It's Not in New Jersey

July 25, 2017:

It's intern season at Frost International, and Noemi lucks out.

Empire State University

Characters

NPCs: George Peters the Frost International Internship Scout

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The consolidated STEM Promotion Initiative, or "STEMPI," has been trying to get buzz for the technical innovations that occur at Empire State University for several years now, struggling against an unfortunate acronym and the fact that every other college in this or any other universe is doing the exact same thing.

Nonetheless.

There are grants. Incubator grants. Because it creates a lean and mean startup instead of just boring ol "research."

Noemi Nogueira went for one of these grants. Her paperwork suggested that she would be using this material for equipment to produce finely gradated silicon-doping materials for microprocessors and catalysts. Since Noemi secretly does not need a machine for this - merely a good microscope and assaying gear to ensure she actually got what she wanted to make, made - she was able to loaf on this plan.

She is regretting it.

Noemi is the sole proprietor of what a photoshopped logo banner declares to be 'NoNoTechnology,' which is possibly the worst name for any company then or ever, Noemi has decided. She is wearing a university T-shirt and a lanyard along with a casual gray skirt and some not-terribly-dressing pumps. She is seated behind a table with a range of gray metal samples.

Externally she is watching the occasional business representative walk by, including a guy from Roxxon who is talking to someone offering 'uber, but for gasoline' - the Computer Science tables are of course on the other side from the Chemistry tables, thanks to the structure of the alphabet.

Noemi considers her options in silence as she reaches over to readjust her paper brochures. Maybe I can flee to Wakanda, Noemi thinks. They have loan forgiveness programs in Wakanda, right? She thinks she read that online.

—-

It is very, very lamentably named.

But still, all the same, Emma Frost has arrived with a very respectable-looking man with a very well-fitted suit.

The blonde is likewise dressed for the occasion, in a tailored skirt suit of charcoal grey with a white shirt. She even wore a pair of chic eyeglasses and a chignon that make her look just a tad more stodgy than usual. But this is Emma Frost. Her black patent leather Jimmy Choo shoes are a platformed, stiletto heel variety with a strappy design and zippers on their backs, and their deadly points make it so that she nearly beats out the tall man beside her for height.

The pair also have lanyards, swinging from their lapels, proudly declaring FROST INTERNATIONAL in bold type, and have been making the rounds through the various projects out for public consumption.

Emma mostly looks bored.

But that brings them to Noemi's table eventually. It's the man who speaks, as he has done at every other display, stretching out his hand towards Noemi with a polished, professional, but engaging warmth. He's a people person, it seems at first blush, as opposed to the stand-offish blonde at his shoulder. "Good afternoon," he greets with a smile. "George Peters, Frost International." He says for himself, without introducing the lady he's clearly here with. "How are you?"

—-

The laser-cut precision of Emma stands out. Noemi sits up straighter as she sees that they have an actual company name on their lanyards. This is not just networking. She has a small stack of networking cards in her bag. She rises from her seat, seeing the approach of George and the as-yet-unnamed woman.

She extends her hands to give a two-handed return. She's smiling as she does it, showing her teeth. Her hands are cold and the texture is odd but the pressure is real. "Good afternoon to you! I'm Noemi, thanks for stopping by. It's been great here!"

No it hasn't. It barely requires telepathy to perceive this.

After breaking the handshake, Noemi presses her palms together. The conflicting dynamic— 'be yourself, but not too forcefully! put yourself forward, but don't be aggressive!'—keeps her from leaping straight into her pitch. "I hope you're enjoying ESU. These events just keep getting more frequent, huh?"

—-

Emma reaches out one perfectly manicured hand to collect two brochures. And, as George continues to make nice, she wordlessly pushes a brochure in his direction. After adjusting her glasses just so, she begins pouring over the content of it all.

"They are," George replies, taking his hand back and shoving it into his pocket. His other hand takes the brochure from Frost. "But it's good! All the more opportunity for the local companies to find the good talent for internships. It's why we're here." He gestures towards the stuff on the table with the brochure, without ever really looking at it. "So. Give us the pitch you got."

Emma glances up from her copy of the brochure, and her crystalline gaze turns towards Noemi to take her in with more dedication. Her head gently tilts as she considers the other female, but her mind is even gentler. It subtly stretches itself around the edges of Noemi's consciousness as George talks, looking to not just understand what the other woman says… but what she doesn't. Past the nervousness, past the awful name… To the deeper workings of what is said, and the questions the girl herself would ask of her own work.

—-

Noemi takes a deep breath.

Emma slips into her outer layers of thought. There is no sign of detection or resistance. Underneath what is probably a familiar layer of anxiety is rejection and activism. There is a peculiar thought that doesn't make much sense, which is: Am I exploiting myself?

"So what we do here is, we use a proprietary method to create custom silicon compounds," Noemi says. She reaches for one of the display pieces, which has what looks like a piece of printed microchip in it. "It's not easy to tell right here—on the third page in the brochure there's a microscope image—but this is a custom replica of a classic microprocessor. It's not just an emulator, it's a duplicate - down to the material quirks."

She reaches for another one. "And in here we have what I like to call a liquid alloy—I added some dye for clarity, but you see how there's the red here and the blue here? Obviously that's just for show, they're both transparent." This one she holds out for either of the two to take. "Whack it on the table a couple of times."

Upon so doing, the red and the blue intermingle to the point of creating a purple material that seems to be a soft solid, before bubbling apart, blue sinking down and red flowing 'up' on the internal seal of the plastic. "We made both of these in less than a day," Noemi explains.

Emma can figure out the skinny, of course. When Noemi made these she literally made them. There are memories of her prying off a deliberately outgrown thumbnail in a clean room and sanding it out, of 'squeezing' the materials in the liquid exhibit out of a small cut in her thumb. Neither memory is painful.

—-

At the invitation, George and Emma glance at each other. Ultimately, it's Emma who takes it and taps it on the table. And it's certainly only Emma who sees to the heart of the matter, beyond what's on the page. She smiles faintly. "Impressive," she praises with a distinctly British affect, albeit blandly, as she hands it over to good ol' George to try for himself. "Tell me, Miss Noemi. Would you be interested in perhaps applying for one of our company's internships? I think you might be a good fit. Don't you think so, Mister Peters?" Though the question is put to George, her gaze remains locked on Noemi with a perhaps disconcerting intensity.

George is busy having a little too much fun tapping the display, as though it were an office toy on his own desk. "I think there's a strong potential here, yeah, Ms. Frost."

—-

Noemi's eyes flick towards Emma when she speaks up. Blinking twice, she says, "Huh?" in a genial way.

This is where someone committed to the life of an entrepreneur might demur in favor of keeping their independence, keeping their new ideas to their own control.

Noemi says, "Really? Oh—I hadn't, but I'd certainly be interested, ma'am, thank you!" In other words: That isn't her. oh my god, she thinks quite clearly, looking back—

She tries to look towards Mr. Peters but her amber eyes get transfixed along the way. Her mouth is just the littlest bit open as she's held in that attentive look for a moment. "Is there a deadline…?" she asks, as the clear thought of: oh my god!, crosses her mind again.

There is then a silence in mind and mouth alike as Noemi puts two and two together. Now her eyes slowly widen, lips thinning together as she looks at Emma in a more… assertive sort of way, her face bearing the clear question of: 'are you—' even if her mind is still cranking over repetitions of 'oh my god' like a tiny mutant prayer wheel.

—-

"I don't remember off the top of my head," Emma says about the deadline, her voiced laced with a sudden amusement. Her eyebrows lift in response to the unspoken question, amused and announcing 'SURPRISE!' "But whatever it is, I think I might be able to do something about it." Because, you know. The CEO title needs to mean something. The brochure in her hand it rapped gently against the table as a soft punctuation to the thought. "Anyway, I do hope you will. The thought of such lovely potential being trained in our R&D department is a happy one."

Emma's attention turns back to George after a glance to the costly bracelet timepiece on her wrist, her smile dimming. "You'll get her the necessary details, won't you? I'm going to need to slip out, but I'd like her application prioritized."

She turns back to Noemi, leaning in to whisper. "But he can only do that for me if you actually get the thing in, sooo…" She trails off, brightening her smile and arching her eyebrows emphatically.

—-

Noemi's posture is giving off tense excitement. The tap of the brochure makes her jump. "I definitely will," she tells Emma, breathless. When she leans in to whisper, Noemi actually giggles, though it's a nervous, mirthless kind of thing.

She answers by crouching a little to fish a tablet out of her bag, holding it up and pointing at it with a hopeful smile. Then her eyes break away from Emma and turn towards George. "So, what's the address…?"

Did that actually just happen, Noemi thinks.

"Oh, if you want to take the samples," Noemi adds to George, helpfully.

—-

"I'll leave you two to it," Emma says, gracefully bowing out. "A pleasure to meet you, Noemi. Look forward to seeing you in a better environment." Namely, hers. She'll wait a moment, maybe two, but then the tall businesswoman is swaying her way out of the room with all of the confidence of a mission accomplished.

After offering his respectful farewell to Frost, George turns back to Noemi. "Thank you!" he says brightly, collecting them and tucking them into the satchel slung across his body where he's been collecting papers from other tables. The last one he holds up and waves demonstratively. "Should go a-ways in soothing R&D when I tell them Miss Frost just commandeered one of this year's intern selections." The last sample goes in. "Anyway, if you just shoot me your contact information, I'll get you the full application. You'll want to send the whole packet to me. I'll get it shepherded through. Much faster than the application portal. But, here." He offers to take the tablet from her with a gesture, so he can put in his contact information for her without having to say it aloud. "If you don't hear from me to check in a few days after you send it in, just call me, okay?"

—-

Noemi hands over her tablet without much resistance. She is gobsmacked, clearly. Emma can perhaps feel it while she's heading out; looking at George, she says, "Oh, ha ha—I hope—uh— Wow, jeez, I'm babbling!" She grins then.

Jesus Christ, Noemi, she tells herself inwardly. Look at you sucking on the Man's—

Aloud, she says, "Oh yeah, you'll be getting it tonight, I'm going straight home after this. I'll hit you up Friday to make sure—yeah—thanks! Thank you SO much."

Oh my God, she thinks one last time.

Then:

What's the commute like to Frost International, anyway? Is that in Jersey?

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