And Golden Venus Was There


kaylee6_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title And Golden Venus Was There
Synopsis Richard shows up at his sister's door with some news.
Date April 10, 2021

Raytech Industries Campus
Kaylee’s Apartment

April 10, 2021
6:02 pm Local Time

Knock, knock.

Richard’s standing outside his sister’s door, still dressed for the office; it’s the same building, after all, and he probably just finished up his last appointments for the day. He’s got his phone out, and he’s frowning at it as he waits for her to answer, occasionally glancing up to it.

Something told his sister someone was coming long before the knock.

Not that Kaylee understood why Willy suddenly hissed at the door and bolted up into her bedroom, brows deeply furrowed as she looked up at the top. “The fuck’s gotten into you?” But then there was a knock. With a final glare up the stairs she goes to find who it is.

“Hey, big brother,” Kaylee says pleasantly, but then the smile falls away to be replaced by worry. “Everything okay?” she asks, glancing out in the hallway behind him and opening the door wide enough to let him in.

“Is it ever?” Richard steps inside with a brief chuckle, “Dangerous question with us, really, but— I’m alright, just had some information for you about the whole, you know…” He motions a hand to her up and down, vaguely, “Thing.”

He looks around the apartment first, asking, “Just you here right now?” No kids, no boyfriend?

“Thing?” Kaylee says more amused than insulted. “Wow. Taking this whole, organic robot thing to heart,” she obviously teases, swatting at him as he moves past into the apartment. Good thing she’s not a telepath currently, else he might get slugged harder in the shoulder for the boyfriend comment. “And yes, just me. It’s not my weekend for Carl. Much to his displeasure.”

There is a growl from the top of her stairs, which gets a sigh from Kaylee. “Well, actually, it’s me and the cat,” she says flatly, jerking a finger over her shoulder.

“But you have something?” Kaylee comments, sounding hopeful, shifting to the important thing. “I’ve been stuck for any more clues. I think a lot of us are.”

Kaylee quickly motions him to sit at the kitchen table, surrounded on three sides by curtains, but the far wall was lush and green. The setting sun, filtering though the dome above, baths the dining room shades of amber and orange. “Can I get you a drink?” She asks.

“Do I need one?” Kaylee adds suddenly worried.

“Cat problems? Do I need to bring Richelieu over to harass him?” Richard quips as he glances to the stairs, then walks over to the kitchen table. Easing down to sit, he brings his hands up to loosen his tie, sunglasses pulled off and dropped to the table with a brief clatter.

He’s making himself comfortable. The monkey suit looks good on him, but he’s always felt constrained by it.

“I come bearing clues, at least,” he admits, “Hold on the drinks for now, we’ll see— I just had a meeting the other day with Yvette Volken.”

That gets her full attention.

“Volken?” Kaylee asks, moving to ease into the chair across from him, eyes shifting over his face, as if everything was written there. “Isn’t that…. His daughter?” she asks, clearly trying to figure out how Yvette relates to Kaylee’s situation.

“Adopted,” Richard affirms, leaning forward to rest both arms on the table, “Of course, she goes by Cecilia Weiss these days— I actually came away from it rather liking her. I hope she’s not planning some elaborate double-cross, but you know, I don’t think she is.”

A smile tugs up a bit at the corner of his lips, “She had a lot of the puzzle pieces I’ve been missing, as it turns out.”

Kaylee pales at the name, her expression falling into mild shock. “Weiss. As in the Cecilia Weiss of Renautas-Weiss?” She holds up a hand to keep him from answering, giving a shake of her head. It was a dumb question.

“They’re suspects,” Kaylee blurts out, her voice edging with irritation. “They're the only other company with the tech expertise that could have created the nanobots running around inside me and the others. Getting information on them has been… well… a bitch and a half and you just… casually met with her?”

Blinking rapidly, Kaylee pushes to her feet again. “Yeah, I’m going to need a drink for this. Keep talking,” she instructs gruffly with a wave of her hand, moving towards the kitchen to retrieve something stronger than iced tea.

“I mean, I wouldn’t call it casual, but…” Richard lifts one hand slightly, shoulder raising in a shrug, “To be fair, I do have what’s left of her father haunting me, which gave me a little bit of an edge there.”

He leans back again to straighten up, adjusting the chair with a bit of a scoot, “I can’t take credit, though - she’s the one who asked for the meeting. And you’re not wrong. You’re not entirely right but you’re not wrong— it was Renautus that made those nanobots. And it was Yamagato that made the software.”

A few bombs there, casually dropped.


Kaylee reappears from around the curtain that separates the dining room and kitchen, staring at him like he's grown another head. “What?!?” A bottle of vodka and glasses in her hand. “Are you fucking serious?”

She sounds mad.

And Kaylee is… her mind going to all of those working for Yamagato, especially Kimiko. As she approaches the table, he can see that look in her eye, the once that comes from her scanning her memories. Did she know?

When she focuses on Richard again, Kaylee is seated at the table again with a look of anticipation. “What else did she say?”

“I can see what you’re thinking, but…” Richard holds up a hand, “…easy for a second. It wasn’t the companies themselves, it was rogue elements in both. Remember, before Weiss acquired it, Renautus was under Yamagato’s umbrella. Guy named Kellar - one of Monroe’s buddies - and Lucien Crane. They both vanished after Wolfhound hit them back in February…”

He grimaces, “Now, here’s where it gets messy. Hayate - the guy at the head of Yamagato now - was associating with a guy named Greg Sharrow, a-k-a Greg Farkas. Kazimir’s old right-hand man. Turns out— what’s left of the Vanguard, calling themselves the Sentinel, found a new messiah to replace their old one.”

“Two guesses what color their eyes are, and the first doesn’t count.”

Kaylee listens intently, but the more Richard says the more her brows are drawn down into a confused frown. “That is one hell of a tangled web,” she finally breathes out, still having not touched the bottle and glasses she set on the table. It’s been forgotten for the moment. “Not a fan of that Hayate guy, by the way, glad to see my dislike is justified.”

A hand presses to the side of her head, like it’s a lot of information.

“Just a sec…” Kaylee is on her feet again, disappearing for moments, before returning with a notebook and pen, which is already scribbling awkwardly across the page. As she writes, she says, “Okay, so while these companies made the products, someone else took them and used them tooooo…” She motions to herself with a quick glance at Richard.

Tucking a foot under her, Kaylee sits again. “And now Vanguard - Sorry Sentinel - has tossed aside Volken like yesterday's trash… no offense,” she adds like the man could hear her, “and taken up with…” she trails off. Kaylee’s head pops up from staring at her own writing. “Are you telling me, the Entity has something to do with this?”

“I’m telling you that everything leads back to fucking Mazdak,” replies Richard with a grimace, “Hayate, Kellar, and Crane were conspiring with the Sentinel and Mazdak to… do something under the code-name of Project Galatea. It…”

He brings one hand up to rub against the bridge of his nose, “It sounds like they’re using you in a Structure based system, for some goddamn reason. And obviously they included Kimiko so Hayate could take over the whole goddamn thing, that was probably the bribe they offered him. He doesn’t sound like a believer like the others, he’s just a shitty capitalist.”

Kaylee can’t help the startled hiss of air through her teeth. That was a name she really didn’t expect to hear. Mazdak the Entity’s fanatic flunkies.

“I had a gut feeling that who they took didn’t seem random. They had a list,” Kaylee breathes out after a moment of absorbing that information. “Mazdak?” she says again, “We could be just about anywhere.”

“I don’t know why they’d do most of this, though, it just…” Richard’s brow furrows, “It doesn’t make sense. I have all the pieces that say who did this now, but the motive? Totally escapes me. But then…”

He hesitates, “One more important piece of intel. Uh. Give me that liquor first, I need some.”

“Maybe taking us is the butterfly wing flap that the entity needs for whatever she is planning?” Kaylee says thoughtfully, pouring out a measure into his glass and pushing it across to him. Another measure goes into her glass out of anticipation of whatever news he has for her. “A need for hostages maybe? Maybe we could potentially be in their way.”

Kaylee finally shrugs and sighs out softly, “Could be any number of things.” She rolls her eyes and knocks back the clear liquid. After pouring herself another she asks, “So what’s this last bit of intel? Doubt it’s much worse than being a prisoner of Mazdak.”

Richard takes the glass and raises it up a bit in a salute towards her.

“Speaking of prisoners of Mazdak? Edward’s alive, and they have him.”

Then he knocks the glass back himself.

Kaylee just stares at her brother like maybe she didn’t hear that right, fingers tightening around her own glass.

“No he’s not, I was there,” Kaylee insists, though there is a war of emotions written plainly on her face. “I saw him. He was a vegetable in a big metal box. I barely got out before the place collapsed on itself. There is no way Mazdak got him in time.”

Even as she insists, Kaylee knows deep down he wouldn’t have shared it, if he wasn’t certain of the source.

The glass is set down, and Richard turns it around a few times, eyes on the way the light refracts through it. Then he looks up to her, lips pursing slightly, “Security video recovered from the Ark shows a bunch of mercenaries showing up in the room right after you left. I’m assuming they teleported the unit out…”

He draws in a slow breath, gaze meeting hers, “I say alive generously. He’s still in an ACTS unit, probably hooked up to a SEER to feed him their precogs’ visions and pull predictions from his head. I doubt they’re doing anything to keep him healthy other than preventing brain death. We don’t— we don’t have his exact location yet.”

“Son of a….” Kaylee groans out, not finishing it in favor of leaning forward to press her face in her hands. “They couldn’t just let him die in peace?”

Drawing her hands down to press against her mouth, Kaylee lets her brother see her worry for that development. Finally, lowering her hands to clutch her glass again, she says softly, “That… it's definitely worse than me being with Mazdak… far worse. With what’s in his head… ” she trails off.

“You know…. if he’s within Delia’s range, she might be able to find him,” Kaylee says, grasping at threads. “A dream manipulator took me into his mind… meaning he’s reachable even in that state.”

“I thought of that…” Richard grimaces, looking briefly haunted, “If it was just the ACTS, yes, but… I looked into how the SEER works. It bypasses the REM state, it— he’s not dreaming. He’s not even unconscious. It’s…”

A tight shake of his head, pain in his voice, “The Institute just used it when needed, but I’m pretty sure Mazdak wouldn’t even turn it off. A constant stream of input and predictions, like he’s a— like he’s a fucking computer.”

Kaylee can’t stop the prickling pressure behind her eyes, jaw clenching tight, no matter how conflicted she acted about feelings… It still hurt to know someone was torturing the man who had done his best to give them the best life he could.

“He had all those timelines in his head,” Kaylee says with gruff confidence, blinking away the threat of tears fiercely, “he can handle being in that machine.” It was a rare vote of confidence. The freshly refilled glass is downed, only to again be refilled.

There is a soft huff of laughter and a shake of her head, “Somehow, I have a feeling he’s still looking out for us, too.”

“I hope so. I really do…” Richard draws in a slow breath, then shakes his head, “At least this disproves the idea that the Entity was manipulating all of his predictions— if it was, if it was, then they wouldn’t have needed to capture him like this. They would have arranged for us to recover him, or something…”

“We need to locate him, and— put him at peace.”

Kaylee can only nod her head a little in agreement. Her jaw clenches and loosens. “He deserves to rest,” she agrees with a voice thick with emotions. “Thank you for telling me.” Her hand twisting the glass between her hands, focusing on how the light plays over the surface while she controls her emotions.

“Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’s being kept where the Sundered are,” Kaylee says suddenly, with zero confidence. Nothing is ever that easy.

Taking a deep breath, Kaylee knocks back the vodka, but doesn’t refill it yet. “Either way, you’ll be gone in short order, if we don't find him before then, I’ll try to see if I can locate him before you find your way back.” There is a look that tells him not to contradict her, cause he’ll be back. Period. “All the while avoiding telling Warren lest he tears apart the whole world to find him. ”

“There is…” Richard hesitates, as if unsure if he wants to say what he’s about to say. Then he shakes his head, “No, no it’s— no, that’s far too dangerous. Nevermind.”

He tips his head in a grim nod, “I’ll pass along word to Cecilia to get in touch with you if she gets any more information. She’s going after Mazdak hard — I think she’s offended by their subversion of Kazimir’s vision.”

Then he smiles, a faint amount, “In a weird way, she reminds me of me.”

“Oh no you don’t….” Kaylee leans forward and folds her hands on the table, giving him a flat look. “You know damn well, you can’t say something like that around me and not expect me to ask about it. It’ll keep me up at night. What’s your thought, big brother?” Her hands unloace so that she can motion for him to give it up.

Richard grimaces, his hands lifting. “It really was a bad idea,” he insists, “It… well.”

A sigh spills past his lips, and his hands drop, “The one sure way to find Edward would be Molly’s ability.” Which is, of course, in the hands of one Samson Grey.

Both blonde brows pop upward at the idea and Richard can see his sister thinking about it. “Not… the worst idea I’ve heard,” Kaylee says after a few moments of consideration. Actually, she looks like she’s seriously considering it.

But were they still on good terms? Or… neutral terms.

Only one way to find out.

“Hey, word of advice,” Kaylee says, focusing on the man across from her again. “I wouldn’t go around comparing yourself to someone from a group that tried to wipe out the world.” It isn’t a joke either, she’s showing honest concern. “You’re always complaining about people comparing you to him…. Don’t give them more.”

“Careful,” says Richard sharply, “He’s a monster, Kaylee, never forget that. The blood of children is on his hands.”

His manner softens, though, at that last statement. “Well, it’s not inaccurate,” he notes, wryly, “We both have a father not of our blood, whose vision we’re dedicated to, at the head of major corporations, trying to stop the end of the world. It’s like looking into a funhouse mirror.”

“I know,” Kaylee assures her brother with a crooked smile. “I’ve been around my fair share of monsters, including him… But if he can find Edward, it might be worth it. Well, if I can track him down.” That last says she doesn’t have full confidence she can.

There is a crooked smile when Richard rattles off what makes him like Weiss, amused. “Yes, well… I’m biased and think you are still a far better person.”

“I didn’t say I wasn’t,” Richard replies with a grin, shaking his head, “Just that there were— similarities there. And let’s be honest, Edward’s plans haven’t always been… nice ones.”

“Just…” A serious look at her, “Be careful, if you do look for him. You never know if he’s developed a taste for telepathy. Or worse.”

Kaylee gives him a rueful smile and quips, “Hey… good thing I’m possibly not a real person, huh?” As soon as it’s out of her mouth, he can see that regret.

Scrunching her nose, Kaylee admits apologetically, “That sounded less depressing in my head.”

“Shit.” Richard’s expression screws up in a grimace, “I’m sorry, sis, I forgot for a second— “

He shakes his head, “I— anyway, at least he’s probably not stupid enough to try for Edward’s power.”

Kaylee just waves away the apology with a smile. She gets it.

However, when it comes to Samson, that is a different matter. “That is my only hesitation,” Kaylee admits blandly, shaking her head. “Though I don’t think he’ll want it. Last thing I want is to hand him Edward’s ability on a platter.”

Not to mention Kaylee wasn’t sure the old man would be interested in helping her after so many years. “So he’ll be a last resort. Better safe than sorry.”

“He and Gabriel have both been pretty careful about not picking up abilities that’ll completely drive them insane, which I’m pretty sure Edward’s would, but still…” Richard wrinkles up his nose, “The man did kill me once, so I’m always kind of— wary around him, you know?”

“Christ, I wish Gabriel was around,” he admits as he leans back, “He’d be invaluable right now. Not like Peter’s bein— would be any use.” A quick correction.

Oh that gets a raise of her brow, but clearly that had to be a slip up right? Blue eyes narrow at her brother suspiciously. “Yeah,” Kaylee drawls out quietly, “I miss Gabriel too. I wouldn’t know where to find him, really. He’s probably off with Eileen living their lives.” It was all she could ask for her unexpected friend.

“I miss Peter too, though he’d potentially be unhelpful,” Kaylee watched her brother as she says that. “Though, I’d hope he’d still help if it was important…. Like the end of the world. If he was still alive that is.”

“Please. Peter never wanted to help, even when it was important, until he decided it was important,” is Richard’s dry observation, “He could never commit to the cause. Always five seconds and three ideas too late.”

He pauses, “Our Peter is dead anyway, so no point in what-ifs.”

“Mmm..” There is something in that sound that says Kaylee has her doubts as to his stance on Peter’s departed status. Either way… “I guess you have a point,” Kaylee says blandly.

“You know… “ Kaylee starts after a long moment of thought and a few sips from her glass, “We’ve been told that our family is stronger together… Then… Why does it seem like we’re always kept apart when it comes to saving the world?”

Kaylee’s sad smile pulls a little crooked, “I really wish you were going to be here to help, but at the same time, I wish I could go with you too.”

“I know, right…?” Richard breathes out a sigh, his head shaking slightly, “It seems we’re never all together for this sort of thing. Maybe that’s on purpose, to keep us split up…”

“If they’re being guided by Edward, after all— he knows how strong we are together.”

“So damn true,” Kaylee breaths out in a sigh, rubbing fingers across her forehead. “God… all the shit, Mazdak would have on us. Which explains them taking me… but why me? It would have been more sense to take you. I mean… I know I’m a telepath, but there is a lot of information in your brain.”

Eyes narrowing thoughtfully at a point somewhere beyond Richard, Kaylee wonders out loud, “I have to really wonder if he’s not as much of a vegetable as we think.” Eye refocus on her brother, “Still influencing events, even subconsciously. Me rather than you, since you have been his go to for getting things done.”

There is no anger or irritation, only an accepting shrug on Kaylee’s part. “Makes sense.”

“We can have faith that’s true…” Richard straightens a bit, shoulders rolling back in a bit of a stretch, “…but we can’t count on it. It’s possible, though. There’s really no way to know, unless we get our hands on him again.”

Then he quirks a slight smile, noting, “Can you imagine them trying to network the Conduit, sis? They’d plug me into Structure and when they tried to harness it, it’d probably kill everybody — it’s controlled by emotion, not logic or willpower, and a machine can’t emulate that.”

“Shit,” Kaylee says with a humorless laugh, offering apologetically, “Forgot about that little issue for a second.”

Rubbing her hands over her face wearily, Kaylee lets out an equally tired sigh. “At least with the conduits, I don’t have to worry about you as much, but… I still need you to be careful and come back.” Her smile tugs up on one side. “If not for me then your family.”

“If I can’t, find a time traveller to come fetch me,” Richard quips, though it’s really a serious comment, “Maybe Walter, once he grows up— sure, it’ll split the timelines again potentially, but I’d rather not be incinerated by an angry sun and we aren’t going to be able to save that world.”

Eyebrows go up, “Although if you really think mom won’t figure out a way to bring me back…”

I have faith y’all will find a way back, but…” Kaylee grins wickedly, picking up the bottle with a flourish. “If y’all ain’t back within a year - and I said I’d never do this - I’m gonna to tear a hole through time and space and drag y’all back.”

Tipping the bottle to motion at him, Kaylee says matter of factly with her brows lifted in emphasis, “So y’all better make sure you come back.”

Kaylee’s grin returns as she tips the bottle further until it’s filling her brother’s glass, “But that, big brother, is a problem for another day.”

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