(2014-11-01) Academic Party
Academic Party
Summary: Karen Starr encounters Gwen Stacy during an academic competition mixer.
Date: 2014-11-01
Related: NA
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Social

One thing that happens in academia that bodes well for the future is that colleges often go out of their way to arrange cooperative visits with other schools, to gather students with similar interests and studies for social functions. Granted, they excuse these social functions in a variety of ways, including 'conferences' and 'competitions'. But inevitably, it means there will be the oft-dreaded 'mixers', when students and faculty alike gather socially.

This can be especially effective - and amusing - when dealing with the hard sciences, where students are often left with the impression that something as namby-pamby as social graces have no real value in their curriculum. This particular conference gathers students in physics and engineering from a collection of schools, including such notables as MIT, Rutgers, and Metropolis University, at NYU's facilities in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. The competition itself will be tomorrow, but tonight's mixer is the first chance for many of the students, at least, to ever even meet the young men and women from their 'competing' schools.

Amongst the shoals of students moving this way and that in the rather large venue of the evening, Karen Starr still stands out. It would be hard for her not to, given she's the next best thing to six foot tall, blonde, and quite buxom despite all attempts to tone down the visual impact of that fact. She tries not to flaunt it too much. It's hard enough getting some people to pay attention to her words instead of her chest, without enhancing the visual impact. And there's the fact that as the face and founder of StarrWare, Inc., she's likely one of the most famous of the people here, regardless of her looks. But she's friendly and engaging, and seems pleasant enough.

While Karen may be quite the sore thumb in a room full of pinkie toes, Gwen, on the other hand, is quite unremarkable. Sure, she's pretty, and has a nice body, but nothing out of the ordinary. Part of NYU's group of students attending the social event, the girl is currently happily chatting with her friends from NYU, discussing with gusto about upcoming exams and making fun of some teacher's quirks. She does notice Karen Starr, though, and was instructed by her father to at least give the woman a hello and give her greetings in her father's behalf. Gwen can't help but think her father might be willing to lick Karen's boots. Or want to marry her. Like that's possible, pshaw.

Karen Starr, by comparison, blends in and out of the groups from all of the other schools with equal aplumb, happily greeting this or that student by name. The StarrGaze glasses she's wearing are almost certainly doing facial recognition on a copy of the guest list for this event to help facilitate her efforts, but the personality and personability are all Karen. Which is what will eventually bring her over to interrupt the crew from NYU - the host school. "Good evening. Good to see you again, Gwen." She didn't need the facial recognition for that one, surely. "And Bobby." She greets the others by name as well. "How are all of you doing tonight?"

Cessily turns her head and smiles when she sees Karen Starr, "Ah, hello, Ms. Starr." she says, nodding, "My father sends his 'hello', and again wishes to thank you for all your contributions." she relays her father's message, mentally shaking her head at her father for using her as message service, but such are the hardships of being a daughter. "We're all doing great, Ms. Starr." Gwen says, a sentiment shared by the rest of the group, everyone giving similar answers, "Will you be one of the judges for the competition, Ms. Starr?" Gwen inquires.

Karen chuckles at Gwen and shakes her head. "I'm still an undergrad, Gwen. I'm one of the competitors from Met U." the taller blonde offers, smiling. Granted, most people don't expect that of her, and so many seem to think of her as so much older - and more mature - than she is. But she doesn't usually mind. Does make it hard to make friends with her contemporaries, though."I'm looking forward to tomorrow, of course. And you can tell your Dad that he's more than welcome, always, for any help we can offer."

Gwen Stacy blinks softly, "You're a competitor too?" she asks, she and some of her group expressing surprise for that. "Wow, we were certain you'd be one of the judges." she says, smiling now, her surprise pushed away for now. "Dad will be happy, and always willing to help, despite his knee." she says, nodding gently. "So you're part of the Metropolis University group? Amazing. So we'll go head-to-head tomorrow?" she giggles softly.

"Yep." Karen offers, smiling to Gwen. Sure, she realizes some people would be off-put by the idea of her as a competitor. But why else would she be here, really? She's not actually a teacher, so she couldn't be a judge. Could she? It never occurred to her to ask. Probably her bad on that. "Head to head, to head, to head, to head." Lots of schools, lots of competitors. But Karen will be part of the Met U team. "I'm looking forward to it. So many different minds and ideas. It's kind of what I live for." Want to bet she'll use this as a means to troll for talent she wants to recruit into StarWare?

Would Gwen be hired into StarWare? Who knows. She can dream, though, of being hired into a big company. Don't everyone have the same dream? Anyways, Gwen nods, and grins, "And NYU is ready to win this competition, this year!" she says, with conviction, her friends seconding the motion with a chorus of 'yeah!' "On a different subject, I have to wonder why make a 'get-together' kind of event prior to the competition. Seems like a waste." she chuckles, shrugging gently.

It could happen. StarrWare makes a real point of locating and wooing all kinds of talented young minds, bringing them together for a wide array of projects, all intended to bring to bear scientific progress to make lives better for the people of the world. Smart-glasses and such are only the beginning of all they've begun. "Well, I think the point is that this is a chance to meet and get to know the people we'll be competing with tomorrow, /before/ any of us has a chance to preconceive reasons to dislike each other because of the competition itself." That's Karen's theory, and she's sticking to it. "I wish you guys a lot of luck tomorrow, though. I hope everyone has a lot of fun."

Gwen Stacy chuckles gently at Karen's reasoning, "So you're giving us a chance to preconceive OTHER reasons to dislike our opponents other than the competition itself?" she jokes, smiling softly, but then she nods, "Thanks, Ms. Starr. We're ready to rock tomorrow, and take the competition home." she grinsl.

"Not me. Your school organized this shindig. I'm just in attendance, like everyone else. But my guess is that the idea is that lots of brilliant minds, together under one roof, talking without actively trying to compete with one another, could spark all kinds of really good ideas and unique partnerships, with people who might never have met one another otherwise." Karen offers, smiling. "At least, that's something I hope happens. I love coming to things like this, looking for other really bright minds that might fit into StarrWare's ever-expanding projects." She grins. "And I don't much mind whether or not my team takes the trophy home, tomorrow. So I really do wish you luck."

Gwen Stacy nods softly, and was about to say something else when one of the girls of Gwen's group mentions, "I just hope this Spidergirl doesn't show up to mess with everything." To which Gwen blinks, "What? Where did you get that idea?" And then, the girl says, "Well, duh? Don't you read the Daily Bugle? That Spidergirl is a menace, helping bank robbers escape, etc." she says, shrugging, "It won't be long before a reward is put on her head." And Gwen can only stare and blink at that girl, as if unable to believe her friend just said that.

Karen stares a bit as the other NYU girl speaks up about Spidergirl like that. She doesn't interrupt; that would be rude. But she definitely doesn't seem to understand or agree with that point of view. "Wow. Really? I thought Spidergirl was one of the heroes? Like Power Woman and Iron Man and all of those folks?" she questions, as if she's confused. She can't very well say she has seen Spidergirl be quite the hero herself, but she can at least question those kinds of conclusions.

Gwen Stacy doesn't say anything other than a "Huh?" as her friend continues with her tirade, as if she was stating the obvious, "Oh, no, Spidergirl was never a hero. The Daily Bugle has always kept people informed about what she really does, participating in those heists and all that jazz." she says, shaking her head softly. "I hope the police captures her soon." Of course, it's Jonah Jameson they're talking about. The guy seems to have something against spiders, apparently.

A mite confused herself, Karen turns towards Gwen. "Well, Gwen. What does your father say about Spidergirl? I'd always heard she was a heroine who did everything she could to help people." Of course, Karen has no idea what kind of prickly position she's putting Gwen into, and she'd feel terrible if she did. But as daughter of a decorated NYPD chief, surely she might know something useful. Right?

Gwen Stacy blinks softly again, but then Karen asks HER what her father might think. "Well… my father isn't much of a fan of costumed fighters, but… eh… the whole PD seems to subscribe to Mr. Jameson's views on costumed superheroes, and Spidergirl and Spiderman's, especially." she sighs softly.

Karen doesn't seem very pleased about that, but she doesn't push any farther. "Oh. Well … that's a shame." One should always remember, Karen's going to school in Metropolis, the home of Power Woman. They're a city that really respects and honors their costumed heroes, ane expects them to work well with their law enforcement personnel. "Really a shame." It seems Gwen's teammate has put a real damper on the talk this evening.

Gwen Stacy reaches a hand to rub the back of her head. Her father isn't bad, he's just not a fan of such people, but Jameson likes to smear smut all over their names, especially if you're spider-related. She just hoped her friends were more open-minded. Seems it's not the case. "Aaaanyways…" Gwen tries to change the subject, "How are you liking the city, Ms. Starr?" she asks, smiling.

"You can call me Karen, you know." Karen offers to Gwen with a playful, well-meaning grin. "I like New York a lot. Not quite as much as Metropolis, I guess, but it's still pretty cool. I really enjoy my visits here, and I must admit, NYU's campus is a lot of fun. Very different from Met U, but equally cool in its own right. And right in the heart of the world-famous Village."

Gwen Stacy nods, smiling, "I have never been to Metropolis, much less the university, so I'll just take your word for it." she giggles a bit, "I haven't left New York at all, to be honest." she shrugs softly, "Dad was always too busy as a police officer to afford extended vacations." she says.

Karen nods. "I can understand that. Met-U is … almost all vertical. It's composed of four super-tall towers - each is almost a hundred and fifty stories above ground, with quite a lot of basement as well. The quad is actually a suspended platform at the twentieth story between the four towers, covering the entire area with skywalks to all four buildings. Our athletic stadium is at ground level in the same space. All four towers have residential, classroom, and administrative spaces, broken out by floor. And aircar landings on the roofs." Yep. Karen knows how to paint a picture with words, and it's quite a picture to paint. "Maybe you should use that high-speed Stark-Luthor rail system, and come down to Delaware to see the place sometime."

Gwen Stacy blink-blinks, "Those are some damn tall towers." she states, blinking again, and wonders how it'd feel swinging by them. Unconsciously, she brings a hand to gently scratch the underside of her forearm. After this she'll have to go empty up some of web, apparently. "And I might, if I ever get a break from the college." she chuckles, "Y'know, when you're not swamped with finals, you're swamped with projects." she giggles softly. "But Met-U does seem like a nice place to visit."

"I'm sure you get breaks, the same as we do. Right? Holidays? Spring Break? Summer?" Karen offers, smiling. But she'll stop pushing. "So. I'm in Engineering, with concentration in Electrical Engineering, and doubled with Computer Science. What are you guys studying?" she queries, curiously.

Gwen Stacy nods, smiling, "Yeah, maybe I'll take a holiday to head there, provided the tram ticket isn't too expensive." she nods, smiling. "And we in this group here all major in Physics." she nods, grinning. "With a minor in chemistry." she nods, and then the others all give their minors as well. Diverse bunch.

"Cool. I love physics." Karen offers, smiling. And she does, too. But no human college was going to let her septuple-major as an undergraduate, so she had to make her choices. "We'll see how the competition goes tomorrow. I really do wish you all luck." Karen offers her hand to each of them in turn, smiling, and one can be sure she'll be remembering all of their names - and everything else she learned about them - the next time they meet. Still, it's a social, and it's time to mix with more people. Right?

Gwen Stacy shakes Karen's hand, smiling, "Thank you, Ms. Starr. I mean, Karen." she says, nodding, "We all look forward for the competition tomorrow." she nods, grinning. Now to make this day better she could run into Power Woman while doing her rounds as SPidergirl. Then the night would be complete.

Greenwich Village — New York
The Village is easy to get delightfully lost in. There are trees everywhere; the streets are narrow and crooked and twisty, and the buildings seem to lean in over them, sheltering the people on the sidewalks from the view of the world. The people who live here take pride in their neighborhood - it's expensive, and it's stylish and always has been, but it's expensive *because* it's stylish, and it's stylish not because of surging waves of artificial gentrification but because the residents work hard at making it that way.

The Village centers around Washington Square Park, and spreads outward from there in its own pattern - since it was a town of its own before New York swelled to include it, it's never been forced into the strict grid plan. Significant locations in Greenwich Village include NYU's primary campus, the Oscar Wilde Bookshop (the world's oldest gay and lesbian bookstore), a number of Off-Broadway theaters, and one of the most-frequented basketball courts in the city. Also local to the Village is the annual Halloween parade - which each year draws as many as fifty thousand participants, and an audience numbered in the millions.

A sign is posted at 122A Bleeker Street that reads, "Starbucks Coming Soon!".

  • Obvious Exits:
    • [00] - Subway South — New York
    • [01] - Abingdon House — Greenwich Vi
    • [02] - Asian Art Museum — Greenwich
    • [03] - Binding of Fate — Greenwich V
    • [04] - Joe's Coffee House — Greenwic
    • [05] - Manchester Apts — Greenwich V
    • [06] - St Croix Brownstone — Greenwi
    • [07] - Potter's Books — Greenwich Vi
    • [08] - Red Herring — Greenwich Villa
    • [09] - Spinner's Music — Greenwich V
    • [10] - Tarot Cafe — Greenwich Villag
    • [11] - Voodoo Lounge — Greenwich Vil
    • [13] - Back Alley — Greenwich Villag
    • [E] - East Village — New York
    • [N] - Chelsea and Garment District -
    • [S] - SoHo and Tribeca — New York
    • [W] - Hudson River Park — New York
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