Loin d'Ici



Scene Title Loin d'Ici
Synopsis Robyn Quinn communes with a ghost.
Date February 5, 2020

Kaleidoscope Studio

Bay Ridge, NYC Safe Zone

February 5th

4:17 pm

It's been a quiet afternoon at Kaleidoscope Studio - at least, now it is. Now that Corbin and Eve are gone, Walter and Hokuto with them, the building has fallen almost eerily quiet, save for the sounds of Matthew playing video games in the living room. It's only barely audible downstairs, and functionally silent in Robyn's office.

The SESA agent sits, amongst the books, the paintings, the records, the miscellaneous antiques and nick nacks that have no proper place and haven't been moved out of the room to make space for the increasingly convoluted string map that is her and Kenji's investigation data. She should be looking over it better; she knows she can't get away with staying home again tomorrow and it would be irresponsible of her to come in unprepared.

Instead, she sits at her desk in utter silence; not even music from the record player or the computer fills the room. An email program sits open on screen, a familiar email still unfinished. But even as important as finishing her transfer request is, it isn't the focus of her attention.

Nothing is.

She stares into the middle distance, into the shadows between. She stares across the room at a book she thinks is a psychology book she read when she was training to join SESA after Cat asked her to consider enlisting. Gray eyes unfocus as she stares past the brightness of her computer screen, the only light in the room besides the quickly dwindling sunlight outside.

Though her focus is empty, her mind is not. Despite her seemingly vacant expression her mind races faster than it has in quite some time. Thoughts about her mother. Thoughts about what had happened all those years ago, and how they contrasted with the woman she knew - and didn't. Thoughts about that sunlight glow she had seen so clearly. Thoughts about her own ability, and what it may be.

Thoughts about Project Amaterasu. Thoughts about Richard Drucker.

“I imagine if you put S.Attva’s name into the internet, he’ll find you.”

For the first time in what feels like an age, Robyn's eyes turn back to her computer. It only takes her a moment to bring up the internet browser and type S.Attva into the search bar. The enter button clicks satisfactorily as she hits enter… and then waits.

She doesn't expect much, but life has a way of surprising her lately.

The sudden ring of her phone might as well have been a gunshot for how startling it is. The caller ID on the screen is a clear indication that her message was received.


It takes a moment for Robyn to recover from almost jumping out of her skin. She had been prepared for several things; the sound of her generic ringtone piercing the silence was not one of them. The solace she finds in that moment is that, piecing together what she's gathered with this confirms an admittedly almost certain suspicion.

"Technopath," she mumbles as she reaches over and picks up the burner phone on the desk - one of these days, she'll see if hers got turned in at Yamagato, or more likely, just finally replace it.

One of these days.

Pressing answer, she raises the device up to her ear and huffs out a breath. "Hello." It's not a question or an uncertain remark. "I wasn't expecting a response."


«Expectations are often broken.» The voice on the other end of the line’s is masculine, though there is a synthetic quality to it, like someone using an advanced text-to-speech program. «It has been three-thousand five-hundred and eight days since I last referenced your identity. I express relief at your well being and successful professional enterprise.»

Though it sounds like a person, what is speaking to Robyn on the other end of the phone has all the cadence and bedside manner of a particularly expensive toaster. «What is the nature of your contact?» Almost human, but something other.

There's a distinct furrowing of Robyn's brow at the voice and it's implied insistences that she use _math_. Something feels so off about this, so suddenly. She shifts in her seat, wondering what her response to that query would be. What _was_ the nature of this beyond pure curiosity? What had she been hoping for here?

Had she even thought that far ahead?


"Nine and a half years?" A beat, and she shifts again as she tries to relax in her chair. "I- so… you know me?" Of her, at least. But answering that question still sits on the forefront of her mind more than anything else. Best get to it

"A friend… told me how to reach out to you. A mutual acquaintance, I guess. I wanted to… I don't know. Talk? I have… questions, I guess. I want to understand something. Put it to rest." It sounds as uncertain as it feels, tinged with a very genuine undercurrent of emotion.

«I, too, have questions.» S.Attva notes on the other end of the phone. But then the line goes dead, not even a dialtone, just dead. A moment later the lights in Robyn’s apartment flicker, and she can hear a voice all around her through the surround sound systems. He’s in the house.

«Part me of was very concerned with your well-being, in the past. Because of what I believe was a connection to Charlotte Roux, your mother.» S.Attva’s voice echoes from every speaker in the house, as if he was the house. «Up until my destruction, I watched your movements. As a promise.»

Of all the things Robyn has seen over the course of her life, this somehow immediately turns into one of the more disconcerting. It had never occurred to her how wiring every room in the bottom floor with speakers hooked up to bluetooth could be used in ways she didn't expect. It may should have, and that's not even considering the speakers from her turntable. What an oversight on her part.

It's not hard to let that thought slip away, setting her phone back down on her desk. There it is. A connection to Charlotte Roux. Robyn is silent for a long moment, hands wringing in her lap. It's not that she's uncomfortable, it's just that she suddenly finds herself unsure of what to say next. It reminds her of when she was younger.

"As a promise?" That brings a small smile to her face. "I guess I don't have to introduce myself, then, but-" What? It's a weird feeling, to be so nervous. She chuckles and lets out a bit of a sigh. "Robyn-" Another pause, and she thinks for a moment, before smiling. "Robyn Roux. It's a pleasure to speak to you. Though- I know very little, to be honest.."

Wait, did he say destruction? She knows that's a real possibility for technopaths, but… "Richard Ray directed me to you, ah, Mr. Drucker." Or… what's left of him, Richard had said?

«I am S.Attva.» Comes the correction from every corner in the house. «Richard Drucker died in 1984, his untethered consciousness drifted among the angels of a modern age for decades, until he became Rebel. » The voice grows quiet for a moment, then rises again with a hiss of static behind it. «I am none and all of them. I am as much Richard Drucker as I am Micah Sanders as much as I am Shen Ningdao.»

The voice grows quiet again, but Robyn can hear it moving around her apartment thanks to the interconnected speakers. It creates a low audio hum and a static hiss wherever it moves. It’s like a ghost in her wiring.

«Are you familiar with the Ship of Theseus?»

Robyn grows quiet, not just to take in the explanation, but to try and sort it out in her head. Only one of those names is familiar to her, another tugging at a string of almost recollection, but not strong enough to bring anything forward. "I see," she replies quietly, eyes following the hiss as it moves around the room. So this wasn't the man she had hoped to speak to, and yet it was. Technopathy always complicates what should be simple processes.

"I've seen his death," she remarks quietly of Drucker. "Glimpsed it through the lens of untold history. My apologies. For the confusion, I mean. I am familiar with the idea of a technopath's consciousness being left to free roam through technology. But…" She was inadequately prepared, informationally. Or just lacked the understanding to piece together what Richard was implying. "I never knew. Not until now."

Hands ball up the edges of her button up shirt and she closes her eyes. "Anyway, no. I'm not familiar with the, uh, Ship of Theseus."

There is silence in response. For a moment it’s hard to tell if S.Attva is still there. At least, until the static returns, whirling through the speakers around Robyn. «The Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment, posed by Plato, that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.» Robyn sees the parallel.

«I have no recollection of the moment of Drucker’s death, merely corrupted data. This is an interesting point. If you would be so kind as to furnish me with a better understanding, I would be obliged to reply to any inquiries you may have relating to him, or things within my purview.»

"Ah." When laid out so simply, it's certainly a concept Robyn has no issue understanding. "I believe, personally… that we are all versions of our self, and all versions are ourselves." Wrinkling her nose, she chuckles a bit. "If that makes sense. It doesn't whenever I say it out loud. But…" She leans back in her chair. "We're all bound to ourselves. Through memories, data, the collective unconscious — there's not much difference in all of it at the end of the day."

Rising up from her seat, she turns and picks up a cane that leans against the side of her desk. "But maybe I've read too many psychology books these last few years. I read a lot of Jung when I was gearing up to join SESA." She shrugs as she starts towards the door, knowing that the voice of of S.Attva will follow her. "Ah, anyway. Drucker… I don't know much. I know he and my mother were friends. Colleagues, working for the Company before I was born. Here in the States and in Antarctica. I actually…" Letting out a low chuckle, Robyn stops in the middle of the access hallway leading from her office to the lobby. "I was in Antarctica at the end of December. Sadly there was nothing left of what they worked on, just records."

As she steps into the Lobby, she closes and locks the door behind her, before leaning heavily against it. The grip on her cane - which she doesn't actually need, but keeps close regardless - tightens. "Sorry. I'm rambling. Ah… Drucker and mum were working on something in the 80s. I think it was something to combat some sort of… Entity? No one has really explained this whole situation to me, just shouted oblique calls to action at me."

Eyes move around the room, looking to the speakers in each corner. "They were using the dish at Fort Hero. If what I've put together is right, I think it was called Project Amaterasu, and… mum had an ability that had something to do with sunlight. Maybe solar energy? I think they were going to focus it to fight this thing. So… day comes, and something went wrong. Drucker and mum were fixing it — or well, at least he was. Job done, ready to go again. They get ready to- fire,a — activate, make it do whatever it was going to do and… he got caught in the scaffolding."

She lets out a low sigh and looks down at the floor. "He didn't get free before it fired. The whole rooftop was awash with solar energy, blasted off into the distance. Mum survived because I guess it didn't affect her with her ability. Drucker…" She closes her eyes. "Mum tried to get to him, he tried to get free. I would guess that's when he jumped." And became a literal ghost in the machine.

Silence falls on the room again, backed by a low rumble of static.

It takes a while for S.Attva to respond. «Thank you,» is how he chooses to respond after such a long time. There is a weight to that thanks, a personal grief. «Your perspective on identity is appealing. I can see sympathetic ideas in that. However, you are perhaps missing a piece of your own personal equation.»

The static in the room moves closer to Robyn, to speakers nearest to her. «It is a tragedy that Drucker died as he did. Based on the observational data that Hana shared with me, I do not believe he and Charlotte were in a platonic relationship. She… must have felt great loss.» There is a moment of silence before S.Attva adds. «I remember what loss feels like.»

The thank you earns a small smile from Robyn. If the only meaningful thing she does this year is bring peace to a man fractured and gestalt into a new being, then honestly she might be okay with that. She's ready to elaborate on her ideas around identity and what they mean to her — and how she arrived at them. But that train comes to a screeching halt just as it's leaving the station.

"Missing?" There's a tinge of confusion in her voice as she puzzles over those words, trying hard not to lose the thread as S.Attva continues on. She pushes off the door and passes the reception desk, a glance offered at the glass doors that lead into the building. She stares into her reflection as she listens, head canting to the side. "I mean…" she says quietly as his supposition. "They worked together for some time, I'm not going to pretend that mum never…" There's a hitch in her thought as she turns to face the glass doors. "I wonder when she met…" There's a puzzle she's fitting together here, uncertain of the picture it'll display when she finishes. A finger taps at her cheek, and this time it's her turn to fall silent for a moment.

"What… am I missing?"

«I do not know.» It isn’t the answer Robyn wanted. «But I know what I saw of their interactions. Ones you may not have. There was… emotion. Closeness. Unconscious physical reaction. Perhaps it was unrequited, this I cannot say.»

But then the static moves, shifts around Robyn and settles in front of her. «But there is a fraction of a part of me that, when I learned she was dead…»

The static lingers for a moment. «I mourned.»

For the first time in the conversation, Robyn finds herself wishing for some sort of physical presence. Someone to lean on or… something. She doesn't share this, of course, but as she stares into the glass her shoulders slump a bit. Instead her gaze drifts off to the side and she nods. "I…" She wrinkles her nose, thinking over her words. "I can believe it. I certainly trust you more than I do myself for that. Everything I've seen… it had purpose behind it, a clear intention. A goal. No time for that sort of emotion. Though I'll never forget how… distraught she was when… " He died.

A hand rubs at the back of her neck and she turns away from the glass. "I am still mourning," she admits in a low tone. "I think I have been ever since Ygraine told me. I think that's why I was willing to move mountains for closure." Making her way across the room, she moves to the hallway that leads down to the studio space. "I don't… it's hard to say if the woman I knew was the one Drucker did. I had no idea she was so- brilliant, so gifted. To me, she was just the bohemian artist willing to put up with whatever girlfriend her daughter was bringing around that weekend."

A small smile crosses her face. "And I loved her for it." Her free hand reaches up, fingers trailing along the wall as she walks.

«Perhaps he did too,» is S.Attva’s only response.

There’s some time where Robyn walks alone in silence, save for the distant hum of static indicating that S.Attva is around. After a moment he finally asks, «Was there anything else?»

Robyn stands at the door to the green rooms, sucking in a shuddering breath as she tries to fight back rising emotion. "I…" She swallows, fingers wrapping around the door knob. "I didn't want to just know what you- Drucker knew about my mother. I was hoping you remembered the work. The research." The knob turns. "Project Amaterasu seems like it is about to be very important to everything we're doing. I have no idea what was actually being researched in Antarctica. I wanted… insight, I guess. If you have any."

And she wanted closure, but… this has already gone a long way for that, new curiosities aside.

"I know next to nothing about any of this. I was raised as a musician. I flunked out of college. To be honest, I have no business being a federal agent, but here we are. I'm good at it at least. But I lucked into so much of this." She pushes the door open and steps into the green room, looking to a guitar on a stand and a notebook on a glass table. "So anything I can help share, the better."

«Much of what may have existed of that knowledge died with Richard Drucker,» is the worst answer Robyn could receive. «However, Hana showed me images of the past she experienced via a man named Walter Renautas. Technical information on solar transmigration, cosmic rays. The data points mean nothing to me, and they are largely incomplete, but it is something that I could provide to you with your permission to access an…» S.Attava’s voice comes from closer to Robyn now. «…electronic device.»

Exhaling a heavy breath, Robyn nods. The worst possible answer, but she'd been trying to not get her hopes up anyway. "You can have access to my personal computer back in my office. The laptop." Because she'd rather not risk letting an outside entity into her work devices. "Renautas… he's the reason I know what I know, I have to admit. It seems he's been very busy," Rolling her shoulders, she moves to sit at the couch in the green room, pulling the notebook towards her.

"Thank you," she offers again, settling her hands in her lap as she looks around. "For listening to me ramble. For offering me what you could." he sinks into the cushions, looking upwards as she drapes her arms across the back. Silence drifts in for a moment, before she nods. "I understand that you aren't…" Trailing off, she shakes her head. "But, um… you're still welcome to stop by anytime. Like anyone else I know."

«I will remember this.» S.Attva indicates, making it difficult to tell his precise tone. «The data is applied to your laptop in a desktop folded entitled Antarctica Research. It is encoded in a lossless video file compiled directly from my download of information from Hana. You will be seeing it as she saw it.» All that in the matter of a split second, without even breaking his conversational tone.

«Stay safe, Robyn.»

«That is all your mother ever wanted for you.»

And just like the spirit of Christmas Past…he’s gone. And just like Ebeneezer Scrooge…

…Robyn has been left with much to consider.

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