I'd initially planned to put this up last week, but since no one was really around last week, I figured I'd hold onto it for a bit longer. Anyway, here is the summary for the rest of issue 8. It'll be available for download as a .pdf file on the OPB site soon, and I'll continue to post here about once a week to let you know how the rest of the summaries are going and what I'm working on next.
Anyway, I hope you like it. :) This one's fairly unique in that a lot of it is in script form; the others will be in more of a summary form. Er. I'll just be quiet now and let you have the story, shall I? :)
Other People's Business, Issue 8 (Continued)
Mercedes turns her back on Hilary.
MERCEDES: *ice* Excuse me, I have a call to make.
Hilary stands in the corner and rubs her arm awkwardly. She clearly regrets having teased Mercedes a little too well.
MERCEDES: [off-panel] Good morning, Joe! This is Mercedes Nieves - from Pamplemousse.
Establishing shot of the Creed offices from outside.
J: Oh, hi! I mean, good morning. How can I help you?
MERCEDES: [over the phone] I have a few questions to ask about the company.
Surprised, Joe glances over his shoulder at his computer, which has begun whirring and running a program.
The computer screen has pulled up Mercedes’ file and has begun recording the conversation.
J: Oh, right, about possibly hosting an event next month.
MERCEDES: [over the phone] *confused* Next month?
Mercedes frowns at her phone. She has understood enough to play along, but isn’t sure why.
J: I actually have the dietary restrictions in a file, but it'll be a lot easier if I can call you back in a few minutes, if that’s okay?
MERCEDES: Oh. Alright. Yes, please get those to me.
Mercedes turns off her phone.
MERCEDES: That was odd.
HILARY: I'm sorry.
Mercedes glances back at Hilary, who is pleading her apologetic case.
HILARY: About before. I shouldn't – I was just jokin', yeah? Like how you and Danny joke.
Mercedes is not having any of it; her back straightens in high ice queen mode.
MERCEDES: Danny has known me for ten years. You and I—
[She is cut off by her phone ringing.]
J: [on phone] Hi! Sorry about that!
Joe is somewhere on the sidewalks of downtown Houston, talking into his cell phone.
J: You're coming up in the system as a Mark. Anything you have to do with the company is going to be monitored.
Mercedes is shocked.
J: [on phone] Hello?
MERCEDES: I'm here.
J: [on phone] I took my lunch break a little early. I'm calling from well outside the building, so don't worry.
Joe grins and runs a hand through his hair, leaving it significantly shaggier than we’ve seen it.
J: I'm not sure why you were Marked, but I figured just in case, we'd play it safe. Um. I'm going to feel really dumb if this really is just a business call.
Mercedes holds a hand to her mouth in horror.
MERCEDES: It's not. Oh, God, Joe, is your company going to kill me?
J: [on phone] Hahah, no, no, lots of people get Marked. Um. It just means we pay attention to what you're up to, I guess.
J: [on phone] What are you up to, Mercedes?
MERCEDES: I – we’re trying to solve a mystery.
[Hilary leans in and shouts into the phone.]
HILARY: A murder!
Joe’s expression is mildly surprised. Only mildly.
Establishing shot: Penelope Gilpin’s house in Galveston.
In the office, Danny hums and collects papers from the printer.
Danny unceremoniously dumps the printer pages onto Penelope’s desk. Penelope is busy writing something longhand in her journal, but does spare Danny a glance.
DANNY: Tada! Forty pages of freshly translated French.
PENELOPE: Ah, thank you.
Danny, pleased, leans away, hands on the small of her back. Penelope rifles through the papers.
DANNY: I kept the margins wide so you can take notes, too.
PENELOPE: I am impressed with your ability to deal with that infernal machine.
Penelope skims the top sheet.
PENELOPE: And with your translation. This is very good.
Danny grins self-effacingly.
DANNY: Well, y'know, I do what I can.
Cut to a screenshot of a post on a Francophile forum by “Detective Sugarbritches”.
Post: You assholes couldn't conjugate your way out of a paper bag. [link to a file] Ten bucks says you can't even translate this.
DANNY: I do what I can. Yep.
Back to Penelope’s office. Danny leans over Penelope’s desk.
DANNY: Interesting stuff you have going there.
Danny leans closer, Penelope leans away.
DANNY: What do you do with it?
PENELOPE: It's research.
DANNY: For your own personal interest?
PENELOPE: That will be all, Miss Alvarez.
Danny mimes casual, glancing at her nails. She is still leaning on Penelope’s desk, clearly making no move to leave.
DANNY: Though me being me, if I researched like this, I'd be trying to sell the fruits of my labor—
PENELOPE: *glares* What are you implying?
Penelope stands from her chair.
DANNY: Are you selling it?
PENELOPE: Yes, Miss Alvarez, I work freelance.
Danny realizes she may've gone a step too far as Penelope gets in her face with a surprising amount of ferocity for a little old lady.
PENELOPE: This means that any of the works you translate are my property. You are receiving more than proper compensation for your time.
DANNY: Oh! I didn't mean I—
Penelope sits back down.
PENELOPE: Good. For your safety and that of your loved ones, you are my maid. Nothing more. Is that clear?
Danny smiles awkwardly.
[Establishing shot: Mercedes' house]
Inside, Mercedes is facing away from Hilary.
MERCEDES: I need you to leave.
HILARY: I said I was sorry.
MERCEDES: That's not enough! I don't even know you and I have the feeling that you've managed to change things for me.
MERCEDES: I don't even know how, but I—I don't feel safe anymore.
MERCEDES: And I used to feel safe.
Mercedes begins to cry.
Hilary watches, uncomfortable.
Awkwardly, Hilary places a hand on Mercedes' shoulder.
Mercedes bawls and clutches at Hilary.
HILARY: OH GOD--
They both fall over in a mess of limbs and tears.
A bit later, Mercedes and Hilary sprawl on Mercedes' kitchen floor with several pints of ice cream and a bottle of Angry Zebra liquor between them.
HILARY: My dad always said, "That which you seek is seeking you, as well." That's why I started carryin' weapons.
Hilary motions to Mercedes' feet. Mercedes is wearing a beautiful pair of Vince Camuto pumps.
HILARY: Why do you wear shoes like that? Don't they hurt?
MERCEDES: I'm used to it by now.
Mercedes tucks a strand of hair behind her ear.
MERCEDES: I like having something that has no point or use except to make me happy by looking at them.
Hilary sits up and takes a swig of the Angry Zebra.
HILARY: Yeah. I'm like that with some'a my stuff. I'm sorry that you gotta be careful now, too.
MERCEDES: I wish Danny had never met you.
Hilary sadly looks down at the bottle of Angry Zebra.
HILARY: I wish that, too.
[Establishing shot: Frida's house]
Frida peers out the door as Danny walks in.
FRIDA: Sunrise or sunset?
FRIDA: Goddamn. I guess this makes me nocturnal.
FRIDA: At least it means your visitor didn't show up early.
In the living room, on a couch covered in a sheet, sits Fox in his trademark trenchcoat. He is very happy to see Danny, and the feeling is mutual.
DANNY: Hey. :D
FOX: Please get me out of here.
Fox escorts Danny out of Frida's house. Frida watches them leave, suspicious through the haze of just-having-woken-up.
DANNY: I'll save you. Don't wait up, Frida.
FOX: She showed me her scar, you know.
DANNY: That's how she says hello.
[Establishing shot: an Island café]
DANNY: So I think this is the part where we pick each other's brains.
Danny sits in a booth, eating fries.
DANNY: *smirk* You first.
Fox bites his lower lip and drums his fingers on the tabletop.
FOX: Um. Okay. Where to begin…
[At this point, I, your author, shall now stop with the script format and progress to a summary, since this will supposedly be faster. However, I'll still inject bits of dialogue here and there that I especially like, and as always, you can visit the OPB Livejournal commentary [otherpeoplesbiz.livejournal.com] and ask me questions about it there. I'm happy to answer.]
Fox begins with a massive splash page of convoluted theories managing to interconnect. Of note are four things:
1. Monsters exist. All sorts of monsters, all sorts of horrible things. Yes, this includes vampires (he knows, he's met two). This includes worse, eldritch horrors from beyond the stars that we may or may not describe as 'gods.'
2. Any deist religion (he claims) is a millenniums-long sham perpetuated by one of these beings who has taken it upon himself (herself, itself, themselves) to mess with humanity. Several lesser monsters are equally duped.
3. This being is defending its territory like a dog protecting a favorite toy – why, Fox isn't sure, but he guesses there must be other creatures attempting to take it away; to this end, several high-powered companies and governments ensure that this being retains power over its territory, often without knowing what it is they're doing. Additionally, nexus companies exist to monitor the other companies and keep them in check.
4. Creed is one of these nexus companies; the devotion of any higher-ups to this being is a frightening thing (says Fox), and often is accompanied with severe psychological issues. Often they will believe they are being personally visited by this being, who will present itself in any of a variety of forms, but always calls itself Ys.
Fox finishes by saying that this is just like any other cult, only enormous and quiet. He refers to the entire thing as Ynternational.
With a Y.
Danny is stunned.
Fox feels ashamed after his outburst, but Danny quickly soothes him – she may not believe him, but she believes that others believe that, and she's definitely seen the name Ys crop up in Penelope's translations (sometimes written as Yss). Fox theorizes that Penelope may've been a Scholar, and explains exactly what a Scholar is.
FOX: A few really smart people got together in the 40s and 50s and dedicated themselves to throwing a monkey wrench in the Ynternational machine. Now, there's not really that many of them left, maybe a dozen or so still active. I don't know why she'd be working with Creed, though.
Danny guesses that they might be trying to hurt her son, and Fox agrees that this is exactly the sort of thing Creed would do.
Speaking of Creed…we cut to the Ratterly household, where Leon walks in on Collin threatening to take their daughter to the Louvre to look at art. She is venomously opposed to the idea of going to a museum and begs her father to spare her from her evil stepfather's plan. Leon agrees that she can stay, and after she leaves the room, Collin congratulates him on going along with the plan: Collin wants to keep Berlinetta in the country while they go abroad for business, but guessed she'd want to tag along if it was clear he and Leon needed to go alone. Which they do.
This is all news to Leon. He questions Collin about the trip, but Collin decides to use a cryptic one-liner and go upstairs. This would all have been very impressive if Collin hadn't forgotten his coffee downstairs.
Enough ridiculous domesticity. Back at Danny's place of employment, Danny sneaks into Penelope's library. She rifles through papers and reads, jotting down hurried notes on a pad of paper. A sudden noise startles her into jostling a table and spilling a scented candle over the notes on the desk. Great job, Danny. She tries to clean it off, but have you ever tried to clean soft wax off something? It ends badly, for the most part. Danny swears a lot and of course, that's when Penelope walks in.
Penelope is understandably upset and after much shouting and shoving, tosses Danny out of the house. Danny pragmatically observes that at least, she must be on to something. Back upstairs, Penelope tries to clean up the mess Danny made, and notes that the spilled wax has caused a map to have three colors instead of two. Penelope frowns at this.
A few days later, Danny and Mercedes at a local café. I like the dialogue for this, so I'm going to make you read it. You'll like it, it's cute:
DANNY: So she hasn't called to fire me, but I'm not exactly sure I should go back.
DANNY: Are you listening to me or just picturing me getting a haircut?
MERCEDES: *eyes fixed on Danny's growing roots* Can't it be both?
MERCEDES: Also, I believe you met up with a certain dashingly louche blue-eyed gentleman?
DANNY: *shy grin* Yyyyeah.
MERCEDES: How was it?
DANNY: Good. We both learned a lot and I think I'm finally figuring this mystery out.
MERCEDES: *unimpressed* … where is the kissing.
DANNY: I can't kiss him!
DANNY: We're just friends.
DANNY: He's like my mentor in the world of crazy crap. I'm Harry Potter, and he's, um, Gandalf.
MERCEDES: *glare* Frodo. You would be Frodo.
DANNY: Did Frodo ever want to touch Gandalf's wiener?
DANNY: I'm sorry, that's an unfair question. Who wouldn't want to touch Gandalf's wiener.
MERCEDES: Why do you try to ruin the things I love?
DANNY: I note you say tried.
MERCEDES: Yes, yes I did. Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo. <3
MERCEDES:*sly smile* I like him for you, you know.
DANNY: *grin* Yeah?
MERCEDES: He's handsome, sweet, crude, and apparently as obsessed as you are with a multinational conglomerate of power that as two individuals you have no hope of bringing down but are determined to try, anyway.
DANNY: *admits* He's really cute when he gets that obsessive sheen in his eyes.
Enough friendship and sweetness. On to the cold, impeccably decorated offices of the Creed Corporation, where Dr. Karasek and Penelope Gilpin are having a meeting. Penelope claims to have valuable information which she will exchange for her son's guaranteed safety. After some discussion, she reveals her theory that there are not two forces at war: there are three. Dr. Karasek is condescending, and asks for a minute to have a discussion with his colleagues. He leaves the room, and Penelope grows more and more uneasy. She leaves the room and very quickly, very nervously, leaves the building. She flags down a cab outside and asks to be taken to the airport. While she tries unsuccessfully to phone her son, the cab driver, recognizable to us as one Leon Ratterly, watches quietly. The cab drives off.
Later, Danny stands in the garden of Penelope Gilpin's home, nervous and psyching herself up for approaching her former boss. Instead, she finds Penelope's son, who knows Danny as the maid. She asks where his mother is, and the man breaks down and admits he thinks something has happened to her, marking the second instance in the past few months where a man has cried to Danny about his mother. Harold Gilpin pleads with Danny to leave and put the incident out of her mind, considering himself a lost cause.
Danny arrives at Frida's house. She admits that she's no longer employed, and she wants to talk to Frida about some things – but Frida interrupts to tell Danny there's a visitor for her upstairs. Danny brightens at the idea that Fox has arrived, but Frida tells her that no, it's another man. Danny is surprised that Frida let a strange man upstairs, but Frida says she doesn't see the harm in it, as he was blind and all.
Danny opens her door. Inside, Mad Bart is standing at her bookshelf, rifling through a photo album as though he were capable of seeing it.
DANNY: Get out.
BART: I came to you for a reason. Ask yourself why.
Danny stalks around him, giving him a wide berth.
DANNY: Could ask you why, but I wouldn't get a straight answer.
BART: Why wouldn't you?
Bart smiles. If it wasn’t for the patches over his eyes, he’d look handsome.
BART: I'm here to help you bring down Creed.