|Long, Slow, and Boring|
|Location||Chinatown - Lower East Side|
|Summary||Rohan and Kaylee discuss employment options for the 'differently gened'.|
| New York's Chinatown is no tourist attraction, although its many storefronts selling trendy imported goods and authentic Chinese cuisine makes it a hot spot for visitors and locals alike. It is instead a lively district full of businesses that cater to New York's increased Chinese population, from Hong Kong fashions to imported produce. Many of the sidewalks are lined with markets that appear each morning and disappear every evening, and the air often carries the smell of fresh fish.
The signs that decorate nearly every surface bear a mishmash of English and Chinese characters announcing goods and services, while red lanterns strung over the street sway in the slightest breeze. At night, many of the shops close, and the area lights with neon announcing the location of popular bars and clubs.|
It is late. Chinatown is still brilliant with crimson banners from the lunar new year, and the streets, too, are less empty than they would normally be this time of night, even if most of the people are beginning to head homeward. Some of the restaurants along the street are still brilliant lit, customers bent over meals inside. The night air is heavy with the scent of soy sauce and mingled meats. Rohan is standing beside the door to one of the restaurants, a coat thrown over his kitchen whites, a cigarette in one hand.
Kaylee is showing her familiarity with New York weather, as she's dressed in what out-of-towners might consider a coat far too light for the temperatures. She makes her way along through Chinatown, with a bag in one hand. To judge from the logo -- not a restaurant -- the former cop had some sort of personal shopping to do in the neighborhood. She nearly walks past the restaurant without stopping, then recognizes Rohan. She stops to offer a wave, but then pauses as she takes in his outfit. Eyebrows raise in silent query.
Rohan waves his cigarette in Kaylee a little lazily, and raises his eyebrows back. "What?" he says. "A man's gotta work, after all. Especially if he wants not to sleep on park benches."
"Mm." Kaylee's response is slightly bemused. "True; I can't say that Boomer's little project is likely to pay the rent once my savings runs out. I suppose I just hadn't envisioned you as a cook at a Chinese restaurant."
Rohan taps his cigarette against the wall. "I keep trying at Indian ones, but they're all running on family," he says, with a touch of wryness. "My flatmate keeps trying to get me to switch to the Greek one he works at. I am surprisingly versatile." He lifts his cigarette again and adds, "I also, in addition to Boomer's odd jobs, clean stalls at a trail riding stable. I told you I was versatile."
"Clearly, I need more marketable skills." Kaylee's tone shades wry now, even as she tries to keep the slightly worried undertone from leaking through. "'Cosplayer' -- or even 'prop builder' -- doesn't pay particularly well either, and 'police detective' isn't a particularly relevant skill-set once you've been outed and blacklisted. I'm considering security guard gigs, however."
"Well, nothing I do pays _well_," Rohan says, voice dryly. "The cheerful answer--which you might not be used to, having a steady job before--is to do different things and work long hours. There's lots of security work, I think. You can get some money, maybe, from selling costumes or props? I think actual theatre and film stuff has unions, so not likely many inroads there."
"They do. I could make some props for student productions or indie films, but they usually are running on almost no budget; it's rewarding work, but doesn't pay so well. And I could sell some to cosplayers, but... well, most of the serious ones want to make their own outfits anyway." Kaylee shrugs. "So security it is. It pays better than some, and being an ex-cop actually might be a benefit there." She can't help but sound a little wistful; the force was her life for a while there, after all. "Or maybe Xavier's needs more faculty."
"I hate to burst your bubble there," says Rohan, watching the smoke rise from his cigarette, "but I was talking to Wallace the other day about this, and he says that because Xavier's is now technically a state foster home, the staff there needs certain qualifications they didn't need when Xavier was alive, and that's why most of them have left. So unless you have the paperwork--it's the long hard path, I'm afraid."
"Ugh." Kaylee grimaces, then shrugs. She doesn't find this too surprising, it seems. "I suppose it's security guard gigs after all. Maybe I should see if Zhang wants to join me in those, too. Or Atwell." The latter observation is made a little more hesitantly, as if she's not sure such an offer might not be thrown back in her face.
Rohan only raises an eyebrow, not commenting on this last statement. "Is there anything else being a police officer might let itself to?" he asks. "Jobs involving conflict resolution and so on?"
"Honestly, how many jobs are there out there that deal with conflict resolution other than the police? I can't think of that many offhand, can you?" Kaylee shakes her head. "Maybe... well, security, when you're trying to keep someone from fighting. But that's right back to where we started."
"You have to think outside the box," encourages Rohan. "Conflict resolution. Familiarity with the law. Questioning. Investigation. Shooting unarmed minorities--no, maybe I wouldn't mention that one."
"I was going to say, it's not like Mutant Affairs as a whole has a reputation for /de-escalating/ conflicts," Kaylee notes, a little dryly. "And what, are you suggesting I go get a PI license? I thought we already had a few of those in Boomer's crew."
"Well, you could do something like training as a paralegal, provided it's possible," points out Rohan. "There are lots of jobs where those are relevant qualities, really. You could ask if the PIs in question need help, if you wanted."
"Huh. I'll admit, I hadn't considered getting into law. Doing it /right/ would cost a fair amount of tuition, but still." Kaylee looks vaguely thoughtful. After all, if there's any populace which could use legal representation, well, it's probably mutants.
"And, yeah," says Rohan. "One of the other options is work hard, long, and boring, and living very poor so you can do more hard work toward doing something bigger and better in the future."
"As opposed to working hard, long, and living only semi-poor." Kaylee smiles. "It's something. I wonder how hard it is for a known mutant to get into law school."
"Maybe one of these days, a mutant will join up whose power is creating money," offers Rohan. He considers. "True, it's unlikely. But odder things have happened."
"If it was literally creating money, that'd probably draw the attention of the Feds pretty quickly. I think it'd count as counterfeiting, after all." Kaylee considers this. "I suppose it could simply be a particular variant of a luck power, where you just are really lucky, and fortune comes your way. A lot of well-paying jobs, or something."
"Gold," suggests Rohan. "Or some other sort of valuable material. Diamonds?"
"Devaluing the material in question," Kaylee points out. "And potentially destabilizing the economy, if you go overboard."
"If you go overbaord," echoes Rohan. "Not if handled properly."
"Bit of an academic point, really, isn't it?" Kaylee asks. "Unless you've got someone around who can make matter out of nothing. Or, I suppose, transmute something into something else."
"Trash into diamonds," suggests Rohan lightly, with a flourish of his cigarette.
Kaylee chuckles. "I suppose I should let you get back to work, though. And I have my parts to get home." She hefts the bag she's carrying, to illustrate the point.
"Your...parts?" asks Rohan with a quirk of an eyebrow. "I do hope you mean for your props, or computer parts. And not, you know, people parts."
"For props," Kaylee confirms, opening the bag. Looks like cheap bulk electronics parts, even a couple of small electric motors, suitable for building props with blinking lights or moving parts.
Rohan takes a quick look into the bag. "Ah," he says, with a nod. "That's not sinister at all, those parts. What are you building?"
"Tiny robot prop," Kaylee answers. "Little cat-sized thing, just follows someone. No real logic to it, just a simple optical processing and pathfinding routine."
Rohan snubs his cigarette out against the wall. He considers this with another quirk of an eyebrow. "What particular tiny robot prop is this?" he wonders. "Or are you making random things for other people now?"
"It's from a comic back in the early 2020's, one about the first colonists on Mars." Kaylee looks into the bag. "They didn't bring any pets, so one of the engineers built a little robot pet for the group. Someone on one of my costuming forums wants to do an outfit from that comic; she's good with the outfits, but posted asking if anyone could build a simple version of the bot for them. Just something that'll follow them around the con floor if they put it on the ground."
"Mars Base?" asks Rohan, rubbing his jaw. "That one floated around when I was wee. I don't remember well, I admit. The robot rings a bell, now."
"Yeah, that one." Kaylee can't help but smile when Rohan recognizes the comic in question. "Like I said, it'll just be a really basic thing. Stock follow-me logic, powering a couple of motorized limbs. I'm hardly a skilled engineer, just a tinkerer. Enough for prop fabrication, not enough to be really useful."
"Well, it's up to you, isn't it?" says Rohan. "Whether you want to be a just tinkerer or not. Like I'm not an Olympic show jumper because I never applied myself." His tone is a bit wry.
"Well, maybe I will look at going back to school." Kaylee clearly hadn't been considering it previously -- school costs money, and money's at a premium right now -- but the conversation sparked something. "Never too late to learn something new, right?" Whether it's paralegal, or expanding on her maker knowledge.
"Take it from an old withered man of nearly forty," replies Rohan. "It never is."
"Well, old man, have a good evening." Kaylee offers a little half-salute, as she prepares to head down the street towards home. "Maybe I'll swing by the restaurant another night and see how you are at Chinese."Rohan tosses his snubbed out cigarette to the ground, like the responsible smoker he is. "Sure," he says. "But keep in mind I'm not the only one in the kitchen. I take no responsibility for anything you don't like." He raises a hand in farewell.