Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Contact"

Sitting in her KCON office cube, Morrigan McBride pecks at the keyboard, working on her afternoon story, as she waits on hold with the California Highway Patrol. Ten minutes later, a human voice finally answers.

Morrigan: (Exasperated) Look, I have pushed over a dozen numbers and have listened to three complete rock ballads, I just want to find out where my gun is - no, I've already tried that... yes, it was over four months ago when I first came to town, the officer seized it because of an incident I had with my car - Officer Baten... what do you mean there's no Officer Baten? - YES, I'M SURE THAT'S HIS NAME - but... wait, NO - listen, I'll come down there in person to straighten this out - I NEED AN APPOINTMENT? - well, please make one for me... call back at 1:00 pm? - DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS? - hello?

Morrigan slams down her phone and groans.

Morrigan: NO ONE DOES THEIR DAMN JOB ANYMORE - UGH... I can't believe I used that line about my dad

As she sighs and collects herself, an instant message pops up on the screen from Zachary Isaacson.

IZ4U: m&m + me = lunch NOW

MMcB: later - i have another mystery w/ law enforcement

IZ4U: shocking

MMcB: my gun is missing

IZ4U: gun???

MMcB: i kept it in my car - taken the day i arrived in DB

IZ4U: proper paperwork???

MMcB: YES - dad made sure of it

IZ4U: i'll ask my fuzzy sources

MMcB: THANX : )

IZ4U: tacos@2

MMcB: si

IZ4U: bring fingers with

MMcB: hasta!!!

As Morrigan returns to her story, another instant message pops up.

Anon1: Fish & CHiPs

MMcB: u said tacos zach

Anon1: This is not Zach

MMcB: don't be a dick - what's with the Anon1 bit?

Anon1: Missing something?

MMcB: (Finally catching the clue) do u know something about my missing something???

Anon1: Try the caves

MMcB: only if u try them with me

Anon1: I already have

MMcB: is this the hooded latin-chanting coward or the annoying green sand crab eater?

Anon1: Would you rather have me eat you?

MMcB: ZACH - this better not b u

Anon1: Time for a swimming lesson

MMcB: when & where???

Anon1: I will let you know

MMcB: i'll let you know IF i'm available

Saving the message and jumping up from her desk, Morrigan rushes over to Gracie Takanachi's cube. Fingers is hard at work on new images for her Sigma 7 website.

Morrigan: GRACIE

Gracie: Hold on, one sec...

Morrigan: IT CAN'T WAIT

Gracie: It can and will for 30 seconds

Morrigan: (Looking at her screen) DAMMIT, I NEED YOUR HELP - STOP FUCKING AROUND WITH THAT ASININE WEBSITE

Gracie: (Standing up and looking Morrigan in the eye) WHAT IN THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?

Morrigan: Can you do a trace on an IM?

Gracie: It's not simple but it can be done

Morrigan: Quick, go to my computer and get it!

Gracie scowls at her.

Morrigan: PLEASE?

Gracie: Did you save it?

Morrigan: Yes

Gracie: (Returning to her site) Good, then it will be there when I'm ready to do something with it

Morrigan: (Clenching her teeth and fists) COULD YOU... could you possibly explain to me what is so important about this site? - you go through all of this hard work, you never get any feedback, you certainly aren't making any money off it, these people are nothing but losers with no lives, the actual Sig7 show could care less if you live or die - don't you think your time and efforts could be better spent ELSEWHERE?

Gracie: ELSEWHERE DOING YOUR SLAVE WORK, WHITE PERKY BITCH?

Morrigan: HELLO, THIS IS A PLACE OF BUSINESS, NOT R'XAL'S SPACE STATION

The two tone it down as several of their co-workers pop their heads over the cube.

Morrigan: (Waving to them) Hi there, everything's cool!

Gracie: You know, Morri, I bet you were popular in school and had plenty of friends

Morrigan: Not as many as you assume I did

Gracie: Well, the only time kids wanted to play with me was to make fun of me or when my parents forced my brother to take me with him to play Star Wars or baseball with the neighborhood boys

Morrigan: What does this have to do with anything?

Gracie: Hold on, I'm getting there... I was the only one in my school with an outward disability and one of three Asians - an older Jap girl and a younger Chinaman - I spent my recesses with Jackie the one eyebrow girl and Kevin who constantly smelled like poo - and, at home, I was on the sofa with mom watching Ryan's Hope and Days of Our Lives

Morrigan: I watched Dallas and Dynasty, so?

Gracie: SO... IF YOU MAKE ONE MORE CRACK ABOUT MY QUIRKY WEBSITE FANDOM OBSESSION, I WILL BE FORCED TO MAKE JOKES ABOUT YOUR DEAD MOTHER AND NO ONE WANTS THAT

Both women look like they are ready to tear each other's eyes out as Jason Clark, the sportscaster, comes over to them.

Jason: LADIES... what's up?

Morrigan: Jason

Gracie: What do you want, Clark?

Jason: A ring full of mud and a midget referee

Both women shoot puzzled looks to each other and then to him.

Jason: (Leaning on the wall of the cube) I'm just trying to lighten the mood a bit - they can hear you all the way down at our sister station in LA

Morrigan: (Sheepish) Sorry about that

Gracie: Screw LA

Jason: So, what's the battle between you two about?

Morrigan: Nothing important

Gracie: Funny, it seemed real important a few moments ago - important enough to slam my Sig7 site!

Jason: Ooh, not a smart move, McBride - Gracie's compulsion is no different than the millions of sports fans who spend every waking moment following their favorite players and keeping stats, spending tons of money on memorabilia and team jerseys... it's just not as mainstream

Gracie: THANK THE GODS FOR THAT

Morrigan shakes her head and rolls her eyes. She suddenly notices several bruised knuckles on Jason's right hand.

Morrigan: What happened to your hand, Jason?

Jason: (Holding it up) Oh, this? - just a little sports injury - I get carried away with a game of horse now and then

Gracie: (Winking) He's a joke... I mean, a JOCK, always getting injured

Jason: Hey, KCON has box seats to the Cactus game tonight, you two want to come along?

Morrigan: I have plans tonight but definitely next time

Jason: What about you, Grace?

Gracie: I have a set to do later

Jason: That's later, come on, it will be fun - I promise

Gracie: (Sighing) I suppose

Jason: (Big smile) COOL - we'll leave after my segment at six - oh, I almost forgot... I brought back a tiki glass for your collection from Vegas

Gracie: Thanks, Clark - get back to work!

Jason: (Striding away) No more catfights!

Gracie: He's right, sorry about that

Morrigan: Me too... I wonder what really happened to his hand?

Gracie: Gimme a break, Morri

Morrigan: That doesn't look like your typical sports injury

Gracie: You're right, he secretly beat his wife with it... wait, he doesn't have a wife!

Morrigan: Did you notice how quickly he changed the subject?

Gracie: Would you stop being so suspicious for once?

Morrigan: Easier said than done

Gracie: (Getting up) No kidding, now show me this IM

The two return to Morrigan's cube and Gracie starts in on tracking the instant message.

Morrigan: He likes you, you know

Gracie: Who?

Morrigan: The man we were just speaking with... Jason

Gracie: Please

Morrigan: C'mon - he defended you AND brought you back a tiki glass - did you see his face light up when you said you'd go tonight?

Gracie: You're crazy

Morrigan: Maybe, but I'm also right

Gracie: Look, unlike Kylee, I don't go out with KCON employees or black men

Morrigan: How racist is that?

Gracie: Look, I nearly killed my folks marrying a white man, I'm not about to finish the job with Home Boy

Morrigan: That's stinkin' thinkin' Takanachi

Gracie: Did your great grandma teach you that expression? - it needs to stay buried with her

Morrigan: I'm just saying...

Gracie: I know EXACTLY what you're saying - because I'm a "minority" I should have no problem dating other minorities

Morrigan: Gracie...

Gracie: I suppose you'll next try to fix me up with a guy in a wheelchair because that's all I'm worthy of

Morrigan: STOP IT

Gracie: Ah, here we go, your IM originated from Santa Conchita University but that is as far as I can go

Morrigan: Interesting... thanks so much for your help

Gracie: Are you going to tell me what this is about?

Morrigan: Soon

Gracie: Are you holding out Aleta Oscura info on me?

Morrigan: (Steeling herself) Of course not

Gracie: (Suspicious) Right - I need to get back to my Sig7 site and I'll leave you to your obsession with the Creature from the Black Lagoon

Morrigan: Lunch?

Gracie: (Walking away) No

Slumping in her seat, Morrigan calls Isaacson on her phone.

Morrigan: Zach, I think I pissed off Gracie

Zach: You made fun of Sigma 7, didn't you?

Morrigan: Kinda

Zach: Oy

Morrigan: How do I say I'm sorry?

Zach: Pork rinds, yellow daisies and vinyl disco records

Morrigan: (Rubbing her head) OK... ready for lunch?

Zach: Can't, a better offer came up - see you tomorrow

Morrigan: (Sighing as she clicks off) Heh, hanging with the hooded people is almost attractive right now

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