Cutting Down On Recidivism


richard_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title Cutting Down On Recidivism
Synopsis An old acquaintance stops by Richard Ray's office to leave some pointed comments.
Date May 21, 2018

Raytech Branch Office: CEO's Office

A large double-window along one wall of Richard Ray's office allows natural light to spill in throughout the office and provides an excellent view of the green roof on the lower floor of the building, the flowered garden spreading out between rows of solar panels.

The walls of the office are in slate grey, the carpeting on the floor matching, and the furniture is all in black glass, metal, and leather - but the modern starkness is offset by the tall potted plants that grow along the side of the room opposite the window. The CEO's desk is a broad affair in black glass with a video feed and touch-screen built into the surface of the desk itself, the non-interactive portions of the desk decorated sparsely with a plastic 'in' and 'out' box, a framed picture of Elisabeth Harrison, and an old onyx chess king set beside it like reminders of times long past.

The sunlight spilling in through the windows of Richard Ray’s office has taken on a late afternoon glow — lunchtime come and gone, calls taken or ignored. It carries with it the promise of a business day nearly ended, for those bound to the hours of nine and five, and less in the way of petty interruption for those that aren’t.

This facility is a secure one, obviously. It has security.

People have been hired, trained and paid to that end.

Vincent Lazzaro appears in the middle of the office anyway — short and shaved bald and in a suit, risen from the floor in a churn of black vapor. The trailing edges still turn in lazy vortices off of his sleeves when he raises his hands to tug at his cuff. He’s wearing glasses, looking sharp. Looking very uninvited, also.

“Hello, Richard.”

There are signs of construction through the facility, new and advanced security measures being installed and upgraded, although not all of them have been completed. If anything is intended to keep such a person as Vincent Lazzaro out, however, it must be amongst the uncompleted category.

There are papers and folders strewn about the black glass surface of the desk, Richard Ray catching up on so much work that he’d missed while he was away. There are budgets to approve, projects to rubber-stamp or reject, and meetings to have…

Like this one, apparently, even if it wasn’t on his schedule.

Hazel eyes flicker up from his work, muscles tensing for a moment as dark vapor stirs upwards into the form of a man. He relaxes slowly, gaze dropping back down to the papers. “I was worried that you were Samson for a moment,” he says quietly, “Lazzaro. Do you actually have a warrant this time, perchance?”

“Do I need a warrant just to talk to you, now?” A drop in his pitch suggests affront; he pushes his watch up out of sight, after a glance.

When it comes to Samson, the similarities stop at smog: Vincent steps out of it like he would an elevator, all sharp lines and calculated carriage. Like a very well-bred police dog, relegated from true fanciness by the grit in his nature.

“I read about Remi. Sorry for your loss.”

Not so sorry that he was compelled to hold off on whatever this is.

“It was a poor attempt at a joke, Lazzaro, I’m sure you remember the first time we met…” The pen in Richard’s hand is set down, and he leans back in the leather-backed chair, regarding the other man with a faint try at a smile. Shadows beneath his eyes, a hint of red rimming them. He might be back from the Dead Zone but it’s been a hell of a return, that’s for certain.

“Thank you,” he says, quietly but genuinely, his chin tipping in a slight nod as the man offers his condolences, “I don’t buy the tragic land mine story for a second, you know. I’ll find out who killed her.”

He draws in a breath, then exhales it, motioning permissively with one hand, “So what can I help you with today?”

“Harrison’s apartment in ‘09? I remember.”

Self-assurance comes to him even more naturally now than it did then, threaded into the fine navy of his suit and the clip of his step, as he makes his way over. There’s a hint of agreement about the poor in that attempt in the Sam Eagle level of his brows.

He takes a seat, opposite Richard’s desk.

“You think it was a hit?” Rhetorical concern — he thinks so too. Tragic landmines. Honestly. “You look like shit.” In the off chance he can’t see himself in the obsidian reflection of his own desk.

“I’m here about Dorothy.”

“I’m under a lot of stress these days,” Richard quips, only it’s not a quip, it’s 100% true. He brings that hand up to rake hair back from his face, “Hopefully I can get a good night’s sleep soon, but that’s not looking likely.”

“And yeah. I think it was a hit,” he replies, settling his gaze back on the other man, “We’ve got a lot of people lately that seem to want us dead over here at Raytech, rather than walking around breathing and trying to do some goddamned good for the world.”

Are you one of them asks the look fixed on the Secretary of Homeland Security.

“Dorothy,” he asks as well, more audibly, a question in a single word.

“You’re doing a great job,” Vincent commends, easily, on the subject of Raytech doing some goddamned good. His eyes are dark, in meeting Richard’s gaze, warm after the fashion of molten tar rather than, say, a pair of fuzzy socks. He’s slow to settle, seated as he is, shoulders rested back, one knee kicked up over the other — laying a very deliberate claim to this section of potentially unfriendly territory.

“Not such a great job that I can easily overlook harbouring an agent of Humanis First.”

He’s compelled to make that distinction, after sufficient pause.

“I’d like to believe you weren’t aware of the full extent of her complicity,” he goes on to say, as if in defense of own hopes for Richard’s common sense. “I know Lynette wasn’t.”

“I’m sure that I don’t know what you’re talking about, Lazzaro.”

Richard’s chair creaks softly as he leans back, hands folding over his chest as he regards the other man steadily with those red-rimmed eyes for a long moment’s silence. Then he tips his head in a bit of a nod, “I’ve been away on a collaboration with Wolfhound for the past month, and I haven’t exactly had a chance to check the news, of course. It’s surprisingly difficult to get your hands on a newspaper in the Dead Zone.”

The ghost of a smile, swiftly gone after his attempt at a quip, expression tiredly serious once more. “I can tell you that up until now I have not been aware of any former agents of Humanis First working for this company,” he says carefully, “And if any internal investigations - that I am not, of course, at liberty to discuss the existence of - discover that one has been I will of course have such an individual apprehended and contact the proper authorities regarding such an infiltration.”

Vincent listens, hands drawn in from their flex over the arm rests to fold together in his lap instead.

“God, I hope that’s true.”

For all that Lazzaro’s ability falls well outside the category of mental, Ray is uniquely qualified to imagine how it might be utilized to a similar end. If only it weren’t for those pesky warrants.

“It was difficult for me to wrap my head around before I was laid into for my unwillingness to give her another chance. ‘She wants a chance to prove she’s changed,’ she made a mistake the last ten times she had a choice, but she really means it this time, and so on.” Richard really does look like shit, subject to a more resigned looking-over, Vincent’s regard black as pitch beneath the hood of his brow.

“You could imagine how frustrating that was for me, given givens.” He precludes token denial with a rolling close of his eyes. Subtle. “If you had read the paper.”

“I was made aware of recent news articles when I got home, yes,” Richard replies, a hand coming up to rub against the side of his face, “I also remember my own concerns regarding the Vanguard Remnant being brushed aside once upon a time, so, yes, I understand the frustration.”

That hand sweeps a bit away in the other man’s direction, and he notes, “I will observe that in the years since our founding we haven’t had any incidents that indicate anyone in our company has any… recidivism towards any past associations that they may not have disclosed. Background checks aren’t as easy as they once were, of course.”

He exhales a sigh, then, shaking his head, “…but we are a law abiding organization, Lazzaro, and if we find such an individual we will make certain the proper steps are taken, I assure you.”

“Do you think that’s why we execute traitors?” Vincent’s delivery is awfully dry on the subject of death via government institution, reproach tamped down into cautionary irony for the suggestion. Mild. It’s been a long decade. “To cut down on recidivism?”

It’s a genuine question, posed without pressure for the right answer — or any answer at all. Raytech is a private organization, operated by private individuals. They don’t answer to Vincent.

Not directly.

He ignores a buzz at his watch, intent on watching Richard Ray instead.

“I don’t want her found here anymore than you do,” he says. “But I do intend to find her. In the meanwhile, I encourage you to take into consideration her track record for company loyalty to date.”

“There was a time that you would have considered myself and Elisabeth traitors, Lazzaro, if you recall,” Richard says quietly but very seriously, meeting the man’s gaze, “Ideology is a funny, and so very flexible thing sometimes.”

He brings one shoulder up in a slight shrug, “I consider everything. It’s what we Rays do best, after all. Consider history, possibilities, probabilities. Whoever it is you’re looking for, you won’t find them here.”

A slight lift of both brows, “I assure you of that. I think your watch is calling you.”

“You were criminals,” says Vincent, easy agreement assured at an angle, brows tilted at an impatient slant. You were a pain in the ass but don’t flatter yourself. “If I ever learn you were experimenting on prisoners of war or using your radio station to report civilians to the Humanis First gestapo you can expect to see me back here with a noose.”

His watch is calling him; he reaches to stifle it with a press of his thumb, and pushes to his feet, grit stiff through a catch in his back. In his knee, too.

The next look he cuts across the desk is a little warier — like he’s been seen tripping over the corner of a rug. Ungainly. It takes him a beat to iron himself out.

“Rays aren’t the only variables you have to control for.” Just as a helpful reminder. “If there’s anything I can lend to assist in the other investigation, let me know. I have contacts inside of SESA.”

“If you happen to have a postcognitive floating around to check out the ‘land mine explosion’ I wouldn’t be opposed,” Richard says in the grim tones of someone who really doesn’t buy the cover story here, a hand braced to the desk’s surface to push himself slowly up to his feet, as if bourne down by a great weight at the same time, “I owe Remi and her children that much, at the very least.”

“Until then, Mister Secretary, have a lovely day.”

“I do, actually.” Vincent reaches not for his phone, but back to the sturdy block of something that looks a hell of a lot like a pager behind his hip. “I know a masseuse, too.” While he’s being helpful. His people will call Ray’s people.

“Try to get some sleep.”

Seriously. He presses the issue with a look, lingering half a beat before he stirs away into a churn of black vapor, and is gone.

As the other man departs, Richard drops back down into his chair, one hand coming up to rub over his face. “Fuck me,” he mutters, and then he straightens, pulling the chair in closer to his desk and reaching out to tap the black glass touchscreen of his desk in a way that opens an intercom to the front desk.

“Sera, please send a message to Mister Bellamy requesting smoke filtration be added to the new security measures. Thank you.”

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