Angelica was expecting a visitor from L-3. They had sent word earlier that day, and she had been compiling the requested files ever since. The feeling of annoyance at being put behind on her usual paperwork and duties hadn’t quite left her yet, even as the arranged time of arrival approached. She was slapping files down a little harder than necessary, moving them around and tossing them around her desk with quick efficiency. She had three piles that were growing. She had decided almost immediately to forgo all Household anomalies and had gone straight to Risky. With the notable exception of 707– who she had included out of spite– they had no Leviathan to include.
On the edge of her desk, right by the phone, “Greta” fluttered her wings, climbing up and onto the phone. Angelica paused and held a finger out to the galsswing butterfly, who climbed up and over her armor. She watched it with a content smile as it made its way to her shoulder, where it rested with the occasional flutter of its wings. She tsked, and went back to work. She was grateful for the butterfly’s presence. It was a reassuring and gentle weight, one that reminded her she wasn’t alone in this.
She continued to shuffle through Risky files and came up much shorter than she wished. If they were ruining her carefully planned morning, then they were damn well getting every file. Just as she thought she had finished, she thought of one more file that would be relevant. She looked at all the tabs and realized she didn’t have it, swearing. Greta fluttered off her shoulder and landed on the top file of the rejected pile, and the file for 7823 had always been there. Despite her Household High-Grade classification, she was probably one of the highest security risks they had there.
Finally, with that file on the bottom of the pile, she had all ten of their highest security risks, the ones most likely to breach. Just to be spiteful, she had included several that were more annoying than dangerous. She stood, carrying armfuls of files back into the room behind the desk, filing them away in their proper place. Sure, she could have let Greta make them never have been pulled, but then what would Angelica do? Soon, she was finished, and when she returned to her desk, a book that hadn’t been there before but was certainly always there waited for her. She picked up the copy of Brimstone by Child and Preston, flipping it open to the final chapter.
Dr. Mueller felt strangely happy as he rode the elevator down into L-14. Maybe it was the lack of long tram rides through the facility to the front desk? He liked the monotony he always hated the monotony of the rides. Even with all the facilities laid out for him, without the ability to leave the tram at any time, he felt utterly constrained. Here, he could take the elevator, scan a few card swipes, greet a few guards, and be right at the front desk! Right where he needed to be!
It felt like an adventure!
His face, stoic and neutral, did not betray the little happiness that washed over him. It was a little weird no it wasn't, it was perfectly normal to feel like this. But he shouldn't show it, he knew that, he didn't really want to explain himself to others right now. Especially not to Miss Prosper. The front desk manager, the A-Class-D in charge of nearly everything that wasn't directly managed by the L-14 site directors. Now that was a woman not to upset.
She captured his interests in more ways than one. While his official reasons for meeting her here involved receiving detailed reports on the most important and most dangerous anomalies at L-14, he had a side desire to ask Mrs. Prosper out on a date. Jupiter knew of every anomaly at L-14, he liked to do his own reading, but Mueller still gathered intel and provided it anyway. A second set of eyes and a second set of data sieved truth from cognito-hazards more than once between Jupiter and himself.
Not that it was ever an issue, at least not for Dr. Mueller. He was particularly resistant to cognito-hazards and the like he was particularly good looking for a man his age. Good genetics, his doctors had told him, and that resulted in a general lack of grey hairs, a younger face and younger body than a man his age might present. It might increase his chances with Ms Prosper, Abraham hoped so.
Approaching her desk, Dr. Mueller observed the book she was reading, Brimstone, and remarked, "Oh, good, er- afternoon? Ms Prosper, I am Dr. Abraham Mueller. I believe we've met before a few times. How have you been?"
Angelica sighed and closed her book, maybe a little harder than was needed. She set it down on the table, and Greta made sure it found its way back onto the shelf by the desk, where it had always been. She looked up and gave a small, polite smile. Had Angelica been a betting woman, she would have placed big money on it being Dr. Abraham Mueller. “Dr. Mueller. Yes, I believe the last time you were here was December, for the incident with ACF-6099. You know, you don’t always have to introduce yourself. I suppose you’d like those files?”
Angelica stood from her desk, leaving her helmet on the countertop. If she needed it, it would have always been on her head. She did, however, have the rest of her armor equipped, and her holster on her thigh. There was a faint engraving of chains across the front of her breastplate, but the rest of her armor was unaltered and standard-issued. She picked up the stack of files and walked around to the front of the desk with them, setting them on the counter.
With her hand splayed over the top of them, she said in a pleasant enough voice, “These do stay here. Within my visual. Understand? If you’d like, we have a room here behind the desk, with a table in the back.”
The offer wasn’t necessarily for Dr. Mueller’s sake, but rather because Angelica couldn’t be fucked enough to send him off with another agent. For all she knew, they could misplace a file. No, better to keep them within view. Could all of this have been done digitally? Yes, it could have. But Dr. Abraham Fucking Mueller always requested hard copies of everything. It was like he enjoyed disturbing her peace, disrupting her schedule, and generally picking the one thing that could piss her off the most. There were other people he could request this from. For fuck’s sake, he could go over her head and go straight to Agent Cotta or Dr. Redd for these things, but instead he chose. To bother. Her.
But, he was there on SV-3’s orders, explicitly. For that reason alone, she smiled politely and tried to hide how tightly fisted her hand was against her side.
Abraham looked Angelica up and down as she moved, but not in a creepy way. There was a quick glance to observe her armor and take in its design to his memory, as well as an observation of her desk and personal effects. Looking down at the files as Angelica placed her hand atop them, Abraham pulled up a chair to the side of her desk and sat down.
He wasn't in the way, necessarily. In fact, he had picked a place in order to be out of the way of anyone else entering the facility. He didn't want to disturb Angelica's work he sat in a location specifically chosen to be impossible to ignore. Reaching out, he picked up the top file from the stack and opened it. ACF-1003, he closed that file right back. Abraham knew more than enough about that little anomaly, but he would re-examine Angelica's hard work later.
Looking to the next file, he decided the best way to understand these anomalies was to speak to someone who had daily experience with them. Perhaps Dr. Redd or Ms. Prosper was right here! He could ask her! Who would know better than Angelica? He didn't want to disturb her though she wouldn't mind his interruption! Smiling as best he could, Abraham asked, "Ah, Ms. Prosper, would you be able to provide me with any unique insights on these anomalies?"
Angelica stared on as, instead of taking the table in the back room as she suggested, he pulled up a chair next to her desk and sat down, flicking briefly through the files. She groaned internally as she realized he intended to stay right there. Well, it couldn’t be helped. Dr. Mueller was the one person she couldn’t politely request fuck off.
“Dr. Mueller, I’m not sure what insights I could provide you that aren’t already in the files. But I can certainly try. Why don’t you tell me which files you’d like to discuss, and I will do my best to accommodate you.” She walked around him and made it back to her chair. Greta settled over the remaining paperwork and it had never been there but had always been in it’s folder on the edge of her desk.
Angelica sat and faced Dr. Mueller, her legs crossed at the knees. She had so many better things she could be doing. Today was supposed to be one of the few days she got to do rounds. Instead, she was going to be stuck here, catering to the whims of SV-3’s personal researcher. While there were worse people she could be stuck catering to, Dr. Mueller was definitely the least stressful. She supposed that made it just the littlest bit less frustrating.