|Working and Winning|
|Location||Lounge - X-Factor Solutions|
|Summary||Huruma and Irene encounter each other and talk about one of XFS's latest jobs.|
| The lounge is the one place in X-Factor that shows some signs of personality, and as such, it's far more comfortable than either the sterile neatness of the front entrance or the sleek tech of the conference room.
One wall has been painted kelly green, a color which sets off the less-exciting black of the refrigerator, cabinets, and microwave that make up the tiny kitchenette area. Another wall has already earned some graffiti. It's become common for new employees to leave a signature of sorts, scrawled somewhere on the wall in varied-colored marker. They range from literal signatures to symbols and pictures depicting mutations or call signs or some other mysterious image. They appear to be getting more elaborate as time goes on.One wall has been kept clear for a holoprojector that can be configured for use with any number of technologies, though its most common use is as a television. A pair of couches long-since worn down into narcoleptic comfort flank it, and a single wingchair sits opposite the coffee table set between. Behind the comfortable cluster, a small round table can seat four, and next to it a staircase leads up into the offices.
It's just after the lunch hour that Huruma finds herself rounding about at the X-Factor Offices to drop off the result of a small job; couriering to a place with tricky access. She was gone before they could even chase her out themselves, and so when she arrives in a sweep of black coat, there is a pleased expression on her face. Even as she sheds the coat in the lounge and proceeds to reheat coffee from the lunch hour, there's a noticable tilt to her posture that indicates she may not even care if it was yesterday's. It's the small things. Her clothing is, at the moment, echoing more of high-business than business casual, in a dark red suit with a high-waisted skirt.
The coffee probably isn't yesterday's, but who knows? Certainly not Irene. She sweeps into the room with the sort of quick steps that denote someone on a mission--distinctly a lowercase 'm' and not an uppercase one that might indicate a XF job. Her ponytail sways behind her as she goes and there is nothing high-end looking about her jeans, t-shirt and all-weather jacket, all of it fuctional more than fashionable. She's already carrying a travel mug in a hand. "Huruma." There's a slight question to the end of that, like she might be guessing rather than knowing, but she sounds pretty confident. There probably aren't /two/ who match her description around here. Hi.
Huruma keeps an idle finger on the even idler throb of her field, and as Irene slips into her senses it is as a foreign body; so it comes as somewhat of a surprise that she hears her name being spoken a few moments later when the woman moves into the lounge. Coffee cup in one hand, Huruma's head tips up, eyes darting over to find the source. She does not miss that tiny note of confidence in the silent question, and first answers it with a slight narrow of her pale eyes, mouth pressing in thought. "...Yes." She decides on the easy answer. "I do not believe we have met?"
"Is that any good?" Irene asks, gesturing with her travel mug to point at the coffee. It is apparently a more important question than anything else. "No, we haven't, but you've met my ex-partner." Does that explain anything? Maybe. She moves on quickly with a follow up question. "How's the girl doing?" There is some real concern there, if not in her expression or even much in her tone.
An eyebrow lifts slightly in response to the new questions, to which Huruma lifts the cup in a casual gesture before slinking sidelong down the counter to pry loose the sweeteners. "Smells recent and not like burnt sewage, so someone must have splurged at the bodega." Huruma hums, voice a drawl when she looks back to Irene again, eyelids hooded and dark. A smile flickers onto her lips. "You must be Irene. She borrowed your truck. The girl? So far as I am aware, currently back at the school until she moves in with her grandmother. Something like that..."
"That is...not high praise for how the coffee usually is around here," Irene observes. Though it's good enough for /today/, so she goes about fixing herself a cup in the travel mug she carries. "Yeah, that's right," she confirms of both who she is and that it was her truck borrowed while she fixes coffee. She does not put in a psionic level of sugar, but there is definitely sugar and coffee creamer both mixed in. "Hmm, alright. That's good." She says 'good', but the feeling behind the word is lacking.
Huruma's smile flashes in a short grin. "It really isn't." She murmurs before taking a sip of the reheated coffee. There was a considerable amount of sugaring it up. It'll do.
"It is the best she can get right now, all things considered." Huruma's features give a slight frown, though it disappears after her second draw of coffee. "It is better than the road she was moving down."
"I'll stick to Oddball in the future, then," Irene replies, a touch dry. She takes a sip of the coffee she just made, which is not bad. Her standards aren't /that/ high. She is silent for a bit, watching Huruma and thinking. "At least she has family," she says evenly. "I suppose that's better than, what, running away?"
"Oddball has nice shows, sometimes." The dark woman turns and leans back against the counter. "If she hadn't had a family, it would have made the job that much more difficult." Huruma's features purse as she sucks her tongue over her teeth. She wouldn't have liked that. "She ran away to be with the boy who made her pregnant. It did not work out. She had nowhere to go from there. She would have gone back to the school-- her guardians-- likely a thousand times more bitter than before."
"Sure." Irene does not give the impression that she has much noticed this about Oddball or seems like she's going to check it out in the future. "Well, yes," she agrees quietly, leaning up against a counter casually and sipping her coffee. She looks much more laid back than she actually is, though the further explanation does get a small wince out of her. "I see," she says quietly, all her tensions in her mind and not her posture. "I hope she goes back to /a/ school at least, whatever else she does."
Huruma has no trouble seeing what's under the surface of the ease Irene has on; it's all a matter of not saying she does that lets her get away with it. "Technopath-- smart. Spoke about her projects on the way back. She clearly wants to do magnificent things. The sooner she puts this behind her, the better." Huruma's voice takes on a slightly more personal tone, just for the last.
"I don't think you can be a technopath and not be smart," Irene points out, a little dry and a little amused at the same time. "But good for her." The tensions that would be perfectly private if she weren't speaking to Huruma are still there, if quietly. "Well," she says to Huruma's last words. There is plenty one can unpack in that 'well', but Irene doesn't help her do it.
"Maybe." Are there dumb technopaths somewhere? Who knows. Huruma makes a study of those quelled, composed tensions of Irene's, the silent part of her filing them away. "She will not forget, of course." Nobody would. "But such a thing will make her stronger for it all." Huruma lifts her cup again, hooded eyes skimming Irene's features more carefully.
"Smart-ass, at least." There may be dumb technopaths, but that probably just means failing history exams while too busy tinkering. "No, she won't," Irene agrees with quiet conviction. She looks over at Huruma, watching her back as she's observed, but she doesn't give a lot away. Not in facial expression, anyway. "That's optimistic," she says, finally, evenly. Inwardly, she has her doubts, but they are not without some hope too.
"Perhaps." Huruma's initial response is once again balanced between yes and no. It could go either way, with Cami. "I just know it worked for me." Her mouth twists into a tight expression, the corners of her eyes deepening. "Whatever the case may be, I am glad that we got to her."
"Ah," says Irene, inwardly a little surprised but not outwardly. She doesn't pry, though. "Not everyone gets stronger under stress," she points out after a space of silence. "But hopefully you're right about her." Having never met Cami, she has no way to judge one way or the other, so she doesn't. She takes a sip of coffee instead. "Mhm."
"No, not everyone." Huruma lifts her chin and wanders over to lay a hand along the rise of the wingback chair, leaning there against it and facing Irene at the counter. "And it takes time. There is no winning." Her voice dips with an amused purr. "Well-- no-- I take that back. That is not true. Our future selves win."
Huruma corrects herself before Irene can say anything. So she lifts her brows a little and observes, "Got a little bleak there, for a second, from earlier optimism."
"That's me. Up and down." Huruma lifts her brows as she answers, smile smooth. "Speaking of bleak-- I hope that you don't find this little operation below you. We could use more people with experience."
"Uh-huh," says Irene, just a little uncertain. "You're the second person to mention people finding this place 'beneath them'. Starting to wonder if there really is a lot of cleaning out old ladies' fridges." That is not what Jeremy said, he said /moving/ fridges.
Huruma seems more amused than offended. "It has become less so over time. More and more we seem to get the interesting jobs passed to us." She tips her head and lets out a small laugh next. "There are a lot of passionate people here-- Jeremy included. To tell you the truth, that is why I decided to stick around." The tall woman rolls one shoulder in a fluid shrug, eyes roaming.
"I'm honestly not sure how anyone around here defines interesting," Irene comments, mouth slanting wry. The answer to that probably varies greatly depending on the individual. But then, she probably knows that. "Yes, he seems enthusiastic," she says of Jeremy, then looks at Huruma. "--Because of Mr. Wallace's passions?" Well when you say it like that...
There are a lot of things that qualify as interesting-- Irene got to witness a lot of the Russian conflict firsthand, for example. Besides, she's been in Mutant Town long enough to know that her people are weird as can be. When Irene looks back at her, Huruma's expression is faintly amused for the ex-cop's play on words. "He technically sold it to me. Though I am not sure if he knows as much. The others did help, though."
There is, to her mind, a difference between /weird/ and /interesting/. Sometimes they overlap, but not always. "Mhm," Irene murmurs to the clarification. "I think that is part of his job, the selling of this place to people." Someone has to.
"Someone must." Huruma hits the nail on the head, a smile curving over her lips. "Better it to be someone charismatic and invested in its success, no?" She turns out a hand and finishes off the last long draw of her coffee.
"Mhm." Irene un-leans from the counter so she can top off the coffee in her mug and then secures the lid on tightly for travel. "Best of luck to him with that," she says about someone who is not here to appreciate it.
Irene is very fond of her sounds of affirmation. Huruma has no trouble getting it; her reply for Irene is a more knowing smirk, small and lingering. "I'm sure he would love to hear it. You're still here despite the mediocre coffee, so something must have worked."
Irene is fond of as saying as little as possible to get her point across, sometimes. "It's the closest pot to me," she says of the coffee, noncommittally. But she does have things to do--just not here. "See you around," she bids, a slightly less abrupt goodbye than her hello.
"It's been a pleasure." Huruma lifts her empty cup to Irene as she says her farewell. "Be seeing you. I look forward to working together."Irene is not as polite in return, sorry. She's already halfway out the door when she waves loosely over her shoulder in acknowledgment and farewell. Her mind is already turned to the tasks that fill the rest of her day, comfortably busy.