Breakfast Briefing


alix_icon.gif asi_icon.gif chess3_icon.gif eve_icon.gif kimberly_icon.gif luther_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title Breakfast Briefing
Synopsis The information Monica and Asi were able to procure from PHI-Japan isn't exactly a suitable breakfast subject, but they're pressed for time. And it's information Chess and her sisters deserve to know.
Date July 2, 2019

Tokyo Restricted Zone

It's hard to say if Asi got any sleep at all last night, combing through the treasure trove of information gathered from the raid on PHI-Japan she and Monica returned from shortly after midnight. As breakfast is in the process of being doled out from pan to plate, she sits crouched in front of the television in her living room, hooking her laptop to it with an HDMI cable. She settles in next to the television, sitting directly on the TV stand and looking down at the screen balanced on her knee instead.

"I think it helps if I start first with all the things we did not get the answers we'd hoped for. I couldn't come up with anything beyond sales materials for the ZhiZhu7, or any of their war tech. Technical details for that must be housed on the mainland. The closest I got to finding anything about the Director was a general newsletter… Looked like a quarterly company update. Nothing about Compass tech, though if they call it something different in other languages, I could have passed it over by accident. My better bet is that is more Mainland information."

Asi lets out a slow sigh, running her hand along the top corner of the laptop, pinching the frame of the screen with the side of her hand and her thumb. After a moment, she adds delicately, "As for the rest, I think I translated most of it. I have it here now. Settle in — we will take a look." The light in her eyes shifts with more of an urgency as she adds at the last second, "And do not let me forget I had something else I needed to bring up, too, before everyone splits."

“I’m guessing it didn’t tell the Praxis employees that Zhǔrèn is actually an evil overlord asshole,” murmurs Chess against the lid of her to-go coffee cup, picked up in transit from the Air BnB where the group has been staying, in order to give Asi some space in her tiny apartment.

Chess has found an armchair to lounge in sideways, one leg dangling off the arm as she swings a booted foot. Lazing there, she doesn’t look overly interested in food yet — not until the caffeine kicks in.

“Start with the something else thing you need to bring up so you don’t forget,” she suggests, brows lifting. “You won’t forget the rest of this.”

Breakfast is simple, and if anybody asks it's totally not hangover food (it totally is). A couple slices of toast from Japanese-style white bread, the tiniest jar of strawberry jam for the occupants to share, fried eggs, and even some expensive sliced watermelon accompanies the spread. Amazing what a convenience store here holds.

And Luther, apron-clad and a couple utensils sticking out of the front pocket, comes by with pan and plates to serve. The ladies have been working hard, so, he's here working on providing. "Yeah, maybe the good news first," he says as he sets the spread on a convenient table.

“I’m sorry is the good news not this apron?” Kimberly says as she slides out from behind Luther’s silhouette like the sun coming out from behind the moon during an eclipse. She’s plucking at the apron strings with her fingers, brows raised in Chess’ direction in a way that implies she’s dramatically misread Chess and Luther’s past relationship. “Because this sight is like,” Kimberly steps back and box-frames her fingers as though taking a photo and makes a click with her tongue. “Sizzling intel.

All it takes is one sharp jerk of Kimberly’s arm to yank her from harassing Luther and down into a seat on the floor. Alix hauls Kimberly down to sit beside her, leveling a grimace to end all grimaces at Chess’ clone. “Sitthefuckdown,” Alix hisses as Kimberly hunches forward and offers an apologetic (and only half-serious) smile in return. But, reluctantly, she turns her attention over to Asi and Monica, while Alix looks remarkably uncomfortable about the entire ordeal.

Asi can't withhold a wince at the suggestion the other thing she needs to bring up is good news, in any sense of the term. She starts to shake her head when Kimberly goes off with her hot take about 'Hot Hands', bringing her expression neutral again. Never a dull moment around here.

"The good news, I suppose, is that our border-hoppers here illegally haven't showed up in any radars yet." It almost sounds like a positive thing, until she turns her gaze to Chess. "Which would make the bad news that certain others have."

Pulling the screen of her laptop mostly shut, Asi frowns. "There's a woman here on file already who shares your face. It's news that somehow made its way to the Prime Minister and has his attention. Your newest doppelganger goes by Lanhua Chen, and she works for Praxis." Her gaze tracks over to Kimberly while she speaks as this also ostensibly affects her, too, though she settles her attention on Alix in the end, like she might have something to answer for here. "The Prime Minister is so concerned that he's got some kind of terrorism incident on the cusp of breaking out that he ordered my boss to have you brought in. And my boss tapped me."

At that, Asi shakes her head once to dispel any immediate concerns, or at least try. "I pushed back,” she makes very clear. “Made clear your background is solid, but Lanhua’s…” The act of turning her palm over is more of a shrug than lifting her shoulders might be in this case. “She’s registered as Non-Evolved, for one. I doubt that. Between a false negative and everything else we found … I think that shifts the suspicion off of the American war hero and onto the Chinese operative.”

Asi pauses then, the delicate nature of the matter being better come to. “… depending on how much of what we found last night is shared.”

"Wait," Monica says as she brings her coffee over to have a seat near Asi, "of all of us who walked off that plane… Chess is the one they're watching for terrorist activity? I was an actual terrorist for years. Luther's war background is all with extremist groups. I'm insulted. Luther, are you insulted?" She lifts an eyebrow at Asi, her head shaking. "Sounds more like your PM might be in someone's pocket. Someone who has a reason to target Chess."

And they all know who that is likely to be.

"We might have to do what we can to make this trip a quick one. Or else make sure Chess and Kim aren't seen by anyone who is more inclined to follow the PM's directives without question." Monica looks over at the unconventional sisters, but she keeps her concern off her face. As if keeping them all safe isn't going to be hard, in her opinion.

As for last night, she nods her head to Asi's point. "I covered, but even if they believe the drive wasn't the target, they'll know it's missing by now. If there's anything on there that's actionable, we should act sooner rather than later."

In the midst of Luther in an apron and Asi delivering some intel, the front door knob rattles and in stumbles Eve, pale form covered by layer upon layer of light, mesh like fabric. Black, drapey, too much. Though her face is hidden, the seer looks up at the group in surprise. "Oh! Is it not the crack of dawn anymore…" Puzzled, the former seer goes to rip her hood off and blinks in more surprise as the world gets brighter around her. "Ah.. so that's when they looked at me funny. Couldn't see them."

She just thought it was dark.

This means Eve also missed Kimbo's flirting and comes in at the tail end of Asi's talking about Chen. The tall woman stops and wheels around slowly to Asi with an excited look at first the Japanese operative and then her clone bestie. "Another" As if it's the best news they've gotten in the whole trip. Oh boy oh boy! More sisters for Chess! "You're gonna need a bigger house! …Or a house to start with Boomer!" Eve already has a place in mind, oh the color schemes, oh the- breakfasssst.

Eve tiptoes over to the kitchen, placing her sketchbook on a nearby table while she passes. She doesn't look like she's slept much at least it isn't the type of no sleeping that comes with dreaming the future seemingly endlessly. Just up, just wondering. Pale fingers go to nab a piece of toast, twin crimson lightning sparks pop off of her fingers and onto the surface of the bread and she snickers, "Human toaster," Heh heh. Crunch. Her teeth and jaws are at work but no more words leave Eve's lips. Not until there's more to comment on.

“He’s like our dad,” Chess whispers sharply to Kimberly in an unironic that is mahogany sort of voice, but the antics of her sisters are nothing compared to the surprise bomb Asi is dropping. Her eyes widen as she listens to the information from their Japanese tour guide and hostess.

“Orchid,” she murmurs to Alix, before explaining to the rest. “Lanhua means Orchid. I guess our batch was flowers. Yingsu is poppy.” Her eyes dart to Kimberly. “Call me either and I’ll hurt you.”

To Monica she turns, with a brow lifting as she snorts at the woman takes mock umbrage. . “Anyone who fought on our side was a literal terrorist until our side won. I was literally bombing the US government, remember.”

Chess’ fingers wrap around her tattoo on her wrist. “I think she’s the last one,” she says. “Lanhua. I asked a psychic type once how many more there were of me. There was Kim, and there was one more. A ping. Guess we found the ping.”

Uh. What? Luther blinks straight at Kimberly's frame in a freeze-framed confusion on the grizzled features of his face. The spell breaks off when Alix pulls Kimberly away. O-kay then. The man finishes plating up eggs and toast, ears open for the news.

Good and bad. He looks to Asi sharply when she mentions Lanhua, Praxis, terrorism and, well. Luther shrugs at Monica's offended sensibilities. "We all did things during the war," he rumbles, tone subdued as opposed to the proud rebel would have been years before.

Coming to a stop beside Eve crunching away on toast, Luther looks to Monica, then to the sisters. "This doesn't change the original goal," he says as he sets the emptied pan down. "Lanhua, if we can get to her, deserves the chance to get out from under Praxis' thumb. Out of danger of gettin' into more trouble." Despite what can be said for the fact that they're here in Japan for more than mere sightseeing, he still sounds convinced they're acting in the right.

"But what does that mean for us now, with the time frame? Guess we should look at what you ladies got from the Praxis offices first." Luther jabs the butter knife end into the strawberry jam jar deeply enough for the tiny 'tink' of glass to sound stronger than polite.

Kimberly slouches toward Chess with the word Poppy on the top of her tongue, but it never quite manifests. Exhaling a sigh, she casts a sidelong glance at Luther, then just purses her lips and crosses her arms over her chest and listens. “I'll bet somebody calls him daddy,” she mumbles to herself.

Alix hears her but doesn't get it judging from the look on her face. Instead, she looks up at Asi and nearly remains silent, before finally venturing something more than her usual commentary. “If we can figure out where she’ll be I… can use my remote viewing to try and pinpoint exactly where she is in any given building.” It's an easier topic to discuss than terrorism. Her house is made of too much glass to risk picking up any of those stones.

Asi just scrubs a hand along the side of her neck, letting all the commentary fly. To try and intercept and address all of it would be folly, if she’s to keep her thoughts on track. She shoots a glance at Chess at the mention of flowers, though it’s Monica’s comment that gets a passing notice. “It’s a bold move by Praxis, if it really is them pushing it. Why risk it turning around on them and pressure being put onto Chen?”

She shakes her head to digress, in a way. She would be putting the pressure on Lanhua Chen shortly, one way or another. So maybe their plan backfired after all, in trying to put Chess in a compromising position. “Anyway,” Asi voices, reaching around the TV to run her fingertips over the power button. It winks on after a moment to power up, folders of scanned and translated files visible before she drags them off the television and back onto her laptop screen. She taps her thumb on the trackpad more as a thoughtful measure, but her eyes flash a brighter blue as she manipulates the computer without any additional movement of her hands.

“The answers about Lanhua’s past, and about yours—” There’s a glance between Chess, Alix, and Kimberly. “A good portion of it was in the lockbox of information Monica found. You’re onto something with the flowers. The cloning project responsible for you was named Dà Huāhuì, and it was robust until it was terminated due to an attack on its Hong Kong facility in ‘95. The company that ran the program was known as Huayuán, and it produced three pods with nine clones apiece. Each pod had a single sperm and egg donor, realized in vitro through a surrogate.” She looks up quickly, knowing hope needs quelled before it can rise. “There was almost nothing in detail about your birth parents, but what little there was written indicated ‘loose ends’ were tied up following the births. The project was forcibly sworn to secrecy.”

Asi lets her head tilt to one side, trying to bring her tone more even as she continues, “Huayuán cancelled work on the project after the raid in ‘95, given the damage done to the facility.” Tracing the weave of the story in a way that makes sense is something she puts care into, even if it becomes circuitous. “It was the Company that attacked the project site, at the behest of Arthur Petrelli, who as far as I can tell had no idea at first it was being run by another Company leader.”

The technopath narrows her eyes. “This is where things got interesting.” Not in a good way. “Huayuán was actually a subsidiary company of Yamagato Industries, rather than Praxis, and Dà Huāhuì a pet project of Kaito Nakamura’s. He personally directed the creation of the clone batches, using the DNA of someone named only as ‘Subject 0’… and Adam Monroe. For all the specifics of the project’s downfall, I couldn’t find anything as to the why behind it starting. There was no information about Subject 0, either, save for a photo of her.”

With a flick of Asi’s eyes over to the TV, an image appears of a Japanese woman of exceedingly fair skin, brown hair, and piercing eyes. Eve knows her from a dream.

It’s Joy.

Eve knows her in real life as well.

The former seer leans forward and her expression shifts, understanding dawns on her. "It's why he popped up in my visions when I was around you Boomer. The Echoes were trying to tell me. DINGDING! Your father…" She's not sure what to say. "Sorry." Her eyes flick to and fro and she goes for the bright side, "Joy is a nice lady I think! …she put my head back on!" That counts for something right? Even though she was possessed by an otherworldly Entity at the time.

The Mother and Father.

Her eyes look around the room frantically before they settle back on the TV screen.

"In-fighting. Kaitoface and Arthur. I wonder how that tea meeting afterwards went, big big trouble." The Company leaders had been damaged. All the corruption, secrets from each other. Crimson glowing eyes center on Alix's face, lighting of the same shade pops off of her arms as Eve strokes her chin lightly with a pale finger. "You didn't know any of this?" To be kept so in the dark… "He never gave a hint? A tiny morsel of something, mmm." What a revelation.

Chess shoots Kimberly a look and might snipe back at her sexual harassment of war dad but things are too serious for that. “If we could talk to her… she might not even know we have family,” she says, looking from Kimberly to Alix, then back to Asi. As the information unfolds, though, her brows draw together deeper and deeper into a scowl; she seems to retreat deeper and deeper into the corner of the couch, somehow, without actually moving.

Eve’s voice draws her gaze and Chess stares at her as if she can’t quite comprehend what’s being said, either by Asi or Eve, and she shakes her head.

“I’m sorry… I thought I heard you just say our biological parent is the fucking nutjob Nazi serial killer. Can you repeat that?” she says, and looks like she’s about to pull a classic Chess move of shoving off the couch and stalking away to deal with — and by that we mean ignore — her problems.

But something stays her.

Xǐyuè,” Chess murmurs, softly. Her eyes soften from that hard scowl, and she turns to look at Kimberly and Alix. “I had a memory of… she got me out. Probably you too, but not… oh, God. They couldn’t save her.”

The pieces of Asi’s report click into place with the remnants of a broken memory seen through a Refrain haze.

Fuck. So how’d Lanhua get separated from the rest of Alix’s… can we use a different word than pod?” Chess shakes off the guilt of the memory. “We’re not fucking whales. Or peas. Or aliens.”

All Chess sees in Alix is that she has suddenly gone silent. The revelation that the Director was her biological father may have been too much. Staring down at her lap, the brunette’s brows are furrowed and eyes wide, fingers are wound into the fabric of her pants at her knees and shoulders hunched forward. At one of Alix’s temples a single vein shows prominently. It’s not speechlessness, it’s anger.

Kimberly, more confused by any of this than anything else, reaches out to lay a hand on Alix’s shoulder, only to have it shrugged away. Kimberly pulls back the hand and looks at Chess, worry painted across her face.

Asi almost winces when Chess makes her request, realizing all too late how dehumanizing some of the terminology is, given present company. "Sorry—" comes from her low and sincere, if tired. "I was repeating what the report said, but… 申し訳けないよ。 That's no excuse." It takes a second for her thoughts to get back on track, and they do so with another inner flare of light from her eyes as the screen shuffles images, windows restacking. There's no better way to apologize than to answer Chess's question.

"There's some statistics there. The Company tried to make off with one of the groups of children, largely without success. Two were lost, presumed abducted by escaping researchers—" Her offhand lifts in a loose gesture to Chess and Kimberly, her voice hitching as she hesitates on her phrasing, but punches through anyway. "Five died, two at the facility, three from injuries sustained during extraction." Asi sighs short, her hand coming back to scratch the side of her face. "The remaining two were ushered to a Pinehearst facility in Tajikistan at Petrelli's orders. They…" Her hand swipes down the side of her face as a photo of a satellite image of the facility's location (former location?) displays.

"… used both kids in various experiments." is not an easy thing for Asi to say, her gaze blind as she reads through the information at her fingertips. "One died during experiments tied to Project Icarus. The other was Lanhua." The image flips, showing a before and after state of the Arcology. "When Pinehearst collapsed, Lanhua was rescued from the Tajikistan site came into the care of the Institute. The notes say she was a guest there."

Head tilting the side in a sort of shrug, Asi doesn't bother arguing semantics there. The file says what the file says, regardless of the horror stories other 'guests' of the Institute might have to say. "The notes from Praxis indicate that Lanhua was taken along with other Institute assets by the Director himself when the Arcology fell, and remained a part of his personal entourage since."

She pauses then, clarity returning to her gaze as she looks at Alix directly. "Does the name Wu Shengjiao mean anything to you?" Asi asks, direct but polite. It's the voice she uses when interviewing crime victims.

There's hardly a sound from Luther. His jaw works by virtue of him eating (nobody comment how he's just slapped a fried egg atop the strawberry jam and buttered toast), and manners keeping him quiet, keeping his mouth shut. How much of it all Luther is managing to follow doesn't much matter once the bombshell of Adam Monroe being the genetic father comes to light. The jaw stops moving. Instead, grey eyes turn to Chess, Alix, and even Kimberly.

Then, Luther bends to snatch up the empty pan and straightens abruptly, stiffly, stalking off to the kitchen with a trail of heat waves emanating from his hands and shoulders. When he returns, the pan is gone but the hands are clenched even as he somewhat casually remarks, "No, but I'll fucking kill him too."

Monica looks over to Chess, concern and sympathy hidden away for the moment. She might make Chess live through platitudes when they're alone, but not here in front of the whole group.

"So we need to extract her. Lanhua. Hide her from Praxis and let her have a life of her own." She lifts an eyebrow at Luther's comment, but she doesn't contradict him. They'll all do what has to be done, when it comes to it. Instead, she turns back to Asi, head tilting in question. "Who's Wu? An in, maybe? We're going to need a foothold in this one way or the other." A foothold and plenty more information, but they have to start somewhere.

“Alix?” Kimberly whispers as she touches Alix’s shoulder. The clairvoyant exhales a sudden gasp pulling her out of her stunned silence. She whips around and stares wide-eyes at Kimberly, then hides her face and hastily wipes tears out of her eyes with shaky fingers.

With a noisy swallow, Alix looks up and around and clearly knows she was asked something but didn't quite hear the question. Kimberly leans in and delicately repeats it, her hand still on Alix’s shoulder. On hearing Wu’s name, Alix sits up straight on the floor. “I— I know him.” She tries to focus on this rather than the revelation about the Director. “It's— he's a doctor. A scientist. He made all of us, I think. I… I met him once— twice. Both times at the Praxis headquarters in Shanghai.”

Brows furrowed together, Alix looks up to Asi and doesn't seem to understand how it all comes together. There's too much noise in her head right now, too many horrible possibilities to deal with. Too many nightmares of the Director’s orders.

“So what's this all mean?” Kimberly is quick to ask, looking worriedly from Alix to Chess. “What're we gonna do? We can't just— ” She isn't sure how to finish that thought.

Waving aside the apology from Asi, Chess moves from couch to floor, ankles crossing as she lowers herself down. She leans against Alix just slightly, to let her sister know she’s there.

The summary of what happened to the others of their pod draws tears to Chess’ dark eyes and she lifts her chin slightly, as if willing them not to fall. She glances from Luther to Monica then back to Alix when Alix gives information on Wu.

She doesn’t know how to answer Kimberly’s question so she asks one of her own — or rather makes a request.

“I’d like the names of the other six if you have them. They should be remembered as something other than guinea pigs.” Her voice is husky with the salt of swallowed tears.

“Can we find Joy?” Chess turns to Alix. “Maybe she’d help. She tried before.”

"Wu, find him if you can Sister Seer," Eve's reply is short and she frowns towards Chess and her sisters before she looks more closely at Alix. To find Joy, "YaekoJoyface must be worried or have grieved for you all. That's an excellent idea."

Her mind racing, "Yes. A ceremony for the Lost Sisters." Another frown this time deeper.

The games that these people played with lives…

There's very little Asi can immediately do to remedy anything done, so she occupies herself with answering whatever questions she can. Chess's in particular catches her attention, and her head goes down as she skims through files. Names. Names…

"I'll make sure you get them," she says, her attention alighting on a bundle of information. She shifts on her seat, steeling herself. "As for the rest of the children, afterward they were moved to two separate Yamagato facilities. In 2001, the group living in Hiroshima were victims of the earthquake that hit there. One suvivor believed — designated Mù — was never found." She pauses for a moment, having forgotten this specific piece of information until going over it again: "The other group had been brought to Yamagato's corporate headquarters. To Tokyo."

Asi looks up again at Alix with a furrow of her brow before back down. She speaks with care, trying to balance what she reads with being gentle to the already-distressed audience in the room. "In 2009, after Kaito Nakamura's death, they were to be moved to Hokkaido to protect them… but the transport was found out, ambushed by Monroe's allies. After the hostile takeover of Praxis in 2010, Alix, Inga, Ilse, Ilia, Ivy, Val, Vi, Victoria, and Villiana were brought onto the black projects programs," Tongue presses to her cheek for a moment before she sighs, "Trained to be his personal agents."

She glances up again, the weight of it all not lost on her. "Wu," Asi explains, a nod given to Alix's assessment as an image of the man in question appears on the screen. "is the anchor behind it all - the experimentation, the cloning. His name is all over files even back from Huayuán. Based on the Praxis hack that exposed his company emails, we know he was involved with Lanhua's exposure to Gemini, and can infer that trying to communicate with Lanhua directly about her medical status lead to backlash directly from Monroe. So, if there's a weak link to pry at—" she reaches out to touch the television screen directly with a light tap. "He sounds like he'd have a wealth of knowledge, and also a bone to pick with Praxis. If we can find him, that is. He might be in Shanghai, he might be … somewhere else, by now."

For all that that is, and there's a lot, Asi's gaze swivels perhaps tellingly to Chess after, trying to gauge if there's possibly more she could handle hearing at the moment. And after that, she looks over to Luther.

He was thankfully being kind to her kitchenware, but it doesn't take a lot to see this is weighing on him, too.

The history of Chess and her unconventional family has Monica frowning as she listens. Taken from one lab to another, being experimented on by one set of scientists, then another. She didn't need the reminder that everyone connected to the Company was sketchy as hell, and it bothers her more lately than it has in the past. She's just bracing for Charles' name to come up as well. And she shouldn't be surprised, an old Company ghost endorsed this trip in the first place.

She pushes to her feet and starts to walk the length of the room.

"I'm hearing we got a lot of intel, but nothing actionable," she says, picking up a pen to twirl between her fingers. "Maybe next we need to hit them closer to home. Shanghai. Might be able to find where Wu is, or Lanhua or any of the surviving sisters." Sisters, not clones. "We need a location, building plans, and a peek at their schedule so we know when it's the most clear in there." She turns to look at the others, eyebrows lifting. "Unless you all want to boom our way in there."

Eve’s words draw a small smile of gratitude and a nod — Mad-Eye knows how to read between the terse lines of Chess’ speech. She returns her gaze to Asi, lifting her chin slightly; whatever else there is, she can handle it, the gesture says, though she doesn’t speak.

“Mù,” she repeats. “If we go to Shanghai, maybe we can find her, too.” Even as she says it, she shakes her head slightly. “Can we… are there images of what that group looked like? We could maybe use facial progression software to get at least a sketch of who we’re looking for?” she suggests, brows lifting at Asi, the tech guru of the bunch.

“And Wu… “ she sighs. “If we can find him, maybe we lean on his pride a bit, flatter him, treat him like a long lost grandpa or something to get him on our side.” Her dark eyes dart from Alix to Kimberly. “Seeing us grown, with our powers… he was playing fucking god, so he’s got a giant ego to stroke, right? Let’s use it to our advantage.”

Monica’s words draw another nod from Chess. “Plan first, and boom when the plans fall through,” she says, with another slight smile.

“Ya’ll, this is a lot more weird than I expected. And I mean I expected a lot of weird comin’ into all this.” Kimberly says, still warily keeping an eye on Alix’s tumultuous mood. “Now we’re talking' about goin’ all the way to China?” Worry tints her tone, but not outright denial. She knows she was a part of this too. She knows that no matter how deep she buries her head in the sand it can't change what's in her DNA.

Alix shakes her head and exhales a long-held breath, still clutching at the fabric of her pants when she looks up to Chess, then over to Eve. “I— I can't just find people. I'm a telescope not— not— ”

“Not the missed connections section,” Kimberly helpfully offers with a flash of a smile.

“But if the answers are in Shanghai, then— then we go to Shanghai. We didn't come all this way to… to go home without, with…” Alix isn't sure what she was expecting to go home with from this trip. She left for Chess, that much is solidified by the concerned look she gives her errant sister. “We can't go in there unprepared. I've been there, I know how big the arcology is. I know what kind of security they have. We…” Alix shakes her head. “We've gotta have a plan.”

“Wait.” Kimberly tosses her hands up in the air. “If— Wait a fuckin’ minute. If Yamagato Industries had all-ya’ll for a while, then they had to know when we went in there with the whole Kam thing. They knew from minute one. They knew when Alix’s sisters showed up and did their bombing, they— they gotta know we’re in Japan right now. They…”


Kimberly was so close to a salient point. But she loses it. “They got some splainin’ t’do.” Is about as far as she gets with it.

"Yamagato and Praxis are both hardshelled corporations with dirty fuckin' underbellies," growls Luther as he steps over eventually to stand between Alix's, Kimberly's and Chess' spots. Looking between them, the man softens in his angered state. His sigh dumps out volumes of unspoken stress. "We'll work on getting Lanhua out," he says with a nod to Chess, then glancing over the other two. They'd all become something of his adoptive family.

"And the other three, if they'll have us. It'll be one helluva Brady Bunch moment, no doubt about that." When Luther next looks to Asi and Monica, he furrows his brow. "What else did you get out of the offices? Is there anything about Lanhua's ability? Or the other one's, Mu's? That'll go a ways to prep for a meet up… or a takedown."

"You might not be a telescope but you're still a Sister Seer!" On this Eve will not be moved.

But then there are more plans and they want to bring in the, "Lonely Sister. Chen. We have to save her. We need some of my neuter pills," nodding to herself as she makes a mental checklist. "Darts??!" Wild grin. DARTS?!

"I've stormed an Ark before and that was before I could burn through things!" Snortsnort. She loves it. She really does. Even the constant pain is something she loves, a little. Not a lot, keeps her grounded. She's real. Eve's alive, when she shouldn't be three times over. "Off to Shanghai after we conclude business with Brother Seer Ko," Eve looks over towards Kimberly.

"And girl, you've got competition."

"Chess," Asi inputs delicately. "We had talked before briefly about how Praxis must have known about you in some way. I was able to confirm that. They had a clairvoyant named Kuang keeping tabs on you from afar." Her brow knits. "They were interested in your activities and your health, and the information had been passed on directly to Monroe. But… it looks like they didn't locate you until 2009."

She has a huff of agreement for Luther's take on both the companies. "In the digging, a subprocess found some information that looks like it will tie them to criminal activity. Payments to companies I've never heard of. I'll follow up on that in the next day or two to get better details, but there was a news clipping pinned to one of the invoices, about a truck accident in Sendai. Yamagato." She looks like she could care less, but she points out, "That's fuel for the 'go look into Praxis and not Chess' fire, so I'm hoping digging more will reveal more concrete evidence there."

Then, Asi tips her chin in Luther's direction to acknowledge his question about the women's abilities. Her response time slows. "Lanhua, yes." she states carefully. "Mu, though? I didn't see anything." Her heel bounces on the ground once before she lifts her laptop, crossing her legs before resettling the machine. "Lanhua, however…" An image of her scanned file appears, lettered in Chinese with an image like a mugshot of her near the top corner.

"She was born with something they called 'kinetic projection', in blunt translation. Something… forceful, I'm guessing." Glancing up, Asi goes on patiently, "And then she underwent Gemini experimentation earlier this year. According to her file, this granted her an additional ability of superhuman agility. Somehow they did it again in April, and telekinesis was added to her repertoire." She looks uncomfortable by that. It's not that she doubts it by any means — just the opposite. And she wonders what that does to a person. "There was a statement on the end of that page saying she's set to undergo another one of those treatments in September, 'pending availability'. So there's that."

She snaps the laptop screen lower again so it's easier to peer past. "Here's — the one thing that I noticed in looking over all of this. This is probably going to be controversial, but I don't think that Lanhua is going to easily see herself as needing rescuing. She has been through one labrat situation to the other, up until now. Now? Monroe's people are literally giving her more power than she likely knows what to do with. After being in a lab or under lock and key, she might see this all as something better, even empowering…" Asi trails off with a shake of her head. "I just want to point out you might have your work cut out for you in convincing her that Praxis has wronged her and that she should leave."

With a brief glance to Alix, and her reaction to the revelations just presented, Asi finds it suitable to add: "At first."

It's true, Alix is still tender about everything. Her eyes averted to her lap through all of the information about Lanhua and she's been silent in spite of Eve’s attempts to reassure her. This whole day has been a lot. But for Kimberly it's been a rollercoaster of a different speed. Seeing Lanhua’s face, hearing the unfamiliar term Gemini, and that Lanhua somehow has more than one power makes her back rigid and her jaw set.

“What— what's— Gemini? What is that?” Kimberly asks, which elicits a look blinked up to her from Alix.

“Ability transposition,” Alix says quietly. “A… a procedure to bestow powers on people or… or take them away. Permanently.” Alix’s brows furrow and she shakes her head. “Before I left they hadn't managed to make it work for too long before…”

Kimberly looks over at Alix, question in her eyes.

“Before they… broke down. Died.” Alix says in a small voice, looking up and over to Eve, then Chess. “We have to try and help her.”

At some point, it’s clear Chess has hit information overload. Or emotional overload. She’s listening, brows drawn together and jaw set, but she doesn’t offer much except a nod or two to the comments that others make. To Kimberly, on realizing Yamagato’s had a bigger part in their lives than they thought. To Asi when she explains that the newly identified member of clone club is double the power, double the challenge.

And to Alix, who says they have to try.

One hand scrubs over her face and she takes a breath. “2009 was when I manifested. Their intervention is obviously what kept me from being darkholed by the Institute, and classified as Tier 2 instead of Tier 3,” she says flatly, for those who don’t know the details of her personal history. “So yay, thanks Kuang.” She twirls a finger sarcastically. “But yeah, I’m going to guess that there might be some bitter feelings for Kim and me instead of happy sister reunions, but she is family. We have to try.”

Chess lifts her chin. “But so are all of you, and if it’s her or us, we’ll take her down if we have to.” That’s easier said than done, of course. Physically and emotionally, but she doesn’t say that.

“And we need to do it before September. My guess is a third time might not be the charm, and they’re pushing their luck,” she adds, glancing around at the others finally.

"We've had some experience with some of the sisters seeing Chess as more of an enemy than family," Monica says with a nod to Asi, "we'll get through to her." The alternative isn't acceptable, apparently. She has that feeling a lot these days. She, at least, isn't willing to entertain a contingency plan for if they can't get through to her. Asking Chess or Kim or Alix to prepare to kill their own family just isn't something she's willing to do.

"As for Praxis and Yamagato and their roles in all this," she says, with a glance toward Eve, "they're making me miss the PARIAH days. But I think we can do better. If we can find something incriminating enough for both of them, we can cut their power and influence around the world. It would have to be big, though. Maybe before Adam decides to turn on all those robots and things he's been selling, yeah?"

"These girls haven't had a lot of choice given to them through their lives, sadly. She doesn't get a choice here either. Family is binding, blood is bound. Their lines intertwined." Eve looks from Chess to Alix and then Kimberley. "We will see you reunited. And safe." Eve makes that promise.


Eve sits up straighter and shudders as she looks towards Monica with a narrowed eyed gaze, "This is exactly the type of hootinanny Cam and the others would never tolerate!" Slamming her fist on the wall and it leaves a tiny tiny tiny scorch mark (Sorry Asi) on the wall. "Yes!! We must rip them off from their high horses. There is…" Her red eyes return to the clone sisters in the room. "Your story is the most compelling evidence my sweets, all up to you. We can find a different way, digging up dirt. It's our favorite past time." Besides shooting things, smoking weed, eating…

Kinetic Projection. It's an unfamiliar ability description, though he's still wrapping his head around it when Asi goes on to describe her thoughts on the difficulties the group faces. But as the cloned trio of sisters discuss, his eyes go to each young woman before him.

It's Chess' words that seal it. "She is family," repeats Luther, nodding firmly.

"Sounds like we need to find Wu, too. And maybe whoever this Kuang guy is." To that end he turns to Monica and Eve, reconfirming, "And once we find the Grand Asshole Supreme… I'm putting my fist through his fucking face." Adopted father over Genetic father. That's Luther's internal plan.

And that’s a fight Asi would pay good money to see, or to enable.

She tilts her head in a nod to something Alix has said, though. “The raid we did last night was dangerous enough, and their headquarters had nowhere near the size nor security of the Shanghai operation. If you’re serious about trying to save her, then pursue it.” Letting the screen of her laptop click shut, the television winks a ‘No Input’ message as it loses connection. “But this business with Chess, Lanhua, and the Prime Minister?”

The technopath shakes her head. “It is going to get less and less safe for you to be here. Even throwing half of what we found last night at my superiors will be enough to drown them, but I am not sure it will sate them. And it is only Chess they are after at this time. What would happen if they figured out the rest of you are here?”

It’s not a position she wants to put them in, or herself for that matter. “I know you have goals to accomplish, but consider regrouping before pursuing Shanghai,” Asi requests. In case it weren’t obvious, she adds with a lift of one brow, “Outside of the country. Go home, think your plan of attack through.” She lets the laptop slip off her thigh and settles it just before the television with an idle lightness to her voice. “I will try and help how I can, but things are about to get more busy for me at work. I will not be able to spend as much time on this.”

She’s oblivious to the future that awaits them all, confident that what she said will be the case.

There’s a subtle melancholy in her gaze as she watches the Agents of BOOM (And Friends) talk through what’s been brought up, how they process each in their own way. For all the intense drama that follows them, she’ll still be reluctant to part ways when the time comes.

For now, though, breakfast. “Does anyone want seconds?” Asi asks to break the tension.

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