A backlog between Duncan and Vivaine, way back when. DUN DUN DUN.
It was a bright and sunny morning (in the Saffron Underground Labs, so not actually sunny and only florescent bright) as a younger, slightly more optimistic Duncan Heimdall Jackson made his way from his office down to the labs proper. The Aerodactyl Project was really taking off. He felt like they were on the verge of a big breakthrough in the gene re-sequencing; maybe they'd even start being able to actually clone something soon!
Under one arm was a folder containing several paper reports and a data disk, and in his other hand was a mug of coffee picked up from the breakroom on his way down. He adjusted the files under his arm so he could enter the code on the door leading into the labs, and then pulled it open--
Except he didn't. A second glance at the keypad revealed that the little light above it was still red. He tried entering the code again, only to have it flash red at him. Several other frustrated attempts yielded the same result.
He finally just stepped back, staring in dismay at the monolithic door blocking his entry, feeling so frustrated and betrayed that he almost wanted to cry.
Life was wonderful.
She'd spent years slaving away for a chance like this. Not that she would consider her past work of little use or value, but she felt so much lighter now with such clear purpose and direction, she could hardly wait to get started on the new project.
Not that it was obvious she was pleased about this. All of that pleasure she kept tucked tightly inside, and her expression remained neutral, almost condescending, her chin level and her eyes forward as she walked through the hallways with her new assignment in hand. She looked down once to read the pin number she'd been given. She'd have it memorized by tomorrow.
Her head came up again as she turned the corner, a tall, thin figure in a white lab coat with startling blue eyes and a finely arched brow in Duncan's direction. She glanced at the door, then moved forward and entered a pin into the keypad.
Whoosh. The door opened and without another look at him, she stepped inside.
He heard the footsteps approaching from behind and looked back over his shoulder to see Vivaine. His eyes followed her as she walked up to the door and entered the PIN and--yes! Saved! He quickly followed her inside.
After a couple seconds or so, he cleared his throat and asked, "Did they, uh, change the PIN recently?"
She took only the briefest moment to glance about the lab- much more spacioius than the last one she'd been in, doing logwork of some sort- and then headed off to the left to find a free desk. She'd come early in the hopes of finding a good one that was close to the door and the equipment, finding a few already taken. Frowning, she just barely heard the noise- voice, rather- of the person behind her.
Oh, the boy from outside.
"This morning," she said. Her voice was smooth, low, and utterly disapproving. Was that a Team Rocket uniform he had on? She moved away again and sat down at an empty desk, setting her things down. It would do fine. She looked up again as though realizing something. "...oh, you must be one of the old team members."
Ugh, this morning. Figured nobody remembered to tell him. He had to -- old team members? "Uh... No, I work here. Currently, I mean. I'm on the Aerodactyl Project."
She watched him a moment, her eyes measuring him up, before she smiled, a dangerous curve of red lips that showed more than a little mockery. Her voice remained level, however, which made it seem hard to determine if it was just a mistake. "The what project? I'm sorry, I was told this one would supercede another, but I wasn't told which. Are you sure you weren't told? It's been talked about for a month or so, at least. The new project."
She crossed her legs, smoothing her hands over her black pencil skirt, red high heels looking as sharp as the rest of her. "Maybe you were simply switched over to this one. The gopher, perhaps? A shame they don't tell you more, it's rather unfair, even if all you do is fetch things..."
Oh, he did not like that smile. His face fell, hopeful optimism replaced by an uncertain frown. "N... No. I'm the project lead."
"Oh? You're..." She was doing it on purpose. Maybe. She leaned back, taking her portfolio in hand, flipping casually through the pages. "Dr. Redgrove?" she asked, drawing her eyes back up to him and leaning forward a little with the portfolio closing shut in her lap, an expectant look on her face.
"...No. Jackson. Duncan Jackson." She was starting to get frustrating. "Can I just get the new PIN from you?"
"Duncan... Duncan," she said instead, ignoring him in favour of the portfolio again and flipping through it. A white-edged fingernail went down a list and she clucked her tongue, looking back up to him with that toxic smile on her face again.
"I'm sorry. There's no Duncan Jackson on this list. That's really too bad- usually a researcher gets reassigned when their project gets cancelled... was it really going that badly?"
And yes, she ignored the question about the PIN.
On purpose. Totally on purpose.
His eyes narrowed into a glare. She was becoming perfectly infuriating. "The Aerodactyl Project has not been canceled, and I am the project lead, and I have not been reassigned, and could you please just tell me the new PIN."
Her expression remained calm. A rock in a sea of chaos. "The fossil projects have been cancelled," she said, her voice clear and unrelenting, "and will not be continued. As of today, the Mewtwo project will take precedence. I'm very sorry to hear that you had no idea of this, but it's been talked about for some time now. You should have received a memo." A memo. As though a memo would ever be enough to explain away a year of research. Poor Duncan.
Not that she cared. "I'm afraid that is authorized information, pertinent only to members of this project's team."
"My project is not canceled!" Punctuated by the WHAM of one hand, and files held therein, slamming onto her desk. "Tell me the goddamn PIN so I can get on with my work, you smarmy bitch!"
The smile remained and she shook her head. "Please refrain from using such language, Mr. Jackson. It's unnecessary. All the name calling in the world will not change the fact that you are no longer working on the Aerodactyl project, or on any other project that I know of. And if your temper continues to escalate, I will call security to escort you outside of this laboratory so that I might begin my work."
There was a hardness in her voice, barely a jump in the face of his tantrum. "I'm not in the habit of telling lies, Mr. Duncan. If you have any issues with the matter, you may speak to my superior or someone of higher authority. Or your own scattered team members." She turned her attention to the things on her desk, sorting them properly again.
Oh, fuck this. She was obviously not worth talking to, and he had work to do, because his project was most definitely not canceled =|! (yet).
He snatched his files back, stepping away from the desk. "Good luck with Redgrove. Maybe he's finally figured out the difference between DNA and RNA." And with that he stormed off, down to his own work center (because his project had its own lab, not just a desk in the front office area, bitch. Yeah, what).
Vivaine looked up, without a word said. And she smiled as he stalked out of the laboratory, relishing the sound of his shoes on the sterile floor, the only other sound besides her chair creaking as she leaned back.
If only it were as the boy said. One less obstacle in the way of her becoming the project leader...