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 Computer Shopping, Open
Ellie Phimister
 Posted: May 4 2017, 11:18 AM
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It shouldn't have been so difficult, she knew everything she needed to know about the subject matter to knowledgeably discuss every item she showed interest in. Sure, she was no scientist, nor a high level engineer, but she knew computers. They weren't even a puzzle to her anymore, she'd grown up elbow deep in the latest technology of the time both mechanically and digitally. She could literally read binary, though it was a slow process at the best of times. She could program in every relevant programming language in existence. But it wasn't a discussion on a chat board, it wasn't an emailed business negotiation, and it wasn't an online purchase with a personality-less server. She was going face to face with corporate representatives over brand new, sometimes experimental, technology.

And all they saw was an unorthodox looking girl.

Not a woman. Not a young lady. A counter culture girl wandering around a place that they assumed was either above her head or beyond her budget. Or, more likely, both. But they were wrong, on both counts no less. Ellie was neither in over her head nor looking at things beyond her budget. Maybe market retail they would be, none of it had a market yet which was why it was on display at a Expo instead of in a shop window or getting tv time. Most of it was industrial, meaning it never would show up either at shops or on tv. But that made it a perfect place for a lone computer nerd to go shopping, especially one who maintained a monthly budget for new tech toys. A healthy monthly budget. One that hadn't been touched since the Expo started.

She'd honestly considered dressing for the trip. She'd dug through her wardrobe and laid out an outfit that would make her look like somebody's personal go between, hired to be underestimated and ruthless, for somebody with a ridiculous amount of money who yet planned not to spend it all for the sake of toys. Exactly the kind of person somebody like Tony Stark would send to get the job done. A pretty, if somewhat visually striking young woman would be exactly his kind of employee, she thought to herself. But, ultimately, she hadn't been able to convince herself to put on the outfit. Not to please others, not to meet their expectations, it wasn't her way. It wasn't her. As much as Ellie liked the outfit, she wouldn't wear it to fit in.

So, instead, there she was in her her power proof outfit, a sweater, a long leather coat she'd modified with add on metal studs, and one of her bajillion infinity scarfs. All black except the yellow stripe on her inner legs and the dark purple of the scarf. "Hi, we appreciate your interest but this is more of an industrial sales aimed booth than home usage." She huffed lightly, having heard that sort of line so many times that day already that she no longer had the energy to be completely annoyed by it. "Yeah, that's why I'm here. I'm building a closed system chat program that may eventually become networked over secure lines to other remote locations. I saw that you were rolling stackable servers out with a new hardwired security interface, wanted to know what the absolute specs are so I can decide between yours and the ones that InGen developed six months ahead of you to dilute your market share."

The sales rep just stood there, staring, like she'd said it all in Latin. Or, more like, she'd grown a second head. "I'm stunningly attractive, obviously, but is there any chance you can pick your chin up off the floor and fire off that sales pitch you've been practicing in the mirror." "Uh... well... I think it might be a bit outside your budget young lady." "I doubt it, chuckles, but here." She unlocked her phone and held it up for him to see, making him go even more bug eyed at the balance of a bank account that was staring him in the face. Sadly, there was a thread of skepticism starting to work its way into his features and she had a sinking feeling she was about to be called a liar right there in front of a booth where any number of passerby could watch the show.

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Namor McKenzie
 Posted: May 14 2017, 09:24 PM
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Namor McKenzie knew very little about computers. It wasn't that he was completely ignorant in that regard -- he was aware they existed, certainly, and that they were extremely useful in many ways, albeit perhaps not in every way they were used by surfacers. He was also aware that somewhere along the line in the past half century or so they had gone from prohibitively-expensive curiosities to devices that were absolutely essential to the functioning of a modern business of any size.

Oracle, while not as large as such operations as Stark's or Frost's, was a multinational and big enough to qualify many times over. It had had computers for quite some time, in fact a large number of them, which he understood to be arranged in a 'network,' which connected to other networks, including the enormous world-wide network called the internet. The problem, as Carrie had explained it to him, was that Oracle's computers were now old, worn, and outmoded, as was their network, so it all needed to be upgraded. She had further explained that such an upgrade, done properly, was an expensive proposition.

While Oracle didn't operate at anything close to a loss, it also didn't have a huge profit margin. That was fine with the Atlantean monarch and Carrie, for both of whom it was a cause rather than a corporation, but it meant its financial reserves were not unlimited. Something like this would strip them virtually bare, leaving the company in a bad spot should some other crisis arise -- which crises had a way of doing at the worst possible moment.

To avoid that, Namor solved the problem of insufficient capital as he had before, by retrieving sunken treasure from the sea floor and selling it through a handful of dealers in jewels and antiquities. He could have then left the shopping to Carrie or one of her underlings, but he was curious and disliked being ignorant about such a major factor in the surface world.

Prowling around the Expo had been more baffling than informative, though, and by the time he reached the fourth booth on his list, about all he had was a clearer idea of just how much he didn't know. On the other hand, he had figured out that 'servers' and 'security' were very important, so when he overheard those words coming from the young woman speaking with the sales rep, he throttled back his usual instinct for impatience and settled in quietly to eavesdrop.

Unfortunately, what he overheard not only didn't answer any of his questions, it also didn't help his temper. He'd met far too many people like the sales rep, both above and below the waves, and their patronizing assumed superiority always grated on his nerves, even when it wasn't directed at him. And, being who and what he was, he wasn't much given to suffering fools in gladly -- or in silence.

"Mr. ... Kevin," Namor said mildly, moving up and glancing at the man's nametag. "Do I understand correctly that your job is answering questions about your company's products?"

Kevin answered with a startled nod and the Atlantean continued, his voice still quiet but no longer mild. "Then as the young lady has asked you just such a question, perhaps you should cease casting aspersions on her intelligence, honesty, and financial status ... and actually do your job."

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Ellie Phimister
 Posted: May 20 2017, 05:11 PM
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Ellie was guirding for battle, as was the salesman, hackles raised and proverbial claws sprouting when another voice entered the fray. She gave the new guy a hard look that lasted right up until she realized he was setting up a haymaker on the salesman. As soon as she realized which way the wind was blowing Ellie only had eyes for Kevin, because she wasn't about to miss his reaction to getting called out by a completely random stranger. She wasn't the type to have other people fight her battles but she also wasn't the type to stop them if they got a running start either.

She waited until the new guy was done and folded her hands, giving Kevin a big-eyed stare. "Jeeze, Kevin, that's two people in one day with that particular lofty expectation. Bet they didn't prepare you for this at the three hour training session you got after answering the job ad in the paper." Salemen were a dime a dozen, almost literally. They trained people to do that sort of thing in an afternoon, more often than not, and Ellie had only ever really expected the guy to look up the information for her. Or maybe give her the number of... and there he went, red-faced with embarassment, over to his table and retrieved a sheet of paper from a binder. He came back and held it out to Ellie. "That's the technical specifications of the servers you asked about, I recommend you call the number on the sheet if you have any further questions."

He was dismissing her, no doubt feeling that banishing her from 'his' space would be a form of victory after the fact. And that was why she decided to ruin the guy's day. "What's your supervisor's name?" Kevin gave her a dirty look. "I don't see how that's rele..." "My father, Finster Phimister, owns Sunshine Innovations. He'll want to talk to the person in charge of sales associates about making sure this sort of thing doesn't happen to anyone who might actually take offense." The names obviously meant nothing to Kevin, he wasn't a computer person. He wasn't a business person. He was a low level sales goblin. "You know what, dad probably already has his or her name in a contact list somewhere. We'll figure it out on our own." She dropped the paper in front of Kevin and turned toward the other man like said sales goblin had ceased to exist.

"Thanks for trying to help," She was willing to give that much, though her scruff was up already because of Kevin. She'd been raised to be polite for at least the first thirteen years of her life and the stranger deserved as much. Her father might want the name, later, so... "What's your name?" Polite, but not necessarily charming. Which had a lot to do with the fact that she had already pulled out her phone and started typing out a tweet about Kevin's status as a complete tool and praising InGen's booth for getting her business.

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Namor McKenzie
 Posted: Jun 10 2017, 10:09 PM
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Standing at his ease, Namor regarded the unfortunate young man levelly while the young woman took up the theme of the rebuke and carried it forward. There were two possible ways the Atlantean could see this Kevin taking the chastisement. The wiser course would be to acknowledge his error, apologize, and seek to rectify it. The rather less wise reaction would be to carry out his duties with a display of graceless and sullen ill-temper.

As Namor had also judged the rather less-wise reaction to be the rather more-likely one, he wasn't the least bit surprised when that's what the kid opted for. He was considering whether to administer a second dose of what Carrie referred to as 'nuclear-grade We-Are-Not-Amused' when the young woman did an extremely credible job of it herself. Judging by her tone, manner, and words, it appeared she was the equivalent of at least minor nobility in the business world, certainly several levels above the churl behind the counter.

"Kevin," the Atlantean monarch said, actually snapping his fingers to be sure he had the shell-shocked young man's full attention. "Neither your temperament nor your talents -- whatever they may be -- are even remotely adequate to your current position. I strongly advise that you work assiduously on improving both, should you hope to continue in it."

Turning away dismissively, he focused his gaze on Ellie, tilting his head slightly to regard her. "Namor McKenzie," he said. "And I assure you it was my pleasure, Miss ... Phimister?"


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Ellie Phimister
 Posted: Jun 11 2017, 01:27 PM
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"Assiduously..." Ellie repeated quietly in mild amusement after the white knight had used it. Good vocabulary, couldn't fault anyone for exercising such a thing when they found the opportunity. The guy was clean cut, had a refined bone structure, and that edge of confidence that said even he thought he was pretty. All wasted on Ellie, except for her intellectual acknowledgement of them, of course. But that was the way of the world. He also dressed like he was the kind of person who lived his life using an expansive vocabulary to prevent lazy thinking. Business man? No, he looked more like the kind of guy who owned a business but didn't do business himself. Lots of money, lots of free time, very little technical know-how.

He was likely there out of a combination of curiosity and obligation, if her supposition was correct. Which was fine. If Ellie hadn't ended up being a mutant she'd have likely had to put in a similar appearance at the Expo herself. Life was funny like that up in the higher altitudes of the social stratosphere. She cocked a carefully shaped eyebrow at his first name. "Oh, that has to be a family name. Nobody's that cruel casually. Ellie, my name is Ellie. But yes, I'm legitimate even if rarely spoken of in the public light. And yes, my father really owns Sunshine Innovations." She was halfway through an email about the event, but she paused to go back and add Namor's name to it at the appropriate point, so her father would get it. She didn't make idle threats.

She looked up at Namor again. "Did you have business with these guys? I recommend finding a different salesmen, if so."

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Namor McKenzie
 Posted: Jun 22 2017, 01:22 PM
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Namor cocked his head slightly, studying the young woman. Communicating almost entirely telepathically, Atlanteans could – and often did – carry on conversations with people who weren't even in the same room. That had the effect that though it was considered very bad form socially to mentally approach a stranger without making eye contact first , they'd never developed a cultural norm for looking at whomever they were speaking with. That had led to some misunderstandings in his early interactions with surfacers until a very smart woman had explained that to them it gave the impression they were being ignored, or that he was dishonest or ashamed.

Recently, though, he'd found that to be less and less the case with air-breathers, especially the young ones. Their eyes had a tendency to keep straying to their electronic devices, even when they weren't staring fixedly at them and walking into things. He wasn't sure what the surfacers themselves made of the trend, but since it didn't bother him, he didn't much care. At least this one seemed to be able to multitask well enough to carry on an intelligible conversation while she typed.

The Atlantean made a motion with his shoulders that was essentially an elegant version of a shrug at Ellie's suggestion. "They were one of the companies I was considering to upgrade Oracle's network," he said, a slight emphasis on 'were' indicating that they'd now been struck off his mental list. Half-turning, he swept a thoughtful gaze around at the Expo. "I believe I passed a Sunshine Innovations booth a short while ago. What is it that your father's company does?"

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Ellie Phimister
 Posted: Jun 25 2017, 02:18 PM
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Ellie nodded, because the company losing business due to poor personnel choices was exactly as it should be. If they wanted better results they needed better people, people who were there to do their job and, for the money, smile. After that, it was up to the company to pay said people enough to want the job but that wasn't the matter of the day. Nor was it likely to be, Ellie wasn't the type to want to solve the world's problems. She was still very much interested in solving her own at this juncture in her life.

He gave their surroundings a regal inspection and then made her regret revealing her association with Sunshine Innovations. It was only a short conversation from there to where the name came from, which inevitably led to her explaining it had started out as her father's pet name for her. Something he'd insisted on when his mother had insisted on a re-branding of the company during one of its growth phases. "I have absolutely no doubt you did. There are probably four of them, each specializing in some field or another and strategically placed near another booth that will increase the likelihood of nearby browsers to find its specialty relevant, all thanks to the help of extensive market research and think-tank input. The power house of business that runs the capitalist half of the company wouldn't allow anything less." Her mother was nothing if not predictable in her ambitions. Ellie wouldn't be shocked to find each booth was made of that new polymer the company had stumbled upon a year ago, making it semi-permanent as a talking point and a firm stance on blah blah blah.

"But anyway, Sunshine Innovations innovates. Got a satellite telescope? They can make it see farther, better, and given a few years to tinker they can come up with software that will turn what it sees into more relevant images. Have a uniquely structured business? They can be hired to build a program that will integrate all aspects of that business together, making for the seamless operation and information sharing those departments need to work at peek efficiency. Got that program already but it seems to have bugs? Sunshine Innovations would be happy to take a look at it and figure out what's wrong and provide the spark of programming or hardware genius necessary to fix it. You'd have to implement those solutions yourself, they're not an outsourced IT department or a manufacturer, but they will tell you what needs to be done so you can see it through or provide you with an example of whatever it is you need to manufacture so you can get to work on setting that up." She said it all as if reciting it, which she wasn't. Not really. She'd just been through the explanation so many times, in so many ways, she could put it together like a presentation extemporaneously.

"What does Oracle do, and why does it need an network upgrade?" If it was just a simple software update they were in the wrong neck of the woods shopping for it, throw ten grand at a couple of college kids at the local computer technology department and you'd be done within the month. Shopping for network upgrades at the Stark Expo... that was shopping for a complete technology overhaul in all likelihood. But -if- it -was- just a software upgrade, she knew exactly what three college students she'd be recommending.

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Namor McKenzie
 Posted: Jun 29 2017, 04:15 PM
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Namor had asked more to be polite than out of anything beyond a mild curiosity, but as he listened his interest grew, especially as her explanation and examples removed his initial puzzlement as to what she meant by 'innovate.' While largely ignorant of the advances in and capabilities of surfacer computer technology, he was far from a stupid man. He was also monarch of an undersea empire with technology of its own, an empire that thrived in part because he could see possibilities and recognize strengths in others that could be put to his own use.

"Oracle deals in a wide variety of oceanographic data," he said. "Sea floor mapping, including geologic and tectonic analysis. Current tracking. Monitoring sea ice and icebergs. Marine fauna breeding and migration patterns." He made a graceful and-so-forth rolling motion with one hand. Then, because Ellie's examples had been clarifying, he offered a few of his own. "A telecommunications company seeking to lay an undersea cable might seek Oracle out to determine the best route, or an ecology NGO for measurements on an endangered reef, or a salvage crew to narrow down their search for a wreck."

If he could have, the Atlantean would have barred all but a handful of the surface dwellers from his realm, but they were too numerous and too inventive for that. Grudgingly acknowledging the need to share the planet with them, he'd determined to blunt their impact as much as he was able. Thus Oracle had been born, but it was rapidly outgrowing its capabilities.

"As you might imagine, this is all very data-intensive. More are constantly being added, for which our storage and retrieval is becoming entirely inadequate. We also lack the processing power to run some of the newer modeling programs. And I'm told our internal network is woefully outdated, slow and vulnerable to intrusion. So," he gestured, taking in the Expo. "Here I am."

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Ellie Phimister
 Posted: Jul 1 2017, 02:46 PM
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Ellie was already in front of a computer, in her mind, mapping out the problem. "Topographical data acquired in extreme and swiftly changing environments, density issues, early warning possibilities but focused on long term data analysis. Biological tracking and monitoring. You'd need flagging for relevancy and industry connections, to track by contracted service. Private, corporate and consumer, applications. Government applications. You'd need an external interface to maximize accessibility with the market, that'd need restrictions or special access tools prioritized for your contract management department. That's all front end, where the money comes from." She partitioned that list away in her head and turned to the internal issues.

"Storage, lots and lots of storage. Can be internally managed, takes space and people and resources but it's the bread and butter of what your company does, good investment and assures desired level of quality and quantity. You'd be best served by a plug-and-play set up, both for quick expansion and for reduction in base resource usage when things are slow. Security issues will have to be split between physical and digital protections, Sunshine can't help you with physical security, not in our boat house, but if unless you have all that stuff worked out and just need bigger hard drives... you might want to go down and talk to Sunshine Innovations about your situation. It's unique, and my father loves unique. Give them rights to any proprietary technology they might invent along the way and you could even get it for comparative bargain."

She finally focused on Namor, once again. "Sorry... I like unique problems too. But dad's better at it. He's the work horse for the billion dollar company, not me." She also kinda wondered if Namor was just there for bigger hard drives or if she'd really sussed the issue out in her head correctly.

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Namor McKenzie
 Posted: Jul 6 2017, 07:32 PM
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Ellie was, Namor had surmised after a few moments, thinking aloud. He spoke, as Ellie had already noted, fluent English, but it wasn't his first language, nor was it the language he thought in, so he had to pay close attention to what the young woman was saying in order to understand it. He recognized all of the words, but some of the phrases were unfamiliar, and he had to both translate and extrapolate the meaning in real time.

Initially, she seemed to be ruminating on what sort of data would be coming in and how it would be sent back out again. Those were things he hadn't really thought about, as he generally left the nuts and bolts of Oracle's day-to-day operation to Carrie. He would occasionally tell her something specific he wanted to happen and she would either do it or inform him that it couldn't be done, but the 'how' of it usually wasn't on his radar. Unless, of course, there was something he needed to do to make it happen. Like provide capital.

Then Ellie switched to analyzing the internal requirements, which Namor found a lot easier to follow, largely because that was the part he'd actually studied up on. What she said in that regard made perfect sense, and when she finished up with a recommendation of her father's company, the Atlantean smiled.

"You remind me of Carrie," he said, then clarified, "my CEO, Carrie Alexander. Very smart, logical … " he looked for the right word, finally settling on, " … nimble. She would like you, I think, and I think you undersell yourself. But I would like to meet your father to speak more on this. Would you do me the kindness of introducing me to him?"

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Ellie Phimister
 Posted: Jul 8 2017, 04:33 PM
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She raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at the comparison to someone else. If there was another woman on earth that was just like her Ellie couldn't help but feel like she should find that individual, kill them, and do away with the body in a traditional European method for preventing vampires... the world wasn't ready for two of her. But then he specified that it was just in the way she had analized the whole thing. The word 'nimble' made her suspicious but otherwise Carrie Alexander was safe for the moment. "She sounds like she's underpaid, you should do something about that." Had to look out for the other smart ladies, after all.

"I never under-sell myself. Dad's smarter, I'm better with the ladies. Have better taste in them too, but I also have more choices so you can't hold that against the guy." If her father had been there she'd have ruffled his hair, since it was always messy anyway. Ellie then looked around, more as show than actually checking. "I'm afraid I've misplaced him. I'm at boarding school, his house and the ziggarat are out in the Pokonos. Or, at least the house used to be... I should ask." She'd blown a whole corner off the back side of the house when... she'd first expressed her mutation. She'd just assumed they'd fixed it but that would have been difficult, expensive, almost demanded explanation, and who knows if her mom had ever gotten around to coping with the events of that night.

"If you really want to I can ask him, we talk a lot by email, but for the business thing you'd probably want to have your CEO talk to his CEO... my mother."

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Namor McKenzie
 Posted: Jul 12 2017, 08:16 PM
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It took a few moments for Namor to interpret Ellie's remark about being better with the ladies for what it meant. Homosexuality among the sea people was not completely unheard-of, but it was quite rare. Within Atlantis itself it was tolerated, albeit not exactly encouraged, while in the provinces it was met with anything from strong disapproval to outright violence. For his own part, just imagining touching another that way man made his skin crawl, though he could absolutely understand taking pleasure in a woman's body.

"I enjoy the ladies myself," the Atlantean murmured, happy memories of a number of such enjoyments coming to mind, along with the less-happy awareness that he was going to have to marry, and soon. Flings with surface women were all good fun – once you got past how fragile they were – but they didn't secure the succession. For that he needed to choose one of the noblewomen from the list that the Imperial Council had drawn up. Maybe Xiomara? She wasn't Dorma, but then none of them were –

The young woman he was with was still speaking, and Namor dragged his wandering thoughts back in time to hear her mention the possibility of her emailing her father, and her recommendation of having Carrie contact her mother. "I will certainly do that if I decide to go with Sunshine Innovations," he said. "But I am old-fashioned in some ways and for something such as this I prefer to meet the – " he hunted for the closest English equivalent, "master crafter? The person who will be doing the work."

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Ellie Phimister
 Posted: Jul 15 2017, 02:35 PM
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"Look at that!" She proclaimed jubilantly as she thumped him on the shoulder with the top of her fist in a 'bro' gesture. "We've got something in common already!" The energy of the exchange scaled back quickly as she stuck her hands back in the pockets of her over coat and merely smirked in amusement at her antics in response to him trying to create connection through the use of 'me too' bonding. She got it a lot, being as she was, but knew full well being a jerk about it did nothing good for her. Drove her nuts watching others scream about wanting acceptance only to alienate anyone who tried to find common ground, Ellie wasn't going to be that girl.

She gave him a look. "Master... crafter..?" She snorted in renewed amusement. "Oh yeah, you're definitely old fashioned. Nobody ever wants to meet the people who do the work." Her mother's peers certainly didn't want to talk to the 'help' even if said help was the technical owner of the company. They liked not having grease on them too much. "And I stress 'people'. My dad doesn't do it all alone, he doesn't even do a quarter of it alone. He tinkers, he conceptualizes, and he innovates. He used to do it, but most of the work will come from the programmers and engineers who are paid to make his visions come to life. There are other thinkers there too. Hubert Jackman, Kris Evans, Sarah Johannsan, etc. They all work at the ziggarat, where the labs are... though I guess I could get you a visit out there if you're dead set on seeing what nerds grow up to look like."

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Namor McKenzie
 Posted: Jul 16 2017, 08:53 PM
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Namor was slightly surprised by the enthusiasm with which his offhand comment was greeted, but surfacers often reacted in ways he found to be odd or illogical. Add to that the fact that women both above and below the waves seemed to specialize in being inexplicable and he simply added this latest quirk to the ever-growing list, any intended sarcasm soaring unnoticed over his head.

Another mildly surprising detail was his actually feeling the thump on his shoulder. It didn't hurt -- his hybrid Atlantean physiology meant it would take a rocket to even raise a bruise – but he was still aware of the impact. Given that she was only a little over average height and didn't look all that strong, it was unexpected.

Ellie's offer to take him to meet her father and the man's – apprentices? – made him smile, but he still had one question. "That would be most welcome, but what is the ziggurat?" he asked. "I do not know that name."

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Ellie Phimister
 Posted: Jul 19 2017, 01:18 AM
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Her fist landed on rock, the unforgiving nature of the being underneath the playboy clothes and poncie haircut making the blow land a lot more solidly than it would have if he'd given way even slightly under the impact. Ellie was automatically on alert, a little voice in the back of her head suddenly crying out that the man in front of her had just returned to being an unknown quantity. "The Ziggurat, properly, is the nickname we gave the building that houses the primary research labs of Sunshine Innovations, it's all on the website though most of the good stuff is only posted on the recruitment pages to attract potential hires coming out of college"

She typed into her phone again, pulling up some of the pages of that very website and then holding up an image of the building in question. "It's got an office, and a conference room up near the top, for mom and anybody she's trying to impress by letting them brush up against greatness, but most of it looks kind of like what would happen if Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Gary Gygax, and Xander Cage started a company together in college. Beanbag chairs, glow in the dark posters, a low slung half-pipe, billion dollar research labs, computers so customized they don't have brandnames stamped on any of them, etc. Guys brainstorming the next military satellite interface security program while playing Borderlands 2 on the office XBox One. Somewhere in it all, my father working on six high profit projects while also figuring out if he can add procedurally generated complications to a game of 8 bit Pong."

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