RP Anomalous Reaction


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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Today was not a standard day. On this particular day, Laine was going to be escorting an intern. This was not her intern, because Laine certainly did not need an intern. The intern belonged to the Foundation, although in a different way than Laine did.

It was not the first time she would be accompanied by an intern, but in previous instances she had always also been accompanied by another security Agent. Laine was not that far past having been an intern herself. While she considered herself to be perfectly capable of doing her job, she also considered herself to be very much not good with people. She had, therefore, raised some inquiries with Agent Hania as to the arrangement. He had informed her that it was important to see how the new intern fit in with some of the more esoteric staff. This was not necessarily incorrect. As members of the Foundation, interns would be expected to interact with all sorts of individuals, and it was important that not all their interactions be with standard humans.

She still questioned why it should be her in particular. It had been Agent Smith who had stated that it would be good for her. This was not the first time Agent Smith had used those words, and Laine had learned that when they happened, it was not worth arguing.

That was why she was here, entering the office where the intern had been waiting to accompany her this morning. Venus Votticelli-Smith had been 12.7 minutes early. Laine was exactly two minutes early, but appreciated the timeliness even if it was not the same as punctuality. Punctuality was a point, necessitating a small window rather than a large one. This was another thing that she did not argue with people about.

[font color="a0522d"]"Good morning."[/font]

Laine was not good at conversations. Something else needed to be said. It was not are you ready, because she had learned that people were remarkably poor judges of that. [font color="a0522d"]"Do you have a notebook?"[/font]

That was a better question. It was more precise.
It only takes five minutes of quietly waiting for Venus to break out the pens. She has one sleeve of her long-sleeved button-up neatly folded at her elbow, and she doodles a branching design down her forearm. The drag of ink against skin distracts her as the minutes tick by, and she startles when she hears footsteps in the corridor outside.

Quickly, she tugs the sleeve back down and stands at attention. The uncapped pen causes a temporary panic, but she hopes it looks natural enough when she just holds it in her hand. Where did she put the cap?

“Ah, good morning!” Venus is always quick with the pleasantries. Laine, it seems, is not. For a moment her question causes Venus’ eyes to widen, wondering if she’s been found out so quickly, but she covers by sweeping a notebook off the desk beside her.

“Yes, it’s right here.” She brandishes her notebook, which she probably could’ve been doodling in all this time - if only she was sure that she’d be able to keep it at the end of the day. It was handed to her by one of the C-Class researchers, so it might be company property.

Better safe than sorry. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t told much about this. What are we supposed to be doing?”
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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Miss Votticelli-Smith did have a notebook. That was acceptable. Laine was pleased that she was prepared. She was also not surprised that the intern had not been told very much about this - that was often standard procedure with interns. Too much information resulted in unnecessary narrowing of scope, and part of the internship process was to keep things broad.

[font color="a0522d"]"We are going to walk around L-14 and look at various anomalies,"[/font] Laine answered the question that had been asked, as it was an appropriate question. [font color="a0522d"]"I am a security agent and will keep things from becoming excessively problematic. That being said, curiosity is appropriate in a research candidate. It is important that research interns be aware of the breadth of possibilities within the Foundation, rather than just focusing intently on one or two. The latter happens often with researchers, which is why at this point you are not being escorted by one."[/font]

Researchers were often very eager to talk about their subjects of interest. This was expected, but it was also necessary that interns be able to consider more than just the few things they had been shown. Laine was not unduly attached to any of the anomalies at L-14, which made her an ideal candidate for showing people around. This was what the paperwork said, officially.

Laine was aware that there was also the reason that she was anomalous herself and management wanted to see how new personnel reacted to that, but that was not in the paperwork available at Class-C. Laine suspected it was in the paperwork at a higher level, because it did not bother her, so it must be officially authorized.

[font color="a0522d"]"I have also been informed that it will be 'good for me'. I am not good with people."[/font] This didn't sound like a warning so much as a repetition of fact, but Miss Votticelli-Smith was free to interpret the statement however she liked. Laine was not authorized to anomalously influence personnel behavior.

[font color="a0522d"]"Also, the cap that belongs on your pen is on the chair."[/font]
A very thorough answer! Venus perks up considerably, the familiar bloom of a researcher given free information to gnaw on. “Oh! Like a tour.”

She smiles, because all of that makes perfect sense to her! It might’ve been nice to get a lot of researchers together and make them all explain their topics- ah, but that would take a lot longer and they’re all probably very busy doing, well, research. Maybe she’ll get more in-depth explanations for the ones she’s interested in later. Is that how these things work?

Laine would know, but Venus doesn’t want to bother her with too many questions. It’s hard to get a read on her when she stands so still and emotes so sparingly, and the last thing she wants is to accidentally annoy her guide.

The self-deprecating statement draws a softer glance from Venus, for whom statements of ‘fact’ have too often been repetitions of others’ words. “That’s okay, it’s a hard skill to learn.”

It’s a little weird that they’d make Laine do this if she doesn’t really want to, but Venus has been working all her life to be ‘good with people’ and she’s determined that this won’t be an exception-

She forgot about the pen cap! Venus whirls to face the chair a little too quickly, snatching up the cap and shoving it onto the pen again. She spins back a little more harried, tucking a stray curl behind her ear and grinning as though she could erase what just happened through sheer force of will. “Thank you. Anyways, the tour…?”
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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Laine was not certain about the word tour. Tour implied things that were not necessarily accurate. There were, however, some definitions of the word that could be suitable. Laine decided that this was not worth arguing about. Miss. Votticelli-Smith was an intern, after all, and interns were not expected to be entirely accurate.

[font color="a0522d"]"I do not know how many anomalies you have had the opportunity to observe yet, but keep in mind that some of them are dangerous. Safety is important. In general, it is inadvisable to touch things unless you have been specifically invited to do so. This includes even - and especially - if you feel a strong desire to the contrary."[/font] She waited for Venus to catch up with her at the doorway before starting into the hall. [font color="a0522d"]"Are there any specific objects of interest you would like to include?"[/font]

This was important information. Many interns did not know what they wanted to do with the Foundation, but there were also some who came in with some idea of what they might want to work with. Laine's goal was to allow this intern to explore anomalies in a guided setting of relative security, but it would ultimately be more beneficial if the experience were tailored towards Miss Votticelli-Smith's liking. Finding out what she preferred would make it easier for her to find an appropriate research subject. Ultimately, this would streamline her inclusion into the Foundation as research personnel.

The Foundation was still in need of personnel, and so some things that could be done to simplify this process was beneficial. Laine did not consider the phrase anything that could be done, as it was frequently inaccurate. She did not like being inaccurate.
Venus nods very seriously and slips the pen into the spiral binding of her notebook before tucking it under her arm. “No poking around. Understood.”

She laces her fingers together in front of her, swinging her combined hands a little as they start walking. She isn’t quite sure whether to walk beside or behind Laine, and her steps stutter for a moment before she decides on the former. It’ll make asking questions easier, even if they do block a little more of the hallway.

“I was interested in Dr. Redd’s amulet, are there other things like that? Cancellation or absorption or, um, whatever the proper term is. Or - I’ve seen some of the labs, but in my interview Dr. Winick said they did chemistry here sometimes. I’d love to see those labs if they’re not too out of the way.”

There’s an itching growing under her skin, getting worse the longer she keeps her hands still, and she unlaces her fingers and flexes them. She imagines she can see sworls of ink through the white fabric of her sleeve and readjusts her notebook so that she can fold her arms.

“And of course whatever places you normally show people are just fine too, I’m excited to get a proper look around!” She hopes her smile seems normal.

"Dr. Winick was here." This was a statement, not a question. Laine pondered it for a moment, nonetheless. It did not seem to have any special significance, so she let it go.

"We have many different types of anomalies. ACF-255 is unique in its properties, but most anomalies are. There are anomalies that negate certain aspects of conventional physics, both completely and situationally. Many are useful in experimentation, both chemical and otherwise. We can look at some of the chemistry labs, if you don't mind walking."

L-14 could be more spread out than people realized initially. Both labs and anomalous containment units could require significant space. Space itself was not generally a problem for the Foundation, given that it had ways around those restrictions, but there was still the requirement of getting there.

There were ways around that, as well, but Laine did not approve of reality bending. "I like chemical equations. They are very tidy."
“I don’t mind,” Venus hurries to reassure her. Her smile is a little less forced as the conversation carries on. “They are, aren’t they? Balancing equations can be tricky sometimes, but I really enjoy it.”

She’s coached more than a few people in chemistry club through just that, and she falls back on the language she normally uses. Then she remembers this is something of a more professional environment, and her hands shift again to hold the notebook at her waist like a proper young lady.

“Do people often use other anomalies in experiments? I would think that would introduce too many variables. Unless the first anomaly had been entirely understood, I suppose. But that seems rare, from what I’ve seen.” And she has not seen much. She looks at Laine hopefully, hungry for answers even if she won’t fully commit to digging for them or asking outright.

Laine nodded at the assessment of equations. She did not find doing so particularly challenging, but she understood that this was anomalous behavior. Most people did not know which numbers belonged without a series of calculations. Laine could do the calculations as well, but it was more a matter of moving things around than finding out what they were.

The equations tended to be concrete, though, and she liked that. There was a clear answer, which was preferable to questions that did not have clear answers. It was interesting to see how the numbers fit together differently when they were rearranged.

"It depends on the anomaly in question," Laine answered. "They can introduce variables, but they can also provide additional security. Dr. Redd's medallion renders the user immune to disease effects, so it can be used to study the presentation of anomalous diseases without causing harm or death to the subject. This is considered preferable."
“Oh. That makes sense, I guess. Like having the right protective equipment.” Venus mulls that over for a moment, and they cross another hallway while she thinks very hard about how to phrase her next question.

“Miss Laine, are most anomalies dangerous? Or, I guess, are there any statistics for how many are likely to be more dangerous or more harmless?” It seems like an important question to ask. Venus still doesn’t know how she’s supposed to interact with things, though she supposes they probably wouldn’t give her anything that might be harmful to her right away.

There must be extra training for that, right? Even her school’s chemistry lab has training you have to do to handle certain chemicals. Venus wonders what the most dangerous thing is in this lab, and the thought crosses her mind unbidden that that what might be a who. She glances sideways at Laine, remembering the woman’s words to her in the introductory meeting, and then glances away again, the words unsaid.
"Whether most anomalies are dangerous is a question with many answers," Laine stated. "I think the most useful answer right now may be that, like anything else, most anomalies can be dangerous under the right circumstances - but so can a kitchen knife, or an electrical circuit, or a rock, or water. Sometimes the danger comes from not knowing how to handle something properly. That is why, with anomalies, research is important. Research helps establish the safety parameters for a particular anomaly."

The second question had a much more definitive answer, which Laine liked. "The Foundation has established a classification system for anomalies based on how potentially dangerous they might be. You should keep in mind that it is more a measure of how much harm an anomaly could theoretically cause rather than its desire to do so, although that does get factored in somewhat as well. Household-class objects are those that are generally simple and not regarded as particularly dangerous - you have met Dr. Redd. The medallion he wears, ACF-255, is classified as a household class anomaly."

"Risky-class anomalies have the potential to be more dangerous. Any human-presenting anomaly is automatically classified as at least risky level, regardless of its intentions or abilities. I am not sure if this says more about the Foundation's opinions on anomalies or the Foundation's opinions on humans, but I have decided it is a subjective question anyway. I am considered a low-grade risky anomaly, which in my specific case means that I am not negatively disposed towards the Foundation or its personnel and generally act in the Foundation's best interests. I have been informed that my most dangerous trait is requesting people complete their paperwork, but I am not certain that this information was to be taken seriously."

"And Leviathan-class entities are those that could cause significant problems for the Foundation. Any reality-bending entity is automatically classed at Leviathan, regardless of intention. There are occasional specimens of ACF-707 here at L-14, which present as butterflies, and are capable of reality bending. They are generally regarded as benign and most people like them. I do not like reality bending, because it conflicts with my anomaly. ACF-707 and I have resolved this by avoiding each other where possible so as not to interfere with each other or the Foundation's goals."

Laine did not particularly dislike ACF-707, it was simply that they did not coexist well. This was not the fault of either one of them, it was merely an unfortunate set of anomalous interactions.

"Is this too much information? I do not mind answering questions, but I am not always certain what sort of answers are preferred."
Venus relaxes a little with the first answer, nodding as though taking Laine’s words under careful consideration. Which she is, because it makes sense to her that a research facility would have dangerous things and it makes equal sense that those dangerous things would be observed and studied and made less dangerous through notes and paperwork and safety precautions.

And then Laine gets into the real capital-E Explanation. Most people would be caught off-guard by the deluge of information, or even overwhelmed. Venus is not most people. She has her notebook in one hand and her pen in the other within seconds, and she dutifully jots down notes on information that might prove useful in the future.

Writing and walking is a skill she hasn’t quite mastered yet, but Laine walks at a very measured clip and Venus finds it easy enough to match her pace and keep everything steady, trusting her guide not to lead her astray.

That said, she blinks a little as though coming out of a daze when Laine resumes a more conversational tangent. “Oh, no, I like information. That was great, very helpful.”

“So that’s what’s up with the butterflies, huh?” Venus adds in an undertone, mostly to herself. She doodles a little butterfly in the margins beside “--> Ex: 707: reality bending butterflies”. She remembers seeing one in the introductory meeting, but she hadn’t thought too much of it at the time. There was a lot going on.

“Are there many conflicts like that? What happens if two reality benders try to cause opposing things at the same time?”
Miss Votticelli-Smith was taking notes. Laine approved of taking notes. She made sure not to walk too fast so that the intern would not walk into things. Finding the pace was not difficult, because it was a matter of timing.

The question of conflicts was not a bad question. "There are certainly some conflicts like that. I don't think the Foundation knows how many. Anomalies are numbered from zero to nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine. Not all numbers are in use at all times, but if there are even a thousand anomalies, finding conflicts between any particular two of them would require researching four hundred ninety-nine thousand five hundred combinations. This would be particularly time consuming, especially as not all anomalies are housed near each other and transportation time would be required."

Statistics were interesting. The numbers all had to go into the right places, and the answers had meanings. She was not sure if Venus had done any work with statistics yet. Laine didn't know what they taught outside the Foundation, and also she had always understood math in what seemed to be a different way than most individuals.

"As far as two reality benders, you wouldn't know what happened unless you were an ontosensitive or ontokinetic. You would only know the end result. Many Foundation personnel who work with reality benders on a regular basis seem to develop some basic level of ontosensitivity, I believe. There is a phrase - something was a certain way, and always had been - you will hear it on occasion. Usually it is a signifier of some degree of reality bending. Without that knowledge, though, you would only exist in the ending reality, so you wouldn't know."

Laine shrugged, which was a gesture that seemed to mean nothing at all, just a neutral way to take up some conversational space while she organized her thoughts. "I think it would be a matter of strength and timing, though. It would be a contest of who can lock the other into a position where they cannot achieve a desirable reality and has to accept the other's outcome. If both were particularly effective, it might just be a matter of who acted most recently. I am probably not the person to ask about this. I try to avoid these experiences."