The Ballerina Gymnast

July 06, 2015:

The CEO of Queen Consolidated seeks out one of his employees for a very specific sort of tech support.

Felicity's "Office"

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Felicity's office at Queen Consolidated is rather small and practically in the basement. While the rest of the building is nicely decorated with large hallways and plush carpets, these service offices are seen less by clients and therefore the decorators didn't exactly go all out with the luxuries. The hallways are still bright and clean, framed pictures of modern art sporadically decorating the walls.

She's quickly worked her way up to being essentially the head of the IT department here, even if she doesn't have the title. People know to call her when they have strange problems with their computers that can't be solved simply by turning it on and off. That can be a blessing and a curse, as it's kept her employed and given her an office so that she can take systems apart in peace, but that also means people tend to call her for whatever problem their having.

Office may be a bit of a kind word for what is basically a cubicle that is scattered with computer parts. Dual monitors are swirling with the default Windows screensaver as Felicity leans over the innards of a desktop computer, tiny screwdriver in hand as she tightens a screw. Another - larger - one is held between her lips. Her eyes are focused completely on the task at hand.

Oliver Queen's queries about the technical prowess of various employees have all produced the same results. "I don't know. Go ask Felicity."

Expecting her to be a supervisor or some form of highly paid specialist, Oliver is more than a little surprised to find himself outside what amounts to a glorified broom cupboard. As per usual, he's wearing a sharp suit that someone else probably spent a lot of time tailoring and pressing, he hasn't shaved for at least a couple of days, and there's a tired edge to his smile, presumably from late-night antics. He knocks at the door and pops his head in. "Ms. Smoak?"

Felicity is used to phone calls or emails amounting to, 'My inbox won't accept new emails' or 'my computer won't turn on' or 'help, I think my hard drive is on fire'. Someone coming down to visit her in her small office is quite a rarity. Still tightening the small screw is a delicate process and she doesn't look up to greet Oliver when he comes in. All she does is say, 'Just a second!' Or, she attempts to start to say that, forgetting that there's a screwdriver between her teeth. Instead, it comes out as "Juft a—crap!" As her muffled voice talks around the screwdriver handle and then it slips from her lips and comes crashing onto the inside of the computer with a loud clang.

Then, she looks up to see Oliver Queen standing there and her eyes widen, "Double crap," she mutters, scooping up the screwdriver. She blinks a few times. "Mr. Queen! Hi, uh, um, Felicity, yes. You, uh, hired me. Awhile ago. I'm still here. That is, you haven't fired me yet. Nor has anyone else." Stop rambling, Felicity! "Uh, I mean, can I help you?"

"I hope so." Queen's smile widens a fraction, but he doesn't comment on Felicity's commentary. Instead, he holds out a credit card-sized object that's made from two layers of impact-resistant polymer. It's transparent except for four microchips that are imbedded at the corners and linked by a wire that's barely thicker than a human hair.

"A very nice girl left this at my place," he continues as he sets the thing down on Felicity's desk. "I think she was a ballerina. Or maybe a gymnast?" Shrug. "I didn't get a card, a number on a matchbook, not even a last name. I was hoping you could figure out what it's for. So I can return it, of course."

Setting the screwdrivers to the side Felicity stands up from her chair just enough to gently pluck the strange object from Oliver's hand. Immediately, her embarrassed and rambling starts to wind down; there's electronic stuff to be done! The pink tinge to her cheeks is starting to fade down to her regular skin tone. Keeping her fingers on the edges as to not get any oil from her skin on the polymer, she turns it back and forth right in front of her face. Then, she brings it up to the light, as if looking through a strip of negative film, just to check a few other things.

"Huh." Her attention isn't on her boss at the moment, it's on this puzzle. She likes puzzles. "Your ballerina gymnast friend sure liked her privacy. I think this is a key card. A really, really high end and well designed one." Finally, she looks over her glasses at Oliver, curious. "I didn't realize the ballet'd gotten so secretive about their behind the scenes." However, she pulls out a few things - something that looks like a scanner that connects to her computer and a few other cords and tools.

"Maybe that's why she didn't give me her last name," Ollie replies. He looks into Felicity's eyes and tips his head slightly. His smile never wavers. He may not expect her to buy his story, but he's certainly selling it.

He puts his palms on her desk and leans in so he can watch her work. Despite the light demeanor, he's hovering like a mother watching a child get their first haircut. "I'd be grateful if you could help me find her. I'm pretty sure I can get a second date if I return this."

Felicity's lips purse for a moment when she looks over at Oliver to see him doubling down on his story. However, she doesn't push much further on it. There's certainly a hint of suspicion there now, though. "Uh huh," she says, a bit of a smirk on her face. Then, she's back to the computer, setting the scanner's transparent lid down over the key card.

A few clicks brings up a program and the scanner whirs for a moment, giving a perfect replication of the card on her screen for her to manipulate. Suspicion gives way to curiosity. "Huh! Look, each of these have a linked binary code. It's literally like a key. Each one of these chips electronically slips into place, allowing the information to pass on to the next one."

The scanner is incredibly hi-res and she's able to zoom in on each of the chips, revealing a name on them in tiny letters. "Sys-tem-ic So-lu-tions," she reads out as she scrolls over it. "Huh. That's a research facility, isn't it? Did your gymnast have a prosthetic limb?"

Oliver's lips press together until they form a flat, thoughtful line. "Gymnast," he says, reaching up to scrub his fingers through his scruffy almost-beard. "She was definitely a gymnast. Ahem. And I doubt she'd be that flexible if she had a prosthetic limb."

His tone remains light and cheerful, as if this isn't a very strange conversation for anyone in the world to be having. "Maybe she has a day job. I'm told that people have those." He waves a hand and waggles his fingers in an I-don't-know sort of way. "Can you tell me what it opens?"

"You'd be surprised what the prosthetic limbs from this company can do. They're state of the art. I've heard they can make it feel just like real skin nowadays. So, you might not have even felt a difference!" Felicity's focused completely on the scan that she's made, zooming in, playing with settings that she isn't thinking about the fact that she's talking to her boss right now. Then, she realizes what she's just said and blinks a few more times, straightening and quickly turning in her chair, face blushing a bright red. "Uh! I mean!" She's not sure what she meant, so she slowly swivels her chair back toward the screen to hide her embarrassment.

There's a long moment's pause while she's attempting to gather herself after that verbal faux pas before she looks at Oliver again. "What it opens? I thought you just wanted to return it to her. I can get you the address to Systemic Solutions."

The address would be useful, of course. The rest is just to satisfy my curiosity." Queen arches an eyebrow and considers Felicity briefly. He crosses his arms over his chest before he continues. "Unless you can't do it. That would be understandable. What you've done so far has been pretty impressive, and thanks for that."

It's not a prod or a poke. Not quite. Oliver continues to toe the line between oblivious playboy and something very, very different. He maintains eye contact for several silent seconds. Finally, he glances back at the hi-res image.

Felicity's blush from embarrassment has faded to more of a pinkish tinge. Now, though, she turns in her seat to look at Oliver. "Your curiosity?" She frowns, head tilting just slightly. Her blonde ponytail falls a bit over her shoulder. As he looks at her, she studies him, maintaining that eye contact. There's a twinge of pride and need to prove herself that comes over her face at his comment. She's very good at what she does and her recent forays into hacking again has made her more interested in these sorts of things.

"Oh, I can definitely do it," she tells him earnestly. "But, this goes a bit beyond just returning a ballerina a lost card." She frowns. "Is this some sort of corporate take over thing? Something the FTC shouldn't know about? Are you running some sort of honeypot? Is that what that thing is called?"

Oliver is completely speechless, presumably for the first time in his life. All he can do is stand there with his mouth held in the shape of the letter 'o'. To his credit, he recovers pretty quickly. Ish. His arms drop to his sides and he lets out a quiet laugh. "No. No it most certainly is not either of those things," he verifies. "It's because of… reasons. Good ones."

It's the first time anything he's said sounds even remotely true. He smiles hopefully at Felicity. For a half-second he manages to look like a regular guy instead of a spoiled manchild.

Felicity watches Oliver with a skeptical look on her face. It's possible that she's interpreting his speechlessness as guilt. Then he laughs and she purses her lips again. "Reasons," she repeats his explanation back to him. Leaning back in her chair, she frowns, glancing between him and the screen of her computer.

After a few silent moments of this, she sighs and then pulls her chair closer to her desk. It looks as if she's shutting everything down for a second, refusing to go any further down the rabbit hole. Instead, she pulls up a completely separate program: a simple black screen. She types quite rapidly once her mind is set and she doesn't pause in the long string of commands she's entering in. Then, scanner whirs back to life as she sits back. A few moments later, another screen pops up on its own, spitting out numbers and letters. A schematic of a large building comes onto the screen, a few bits on it highlighted. "Looks like this card is a security clearance. Each chip corresponds to a different binary lock at these different access points." She points on the screen. It looks like an elevator bay, a wing, a door and then a smaller door."

"I'd kiss you if I weren't such an upstanding young executive." Ollie's absent-minded reply is of much less concern to him than the screen, which he studies intently from over Felicity's shoulder. There's a brief rustling sound, then a *KER-SNAPSH* as he uses his phone to take a picture of the virtual blueprint.

"Don't worry," he reassures, aware this may not be a particularly popular move. He pockets the phone and elaborates. "I made sure I only got the screen. I'd appreciate it if you kept this between us. Naturally. I'd hate to make the other gymnast ballerinas jealous."

Felicity blushes at the suggestion of a kiss as repayment. "Oh, no, that's like prostitution." That was meant to be a joke. As soon as the words are out of her mouth, though, she stutters, "I mean, uh, because you pay me. Not, like, in the prostitution sense. Just, that I'm an employee at your company and kissing while being paid is…" she trails off, her face turning brighter as she speaks.

Sinking down into her chair a bit, she starts unhooking the card from the scanner. "Believe me, if I ever told anyone this story, not only would they not believe me I'd have to tell them how I made a complete mess of myself in front of my boss. So, your secret is safe with me."

"Excellent," Ollie replies. "About the secret, not the prostitution."

The CEO (Felicity's boss's boss's boss thirteen times removed) tips her a grateful nod as he palms the keycard. "Thanks for everything, really. If I can ever repay the favor, you know where to find me."

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