Marked Confidential


asi5_icon.gif elliot_icon.gif kaylee6_icon.gif richard4_icon.gif

Scene Title Marked Confidential
Synopsis Elliot brings information retrieved in the Wolfhound raid on Renautas-Weiss' headquarters.
Date April 19, 2021

Raytech Industries Campus, Richard's Office

5:17 pm

Asi is two minutes late when she knocks on the office door, waiting a moment before opening it in. She has a guest, which may explain it. Normally, she's punctual, if not early. But Sera operates at her own schedule, especially if it's the end of the day, and even more doubly if the work involves proximity to a person she finds handsome.

The former technopath steps in front of that guest to cast a pointed look left, then right, and then back at who follows her. "See, no Exterior or SESA agents in sight," she tells him in an exaggerated undertone.

Never mind they'd passed one leaving for the day on their way in.

Elliot Hitchens bears a visitor's badge, an unmentioned guest on the meeting invite sent marked confidential, regarding the topic of SEER development. It had been written specifically that Dana, for no reason, should be involved in the conversation. It wasn't much, but it helped to indicate the level of severity of the type of discussion Asi meant to have here.

"Sorry for the delay, and thank you for the last-minute meeting. There's…" she pauses for a moment. "Been something we've been reviewing the last few weeks, and it took a while to decide what to do with the information."

But the information isn't hers to share, and it's not even her that found it, although she indirectly helped. Asi closes the door behind them and gestures Elliot ahead.

“Can never be too careful,” Elliot replies quietly with a wink to Sera on his way into the office. He certainly wasn’t expecting a federal presence last time he was here, when they were only doing LSD in the basement. The stakes are much higher this evening. He doesn’t feel like he’s on firm enough ground yet to get on the DOE’s bad side, and having done secret corporate espionage while on an international black op wouldn’t win him any favors. He isn’t indispensable.

He’s never been in this office before in person, though he’s familiar enough with it via Wright in preparation for Sweden. He looks around mostly because that’s what people are supposed to do when they enter a place for the first time. Maintaining the illusion.

“Mr Ray,” he says, stepping forward as he turns his attention to the CEO, nodding in greeting. Pushes down the revulsion he feels, can’t control. Director Cardinal. Keeps his face professional. He rolls his shoulder to settle the backpack that contains the data trove. “Sorry for the subterfuge.”

Kaylee leans with a shoulder against the big bay window with arms crossed. Her expression is thoughtful as she looks out, only turning away when the door opens. Eyes narrow at Elliot with a look of recognition, though his attention is on her brother.

So Kaylee’s focus settles on Asi who gets a small sheepish, if stressed to all hell smile. The slender blonde, dressed far more casual than her brother in worn jeans and a blue plaid button up. Though they don’t see much of each other, there is a kinship there of sorts.

Richard, of course, is dressed for the office; black suit, red tie, the works. He rises up to his feet as the door opens, and then he’s raising an eyebrow upwards at the pair.

“Most of my life is subterfuge,” he quips, “So unless you’re planning to kidnap me or something, I don’t think there’s any need to apologize… what’s up, you two?”

It’s not a business meeting, it turns out, so he brings his hand up to loosen his tie. He hates that thing.

Not that kind of business meeting, at least.

Asi meets Kaylee's recognition with a grateful nod of her head. Her opening attempts at levity aside, she's relieved to see her here. A singular reaction to what she intends to discuss isn't desired here, and it's these two stakeholders of Raytech she's most familiar with.

"While ultimately we cannot control what you do with this information once it's in your hands, I would request your discretion," she leads, sobering as soon as the door's closed behind them. "It deals with data obtained from Renautas-Weiss' headquarters."

Passing a look between Kaylee and Richard, she clarifies, "Physically."

And almost certainty illegally.

Elliot drums his fingers on the strap of his backpack before swinging it from his shoulder. He doesn’t know Kaylee personally, though Wright supplied him with her memory of the woman’s take-down of a Halloween Gala robber repeatedly. Truly the highlight of the evening. He nods politely.

He approaches Richard’s desk, setting down his backpack to produce from it an older model laptop. He sets the bag on the floor and opens the computer, keying through his security with an improbably long password.

He gets to it. “The data acquired from Renautas-Weiss details, among other things, a project known as Structure. A means of creating a functional digital duplicate of a human consciousness using SEER,” he says. He keeps eye contact with Richard as he speaks. “At the time of the data exfiltration, it was being used to create a duplicate of Kaydence Damaris in order to gain access to Yamagato’s systems and records through her.”

There’s only a brief pause before, “And there is suggestion, though not proof, that this was being performed by Lucien Crane for Claudius Kellar at the behest of Mazdak.” There’s more, but this seems like the best starting point.

At the presentation of the laptop, Kaylee pushes away from the window and moves to stand next to her brother to get a better look at it herself. There is no real reaction to the information, more of a curious interest before she shifts a look to Richard. “Well, that proves that.”

Glancing at the laptop, Kaylee also asks her brother, “Structure. Sounds familiar. Isn’t that the thing that…” Kaylee stumbles at the edge of saying Odessa’s name. She doesn’t know Elliot well enough to mention the woman by name. “…that Eve found out about?”

Richard lifts an eyebrow as he looks down to the laptop - and then back up, although he too doesn’t seem to show much surprise at the information that’s given. He looks back over to his sister and nods, then eases back into his chair.

“That’s valuable validation of the intel that we got directly from Cecilia Weiss… I’m pretty relieved, too, I was really gambling that we could trust her,” he admits, one hand coming up to rub against the curve of his jaw, “This is confirmation of everything that she brought to us. Kellar and Crane were working in Renautus before the merger - one of the reasons that Weiss targeted them, I believe. Their inside man in all of this was Hayate Kawahara, who was contacted by Sharrow — the man that Kazimir hand-picked to continue his work after his death.”

His tone turns a bit dry, “It seems that after learning Kazimir had a change of heart in Antarctica, Sharrow found a new messiah. A gold-eyed one.”

“Structure…” A finger taps at the edge of his desk, and he grimaces, “As Ms. Tetsuyama is probably very aware, Structure is a project that can do amazing things… or be horrifically abused. It was the brainchild of one of my mother’s late associates, Richard Schwenkman. Who, I’m afraid, I was named for. I hope he was less of a piece of shit in our home timeline.”

Asi remains further back, her arms coming to cross tightly low on her torso while Elliot explains the details of what they've learned. When Kaylee brings up Eve by name, her eyes dart upward, eyebrows flicking higher in interest.

The visible surprise provides the perfect poker face when Richard reveals he's been in communication with Weiss' leadership, save for the sharp look she cuts between Kaylee and Richard both, trying to verify if this news is surprise to her. The fold of her arms tightens invisibly, one hand curling around the opposite shoulder with firmer grip. There's names in here she's never heard before, the same way the names in Elliot's treasure trove of data were unfamiliar to her. For still living with the shadow of Mazdak affiliation over her head, she knows so very little about their inner workings. Her eyes dip, jaw setting. It's a look that persists through the mention of Richard Schwenkman.

"My own interest in the information uncovered lies outside of the Structure information. Crane was working on another secretive project, partnered with a company called ARM— Advanced Robotics Manufacturing— out of Japan. Additionally, a consultant group known as INSight Corporate Services was attached, which Kellar seems to have been a part of."

Asi flexes her hand before firming it around the curve of her elbow again, looking back up. "The project, named Galatea, was shrouded in a lack of detail, save for that it appeared to relate to some sort of advanced…" She exhales, eyes moving to Kaylee. "Robot or drone."

She lets the information sit for just a moment, then shakes her head. "With InVerse not looking like a likely candidate for our 'blood donors'… with our eyes being on Renautas-Weiss next… this information is too promising, and too concerning both to look past."

Elliot is kind of stunned, but hides it well, how quickly this information goes from seemingly priceless to apparently valueless. Without selling it on the black market, anyway. Or to Yamagato, which is apparently now run by a CEO who is also in on it. Neither of which are really an option, ethically speaking. ”Huh,” Wright exclaims.

It’s certainly all still dangerous. And confirmation of what Richard had discovered elsewhere isn’t worth nothing. “There’s also enough technical data to allow somebody to duplicate the successes of Structure,” he says. “Along with data on Compass technology which wasn’t being used and which Renautas-Weiss requested be transferred to Germany and destroyed locally after the acquisition.”

“The lead on Structure was Erica Kravid under an alias,” he adds. “But we know where she went, should you want to ask the OEI to rattle some information out of her.”

When Asi catches Kaylee’s eyes there is a thinning of Kaylee’s lips. They had all had a feeling, but… it was another as they fell further into the truth and found it wasn’t too far from what they suspected. Swallowing hard, her eyes dart away and down to the laptop. Quietly listening as the others talk.

“I’m going to guess that information doesn’t give any clues to where our bodies are?” Kaylee finally asks, looking up at Elliot.

“It’s almost as if they’ve gone out of their way to make the whole… web of connections as complicated as possible,” Richard theorizes with a frown, his chair tilting back a bit and hands clasping loosely together, “Which, honestly, they probably have… there’re so many agents in play here that it’s almost a cup and ball game trying to figure out what they’re doing.”

One of those hands comes up to rub between his eyes, admitting, “I don’t know the details of Galatea either, but I know that some of those emails were sent technopathically— I’d put good money on Colin Verse there, honestly. That poor bastard seems to always end up in the middle of this shit, probably because he’s the one technopath that doesn’t have the balls to stand up to anyone.”

That’s a compliment, Asi.

“Renautus-Weiss isn’t our enemy— Cecilia Weiss is on our side, I can assure you,” he says then, “Crane and Kellar are probably both in the wind by now, now that she’s identified them as the agents in her midst. These other groups are new to me— ARM and INSight? Those sound like good leads to follow up on, if we can’t get our hands on Verse. And I’m all for shaking Kravid until she spits up some intel.”

A tip of his head, “We’d be happy to look over the technical data as well— obviously, far away from anyone else who could get their hands on it. It might be important when we locate the kidnapees, extracting them from Structure might be— tricky.”

Asi sees the way the news impacts Kaylee and can't help but feel sympathy. She wishes they had more than this to go off of— but this was a shot in the dark, a net on an entirely unrelated search. It felt good to have confirmation they had at least been heading in the right direction, even if she has no words she feels could hope to be of any comfort given they're ultimately still without answers.

She doesn't flinch when Richard notes Colin as the one most likely at the center of all of this. "He is," she confirms calmly and quietly, lifting her head to regard him with a slight cant of her head. "He's gone from having one gun at his head to the next at every turn for… years. I'd hoped to try and get him out of the situation he was in when I first came to the States, but…"

Carefully, she chooses her words in a brief pause. "He'd gone dark by then, I didn't have enough leads as to his physical location to dig with any kind of success, and the work with Yamagato didn't exactly lend itself to getting away from New York." She's not happy with the choice of them there, but it's what she's got.

It's easier to think about her distrust of Renautuas-Weiss and level a look at Richard that echoes that sentiment. "Forgive me, mister Ray, if I don't trust a single suit in any company across the entire globe, after all the personal damage done by large corporations— well-meaning or otherwise. Even Raytech has had its well-meaning technological advancement in SEER co-opted by … nefarious forces." She doesn't know what else to call the project-involveds for Structure.

The last note from Richard, the question from Kaylee, leads Asi to press her tongue firmly into cheek. She turns to Elliot at her side, an opaque complexity to her expression. "This would be a great moment to say you saw something in the data you've not told me about until now," she says to him, her joke deadpan and tinged with an edge of hope that makes it not as much of a joke as she'd like.

Elliot shakes his head. “No surprises, unfortunately,” he admits to Asi. He didn’t find anything he was personally looking for in the data either. “I really assumed the technical data on how to digitally duplicate human consciousness was going to kill it at this birthday party, but…” He shrugs.

As for the technical review, he gestures to the laptop. “This computer is secure against anything other than being really good at guessing passwords,” he says. “With exceptions for abilities I don’t know about. The only other copy of the data, outside of the source, is on the transfer device. In a safe location.”

“Though if you do find something in your technical review that you feel warrants a finder’s fee in exchange for the safe copy,” he says, suppressing a grimace at the inelegance of it, the mercenary nature of the suggestion, “I would be comforted to know I can worry less about the financial stability of Wright and her family should our upcoming endeavor be as indefinite as we have reason to worry.”

The data isn’t as valuable now, doing what feels like the right thing. Only valuable when sold to some cabal of those responsible or involved. But he’s not asking to upgrade his townhouse to a penthouse. He relies on Richard to do the math on the severance package afforded to a temporally-displaced black-ops infiltrator. Elliot’s good with money, but he’s not good at making it while floating through a dead world until a new Looking Glass magically appears there.

A bitter laugh escapes Kaylee at Elliot and she shakes her head. “No… that bit was… a shocker. I had hoped we were….” Again she shakes her head, glancing at Asi out of the corner of her eye. “I had hoped we were connected to our original selves, most of the clones I had met were and being that we’re… machines. This…” she motions to the laptop. “This is…is a bit of a complication for me.”

Kaylee doesn’t expand on that, would wave it off if asked. Clearly, a personal manner.

The mention of a finders fee manages to pull the corner of Kaylee’s mouth up, looking at her brother. There is a barest nod of approval for the idea, if Richard wanted to do it. Though the others might see it as deferring to him for a decision.

“I didn’t say to trust her,” Richard admits, his tone a bit wry as he nods to Asi, “Just that she’s on our side. She was actually a great help during the Civil War, albeit behind the scenes…”

“Anyway,” he brushes aside the digression, refusing to react to the mention of his company’s misused technology, “If you can find Verse, you’ll probably have a lot of the answers you’re looking for. I know that there’re some lines even he’s not comfortable crossing, and I seriously doubt he’s not working under duress.”

The mention of payment brings his eyebrows up - a glance to Kaylee, then back - and he smiles faintly if wryly, “Exterior didn’t offer to pay you? I mean, me I can understand, but you should shake them down for something at least— but yeah, of course— “

Leaning over, he pulls open one of the desk drawers, clattering around it before bringing out a checkbook and a pen. Clicking the pen, he looks up, eyebrows raised, “So, would two hundred— no, two-fifty— work for you?”

Asi manages a thin press of a smile for Elliot's joke that quickly passes, the weight of what she'd said leading up to that point finally hitting her. It'd been kneejerk, no matter if she meant it. "The question stands, as ever, what to do with it." is all she says, the monitor of it careful.

She looks to Elliot and then back to nothing in particular when Richard begins to move, standing aside from the former. This part here, the value and so on, are strictly between them. To avoid being drawn into it by even errant glances, she pulls her phone from her pocket and thumbs the screen on.

Elliot catches the subtle exchange between Richard and Kaylee, though it doesn’t strike him as off. He doesn’t know the corporate structure of this company, and splitting monetary decisions between families isn’t strange.

“I trust your expertise in the matter of how much. And OEI is paying us,” Elliot admits with a shrug of his hands. He went back to work to bolster their savings as much as to follow up Avi’s lead on Project 0. “I’d just like to pad out our accounts should anything unexpected happen here. Wildfire, non-geomagnetic apocalypse. The giant alligator who lives in the sewer comes calling. Your garden variety Safe Zone event.”

“I can have the other device to you within an hour if you’d like to secure it yourself,” he adds, “Otherwise it’s in a safe deposit box and should keep until you want it. Whatever you end up doing with the data, you can let me know if you need any other infiltrating done. Through Wolfhound or as an independent contractor.” He’ll leave any decisions on what to do to those immediately affected by the revelations.

Elliot gets an amused look, before she tips her head sideways to her brother. “Go at least three… mmm… three fifty, big brother. I can toss some in if needed,” Kaylee says, glancing at Richard. “I think it’s well earned.” Resourcefulness should be rewarded. Especially information that could be useful to her and Asi’s situation.

“It bothers me that Mazdak has such a big stake in this,” Kaylee says with a sigh. Attention shifts to Asi more fully, “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the ones that have our bodies somewhere. Clearly, we figure into whatever they have planned. And since Richard and I recently learned they have someone, that with the right information, could have made that list… seems more likely.”

“Three-fifty it is…” The check torn off after a number’s scrawled on it, and Richard offers it out across the desk to Elliot. Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, just like that. Corporate sabotage, it appears, is a very lucrative career.

“I’ll take it here, we have some of the most secure locations on the planet available.”

He glances over to his sister, admitting to Elliot’s question, “Not currently, unless you’re willing to infiltrate Mazdak — and I don’t think we have time for an operation like that before we’re making the jump.”

Asi shoves her hands in the pockets of her slacks over the mention of Mazdak and how blind they are to their machinations. She looks briefly to the window and then back to Kaylee. "A madman made that list, I'm sure," she asides in a deadpan humor. "But who do you believe did it?"

Elliot accepts the check with a nod of thanks to both Richard and Kaylee, then slides it into a pocket. He shows no reaction to the amount of money he just made, despite it being more than a year’s salary. “I’ll head out from here and return with the package,” he says, then closes the laptop. He takes a pen from another pocket to write out the passphrase, and places it atop the computer. It’s long, though not complex: ‘Robert Frost is an overrated poet and New Hampshire should be ashamed.’

“I know I wouldn’t have time to prep for an infiltration as complex as Mazdak in the time remaining,” he says. “That’s a whole lot of unknown unknowns.”

A glance at Asi and Elliot, she considers whether she should say exactly who… then again…. Kaylee was going to need help when her brother was gone.

‘Our father, Edward Ray,” Kaylee says through a sigh. “We thought he was dead, but Richard has obtained information that he is alive - well… somewhat alive - and in Mazdak’s hands.” Hands turn upward helplessly. “He was supposed to be dead in the rubble of the arc… I saw him moments before the Arc was destroyed.”

Kaylee motions to the laptop, and adds, “But all they have to do is plug him into a machine - like structure - and use his ability. This one in particular, because he was augmented so now he has information on infinite timelines. I’ve seen it.” That particular reminded of her lost ability has her stomach twisting. Her attention shifts to Richard, who’d potentially have far more information than she had.

“We’re still looking for more information as to his whereabouts,” Richard admits, leaning slowly back in his chair and folding his hands over his chest, “So we can figure out a way to kill him.”

A pretty cold way of talking about one’s father, that’s for sure.

The somewhat alive detail to Kaylee's explanation levies a layer of reasoning, though.

"Being captured, your life extended against your will, and then being sustained solely so an external force can leverage your ability to their whims…" Asi dips her head carefully, still unused to the memory of that being only a memory. "I have a special sympathy for that kind of torture. If you get a lead, I haven't formally burned the last of my bridges to Mazdak. If I'm able to ask the right questions instead of look like I'm blindly fishing… perhaps I can yield some answers."

She offers a solemn frown before wondering, "But more on the topic, if he put together that list… why would one of his own children have been on it?" Looking to Kaylee, her brows lift. "Families tend to look out for each other. Is there something you're protected from by being this way?"

There’s a lot of information for Elliot to process suddenly, and without context he doesn’t see a need to interject on family matters, especially those of a caliber of strange he wasn’t expecting. Instead he takes out his phone, tapping out a quick message to Wright, Breadbox, before deleting it unsent and stowing his phone. Wright blinks twice as she stands from her car, locking it before entering the bank to retrieve the rig.

Even though Kaylee might feel it’s the right thing, it’s the harshness of his comments that earns him a glare from his sister. Though she doesn’t add words to that look, because again he wasn’t wrong.

“If my father believes it’s the only way to keep me alive,” Kaylee answers Asi, shifting her attention there with lips pursed still. “Then he’d allow it. Anything to protect his kids.” There is mild disgust in her tone or was it guilt? It was hard to tell.

“And, right now, I’m not even sure where to even begin looking for him,” Kaylee admits blandly, “I’ll figure out something, though.” If only she sounded confident that she could think of something in time. “There is also the pesky problem of them potentially seeing it coming.”

“Given his situation as well, he may not be in control of his ability,” Richard adds, giving Kaylee a helpless look and bringing one shoulder up in a shrug, “I have a few ideas but… well. Regardless, something to keep in mind while we’re gone, I’m sure you’ll work on it, sis.”

He looks back at the pair, brows lifting, “Anything else?”

Asi slips her hands from her pockets, something about her posture becoming distinctly more at attention than before. "No, nothing else. That was all there was to present." Her dark eyes shift to Richard before she adds, "I feel obligated to note the research Renautas was doing, while for the wrong reasons, could be used to further some of the development I've been working on with the SEER."

"I can grit my teeth as long as I want over the methods they obtained their results," she notes with a hint of displeasure before returning to a deadpan affect, "but it doesn't change that their machine-human interfacing progress outpaced ours. If you aren't interested in setting fire to it, it could be used."

"It certainly won't stop Renautas from continuing to, if we did," Asi observes.

Elliot answers Richard’s question almost as an aside. “ETA on the rig is twenty-five minutes from now,” he says, leaving Asi with the momentum and implications of her suggestion.

Kaylee falls quiet letting them conclude their business, content to go back to her world watching by the window and listening.

“No, I’m with you on this,” admits Richard with a shake of his head, “There’s been an arms race around Ev— SLC-related technology brewing for awhile now, and… we’re falling behind. If we can use the same technologies they’re using for evil bullshit and turn them to a more positive cause, then we’ll do so.”

“The damage they’ve done has been done and there’s no changing history, so we may as well try and salvage a silver lining from that cloud.”

With a stiff nod of her head, Asi signals her agreement. "We'll see what we can do, then." She shares a look for a moment with Elliot, then begins to drag a step back.

"Thanks for allowing us to bring this to your attention."

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