Lectures in Leather

February 10 2015: Bobby Drake talks to Clarissa after delivering a lecture at Columbia U

Grade A Coffee

A coffee shop in the student union on Columbia University



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Being a public Mutant isn't all heroics and buying lost Cyborgs clothing (don't ask). Sometimes it involves… er, surprisingly mundane things. Like lab work. Or office work. Or in this case public speaking. Bobby may not be a genius but his work at DCI is at the cutting edge of applied thermodynamics and the applications of his work, theoretical as it may be, are rather wide ranging. So he'd been down at Columbia on a 'goodwill' assignment from X-Red giving a presentation on the applications of cryonics and advanced energy usage and absorbtion techniques to architecture in both mundane and extreme conditions. Stuff like materials that won't freeze and become brittle, or building a structure with superconductors that become more energy efficent as the exterior of the structure gets colder. He just finished about half an hour ago and decided to relax and get a coffee at the student union before headed back.

Sidenote: Lecturing in his X-Red getup, a bit odd.

Cryonics is….so not her thing. Clarissa wouldn't know where to start, to be honest. Not that she didn't know about the lecture, there were posters up all around campus for a week. Odd, she thinks. Posters are still a thing.

No, it's not cryonics that keeps the distinctive young woman lingering around the famed Ice Man. It's his connections. He's part of X-Red, and they're the ones sponsoring the memorial design competition. Clarissa, she's project assistant on the Columbia team, and landing it would be…very nice. There's not a burgeoning demand for armless architechts. So Clarissa's perched on the edge, listening to Bobby make a few chats, and as he heads for coffee, she starts to move in to intercept. "Bold choice of outfits," she says.

Bobby turns at the voice. Like most the first thing he glances at (after her eyes) are her shoulders. The lack of arms is… well, it's unusual. Bobby's been around enough though that he's seen that kind of thing before. Okay usually it's someone only missing one limb. Missing both is still pretty unusual. Still, his eyes come back up after only a moment and he smiles. "Eh, my boss insisted." He says plucking at the red and black sleeveless outfit that rather esembles motorcycle leathers. Good thing the cold doesn't get to him. It's snowing outside.

"Figured it'd be good to make a not too subtle plug for the X-connection in all this. Bobby Drake, by the way." Sure she probably knows that but it's only polite.

"I'd think it's tempting fate," Clarissa says. "No, not too subtle," she agrees. "It looks good, though," she says. "Whoever designed it….well, kudos," she says, shifting her weight a little. Hummm, how does she roll for info about the competition? A good question that she doesn't really have a good answer to. "You'll be wearing a suit at the design presentations?" she asks. There. Subtle. Wait….

"Berto had someone professional do it, I'm sure." Bobby chuckles. "I just showed up one day and there it was. Hrm? Design presentations?" He thinks. "Oh, for the Memorial Design Competition. Probably. Less comfortable than even this thing but sometimes formality calls." He gets his coffee and moves toward a table. "Come sit with me?"

Clarissa's on edge, so she's startled by the invitation. "Good! Uh, sure!" she says, and follows Bobby towards a table. She nudges a chair out and takes a seat, crossing her legs and looking fairly comfortable. "I hope the students listened to you more than they do me," she says.

"Oh I was in college not that long ago." Bobby grins. He's only twenty three after all. "I know they didn't. But it's okay. Maybe one day they can look it up on the internet and vaguely remember they might have been in the room." Ah the modern college student.

"Anyway, how'd you know about the competition? I didn't think Berto had done a media blitz about that."

"Get some of that second-hand fame," Clarissa laughs. "Nono, he hadn't. I'm in the Architecture school, doctoral candidate under Professor Beckhover. I'm the PM on the team, so….landing it would be a big deal and now that I'm saying it aloud I realize this might be unethical and I am so sorry."

Bobby laughs. "Awkward perhaps, if you let it be, but uneithical? You haven't asked me for anything so I don't think you've gotten to 'unethical' just yet. So you're an architect?" He looks her over again. "I know this may be a touchy subject and you don't have to answer it, but how do you manage that?"

"Good," Clarissa answers, with visible relief. "With….a lot of studying?" she says, and then uncrosses her legs, shifting forward a little bit in her seat. "You want to ask, don't you?" she asks, a vaguely resigned tone hanging around her. "You…don't remember, do you? Red man incidence in California, about a year, year and half ago? Avengers? Reality warping? Test subjects?" she prompts.

Bobby winces. "Yeah. I was still at UCLA at the time. It was all over the papers. I was kind of trying not to think of anything even remotely metahuman for my own reasons so I think I tried to avoid the news. Bad memories."

"Tell me about it," Clarissa says. "I wasn't even born…well, a mutant," she says. "People kind of assume, though. It's….sort of okay?" she says. "I've come to terms with it more or less, and people don't seem to remember me. I mean I wasn't as striking as Simone, who had that blue carapace and all the spikes. Full on bug-girl. Crustacean-girl?" she wonders. "We were never clear. The people at SHIELD said I should get back to my life, so…."

"And so here you are at Colombia." Bobby nods. He's familiar with the dsire to get back to life as usual after something like that. Only too familiar. "Well good on you though. I know a lot of people that would have totally derailed."

"Here I am at Columbia," Clarissa says. "I started here, actually, a lowly master's student, years ago. Been a long circle. Actually, around the world," she says, having now througha bout it. "One day at a time, they keep telling me. It's tough sometimes but…at least I'm not dealing with puberty at the same time, huh?"

"Puberty and post grad studies might be a bit much taken togehter." Bobby grins broadly. "So I'm glad you are not dealing with them at the same time."

All jesting aside though… "Still, I'm glad you seem to be handling it and will certainly look forward to seeing your team's submission."

Clarissa laughs. "Looking at some of these students, I wonder," she says. "Yeah, thanks," she adds, shifting in her chair and tossing her hair briefly. "Glad to hear it. A fair shake is all I ask. I think you'll find we captured the designe goal…..wait, nono, I'll save it," she says, reeling herself back in. "What exactly do you do at X-Red?"

"Me? Quite a bit. When nothing else is going on I manage the DCI Cryonics and Applied Thermodynamics lab." Bobby grins. "Which is fun. Other times I do disaster relief, emergency construction and the odd spot of fighting when something big goes down. Whatever the team's called for or we're approached for, really."

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