Busy Day at the GPL

June 08, 2016:

Summer always makes the Gotham Public Library a more popular place.

Gotham Publi Library, Central branch

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's the beginning of summer… according to the public schools in Gotham. Sadly, that does not mean that kids are safe enough to run amuck, so their parents use the library system as hopefully safer and less expensive day care. The public library system has endless children's programs during the day, so the place is bustling and busy. Thankfully, the assistance desk is mostly undisturbed.

Sitting at said assistance desk, Claire Fontaine does her best to look actively engaged in her work, but she's just tired. Recent events have made even getting a decent night's sleep something she's never sure of.


Rain doesn't visit non-magic libraries often these days, but she still does. They do have way better comics and far more current engineering texts and magazines. She's got to nerd up. For better or worse, Captain isn't here today, as talking does not often exempt an animal into a library. She blinks, looking about. Kids.

She'll try to avoid them, and instead head for the assistance desk to see if they have the latest issue of this or that.


Ryan walks into the library. Well, strolls is more reflective of the manner in which he saunters in. It isn't often that he finds himself in Gotham, but there is a specific book he is looking for. Of course for most history is nothing more than that. Ryan lived it though, under many different names clearly but he finds certain history books more akin to a high school year book rather than old stories from a time long past.

He is wearing his normal attire. That is slacks, a light grey vest to accompany his button up shirt. "Where am I going to find this?" Ryan says more to himself than anyone in particular. DUH Ryan This is a library you dunce. Go find a curator.

Curator? No that's not the right word but he'll be damned if he can figure out what the word he is looking is. He does not fancy himself some kind of word wizard or thought-smith. Is it muggier in Gotham than it typically is? Perhaps the heat is running to his head.


Claire Fontaine straightens from where she's slouched in her chair when two adults arrive NOT accompanying children. "Hello, welcome," she calls toward them just barely loud enough to be heard. "If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know." Otherwise she's not going to pressure either patron. She doesn't want to seem desperate for their patronage.


Rain looks to Claire. "Hi, I was wondering if you had the latest EE Times in?" She asks. "If not, I might wander some of the books." She speaks softly, familiar with library etiquette, after all. She looks to Ryan and smiles politely. Gotham does still weird her and Captain out, ever since they met the Godfeather pigeon. A talking pigeon? Who knows. Gotham is weird, man.


Ryan sees Rain and extends his hand as to say "By all means, ladies first" though not in so many words. There is a certain amount of chivalry that should never be abandoned. He flashes a smile at both ladies.

"Actually, once you have helped the woman in front of me I could use some assistance. I am looking for a book that deals with the 1800's. Well, 1864 to be precise. The American Civil War, to be more specific, the Battle of New Market." Ryan realizes that his voice is carrying louder than he intended it to. This is a library after all and some sense of order must be kept within it. "Sorry" He says in a smaller tone "I got a little carried away."


Claire Fontaine smiles at Rain, and can't help but chuckle as Ryan starts to really show his passion for history. "I believe we got the latest issue in just this past week." She pulls a post-it note and quickly jots some information on it for Rain. "Periodicals are back toward the entrance, turn left, and go past the first flight of stairs. They'll be on your right." The post-it has more detailed information on exactly where in the periodicals section to find the EE Times. "If you don't see them, come on back and I'll help you locate them. This place can be a bit of a maze sometimes." She offers Ryan a nod of thanks for being patient.


"Great, thanks," Rai murmurs quietly. She smiles back. She blinks at Ryan, eyes widening a bit. She's used to more subdued sciencey types. She nods at him. "Intense," She offers quietly. She seems more amused than offended. "And thank you," She lowers her head. "I'll go find it," She promises. She nods and beams at Ryan, before moving to fid her thing.


Intense…There are many ways Ryan has been described recently and he can't remember that last time intense was used. Of course he also thought that the attendant in a library was called a curator so how much can he really trust his own recollection in these matters.

He gives a nod to Rain that would certainty be followed up by a tip of the hat if in fact he was wearing one. "Thanks" Ryan chimes back at Rain before she whisks off to find her treasures.

Turning his attention back to the helpful lady behind the desk. "Ryan…" He pauses, "My name is Ryan sorry, I don't believe I introduced myself. I said book earlier but it may be more of a newspaper item. Essentially I am looking for some photographs from that battle. I am extremely interested in ones that have the Rebel Army…er..Confederate Army in them." Another pause "The ones from that battle anyways."

It occurs to Ryan that he is not making as much sense as it usually is. Though no one else would notice unless they are an empath he can tell he is not his usual self. He is distracted by something but he can't figure out exactly what.


Claire's expression at Ryan's apparent rambling is increasingly amused, but she's still very kind and she doesn't call him on it. "Historical periodicals, gotcha." She turns to the computer and uses the search system with the ease of practice. "1864… New Market… Aha." She pulls another post-it note without looking — how did she manage to do that without pulling a whole bunch of sheets at once? — and jots some quick information on the paper before locking the computer.

"Okay, they're in the microfishe section. If you'll follow me?" She steps out of the round counter-like assistance desk, waving to the woman at the circulation desk while she clips a walkie talkie to her jeans and smiles to Ryan. "If you'll follow me, please?"

The first week of summer vacation for all Gotham school-age children. The place is bustling with minors, in case one is discomfited by such congregations.


Rain is heading towards the periodicals, and given her fondness for sorting, she won't take long to find her thing. Curiosity takes her to follow towards the microfiche. It sounds cool, right? But she's shy, so she employs a creeper strategy. She doesn't hiss and explode. She quietly lurks after them.


While certain devices have been prepared and are about to be put to work up in the Steel City area, Jim Reha wanted to look at something else, before committing several million dollars of tech to the field. It's a bit of a hobby of his, or an amateur obsession with the ley lines.

He'd even be here doing the research of the maps and other notable historical facts except for one painfully telling point — currently, he's a bit trapped in the ancient body of a strange intelligence and the appearance of such an entity would draw serious attention and other issues in The City of Yesteryear. Aside from which, the last time he was in town he had a really nasty encounter with the Clown Prince, and he'd much rather not deal with that.

Enter Corvinus, currently riding in *his* body, heading to the quaint Human institution known as a 'library'. Of course, he has no clue of how the interaction works here, so this will be QUITE the enlightening experience tonight.

A weathered man wearing a suit that is worth the monthly salary of several functionaries (that bullet resistance IS expensive, even if the thing WAS a gift) makes his way into the 'place of stored knowledge, watching all the little Humans warily, anticipating attacks from every stack, corner, and alcove despite the alleged 'Quiet, Please' signs that dominate such a place…

He absently scratches his salt and pepper hair, then rubs his chin as he attempts to figure out how to proceed.


Ryan does follow her lead. He can't help but wonder how she was so precise in her movements with the post-it notes though. In a similar vein he gets the feeling that someone is tracking him. That's just silly none-sense talk. Pull yourself together Ryan, who on God's Green Earth would be tracking you? Who are you Brin? It's not like there is a park around and a creepy man with a camera. Or an Australian bounty hunter for that matter. What is he up to nowdays? He really needs to go have that beer they talked about months ago.

"Ouch" Ryan says louder than he ought to have. Running into a table hurts though. The corner end in a non-corner friendly part of the anatomy will often yield a more crass response but Ryan is a man of poise if nothing else. Catching back up to the lady who's name is still unknown to him, Ryan continues the conversation. "Do you get a lot of requests for periodicals?"

Jesus Ryan. Of course there are a lot requests for that. It's a library, what else are they asking about? Hot dogs? He truly is in rare form today.


The woman at the circulation desk greets the slightly befuddled looking man in the very sharp business suit and offers to help him find something. She will very likely foist the task off on Claire when she returns to the information desk, but she's at least not going to leave Corvinus standing there in the meantime.

Claire pauses as Ryan runs into a table, wincing on his behalf. "Are you okay?" Regardless of his answer, she leads him to a room directly across from the periodicals section with glass windows and a glass door, with several computers and bulky-looking contraptions around the perimeter of the space. Opening the door and leaving it open, she leads him over to one of the bulky machines and powers it on — it's a light box kind of setup with a magnifying arrangement mounted on top — then turns to a computer to quicly key in the information she put on the post-it. In the span of just a few minutes, she's loading what might pass for one of those photo album negatives page onto the light box contraption, then using the controls to quickly shift the magnified image past several images of ancient newpaper pages. She slows to a stop at one page, then leans back. "There you go. That newspaper covers about the next twenty slides. Let me know if you need anything else."

Stepping back, Claire then smiles at Rain whose creeper imitation is quite visible through the windows. "Are you finding everything okay?" she asks the tall but meek-seeming woman, then steps around her to go help the man in the business suit. They're usually very pushy and demanding, and she does NOT want to have to deal with a pushy and demanding patron who was made to WAIT. Heaven forbid.


Rain failed her stealth check! Uh oh. She blinks at Ryan. "I heard someone go ow. Um, sorry," she offers quietly. "Also, I don't see microfiche too often. So it looks really cool," She offers. Plus, Rain would totally give Jim a meal and a couch if she finds him. If only to catch up with him.

"And yes, thank you." She holds up her magazine.


As much as any wary sentient could be given the circumstances, Corvinus is actually rather serene. Almost *TOO* serene. But definitely not stoned, and there is no odor or hint of chemical use to be discerned about his person. His breathing is precise, his motions likewise based on an economy of motion as he watches the kiosk thoughtfully.

"Is this the place of analog data storage? This one seeks the maps of the City of Steel that is not Pittsburgh, topographical, architectural, and developmental. Would one be able to assist this one in one's quest for such information?"

He's a bit focused at the moment, though a small bit of his brain registers someone that looks remarkably like a very enlightened woman with a nice mansion house that provided the most bountiful of meals and hospitality…


"If you want to look at these papers with me you are more than welcome to." Ryan says to Rain in a friendly tone. "The name is Ryan and as you probably heard at the desk these are from the Battle of New Market."

He says a quick thank you to Claire as she walks away. Regardless if Rain stays or not Ryan is going to be at this for a while. There is a very specific picture he is looking for and there are a lot of pictures to sort through.


Claire manages to maintain her polite smile as the man in the sharp black suit speaks in a very … Spockish way. She can't help it, her eyebrows start to climb toward her hairline. "I… should be able to assist with those maps, yes. Within reason, though. Some of the architectural and developmental maps may not be publicly available. But, let's see what I am able to find, yes?" She gestures toward the information desk and then leads the way there. Stepping into the round desk area, she starts doing searches on the computer there, pulling yet another post-it note from the stack and quickly jotting an increasing amount of information.


The suited fellow follows with precise steps and with lighter feet than his size might indicate.

"This one is appreciative of efforts on one's behalf. The task of a gatekeeper of knowledge is a thankless task, no matter the level of knowledge stored in a data repository or the skill of supplicants seeking wisdom."

"This one notes the utilization of analog data storage means, is this a personal belief system in play, or a lack of technological resources?"


Claire Fontaine glances up at the man and offers a brief smile. "I think it's a bit of both. This is a traditional way of storing and sharing information, for all that most people think it's outdated and passe'. And, well, for me at least, it feels like part of my cultural heritage. I grew up in this library. My mother came here as a child, as did her father." She jots one last note and stands again. "All right, let's see if these offerings might have the information you're looking for." She steps away from the desk again and leads Corvinus up the main flight of stairs and through to a back part of the building, past rows upon rows of shelves and more than a few summer kids' activities in progress.

"Here we are." The open corner area has a few soft and well-worn looking chairs, but most of the space is dominated by a single large table framed by large atlases and larger drawer storage against the walls. She starts by pulling a large hardcover atlas after glancing at her post-it (if Corvinus is truly sharp-eyed, he might notice that she doesn't actually PULL the book with her hand so much as reach for it and have it meet her hand partway.

Setting the large tome on the table, Claire opens it carefully and turns the pages quickly. "Here we go. This is the Steel City you were asking about?" It's a basic topography map, with the contoured lines and shaded colors of a geographical survey.


"A failure to remember the traditions and wisdom gathered over the years and the means by which it was gathered with great effort is an insult to those efforts. Though this one utilizes digital means for most data storage, there are salient points supporting the use of hard copy, especially when digital means can be quite compromised by individuals seeking to disrupt knowledge."

The fellow offers a slight smile, though it's quickly forced down because it feels 'too forced'.

"A legacy of knowledge-keeping in the blood is noble. Far more issues are resolved from the past than the present.

As they pass the kid events there's a brief pause.

"It is good to encourage children to learn. Without the open mind of a child to begin with, knowledge can stagnate and become lost." He notices the motion of the drawer and tilts his head to the side, examining the drawer briefly before canting his head back to 'true'.

While it is analog, it is moving quickly and the weathered fellow gets lost until the pages fall forward to the designated spot.

"Yes. This is one of the charts this one is seeking. This one would also seek any that are related to the historical precedence of the region, as well as any that may… what is the proper term… 'wild card' to one's mind?"


Claire blinks at the man's words, not entirely sure she can parse what he's trying to say. "Well, let me pull the other maps, and see if anything useful jumps out at you." She turns to the drawers and after a bit of looking at their labels pulls one open. Leafing through the contents again possibly a bit quickly and carefully, she finally pulls a blue line copy of a civil engineering drawing and sets it out on the table next to the atlas. "Here's the first of several street drawings for the city. They're not entirely up to date, though. The most current ones would be archived on the city's computer system." Wait, why didn't this guy try that first?


The odd fellow squints and then his eyes light up when he sees the blue line copy.

"That's another one! Excellent work! Up to date is not the relevant issue in this research. In fact… it would be… Please pardon me, the jargon is exceptionally complex and does not have easily translatable terms."

He stares off into space for a moment.

"This one seeks the 'original design intent' of those who laid out 'Steel City'. With this knowledge and the knowledge of the original topography, this one can draw a composite picture that can then be utilized in an effort to discern… Please forgive the term, it is esoteric and obscure… 'Ley Lines'. With this information one can then backtrack in an effort to assist the various entities arranged around Steel City highlight potential areas of high energy transactions and dangerous areas."

Well, that explains it about as well as muddy water, doesn't it?


Claire Fontaine startles slightly at the mention of Ley Lines, her warm complexion paling a little. "Uh…" Her eyes look back toward the rest of the library then at the very normal looking man with the very unusual speech patterns. "I might have something better than this," she offers slowly. "Would you mind waiting here? The rest of the maps like this one are in the drawer there. And dont' worry about putting anything back." She offers a very faint attempt at a smile, then walks quickly back the way they came.


That reaction spoke volumes. Corvinus isn't quite sure what to say to mitigate that reaction, but instead gives a polite nod.

"Please, miss, this one would greatly appreciate the resources that one may make available. Far too much information stored digitally lacks 'resonance', for lack of a better term. This one will stand by for further information, thank one."

He will give another nod and pull out a couple more maps, flipping them open and comparing them quietly, while watching for the return of the librarian.

(to be continued…)

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