Doesn't take a SEER


alia_icon.gif asi3_icon.gif

Scene Title Doesn't take a SEER
Synopsis On a surprise visit to Raytech, Asi and Alia are able to provide each other unexpected bits of information.
Date January 6, 2020

Raytech Industries - Sublevel 1

It's not altogether unusual that a first-time-use alert goes off for a Raytech badge. New employees are hired all the time.

But by the time the security alert is reviewed, it's revealed the badge was issued almost a month ago and is only just now being used.

The badge has increased access to a specific lab where certain equipment is stored. That's not unusual.

But the person the badge belongs to doesn't appear to actually exist. They exist in the sense that they're in the HR system and have been since December 9th, but there's little to support this identity belonging to anyone real. No social media, no driver's license or state records. Not to mention, Richard entered this new employee himself.

And what kind of a fake name was Ju Wenjun, anyway?

The badge was swiped in the elevator next, and a quick rewind of footage shows a Japanese woman in a motorcycle jacket, a laptop under one arm and a helmet hanging from her other hand. She doesn't look up, but she looks familiar.

Her badge had next been swiped at the lab she has access to, and the cameras had shown the door closing behind her. The light behind the frosted glass turning on.

By all means, maybe she's just getting to work and this is something completely innocuous.

Most of the time, Alia would have wrote this off as something under the books. Most the time, Alia wouldn't have bothered to even check the footage.

Right now is not most of the time. Right now the entire system is on edge. And Asi finds herself escorted from the elevator to the lab by no fewer than three SPOTs. It's shortly thereafter that Alia herself arrives at the door. Which, predictably, opens for her. Then again, the list of doors Alia likely -can't- open in this building are highly limited indeed. It's after she has it opened, that she simply says two words, out loud, in a deadpan. "Knock knock."

Asi looks up from the laptop opened on a workable, glancing without pause in her work. "お久しぶり, d.crypt," she voices from her spot. And why not? There's little hiding herself from a woman she's already met before. "If I'd had any choice in the name, I'd have at least picked something American, instead of…"

Her nose twists at what she thinks of her temporary identity. It's okay— Richard isn't presently in the room to potentially take offense.

She sighs as she leaves the station to wheel closer a rolling metal shelf, a covered machine sitting atop it while baskets on the second shelf play loose management to the various wires that come from it. When the shelf comes to rest near the workable, Asi tilts the baskets up one by one, rummaging until the correct side of a USB cable reveals itself. "How are things?' she asks absently while connecting cable to computer, then brushing the dust cover off of the top of the machine. "If you have a few minutes, I would not mind help validating these changes."

Alia just sort of stares at the equipment a long moment. That kind of look where you have seen a ghost. She makes a grumbling sound but not words. Then, in true 'no small talk, but understatement' fashion, she answers, "Things go poorly. And please, Alia here." She pauses again, then sighs, "What exactly did he ask you to do?" Alia picks the words carefully. There's undercurrents and dread there.

"Fine," Asi replies unaffectedly. "You're Alia, and I'm…" she seems less certain. "Jun?" She has to pause and look down at the badge clipped to the bottom of her coat. "Ju." She reads off, correcting herself with disappointment in her voice. Perhaps it was a sign Richard might think highly of her, but a Chinese name??? She just sighs at it, adjusting the trail of wires so they hang neatly while the SEER device powers on.

The question of why she's here isn't avoided, but neither does Asi look up to address it. "Upgrades to this device," she answers evenly. "I worked with it in Yamagato Park previously. We communicated with a coma patient, and were able to bring his consciousness… forward. We successfully woke him." Now she does look up, only to flick a glance in Alia's direction. "But it needs refinement," she explains, looking down to the laptop. "To do what we did before, it required the delicate touch of two technopaths. The goal will be that this device can be, eventually, delicate enough to enable communication on its own."

Her expression is flat, for all the polite enthusiasm her voice conveys. But she's at work, as well. "So that's what I'm doing," she adds in a murmur.

Alia simply nods at the explanation. Then sighs. "…Well. Welcome to another branch of repurposed Institute Project A.L.I.A." Alia makes a face that shows she's not a fan of this particular branch of the project. She then sighs again. "Asi? Richard, not here. Taken, forcibly." She pauses. "And not by Humanis First idiots." The technopath does help set the blasted device up though. She knows -how- it works, apparently, even if she's -not- happy with knowing it.

“And what,” Asi asks delicately, “do you think its intended purpose is?”

The device. Not the kidnapping.

She looks up to observe Alia out of the corner of her eye as she approaches, chin lifting the closer she gets.

"Richard's purpose with it? Who knows. Original?" She pauses. "Hook three, four people with mental skills up, controlled by AI built on the framework as I gave you copy of to look through." Alia's skipping words again. It might say something that she's not trying to wreck the device on sight. Even if she's very, very careful about what is being done with it.

Asi lets out a note to acknowledge what she's heard before looking back to the laptop she's brought with her. "Controlled by AI seems to be the step missing now. I have my doubts about what good could come from teaching these things to network. So… in the meantime…"

In the meantime, other patching, it would seem. But she doesn't get right to that, distracted by other thoughts.

"I had not heard about Richard. Do you know what happened?"

Alia considers the implied question as well as the explicit one. "One 'being', multiple abilities. Perfect recall, clairvoyance, predictive model…together. Biological supercomputer." She then sighs and looks away. "Yes, I know what, but not why or to where."

So it's more serious than first implied. Asi frowns abruptly, the work under her hands entirely forgotten now. A beat passes while she thinks, her eyes roaming the lab without focus until they land back on Alia again. "Explain, then. You had made it sound like he might have been arrested, but I am getting the feeling this is something more."

Her weight shifts, hands on the worktable bracing her as she leans against it. "Who took him?" she asks with a certain weight to it.

Alia answers by first checking the SPOTs to make sure nobody is outside the room. She turns one of the monitors for the computer already in the room, not a laptop, so it's not visible from outside or someone walking in, in any case. Then she pulls up … a screenshot, from the moments before a not exactly awake Richard gets teleported out of his office… then another image of the same scene from a different angle. Then a third. There's actually enough here you could surmise that Alia pulled these from the cameras used for the gesture commands for Richard's computer. This is a display of trust, warranted or not, but Alia's finding not much so far of use herself.

"… Question is, who's pulling strings." Alia grouses and rubs her forehead.

It's not a question Asi would have thought she had the answer to, but here they were. Her brow ticks up just so in the briefest expression of surprise. Her gaze flits between all angles taken, then sharpens. "Monroe." she answers without hesitation, the word filled with a bitter steel. She lifts a hand, tapping the screen to designate the girl in rainbow. "That is the Yamagato Bomber, the one sent by Praxis. The one designated Val." Her hand falls away, becoming a loose fist by her side.

A question follows, one meant for no one as it's muttered in her native tongue. Why Ray? Why now? Was it over something he was doing, or was it Monroe furthering his own plan, knocking another piece off the chessboard, so to speak? Her teeth grit to know she could know more, if she weren't locked out.

The timetable needs brought back closer. There's not enough time to wait for the heat from Liberty to die down entirely. Asi realises, frowning at that. She frowns at the screen again, too. "The red-haired woman, she is unfamiliar to me. But the other is definitely an agent of Monroe's. She was a part of the group that tried to have me assassinated or kidnapped when I was legally here."

Alia smiles, grimly. "Know the other one. The teleporter… working on tracking them down." Alia admits. "Monroe…" She ponders… then makes a rather twisted face. "Wrong methodology. Hireling maybe. But hirelings work for coin." Alia frowns. "If find more, I'll let you know?" Alia offers, sounding… honestly tired, frustrated, and that kind of grim resolute you find in those who are afraid but refuse to back down.

“The teleporter will be found with Praxis,” Asi restates so there’s no confusion there. “She is, technically, their property. So unless Monroe has directed her to work with other allies of his…” she trails off, looking back to the image of the three just before the snap of light that whisks Richard and Val off the screen. Tongue pressing to the roof of her mouth to keep unfiltered thoughts from spilling forth, she sighs roughly from her nose, fingernails drumming on the worktable.

Her head tilts back slightly in Alia’s direction as she can’t help bit chase after a point of interest. “What do you mean, wrong methodology?” she asks, her gaze following the turn of her head now. As a former associate of the man she’s cursing, perhaps Alia has some insight she doesn’t, after all.

"…Too indirect." She leans back a moment, closing her eyes as she tries to recall something. Then there's a tidbit from her reviewing of what they did know of Mr. Monroe and Praxis. "Asi? Name Mazdak mean anything to you? Took over something called 'Gemini'" Alia frowns. "Likely working _with_ Monroe now." She pauses once again, as she processes, a third time, what was said… and there is a decided blankness to her face. "Property?"

It would seem, Alia has issues with someone owning someone else.

"Yes," is how Asi evenly answers the question Alia poses to her. Her expression is deadpan while she absorbs the news. A pause elapses before she asks, "You are sure they have taken over the Gemini project? How?" The more this conversation goes on, the less relevant her initial reason for being here feels.

Her stare is intense as she waits for a reply to her own question, rather than answering the second posed of her.

"Took over Gemini from Pinehearst, certain. Likelihood of working with Adam, Praxis very high. Luddite boss didn't leave how he learned that in the files. Sorry." Alia sighs, and rubs at her forehead. "Going to have to ask him, after he gets home." There's no doubt in Alia's voice that Richard will return. The question is more how much of a pain in the ass is it going to be, and just how much trouble is everyone going to be in when it happens.

Weird shit, never ends, after all.

Asi is quiet for a moment, mentally tracing back through her own rolodex of information. "Given the geographic area the Pinehearst facility was in that Praxis took over…" she voices aloud, wondering now. The thought doesn't finish and instead she draws a hand along the side of her face, looking back down to the laptop in front of her, looking more tired than before. "I don't know," she mutters more to herself than anything. "It's all… tangled. Starting to feel like something changed at some point, and I'm not s…ure…"

While not sure, it doesn't stop her from wondering. What changed might be able to be traced back to a certain point in time, maybe. To a certain crossing.

"It all comes full fucking circle, doesn't it?" Asi wonders on the edge of a breath. She looks back up to Alia, gesturing to her with a nudge of her chin. "I don't suppose he's said anything recently about the entity between worlds he spoke of, back during the last time I was in New York? The one everyone let out last January?"

"Generalized worry?" She offers in response. The last time she heard Richard talk about the entity was only a month or so ago. She frowns and considers the question, then sighs softly with a shrug of not really having an answer there either. At least not a direct one. "And work on a detector for timeline incursionists. Mostly complete." She grimaces. "Only thing I'm less happy about than this. Was hoping that Compass technology would get to go extinct."

The news fragments do nothing to ameliorate Asi's mood. She lets out a hushed, sibilant mutter with a shake of her head, weight shifting from one foot to the other. "Well, identifying what was let through is a good first step to… you know…" stopping it is too bold a thing to say, apparently, so she leaves it hanging.

She stews on it for a moment longer before looking back to Alia. "I need access to anything he had regarding it. Can you grant me that?" One hand lifts from her side to gesture vaguely out. "If he is not here to work on it or through it, is it not going to waste?"

Alia frowns as she considers, then shrugs. "Can ask. Not my call." The technopath knows that this is more than a nicety: Richard rarely digitizes half his work unless Alia's the one actually doing it. "Promise, will ask." She sighs. "Saying: Lots of irons in fires?"

A pause elapses, thought visible in it. Asi lifts her head again as she prods for clarification in the form of, "Me? Or you?" with care put to it.

"Me." Alia clarifies. Then, as what is an aside grumpiness, and somewhat playful. "Miss the old days. Maybe need to invest in fixing NSA's old satellite uplinks?" She's joking from her tone. Or at least half joking.

Asi only chuckles in reply, shoulders sloping down when Alia clarifies. "Well, you're not alone there." It might not be consolation that effects any change, but it's all she's got. "Let's both not get arrested any time soon, though. I'll try if you will." She glances up with the flash of a smile, lips presses together save for a rogue canine that shines through.

"I'll see myself out when I'm done down here," she promises. "Take care?"

Alia nods her agreement. And leaves her phone number on the desk. "Coffee, when things less crazy." After all, friends are good to have…

Asi's smile flares again, taking amusement with the thought things might ever be less crazy again.

She also palms the phone number into her hand anyway.

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