Eenie Meenie


devi_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Eenie Meenie
Synopsis Just like old times.
Date April 19, 2019

Raytech Branch Office: Research Labs

The sub-level of the building has been set up to contain the research labs for all of the design work that Raytech does here. The elevator to this floor can only be accessed with a key card, and there's a guarded reception desk. The windows of this floor have been layered to deter microphones listening in, and the exterior row of offices all the way around the floor are simply that — office space for the men and women who do all of the mundane paperwork of writing out research grant requests, letters, research development requests, budgeting, and so on. The DoD liaison has a small private office there, and there are plenty of people dealing with the bureaucratic red tape. It's the center of the building that this floor was engineered to contain. Colored lines on the floor lead to different areas, making it difficult to 'accidentally' wander into the wrong lab or office.

Entirely walled in, accessible by key card and fingerprint scan, the actual development labs are housed within the closed-off portion. It looks as you might expect a high-tech lab to look. Sterile, white floors, glass walls, tables with computers. Some of the rooms are clearly clean rooms, where electronics work is being done. Other room house tables of equipment that is unrecognizable to all but the untrained eye. There appear to be several rooms near the very center that require still more security and reinforcement — it is here that the ultra-high-security electronics are being tested for use.

Devi's workshop is divided into three areas - a drawing table with helter-skelter layers of schematics, and two clearly defined work benches. One bench holds a few trinkets that few would recognize as disabled Warren gizmos, alongside other pieces of Raytech sanctioned projects in various states of disassembly. The other bench, however, has a large motorcycle engine perched on it.

The woman herself is sitting on a rolling, cushions stool. It spins. We know this because that is currently what she's doing. Spinning. Raven hair in a messy bun, one arm fastened up against her torso in the restraining and supportive hold of a sling, she spins slowly enough so that her darkly lined eyes trail from one designated work area to the next.

"Eenie. Meenie. Minie. Moh."

The sound of the door opening is audible as Richard lets himself in— the door closing behind him automatically, the security systems re-engaging a moment later. He's in work clothes; a black suit, red tie, although the jacket's open and the tie not fully secure. Which just means he doesn't have any meetings that day.

"I don't think that 'eenie meanie minie moe' is an approved Six Sigma process," he observes in amusement as he walks in, "Although I suppose— whoa. What happened to your arm?"

One thick heel catches the bottom rung on the seat and stops her slow spin just in time to take in Richard's arrival. "Ooo, the Big Man on deck." Devi grins in her devilish way, but as the clack of the securing latch resonates behind him, the expression softens ever so subtly around the edges into something more sincere. "Heya, Toots," she adds.

A quick glance is cast down to her arm. "HR didn't tell you? Your Slip and Fall sermon sucked." She laughs and shakes her head. "Nah, I kid." It's followed by a deep breath as she inclines her chin. "I did something brave and stupid." Devi shrugs the good shoulder. "The lady made it out from what I could tell and I should have this thing off in another week. Don't worry, chief."

"Uh huh." Richard walks slowly into the workshop, one hand lifting to lower the sunglasses he's wearing a bit - dark eyes giving her an appraising once-over to make sure there're no other obvious injuries before he slides those back over his eyes. "Well, God knows I've done enough brave and stupid shit to fill a lifetime, so I can't say much," he admits, "So long as it's not too badly injured, at least. You doing alright?"

Devi slowly tips her head to the side, staring at Richard. "Oh, perhaps you misunderstood me - I totally blame your influence in regards to the 'brave and stupid'…" She rights her head with a little gesture towards an empty, similar stool poised in front of the 'Raytech-approved' work area.

Her dark gaze meets his, unwavering for as long as it takes to wet her violet lips with an idly, thoughtful pass of her tongue. "I'm gettin' there. You got some good people around here that are helping me find my way, you know. Was startin' to go a little mad in these walls, but they put me straight." She sets a heel down on the white floor and rolls herself forward with a slight pull. "But, what about you, hm? You always seem to have the weight o' the world on your shoulders, Toots. How you holding up?"

"I feel kind of like I had a nice long nap, got up, and realized that I'd slept too late and I'd missed some very important things," Richard admits, one shoulder raising in a shrug as he moves to claim that stool, sliding a hip onto it and resting both hands on his knees, "A lot's changed just in the last few months, and I'm looking further ahead and seeing… well."

A grimace twists across his lips, "Things are looking like they're about to get interesting again, in the Chinese sense, if you know what I mean, and I'm stuck playing catch-up. Should've gotten back in the game a lot earlier than this."

The raven haired woman considers her longtime friend for a moment. Her violet lips purse off to the side, one penciled brow drawing up higher than the other. "I can understand that feeling - that lagging behind, out of the loops bit. Damn, I've pretty much felt that way since we came back to the N-Y, if I'm honest." Devi gently traces her ebon painted nails on the raven tattooed over her throat.

"But, as for this 'game' of which you speak…" Her serious and thoughtful expression cracks just around the edges for a hint of a smile. "You're going to have to be more clear. You've played at a lot of different games of the years…" She lowers her chin and gives him a leveling look. "Just to be clear, which one you feel you're gettin' back inta?"

"Heh." Richard brings his hands up, pushing the shades up into his hair and rubbing his eyes; they're dark again, like they were years ago before he lost his ability, the pupils wide enough to leave the iris merely a halo of faintest color at the edges. He watches her for a moment, just the hint of a smile mirroring hers. "Only one game, in the end, and nobody ever really gets out of it."

He draws in a slow breath, "Adam Monroe's gathering a fucking evolved supremacist army, he's the one behind Praxis Heavy Industrial. The government's clearing out people that I trusted, and I don't know why, just yet… the people I trusted once to run the government are making moves they don't want me in the loop about. I doubt we've heard the last of the… thing that lives between worlds, and I'm pretty sure that we're still suffering dimensional intrusions from the Wasteland. Overall, everything looks pretty good on the surface but the world's a powderkeg again."

Silence. A pause.

It's shattered by a quick clap of Devi's hand falling to her thigh, fingers turned inward. She straightens her arm, pushing herself away from her own lap while her brows knit nearer to one another and she takes in Richard's image from along the bridge of her nose. A long, exasperated puff passes over her lips.

"Couldn't you just once come for a beer and casual nookie?" The hand on her thigh comes up in a 'what gives' gesture of sorts, but a sincere smile draws her back forward. She doesn't remark on the familiar darkness about his eyes, not yet. She focuses instead on the cluster fuck verbally lain before her. "Eh, somehow you've always managed to make the baggage look sexy. But, even for you - that's a lot." She traces her ring finger along her lower lip. "So, Toots, my question is - which one is the shortest fuse?"

"I didn't know that was on the table," Richard replies to her words, his grin cracking a bit wider and a single eyebrow lifting playfully, "I mean, the beer, sure, but — do you have some beer in here, I could probably use one."

He turns his head to look across the workshop — there isn't supposed to be alcohol in here, but he knows how Devi is — and then back to her, hands spreading, "Probably all of them, so I need to get moving on multiple fronts. Also, there's the big World Fair coming up soon, which is one of the two things I specifically need to talk to you about."

"Noooyesooo," comes the answer to the beer query. She want to lie, but to him she can't. So, instead, she wheelies herself over to the workbench holding up the motorcycle engine, and more importantly the cabinets underneath, as she speaks.

"One of two. World Fair is big stuff, which makes me nervous what numero two is." Her smile is a more practiced, casual arrangement now. She doesn't revisit the initial topic. Her boot taps twice low on the front base of the cabinet. Then another tap on the side. A low, shallow drawer rolls free of the seamless white. Two bottles found in one hand, she wheels herself back over and turns one over to her friend and boss.

"Self medication," Devi adds with a tap of the bottle against her temple. In the same moment her pupils expand, nearly drinking up the warm, chocolate hue of her eyes, but just as quickly dilate before she indulges a sip. "Looks like you need the dose more than me, though. Anyway, the World Fair, hit me…"

As the other part is dodged, Richard shakes his head with an amused grin before reaching over to accept the bottle offered his way. "Sometimes," he admits, twisting the cap off with a pop-hiss of carbonation release, "I try not to get actually drunk, though. Just my luck I do, an assassin shows up, and if I'm not up to re-enacting a Jackie Chan movie…"

He brings it up to his lips, tilting it back in a long swallow before lowering it, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Right. We're going to be the only American company there, so we need to impress people. There's been a lot of anti-foreigner sentiment, and while we work with Yamagato — well, if we can show off our work and impress people, we might get a lot of domestic support, which might be just what we need. I'm going to want you to head this up, make sure all the departments have their shit polished to show, make sure Warren isn't going to put a giant killer spider up on the stage, all that. We want to put forward an image as a company focused on rebuilding our country and advancing technology the good old-fashioned American way. Grab Seren to handle stage design, all that."

"Wow. You bring 'no rest for the wicked' to a new level, hm?" This in response to assassin ninjas and all. From there… Nod. Double nod. "Mhm." Nod-nod-freeze. "Wait."

Devi seemed to have been falling right along at first. She makes a swirling, rewind gesture of her index finger lifted up from around her beer bottle. "Head this up? Don't you have a department head to do that?" This is something Devi should probably know, but no one in this room should be surprised she doesn't. "Don't get me wrong, Toots - if you're sure, then I got your back. I'll do whatever you need, but - ain't there someone more qualified?" A brow pops up, but the amusement writ in her smile is plain as day.

"Giant Killer Spider is still my favor Looney-gadget, just saying. But, only good publicity gear - noted."

"You didn't seem to care for it much when it was trying to murder you," Richard observes with a grin, both brows raising to that last part.

The bottle in Richard's hand is used to gesture towards her as he points out, "Yeah, we've got other people — but we don't have anyone who can understand technology like you, except my brother, and we both know he's about as stable as a diet coke someone just dropped a mentos in. I can't rely on his judgement for this. Mostly I need you to make sure that our exhibits are solid, that they aren't going to be outshined by the other companies showing a better version of the same damn thing, and that we give a good showing."

He flashes a grin, "Or don't you think you can outshow some Japanese and Germans?"

"Mentos and diet coke: that shit is funn-" Devi blinks at Richard. "Right, not the point." She tips her beer back at Richard, mirroring his original posture. She holds his dark gaze this way a moment, smile drawn slightly higher on the left, before giving a singular nod. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not better for having been born on this old-ass dirt as opposed to some other old-ass dirt…. I'm just fucking better. I'll outshow anyone." The raven-haired woman adds in a suggestive wink for good measure before leaning back.

"Seren's one of those good people, I was talking 'bout earlier. We'll make it right. That's one less thing you have to worry 'bout, 'kay? So, what's number two…?"

"Two." Richard straightens with a smile at her responses, sliding one hand into his suit jacket and emerging with a standard-sized USB drive, tossing it once in his hand. "This is number two. I have a project that I need worked on. I know you're going to need to tap Alia for some of the more electronic parts of this, but aside from that— you have full access to all of our databases and patents, and all partner databases you need access to. The project itself is one hundred percent classified, though. You can talk to me, anyone else on the Board, Alia, Warren, and one other person about it."

The darkly clad, tattooed femme tips her visage towards her good shoulder so as to consider the suit-clad man and USB drive from the corner of her dark, shadow embellished eyes. "Alright, you've tossed the bait. I'm circling." Devi inclines her chin back proper in Richard's direction.

The biker leans forward like a curious panther, slinky despite the bandaged injury keeping the left arm pinned to her center. "But, then, you've never had a problem with keeping me interested." She smirks. "So, this project have anything to do with the powder keg? And, this 'one other person' - have a name?"

"I've never had trouble keeping anyone interested," Richard ripostes with a sly smile, flipping the USB drive deftly between his fingers, "I assure you."

"What I have here are partial plans to a satellite and related equipment, recovered via a broadcast from another timeline. I also have all the data that we recovered from Kansas City, and from the operation when we built a gate between worlds." He hesitates, then notes, "What's on this, in short, is a complete rewrite of the laws of physics. There are endless applications, none of which are safe. What we need completed are plans for the satellite, which will be able to detect any dimensional breaches that open up. An early-warning system for dimensional invaders."

Dryly, the man adds, "And I can't believe I just said that last sentence and meant it seriously, but that's my life these days."

Devi shares in Richard's sly expression, her smirk tilted further in amusement. "Without a doubt," she affirms with every ounce of weighted seriousness she can muster. But, as is the nature of the relationship as she knows it with Richard, trouble is afoot - her attention pivots back to the unassuming USB drive as the contents are described.

"Well, fuck me sideways." Pause. "Sorry, but- what the hell did you guys do?" It's a rhetorical question, clearly, as she's already leaning aside to set down her beer and open her hand out towards the little device. "Just a warning system, then…" She looks up to Richard, smiles and jests gone in a rare moment of seriousness.

"Not my favorite position," Richard replies without missing a beat, gaze dropping down to the drive in his hand. He visibly pauses before reaching out to hand it to her, dark eyes lifting to meet her own as he does so.

"This technology is more dangerous than any nuclear weapon," he says quietly, "If misused it could well destroy our planet, potentially our timeline, in any number of horrific ways. We can't let it be used, but we need to know if someone is using it. We already have anomalous drones that probably came through from the Wasteland, but there are worse universes out there to break into ours."

Devi's gaze holds Richard's for a moment as the drive is suspended between their fingers. She gives a little nod before dropping her attention to the electronic storage device. Even Richard's playful tease hasn't managed to chip at her grim expression. "Worse," she echoes gravely. She hasn't heard much regarding the specifics of the other timelines, but one does pick up a few things here and there, and Wasteland doesn't sound like a fun ride at good ol' Disney.

After a few more moments to let it sink in, she finally digs back in her bank of innuendos and finds an apt response. "Alright, closed relationship on this. Keep it wrapped. You got it." Everyone copes differently. When it comes to dealing with Richard, this has been Devi's mechanism since day one. She looks up with a hint of a smile.

"The one last person that you can talk to about this, she's not an employee but she has an apartment here," Richard says, his tone reluctant as he leans back again after handing over the potentially dangerous drive, "She's the one who invented this technology in the first place, and probably the only person in the world who can fully understand it. She's a hypercognitive, probably the smartest person ever born, honestly. She may be willing to help, but she may not. That's her perogative, don't push it."

The bottle of beer's brought up, "You can find her in the corporate directory under Michelle Cardinal."

Devi's smile lingers, but only because it's stuck that way. "Are you sending me to meet your mama?" Her brows draw upwards. "That's some next level, Toots."

That makes Richard choke on a mouthful of beer, although fortunately he manages not to spit it all out. Hammering his chest a few times as he clears his throat, smirking over at her when he can finally breathe again. "You're fuckin' terrible, Devi. You're lucky you've got a nice ass and you're damn good at your job."

Devi winces and turns her face away as Richard starts hacking. Last time someone made that face here, it was Liz … and Devi wore some coffee.

Once it's clear that Richard will not make a similar mess, the biker finds herself grinning proudly. "As if you'd want me any other way," she teases back with a husky laugh. She curls her fingers protectively around the little USB drive. "Alright, we both know I'm not 'home to mama' material - but, I'll do my best to make a good impression."

"Fuckin' terrible," Richard smirks as he straightens up, pounding his chest a few more times with a hand before it comes up to wipe his mouth a few times, "And pft, if we were dating you'd absolutely be that kind've material. Anyway, she— she's probably going to be real reticient to talk about it, so don't push her if you need her help. We can make due without if we need to. She's…" A flicker of guilt in his eyes, "She's been through a lot. And she's still adjusting."

Dark eyes follow Richard with an intensity that contradicts her easy smile and casual demeanor. There's a breezy sort of snort as the idea that she would fall into the category being discussed, but there's not time for debate. Instead, Richard's familiar, dark eyes read a guilt she doesn't quiet understand, but relates to regardless.

"Moms are a precious thing, no matter their condition. I'll treat her as such." She gives a little dip of her head.

"Now, boss, you've given me quite a bit of work. Next time you visit, how about just that beer and…" Devi doesn't finish, but just turns up a fresh cheshire smile.

As she trails off, Richard just grins broadly, shaking his head from side to side.

"You better watch it," he teases, "Or I just might call your bluff one of these days, Dev. And then what would you do?"

"Wouldn't you like to know."

Devi's boot gives a little kick and she sets back to spinning. This time her husky words hold a playful lilt:

"Eenie, meenie, minie, moh…"

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