2019-02-20 - Chemistry


Bobbi Morse stops into a bookshop on her lunch break and makes a purchase…from Loki.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Feb 21 03:32:34 2019
Location: Bookshop

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There is a deli in Harlem, a quaint place with nice bread that ignores all the keto diets, and serves its ham on the salty side, but its all local, and full of hipsters that aren't on their diets. Its a good enough lure to the location, which also includes a shop selling small electronic things, like phone charges and laptop batteries. Nestled between these two things is a shop that aggressively holds down a european influence. It immediately evokes images of Paris…the old booksellers with their wares, or the piazzas of Italy, with its fabric canopy. Etched on the glass of the window are the words 'Cover Story', and below that 'Rare and Antique Books'. The door is old, painted green with a golden-hued knob. A small, handwritten note taped to the inside of the window of the door says 'No cellphone calls inside'.

Hipsters make Bobbi Morse want to throat punch someone, so this little Harlem deli is one she frequents. Punching civilians tends to create paperwork for SHIELD and they really, really don't like extra paperwork. The tall blonde is in jeans, boots, and a warm winter coat as she steps out of the deli with roast beef sandwich in a brown bag for lunch. She's about to take it back to the office when she catches sight of the door and it's enigmatic note. A brow arches. Most people don't realize that the agent is also a scholar. She has a PhD in biochemistry. She moves to open the door and head inside.

The inside of the bookshop is tailored to its unique wares. It is dim in here, several curtains block the light from the sun, so it doesn't shine on the precious novels. Other light is provided in the form of moody lamps. Shelves host most of the books, though the rarer ones are in a glass case, their covers turned so that customers can view them. Prices are not apparent for most books. Related items, like maps, scrolls, are curated behind the desk. As Bobbi enters, she hears a tingle of a bell, and from the dark depths of the shop appears the owner. He is tall, broad-shouldered, pale, and emits an air of confidence. Raven hair touches his shoulders in waves. Thin lips spread into a subtle smile as eyes glance to her bag and up to her face again. "Afternoon," purrs a liquid tone.

As befitting a SHIELD agent, Morse notes all exits and places that might hide dangers, her blue eyes flitting around the shop quickly, and cataloging things as safe, dangerous, or unknown. As the owner steps in and greets her, she puts on a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes, her work smile. "Afternoon," she replies. "I don't remember seeing this shop here before. Quite the collection you have."

Loki caresses his fingertips along the side of a shelf. In the shop, there is certainly some sort of rear door, the faint light of a red exit sign glows from the back. But there are many unseen corners in the shop, and a stairway that is roped off that likely leads to rooms upstairs where he might live or keep other wares. These things flag in her trained mind as minor dangers…no more dangerous than a typical street corner and the shop owner seems friendly enough. "Yesssss…I brought it all from overseas…change of scenery. I am always looking for more items, if you are a collector, or know of collectors letting their treasures turn to dust."

Bobbi gives a slight shrug of her shoulders, and her nose, reddened from the cold, wrinkles at the familiar smell of old books. She spent a lot of time with them during her education. "I do collect a little bit. Mostly rare books on chemistry and biology, or alchemy since it was the predecessor to chemistry. Afraid that my budget is probably not conducive to anything you'd be selling though." She tends to tell people she is an administrative assistant for the VA. No one wants to be bored to tears about that.

Loki tilts his head and makes a left turn, guiding silently to the next shelf over. "There are some things here…chemistry…alchemy…then one in the case, a beautiful copy of the Principals of Chemistry. Fascinating stuff, really. Primal. The beginnings of understanding the true nature of the elements." His voice lingers on syllables in a melodic fashion. "Have you puzzled over the Voynich for hours?"

The brown paper bag of delicious smelling lunch is shifted to the opposite hand as Bobbi pokes at a nearby book spine curiously. She follows the shop owner curiously, and her eyes widen at the mention of Mendeleev's book. "Clearly not an original in Cyrillic right?" Even the ones in other languages costs thousands of dollars, but the original closer to sixty-five thousand. "And no, not the Voynich. Even if I had access, the language barrier was all too much for me. I left that to brighter minds. I do read some Russian though, so the principals was always an item I'd hoped to be able to get a decent copy of. Not the original printing of course."

"I believe it is. Though, as you say…its not terribly affordable." Loki smiles serenely and looks the lady over, looking for clues as to what she might be useful for, to him. Always willing to buy an ally.

The woman is hard to discern much of, bundled up for the cold, but there is a sharpness in her pale blue eyes that indicates intellect and wit. "The last one I saw up for sale was over sixty-thousand dollars. Are you saying you actually have one? Here?" Bobbi looks around for security systems because that book is worth more than most people's salaries. That may be telling. As was her looking over of the place when she first entered. Law enforcement maybe? Home security sales?"

Loki wets his lips. "There is a security system. I do not worry over my collection. It is not the most valuable book in here, regardless. That belongs to a beautiful, delightful tale by Ian Flemming." Loki chuckles with some amusement. "Is it not so telling that such a novel would be worth more than hand-written manuscripts of Egyptian priests?"

"A Bond book is worth more than….?" Bobbi grimaces and shakes her head. "The world is silly sometimes." She looks over the book titles and pulls a much less likely to be expensive one, a reprint of a reprint of a reprint of a…you get the idea. "How much for this one?" John Dalton's 'A New System of Chemical Philosphy', first published in 1808.

Loki takes the book from her and flips open the cover, so he can see the date. He caresses the book thoughtfully for a moment. "For this…$20. Shall I wrap it up for you?" he asks with a flick of his eyes to the lady.

"I'll take it!" Bobbi beams brightly. She studies the store owner curiously. "My collection might all be cheap reprints, but it's the spirit of the thing. My degree was in biochemistry." She seems actually happy with the purchase and digs into her small purse for cash. Hm, no credit or debit card use.

Loki moves past her while she is rummaging in her purse and as he walks in front, he makes a soft gesture over one of the pages of the book. Continuing on to the counter, he turns around, making swift movements to punch in the amount into the old-timey till. It makes a loud and satisfying ching as the drawer opens. "The chemistry of life…admirable, in my opinion. But…I think a solid read of this will be educational, even with the degree."

Bobbi pulls out a twenty and a five and hands them over to the man with a satisfied expression. "Learning the process of how we got to where we are today scientifically is always enlightening. It also helps us not to repeat mistakes from the past."

"Yes…/do/ stay away from radioactive elements…" Loki winks and then passes her back the change, and her book in a neat, brown paper bag. He also slides a bookmark in there that has the name of the store and address on it, along with a stock picture of mountains.

"Thank you, Mister…?" Bobbi offers, for him to fill in his name. Or whatever name he is using today. "I'll be sure to avoid irradiating myself. That's how those superheroes get made, isn't it?" She looks very amused.

"Loki." He passes out his real name, trusting in disbelief enough at the moment to cover for himself. Its easier to keep the lies straight when there is some truth. "And you, Miss?"

"Loki? Really?" Bobbi asks, with a chuckle and an arched brow. "Barbara. Nice to meet you. I'll probably stop by here now and then to add to my collection, as ye olde paycheck permits." If he can be named after a Norse god, she can speak old English. She takes her package with a smile though.

Loki grins faintly and tilts his head. "Parents…what can you do? I shall see you again soon then, Barbara."

With that, she takes her leave to head back to work.

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