2019-03-18 - Messier Objects


Chance meetings! Star charts!

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Mar 19 01:23:19 2019
Location: New York Public Library

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Elmo has convinced a reference librarian that what he really, desperately needs, is to get his hands on the atlas of Messier objects. It's an enormous book that's often more consulted in digital form, but Elmo is just going to plotz if he doesn't get to touch it! PLOTZ I tell you. So the librarian has let him get it out and he's got an entire table to open it on. It's very large and glossy. At the moment, Elmo is futzing around the table trying to arrange things to his liking—and he trips on a chair leg. He yelps something in Yiddish and goes down with a thud in a tangle.

Tigra's not ashamed of being Tigra, but being powered and especially dramatically non-human, can be attention gathering in unfortunate ways and the library is not a place one goes to draw attention. Thus, she walks through the area in human form, wearing snug jeans and loose blouse, sneakers and a light jacket. On hearing the yelped Yiddish and tangled thud, she steps over quickly. "Need a hand?" she offers softly as she approaches.

Doug is currently at the library doing research. He's putting together a case that there's an intergalactic human trafficking ring that's been operating out of New York since at least the 1890s, and he's doing research on fiche to put together the information that will not only prove it but will locate the perpetrators, who have been operating in a variety of human disguises for more than a century.

He's got a pile of microfiche in a basket — he pauses, as he spies Elmo on the floor, and then he glances up to Tigra. "Oh, hm. Beg pardon."

Elmo cusses steadily in a melange of Yiddish and English. His foot is caught in one of the triangular metal supports of the molded plastic chair. "No! I'm fine!" He kicks the underside of the chair in what can only be described as petulance. Then he pulls free in a scramble. "I'm…fine. Everything is fine. REALLY fine."

Greer tries to help Elmo as best as she can after glancing quickly at Doug when he speaks, grabbing for the chair to try to pull it free, only to miss as it gets kicked at and thumped at. Elmo gets free without her assistance, and she lifts an amused eyebrow. "Just a slight weapons malfunction?" she asks.

Doug pauses, and then looks up, looking somewhat bemused. "Is that a copy of 'Atlas of the Messier Objects'?" He asks. "I used to use the one where I went to school all the time." He sets his basket down, and lazily flips through it. "These star systems here," He says, gesturing, "Are all colonies of the Shi'ar Empire. There's a Dyson Sphere around…" He flips another page, "…This star. I've been there."

Elmo gets flustered instantly at Tigra's amused eyebrow. "Just a me malfunction," he mutters, climbing back to his feet using the table as a prop. "Uhhhh. Thanks. For, helpin', sorry I'm a jerk." He slumps into another, nondangerous chair. "Hey, I know you from somewhere, right?" he says to Doug, and then he gets really interested, popping forward to lean over the book. "Yeah, it is, I mean of course it is, you've been there? Really?"

Greer smiles at Elmo. "Those are the worst," she sympathizes. She looks at the book now as Doug flips through it. "Stellar objects, right?" she asks, looking at them. She purses her lips when he mentions a Dyson Sphere. "A Dyson Sphere? Really? An entire sphere, not just a partial one?" she asks, clearly impressed.

"Entire sphere." Doug says, with an affirmative nod. "I mean, I was *there*. It's… well, I mean, even around a small sphere the scope is so massive that you can't even imagine it—" He pauses, and rubs the back of his neck. "I mean, I was only there for a *few days*."

"Yeah," Elmo admits, scratching the back of his neck sheepishly. "I got a lot of malfunctions." He hitches a little shrug at Tigra, like, what can you do. "I could imagine a Dyson sphere," he says to Doug, eyes going big and faraway just thinking about it. "I can imagine a lot. What was it like?" He refocuses on Doug with a snap, eager to hear about it.

The woman shakes her head slowly, not in doubt, just dealing with the enormity of what he's saying. "That would be literally astronomical," she says, still amazed. She looks back at the system in the book, as if she can see it in the atlas. "Do you know who built it?"

"No." Doug says, before he grabs a pad of paper and snaps a pen, and scribbles a series of glyphs onto a notepad. "No idea. It was built before the heyday of any of any of the major star empires. That's a little bit that I remember from the uh, instructions on how to use a machine built into the sphere. I don't know if it was a weapon or a cosmic trash compactor, it was basically a giant gravity gun that almost pancaked the Earth. Ha ha, that was a wild day."

Elmo grins excitedly, his big hands closing into fists. "Aww hell yeah, man I would love to see that! I'd love to take it apart!" He peers at the gylphs, and shrugs. "Eh, manuals are for schmucks anyway."

"Take it apart? A dyson sphere?" Greer asks Elmo, amused. "With a lifetime of lifetimes you wouldn't have time." She looks back to Doug, nodding to his answer. "I don't want to think about something with that much power aimed at us." She frowns a little at the thought. "I don't like the thought of anything out there aimed at us."

"Yeah well, them remembering to put an instruction manual on the wall for their machine saved the Earth form getting pancaked." Doug added, before he crossed his arms, and then pinches the bridge of his nose. "Ay yi. Maybe I *did* peak at 15. Don't mind me, I have a lot of work to do."

"But what a way to go," Elmo says to Greer with an expressive little roll of his eyes, like taking apart a Dyson sphere is as good as undressing a beautiful person. He looks at Doug suspiciously, then at the glyphs again. "Wait, you can read that?"

Greer frowns some more, thinking about things pointed at Earth, and clearly not liking it. If she were feline right now, well, her tail would power a wind turbine. As it is, she stays quiet, listening and thinking.

"Yeah, roughly translated, it says 'Emergency Shutdown'." Doug says, easily. "I mean, there's a WHOLE different nuance to it… but you know." He pauses, and then he taps his temple. "Yeah, I can read it. I'm a Mutant."

Elmo's eyebrows pop up. Way up. "Gevaldik, pal! Hhhey, I'm a mutant too." He snaps his fingers. "That's where I saw you! Mutant community center." He glances shyly up at Greer, as if worried she'll react badly to this news.

The fingersnap helps bring Greer back to the present. "Is that your power?" she asks. She was listening on some level at least. "Letting you read things?" She doesn't seem to be at all bothered at finding out she's in the company of a couple of mutants.

Doug handwiggles. "Ehhhh, es iz nisht vi ameyzing." Then he glances to Greer. "Read, speak. Among other things. It's a talent that keeps me in a job but I'm never going to headline the Avengers, that's for sure. Doug Ramsey." He extends a hand to Greer.

Elmo cracks the hell up, plastering a hand over his mouth so he doesn't get any Stern Librarian Looks. "Nah, yer wrong, that's completely amazing! …Wow, you sound exactly like my family. Lower East Side down to the block. That's the coolest damn power I ever heard of."

"Greer Nelson," says Greer, taking Doug's hand politely, and looking at Elmo's confirming how accurate Doug's Yiddish was. "Could get a job in a Mel Brooks picture."

Doug quirks his mouth. "All the more interesting because I'm a Mormon. Well… non-practicing. Ag-religious." He holds up his hands. "But it's nice to know I sound authentic."

"Maybe the Avengers wouldn't gotta do so much fighting if they had someone to talk to people," Elmo says, with a certain air of 'the world should be better than this'. "I'm Elmo. Rosencrantz." We're all introducing ourselves, right? He doesn't offer to shake hands. "Greer, that's sure a pretty name. Ain't heard that before."

"Thank you," Greer says to Elmo with a smile at talk of her name. "My mother was a fan of the actress. Greer Garson, and so named me for her. Mostly it was a surname before her." She glances at a clock on the wall and grimaces slightly. "Afraid I need to be on my way, gentlemen. Doug, Elmo," she repeats, making sure she'll remember the names. "Very nice to meet you both."

Doug snorts. "Yeah. Behold, Kang the Conqueror, fear my mighty powers of verb conjugation." He waves to Greer. "Pleasure to meet you." He says, before he glances back to Elmo. "You too, Elmo." He smirks. "I'd swear we met before, except we really haven't."

Elmo reddens a little, but grins back bashfully at Greer. "Yeah, okay, see you around." He leans his elbows on the table, looking back down at the atlas. "Just one time," he says to Doug, curiously, "right? You said you got the sign that says Swipe Left." …yeah, so, socially skilled the guy isn't.

Doug smirks, and then says, "Ah, yeah. My dating life is spectacularly bad." He shrugs his shoulders, and holds his hands out. "But, hope springs eternal, right?"

"What, really?" Elmo seems genuinely surprised. "Good-lookin' guy like you, can talk any language?" Then he winces, blushing. "…that was, uh, inappropriate. Sorry."

Doug gives a little smirk. "It's all right. Doesn't bother me in the least." He says. "I used to be bolder, but I had a little bit of an incident while I was in school. After that, I guess I just wasn't the same guy." He says. "Everything was easier, when I was a kid, you know?"

Elmo considers that. "Everythin' was hard when I was a kid," he says, thoughtful. "I was way worse then. Got beat up a lot. Called names, got in fights, yannow." He looks at Doug's shoulder in lieu of looking him in the eyes. "What happened?"

Doug pauses, and then he puts a finger over his mouth, and then he turns, and lifts his shirt, showing an ugly scar running just under his ribcage, from the back. "Somebody shot me. Was pretty bad. Almost died."

Elmo leans over to see, morbidly fascinated. "Ooh," he says, both sympathetic and impressed. "That's tough, buddy." Almost he touches, then snatches his hand back. "But hey, you made it."

"Yeah, but you know, you're never the same after. You wind up in the crunch, you start to flinch." Doug says, "One day you're dreaming of being a super-hero with your ridiculous power, the next you're behind a desk and your super-hero partner is your pet tortoise. It's like all the air goes out of you."

"Been through somethin' like that," Elmo says, quieter. "Yeah, it changes you, all right." He turns a page of the atlas. "Ehh, that ain't all bad, though."

"Yeah, but did you ever feel like the life you're living isn't the one you were meant to live?" Doug asks, his eyebrows shooting up. "Don't worry about it. Anyway, I have to get back to my microfilm." He holds up his basket. "Enjoy your star charts, Elmo."

"Meant?" Elmo says, honestly confused. "…Guess I never thought of it like that. All right, Doug, take it easy, pal." He lifts a hand to him in farewell.

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