A New Development


corbin_icon.gif zelda_icon.gif

Scene Title A New Development
Synopsis And the new development is not just in their investigations of the outages, it turns out.
Date September 28, 2018

Corbin Ayer's Office: Fort Jay

The ferry ride to Fort Jay is usually only available to certain people, but the Yamagato liaison to SESA definitely has access when she’s on an investigation. Corbin had made sure that she would be easily cleared by radioing ahead as she had mentioned the intention to visit in her last email. It had taken days to go through all the employee files, to bookmark and send responses back and forth until they could narrow down the list of possible suspects. He didn’t like thinking of them that way, but he did.

Once she arrived at the Fort, she had been escorted to the specific office of the SESA agent in question. Corbin sat behind his desk, leaning back against the chair— he appears to be asleep, like he dozed off at his desk.

Sadly, it does not look like tea is available here, just coffee. He has a couple coffee cups laying about. Many of them with puns on them. One has a black cat on it, reading PEOPLE KINDA STRESS MEOWT across it, while another has a flamingo and says: I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FLOCK. The one sitting on his desk has a brown rodent face and says, GOPHER IT! underneath.

He’s not snoring, but he doesn’t seem to rouse, either. The escort didn’t even stick around once she got shown the open door with his name plate visible.

Between the investigation and being in charge of planning an entire Matsuri, it’s a small wonder that Zelda hasn’t had an early heart attack. Add to that her recent manifestation, and that small wonder becomes a pretty large one — it’s hard to watch the news these days. Thankfully, reading doesn’t hurt, so Zelda has pretty much forsaken her television in favor of skimming articles.

Not that she minds.

Carrying a briefcase full of files, Zelda cautiously knocks upon the door of the office as she steps in, glancing about with raised brows — while she certainly isn’t judging him, the woman certainly feels a good deal more thankful to be employed by Yamagato, with its sleek modern architecture and all of the creature comforts she’s grown accustomed to.

“Mister — ah, Corbin,” she murmurs as she slips in, closing the door behind herself. She doesn’t seem to mind that he’s fallen asleep on the job — it seems she’s just going to get set up while he wakes up.

It doesn’t happen as suddenly as someone being startled into awakening, but it does happen, and rather soon after she speaks. Almost as if he heard her, or something. Corbin’s eyes open, staring up at the ceiling for a moment before he blinks in surprise and pushes himself straight in his chair and sees her, “Oh— oh, sorry. I— right, Zelda. We were supposed to meet,” he talks as if talking to himself as much as to her, reaching to the papers on his desk. They are better organized than one might think of a man who falls asleep at his desk.

Maybe he should get some coffee, right?

“Why did you want to meet in person for exactly?” It had been her that had mentioned it, he’s sure. At least that’s how he remembered it. “I think we’ve found a couple people who might be potential suspects,” he flips open the file as if that would be the only topic, as if trying to rush into motion to so as not to seem like he’d been…

Sleeping on the job.

Zelda doesn’t seem bothered — if anything, she’s amused. She’s had days like that before — thankfully, her job, up until not too long ago, was boring enough for her to get away with it. She certainly couldn’t get away with that now — evenings once spent leisurely catching up on reading are now spent curled up in bed.

“I like your mugs,” she starts, gesturing toward the cat one. Then, she sets her briefcase on the desk, opening it to reveal a neatly organized interior, with folders and labels and a few purple flourishes here and there. “I wanted to meet in person because my circumstances have changed.”

She takes out a folder labeled ‘Power’, setting it on the table and opening it to reveal the stack of papers she has thus far on the investigation. “My ability finally manifested, and I need to update my registration, as well as applying for a Commercial endorsement.” She chuckles softly.

After a step, she continues, “Turns out I’m a walking lie detector. It happened when I was on the talk show with Quentin. He was lying about his funding, by the way.” She can’t help the eager grin forming on her face. “Tell me two truths and a lie. Make it difficult, something a stranger like myself would not be able to figure out.”

Well. That definitely was a new development.

Corbin had been listening to that radio show. And while there had been some things happening that had amused him, the broadcast that had come after had sparked confusion, surprise. But most of it had been wiped away from his memory during the static that came after and the voice. A voice he could barely recognize as a voice, whispering.

«You are nothing»

«And yet»
«You are a vessel»

«For something greater.»

«I could make you worthy»
«Of her»

There’s a moment when he glances off into the distance for a moment, without actually looking at anything. Not the cups that she complimented, or the folder. “Two truths and a lie. I never was good at that game.” That, apparently, is a truth. At least in the sense that he believes it to be true. When he looks back at her, he rubs fingers through his hair.

Sometimes the best truths and lies are made up of simple things, and sometimes, there’s a trap laid within them. Something that sounds true when it is false, something true that sounds like it couldn’t possibly be true.

“My favorite color is red.” That’s the lie. And so simple of one. He does like red, but it’s not his favorite.

“I used to collect toy cars, like hot wheels and the like.” That’s true.

“I was legally dead during the war.” That’s also true. Since legally dead could mean paperwork, not actually dead dead. Some people had faked their deaths in the past due to certain things, but it still sounded like it should have been a lie. In most cases.

There was no such strange voice for Zelda — she was too busy feeling sick about Quentin’s lies to notice such things. She watches the man thoughtfully — she flinches ever-so-slightly at the mention of his favorite color, letting him finish before offering a small smile.

“Red is not your favorite color,” she replies. “I can’t tell specifics, but I know when someone isn’t being honest. It’s interesting, it’s like a knot in my stomach, and it spreads from there.” She tilts her head to one side. “When Quentin was lying about his funding, it almost made me sick.”

She gestures to him, smiling. “Try again, if you like.”


“Perhaps the bigger the lie, the more it hurts,” and from what he has heard, the man had repeated his lack of corporate funding multiple times. So maybe that had been part of it too. A repeated lie. Corbin leans back, thoughtful as he pondered how it might be. “Your ability is one that your land of origin probably would have loved to have on hand.” Someone who could stand with someone who had failed a blood test, know if they were lying about not having manifested— known if they were lying about the extent of their ability.

But it’s also something useful here, for them, for Yamagato. “I imagine lie detection would fall under the same category as telepathy and other interrogation abilities, not being allowed for investigations unless there’s a warrant, but inside Yamagato the rules might be different.” Since they have their own set of laws and do not need to follow those in the United States. “We could test your ability out, assuming your employer allows use without a warrant, on the ones we’ve narrowed it down to,” he gestures to the computer screen where his emails no doubt could be found.

The fact that he didn’t lie shows he didn’t really want to try. Not after she made it clear it put her in pain. Telling frivolous lies didn’t make much sense to him, if it caused someone harm.

“Not sure. My, ah, girlfriend,” her cheeks color lightly, mostly because she’s not sure what to call the woman, “She told me a few little white lies, and they felt about the same as the big lies that she told me.” Zelda smiles softly. “I think it’s the same no matter what, if someone is being untruthful. I think Quentin was just telling a lot of lies.”

His mention of her country of origin prompts a small grimace to form on her face briefly. She hasn’t really paused to think of the implications of this ability in the UK. “They would probably take me into government custody and use me for whatever they would feel the need for,” she replies, shaking her head.

The change of subject prompts a small smile. “Really glad I manifested out here and not back there, though.” She might find herself being used by Yamagato, or even the US government if she gets the endorsements she wants, but they will at least compensate her — that’s far more than she could expect from the UK, who would probably just throw her in a cell in between lie detecting tests. “I’ll have to speak to my higher-ups — I’m sure they would love for me to test this out with this.” She taps the files in her briefcase.

“Speaking of,” she adds, pulling out three file folders — each labeled with the name of a suspected employee. “Kusuo Inaba,” she lifts the first folder. “I don’t suspect him so much — though he does have the disgruntled demoted employee angle.” She sets this off to one side. “I certainly won’t write him off, but I suspect Mariko Hashida and Naoji Seko a bit more than her. Their financial situations suggest that sabotage would be profitable.”

All lies hurt about the same. Corbin has to nod carefully, keeping in mind not to lie around her if he could avoid it. Which might mean choosing his words carefully or avoiding topics he doesn’t want to tell the truth about. Like that little flash of color often in the corner of his eyes that he doesn’t even tell his employers about. But causing someone pain for little white lies (or big fat ones) isn’t something he wants to do. “I’m sure eventually the status of young homeland will change, but for the moment— it is much better to be Expressive here.” It’s what he believes, at least. Sometimes he hoped that a little speedster he knew hadn’t gotten caught over in Europe. But he’s sure if anyone could stay one step ahead it would have been her…

“We should question all three, and it will give me a chance to see your ability in action.” Make sure it doesn’t have any undo side effects. “I’m assuming you would like to get a COM rating for your employer.” They just won’t be able to use her ability as evidence against them unless they can get a warrant, which… “I’ll contact Yamagato and see if we need a warrant to question them.” Since he doesn’t want to get all their information thrown out once they get it, “Then we can do that.”

“I agree,” Zelda replies to the fact that it is better to be SLC-Expressive in this country than it is in her homeland. “I hope the UK will get better, but I’m not holding my breath. There is still a lot of fear there,” she adds, a frown touching at the edges of her mouth. That doesn’t last long, however, and she’s smiling again after a moment.

His next words prompt a nod, the woman bobbing her head up and down in agreement. “Yes, let’s definitely question all three. I’d honestly like to see what I can do, too.” She chuckles, then nods. “A COM rating, certainly. I would love to be of assistance to the law here, as well, assuming Yamagato doesn’t take up all of my time.” There is a slightly amused twinkle in her eye.

“That festival you suggested is going to happen at the end of the month, by the way. I’ve somehow found myself in charge of organizing it.” She places her meticulously organized files into her briefcase, chuckling softly. “I do expect you to attend since this was your idea in the first place.” With a click, the briefcase is snapped shut.

The woman pulls her phone out briefly to check the time, and then she is standing once again. “Speaking of, I have a meeting with some food vendors to work out logistics, so I should be on my way.” Zelda offers a gracious smile to Corbin. “Always a pleasure, Corbin.”

Apparently, Zelda is in whirlwind mode, because Corbin barely gets the chance to offer a farewell in response before she’s fleeing out the door to catch the ferry ride back to the mainland.

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