One Night In The Safe Zone



Scene Title One Night In The Safe Zone
Synopsis It's time to make a decision. To give in to despair… or accept a title.
Date June 11, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office - CEO's Office

A large double-window along one wall of Richard Ray's office allows natural light to spill in throughout the office and provides an excellent view of the green roof on the lower floor of the building, the flowered garden spreading out between rows of solar panels.

The walls of the office are in slate grey, the carpeting on the floor matching, and the furniture is all in black glass, metal, and leather - but the modern starkness is offset by the tall potted plants that grow along the side of the room opposite the window. The CEO's desk is a broad affair in black glass with a video feed and touch-screen built into the surface of the desk itself, the non-interactive portions of the desk decorated sparsely with a plastic 'in' and 'out' box, a framed picture of Elisabeth Harrison, and an old onyx chess king set beside it like reminders of times long past.

The dim lights gleaming upwards from where the walls of Richard Ray’s office meet the floor cast tall shadows, the elongated limbs and fronds of the office plants joined by the darkened silhouette of the man himself seated at the desk.

The digital display that gleams neon through the black glass of the desk reminds him that it’s almost three in the morning, and by implication he should probably be in bed. He ignores it, of course, as he taps out another email. It isn’t anything earthshaking; a routine inquiry about an aspect of the Jackson Heights project. He’s been busy with other matters for the past week, and he’d fallen behind on some of the day-to-day business.

That’s not really why he’s awake, but since he is, he might as well do some catching up.

Bangkok, oriental setting

But the city don’t know what the city is getting

Richelieu stirs a bit in his little cat-bed beside the desk, rolling over and making a little sleepy noise before re-settling. The executive looks down to him with a fond smile, then turns back to his work on the screen. After he sends the latest email through the facility’s intranet, he leans back in his chair with a soft creak, glancing over to consider the bottle of scotch sitting at the side of the desk.

“Am I the villain, Richelieu? She was right, after all,” he asks quietly of the kitten, as if the slumbering cat would have an answer, “The worst villains never know they are. God knows everyone’s wanted to remind me that he was, lately. That I’m just him, waiting to happen.”

He sighs, tearing his gaze away from the bottle and looking up at the roof, at the shadows that once were as familiar as the fingers at the end of his arm. Strangers to him now, as much as the fingers of Monica’s left hand are to her.

The creme de la creme of the chess world

In a show with everything but Yul Brynner

“He wasn’t all bad, though,” he tells the shadows, he tells himself, “Simon believed in him, and Ruby. Desmond believed in him. So many others… so many others believed in him. They really did. Yeah, he— he lost it, after he came back from the dead. And he did some… terrible things in his own time. But he wasn’t all bad. If he was, they wouldn’t’ve believed in him.”

Silence for long moments.

“I guess that people believed in Arthur, too, though.”

Time flies - doesn’t seem a minute

Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boards in it

The bottle of scotch is finally picked up, turned over in his hand as hazel eyes scan the label. The year and the advertisements considered in their bright, tempting colours, thumb brushing over the edge between label and glass in idle fascination at the difference in texture.

“I wish you were here. You were always my anchor,” he admits, “But there’s still one hundred and ninety-eight days to go before we see each other again.”

All changed, don’t you know that when you

Play at this level there’s no ordinary venue

The bottle’s hefted in his hand— and then he sets it down and pushes it away on the desk with a sharp shake of his head. That’s a slope that’s all too slippery, he knows, and he’s not going to let the shadows that he no longer rules take him. Not tonight.

“I know what you’d tell me,” he says, drawing in a deep breath and sitting up, squaring his shoulders, “That wallowing in self-doubt and grief is pointless. That I’m always at my best when I’m acting instead of waiting to react. That I’m at my best when I’m solving problems… heh. Ruby told me the same thing. That there are always more people to help. More problems to solve.”

It’s Iceland

The chair rolls slightly to one side, and he reaches a hand down to pull out a black metal drawer, the lowest and most rarely-opened of the drawers on the desk, gaze settling at the contents shrouded by the office’s dim light.

Then he reaches into it, a decision made.

Or the Philippines

The sound of wood being set on the desk’s glassy face is a unique sound in the quiet office, felt pads thereafter quieting it as he adjusts the way it’s set just so, and sets a box beside it. Opening the box carefully on fine hinges, fingers dipping within.

Or Hastings

Wood against wood, one piece at a time placed carefully where they belong, where he feels they belong rather than what rules and policies tell him. Upon squares dark and light. Red and black, lacquer gleaming in his hand and in their place.

Kings and knights, rooks and bishops and pawns, set across the board in the positions of a game’s early stage, of patterns just starting to take form and only in the mind of the player. Only if you know how to read them, to predict them.


“You told me that the pieces aren’t wood, or stone, Eileen,” he says quietly, considering the set of the pieces with eyes gleaming like the lacquer, “That they’re flesh, blood, and bone. That goes for you too. If you didn't care about them, you wouldn't be here.”

Or this place!

He reaches out, lifting the red king and moving it to remove a rook from the board, leaving the black queen exposed and in need of retreat. The black king still sits off to one side of the board, old and chipped and carved of onyx. Not captured. Just not yet on the board.

Schachmeister it is, if you insist,” he says softly, leaning back in his chair without taking his eyes off the board, “Your move, Heir of Volken.”

“I can wait a bit if you need to rethink your strategy.”

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