A Brighter Future


alia_icon.gif barney_icon.gif jared_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif luther_icon.gif richard_icon.gif remi_icon.gif valerie_icon.gif



Scene Title A Brighter Future
Synopsis The grand opening of the Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office is attended by many of its employees and Board members.
Date December 20, 2017

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

It was an effort of nearly a year; working out the proper permits with the city, ensuring that they didn’t step on Yamagato’s toes, clearing out the abandoned buildings in the area, and finally the construction phase, but as the end of twenty-seventeen approaches the Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office is finally complete and ready for occupation and use.

Of course, technically there have been people here and working for months, but the actual completion of the building is something to celebrate. If only because there will be less construction tape appearing randomly in the hallways.

The executives, some of the staff, and especially the staff that already started working at the site are gathered in the expansive lobby; Sera set up a refreshments table with punch and hors d'oeuvres off to one side, the Raytech logo behind the receptionist’s desk is lit up in red lights off polished metal, and Richard Ray is expected to give a speech shortly. When he’s done with that glass of wine that he’s sipping from anyway. It’ll be a minute.

He’s so professional.

Building and construction permits in New York City have never been easy, but RayTech’s CLO has nearly 30 years of wrangling with the folks downtown to get things done. He never makes a lot of noise about it, and he has an impeccable reputation for not being corrupt, and yet Jared Harrison seems to always manage to get things done when they need to be. It might also help that he’s helped out a number of those people in offices doing the permitting before with pro bono “friendly” legal advice. But that’s neither here nor there. Looking over the lobby as he walks through, the older man makes his way toward the CEO carrying a manila folder.

“Richard,” he greets mildly. Holding out the folder to the younger man, he waits until its left his hands before commenting, “She was pretty sure you’d leave the notes upstairs. And you know how she gets if they’re not where they’re supposed to be.” Jared’s amusement at Richard’s secretary’s ultra-organized self is evident.

Settling more firmly into place, Jared leans just a little more heavily on the cane he’s begun to need only in the past few months. “You’ve come a long way,” he observes quietly, his blue eyes skimming the assembling groups of people. “And you’ve done an amazing job. Well done, young man. I’m very proud of what you’ve built here.”

Stepping into the room, Kaylee Ray-Sumter, Chief Operations Officer, takes a moment the steal herself against the crowd. A glass of wine is offer, but she gives a wave of her hand in dismissal and a polite smile of apology; Kaylee doesn't drink and hasn't drank since her ability showed itself when she was a teenager.

Most people know that, but there is always someone.

Her heels click on the tiled floors, as she moves in to the crowd, the sound muffled by the din of conversation; or at least to her. The hum of voices gather strength the more people show up, still she ignores it the best she can as the threads through the crowd: a bright smile on painted lips as she comments to this or that person. At least, she looks the part. Dressed in a pale yellow pantsuit and hair pulled up in a bun, she has gone long way from her tomboyish looks.

Though she mingles — having interviewed and hired most of these employees — her real target, is her brother. She’ll get there… eventually.

The littlest of the Ray siblings sits off to the side. While she’s always tempted to project to social events, someone talked her into coming to the first one in person. Even if it meant moving around on her really awesome and fairly comfortable wheelchair, designed by her brother. It’s not loud, but it has a motorized sound to it. Despite being in the wheelchair, she’s dressed colorfully, with a long skirt that hides her legs. A cute pair of slip ons rest on her feet, which are firmly kept in the footholds so her legs aren’t flapping around.

At least this way she can shake people’s hands when they come over without worrying about her hand maybe slipping through, but … then there’s those who look at her differently. And she knows it’s different because she doesn’t see those looks when she wanders as a projection. It’s not there.

One hand rests on the control for her chair, even though she’s not moving, and she smiles up at those who pass by, not showing any of her discomfort. Not on the outside, at least. She’s always been good at smiling despite everything. Years in a wheelchair hasn’t changed that.

Slipping past Valerie, Sera offers a fond if distant smile to the youngest Ray, carrying a fresh pot of coffee across the lobby.

Barney is a … manager of something? He administrates? He does things. Like watching the scientists to make sure they're not developing world ending doom. And apparently he's taken up residence as Richard Ray's new conscience. He's been running around making sure the party is going off without a hitch. Checking with caterers and waiters and people. He's making sure everyone is having a good time and has everything they need.

He moves from talking to the caterers to move in the direction of Richard where he's enjoying a glass of wine, a broad smile spread across his face. "Mister Ray. How are you doing this evening?" He is not a recluse at all. He's not hanging around the edges or anything, he's right in amongst the hustle and bustle, talking with everyone. And now he's set his sights on drawing Richard out to actually associate with everyone. "I hear you're going to be giving a speech?" He asks, the big bearded teddy bear tilting his head forwards, a curious brow lifting upwards.

Ah, crowds. Remi, like Kaylee, was never too fond of them, what with her ability and all. Today, she’s taking advantage of the fact that she can shrink her range down, and only has to hear the thoughts of those within about five feet of her. If anywhere is safe to do that, this would be it, right?

The French Telepath is dressed nicely — as always. She’s in her element, right now, parties were where she was raised to be. All the same, she, like her fellow telepath across the room, has declined alcohol. That’s always saved for privacy, when it won’t hurt her brains to get drunk.

She’s made her way, slowly, over to Richard — one last person is spoken to with a bright smile, before Soleil Remi Davignon approaches the man. Without giving him a chance to object, she takes his free hand with hers, leans forward, and kisses both cheeks in an extremely French greeting. “Bonjour, Richard.” She grins to the man.

Barney is offered a charming smile.

Bigger building, more tech, same boss… Alia has had her work cut out for her on making the tech Richard friendly while still being up to her own learned levels of paranoia. Still, she has managed, and has even managed to be talked into wearing a business like skirt suit instead of something geek chic. Which is to say half of the techies she guides would likely not recognize her right now.

Which leaves her being quiet, as usual, and fidgeting in a crowd. So, normal big crowd dynamics from her point of view! At least she isn't trying to slip out already.

"Oh, right." Richard reaches out to accept the folder with a wry damn it I meant to 'forget' that look on his face, "Thanks, Jared. What would I do without you…"

He takes a sip of wine, then, looking over the room as he says quietly, "I can't take credit for it all. My family did most of the leg work, I just pushed them to move…" Of course, that's most of his job.

Spotting his sisters in the crowd, he notes Kaylee minging but raises his glass to Valerie in a warm salute - and then, predictably, people are upon him.

"Barney," he greets, "And a bit of one, nothing too long, I promise - ah, Remi— " She kisses his cheeks, and he breathes out a chuckle in the wake of her so very French greeting, "A pleasure, as always.”

Jared’s grin is wicked when Richard takes the file. He knows damn good and well what the younger man was up to. “You'd leave papers upstairs and make your administrative assistant lose her shit,” he retorts candidly.

He picks up a glass off the tray as Sera passes by and steps back to allow all the people who need the CEO’s attention to have it. He likes being if not invisible at least in the background.

Excusing herself from the small group she is talking to, Kaylee makes her way over to Valerie’s side. A hand moving to touch her sister’s shoulder to catch her attention, a wedding band glinting in the harsh bright industrial light. “Ever the popular one that brother of ours,” the telepath comments softly to her little sister, with a little jerk of her head towards Richard. “Not that I am complaining mind you. Keeps my office nice and quiet.” There is a touch of humor in her voice.

This is why she always hangs back a little, letting people flock. “Joseph wanted me to make sure you were going to come over on Sunday for dinner.” Her attention drops back to Valerie with a bright smile. “I know the kids would be delighted.”

While she’d been greeting those who walked by, no one had seemed to stop with Valerie for more than a few moments. A handshake, a soft look, but never for very long. So she brightens up a bit when her big sister moves over. “I think people just like approaching him because he hates it so much. This is one of the only times they can corner him and he can’t slink away. Or delegate it to one of us.” Because the Ray sisters? Much more personable. When she’s at her desk in an office people seem to forget about the wheelchair, too. It helps.

“Of course. You’re a much better cool than me. I just know how to microwave.” She’s fairly handicapable, but they just don’t make super short ovens. And she doesn’t like wearing the exosuit Warren built her for things like that. She didn’t even wear it today cause the event would be too long and it’s tiring. The chair is easier on her.

The projection is easiest, though.

“And I love seeing the kids. Em’s getting so big!” The little former Lighthouse Kid definitely is, but they grow so fast. She likes all the kids, but Emily, being handicapped as well, always struck a special cord with her the last few years.

"Oh I don't know, a good rousing speech would be good for everyone I think. Something to take their minds off of what has come to pass, and put their focus on what is yet to come. It's also a good chance to let everyone see all of you together." Barney offers Richard a wide grin with his encouragement. "Just give people something to believe in Mister Ray and I do think they'll surprise you." He offers Remi a quick smile in greeting and tips his head to her. "Hello. I don't believe I've had a chance to introduce myself beyond seeing you around the building. Barney Sorensen. A pleasure." He saw the kiss greeting and isn't sure what he's supposed to do so just holds his hand out for a hand shake or something.

Once the greeting is made though he'll offer her and Richard a quick smile. "Excuse me just a moment?" Assuming they do he'll turn and make his way in the direction of Valerie and Kaylee offering them both just as big of a smile as he had for Richard and Remi. "Miss Ray, and Miss Ray-Sumter. How are you both tonight?" Barney is ever the inclusionary. If he sees someone on the sidelines he's going to try to draw them into the activity whatever it may be. "Are either of you speaking as well?" He asks, looking between them.

Luther hangs out near the refreshments because where else would the man be in this fancy shindig? The man who helps set up the food and drink gets first crack, after all. But nevertheless, he looks a little uncomfortable as he practically grows as a wallflower dressed in a navy blazer and lighter blue button down, business khakis and the cleanest pair of shoes he owns. Sure, he's been working on the building with the other staffers in that custodial capacity for some time. Now at the end of the near-year long effort, he simply stands nearby to the action, taking in the results. Taking in the people. Taking in the food. The man still eats like he hasn't had a good meal in years. And upon spotting Alia fidgeting in the crowd, takes a moment to load a second plate and walks over. "Here," he says with the offering, "it'll keep your hands busy."

As Luther leans down in to get more food, Sera slips past his field of view and he only catches sight of her black and orange sneakers scuffing past.

Remi smiles to Richard, squeezing his hand once, before letting go and taking a small step back. “Indeed,” she replies to the man, chuckling softly. A hand reaches out, snagging a non-alcoholic beverage, which she takes a small sip of.

As Barney introduces himself, the redheaded woman smiles. She uses the fact that she is French to extend the same greeting to him, leaning up and planting not-quite kisses on each of the man’s cheeks. Then, she steps back, a smile on her face as she raises her glass. “Enchantée, monsieur Sorensen. I am Soleil Davignon, though everyone calls me Remi.” She offers the man a warm smile.

As he steps away, she smiles faintly, turning back to Richard as her blue eyes scan the various faces gathered here. “Quite the affair here.”

Alia looks a mix of grateful and horrifed as Luther hands her a plate. She does manage a thankful nod at least. “This, not my… thing.” She offers as she takes a few bites, Small bites. “Least the electronics are behaving today.” She manages as a light joke. As if they’d do something else. Yeah, don’t jinx it, Alia.

Richard shoots the older Harrison a you get back here sort of look, but he's helpless to stop Jared from escaping the spotlight. For now.

Ah, but there's the ever-optimistic cheer of Barney then and he crooks a smile, his head shaking, "I'm more pleased to see everyone than the other way around, really. It's good to have a team I can count on again— and oh, Remi, Barney, vice versa."

Then the bearded fellow is heading to his sisters, and he gives Remi a wry look, "Not so much, I mean, most of the room are administrative or scientific staff, I can almost feel the awkward oozing from the room. Maybe I should've just thrown a pizza party."

Perks of being the ‘dad’ of this crazy group — Jared just gives Richard a cheeky grin and a wink, moving through the crowd toward the young women of Ray persuasion. Valerie’s presence here tends to make him protective toward the young woman. He greets Remi Davignon with a smile. “Remi. Give Jaiden my best, will you?” He hasn’t seen the man in some years now. Then he slips sideways about the same time Barney does, greeting several people with nods and that patented public smile that goes with being a somewhat known figure about the city, but he doesn’t stop until he’s standing next to Val’s wheelchair, leaning on his cane. “Ladies. Barney.”

“Uh oh…. Here they all come,” Kaylee jokes softly to Valerie with a chuckle, before she straightens, a genuine smile offered to Barney. A her hand is offered in a typical business fashion. “Mr. Sorenson. I think making everyone listen to one of us is enough, don’t you think.” Her tone is pleasant as always, showing a fondness for the redheaded employee.

“Mr. Harrison,” Kaylee greets the older man at his approach. “I see you are keeping Richard on track. I don’t think any of us, but him, wants to deal with a surly secretary. She worked awfully hard on those notes.” Her head tilts a little considering him for a moment, “We still on for looking over the new contract proposals later? I want to make sure that we are not getting… excuse the wording… screwed over when it comes to contracting out Warren’s skills.”

In Kaylee’s mind, having to contract her brother’s talents was a necessary evil, so that they afford to fund some of the more important projects.

Luther doesn't just offer up the second plate of food but also a sympathetic smile. "Not mine either, though I once had to work an event like this." A long pause follows before he rumbles, "That was a long time ago." Like, probably longer ago than some of these folks have been alive. Alia's worry gets her a reassuring statement. "Don't worry, you built it up. It'll work. Anything else is 'user error'." The bit of lighthearted joking lingers just long enough for Luther to lean in further and sort of whisper, "But I won't fault you for futzing with the boss' mic just for a bit of fun."

When the big fluffy man comes over, Valerie can’t help but grin up at him. He’s much taller when she’s in the chair, cause she often hops down and visits the researchers as a projection. Which often includes the wrangler in the basement. “Kaylee should speak. She’d be way better at it than Richard,” she jokes, something she probably wouldn’t joke about around a lower level employee. Or one would hope. “But it’s much more fun to hear Richard try to talk.”

Cause it just is.

The lawyer soon joins them and she aims a bright smile at him. She’d been one of the few who had barely known the man’s daughter before she failed to come back from Alaska, but she got to know her through him a lot more. She had only one experience with a dad, a near absent one, but since they met up, she felt like she had a second one. She rocks her chair back and forth a little before just waving at him. She may be in her mid-twenties now, but she still acted childish.

Barney is more than a bit surprised when he gets the same greeting as Richard from Remi, and as he straightens up there's a huff of surprise and a soft ahem. "E-excuse me Remi." He coughs a time or two as he steps away, side eyeing Richard for a moment in a 'what was that?' sort of questioning look, then he's onwards, moving towards the Ray sisters, alongside Jared as well. "Mister Harrington." He inclines his head to the man, then smiles brightly as Kaylee extends her hand. He engulfs hers in his big bear mitten grip and gives it a gentle and almost dainty sort of shake.

"Oh, well I can't say that I agree Miss Ray-Sumter. It is important for people to hear from their leadership. Yourselves just as much as your brother I think. Happy employees are far more productive. And when employees know that their superiors are pleased with their work it's encouraging." Barney looks between Jared and Kaylee, a brow raising at the mention of Warren.

"I do agree Miss Ray." Barney comments with a wink for Valerie. "But I do believe that all of you should speak, at some point. If not today. I understand not being prepared to speak could be somewhat problematic. But your name is part of the company as well. And who knows, perhaps Mister Ray will surprise everyone and be eloquent and magnanimous." THere's a twinkle of mischief in the big ginger's eye at that.

Quietly, Sera brings over a new tray of finger foods, laying it out on the refreshments table along with another refreshed carafe of coffee. She side-eyes Richard, then slips behind Luther's back.

Alia just looks at Luther a minute, before she gives a grin. Now there is a tempting tempting idea. Still, for now, best to just try to relax a bit before she causes one of the devices near her to freeze up on accident… And gods help anyone who expects Alia to join the Ray(s) in speaking, as she overhears the tail edge of that conversation. Food, into mouth, before anyone can think to even try asking.

To be fair, Barney and Cardinal aren’t the only people who are getting a joyful French greeting — pretty much anyone of importance is offered the same clasping of hands and kisses on the cheeks. Soleil Remi Davignon is putting her French on display — likely in part because she just came from France after handling a bit of business there, and she’s been there frequently for Victoria’s schooling.

Jared receives an even warmer greeting than most — she clasps his hands warmly and gives him the same kisses, but there is much more fondness behind the gesture for him. She named her youngest after his daughter, after all. “I will, Jared. It’s good to see you well.”

To Richard, the French Telepath turned PR manager smirks. “Perhaps you’re right, but I’m sure we can manage to have a good time despite that fact.”

"Pizza party," Richard replies to Remi deadpan, pointing the folder that he's holding at her, "I'm telling you."

That said, he slips away from her - not towards the crowd about his sisters but to the less-heralded members of the company lurking on the periphery. "Alia, Luther," he greets with a broad smile, "Glad to see you both here. Have some wine. You're going to need it. I know I do." The wine glass is motioned with, and then he tilts it back to finish it all.

“You are crazy to think so, both of you…” Kaylee glances between Barney and Valerie, “but I will take the compliment, but no. This is Richard’s show.” Speaking of, she watches her brother move among the people, “I think he will do just fine.” She adds turning her attention back to her companions.

She leans down a little so that she can whisper, “I heard there is a betting pool on how many times, he will stumble and say um?” Dealing with a lot of the admins within the company, she hears things. “Another is whether he uses the speech he was given or wing it.” There is a soft chuckle as she straightens. “I may of… or may not have sweetened the pot with a few days off paid vacation.” She puts a finger to her lips, glancing back at where her brother is out of the corner of her eye.

Kaylee might have been the one to start the rumor, to drive Richard Ray crazy. Make him a little nervous before his speech…


Winking at the younger Ray sister, Jared’s chuckle is for Kaylee. “I think you don't give him enough credit,” he observes to Kaylee with a smile. “I'm pretty sure I heard his assistant actually make him rehearse this one… so put my ten dollars on three instances of ‘uhm’ and cutting off the last half of the speech because it's too long.” It shouldn't surprise anyone in the least that he older man gets in on the fun — teasing Richard Ray is the older man’s favorite pastime since they moved back to the hellhole that is Manhattan.

Barney inclines his head to Kaylee's statement. "I think he will do fine. And betting is against company policy Miss Ray-Sumter." He winks at her since she would be the one who probably set company policy and would know whether the big admin is full of it or not. He flashes her a wide grin, then looks over to Jared with a soft chuckle for his teasing of Richard. "He likes to keep everyone on their toes." This statement accompanied by a not at all subtle wink. The beard doesn't do subtle.

Grinning, Valerie finds the topic of her poor big brother’s potential stumbles while speaking amusing, but she also knows she would have similar issues and probably say um more than once. Especially if she did it from her wheelchair. She’s not so much a speech giver. Telling the architects what to do is one thing, and while she did have to take a speech class for her business minor, she didn’t exactly do wonderful at it. Even if she could project herself to do it.

“I won’t make any bets, but I think he’s got it covered— he’s just going to hate it. I’m guessing as soon as the speech is done he slips off to ‘make phone calls’ or something.” Code for ‘hide in a room and brood, probably, likely with a string map nearby.’

“We’ll do one of those next time, then.” Remi laughs, rolling her eyes. Then, Richard is off, and the Frenchwoman meanders her way over to the Ray sisters. Kaylee is given a wide berth, for Telepath Reasons, though she does get a smile and a soft greeting. Remi likes Kaylee, she just doesn’t like even accidentally hearing the other telepath — just as she’s sure the other telepath doesn’t like hearing her. Valerie, however, is offered the standard French greeting.

She does manage to overhear the betting. “Oh, he’s going to stumble for sure.” She grins. “But you didn’t hear that from me at all,” she says in that crisp European accent of hers. “And then he’ll go hide.” She nods sagely. This is certainly one of the more awkward parties that the socialite has attended — not that she minds.

"Pretty good, right?" Luther remarks on the hors d'oeuvres as Alia manages to stuff one down, the man mirroring the motion. Halfway into chewing, Luther spots Richard incoming and chews faster in a race to swallow the piece down. He barely does, scrubbing a hand down his throat to encourage it. "Hey Boss. Congrats on the opening." The fact that they're standing in fruits of their labors, the completion of a lengthy project, is not lost upon him.

That being said, he nods in the direction of said sisters and the group around them. "They seem to be enjoying themselves, which is good, all this is pretty different from a boardroom meeting," he observes aloud. "But we're all looking forward to hearing what you have in store."

The mention of having some wine along with watching the other man tip back the rest of his glass skews Luther's smile up. "Sure thing. And maybe after you finished your keynote, grab your sisters and come 'round and we'll all grab a beer. After party." He looks over at Alia, passing a knowing smile between employees. There's probably no way Richard Ray will be able to escape this party for the next several hours.

Alia grins. “Appreciate, but not wise.” She doesn’t explain why. Perhaps Alia just doesn’t handle liquor well. Or maybe it’s the fact that a drunk technopath in a building full of just set up tech is likely the worst idea she can think of. Either way she does manage to keep grinning. “Try to wait until tomorrow to lock the computer up solid?” She teases Richard herself just a little. After all, she knows him well enough to do that much.

"Yes," Richard replies with the same wan lack of confidence in his ability to do so that Luther's harboring, "That sounds wonderful actually." The worst part of losing his power is, he can't just mysteriously slip away and escape meetings or awkward face-to-faces at gatherings like this.

He points the emptied glass at Alia accusingly, "I'm not that bad." He is, and that crooked smile of his shows he knows it. A heavy sigh, a glance at the folder in his hand, "Well. I suppose I should get this over with - wish me luck."

He walks over to the main doors of the lobby, raising his glass slightly, "Attention! Attention, everyone… you can leave." A comedic pause, "No, sorry, I'm wrong, you have to live through my speech first."

Even if no one else finds it funny, which she doubts she’ll be alone, Valerie lets out a genuine laugh at her big brother’s joke. She even starts to clap, cause— that was really good. People who didn’t know him well, the way he said it, would have even thought he meant it, she thinks. Actually, people who knew him might have thought he meant it.

She lets her hands drop and twists the wheelchair so she can face him better, hoping that no one stands in front of her and blocks the view, because she’s going to be beaming up at her CEO in support.

Barney chortles softly at all the jokes and teasing going around, his head turning, watching the banter between old friends. Because he can tell that's what a lot of them are. Old friends. It's a family business. Family is just a little more than blood relations. A broad smile settles on the ginger viking's features as he watches the interplay and jokes. Then Richard is stepping up to start his speech and Barney lets out a short soft laugh, though soft for him is still a deep rumbling sort of chuckle. He clears his throat lightly to banish the laugh and not interrupt the boss. One of the bosses. The main boss he's worried about interrupting in that moment.

Taking a swallow of the wine in his hand, Jared practically snorts the liquid out his nose when Richard does that. Dear God, that boy is gonna be the death of him! He coughs into the back of his wrist, attempting to be discreet about it while snickering a laugh. He murmurs to the people closest — Valerie, Kaylee, and Barney — “I’m pretty sure that’s not what she put in his speech notes.” He’s genuinely amused, though.

Having backed away from her sister on Remi’s approach — the feedback of their abilities uncomfortable, loud, and annoying — Kaylee just manages to catch Jared’s comment. She glances Richard’s ways with faint smirk. “I guarantee you it is not,” the telepath murmurs, tilting her head close to the older man so he can hear her.

Moving away from the crowd, Kaylee stands apart, giving her mind a rest. She can handle all of the murmurs, but when you can hear minds, a group like this can get loud…. And she’d really like to hear what Richard has to say.

There is an encouraging smile on her lips for him, if he glances her way, a silent show of support. You got this. is offered without even having to resort to telepathy.

After the round of chuckling - both genuine and polite - has passed, there's enough quiet for Richard to have the attention of the small crowd. The glass is set down on the edge of the receptionist's desk, a pool of wine at the very bottom where he'd missed a few drops, the folder with the prepared speech set beside it.

"It's been… a hard decade. A long ten years," he starts off, his tone turning serious immediately as he looks out over the gathering, "We've all lived through a war on American soil, something that none of us ever thought would happen. We've lost friends and family, we've seen civilian massacres in the streets, we've seen nuclear weapons turned against our own country, we've seen viruses employed as bioweapons against one another." He pauses, closing his eyes for a moment, "We've lived through the worst time in our country's history, and we've all felt loss from it."

Then he spreads his hands, opening his eyes, "But here we are - we've come through the smoke and the storm alive, and heard all the doomsayers and fatalists saying that we'll never recover. That all that'll be left in the years to come is a Wasteland."

A smile, gaze swept over the people in the lobby, "But you - all of you that've decided to come on here - decided to make that untrue. You decided to look at the ruins and build, and that's what we do here. We're building a better future, a Brighter future, for everyone. And I am proud of all of you for joining us, and I am privileged to be standing here before you all right now."

"Together, we can - we will - accomplish great things here at Raytech. I have every confidence that the brilliant minds in this room and those to come later, together with those back in Detroit, will create innovations that will make the world a better place for us, for our children, and for that future we dream of," he reaches over to raise his glass high, "If I might be forgiven a Biblical reference, the waters of the flood have receded and it is time to rebuild. So without further ado, I declare the New York Safe Zone Branch Office officially operational."

The glass is brought down, and he says wryly, "Now eat, I'm sure you're tired of listening to me already and that spread looks delicious." Tilting it back, the last dregs of wine vanish from the vessel.

Sera quickly slips in and takes the glass, flashing a thoughtful smile as she disappears back into the crowd.

Listening to the speech, Jared Harrison is more somber than perhaps expected. The losses suffered for everyone in this group are massive, and he is no different. He catches Richard’s eyes as the younger man scans the crowd and silently raises his glass just a hint, nodding to him in acknowledgement of the words. He’s proud of Richard Ray, and it shows in his expression. When the speech is through and people start to move around, the older man chuckles quietly. Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out his wallet and hands Kaylee a $10 bill. “Chuck it into the pot. I lose,” he tells the young woman with a twinkle in his blue eyes.

Poor guy, that Richard, getting teased by the tech head. Truth be told, Luther isn't that much better with the technology himself, so he remains mum on the subject. A smile lingers as he watches Richard move off to mingle, appreciating the moment. He does so as well, excusing himself from Alia's side and finding a few more hands to shake, a few more faces to say hello to in the meanwhile. Once attention is called, he looks over towards the main doors like the others, though not without one last pick of the fancy appetizers off his plate to munch on.

But not expecting the first remarks to be about somber topics, his head bows and a short breath sucks in upon mention of civilian massacres, of nukes. The events of the past decade are at once both a whole blur of time and memories that grips with striking clarity. But then Richard goes on and he looks back up, attention focused. And when the speech ends with a brighter outlook, Luther remembers to breathe again. After a short laugh for the speech's conclusion, he goes on to do just as the boss orders. Man's gotta eat, drink, and be overall merry at least for this night.

The tech head meanwhile has a somber look on her face as she listens to Richard’s speech. There’s a look to her eyes, the look of someone who’s definitely seen all of the above and a few atrocities that went unmentioned perhaps for the better. Yet, here she is, here they are. Alia has much to muse on with this it seems, or at least, a lot of things that come to mind. Nor the list of things done to achieve this result. She silently touches the necklace-charm she had spent more than a little of her own paycheck on… a crimson bishop piece, with a core made of titanium. The small LED on the top remains off though.

She then picks up a drink finally and waits for a moment of quiet after that speech, to raise the glass, in toast. “To those missing. Never forgotten.”

“Thank you, Mr. Harrison,” Kaylee comments with a bright smile, pausing from the applause, so that she can take his money, “I will make sure this makes it in.”

Over by the receptionist desk, Richard feels a mental nudge, before his sister’s mental voice echoes in his head. «You know, Richard, that worked far better than I ever imagined.» It really had.

No one is the wiser to the conversation taking place, as others scoot over to the telepath, and discreetly pass over cash to her, lest Barney be the wiser. «Thank you, dear brother, for a perfect speech. Even I had doubts.» She teases. It would have been a touch embarrassing if he hadn't. «We did good. The Company Holiday Party fund is coming along nicely.» She sounds rather pleased and amused all rolled into one.

Not that it wouldn’t be funded that way, the siblings had already had the start of a little fund, but a little extra never hurt.

Barney wasn't expecting a more somber speech either, there's a bit of surprise on his face, but as the speech goes on his head is tilting to what Richard says, nodding along with the words spoken. When Richard lifts his glass in toast Barney is caught with… a glass of water, but he lifts it in response regardless before lowering it back down in his hands. Barney doesn't see the betting pool being gathered. Or if he does he pretends not to. Barney would of course never believe that Kaylee would commit such a flagrant workplace violation as a betting pool. Ahem. Barney's eyes to scan over the crowd a little bit, but almost pointedly stay away from Kaylee and her bookieing and racketeering.

After Sera refills his drink, and he chats with a few others on the way, Richard makes his way along back over to his sisters. “I don’t suppose,” he asks them with a wry smile, “That I could get out of here without someone dragging me back in, could I?”

He looks around, then back, “…yeah. Probably not.”

Corporate rank has its disadvantages.

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