I Want It Back


richard_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title I Want It Back
Synopsis Robyn Quinn visits the one person she is sure can help her with her particular predicament. Also, is maybe the worst covert agent.
Date April 13, 2018

Raytech NYSZ Office: CEO's Office

It had been a sudden call, just the day before - one Robyn Quinn, SESA wishing to make an appointment with the CEO for the very next day - an auspicious day, too. Friday the 13th had never really held much meaning for Robyn, and today is no different. She had warned Richard that she would be calling him, and now, back in the Safe Zone from Rochester seemed like as good a time as ever to make good on that.

It had been unclear what she wanted to speak about besides business. Not that she's ever one to really be clear with her intentions anymore.

It's early afternoon when Richard finally hears a knock on his door, and it pushes open slightly. Dressed in a black, thin shirt with ruffled sleeves, and a long black skirt to match, Robyn Quinn stands on the other side with a notebook in hand, black band pulled over her eye as usual. She doesn't just barge in - she waits for the okay, if only because she knows well enough not to just barge in on business.

Not when she's potentially looking for a favour.

As Robyn enters into the office, the first thing she notices is that it's darker than usual. The spread of windows that normally looks out over the green roof has gone opaque to black, a high-definition map of the United States currently being projected across it. The Dead Zones pulse with the red of blood poisoning on the map, the Exclusion Zones hatched with the same hue, showing the parts of the country that have been - for the time being - lost.

Richard's turning away from it, and while he's not dressed in civvies he's looking more casual than he usually does at work. Black slacks, a black button-up shirt. A smile crooks to his lips as the woman steps inside, and he moves back towards the desk, "Robyn. Glad you caught me when you did, I'm about to be leaving on an extended trip…"

"Oh?" There's ambiguity in Robyn's voice - there's a chance, given her line of work, she may already be aware of Richard's impending trip out west. She looks up at the map, across the different shades of grey that define it for her. Her eyes are trained on it for several seconds before she breaks away, closing the distance to Richard's desk.

"Well. Good timing, indeed," she notes, pulling out one of the chairs in front of his desk. "Had a joke, something about… this is just a good excuse to come check on Geiger. Though I'm sure Valerie's taking excellent care of her." A weak smile is offered to Richard as she settles into the seat, legs crossed.

"But your map had me lose track of it." She waits a few beats before motioning to it. "I assume it's not supposed to be all gray, after all. Makes for a rather illegible mess." At least, if you're not used to it.,

"Ah, right. Sorry about that, it's color-coded…" Richard drops himself down into the seat across from her, leaning in to rest folded arms on the desk as he offers her a wry smile, "…and yeah, I'm looking into some things. Shouldn't be more than a month."

Then his brows raise slightly, "So I'm sure you aren't just here to se Geiger - so - what can I do for you?"

A small laugh, a little forced, escapes her lips. "That is a little transparent, isn't it." Not that she was trying to hide that she had other reasons for wanting to be there today. "I do plan to stop in and see Geiger if possible before I leave." Not that she has any idea where the cat might be in the building at this moment - or her owner. "No, you're right. Geiger isn't the only reason. Reason enough, but not the reason." She tilts her head a bit, unintentionally confused by her old statement. Clearing her throat, she levels her gaze at Richard, expression flat. "Richard, you were at the Fellowship gala last week. Did you notice… anything unusual?"

"You mean the fake paramedics that wheeled John Logan out the door?" Richard asks mildly, eyebrows raised slightly, "Or was there some other weirdness that was going on? I mean, to be fair, most of those there were rather unusual people— "

It's hard for Robyn to do anything more than purse her lips at that. It's true, in retrospect there had been a lot of strange things that evening. And normally, she would balk at being this selfish, but- "Well, I hear from some Logan had it coming. Not my place, neither here nor there." She does chuckle though. "Called it a who's who of crazy people to one person." That hadn't been her exact words, but close enough. "Figure anyone who wants so many of us in one place is too wealthy or too insane to care." She leaves it up to interpretation which Yamagato is.

"But no, there were… other oddities that night. In the air." She sits up a bit. "Do you remember what I used to be able to do, Richard? Can't remember if we've ever talked about it."

"As someone who once almost bled to death locked into his basement, I assure you, if John Logan is dead I will throw a small party to celebrate the piece of shit's departure from this plane," says Richard, with a level of rancor rarely heard from the man - a flicker of anger at old memories - before he brushes it off with a dismissive wave of one hand, "In the air? Do you mean the, uh, the photosensitive gas?"

A pause, "Photokinetic, right? Burnt out, from what I understand."

Robyn sits up a bit in her seat, a more genuine smile forming on her face. "Well. I'll have to be careful, then." Of John Logan, in the future - the scene Richard describes sounds beyond unpleasant after all. "Yes!" And in that moment that's an odd sense of energy to Robyn's exclamation, the look that briefly flitters across her face not unlike the one she wore at the Gala. "In truth, burned out has always just been… a theory. No one knew. I didn't know. Stopped… assuming or expecting years ago." She leans back in her chair, expression slowly returning to that more metered, flat look.

"I only registered SLC-Expressive because they made me," she admits quietly. "That's how sure I was. I haven't truly considered myself Evolved in years. There was no trace left." She cants her head to the side, furrowing her brow. "And then I went to Wolfhound, where Colette Nichols still trips up my ability. Two photokinetics, colliding. See her in colour because of it. But the Gala, Richard." She takes in a deep breath, a forlorn sigh escaping from her. "THose gases… They affected Colette. They affected me. I could see again, like I used to. That entire night."

"So you aren't completely burned out, your ability was just… strained? Damaged?" Richard's head cocks almost bird-like to one side as he considers the matter, lips pursing thoughtfully, "Interesting."

The chair creaks softly as he leans back, "Colette's blind, she sees through her power… which means that she's constantly using it. Hm. Maybe— " A pause, considering how to phrase things, "Maybe you are too. Are you sure you're actually seeing visually, Robyn?"

"Right now?" Robyn chuckles a bit, looking around the room. "When I- did what I did, back in the Arcology, I…" A small shudder rolls over her frame at the memory. "Burned out the cone receptors in my eyes that filter and translate colour. Rather… literally. Thus, I have achromatopsia, or something close enough for that formal diagnosis."

She pauses, looking back at Richard after a moment. "Complete rod monochromacy. I see black, white, and shades of grey. Light sensitivity as well, hence…" A motion is given to the band over one of her eyes. "Light filtering contacts as well. Which, I will note, are not cheap."

"So your eyes are damaged," says Richard, "But so are Colette's — and she can see just fine. It— " He motions to her eyes, "— it sounds like your abilities still there, just strained or weakened. It feels Colette's ability in use and is able to use it like a 'boost' to see colors, because it's trying to make up for the damage done. At Yamagato, it was able to use the photosensitive gas similarly."

Robyn frowns a bit at Richard's assessment - maybe not the expected reaction. "I- I never really explored how my ability worked. Not until I met Colette." A deep breath. "And that resource isn't available to me." She takes a deep breath. "I think, now… I think you're right."

She shakes her head. "But I also don't understand. Used to be able to do so much. Store, use light. Colette only moves existing light. I could create it." And she's tried since, even simple actions. Nothing happened. "I didn't- I couldn't do anything else at the Fellowship. I tried. But I guess the gases, they're only… but so much help?" A look of frustration crosses her face.

"I want it back, Richard," is an earnest admission, quiet.

"I feel you there, trust me," Richard admits, gaze dropping to the darkened marks over his right hand, fingers flexing briefly on the black glass of the desk, "I want mine, too… but yours, that should be easier."

A pause, "The Institute developed a process — one of the things they did that wasn't horrific as fuck. The, hold one, let me make sure I'm pronouncing this right." He clears his throat, and carefully enunciates, "The 'Sureceptigene Optimadenoplasmid Drug regime'. SOD. I just call it SOD, it's easier. It was designed to restore function to burn out or damaged abilities, it clears out 'junk aminos' or something, I'm not a bio-chemist, I just know it worked."

At first, it's unclear if Robyn is listening, keeping on with her previous line of thought. "I'm sorry to burden you with this, just figured that if anyone-"

She pauses. Her lips thin, expression reflecting the uncertainty she feels. "The Institute." The name is said with clear distaste, a common reoccurance with Robyn when it comes to that particular entity. She sits up a bit straighter, head tilted slightly back, a posture of superiority of a sort. "Shouldn't be surprised that they'd be the ones to come up with something like that." She eyes Richard for a long moment. "Do you have any data on it? I'm not a scientist, but…" Anything from the Institute she'd rather read up on than trust in blind faith.

"Oh, it works just fine," Richard admits with a shake of his head, "The original test subject and a later patient both came through it with full use of their abilities again."

"It's just unpleasant as all get out to go through," he adds, tone dry, "It's a few days of going through hell, I'm told. We're working on replicating it, but we're not there yet."

The insistence from Richard isn't quite enough to ease Robyn, but she does relax slightly, squaring her gaze back with him. "I don't have a head for science," she remarks. "Took me most of a year to really start understanding what Colette had been trying to teach me about light." Physics, ugh. It's a good thing the physics of light interested her even beyond her ability. "So I'm going to have to trust you on that, Richard. Forgive me if I don't get my hopes up, though." A few days of going through hell, for the return of something she cherished and had thought lost forever, though. That's a deal with the devil Robyn Quinn might be willing to make.

A small smile crosses her face. "I figured," she starts, circling back to her earlier unfinished statement, "that if anyone had leads, or had something in the works… it might be you. That, and I trust you Richard. I know this line of inquiry could… raise eyebrows with many."

The insistence from Richard isn't quite enough to ease Robyn, but she does relax slightly, squaring her gaze back with him. "I don't have a head for science," she remarks. "Took me most of a year to really start understanding what Collette had been trying to teach me about light." Physics, ugh. It's a good thing the physics of light interested her even beyond her ability. "So I'm going to have to trust you on that, Richard. Forgive me if I don't get my hopes up, though." A few days of going through hell, for the return of something she cherished and had thought lost forever, though. That's a deal with the devil Robyn Quinn might be willing to make.

A small smile crosses her face. "I figured," she starts, circling back to her earlier unfinished statement, "that if anyone had leads, or had something in the works… it might be you. That, and I trust you Richard. I know this line of inquiry could… raise eyebrows with many."

"It'll take time," says Richard with a shake of his head, "And— no offense, but I'm not going to put you forward as a guinea pig either. I put you in a lab and something bad happens, Lazzaro will be so far up my ass that smoke will spill out my tear ducts. Once we have a success, though— "

A wry smile, "You'll be next in line."

"No offense," Robyn starts, quirking an eyebrow, "but I will never be a guinea pig for anything pioneered by the Institute," she offers back, hands wringing a bit in her lap. That may be a bit of a lie, but she's not that desperate yet. "Just keep a dust buster handy," is Robyn's wry answer to the "problem" of Vincent Lazzaro. "I appreciate that, though. I don't imagine it'll be anytime soon, but…" A long breath. "I can hope, at least.

"I'll take that bullet for you," says Richard with a shrug of one shoulder, "And if my trust in the eggheads downstairs is well-placed, I won't turn into cherry cobbler." He seems fairly confident in his chances of not becoming a particularly delicious dessert plate.

"Oh, I do," he says, apparently genuinely, "I keep an industrial strength vacuum under my desk."

"Thank you," is a genuinely offered reply, a slight dip of her head accompanying the words. "Please, keep my up to date." For a moment, she lets that linger, like that might be all. Instead she slides her chair a bit closer, a hand reaching up and tapping twice on Ray's desk, before fingers unfold and begin to drum in rhythm. "It means a lot to me. I was… fine with how I was. How things have been, until that night. But knowing it's still there, I can't just… sit on it anymore."

A beat, and she cants her head to the side slightly. "By the way, I had the chance to look at some old files recently," is a bit of a hesitant segue. "Operation: Apollo." A wavering smile forms on her face. "A flying crab? Really?"

"Hey," Richard's hands spread a bit, and he offers a rueful smile, "I know the feeling. I think I'm fine with it most of the time, and then I'll just— then something reminds me." A shake of his head, "It's the least I can do for a friend… and hey, it's not totally selfless. If we can repair your ability we can market the process out to your agency."

He winks, and then brows lift. Old files?

"Oh God." He brings both hands up to cover his face, "That fucking crab. Yes. Yes, it was real, and Kazimir was standing on the flying thing pointing out into the distance just shouting 'The village! Aim for the village!'."

"Surprised it's not someone novel, to be honest," Robyn replies with a bit of a chuckle. "Reads like it, too." She chuckles at that, leaning forward a little bit more. "I'd heard some of it before, in the past. And the Trials, of course. It still… I can't believe things like that were happening while I was trying to get my shit together. Make an album."

A rueful chuckle escaped her lips, and she shakes her head. "Did a man really turn into actual dust? Because that's wild." An eyebrow quicks as shit asks her question - and to the perceptive, there's a slight shift in her demeanor, like that question is a bit more serious than what preceded it.

"I can barely believe it, and I lived it," Richard admits, chuckling heartily, "It was… well…"

Then he trails off, looking at her for a moment before shoulders slump and he raises both brows in an incredulous look. "Robyn." Scolding, that tone. "Are you pumping me for information? You can just ask."

It seems her subtlety needs work. She frowns a moment, before her lips curl up into a cheshire smile. A finger rises, placed in front of her lips in a taciturn shhhh motion. "Of course not," she replies, rolling her shoulders. "Just trying to make sure everything in those reports was in order. It's hard to believe, afterall. She certainly can just ask - if she wasn't treading a thin line with confidential information as it is.

The eyes in Richard's head roll expressively. "Of course not," he allows, his tone dry as he leans back in his chair, regarding the woman opposite him for a few moments before shaking his head, "Kazimir - Peter - whoever he was at the time. He gave Ramirez a choice between being a prisoner and being dead, and he chose to stick with his honor. He sucked every ounce of life energy out of him, and he just… crumbled to ash. There wasn't even enough for Darren Stevens to bring back."

He smirks, "Which, yes, makes it rather odd to see him alive and in the newspaper."

Okay, that gets Robyn's attention, head tilting to the side slightly. "Excusez-moi?" She blinks, taking a deep breath. "I- should read the paper more, apparently." SHe leans forward. "The paper? Do you have a copy?" She purses her lips, leaning back a bit. "I apologise, by the way," she offers, though she doesn't specify for what, exactly. "Crumbled to ash. Should've believed more Magnes used to tell me, clearly." She chuckles, crossing her legs in her seat. "Though I guess none of me stories would be any more believable."
Richard reaches out, tapping the surface of the desk to bring its display to life - touching a few other things before with a sharp gesture sending an image and text speeding off the edge of the desk-top display, where it appears on the wall superimposed over the map of the United States.

PNW DEAD ZONE AMBUSH screams the headline, accompanied by a picture of a helicopter and three heavily armed men. One of them with a battle-axe.

"You can clearly make out Iago Ramirez over on the right," he says with a gesture of his hand, "And that middle one? Joshua Lang, the Butcher of Mandritsara. Gabriel ripped him apart."

"What the actual fuck?" If this was part of the investigation, it hadn't made it across her desk yet. The Yamagato Assault she had heard about, but this… Robyn looks back up at Richard, lips thin. "Thanks, Richard." Thanks? She leans back in her chair. "That is a hell of a thing." And that's- all she really can say there. A hand moves to her chin, as she looks at the display thoughtfully. "Just when you think you're clear…" She looks back up at him, quirking an eyebrow. "You were right. It never really ends, does it."

"No." Richard's voice is quiet, serious as he looks at the picture on the 'window', "No, it never does."

Then he turns back to her, flashing a smile, "Anyway, I'm going on a casual road-trip with some friends next week, heading up to Washington state, see the sights, you know. Take it easy. So if you need anything or want to drop anything off, do it before then - I'll probably be gone for a month or so."

Robyn chuckles. "I didn't think you did casual, Richard." Which is a tease, obviously he does. "The Dead Zone. Be careful, be safe," she offers. "Not that I have to tell you." She offers a small nod. "If I have anything, I'll make sure to float it your way before then. If not… well. Enjoy your road trip." She smirks, tapping a finger on her knee. "I may stop in while you're gone. See Kaylee, Valerie, Geiger." She nods again. "And if you hear anything?" She motions back to where the picture was. "Let me know, if you can." She understands how these things go. You can't, always. Or shouldn't.

The subject of it doesn't end is filed away. Noted, but not dwelled on. There's no need for that right now.

Ray's gaze drifts back to the picture on the window, looking at it rather pointedly. "I do hope we find something interesting out there," he says dryly, and then looks back, lips twitching as he jokes, "Maybe we'll stop to visit the Largest Ball of Twine in the World on the way. Take some selfies." A tip of his head, "It's appreciated, I'm sure they'd all love to see you any time."

Robyn is quiet for several moments, before she nods. "I'd love to see any pictures you bring back." Subtle, right? With that, she rises up to her feet, offering an incline of her head to Richard. "Thank you for hearing me out, Richard. It's… honestly, appreciation doesn't cover it. I'm in your debt, even if this doesn't pan out." She smirks, rolling her shoulders. "I hope your road-trip goes well, of course."

Ray's hands plant to the desk, and he pushes himself up to his feet. "It'll be good to stretch my legs again," he admits, flashing a grin, "Just heading out with a couple compatriots, like the sun rising again." An odd turn of phrase, and an odd stress as well. "I'll try and bring you back some interesting pictures and enjoyable stories, if I can. Maybe some souvenirs."

"We'll be in touch," is the simplest way of putting it. She understands his subtlety - he's much better at it than she is. Something she would have to work on going forward. "I look forward to it." A grin, and then a wave. "Be safe, Richard."

She may not always be safe, but there's a bit of a bounce in her step as she makes her way to the door. Maybe not safe… but for once, she has some hope.

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