Living Memorials


bao-wei_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title Living Memorials
Synopsis Deep in the bowels of Praxis, Drs. Cong and Yeh develop an unexpectedly warm working relationship.
Date August 18, 2019

Praxis Ziggurat - Biolab Wing

This is definitely not the home that Yi-Min had grown accustomed to. Not only is the Ziggurat immense, it is full of things that make the city complex into a mirror of society here before the war. Signs in several languages point down corridors and down lists on elevators; Yi-Min's escort seems more like an intern, guiding her down the levels until they reach a point where security gets more complicated than keycards. The labs and medical facilities are slick and clean, long lines and anti-microbial surfaces, glassy panels and an aura of murmured sounds, clicks, beeps.

"This wing is the biolabs," The young man with Yi-Min leads her to a set of double doors, popping one open with a click-buzz of lock. "Head down, Doctor Cong is in the third on the right. He knows you're coming."

Having been more or less conscripted back into immediate service, she's been provided with the necessities of uniform, et cetera, and there won't be a soul to disturb her on the way inside. The biolabs are smaller spaces, more concentrated and used primarily for one or two agendas; not many here working at the moment, just the occasional passing tech.

It's notably colder than it is upstairs. There are, inexplicably, a lot of long sleeves despite the controlled environments.

It may not resemble the place that Yi-Min currently calls her home, but the design choices that greet her on her way down to the lair of Dr. Cong are more than familiar enough to her. The Ziggurat is not a place she had visited before, but such were the laboratories of Praxis Heavy Industries, exactly the way she knew them to be— quiet, stark, sparklingly clinical. Cryptic, to those without good reason to be in the know.

So too does she slip on the long white lab coat handed to her without a word, letting herself adapt to the sudden absence of heat from the upper levels she had left behind. It is chilly, despite the help of the long sleeves.

It is a slightly strange feeling, this brief intimation of reentering the lifestyle that had consumed the entirety of her last working decade. As though the charming, creaking backwaters of Providence had never entered her life at all, and she had never left Shanghai.

Third door on her right, her guide had said. Gently, she presses a slender hand to the appropriate doorframe for a considering moment, before knocking briskly.

This particular avenue lacks much noise thanks to the soundproofing, either. The door that Yi-Min comes to is plain and windowed; the frame has a chill and the window holds a stubborn, faint fog.
"It's unlocked. Come in." Her knocks are answered in a deep voice with an even odder depth; the pitch isn't quite right, sounding like it has a secondary barrier to reach her ears. Entering the lab, her first look will note the distinct lack of metal surfaces. And it is cold. Not uncomfortably so- - but she will be glad to have the coat.

"«Doctor Yeh.»" He was expecting none other, and the steps belonged to someone unknown. Words move caddycorner into a dialect more familiar to her work in Shanghai, coming from behind a barrier of equipment. "«I've been reading about your work.»" She has never met Cong in person, just by anecdote, or sparse notes. His presence has always been out of her purview. And yet, it sounds like he knows more about her than she him.

Of course he does. An outtake vent comes on as Cong wheels out from behind his station, putting aside whatever it is that he was working on. The vent makes a quick job of whisking out cold air, and the walls go into audibly balancing humidity. Everything clicks together once he shows himself; his frame and face are sculptures in their own rights, made of dark ice in planes, crags, and crystalline spikes, prongs.. He would tower over if he stood, but at the moment his mass, thick-limbed and heavy-shouldered, is centered on a stool, balanced just so at approximate eye-level.

One eye socket contains empty space, and the other holds a golden iris which has fixed on his guest.

It is one thing to have heard depictions of this behemoth-like aberration. To have discussed it with others. To have read what case notes are available to her on the matter.

It is another entirely to see it— no, him— in person.

Yi-Min lets herself in without extra fanfare or hesitation when bidden, attention straying to the fogged pane of glass only once before she is past that point and inside the chamber proper, where a new bevy of details waits to be taken in.

“«Doctor Cong,» she acknowledges in candidly returned greeting, following his prompt and lapsing into the welcome cadence of a tongue that is smoother and more familiar for the both of them. Even this slightly favorable touch makes an initial approximation of the situation no less strange, however, and her eyes are bright and hard with appraisal as they fixate onto his single golden one.

There is no discomfort in the look she gives him when he wheels forward, despite the totally unhidden intensity of it, and one brow inches upwards with mild, professional curiosity at his comment. "«Oh? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts. Is there a specific era of work you’re referring to?»"

By many rules of human sense, it should be impossible; but they live in an age of impossibilities. Bao-Wei's eye stares back with an unblinking sight, the tilt of his head shifting. The prongs atop his skull seem to have formed from some subconscious vision of self, and the frosted drippings at his jaw echo that. At some point, no doubt, she will witness the more fanciful or dangerous side, but when it comes to the mundane, this is it. His hands are tipped with points, shoulders stooped under that perceived weight of ice as he pushes onto his feet.

Cong moves slow, a ponderous set of movements that carry him to where filefolders sit, paper and plastic rather than digital. No energy wasted, if it matters.

"«Much of it is recorded, save for the periods where it was hazardous to do so. When they told me you were coming, of course I did my reading.»" Claws pick through an open binder with surprising dexterity. What Yi-Min has read of his condition is likely basics; he has the control he needs to do most things. And do not touch. Generally. Not that it will be an issue.

"«I am partial to your early work. It was much more…»" Doctor Cong angles his face back to her, the crinkle of his features a superficial expression of deeper thought. Some things don't change, even if you're a walking glacier. "«Unburdened.»"

"«Oh, naturally.»" Frankly Yi-Min would have been surprised if Bao-Wei revealed he had not done his reading. She'd had the same instincts, even if here had been rather less to be found on him in return than she would have preferred.

She smiles a curved hawk's smile when he makes mention of her earlier work, gaze flashing downwards underneath her eyelashes in a moment of musing thought. "«Truth be told, for a variety of reasons, I prefer my earlier work as well," she admits freely. It may have eradicated hideous monstrosities like you from the face of the Earth altogether, a younger Yi-Min might once have adamantly continued on to his face.

Present-day Yi-Min says nothing immediately, her attention on him resuming in her own, untroubled measure of time as placidly as though it had never abated. Dr. Cong may be a literal creature of ice, but her own gaze is barely any warmer.

"«At the same time, I cannot say that I have complaints. Burdens may become blessings in and of themselves.»" She does not elaborate on what she means by this, letting her temperate smile grow somewhat wry. "«I suspect you may know a thing or two about this yourself.»"

"«Personal preferences in mind, I am glad that your initial work never bore fruit. As much as I enjoyed reading it.»" Bao-Wei's answer comes after a moment's pause, cyclopean stare thoughtful despite the missing cues around it, dimming and reflecting the lab lighting.

The ice-man's smile is toothy, jaw crooked to the side and brow furrowing. It is not much in this shape, but it is something.

"«Ever do I.»" Doctor Yeh's assessment is right on the nose, and Cong is unafraid of calling it out as such. He lifts a hand, flexing pointed fingers against his palm and briefly watching the snip-snap of the ends. "«You should have seen the mess I made.»"

"«What I wanted was opaque and foolish. But in recent years I've come to terms. I much prefer this now.»" In a way, it has unburdened him too. "«In any instance,»** Feet shuffle into a pivot, frost skirting the floor tiles behind him and a hand beckoning to Yi-Min. "«I am not the only one 'burdened with glorious purpose'. I would like to see what you can do. Firsthand. I have the equipment, and with me as I am you need not concern yourself with my safety. I will also decontaminate.»

However that works, is unclear.

Yi-Min's smile curls imperceptibly to match that of the ice-man's in base essence if not in structure, face-to-bestial-deformity, her own expression close-lipped and divulging nothing that is useful.

But despite this, the element of candor behind Yi-Min's expression seems direct and genuine enough, and she seems quite unruffled as her gaze tracks his to the colossal, clawed hand that he lifts up.

"«It may be a platitude, but we all come out the stronger for our experiences, failures or not. Regrets for messes are ever a waste of time,»” she remarks as a summation to what they both have said. What the end result actually looks like is a topic for another time entirely (more wisely, perhaps never), but she is not at all above exhibiting respect for the arduous process that must have been necessary to work up towards it. Not unrelatedly,

"«I am equally curious to see what you would have me do. What occupies Adam Monroe’s mind must be of some relative importance to have him worried about it so.»"

It's one thing to have underlings that have to listen to you, because those ones often fear you more than anything. There's a feeling of stark relief in nonexistent bones with Yi-Min's presence. She has no fear of him and a clear interest in the world around her- - something that certain techs lack.

Beside this, it has been a while since Doctor Cong found someone that he could stand working closely with. He has his hand on the door of a fridge receptacle when this hits him, claws flexing once, introspection on his features. Bella was a long time ago. This is now.

"«He seems overly focused on the big prize, but I have personal experience with the faults in that.»" Bao-Wei lifts his face to Doctor Yeh, popping open the container underhand. The mention is probably as close as a clarification on his 'How' she'll get for the time being.

"«To begin, we have a need to test your limitations…»" Pincer digits pick up a cylinder lined with chill vials. "«This is not The Prize, this is a portion of the delivery system. Any forward plans will have to wait for this to be more- - secure in its purpose. I brought some notes which may be of use. For now,»" There is something clinical about him, though not lacking in a more personable air. Like he was once used to putting it simply for the sake of someone else. And he was.

"«For now, we focus on safeguards and the delivery process.»"

"«There would likely be faults either way, honestly. Either too much weight on the big picture, or too little. In this case, I suppose it is a question of what Adam has chosen as his lesser evil,»” is what Yi-Min has to say on the subject of Adam's focus, and there is an echoing remoteness to how she words it. She may not be situated anywhere near a top-down view, but she knows enough to label it for what it is: a balancing game of exquisitely, perhaps painfully, delicate factors.

The expression on Yi-Min's face grows somewhat droll as she focuses in on the line of cryogenic vials, eyes narrowing at them. "«I have many years worth of documentation on my ability, limitations and otherwise, if that is something you are interested in perusing,»" she remarks dryly, drawing closer so that she is standing more directly underneath Dr. Cong’s misshapen shadow, seeing what he sees.

"«But if you wish to witness it firsthand, I am glad to show you what I am capable of. Come. Lai. Tell me what you wish to see, and I will see if I can bend it to the purposes that you want.»”

"«I have.»" Perused. It's all he mutters on that matter. The nearness to him is colder the closer she gets, naturally, yet he seems to note the shift and that same cold fluxes in a moment of retreat. Doctor Cong angles away to a station, and Yi-Min is more or less familiar with the equipment here. "«As for Mr. Monroe's occupations and choices,»" He sets up the cylinder with a twist and steps aside. "«Even with me, he plays his cards closely. Not for lack of trust- -»"

Cong sets himself down on a seat of ice where he will be able to observe the monitors and not freeze his new charge.

"«You ought to know how it is. It proves difficult to control knowledge once it moves from one to many. I have my understanding.»" What is lacking is Bao-Wei's opinion on this. He is deliberate in his holding back, not only on his opining, but seemingly… everything. Still, the iceman gives Yi-Min no reason in his manner for her to believe she can't ask questions.

A sphinx if there ever was, one can suppose.

"«Oh, I do know. The spread of knowledge always poses a risk.»" The glint behind Yi-Min's eyes seems more pronounced now: a luminous little gleam most evident when viewed sidelong as opposed to straight on, as though in conveyance of some secret meaning or amusement; not that she is bothering to hide the sentiment if it is indeed the latter. She certainly has not seem surprised by any of this thus far. Not Bao-Wei's restrained attitude, nor anything of what he has imparted. “«Adam no doubt has his reasons for playing his cards close to his chest. Thus, we have all come away with our separate perspectives, and I would be lying if I said yours wouldn’t be interesting to hear.»”

With an unconcern born of long acclimatization to this and similar processes, Dr. Yeh pulls on a set of disposable latex gloves from a receptacle of them nearby, delicately closing her slim fingertips around the rim of one of the vials.

A long, chilled exhalation is expressed from her lungs, her gaze shrewd above a narrow humorless smile.

"«I am ready to proceed when you are.»"

The color of that golden eye shifts, dimming and flattening in a far more emotive way than his face. Bao-Wei's look manages to convey what his words do not; he appreciates her candor. Perhaps it has simply been a while, or a long string of people who he can read as poorly deceitful without much effort. When she is doing it, there is no heavy-handedness.


Dr. Yeh's sampling of her work under observation is a mostly quiet affair; Dr. Cong isn't one to mince words, and when he does speak he always keeps eyes forward. Work doesn't gain any tangents until they near the end of the session. By this time, the iceman seems far more comfortable speaking about plans or intention when it comes to utilizing Yi-Min's skills. He now has first-hand experience in his assisting and recording, of her fascinating- - and dangerous- - gift; Bao-Wei also makes no effort to hide his interest after a vague midway point, which itself is both heartening and… well… concerning.

At least he likes her, which is more than can be said of most.

"«You have quite the eye for detail.»" is Cong's post-assessment assessment. He'd approved of her preliminary labs today, of course. This is just a compliment in his own way. Yi-Min's work is gathered between precise claws as it is filed back away, safely kept. Cong's puttering around his lab is more quaint than awkward. He knows where everything is. He clearly spends… a lot of time down here. From time to time he seems to even mutter notes to himself.

Before going in, Yi-Min had not expected whatever slew of analyses she would be involved in to take long, and she had been correct in her own assessment. Naturally there is the fact that she has long years of experience as a scientist used to dealing with these precise matters; Dr. Cong does not have to verify everything by himself. But the little Taiwanese woman is also knowledgeable to an extreme about the ins and outs of her ability, theoretical implications of it and otherwise— to a degree that the available documentation does not quite do justice in covering. His interest in her is entertained, for the most part, with pleasure from her side of things.

In addition, by the end of the interlude, she is not shy about showing that she had grown a strange degree of fondness for Dr. Cong as well. If nothing else it was nice to be able to talk to someone about these things for a change: some who would not only get it but who could offer her fully-informed responses in return, rather than leaving her inside a dissatisfyingly one-sided monologue.

That has been a while.

"«Attending to detail has ever been my job,» is Dr. Yeh’s light-hearted acceptance of Bao-Wei's compliment, as she continues to observe him shuffling about the workings of the lab.

Rather more like an old a-gong, a grandfatherly figure, than an iceman. It is a thought that trickles into her mind with a tiny measure of surprise.

Thanks to the ability, age has done nothing physically, but in mentality he certainly grows more and moreso every day. It had been 'uncle', long ago. Now? The intrusive thought Yi-Min picks from the air is comment enough.

"«He wastes your talent out there,»" Bao-Wei lifts his chin with this sudden verbal note, eye casting from cabinet to wall to Dr. Yeh. "«But that is where he wants you.»" Adam. Providence. Context fills it in. "« With a place like this… I can only imagine what you could do, in time.»"

"«Then again…»" The iceman sits back down on that chunk of glacier he'd- made?- once again, this time with a comically normally sized pencil and paper. He seems to have no trouble with it. Tech doesn't like those hands of his for long. "«I used to work on projects in Exclusion Zone sewers and I managed. I'm sure you manage with 'rustic'.»"

The sentiment is met by the silvery shade of a chuckle from Yi-Min, one which may just also stem from seeing that itty-bitty pencil and paper juxtaposed next to Bao-Wei's bulk. "«That may be so, but I have a purpose in Providence, no matter how rustic it is. I fit there in a way that few of my colleagues ever would, which I suppose is a bonus to Adam's mission.»" She is talking about her past with the Vanguard, of course. That's a blank that she leaves for Bao-Wei to fill, just as he had done for her.

Then again, there can always be a 'then again.' It is no different for her.

"«But you have a point. When all is said and done, I have hopes of eventually returning to the field of antitoxin research. There is much untapped potential there. So many natural substances that are still poorly understood, still almost criminally underutilized for medical use. And I am rather uniquely poised to perform research in that regard.»" This is as earnest a desire as any she had expressed thus far. A jury-rigged laboratory in the middle of backwoods country poses certain, very real limitations.

"«Who can know? I suppose I will await whatever fate has in store for me.»" There is no rancor in this. It is but a statement, and one that Yi-Min seems almost content with.

"«They sound like a very… seasoned lot.»" Doctor Cong decides on when commentating on Providence's residents, stay neutral. The shape of those jagged fingers shift as he writes, adjusting to more hand than claw. His writing gets better once it settles. Notes on her work, or… her? Or maybe just putting ideas to paper. Maybe all three.

Brow ridges arch upwards as Yi-Min goes on to describe what she hopes to be able to do.

"«Mm. Sounds as if you have a dream of something, to want to go back. Healing can be a thankless job, antitoxin manufacture included.»" While he is surprised to hear she wants to go back to it, at the same time he isn't. Something at the core always comes back. Bao-Wei's eye swivels to the ceiling, a hum vibrating softly against ice and floor. "«I had a practice, once. People take those small clinics for granted. I don't know if there was another, once I disappeared. One hopes.»"

Yi-Min hears the hesitancy behind Bao-Wei's reaction, and there is a little laugh from her. It still does not contain any surprise. When she and Shengjiao Wu had been recruited to Praxis' banner, their backgrounds had clung like a shadowy, stubborn backdrop behind the both of them. A branding like that does not fade out easily, even after the passage of years.

Even beyond all of that, the country bumpkin life is not for everyone. She understands.

"«Well, it is lucky that I do not do what I do for the thanks of it.»" This is given with a mirthful kind of lightness, and then a more considering glance up to the icy giant when he mentions the practice that he used to run. "«I had heard, yes. You were a Triad doctor, back in the day. How did you end up entering the service of Adam from there? It is a rather big leap, going from something like that to something like this.»"

"«I did my part for them. They made me. I do not regret that much.»" Bao-Wei seems willing to confide, to a point. Details will remain murky. If she knows about the Triad connections it's a load off of his concerns. It allows her a frame of mind to establish where he comes from without him going on and on. Yet there is something else on his mind all the same. A distance as he answers Yi-Min, golden eye dimmed.

"«After some major losses… I started working for the Institute.»" Capital I, you know the drill. "«I was working to synthesize a formula for non-evolved… to give them abilties. There were ups and downs. More downs had them … reassigning us.»" The iceman's features are briefly irritated, teeth grinding and chipping at the edges. "«Being myself, I didn't take no for an answer. If they weren't going to allow me more trials…»"

"«If you want a job done, do it yourself.»" Bitterness lists after Cong's words, one hand lifting palm inward, digits crooking in a show of example. He did it himself, as he said. "«I ran off. Spent my time in hiding until some, ah, fascinating characters came to me for help. A raid. In Cambridge. So I went, with the promise of retrieving some of my old research. Unfortunately they decided to napalm the facility off of the face of the Earth.»"

"« Monroe was there. Retrieving his own interests. Zhao was with him, which made me wary… but Adam offered me a way out. Figuratively, literally, however you like.»" Ice crackles as Bao-Wei shifts, a line of brow lifting. "«I have been helping him to pick up the pieces. Put things back together.»"

Eyes piercingly thoughtful, never truly leaving the sight of the way Bao-Wei's single eye dulls in depth like a troubled, ebbing star, Yi-Min listens to everything her colossus of a colleague has to say without interruption. Throughout, she is an attentive an audience as one could wish for, though she does have to suppress a rather harder exhalation than usual when he describes the ending of the Institute facility he had worked in.

"«I can respect a man who does not hide behind his underlings. Who is insistent on getting things done himself, for better or for ill,»" Yi-Min discloses with a small but noticeable vestige of approval— belated after a delay of several seconds, but also very deliberate after her own manner, when he points out the altered structure of his hand again. After this, she smiles, an expression that seems a simultaneous response to multiple aspects of what he had said. "«You have probably heard this many times, but it is a wonder you are not simply dead. With not only your transformation, but from the impression of it, much of the rest of it as well.»"

For a few more quiet moments to follow, she seems to continue her consideration of the rest of what he had said, gaze catlike and calm. "«You said that you do not regret being coerced into doing your part. Is there anything of it all, that you do regret?"»

Captive audiences are less influential than others, though at the same time, Yi-Min is not completely such. Bao-Wei's eye swivels down to her face.

"«I had thought I was. Dead. Even now there's a sort of… purgatory.»" Despite his wording, the old doctor seems amused by it. "«I can force the effects back, but I always return to this.»" Purgatory. An unfeeling, unlikely purgatory. Stubbornness had him coerced into this, and pride had him stay. Of her question into what he does regret, it gives him an equal pause, furrowed features and tapping nail to kneecap. Besides the whole, pride before the fall thing?

"«Not doing it sooner.»" This answer is probably not the one she was looking for, and yet the iceman seems to be emboldened by it. "«I could have kept the only found family I had alive. One of them became my… raw DNA source. I couldn't let go. So perhaps this is part punishment, part memorial.»"

"«But I suspect that is not an answer you intended to get.»"

"«It was not»," Yi-Min says, openly honest in this admission. And yet after the fact, there is more of an understanding inside her demeanor than Bao-Wei might have expected from her in turn. The neutrality of her resting expression does not change much, but something of its sharper edges softens into a clear, transparent undertone of empathy, a strong glistening note beneath that subdued feline projection of judgment. "«Everything I have done in my own life, from the Vanguard up until now, I have done for the sake of someone whom I was also too late to save. I do not know the exact details of your situation, but from the sounds of it I feel I might have done just the same as you, and more.»"

No price too great to pay. Not for that burden of glorious purpose.

Even if her own prison was not a physical one like his, and even if their motivations and solutions had taken radically disparate paths, it is at least an echo she can share with Dr. Cong in a much more fundamental way.

While Bao-Wei may have been emboldened by what he had revealed to her, Yi-Min takes the opportunity to exercise a boldness already long-present in herself, looking him straight (up) in the eye with a slight shifting of her foot and a daintily casual quirk of her eyebrow. It is a fairly blatant, deliberate transition away from the heavy turn their conversation had taken in the last moments, without at all shying away from where any of the implications might yet lead. "«Tell me. Do you still eat? …Drink? I would not mind cracking open a bottle with you, in the days before I have to leave.»"

The iceman is quiet in his first response to her admissions; craggy expression looks on flatly, though of course when she looks him in the eye she has no trouble seeing the flux of light, up and down. It emotes his mood for him.

Bittersweet, as he's found someone who understands, just a little too late. Empathy is always there, he wouldn't be a doctor if he completely lacked. But in a personal way it's never been a strong suit. A sag of weight at spiny shoulders shows his mixture of heartbreak and relief. It's not a small thing.

"«Neither one, like this. I would not make very good company as a frostbitten old man either. I sleep, in a manner of speaking…»" Doctor Cong rankles his nose in a mimic of a smirk, a laugh filtered through the thick ice of his chest. "«You are more than welcome to be a proxy. »"

"«No drinking for you? That is a shame. A higher price to pay, then, than even I had thought.»" Yi-Min's brow creases deftly in an exaggerated expression of woe, but she also signals her silent assent, the realness of her own empathy, in the weight of the blink that follows.

Paradoxically, there is something a little freeing about that weight shared between the two of them, and the next smile she graces the giant with conveys a portion of this understanding inside its breeziness of form. "«You are already much better than many here,»" she says quite matter-of-factly, and without the smallest hint whatsoever that this is anything but the complete truth to her. "«One thing I can say about life in Providence: they may not be scientists, but they are interesting, or some of them are. Trust me, there is nothing lacking in your company.»"

A rise of that same eyebrow once again, more subdued and seeking behind the levity. "«But if this misfortune is the case, then yes, I shall have a drink on your behalf later.»" No problems at all on that front.

Yi-Min may exaggerate her woe for his sake, but it seems he doesn't mind the lacking much. There is just the grind of teeth and a sound like a snort. He can see that she has an understanding, and levity is still important.

"«I do not get many compliments. Much less worthy peers.»" Bao-Wei begins, tipping his head with regard for her interesting people in Providence. It's a fair balance. "«Or even many interesting ones. The feeling is mutual.»" Deep voice still lingering in the chamber of his chest, he pauses before adding a thought. Whatever it is, it amuses him. "«Perhaps if I am ever in your neck of the woods, I will visit. I wonder how well that would go.»"

No wonder he's so amused. There are shifts in his features to convey it, too. The tail-like appendage dragging behind him makes a concerted effort to thump against the tile, leaving a puff of icy chips in its wake.

It is Yi-Min's turn to express an outright measure of amusement to this. "«Believe it or not, you would be far from the strangest visitor to grace us with your presence,»" she professes with a keen trace of a chuckle, one that happens to coincide with the jarring impact of his little tail-thump. If he is aware of the certain giant robotic elements that had been discovered crawling around the environs of Providence lately, then he will immediately know exactly what she is talking about.

"«If I wasn't fairly sure that you wouldn't be instantly shot at, or blown up on sight by the guards, I would encourage such a visit. It must get dull at times, being cooped up in here with your work.»" She doesn't specify whether she means the lab or the Praxis Ziggurat more generally, but whichever one it is, it doesn't take imagination to envision the nature of the physical restrictions she is referring to.

Bao-Wei may be some sort of little Chinese grandfather at heart, but he sure doesn’t have the looks, size, or the physical anything else of one.

If he'd be the least disturbing visitor, maybe he'd fit in— He doubts that, clearly, given the rise and fall of brow, the shift of eye.

"«I have been shot at and blown up before. No trouble of mine. »" Bao-Wei shares, voice telling of his complete lack of concern. No eating. No drinking. No sleeping? No blood, flesh, bone. His senses aren't quite vestigial, though- - somehow. Perhaps part of it is his brain's ability to forge it. "«It does. Sometimes I may go outside of Praxia. The water isn't chlorinated or rationed. »" There isn't much of a reason to get out a lot otherwise.

"«I am not a popular person to be around, mind you. So… for the most part… I am on the fast road to finishing the library. »"

A tinny bell rings nearby, and even though she doesn't see it, Yi-Min can tell it is a phone of some kind. Like reaching into a coat, Doctor Cong's chest flowers open for his hand, drawing out a rudimentary version of just that. Unlike the pen, it is to a better scale. He takes a moment to depress the talk button and exchange some words.

"«Mnn. I'm needed upstairs, it seems.»" Cong’s golden eye swivels down to Yi-Min as he stands, flaking chunks of ice in his wake. "«**It will be a pleasure to work with you, Doctor Yeh. **»" It's not an insignificant thing for him to say.

"«Pffft. Popularity is highly overrated, anyway,"» Yi-Min asserts with an amused sharpness of exhalation that suggests some meaningful but unexplained context behind it, meeting that golden eye for the last time at the crest of that soaring difference in height. "«The unexpected pleasure was mine. I also look forward to working with you again.»"

The genuineness from Bao-Wei is reflected without any abashment within her own expression, as well as one final, heavy sense of consideration. She does not wait to have to be ushered out of the laboratory, showing herself out with a last smile conveying cognizance at the fact that they both have much to do—

—and leaving behind her an atmosphere decidedly less chilly in many ways than the one she had first entered into.

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