It's Not Global Warming


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Scene Title It's Not Global Warming
Synopsis Ruby Harper comes to Raytech with a message from the past.
Date July 2, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Office

Morning sunlight spills down through tinted windows in the Raytech lobby. Past the security checkpoint and across the tiled floor, a visitor to the company brings with her a sealed tube some four feet long carried on a strap over one shoulder. Her hard soled but flat shoes click loudly across the tile, and as she comes up to the front desk there's an expectant look in her bright blue eyes.

"Ruby Harper here to see Mr. Ray."

Suddenly swiveling around in her chair, cradling a kitten in her arms and gently stroking its head like a villain out of a James Bond movie, Sera offers Ruby one thin brow raised in inquisition. "Can I see your identification, ma'am?" For whatever reason she said the word identification with a British accent. Ruby gives Sera a sidelong look, then stares over the top of her head and spots a familiar silhouette in the halls beyond the lobby.

"Mr. Ray," Ruby calls out, brows riased. A little help here?

At the call of his name, Richard looks up— a smile crooking up at the corner of his lips.

"Something just came up, I'll call you back," he tells the person on the other side of his phone— probably someone within the facility, thanks to the difficulty of calls beyond it— and hangs up, slipping the phone away.

"Ruby," he calls, hands spreading as he walks over, "You're looking wonderful. Sera, this is Ruby Harper, she's one of our consultants— you'll have to forgive our security, Ruby, given what happened to Remi, well…"

"It could be a shapeshifter," Sera carefully notes, picking up a spray bottle that has Shapeshifter Spray scrawled on the side in Sharpie marker. She lifts it up, eyeing Ruby, and then eyeing Richard as if waiting for permission to spray her in the face.

Ruby stares down at the bottle, eyes partway lidded, and then looks over to Richard. "I was going through Simon's possessions," she says, dismissive of Sera's spray-bottle plot, "and found something of his that might have value to you." She indicates the tube slung over her shoulder. "Could I show it to you in private?"

Sera makes indiscreet eye contact with Richard and slowly shakes her head, mouthing the word shape shifter.

"What…" Richard stares at the receptionist for a moment, one hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose, "…no, she's— she's not a shapeshifter. Give her a security lanyard, please?"

Once that's taken care of, he sweeps an arm towards the elevator and invites, "Of course. We can use a conference room, this way…"

At their backs, Sera stage whispers, "I'm on to you," to Ruby and points at her own eyes, then Ruby's back, then her own eyes again. She continues to do that until the pair are completely out of sight and in one of the conference rooms.

Once there, Ruby bursts out with laughter and shakes her head. "That's certainly quite the receptionist you have, Richard." Ruby steps away from the door and sets the leather-covered tube down on the table, then opens the top. "I found this in a collection of paintings Simon had stored in our attic. Most of them were landscapes he'd won at auction in the 80s, but this one I recognized as being… different."

As Ruby slides the canvas out of the tube, she begins rolling it out on the table, revealing a white canvas painted solely with red paint. Fingerprints and smudges cover the canvas surface, and at first it just looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, until she reorients it and Richard sees the signature in the corner.

MAS 06


"She's certainly…. an interesting person," admits Richard with a chuckle, closing the door behind him, "We do seem to collect interesting sorts here at Raytech, though."

The painting's rolled out, and he leans forward, hands bracing on the edge of the table. He frowns as he looks it over, noting the signature. "It's one of Eve's," he murmurs, motioning then to the missing land masses, "This must have been a prediction about Munin… if we'd failed at Apollo. The Flooded Earth?"

Ruby raises one brow slowly, she isn't familiar with the concept. "I figured you'd know what it was. I don't know if it has any inherent value to you, but much like Simon I know you collected information about precognitives. I recognized Ms. Mas' name and assumed you'd want to see it. As for how Simon got a hold of it, I checked his records and it appears Ms. Mas sold it with some of her other work to pay for her bills. I'm not sure she was even aware of its significance."

Ruby picks up the tube and puts the lid back on, then slings it over her shoulder. "What you do with it is entirely up to you. Is this…" she looks to the painting, then back up again. "Something we should still be worried about? It's not global warming, is it?"

"No, something much worse… a threat long past, fortunately," says Richard, offering a faint and reassuring smile, "It wasn't publicized, even after the war, but the Vanguard had a contingency in place if their virus wasn't released. A nuclear weapon buried in the Antarctic ice. They were going to set it off, flood the world…"

He shakes his head, "We put an end to it. I— " A brief stumble as memories tumble unpleasantly back, "— stopped the weapon personally."

"In another world, of course," he says as he straightens, "We didn't stop it. Time has many branches. This might come in handy at some point, or maybe it'll just be a curio. Hard to say. But thank you, I do appreciate it; I don't suppose there's any more of Mas's work in the collection? Or Mendez— Redhouse, even?"

Wry, "I'm a bit of a collector myself."

Ruby reconsiders the painting, given its full context, and the corners of her mouth downturn into a frown. "Unfortunately, no. Everything else of hers he owned was kept in the Cambridge facility." A structure now buried under mountains of concrete, sealing in the radioactive tomb of Amid Halebi. "But he did once have a sizable collection. You imparted to him the importance of prophecy when he was younger, and he never forgot that lesson."

Slowly, Ruby looks away from the painting, blinking a level look over to Richard. "If I find anything else, however, I can be sure to let you know. As for the artists themselves…" Ruby furrows her brows, "why not inquire with them directly? Of the prophetic painters Simon was aware of — Isaac Mendez and Trevor Teasdale aside — both Eve Mas and Thomas Redhouse are still alive."

At that news, Richard's brows raise slightly in surprise. "I've never actually met Redhouse," he admits, "I've just seen his name on some paintings in the past… do you know where I might be able to find him?"

A glance to the painting, a brief grimace, "Eve and I aren't on the best of terms these days. She's not… stable."

"She used to be," Ruby admits with a tilt of her head to the side, but she leaves that where it lays. "As for Thomas, I'm not sure. I know he went off grid before the war, though Simon believes that he was sought out by a pair of Ferrymen members."

Ruby raises one brow. "Catherine Chesterfield and Barbara Zimmerman." Her shoulders rise and fall into a shrug. "If anyone knows where to find Thomas Redhouse, it's one of them. I'd wager you'll have more luck with Ms. Zimmerman than Madame Secretary."

"Barbara's a good friend," Richard admits, one hand scratching at the stubble shadowing his jaw, "Maybe she can find him. Maybe he's seen something useful, something that'll help me locate the mysterious Mister Abraham." The latter wry, a needle in a haystack search it seems. Or a penny in a jar?

"Oh— " He snaps his fingers, "I nearly forgot. I confirmed that the Renautas twin are alive, and working for Erica still. She's using them for remote communication."

That news has Ruby looking dubious. "That… is a good use of their abilities, if dehumanizing." Her attention briefly flits to the painting on the table, then back up to Richard. "Try not to judge them too harshly, they were just children when they came to work with the Institute."

Disheartened by the fates of the Renautas siblings, Ruby slumps her shoulders some and looks to the door. "I should…" but then she reconsiders, looking back to the painting and then Richard.

"No," Ruby amends, "you should take me out for lunch someplace that still has food, and you should tell me the story about how you stopped a nuke."

"I won't. I'm hoping to talk to them, see if I can… convince them to come back to this side of the line," Richard admits, "They were just children. I'm sure that I can convince the law to be lenient, all things considered, if they do."

A laugh, then, and he straightens from the table, "It's… a story, I'll give you that. Let's go, then, I think I know a place that might still have the supplies for a reuben."

Ruby tilts her head to the side and moves with the motion toward the door. "I haven't ever known the law to be lenient to the unfortunate," she admits quietly, letting one hand come to rest on the door's surface. "Just merciful." Her brows knit together, with worry.

"…and mercy is a poor substitute for fairness."

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