Odile's Coda


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Scene Title Odile's Coda
Synopsis Although she was not Odette, she looked her exact mirror image, and Odile dazzled him with her beauty and grace.
Date January 4, 2020

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

Blue eyes track the second hand making its whisper quiet journey around the face of the battery-powered analogue clock on the wall. It’s three minutes past when her meeting was scheduled to begin, but Richard Ray is a very busy man and Rue Lancaster can forgive a little lateness.

“Never thought… I’d see something quite like this,” the redhead sings quietly under her breath, the seconds ticking off seem to set the tempo for the song. “Something to adore. Never thought I’d be quite like this…”

Rue sighs quietly and reaches into her purse, procuring an aluminum water bottle and a blister pack of pills. Pushing two out of the pack, she puts the remainder away before scooping the pills off the table, popping them into her mouth and washing them down with a gulp of water. Or whatever’s in that bottle anyway.

“Do you feel what I feel?” she continues her soft song. “Do you feel it now?”

When the door swings open, Rue lifts her head and pushes to her feet, offering a bright smile to Raytech’s CEO. “Heya, Mister Ray,” she greets, holding out her hand. “Good to see ya again.”

“Ms. Lancaster. Sorry that I’m late…” Richard steps along over in that black suit, reaching out to clasp the offered hand firmly and flashing her a smile, “Good to have you here.”

As the clasp’s released, he steps over to draw out a chair across from her, easing down into it and leaning back, one leg folding over the other and his hands fanning out, “So what sort of needs does Wolfhound have that our current models aren’t filling?”

It’s not defensive, but interested; he’s not the sort of man to assume that his company’s work is perfect, but wants to know its flaws, the better to fix them. A man who appreciates details and isn’t blinded by the big picture.

“Aside,” he adds dryly, “From maybe a helmet that doesn’t come off.”

Rue straightens up again from her lean across the table and settles down into her seat, smoothing her hands out over her skirt behind her to make sure it doesn’t ride up. When she’s not in uniform, she tends to look the part of the model she used to be.

His comment is responded to with a wry grin that doesn’t last too long, so as not to suggest that she derives joy from his concerns. “It isn’t so much Wolfhound that has a need, but me, specifically,” Rue begins to explain, tipping her head to one side. Her hair has been pulled up into a bun at the back of her head. No errants curls to spill over her shoulders today.

“I’m not much for the front lines, you know?” Except when she absolutely is. “I tend to do most of my work in the plainest clothes possible. Or, well… Sometimes the clothes aren’t very plain,” she admits with a smirk. “What I’m looking for is the possibility of developing some kind of armoring that I could conceivably wear while I’m undercover. Whether it’s something woven into a jacket or a bodysuit… You all are the geniuses.”

Rue glances away for a moment, as if considering something. “I have a… need,” she settles on, then glances back to Richard. “And you can fulfill it.”

“I can see a need for that,” admits Richard, hands coming back forward to clasp above his chest, “We could conceivably do something with the carbon nano-weave fabric that we use in the AEGIS suits… it wouldn’t give you anywhere near the same sort of protection, of course, but maybe we can work some more tricks into it.”

Unfortunately we haven’t invented force fields yet. I keep asking, but they keep saying things about the laws of physics,” he adds, a bit playfully as his smile crooks roguish, “One of these days I’m sure the eggheads downstairs will find something, though…”

Rue mirrors back that crooked smile, mirth sparkling in her eyes. “Look at this,” she directs as she pushes herself up to stand again, gesturing with a flourish of her hands down the length of her slim body. “I work hard to keep this looking good.” The other corner of her mouth crooks up as well now. “Your assistance will be much appreciated.”

Did she just— She just winked at him.

Rue bends over to retrieve her purse from the floor and rummages in its dark, designer depths for something. “You’re a scotch man, right? I don’t come making requests without bearing gifts,” she muses, pulling an ornate silver flask out of her purse. It’s capped with a collapsible shot glass, which is lifted off the top and extended before being set in front of Richard.

Amber liquid splashes into the silver vessel. Once his glass has been filled, she sets the flask down in front of herself, still standing, and starts tugging the fingers of her gloves one by one to loosen the leather fabric. One glove pulls away, then the other. Both are left to sit on the table. Rue lifts the flask and her brows. “To our partnership. Cheers!” She takes a drink.

She did just wink at him. Richard slowly arches a single eyebrow over the edge of his shades as he watches her showing herself off - the dark glasses making it hard to tell if he has, in fact, just checked her out like she was inviting him to do or not.

His expression seems more bemused than anything, as if he’s not sure what she’s doing.

He reaches over to take the shot glass, drawing it over and raising it up in a casual toast before setting it down, noting with a chuckle, “I try not to drink when I’m talking about business, Rue. What’s— I mean, you’ve stressed that it’s not for Wolfhound but even with a friendly discount there’s no way you can afford R&D costs for this sort of work. What’s this actually about here?”

Rue sinks down into her chair again with a sigh. “Do I look like business?” she asks, reaching up to scratch absently at the back of her head. “I mean, yes, I wanted this meeting with you because I want you to make me some sick as hell bodysuit, but can’t I just…”

Glumly, she rests one elbow on the table’s surface and drops her chin into her palm. “I made a bet.” Like that explains anything. “I’m currently losing a bet.” That tracks with her reputation. She picks up the flask and takes another drink. She eyes the glass in front of him. “Please at least take a sip so I’m not drinking alone?”

Richard exhales a low chuckle at that, giving his head a shake. “Who bet you— what, that you could seduce me or something? You’re really not good at it, I mean— “

A motion of the shot glass, “I imagine your heart wasn’t really in it, though. Who bet you? Lucille? I’m putting money on Lucille.” Then he brings it up, taking a swig of it— it’s not really business anymore, after all.

Rue smiles sheepishly. "You caught me." She sighs and shakes her head. "I'm no good with men. What do you even like? I mean, besides short skirts and how amazing my rack looks in this push-up bra." She lifts her head from its rest so she can use that hand to cup one breast through her shirt and sort of heft it demonstratively. See? So amazing.

"You'll tell Lucille we totally played some tonsil hockey, right?" Rue smirks conspiratorially and takes another sip from her flask before reaching across the table to pour more for Richard.

Nobody ever accused Rue Lancaster of professionalism.

“It does look amazing,” Richard replies without missing a beat, amusement in his tone as he motions with the emptied shot glass towards her, lips tugging up at one corner in a crooked curve, “But you were way too stiff and awkward there. Honestly, what I like? Genuinity. If that isn’t a word, it is now, this is my company and I can make those decisions.”

That’s not how grammar works, Richard.

The glass is slid over to refill, “That is to say, someone who actually wants what they’re going for. It’s not hard to tell, if you know what to look for.”

"Genuinity," Rue repeats, testing out the word on scotch tinged lips. "So, like something more like…" She rises to her feet and makes her way to the other side of the table, braces a hand against the back of Richard's chair and swivels him to one side to face her. She leans down, eyes half-lidded and looking at him through a veil of mascara-laden lashes.


Her other hand comes up to rest on his shoulder. The chair creaks as she rests one knee on the seat alongside his thigh. Her breath comes out in a shaky sigh, she bares her neck to him, a genuine display of vulnerability. "Touch me."

Richard’s head tilts slightly to one side as she rises up from her chair, a querulous eyebrow raising up over the edge of his dark glasses. “Wha— “ The bemused question doesn’t quite leave his lips before she’s spinning his chair to face her, leaving him blinking behind those shadowed lenses.

Now he is on the defensive side as she slides that knee beside his thigh and leans over him like that, as she leans forward and tilts her head back to bare a long expanse of throat to him— and it takes a moment before he can say anything, exhaling a half-chuckled, half-uncertain breath. “Yeah, more like…”

His fingertips just-brush her thigh’s outside over the skirt as the hand closest to that upraised leg shifts, “…that.”

From those reactions? Absolutely like that. Although he clearly is heavily weighed on the ‘is playing around’ side of ‘how serious is she being’.

A breath is sucked in sharp between her teeth, then let out again in another quiet sigh. Apparently she's leaning toward serious. Her fingers curl tight, crumpling the fabric of his suit jacket in her first.

Maybe it's the scotch, or maybe it something more base, but he can almost feel the world narrowing to just the sight of her in front of him. Her chest rising and falling with her shallow, nervous breaths. The smell of her perfume. The feel of her weight beginning to settle against his lap.


The weight of her as she sinks closer still, the sigh of that single word… and then his hand is sliding down—and then up again even as he takes the bait of her bared throat. The line of his nose first brushing over it before he's burying his face there, drawing in a breath above her pulse, lips lightly grazing where those blood vessels come closest to the surface there.

"I was wrong," he murmurs, breath tumbling over her throat like a caress and fingertips skimming up her leg and under the hem of that skirt, testing inch by inch to see how far they get, "You are good at this after all…"

She lets out a shaky breath of laughter, staring up at the ceiling as his lips brush over her neck. "I knew I had it in me." There's a joke in here somewhere, a setup for a vulgar punchline. It's left to hang.

Rue's hand on the chair drops to the space between them, where their hips threaten to meet. "Tell me you want me," is spoken with a little more confidence, even if her voice seems to sound faraway. Maybe it's the way she has her head angled, seeming to watch the second hand make its orbit again.

“What’s this all about, Lancaster…?” The words are a wash of rippling heat up her neck to her ear, Richard’s voice lightly husky but still, it seems, questioning just what she’s doing even as his lips feather-brush against skin. "This can't just be about some stupid bet…"

The tips of his fingers sliding up her thigh, hand resting just below her hip under that skirt in a warm press, curled there to clasp it in a motion that clearly discourages her from moving away, although not venturing further into what she's blatantly offering at the moment.

“Mmm…” For a second there, it seems like that may be all the explanation Richard is going to get as to what’s really going on here. Her hand slides up his body to rest over his chest a moment before she brings both hands up to the back of his head to gently guide him to her exposed cleavage. The air between them seems thick with heat. The whole room does.

“Your heart’s racing,” she tells him breathlessly. “Good. That’ll make this go quicker.”

Wait, what?

“Did the scotch taste off?” Her voice begins to sound like it’s coming from somewhere else entirely. Like she stands at the other end of a long tunnel, in spite of the fact that they’re skin-to-skin. “I worked very hard on perfecting the mix.”

Even as he thinks about pulling away, asking just what the fuck she’s talking about, or fighting her — she’s so slight compared to him, even if she’s a Hound, she can’t be that difficult to overwhelm — his body starts to feel weak. He feels disconnected from himself.

From his power.

“Don’t worry,” she says, stroking the back of his head with one hand while looping her opposite arm around his shoulders. “I took the counteragent before you entered the room.” Whatever’s happening to him, they will not be going down together.

“Wh— “ A push of his head back against her hair, those dark eyes flashing up to her with a look of betrayal, his hand loosening on her thigh as weakness starts to wash over him, “You poison— “

No time for recriminations, Richard. Ingested zodytrin and adynomine don’t work this quickly, no telling what it is he’s been dosed with, but he can’t rely on his ability. Muscular strength rapidly waning, so some sort of paralytic or sedative. No way to tell if it’s a lethal dose, and can’t rely on a physical struggle or reaching for a weapon.

Red King override,” he hisses out, head snapping towards the conference room table and its integrated system although it’s starting to blur in his vision, “Fullsecurity alert— “

Rue rolls her eyes and turns Richard’s face against her chest again, muffling his voice as he tries to call for a lockdown. “Sssshhhhh.” He struggles, but it feels like he’s pushing through deep water. “You don’t want anyone else involved in this.”

One high-heeled foot plants on the floor, then the other. His hand slips away from her thigh uselessly and she drags him out of his chair and down to the floor, her elbow locked around his neck. “If I wanted you dead, you’d be dead,” is offered as some sort of assurance. “Now go the fuck to sleep.”

Her grip tightens.

“Mmrfhrrf,” Richard explains defiantly to Rue’s cleavage as he’s pulled out of the chair, tumbling out of it as his limbs start to fail to respond to nerve signals to move, resist, react. Dropping down, fingers twitching as he tries to reach for something and doesn’t succeed, the world swimming around him as he sinks deeper into that haze.

One hand finally manages to lift to her arm… and then drops, as darkness takes him.

He’s held still long after he stops moving. Rue watches the second hand tick-tick-tick away. A full one hundred-eighty seconds, three circuits, and she finally eases Richard down onto the floor. Getting to her feet again, she casts a disdainful look down at the heap of him on the carpet.

“Feathers for brains.”

Digging into her purse, she retrieves a burner phone. She dials a number from memory and waits patiently, listening to the succession of rings as she wedges the phone between her jaw and shoulder.

A little compact is procured from the purse, flipped open so she can begin cleaning up smeared edges of lipstick with the tip of her little finger. A fleck of mascara is scraped from her cheek with her nail.

“It’s done.”

The compact snaps shut and she slides it and the phone back into an interior pocket in her bag. Those leather gloves are picked up off the table again and tugged carefully back on before she gathers up the flask. Collapsing the glass and screwing the cap back on, she pauses a moment to trace a gloved finger over some of the etching in the silver.

EAM it says in curling ornate letters.

“Never thought I’d never want to let go,” Rue sings softly as she packs up her supplies. “Never let go… Never thought I’d be ready for this… Say you feel what I feel. Say you’re ready for this.” The lilt of her quiet voice is mournful, despite what the energy of the unfamiliar song should be.

“Say you’re ready… for this.”


Praxis Ziggurat

Praxia, California Safe Zone

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Yao Sze stands with her back to the doorway of her office, looking out over the industrial sprawl that is the island of Praxia. Plumes of steam and smoke issue up from the tall stacks of refineries, pale against the dark concrete of the buildings themselves. It is in itself contrast against the forested hills of what was once San Francisco across the bay beyond Praxia.

“Yao.” Adam Monroe lacks Yao Sze’s eternal patience, which is perhaps a bit ironic given their respective lifespans. “When did it happen?” Yao slowly turns from the window and regards Adam with a slow shake of her head, threading an errant lock of dark hair behind one ear as she does.

“Last month? Perhaps longer back. Communication with Mazdak isn't exactly immediate.” Yao picks up a stack of printed photographs and slaps them down on the other side of her desk. They show blood-soaked clothing heaped in a chair with tightened restraints, a bent and contorted skeletal system that looks like its made of transparent rubber, and a stringy mess of molten flesh dripping down the chair like hot cheese on a pizza.

Adam swallows audibly at the sight. “God damnit,” he curses. “We should have handled this here— on site! For fuck’s sake!” He takes several hastened steps away from the desk, raking his fingers through his hair. “Fuck.”

Yao’s mouth subtly downturns into a frown. “Our contacts in Mazdak send their condolences and apologize. But Gemini is new science.”

“Who authorized this?” Adam hisses with a wave of one hand to the photographs. “Who sent her overseas instead of here?” Yao raises her brows, then looks up from the photos to Adam.

“Mr. Kellar.” She replies.

“Fucking— ”

Before Adam can go on another cursing spree she cuts him off. “Mr. Kellar said that with Sunstone fallen bringing her here afterward was too risky, especially if her alternate became aware of her existence. Overseas was safer. He said you'd agree. She wasn't listed as mission critical.” That assessment causes Adam’s anger to deflate with a sigh, scrubbing a hand across his mouth in frustration.

“She had valuable information,” Adam mutters. “Burn those copies, let's— chalk this up to a bad choice. Tell Claudius to run choices like this by me next time.”

“Of course, Sir,” Yao says softly. “I understand your frustration,” she adds.

“Rue Lancaster would have been a valuable asset.”

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