Don't Touch the Science


jonah_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Touch the Science
Synopsis A reunion between two old friends and coworkers is made less awkward by the threat (or promise) of dinosaur genetics (Ray is probably kidding).
Date February 12, 2018

Raytech Industries

It's been years since Richard Ray has seen the woman he once counted as his most trusted employee and ally, and then faced on opposing sides of a room where destiny literally tore a hole in the universe. Needless to say, he's a touch anxious about this reunion.

Which is why this afternoon has him pacing through the lobby of the New York Safe Zone Branch Office, occasionally checking his watch to make sure she hasn't decided to change her mind and it's past the time that she's supposed to arrive. He's dressed nicely, in a suit, he's even got nice shoes on. No tie, though. He has to draw the line somewhere.

The door opens and Peyton steps in, looking a tiny bit flushed and harried; first it's just her stepping in, and then a second later, holding her hand tightly, a small boy with a mop of dark waves and eyes a deep, dark brown much like his mothers.

Or his father's.

Peyton's eyes fall on Richard Ray, and her uncertain expression falters into something more emotional — like she might cry. It's a look he knows all too well, or did once before.

"Car-" she begins, a little breathless, and then she laughs. "I never called you Richard. This is weird."

She doesn't look much older, really, but more refined; she's not dressed up but in warm layers and boots. Jonah is wearing a bright yellow coat, his hands in mittens; a PVC dinosaur is clutched in one hand.

The door opens, and Richard turns in that direction, stopping dead for a long moment at the sight of her. Then he smiles ever so faintly, stepping forward. "Peyton. And yeah, it's…" he laughs, "It's kind of weird." He brings a hand back to rub at the back of his head self-consciously, "It took me awhile to get used to it too. I just needed something to differentiate myself from— well. You know."

Then he's smiling warmer, then, crouching down a bit and resting a hand on his knee, "So this must be Jonah."

The faint smile makes hers falter, but then he laughs, and Peyton smiles again. She only nods once at 'well you know.' He who must not be named.

She puts a hand on Jonah's shoulder, pushing him forward as he hangs back shyly.

"Jonah, say hello to Mr. Ray. He's a very old friend of mine," she says softly.

The little boy studies Cardinal for a moment before lifting a hand — not to shake. It's the hand with the dinosaur — a pale green carnotaurus. Apparently that counts as a hello.

"You look good. This place is amazing," she says, a little shyly herself.

A smile crooks up at the corner of Richard's lips, warming at the shy reaction of the child, and then he pushes himself back up to his full height. "It's good to finally meet you, Jonah," he says, "You can call me Richard, if you want."

Then he's shrugging, glancing around the lobby thoughtfully. "I guess it's not bad. Valerie designed it… she did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself." Brotherly pride there.

Then he flashes her a grin, "I hear your school is doing pretty well."

"She's very talented," says Peyton, also with a smile. It's hard. It feels so polite and proper, and not like how they used to be at all. The mention of her school gets a smile. "It's doing well. Well enough that I don't really need to run it, really. So we're here for a bit, to see how things go." That sounds just a bit tentative, too. Luckily Jonah is unaware of the strange history between the two adults.

"You can call me JT," he says, as if this is a great privilege to bestow on the grown-up who is allowing himself to be called by his first name.

Peyton raises her brows and looks up at Ray in a faux impressed face. "Inner circle, right there," she whispers.

"The benefits of success, I guess…" Richard smiles, tipping his head in a nod, "I'm very glad to hear that you're doing so well, though, Peyton. I… really am."

Then there's that offer, and he grins down to the youngster, "JT, huh? Well, it's very good to meet you, JT." A wink back to Peyton, "Maybe you can meet my kids sometime. They're about your age."

"They would be… just half a year older or so I think, yeah?" Peyton murmurs. "They're well? They must be so big." Like Jonah, but it's a different thing when it's about children that she doesn't see every day growing before her very eyes.

She's about to say more, but Jonah, JT, grows less shy even as his mother grows more unsure of herself. "Are they boy kids or girl kids?" he asks, bluntly, before maybe realizing his mistake. "I mean, there's nothing wrong with either. I can be friends with girls, too." This has the ring of the echoes of a lecture, perhaps. "I just don't like when they try to make me kiss them."

Peyton snorts, and shakes her head. "No one will force you to kiss them except your auntie Monica."
At that, Richard claps a hand to his mouth and tries not the laugh — his shoulders shaking a bit as he holds it back, so as not to make the kid think he's being laughed at. "One of each," he says with a grin down to Jonah, "And no, they won't make you kiss them… and yeah, they're doing well. Growing fast, it's hard to believe sometimes."

Something unsure flickers behind his eyes, "Have you— you've kept in touch with her? I haven't heard from her since… since the cabin."

Peyton's smile goes a little sideways, and she waffles a hand a little. "We get packages sometimes. She's okay. Working. She sends Jonah really awesome presents from pretty exciting places, though. I could find out if I wanted, of course, but, you know." She shrugs, setting both hands on Jonah's shoulders. "Friends deserve privacy."

Perhaps the fact she used her ability to help Ezekiel has made her set the ability to the side. "If I need her, I think she'll understand if I look in, though. She never really told me not to, at least." She takes a deep breath and exhales. "So what's new and exciting here at Raytech? I may need to upgrade just about everything in the apartment I'm renting."

Ray smiles at that, although it's a slightly-unsure smile. "I'm glad to hear that she's okay. Maybe she can… well, maybe she'll get in touch sooner or later," he allows, one shoulder lifting in a shrug. Then the smile widens, and he looks around the lobby once more, "Well. I'm sure you won't care about armor or weapons — not these days, after all — we've got some exciting developments in solar technology coming down the pipe, and our biotech division's working on spinal reconstruction just downstairs."

A long pause, "I'm… hoping that it'll benefit Val, eventually."

"I have a samarai outfit!" JT tells Cardinal proudly, and Peyton nods.

"Japan at some point, obviously. Not a lot of details. Some pretty decent candy, though." Peyton wraps her arms across Jonah's chest. "I do, too," she adds, more solemnly, regarding seeing Monica soon.

She listens as he speaks about the various things the company is doing, looking impressed. "That sounds amazing. I'd love to see the lab. And I really hope it does, too." She doesn't know Valerie, but knows who she is, of course.

"Japan?" There's something worried in Richard's gaze for a moment, before he hides it again, offering a crooked smile, "Well, I'm glad to hear she's getting to travel, at least… and oh, a samurai outfit, hm? Well, maybe I can see that someday…"

Then he's sweeping an arm behind him, "Well, if you'd like to see the lab, come along. I'll give you the grand tour, such as it is."

"Yeah," agrees Monica, sharing that worried look. They have the same worries, but Monica was never one for being reined in.

"Want to see science?" Peyton asks Jonah, who grins and nods, moving to catch up to Richard and leaving his mother behind.

"I take that as a yes," she says with a laugh. "The only thing better is if you have dinosaurs. Which, you know, is a terrible bad idea. I saw that movie."

"Just don't touch the science," Richard offers laughingly to Jonah, "And I'm not saying that because you're five, I'm saying that because they keep telling me that too. Something about me being terrible with technology, yadda yadda…" He waves a hand vaguely through the air, "Can't work my own email without needing to reset my password every five days…"

A glance over his shoulder, "Well, I can't show you those labs. I mean. All hush-hush."

He's teasing.


"I'm six!" Jonah says, a flash of defiance in his eyes before Peyton clears her throat.

"In a week?" he adds, glancing at his mother, who laughs a little. "Yes, in a week, but be polite when you correct people," she reprimands softly, reaching down to take his hands so he doesn't 'touch the science.'

"Well, that sounds like the Ca- Richard I know," she murmurs at the mention of his ineptitude with technology.

Jonah's eyes widen when Richard says the labs are secret, looking up at his mother. She merely holds a finger to her lips, then smirking over at Richard above the child's head, adds, "Fair warning: If I see a velociraptor, I'm turning you into SESA."

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