1965-02-23 - Political Hobnobbing and Polynesian Peace-Keepers
Summary: Lorraine puts up with her father's political gathering while Doctor Strange finds a statuette with markings that beg further perusal.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
lorraine-reilly strange 

This was going to be one big SNORE.
Lorraine Reilly, done up to the nines in a classic white Grecian-style gown and high heels, loved her father very much, but he was a traditional politician. Which meant pressing the flesh at various functions. When her birthday came up on July 16th, she was going to choose a party at a dance hall.
She looked at the flute of champagne in her hand, then set it down on a table and began wandering hoping she wouldn't have to take any more pictures with strangers who wanted to show up in a snapshot with "The Senator's Daughter." That ought to be her official title, she thought.

At least one other attendee would agree with the prognosis of ennui brought on by crippling levels of political banter behind bright smiles and flickering tongues. He's to be found on the fringes of the gathering, far more interested in a particular small item on display behind museum-grade glass. Cleaned to flawless transparency, the clear box vouchsafes a tiki statue. It's a small thing, not much taller than six inches at most, delicately carved with esoteric patterns in a language long lost to the impossible distance of oceans between mainland and its home island chain. Inlaid seashells reflect back the ambient light and Strange hums thoughtfully to himself as he reads through the runes yet another time. It's difficult to decipher precisely what the curse's warning is, but maybe if he cross-references his memories of ancient Polynesian glyphs, the glaringly grammatical errors will clear up. In his hand, a highball glass of golden whiskey with a single spherical iceberg afloat. His is a classical tuxedo, white shirt and black tie beneath the custom suit; his pocketsquare is crimson silk…and right now, it's behaving itself because someone gave it a very stern look earlier in the night.

"That can't be accurate…" he murmurs to himself, loudly enough that someone passing by might hear. "You can't enact both of those things at the same time. Someone's yanking my chain."

Lorraine looks up at the sign overhead. "Artifacts of the Islands," she says. She's been to Hawaii, of course. But a lot of these items look very old. She isn't the type to get grabby, but she only sees the artwork.
She stops at the tiki statue, peering at it, then nearly bumps into the man in the suit. Damn high heels.
"Sorry," she says apologetically.

A sharp sniff accompanies Strange's attempt to keep his drink from spilling on himself or any part of the museum — oh good, success — and his expression shifts from arch to far more polite once he turns and realizes precisely what happened.

"It's alright," he replies, checking once more than nothing has dripped. No need for someone to take a step and consequently slip to a most disastrous end. "No harm done." He glances to the statuette once again. "At least, not at this time. Enjoying yourself?" The good Doctor can small-talk; it's an art finely honed over the years of neurosurgical societal gatherings.

Lorraine pffts. "The museum's nice. But all these stuffed shirts, the band playing Mozart instead of Coltrane, the little finger sandwiches which make you wish you could get some deep-fried chicken wings…" She sighs. "Sorry. My name's Lorraine Reilly." She extends her hand to Strange.

"Ah, Miss Reilly." Strange returns the handshake with no more pressure than necessary and even executes the barest hint of a bow in the inclination of his head. Rather than outdated, the gesture might seem charming in the long run, an affectation far more real than not.

"Not your type of gathering, I presume? I find the music to be a nice accompaniment to the atmosphere." Drawing a half moon outwards with his drink notes the entire shindig, with the glitteratzi as well as displays meant more as conversation starters than to educate the attendees.

Lorraine chuckles. Holding out on her. Oh, well, so what. Guy's entitled to his anonymity. Something she could certainly savor if she ever had it.
"Maybe…I guess I'm just bellyaching. Poor Little Rich Girl." She points out the tall man with grey hair, smiling wryly. "My father. Senator Reilly if you care. He's the last of the stand-up politicians. I should be the Dutiful Daughter and smile more, but some of the people he has to deal with…"

Strange follows her point and his lips part in a quiet 'ah' of recognition.

"Now I truly understand your reticence. The spotlight isn't for everyone." He sips at his drink before looking back to her. "I'm Doctor Stephen Strange. As to why I'm here, well… You could say a friend of a friend." He doesn't look precisely bemused, but there's a subtle twinkle in his eyes. "I'm far more intrigued by the displays, since we're being candid. Politics have never been of great interest to me. What do you think of this?" The good Doctor nods towards the proto-Polynesian statuette in its pristine box. "What impression does it give you?"

Lorraine looked at it for a moment. She took a deep breath, then exhaled. "It looks like it's bored with all the blood spilled before it," she says softly. This is something different, the crack in the public shell. This is a surprisingly morbid thought, but completely honest.

The good Doctor's steely-blues slide from the statuette to the young woman. His gaze lingers and they narrow the slightest before a small smile curves his lips.

"That's an interesting take. I appreciate your honesty. Others probably would have attempted to impress with information from the placard or a stab in the dark at simplistic artistical analysis." The ball of ice clinks against the sides of his crystal glass as he shifts in place, looking beyond her briefly out through the crowd. "It's very bored and it should stay that way."

"All I see is a guy with a weapon. Someone looks like that while carrying a killing implement, they don't even enjoy killing anymore, but it's not distaste." She looks to the doctor. "I know criminal law, not art. I read people. I'm just glad someone agrees with my assessment of a killer statue. What kind of doctor are you? Medical, or another kind?"

"Medical, mostly." Another sip of whiskey disappears, the museum lights glinting through the amber liquid and refracting through the melting ice cube. "Neurosurgery. I consult as need be and act as physician as necessary. Are you still studying within your field then? In criminal law?"

Strange's face turns away as he glances to her father once more. The man doesn't appear to have realized that his daughter is nowhere nearby. "I assume your father is proud of this…?" A lift of brows invites further opinion from her.

Lorraine smiles. "This is really his gig. Sometimes, you have to stand back, swallow your ego, and let someone have their time. Dad's been Senator for five years, and he already has to think about the election next year. Why ruin things by acting like a prima donna?" She winks. "I'm not the kind of girl who craves attention. Look at me, look at me…no. I'm thinking about either becoming a public defender, or maybe run for office myself. Make a difference any way I can."

"Indeed," he replies and laughs quietly, especially at the line regarding prima donnas. "Your attempt to garner attention is far more humanitarian in the end and to be lauded." He smiles too, an easy curl of lips. "I'm in staunch support of anything that keeps this world spinning and at peace — relatively speaking." The good Doctor shrugs.

The orchestra shifts to a piece by Vivaldi and he begins tapping his foot lightly in time with the beat. "Still, if you're not one for the spotlight, why run for office? That involves quite a bit of spotlighting last I observed." Another nod towards her father, the crux of most attention at the moment.

Lorraine laughs merrily. "Senator? Nahhh, too rich for my blood. I was think ombudsman, or alderman. If I do well, maybe even mayor…"
"Lorraine!" The Senator comes forward. A crickety kind of man, but ebullient, personable, and not too haughty. "And Dr. Strange! How serendipitous! I was hoping you would come by!" Senator Reilly smiles to Lorraine. "The top neurosurgeon in the field, Lori. Hands steady as a Democrat in Congress." He winks. "I hope he's not burying you in honeyed words and smooth talk."
"Actually, DAD, we were have a very nice conversation about perception and goals."
Senator Reilly nods approvingly. "She's a very smart young lady, doctor. Sharp as a tack, heart as big as all outdoors…"
"And STILL gets uncomfortable being talked about in the third person while she is HERE, Dad." She sounds aggrieved, but there is a note of affection in it.

Strange straightens the slightest as they're approached by Lorraine's father. His smile is a mild one, entirely polite, not overly-effusive or anything close to boredom.

"Don't butter me too heavily now, Senator. I should congratulate you on your successful term," he says when given a chance. "Your daughter is set to make her mark upon history as well, from what she tells me. You should be proud."

The senator sighs. "She should become a REAL lawyer. Criminal law is going to make you old before your time, mark my words. Estate law, that is what you should be doing…"
"Dad, there are thousands of people out there who need HELP. LEGAL help. Rich in body, poor in soul. Forget it."
Reilly sighs. "See what I have to deal with, doctor? The slightest nudge towards something lucrative, and she just BLOWS UP on me." He smiles. "I know the fledgling social programs are going to bear heavy fruit."
Lorraine bites her lip, but says nothing.
"Anyway, talk to her, doctor. You have a very successful career, a lifestyle any man would envy. Talk her out of this socialist dream she has about helping the downtrodden and get to a place where she can have REAL power." He looks over Lorraine's shoulder and smiles. "Mr. McQueen! How good of you to come…"
And then he is off again.
"Social programs. Another word for getting poor men into the Army to swell the ranks of soldiers in Vietnam."

Strange can play the social scene well enough; his smile even deepens as if he appreciates the man's thoughts. However, a slow sigh is the good Doctor's immediate response. He waits until the Senator is deeply involved in the latest conversation before speaking again, his voice pitched low as to avoid garnering further interest from those around them. Of course the room noticed Senator Reilly parading in their direction, even if he has moved on by now, busy political bumblebee that he is.

"Respectfully, I'm going to have to disagree with your father. I understand his position on social programs, but he's sorely wrong if he thinks my stance is grounded in the…lucrative nature of neurosurgery. What is there to defend if our society's infrastructure falls from within?" He nods to Lorraine again before he sips at his whiskey. "Your goals are good ones, Miss Reilly. Continue on your path."

Lorraine sighs. "I love my father. He's a good man, and he wants me to have a good future. But I can tell that my life is most likely going to end up as a life of quiet desperation." She looks to Strange. "People take garbage from their homes, put them in the cans, put the cans at the curb. But if the garbagemen aren't there to deal with the constant influx of trash, the city fills up with filth." She chuckles. "No such thing as small jobs, only small people. and if I become the legal equivalent of a garbage man, I'll be content as long as I see the streets are clean." She smirks. "Not a lofty thing to aspire to…but maybe I'm just not very ambitious."

"Spirit guttering already?" Strange asks this with a touch of mentorship in tone, his brows knitting. "Tsk. And who counts themselves worthy enough to deem what is a lofty task in society? Only those short-sighted. As you said, the garbagemen keep the streets clean. Janitors ensure that buildings are ready for the next day's use. Perhaps it doesn't come with blue ribbons or glistening trophies, but society continues to function due to them. You are only small if you frame your job and yourself as such. You," he gestures at Lorraine with his drink, "decide your limits. Is anything truly impossible in the end…?"

If she's lucky, she'll catch the brief flare of ultraviolescence in his eyes. Maybe it's just the play of the light in the museum. Lots of reflective surfaces, after all.

Lorraine looks thoughtful. "Well…I can't *fly.*" She giggles. "Well, I've been here long enough and I've stayed as long as I promised my father I would. Now, I'm going to get out of here, dump this gown for some REAL clothes, and pick up a bowl of chow mein at this place in Chinatown that's getting rave reviews." She smirks. "Keep me in mind if you run into any innocent bystanders who need a sawbones to patch a bullet hole and a shyster to protect them from the twistoid what shot 'em."

The good Doctor lifts his drink in the vein of his distantly charming manner and gives her a half-smirk. Ah, the young.

"Salud to you too, Miss Reilly. Enjoy your chow mein and I'll be certain to consider you if I run into those exact circumstances. For now, this," and he extends a scarred finger to point towards the dark-wood statuette, " — requires my immediate attention."

Lorraine nods. "Whatever rings your bell, Dr. Strange. Tell the little warmonger to give peace a chance, okay?" She smiles and strides away towards the entrance to the museum, putting the Strange man and the strange idol behind her.
She seemed okay with that. She was sure Strange is normal.

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