His Blood


squeaks3_icon.gif yao_icon.gif zhao_icon.gif

Scene Title His Blood
Synopsis Squeaks learns the truth.
Date June 24, 2019

Her tears haven’t even had time to dry yet.

The world around Squeaks was once a blur, a disorienting spiral of colors from the landscape of Queens slowly transmuted into a rush of color and sound. But when the colors realign into recognizable objects, when the world comes back into focus, she is somewhere else entirely. Bright afternoon sunlight strikes Squeaks face along with a warm breeze coming in off of the ocean. Sea birds call and cry loudly, circling high overhead. She is so high up, higher than she has ever been before, on the flat rooftop of a great skyscraper.

Below her, there is a helipad symbol. The round platform is fringed by antennas and satellite dishes, and Zhao releases her hand once they make their arrival into this place. Beyond the edge of the building, there is the ocean, there is a city, but not one that Squeaks has ever seen before in her life. Far beyond she can see an airfield lined with massive helicopters with four-rotor blades, gleaming in the sun.

It is so hot here, the sun feels closer somehow. Brighter.

“When you are ready, I will take you to the answer you seek.” Zhao says at her back, his expression tense and thoughtful.

What had she done?

Praxis Ziggurat

Praxia, California Safe Zone

June 24th

4:39pm Local Time

It's a change that's nearly a hard to comprehend as whatever possessed her to make the choice to leave. It leaves her speechless when she finally looks away from Zhao. Squeaks’ expression is a clash of worry and broken heartedness, her first look around from the top of the world done with an uncharacteristic dullness. Without knowing where she is, it's a pretty safe guess that it's somewhere very far from home. She's not even sure which way home is now.

Her hands press against her eyes, palms putting a stop to the tears that want to continue. A deep breath with a shaky exhale follows. It does little to ease the hollow feeling.

A second breath is sucked in, held against a sharper longing. It takes a minute to pass, to be swallowed. Once it's contained, Squeaks breathes out, her hands drop to her sides and she nods. Apprehensive curiosity turns again to her new surroundings. It isn't home. The feeling of being lost and alone starts to creep in again. “I'm ready,” she announces in a soft voice. Instead of acknowledging the lingering sadness, though it's still present, she looks up at Zhao.
Zhao snorts, not out of derision or anything of the sort. His reaction is one of certainty and acceptance, a non-vocalized, of course you are. He is unsurprised. “Come,” is what he says to the young girl instead, escorting her across the helipad to an elevator. As Zhao approaches the doors, they slide open with a smooth rush of air, and as Squeaks steps in from the hot sun, she instead feels the cool climate-controlled confines of a modern building. There are no buttons on the elevator, though once both are inside the doors close. “Director’s office,” he says plainly, and the elevator makes a soft chime and begins its descent.

As it does, Zhao turns to look at Squeaks. “You will be cared for here, and over time you will come to understand this place as home. Forget everything you know, everything you have been told, and everything you think you know about what you will see here.” Of that he is emphatic. “The world you know is a lie, and the truth you will find here will set you free.”

The coolness of the elevator produces a sigh, such that Squeaks hadn't realized how oppressive the heat was until she'd stepped inside. Her hands lift to scrub through her hair, lifting the last of the heat from her scalp as she turns to look at the landscape before the doors close.

It seems to symbolize a similar closure. She shies away from the thought.

In exchange, the girl angles such a side-eye at Zhao when he begins talking. You can't just forget like that. But his tone warns against arguing. Rebellious thoughts are pushed down to harbor in secret. For now she nods.

“Where are we? Who's the director?”

“It used to be called Alameda, a city in California. Now, it is known as Praxia.” Zhao’s voice is clear over the soft hum of the elevator, “Your government gave this land to Praxis Heavy Industries, and now…” he stops, looking away, “it would be better for the Director to tell you these things. He… prefers it. And,” Zhao pauses, right in time with a chime from the elevator, “the journey is not far.”

The elevator comes to a stop just one floor below the roof. When the doors open, they empty out directly into a room that is the entire size of the capstone of a pyramid, with angled walls of thick glass with massive metal shutters that are presently open to allow in golden rays of sunlight. The room is decorated with sleek furnishings of eggshell white, low-backed chairs sitting across from a transparent glass desk with a single, gentle curve of steel riveted to the floor for support. There is a high-backed chair behind the desk, and a dark-haired woman in white sitting at it.

She looks up when Zhao enters, watching him motion for Squeaks to follow. Her brows rise, back straightens, and there is a look in her eyes of both confusion and frustration. “她是谁?” She demands, gesturing angrily at Squeaks. Zhao’s lips downturn into a frown, and he looks down at Squeaks, then back up to the woman in white.

“他的女儿.” Zhao says flatly, and the woman in white’s eyes widen and she rises up to stand from her desk. She looks back and forth between Zhao and Squeaks, at a loss for words. Zhao, however, is not. He turns and looks down at Squeaks. “This is Yao Sze, she is not the Director, but she speaks for him. She will answer your questions.”

That much from Zhao is a challenge, leveled back to Yao with dark eyes. Or else, they all but imply.

At first look, there's a hint of cautious wonder. It's so clean. Not the way SESA was clean, with it's more organic feeling. This is… industrial, maybe? And sterile. Squeaks follows, but at a slower pace. Her eyes go to the windows, drawn to the outside until movement inside beckons notice.

She stops at Zhao’s side, eyes lifting first to him then to the woman. There's nothing near understanding of what they're saying, but tone says a lot.

Her shoes give a faint squeak as she shifts her weight, apprehensive in the face of angry sounding words.

“Hi,” follows quietly, guardedly. It's meant for Yao, but Squeaks’ gaze darts up to Zhao as she speaks. “What… what questions can she…” Her focus returns to the woman. “What questions can you answer?” There are lots, and she's suddenly unsure of how much she should even ask. Her eyes slip between the two again. “And… also. Also, can you tell me what you both said? I don't… I don't know that language.”

Yao and Zhao share a look at Squeaks question. Shaking her head, Yao comes out from around the desk. “不,他可以自己做,” Yao says to Zhao, walking past him and to the elevator with a brisk pace. Zhao follows her with a slow turn of his head. As the elevator doors open for Yao she looks back at him, then down to Squeaks and back up again. The contempt in her expression is clear, and Zhao seems to rankle in Yao’s presence. She steps into the elevator without another word, letting the doors close behind her.

“Do not let her bother you,” Zhao says quietly, “she is unaccustomed to needing to perform her role.” As if free to move about the room only in Yao’s absence, Zhao begins to wander the palatial office with his hands folded behind his back. “It seems as though she is going to get the Director himself, and he will answer your questions. Which… I suppose is as it should be.”

Zhao comes to stop by one of the glass walls, looking out at the oceanic horizon beyond. “You are an orphan?” He asks after a moment of silence, not looking to Squeaks, but still making her feel a part of the conversation.

The teen sidles, practiced steps to keep from being in a direct line from the woman. The contempt being directed at her is frighteningly familiar, although it was someone else who'd aim hatred and ridicule at her. Blue eyes keep a careful watch until several seconds have passed once the elevator doors close.

In the silence, she continues to stare at the elevator. Until Zhao speaks.

Claiming that she isn't bothered would be a lie that even a blind man could see. So Squeaks doesn't bother, or even try to hide her unsureness about Yao. “Yes,” she answers while turning away from the elevator to take a more studious look at the office space. “I guess. Before… before I was… Doctor Ford and Carolyn were keeping me. But they're dead now.”

“Then we are kin,” Zhao says, looking out over the water. “I did not know my birth parents. I was adopted by a Chinese family living in South Korea, then moved with them to Hong Kong when I was but a young boy. But I grew up knowing that I was not like them. They knew my parents were Japanese, and yet I was raised with Chinese traditions in a city ruled by the British.” Zhao blinks a dark-eyed stare over to Squeaks. “My adoptive parents are dead as well.”

Looking away from Squeaks, Zhao settles his attention out to the water. “Everything I have attained, I have done so with my own two hands. Conquering the inherent racism within the Triads, finding acceptance in spite of my foreign blood. Discovering the true power I possess… building an empire of secrets and knowledge. Surviving.” He exhales a slow sigh, shoulders rising and falling in the moment.

“The lives of orphans are never simple,” Zhao says quietly. “We are once and always bastards who must prove ourselves time and again to everyone around us, and build our own families with our bare hands.” Brows furrowed, Zhao looks away from the water to Squeaks, but says nothing.

Instead of her usual wander around any new place, Squeaks only lets her eyes shuffle over the furnishings. It's too clean, all smooth and white like it is. Like a hospital or something. A quick look is sent behind to see if her shoes are leaving dirt behind. Hopefully it'll go unnoticed.

“I was fake adopted by them,” she explains as she lifts her head and returns Zhao’s look. “They didn't want me anyway.” How that fits with his claim to kinship is unclear. Maybe she simply felt it was a fact he should know.

With some effort, her feet unstick themselves from the floor. Dusty tracks or not, she wanders cautiously toward the window where the old man stands. But her focus shifts from him to the world outside the windows. “I survived too. On the streets, usually in the Underneath because it's easier to hide.” When she's finally close enough to the glass, she spends a minute just looking out. The world on the other side is foreign to her.

“I… I had another family.” She still does, but that's kept secret. The idea of it is squashed down tight. Squeaks looks up at Zhao. “A real one. It's… it was good. I built it with people I found.”

“Maybe one day you will return to them,” Zhao says quietly, watching a cargo ship slowly making its way past a remote island and into the harbor. “But that time will be far from now. You are here, with us, until— ”


Zhao looks over his shoulder the elevator as its doors slide open. Wherever it came from it didn’t have far to go, maybe a floor or two at most. From within the elevator emerges a thin man of modest height with bright blonde hair worn in what is clearly a casual mess. His suit is black-on-black, crisp and tailored. He looks too young to be a businessman, probably around Gillian’s age. His eyes, blue and pale, seem unusually kind.

But Squeaks knows who he is. She saw his face in the Raytech briefing last year.

“You must be Jac,” he says with an easy smile, making a cautious approach. “You can call me Adam…”


“Adam Monroe.”

She almost argues that she will return home, but the elevator ding interrupts her thoughts just as it cuts off whatever else Zhao was going to say. Squeaks’ head swivels around to the sound and she draws herself back slightly, practically against the window. The man coming into the office when the doors open is spared a fleeting glance as she intends to check for Yao first. But that search never manifests. Her eyes jump back onto the familiar face once it clicks that she knows it.

“Yes,” she answers, both wary and curious. A glance darts up to Zhao then returns to Adam. Will he actually have answers? “Hi.” She stays, stuck beside the window, unsure but not in the way she was in first arriving. Isn't he supposed to be dangerous? She can't tell. He doesn't look exactly dangerous…

“I don't know what they were saying,” Squeaks points out. In her confusion about her situation she grabs onto the most immediate but least important concern. “It was a different language. And… and she… Yao. She doesn't like me.”

Adam’s brows furrow, looking Squeaks up and down. “Yao doesn’t like anyone,” he admits with a flash of a smile, “but that’s not what’s the matter. She’s afraid of you.” Adam levels a look up to Zhao, somewhat put out. “Because, it would seem, your bald friend here has gone and told Yao something she didn’t necessarily need to know.”

Zhao seems unconcerned, turning away from the window to approach Adam. “She came of her own free will,” is all Zhao has to say for himself, motioning to Squeaks. “She has agreed to stay here, and beyond that, I will leave you to your… personal business.” There is a tense silence between Zhao and Adam for a moment, followed by a curt nod and a quick look to the elevator.

“Don’t stray far,” is a cat joke, on Adam’s behalf, but it’s not really the most memorable thing about the moment. It’s also lost on Zhao, who makes his way to the elevator without so much as a goodbye to Squeaks. As he steps inside and the doors close, Adam exhales a long-suffering sigh and runs a hand through his hair.

“I’d been hoping we would meet under…” Adam trails off looking around the room absent-mindedly. “I don’t know. Differently, I guess. I suppose very little goes the way I’d hoped, though…” He hasn’t answered her question.

Following the exchange between the men seems to feed the girl’s curiosity. A little bit at least. She relaxes some, enough that she's standing more naturally, an attentive observer for sure. Even if she misses a lot of what isn't being said, she can tell that something happened.

Something that maybe shouldn't have?

Squeaks watches Zhao leave, offering him nothing else but a vaguely worried look. It's the same she gives Adam when he starts talking again.

“What did he tell Yao? Do you know what language they were speaking?” She starts right in again like nothing had changed. A cautious step forward is taken, worry is traded out for suspicion, even though it's just as imprecise as the other. “Did you plan to meet me before? Did you… did you know about me? Somehow?”

Adam sighs again, but patiently, once more raking his fingers through his hair. “Probably Chinese,” he says half-heartedly, belaboring a small and pointless question so as to give himself time to think about how to address the larger topic. Adam takes a step away from Squeaks, then stops himself and presses his lips together in a hard line. He struggles, looking back to her with brows creased together and head shaking slowly.

“I guess… I guess I know a lot of things you’ve probably been wondering about,” Adam admits with a bob of his head from side to side. “Basically, everything…” His expression turns to a faint smile, one that fades to something more nervous and uncertain in the moment after.

“Because I’m your father.”

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