Can't See The Masks

November 13, 2014: Babs shows Jay the scope of the work she wants done and they discuss Jays tricks

Clocktower - Gotham

A locally famous landmark, the Gotham Clock Tower is located in the Central Business District. Tours haven't run in years, though, since the building was bought out by a group of bird-lovers known as the Nightingale Society. Still, it's a well-known part of the Downtown skyline. From the outside it looks unused, but the clock is clearly maintained as it still runs on time, and now and again people can be seen coming and going. The bottom floor looks mostly disused, with a long hallway ending in a bookshelf full of coffee table books about birds. To either side of the hall are sparsely furnished rooms. The walls show illustrations of local Gotham feathery sorts, and charts on bird migrations. Cabinets store various bits of bird-watching equipment.

The doors to the stairs require a key card to access, probably to deter vandalism. The upper floors are only accessible by a secret elevator. The doorways to access it them the stairs have been bricked over and drywalled. On the living quarters floor, each door requires a keycard and voice recognition, except for the door to the training facility at the end of the hall, which requires palm, optical, and voice recognition. The top floor, however, is the most secure of all.

The pale glow of the four massive translucent clock-faces dominate the four compass points of the lair, casting everything in a warm light by night, and cool light by day. the natural brick walls of the buildings exterior are left visible on one wall while the others are painted a pristine white. The ceilings have recessed and track lighting, and the floors are smooth pale wood. There is a lounge area and even a kitchen, as well as other facilities here. The insulation around the top floor is meant to keep scanners and eavesdropping equipment from being able to image what's inside.

Mainframes and back-up generators line most of the walls in rooms of clear glass kept from overheating with with high-tech coolant systems. In front of one clock face is an enormous computer system laid out on a long, custom desk, lower than average, just the right height for Oracle's wheelchair. There is a command chair for use when needed, which slides on rails along the length of the desk. A huge bank of monitors are arrayed in a horseshoe shape around the desk, with the ability to form one large picture or individual smaller ones.



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Mood Music:

After finishing the coffee and food, Rowan takes his leave from the two woman to go and do whatever it dimensionally displaced Blue Warriors do. Babs leads Jay to the Clocktower and up to the top floor. Before heading out that morning, Babs had been sure to make sure the monitoring systems are dark, just in case. "OK Jay, here we are. If you are still keen to take on the job once seeing it, I'll sort out the various accesses you need. This is my work area. I'm in IT Security and I do a lot of computer work" Babs leads Jay to the lounge area and nods to the four walls, that are in fact four separate Clockfaces. "These are the windows I was talking about, what do you think?"

Jay follows Babs along, peering at everything curiously as she does so. She also undoes the rag holding her ears down and takes her sunglasses off. That action for some reason causes her to relax… or perhaps the other way around. She floats up to one of the faces carefully, minding gears and scaffolding, then licks her finger and runs it across the inside before sniffing at it, then rubbing it on her pantleg.

"Hasn't been honestly cleaned in a long time. It's a dream job, but I think you oversold it? Am I asking for too much for it?"

Wait, what?

Watching Jay intently, Babs remains silent. Jays method of checking how dirty things are gets a quirked eyebrow. "It hasn't been cleaned in a very long time." Babs confirms and then tilting her head as she looks at Jay "Oversold it. How so?" she asks mildly. The redhead looks relaxed, her arms resting lightly on the arms of her chair… but there's an air of intentness about her. She's not used to having people visiting here.

"Well, it sounded like you had a whole bunch of windows and they were all scuzzy and dirty and would need constant cleaning. This might only need a visit once or twice a month once I get them all straightened up…. do you want me to clean the outsides, too, or leave them? I can do it, but you did say you were kind of private and I don't want to draw attention to your apartment if that would be a bad thing?"

She considers.

"The gears move, but they're well-maintained. Well-maintained equipment doesn't make as much of a mess."

Babs grins. "Well, that's exactly what I thought. A big clean to start with and then a regular clean once or twice a month. And not the outside, that would draw attention to here." Babs shrugs "What's important to me, is that my privacy and security of this area is maintained, and that comes at a premium. If you feel that I'm paying too much, and you see that the kitchen or lounge area needs a tidy, I wouldn't say no" Babs does get rather focussed on her work, and cleaning… isn't her thing.

Manoeuvering her chair to the Kitchen area, Babs puts the jug on to boil. "I'm going to make myself some tea, Rowan gave me some lovely ones recently, would you like one Jay, under todays agreement?"

"That would be more than fair, and I'll even bring my own chemicals. Don't worry, they're EPA and OSHA approved and I have the MSDS on all of them if you need to see them. And I won't even mix them up to make them really strong like I sometimes do."

Well, that's a bright lining, isn't it?

"Oooh. Do you have some Irish Breakfast? That's kind of nummy and not coffee though it is black."


"Yes, that would be perfectly acceptable!"

Motioning to the table, Babs busies herself in the Kitchen "Yes, I have Irish Breakfast. I also have Lavendar and Liquorice blend. I'm going to try the blend today." Babs organises a small jug of milk and the sugar bowl, which she places on the table. After the jug has boiled, she brews the tea and, with great care and obviously lots of practice, moves the cups to the table.

Smiling at the other woman, Babs slides Jays tea over, "I've left the tea thingy in for you, I hope it's not to strong already. Is there anything you would like to ask me Jay, that we've not covered. And please don't worry about offending me, if I can't answer or won't, I will say so politely."

"Oooh. Those sound kind of fun too!" She glides into her seat and doesn't seem to mind the over-steeping.

"Thank you very much." Okay, the safety has been removed.

"Does it hurt to walk differently than other people do? You move really well, and some people I've known have tried to get legs made or dangerous surgery to try and walk with legs. I think it's awesome that you walk differently!"

Okay, that probably wasn't what Babs meant when she said that…

Babs smiles as she removes the tea steeper from her cup and places it neatly on the saucer. Taking a sip of the tea, she sighs contentedly and takes a moment to reply. "Walk differently, I haven't heard it called that. Most people ask what's it like not being able to walk. Thank you for such thoughtful phrasing." more tea, more thinking "It doesn't hurt anymore, basically I've no feeling from about my hips down… so the answer is no, it doesn't hurt. However, every now and again I could swear I felt my legs and the pain…." a small flash of anguish crosses Babs face, and then it disappears. "but that's more a mental thing, the brain playing tricks on me. I'm sorry… that's probably a bit to much information."

"You are very welcome. And I went to a school where there were people who walked differently, talked differently, or even sometimes ate food differently. So realizing that there are differences is what makes people unique and special, and what is more important is how they work on things in life. I am glad that you're not hurting now and sorry that you sometimes hurt. And you should never ever ignore the tricks that your brain plays on you, because sometimes that your brain trying to *tell* you something. Usually something important that you're trying to ignore."

The pointy-eared girl nods emphatically as she considers.

"I see things differently. It gets me into trouble sometimes. And… fair is fair, I asked you a question so you can ask me, too."

The tea is drunk slowly and with great pleasure, Babs seemingly relaxed. "Well, I'm interested in you as a person Jay, so I will ask a question. You see things differently and it gets you in trouble sometimes… Can you explain how you see things and why it's different?"

The young lady considers for a moment as she sips at the tea.

"Okay. Folks who wear a mask? I know who they are. Someone trying to do magic to hide something? See right through it. I can't see *what* the thing hiding it is, but I can see *who* they are. And it really, really upsets me sometimes because people should just be honest and show what they're about, rather than trying to hide it. Does that make sense?"

Babs eyebrows go up at that revelation. "That's some skill to have Jay. I have a question, maybe a couple more, before I can say if it really makes sense. I hope you don't mind." Babs says quietly "When you say masks, do you mean like the mythical Batman or are you talking more metaphorically?" Babs continues to drink, and enjoy, her tea as she watches Jay to see the type of response she gets.

"If your Bat-man was wearing a mask in front of me, I wouldn't know the mask, but I would know the face. And it'd probably make me a bit angry, too. But something else they taught me at school was how to control my temper a little bit, so I wouldn't just go nuts at the first SWAT team member I saw, for example? Here. We can demonstrate, sort of."

She undoes her hair wrapping and hands it to Babs, then closes her eyes. "Put this on your face in some way. Don't worry, it's clean."

== Hmmmmmm, this might be problematic ==

Babs looks a little unsure as she takes the hair wrapping, but wraps it around her face. "OK Jay."

Jay squints a bit at Babs, and that smile starts to creep across her face though she's clearly trying to keep it in check.

"I don't see it. I know you're doing something to hide, but… not seeing it. Could you now take it off and hold it maybe six inches away from your face directly?"

There seems to be a method to this madness, at least?

Unwrapping the scarf and holding it six inches, roughly, from her face, Babs sits quietly through the demonstration.

The pointy-haired girl reaches out for the cloth, but is clearly fumbling in space for where it might be until it gets six inches away. Her body language is clearly that of someone who JUST NOW saw something to grab. That's really not the kind of thing a person can act out very well. Usually.

But the biggest 'tell' is that the smile just *stops* and her face goes to being thin-lipped once more.

Holding on the scarf till the other woman takes it, Babs looks very thoughtful. "So it's an instictual reaction? That's an interesting concept. Alright so I do understand now. But not everyone who wears a mask does so because their bad, Jay. Some, wear masks so they can do good things unrecognised…" Babs shrugs slightly and gives a small smile.

"And sometimes they wear masks because they're trying to prevent germs or construction dust from getting into places that they shouldn't, or are hiking around in very cold weather and are trying to stop their faces from freezing off. As I noted, it is something that can get me into trouble, but it is also part of why I am a very good cleaner. I see the small details for what they are." She nods eagerly.

Reaching for her tea, Babs drinks some more and nods before smiling "All good points and I'm glad you've been able to turn it to your advantage. If we're going to take turns, what else would you like to know…." The cup is placed on the table for a moment as Babs' stretches.

"Why a clocktower?"

It's such a simple question, but loaded with the potential for lots of answers, ranging from the very simple to the definitely complex. The elfin girl sips at her tea and tilts her head. "Hopefully that one doesn't cross into the Forbidden Zone?"

The stretching stops naturally and Babs picks up her tea again. "How's your tea, Jay would you like more?" Babs the hostess "I really don't know. It was a bit eccentric, and really, who would think to look for someone living and working here? Very few people would guess it…" Babs offers a conspiratal grin "Besides, look at this place!"

The toothpick woman nods eagerly as she holds out her now-empty mug for a refill.

"Gotham is full of eccentric, if all the legends are true. It's kind of like a haunted city, almost? Spooky, even."

She nods eagerly. "It's like those secret hideouts the other kids used to draw in their notebooks at school. I never saw the point, though. But kind of neat. Especially all the gears and the… do the chimes go off on the hour?"

Laughing at the other womans eagerness, Babs asks "Same again or would like to try the Lavendar or the Liquorice blend?" and moves to the Kitchen. The jug goes on to boil, while Babs waits for a response. "No, the chimes don't off, thank goodness…. May I ask about your gifts, do you know much about them?"

"If I didn't try everything new life would be very boring. And when life gets boring it gets dangerous."

That's an odd sentiment.

"Lavender, please?"

"You're not talking Gifts, but… little things I can do, right? And yes, what did you want to know?"

"Lavendar it is and a very good choice." Babs makes the tea as she talks. "Boring is dangerous, yes I can see that…" have you met what the Bratlings do when they're bored? "Yes, the little things you can do. Do you know how you came by them or how you found out about them… two questions I know."

"Well, I found out I get better faster than normal folks after I was burnt in a big fire. But I don't remember a lot before that? And the whole seeing things I kind of picked up along the way, and the flying, well… I kind of figured that one out when some bullies tried to throw my backpack into a tree with all my school books. As far as how it all works… I really can't tell you that, unfortuanately?"

Not that she doesn't want to, but she doesn't remember.

The tea is done by that point, and Babs brings it back to Jay. "I think you'll enjoy this one." as she slips it onto the table. "That makes perfect sense… I'm sorry you had to go through the trauma though… no one should have to do that."

Jay takes an experimental sip, then nods. "It really tastes like you described it." She pauses for a moment and rubs her chin. "Trauma is what makes people stronger. If we never had anything bad happen to us, we wouldn't know how to get better and not let the bad keep us down. You know this from walking differently, right?"

"I'm glad you like the tea, Jay." Babs smiles brightly "And yes: That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, or so they say. At it's pretty much correct… you don't know what you can do until you stretch a little." Babs runs her hand through her hair… "Was there anything else you wanted discuss?"

"Are there any chemicals you're sensitive to? I'll be bringing the sheets with me, but if you know for a fact, say, you're allergic to bleach, I can leave that at home? Just write down the ones that you have an issue with, or text it to me?"

She nods a bit. "I should probably head on out soon. Still have to find a hotel to stay at that isn't too sleazy before it gets too late. No offense meant against the city, honest."

Her eyes crinkle a bit apologetically.

Babs breaks into broad smile. "As far as I know I'm not allergic to anything… so nothing to worry about." and nods at the last "Not many people like Gotham…. I do understand."

"It just needs some good hard work and some dedication. If I wasn't mostly occupied over in New York I'd totally come over here and start cleaning this city up. It'd be kind of fun! Definitely wouldn't be boring!"

Jay will finish her tea and let Babs lead her out as she departs.

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