Potential Competition

May 30, 2015:

Iris West meets Vic Sage at a political campaign. Hot dogs are shared.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Vic Sage steps outside of the Botanical Gardens, slipping out front and drawing a crumpled pack of smokes from his pocket. He's trying to quit, but he's always trying to quit. The very quality of striving has become a part of his character, a metaphor for his never ending quest for justice. That, or he's just a total nicotine junkie making excuses. Sometimes a cigarette is just a cigarette.

He inhales tightly and blows some smoke up in the air as he spots a fresh face near the edge of the crowd. The speech today was standard politician fair, a city councilman talking smack about his opponent and finding a way to blame everything from global warming to potholes on the fact that someone dared to run against him in his home district. He was a mouthy stooge and, in Vic's opinion, probably a corrupt one. He just hadn't managed to prove it yet. Tonight, though, the Question would be taking a closer look at the councilman's accounting. For now, though, Vic Sage was just making a token appearance of interest - that way, when whatever the Question uncovered turned up in his hands, welll, he was already investigating the councilman, he doesn't know anything about any breaking and entering. Not that he expected to be detected, but it never hurts to be paranoid.

"Hey there," he says to the girl. "You new on the beat or just can't resist the sound of a good stump speech?"

Iris' first night on the town, and she was already in the thick of it. Dropping her stuff off with her dad, then rushing out of the house due to the news blaring on the television, it was the perfect time to grab her Nikon to take a few pictures while she was there.

If you want to immerse yourself in the style and people of New York, you got to step out of your comfort zone.

The camera was lifted, zoomed and acclimated, until the voice of the smoking man next to her gains her attention and she regards him with a light smile. "I suppose you can say I'm new on the beat." And that was it, she was focused, zooming the camera upon the candidate, snapping a few pictures, drawing the lens down to capture the sight of a little girl with a teddy bear that would just be such a classic print. Once done, she lowers the camera, glancing towards the picture displayed, leaning a little towards Vic so that he could see without needing to ask.

"You said beat. Let me guess. Reporter?"

Vic Sage cocks his head, 'You really must be new in town if you don't know the answer to that. Vic Sage, channel ten," he says, offering a hand to shake. "I cover all the sleazebags and the assholes in the city. Which, as you can imagine, keeps me pretty busy. Somehow, I still manage to maintain this healthy glow, though," he says. He takes a few more quick puffs of his smoke while hanging his head out the gates, technically following the rules but only by the barest of measures.

His eyes flick to the picture, "Good eye. Two of 'em, even," he smiles, a bit dazzling - the wonders of a good whitening agent. "Don't suppose you need a worldly mentor to help show you the ropes of the new town? You workin' for anybody in particular or just freelancin'?" he says.

Iris had to laugh, her lips soon curling in the way that she does there after, turning to face him fully as she releases the camera to hang around her neck. Her hand lifts, shifting a bit of her dark hair behind her ear, her other hand offering a little shake as her eyes nearly gleam with luck. Who would have thought?

"Iris West." She completes, glancing out towards the politician and the ralliers, then back towards him, glad at the compliment to her pictures and yet, she remains modest. "Well.. thank you.." She murmurs freely, the smile upon her lips dropping. Was she being offered a job.. or.. something just like that?

"Actually, it's my first night in town. I just.. need a bit of time to get my feet a little wet." She looks back as the small crowd roars, her brow raised. "So… who's the guy?"

Vic Sage grins, "Wet feet is one thing, but I suggest high boots if you're wading into this. His name's Murray Carver. Second generation politician, his dad used to hold this seat back in the seventies and eighties, before heading off to the legislature in Albany and, eventually, a cushy cell upstate in one of our lovelier white collar prisons. Bribery, extortion, the usual rackets. Sonny boy here claims to be clean as a whistle, ran all law and order but liberal, tryin' to keep both sides of his bread buttered."

He finally finishes his smoke, flicking it off into the street. "Of course, I've got at least two sources that say he's got ties to a couple of major gangsters and that he's dealin' his law and order out unevenly to make sure that his friends and cronies get juicy contracts in paid-per-occupancy prisons. Which ain't that harmful here on the city council level, but I've got word he's got eyes on Albany, just like Daddy…" he says.

* OOC Time: Sat May 30 10:09:26 2015 *

"Politics have never been my thing." Iris confesses. As the man upon the stage was introduced, Iris draws up her camera once again, snapping a few pictures, her head bobbing as she continues to hold her attention upon the speaker and Vic as well. "You say trying. Do you think he's up to the same things as his father?" The camera was lowered, picture examined and deleted, drawn upright again to finally take shots of the crowd.

As he confirms her question with his words, she slowly turns towards him, camera aimed and angled, yet drawn down with a little smile. "May I?" At least, if she's talking to him and knows his name, may as well ask permission, yes?

Vic Sage holds up a finger, "Just a second," he says, turning his head to a nearby glass door, quickly running a hand through his hair and such, "Sorry, but I -am- a TV reporter, vanity comes as one of the job requirements. Plus, if a picture of me looking disheveled crops up, I have a few enemies who would run with it to try and discredit my reporting. Plus, you want me lookin' good, right?" he grins.

After doing his best 'Blue Steel' for the camera, he adds, "I think he's probably worse than his father. His father ran around in a period where corruption was relatively universal and, as long as you kept it local, most people didn't complain much, saw it as the price of doing business. Sonny Jim's gone out of his way to find new ways and worse people to associate with, chasing the Almighty Dollar,' he says. "Of course, I don't have much proof…yet. So, if you try and quote me on any of that, just know that he can still easily sue you for libel…at least until I get my proof. Which I will. I always do."

The camera was held patiently, that smile still plastered upon her lips as she watches him fix his hair. He was pretty open and cordial, and if everyone in New York was the same? She'd fit right in. As soon as he turns, she draws the camera upright, finger pressed upon the button as she gets every angle, stepping to the side and even lowering the camera a bit for an upshot just in time for the grin.

She stops then, gaze towards the mini-screen, filtering through the shots and deleting the best ones, her eyes upon the stage yet again as a few of those within the crowd draw out small 'boos' one the opponents name is mentioned.

"I'm not a reporter yet.." She comments idly. "But, any quote is a good quote." That was true. "And no, I won't use any of this. I'm honestly just here for.." She gestures around towards the crowd. She was here for the people.

Vic Sage nods, "Nothing wrong with making connections and networking, it's part of the gig, especially starting out. Have any specific ambitions? TV, internet? I'm guessing not a newspaper because you're not fifty years old," he smiles. "I mean, don't get me wrong, there are good newspaper reporters, but successful ones? You've pretty much got Lois Lane and then…yeah, that's about it." He looks up at the politiican again, recognizes that the rally is starting to wind down, "Standard stump speech, I think I've already heard this bit about thirty five times. I really want to go up there and, like, mess with his teleprompter, but it's technically 'unprofessional' and 'criminal'." he says, making air quotes.

"Specific ambitions? Not so far.." She allows the camera to hang loose, hoisting the bag upon her shoulder as she takes a step aside to allow someone to pass in between them. Iris glances towards their way for a moment, her eyes squinting.. "My end game is to write a few novels. Everyone dreams of doing that, or at least puts it on their bucket list. But not me." She glances towards Vic again, then towards the few that begin to disperse.

"Imagine what the tabloids will say about that when you're caught.." She tries to say something else, but more people begin to filter through, drawing the distance between her and Vic, clutching her bag hard against her body as she's knocked back a few more paces. "Hey! Watch it!"

Vic Sage reaches out and grasps Iris' hand, perhaps a bit presumptively, but, then, Vic never had a problem being a little bit rude when the situation required, 'C'mon, you wanna maybe grab a cup of coffee or a hot dog? The sheep are on the run, now that the wolf's done howlin'," he says, a hint of his Opal City accent shining through, rough and low-class, as he tugs Iris a bit against him to get rid of the gap and start to lead her out the gates.

He's still gotta hit the scumbag tonight, but he's gotta wait until after hours for that anyway. Of course, given the looks that the councilman's security guys are throwing his way - he's already had a couple of preliminary reports where he's referred to their boss as 'embattled' 'controversial' and, of course, 'plastic as a two dollar Christmas tree' - it might be time to beat a hasty retreat just so he doesn't have to beat anybody's ass in front of the local media. Then he'll become the story and that's counterproductive.

Iris didn't pull away from the hand grasp, thankful to be 'rescued' in a sea of people leaving, her bag hitched to her even tighter as she gives a faint nod. "How about both.." She murmurs, following his steps as she's tugged to him, her automatic reactions kicking in as an arm slips around his waist to keep that closeness definite.

She wasn't thinking, of course, as he led her out, her gaze falling back upon those that pass them by and pushes them together, her fingers grasping his side hard with a little bit of lean and worry of getting lost within the scene. But once they were clear from the gates? She retains that closeness until a path was set, which draws out a blush to dark skin and allows a moment to separate.

"Sorry.."

Vic Sage can't help but grin a bit wryly, shaking his head, "Yeah, how dare the beautiful woman lean in against me for support and then just find herself naturally fitting in under my arm? I hate it when that happens," he says. "I think somehow I'll survive. C'mon, there's a good dog cart down this way. I hear the water's only two years old, as opposed to the usual municipally mandated four," he grins.

"So, you wanna write novels, huh? Nothing wrong with that - I tried my hand at it a few times myself, but I'm better at talking aloud than writing, just kind of shooting from the hip. I used to horrify my professors at Empire State with my writing. Lucky I have a face for TV - or at least I do after enough make-up and the proper lighting," he says, running a hand over a nose that looked like it'd been broken once or twice, the only real flaw in his otherwise handsome face, although it somehow added character rather than detracting.

Iris chuckles, drawing her fingers upright to swift her hair behind her ear again, her gaze falling towards the ground as both hands clutch the strap of her purse. She didn't know how to take this man, but he was very flattering and easy on the eyes. "You're not supposed to tell a person that the water is old.. I'm sure it's like the rest of the hotdog carts and they're stocked with soda." Yeah, now she's going to think twice about bottled water and water from the faucet..

Though, as he directs questions her way, she looks on with thought, that smile fading somewhat as she speaks about her intended craft, seriousness drawing upon her features until a grin is cracked as well as a laugh. "Yeah, I mean eventually. There's obviously stuff that I want to do first. I have a blog that I'm relatively good with, and helped me make a name for myself in Central City.." She wasn't going to give an address, an easy googling of her name would find it. "It's more my speed right about now. As I said.. finding my footing."

She does study his features, noticing the way he touches his nose, her brows lowering which allows her face to scrunch. "You don't need make-up. You look alright to me." She confesses, then turns to face their path quickly.

Vic Sage smiles, having only been fishing for the compliment a little bit, making his way up to the cart, "Rodney, my man,' he says, sharing a fistbump with the greasy proprietor, the big man's gut promising that he's indulged in his own product liberally. "Two dogs for me, and whatever the young lady wants, on me. No onions," he says.

"Central City, huh? I'm from the Opal myself. Yeah, I know, I appreciate the sympathy. It ain't really that bad. It's actually much worse," he says. Other than Bludhaven, Opal City might be one of the most notoriously crime ridden cities in America. "Blogs do seem to be the hot new thing, so sounds right up your alley. You'll have to give me the url, I'll manage to catch up on your work for the next time I see you," he smiles. "That said, I have some contacts, if you have any interest in TV. I know a couple of places that could use a smart PA, if you don't mind doing some coffee fetching while you're learnin' the trade."

"Two for me, everything on it." Yes. Iris was one of those types. She was also the type to carry gum and mints in her purse, especially for occasions like these.

It was almost hard for Iris to get a word in with the guy, let alone comment. His mouth moved a mile a minute and to be honest? It was quite refreshing. She didn't have to ask questions, he was just an open book.

"They really are. I can express myself and tell things from my own point of view without being edited or filtered. Well.. filtered.." That one was a bit sketchy. There were times when her family asked her to take something down and she outright refused.

"You're really keen on getting me hooked up in the business.. why is that?" She points out. "Surely its not because I'm some down on luck lady or the classic.. 'I used to be you when I was younger..'"

Vic Sage laughs, "No, I definitely didn't used to be you. I was a huge asshole when I was you're age - now I'm a much more controlled asshole," he says. "Not being filtered is a good thing. It took me a long time to get enough editorial control to get my stuff the way I want it, btu, even now, I can't go two weeks without having a screaming fight with my boss about what he'll allow on air. He's worried about getting sued or losing advertisers, which is all fine and dandy, but I can't let any of that shit get in the way of my reporting."

Sage naturally has always been a talker, a loudmouth - odd that he's often quite quiet as the Question, but, then, his alter ego has always been him and not-him at the same time. Not another personality, just another aspect - deeper, more thoughtful, more measured. Which isn't to say that Vic Sage's impulsive nature doesn't still win out on occasion.

"As for getting you hooked - eh, it's more that I've seen too many bright people get chewed up and spit out, by the business and by the town. We need more new blood, more new perspectives. Media gets lazy, it just keeps repeating the same old stories and doesn't look for anything new. I like new and fresh. Plus, you smell really, really good and I definitely need more of that around the press conferences."

"Okay okay.. I was totally shooting in the dark with that. But you can imagine how many times I've heard people say that line to others.." Working in a coffee shop does give you perspective. "But at least you're honest about yourself. You don't seem like much of an ass to me." Another compliment thrown out there as she turns towards the man to retrieve her hotdogs. They were the easiest to make, all he did was pile everything on it and was done in a quick fix.

"You're right about that…" She admits, only pausing to sinch up her purse and everything else she carries to unwrap one dog to take a healthy bite. A bit of her fixings fall to the ground much to her dismay, her head shaking at that fact as she chews the bits within her mouth.

Vic Sage shakes his head, "Don't worry, I'm sure a stray animal of some sort will come around. That or a feral pigeon. They're like vultures here," he says, leading her a bit down the street to a nearby bench, in case she feels like sitting. "I try to be honest about everything. One of my best strengths and my biggest failings. One of the few things the nuns drilled into me that stuck - don't be a liar. Now, sometimes, things aren't always my story to tell - I've got to protect sources and people, but holding back info isn't exactly the same as lying. At least, that's what I told my priest when I went to confession. That was twenty years ago, though, so my information might be out of date."

He puts his dogs away fast, eating with alacrity and appetite, using a napkin to wipe some mustard from the corner of his mouth and, impulsively, using another to do the same for Iris when he sees she has a little glob on her chin. "But don't be fooled - I can definitely be an asshole, I'm just an asshole to people who deserves it. It's a sort of cannibalism - I'm the asshole that other assholes fear."

Iris follows his lead, and once they were at the benches, she settles down, her purse within her lap as she continues to eat her dogs. She wasn't as fast as Vic, but she makes a great headway into finishing off the first, allowing the man to dab a bit at her chin, which draws out another blush and a turn of her head. She clears her throat a little, nodding. "I've always grew up with the rule that being honest was the thing to do. And doing right by myself and others." She does catch the words there, a slight frown given.

"You're an orphan?"

"And please.. that.. remark? Don't use that again, especially around the ladies. That was terrible."

Vic Sage laughs and shrugs, "Fair enough. And yeah, I'm a straight-up cliche, left on the doorstep of a church like a kid outta Dickens. Of course, I haven't had any secret relatives or unexpected inheritances pop up yet. For me, it just meant I grew up in a dingy dorm with a bunch of other boys and had to take lessons on how to live in the world from people who voluntarily gave it up. Not exactly a winning hand. But I managed," he says. He doesn't tend to linger much on his childhood, rotten as it was. What would be the point? It didn't make him broody or depressive, although he can be both of those things. He never felt that hunger for a mommy or daddy like some of the other kids did. He always just took the world as it was dealt to him.

"Sounds like you had a good upbringing. Kudos to the parental figure and/or figures," he says, finishing off his dogs and washing it down with a suck of the straw from his soda. "Good upbringing and good genetics - maybe I shouldn't be encouraging you, you might make me obsolete if I'm not careful."

The second dog was picked up and unwrapped, Iris eyes upon it carefully as she brings it to her mouth to take a bite. Her eyes cut towards him, her brows raising, her own napkin taken up to lightly wipe at her chin to make sure no further spillage happens. "Wouldn't that be a thing.." She finally comments, drawing out another inch of the dog to take a bite, still.. modest in the way that she eats and dabs a bit at her chin, yet forgetting blot of ketchup upon the corner of her mouth.

She does nod, her lips pursing as she swallows the last bits of her hotdog, making sure it was clear for her to speak. "It was just me and my dad for a few years." She states. "Then, he adopted my best friend and.." It all went up-hill from there. "He did his best, as he always would say. A damn fine job I think." She smiles a little, one brow raising. "Make you obsolete? What do you mean?"

Vic Sage chuckles, "Only that the station is always looking for new, young and pretty. And, as every year passes, I get farther away from that. Don't get me wrong, I'm the best reporter in this city. That's not just bragging, that's the damn truth. I've put people in jail, I've brought down corrupt cops, I've ended the careers of politicians bigger than the empty smiler we both watched today. I've got enough trophies on my wall already to make any hunter proud," he says.

"But I'm not planning on retiring anytime soon and I ask for what I think I'm worth, and I think I'm worth a lot. So there's always a couple of younger reporters out on the beat trying to outscoop me and do it cheaper and prettier. You're definitely prettier and young people are always cheaper. You probably can't outscoop me - not yet. But if I show you the ropes? Maybe someday. But, if I gotta go down…well, I can think of worse ways." he smiles.

"But that's all in the future. For the moment, we can enjoy our hot dogs asnd one another's company and save any potential professional rivalry. Hell, we can even be friendly. I like friendly," he grins, a bit of a sparkle in his eye.

"Ah. I see." Iris says, shifting a little within her seat, drawing her napkin up to make sure that her face was clean, a bit of her makeup drawing off in the process but in this light? Who could tell. "It sounds a bit like bragging to me, though." She was teasing of course, her smile wide as a little shock draws upon her face, her hands soon shuffling through her purse to bring out a piece of gum. For herself anyways.

Though, she does leave one upon the bench for him to take without being insulting, her arm drawing back along the bench as she allows everything to settle. At least, he had a soothing voice to listen to. That was something to match with the face. "Say that I take you up on your offer.." She states. "What else is in it for you? I mean, other than to retire with a good sense in mind.."

But, she was all for enjoying the moment for what it was. A night in New York without being alone. "Better yet, lets not talk shop. I rather it stays like this. You know.." She gestures between him and her, then out towards the city proper. She was reflecting, at least. So far? The night was good.

Vic Sage smiles and helps to pull her up to her feet, one hand deftly catching hers and pulling her up until she's face-to-face with him, a bit close for comfort and obviously intentionally so. "What's in it for me? Miss West, I would never consider trading professional relationship for personal favor. Any help you get from me in your work would have no relation to anything that goes on between us. That said," he adds and, boldly, he just leans in and kisses the woman on the mouth, showing a deft skill at it that proves its far from his first time at the rodeo. One hand nicely cups the back of her neck, cinematic style, before he releases her.

"But I agree. Let's put aside work talk for the moment. There are much more interesting things in the world…" he says. There's a flick of motion and he extends his card, "My number's on there. If you want to…follow up? I have a really good voice messaging system. And you can feel free to text me anytime. I have fast fingers." he says, giving the girl a chance to either slap him, run away or laugh, any of which are possible options - but he's betting not. Vic's always been good at reading people.

As Iris was pulled to her feet, the wrapper from the other dog falls upon the ground, then blows away with the wind that causes her to frown. "I need to.." She didn't realize how close she was to him until he begins to speak, her brows raised, her upper body producing a slight lean so she could look up towards his gaze. And.. yes, with that said, he does kiss her, much to her shock. Part of her wanted to pull away and slap him, the other half was actually glad she chewed the gum after her overload of onions..

But, once he releases her, she sort of just.. stares.

What does one actually say to that?! "Uh.. okay.." She manages out, her hand reaching out to snatch the card from his fingers, a step taken back with a slight stumble that sends her into a laughing fit, one hand held out to show that she was alright. "Okay.. well.. follow up.." The last thing she could really say before she turns and rushes off.

Vic Sage watches the girl go (and definitely watches, it's well worth the view), before drawing out his pack of cigarettes and pulling out a fresh smoke. In truth, he should be focusing on tonight - the break-in, the evidence, the potential need to stomp on the throats of anywhere between one and five security goons. The Question has serious work to do and not that much time left to do it.

But he can't help but grin and shake his head, the lingering feeling of the young blogger's lips against his own…well, that kind of thing can throw thoughts of corruption and crime right out of even his head. Yeah, he'd definitely have to check out that blog of hers. He got the feeling he was going to get to know her a lot better - or, at the very least, he damn sure planned on trying.

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