Call Off The Search

Participants:

luther2_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Call Off The Search
Synopsis Luther expresses his feelings regarding his employer's recent decisions.
Date May 22, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office - CEO's Office


Luther, being the tall and moderately bulky looking man he is, is not relying on stealth. Not in this building, not under these cameras. He disappears, reappears from monitor to monitor as he races up the stairs towards the executive offices of Raytech. Once he reaches the doors to Richard Ray's office, there's barely a pause to consider what he's about to do. And no question in it.

On the other side, the hinges and door that is normally a sturdy, dissuading barrier for the uninvited suddenly glows white hot just as the electricity of the building flickers dangerously. Security monitors blip and shudder, static snow invading the cameras just outside of the CEO's office and distorting the view of the security chief's hands laid upon the other side of it.

The door protests the first time it's kicked. A roar of a name. "Odessa!" Another kick. "Don't even—…" Then the door is slammed into with the force of a defensive linebacker and it topples forward with a heavy, flat thud. Luther bursts into the office of Richard Ray as the power returns to its steady stream, grey eyes wide and searching the immediate room, chest heaving and a bull's panting blowing in and out of the man.

“She’s gone, Luther.”

Richard’s just hung up with the authorities as they are, and he’s leaning back in his chair, watching the other man storming through the door. He looks tired more than anything, resigned as he regards the head of security, “I don’t know where. I’m sure she has her… hiding places.”

A hand comes up, rubbing over the side of his face, “But she’s gone.”

It's possible that nobody in recent Raytech memory has seen Luther's ability in action. The tired man seated at the black desk may be the most familiar, given their fairly recent excursion into the Exclusion Zone. Luther's made it a point not to utilize it often, but instead to deal with matters in a more practical, physical, constructive fashion.

Not so at the moment.

Yet when he hears the boss' words, the storm tapers off. Adrenaline still courses through, but a mixture of confusion first, then relief finds its way into the man. The air that sizzles with the searing heat focused around his hands returns to its normal temperatures. But the heat of his next words lingers. "Shit. I thought she was going to…" He blinks at Richard, finally taking in the other man's seated, tired, resigned posture.

"To kill you," he finishes the thought, gaze dropping down, brow furrowed. The cooling door at his feet gets his attention then. "You can take this out of my paycheck."

“No…” Richard shakes his head, “She wouldn’t kill me, she…” Loves me too much to kill me, are the words that he wants to say, but doesn’t, another pang of emotional agony at what he’d been forced to do rising in the wake of that impulse. Outwardly, he motions vaguely with his hand, “She wouldn’t. She knows when she needs to run— she always has. If you read her dossier, it’s basically her general modus operandi.”

A faint smile, then, not at all genuine, “Don’t worry about the door. We’re doing security upgrades anyway, was probably about time to get a new one.”

Luther shakes out his hands at his sides a few times and works on reclamping his inner controls, though it’s obvious that the task isn’t as easy as it should be. Besides, with the reminder that the quarry has run, the urge remains to give chase. He looks back up to Richard, echoes of guilt and anger remaining. Frustration seeps into the security chief’s tone despite the reassurance from the boss.

“Maybe played it too early,” he considers aloud. “We could have waited ‘til dark maybe, caught her in the apartment.” His head shakes in an attempt to clear off other lingering thoughts. “You know, her file read Non-Evolved? Then I remmebered, after she - escaped - that they’d listed she took negation drugs when she was with them.” A short snort of a humorless laugh huffs from him. “Should’ve known.”

He’s kicking himself for the overlook. Then, with another glance back behind him, Luther reaches for his phone. “Should I call off the search?” he wonders, although he asks the question with an air of discontent.

“Call off the search,” Richard affirms with a shake of his head, “According to her pre-war dossier - that was supposedly out of date due to damage to her powers - she can stop time, so she could literally be anywhere by now.”

He tips his head, “Check the labs instead, make sure none of the projects have been tampered with or stolen, start an equipment inventory, have Alia check the computers for access before she left - make sure there aren’t any surprises there.”

A slow breath’s drawn in, and he admits, “I don’t anticipate finding anything, but we need to anyway. I’m sure we’ll have Homeland Security crawling all over the place in short order.”

The confirmation to call off the search is about to proceed, until Richard describes the factoid in the pre-war dossier. Time stopping. Luther also seems to stop with the bit of a bomb his boss has dropped. It might be that the security chief doesn’t hear the rest of the orders, as his outer expression looks like he’s been struck. “Wait, what?” He turns back to fully face the other man, long legs stalking him forward until he’s right up to the desk. The hands that had just destroyed the door to Richard Ray’s office plant on the smooth surface, fingers stiffly supporting his weight as Luther leans with a stare. “You knew she could stop time and this wasn’t something you figured was important enough to tell me about?”

Richard brings that hand back up to rub against his face for a moment, fingertips pressing to his temple for the headache he knows that he’s about to get.

“If I’d told you,” he says quietly, looking back at the man steadily, “You may have come up with a way to block her in. At which point she’d have had no choice but to try and fight her way out… and I neither wanted to see any of my people dead or watch her damn herself making them so.”

“So, yes,” he admits, “I withheld that information. You can be pissed about it if you want, but I did what was best for the company and my people, based on my judgement at the time.”

In a sense, surely, Richard could take a page out of Edward Ray's probability constructs and know what's coming. Luther's temper peaks as his gaze, stricken with surprise for the man's admission to knowing and the strategy he'd employed. "She would have had no choice?!" he yells in Richard's face, the initial outburst is explosive, "And you had the fucking nerve to tell me that there were 'always choices'!"

The anger culminates into a physical violence, one where Luther's launching himself over the desk with a hard right hook at his boss. A man he'd just been tearing his way through the office in defense of his life.

Maybe he did know it was coming, because Richard doesn’t show any surprise as his security chief - the man in charge of keeping him safe - lunges across the desk with a fist flying.

At least it’s not still charged with energy, right?

The knuckles crack hard into the side of the CEO’s face, the chair itself slamming back into the wall from the impact as the wheels roll back suddenly as far as they’re able. Richard’s head snapped to one side from the impact, driven against the head-rest of the tall chair. He slowly turns back, one hand coming up to press against the site of the impact, blood trickling down from his lip as he looks back at Luther.

And waits to see if there’s another one coming.

Paper and files go flying too, dispersing to the ground in a jumble. The personnel file of Desdemona Desjardins, the Times newspaper article that has shaken the trees and borne such painful fruit. There’s a moment where Luther looks to follow through with a second strike, fist raised, fingers tight and tense and knuckles cut, white with a thin line of red. But the hand stays. Hesitates. There’s a quiet chime from the phone in the security chief’s pocket that may as well be the boxing ring bell.

Luther exhales hard, backing away. His throat bobs with a hard swallow down, and his eyes don’t leave the man. What words he had pent up seem to have been lost in the fray. A second chime of the phone comes, and finally a hand searches a pocket for it. Luther turns, heavy steps taking him away from Richard’s vicinity. The phone lifts to his ear.

“Call off the search,” he says to the other end, voice tight, hoarse. Luther then hangs up, a hard look sent back to the man in the chair. Waiting for a retaliation, maybe deserved.

Richard’s dull gaze watches the other man for a few long moments until it becomes clear he’s not going to strike out again, and then he reaches over to slide out one of the drawers of the desk. Thin paper rasps softly as he pulls a few kleenex from the box, bringing it up to wipe the blood from his lip. Bruising already starting to swell where he was punched.

“I’m sorry for disappointing you, Mister Bellamy,” he says quietly, gaze down on the desk as he cleans himself up, “It seems to be the one thing I’m best at, these days. Dismissed.”

Luther tenses at his jawline, a stiff edge in his posture telling that he’s still angry. At the apology, a low growl issues forth from the man. “Think about who ‘your people’ are, maybe.” And at the dismissal, he turns quickly on heel and steps over the broken door, exiting the office with hard, heavy steps.

After the other man’s out of the office — and beyond earshot — there’s a heavy sigh from Richard as he drops the bloodied kleenex to the desk. “I know exactly who my people are,” he murmurs, “That’s the problem.”

He leans back in his chair, then, closing his eyes and waiting for the authorities to show up and interrogate him, and probably a lot of other people. Maybe Luther will turn him in for letting her escape.

Right now, he feels like he probably deserves it.


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