2011 06 27: No Rest for the Wicked

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Mission Name: No Rest for the Wicked
Date of Mission: June 27, 2011
Locale: Training Lab - Division HQ

Delivering documents to Division, Hobbes happens upon Alex in the middle of something.

Alex Hobbes

Alex sits at one of the computer terminals, alone in the lab for the moment. With classes over for the day, the bright overhead lights have been turned off, leaving just some ambient light from the lights that are always left on. The teen is further illuminated by the small lamp on her own workstation, the gives her enough to see her keyboard without straining. Not that she looks at the keys as she types away, watching the screen with a thoughtful expression — must be a particularly tricky assignment.

Hobbes is perpetually grounded for the time being. It's thanks to his right leg of which he is currently looking upon it when taking to a pause in entering the area. He sets his jaw derisively to it, favoring his left side, and then takes a firmer hold of his walking cane and begins hobbling forward: that may just be why Division sends him on these fetch quests, to see the great Hobbes hobble around: Hobbling Hobbes. It makes him look on with distaste, a wrinkled bridge of a nose and light scowl, gaze tightened as he continues along with a parcel tucked to his left armpit. It's empty.

He has the flash drive in a pocket. Still, Hobbes is early either way. It's just so that he can be punctual. That's something he does best: time management. His steps are quiet but every few moments there is the heavier thump of his cane. The next time he produces something beyond walking through the area, he's clearing his throat. The young man is also coming to a stop near to Alex and trying to look over her shoulder to the computer screen, casually so.

Whatever Alex might have been working on, between the sound of the cane and the throat clearing, it's safe to say that by the time he's within view of her screen, all he'll see is a rather boring and routine recruit exercise — an advanced one, granted, but still nothing very exciting. Perhaps that's why the teen is so quick to turn away from the screen to see who it is joining her in the lab. Not recognizing the agent, her expression remains guarded, her eyebrows lifting just slightly, almost expectantly. Is he here to see her? "Hey," she greets in a casual tone, giving him a brief once-over.

Hobbes gives a light sniff as he lifts his eyebrows to the reaction given, leading into his arching one questioningly down to the girl. The dubious expression is melted down just slightly with her gauging him, looking him over, and he settles both of his hands upon the knobbed end of his rosewood cane in order to better stand in place. "You don't sound as bored as you should be working on an algorithm like that." His tones are warm, inviting, and lead into his relaxing into a disarming smile while he lifts the end of his cane to gesture towards the computer's screen. He turns back to being questioningly as he settles back down. "Why the extra work?"

"I only said one word," Alex points out, her tone not exactly rude but a bit flat. Her attitude has improved, but not disappeared entirely. With a shrug, she turns on her stool to cast a glance back at her screen, and then rotates it back to face him. "I've been busy with a mission. Don't want to fall behind, I guess." She doesn't sound like she cares all that much, but apparently, she does care enough to be here on her own time — then again, there's little else for a recruit to do.

"I know," replies Hobbes. There's no smile this time around but the blueprints of such can be easily seen across his face and even more so heard. He looks from the teen to the screen just prior to slowly nodding his head. "I'll let you in on a little trick. If you're good enough to do missions, then you're better than midnight study sessions." He inclines his head thoughtfully to the side as if he would like to say more in the middle of his looking to the computer screen, but the moment of hesitation leads into simply drawing back the right sleeve and cufflink of his business suit in order to gauge the time on a wristwatch. He then moves the cane from resting against a hip to into his left hand, and with his right does he offer it to shake hands with the recruit. "But, please, excuse my lack of manners: Jacob."

"Birkhoff's in charge of the mission and if it keeps him from being an ass to me, a few hours in the lab is not too much to ask," Alex replies with a faint smirk, glancing back over her shoulder to make sure the tech isn't lingering just out of sight — that would be just her luck. Then again, she's not even sure how much he'd mind her saying it. Looking back to Hobbes, she gives him another considering look and then reaches out to accept the hand, shaking it firmly in return. "Alex." After a pause, she can't help but ask, "So, uh, you just hanging out here or what?"

"I see." He keeps his response simple and to the point, direct if not deflecting from his thoughts, it gives him time to think and calculate, debate, and above all else Hobbes gives a firm and polite handshake. He nods with the greeting gesture and returns the hand back to his cane. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Alex. I don't see many recruits willing to pull extra, and wanting to, even after I idly suggest otherwise. It's admirable. Impressive," he compliments just prior to speaking of Birkhoff. "And if Birkhoff gives you any problems… do ask if he's still trying to rule thirty-four Thomas the Tank Engine slash fiction. I'd check in if he's still into the weird kinks, but," he uses his cane to tap at his right shoe, "Just hanging out. Business brings me here."

"It's not really that impressive," Alex assures him with a shrug. "I started off way behind and I don't want to end up there again. I sort of like being alive." She arches an eyebrow at the idea of Thomas the Tank Engine slash, but can't really come up with much of an actual response to that. "I'll, uh, keep that in mind if he gives me trouble." Idly, she rolls her neck, rubbing at the base of it. Maybe she has been spending too much time on the computer. "Business, yeah. That seems more likely. I don't think many people would choose to hang out here once they're free," she continues with a bit of a grin.

"Don't worry. A backdoor reference to XKCD will get him off your back." He knows how Birkhoff thinks and he's fairly certain that a pretty girl that can permanently link to http://xkcd.com/305 will keep him from bitching; the thought of such makes me smile. That smile lends to his looking far less judgmental and distant and more humane, which is to say he almost looks like an upstanding gentleman for someone being within Division, "It's not so bad. It's much like my days in school. Class work, field exercises, trying to sneak things past the teachers, we never had a recess that was outdoors, not really." He looks up and around the room. "It's better than the alternatives. Keep it up and you'll see the sun soon enough."

"XKCD…" Alex repeats skeptically. Might be she doesn't know what that is, or might be she just doesn't trust the idea of impressing Birkhoff with a backdoor anything. She glances back towards the computer, and decides she's done with the module for now, so quickly closes it out and then returns her attention to Hobbes. She considers the point about school, her eyebrows lifting a bit, but she doesn't really offer up details on her own time in the real world educational system. "I know. Second chance and all that. I'm just saying — if I had an all-access pass, I'd probably do my hanging out somewhere else, but that's just me. I guess maybe you get used to it or something."

Hobbes reaches up with his right hand to self-consciously adjust the black tie at his collar, listening to Alex in turn in the meantime. There's another nod of his head, lax and at ease, and it's just prior to his taking steps to move around to the other side of the table and lean his weight against it. It takes unnecessary pressure off of his leg and with the cane leaning next to him too he busies his hands with moving the tan package from one arm to the other, opposite Alex. It leads into folding his arms over his chest as he looks to her. "You do. There's usually enough to distract during the day and at night, for what it's worth when it comes to time, you're too tired to think about the lack of world around you. But," he adds, "If I need to keep a recruit entertained on an assignment then I'll keep your name in mind. That is, if you can finish your work." He tilts his head back to the screen she's recently turned off, as if the agent wouldn't notice even if he's distracting her from it.

Alex watches him closely as he sits, but without any malice or outright staring at his bad leg. She's just observant, like she's been trained to be. "It's good to keep busy," she concurs, inclining her head slightly towards the computer, like adding that as another reason she's in here burning the midnight oil. Her eyes flicker over to the screen when he looks, and then she looks back to him with a faint grin. "I think I can handle it," she assures him with easy confidence. "The work will get done, and the mission, one way or another."

Truth be told, the guy has a bad leg. He's used to people asking questions about it, looking at it, or his cane, and otherwise making a big deal out of it. The thought of Alex not doing any of the latter amuses him if not makes him appreciative. So Hobbes briefly grins down to Alex from where he half-stands. "I guess the secret to getting things done is to act." He unfolds his arms long enough for his near hand to swing over and turn on the computer for Alex. "And I've heard that there's no rest for the wicked. Funny that, us being wicked to be here in the first place," chimes the man in beginning to stand up straighter. He even uses his right leg with it after bracing it with his hand: thank the lord for painkillers. "I should be on my way. But, if you ever need anything, I'll at least need to walk back through on my way out."

Alex doesn't really do it for his approval, but she's seen enough things in her short life that a bad leg, while not inconsequential, is sort of down there on the list. "Yeah, I guess I'm big on acting then," she muses with a shrug, not saying it as though to toot her own horn. But when there are things to be done, she'll do them. Looking back to the computer as he turns it on, she rolls her eyes but grins faintly. "Yeah, yeah. No rest for the wicked. First time I've heard that one." Her words don't have a real bite, and she somewhat reluctantly turns herself back to face the keys. "Sure, yeah. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks, I guess," she adds to his offer of help.

Hobbes plucks up his cane and gives it a casual whirl about, just sharp enough to pick up some force and truly cut through the wind, before gently setting it to the flooring in front of him. He looks to Alex anew. "Hey now, it's not about remembering the first time you've heard it. It's all about making sure you hear it again in the future. You're welcome though, Alex." He doesn't even bother wearing out his welcome or being overbearing. He simply pockets his offhand and continues on his way, steps patient and eased but controlled, with the brief and soft clacks of his cane against the flooring.

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