Rhiannon Palmer stood off to the side of the conference room in Hollester Hall glancing out the window at the campus. It was one of those "joyous" campus occasions she "lived" for called the welcoming mixer. This one was a bit different in that they were not only welcoming a new faculty members, but also one who also was the new department chair. Getting to hire astronomer Dr. Kent Nelson from FSU was a huge deal, but it came at the expense of Rhiannon not getting the position of department chair. A position that many in the department thought, not only was a shoo-in, but she deserved it. She sipped on a bottle of water very slowly as her friend Dr. Celia Becker walked over to her carrying a glass of white zin.
Celia said, "Well at least with this being in the middle of the day there is a bright side."
Rhiannon took a sip and and asked, "And that is
Celia replied, "With this being in the middle of the day classes aren't being held. We do a little bit of the schmoozing and then we cut out of here and head off to 'Charley's Place' and do Tequila shooters until we pass out."
Chuckling a bit Rhiannon said, "I forgot sometimes which one of us is the bad influence again? You know I can't drink in case I get a phone call, but I will gorge myself on some cheese fries while you get boiled.
" Not only was it because of her family situation that Rhiannon didn't drink, but one time she had a couple of drinks and then changed into The Atom. When that happened her body hadn't finished processing the alcohol. Which meant not only was she six-inches tall but she was falling down drunk. She was so drunk she didn't have the ability to focus to turn back into Rhiannon Palmer for almost two hours.
Celia said with a smile, "That's my girl my favorite designated driver." Celia took a sip of her wine and then asked, "How is your dad?"
Rhiannon looked at Celia for a second and composed herself. She said looking out the window again, "He's still alive, and that's about all I can say C. Metropolis plays Central City on Thanksgiving night. It's a prime-time game and so the Stallions are going to retire his number officially that night. Which will probably be his last public appearance according to mom.
" Rhiannon shook her head slowly and said, "More than likely he'll be gone before the Super Bowl
Celia put her hand on Rhiannon's shoulder and said, "I'm sorry Ray." Rhiannon looked over at Celia and replied, "Thanks C."
Turning back to the window Rhiannon asked, "So have you met our Lord and Savior Dr. Kent Nelson yet?"
Just then Rhiannon heard a different voice reply, "Oh no need for such lofty titles Dr. Palmer. When I'm here you can just call me Dr. Nelson." Rhiannon felt her eyes grow wide as she saw her career going down in flames. She turned to see Dr. Kent Nelson with a cup of coffee standing behind her and Celia as she said, "Oh my Lord."
Nelson responded, "Again Dr. Palmer just call me Dr. Nelson." He turned to Celia and said, "Dr. Becker a pleasure to meet you as well." She replied, "Likewise my Lord I mean Dr. Nelson. Would you two excuse me I think I saw them getting ready to bring out the buffet."
Celia quickly left and Rhiannon looked at Dr. Nelson and said, "I am so sorry Dr. Nelson. I didn't mean to disparage you or to imply anything."
Nelson nodded and replied, "It's all right Dr. Palmer. You're the first honest person I've met since I got here. Everyone has been kissing my ass and, to borrow from you, expecting me to walk on water. Not to mention that there are many here who felt you should be in this position. So they look at me like I just nuked Disneyland and canceled Christmas."
Rhiannon said, "Well again I'm sorry Dr. Nelson for what I said you've earned your place in the scientific community and we're lucky to have you. If there's anything I can do to help you please let me know.
Nelson replied taking a sip, "It's Kent and I could use a tour guide around here. This place isn't exactly Tallahassee, and afterwards I could make us dinner I make a mean steak sandwich."
Rhiannon said, "Well I'm kind of busy with my dad, the semester just getting underway, and I got this other group I volunteer to help out with, but I think I can..."
Just then her earrings began to vibrate very slowly. That could only mean one thing...
Rhiannon quickly grabbed her cell phone and looked at it as if it was the cause of her distraction. She said, "Uh-oh it's an emergency.
Nelson asked, "Your family?" Rhiannon looked a little surprised for a moment and then Nelson replied, "I make it my business to know as much as I can about my colleagues, and I'm sorry to hear about your dad."
Rhiannon said, "Thank you Kent, and yeah it's a family issue. I was supposed to make a couple of remarks welcoming you to the department though but this..
." Rhiannon looked pained and torn.
Nelson replied, "I'll explain it to President Winters don't worry go take care of your family Dr. Palmer."
Rhiannon said somewhat relieved, "Thank you Kent."
As she turned to leave she looked back and said, "Oh by the way it's Rhiannon.
" She smiled and Kent gave a nod and replied, "A pleasure Rhiannon."
Quickly Rhiannon left the room and looked around. Seeing no one nearby she tapped her earrings twice and heard...PRIORITY ALERT
UNKNOWN ASSAILANTS IN S.T.A.R. LABS, TOKYO
MULTIPLE CIVILIAN FATALITIES
She shook her head and said, "Duty calls
." Rhiannon sprinted back to her office and closed the door. She quickly pulled up the name of a restaurant near S.T.A.R Labs and said, "That'll work
." Rhiannon closed the blinds and said, "Showtime."
Rhiannon closed her eyes, concentrated, and within seconds she could feel herself getting smaller. Rhiannon opened her eyes and saw that she was wearing the familiar costume of The Atom. Quickly she floated up to her desk and dialed the number of the restaurant. Once she heard an answer Atom shrunk to microscopic size and rode the phone signal all the way to Tokyo.
(TRAVEL POST; NO PROGRESS MADE TOWARD EVENT)