Executive Meeting


richard_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Executive Meeting
Synopsis There are benefits to working for Raytech Industries… so long as you're not afraid to ask.
Date October 27, 2018

Raytech Industries

CEO's Office.

There aren’t enough fingers to mark how many days it’s been since the last time a certain young teenager stared up at the door to the office that belongs to Richard Ray. But it’s been a long time. And last time she even came armed with a couple dozen questions. She’s thought up a lot more since then too. At least a hundred.

So obviously it’s time to make another visit, before all of those questions become expired and she has to think of new ones.

Squeaks raises her hand as she steps up close to the door. Her knuckles tap against it, polite but firm, just like she’s heard others do for meetings in the office place. Then, as she steps back to wait, her hand drops to her side. After a second she clasps both behind her back, and she stares at the door waiting for it to open.

A long minute passes without the door opening… at which point she hears feet in the hall behind her, and Richard’s voice a casual inquiry, “Hey, kiddo. You looking for me?”

Apparently he wasn’t in the office! He flashes her a smile as he draws nearer, reaching over to tap his identification card to the door’s lock, causing it to release with a click.

“What?” Vague suspicion makes the teenager’s face scrunch the tiniest bit, and she turns enough to look up at Richard. That same look is pointed at the door a second later. Clearly there’s shenanigans going on because there’s no big meetings happening and doesn’t the CEO basically live in there? She hmms very quietly, and side eyes Richard.

“Yes.” For all her trying to figure out what’s maybe — but probably not really — going on, Squeaks’ answer is pretty direct. “I have questions.”

“I see that look. I don’t spend my whole life in there, kid,” Richard observes with a roll of his eyes as he walks into the office, bending down in mid-step to catch up the tiny fuzz-ball of a kitten that came scampering his way as they entered - or, probably, trying to escape the room.

“Oh, no you don’t,” he chuckles, as Richelieu mewls in complaint and wriggles about, “The last time you wandered around you nearly gave Sera an ulcer…”

Stepping around the desk, he drops down into his chair, keeping the feline captured in his lap, “Ask away.”

A slow shrug, complete with hands, is how she meets the observation. What can be said except there’s some strangeness happening? Squeaks follows, a couple seconds after Richelieu’s capture, and even nudges the door closed to keep the kitten inside.

“There’s things that you make here,” the teen observes as she helps herself to one of the chairs facing the desk. “Like really cool things.” She wouldn’t actually know — there’s still some parts of the building she hasn’t figured a way into yet — but she’s guessing. “Do I get to have things made since I work here?”

“We don’t actually make most things here, most of the production goes on in our Detroit facility,” Richard admits, “But I catch your meaning, yes, we do make a lot of pretty cool things.”

A smile tugs up at the corner of his lips, “Custom engineering isn’t exactly a job perk for interns, Squeaks, but what is it that you had in mind?”

“But it could be?” It’s a reasonable question, especially from a kid who literally skipped the standard of teenage jobs and went straight to the top. There should probably be questions about what kinds of perks she gets. Eventually.

Scooting in her seat, she adjusts her legs so she’s sitting criss-cross on the chair. “My friend… She’s not glass, but sometimes people think she is. Which doesn’t make sense. But I want to make something for her, because she tried to make things better for all of us.”

“Okay.” Richard crooks an eyebrow upwards, “So who’s your friend, and… what is it that you wanted to make for her?” He’s not saying no just yet, simply probing her question with curious interest to see what the girl’s trying to get at.

“She has a hard time doing things,” Squeaks explains. “Just not all the time. Only sometimes. But she's not made of glass and she doesn't need pity.” Two very important things to remember. She remembers and that's why she's asking the questions.

“Her name is Lene. And she's really brave.” She definitely seems to hold the young woman in high regard. “But sometimes she might like for things being more like normal. Like getting a glass of water.”

“Her— “ Richard pauses, brow furrowing a little before he leans forward, an arm resting on the desk. Someone who tried to make things better for them all? “Wait, you don’t mean Jolene, do you? Slip of a thing, brown hair, green eyes— comes from the future? She might not’ve mentioned that bit.” A soft mew from his lap distracts him, and he leans back again with a chuckle, “Sorry, Rich.”

“She said.” Squeaks’ head tilts a little to one side. “How come you want to know that?” The question forms slowly, suspicion sneaking in. And maybe a little protectiveness. She came to ask about something to help Lene not need help, not tattle.

A smile, then, Richard shaking his head a little at that flicker of protectiveness. “She was my personal assistant, before the war,” he admits, “I mean, she was there to spy on me, but she admitted that. She’s a good woman, always did what she thought was right…”

A hand lifts a little, fingers brushing through the air in the girl’s direction before returning to stroke the kitten’s fur, “What does she need?”

The teenager’s eyes narrow a teeny bit as she thinks over that bit of information, all suspicion and wondering at the same time. She would have asked Lene all about the time travel, but it seemed to make the young woman sad, so those questions were put away for another time. Or maybe never, she doesn’t know yet.

“She needs something to help her.” Squeaks sits a little straighter. “So she doesn’t feel like she’s needing people all the time to do things for her. Her hands don’t work very good sometimes, and she uses these old and broken crutches things when she walks.”

The smile fades at that news for concern, and Richard shifts— putting the cat on the floor, where he promptly scrambles under the desk to attack something. Probably a dust bunny. “Why didn’t she— pride, of course,” he grimaces, “Okay. Can you— do you know who helps her with her health care, if anyone?”

That question is met with such a blank look. Squeaks doesn't even know that one for herself. Gillian probably would be her first guess, but for Jolene? “Maybe… some… doctors?” It's a guess at the obvious but far from specific answers. “But I don't think she would like new doctors. Maybe just new crutches, or robot legs so she can walk and run again.”

“No, I’m not thinking about new doctors,” Richard shakes his head, “I’m going to need her records and diagnoses if I’m going to have Warren make something to help her; he designed Val’s wheelchair so I know he has experience there.” Wryly, “And I don’t think she’ll want robot legs, but we’ll see what we can do.”

“She might like robot legs.” Or something like robot legs. Squeaks takes a minute to think about the idea. Actual robot legs might be too heavy or maybe worse than just crutches. “But… Maybe something to strap onto her legs, that isn't big or getting in the way. But makes it easier for her to walk.” That sounds way better and useful.

“She said it happened in the war. That the bad guys used nerve gas?” The teenager makes it more a question, if it maybe changes things some.

“If I’d known she was so bad off…” Richard’s nose wrinkles in a grimace, head tilting back, “I should’ve— checked in on her sooner. Just been so busy— God, I’m a shitty friend.” A hand comes up, rubbing the bridge of his nose, “Okay. If you can get me her records I’ll see what I can do, I’m…. pretty sure that if she hasn’t come to me yet, it’s because of pride, so if we asked she wouldn’t just happily play along. We’ll have to go behind her back until we have something to give her to help.”

That blank look appears again, and for a couple of seconds Squeaks stares at Richard. Where is she supposed to get medical records? And how? Is that a thing that can be found on the internet? “I think that’s… going to be very hard to do. Can… can maybe we just make it a surprise? Because… Because… Because that’s better than asking.” And making Lene get sad again.

“That was my point, yeah,” Richard agrees, then snaps his fingers, “Gillian. I bet Gillian knows the details… and she’d probably be more than happy to help out.”

“Oh.” Getting records is keeping it a surprise then. Squeaks nods slowly as she lets her mind wrap around that idea. “Yes. Yes M… Mom would know. She knows all of the things. And she probably won’t tell since it’s a surprise.”

At that particular name used for the woman in question, Richard’s brows both raise upwards sharply— but he doesn’t comment on it, a smile tugging wider to his lips for a moment. “Yeah… yeah, she probably does,” he allows, “Talk to her if you can. And— mnm, hey, that…”

A pause, brow knitting, “What was your last name again, kiddo?”

A trace of stubbornness touches Squeaks’ expression, probably in defense of her right to calling Gillian mom. But it’s soon overtaken by cautious curiosity following Richard’s next question. Her last name? “Morrison. But… it’s changing. After everything is done and the judge says so. Why?”

“It’s probably just a coincidence, but…” Richard’s hand taps the black surface of the desk, and the computer screen flares to life beneath it. A folder’s tapped, and he drags out a picture, fingers sweeping over the desk to expand it and turn it in her direction. In frame is a willowy and tired looking woman, possibly in her late teens or early twenties, with long light brown hair and long features. She’s dressed in a slouchy brick red sweater and jeans.

“This is a woman named Cindy Morrison, although about… twenty years ago,” he admits, “Any relation?”

Shifting in the chair, Squeaks gets her legs under her so she’s sitting on her knees, and she leans forward so she can see the screen better. The tech itself is fascinating enough she’d probably be entertained for days just watching things happen. But when the picture of the Cindy-lady is brought up she focuses her attention on that.

“That’s a long time ago,” she points out, still studying the woman in the picture. “We have the same last name.” There isn’t any recognition for the image itself, but she’s clearly digging around in her memories. “Maybe… maybe we are?” She isn’t super sure, and her face is scrunched like she can’t quite remember.

“A lot of people have that name, just thought… well, I don’t run into coincidences very often that are,” Richard admits a bit dryly, leaning back, “It was worth a shot, though. Anyway. Talk to Gillian, see if she can get me some records or anything so that we’ll have a starting point… and I’ll see what we can do. I owe her that much.”

“I don’t know that I believe in coincidences,” Squeaks states that opinion quietly, almost darkly, as she sits back also. She rests on her heels but still sits on the chair. “Who is she though? Could you find out more about her?” Those questions come closer to her normal tones, and she pauses and grabs onto an idea. “Could I look for stuff about her? I could even do it here,” on the fancy computers, “and share what I find. About her.”

“I don’t know much about her,” Richard says as he looks down at the screen, lips pursed briefly, “And she may not have anything to do with you, like I said… she was an agent for the Company, a long time ago.” Hazel eyes flicker up to her, “Do you know who they were?”

Any excitement or hope for getting to search using the fancy computers drowns and dies. Squeaks’ curiosity shifts toward vague fear, and her she might even look a little sick. “Yes, they’re bad people,” she answers, quietly again. “They did things, like experiments on people and… I read about um… One guy. I found out he was part of that.”

“They weren’t all… responsible for that,” says Richard with a grimace, “They had noble beginnings— they wanted to keep u— keep the Evolved safe. They escaped from government experiments and moved into the shadows, just trying to keep us secret. They succeeded for a long time.”

He rubs two fingers against the bridge of his nose, “Some of them gave into hubris, led the Company down… a very bad road. They weren’t all horrible people. A lot of them didn’t know about the— worse things. The leadership had a tendency to erase the memories of people who found out things they preferred weren’t known.”

“Maybe she was a good person,” the teenager asks. It doesn’t change her response very much, but there’s a teeny bit of hope. She isn’t so sure she wants to find out more of the same bad stuff. “Maury Parkman wasn’t a good person. I don’t know that he did the hubris thing, but he did tests on people.” She leans back so she can sit criss-cross again.

A couple of seconds pass while Squeaks fidgets with a crease on her jeans leg. She’s also thinking and wondering. That picture definitely didn’t look like a bad person, she looked kind of fun. “Can I do research anyway,” she asks, looking up at Richard. “Please?”

“Sure, if you’d like,” Richard’s head bobs in a permissive nod, although his brow knits further, “What are you doing looking into Maury of all people? Jesus, that guy was a piece of— “ Child in the room, Richard! “— garbage.”

He admits, “He was the father of a— acquaintance of mine. Wasn’t much of a father, was a worse person.”

“Because… because I had… I remembered something weird,” Squeaks explains, even though she looks really unsure. “And first the things I found were for Matt Parkman, but when I tried with my last name and Parkman I found Maury. He was a really bad man.”

“Matt was his son,” Richard explains with a frown, “What is it that you’re looking into that looked up the Parkmans of all people…?”

“Yes.” The teenager’s agreement is quick and easy. She found a small bit about Matt Parkman being Maury’s kid. The rest of the answer doesn’t come so easily. “Just… something I sort of remembered. Him talking to someone. I wondered who he was and… I told Gillian… Mom about it. After I found out.”

“Okay.” Richard’s hands fold on the desk’s surface, and he regards the teenager steadily for a moment. “Maury was a telepath; one of the founders of the Company, and a complete piece of… garbage. He was a terrible man, to his family and to everyone else. As far as I know, he’s dead, and the world’s better off for it.”

Showing mostly understanding, and only a little surprise, at the explanation, Squeaks nods slowly. She didn’t know about the telepath part, but the rest… She nods again. “He was worse than terrible. He did really bad things to lots of people.” Even though she doesn’t go into details of what things or how she knows, she sounds like she understands what she’s saying.

She looks down, and pushes her legs out so she’s sitting normally in the chair. “I just want to know. Maybe Cindy is nothing to do with it, but I want to look anyway.” That’s why she asked. “And here there’s better internets and computers.” That’s also why she asked. But she doesn’t want to go into details yet, so when she looks up again, it’s with a small shrug. And a change in subject.

“If I get doctor notes from… from my mom, you can help Lene?”

“I’ll do my best,” says Richard with a bit of a nod, “Worse case, I can at least get her better crutches. Best case, maybe we can come up with some prototype that’ll help her out a lot more than just some crutches. I owe her that much, at least.”

He flashes a smile, “It’ll be a surprise for her.”

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