chess3_icon.gif luther_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title Lelantos
Synopsis Plans were made, plans within plans are made.
Date December 31, 2018

Phoenix Heights: Luther's Apartment

Barely a week's gone since the world had cause to celebrate a Christmas holiday. Remnants of festive decor linger behind in scattered bits of red and green, silver and gold outside in the streets of Phoenix Heights. Inside Luther's apartment in Phoenix Heights, though, the man has cleaned up and instead set out a simple celebration for New Year's Eve. Extremely simple, in fact, in that there's simply a party platter of cheese, meats and crackers along with three cleaned and emptied glasses, and a pair of full bottles of alcohol set on the coffee table in the main room.

One whiskey. One champagne… or rather, sparkling wine.

The man hasn't poured himself a glass of either, instead pacing back and forth up and down the short hallway that leads back towards the back bedrooms. His attention focused down at his phone, he stops at the threshold of the hallway on his umpteenth turn. Monica and Chess were both invited over under the pretense of a New Year celebration, but his underlying purpose remained unspoken.

Finally tearing his attention away from the silent mobile phone in hand, Luther looks up at the door expectantly, eyes narrowing, ears keenly strained towards the slightest sounds of approach.

Family doesn’t knock, so Chess opens the door, pulling the ski cap off her now-blond hair in a crackle of static. She makes her way to Luther first, which is a compliment when there’s alcohol and it’s the eve of January, the worst of months. She wraps her arms around him for a quick hug, even going as far as to kiss his cheek, before sliding off again toward the alcohol.

The champagne can wait for toasts. She pours herself a glass of whiskey, taking a swallow of it before she even speaks.

“This is very Martha Stewart of you, Luther,” she says, despite the fact it’s literally just cheese and crackers. “Did you make creme brulee, too?” It’s a weak joke, but she smiles anyway, leaning against the edge of the couch and taking a smaller sip of the amber liquor.

Monica follows Chess in, sliding the door closed behind her before she makes her way over to the alcohol. Sorry Luther.

"Look at you, ready to party," she says, grinning over at him as she adds a bottle of sake to the collection. But she also goes for the whiskey. Maybe the sake is a gift for later. Maybe it's just for later tonight. It might take a few moments to notice, but once she has a glass in hand, the bandage over her knuckles becomes quite obvious. It doesn't bother her, though, seeing as she comes over to give Luther a hug after Chess does. Her jacket comes off as she finds a place to sit and kicks her feet up on the arm of her chair.

He’s got no clock on the bare walls, but the hour is fairly late.

Relief floods through Luther’s frame when the door opens to admit the “partygoers”. A broad smile works its way into the man’s features, and he’s ready to return the hug from Chess warmly. Even given his ability’s side effect of a warmer body temperature, it’s an emotional warmth as well as within the tight wrap of his arms. Family doesn’t need any explanations. “I was thinking of trying that for Valentine’s,” he replies with an unoffended chuckle. “Gives me what, a month or so to practice?” With what ingredients? Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Monica’s hug also comes with a tight, brief wrap up of an arm around the woman’s shoulders. “Glad you came,” rumbles Luther as he finds a place to settle, finally, on the couch cushion beside Chess. For a moment, he looks like he wants to ask about the bandage over Monica’s hand. But in the end, he decides against it, favoring instead a more straightforward note.

“So. On Christmas, Richard, Warren, the Ruizes and the government managed to open some kind of… wormhole into another dimension. And a giant octopus robot came out of it. That’s what I heard, anyway.” His hand lifts to scratch at the spot beside where Chess had affectionately kissed his cheek. For all the strangeness that has been happening with the visions of other worlds, Luther has been on a bit of a rollercoaster. But now it seems like his erratic behavior has mellowed some, the discontent not as present as he regards the utter absurdity of what the world has been experiencing with the visions and the aurora.

So when he looks back at the ladies and shrugs, there’s still a possibility that maybe this latest event has really broken the RayTech security chief’s sense of rationality, that he’s reached a stage of acceptance for the death of logic.

“Well, you wouldn’t need the little blow torch,” says Chess with a smirk in regards to creme brulee. She moves to a proper seat on the couch when he begins to talk in earnest, though, her brows drawing together when he jumps straight into business. There’s no burying the lead, no beating around the bush.

Somewhere around the mention of ‘octopus robot,’ she downs the rest of her glass of whiskey. If they want her paying attention for the rest of this brainstorming session, someone might need to hide the bottle.

“Lu, I think it’s time to, uh, start looking for another job,” she says, with a shake of her head. “Jesus Christ. I thought the war was over and we were done with fucking robots. Now we have … transdimensional robots?” It’s not that she disbelieves him. Unfortunately, she has zero doubt he’s 100 percent for real.

Chess rises almost as soon as she’s sat down, returning to the whiskey bottle. “You need to quit that job like yesterday,” she throws over her shoulder as she splashes more whiskey into her glass.

Monica blinks when he jumps right into it. And she drinks. The bottles might be in a lot of trouble.

"Pretty flashy, even for Richard," she says with a wry, crooked smile. Her arm is a testament to how crazy things can get around that man, but she doesn't seem to hold a grudge over it. "No Liz, though? Just a robot?" A beat passes before she thinks to explain. "There was a painting that said she would come home on Christmas. But I guess Liz was actually a robot."

As far as quitting goes, Monica chuckles into her glass just before she finishes off what's left.

That’s right he went straight for it. Perhaps the lack of alcohol in him is to blame. Luther blinks at the notion presented of quitting, the hand that had been scratching on his jaw stopping briefly. “I… I can’t. Not yet anyway. Not ‘til this business is done. Not ‘til I know we’re going to be safe and the Ruizes figure out what’s going on. And, I think the Rays know more than they let on,” he states consideringly. “And I can pretty much trust that Richard’s going to keep trying to save the world by doing something crazy like this opening a transdimensional portal through time… business. That there aren’t more killer robots on the way.” The man slows towards the end of that statement, as it does sound as ridiculous as it could be.

But it was the truth.

Monica’s remark garners a wry smirk from Luther, though the expression falters as he shakes his head. “All I know is that… this thing isn’t the end. Now that SESA knows about all this, they’re going to try again. In a couple weeks. Richard’s aiming to get to New Mexico.” He glances to the two women, heaving a sigh. “It also means we need a new plan for Nisatta.” That’s when his gaze falls back on Chess, staying there longer.

The look Chess gives Luther is a flat one when he lists all the reasons he can’t quit the job. “If you get yourself killed, I will never forgive you,” she says dryly, but he can probably guess it’s not an idle threat. The woman wears grief and anger together like leather and denim. It’s a classic combination.

When his gaze settles on her regarding Nisatta, she waits for him to go on, and she frowns, glancing at Monica, then back to Luther, before snapping “What,” she mutters against the rim of her glass, finishing off the second helping before she sets it down on the table.

"We needed some contingencies, anyway," Monica says, swinging her feet down to the floor. She's serious now. "I wasn't going to bring it up tonight, but I was gonna ask you to jump in, Chess." But. First things first. "There's someone at Yamagato who we're pretty sure is working with Praxis. What we don't know is whether she's willing or if they have something on her. Kam is… high up there. Second to Kimiko type high. But we need to neutralize her, arrest her, and question her before she's carted off to Japan. The complications that we know of are that she is properly mosaic, so we don't even know what kind of powers she has, and the other is that our head of security, Eizen, says that Kimiko ordered him to outright kill Kam. I don't know if that's true or if he's trying to kill Kam to cover his own involvement with Praxis. So. We might need to neutralize him as well."

She looks from Chess to Luther, her hands spreading, "I'm thinking zip ties and a closet until it's all over."

Monica has told them both before that she doesn't trust the people in Yamagato. But it's possible they didn't realize how seriously she meant that. There's a reason she wants outside people on this and not Eizen and his security team. "We only know Kam is a mole because he told us. It's his security team that is failing to keep the sisters out. He could be the mole himself or he could be her handler and trying to maintain his position in Yamagato. Or he could be totally loyal to Yama and Kimiko and will frown at us for sticking him in a closet."

“Wouldn’t expect any different,” Luther answers the threat with a softened edge as he watches Chess consume the liquor set out. Had he been this way too? It’s around that thought that he switches his attention. Easier to avoid the stinging guilt that he gets when Chess fires back. The man nods slowly to Monica’s explanation, processing the summary. Or rather, trusting the woman’s summary of the situation better than what he’d heard at the meeting with Eizen Erizawa and the JDSF representative.

He can’t help the slight up-curl of his lip to reveal the edges of his teeth. “I’m thinking I like that plan a lot better than one where he gets ahold of your target. He didn’t want to make a scene of it. Not that anybody does… but that’s where we need to suss out his motives too. Guy’s a hard read.”

Luther reaches for the meager platter of appetizers, but it’s to drag the plate closer so they can utilize the foodstuff in their planning as visual aids. “I know it’s not the ideal, but it’s high time we figure this the fuck out why they’re after you, Chess. And Alix, and Kimberly. We stop reacting. We take back control and fight back.”

Fingers pause over a cube of cheddar. That one, he pops into his mouth.

“The main thing’s making sure you’re safe after all this is done,” he says to the both of them.

Arms folding across her, Chess listens to the explanation, brows drawing together, before eventually one lifts in silent cynical commentary at the situation that Monica lays out for them. She huffs a short breathy laugh at Luther’s use of litotes and understatement. “Not ideal is one way to put it,” she murmurs, reaching up to shove a strand of blond hair behind her ear.

“So this Kam has potentially a shit ton of abilities, which could include telepathy or something that would let her know what we’re doing before we even get to do it — or anything that could, I don’t know, kill us with a snap of her fingers, and we’re going in blind? Sounds like a good time,” Chess says with a shrug. “I’m in.”

Her lip curves up into a smirk, because she finds her utter disregard for her own life to be hilarious, even if Luther probably doesn’t. “So what do you want me to do? My power’s hardly subtle. Not super useful for distinguishing truth from fiction.”

"He's too pretty," Monica says, of Eizen. This is apparently another reason why he's difficult to trust. She doesn't elaborate, though, because Chess asks the important question.

"Ideally, no one will have to use powers on her. We have a meeting set up between her and RayTech. That'll be you. If we have her in a room, you can toss the gas in, depower her, before anyone comes near her. We'll have a distraction set up so security is tangled up in something else on the other side of the park. We have a technopath that will be keeping us private for the duration. Once she's depowered, we move in and arrest her." It's that easy. Monica looks over at Luther, nodding. "We need to go on the offensive. Hopefully Kam will be willing to talk and we can get ahead of them. If she's not willing, if something goes wrong, then all bets are off and we do the best Booming we can with half the team."

That's her contingency, for the most part. Go big and get out alive.

A snort of laughter manages to escape Luther in spite of the seriousness of their discussion. Eizen’s too pretty to be trusted. Luther’s agreement to that observation is kept controlled to merely that brief chuckle. The reality of the situation as described does indeed concern the man very much. “I don’t know, Chess. If she were hellbent on a world domination thing by force, you figure she’d have moved in on it by now if she had telepathy or telekinesis. Or taken the government for a ride a few years ago when they moved the capital to Kansas City.”

He shrugs, but then Monica’s contingency plan earns a frown. Actually, Chess’ cavalier attitude earned it first. “Tossin’ a can of neg at her probably won’t be fast enough. But you both got good aim,” he considers. “Given that the stuff’s water soluble and spits like a mountain lion, maybe just time it so the top pops off in her face, and she’ll be surprised.”

A brow arches and he finally reaches for the champagne. Because why not. “Keeping her on the move would make it harder for their security to pinpoint if she’s got a tracer on her somewhere,” he adds as he works off the seemingly decadent golden colored foil. It’s a distraction from his worries. “I don’t like that you’d need to get kind of close. But maybe that’s exactly what they’re not expecting.”

“I mean, I can lace an arrow with the negation shit and shoot her, but that’s probably not too subtle,” says Chess. “For some reason I don’t think I’d get past security.” She does have throwing knives too. “Kidding of course,” she adds, in case Luther’s scowl grows any deeper.

“So she doesn’t know I’m here? We’ll have to keep in mind that if she is Praxis, she might know my face, even if she doesn’t know I’m in house. Maybe she’ll buy the Raytech thing but maybe she won’t,” Chess says, finally reaching to take a slice of cheese and a cracker, nibbling it for a moment as she thinks through the plan.

“If she knows who I am, it’s probably best to throw the can as soon as possible and get out of dodge to let it work its magic,” she says after a moment. “I might be compromised, but at least we’d be on equal footing. Do we know if she has anything in that room to use against us? Guns? Katanas?” It is Yamagato, after all. “Anyway someone can sneak in and clear it so there’s no surprises?”

"That's a good point," Monica says, to Luther's insight on negation gas. She lapses into silence, listening to the two and rethinking her plan. She eyes the food, but doesn't make a move for it. Not to eat, anyway. Chess also raises a good point and Monica looks up, between them. "Maybe I should go in first. Sweep the room, drop the gas. It doesn't make a lot of difference to me if I get caught in it, but I wouldn't want you getting hit." That's to Chess. "I'm pretty good at sneaking, too. But once the gas pops, she'll notice." It isn't subtle. "So maybe you pose as RayTech to get into the building, but be ready to move by the time you get to the room. If she does know you, there won't be time for that to tip her off."

Then she reaches for a cracker, popping it into her mouth before she gestures to the pair of them. "What do you think?"

“And your Jiba friend, what about him?” Luther’s unintentionally trying to pop a champagne cork off without added tools, but it might not be the best idea with his warmer hands. “Doubt they’d have guns, but if they did, you know how to handle that,” he says confidently. As soon as he’s popped the cork, he reaches over to pour out three glasses. No fancy flutes here unfortunately. “How sure are we about Erizawa holding up his end of the bargain?” he asks after a short sip, “Or should we assume this plan is security distractions not actually included?”

Another sip, another rumbling of suspicion. Luther always was the paranoid worst case scenario type of planner. For good reason. “Let’s say it all goes to shit. Nisatta’s freaking out, Erizawa’s a mole, and Praxis actually got this set up as a trap. Guess you’d need to do what Ducky does and blow your way out. Maybe lay low in Staten. But if it all goes according to plan, then Nisatta’s in your hands, Erizawa’s stuck in a closet… what’s it going to be, catch and release?”

He makes a face, bothered by either scenario. Luther scrubs a hand over his jaw, head shaking. “Best thing might be the two of you go in together, and get out together. Take out Erizawa if you need to, then take on Nisatta. And pray that your sisters,” he glances over to Chess, “aren’t part of contingency on Erizawa’s part if he’s providing a distraction.”

Brushing cracker crumbs off her sweater, Chess glances from Monica to Luther as they speak, before she speaks again, reaching for another piece of cheese.

“It won’t affect your ability, but mine might give it the extra mojo it needs to hit her before she can react,” she says, after a moment. “If we don’t know what she can do — I’ve seen mimics turn into a gas to avoid negation gas, you know? But my power’ll make the can move faster than it would if your or me just threw it, which might give us a second more than we might otherwise. It might make the difference.” Seconds have made all the difference in her life in the past.

“If I’m tapped out, just be sure to have a weapon for me once I’m cleared to get in, and I’ll go old school if I have to,” she adds, glancing to Luther. “You’re getting me some Raytech badge or something to help sell this? What am I supposed to be consulting them about? Hopefully I don’t have to talk much because if I’m supposed to be some techy scientist person for more than half a minute, it’s gonna be clear I don’t know shit,” she says with a smirk.

"They," Monica says, of Jiba, "are a complex problem. They'd try to help, if they could, but there are programming issues, protocols they have to follow. So, Asi will have to weigh in on that one. I'm not sure exactly what we're going to do about them." The wildcard in this, Jiba. "But, if everything goes to plan, Asi will be in charge of safely escorting her back to Japan for trial. There's no releasing anything, there's only how difficult she wants to make it."

Which could be very difficult, really.

"Okay, that would help a lot, being faster on the draw," she says to Chess, nodding several times in a row. "And don't worry, I'll have weapons for us. Just in case. And you shouldn't have to talk at all. Just to sign in at the door. We'll start once you're on the scene. No science test."

After he’s poured out a portion of the wine, Luther holds out the bottle to offer a pour. “We’ll make something relevant. The Jackson Heights hydroponics garden project could be relevant, but maybe trying to get a toe in or two for the Roosevelt Island project Yamagato has started setting up. RayTech could be a useful subcontract.” That’s the extent of it from the RayTech side that he can think of. “I’ll leave it to Lou to make sure the badge is legit.” As legit as an alias set up would be.

“So once they - Jiba - get you in… hopefully it goes to plan, and hopefully you get the answers you need,” he asides to Monica, nodding into his glass of wine and taking a large gulp of it. After he swallows, Luther lets out a long sigh. “How did this get to be our problem?” The question asked comes with hypothetical airs attached. “But you best bring Alix and Kim along, too. They can secure an exit when the time comes.”

Chess angles her glass for a bit of the champagne, not too fancy that she won’t reuse the same tumbler she used for the whiskey. “That’s good,” she tells Monica, regarding the lack of a science test. “The last science class I had was AP Chem in 2011.”

She takes a sip of the wine, not quite as indelicate with that as with the whiskey, before huffing out a soft breath of a laugh at Luther’s rhetorical question. “No such thing as a free lunch,” she says, at least for herself and her sisters. They have to earn their keep somehow.

At the mention of Kim and Alix, Chess looks a little doubtful as to their usefulness — well, Kim’s, but she nods, trusting Alix to know what to do, at any rate. “Eve will be sad she missed out. Is she banned from Yamagato?” Chess wouldn’t be surprised, for some reason.

"When was this not our problem, Luther?" Monica asks with a crooked smile as she moves to the drinks to pour everyone a fresh round. Of the whiskey. "Chess— I would not be surprised. But she said she's working on her side project. Something about otters. I didn't ask."

Once everyone has a shot in hand, Monica holds hers out towards the other two. "A drink to friends, right? And Booming. And getting sloshed and not thinking about this mess until it's time." Her one New Year's wish. That and the wish that this whole plan actually goes off.

Hopefully, it's not too much to ask.

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