Job Hunt

June 15, 2018:

Bette and Caitlin run into each other in New York. They have a chat and catch up.

Sound Stage A

A New York street, mostly full of corporate offices, with a pretzel stand outside.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Kate Kane

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Caitlin Fairchild's looking for a new job, and so far: butkus. Not that she's not qualified, but she's a tough hire. Her handful of patents are invalidated by her lack of a PEO affiliation and half a semester of a Master's program. She's not a shark or a luminary in any fields, either.

Plus, few interviewers are ready to deal with a 6'5" ginger who can lift a city bus with one hand and needs flexible hours to moonlight as a superhero.

Caitlin steps out of Alpha-Tech Engineering's headquarters, her polite smile fading from her face once she's left the building. It opens onto a plaza-park where people mill about, eating food or soaking up noontime sunshine by laying on the grass. She's dressed professionally— navy skirtsuit, white blouse, and a stylish leather attache case slung over one shoulder. "Another one down," she mutters, looking at her phone. Her fingers dance over the screen and move Alpha-Tech to the 'no' category. A little obliviously, she drifts towards a preztel cart while planning her next move.

*

While most of Bette's business dealings are based out of Gotham thanks to the influence her family has there are still times she needs to swing by New York for work. Big companies that might want an athlete to promote something for them are much more likely to be based in New York for instance. Which is why she's been forced to dress up in a suit of her own and come in for a three hour meeting about branding.

And with that meeting finally over an exhausted Bette Kane makes a brisk escape from an otherwise featureless office block. A big bundle of story boards tucked under her arm and a look of profound relief on her face.

*

Caitlin glances up from her phone when she's somewhat off course, re-orienting towards the pretzel cart. She double-takes at Bette and slows to a stop, hands spreading to her side. "Bette?" she inquires, green eyes blinking wide in surprise. She hastily pockets her phone and heads towards the smaller woman.

"Nice to see you again— it's Caitlin, we met at the coffee shop last week?" she reminds her. Just in case. "What brings you over to this end of town?"

*

Bette Kane shifts the bulky bundle of storyboards around, squeezing them against her side to free up a hand to wave. "Oh hey Caitlin!" she replies brightly. "I just had a meeting with a company I'm working with. I can't talk specifics because of the NDA but I just spent three hours looking at arty sketches of sneakers. I haven't been this bored since my parents insisted on getting a private tutor to teach me Latin."

She uses her free hand and tilts her head to mime resting on a pillow. "Total snoozefest. So how've you been? I was meaning to try arrange another coffee meet up, but I was out in this little Thai village trying to track this kick boxing school down. I guess it was also my vacation for the year. If you like beaches it's pretty much paradise."

*

Caitlin makes a face at the mention of sneakers. "It costs me a fortune to get shoes," she tells Bette, wryly. "I found this company that makes pretty comfy mocassin-boots— good job I don't need arch support— but," she kicks up her left heel briefly, looking at the slipper-style business shoes. "For high heels? Forget it. I had to use a CNC machine to build high-tensile titanium frames and then find a shoemaker who'd wrap leather around them. They cost me more than my sofa!"

She backtracks a beat. "Wait, did you just say you went to Thailand to check out a /gym/?"

*

"Oh god no. The schools there don't always take female students," Bette explains with a shrug. "I was there to try convince one of the coaches to give me private lessons. It's not really that expensive to buy a place out there. I can fly over pretty cheaply, especially if one of the family planes are free. And it's good to train in different climates. Although the altitude is a little lower than I'd like for serious training."

*

"Ooh, I hate doing the high-altitude stuff," Caitlin says, fretting at her lower lip. "I mean, I know it's good for you, but it just gives me a screaming headache after about twenty minutes. I can't exactly hold my breath that long," she says, wryly. "I mean, I /can/, but I have to hold like, perfectly still," she says, chattering blithely. "But my 02 sat starts dropping really quickly— I don't have a problem with lactic buildup— but geeze, I just can't deal with no oxygen. Which is -unfair-, 'cause Superman, I've seen him hold his breath for, like… an /hour/."

"Friggin' lucky aliens," she mutters.

*

Bette Kane laughs. "I doubt Superman even needs air! He probably only pretends to breath so we don't all get the uncanny valley effect and freak out." She smiles. "It's much easier to get used to high-altitude training if you gradually build up to it. Take a few weeks at progressively higher sites or, if you can afford it, get a custom room built that lets you control the O2 levels. Probably not something every home needs, but back at the family place in Gotham we've got plenty of room going spare. At least we did, Cousin Kate might have renovated since then."

*

"Oh, I've done it," Cait assures Bette. "We've got some great training facilities at the League— the environments we make in the simulators are designed to replicate a ton of planets. It's just…" She frowns, fretting at her lip. "I mean, I'unno. I do a lot of high gravity training, but I'm kinda limited 'cause I'm not an alien or a magical warrior princess. I lost almost a hundred pounds a couple years ago when I got stranded off-planet. Y'know what? Alien plants taste /terrible/," she says, making a face.

*

"Sounds like it's pretty risky working over at.. Star Labs was it?" Bette asks curiously, nodding in the direction of the pretzel stand. "Light lunch on me perhaps? You know it's a miracle you could eat alien plants at all. They'd have to be compatable with your biochemistry /and/ the biochemistry of all the bacteria in your digestive system. Not to mention the risks of picking up weird infections and microscopic parasites. Which, now that I think about it, is probably the strangest thing I've ever said directly after suggesting grabbing a bite to eat…"

*

"Well— I was on duty with the Justice League at the time," Caitlin clarifies. "I'm not saying I didn't have a sore tummy for a few weeks," Caitlin tells Bette, wryly. "I'm just saying, when you haven't eaten in a few days, you start foraging for whatever you can get your hands on. Apparently, I've got a pretty good tolerance for it."

She hesitates at Bette's offer. "Lunch sounds good, but you really don't need to pick up the tab. I can't really do a 'light lunch," she clarifies. But, she drifts into step alongside Bette, following her direction. "I could definitely eat, though."

*

"The Justice League? Wow that's pretty amazing!" Bette replies earnestly. "As far as a light lunch goes I was just thinking we raid the pretzel stand. Which sounds like it'd only qualify as a snack to you, but for me is a bit more substantial! I know you mentioned doing a lot of stuff that was 'like fire fighting' but I never imagined it was quite so dramatic as being in the Justice League. I bet that level of activity makes even the diet I stick to for professional tennis seem lacking."

*

Caitlin blinks, then laughs. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!" she says, laying a hand on Bette's arm. "I just— I am kinda used to people in Metropolis knowing who I am. I'm not exactly incognito," she says, wryly. "But yeah, I gotta eat a /lot/ to stay in fighting shape. If it wasn't for the League's cantina, I don't know what I'd do," she admits, as they hit the head of the line. She digs in her purse. "Can I get two pretzels? And extra cheese," she requests of the vendor.

"I mean, I know a lot of athletes who need to eat a ton of food. I gotta eat at least 20,000 calories a day just to maintain body weight. On training days, you can easily double that."

*

"It's the peril of being a jet set heiress," Bette wryly notes. "Between college, training, competitions and catching a little night life it's pretty tough to stay on top of current events! Besides growing up in Gotham I found it best never to make assumptions, even when they're almost unavoidable, because looks can be deceiving."

She smiles and nods to the pretzel vendor "I'll just take the one pretzel thanks." Then turns back to Caitlin. "I probably put away a lot more than you'd think, but I doubt I'd need that much unless I was training for a polar expedition /and/ everything I usually do. I'm guessing if you didn't eat at the league you'd probably never be able to stop cooking, let alone find the time to actually train."

*

Caitlin pays for her pretzels, and pulls a wry face at Bette's question. "When I was living in Gotham, I didn't have a spare dollar. My food budget was more than rent. But—" she pays for her meal, digging in a small clutch with checks and cash in it.

"—once I was in the League, I spoke with the dietician. They keep a gallon of high-calorie protein slurry on hand for me, which simplifies things. I'm not spending most of my paycheck and filling up on Ramen," she says, wryly.

"But I do like to cook, so." She dips her pretzel into a cup of cheese with little regard for cholesterol. "What's it like being an heiress?" she inquires of the blonde, curiously. "I was brough up in Iowa. It was a big deal when I came to Gotham and the movie theaters were open on Sunday nights."

*

Bette Kane hands over a twenty dollar note to pay for her pretzel and tells the vendor to keep the change without a moments thought. "I know I shouldn't be hard on Gotham because it's my home but… I'm always a lot more comfortable here than there. Bad things just seem to happen more there. But I guess you can save a lot on rent if you bring up tenant mortality rates…"

"It's… a priviledge in most respects. Good schools, nice things, plenty of space and all the things you'd imagine. But it has it's downsides. People can be so mindnumbingly boring, those huge sprawling houses are a nightmare to maintain and because they're historical buildings they leak or have no heating. Oh and /everyone/ wants you to marry their 'attractive' young relative or invest in this brilliant idea." Bette rolls her eyes. "A lot of the time people wind up hooked on drink or drugs just to deal with the boredom. It's why I fill my schedule with sports and charity work. Keeps me out of trouble and lets me do some good."

*

The upturn of Caitlin' button nose wrinkles, and she shudders. "Ugh. You can keep it, then," she tells Bette. "I'm married to my work. Every date I've been on in the last few years has been just terrible. And dating in the community— capes," she amends, "never seems to work out. I mean, I can't think of anyone offhand who's made it work."

She's already halfway through her pretzel, eating politely but steadily, with no slowing down in sight.

*

Bette Kane laughs, leaving her own pretzel largely untouched for now. Probably due to the difficulty eating and keeping all her stuff tucked under one arm. "I'd rather be married to my work, which to be fair I almost am with the training regime I follow, than put up with people asking if I'd like to meet up with their grandson Cuthbert the hedge fund manager along with some chaperones. Trust me elderly Gothamite society ladies might be the scariest thing in the entire country. If they thought you had a trust fund they'd be on you like a blood crazed shark asking about your fertility and making delightful remarks about child bearing hips."

*

Caitlin chokes on her pretzel, and then starts laughing uproariously. She covers her mouth politely, but the pealing giggles continue.

"Oh my goodness! Well, I'm glad I'm not some New York billionaire," she remarks. "My daddy was from Iowa. I got into school on scholarships. I don't think there are a lot of Manhattan dowagers who want grandbabies who can clean-press fifty tons," she snickers.

"But I'm sorry you keep having to deal with that— nothing worse than trying to live your life with someone else telling you how to do it."

*

"If they thought it'd give them an edge on Wall Street they'd be after you at a moments notice," Bette assures, finally taking a bite out of her pretzel. "So if the fashion for huge hats ever gets /really/ out of hand you should watch out. The idea of a grand daughter being able to outhat their rivals grand daughters is exactly the sort of pettyness high society lives for. Especially if you spend any time in Europe. Which thanks to the tennis I do." She sighs. "Actually thinking about it I wouldn't mind /my/ kids being that strong. If I ever have any. I've had a few attempted kidnappings for the ransom money and I rather think I'd sleep soundly knowing my children could throw most of a bus."

*

"It's been /months/ since someone tried to kidnap me," Caitlin tells Bette, seriously. "But short of putting me in Belle Reve, there aren't a lot of people who could actually keep their meathooks on me," she says, with a wry laugh.

"I've only been to Europe once, though— and that was a working trip. What's it like living there?" she says, inquiring of the more worldly blonde woman.

*

"I'd have loved to see their faces when they tried kidnap you and realised just how much of a mistake it was," Bette exclaims with delight. "Depends on the bit of Europe. Spain and Italy both have great food and the weather is usually a delight, but there are a lot of windy mountain roads and historic buildings that aren't actually great to live in. Britian has terrible weather, foods better than you'd think, but everything is so… packed in. It's a little suffocating."

*

"Gee whiz, that sounds fun," Cait says with an envious tone. "I mean, I thought Gotham was cramped— I can't imagine what London or Madrid is like," she remarks.

"I'unno, it'd be hard to get out to Europe for a trip. I mean, I'd love to— but I just can't imagine the League would let me."

She pulls a face. "Then again, I'm temporarily out of a job. Maybe I /should/ take a vacation."

*

Bette Kane pauses, mouth forming a surprised O. "You're between jobs? Oh gosh I'm sorry, did something happen? With your qualifications I'm sure you'll find something amazing soon." She bites on her pretzel to free up a hand, which digs around in her pocket. Fishing out a business card that goes in the hand holding all the storyboards. "So, if you email your references and info here you can probably get an interview at Kane Industries. I can't guarantee anything, I'm just a share holder, but I can at least get my cousin to take a look. They're always looking for talent from other big name firms."

*

Caitlin hesitates, even as her hands move to her phone. "I mean— I didn't mean it that way," she tells Bette. "It's not that I'm broke or nothin'. But Starr Labs is restructuring and there's a ton of financial stuff that they're doing. Ms. Starr can't keep me on full time as an executive assistant."

Still, she's already uploading the information on the card into her phone. "I'm not just a PA, though— I do have a bachelor's in electrical engineering and I have a half a dozen patents," she tells Bette. "I appreciate the offer, but I'm not a charity case yet."

*

"Oh it's not a charity thing," Bette assures. "I'd never hear the end of it from Kate if she found out I knew someone who was job hunting after leaving Star Labs on good terms. Unless you've got a bunch of non-compete agreements?" She shrugs. "I don't directly get involved in the business side, but my Dad did and I know roughly how much they spend head hunting executive level staff. It's extremely cut throat… I probably shouldn't say it but even if you don't take the meeting you can still mention it over at somewhere like Wayne Industries… No pressure either way. If it makes you feel better my trust fund is largely based on Kane Industries stock, so when they do well I do too."

*

"Well, as long as that's an interview," Caitlin says, uncertainly. "I don't want charity. I— I mean, I do have good references. I've worked for Baxter Industries, THINK, and I do have a few patents. I can't— I can't give you guys the blueprints for my Fabricator project," she says, referring to a somewhat obscure but well-known fabrication device. "But I definitely am loooking for a place that can help me finish my PEO and let me flex my engineering muscles again."

*

"Oh I wish I had the pull to just get someone a job! But no, I can only make sure your references get looked at by someone qualified to assess them. I haven't even finished college yet, never mind that my majors aren't even remotely relevant!" Bette points out with a smile. "If you get an interview it'd purely be based on your abilities and achievements. You'd just be skipping the bits when people who don't really understand what you've done guess if they should pass it up to someone more senior."

*

"Well, I apprecite it a lot," Caitlin tells Bette. "I'll do my best, but the foot in the door never hurts. I'm generally not so mercenary, but rent in Metropolis is just /outrageous/," she complains. "I can't afford a place uptown unless I've got regular work.If Kane Industries is looking for an engineer, though, I think I could be your gal Friday."

*

Bette Kane waves her hand, having finally finished her pretzel. "Trust me, in the grand scheme of things it's more like you doing me a favor than the other way round. When Kane Industries does well it means my family does well." She glances around, then adds "And if my cousin suggests an interview over dinner it might seem like she's just there to flirt, but she won't hire you unless she thinks you're a good fit for the company. Kate was always the smart one, I think she just prefers to be underestimated by people."

*

Caitlin laughs easily at Bette's warning. "Okay. I'll bear it in mind," she assures Bette. "But I really /am/ a good engineer. Even if I'm not a PEO yet."

"But— I'll drop a resume off," she assures the other woman. She dusts her fingers and throws out the wrapper for her pretzel. "I really can do the job," she promises Bette. "I don't need any special favors."

*

Bette Kane nods. "I believe you! Otherwise I wouldn't have suggested it," she promises. "Anyway I probably should dash, I've got to read through all these storyboards and then spend the rest of my day trying on mock ups of sports shoes. And still somehow find time to read a forensics textbook before Monday… So if you ever invent a time machine or something which'll let me be in two places at once…"

*

Caitlin laughs easily. "If I invent a time machine, you'll be right after I tell myself who to gamble on for the Yankees for the next ten years," she giggles.

"It was good seeing you around, Bette. Let's get together for coffee again soon, huh?" she says, offering a gentle clasp of hands.

*

"Coffee sounds good! There's a little place I know which does a single bean espresso that is to die for. They also have a patissier trained in France who may well be a wizard," Bette agrees brightly. "Good luck with the job hunt!" And with a final smile and wave she shifts the boards for a better grip and heads on her way.

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