Casual Business Meetings


asi_icon.gif kimiko_icon.gif monica_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Casual Business Meetings
Synopsis Asi and Monica ask a favor of a friend to cover a delicate check in with The Boss.
Date December 8, 2018

“No, I don’t think so…”

Steam rises up from sewer grates in the cracked asphalt of Bay Ridge Ave, a major thoroughfare that cuts through the western side of the Bay Ridge neighborhood, emptying out into what has become a thriving waterfront district within spitting distance of the Brooklyn Army Terminal where the Safe Zone’s military police are based out of. The noise of the harbor area makes it hard to hear what’s being said, intentionally so. The cry of sea birds, the blast of ship horns, and the noise of waterside pedestrians heading into the open market creates a cacophony that is distinctly like a slice of old New York.

In the middle of the day, the waterfront of Bay Ridge Ave is bustling with activity. Piers extending out into the river are packed with boats of all shapes and sizes. Shipments of new goods are hauled in by forklift and lalettes both from corporate deliveries, Red Cross relief supplies, and personal donations hauled in off of private vessels.

The converted buildings around the waterfront now serve as a bazaar, extending from the overfull Red Hook Market. Many of these businesses are packed closely together in tiny bodegas, others are street vendors selling meat on a stick, mobile ramen carts, and even shipping containers converted into makeshift storefronts.

On a clear day like today, anyone can see straight across the Hudson to the jagged silhouette of the Midtown Exclusion Zone and Staten Island across the glittering water. But in a bustling, multicultural market like this even the shadow of the war can't stifle the industrious spirit of the Safe Zone’s inhabitants.

In these crowded streets full of pedestrians and overflowing with merchants and merchandise, the city feels unbelievably alive. That is why Eizen Erizawa came here, to be in the noise, to go sight unseen. Today, of all days, that is very important.

“But I can ask,” Eizen says into the cell phone cradled at his cheek. He has to press the receiver down into the woolen fabric of his scarf to get it close enough to his mouth for the person on the other end to even hear anything. “What’s the ETA?” Eizen’s dark eyes scan the crowd, brows pinched together, then flicks back to the water glittering in the cold December sun.

He makes a soft noise in the back of his throat. “That soon?” Eizen closes his eyes and nods. “No, I understand. Sometimes, things have to happen fast…” Eizen looks away from the water to the gleaming white walls of the Yamagato Building rising up in the distance.

“…so that no one expects it.”


Raytech NYC Safe Zone Headquarters
December 12, 2018
11:18 am

It's always easy to spot when Monica is antsy about something. Today she sits in one of the chairs in Richard's office, spinning herself around and around. Her head is tipping backwards so she can look up at the ceiling. She really should be getting dizzy, but she doesn't appear to be. Jury's out on whether this is better or worse than tapping pens and pencils on any flat surface she can reach. But here is one of the few places that nervous energy gets an outlet, while she's busy trying to look normal for Yamagato.

Richard has gotten a rushed explanation. She and Asi got some information on the bombing, which included near death experiences, buddy parkour, and a well informed coffee maker. The rest, she promised, she would explain once they were all gathered.

She got here early. Which explains some of the antsiness.

Asi looks over her shoulder with a dubious expression, a bishop piece from the chess set on the CEO's desk held loosely in one hand. The only way she was getting out of Yamagato Park lately was with an attached guard, a role that Monica had thankfully been present to fill. And together, they had left the Park, off for 'drinks' at some Safe Zone establishment.

… They could do worse than Richard Ray's office, she tells herself with some amusement. It doesn't stop her from watching Monica spin in circles. She prefers the tapping, honestly.

"Are you particularly missing Coney Island today?" she teases, one eyebrow arched in her mirth. "I didn't realize you were so big a fan of spinning teacups."

Her hand closes around the bishop piece, the jokes allowing her to not focus on her own nerves. She had been waiting months for an opportunity like this to present itself, and keeping her own part of the message concise could be challenging. And who knew how much time they would have? Life had this terrible tendency to throw curveballs. Determined to be one instead of swing at one, for once, Asi gently sets the chesspiece back down on the board, claiming a piece from the opposition and setting it to the side.

“You know, I actually am playing that game with someone, Ms. Tetsuyama,” Richard observes was he steps inside, although his tone is more amused than aggrieved, “I do have an app for chess if you’re looking for a partner to play with, though.”

He knows what apps are, damn it. Don’t judge him.

The door is closed behind him and he heads over to the desk, hands spreading to either side, “So what’s this about? You were evasive as fuck, so I’m assuming it’s important. Or someone moved my birthday and didn’t tell me.” Despite the as-ever flippant tones, he looks tired; deep circles under his eyes, a weariness to the edges of his smile, laugh-lines deeper today. There’s a lot weighing on the man.

"Everyone loves the teacups," Monica says, but the comment is enough to bring her spinning to a stop. She gets up from the chair, as if she's not sure she won't start up again if she stays there. "Sorry about her, Rich," she says, about the chessboard, "we're maybe a little nervous." Not sorry about Monica, though. He's dealt with years of her nerves, she figures he's used to it.

"Jiba helped us slip this appointment into Kimiko's schedule. We need to report to her, but we can't do it in Yamagato Park. Aside from Marlowe and Asi, I'm honestly not sure who we can trust there on this particular topic." It hits her a beat later that she didn't explain what the topic is, so there's a pause before she starts again. "Asi is here to investigate the bombing. I've been doing the same, you know, in my own way." Which certainly means there's nothing official about her own investigation. "The bomber attacked Asi. The bomber and two others. They attacked her inside of Yamagato Park. They work for Praxis. Praxis works for Adam Monroe. I mean, he practically signed his name to the bombing in Japan when he took the sword." The sword.

"Ah," is Asi's simple response, looking down for a moment at the chessboard. "It's the meddler in me." she explains, rather than apologizes, not replacing what she'd moved. She turns around to lean a hip into the desk, arms folding as she waits through Monica's explanation, watching Richard's reaction to it. The man concerned about alternate futures and memetic Entities seemed like his work was taking its toll on him, information worth filing away. Once Monica is through, she seamlessly picks up the thread of conversation.

"I have known since before arriving in America that Adam Monroe was responsible for the attacks." she explains quietly. "Finding out his deeper motivations, rooting out his allies stateside and within Yamagato … those have been goals of mine since the beginning. Given I suspected from the start that a mole was involved, I have been," Asi pauses briefly as she feels the need to carefully amend that statement with "Have had to be very careful in deciding who to trust."

A hand lifts to gesture loosely between the two. "I am confident now neither of you are Monroe's, at least." she says with deadpan humor before beginning to frown, looking to Monica for a moment. "But neither do I feel we've found everyone who is." Her arms fold snugly against her torso again. "But what has been found was enough for them to risk trying to kill or kidnap me in broad daylight. And following that, certain suspicions were confirmed."

"If they were bold enough to lash out as they did, I'm concerned what their next moves will be. If they feel we're closing in on them, they might move even more recklessly, more dangerously. Ms. Nakamura needs informed of what we learned, Monica," Richard is glanced at out of the corner of her eye, "As well as what Mr. Ray and I discussed previously regarding Monroe, and Nisatta."

There’s a chirp from Richard’s desk, an icon appears in the glass surface reading: Lang, S. Following that, Sera’s voice chimes in over the VoIP intercom. «Mister Ray? I have a call for you from Kimiko Nakamura of Yamagato Enterprises, should I transfer her over?»

"I'm aware of why Ms. Tetsuyama is here," Richard admits, fingers trailing along the side of his desk as he circles it and then eases down into his chair, "I told her that she should approach - and could trust - you, Ms. Dawson." Ms. Dawson instead of Monica, but then, this is a formal meeting of sorts. Even if it's being held on the down-low. He knows how much the Japanese value their business formality.

He listens to the explanations from both, chin dipping in a slight and thoughtful nod. "I see," he murmurs, "What's your game, Adam…?"

The desk chirps, and he looks down at it. Hazel eyes flicker to the pair, and he nods, "Please do, Sera."

Once the icon shifts, he greets in affable tones, "Ms. Nakamura. This is Richard Ray."

First appearing in a flicker on the surface of Richard’s desk, then transferred to one of the freestanding virtual whiteboards in the office, the face of Kimiko Nakamura looms large over the room. She looks as though she hasn’t aged a day to Richard, who hasn’t seen the young scion of Kaito Nakamura in nearly a decade. Her haircut is slightly different, the youthful optimism has drained from her eyes, but otherwise she looks like a vision of the past.

«Mister Ray,» Kimiko begins, formally. Behind her is clearly an airplane seat, and the faint hum of engines reverberates in the background, «if you have a camera in your office I’d prefer it on before we begin. I like to see who I’m dealing with face to face.»

At the use of a more formal title, Monica lifts her eyebrows, as if she might be confused. "Oh, are we being professional? That's my bad." Until recently, none of Monica's work history involved places where she was called Ms. Dawson. She's still working on her professionalism— although not very diligently. She sticks out among Yamagato staff for more reasons than the cybernetic arm.

When Sera sends Kimiko through, Monica lets out a relieved sigh. She was braced for this plan to fall to pieces before they go to her. "Hey, it's not just Richard here," she says. At least it isn't 'Rich'. "This is Monica Dawson. I'm here with Asi Tetsuyama, too." A roster that should clue her in to what this call is about. "I apologize for the invasion," she says, very nearly professionally, "we, the three of us, need to speak with you."

Asi faces the whiteboard, arms still folded. She seems encouraged to see Kimiko in what appears to be good health, nodding deeply. "Nakamura-san, I apologize for the brevity. There's been developments in the investigation."

“Of course,” Richard replies, leaning back in his chair, “Computer, video conference mode, full-room.”

A broadcast of the desk and the trio around it go live, sent through the feed to the other executive. He can’t help but smile a bit at the sight of her, his head tipping in a nod, “Are you seeing us? Ms. Tetsuyama and Ms. Dawson said that we all needed to talk, as they’ve said.”

The deep breath that Kimiko takes is visible, and it comes when the video feed syncs on her side of the conversation. «Loud and clear,» she says. «I’ll assume this line is secure,» comes with a look to Asi, «so please, begin.» Kimiko has changed, in Richard’s eyes. She’s even more like her father now, a taciturn and stern person with a business-first attitude and little call for frivolities or poetry. She is direct, like the point of a sword.

"We know Praxis is working with Adam Monroe and that they arranged the bombings. They have three agents, triplets or, you know, similar." To triplets. Monica doesn't seem to doubt Praxis' capabilities. "All Evolved, all dangerous. Unstable. They attacked Asi inside of Yamagato Park. They knew exactly where to find her and when." She glances over to Richard, fingers tapping against her leg, then back to Kimiko. "Eizen sent me a message to tell me that Kam Nisatta is the leak. But I'm not sure she's the only one. Or that it's really even her." It's been months since Monica felt secure in Yamagato's hands. No one is above suspicion, at one time or another.

She looks over to Asi, nodding her forward. "Will you send her the file?" Because that was a weird thing, too.

Once it's clear that Kimiko isn't going to be hanging up on them, Asi sweeps to her feet, more or less coming to attention. Instead of her hands clasping behind her back, they slide into her pockets, but the air of respect is the same. At the direction to begin, she nods briskly.

"Monroe's research into solar activity is most likely is being performed in relation to something known as the 'Entity'. If Mr. Ray can keep it concise, he has the better knowledge of what that thing is, and the severity behind Monroe's interest in it." While Asi might have reported to her superiors about the existence of the Entity, it's clear she didn't provide that information back to Yamagato. That wasn't her place. Her head shakes ever so slightly as she adds, "The Entity, however, is not just tied to Adam, but appears to be to Kam Nisatta as well. This thing once used her as a host for its power. Why Nisatta is working with Monroe is not confirmed yet, but I believe firmly that it is tied in with this … Entity."

After a brief pause, she looks directly up at the camera. "I believe you are still in danger. Whatever purpose there was behind keeping you alive, and I have my suspicions without evidence, they may make a second attempt on your life soon. If they went as far as to try and silence me in broad daylight, if they fear we are close to discovering their true intentions, they may act to pre-emptively kidnap or assassinate you, to carry out that intent behind leaving you alive." Her gaze flits back to the surroundings around Kimiko, for now saying nothing. Her brow starts to knit, wondering just where that plane is headed.

To better elaborate on what Monica inferenced, she inclines her head slightly. If Kimiko wanted it all, she'd see it delivered. "The file she references is a payload of information that solidly incriminates Nisatta and others in impeding the bombing investigation… and much more." For just a moment, Asi hesitates with how she wants to phrase her follow-up to that, though her elocution is smooth as ever. "The AI Jiba was integral to obtaining that information."

Thinking better of continuing before she starts getting deeper into the weeds, Asi turns slightly toward Richard. "Mr. Ray," she nods.

“I’ll do my best to keep it concise,” is Richard’s dry response to Asi, his lips twitching in a bit of a smile before he turns his attention back to Kimiko, “During the nineteen-eighties, the Company - including your father - discovered something that, frankly, was beyond their ability to handle. This ‘Entity’ possessed the ability to move from host to host memetically, to infect others somehow just by knowing too much about it, and alter the genetics of others on a whim - which apparently ranged from awakening powers in others or its host, to turning off your ability to process oxygen.”

He pauses for a moment to let the implications of that sink in, “Adam Monroe identified it as the first of us all, the origin of our abilities, although I don’t know how well we can rely on that - as he might’ve been memetically infected at the time, and apparently was helping this thing. The Company eventually managed to contain it in a dimensional void between alternate dimensions - stay with me, now, I know that sentence is a lot to take in - but they were forced to redact the memories of the entire Company for years. Including the founders, like your father. Charles managed to leave some breadcrumbs behind for stopping it in the future, but they’re just breadcrumbs.”

“It’s possible that your father may have as well,” he says darkly, “Because you’re clearly being targeted here. The previous host of the Entity, per current intel, was likely Kam Nisatta.”

Kimiko Nakamura is forever her father’s daughter. Through this entire revealing display she doesn't shift her facial features an inch. For a moment it feels as though the video feed froze, but the movement of shadows to her right and her eventual slow blink indicates that it was in fact fine the whole time. Kimiko looks off-camera to her right toward a close source of light, perhaps a window, then back on screen.

«It sounds like we need to have a more in-depth conversation about some of these longer-reaching issues at a later date,” is Kimiko’s diplomatic assessment of the situation. «I'll have the file you sent over analyzed, but in the interim I want you to know that I trust Mr. Eizen with my life. If there is one person at Yamagato Industries you can trust, it's him. As for Kam Nisatta…»

Kimiko grows silent, losing whatever train of thought she had as her brows furrow. There's a distant look in her eyes as she looks down into her lap, unfocused and almost as if she's daydreaming. «She was a ward of my father. Your… revelations are not surprising so much as confirming fears I had. The evidence seems quite damning,» and Kimiko looks down and to her right again, the soft sounds of keys clicking heard through the call audio.

«She was utilizing her black-level information reduction protocols from her position as head of…» Kimiko pauses, looking at the camera, then back to the screen, «…as head of clandestine operations. There was no one above her but myself, and she possessed carte blanche to redact information as she saw fit.»

Exhaling a sharp sigh, Kimiko closes her eyes. «I trusted her. With everything.» Drawing in another slow breath, Kimiko opens her eyes. «Ms. Dawson, I'm unofficially assigning you as material attaché to Major Tetsuyama. The Japanese government would have my head if anything happened to her. Her safety is your primary concern, but do not repeat that outside of this circle.»

«As for the immediate situation, this needs to be handled delicately and quietly. If word one of this reached the Safe Zone’s provisional government it could hit the President and he could revoke Yamagato’s work contracts. We can't pin Adam Monroe's criminal activity in a court of law on Praxis Heavy with just this, but it's… a start. Still, we can't let this become a public embarrassment.»

«Major Tetsuyama, I realize I'm not your superiors, but I would see it as a personal favor if you would assist Ms. Dawson in the apprehension of Ms. Nisatta. You can coordinate with one-another however you see fit, but please rope in Mr. Erizawa, as I believe his SLC-Expressive ability will be the only means we have to ensure her captivity.» Kimiko then clicks a few keys and a file is transmitted back down the call, a single image.

«I also need you to find this woman. I believe she may be in danger in the same regards that I am, and she would be connected to Praxis’ hit-squad, if these triplets are what I fear they are.»

As the image loads it appears beside Kimiko’s photograph, and shows the outdated driver's license photo of a woman named Francesca Lang.


«I would like to extend Yamagato Industries’ protections to Miss Lang, if she can be found.» Then Kimiko looks back to the camera. «Richard,» she finally addresses, «I just need you to stay quiet about this for now. With the promise that we’ll talk again soon. There's some issues I feel we need to discuss.»

"I thought he targeted our compass tech as a preventative measure. If no one has it, it can't be put to the same use it was before the war. But now I think he might be using it to find people to recruit." Monica watches Kimiko, eyebrows furrowing a bit every time she looks off screen. She starts to pay attention to what's beyond Kimiko as well, just in case there's something going on there that they don't realize.

Her expression flattens as she listens, her usual demeanor exchanged for stony silence. She nods to her new unofficial assignment, because that's the easiest part of all of this to take. Worries about PR nightmares and plans to take down Kam only serve to tighten her muscles and straighten her shoulders.

It helps her, coincidentally, to keep herself from reacting to Chess' picture when it appears. She only looks at it, then back to Kimiko. "If she's in the Safe Zone, I'll find her," she says. There's a beat, a glance toward Richard, then she refocuses back on Kimiko.

"When you can spare a moment," she says, oddly formal now. Stiff. Unhappy. "I'd like an opportunity to renegotiate the terms of my contract. And my position."

The request to assist with apprehending Kam is met with a simple nod from Asi. Her fingers drum along something in her pocket. "If we're to handle this swiftly and quietly, I'd like to request increased security access within Yamagato, or be pointed in the direction of suitable credentials to borrow. Until now, I've done my best to keep my hands to myself, so to speak." Her head tilts slightly in an indication of the situation they find themselves in. "This will necessitate clearance, though, whether or not it's given freely."

She pauses for a moment, her expression shifting more deadpan. "I've been reserved with specifics when providing updates to my superiors, but removing Kam from her position will likely be seen as a clear resolution to the matter of the bombing. I would expect to either be recalled, or strongly encouraged to return to Japan, once it's done." Her brow lifts as she continues, "Despite longer-term issues remaining on the board, I would recommend that if you have anything else to ask of me, ask it now."

Asi's eyes drift off from the camera, studying the photo on the license first before the information surrounding it. "… In case the information proves useful, the triplets called themselves Vi, Val, and Ivy. 'Val' is the teleporter that brought the bomb. Two of three demonstrated impressive command of their SLC ability, and it's likely the third would have as well, given the opportunity. This being said, what do you suspect they are?"

“Of course,” Richard inclines his head, “I have as much interest in this situation being handled— quietly and efficiently— as you do, although I would warn you all to be very careful around Nisatta. If she’s under the influence of the Entity she may not be doing this of her own free will, and— there’s no way of knowing what she can do personally. While I am of course sure that you are not in possession of any negation gas, I’m just musing aloud how useful it might be in this situation.”


“I can add the woman’s picture to our security database so if she goes near any of our facilities we may get a match,” he adds, “Do you have pictures of these ‘triplets’ as well?”

Monica gets a glance at that last line about renegotiation, one brow going up.

Kimiko patently ignores Monica’s contractual renegotiation request, swiftly moving on to address the topic of the triplets. «I believe the triplets are among the last the survivors of a mass cloning experiment performed by a subsidiary of Praxis Heavy Industries long before Adam Monroe got his talons in them. They're part of a larger mystery I've yet to solve,» and she flicks a look at Asi at that, indicating to her the weight of that sentiment. «They're a problem for a later day when we have more time to discuss the issue at hand, so I'd appreciate no more distractions of that nature. We have…» she looks to her right, «six more minutes before I need to go.»

When Kimiko’s attention turns back to the screen, she levels a look on Asi. «Mr. Erizawa will handle your security clearance concerns however is appropriate. As for a continuance of your employ, I don't see any way to extend your time here so long as you remain with the Mugai Ryu.» Her brows furrow, and she leaves that pointed comment leveled clearly at Asi, and leaves ownership of it in her lap.

«As for our technology, there's more going on right now than I can explain over a conference call.» Kimiko checks to her right again, then looks back to the screen. «Suffice to say you appear to have walked into part of a greater global conspiracy that I have neither the time nor answers on hand to effectively explain.»

«That said, I have information for you.» Kimiko clicks a few keys, sending two photographs across the uplink. One of a Caucasian woman with long, black hair and a strong profile dressed in military fatigues, photographed loading a bag into the back of a Jeep. The other, a blonde Caucasian man with dark circles under his eyes and sunken cheeks. Richard knows them both.

«Sabine Hazel and Julien Dumont. Both are now working for Adam Monroe and attacked a personal secure facility located in Turkmenistan several months ago. I have reason to believe that Adam recruited them out of survivors of the Institute remnant. Their current whereabouts are unknown save that they were last seen in Ontario, Canada and may have slipped into the US.» Kimiko doesn't mention whether she's aware of Richard’s familiarity with the pair or not. «Sabine is SLC Non-Expressive and Julien is a replicator, but seems to no longer have control over his ability, so far as I can tell.»

«Be mindful of them popping up in your area,» Kimiko warns, one brow raised.

"I will assume that means we have something on the books," Monica says, to being ignored. And to make the point that she intends to pursue the matter. But not here and now.

There are some things she could add, as far as the sisters and Adam, but she doesn't. Not until she talks to Chess about what she wants to share. But when the two new faces pop up on the feed, she leans forward a little. "We'll keep eyes open for them. He does seem to be sending his people here." Straightening, she looks over at Richard, although the question is for both him and Kimiko. "Have you thought about sharing this with Wolfhound? Institute is like, their entire wheelhouse, right?"

Asi glances sidelong at Richard as he makes his suggestion. His highly illegal suggestion. She only looks away when she feels Kimiko's eyes back on her in particular, a small nod of acknowledgement for yet another long-term issue. One she seems inclined enough to invite her in on… were circumstances different.

Her mouth firms, gaze unfocusing as she takes a moment to retreat and weigh that thought appropriately. "Gojitsu ni sono o-hanashi wo tsuzuketain desu kedo," is how she chooses to acknowledge it. There's a measure of delicacy dedicated in the answer.

When Asi looks back up, her expression remains as smooth as it was before. There's a flicker of concern as the replicator is identified, a worry that fails to be brought to vocal concern. "We will stay alert here, but I strongly encourage you to do whatever is needed to defend yourself as well. Seiji no koto wa sateoki, involving other members of the Mugai-Ryu in ensuring your personal security could act as a deterrent. I intend on submitting that recommendation, given the attack that happened here."

"Ijou desu," Asi reports, glancing afterward to the time.

“If you ever find yourselves on the free market, we are always hiring,” Richard quips, a smile tugging up at the corner of his mouth. He’s only half-teasing there, really.

As those pictures cross the screen, however, the smile fades for something else— shock. He leans forward, one hand resting heavily on the black glass of his desk as he stares at the images. “Sabine and— there’s still a viable Julien out there? They weren’t with the Institute, they were infiltrating it, and— fuck,” he leans back, a hand covering his mouth briefly as his brow furrows, “After Sarisa died, there wasn’t anyone to recall them and confirm that they weren’t with the Institute… shit. Pardon my language— “

“Ms. Nakamura, if any of your people make contact with them, please ask them to contact me when possible— and I’d consider it a personal favor that if they’re taken, they be taken alive. If they haven’t gone native, they may prove a valuable resource.”

«Infiltrating, interesting. That’s a well-guarded secret, Mr. Ray.» Kimiko glances down from the screen, then flicks a brief look to Monica that is as wordless and pointed as it is inscrutable. Ultimately, the way it softens on the edges, implies some measure of understanding or relent.

«I do not have a line of communication with Wolfhound, but you’re welcome to share this information with them or the US government should it feel pertinent.» Kimiko leans back from the screen, enough to reveal that the chair she’s sitting in isn’t an office chair. The upholstery isn’t leather, but a fabric weave, the window at her side isn’t a wall of glass in an office penthouse, but a small oval of an aircraft. «Unfortunately, our time is up. We will speak again, whether together or apart, soon. For now…» Kimiko hands a phone off to someone off-screen, then looks back to the camera. «Contact Mr. Erizawa and make preparations to quietly detain Ms. Nisatta, under any circumstances. Just… keep this out of the public eye. For all our sakes.»

Kimiko doesn’t say goodbye, or wait for a response. One moment she’s staring at Richard, the next the screen is black with [CALL ENDED] displayed in white.

Monica seems to read that subtle shift in Kimiko's expression, because she nods slightly and her stance eases. She doesn't interrupt as the woman closes out the conversation. But when the screen goes black, she lets out a heavy sigh.

"So we have to quietly detain someone who may or may not house an all powerful entity from beyond time and space," she says, letting that sink in for a moment before she looks over at Asi. And grins. "Sounds like fun."

Her attention swings to Richard, her hand coming to brace her on the corner of his desk. "Don't waste your resources looking for Lang. She's a friend. I'll ask her if she wants to come to Yamagato, but if she's not comfortable with it, we all pretend we never saw her." She seems to assume that Asi will be cool about it, too, since she doesn't so much as cast a sideways glance her way. But Asi has proven herself to be pretty cool with a lot of things lately. "It isn't that I don't— actually it kind of is that I don't trust Yamagato. Or, at least, I'm not sure that Kam is the only double agent we have to worry about."

"Which is why I recommend keeping this from Damaris," Asi puts forward. She finally looks away from the screen, apparently left with a lot to think about, and not exactly done with it either. Her jaw works as she considers Kimiko's parting words, an eventual long breath slowly being exhaled. Her hands slide from her pockets only so she can cross them, turning to better look at Monica. "And as for Nisatta — from the security footage of the hall, during the bombing bombing, I could see something clearly unnatural clearly occurring around her that may have protected her from the blast. Her documented ability, as I understand it, shouldn't permit that." One brow quirks as she says it. As far as she's concerned, it's evidence to err on the side of caution.

Shifting her attention to Richard, she looks at him almost expectantly. "Negation gas?" Her flat tone implies she's asking if he seriously went there. But the look in her eyes asks, 'Well? Do you have any?'

“It’s easy to guard a secret when literally everyone who knew it is dead,” Richard mutters as the call ends, rubbing between his eyes for a moment before leaning back in the chair with a creak of leather. The revelation from Monica has him tipping his head a bit in her direction, “Give me a briefing on her and these ‘triplets’ later, okay? I have the feeling some shit’s been going on without me knowing about it, and— “ He flashes a slight smile, “— you know how I am about knowing things.”

Clearing his throat, “As for Nisatta, she could’ve been shielded by some other Evolved in the crowd who knew the blast was going off— but be careful, all the same. If she even has anything that the Entity left behind, she could be extremely dangerous. If we’re lucky, all she has is the memetic infection, but I’m not a big believer in luck.”

Then he smirks at Asi, “Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures. Nothing I can provide, unfortunately— I’m a law-abiding citizen these days.” Beat. “Mostly.”

"Agreed," Monica says, to Asi's first words. "I trust her, but she doesn't need to get dragged into all this. She's got a daughter." Monica doesn't. Asi doesn't. Eizen doesn't. Not that she knows of anyway. And she remembers the briefing on how dangerous this entity can be. "Plus, she's busy on a different side project." Which might be why she hasn't dragged her handler into this investigation already.

Or maybe to prove to herself that she hasn't lost her touch without a handler.

She looks over at Richard, his words making her smile crookedly. "Oh, I remember. I'll brief you on what I can. We haven't solved a whole lot of those particular mysteries yet." And he's had his own mysteries to untangle lately.

"We'll be cautious, if only not to draw too much attention. I guess you and I need to corner Eizen. Somewhere not in Yamagato Park."

"A side project of Nisatta's?" Asi asks with a brief glance to Monica, letting the question prove the point she was trying to make. Then she's looking back to Richard, her fingers drumming along her arm while she thinks. "We can provide what we have," she agrees, "But we are soon in need of resources. Such as advanced non-lethal weaponry. And anything else you could provide in return." Her head tilts as she studies him.

"We could invite Erizawa for drinks." she suggests offhandedly. She could use one, after that conversation.

“You could relay a request to meet me here to discuss security for our joint project,” Richard suggests with a lazy brow’s lift and a slight motion of his hand to the pair, “I’d be happy to lend you one of the conference rooms to have a conversation in, and you can be sure that the only prying ears here would be mine.”

He chuckles, then, “Monica hardly needs more weaponry, I expect. I’m sure I could lend you a few Banshees if you needed them, though.”

"No. A side project of mine," Monica says. Apparently she has a few of those. "Kay is solid. I just don't want her to get hurt."

She turns her attention to Richard, nodding to his offer of the room. "The wouldn't look too suspicious. And we have backup on hand if Kimiko's read of him is wrong. I'm still not sure. It is his security team." Her hands move to her hips as she lets out a sigh. "Sorry, I'm totally paranoid. It's been months and months of me trying to eliminate suspects in the Park. But it's harder to prove a lot of people innocent when we can't prove much of anything." Richard's last words bring her smile back around though, and she chuckles a little.

"You always know just what to say."

A crack appears in Asi's serious demeanor, as she turns back to Monica with amusement flickering in her eyes. "What, are you saying she doesn't look good with a gun? I beg to differ." The corner of her mouth tugs up in a smile. Monica with a gun had saved her life recently, after all.

"Ms. Nakamura trusts him implicitly." Asi offers up to the concern about Eizen possibly not being trustworthy, but her smile fades regardless. Before doubt can creep in, her head inclines as she reminds, "And Erizawa was the one to first confirm Nisatta's status as the mole." She pauses for a moment, brow starting to knit as the memory of the note triggers a chronologically-related thought.

"I'd be remiss if I didn't call out I think we'll have to worry about Jiba, again." She has to resist the urge to sigh at that, knowing Monica's relationship with the AI might lead her to insist otherwise. "If nothing else, Nisatta could order…" Asi actually has to pause. To call the AI an 'it'? A 'he'? "Jiba," she decides in the interim, "to do something to either hamper or harm us."

To that point, she glances between the two. "Perhaps the meeting between Mr. Ray and Erizawa-san could be a precursor to a personal, on-site meeting with Ms. Nisatta. Do you have any new tech you could demo to her?"

“Oh, I’m fairly certain that if I sent her a message mentioning that I’m developing some technology to… ease the problems we’re having with the auroral situation,” Richard says with a slow, crooked smile, eyebrows going up as he regards the two women over the desk, “That she’d all but come running to meet with me about the issue. All things considered, there’s no way in the world that she could refuse that meeting.”

Then he pauses, a brow lifting, “So who exactly is this Jiba? I’m still rather unclear about that, and I’ve met them, after a fashion.”

"She also trusted Kam. And believe me, the things she let her in on could bury Yamagato. And, if I were trying to deflect suspicion… well, selling out someone else is a decent way to do it." Monica lifts her hands, though, before she continues, "I'm not saying we need to suspect him, I'm just saying we need to be careful. Pretty much with everyone outside of this room."

When Asi continues, Monica leans back against the desk, letting out a thoughtful sigh. "Actually, I think that incident proves that when there's something wrong with Jiba, they do everything they can to warn me. Us. And, anyway," she says with a wave of her hand, "they were just stressed."

Which is a totally normal thing to say about an AI.

Which she realizes only when Richard asks that all important question. "Jiba is a… an AI." She glances over at Asi, considering her next words carefully. Or, at least, she considers confirming what she's pretty sure Asi has already figured out. "I think they've actualized their… self. They are still working under their programming, though. So I'm not sure what all that means, but Jiba is a friend, I know that.

"They're also literally a part of me, so…"

At that, Asi shifts a look back to Monica bearing the same weight as the one she's given. Her arms part to fall back by her sides. "A highly advanced AI," she appends to Monica's initial explanation. The term 'AI' was being pretty broadly applied to systems capable of machine learning these days, but the Yamagato cyberentity was a step above and beyond. Several, even. Her brow creases at Monica voices what developments she believes occurred, one hand gesturing lightly. "You realize the entire thing bothers me, yes? And how exactly such advances in technology were achieved…"

Her hand shakes in a negating manner to lay that thought aside for more immediate points. "If it didn't have the level of power it did, perhaps it'd be less of a concern. But we are looking at an AI with free reign over Yamagato Park that can choose to bypass commands given to it," she shifts a glance momentarily to Richard, not exactly in an apologetic manner, but in a silent bid for him to hold his opinion about the issue, "That creatively gets about blocks put in place on it. Plainly, we are lucky it likes you. And even though it did end up helping us before—" Asi simply tilts her head, her look sharpening back on Monica again. She knows.

"—it could just as easily not, in the future." There's concern in her eyes as she stares her friend down. The thought of Jiba abusing its access to Monica's biorhythms was one she wished she didn't have to worry about. What it could do to the rest of the Park aside.

“An actual AI? Not a purusha?” Richard’s brows both leap upwards, “Interesting. I knew technology was headed there, the Institute made a… few attempts, involving making copies of technopathic consciousnesses, but fortunately they were mostly failures. They definitely don’t seem like an AI… I’m impressed.”

One hand comes up, “Aside from the point of their existence though, Monica, do you think they’ll be a problem at all with this? If we bring Nisatta here, they shouldn’t be able to get involved in all, could they?”

"Yeah, it means that they," Monica says with a glance to Asi, "are just as capable of bravery or betrayal as any of us are. They have proven plenty of times that we can trust them." She looks over to Richard next, head tilting. "Well, I don't know what a purusha is. And obviously Hachiro is protective of their creation. The hows of it." Even internally, most of Yamagato don't know the depth of Jiba. And they definitely don't know how they were made.

"If we're outside of Yamagato Park, Jiba isn't even here with me. They're restricted to the park, that much is still true. The most they'll get is a read of my vitals after the fact, when I'm back on Park grounds. They won't interfere. If we were in, say, Kam's office, Jiba would have to act." So all in all, not being there has her vote. "My only concern is you. If it goes sideways, I don't want this to blow back on you or Raytech."

Asi returns the look that's given to her, holding any additional opinion she might contribute on the subject of Jiba. After giving it some thought, she looks back to Richard for his pronouncement on how to proceed.

“It’s going to happen sooner or later anyway… we’re the only people on the planet with Looking Glass technology, as far as I know,” admits Richard, reluctantly, “And if she’s being— subtle, then it’s not the Entity in full, or we’d know by now.”

He pauses for a moment, “She did give us the option of bringing in Wolfhound. Would you be alright if we brought them in to lend some— legality to your arrest? Not to mention a little more muscle. They can be discreet, I can make sure everyone brought in is one hundred percent trustworthy.”

“That’s up to you, of course.”

It takes some effort to refrain from making a more blunt comment toward the phrase 'lend legality', but Asi does, with a polite smile. "I'm sure the presence of the Mugai-Ryu sent with the blessing of two governments would probably cover us on legality. Not that Wolfhound's additional presence would be unwelcome. Better odds are better odds, so long as we keep this tight and discreet," She pauses and adds with a slow nod, "… and set the expectation she will be interned in Japan once apprehended."

Asi shrugs lightly, not appearing perturbed one way or the other. Richard will either deliver the message, or it becomes a later topic to discuss with Wolfhound directly. She turns to Monica, brow ticking up inquisitively for her take.

"Alright, I'm not turning down the help, then. Bring Wolfhound and we'll bring Eizen. We'll see if we can pull this off." Monica gives him a crooked smile. She's not sure, but she's never had a problem with confidence in the face of possible defeat. They've pulled off crazier things than this, in the old days. Or nearly as crazy.

"Then we have a plan," she says, nodding to include both Richard and Asi. "Okay, team. Let's go do something stupid."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License