Logs:Plantation Tech Support
Plantation Tech Support
|Characters:||Jacob and Taylor|
|Summary:||A wolf and a changeling get right to business, then trade questions.|
And now is the time for that meeting. It's around dusk and that last, lingering glow dusts the plantation with gold, only to slowlyl leech it away as darkness overtakes the plantation. Lights are on, however, illuminating the place. It's somewhat overgrown, somewhat worn down, but the shadows hide much of that, and instead there's something poetic about the historical plantation, something lingering in the air, just out of reach. Haunted? Possibly.
Jacob's out on his front porch swing, sipping on a glass of what could be lemonade. Embracing local tradition, it seems, although he's still dressed in a sleek, charcoal colored suit. Silk, or something that drapes well against his build. Tailored, considering how well it suits him. He's idlying watching the driveway with those dark, dark, alien eyes. Depthless, even by Lost standards. And every now and then a piece of him - a hand, an ear, his nose - seems to fade out of reality, only to reappear in its proper place a moment later.
Busking hasn't been all that rewarding, lately. Not since the enactment of social distancing. But Taylor has other skills, yet, that might afford them something in the way of pocket money. They arrive close enough in time to the meet, walking up from the edge of the driveway and looking over the home as they get closer, perhaps having not expected anything quite so impressive. Even with a peek at it through Google Maps. Or maybe they're looking at what the app can't show, peeking through the Gauntlet and into the Hisil. They make directly for the front door, as not to be tagged as someone scoping out properties for some less than reputable purpose.
Taylor arrives in layers. A black jacket that looks fairly new, hoodless, canvas fabric - over a Smashing Pumpkins 'Zero' t-shirt that's entirely oversized, and faded enough to be a product of a bargain bin or thrift shop. Their cargo pants are likewise baggy, belted, too long over the beat up cross trainers beneath. Their backpack is ratty, worn down, but not actually all that dirty aside from at the bottom, where it has rested on many a patch of dirt or pavement, and almost entirely flattened against their back, suggesting that they don't have much more inside than a laptop and charger. They have a predatory aura, something that a Lost might find reflexively with kenning; and a marker of a werewolf, if Jacob has already met any of the sort.
Aura or not, they stick up a hand as they get close, a wave over their head that arrives in an exaggerated motion. As if to say 'I'm the one you're expecting, don't let appearances deceive-' The motion stops, or lags. Trying to determine if the shifting absence of Jacob's parts is a trick of shadow or Maybe if he's one of the supernatural varieties that they're already familiar with. They lower their hand, and close the distance with a bright smile on their face and a matching spark to their eyes. "Hope I'm not too late in getting here," they offer. Knowing full well they aren't. "Taylor," they confirm as they get closer, a hand offered over. "Or Tay," they provide, for preference.
Jacob watches Taylor as they approach, although he waits until they're in speaking range to actually speak - he doesn't like to shout unless it's absolutely necessary. As Taylor approaches, those dark eyes take them in, the details as they emerge from the dusky shadows. There's never any concern there, however, as their might be if Jacob thought someone was actually casing the place. And when Taylor offers that silent 'it's ok, it's me' gesture, Jacob simply smiles.
"Ah, yes. You look entirely as I was expecting." He seems pleased by the fact. No short button-down with glasses for /his/ tech support, oh no. He wants hoodie wearing cyber ninja. "Tay, ok. Call me Jake. Lemonade?" He motions towards a nearby pitcher, and a second glass. "What I'm looking for is a general security system. Cameras at the entrances, driveway, a few at certain points within the house as well as some of the outbuildings. Some of the outbuildings will need specialty locks, code or fingerprint or something similarly effective. Also motion sensors in some areas, as well as alarms on some of the windows. I'd like to tie it all together in a control room. I don't currently have the equipment but all I require is a list of what I'll need and I can procure it, or you can add it onto your own bill."
It seems he gets right down to business. Still, he seems casual, his British accented tone amiable, rather than taciturn. "Does that sound like something you can do, Tay?" Those endless eyes look at Taylor.
Amusement arrives with a lifted eyebrow - curiosity that they should look exactly as Jacob predicted them to. "Alright, Jake," they answer, chirpy-cheerful in tone thus far. A flare of nostrils that reflexively intake the scent offered by the nearby lemonade when gestured to. They lower their offered hand back to their side. And a nod of thanks - they'll get to pouring themself a glass momentarily, after introductions are made, and the matter of what's to be provided is dealt with. They listen attentively, expression adopting something closer to an attentive neutrality. Nodding at the addition of specialty locks being asked after, once cameras have been covered.
"Is the whole of the property you want covered already blanketed with wifi?" they ask. Up close, they smell like the hibiscus and pineapple from their shampoo and conditioner - with softer hints of white florals like sweet pea and freesia, underneath. "Because that makes the cameras, motion detectors, everything, super easy to tie into that control room on your existing routers," they explain. A return to a broad smile and a sharp not of their delicate chin to get the point across that, "Yeah. I've definitely got this." And they move to pour themself a glass. Their hands, reflective of their scrappy lifestyle. Bandaged fingers for wounds that their natural regenerative properties have long since dealt with. The only lasting scar they seem to have being the two dots at the end of one eyebrow where a piercing must have been. A beat, a consideration of those endless eyes, and a question, "Have you signed the Accords?" Not that it sounds like it'll be a deal breaker if he hasn't.
When Taylor responds to his general request, he listens with interest. When wifi is mentioned, there's a pause, as if he hadn't considered that, himself. He's apparently not particularly tech-savvy. He shakes his head, "Mmm, I'm not entirely sure. Would that be something you could set up?" He's clearly a bit technogically ignorant, but there's intelligence in his expression, in the way he certain things spark interest. His eyes don't give away much, but his face itself is expressive.
He, himself, smells of aftershave, a hint of rum, lemonade. Unlike other Lost, there's no sense of a 'Mantle' to him, no season to tie him to. He watches as Taylor pours themself a lemonade and smiles, "Unfortunately, I didn't grow these lemons. But perhaps I will, once I rebuild this plantation." And it looks like it's already started - a couple of goats much around in the distance, chewing on this and that. There are piles of building supplies tucked here and there. Work is being done.
When Taylor asks about the Accords, Jacob smiles. "Indeed, I have, and look forward to the day when my kind will become an official entity within them. I am familiar with your kind." A pause, a hint of humour, and he continues, "You are what I expected - well, what I wanted - for a security expert. You are not quite what I'd expect of a wolf. Which leads me to believe there's much for me to learn about your people."
The earlier flare of nostrils, that intake of air, must have caught something else. Local wildlife perhaps. Some manner of prey confirmed - or only just then noticed, otherwise - by a tilt of Taylor's head toward a nocturnal scurry, or just the chewing of the aforementioned goats. A brief distraction of instinct that they work through as they pour the lemonade and set the jug back down. "Oh, totally. For sure. I can extend a network all through this place. Easy," they assure Jacob. "That part won't cost too much at all. And even cameras with, like, infrared motion detectors that can alert you directly to your phone if they pick anything up - active any time of day you want them to be, aren't individually bank-breaking." All the type of talk that keeps them in an excited tone. Gadget-geek. They might have played this differently, if they were picking up the gadgets for the job. But, providing a list, they don't flub the numbers at all.
And they look out at the plantation, or what of it is lit, as they pick up the glass. "Thanks," they offer before taking a sip. Maybe they're trying to determine if any of the new work looks at all harmful to the land - or just in restoration of existing structures, the kind of work that'll bring more life to the place than it's taking.
Back to the subject of the accords, they smile at the noted familiarity with their kind. "I am an odd one, I admit. But I'm an odd one that likes odd and varied company." An easy friend to the Lost, when reading between the lines. "And there's always much, much more to learn. Especially for those like us, living behind the curtain."
Jacob either doesn't notice the subtle variences of Taylor's instincts, or he simply doesn't show it. Judging from the intensity of that gaze, even when he's smiling, he's likely picking up on at least /some/ of it, and simply not reacting to it. He gives a nod at the talk of the network. "Good, good, let's do that. I want a central hub. Not every location will need to be covered by security, but there are some points I want tight. We can go over maps later and you can right up a plan. I'm not worried about the cost, although I expect it to me as accurate as possible for the goods and services I'll receive."
He smiles, then watches as Taylor looks out over the plantation. "Rest assured, it's not going to disappear. I am going to re-establish the plantation so that it pays for itself. Half the land will be used for this, and the other half held as a natural reserve, untouched and allowed to become what it once was. A gateway, in a way, of two possibilities."
He smiles again, although this time it's to himself, a subtle, thoughful smile. When Taylor continues, he chuckles. "Mmm, we are, aren't we? Odd. Well, what do you think about learning a little more? I put to you a challenge. We ask each other a question, something we wish to learn about the other's people. If you share something I did not know, I will add a thousand dollars to your pay for a job completed. If I share something you did not know, you will set up the wifi, secured and untraceable, as a bonus to all the other work you'll be doing. What do you think? Of course, no naming names, giving away secrets that would be detrimental, etc, etc. Consider it an excercise at getting to know each other in a relationship where we both benefit."
Another sharp nod of that chin, as Taylor confirms the path forward. Network coverage and the devices to go with it. "Any sense of where you want that central hub to be. Or should we just, like, save that detail for the maps?" they ask. Completely willing to save the nitty gritty of technical details for phases beyond inspection and speculation. They savor the lemonade instead. Taking more than just a sip this time as reassurances with regard to the land arrive from Jacob. And if there had been concern in Taylor's expression, or noted as tension through baggy layers of clothes, it might be eased. "It's a good way to go about it," they admit, with some respect. "Giving back to the land that gives you its life, its energy in its potential." A sense of the familiar. Maybe it harkens back to where they were born. Recognizable in the potential of the place.
The game proposed earns a sly cast to Taylor's smile, a humored sort of playful crookedness as they consider the terms. The later terms, securing them from repercussions over dangerous secrets, helping to seal the deal for one familiar with the Lost and the binding contracts thereof. "Sounds like fun," they admit from over the glass of lemonade. "You can even ask first, if you like - I am a guest here, after all. And it's your money."
"Mmm. The attic, perhaps. I would think that would get the best signal, would it not?" He thinks, but he's not certain because technology isn't his strong suit. "If not, it would be easy enough to secure a room on either level for it and make it difficult to detect to anyone without a blueprint, I'd think." He nods, as if confirming this to himself, then looks over at Taylor as they mention the land.
He's quiet a moment, perhaps thoughtful although those dark, dark so freaking dark eyes make it difficult to tell. He turns them towards the overgrown fields, long since given way to nature. And he smiles quietly. "It's a balance, all of it. Every thing we do, every game we play, it's a balance. Cause and effect, gain and loss, one for the other, there's always a price. You have to balance it all, lest the scales tip."
He takes a breath, then looks back towards Taylor, that smile returning. He agrees, "I'll ask first. Your people have a connection to the Hisil that is strong. My own people have an affinity for the Hedge. Tell me, though, is it possible for someone not of your people to create a permanent gateway to the Hisil?"
"With the right routers and extenders, anywhere should work. And the attic should be fairly secure, if weather proofed," Taylor determines, easy enough - familiar enough with the technology at hand to cater to preference. "If we find anything solid enough to cause a problem for the signal, we just route around it or through it - always an easy enough way of that. Nature can flexible, and so can we."
Their own eyes aren't so dark, a layer of shades like a painted mountain range encircling a pupil. An impossibility of geography that operates as portal to their vision and admittance of light. "Our impact is like a tide. The further we push into the wild, the harder it'll push back until it erodes the road out from under us," they say, with a very real affection for that world they look out on. The nature untamed, to be cultivated if not harmed. "Balance. That's a good word for it. Not walking a tight rope, but accepting repercussions of the take, and giving what's stolen back, freely."
They scrunch up their button nose thoughtfully at the question. Brow furrowing in serious thought. "Not that I've experienced," they admit. "But the Hisil isn't a place of gates or doors. More thinness? That's what makes it close. And it doesn't bar access to anything, since there's nothing of it to close." It's an uncertain answer that comes with some extra information. They think, in brief, before they ask their own turn. "Do your seasons have spirits that you can meet?" they ask. "Are they old and powerful spirits?"
Jacob nods as Taylor talks about the wifi. "The attic it is. The building is in good condition and it should be easy enough to ensure that it's sealed. Easier to limit access than a mid-level room, as well. Let's do it. I will give you a tour later so that you know the general layout." But then the conversation shifts towards balance, and he seems to agree with most of what Taylor is saying. Seems, because he doesn't say much, simply listening.
Finally, he turns towards Taylor and smiles that smile of his - that smile of no emotion but also every emotion, somehow expression nothing while filled with expressions. It's a Mona Lisa smile if there ever was one. He murmurs, "The problem with stealing back is that it's an assault, it dramatically tips the scales. It's best to re-adjust the scales slowly. Otherwise it might well tip in the other direction."
He shakes his head, focusing as Taylor gives that answer. He nods, considering it. Thinness. As they ask their own question, he answers, "No. There are no spirits, unless you count the broken fragments of our souls. They are bleak worlds from which we hail."
He takes a breath, then looks at Taylor and smiles. "Another, for double. Balance is key, as we've discussed. What causes this 'thinning', and is it something that is desired or fought against?"
"For sure," Taylor answers, confirming that they're up for that tour, later - as with the maps and other bits of the work that will have to be completed before ordering exactly what is needed. "She doesn't pull her punches," they say of nature, when the price is paid for the taking. "And she doesn't play fair." All said with real reverence. Despite being in the skin of those that pay the price - despite appearing human. "But do any of us?" Those grey eyes are given greater intensity, focusing in on Jacob like they're assessing the Lost before them. "I feel that you don't. That someone with a wicked-cool plot of land like this? Knows that we're part of nature, and that nature plays games differently than we like to structure them."
Spiritless worlds of broken souls? That intensity fades. Replaced by sympathy. And with respect for one that has lived through it. Their free hand helps to push the encroaching hair back from in front of their face. The other continues to hold what's left of their lemonade. "I cannot say what causes it, just that there are likely more ways than the ways that I think. But the end result is totally both. Dangerous spirits can get out, the thinner the boundaries get. It's a trade off, of sorts." And another question, a second for a second. "Do any of your number interact with computers or electronics in any strange way? Do your gifts give you entry into virtual passages?"
Jacob listens as Taylor talks about prices. He's quiet a moment, then offers that little smile as he murmurs, "I know what balance is. It's a fine line, it's a horrible line, but it's a necessary line. Mother Nature? I have as much thought for her as I do Nihilism. I don't wish either to win. Instead, I wish for nobody to win, ever, because that's how we exist."
He catches himself, perhaps realizing he's revealed too mjch, and for free, and then he drains the last of his own lemonade, setting the glass aside. "I know the dangers of it opening, but not exactly what causes it, which I think could be important if I ever have need to, shall we say, clean up." He stands, stretching.
"Computers and electronics. Yes and no. Mostly no, no like what we've been talking about. Generally, we just go around them." A smile, and then, "Will you take this job? You'll have to have to take an oath of secrecy, since others also live on the property, but that could be beneficial to us both. This is the start of something... something important. And you could be a part of it." He waves towards the manor house, then out towards the darkened fields and forests.
Taylor shrugs - it's a gesture that's easy to miss, as diminutive as they are within those baggy layers. "Isn't winning just losing that line and integrating? Getting to where we're taken back into nature's arms as part of her once more, rather than simply coexisting. Finding the balance to be part of, and then also to 'be'." A thing that is of one sort, and alone without - independent and unalone. There must be more to it, for an Ithaeur so keen on the advances of technology as to have specialization within the field, but they don't say much more on the subject. A nod, less energetic, more secretive and subdued when it comes to cleaning the fallout of the thin places. Like any additional information on the subject might fall under the purview of secrecy.
A thoughtful sound replies to the ways in which the Lost go around rather than interface supernaturally with technology. Maybe some disappointment, but nothing expanded upon as the matter of the job arises once more. "Totally," they promise, as to taking it, their bright flash of a smile returning. All those blunt, human teeth in contrast with a predatory aura. "So long as it's an oath that gives me an out, if you're less kind to this place than you suggest," they reply. "And I'm curious to see what that will be," to that vague importance. What the potential of the place might become.
He laughs, then, shaking his head and then smiling at Taylor. "Tour. Then I'll give you a few days to write up a bid." He looks towards Taylor directly. "It's more than this, you know. This is just the start. But I welcome you onboard. We'll celebrate with some run after the tour."
Jacob watches Taylor with those day eyes for a moment, and then he nods. "Nothing set in stone tonight, however. I'll give you a tour and you can write up a bid. You've earned you bonus tonight." He smiles and stands up, lemonade forgotten for now. "As for winning and losing, who decides either? Sometimes one looks like the other, depending. Personaly, I think there always has to be a balance, even when it's not necessarily the obvious beneficial move."