1876/Moral Compass

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Moral Compass
Date of Scene: 27 May 2020
Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Synopsis: Felicia Hardy meets a young man named Alexander whose questions on morality rival her own ideas...and doubts.
Cast of Characters: Alexander Aaron, Felicia Hardy

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    One could still see small tell-tale signs of the event of last night. The social gathering with some of the city's elite welcoming the arrival of the Blais and Frond rare gemstone collection. A storied gathering of refined works of art and metalwork coupled with gems that have their fair share of blood upon them from the many hands that they've crossed. The gathering, the wars fought, the transition and use in the underworld... each one has a story to tell.
    And almost all of those stories are grim.
    Yet that was yesterday, when the place was done up with decorations, when the gems were on full display, when champagne was served to the elite of the city. Some of the decorations are still in place, and the announcements are still on the bulletin boards near the front doors. But now... the gems have been turned over for the pleasure of the viewing public.
    It is there that many people wander in and out of the main display hall. The afternoon hour quickly giving way to the evening as the shadows outside have turned long. Fewer and fewer people wander into the museum to take in the sights. But there is one at the least who has taken up a place near the velvet ropes that create the line area to wait for the display.
    And that one is Alexander Aaron. A blond youth, clad in casual clothing. Jeans, a black t-shirt with an image of a kitten dangling off a cliff and grasping upwards with the caption, 'Hang in there baby!' clear across the shirt. A backpack is set on the bench seat beside him and for now, his attention is more on the people around than those lovely exhibits.

Felicia Hardy has posed:
One of the city's socialites has made her way to the museum, as well. A statuesque young woman with silvery blonde hair upswept neatly, curls only spilling down around her face. She has a sombre and serious demeanor, but there is a hint of enthusiasm that sparkles in her eyes now some shade of blue with a sparkle of green. She is dressed in a black leather skirt that stops well-short of knee length, and knee-high boots of the same soft, muted leather. A black translucent scarf with silver sparkles wraps gently just off her shoulders, enshrouding a haltered silver top, tied at a bow behind her neck.

She looks more like someone who'd probably be buying gems than admiring them. But here she is, all the same. Perhaps to admire. Perhaps planning to acquire. Sparkles are sparkles, all the same. She gives the young man in the kitten tee a cursory glance, furrowing her brow slightly. He doesn't look like the average patron, but then, who is she to judge? She offers him a faint smile as her eyes drift toward the display.

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    The ebb and flow of people is what draws the eye, that flow of the citizenry wandering and drifting, corralled at points by the small man-made barriers that are meant to guide people in a cultivated precision past each item worthy of remark. Then those same barriers guide them back out. It's near the exit that that blond youth sits on a bench that's somewhat plastic, formed from recycled materials in all likelihood.
    But if he's people watching, there's no mistaking the silhouette of Felicia as she wanders through that crowd, leaving a subtle wake in her passing of people looking, then looking again. Curiousity, attraction, present on various features as they watch her approach.
    But then she catches the eyes of that youth settled there, one leg drawn up on the bench-seat with him, his arms around his knee. Their eyes meet for a moment and she gets a look at him. Pale, very pale skin, and... hazel eyes? A light blue twinned with jade green that lends something eerie to his features as he meets her gaze. Then tilts his head slightly as a smile rises to meet her own.
    He lifts a hand to give a small wave.

Felicia Hardy has posed:
And there he sits. There's often one in every crowd who piques Felicia's interest for some reason or another. Those eyes, and that pale skin. He doesn't look familiar to Felicia in the least, but there is a familiarity there that cannot be denied. She lowers her head slightly to the young man in greeting, as her eyes dart back toward the exhibit, and her lips perk in a slightly crooked smile that hints at playfulness. "Waiting for someone?" she asks. "You look like you may've been here awhile." She tucks a black clutch beneath her arm and idly brushes back a wayward curl from her eyes.

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    He looks barely twenty, perhaps a year less, and to be fair he has a handsome curve to his features. If only someone would take a comb to that wild blond hair. But when she speaks to him his features light up with the slightly wry half-smile that makes its home on the corner of his features. "I..." He starts as he looks away then to the room itself, to the displays.
    "Was pondering all of the security options in the room. While I waited for my study partner." He withdraws a cellphone from his pocket and casually swipes it to life with the brush of a thumb. Then his eyes meet hers again once he knows the time. "Who is now fifteen minutes late."
    His head bobs as he nods a touch, then turns to look across the room, not spotting them for now. He looks back and sits up a little. "Please feel free to have a seat, if you like." His hand gestures to the side casually.

Felicia Hardy has posed:
With an arched brow, Felicia considers the exhibit, and the people meandering past. But the young man had her at "security measures." She seats herself with a smirk.

"Well, in /that/ case..." she says as she sits down on the bench, giving a casual glance over the security cameras and motion sensors around the room as if she'd never given them any consideration at all, and didn't have an entire blueprint outlining them on the planning table in her basement. "I assume they've taken adequate measures to ensure the safety of their exhibits, hmm?"

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "Well," The youth's smile slips wide as he gestures to the side in one direction while he mentions, "They have a fair amount of cameras, and one of them has a directional microphone, but it's pointed over at that family with the loud baby right now." And, indeed, across the way is an American family of due curiousity considering a bank of displays... while their baby shrieks and clearly is not appreciating the cultural enrichment they're inflicting on it.
    "But I'm thinking, seventeen. In the hall?" Which, to be fair, is a fairly decent assessment, but he's missing some since the number is an even twenty. His nose crinkles as he then turns back to meet her gaze and he seems entirely at ease, unrepentant in the topic and without fear of being called out for discussing such right there in the museum. "But seems to also have motion sensors in the corners and I'd imagine laser thingamabobs in some of the infrastructure. Personnel doesn't seem like it'd be a problem though."
    And as easy as that he drops it as he gives a shrug, "Just a fun mental exercise." Then he extends his hand to her, "Hi, I'm Alexander."

Felicia Hardy has posed:
"Felicia," she replies, offering her hand to shake his with a firmness of confidence. "And I'd say your evaluation is fairly close to on the mark. Just from what I've seen, and I've been here often." No need in splitting hairs on exact numbers. And no need in revealing exactly how much she knows about the place.

She turns to observe the crying baby, and glances up at the camera and microphone in their vicinity. "I bet whoever's watching monitors is either nursing a migraine, or has the microphone muted by now." She smiles, looking back to Alexander. "Are you and your partner studying the exhibit, or the security thereupon?"

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "Mmm," She'll see those curious hazel eyes distance as he hedges, his expression shifting a little as he draws his lower lip between his teeth and worries it. Then his eyes return to her and he shifts on his seat to face her more directly.
    "More was writing an essay about the affects money has upon morality. How forms of ethics form and adapt depending on the application of wealth through the ages. Sort of..." His gaze unfocuses as he looks past her as he uncurls a hand to gesture to the side, a motion that might let his sleeve ease up giving her a hint of supple firm muscle along those arms that are usually hidden by the size of the tee. "Just this thing that's been running through my head."
    But then his smile returns as he murmurs, "So more the... exhibit. Though I was sort of thinking incorporating the level of security in a way to make a comment about what we accept in the pursuit and protection of wealth.
    Again he worries at his lower lip thoughtfully, then he murmurs. "But he's kind of a giant flake." At that his eyes meet hers again and he just is so staggeringly easy-going. Someone of his age sitting there and talking with someone who cuts such a swath through a crowd as her, likely their focus would be a touch distracted. But not entirely his.

Felicia Hardy has posed:
Felicia's eyes are positively asparkle at his hedging, and his response. "Certainly, you can't consider the effects of money on morality, especially given the topic of this particular exhibit, without referencing the amount of security required to ensure the safety of these artifacts." The words come spilling in a flow like a mountain brook. Naturally and with ease, driven by the very force which created it.

She noticed the tone of his arm, of course, by her very nature of appraising everything she sees. "Morality is always an enormously subjective subject, wouldn't you say?"

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    Drawing his leg up into his lap so he can face her more easily, Alexander shifts to almost be settled in a half-lotus from yoga, just a casual ease with his body as he tilts his head toward her, "I'm not sure. I do in some ways agree that there are perhaps something akin to universal truths beyond the state of nature. But it's hard to quantify them beyond the bounds of society or civilization in some ways."
    It's clear he's given some thought to this as he then pillows his head with his hand, that am resting on the back of the bench and letting him watch her sidelong, holding her gaze and at times watching her lips move when she speaks.
    "Until recently I sort of didn't think there was such a thing. That it was all entirely subjective. But then I sort of realized I had a conscience and that was a bit of a puzzler." Though he does not explain the why of it, and utterly at ease just talking to a stranger about this. One he only met a few minutes ago.
    "But people all do sort of have lines they won't cross. Just they don't always line up with society. And property doesn't always figure into it. Or maybe shouldn't?"
    He takes a deep breath but then stops, "Though... I think we should talk about you now. Since otherwise I'll ramble on about all my stuff, which is super selfish."

Felicia Hardy has posed:
"Mmm..." A smile plays across the curve of her lip as she watches Alexander. "Selfishness, too, is subjective, especially given my interest in the topic at hand. I believe everyone has a conscience. It just depends on where the boundary lines are drawn. Possessions may well often be considered, but also often depend on the means by which they are possessed." She winks, uncrossing and crossing her legs again to enable her to lean slightly more in his direction. "I'm usually intrigued by people, and I must admit that I'm somewhat interested in how a young man your age came to consider subjects of such gravity."

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    For a time he sort of keeps his gaze level on her and nods slowly, "I think..." He looks past again, but almost instantly returns his gaze to hers, his glance flitting between her irises as if considering what might be behind them. "That I perhaps spend more time contemplating my navel than a lot of people my age do?"
    But that might not entirely be the truth, though he does not grant too much insight beyond that. Instead he straightens and looks to the hand that had been supporting his cheek and rubs his thumb against his palm as he considers his words. Another look back and then his lips twist.
    "And hey, you don't seem to be that much older than me, to be fair." A casual rejoinder to aim the conversation back her way most likely.

Felicia Hardy has posed:
At that, Felicia laughs, something akin to bubbles floating up and bouncing off the architecture of the museum. "I don't know about that." She looks at him appraisingly an arches a brow. "I'll bet I have at least a handful more years contemplating my navel than you, by now. But it's fascinating to see someone so intrigued by the moral question of wealth, and the things that it makes us do, as humans." She holds his gaze a moment longer, then frets at her own lip, this time, looking back toward the exhibit.

"I can help wondering what wonderously murderous pasts these jewels have. How they came to be into the possession of their respective owners in the past, or how they came to be here today. It makes me wonder, too, how deserving those people are of the baubles they came to own." Her brow furrows slightly in consternation. "Maybe it was all just a matter of luck."

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "Really," Alexander pushes a hand through his hair, and for a moment he actually looks a little more together. The curve of handsome features, his hair out of those strange eyes, and that wry half-smile upon his lips. But then his hair fwoompfs back into place and he murmurs with a hint of amusement, "Who says we're deserving of anything we have really? How much is ours by right? I've thought about things..."
    A tilt of is head as he looks away, then he looks back. "And what part of me is really myself. Or am I just a whorl of genetic code that had no choice in being what I am? How much of it is due to the person living behind my eyes and how much of it is really just circumstance?"
    Odd things indeed for someone his age to be considering. But then he gives a small shrug. "But any time an item exceeds the price of someone's life, then I figure that should cause reflection, right?"
    Another shrug, then he looks to the crowd. "Meh."

Felicia Hardy has posed:
Felicia considers for a long moment all that Alexander has said. It is, indeed, a great deal for anyone to consider, let alone a young man of his age. Briefly, thoughts flit through her head as she filters through them, decidedly stashing back those which settle upon depriving those most heinous individuals of their ill-gotten gains. Her own brand of retribution.

"I think there is some small part of us," she finally confesses, looking him again square in those hazel eyes, "that would enjoy watching someone crumble when they find that all their evil deeds are for naught, and they have lost the very thing that they killed to obtain." Again, the strange green sparkle in her eyes betrays perhaps the intensity of her belief.

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    As for his gaze, there is that subtle distance there, as if he was there but also not quite so much in some way. But when he smiles it brightens those irises, eases some of whatever hesitance might come from that subtle alien feel that there is to him. "I can agree with that, there's the... inherent feeling of wishing some justice to exist and inflicting it in some form when you can."
    There's a beat of quiet as they sit there in the museum, the people still walking around, the baby no longer crying off in the distance. And at times they both get glances, since in some ways it must look like two of the siblings from the Village of the Damned, the platinum blondes having a chit-chat. Though, to be fair, Felicia likely gets more glances than him.
    "But we're not often in that position. Or perhaps maybe to seek out putting yourself in that position to judge your fellow man is a moral weakness in and of itself." A shrug as he murmurs, "But I don't know."

Felicia Hardy has posed:
There is a long pause as Felicia frets at the edges of Alexander's final statement. "Most certainly, we'll find ourselves in judgment for any such decision, or even such opinion." She trails off quietly, now averting her gaze to watch a man looking around in a shifty manner before disappearing into the sparse throngs of those who remain in the exhibit. "But I've found that people will always sit in judgment of us all, no matter our actions, or our opinions." She finally meets his gaze again. "Or whether they are privy to either."

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "Ehn," Alexander says at first, perhaps missing some of the subtext she might be trying to present to him, or perhaps simply not perceptive enough to pick up. But he answers her directly as he smiles, "I've found I can tolerate a good amount of things if the person is interesting."
    But then the corner of his lip curves up, "Like I used to date this one woman for a time who told me that she used to..." He pauses as his eyes lift, as if trying to find the right word, "She was in a position of... sort of taking advantage of a situation for her benefit. She was looked on positively, but her and her friends would sometimes fudge things and get some benefits. But eventually it sorta preyed on her thoughts until she started to just... feel really guilty about it. And from then on she tried to live that whole thing down."
    He then looks back to Felicia and murmurs, "I think she always felt I judged her for that. But I didn't really care? Since I liked her. I guess. Maybe that says something about me more than her though?"

Felicia Hardy has posed:
"It says a great deal about you both, I'd say." Felicia tilts her head, focusing more on Alexander's features. Her expression is curious. "You don't seem the type to overlook such indiscretions just because you like someone. But perhaps you've grown since then." She shrugs slightly, and idly straightens a wrinkle in her skirt. "We cannot live our lives as someone we are not. We have to be true to ourselves, or our lives will seem empty and lost. Maybe not in the moment, but someday, we'd look back on our lives with regret. And who we are is a transient thing, fraught with angels and demons that have altered our gait in one way or another. If we change in here," she reaches out to poke his chest lightly, "or here," she brushes his hair lightly at his temple with the backs of her fingers, "we are obligated to alter our lives to suit those changes. Otherwise, what was the point of learning? Or changing at all?"

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    The youth smiles faintly, the corner of his mouth curling up. She touches his chest and he lowers his eyes as she'll feel the subtle firmness of strength hidden under that depiction of a kitten hanging off a cliff. Then she brushes his hair to the side and his eyes narrow faintly as his smile curved further with a hint of slyness. But he shakes his head and looks away, not giving voice to whatever thought might have been there.
    Instead when he looks back he tells her, "I think I just thought she was cute."
    But then he takes a deep breath and shrugs, "This topic has sort of preyed on my thoughts for a while though. Because I wasn't sure if I did have morality. Or if I should? But yeah. I kinda do I realized."

Felicia Hardy has posed:
"Oh, you definitely had morality," Felicia replies with an air of certainty. "Just...perhaps your moral compass has recalibrated. If you had none at all, then the thoughts of what she did, and what she represented, wouldn't even enter your mind. Sometimes we just make certain allowances in our character for what we desire. And that, too, is a part of our morality. In the end, we just have to fulfill our desire to be someone that we can look at in the mirror, as they say. Right?"

Alexander Aaron has posed:
    "I suppose," That said he pushes himself up straight in posture and crinkles his nose a little as if agreeing, but still having more thoughts to share. A glance, however, is given across the way as he notes something in the distance. Then his hazel eyes return to her and he murmurs, "This has been a nice talk."
    He tilts his head to the other way, almost quizzical as he murmurs, "Would you like to talk again some other time down the line?" As he says that he withdraws his cellphone from his pocket, again swiping it to life, but this time touching a small logo that has it ping and set it to receptive for the exchanging of information.
    And, indeed, if she checks her phone it would populate with his information should she accept. But then he looks down at his phone and he gets a flicker of amusement in the depths of those hazel eyes.
    "Or we could not and this could be just, that one time I met a beautiful mystery woman who was very interesting."

Felicia Hardy has posed:
Felicia smiles, as that green sparkle comes to life in her eyes. She opens her phone, and she accepts the contact information. "I suppose we'll see which way our luck falls, eh? Perhaps I'll cross your path again, sooner than later. I'll let the universe decide that for us." And by the universe, she means her fancy. With a few taps, she finishes a brief task. Alexander will receive a text, containing nothing but the name "Felicia." Where it goes from there will be up to them both.