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Scene Title Finding
Synopsis Random questions have unexpected answers.
Date October 19, 2020

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office: Richard Ray's Office

“What do you know about Claudia Zimmerman?”

October 19, 2020

3:48 pm

“And Adam Monroe?”

Jac Childs has never experienced a shortage of questions. Except for recent days where she's more likely to choose observation over asking what's on her mind, it's not unusual for her to drop a half dozen questions on seemingly obscure topics. Her query of her biological parents are no exception and has little to do with the textbook that's held her attention for the last hour.

Still occupying the chair dragged into a corner of Richard Ray’s office, Jac’s eyes remain set on the book that's open and in her lap. Anyone looking in would be hard pressed to know anything had been said at all, but a shift in her posture reflects a shift in her attention. She's not reading now, but waiting.

“What do you want to know about them?”

Richard glances up from the desk, a single brow lifting a little over the edge of his tinted glasses; he even wears them inside, at least when Jac is around. When she’s not, he turns the lights down to the point that he doesn’t need them in the office.

“I know quite a bit about both of them,” he admits, “Although some of it’s muddied up by the Company’s memory rewrites.”

Richelieu decides that’s the proper moment to jump up and into Jac’s lap and step on the book. He looks up at her and meows demandingly.

“Everything.” Jac lifts her head when Richelieu jumps into her lap and covers the book with his floof. She gathers the cat’s head in her hands and rubs his cheeks and skull. “Like where are they from, their lineage.” She leans forward to rub her forehead against the cat’s, then angles a look to Richard between a pair of orange ears.

“If I was to go try to find out about them, their beginnings, where should I go?”

The tabby purrs contentedly at the head-rubbing, slowly and lazily blinking at the girl. He approves of this human.

“Oh, that sort of thing,” Richard leans back in his chair with a creak, toying with a pen in his hands as he considers, “Adam… well, I’ve never heard a word about Adam’s lineage past himself. Joy might know more, if you could find it. I know I’d love to.” He grimaces briefly, then pushes past that, “I know he was British, travelled over to Japan during the seventeenth century - went by Takezo Kensei back then. Yamagato has some museum displays about him set up that you could look into— actually, you should talk to Kaylee, I know she’s done a bit of digging into his past. They used to be close, once upon a time.”
“I’m not sure where he was up until the 30s and 40s — around then, he ended up in Germany, working with the Nazis on Project Icarus. He, ah— he was actually working with I think Jonas Zimmerman’s father on that one. Here— “ He leans forward, hand sweeping over his desk display, bringing up a photo.

“Takezo Kensei.” Jac drapes her arms around Richelieu, half cuddling the cat as she mulls over the name. She's heard it before, her sword even shares the name. “Do you know where Joy might have gone?” It wasn't a question she meant to ask yet, but it's as good a time as any.

Still gently rubbing the cat’s head and face, the teen leans forward to get a better look at the picture Richard produces. She'd get up, but that would cause a disturbance in the feline and that's unacceptable. “Jonas was… Claudia’s dad?”

“If I did, I’d have a lot fewer questions myself,” says Richard with a shake of his head, “I’ve been trying to get to her to talk for— a long time now, but just like everything else she always seems to slip through my fingers every time I reach out.” There’s a sense of frustration there. It seems to happen often of late, for him.

“Jonas was— well.” He grimaces, “We believed that Jonas was Claudia’s husband. They both assumed so. It turned out that it had been part of the redaction back in the 80s. They were never married. They’d just had their memories altered to believe so. Claudia was… understandably shocked when I told her the truth.”

A faint smile, “Funny story, I once changed the entire timeline to save her life.”

“I want to try to find her.” Joy, the girl means. Jac’s often wondered where the mosaic disappeared to after the battle in Detroit. She has some pretty hard questions for the woman that she'd like answers on.

Sitting back, still looking at the picture as best she can see it, she shakes her head slowly. “Okay so… was Jonas related somehow? And where’s Claudia from? Is there anyone I could talk to who'd know her, what she was like when she was young?”

Jac looks up at Richard, knowing that Adam surpasses the likelihood of having any living relatives who can speak of his early years. So, “Where did Takezo Kensei live? Maybe there's historians or… sword smiths who'd know his story.” The real one, not the legends. “Or even anyone who knew him in Germany? Maybe Ruby?”

“You’ll want to go check out the Yamagato exhibit for that,” Richard admits, “I don’t know much about his— ancient history aside from broad strokes. Ruby, I don’t think ever knew him— really, Joy is your best bet there, but I have no idea where to start in tracking her down.”

He looks thoughtful, “As far as Claudia’s concerned… I’d go talk to Monica. The Deveaux Society might have more records— Sabra Dalton would know more, but after her retirement she up and vanished. Niklaus Zimmerman, maybe, Monica probably has his contact information. He doesn’t talk to me anymore.”

He sounds regretful about the last bit.

“I tried calling Claudia.” Jac’s brows draw together with vaguely directed frustration. “She didn't answer. First someone named Scylla called me back and…” it was supposed to be a way out, a rescue from Praxia that never came. The teen shakes her head at the memory, finding ambivalence more than apathy toward the encounter.

“Alice Shaw answered the other time.” Which seems likely to have been another botched attempt by the sound of things.

Jac looks down at the tabby cat in her lap, like maybe Richelieu has some wisdom on the complexities of adults. “Niklaus Zimmerman. I don't know who Monica is, but she's probably pretty busy. And I'm sure Claudia’s invitation is as expired as she is.”

“Niklaus…” Richard shakes his head ever so slightly, one hand lifting a bit before dropping to the desk, “He was a friend. He… didn’t take the revelation of Ezekiel’s identity very well, the Institute wasn’t kind to him.” Silence a moment, “I miss him.”

Then he says simply, “Monica’ll see you if I ask her to. She’s the head of the Deveaux Society now.”

“If I manage to reach him, I'll tell him you say hello.” It's not much to offer in exchange for help, but it's what she has. Jac gently urges the cat to move into the seat beside her instead of taking up space on her book. She's quick to offer scritches as compensation, of course.

“It's alright if Monica is too busy to meet me.” She glances up at Richard, shrugging slightly. “Deveaux… it's be great, but she's probably got a lot to deal with.”

“Mew,” complains the cat, but reluctantly he slides down to settle on the seat beside her. He’s a good kitty.

“I’m sure she’ll make time,” Richard says, flashing over a smile, “You are Claudia’s daughter, after all.”

Jac makes a sound that lacks commitment to the connection between her and Claudia. She’d never even met the woman. The one time she’d even seen Claudia was well after the former CEO of the Deveaux Society had been turned into red sludge — and that doesn’t count, since the sludge was unrecognizable as anyone. She rubs the cat’s head, fingers curling to scratch along the base of his ears.

“Where was Cindy from?”

“No idea. She was one of the Company’s wards before she was adopted by the Prices,” Richard leans back in his chair, motioning a bit vaguely with one hand, “The answer would’ve been in the archives, but I’m pretty sure that Adam stole that, which means it probably went down with the ziggurat.”

He grimaces, “You could try some of the old Company agents still extant, they might have records. There’re some in SESA — hell, you could try Bennet if you felt daring.”

“No,” Jac interjects quietly. Approaching Bennet is something she's considered, for other reasons, but going into SESA is off the table. She couldn't even convince herself to go retrieve the few personal belongings she'd left there a year ago. “Maybe Mister Bennet. Maybe.” But no promises. She doesn't have a lot of hope anyone connected to the agency would even want to help her anyway. “Where were the Prices from?”

“Odessa,” Richard has an answer for that, “Texas. If you want to know more about them, mm…” He pauses, “You’ll want to go talk with Doctor Pride, down in biomedical studies. She can tell you quite a bit more than I can about them.”

“She's definitely too busy to talk to me about anything.” Except for when Jac is assisting Doctor Pride and then it's usually just small talk if it's unrelated to whatever task is at hand. “I'd learn more going to see Des at Rikers or wherever she's being held. I should just go to Texas myself and start there.”

Richard brings one hand up, and pinches the bridge of his nose, silent for a moment. “Jacelyn Childs,” he states firmly, pointing at the door, “Go downstairs to biomedical immediately and tell Doctor Pride that you’re looking for information on the Prices. That is your new assignment. Give me back my cat first.”

“It's Jac.” The correction is patient, like she's believing that Richard simply forgot that she doesn't answer to Jacelyn. The textbook occupying her lap is closed, and Richeleau is gathered in an arm so he can be deposited on Richard’s desk.

The cat is given a parting pat for the interruption and undignified return to his human. Then she turns to leave the office. Presumably to go downstairs as instructed, although it's unlikely she'll bother the doctor. What would Doctor Pride know anyway?

“I’m going to ask her later to make sure you did,” Richard notes as she departs, reaching out to scritch the red tabby under the chin, to which he nuzzles against his human’s hand, “So you’d better.”

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