2019-08-01 - A Library Scandal


Mera is looking for information at the library and encounters a Scandal.

Log Info:

Storyteller: n/a
Date: 2019-08-01
Location: New York Public Library

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Mera's heels click on the polished floors as she strides through the Central Building. The sharp sound echoing around the marble halls. She stops to look around the ornate structure - it reminds her of some undersea ruins near Malta - before deciding on the direction she needs to go. The clicking resumes as she walks towards the Local History section.

The redhead is dressed a little differently than normal. Leather high heel boots, beige pants, white singlet, beige coat - it must be a concession to the late summer heat. So are the sunglasses she is still wearing inside. Her satchel bag bouncing against her hip with each confident step.

Making her own concession to the season and weather, Scandal's top offers a view of her mostly-bare back as she leans forward over one of the books in front of her. Seated at one of the tables, she has one hand sunk into her short hair, while she peers dubiously at the page before her. Her attire, as usual, is predominantly black, though there are substantial elements of red decoration today - perhaps, again, in token of Summer.

Mera is so dedicated to her mission that she almost misses Scandal. A glance at the reading woman is enough for the Atlantean's eyes to narrow in faint recognition; enough for her to stop and determine for sure. "Scandal?" she asks, moving round in front of the other woman before nodding to herself that was correct in her assumption. But then she is looking around warily. The last time they chatted, Scandal revealed that a government was 'watching' her. Mera would rather not be watched. "Are you alone?"

Scandal looks up, blinking a little distractedly… before laughing softly, and glancing around as well. "I believe so," she says quietly. "And hello. It's good to see you again. Is everything all right?"

"Everything alright? I don't believe so. No doubt there is a war somewhere. People starving. Greed destroying the planet. The waters polluted. No, I do not think everything is alright. Quite a broad question." Mera pulls out a chair and sits herself down. "Mind if I sit?" She pulls out a small device that is similar to a phone in appearance before peering at what Scandal is reading. "There is not a lot of paper used where I come from" she smirks. "What are you learning about?"

Scandal permits herself a low laugh and a wry smile. "You're quite welcome, honestly. And I'd imagine that it would need to be rather special paper to survive there… but this?" She chuckles, grimacing a little. "Theories relating to what you just mentioned, to be honest. I am attempting to catch up on contemporary research into and understanding of how the international order - and disorder - of the world works. And how it doesn't."

"I would think that the chapters about how it does not work would be the far larger ones" Mera notes with a wry smile. "We could teach them how to make 'order' work, but they do not have the intelligence to comprehend. Do you intend to rule a country soon? The world?" Another quick look around the library. "This is where the surface dwellers collate knowledge that may not be available on their web?"

"There are quite a few libraries accessible to the public, yes. This is one of the primary ones within New York. Universities and other educational institutions maintain their own as well." Scandal smiles, a little self-consciously. "I am sufficiently old-fashioned that I still enjoy the physical presence of books, for this kind of research. Though online materials are of course rather easier to search and cross-reference."

"But rule? Hah. There have been a few comments along those lines, over the years." Scandal's tone is distinctly dry. "I am… keen to learn what I can of how thinking has developed, on ways of bringing about peace by means of something other than compulsion. And on the many new forms of compulsion that have evolved in recent decades."

"Compulsion is about needing to survive but what people think they need to survive changes. No one needs an internal combustion engine to survive but it certainly makes things easier" Mera sighs. "Surface dwellers confuse need with luxury. But enough of them, if you are fond of books, then perhaps you can help me. I am trying to determine the ownership of an undersea bunker to the north of here. There is no mention of it beyond nineteen hundred and forty-six on official military records that I have read. I was hoping that the information may be located here."

Scandal blinks in surprise. "That… sounds rather specific, and unusual," she says with a smile. "I can certainly see if I can help. Here and online. I might be able to turn something up for you. Would it be rude to ask *why* you are interested in it?"

"You do not have to worry about online. I have scanned the surface web and there was no information." Mera seems quite sure about this. There is no way that she would have missed something. "Have we talked about the infection that Eve has been helping me explore? Some kind of goo that attacks plants. We found a large deposit of this substance in the bunker I wish to investigate. I would like to determine if this was intentional or merely a coincidence that it congregated there."

Scandal lifts her brows, then shakes her head. "No, I had not heard of that… and I might well be able to turn up things that were not readily accessible. But I can certainly assist in finding whatever is available, if you would like me to. It sounds rather unpleasant." And the sort of thing she's supposed to do in order to avoid the US trying to put her in prison, of course.

"Eve's friend Ivy was investigating in the biological workings of the goo but I have not heard back from her yet. It is a most disturbing lifeform. If that is what it is, rather than some biological agent designed to destroy food." Mera nods once to Scandal's offer of help. "Where do you suggest we begin to look? I thought the Local History section may have something worthwhile."

"If it's an underwater base, it might well have been intended to be wholly-secret," Scandal muses. "So perhaps some histories covering files that have been declassified in recent years might also help. But local histories might mention work being done at the time: residents often notice and comment on things they're not intended to. We can certainly try a few options. Comparing maps might also help. See if there have been changes over the course of the past century or so, that might highlight things happening in the area."

"I believe it was built to protect the shoreline during the last big war the surface dwellers had. To prevent enemy submersibles from approaching or invading forces. There are records of its construction and then its abandonment. After that, nothing. I was hoping that, as you say, local residents may have seen something in the last seventy years. If they have not, then perhaps it merely is a coincidence. A safe place for the goo" Mera proposes with the faintest of shrugs.

"Accessing local newspapers might well yield something," Scandal suggests. "Though checking up on the official records relating to its construction might perhaps give us some guidance relating to how it was supplied, what routes were used to gain entry or depart from it, and so on. But there are also some less-conventional options, such as the trend for contemporary exploration of abandoned sites. 'Rediscovering' lost buildings is something of a fashionable hobby in some quarters."

"Anyone who explores it now would be unlikely to return alive. Most of the infection was cleared…I hope…but if it was a deliberate placement of the goo, then it may be back to what it was" Mera frowns. "Official records I have. It is the obscure, the gossip, the information that has not been deliberately hidden and manipulated that I am after. If you can help with that, Miss Scandal, it would be of great benefit."

Scandal nods… then nods again, more firmly. "I should be able to help. Newspaper archives, social media, histories of classified events and 'alternate' histories of strange happenings… I can delve into them and see what I can find. I might come up with nothing of any use, but I can certainly try to assist."

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