Bugboys and Icecream

December 12, 2015:

Peter Parker pops by the Baxter Building in a bid to procure an internship (paid).

Baxter Building

Where it all goes down.

Characters

NPCs: HERBIE Willie Lumpkin

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's a wonderful thing to work freelance. The pay is surprisingly good for the amount of hours you have to put in, and you get to choose when you work. On the other hand, people who don't have an edge like Peter Parker, might have to work a lot more to get the same amount done. And he's got a university schedule to contend with. So, he finds himself heading down to Baxter on a bright sunny Saturday afternoon. He slept in after going ten rounds last night with his very own tentacle monster last night. He picked up a few bumps and bruises, but fortunately, none are visible.
Heading in through the doors, he is greeted by the Doorman, a moustached little man by the name of Willie Lumpkin. "Good morning," it's 11:56 AM, so technically, it's still morning. "My name is Peter Parker," he's carrying a vanilla file folder with some papers inside it, probably a resume. "I don't have an appointment, but I was hoping I might be able to talk to someone about the paid internship." Yeah, he put emphasis on the paid part. A lot of people would pay to intern here. Peter Parker needs the money. He has the grades. But money talks. Hopefully it'll be enough.

Reed is hunched over his machinery when the chime comes in via HERBIE to notify him of the visitor.

"Paid internship, you say?"

Reed puts his unlit, unpacked pipe on a stool and looks over towards Sue. "You know Hugh Clark just left, we could probably use some sort of gofer and can save on costs." He tilts his head towards the blonde.

Hugh Clark is only the latest scientist to leave the Baxter Foundation since all of the rumors started swirling over whether the company was going under. Internships could be a great way to get more workstaff and less cost.

Crap, he sounds like a member of the Tomorrow Party.

"You know how I feel about unpaid internships in the first place, Reed," Sue wrinkles her nose, glancing up from her tablet. "You can't expect people to do their best work when they're worried about whether or not they're going to have dinner on the table. If someone's going to do work for you, then they ought to get paid for it."

She stands up, setting the tablet aside and heading for the jacket hanging on a hook by the door. "Besides, fresh ideas are always good. And with THINK setting up, we're not the only game in town."

Peter continues to steady his black Lowepro backpack with his right hand as it is slung over one shoulder. He has kept that position, with his wrist angled since he got there. Most people would be struggling with the strain by now, but he seems quite comfortable. A lot of people might have unslung it and set the backpack down on the ground, or countertop next to the vanilla folder, but again, he's comfortable. The way it drags, it is clearly not empty. He has a camera, three lenses, and a few oddities, like his costume, hidden away in there.
He hasn't dressed for the part either. Most people applying would wear a suit or something similar. He has blue jeans, a black t-shirt, and a grey jumper over it. It fits him quite nicely, and would probably pass for business casual, but is that what you wear for an interview. Fortunately for him, science doesn't usually stand on ceremony.
The answer doesn't come too quickly, but Peter waits patiently, running his fingers along the blue marble countertop. Looking at it closer, he picks out a few constellations, and the nerd in him smiles. He says the names out loud as he notes there position on the counter, "Canis Major, Hercules, Andromeda, Columba, Coma Berenices," and he's probably giving Willie a headache. Peter'll fit right in.

Sunny, yes. Partly cloudy? Also true. Over the Manhattan skyline, one or two clouds can be seen. One cloud in particular swirls a bit in one small spot, before a fireball pierces it. The flame streaks across the sky, headed right for the Baxter Building, where it slows in an unnatural way and lands upon a platform just next to the Fantasticar.

Twenty-one floors up, the flames extinguish, leaving Johnny Storm in a three-point stance. He looks up, frowning a bit at the sides of neighboring buildings. Man, we should have at least twenty more in this part of town.

Turning, he heads into the building, smirking at Reed and Sue. "Portland to New York in three and a half hours. I've done better, but, the DVD signing wasn't a total bust." He's lying, of course. "I also… really gotta pee!" He hops a bit, before rushing off toward the men's room, door slamming shut behind him.

"HERBIE, show him the way in. Be sure to thank Willie for me," Reed wipes some grease off of his hands and gives Sue the nod over towards the express, private elevator used by the Four when they need to get somewhere quickly in this building. Once Sue joins, they'll be heading to the 21st floor to the conference room.

"Johnny, meet us up there when you're done," Reed calls out to Johnny scurries by them to hit the head.

Within a few moments they'll find themselves in a large conference room with white furniture and deep blue tiling. Along the far wall is a blacked out monitor, perhaps 150 inches corner to corner. Reed takes his seat, trying to remember all of those important points on how to conduct a proper interview.

Sue shrugs into her jacket, smile slipping crooked as Johnny returns. "Welcome back, Johnny," she calls after her brother as he dashes to the bathroom, stepping into the elevator. Once they're in the conference room, she checks to make sure the water and coffee are stocked, then grabs a muffin to set it in front of Reed.

"They said Peter Parker, right?" she asks, tapping at an input in the table to pull up application and resume information for a quick review.

Peter's lips curl into a smile as H.E.R.B.I.E. hovers over to Peter and Willie. "Dr. Richards wishes to convey his gratitude to you, Mr. Lumpkin. Mr. Parker, please, follow me." H.E.R.B.I.E. will guide Peter towards the elevator, and along the way, asks, "May I offer you some refreshments?" Peter shakes his head, "Oh, thank you, but I'm all right."
He's more interested in how the robot is hovering. He can't get inside to learn about the A.I., but the flight is quite impressive. There is no heat eminating from the robot, or wind, so it's probably a form of anti-gravity. During the elevator ride, H.E.R.B.I.E. offers small talk, but Peter asks some technical questions, which are answered, providing there are within the bounds of what he is permitted to divulge about his programming.
The elevator soon arrives at the 21st floor, and H.E.R.B.I.E. speaks again, "Dr. Richards is ready for you in conference room A. And while I do not subscribe to the concept of luck, I am told that it is something I am to wish for you." Okay, so the programming needs a little bit of work.
After taking a breath to steady himself, Peter will enter. "Good afternoon, my name is Peter Parker." He'll walk in and immediately offer to shake hands with everyone, and offer them each a copy of his resume from the vanilla folder.

Storm is the late arrival. He hasn't yet taken the chance to change out of his Fantastic 4 uniform. Quite honestly, he only ever changes it to launder it; one never knows when it may become necessary to flame on, and his metahuman talents would tend to leave him naked otherwise.

"You guys." He looks to the three as he enters, grinning from ear to ear. "They've got the most amazing thing in Portland. It's called, 'Voodoo Donuts'. You've got to -" The man suddenly silences himself, remembering that he's here for an interview. Let's just ignore the gallon of ice cream he keeps tucked under his arm, alright? He walks over to Peter following a double take, and offers a gloved hand. "Johnny Storm," he greets. "Also known as The Human Torch. Pleasure to meet ya."

Johnny finally takes his seat, setting the carton of ice cream and an unused spoon down upon the table in favor of perusing Parker's resume, first.

"Mr. Parker, I'm Reed Richards." Queue vigorous hand shaking. "I serve as CEO and head research director here at the Baxter Foundation. Johnny, who you've met, and this is Sue Storm, who you also may be familiar with. She is, for all intents and purposes, the queen of this building. In the event you work here and I tell you to do something, but she tells you something otherwise, it'd be best to follow her lead. In any event, welcome, we're excited you stopped by."

Reed moves to take a seat, but then realizes he should probably get Sue's seat for her. He pops up, moves over, pulls it out for her, and then sits back down. In goes the unlit pipe. He lolls his tongue on the inside of his mouth as he reads and his skin stretches slightly more than would otherwise being normal as he starts to nod. "This is very impressive Mr. Parker. Very impressive. Can you tell me a bit about why you're interested in working here at the Baxter Foundation?"

"Hi, Peter," Sue smiles warmly as she shakes hands. "Welcome to the Baxter Building." Reed's description gets a wry smile as she shakes her head. "Queen is a bit much, really. Reed handles experimental physics and inventions, and I handle biochem. And safety procedures, which is the real reason you should listen if I tell you not to do something," she winks, settling into her chair when Reed pulls it out, giving his hand a squeeze.

Portland, Peter doesn't know much about the city, except that they hate everything to do with Seattle, love to grow manly beards, and they just won something in soccer. But if he's ever there, he'll check out these 'Voodoo Donuts'. Johnny Storm approved and it's not like he ever endorsed something for money.
"Peter Parker," he responses as he takes the gloved hand in his empty hand. "The pleasure is all mine." It's kind of neat to be in the presence of the Fantastic Four. He's been doing this for six years now, but these are the people that Peter looks up to. He's trying not to come across as a fan. Keep it professional Peter.
He greets Sue and Reed, and smirks at Reed's admission that Sue wears the pants in their relationship. Remaining quiet as Reed pours over his resume, he is elated when it is found to be impressive. "I've always believed in doing what you love, and I love science. The work you've done in non-extensive self-consistent thermodynamic equilibrium, transformative optics, bioware, and of course, cosmic radiation has changed the world. It would be an honour to play some small part in what comes next."
Sue will probably know that he's holding something back. The fact that it was a paid internship, and had flexible hours, were huge bonuses for him, but he doesn't want to mention that in front of Dr. Richards.

"Yeah, they're the smart ones." Johnny sticks a thumb Sue's way; one might suppose he's including Reed in that equation, but it's unclear. "I'm just along for the ride." Perhaps a bit of false humility there; Storm plays his role, of course, but not in the scientific arena.

Peter's smart words filter past him. He doesn't know exactly what they mean, but he could take a few swings and likely hit in the general market. However, as he flips through the resume, he seems to be growing quite interested.

Johnny reaches into a pouch on his uniform, and fishes out a smartphone. He sets it down on the table, and begins tabbing through various apps; the gloved fingertips are clearly equipped with static transfer material, or whatever it is that allows people to use touch screens with gloves.

"Oh, yeah. He grabs his spoon and taps it against the closed ice cream carton a few times. "Yeah, I knew it. I knew I recognized this stuff." He swivels the phone around, revealing Peter's Instagram feed.

"Sue, this guy takes some amazing photos, to boot." A glance goes from his sister to Reed, then back to Peter.

Clearly, based on the coy grin, Johnny Storm is plotting something.

There's a clicking noise as Reed's teeth hit the hard material of the pipe as he listens to Peter compliment the team. "Thank you for your kind words, Peter. We've worked very hard to make our mark and we're proud of what we have been able to do over the years. Rather than look to the past, however, I'm interested in the future. What sorts of projects have you dreamed about and where do your scientific passions lie?"

The money issue won't bother him, truth be told. Reed was paying the last guy 175k per year. Peter won't be getting that much, that is for sure. In all, it's a net benefit if this kid can get the job done.

"Additionally, I'm curious as to how much time you have left in school and what your plans are for when you finish."

Sue leans over to take a look at Johnny's phone, flipping through a few of the photos with a surprised look. "Very nice," she agrees, looking up with a smile for Peter. "Though I'm sure Peter's more interested in the scientific aspects of the job. We're not looking for photo shoots, Johnny," she smiles ruefully at her brother. "Although a publicity run probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world right now," she admits in a lower tone. "Maybe not with the Bugle, though. They're not the most hero-friendly publication out there."

"Oh, thank you," Peter says to Johnny. He can't quite bring himself to call a guy in a skin-tight suit, eating an carton of ice cream, at an interview, 'Mr. Storm', so he neatly avoids that situation. "You know, you'd be surprised how little those photos are worth today." Yeah, he tries to be subtle. It doesn't work.
When Sue mentions the Bugle's stance on heroism, he explains, "I don't know if it's heroes they have a problem with. It's masked vigilantes." He rolls his eyes there, before adding, "J. Jonah Jameson does not approve of anyone using super powers while protecting their identity, so the Fantastic Four would be fine." Great, he can see the headlines now. A four-page spread, get it, on how the Fantastic Four are better than Spider-Man.
"I just started working on my masters in Biophysics last semester, and I'm hoping to get my doctorate in biochemistry. I couldn't decide. I love biology, chemistry, and physics, and to me, they aren't separate fields, but interwoven."

Sue's rueful look is met in kind. He shrugs. Not at all a scientist, but he's got a mind for publicity, and there are ways to blend both. "Well, yeah," he mutters.

Finally stowing his phone, Johnny sits back and allows Reed and Sue the pleasure of interviewing Peter. He finally gets around to opening that carton of ice cream. The lid is set aside, and the spoon goes diving in. "I hope this isn't rude," he offers. "Being the Human Torch and all, I tend to run -"

-thunk-

The spoon hits the bottom of the carton, where the hard surface of the desk further stops its progress. Johnny looks down into the carton.

The empty carton.

"- hot."

Lifting the carton, Johnny looks around, finding… nothing but scraps. "Oh man," he mutters, cheeks flushing. "Low blow, Benjamin. Low… blow."

Apparently, Ben Grimm ate the last of Johnny Storm's ice cream.

At the sound of Johnny hitting the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, Reed almost winces. He'd sent out to get the younger storm more ice cream, but it looks as though the errand wasn't completed. Just another salvo in the ongoing war between Johnny and Ben.

"What are your salary requirements for this position. While paid, you understand that it as an internship and will come with no benefits," Reed says, looking towards Peter.

"There's muffins on the counter, Johnny," Sue smirks over at her brother, though she's still got most of her attention on the interview. "I completely agree," she nods to Peter. "It's why we don't have clearly defined departments here. Reed and I work together on all sorts of projects, and I think they come out better for it. Sometimes all it takes to find the answer is a different point of view."

At Reed's mention of benefits, she clears her throat. "That said, should you find yourself in need of serious medical attention, we do have a full emergency suite. And while I frown on getting blood on the furniture, it wouldn't be the first time." Significant look at Johnny.

Not to worry, H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot is on it. The little robot that could floats in at the thunk, carton of ice cream in one hand, and a red envelop in the other. His arm extends while his body remains floating in place, so he can set the full carton on the table next to the empty one. He will then take the other one. "Mint Chocolate Chip, I believe this is your favourite, sir."
Then he hovers over to Susan and Reed, giving the card to Sue. "This came from S.T.A.R. Labs." It's probably a Christmas card. Peter does what he can to hold back laughter. They do have that little robot well programmed, and there seems to be an interesting sibling rivalry-like dynamic between Johnny and Ben. To Reed, he says, hesitantly, "I am not really sure. I do know that google suggests that the average yearly salary for a lab assistant is $37,000, although this is an internship." Hopefully he ends up with folding money. But at this rate, it's going to be the kind that jingles.
Curiously, he doesn't seem too concerned about the medical benefits. Right now, he's in a little bit of pain from his battle last night. But it's healing up nicely. In a a few hours, he won't even have that bruise on his right thigh. Still, it's nice that Sue offers, "I like to think of myself as a pretty fit guy. I don't think I'll be needing much medical help, though if it ever did come down the road, would it be possible for me to put it towards my Aunt." Then, he immediately backtracks a little bit, "she doesn't have any pre-existing medical conditions, but she'll be needing it far sooner than I do."

Reed looks to Peter, nods, then looks to Sue to get her feel. Over the years he's begun to rely on her expertise with all things, well, with all things human. The science is all there and so Reed is comfortable, but the lady has a better read on things like character, fit, and the general social-stuff.

"Well thank you very much for coming Peter. You've given us a lot to think about. I don't believe that sum is out of the ballpark. And, what's more, if you come in and do a good job for us, and if this is a place you enjoy working, hopefully there will be an opportunity for you in the future here. Sue and I need to discuss this, of course, and we'll be in contact shortly."

Johnny is likely neck deep in devising his answer for this latest in the ongoing prank-war with the missing member of the Four. Regardless, he turns and smiles his gratitude toward the robot. "Thanks, HERBIE," he remarks, and prepares to dig in.

Sue's look receives a grin, and he glances back toward Peter with a shrug. He does have a reputation of being the daredevil of the group; if you could fly from Portland to NYC in three and a half hours, wouldn't you be, too?

That being said, he grows oddly quiet when Peter brings up his aunt, and seems to be a bit too hyper focused on his ice cream for a moment or two.

"I don't see why that would be a problem," Sue assures Peter with a small smile. "One of the benefits of having a building full of people with doctorates who work for you. We can find the time to help each other out. Actually, Peter, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to have you come back for one more round," she suggests, looking to Reed. "We'll send you a list of our current projects. Pick one out, and we'll bring you in to spend a little time seeing how we run things here. If you like it and it's a good fit, then we'll all have a better idea of whether or not we should move forward."

Peter nods towards Reed, and is ready to get up when Sue invites him back for another round. He was thinking that they were going to bin his resume, but being invited back, that's always a good sign. "Thank you Dr. Storm and Dr. Richards," he says, a genuine smile playing upon his lips.
He does rise, and will again shake their hands, even Johnny's through the gloves. "It was a pleasure meeting you. And," he gestures towards Johnny, "if you like, I'm sure I'll have my camera gear." Tugging at his lowepro backpack, "with my other job, I kind of always have to have it on me. You never know when something's going to come up. Not that I applied here just to get some great photos or anything." So might tightrope walking today.

Setting the spoon aside, Johnny stands up and clasps Peter's hand with a friendly gesture and a politely strong grip. "Hey, sure. Science deserves to be better documented, you know?"

Alright, so he isn't fessing up to his idea, but he's not above teasing it a little. A glance is given to Sue, and then Reed. Hopefully they aren't too terribly upset with him.

"That sounds like a wonderful idea, Sue," Reed says; happy she thought of it. He stands to shake Peter Parker's palm once more. "We'll be in contact to set something up. Thank you again for stopping by, Mr. Parker. It's been nice to meet with you."

Reed's mind drifts to the latest project; an attempt to get full sound out of MP3 files by augmenting the traces and hints of the material. In short; to get CD quality for a new age.

Sue might be upset with Johnny, but Reed gives him a little wink as he prepares to head back to his lab.

"Johnny loves photos," Sue chuckles, teasing her brother just a little bit. "And we appreciate your time, Mister Parker. I'll forward a list of potential projects to the email from your resume. Let me know what you're interested in and I'll get you set up with a time to come and look at things."

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