An Offer Difficult to Refuse

Characters: Linda Danvers, Barbara Gordon
Rated: PG
Summary: Linda is always on the lookout for the best talent in the sciences and technology. She comes to visit Barbara Gordon to try to interest her in a mutually beneficial business arrangement.
OOC Date: 2018-02-07
IC Date: 2018-01-28
Where: Barbara's home on the Upper East Side of Gotham, New Jersey

Always on the lookout for the newest, freshest, brightest talent, Linda Danvers isn't shy about going anywhere to see anyone she thinks might be able to thrive at StarTech and help push forward the boundaries of what science and technology can do to make the world a better place. It's her mission. Her reason for being. The very founding principle of StarTech, years ago when she was just a teenager. And that has never changed.

That is what brings her to Gotham today. She has been to the city many times over the years, but she rarely stays long; she is far more at home in the City of Tomorrow that Metropolis has become after Brainiac's transformative visit. Genius, however, knows no border, no boundary and no exclusion. That is why she is here today.

The tall blonde climbs out of the back of a simple town car. "Thanks, Bobbi. Can you do me a favor? Loop around the block a few times. If I'm not back in fifteen minutes, go ahead and find some place to park. Maybe get yourself something to eat or something to read or both. I'll text when I'm done."

That said, the young CEO dressed in a navy blue pantsuit with a crimson blouse and wearing a pair of those StarGazeR glasses, steps off the street and onto the sidewalk, heading for the entrance to the property of a simple white one-story home. It's a rather unassuming thing, and its security features are subtle and not at all ostentatious. Even the bars on the windows are low-key. Linda walks up to the porch, climbs the ramp there, and rings the doorbell, then waits patiently beside the box mounted there, figuring at least two cameras must be on her already, and that a voice will be coming out of that speaker any moment now.

Linda seems to have estimated the situation correctly. The intercom crackles to life almost before the CEO has actually pressed the doorbell. It's a cheerful, matter-of-fact voice that greets her, reminiscent of a young schoolteacher or librarian. Of course, that is supposedly precisely what Barbara is so perhaps this is not by accident.

"May I help you?" There's nothing threatening or irritable in that tone. Babs doesn't need to be. the security shutters and internal bars on the window already say everything she needs to about how seriously she takes her security. "If you're looking for Mr. Meyer he's at 36502, not 36052. We get that mistake all the time. or perhaps-"

"Pardon me, Miss Gordon." Linda offers, as she steps back and tilts her chin up, meeting the gaze of one of those cameras dead on. "I don't mean to interrupt, and I apologize. But I thought I'd save us at least a little bit of time and just confirm that I came to see you. That I do actually know where I am, and whom I'm here to see." The blonde pauses, and offers a smile. "That is, assuming I can convince you to meet with me. My information is that you do not do so lightly, and I respect that. If you will permit, my name is Linda Danvers. Given how intelligent I believe you to be, I am going to guess you don't need me to say anything else to know who I am, and probably make some guess as to why I might want a chance to talk to you?"

"Well, you did come all the way here," Barbara responds slowly. "I already looked up who you were when you were coming up to my door.I just thought it was possible it wans't for me… Mmm. I am going to tell you now that I don't know that we have a lot to discuss, Ms. Danvers, but…" There's a beep andthe door pops visibly as the latches come undone. "The least I can do is at least allow you inside. Would you like something to drink? The living room is on the left."

Inside, it's all hardwood floors. A foyer for hanging pshoes and coats, and then on the left a couch, entertainment center, and coffee table. Prenty of room is kept on the left for someone to insert a chair. "Is there anything I can get you…?"

Linda pauses a second after the door pops, just as a normal person would waiting to see if someone might be opening it the rest of the way. Then the blonde extends her hand, lightly and slowly pushing the door open, being careful thusly in case Barbara is at all behind said door. Of course, Kara knows she isn't, but Linda couldn't know that. It's all part of the life she lives to respect those limitations.

Linda steps inside, then closes and latches the door, assuming that the locks will re-engage when Barbara wants them to do so. Then she steps towards the left, as directed, towards said living room. She glances around as any rational person who can't see straight through walls anyway and has already examined the layout might, and turns towards the voice when Barbara speaks without a speaker.

"I would not say no to some water, if it isn't too much trouble. But I realize I am imposing without calling first. You'd be within your rights not to put yourself out that way." Linda responds, offering a warm but mostly neutral, unassuming smile. She really is that polite, and forthright. Many people find it disconcerting the way she openly considers others' viewpoints, discusses them, and then reacts to them without rancor. She's a very canny negotiator, for a science geek.

"You have a nice home, Miss Gordon. Not that I expected anything less. Thank you, for agreeing to see me"

"Of course. You came all this way. The least I could do is actually hear you out before declining oour offer. I presume you want me to join your company in some flattering capacity? One of your Heads of R&D? System Administration…?" Barbara emerges from the kitchen with a glass in her lqap and a large thermos presumably filled with water. She moves fairly slowly in this ocnfiguration but she manages without help.

The glass is set out and then carefully filled from the thermos before Barbaraturns her gaze onto Linda's. She offers a beatific smile as the drink is slid across the table. "I don't see how there's anything I couldp provide your company you couldn't already manage without me…"

A tiny bit uncomfortable with looming over the other woman, Linda gestures to one of the chairs. "Mind if I sit?" she inquires, and then does so, accepting the glass when it is offered and taking a sip. She knew this would be a challenge, and she's willing to face that challenge. That's why she came.

"It's true. I do want to offer you the opportunity to work with my company." Linda offers. Honesty is always her default. It just is who she is, after all. "I was thinking that you would best function as a project head for a computer programming team, studying heuristic algorithms and machine learning for adaptive data mining systems." Yes. Linda just quoted one of the paper titles from Barbara's own graduate studies.

"My impression, from what I've read of your papers and your writings, indicates that you are someone who wants to see the world become a better place." Linda offers. "Not necessarily aiming for big or flashy. You believe in helping a single student. A single person seeking knowledge. And I respect that a great deal." She shrugs those broad shoulders of hers. "All too many futurists look for the big things, the grand gestures, and lose sight of the change that can be done in smaller ways that grow with time and expansion."

Linda looks Barbara in the eyes, despite those intervening glasses both of them wear. "I really appreciated your ideas. I wanted to help you bring them to reality. I thought together we could keep trying to make the world a better place." Having said enough, at least for now, Linda pauses and waits, taking a sip of her water as she lets Barbara take the opening and respond. She can only hope she has piqued the interest of this brilliant woman, convinced her to at least discuss the matter further.

"No, not at all. Sit wherever you like." Barbara makes a vague gesture toward Linda with her left hand and then settles into listen. she takes a deep breath and holds it as the woman speaks, listening to her list off Barbara's own papers and play to he benevolence. It has the redhead gnawing on her bottom lip, visibly considering everything Lina has had to say to her. Finally she takes a deep breath and holds it for a few beats.

"You're behind," the woman reproves gently. "I've already moved past studying heuristic algorithms and I've been considering how to implement my findings." Barbara clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth before she continues. "You'd need to devote a tremendous amount of resources to a project that might not actually have visible returns in the immediate term. I'm sure you understand that; it's how research works in the first place. And I'd need to have final say on how the project is being operated…"

Silence is allowed to settle in. It's almost deafening.The blue-eyed redhead at the computer bank holds it there, letting the hum of the computers fill the room. Then the clock begins to strike. Ding…. Ding… Ding… Five PM in all. "I don't need to be paid in cash. I need a series of computer banks set aside for my personal use. We can work out the details, but believe it or not my private project will probably improve the prospects of your work."

Barbara watches Linda with an arched brow, no doubt expecting her to decline.

Interestingly enough, Linda doesn't bat an eye at the possibility that she is 'behind'; she had rather assumed that the brilliant woman whose research she'd read probably hadn't stopped working, no matter what else was going on. And she wouldn't publish until she had it perfected, together with the defenses against it. "Allocating tremendous resources to projects that may not have visible returns even in the medium term is the proper standard for financially supporting research and development efforts, Miss Gordon. And you know that." And Linda just proved she does, too. Not that it should be surprising; StarTech, Inc's reputation is damned solid, including a major win of one of the SpaceX prizes.

"I assumed that if we came to terms, one of the first parts of the project would be custom specifications for the hardware required, and financing for a facility to support them." The CEO explains. "I'll want suitable security protocols on the facility, to assure that only those we both clear for the project gain access, given the potentialities of the research. I think that should include facility support staff as well, just in case. And we'll want encrypted offsite backups and an on-site hardware lab for repairs and upgrades."

Linda considers Barbara for a bit before she continues. "I may from time to time ask you to consult on another project. You'll have a minimum of forty-eight hours notice, preferably ninety-six, and no consultation will last beyond a single ten hour work day unless you agree. And you will be compensated at twice your factored hourly rate for any such consultation, as well as assured credit in project notes and any copyrights or patents extending from that consultation."

Apparently Barbara hasn't scared Linda off just yet.

"What is this other project?" Barbara asks, tilting her head slightly as she does so. She takes a deep breath and holds it for a few beats. Barbara reaches down and undoes her left break befor pulling on the wheel so that she can swing herself around to properly watch Linda once more ."What is it you're really needing my help with, Ms. Danvers?"

Barbara shifts her weight slightly in her seat, a movement that causes her chair to rock slightly as she arranges herself into a more comfortable position. sh crosses her legs politely, a sitting pose with no meaning to Barbara any longer. She has to actually lift her right leg,but she manages. "I feel as though that's the real crux of this offer," she continues softly. "And I'm dangerously close to accepting as it is. At least on a trial baiss."

"Honestly, it could be any one of several different projects, should they veer into areas where your brilliance and expertise would be of value." Linda answers, unhesitatingly. One thing to know about this woman is abundantly clear: she leads with truth and confidence. She may not tell Barbara things she doesn't think Barbara needs to know, but she won't lie to her, and she'll tell her if asked, or tell her why she can't at a minimum. Her demeanor is crystal clear. "The one project I can think of immediately that may benefit from your talents would be the one we've undertaken to vastly improve the WorldWatching app and platform. It is my believe that the proper application of heuristic algorithms and machine learning engines would revolutionize what the app can already achieve."

The WorldWatching app was actually one of Linda's very own first projects: an app on some of the earliest smartphones that utilized their cameras, microphones and internet access to turn any willing party into a potential on the spot reporter, providing audio and video of ongoing situations. In recent years, Twitter has overtaken what WorldWatching can do, but clearly Linda has big ideas about once again leapfrogging ahead of others in the space. It could be a big thing for journalistic efforts around the world.

It might also really help to keep vigilantes aware of situations that might require their assistance, especially if intelligent systems can review the content and flag those of interest far faster than any human could review the materials.

Linda leans forward, offering that warm smile to the blue-eyed redhead again. "The real crux of this offer, Barbara, is the one I told you when I came through the door. It has been and remains the directed goal of StarTech, Inc. to make the world a better place through the intelligent application of science and technology. Improved recycling. Better renewable energy sources. Means of cleaning up and reversing pollution in water, on land, and in the air. And making our digital resources work for us to improve things. That is my goal. I just happen to think that your work offers an opportunity to make some of that a reality, and I want to help."

"About the WorldWatching program…" Barbara begins, studying Linda's features. She examines the woman's eyes and her smile, odding slowly as the blonde leans closer to her despite the fact they are both seated. Really, Linda is fair amunt taller even with Barbara in a chair, leaving the redhead to look upp to meet her eyes.

"I have some work that will go a fair ways toward boosting that project." Babs purses her lips for a second before continuing. "Theoretically for now. I haven't tested all of it. But… I think we can move things forward. Just as soon as we've gone over all of the paperwork of course."

Linda nods. "Alright. We'll discuss that possibility once we have agreed on the paperwork, and signed it. That way you are fully protected, and will be recompensed, as will be the project itself."

The blonde keeps those AR glasses on at all times. It's likely Barbara understands the principles of the very programs she uses well enough to realize the lines of the glasses would be ideal for breaking up facial recognition scans.

Linda stands and moves over to stand in front of Barbara, extending her hand. "I am a firm believer in being a woman of my word. I'll put this to my lawyers, have them draw up papers according to what we've discussed. When they're done, probably in a week, I'll be back to show them to you. You'll have as much time to review and consider them as you like." That said, Linda then pulls out a card from an inside pocket on her jacket, offering it to Barbara. It's a smart card, awakening to reveal its contents only when in a living hand. "Until then, you want or need anything, give me a call or send me a message. Those are my private and direct exchanges."

"Very well," Barbara agrees, nodding slowly. "Then I suppose I will hear from you in a week." another brief smile follows, a thoughtful no, and thenBarbara takes a deep breath. She collects the water glass and begins toward the kitchen in a careful way.

"I hope we'll have a chance to speak more," Barbara relates then. "But for now I am afraid you caught me in the midst of working. Is it alright if I let you see yourself out for tongiht and I'll be in touch? Perhaps we'll think of other reasons to speak in the mean time. I mean, I honestly have a lot of questions which should wait until after paperwork'sbeen dealt with, but…" Babs shrugs slightly as she disappears from the room and into the hallway.

The tall blonde offers a chuckle of warmth and amusement. "Given how interested I am in the fruits of all that hard work, I would be a terrible hypocrite if I complained that you wanted to get back to it when I showed up unannounced." Given a handshake and the exchange of the card, Linda is prepared to go, and nods. "Take care of yourself, Barbara, and call me, any time. I'll call in advance next time, to let you know the paperwork is done and set up a time to visit. I'll see myself out."

With that said and one more nod, the CEO does indeed see herself out, standing on the porch for a moment as her glasses adjust to shade, and then walks towards the car, which is just pulling into a space at the sidewalk once more. "Let's head back to the monorail. Thanks."

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