A City In The Sun


gatter_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title A City In The Sun
Synopsis Richard interviews a very well-qualified employee, and asks only normal questions during the interview.
Date October 16, 2020

Raytech NYCZ Branch Office - Richard's Office

“Ah, Doctor Gatter. Come in.”

Richard Ray rose from behind his desk, one hand coming up to smooth out the red tie that slashed down the dark front of his suit’s shirt, a professional smile curving to his lips. His eyes hidden by a sharp set of sunglasses that seem an odd affectation given his otherwise formal appearance.

Out the window, the sprawling concrete and greenery of the Raytech campus can be seen, with construction equipment still visible in places as it continues to expand. The sun’s low in the sky but still up, its light accenting the sharp edges and softer gardens of the architectural style prominent to the corporation’s holdings.

Doctor Albert Gatter strides in, matching Richard Ray's professional smile with one of his own. His attire, too, matches the CEO's in many respects — black jacket, black shirt, and black pants — though his tie is black instead of red, and he lacks the Raytech CEO's sunglasses.

It isn't to his personal taste — he prefers more vivid colors — but it's a reminder that he's here for business today. That it seems to line up with Richard's tastes is an accident, but a happy one.

"Thank you, Mr. Ray; it's a pleasure to be here," Gatter pronounces smoothly.

“Please, have a seat,” Richard motions with a hand to the seats opposite the desk before easing himself down into his chair, “I’m pleased you were able to come by, I know it was a little short notice but…” A slightly rueful smile, “I’ve been rather busy lately. A lot of irons in the fire these days.”

“Welcome back to America, first of all,” he allows, spreading his hands a bit, “I’m sure it’s been a bit of an adjustment. It’s not quite the same place it once was.”

Gatter nods, settling into a seat and steepling his fingers. "As one does," he agrees, of irons on the fire.

"And thank you. It has… most definitely been a bit of a shock. You hear some news, of course, but it's never quite the same as seeing things personally," Gatter says ruefully, hands rising and spreading, palms up, before he steeples them again.

“No, it’s not…” Richard brings one hand up, rubbing against his jawline a bit as he looks to the window, “You can’t even really get the scope of it until you’ve seen one of the Dead Zones, or Exclusion Zones. The first time I went back into Manhattan… well.”

He shakes his head, looking back with a faint smile, “Regardless. That’s why we’re here— to rebuild a better, brighter future than what we were heading towards.”

A gesture to the man across from him, “So. I’ve read your resume and background check and all, of course, but tell me about yourself and why you want to work with us here in your own words, Doctor.”

"Exactly that," Gatter says, pointing to Richard, his gray eyes intense. "Rebuilding a better, brighter future. That's what I want to do. I want to do it here," he says, hands rising and spreading as if bracketing some large object, "in America, because this is the place where it's needed the most — and, conversely, where the greatest potential exists." There's a momentary pause. "Aside from being the nation of my birth, of course — that plays a part, too," he confesses.

Then he leans forward, gray eyes intent on Richard. "And I want to do it here," he says, with a smaller bracketing motion, "at Raytech, because in America… this is where the science is at."

Gatter settles back into his seat, his hands steepling in front of his chest again, still maintaining that intent gaze. "And science is, and always has been, the means by which the future is made."

“You’re not wrong.”

Richard shakes his head slightly, “Of course, some of the foreign companies have more capital than we do— Yamagato, and until recently, Praxis, but in the end their primary interest is their own home countries. And their profits, of course.”

“Here, we believe in just that. Making the future, and making sure it’s— not something terrible. Before the war, science was being abused terribly. If things hadn’t gone off when they did, we’d be living in quite the… apocalyptic wasteland by now, I have no doubt.”

He’s been there, after all.

“We primarily work in technological advancements on the bleeding edge of science, as I’m sure you know; some we then produce ourselves, but our industrial production is honestly fairly low, so most of our technology we sell to others. We also work on a fair number of classified projects, as for obvious reasons our government doesn’t want to outsource work to foreign companies.”

“Given your— wide range of talents, what sort of projects are you hoping to pursue with us?”

"Well. I'll work on… whatever you've got that aligns with my talents," Gatter says, leaning forward a bit. "But cybernetics, prosthetics, and neural interface technology are particular interests of mine."

Gatter looks as though he's about to continue for a moment, but then restrains himself, instead opting to lean back a bit in his seat.

Richard’s brows raise a little just over the edge of his shades. “Did you have something else? Please, go on,” he suggests, “We have a very— open door policy here, free exchange of ideas and such.”

Gatter nods — slowly at first, but with increasing enthusiasm. "All of the technologies I've mentioned are outgrowths of the core of my personal interest — transhumanism. Broadening the scope of the human experience."

Gatter leans forward, gesturing. "You're familiar with Plato's allegory of the cave? A prisoner, trapped in a cave, facing a wall and watching the shadows of objects in the outside world interact, thinking that that is all there is to the world?" Gatter asks.

"There are a lot of different takes on it, of course, but my take on the allegory of the cave is that it is, first and foremost, a metaphor for human existence. That's us, Mr. Ray — we're trapped inside our own heads, peering out at the world through a peephole. The only world we know is the one we perceive, and the senses we have are inherently limited — there are whole categories of phenomena that we remain ignorant of because we are simply not equipped to perceive them!"

Gatter leans back, raising his hands. "Sight, for example. The electromagnetic spectrum stretches from radio waves to gamma rays, but the range we can perceive is an incredibly narrow slice of that — a small range centered around green, because that's the color of the pigment plants use for photosynthesis. And even within that range, human eyes are limited — we only have three sets of receptors for color — red, green, and blue. Every other color we see? We actually don't, it's something our brain came up with trying to make sense of the mix of wavelengths it's detected. There are whole categories of colors that the brain could perceive, if our eyes were capable of it — impossible colors, imaginary colors, forbidden colors, chimerical colors. And that's just going into sight!"

Gatter takes a deep breath, winding down a bit. "Evolutionary pressure guides life towards survival, and our senses evolved in response to that pressure — with the goal of detecting phenomena beneficial or adverse to survival. But I think we can do better than just survival. I think we're ready to do better."

Richard listens to the scientist go on, his expression difficult to read but certainly attentive. His hands fold on the black glass of the desk, one briefly deviating to reach over and adjust a picture frame holding an old picture of his wife off to one side that he noticed was standing crooked before his attention returned to Gatter.

When he winds down, the executive allows in slightly-wry tones, “While we certainly can do better, I don’t know if we’re necessarily ready — but we’re nearing a technological event horizon that we’re going over whether we’re ready for it or not. Which is why I want to make sure that technology is first in the right hands.”

“It may or may not surprise you to learn that in the past several years…” He motions a bit with one hand, “Almost all of the limits that you’ve mentioned have been exceeded. The problem is that most of them were done in horrific ways. The Vanguard, the Commonwealth Institute, Pinehearst and other private groups have carried out extreme and illegal experiments on unwilling subjects and - while they’ve achieved results - the methods and intents resulted in all of these results being burned to the ground by military, paramilitary, and independent operators.”

Gatter's expression is one of intent concentration as he listens to Richard speak; it remains that way for several seconds after Richard finishes, seemingly waiting for whatever point Richard is trying to make.

Then he blinks, seeming to realize that apparently he's expected to speak. His head tilts a bit. "As I understand it, the Vanguard also attempted to…" he trails off, considering words for a moment, "…to, ah, kill the world in a number of different ways? Not least of which was — and correct me if I'm wrong — nuking Antarctica? It doesn't exactly surprise me to hear that they did bad science." His face twists into a grimace with that last phrase.

“It shouldn’t, no. Our goal here at Raytech is to achieve similar results, but without venturing into horrific supervillainy,” says Richard, a bit dryly, “Which for some reason seems to be a line that people keep crossing in recent years.”

“I want us to accomplish everything they did - everything you were just talking about - but ethically. I want to take humanity beyond even the Evolved, and to create a better, brighter future for everyone. Robotics, cybernetics, evolved ability augmentation, eco-tech, resonant technologies, everything that sci-fi authors have thought of. For the first time in history we have the chance to reach beyond our reach, and I want to get there before some idiot does it poorly and sets fire to the planet.”

A smile tugs up a bit at the corner of his lips, “I want to take us all out of Plato’s Cave to build a city in the sun, Doctor Gatter. Does that sound like something that interests you?”

The doctor nods as Richard speaks, looking thoughtful; when he's done, this time there is no delay before he offers a response. "Firstly… that is an excellent way to put it, and I am absolutely stealing that. Secondly, and more importantly: yes. Yes, that is very much in line with my interests."

“Excellent.” Richard grins briefly, “Now, just a few questions, just formalities, please note that a ‘yes’ answer is not an immediate dismissal, we simply need to make sure we know certain things— “

He taps the glass on his desk in a spot, and it lights up to demonstrate that it’s a touchscreen. ‘Dragging’ a note over to him, he looks at it so he doesn’t forget a question as he begins to list them off, apparently entirely seriously.

”Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of any clandestine group or agency or involved in any terrorist actions against any government, and if so, which ones?”

"No," Gatter answers.

“Are you under the influence of any telepathic, empathic, or memetic effects to your knowledge?”

Gatter frowns, his brow furrowing as he considers the question. "Tricky to determine, since that's even more subjective than the rest of reality due to being less objectively observable. To my knowledge, no."

“Are you currently operating under the intent of foiling or fulfilling a precognitive vision or artwork of any source?”

Gatter's expression flattens. "Absolutely not."

“Do you have any cybernetic augmentations or alterations?”

"Not yet!" Gatter answers, beaming.

“Are you, to your knowledge, a native of the timeline that we’re currently in?”

That question provokes a thoughtful silence. "The fact that you asked that seriously is itself interesting," Gatter says. "But in answer to that: yes."

“And, finally, does the name ‘Uluru the Invincible’ mean anything to you?”

"That it sounds like a 1940s comic book villain. Aside from that, no, I can't say that it does," Gatter says, leaning back in his chair and peering at Richard, waiting for the next question.

The answers are tallied and noted with a nod, Richard absently observing, “I think you’ll actually be in the minority regarding the first question, more than half of our scientists started off with some secret organization or another. Of course, they’ve all either been acquitted of any crimes or have served their terms, they’re all here legally. We believe in second chances here at Raytech.”

He leans back, flashing the doctor a smile, “Well, I’ll have someone send you over a formal offering with a salary offer and the like, but I think that assuming all of that works out, we’d be happy to have you here at Raytech, Doctor Gatter.”

"Outstanding," Gatter says, rising to his feet. "I look forward to helping to lay the foundations for that city in the sun, Mr. Ray," he says, smiling broadly.

Richard rises up to his feet, offering a hand across the table with a broad smile of his own.

“We’ll be in touch soon, Doctor. I look forward to showing you all the things we’re working on here at Raytech…”

He chuckles, “Once we get all your clearances in order, that is. The government is terribly stringent about those when it comes to our work.”

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