03.23.3014: Playing Nicely
Summary: Alistair delivers some news to Jane, and they discuss politics briefly.
Date: 11 Dec 2013
Related: Calling In the Favors, Tomb Raiders
Alistair Jane 

H.A.G. Headquarters - Phylon, The Vale
Automatic double-doors of floor-to-ceiling glass whoosh open dramatically when foot traffic passes to and from the building. The lobby is a picturesque assembly of all movie-related novelties: grand holovid premiere posters in golden frames lined up neatly along three of the four walls; autographed photos of celebrities; framed covers for famous manuscripts; and wall-mounted sculptures of old fashioned film reels. Crystal chandeliers modeled as throwbacks to the Silver Screen era offer ample lighting reflected back by the glossy floor tiles. Various squares along the floor have been selected as monuments to celebrities past; they are each decorated with a golden star, a holophoto, and the celebrity's signature.

The spacious lobby is interspersed with towering ionic columns of stone that divide the interior into three sections - the central information desk set in a semi-circle and flanked by a glassed-in conference room to the left and a waiting area to the right. Plush couches and loungers offer comfortable seating while small end tables are placed for the convenience of visitors. The wide mouth of a back hallway looms behind the central desk and leads to the interior offices.

23 March 3014

An artist's world never sleeps, and even on a Sunday afternoon the H.A.G. headquarters are bustling with activity. The phone buzzes constantly while the receptionist skillfully juggles the lines, various members are lounging about in the seating areas having discussions and tapping away intently on tablets, and busy people continually circulate through the entrance as well as up and down the main hallway. The telltale glossy red curls of Jane Wyre are immediately visible upon entering the lofty front room, as she is currently bent over the receptionist's desk thumbing down a tablet screen while the secretary chatters non-stop into an earpiece and types away on a thin keypad.

It seems as though Jane herself is chatting as well, murmuring as quietly as possible into her own earpiece while comparing something on her screen to that of the receptionist's; her ability to multitask would be commendable if it weren't that everyone seems to possess that same marketable skill these days. "Willow booked it at least three weeks ago, and they will die before they try to bump me. No, mother, I am not forgetting anything. Yes, mother, we are both paying for it. Ugh, please, do not bring that up right now. No! It was completely out of context." Pausing, Jane glances up and stares somewhere toward the entryway, but her gaze is distant as if lost in thought. "What?! That is a load of bullshit. No, I will not watch my language. No, we'll take care of it. Honestly, just breathe, it will be fine. How are you coming on the sketches? I need to drop by and go over them with you." Et cetera, et cetera.

A very tired, thinly man enters into the foyer of the Haven Actor's Guild. His bright Leonnidan blue tunic seems a tad frayed, and he's got a mechano-boot on his left leg, which is apparently broken. He's been here a few times before and is offering smiles to everyone. "Miss Wyre." He gives a polite nod as he approaches the desk. She's basically nobility, right?

The brunette receptionist spots Alistair first, and nudges Jane silently in the side. The actress glances up from beneath her lashes, and her eyes widen at the sight of the very recognizable man approaching. "Mom, I gotta go. No, it's work stuff. I'll call you later. What? I promise! We have sketches to discuss. Mwah mwah, love you, 'bye." Straightening, the redhead slides her tablet away before circling around the desk to approach Alistair. Her pale hands are stretched outward in greeting, ready to accept one of his for a shake. "Senator Hartcliffe! What a pleasant surprise, although you are looking a bit worse for the wear. Tackled by a crowd of mothers all wanting you to kiss their babies?"

With a light laugh, the actress loops her arm into Alistair's and maneuvers him away from the desk and down the hallway toward her office. "Hold my calls, Jeris. Senator, I must say I was not expecting to see you around here. I hope all is going well with your campaign? Please, step into my office. Would you like something to drink?" She reaches out her free hand to press her palm against a wooden door, and it swings open to reveal a posh but comfortable office within.

Chuckling a bit at the suggestion, Alistair proves quite pliable and cooperative as he's escorted to her office. "One might be surprised how insistent parents can be with their children." His smile softens a bit as he tries to keep his face and tone free from worry. For truly, the main danger had passed. This was mainly to ease the conscience of a friend.

"Barring the debate, the campaign seems rather calcified. Certainly I can take a break to enjoy the arts for an afternoon. If we lose culture, what are we fighting for then?" His statement is perhaps a little louder than usual. "I hope things are going well for you here at HAG?"

Jane's smile is one of slightly patronising amusement, and she allows the senator his plug before quietly closing her office door. Passing the man, she directs him to a seat on a pristine white sofa before perching in an armchair across from him. On the low-set coffee table between them rests a small metal box with a few buttons. Jane leans forward and rests her fingertip one of these buttons before looking up to Alistair with a curious quirk of an eyebrow. "Things are going as well as they can considering I've been out of town for several months. Would you care for some tea, senator?"

The Senator is fully aware that he deserves that smile. He takes his seat with a bit of difficulty. "Tea would be wonderful." He looks to Jane, as if trying to determine her mood. "There's something I wished to discuss with you, ma'am. And, once I've told you, you'll understand why I've asked for your discretion beforehand. I trust you in this matter."

"I am nothing if not discreet, senator," Jane replies with a murmur before waiting an appropriate second or two to press the button. "Jeris, could you have tea sent in to my office, please? Thank you." Without waiting for a response, the actress scoots back in her seat and drapes her arms over those of the chair. "Now that you have done your utmost to prepare me to receive interesting news - dare I say 'gossip'? - you cannot leave me hanging any longer." Her red lips curve into a semi-sultry smile, and she drums her fingertips on the overstuffed arms of the chair like a queen reclining upon her throne.

The Senator looks a tad bit older today than he normally does. The youthful vigor drained by campaigns and war. "It is concerning Lord Sir Garus. Let me begin by saying he's in stable condition and is on track to make a full recovery." Sure, let's just get it out there first. "He's being moved to private quarters in Phylon as a guest of the Young Lord Solon. It may not make the news for several days, and the Lord wanted to make sure you were aware of his location…and that you have been extended guestright by the Young Lord as well." He tries to offer a supporting smile, but there's obvious sadness in his eyes.

Jane's smile is frozen in place for a good ten seconds as if she were unable to completely parse what is being said. Her eyelids flutter as her brain attempts to catch up, but her heart has leapt into her throat and firmly lodged somewhere around the vocal folds. The actress presses her palms into the arms of the chair as she slides forward in her seat, leaning toward Alistair with eyebrows raised. "I'm sorry, senator, I must have dozed for a moment. You said Garus is in 'stable condition' and going to make a 'full recovery'. It almost sounds like he is in the hospital, but that seems a little silly. We just spoke a few days ago." Again with that patronising smile.

"He was leading a mission recently through the necropoli on Primus." Alistair continues, suddenly fearing for Garus' safety from a source other than his brother. "The mission most likely was of a classified nature, and I'm certain he'll contact you himself once his condition allows. Pain medication makes even the most focused minds foggy." He forces a soft chuckle.

"Ah, I see. That makes sense. I was missing that little middle part about a mission." Jane's knuckles grow white with the force of her grip, but through sheer willpower and a great deal of long-developed skill, her expression remains calm and neutral - perhaps eerily so. "You are, of course, a darling to bring this news to me before the media is blasting it about. I can be out of dodge before the worst of it hits."

Suddenly, Jane rises up out of her seat and paces toward the door, yanking it open just in time to admit a mouse of a girl who deposits a tray on the coffee table and leaves without so much as a peep. "Tea, senator? Do you take cream or sugar in yours?" As much as the fretful actress wants to fly about and pack her bags and burst into tears and do a lot of silly things, she instead lowers herself demurely into her seat once more and reaches forward to pour the tea. "Did you accompany the men to Primus? Is that how you sustained the injury to your leg? Oh, goodness, I did not even ask and it is so rude of me - are you comfortable? Do you need a pillow or something?"

Knowing eyes look to her. Alistair, an experienced politician, knows how to read an act. There's a bit of hesitation as he considers how best to comfort her. "I assure you he's safe and receiving the best care possible. If you'd like, I can arrange for transport, make sure the cameras stay off until you've made it safely to see him?" It's the least he can offer…or maybe the most.

"Tea? Oh one sugar please…but I fully understand if you wish to leave now." Alistair's look is compassionate, as if he truly believes he feels an ounce of her pain. "There's no need to play niceties, Miss Wyre."

"Nonsense. When everything else fails us, all we have left are our manners," Jane murmurs, and her tone is light and recitatory, as if perhaps this were a phrase she has heard and said a thousand times or more. Hot, brown liquid issues forth from the teapot as she fills first Alistair's cup and then her own. Using tongs, she deposits a single sugar cube into his drink and stirs it before lifting up the saucer and offering the cup to the senator. "I am certain he is safe, senator, if he is Sol—ah, the Young Lord's hands. Of course, telling me that informs me of much more surrounding his injuries than even a medical report could do."

Again she smiles, and again it is false and weak. Her lower lip trembles briefly, but this is likely a sign of nerves alone; her eyes are as dry as can be. "Now, enjoy your tea while we discuss travel plans. If he is, as you say, under the weight of so many drugs, my hastening to his bedside will do nothing but make me feel rushed, impatient, and haggard." She sips loudly at her drink and then presses her lips together as she mm-mms. "Delicious."

he Senator nods, perhaps a feeling of normalcy might be best for the moment. If they're going for informality, might as well plunge forward. "Please, Jane, call me Alistair. There's no need for politics here. Solon indeed has Garus." He wonders just how much Jane can interpret from all that, and if now's the right time to even ponder such implications.

"As for my leg, I took an unfortunate tumble at Willowtree amidst a flurry of excitement." There's an involuntary smirk in response to that. Fire alarms pulled by Senators certainly are exciting these days. "Always been feeble boned." He sips the tea. "Is this a local brew?"

"Of course, Alistair." Jane dips her head in acknowledgment to the senator while taking a sip from her cup, and she lets him continue with the brief recounting of his injury. Her gaze flicks toward the wounded leg before returning to rest on his face. "That is, indeed, unfortunate, but I am glad you did not sustain any worse an injury." Sip. "Ah, this? Yes, indeed, it is, although I am quite partial to Arborenin brew, I do think that Phylon's blends come in at a very close second - a tie, even, on their better days." She smiles quickly behind the rim of her cup, but the expression is fleeting. Her nerves are building slowly, as evidenced by the white-knuckled death grip on her teacup and the fact that her hands are beginning to tremble. She is doing a rather marvelous job of willing away shock. "I do hope that your injury will not hinder you during your campaign. I have noted your unusual coterie of endorsements."

"I've got a transport arranged, perhaps once we've finished our tea?" Alistair says, giving a warm smile. "I'm certain a well-trained staff member of yours might send along anything you might find need of." He nods to her, sipping the warming substance some more. "And I don't like to mince words. My slogan has always been 'Serving United.' Not to be cliche, but I do actually mean it. And even a Valen heir recognizes that we need to feed the hungry and tend to the homeless in these hard times."

Jane listens, and for a moment her mind wanders; perhaps she is preparing a packing list to submit to the aforementioned well-trained staff member. She blinks quickly and returns her focus to Alistair, just in time to hear him mention his slogan. Her lips quirk in a smile that is less patronizing this time and much more amused. "We have always needed to feed the hungry and house the homeless, senator, but it's only when someone else makes a big deal out of it does everyone feel they have to respond. One does not wish to be compared to a peer and found lacking. Of course, the times that are hard now will no doubt be harder tenfold in the next six months to a year. Well established social services will be rich and rare." Sip. "Where are you making your next appearance?"

Alistair nods, grateful for the distracting bit of conversation. "I prefer to hope that people just need a little nudge or reminder." His next sip of tea is followed by deepening creases on his forehead. "The times will be remarkably hard indeed. Resources will be spread ever thinner as choices are made. Lives will be saved or lost based on those key decisions." He gives her a sad smile. "Serving united is the way forward."

"Of course it is." Now, however, may not be the time for Jane to press Alistair about his politics and whether or not she is in agreement. Instead, she finishes the rest of her tea and patiently places the cup and saucer on the tray. Rather than hasten the senator, Jane rises up from her chair and moves to sit at her desk. She opens drawers, flipping through the office miscellany until she finds the bits and pieces she is looking for; the haul looks to be miniscule, consisting of a wristband and a thin plastic card. "Unfortunately, people will need more than a nudge. While warm fuzzies are an incentive for the generous-minded and the charitable, most of us are exhausting ourselves just trying to scrape by. That leaves little time or energy or inclination to give a shit about the rest. That generous spirit is going to fade if our resources dwindle."

"On that you may be right….though perhaps you misunderstand my definition of nudge." Alistair smiles and finishes the rest of his tea and goes to stand. "I've got a carriage ready outside. As it so happens my next campaign stop is across the street, to talk about continued funding for the arts." At least he's efficient as he slowly stands. "Turns out a Dove can still garner some media attention these days. Though I assure you, your name or face won't be a part of it." He's no intention to take advantage.

Jane laughs quietly, admitting through the silent nod of her head that Alistair has won the point. Insofar as the actress is concerned, the senator has won the match entirely; her mind is wandering rapidly to other things. She rises from her seat, pushes the chair beneath the desk, runs her fingers over the desktop to be sure everything is in order, and then nods a second time. "I think I am finished here. I just need to let Jeris know to clear my calendar for the next week and let Willow know I will be out of the office, and then we can leave. But — thank you, Alistair, for telling me in person rather than sending a message. I appreciate it."

"Of course, whatever you need." Alistair says, seeming quite patient as he pulls out his datapad. "And even in our era of instant tech, I find things of this nature demand a personal touch. It's a matter of human decency." He taps a few things on the pad. "And thank you for the tea as well. It was a nice break from my cuppa joe."

"Then let us close up shop, as they say." Jane leads the way out of the office, holding the door open and gesturing for Alistair to proceed her out into the lobby. She follows behind and stops at the reception desk, leaning down to murmur something into Jeris' un-obscured ear. The receptionist nods once, types in a note, and continues her phone conversation as if nothing has happened. Assured that all will be settled, Jane nods to Alistair and waves a hand toward the doors. "Lead the way, senator."

There's a tap on the pad and Alistair gives her a friendly nod. "Make sure he gets real rest, Jane. You might be the only one who can reach him." His smile is bright and supportive as two aids come to her sides and the Senator strolls out the door. They whisper that Alistair's going to the podium across the street first. And he's limping along…

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