with." There's another sip of her drink and she sets it on the table. "The Company was an evil entity in our world, their connections ran deep. There will undoubtedly be a conspiracy or three discovered I'm willing to bet. As to where that information goes? I work closely with the government with Wolfhound. But if it's the current government we have to worry about," There's a shrug, "Then we deal with them like we deal with Mitchell, because of Caspar's activity mostly being in the past though? I think we're mostly safe on starting any new wars with this information, at least between the people and the government." There's a hint of a laugh.

As to her last request, Lucille looks at Casandra closely, "Due to the nature of all of this… I'd like to keep it small. And it's for my job so. You, me and a colleague of mine. Rue Lancaster. I'm not going to bug your place so what you say when we're not around each other is your own thing. Just be careful."

Raising her hand to extend it for Cassandra, "Will you help me and take that ten grand off my hands, it's getting heavy."

Cassandra’s not taking notes, but Lucille can more than likely tell that Cassandra’s considering a few things that are probably important and taking note of exactly what wasn’t answered. She sits back in the vinyl-covered bench seat, her hands laced with each other in front of her, her head resting on her hands before she sits up, blowing out a breath. “The pennies you want me to take a look at, whatever he put on them, is between you and that Caspar guy. The concern I have is that you’re asking me to go in blind and look back on a world that I have no clue about, so this…” She taps the check, shaking her head. “Probably not enough if I wasn’t in a charitable mood. My gut feeling is to just refuse this entirely, thank you for the meeting, and disappear back into the world of research. You know and I know that I don’t know the slightest bit about what I’m getting into. You knowing about me brings up a lot of other interesting conundrums, too, like the fact if you know about me, chances are some other alphabet agency does too.” She doesn't sound pleased thatone day someone will show up at her door with their hat in their hand, asking for a consultation. Cassandra lifts a hand to stifle any protest before she continues. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t - I’m just letting you know what my initial thoughts are.”

“Before I accept, I do have terms.” The facedown check is tapped with a fingertip and slid aside out of the way of droplets of condensation streaking down Cassandra’s glass. “Part of my position before I arrived here was doing top secret research for a few places that might not mean much in this world, and if they do, I’d rather not put the names out there to keep myself off of any potential watch lists. I know how to keep secrets.” Lucille is fixed with a serious expression. “I'm not planing to go out and give a first person interview to the local papers about what I pull off those pennies. It’s just not professional.” That seems to be a thing for Cassandra - professionalism.

Cassandra takes a sip of her drink and continues. “Before I agree, we’re going to have established time limits. I’ll give you a week to start with, eight hours per day, and it’s up to my discretion whether or not we continue going beyond that. You want to keep what I find secret? That’s fine - but I am going to tell two people where I’m going, contact them when I leave for your place, and let them know when I return.” She’s tired of this skullduggery stuff that she’s lived through for the past few years of her life, and she’s trying to limit it. There’s probably a few other things she’s going to do, too, like leave the address in a sealed envelope so if she does need to come get gotten, there’s a location to probably find her.

The suggestion that her place might be bugged is infuriating. The one refuge from the world she finds herself in, violated? Not good. “I would seriously suggest against any sort of surveillance on my place of residence or business or in any way relating to me or anyone I choose to associate with, either directly or indirectly.” Cassandra says this softly, her voice hard. “Since I can simply look back and see when anyone enters a location based off of the doorknob, the carpet, or any item in the room, I’d find that to be an invasion of privacy and very unprofessional. I would consider surveillance of any kind a violation of my trust, and that would immediately end my present and any future service to you or your group.” What’s left unsaid is that bugging her probably wouldn’t do well for the requested secrecy in this case.

“If you’re okay with these terms, I’ll take your check, leave my number, and we’ll get together sometime in the next few weeks to start going over things. I would say pick out some interesting looking ones - maybe the man used the dates on the pennies to keep track of when it was used or something - but maybe not.” Cassandra shrugs. “Just grab a handful and we’ll go from there. The location needs to be about ten feet square - a standard room - with as few obstructions as possible. We don’t want to kick a tables if we move around while I’m working. A good chair to sit in with a high back would be nice, too.”

Cassandra’s head tilts, fixing Lucille with a serious gaze. “Okay?”

Being wary is good.

Lucille listens to Cassandra's terms and worries all with a mild temperament, sipping from her drink and not interjecting, tilting her head at the bristle of being under surveillance, Lucille could understand that. That's why she would never, Cassandra's ability also presents the problem of that ever going off without a hitch.

Leaning back in her seat as Cassandra finishes Lucille looks at her over the rim of the glass. Finally Lucille drains the glass and places it on the table.

The taller woman leans forward across the table with a firm nod, "You've got a deal."

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