Dangerous Liaisons


hall_icon.gif robyn6_icon.gif

Scene Title Dangerous Liaisons
Synopsis Agent Hall and Agent Roux discuss a long-range assignment over lunch.
Date February 2, 2021

There’s a small office on the ground floor of Raytech’s Safe Zone Campus that is usually dedicated to employees working remotely from the Detroit branch. As of yesterday, that office now has a paper sign hanging on the door that reads: A. HALL

Beyond the faux-wood door there is a single drawless desk upon which an order of Chinese takeout for two is spread along with a laptop and a stack of spiral-bound notebooks. The rest of the office is bare concrete and white drywall, with a single potted cactus sitting in a window beside vertical blinds.

Agent Hall of the Department of the Exterior sits in that window beside the cactus, legs crossed at the knee and a box of lo mein cradled in one hand, chopsticks in the other. “So when I was at Fort Jay checking in with higher-ups,” Hall says, pointing across the office with her chopsticks, “a junior agent told me that I should totally ask you about the Ferrymen safehouse Gun Hill if we ever got to meet.”

Agent Hall’s dark eyes fix across the table at Robyn Quinn, one corner of her mouth quirked up into a devious smile.

“This is me asking.”

Liaison Hall’s Office
Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

Raytech Industries Campus
Jackson Heights

February 2nd
12:13 pm

Robyn's nostril's flare, staring at her box of General Tso's. "Well, my answer to that depends on how flexible you are about murder," she responds in a totally, absolutely believably even voice. "Because I have a feeling I know exactly who told you to ask that, and I absolutely warned him that would happen if he did."

Despite that, she matches Agent Hall's smirk, even in it's deviousness, as she breaks apart her own chopsticks. She'd been using a fork, but screw it. Live dangerously and what not.

"I know what he wants me to tell you. Not to ask and get angry, or about how it was some kind of LGBT haven, and, uh- yeah." Fishing into the box, she pulls out a piece of chicken somewhat awkwardly. It's waved at Hall as she continues. "But in all seriousness, it was a great place with great people. I regret leaving it when I did. I wish I'd stayed to help them when they'd been compromised. I was more worried about my music career than their safety."

“Sorry, I was experimenting on you.” Hall says without any additional context before taking a bite of her food. She sits there, contentedly savoring her lunch and lets Robyn stew on that admission for a couple moments longer than is comfortable. “He was joking, didn’t think I’d ask, but I like to see what people come up with when asked uncomfortable questions. It tells you a lot about who they are.”

Lounging back against the window, Hall sets her lo mein aside on the sill beside the cactus. “I was a rehabilitation counselor in a past life, until I got a little too into one of my patients' heads than is professional. But I was fresh out of college, then the world rather immediately ended so…” she shrugs, a full-shoulder quirk followed by a kink of her head to the side. “So it goes.”

“If we’re going to be working together I’d prefer it if we didn’t have too many undue secrets between us, just an enjoyable amount to keep the tension going.” Hall admits, retrieving her lo mein on second thought. She motions at Robyn with a snap of her chopsticks. “But it isn’t entirely fair, because I have access to your psyche evaluation, so we’ll play 10 questions.”

Hall pumps her brows up. “Feel free to start any time.”

"Okay but seriously, I need an answer about the murder." Robyn is joking, of course, particularly if this is going to turn into some bizarre test of her and who she is as a person. The revelation that Hall has access to her psyche eval, though… that very clearly sits ill with her, her expression flattening and her shoulders squaring a slightly more standoffish manner.

She'd rather people not know what ails her, particularly with how deep that rabbit holr can go.

"I figure being a counselor like that is hard. I couldn't do it, I get far too attached to people," she shares as her posture begins to relax again, taking another bite of her chicken. "Assuming that's true," she notes with a wry grin and a point of her own chopsticks. "That'll be question one, I guess. Do you make a habit of these… experiments?"

Not that Robyn cares, but it's nice to know what to expect.

“I like a lot of things that are habit-forming,” Hall admits, “but I try not to let them get out of hand. Too often.” She smiles, crookedly, and rests her weight a little more against the window glass. “I don’t practice anymore either, but I do miss the experience. Not the uh, experimental tones, but the helping people part.”

Hall looks down into her takeout box, fishing around in it more so than eating. “Why’d you join SESA?” She asks abruptly. “Nascent rockstar come federal agent is a weird career path.” She tilts her head to the side, regarding the food. “Did it have anything to do with your mom?”

That question quiets Robyn briefly, using time spent chewing on her chicken as an excuse for silence. "That career path died in Cambridge," Robyn shares frankly, perhaps despite herself. "Mum's death almost had me leaving for Quebec, to be honest. If Cat Chesterfield hadn't gotten to me during the trials, I wouldn't be here right now."

A small shrug follows, Robyn tilting her head as she looks back at Hall. "Unless you mean everything else about my mum, in which case I'm still putting all that together. Didn't know anything about it back then." There seems to be a base assumption that Hall knows about her mother's Company affiliation at this point, from the way the question was asked.

"Why are you here?" is Robyn's return question, asked pointedly instead of accusatory. "At Raytech that is. Richard have some new projects he's failed to tell me about?" And there's the wide grin again.

Hall laughs and beams with a bright and honest smile. “Nothing quite so expected,” she explains. “Mr. Ray has some connections in my office and I was asked to come down and directly liaise with the company. Largely classified stuff, but so it goes in a world of gods and monsters, right?”

Finally returning her attention to her takeout, Hall enjoys a moment of silence between the two in order to eat. Though my chew she points her chopsticks at Robyn and thinks of another question. “Actually, that brings me to the other topic…” Now Hall sets her food aside and slides off of the window sill.

“If you could…” Hall begins, then waves her hand in the air as if trying to catch a metaphorical point. “I don’t know, go back in time and meet your mom, would you do it?” There’s something that feels decidedly not hypothetical about the question.

The look in Robyn's eyes in the wake of Hall's question is distant at best, vacant at worst as she stares into her food. It takes a moment before her lips curl into a thin and lopsided grin with a wicked edge to it, Robyn plucking a piece of chicken from her box. "Th' hell, you know the answer to that question," she remarks somewhat obliquely.

"Between what I just said and what's in my psyche eval, it should be pretty clear I'd kill to see mum again." Her tone mirrors just how not hypothetical or figurative Hall's question was - maybe she wasn't joking when she asked Hall's opinion on murder.

"I've done the whole time travel thing before," she notes with a shake of her head. "It's a load of shit and I rather hate most things related to it, but life is about the exceptions we make, not the rules that hold us in place."

“How do you feel about… horizontal movements?” Hall asks with one brow raised, then shakes her head. “Sorry—I need to stop teasing this out, I’m bad about that. Anyway, the Office of External Investigations is going to be sending a field operation to another… timeline.” Hall just lays that on the table. “Think of it like an extension of what happened at Sunspot, a return trip so to speak. Part of this meeting was me sizing you up, because the Director wants you to join Richard on it.”

“Point of note:” Hall says with one finger in the air. “The mission involves Richard Drucker and… your mother.” She looks down at the floor, then back up to Robyn. “Both of whom we believe are alive at the destination.”

Any sense of snideness or questionable wickedness falls away as Robyn begins to understand what's being asked of her by Agent Hall. She stares at the woman for a moment with a glassy look in her eyes before suddenly jumping up to her feet, palms flat against the table as she narrowly avoids knocking over her container of chicken.

"Yes!" practically tumbles out of her mouth, a mix of eager excitement and shock clear in her voice. Silence settles for a moment as she stands there, chicken abandoned as her eyes focus on Hall and her cactus. And then realization of what she did just sets in, an apologetic look forming on her face as she sheepishly lowers herself back down into her chair.

Sucking in a deep breath, she swallows down a piece of chicken in a single bite more as a distraction than anything else. "I'm sorry, I-" Lips quirk side to side, and she looks down at the table. Eyes close as she tries to focus and center herself, shaking her head. "I'm getting ahead of, um, myself. I- you want me to make a lateral movement to another timeline. Which, um. Which one?" And more importantly, "and why?"

Mine.” Hall says with a little bit of a did I forget to mention that smile. “You probably don’t remember me, mostly because I was hitchhiking when we came through, but I was with the Exodus that Elisabeth Harrison brought over.”

“My department is looking at sending a long-range expeditionary team into what we’re calling the Root Timeline, what’s probably easier to digest as the Flood.” Hall notes with a flourish of one hand in the air like a little ocean wave. “There’s a lot more classified information tied up in this, but suffice to say it’ll be a long trip. We’re talking possibly months. If you’re willing to try, the people with the actual answers would love to talk more about it.”

Chewing at the corner of her mouth, Robyn listens well. Her head cocks a bit to the side at the revelation that Agent Hall isn't of this timeline - though given her knowledge of the event, maybe she shouldn't be so surprised. The rest is met with quiet contemplation and nods of confirmation, hands folding into her lap.

There's one big thing that sticks out to her, though.

"I wasn't actually at Sunspot," Robyn notes with a small, almost wistful chuckle. "It just seems like I was because I know so much stuff I shouldn't. My bosses kind of hate it? It's not that NDAs mean nothing, but…" A small shrug and Robyn shakes her head. "It's hard not to talk about these things when you're embroiled in the kind of stuff I am, I'm afraid." A small sigh escapes her lips, looking away from Hall. "Anyway. Gosh. I would love to go. Not- just to see mum again either, as much as that sounds wonderful…"

It sounds like something is still bothering her though.

"But I shouldn't. I can't." It comes after a prolonged pause, Robyn's shoulders sinking as she responds. "I'm sorry. You'll have to find another Robyn." The last bit is mostly a joke, though it falls a bit flat against the rest of what she has to say.

Hall tilts her head to the side, then laughs. “Explains why you got handed to me, big pain in the ass that you are.” She notes with a crooked smile. “Here’s the thing, you’re dead there. As far as we know, anyway. Went up with the arcology. You—she and I? We were friends.” Hall slides her tongue across the inside of her mouth.

“Roux was there at the Ark waiting for her mother.” Hall explains, tucking her hands into her pockets and meandering closer to Robyn as she does. “And we don’t know, one way or the other, if Drucker or Roux Senior will respond to our team. But, tactically speaking?” Her brows come up. “You might be able to tip that balance. Because if we fuck up this?” Hall raises her shoulders in a shrug. “Everybody dies.”

It may be hard to see the way her head is angled, but Robyn's eyes widen as Hall continues on. Despite that, she doesn't look up as she chews on her lip even more - this time, biting just enough to draw a little luminous blood across her lip.

"I promised my son I wouldn't go looking for trouble anymore," she notes with a stiff laugh, "and here we are talking about casually traipsing across reality." Sitting back up, she lets out a held breath. "I just- he almost lost me once already. I don't want to vanish into another timeline and have something happen, and… I don't know."

Eyes flit up to Hall and Robyn's lips quirk side to side. "Hell of a pitch, though. 'Come help or everybody dies', and fuck I actually believe that's the truth too." A more genuine laugh escapes her as she leans back and crosses her legs. The back of her hand rubs across her lip, smearing the small streak of blood.

Her hand falls back to her chin, and she sighs. "Alright. I'll talk to the people I need to. But I'll also talk to Matthew. He should have an idea what I'm doing." There's a pause, Robyn's brow furrowing.

"Friends, huh? Well, that's pretty keen. I'm glad I am finally meeting you, then."

Hall flashes Robyn a smile. “I’m very charming,” she insists. “Excellent friend material, I even bake.” She settles back down into her makeshift seat in the window, picking up her box of takeout again as if they weren’t just discussing the end of the world.

“You’re going to need to compartmentalize what you tell your kid,” Hall admits, fishing around in her box of lo mein, “you can’t just tell him about alternate timelines, because the next thing you know he’ll tell some dumb kid at school who will piece together that you’re a SESA agent, and the next thing we know the Russians will be invading some other timeline or something.” She rolls her eyes a little, then pulls a piece of sliced beef out of the box.

“You can tell him you need to go on a remote assignment, and this… might be a long one. We really don’t know.” Hall admits, taking that bite of beef lo mein and using the time she chews to give Robyn a chance to take it all in.

A low chuckle escapes Robyn's lips, her food forgotten as she looks down into her lap. "He already knows about a lot of things he shouldn't, to be honest. That I've been time travelling. That his sisters are time travelers." There's an implicit sense that Hall, or at least her department, already knows about Lene and Adel.

Hopefully she didn't just out them.

"I trust him to use his best judgement, and so far he hasn't let me down so I give him the benefit of the doubt." Her head tilts to the side until a loud pop rings out, Robyn sucking in a breath of release. "But you're right. This is a bit much." Her lips thin, eyes glassing over a bit before slowly closing.

Reaching up, she pulls her chicken to her, eyes still closed as she picks up her chopsticks again. "Will I need to… pretend to be her? Myself? I don't know much of anything about her. Not compared to, uh, other mes."

“I don’t know any operation specifics,” Hall says as she looks down into her takeout box, “I just know that your relationship was deemed essential. I’d like to think you won’t need to deceive her, but I also can’t rule it out.”

Looking up from her food, Hall tilts her head to the side and regards Robyn carefully. “There’s a declassification briefing you’ll be invited to at a remote site by my peers. They’ll give you more information then, probably enough to make an informed judgement on how to tell your kid. But I stress,” she says with a fixed look at Robyn, “exercise caution here. My agency is… a lot more restrictive about information flow than SESA.”

Perhaps despite herself, Robyn lets out a small little chuckle followed by a small nod. "Of course," she assures, leaning back in her chair as she clicks her chopsticks together. "No one will know that isn't you or in our briefing when it happens."

Shifting in her seat, she takes out another piece of chicken before again setting her food aside - the box is almost empty anyway. "Like I said, I do take NDAs seriously. This one extra so, given the sensitive topic." Thumbs rubbing together, Robyn pauses for a moment before looking up at Agent Hall. "I'm a very all or nothing person. I look forward to talking to your peers. If this is as serious as you indicate, and I'm going to be involved… I want to be all in. So best I stay on your good side."

“Smart,” Hall says, snatching a piece of beef out of the bottom of her takeout box, then gnashing it between her teeth as she says:

“‘Cause I bite.”

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