Charity and Coffee

April 30, 2016:

Noemi decides to "interview" Ford and learn his intent behind his most recent attempt at charity.

Mutant Town

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The Yersai Family Health Clinic was never the biggest medical facility in M-Town, but one could always count on the staff there to lend a hand to families tight on funds and high in medical need. Bernard Yersai, the first in his family to graduate with a Ph.D., opened it as a place to help the downtrodden and needy, and although himself not a mutant, he was always a friend to those who needed someone to look at them on the cheap, often charging only what was necessary and doing the labor of the task for free.

Today, it is the site of a media frenzy, all of them clamoring to get a good shot of the unexpected hero of the clinic. It had been a well-known "secret" that Bernard's father was a crippled gambler whose addiction to the games not only cost him his life, but passed plenty of fees on to his son, owing a substantial amount of money to a local crime family. The clinic struggled under the weight of these "down payments" and often left the cost at the foot of its patients. When a single mother came in needing a specific medical procedure and unable to afford the cost, the clinic tried to hold a fundraiser to help pay for the treatment. However, her 8 year old daughter wrote a letter to a "funny man" she'd seen on TV talking about mutant rights. Of course, nobody really expected him to respond with any meaningful gesture.

Which was why it was a shock to see one Mr. Ford Benett, a compete business man in his own right, a reputed media circus star, and renowned womanizer, not only pledge to help pay for the treatment the woman needed, but helped wipe out Yersai's debt to the crime family he owed them AND donate a substantially capable generator to the clinic to keep it running in hard times. A truly curious move to those who know the man for the playboy that he is (with a few rumors circulating that he did it solely to impress the mother herself), but a nonetheless gracious one, and one that Bernard Yersai is all to happy to thank him for. Standing outside the clinic next to the newly installed generator, Ford stood with Yersai to take a few journalistic shots for the gathered crowd of reporters. None too surprising, since he's known for his love of the camera and soaking up as much attention as he can get.

Noemi Nogueira is also present, though not in any kind of an official capacity. In actual fact she had been walking someone who got anxious about being out on the streets - probably because of his long, relatively vulnerable neck and oversized lungs - over to the clinic. They've been able to get in through a side door, but Noemi has stayed, not so much to walk him back over as because…

Well, all of this is happening.

She's wearing a hooded sweatshirt to ward off the springtime chill and damp, and looking decidedly skeptical even as she cranes her head to look at this exciting new piece of installed technology.

Her expression could be best summarized as a silent "hrmf." Unfortunately she is also in the way past the generator fenced-in-sheltered-thingy and the clinic, the street, and really most of the rest of New York. Perhaps she's going to ask her OWN questions. NOSY ONES.

Ford continued to take a few pictures with Dr. Yersai, before giving him another shake and pat on the back, letting him return to his schedule. Ford, meanwhile, answered a few questions reporters threw out at him. Chief among them, why would he get involved in something like this? "Well, now, I got a letter from a little girl asking if I could use my influence to help her sick mom. And how am I going to refuse the request of a lovely lady like that?"

Another question, this one concerning Knightwatch, is tossed his way. "What else is there to say? I'm still opposed to the program in every way, shape and form. I can appreciate the 'attempt' to keep us safe, but, ah… screw it."

Of course, this only sparked more fevered questions, but Ford raised his hands to calm the crowd, smiling that confident smirk he was known for. "Sorry, folks, but much as I love the camera flashes, I really have things I need to accomplish. Thanks for your time and spreading the word on Bernard's clinic. I know he appreciates the support." Turning back to his table set up by the new generator, Ford grabbed his briefcase and accessories, pocketing them with the case at his side before turning… and nearly running right into Noemi. "Oh! Sorry, didn't mean to crash into you." Ford blinked, before lowering his head a bit and looking under the hoodie, smirking again. "…but I certainly am glad I almost did. And what's a lovely face like that hiding under that hood for?"

Knightwatch comes up. That doesn't put Noemi into a pleasant mood, though Mr. Richman does seem to be against it. Yeah, that's what they all say. Even /Cillary Hinton/. But can you trust any of them? She can't say.

But here he comes -

Noemi leans backwards and avoids contact deftly. That's always risky after all. She pivots her foot around, and when she hears that flattery, reaches up to her hood and sweeps it back to bare her hair and her face.

Then she looks up, meeting Ford's gaze for a moment. Her expression is, if not exactly dour, not exactly charmed.

"Yo," she says, raising a hand in a half-salute of greeting. "I'm just a member of the public. I'm kind of worried about your mystery generator there. What's up with it? Is it gonna blow up if something happens? We have to worry about a lot of, you know, /specific/ shit out here."

"Now see? Much better. Shouldn't deprive the world of such beauty." Ford smiled relentlessly in the face of her dour demeanor. At the question concerning the generator, Ford looked back at it for a moment, before smirking back at her. "Nope. Pretty average back-up/supplementary generator. It'll make sure the power in the clinic keeps going, even in the face of a blackout. And you'd have to hit it pretty hard to make it blow up… considering there's nothing explosive about it. Powered on cleanly made electricity. I should know - I've seen the process beginning to end."

Ford leaned against the wall, apparently not in any rush to get past or finish her personal interview. "So, Ms. Concerned Member of the Public… do you have a shorter name? Perhaps something lyrical to compliment those gorgeous features?"

Noemi's expression gets wry as she's flattered. It does make her produce a noise that's half laugh and half scoff, but she raises one hand out of her hoody pocket and waves at the generator. "Yeah, yeah, but you're not getting me here. What if it's exposed to a sudden EM pulse? Because I know like four people who might do that, totally on accident. You know why we got that Apple store right on the edge of the district, right? It isn't because we're all buying iPads."

She rolls her eyes slightly at the additional praise, if with a half-smirk as she does. "Yeah, I do," she says, before going on to things - "And what's it run ON, anyway. You can use big words, I went to college."

Ford watched her for a little bit as she retorted back at him, before he failed at restraining an giggle, which grew into a full blown laugh. He threw his head back as he couldn't help, but find it hilarious. "Ohoho, oh, I'm sorry, it's not… it's not you, not really. I know what you're getting it. It wouldn't be the first time. I may not have powers, but I can read people… and their minds! Watch…" Ford raised his hand towards Noemi as he hummed a bit, before nodding. "Erm-hrm. As I thought. Let's see… you are thinking… that this big gift of a generator is a nice gesture, but it's just a show for the media for good press, am I right?" Ford chuckled as he lowered his hand. "No, it's not. It'll take quite a bit of punishment before it gives out. You'd have to hit it with a lot before she goes. Because I don't put my name behind products that don't do what they claim to do. If they don't, I drop 'em, see?"

Ford smirked. "And, let me amaze you once more and read your mind again… ah. You are thinking that the big rich playboy has only taken an interest in this situation purely for good press and a chance to hit on exceptionally lovely ladies like yourself, correct?" Ford bowed. "Guilty as charged. I have no illusions about being selfless. I'm an attention-hogging, eccentric and well spoken playboy jackass. And let no slander nor lies tell you otherwise."

…huh… they usually don't just come out and admit it like that…

Noemi frowns a little more at the laughter. She rubs the bridge of her nose. "Our minds, huh," she says a little flatly. Then she shrugs her shoulders at the protestation of the good intentions behind it. "Man, I don't know if I'm putting this wrong - how's it WORK -"

She pauses then. Her eyes narrow. "I think you're flirting with me to dodge the question," is her counter-jab, though it too has a half-laughing undertow to it. "You're trying to get me off guard so you can get past me, huh? Well, my guard's better than THAT!"

Noemi raises her hands though. They look like they're in gray gloves. She folds them behind her head as she looks past Ford and back to the generator. "I'm gonna try one more time before you get even smoother. Is there any kind of weird, edge case, interacting field or whatever that'll make it go up? Or is it like a pocket fusion deal, kinda just… goes out if it gets busted somehow, you know? Or just blows up like, the alley there, not like, half the district."

"You ARE reassuring me a lot though, in case the NYPD or these Knightwatch pricks hit it with a missile, we probably won't all die," Noemi, who has still not introduced herself, concludes.

"Get past you? No, how could I leave a vision like yourself? I'm flirting with you because I want to!" Ford replied, before looking at the generator and back at her. "Oh, you wanted to know the technicals, hrm? Well, that I can answer, though it'll be a tad simplified. Essentially, it's a giant battery wrapped in a Faraday Cage, rubber, and about half a foot of military grade alloys. The cage acts like the conduit through which the battery charges things, while keeping it safe from EM pulses. It has a breach detector built in so that, should there be something that CAN get through said safeguards, it shuts off and diverts all excess power to a ground to keep things steady and becomes a big hunk of metal until we recharge it. Otherwise, it sits idle until it detects that the clinic's current power needs are getting cut, in which case, it calculates the power it needs to supplement and keep the place running at peak speed." Ford let that explanation sink in for a moment before arching his brow. "That clear things up? Rest assured, I didn't set a bomb in the middle of your district."

Ford stepped a bit closer to Noemi, closing the gap between them as he clearly was not phased by her barbed attitude. "Now that I've shown you mine, perhaps you'll show me yours~?" Ford extended a hand to give her a shake as he smirked. "Ford Benett. Energy mogul, heir to Benett Fuels, womanizer, playboy, philanthropist, mutant rights activist, you name it, I do it. And I do it the best, I assure you~"

Noemi lets out another deep sigh at those words, even if she then starts attending to what Ford's saying. "Huh," she says. "Not bad. But you're saying it's just a big battery? That's great - but why are you calling it a generator if it's not -"

Then he's stepping up closer. Noemi leans slightly backwards, on reflex. But it's not an over-aggressive closeness. Noemi unlaces her fingers together and reaches up to slap her hand gently into Ford's, shaking with a firm squeeze. It doesn't quite feel like a proper hand.

"Hi, I'm Noemi Nogueira," she says, looking up right into his eyes. "I live around here, because I'm a mutant." /forward/. Of course the details are probably coming together, in so far as she doesn't have normal womanly body texture and mingles the smell of shampoo and something like the smell of a very new tire.

"You always introduce yourself like that?" She also turns her head, tilting her chin diagonally. "There's a coffee place down there if you can handle stuff they didn't bless in Williamsberg."

"Get past you? No, how could I leave a vision like yourself? I'm flirting with you because I want to!" Ford replied, before looking at the generator and back at her. "Oh, you wanted to know the technicals, hrm? Well, that I can answer, though it'll be a tad simplified. Essentially, it's a giant battery wrapped in a Faraday Cage, rubber, and about half a foot of military grade alloys. The cage acts like the conduit through which the battery charges things, while keeping it safe from EM pulses. It has a breach detector built in so that, should there be something that CAN get through said safeguards, it shuts off and diverts all excess power to a ground to keep things steady and becomes a big hunk of metal until we recharge it. Otherwise, it sits idle until it detects that the clinic's current power needs are getting cut, in which case, it calculates the power it needs to supplement and keep the place running at peak speed." Ford let that explanation sink in for a moment before arching his brow. "That clear things up? Rest assured, I didn't set a bomb in the middle of your district."

Ford stepped a bit closer to Noemi, closing the gap between them as he clearly was not phased by her barbed attitude. "Now that I've shown you mine, perhaps you'll show me yours~?" Ford extended a hand to give her a shake as he smirked. "Ford Benett. Energy mogul, heir to Benett Fuels, womanizer, playboy, philanthropist, mutant rights activist, you name it, I do it. And I do it the best, I assure you~"

Noemi lets out another deep sigh at those words, even if she then starts attending to what Ford's saying. "Huh," she says. "Not bad. But you're saying it's just a big battery? That's great - but why are you calling it a generator if it's not -"

Then he's stepping up closer. Noemi leans slightly backwards, on reflex. But it's not an over-aggressive closeness. Noemi unlaces her fingers together and reaches up to slap her hand gently into Ford's, shaking with a firm squeeze. It doesn't quite feel like a proper hand.

"Hi, I'm Noemi Nogueira," she says, looking up right into his eyes. "I live around here, because I'm a mutant." /forward/. Of course the details are probably coming together, in so far as she doesn't have normal womanly body texture and mingles the smell of shampoo and something like the smell of a very new tire.

"You always introduce yourself like that?" She also turns her head, tilting her chin diagonally. "There's a coffee place down there if you can handle stuff they didn't bless in Williamsberg."

Ford nodded at the mention of a coffee shop down the street. "Certainly. Never could taste a difference between the expensive coffee and the regular stuff, so a corner shop is always nice." Ford hoisted his briefcase before following alongside Noemi. "As to the generator, it's technically both. Like I said, I can't explain the specifics, but it functions as both a battery and a generator… it's just the generator is obscenely slow when it's powering other things. It'll power itself over time and stores a veritable boatload of power… but it's a flaw I've never really liked about it. But, sometimes, you just have to play what you're dealt to the best of your ability. It's affordable, self-sufficient for the most part and we've yet to have one break down on us."

Noemi's scent was not lost on Ford… not that he minded much. Nor did her touch bother him. A new sensation; Ford never shied away from diving into new things. "A sincere pleasure to meet you, Ms. Nogueira… or, can I call you Noemi? I prefer Ford myself, but some folks like their last names over their first." A tad more walking. "So, you are a mutant, are you? Well… I'm not. So, I suppose it makes sense that I don't live here. By the by… has anyone ever told you that you have that 'new car' smell about you? S'nice quality. Especially if you allow someone to take a test drive~"

Noemi notices the briefcase. She takes a deep breath through her nose and says, with a shrug of her shoulders, "OK, I guess. I dunno, this sounds like it goes against what I learned about stuff, but I go against half of it too and I exist, sooooo…"

"Noemi's fine," she says then. After a two second pause, she then has to stop on the side of the street and let her head tilt back, because she's busting out with abrupt, sincere, rolling laughter. Her arm crosses over her abdomen as she pulls it in after a few seconds, shaking her head, and concluding with a "Whoof — No, nobody has ever /told me I smell like a car/."

"That's hilarious," she says. Then it is now LEGAL to cross the street, so she starts doing so. Her hands go into her pants pockets as she does. "You can guess my power if you want," she says. (This makes someone crossing the other way groan faintly, but considering that he's red as a beet and seems to have one large oversized arm and 'no' arm on the other side, he may just be biased.)

This does remind Noemi to say, "I'm lucky, honestly." Beat. "That's not the power."

Ford smirked as he had her laughing, keeping up alongside her. "You obviously haven't smelled that 'new car' smell… or maybe you just wouldn't notice. Got this nice mix of fresh rubber and cushy leather and ah! Just makes you think of all the potential." As she crosses the street, Ford's eyes draw down slightly to her rear, taking it in a bit before looking over at the one-armed red guy as they passed by.

"Does it matter what your power is?" Ford asked as he moved a little faster to get back in line with Noemi. "Isn't the important thing what you do with that power? Whether it's using it to uphold the law or not using it to keep from hurting others?" Ford asked, arching his brow at her.

Noemi walks pretty confidently and if she notices the look at her hindquarters she doesn't remark on it. "Well, you say that, and I understand you're trying not to discriminate or anything, but that's actually not really the case," Noemi says, continuing forwards.

"When you put it like that, you're kind of erasing and glossin' over a bunch of trouble people have. OK, head left," Noemi says, looking up towards Ford. "I'm /lucky/ but I still have /problems/. It's just, you know, more fun to think 'Oh I've got a cool power' than 'Oh, I can't —'" She pauses, sweeping a hand in the air. "You know?"

"But it's cool if you don't want to guess," Noemi continues, looking back ahead. "Most people don't get it quickly."

Ford shrugged at Noemi's reply. Truthfully, he hadn't thought of it that way, but it made some sense. Though he arched a brow at her sudden stop. "Can't do… what?" he asked, genuinely curious at what she was about to say. "…no, that's a fair point. I suppose not every mutant is blessed with interesting powers. Even the best have to deal with crap. That's why I'm squaring off with Knightwatch… mutants and metas have a hard enough time as it is without someone wanting to be able to smash them apart… and besides, if the government has armor and weapons that can squash those with powers, what are those of us without powers gonna be able to to about them?"

Ford followed after Noemi as she made a turn. "It's not that I don't want to guess; I'm just smart enough to know that I likely won't get it in a million tries. Considering the number of mutations you could display, it could be anything from smelling like a new car to having incredible sex powers to not being able to eat or appreciate good food. My point was, it doesn't matter to me, unless there is something I can do to help. I may be a businessman, I may be a playboy, I may be a rich brat, but I'm not heartless…"

"See, you're seeing the part most people don't," Noemi says, about Knightwatch. "Now go tell a bunch of other humans that and see if you can make it stick." Her shoulders hunch up a little as she gets near the door of the coffee place, and as Ford continues, she snorts again. She actually holds the door open for him, though; that may be a change of pace.

"Yeah you told me all that. What made you care so much about us, anyway? Why not gays or Bangladeshi or kids with malaria?" she asks. The coffee shop, which does not have an immediately discernible name, smells /real darn good/, though.

"You haven't seen much news lately, have you?" Ford asked, smirking as she opened the door and waiting for her to go through, trying to be a gentleman. After a little while, if she didn't go through, he'd just shrug and head in first. "I've been doing a lot of philanthropic fundraisers lately. Everything from veterans affairs to hospitals to… lord, I've lost track of them all. It's just that Knightwatch is my biggest and most ambitious target yet. So it's not like I'm not doing a little something for everyone."

"You go ahead and order whatever you'd like. I can cover the cost for you. My treat. After you do, why not tell me a bit about yourself? Much as I love talking about myself, I'd love to hear about you."

"Oh, is that philanthropy?" Noemi says as she comes in behind Ford. "I have money." She doesn't look at him as she heads up to the counter.

It seems to be a coffee shop with the main notability that the clientele have a large number of people who are kind of weird looking, but That's M-Town. The woman behind the counter has a third eye and a funky fauxhawk but is otherwise OK. Noemi addresses her: "Cinnamon latte please, and give him," a jerking of her thumb, "whatever he wants."

With that Noemi turns to face Ford once more, perhaps more confrontational in her tone. "You sound like you're defending yourself to me. How come?"

Ford shook his head as she ordered her drink, before blinking as she turned around to confront him. Staring back for a moment, he smirked before moving past her and pulling out his wallet. He pulled out a 20 bill and placed it on the counter. "Mocha frap, dollop of cream on top, if you'd be so kind. And keep the change."

Ford leaned against the counter as he waited for their drinks, smirking back at Noemi. "You certainly do have a vested interest in me and my backstory, don't you? I suppose I could ask the same about you. You haven't mentioned very much about yourself. Why's that?"

Noemi frowns a little as the twenty comes out. Out comes two fives and some ones, which get pushed forwards. (The barista, wisely, interprets this as an opportunity for a $21 tip.)

"Well you came in here installing a mystery machine in the clinic, which, I want to underline here," Noemi says with fluid ease, "I appreciate, I'm not tryin' to say, no take back your gift." Except maybe the coffee buying.

"But I didn't ask you most of the stuff /you/ said," Noemi says, with a waggle of the thumb. "So if you want to ask me something, go ahead."

Ford slapped a hand on the money she'd put forward, before sliding it back to Noemi and pulling out another 20. "No no, bad girl~ But as a gentlemen, I have an issue with ladies paying when I'm more than capable of doing so. So hold onto that. Might benefit someone else down the road, hm?"

Ford tilted his head a little at Noemi's talk of his generator contribution, before raising a finger to add to it. "Let's not forget the repayment of Dr. Yersai's unwarranted gambling debts left by his father and paying for the treatment of the mother who came to him in the first place. I do more than just put up machines, Ms. Noemi. I get sh*t done."

Ford leaned back a little, looking up at the ceiling before nodding. "Well, then, what do you do for work? What's your mutation? Does it cause you trouble on a regular basis, and how can I help with it?"

Noemi doesn't answer for a couple of seconds. She doesn't look up either.

She speaks evenly. "Yeah, let's not forget," she says.

She takes in a deep breath. "Okay. I'm a chemistry tutor. I'm about fifty-eight liters of silicon compounds, form and permutation variable. It causes me a lot of trouble, but I can just wear long sleeves and nobody stares," Noemi says, steadily.

"As for how you can help with it," she concludes, voice more leadenly, "I'd have to think about that one." She slides her hands into her hoodie pockets and looks back down, deep for a moment in thought. (And frowning while she's doing it.)

"A chemistry tutor, hm? Brains AND beauty! A desirable combo~ I admire you for your mastery of a subject I struggled with. I never could wrap my head around actual chemistry. Romantic chemistry, that I can manufacture en masse~" Ford replied, watching her carefully, reading her as she spoke and made her motions. It was obviously something that distressed her, his mind immediately calculating all the things he could conclude just from her reactions. No, he was not brilliant educational wizard, but his grasp on social skills was hard to match.

Ford smiled as he let her think, before commenting a little more kindly and gently. "Is it the looks that bother you… or is it something else?" He asked, leaning down to her level a bit. Always easier to open up to folks when they have someone who's willing to talk to them at their height. "I know I'm a womanizer, and my reputation no doubt proves it… but I pride myself on being a gentleman. And a gentleman never leaves a lady in the lurch. So… when you think of it, you'll let me know, won't you?"

At this point Ford is probably getting the impression that Noemi is considering if she can pick him up and throw him out the door, though she is sternly suppressing this impulse. She smiles, without humor, at the statement, before she says, "It's the social alienation, mostly."

After a few moments, she says, her voice nearer to its previous state if a lot more formal in inflection, "Actually, I did think of something. See, we have a lot of issues here, right, you sound like you've been following the problems. What people could /really/ use, is - OK," and here she raises a hand to wave around, "I'm sure you know about legal defense funds. It's basically that, /but/ the issue here is, there's a lot of people who get accused of crimes or whatever? And our legal aid fund, like, it's for prejudice cases, and also people who are getting collared for stuff that's just like — who they are. You know?"

Ford twisted his head a bit as he smirked, watching her. Whether he gets the impression or not is difficult to tell, because of his hiding his true emotions so well. "Well then, if it's not too forward or troublesome, I'd like to see what's under the sleeves?"

Ford perked up a little, listening to her explain and nodding along with her. "Of course. Tends to happen at times, certainly understandable. So, you'd like me to contribute to the LDFs? Or perhaps help get a few more in place? That won't be hard, certainly."

Noemi pulls her left sleeve up abruptly. (The barista comes over, drops off the coffees, and exchanges looks with Noemi for a moment before moving on.)

Noemi's forearm appears gray and clammy, almost like a corpse's. "Check my pulse if you want," Noemi says, helpfully. If Ford does, he doesn't find anything at all. Not a weird one, not a weak one, just nothing.

"It'd probably be better if you could help with the ones already around," Noemi says then, picking up her drink with her other hand. "I can get you in touch if you're serious. You know, directly, skip the troll defense layers."

Ford eyed her arms for a moment, before smiling and chuckling a little. "Oh, now look at this. You made such a fuss, I was expecting something awful." Ford took one of her arms, checking for a pulse and finding none. Clearly, that didn't deter him, as he rubbed his hand along her arm gently, as if admiring it. "I've seen much stranger. Besides, looks are not as important as attitude - if you feel confident in your own skin, others will follow along and see the same."

He let her arm go as he leaned back against the counter as he took hold of his drink as he pulled a card out of his pocket. Handing it to her, he took a sip of his drink cautiously due to the heat. "That's my contact info. You get me the names, I'll get them the funds. I have a few folks I know who would hop on the chance to get their money into groups like those. Myself included." Another sip. "I may not know law, but I know business. I'll pen the contracts personally, if needed."

"Yeah, look, dude, I've been this way for seven years, you don't need to butter me up," Noemi finally says, through half clenched teeth. She takes a deep breath after that and lets it out afterwards, looking down towards the card.

She takes it and also another, larger sip from the drink. The heat must not bother him. "Cool," she says. "I'll pass this along, they'll mention me when they reach out. I'm pretty sure most people couldn't spell my first name on a first try so, you know, authenticity check." The card goes into her pocket as she looks up at Ford. Her drink is raised in half salute.

"Thank you very much," she says, and sounds like she means it. "I gotta run, though. Hope you have fun if you walk around a little here." She doesn't immediately scoot, at least.

Ford smirked back at her. "Who said I was buttering you up? I mean it… but if you're comfortable wearing long sleeves, that's fine too. So long as you feel good. S'all I want… well, maybe not all of it, but…~" Ford shrugged, shaking his head. "I'm just trying to be friendly is all."

Ford raised his cup in response to hers, nodding. "Not to worry. You do what you have to do. You'll be hearing from me soon, I'm sure."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License