Some Disassembly Required


alia_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Some DIsassembly Required
Synopsis Alia drops the bombshell that is Khan, among other things.
Date July 28, 2019

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

Alia's office in Raytech's Safe Zone NYC Branch. The office is kept relatively neat and tidy, most of the time.

Alia usually doesn't spare extra words for anything beyond the most urgent. Thus Liz likely was surprised by a voicemail with complete sentences, asking her to stop by when she had an Aurora-free hour to spare. Given how well Alia gets along with the kids… that's especially telling.

Must be something to do with scary robots then?

It causes anxiety in the audiokinetic that it's something so important, but the fact that the tone is easy keeps Elisabeth from getting overly concerned. She doesn't have time to leave the precinct before dinnertime, though — things are getting busy. So it's perhaps later than Alia might have expected, near the close of business, when Liz finally makes it down to the office. A tap on the door heralds her arrival, and she pokes her head in. "Alia?"

It’s a happy smile to see Liz as she looks up from a 3 ring binder she was reading through the paperwork of. She gets up, and while it isn’t a glomp, it is a hug delivered to Liz, warm and true. "Mind… sitting down? This…awkward sharing time." she laughs, at herself. "Richard show you meeting video yet?" She asks this first so she knows just how far back she has to explain something, and what she can use for reference points.

Mostly because Liz needs to know _before_ Aurora ends up somewhere she shouldn’t be, and likely has a panic attack. Or Liz herself stumbling into this, if Alia is to be honest. She leaves off how bad her OWN reaction would have been to finding the surprise in the basement having been returned if she hadn’t been told about it…

Returning the hug with a chuckle, Elisabeth now looks curious. Awkward sharing time? That seems weird. "Okay…" She lowers herself into a seat and waits expectantly. "Yeah, I saw the meeting. I'm assuming it's the compass tech that you're thinking about…?" Because until they have a good working prototype, she can't test out her own theories.

"… sort of. More like, what came _with_ the working Compass. Sort of stole it back before the war." Alia admits. "… at the Ark, to be exact. And, um… promised Richard we’d add you to the list of authorized handlers, when it was possible." She pauses to consider how to broach the exact subject. Then decides, apparently, for the blunt approach. "Verse used my data to help build his AIs. Including Generation Two hunter drones. Records say those didn’t survive." She looks at her desk a moment. "Mostly true. One did. Just not in Institute or government hands. Joint custody with Brian." Well, that’s a -lot- to unpack if one chooses to do so.

A statue has nothing on the sudden stillness of Elisabeth's body. She parses through the AI information — it's certainly not new information to her. "You…. you have a working Hunter drone… in the building?" she asks slowly. Pulling her lips behind her teeth to clamp down on them for a moment while she drags her hand across her face beneath her nose, the struggle in her own head rages silently.

(DRONE!) (Richard knows. Alia has control of it.) (What if she doesn't?) (Well, then he wouldn't have it in the building, right?) (Of course not. The kids are here.) (Right.The kids are here, he'd never risk them.) (It's a functional Hunter drone.) (Are they fucking kidding me? Even with Alia holding the leash, that's dangerous as fuck. What if it can still connect to others? Like the ones that Wolfhound came face to face with?!) (Right. Because Richard hasn't thought of that problem and made sure Alia isolated it.) (Yes, but there's still VERSE. She's not the only technopath out there!) (Right… you don't know that. You've been gone a long time. Maybe everything is fine!) (This is not fine!) (No, it'll be fine. Just stay calm, Liz.) (Fucking HUNTER DRONE in the building with my kid, and it's certainly NOT the only one left. He's just the only one in OUR control.) (Mother fucker.)

Blowing out a slow breath, Elisabeth asks tightly, "And… where exactly are we keeping this abomination so that I can make sure Aura never lays eyes on it?"

"Secure labs, basement 4 at the moment." She pauses a few moments. "Drones from other realities, not same programming." She notes dryly… followed by a heartfelt "thank gods." She pauses again, then rubs her forehead. "Gen Twos had odd feature: A -bodyguard- mode. Aimed at protecting, well… the things they got used to hunt." Alia sits herself down, rubbing her forehead. "ON1 and I both went over code on board. No back doors." She tilts her head. "Okay, no -digital- ones. Blame Warren for any remaining ones."

Alia pauses again, and leans back. "… Kids are marked as VIPs, to be protected. Handlers, in order, Myself, Brian, and Richard." She closes her eyes. "With his insistence that I put you on the list when I could." She grimaces because there is obviously a catch here. "… it’s last surviving bit of Project ALIA. It’s… I used it as search, rescue during the fire after… well…." She leaves -that- thought alone for a while, and shakes her head. "I know, difficult. Not showing Aurora, no way." Alia pauses. "Maybe, maaaybe in ten years or so if we get used to SPOTs. And to the Raptor." She pauses and sighs. "… Throwing him out seems wrong. Particularly after what did for us, whether people know it or not."

Elisabeth doesn't have quite enough context for this, but she does understand what Alia is saying. That it was somehow a part of her. Although it's difficult for her, admittedly. She's quiet for a long time, rubbing her fingertips along the side of her forehead in a habitual gesture that Alia hasn't seen since she returned. She used to do that in the old days too, when she was struggling with tangled thoughts.

"I … don't think I knew that there were drones here from the other timelines. I knew there were Hunterbots. I knew a team supposedly made it out of Bright — obviously, because Eileen from that world and others are here. What do you mean they had different programming?" She's perhaps focusing on that one thing because she can't at this moment actually manage the reaction to the Hunter drone itself.

"… Different. Verse maybe not work for others in other lines?" She muses. "Know he didn’t in Wasteland." She frowns at -how- she knows that, and some other things it implies. "Didn’t know he’d been given -back- to us after you came home." She notes dryly, "Wasteland drones came here. I wasn’t in reach. Saw video though." She pauses again. "Lots. lots dumber." She bites her lip in thought. "… also possible in other timelines, I told Mayes to fuck off instead of trying to barely competent my way past her."

"That… That one decision still haunts." Alia admits. "Hector made basic design. Warren refined. I got used to write better code… and Verse refined that." She shivers, despite it not being cold. "… Gen Twos… Khan is the only survivor. They were still prototyping at the Ark when we blew it up…. And in tact Gen ones… no. Those got blown to bits -during- the war. Some by Khan."

Alia sighs and gently gets up, walking over to bend in so she can hug her friend. "Want to show it can be used for good. Just a tool, like a hammer or a gun." yup, she just quoted Richard.

She's not nearly as freaked out as Aurora will be, but Elisabeth is not exactly easy with this either. She pats Alia's arm where it comes around her, and it's only then that the stress hum is barely audible. So… well, it's way better than it could be. She's holding a lot in — a lot of questions, a lot of gut reactions that are likely not terribly rational but may be totally understandable given her years. "A computer is only as good or bad as the code in it. If Richard trusts that you've completely cleared and wiped the thing, that's good enough for me. If there's anyone more paranoid about the safety of the children than I am, it's him." She forces a small smile.

"I think I might need to corner the man for a better description of some of what happened when I was gone. I think I'm still getting who landed here and when sort of confused." And who brought Hunter drones and who didn't!

Alia twitches her nose. "From what I’ve seen… blame -Mayes-. All of her." She shrugs, and gives a weak smile. "For hunter drones existing. The exact … form differs." She shrugs again, and sighs. "So, yeah, not needed right now but… to give handler access takes… um, 15 minutes to a halfhour of interacting with someone infront of him."

Alia finally did let that other shoe drop. "And paranoid. Good term. Me too."

Oh God. She's gotta be in the room with the thing for it to recognize her??? Okay, the hum gets audible. "Please tell me you're shitting me," Elisabeth groans. "That's… not today. I need a little time to shore up my tolerance on that front, please. Gimme a couple of days to come to grips with the fact that we have the damn thing."

"Couple days, next month, whenever." Alia is in no hurry -there-… then smiles. "Glad I didn't pull this on you the way I did Richard when they first met." Alia giggles at the memory, a little. "Sort of didn't tell him what I had, was working on.. Idea for detecting timeline travelers… asked him for somewhere I could work on something big out of view." She pauses a few moments, then shrugs again. "… Didn't think Jared's cabin would be where he picked. Nothing wrecked at all." She forestalls the obvious worry and alert. "… then, well…" she shakes her head. "He freaked out almost as bad as you did. Don't blame him. Or you."

Elisabeth winces. "If you'd sprung it on me, uhm…. It would have been bad for its parts. I'm a hell of a lot better with resonance frequencies these days. Rattling it to bits while shooting it is definitely in my wheelhouse." She seems so comfortable and at home nowadays, these moments when you realize she's really really not are sort of strange. "Please, whatever you do, do not sneak up on me with tech. It will go very badly."

"Which is why invited you here, not the basement?" Alia isn't as dumb as she occasionally sounds. "Just … give this one a chance to prove not the monster in the dark. Maybe, instead, the monster at end of book."

Alia grins just a little, and asks a question "So, when is Aurora's birthday? Think gift idea hit me. A book."

"Mmmm," is Elisabeth's noncommittal answer. It's a fight not to be distressed with this. "Her birthday is in June. Just after Richard's." She pauses and smiles a little bit. "She just turned 7." A thought crosses her mind — and her face — but she doesn't speak it. Instead she pulls in a slow breath and then nods. "All right. I trust you, so I'll be around your creepy bot," she tells the technopath with a smile. "Just… swear to God, if that thing gets out and traumatizes Aurora…" She knows Alia will beat herself up far more than Liz ever could.

"…I'd better be dead if that happens." Alia replies, with a grave tone. And she leaves that, at that, and instead, steps back a moment, to grab a book off the shelf, which she hands to Liz. It's a children's book alright. Hard covered, and hard pages of some kind of paperboard. 'There is a monster at the end of this book!' the title declares, with a picture of Grover waving at the reader.

Alert blue eyes pin Alia for a moment. She wasn't going to threaten Alia's life. But she wonders for a moment if Alia would … no, actually she doesn't wonder suddenly. The woman would stand between Aurora and anything that came at her. Reaching up, Elisabeth takes the book and starts to laugh. "Oh … oh wow. That's wonderful. Where in the world did you find something like this?" It's ancient practically.

"Used to work for a library?" Alia offers. "And still in print." She smiles, just a little. "Though getting it shipped here? That sucked." She laughs a little. "And.. it reminds me of doing right, in a tough time. Where I was the monster in someone's book."

The statement brings a bittersweet feeling, and Elisabeth nods just a little. She understands the sentiment. "It's wonderful," she tells her friend softly. "I think she'll love it."

Alia smiles, nods, and gives Liz another hug. Then Alia finally voices one last concern. “… says something bad about me that I’m more worried about government approving of me poking at Khan, then me poking at Khan?” Yeah, that’s something that’s eating at her it seems.

Tipping her head, Elisabeth considers the question. "Personally? I'm more worried about what the government will do after it's developed than I am about you messing with the thing, so… no, I don't think it says anything bad about you at all," she admits. Her trust is in people not in organizations…. she's not honestly sure she'll ever feel comfortable about 'the government' again.

Alia nods, and just smiles, thinly. "Sounds right." She finally concludes. And leaves it at that.

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