'Haunted' Room - Baldwin - Steranko Institute

For all the rumors, this is a fairly normal looking room. Loft style bed, desk, dresser. Whoever stays here (If anyone does, given the rumors of a 'ghost' haunting the place) is fairly fastidious person; books are neatly put up and alphabetized, and the same with the DVDs next to the TV on top of the dresser. There's a laptop on the desk, in easy reach of the bed if one were to lie down. The only thing really out of place is a well-worn bathrobe tossed over the back of the single chair. It's about as normal as room can get, which is, no doubt, why everyone suspects there to be some horrible secret about a ghost. Or maybe that's down to the way the furniture sometimes moves around by itself.


"Hey, you're—"

"Absolutely awesome, I know."

"-I was going to say, you're that adventurer pair's daughter, right? See, we've got a problem that I think you can help with-"

"… A GHOST?!" That (mad) cackle rings through Taylor Hall with a certain note of glee to it, leaving the prankster wincing from the teen's volume. "Go away, I'll deal with it!" Hesitation. "OUT I NEED TO CHANGE." This is probably followed by something being hurled at the prankster's head with a resounding crash and a possible explosion ("Ooops, that wasn't what I meant to throw… WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE?!").


There's probably some snickering as Cordelia tromps into Baldwin armed, steampunkily-speaking, for bear. "Hmm," she muses, studying the world through green-tinted lenses over a pair of chunky welder's goggles that somehow manage to not look absolutely ridiculous, rimmed as they are in brass and gold, "No readings on the aethrioscope, and the thermometrograph's not showing any cold spots…" Of course, she has to keep a quiet patter up for the sake of her recording device (there's probably one buried on her person somewhere). She stuffs an instrument away, then knocks perfunctorily upon the door… and then opens it just as quickly.

The room seems…empty, for the most part, and still. There's a bathrobe thrown over the back of a chair, and book left open and facedown on a pillow. Just an aggressively normal room, except…let's go back to that book for a moment. The facedown one? It's actually a few inches -above- the pillow, hovering, and sort of gently moving up and down as if it were, say, propped on someone's chest or face while they were breathing. That's a little odd, for certain.

Pulling out a device again, Cordelia mutters something about percussive maintenance and whacks it against her gloved hand a few times. It burbles, cheeps, and finally dings with a wheeze of steam. "Oh, come /on/," she grumbles. "It's right /there/." She points at the floating book, then glares accusingly at her device (it dings faintly apologetically).

"Fine! I'll have to do this mySELF!" (Somewhere, lightning flashes and thunder rumbles ominously). She checks her holster again, having managed to sneak it out of her dorm without anyone catching her, then pulls her goggles off and tinkers with them. "Rewire the aetheric converter… /ha/." She pulls her goggles back on, the lenses having gone to marksman's yellow, and marches towards the bed as the final fizz-spark of the lens conversion takes place.

In the bed? Oh, hey, really, really tall guy; about six foot three, and fairly well built- this much is obvious because he's only in his boxers and is apparently, asleep, presumably having dozed off reading a geometry text. (That being the book.) He's got it over his face, presumably to shield him from the light of the desk lamp. This is…fairly obviously not your typical ghost. What kind of spirit from the other side -takes a nap-?

"…" Not, mind, that Cordelia hasn't seen people wearing less, but she's rapidly going over the possibilities, and somewhere, a lightbulb flickers into existence with a puff of smoke and steam that could practically be coming out her ears. Her eyes narrow behind the goggles, and she pushes them back. Yep. Guy gone. On? Guy there. Off? Guy gone. On? Guy there.

"Hmm, I wonder…" She pulls a case from her bandolier and advances upon the bed with a pair of oversized tweezers in hand, intent on yanking a sample of the sleeping not-ghost's hair and stowing it in the petri dish she's got in her other hand.

Once you yank the hair? It's visible, even with the goggles off! On the other hand, the guy wakes up almost immediately, with an "Ow! What the hell!" Beat. "Oh god, not -again-."

"Thank you for your contribution to Science," Cordelia says politely, clambering back down to perch on the back of his desk chair, feet on the seat (complete with jet boot extensions). She doesn't apologize, however, save to note, "This'll be really useful in my study of how invisibility factors into natural selection and how to counter the difficulties in detecting sources of it." She taps her goggles as indication of previous experiments. "So, since you're /not/ a ghost — never met a ghost who /had/ hair to pull — who're you?"

Miles sits up, and hangs over the side of the bed half-upside down to look at her. "Well, you may want to keep in mind that my invisibility's a psychic projection, not…actual lightbending or whatever. I just convince the eye that you don't see me. Or smell me. I'm not sure how that one works so much. Is there a reason you invade people's rooms to experiment on them without asking, or am I just lucky? And no, I'm not a ghost. I'm a student. Came here to try to figure out how to make my invisibility -turn off-. No luck som far, though."

"Pff." Cordelia waves Miles' explanation off dismissively. "The sources aren't all /that/ different, just the traditions behind 'em. Clarke's third law, and Niven's Law as a corollary." She waves her apologetically-dinging sensor-device at him as example (however good a one is dubious). Watching him hang upside-down makes her grin before she stows the device, pulling out a notepad and scribbling observations.

When he mentions turning /off/ the invisibility, however, her fountain pen stills, leaving a blot of ink behind. She lifts her gaze from the page, an unholy mixture of delight and abstracted Scientific Contemplation upon her face. "I CAN HELP!"

Miles eyes the dinging sensor. Eyes the rocket boots, and finally just asks. "…How…exactly? Wait. Aren't you in my neohuman history class? You scraped all the plastic backing off the book cover and used it to make a bomb or something."

"Well, the professor was getting the motives behind a lot of World War II wrong, so I made a flashbang to catch attention because my hand was getting ignored," Cordelia points out in a perfectly reasonable tone. "I can help discern the causes behind your invisibility and then fix them. I'm going to need blood samples, though — and don't worry, I won't make /them/ explode-" That's /so/ comforting. "-or use them for anything else."

She beams and adds, after a moment, "Besides, /I/ can see you."

That last sentence would be whe he very carefully reaches for his robe on the back of her chair and pulls it up into the bed with him. "Geeze, tell a guy that -first-, would you?" Miles sighs. "You're…Cordelia, right? I'm Miles. You've probably heard my name called a few times, but never saw anyone in my seat. I guess one more blood sample every few days can't hurt; they do the same at the infirmary."

"Would I have yanked your hair and stowed samples if I /hadn't/ been able to see you?" Cordelia notes, a sardonic note of logic in her voice. "Yes, I'm Cordelia Savage. And hm, the Infimary takes blood samples and they /haven't/ made any progress? Tsk! I can do better." She clicks her tongue and shakes her head, her hair echoing the back and forth movement.

This is when his first comment makes an impact, and she follows the route of the robe up to the bed, one eyebrow cocked in echo of her earlier sardonic tone. "I've seen people wearing less," she notes. "Not like /I/ care." Pause. "Oh. Good to meet you, Miles."

"For all I know you were groping me in my sleep until you found my head," Miles points out. "But nice to meet you, too."

Cordelia makes a face. Her eyes are hidden behind those odd lenses, however, so that impact's lost — all there is is a horrified nose-wrinkle and downturn of her lips. "Ew. No. The only interest I have in you is scientific, I assure you." She hops off of the chair. "And maybe to get revenge on your dorm-mates for making me think there was an actual aetheric manifestation of personality or even a temporal personification in your room. But I think blowing up their rooms would be frowned upon."

He holds up a hand. "Let's just say it wouldn't be the first time, so I'm kind of naturally suspicious." He shrugs. "As for revenge, I know where they keep their shampoo they use in the showers. I mean, I'm not saying…but I'm just sayin'."

That look of teenage grossed-out-ness deepens. "Eww. Oh, eww." She still doesn't apologize for her own actions, but at his mention of revenge, she straightens her spine and turns a smile that's all tooth on him. "So," Cordelia says, rubbing her gloved hands together with scientific glee, "Right. Dyeing it's too passe — I'm sure I could put something to create massive growth within a few days. Or to sear out the hair follicles for a month or so — perma-shaven for that long. Or hmm." She muses on this for a moment or two. "It's so predictable, though. I'd be sure to be checking my shampoo daily if I lived in this dorm." She just… blows up her dorm room sometimes instead.

Miles suggests, "I was thinking of your glue bomb, myself. The one that expanded on contact with air? So even if they just open the bottle to -test- it…"

"But I perfected that— oh. You want to use the one that exploded? I could probably make it spatter pink across the walls when it exploded, too. And girly scented that'd linger." Pause. Cordelia: not so good with the prank planning. She looks up at Miles and quirks an eyebrow. "Do you always wander around in a bathrobe or your boxers?"

Scratching the back of his head, Miles admits "Well, yeah. If it's warm out or I have an early class. No one's gonna notice, and frankly, what the hell am I supposed to -do- with a color-coordinated uniform?"

Cordelia rolls her eyes behind the goggles — it's echoed by a faint head-roll as well, so it's at least intuitable. "So! If I'm to help you, do you have ideas of where you acquired this disability?"

"Oh, that's an easy one. My grandfather was the Nightwraith. Vigilante back in the thirties and forties. Made himself invisible, could fill minds with fear, fought crime with a pair of pistols and a good right hook. Apparently the psychic stuff skipped a generation."

"Oh! I know that name! I used to read stories about his exploits — all veiled, of course, by fiction and the disclaimer of reality." Cordelia sits upright and claps in delight, a childish gesture she's never really grown out of, evidently. She picks up her discarded notepad moments later, scribbling notes in a mixture of heiroglyphs, shorthand and messy cursive. "Are you able to induce panic as well, or did that skip you?"

"Oh, I can. But I at least have some control over it. _Some_. Most of the time if I've got it turned on I can keep it down to just touching someone, or them touching me, but it can spread out to about, oh…anybody who comes within about 40 feet of me if I get startled. YOu're lucky I was asleep when you pulled my hair out. _It_ turns off when I sleep."

Cordelia flicks her free hand in dismissal of this. "Experimental hazard," she states. "Besides, I'm pretty tough-minded and I've seen enough that it doesn't bug me much." She scribbles more notes. "I'm going to see if I can get your records or something, or help out at the med lab as well as doing my own tests on the side."

Miles waves a hand himself. "Knock yourself out. Me, I guess I should get back to memorizing formula for the test. Not that it really -matters- since I'm repeating next year, but hey, I'll be able to coast or something, I guess."

"Formulae," Cordelia corrects in a moment of scientific primness. "And coasting's stupid." She scribbles a final couple notes in her little notebook, then gets to her feet. "Don't forget, you volunteered." And, with a final shark's grin, she disappears out the door.

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