Don't Believe In Coincidences Anymore


richard3_icon.gif robyn3_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Believe In Coincidences Anymore
Synopsis Robyn visits Richard Ray, and they stumble into several coincidences in a row. Which probably aren't.
Date September 30, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

Robyn Quinn has a bad habit of just showing up places sometimes. It's one of the few things about her that hasn't changed in the long years in and around New York. Today is no exception, having shown up at Raytech without so much as an appointment, hoping to meet with the CEO.

It seems, though, after waiting, delays, and a detoured conversation with one of the employees, that Robyn has finally arrived at the door to Richard's office - she's long since lost track of what time it is and long since left behind the receptionist who was going to tell her when to head up. Oops.

No one seemed to mind her being there, though. Particularly since Richard isn't the only person she intends to see - she's long overdue for a stop in to see Valerie and Geiger. But for now, she raps gently on the door to his office. She's more… colourful today than she has been in- well, probably any time in Richard's recent memory.

Rather than the drab whites and blacks most have come to expect from her, she is dressed in a sleek, dark red jacket, with purple hanging earrings hanging from her ears. She lacks her eyepatch today, her most common accessory, and even wears lip gloss to match her earrings.It maybe doesn't work quite as well as her colourblind eyes might hope since she has to rely on the impressions of others, but- it's certainly a change.

A moment after the knock, the door unlocks itself with a soft thump, allowing her to enter.

Richard’s already rising from behind the desk, in that black suit with the red shirt under the jacket, a warm smile curving to his lips. “Robyn,” he calls out, hands spreading a bit, “It’s been too long. You’re looking— colorful?”

One brow lifts in bemusement, “What’s the occasion?”

A tiny ginger kitten’s head pops up from inside a box beside the desk, and the small feline makes a curious mewling sound.

"Hopefully it doesn't look as awful as I fear," is all Robyn offers in response to her colourful appearance. She offers a hesitant smile as she pushes the door closed behind her. "Good to see you, Richard." Lingering at the door for a moment, she tugs at ties that dangle from the collar of her white blouse, before finally making her way over to his desk.

"I'd like to say the same, but, well." Her smile grows a bit at that, becoming slightly warmer.

“Hey, I have color. See? The shirt, it— oh, right, right. Colorblind,” Richard breathes out a chuckle, easing himself back into his chair, “Sorry, habit, I get glared at for my lack of fashion sense a lot… have a seat, have a seat. How’ve you been? And you look great.”

"Don't need to be able to see colour to see that." Robyn offers a wry grin as she pulls out the chair she usually sits in and settles into it. She's kidding, of course, but she just can't leave that one be.

"It has been…" Her head tilts back slightly, eyes looking to the ceiling. "An interesting month," is eventually what she settles on after a moment of clear hesitation. "I have to admit, I'm partially here unofficially, for things business adjacent. But also, with personal interest that I figure you, if anyone in this city short of a few people, might be able to help with."

Her smile wavers a bit. "News as well. An update on something we talked about here a bit back."

“It’s been an interesting month for all of us, I think…” Richard’s lips purse briefly, and then return to a wry smile as he leans forward, arms resting on the desk, “Well, I’m always up for news and updates — and as far as personal interest, well if there’s anything I can do to help, I’d be happy to.”

The kitten has escaped the box stealthily and is slinking over to experimentally examine one of Robyn’s shoes.

The kitten earns an amused glance from Robyn - between Richard's cat and Geiger, she misses having one of her own. Maybe she would have to fix that one of these days.

"I don't know if you actually can," Robyn admits, "but I know you, Richard. You're always keeping your ear to the ground." She flashes a smile at that, just to make it clear she doesn't mean that in any negative light. "I'm… trying to build some leads. Track down some things while I wait to hear back on an appointment I'm trying to set up with Sabra Dalton."

She spreads her hands. "You have a tendency to know things, so I figured I'd talk to you before anyone else, rather than sitting on my hands and waiting."

“Sabra? Interesting…” Richard’s brows raise up, his interest piqued, “…I may have a message for you to carry with you, if you don’t mind.”

Then he’s grinning, “I always do keep my ear to the ground. What are you looking into? If I can help, I will.”

"From what I've been told, Sabra may have an archive of Company information," which is probably something she shouldn't be sharing with Richard, but… he's one of few people she trusts with information. "I'm trying to track down an Institute scientist. Adrienne Allen, reportedly being held against her will. Unfortunately… there's no solid leads. I have a name for her work - Project Eclipse - and her parentage. But… that's unfortunately about it."

A finger taps on the desk as she scoots closer to it. "If Dalton does have an archive, I'm hoping to compare it to know Company holdings.The Institute seems to fancy themselves the Company's successors, in a lot of ways." That's how Robyn sees it at least. "And I figured if anyone besides Sher might know something, it's you, or Ben Ryans."

There’s a few long moments of silence as Richard considers her, his expression unreadable. “I don’t know where Allen is,” he says finally, drawing back and straightening up, “However, if you’ll do me a favor, I might be able to you one that can kill two birds with one stone, as it were.”

A faint smile, “Might mean getting deeper into the rabbit hole, though, Robyn. You up for that?”

Robyn, on the other hand, is not so unreadable. There's clear concern on her face for a long moment, before she finally musters a small smirk. "Follow the white rabbit, and such." The Alice is Alice Roux had to come from somewhere, after all. "I didn't assume you know where to find Allen specifically, but I don't feel it hurts to exhaust my options. Any help you can provide Richard? I'll appreciate."

She sits up a bit, nodding. "And… of course, I can do you a favour. I wouldn't be a good friend if I just came in here demanding your help." Fingers tap again. "Besides. Rabbit holes are exciting.I could use some excitement. Rochester has been too quiet. Though…" A pensive look back up to Richard. "Nevermind. We'll get there."

“You’re going to miss quiet soon, I suspect,” admits Richard, his tone a bit wry. One hand lifts, and he briefly rubs at a temple as he thinks for a moment.

“Okay.” Drawing in a breath, he meets her gaze, speaking in clear and carefully chosen words, “When you speak with Sabra… you’re requesting access to these files under the direct authorization of Senior Agent Lamont Cranston. You need access to Projects Eclipse, Hydra, and Tartarus. You also need to make an inquiry for the dossiers of two Company agents on the roster during the 80s, possibly stationed at Fort Hero — names of ‘Miguel’ and ‘Cindy’, surnames unknown — and Charlotte Roux, stationed at Colobanth.”

Much of Richard's request has Robyn grinning and nodding, already formulating some sort of pithy comment or reply in her head. It never comes, though.

Instead, she freezes as that last name rolls off of Richard's tongue.

There's a sudden tenseness to her - posture straightening, expression becoming much more neutral, hands folding into her lap. "Richard," she starts with a flatness that unintentionally highlights her somewhat put on French accent. "Are you playing a trick on me?"

A single brow tic’s upwards, and Richard regards her in return, head tilting just a bit to one side.

“…no. You know I don’t joke about shit like this, Robyn,” he observes bemusedly, “What is it?”

"Charlotte Roux," comes out a bit more dryly, like Robyn is in immense need of a drink of water, "is my mother's name." She takes in a deep breath. "I've been told by Rhys Blunther that Donna Dunlap knew her," she elaborates now, rather than waiting for it to come up like she'd planned. "Though she didn't seem to have the faintest recollection."

Her hands spread again. "A joke, it felt like. A cruel one. But no, I know you wouldn't do that."

“I… no, I didn’t have any idea,” Richard’s brow knits in a frown, and he leans back a little, “I’d say it might be a coincidence, but— I barely believe in those anymore. Charlotte Roux was a space research specialist at the Colobanth Research Facility. That’s all I know about her from my end.”

"I… stopped believing in coincidences years ago. Coincidence is chaos with a purpose, that finds purpose. It's…" A bit of hesitation, and then she continues. "A paradox." The best word she has for it, in her own. "But life… life has been full of them lately."

Robyn falls silent for a moment after that, distracted. "She was an artist, mum was. She… she died during the war, at least that's what Ygraine FitzRoy told me." Not that she doubts Ygraine. Richard can see her becoming a bit more sullen before his eyes - it's clear her mother isn't the happiest of subjects.

“It seems that’s not all she was,” says Richard, but gently, his head shaking a bit, “The more that time goes by, the more old secrets keep getting shaken out…”

He grimaces, “That just makes it even more important to ask for this information.”

"I'd already planned to." Ask about her mother, that is. Robyn exhales a slow breath, looking down into her lap. "Colobanth, whatever that is… every new piece of this puzzle helps." A rueful chuckle passes her lips, and she looks back up. "But see, this is what I mean. You preempted one of my questions before I could even ask you if her name had come up to you before."

She clears her throat, trying to shake back the possibilities that float in her mind. "I can do that, Richard. For both of us. Two birds, one stone."

“Sorry. Synchronicity seems to come more frequently the closer we come to…” Richard trails off as he tries to think of an appropriate word, and then he just shakes his head, “…these sorts of events.”

A rueful half-smile is offered across the table, “Surprise, your mother was a Company agent? I mean, I’ve found crazier and less pleasant family surprises before.”

Another similarly flat expression, though this time devoid of the dismay that Robyn had expressed earlier. "A Company agent." She seems momentarily unconvinced, but she also isn't questioning it. Two events within days of each other seem to point in a direction at least adjacent to The Company.

Pursing her lips, she leans forward. "Either way, thank you for telling me Richard. I-" She chews on her lips a bit. "I don't really know what to make of it, but it is what it is for now. I'll have to ask Sabra. I have… other things I need to worry about." Eyes move back up to look at him. "Like Nathalie LeRoux."

That name furrows Richard’s brow, then, head tilting as if trying to place it. “I… don’t recognize the name,” he admits after a moment, “At least in full. The last name means more to me, and like you said, coincidences don’t seem to really exist, but but— who’s this person and what’s your interest in them, Robyn?”

The way Robyn sits up is sudden, almost theatrical - Richard of all people probably knows that, while not a performer anymore, Robyn still favors the dramatic. "Once upon a time," she says quietly, "there was a girl. Young - 13, though she looked younger. She was being held by the Institute, in Cambridge. We," - the Ferry - "rescued her."

She opens one hand out. "She stayed with us, until Pollepel fell. She was unlucky enough to be stuck with myself, Colette Nichols, Avi Epstein, February Lancaster, and others as we escaped." Robyn eyes slide to look off to the side. "I almost left afterwards. Forever. Her and Colette convinced me to stay. I kept watch over her, until the Ferry made their way north and we were forced to part ways."

A deep breath, and she turns her open hand over, laying it flat on the table. "The Ferry lost her, sometime afterwards. I went looking for her, after the war. But I never found her." Her tone makes her disappointment more than evident. "Come the other day, speaking with Donna Dunlap, and I found out-" Robyn looks up to Richard, uncertainty in her eyes. "The institute took her after a botched retrieval resulted in their target's apparent death, and his ability seemed to move to her. An ability, I'm told- " And this is where her tone takes a more serious turn - "was similar to Volken's."

She stops there, letting that dangle like the cliffhanger it has become in her mind.

Ahaya’du. One of the conduits…” Richard’s expression tightens, fingers drumming over the black glass surface of his desk, “…no, there’s no such thing as coincidences, is there? Awonawilona is showing itself again, and now… no, there isn’t.”

There’s no explanation of the terms he uses, whatever language they’re drawn from. He was, it seems, talking half to himself there. He draws in a slow breath, leaning his head back to regard the ceiling for a long moment. “What do you know about her before she was captured? Because LeRoux is my mother’s maiden name.”

"Just that she was in, uh, Mexico." A thoughtful look crosses Robyn's face as she tries to remember. "Ojas Amargos. With Ferry, I think." There's a hesitant moment, an awkward swallow at the mention of LeRoux being his mother's maiden name. "I didn't find out much about her in the time I was watching over her. Her name, how old she was. LIttle more. She wasn't the most talkative young girl."

Robyn's voice lowers a bit as she glances off to the side. "Who could blame her for that? She'd have to be… 19 or 20 now. I don't honestly know if I'd even recognise her."

A moment passes, and the SESA agent gives a small chuckle. "LeRoux," she remarks with a motion to Richard, "and Roux," she continues with a wave of her hand at each other. "Someone likes the colour red." A joke to break some of the tension, maybe.

“I’ve been finding so many branches of my family tree lately that I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up being related to both of you at this rate,” Richard observes in rueful tones, a hand coming up to rub against his face, “Alright. I’ll keep an eye and an ear out for her, especially if the poor girl’s the current host for one of the conduits… it might be more important to find her than any of us think.”

His head drops back down, and he quirks a smile, “Starting to wish I’d studied genealogy, at this rate. I know a bit about the LeRoux branch, though, maybe if I dig through some records I’ll find a Nathalie.”

"Well." Robyn pauses, taking a breath. "I know who her supposed mother and father are. And some other relatives, it seems." Eyes flick back to Richard. "It goes back to Adrienne Allen, at one point in that particular tree." She raises a finger, as if to preemptively silence Richard. "No coincidences."

She taps her finger twice, shaking her head. "But- I'm keeping that information right now while I figure out my approach on some things. I'll be talking to the father soon. Because honestly, I'm not sure if he knew."

Leaning back in her chair, she looks closely at Richard. "I don't know why I'm so interested in finding Doctor Allen. But… something about doing it feels right to me, Institute or not."

“Allen…” Richard rolls the name around in his mouth and his head as he considers it, brow furrowing, “Never heard that name in there— if this does turn out to be part of my family tree, let me know, since— well.” A shrug, “Family matters. I’ve had enough surprises finding out about the LeRoux side of things, too.”

He looks back at her, then, and says seriously, “Find her before Wolfhound does, if you can, Robyn. Even if you have to get Wolfhound to extract… if they don’t have her as a mission objective you never know what’s going to happen there, and God knows I’ve had enough issues getting ex-Institute scientists back into the world safely again.”

Just a bit of bitterness, there, beneath the surface. Bitterness and pain.

"I…" Robyn chews at her lip a bit. "I have some concerns about Wolfhound's actions as of late right now. And the way the people they capture are being treat." She tilts her head back slightly. "It's a weird thing to speak about, but- when I spoke to Donna Dunlap, she had just been informed about a colleague's passing from the summer. No one has told her anything about Allen. She's the one who wants her so desperately found." She shakes her head. "I doubt I can do anything without them, but I intend to make sure Allen is treated… better at least."

There's a small chuckle that rises up from the back of Robyn's throat. "I should hate these people, you know? All of them, these former Institute people. But even knowing the terrible things they have done, some of them… it's hard."

“Hana…” Richard exhales a breath through his nose, grimacing, “Hana and her people, and to an extent the government, just want these people found, jailed, hung or killed. A lot of them just— were trying to make the world a better place, and ended up accepting the wrong offer. Luis, Zimmerman, Price— I mean, Christ, does anyone really think that Suresh should be behind bars?”

A heavy sigh, “Maybe I’m biased, maybe I feel— responsible, even though that wasn’t really me, but I think most of these people deserve a second chance.”

"I only know of Suresh what I've read in papers and reports." Most of which are not terribly flattering. Robyn's expression is distant, tone matching as she continues. "There's plenty of reason to hate the Institute and everything they did. Are still doing, it seems. Where does the line on second chances stand? And whose decision is it who gets one?"

Her lips thin a bit. "I used to believe unflinchingly in second chances, for everyone." Her teeth clench. "I would venture that's part of why I am where I am in life. And at this point, I no longer expect, or promise, any second chances." Lips quirk side to side. "But that doesn't mean some people don't deserve them. Particularly folk in Dunlap's shoes, or Allen's."

“Maybe I’m just too forgiving these days. I got to see where I could go if I made all the wrong decisions, and…” Richard waves it off, shaking his head, “Well, nevermind. Regardless… finding Allen should definitely be a priority. If they’re holding her against her will, she must have some valuable skills or information at the very least.”

"Dunlap knew what Project Eclipse was, at the very least. Little more than what Allen's goals for it were, though." Robyn leans in a bit, quirking an eyebrow. "She was searching for the first Evolved. Or something like that. I suspect, origins in a manner of speaking. That information…" Robyn shakes her head lightly. "That information would be interesting indeed. I hoping that I can use that to help track her down, possibly."

“If she was looking for LeRoux, then she was looking in the right direction….” Richard’s lips purse in a line, “If I’m right, the conduits - like Kazimir’s ability - are very much one of the keys to finding that answer.”

"Her reasons for looking for Nat are… different, but not unrelated," is all Robyn has to say about that. "I'll be interested to talk with her, once we've found her." It's not a matter of if, clearly. Not to her at least. "I was free of rabbit holds before this year," she remarks in a low voice. "It seems there's no escaping them in this city." A low laugh to match follows.

"I have more to share with you," is a follow up marked with hesitation. "Which doesn't leave this room, as usual." Wrinkling her nose, Robyn leans forward to Richard once more. "Did you listen to the- ridiculous town hall over the radio the other day?"

“I did.” Richard’s head bobs in a bit of a nod, “I even called in— the mayor’s announcement at the end was welcome, I was thrilled to hear her choice of people to head up the NYPD, actually.” He smiles again, “We’ve got some history, and it’s all good— we were helping protect his family back when I was running Redbird. He was one of us, even if the history books don’t say it… why?”

"Did you- hear anything during it?" There's something pensive about that question, like Robyn's uncertain she wants to ask. "I heard others did, but - I definitely did."

The smile fades, then, and he sighs— and nods. Richard rubs two fingers between his eyes, “Sorry. Sorry, it— that was partially my fault. WSZR is a repeater station for WRAY, and we still have some— experimental equipment set up. When the solar flare hit, briefly it started picking up signal from another superstring.”

Only Richard Ray could accidentally tune everyone’s radio in to another timeline.

And only Richard Ray could be so damn casual about it.

"That's- how?" Robyn seems rather dumbfounded by this news. She sits forward in her seat. "Another superstring - that's your fancy word for a timeline, yes?" Jaw clenches for a moment, and Robyn slides back in her seat again. "What have you been doing Richard? And why- why is it causing me to her voices?" Beyond that broadcast they heard, clearly.

"I- I'm still trying to make sense of it. What I heard." Closing her eyes, Robyn places her hands back on the table. "But- something happened during that event. I'm not sure it's related, but…" She swallows. "No coincidences."

“Robyn, listen..” Richard’s hand drops down onto the desk, and he leans forward slightly, his gaze intent, “Whatever you heard them say, just— try and forget it, or at least don’t put too much import on it in your mind. They’re…”

He grimaces, “Look, I’m holding a meeting sometime in the next few weeks to explain what’s— going on. I was planning on inviting you as SESA rep anyway, you’ll understand then.”

Robyn is silent, staring at Richard. "I don't know I can do that," she says quietly. "Normally I'd agree. Don't read too into it. But…" She looks at him. "I talked to Julie Fournier recently, About my ability." She raises a hand, waving it back and forth. "The details aren't important. She told me what I knew was still there, but that I had… been doing it wrong." There's a pause. "Do you know what it's like to be told something you've been doing for years was wrong the entire time?

SLowly, Robyn pushes back her chair and rises to her feet. "Most of those whisper, I can try to ignore. Distrust for someone named Odessa, rather unpleasant mess about killing. But…." She raises a hand up, holds it out, palm facing Richard - at some point in the last several years, he's probably seen her do this before. This was how she'd go about emitting light. "The last one?"

Fingers flex, then curl in. "It said 'Let yourself go. Only when you fully step into darkness'-" As if cued by the word, Robyn's fingers snap inwards, her hand swinging back like she were pulling on an invisible thread-

And everything around the both of them is suddenly engulfed in darkness.

"…'will you be able to see the contrast of the light'." It's a dramatic display, but it gets the point across. "It happened just like that," she continues, voice cutting through the persisting darkness. "I heard those words, and it happened. I don't know what to make of it."

Once upon a time, the darkness wouldn’t’ve been any barrier to Richard’s sight. Now, as the light is taken away, he’s blinded— the lack of his ability leaving him as sightless as anyone else in this situation.

There’s silence from across the desk in the dark, and then he breathes out a low sigh, his chair’s leather and steel creaking with the sound of it tilting away from the desk in a lean.

“I don’t have all the answers, Robyn,” he says quietly into that blackness, “I don’t know what they really are, not really. Adam said they were the devil and credited them with creating the Evolved in the first place. They could alter genetic codes at a whim, they could invade peoples’ minds like a memetic infection — the Company managed to banish them into the void between superstrings, but they had to purge literally years of memories from every single agent all the way up to the Founders just to be safe.”

“And even then it wasn’t a permanent solution.”

Silence reigns for a few more moments before he sighs out, “Don’t trust them just because of this, Robyn. They might understand your ability but they’re also possibly the biggest danger the world’s ever known.”

The witching gaze that Richard gets is a long practiced one, Robyn huffing out an exasperated breath - unlike Richard, she can see, so it take her a moment to remember that Richard can't and thus can't see the disdain on her face. "That sounds like something out of one of Magnes' comics." There's a momentary pause, and with a snap light returns to Richard's office. "Then again, I guess so did most things that have happened in our lives."

She wiggles her fingers again, letting her hand fall back to her side. "We'll see what happens," is all that she has to say on that matter. She has no intention of following strange whisper at the moment, but she would be lying if she she said her interests weren't piqued.

"At any rate…" she starts, looking back at him wearily. "I guess that's all I had to ask about."

“We had mythology long before we had comic books,” says Richard, shaking his head slowly, “They’re not really that different when you think about it.”

The light returns, then, and he offers her a tired smile of his own, “Hope I could answer some questions. Let me know if you find out anything more about Ms. LeRoux… and if Sabra gives you anything on those topics.”

"Of course," Robyn remarks as she pulls her seat back out, eyeing Richard for a moment before smiling. "I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting," she remarks with a laugh. "Rabbit holes can go rather deep."

Fingers drum on the desk in front of her. "But enough business. Do you have time for lunch? Maybe Valerie can join us too." She assumes Kaylee is much too busy today, but so it goes.

“Sounds good.” Richard quirks a smile, “I think the kids are home, too, we can make it a whole thing. Val needs to get out more physically anyway…”

Up to his feet, “Let’s go shake some people out of their holes and get some grub.”

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