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Prologue: Investigative Reporting, Scene III (Underwood, Erin)

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
“You take that trip, and I’ll show you around – one heckuva city, and great people to live there.”
"Perhaps we'll take you up on it." Sergei said, ideas dancing in his head. It was very rare that he was on the giving side of the relationship with Erin, but perhaps a trip to a foreign country might do the trick. Something to consider, certainly.

"The Seelie Court meets in a candy store, I think." Sergei offered after a moment, trying to think of whether or not Erin had covered all the contingencies. "And the mages' ambassador to the Freehold is Jack-a-Mage. Uh, Marduk. Mages have a great many names."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"Who is the biggest info clearinghouse on the other side of the Mississippi?"
“Vancouver. I know, right? Canadians.” Underwood shrugged – apparently, this was a source of some bafflement.

Meanwhile, Sparky took Erin's card with two of his legs and a “?” icon, turning it in various orientations – something of a tall order, as it was nearly as big as he was. As a very smart phone who spent a lot of time in pockets, Sparky obviously knew what a business card was; the problem seemed to be the context. However, after a few seconds, the little Blackberry zeroed in on the phone number, which was a source of great excitement and beeping: a series of “!”-s was followed by a breakneck tour through Sparky’s menu system and into his contact list, where the relevant info promptly appeared in an entry of its own. Those in the van with keen eyes might have noticed that the name accompanying the phone number was “Nice Lady” instead of “Erin Lamothe”, which probably explained why Underwood typed in most of his contacts manually. Assignment completed, Sparky scuttled over the reporter’s shoulder to his jacket pocket, dropping the card in; Underwood patted him approvingly on the top of his display.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Morozov
"The Seelie Court meets in a candy store, I think." Sergei offered after a moment, trying to think of whether or not Erin had covered all the contingencies. "And the mages' ambassador to the Freehold is Jack-a-Mage. Uh, Marduk. Mages have a great many names."
“That’s…comprehensive. Thank you.” Combined with Erin's account, it was comprehensive. Underwood looked back and forth between the two of them, wheels turning inside his head. “You don’t mind me asking…well, you know what I do. I’m an Ambassador, I’m Winter Court, it’s all there on the can. Where do you folks fit in? You’re connected, you’re well-informed, you know what’s what around town… You titled or something? You got duties? Or you just know Othello, and you’re helping him out? Either way’s A-OK far as I’m concerned, but color me curious.”

2 successes to watch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"The Seelie Court meets in a candy store, I think."
"Home Sweet Home!" Erin cheered, closing her eyes and grinning. "Oh, it's the best place! It's got chocolate bars and sodas and cakes and scones and those old style candies you can't find anymore! Aaand they've got a frozen yogurt machine," she added in a near conspiratorial tone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
“You don’t mind me asking…well, you know what I do. I’m an Ambassador, I’m Winter Court, it’s all there on the can. Where do you folks fit in? You’re connected, you’re well-informed, you know what’s what around town… You titled or something? You got duties? Or you just know Othello, and you’re helping him out? Either way’s A-OK far as I’m concerned, but color me curious.”
"I? Well, I am of the Court of Spring, it is our job to know everyone. But, I'm only telling you what others have told me. I really barely know anyone," Erin said, with a grin. "And no, I've neither title nor duties. I've only recently started to go to Court, to be honest. I'm happier that way, and so is everyone else, I think. I've no head for responsibilities. I couldn't hold down a steady job until I started to employ myself."

"I haven't fired myself yet!" She gave Underwood a strange smile, and crossed her fingers.

"Othello has many friends that help him out, and I am one," Erin continued. "He was... kind to me, when I first got out."

Dice Roll: 7d10s8e
d10 Results: 7, 4, 3, 6, 6, 10, 7, 2 (Total Successes = 1)
waaatching

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"Where do you folks fit in? You’re connected, you’re well-informed, you know what’s what around town… You titled or something? You got duties? Or you just know Othello, and you’re helping him out? Either way’s A-OK far as I’m concerned, but color me curious.”
"Erin is actually a very fearsome individual in the Freehold." Sergei said somberly. He had a good face for somber, long and drawn (a little less thin than it used to be), and he spoke very seriously. "There are people in the Goblin Markets and the edges of Freehold society who fear her very much. The Venatores, I think they are called? She has a frightful reputation as an agent of justice, my little angel."

Sergei was very serious.

Any seriousness imparted by Sergei was dispelled a moment later by his fiancee. She had a different look, a very elegant one, and so couldn't puff up into an adorably angry ball of fluff. But she did shake Sergei's shoulder a bunch and pout. "I am noooooooot," she protested, half-whining. "Don't start that up too! Meanie."

It was hard for her current form to look horrendously silly, but Erin was making a good run of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"Home Sweet Home! Oh, it's the best place! It's got chocolate bars and sodas and cakes and scones and those old style candies you can't find anymore! Aaand they've got a frozen yogurt machine."
Underwood smiled, because this was adorable. “Sounds fun. Ours, we’ve got a floor of Saks Fifth Avenue the Spring kids rent out – makes sense, ‘cause the Neon Lady’s in high-end ad sales, but I’m not the kind of guy goes crazy for gold jewelry. I like a good Tootsie Roll, though.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"I haven't fired myself yet!"
“That’s the spirit, sister.” The reporter looked like he meant it. “Freelancer at heart – only way to be.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"Othello has many friends that help him out, and I am one. He was... kind to me, when I first got out."
“Got to stick by your friends.” He nodded, first in agreement, then more thoughtfully. “I didn’t have my buddy Herringbone to back me up when I got out…well, you wouldn’t be talking to me tonight, I can tell you that.”

Underwood looked at Miss Lamothe, putting all the pieces together and trying hard to square the result with the picture on the box. “…So where do your other friends fit in? Heather, and the big guy. Sasha. They associates? Drinking buddies? How’s that work?”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"I am noooooooot. Don't start that up too! Meanie."
The reporter couldn’t help laughing – and it was a genuine laugh. “No, no, this I gotta hear. Just chuck that in with the other question: there’s a story here. I like stories, even if they’re fearsome.” He grinned encouragingly.

4 Successes to watch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
"Ours, we’ve got a floor of Saks Fifth Avenue the Spring kids rent out – makes sense, ‘cause the Neon Lady’s in high-end ad sales, but I’m not the kind of guy goes crazy for gold jewelry. I like a good Tootsie Roll, though.”
"No?" Erin said, idly twisting her own ring: a gold band with a tiny butterfly, wings inlaid with diamonds and sapphires. "I always liked working with gold. So soft. When the light hit it, it would give off such a shine. There's nothing quite like it. And you can put it on everything!"

"I've even seen little guys like you that have been gold plated!" Erin said to Sparky, teasing the little guy a bit. "Not all the way, just parts of the case. They look like they have black and gold suits on. Quite snazzy!"



"But you should come to the store! They're great!" Erin grinned, back at Underwood. "They have those big rectangular tootsie rolls, and tootsie pops, and those little ones in cherry and lemon and orange and vanilla and lime, but I hate the vanilla ones."

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
“…So where do your other friends fit in? Heather, and the big guy. Sasha. They associates? Drinking buddies? How’s that work?”
"We're friends. We're not formal here," Erin said, with a mysterious smile. "Sasha is a Private Investigator. Heather... likes to get involved in Sasha's cases. We get along. Don't mind Sasha, by the way, he can't help but act like he does. Just don't let him read poetry."

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
The reporter couldn’t help laughing – and it was a genuine laugh. “No, no, this I gotta hear. Just chuck that in with the other question: there’s a story here. I like stories, even if they’re fearsome.” He grinned encouragingly.
Erin puffed out her cheeks. "There's no story," she grumbled. "That's their idea of a joke, that's what. They felt silly after Othello bested them at the wedding, so they spread those rumors all over the freehold, about Othello and all his associates. I counted as an associate."

"Who is Herringbone?" Erin added, after a moment.

Dice Roll: 7d10s8e
d10 Results: 3, 6, 5, 1, 10, 1, 7, 4 (Total Successes = 1)
watch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"I always liked working with gold. So soft. When the light hit it, it would give off such a shine. There's nothing quite like it. And you can put it on everything!"
“Hey, no arguments – I just can’t wear the stuff without it looks a lot like silver.” Underwood smirked, rapping himself once on the side of the head; Erin’s illusion flickered for a moment, showing a split second of the greyscale underneath. “Remember? Come to think of it, I should dress more colorful when I’m undercover like this; it’s the only time I can really get away with it.” The reporter looked down at his suit, which was black and pinstriped, and his turtleneck, which was a dusty maroon. Habit, one supposed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"I've even seen little guys like you that have been gold plated! Not all the way, just parts of the case. They look like they have black and gold suits on. Quite snazzy!"
Now, to a phone, this was very interesting indeed. Sparky made a “?” icon and a curious noise, then turned to the Internet, flicking through a series of image searches at lightning speed before landing on the appropriate JPEG. This produced a very enthusiastic reaction, involving some eager beeping as the phone climbed around onto Underwood’s chest to show him the photo at the recommended “six inches from face” distance. The reporter chuckled, waving the phone down. “Maybe for your birthday, pal.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"We're friends. We're not formal here. Sasha is a Private Investigator. Heather... likes to get involved in Sasha's cases. We get along. Don't mind Sasha, by the way, he can't help but act like he does. Just don't let him read poetry."
Underwood looked at her for a moment, considering, then nodded. “Eh, I know guys like that. P.I.’s, right? Can’t live with ‘em…”

The thing was, Underwood did know people like that. Tough guys, rough-and-tumble guys, and occasionally extra-legal guys, along with gamblers, gumshoes, fast-talkers, amiable lowlifes, and Dames Who Were Trouble. Provided they meant well every so often, he rather liked this sort of people. He wouldn’t have been a city reporter if he didn’t. And he certainly wouldn’t have liked himself half as much, either.

The reporter made a vague encompassing gesture at Erin and her fiancé. “You all…you’re all right, you know?” And, provisionally at least, they were.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"Who is Herringbone?"
“A stand-up guy, is who. He was at the Jack’s party, if you saw him: tweedy, Ronald Colman accent, bunch of shadows where the rest of him should be? That’s him. We were in the same…facility, you know, back there – the guy sprung himself before I got the chance, and when I get out, what do you know but my buddy from back in circumstances has made Autumn King. Guy deserves it, too: he curates museums, right, and isn’t an arcane artifact or enchanted thingamajig he doesn’t have a handle on. Anyway, he helped me get set up, went out for beers a few times, and we ended up pretty good friends. Don’t play the guy in bridge, he’ll clean your clock.”

"Who is Ronald Colman?" Sergei frowned. He had, he considered, very good English. Certainly he'd been practicing it actively (there may have been some arcane cheating), and he could understand most idioms and figures of speech well enough. Underwood, however, required concentration. He also required an encyclopedic knowledge of 1940s American culture, which Sergei did not have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"There's no story," she grumbled. "That's their idea of a joke, that's what. They felt silly after Othello bested them at the wedding, so they spread those rumors all over the freehold, about Othello and all his associates. I counted as an associate."
"But... you and Othello did beat them." Sergei pointed out gently. He winked at Underwood. "So it is... there is a phrase for this... when you joke about something which is true?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
This produced a very enthusiastic reaction, involving some eager beeping as the phone climbed around onto Underwood’s chest to show him the photo at the recommended “six inches from face” distance. The reporter chuckled, waving the phone down. “Maybe for your birthday, pal.”
"Careful, now, you'll ruin his eyes," Erin teased the phone. She wondered if all the cellphone radiation hysteria applies to sentient Hedge phones too. "When is your birthday, Sparky?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
Underwood looked at her for a moment, considering, then nodded. “Eh, I know guys like that. P.I.’s, right? Can’t live with ‘em…”

“You all…you’re all right, you know?” And, provisionally at least, they were.
"Well, we manage to live with him. Somehow," Erin said.

"I... thank you?" Erin replied to the offhand comment. "All right" was really more of an insult these days, usually pulled grudgingly from a person's lips - 'it's all right' - but the tone was wrong, so Erin, after some surmising, took it as a compliment. "Thank you. You're nice too."

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
“We were in the same…facility, you know, back there – the guy sprung himself before I got the chance, and when I get out, what do you know but my buddy from back in circumstances has made Autumn King.”
"Oh!" was all Erin said. She scuffled a bit on the van floor. "It is good to see old friends," she replied, finally.

"He sounds like a nice man to meet," she tried after a bit longer. He certainly sounded more approachable than London's current Autumn King... or former one, really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"Who is Ronald Colman?" Sergei frowned.
The look Underwood got from Erin said she wasn't going to ask it, but she had no idea whatsoever either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"But... you and Othello did beat them." Sergei pointed out gently. He winked at Underwood. "So it is... there is a phrase for this... when you joke about something which is true?"
"That was all Mr. Othello's doing," Erin replied. She was now definitively sulking. "I just got caught up in the joke."

"I don't know if there's a phrase for that," she added.

Dice Roll: 7d10s8e
d10 Results: 10, 1, 7, 6, 3, 6, 8, 3 (Total Successes = 2)
wits+composure
Dice Roll: 7d10s8e
d10 Results: 3, 4, 4, 7, 2, 4, 3 (Total Successes = 0)
manipulation+subterfuge




 

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