Parts Inventory


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Scene Title Parts Inventory
Synopsis Elliot goes to see a queen about a corpse.
Date June 22, 2021

Elliot is on edge, but he appears calm and collected as he waits to be seen. He's had several nights in a row of sleep untroubled by targeted nightmares. Since Asi shared his dream in which the minotaur had begun to manifest, it's been possible to dream of things less horrific—if still occasionally apocalyptic. Sleep has made him less paranoid, and as such he's less afraid of this task leading to his own imprisonment.

The last time he came here he had been led to believe it was for a party. This time he's here to follow up on the real reason for the first visit: the corpse of Confessor Crowley. He can only keep Asi in the network for a couple more days at most before the strain of maintaining her link grows too cumbersome; he'll risk needing to escape imprisonment in order to give her the chance of finding out what she needs to stay alive.

Lowe's Mafia Castle
Manhattan Archipelago

Wednesday, June 23rd

With no lookers on, he feels he has a moment to talk softly to a woman an infinite distance away. "How's it looking on your end?" he asks, opening up more Index for her should he need to talk to her discreetly while in the presence of others. Nobody other than Wright has ever been given access to this many of his repurposed communication memories, and he finds a slight thrill in offering the intimacy.

"It's fine," Asi says, several things in her indicating that to not entirely be the case. She glances up and across at someone before looking away again, feeling a little awkward in her skin but accepting this for what it is. She had to open up regarding the nature of her being linked, anyway– she'll obscure only what she needs to. The honesty is what's causing the discomfort, but she charges through anyway.

It'll become far less awkward here shortly, hopefully.

"Just, um–" And how unlike it is for her to be like this. "Ready when you are on this."

"We ran international black ops without clearance together," Elliot says with a chuckle while leaving out the corporate espionage and hacking. "This'll be easy. And if it's not easy, I'm still right here." He touches his chest for her to feel it rather than himself. He doesn't expect trouble, though the finds may be troubling and he's here for that too. He relaxes his eyes and takes a centering breath to provide a steadier heartbeat for her to sync up to.

Asi mirrors the action, placing her hand on her own chest and taking a deep breath, eyes closing to settle. She focuses on the sensation, at least until her concentration is broken by outside stimulation.

With no so-called exclusive invites up to the Sagittarius Lounge this time, Elliot is received with little fanfare and pizzazz. "Up here," calls Marlowe from atop the stairs that lead up to the penthouse workshop. Far from the imperious outfit and manner less than a week ago, the Syndicate's leader is dressed in something much akin to what Cat and Hart had on the night they all met: a mechanic's worn-thread jumpsuit made of simple, sturdy cloth with a slightly brighter patch of color where the nametag would have been ironed on, decades ago.

The visitor once again has to pass through the row of salvaged airport metal detectors that don't detect what they're originally designed to. One may muse if they're working at all. She does not lead him, nor does he need to slink around the folding screen that keeps the corpse of Confessor Crowley from view. The frosty vapor coming off the body might make it seem like it's fresh still, but it's all tricks of the abilities of Syndicate members entrusted with Lowe's secrets.

It's only been a short time since they'd seen Crowley's body. In that time, Marlowe's been at work. More parts have been extracted and exposed. A disconnected eye sits in a jar that presumably is not filled with seawater. "Elliot, wasn't it? Drink? Help yourself." She gestures to a decanter that also probably isn't full of seawater. Much more likely a rum.

On his second pass-through, Elliot is glad that whatever these detectors do, they can’t detect Asi through the network. Them functioning telepathically is wildly unlikely, but being mistaken for an android himself would have led to an uncomfortable situation.

“Yes ma’am,” he says in regards to his name. “And thank you, but I don’t drink.” His eyes remain on the displayed body, moving from part to part as he waits to feel a reaction from Asi.

Asi sucks in a breath, fending off wild dysphoria between seeing another Marlowe and another body that's probably like hers, disassembled. She blinks twice despite the full of her focus being on what Elliot's seeing. "All right, Miller. When you did your autopsy before, what bits did you focus on? Muscle? Organs? You– saw the brain, right?" she asks, the last accompanied by a tap of fingertip to pantleg in a subtle gesture for Elliot to hone in on that in particular.

The travelers had been given some time during the previous "party" to inspect the body of Confessor Crowley, but it hadn't been nearly as exposed the last Elliot saw it. Where it appears sharp implements had been used to slice through the mostly frozen, semi-organic flesh, the sections that are inorganic look to have been altered by more Evolved means. Asi’s seen what her timeline’s Marlowe could accomplish with the ability to manipulate matter. This iteration of Marlowe seems to share that same capability, and the same finesse.

Crowley’s corpse laying on the table represents a full-blown anatomical study of a synthetic humanoid lifeform. His right arm has been completely severed away from the torso at the shoulder, displaying layers of off-color, flesh-like soft tissues and skeletal structures. The entire humerus has now been extracted from the arm. Its larger porous construction and far more slate greys and blue colors prove the material isn't human bone at all.

The torso has had the mostly rectangular pieces of the Decatur's steel staircase removed, and the chunks sit in a shallow bin off to a side. A rib spreader that looks like two monkey wrenches fused at their handles holds the chest cavity open for inspection. The essential organs contained within have yet to be removed.

But the most essential, arguably most mysterious portion of Crowley's construction is nowhere. Crowley's empty skull is still there and connected to the rest of the body, but the bisected, dissected brain that Elliot had seen days ago no longer sits in the upturned aluminum cake pan off to the side. That ball of carbon-fiber, wired material extracted from the fist-sized cyst within the central brain has all been squirreled away. The jump vest, similarly, is not in view.

"Shit," Asi murmurs to herself, and then for Zachery's benefit explains, "I actually can't see the brain just yet. It's– they've moved it."

The largely proclaimed queen of the Pelago moves in to obstruct Elliot's - and thus Asi's - immediate line of sight on Crowley. Marlowe finishes adjusting the messy bun of hair to something slightly tighter, not minding the potential other substances that might be lingering on her fingers from her work. For as short as she is relative to Elliot, Marlowe seems to expand her presence to fill the height gap between herself and the man. "You don't drink?" questions the woman, a brow arching in skeptical evaluation even as a crooked smile crosses her lips. "Might explain why you're so stiff."

A casual tut-tutting only, and perhaps a double entendre.

"Well, if you're not here to suggest an after party," Marlowe remarks with a standing, languid stretch, "Guess I'll table that idea for Eve's crew." The woman meets Elliot’s distracted eye, a silent, nigh regal expectation to her expression as she waits for him to state a purpose.

“Stiff. I was going for formal,” Elliot says with a chuckle. “I realize that I’m here at your pleasure and that I’ve been asked by Richard to get a better understanding of the android and your detection system, if you are willing to part with information on both. Formality seemed like the proper behavior for someone addressing the local royalty.”

His eyes scan the assembled—disassembled—bits and bobs that make up a synthetic person. As directed by Asi, he looks at the corpse’s leg, hoping to find out if any components have been recently excavated. “Is it permissible for me to take a closer look?”

When she realizes where Elliot's attention is lingering owing to unclear signaling on her part, Asi shakes her head. "The brain, Elliot," she whispers, both to be clear she's not talking to Zachery and to attempt to not seem more stressed than she is. "Can you see where it's gone?" She is fully aware of how this must look from any outside view.

Marlowe doesn't move immediately from blocking Elliot's view, nor does she answer right away. She considers him with a thoughtful, examining gaze for a period that feels a touch too long with inner debate. Finally, though, she relents and turns to lead the way further in. "Richard, Richard," she can be heard to murmur in recollection as she rounds the metal slab, "Velvet and leather. Red and black. No. Maroon." Marlowe's tongue clicks lightly against the back of her teeth. "And a nice view." Her back turned, expression hidden, it's only a slight mystery what she's thinking of before she turns back around and composes herself with a wry smile. She leans over Crowley's opened skull, the faint wisps of icy air wafting down near weightlessly from its frozen, preserved state. She isn't stopping Elliot from approaching the table, letting him take the closer look he requests.

"And what exactly are you willing to part with in exchange for such insight?" Marlowe asks Elliot plainly, her brows arching at the man, noting his lack of a physical offering. "Information isn't free. The security and survival of the Pelago runs on it. Bad intel kills," Marlowe says as she straightens.

Asi is still recovering from choking after Marlowe made her comment about the view, hand clapped over her mouth in an attempt to disguise her reaction exactly is over1, when the ask is made regarding information. She clears her throat and whispers down into her fingers, "Be honest. The info you have that could interest or benefit her comes from here. Does she want to know more about herself here?" Asi hopes the whispering spares Zachery from hearing her. "Or those close to her? Like a background check, but sideways."

"Any information I could give you will suffer from the unpredictably of temporal divergence," Elliot says. He looks up from where the corpse's brain should be with a neutral expression, Marlowe's attraction to Richard will be giggled about later. "But if you need intel from my world that I can get through internet access, I can see what I can do for you. It should be easy enough to find mundane schematics on any existing technology you have here, if you need operator's manuals for something. That's just an example, obviously. Information on people or events will be drastically less reliable. Are you looking for any specific information?"

Marlowe's lips purse in further thought, eyes studying the man before her and his offer. "Alright Doctor Who," she says with a step back from metal slab to head over to an open crate, rummaging through the bits there. If there is a purpose to the scavenged parts, the concept is as opaque as the dusty glass jars full of semi rusty screws and bolts she sets aside.

When the woman turns back to Elliot, she has a claw hammer in hand. There's no reason for the carpentry tool. It's handled more like a fidget toy, spun this way and that, the head striking lightly on her opposite palm. "Tell me," she considers aloud, "of all the bullshit reasons I've heard about travelers from another dimension coming to mine, why oh why did you choose to put yourself in this position? How'd you come to this? What is it that you do?" The last word laden with implied investigation and inquiry, nevertheless reveals her genuine interest in his answer.

"I'm here because my employers lied to me about having information regarding a personal matter," Elliot says with a shrug. "Which was shitty of them, but I came even though I knew that because this job is important. I wasn't going to spike an op just because there was nothing in it for me."

He leans against the opposite side of the autopsy table, not to lean in on Marlowe but to view the body she's no longer actively obstructing his view of. His glance is cursory, moving from part to part for Asi to comment on if something seems noteworthy. "I'm an infiltrator by trade," he says to explain what he does. "Intel and logistics to a lesser extent these days. I also have access to data you won't be able to find otherwise because I'm the only person on the planet with Internet access." He doesn't belabor the point, he's already told her the information he could procure might be divergent in nature. He's still not keen to explain his ability to the Mafia Queen, but he's fairly certain the team would liberate him if she were to attempt to detain him as a power move.

Asi tugs at Elliot's attention as Zachery goes on, "As for the organs…" He sits back again, looking past Asi as if mulling over the best way to put memories to words. "They'll look like organs, but with the webbing there, too. And small growths, imperfections, just clustered on them." He laughs, suddenly, then provides: "Does anything on the organs look vaguely… apple crumble? Bumpy."

Her gaze loses focus as she looks more to Elliot's viewpoint than her own. "Well?" Asi asks aloud to him.

"That is pretty shitty," Marlowe agrees about the anonymous employer's lies. She sounds genuinely sympathetic about it, even. Standing to the side, she doesn't obstruct Elliot's circuitous route as he tours the corpse of Confessor Crowley to take in the bits that frankly aren't of as much interest to her in the current moment. No, Marlowe's interest is all on Elliot, observing and listening to him.

"A spy." His fancier title is diluted down to something more succinct. "For the CIA? FBI? NYPD?" None of those institutions exist now in this timeline. It doesn't bother her either. Marlowe pushes up off the work bench she's leaned on, still idly spinning the hammer like a drum major's baton, pondering much. "Alright then. Tell me what you're looking for, here, Elliot. And I'll tell you what I'd like to know, after. I won't cross the streams, promise." The negotiation favors the man, she recognizes, but there is a background pressure from the Syndicate leader, perhaps to zero in on a targeted risk of breaching some unknown time-space continuum rule of law.

Elliot doesn’t grimace as he leans in to inspect the openings into Crowley’s cadaver. “Wolfhound,” he explains. “Private military contractor. I could also provide my practical skills in a variety of applications here, if that would be more immediately beneficial to you.”

His attention lingers on the exposed organs, giving Asi a full view of everything he can see. There they are, human-like but covered in a webbing and the Biology Department’s apple crisp. With Wright’s knowledge of human anatomy, it’s easy to tell that even the bones are strange, the wrong color. “I’m here to identify android components that people back home don’t know about,” he continues. “Anything that doesn’t match up with what we know, or might give a clue as to origin. Any components this model has that are in addition to what we know of would be immensely helpful to identify.”

Asi summarizes what she's able to see for Zachery, confirming the match in description seen on Crowley's body, looking back up to him when she's done. "I can't believe it," she mutters in her astonishment. What the fuck were people like them doing in a place like that? What did any of this mean?

Marlowe's fidget stops upon something Elliot says and the woman grows a crooked smile of amusement. "Careful now, you're going to overpromise and underdeliver with a phrase like that," she says with a light toss of the hammer back into the toolbox it originated from. "But here. Check this out." She comes up beside Elliot and casually, without qualm, reaches with her hand down into the open torso to move some of the frozen, oddly webbed organs about.

To what is almost certainly obvious once one knows what anatomy is standard human, Crowley's internal organs are hardly that. It's consistently weird. While nothing looks wildly different because of its placement, there's both the sense that what's missing had been combined, and other parts improved upon.

"Look," she holds up a thick sack with multiple chamber-like offshoots, "This should be a part of the digestive system. But it looks like a spleen, gall bladder, and pancreas combined into one unit. Follow it. See, there's no obvious separation of a digestive tract. Intestines are combined. There's a goddamn… look. What do you think it is? A digestive compactor unit? For digesting bones if he needed to?"

She sets the strange amalgam of soft tissue aside to focus next on the heart muscle, cold fingers tracing the chambers. There are extra chambers. Too many chambers. The color of the muscle, all wrong, dense, whitish-grey just like the dissected arm. "You see these muscle fibers? They might as well be steel cable. Imagine if someone stripped a gorilla of its muscles, laid it over a guy who looks like White fucking Jesus, and then put all that in. For what? So we could say White Jesus had a gizzard?"

Marlowe reaches over to a pan that holds a questionably clean rag, wiping her hand with it. "So, theories. Whoever made this, maybe didn't think that we'd get our hands in it. Or, maybe worse, they know… and they don't care. They sent the Confessor after us, to break us. To destroy us. Like they perfected the Terminator." Her words and face harden as she looks down to the body. Marlowe throws the balled up dishrag roughly back in its former place.

Elliot doesn't over promise, and isn't afraid of underperforming, so no fear shows. His attention remains on the anomalous biology, taking in as much detail as he can. "It's possible they didn't expect anyone to be able to deliver this level of inspection, or," Elliot muses, gesturing to Crowley's rectangular torso hole, "his means of escape were assumed to be glitch-free. But if you need to eat to survive in an ecologically devastated region, being able to eat rocks for vitamins sure would come in handy."

It worries him most that this feels less like human-made improvements to a design and more like large-scale base model redesign. "Would it be possible to view the contents of the head?" he asks, notably avoiding simply asking after the brain.

Asi rubs at her face and relays to Zachery, "He's asking about the brain now. I feel like… we've confirmed well enough they were one of us, but I guess I'm just wondering at this point if there's an aha. Something they have that we don't, which might help with the degradation."

Marlowe shoots a wary look back at Elliot for his observations on the possible reasons of Crowley's internal design. "None of this fazes you," she makes a calm observation of her own, her gaze traveling up and down his body as if to reconsider him. "So is it there are folks 'back home' who are the same?" There's a skip of a beat as she turns her gaze towards the salvaged and modified airport metal detectors.

"How many of them?" she asks, less a demand and more in wariness, "And for how long have you known they've been… reconstructed?" She isn’t expecting a straight answer from him on the subject.

Marlowe takes a step back from the metal slab holding Crowley, turns away from Elliot there, and walks over to what looks simply like a square, tissue box sized steel container. She brings it back to the table with her, setting it down in front of Elliot. No lid, no lock, no visible opening. Her hand remains possessively on the box.

"The world went to shit several years ago," Marlowe says evenly, brown eyes staring at the man. "The Vanguard, the floods, the storms now being endured have made everybody who has survived tough as nails. We're under 20,000 souls left here in the Pelago last count. Sea water rusts nails. Eventually destroys them, given time. And with this… I don't know how much longer we'd last."

Her eyes bloom with a golden color as the box under her hand crackles with the energy of atomic bonds being split and made to take motion. The box top opens in eight triangular points like a hexagonal flower, revealing the central component core of Crowley's brain, metallic sheen gleaming under the shop lights. Marlowe takes her hand away from the box, leaving the bristled open container there for Elliot to reach in to or examine.

"My goal is to make that time as long as possible, Elliot. So anything your internet can provide for that, I'm listening." She folds her arms across her chest.

Elliot considers carefully as the box is brought forward for review. He considers checking with Asi, but she did tell him to be honest. “There aren’t many,” he says. “And they’re experiencing health issues. I had hoped that this one might shed some light as to the cause of their ailment.”

He adds, after a moment, something personal. “One of them is my friend,” he says. He knows more of them, but despite his longer history with Brynn and Nicole, he isn’t as close to either of them as he’s become to Asi in the past few months. Specifically the past few weeks.

“I don’t know anything about their creation or creators,” he continues. He leans over the box to inspect inside. He leans away momentarily to accept Marlowe’s offer of drink in the form of a teaspoon of alcohol to wash his hands. The contents of the box are then lifted with utmost care and control as he speaks.

“Information on this topic is probably heavily classified and outside my area of expertise. We weren’t really expecting to run into one here. As for what I can find out for you, I can make specific information requests that I can’t guarantee will be well-received. As for general knowledge, if it exists on our internet or can be found in the Library of Congress, I will have a much easier time getting that information for you.”

“If you can give me technical specs on your scanner device,” he says with a tilt of his head back toward the entrance, “I may be able to enlist someone to help make improvements with what you have on hand here.”

Elliot can feel Asi continue to stream what he sees, attempting to cut off her own perception to give him the space to say all of that uninterrupted while she describes what she's seeing to Zachery.

What is quite obvious in differences is the advanced nature of the brain core pulled from Gene Crowley. Though conceptually similar with what had been seen in Faulkner's Pharo model, Crowley's looks upgraded, refined to more exacting aesthetics, specifications, and utility by leaps and bounds. If Faulkner's model was an OG iPhone, Crowley would be at minimum an iPhone 7.

Marlowe shakes her head slowly, visibly bleeding away the last vestiges of skepticism she may have held and replacing it with the disbelief for their rotten luck with all this circumstance. But, ever an engineer at heart, the woman sets to examining the problems in search of solutions. Elliot's note on the scanning devices turns her attention that way.

"Is it going to matter?" wonders the woman as Marlowe steps over to look at the scanners. "Ultimately, the fact is, someone's out there trying to replace people with robots. No, not trying. They have replaced people with robots. And why? What the fuck is the reason for that?" Her hand at her side curls into a fist. At least it's missing the hammer that was in it before, as there's a dull, hollow ring of the scanner's paneling as she punches it angrily.

Elliot’s inspection of the brain doesn’t yield much information to him except wonderment at the novelty. He has no data to compare it to, and even Asi hasn’t seen the original to stream for comparison.

At the end of the examination and explanation both, she opens her eyes and looks to Zachery across from her with a silent question of if anything described differs from what he saw in during his braindive into one Isaac Faulkner's corpse.

“If somebody’s sending them,” he says as he returns the brain to the box for now, “it couldn’t hurt to know who they sent without having to march a suspect up here to prove it. It might give the opportunity to question them, if there are more. I can’t help but notice that you said they have replaced people. Were you being figurative or are you aware of the presence of another interloper?”

Marlowe only abuses the scanner the once, her frustration released, she places her open palm upon the lightly dented panel. Though, she doesn't immediately repair it. "That's the thing we haven't figured out," she replies, a look turned back to Elliot. "None of you from the party set it off. Could mean none of you are robots, could mean my salvage ultimately does shit all to detect even a pacemaker." She returns to the table side, and without as much care as Elliot had taken, reaches into the box herself to pick up the golf ball-sized neural core. She holds it up to the light, swiveling it like the skull of Yorick.

"After we first discovered Crowley wasn't human," her voice comes quiet and contemplative, "Cat, Hart and I basically considered the implications. What scenario could have made it possible? We know a group of you, other Travelers, came through earlier in our timeline and then escaped. Back to where your group is from, I assume." Her brow furrows there, the core lowered but held still. "We were fighting the Sentinel, and the Confessor took himself out with that teleportation vest. To this day, I don't know what caused it to malfunction. Only that it did. And that is probably what ultimately turned the tide, won us the war."

Marlowe shakes her head again, shooting a nasty look at the partially disassembled dead. "Like Hart said, she sensed the technological nature of the core. She and Cat brought him back here. We examined the remains in an attempt to reverse engineer what was done. Unfortunately, we haven't the materials, manufacturing capability, or time." She sets the core down on the frosty cadaver table.

Asi meanwhile is looking at Zachery as he breaks his silence, all traces of his humor, sardonic and otherwise vanishing with that silence. "I understand this is complicated," he replies, brow knitting as his grin dissipates entirely, his words growing sharper. "And I understand you've got a reason you're doing things this way. But while I don't think I can help you very much more beyond telling you that I can see this is a newer us even from where I'm sitting — I trust you'll relay it to everyone who might be able to actually do something with it." Elliot can feel the way her heart begins to race, thinking quickly on how even to answer that.

"Newark airport," Marlowe continues, "used Millimeter Wave machine scanners for security. It could be the same in your timeline. The machine works by beaming radio frequency waves over the body's surface using two rotating antennas. The energy reflected back is analyzed for anomalies, normally anything non-organic like surgical implants, weapons, you know the like." Her gaze levels on Elliot, checking whether or not he's following along. "We commissioned the Cerberus crew to retrieve the scanners, given what we determined from testing the core and the teleportation vest. The core especially, emitted a certain high level radiation in detectable electromagnetic fields. After some fine tuning, I was able to get these scanners to ping the core's frequencies to within an acceptable margin of error."

All the while, Asi's turned from Zachery and begun to pace to regulate herself, to try and think.

Her explanation given, Marlowe looks over to that decanter of alcohol and reaches over to it. Since Elliot isn't joining, she pours a double into a nearby coffee mug that sports the phrase RESIST in Star Wars typeface with a picture of a circuit resistor diagram bordering it. "That all said? Maybe… Maybe, I can figure out a way to replicate this in a more portable form. But, I do this for you, you'll have to do something for me, hm?" She takes a drink from the mug.

Asi, meanwhile, has turned back and is demanding to know, "Who the fuck would we tell? The OEI? Who– haven't been able to help us a fucking inch with any of this to begin with? Who might still be responsible for suppressing the results and remnants from your operation in the first place?" She can only shake her head. "I'll tell someone once we figure out who's even safe outside of us. And even then–" With a snap of clarity, her voice sharpens. "Miller, this has to stay between us for now. What happened to us is bad enough to know about, I need– I need time to figure out how to phrase this to any of them."

"Just give me some time," she pleads a little more strainedly.

Elliot is frustrated on Asi’s behalf, this really isn’t what they were hoping for at all. The information about the scanners is useful at least, Asi should be able to use that information however she wishes. That’s always been his intention here, for her to make the call with regard to the technology’s use.

“Any service I perform for you will be on the behalf of my team,” Elliot informs Lowe. “So obviously I can’t do anything that would knowingly compromise our operations here. But if it’s something I’m capable of doing otherwise, I’m sure we can work something out.”

Zachery looks ready to interrupt Asi several times, but finally the fight leaves him with a drag of his hand across his jaw. "You don't have to worry about me," he says, the tension gone from his voice. He takes a deep breath, looking down as if considering something, then nods slowly and meets Asi's gaze again. "This stays between you, me, and the mirror."

"Then we'll start off easy, maybe some soap and shampoo making lessons," Marlowe states with a short chuckle as she picks up the core and replaces it into the metal box. A light touch, a crackling of molecular bonds snapping and shifting, and the metal petals of the box’s opening close up like a reverse bloom. Soon the lid is smooth as a sheet. Golden irises slowly fading back to brown turn upon Elliot, a wry smile from the Syndicate leader accompanying the look.

"I'll be accompanying you all on the journey to Anchor," states the woman with zero room for argument, "So there'll be plenty of time to perform those services." At least from the sound of it, Marlowe accepts that bit of blank check without any ill intentions of extorting Elliot's mental account. "It'll be interesting to work with you, Elliot. I look forward to seeing what we can do together." At this announcement, Marlowe extends her hand for a shake on the deal.

Asi meanwhile is saying thank you, relief flooding her system before she steps back and offers to give Zachery his space back.

Elliot smiles politely, accepting the handshake despite being thoroughly unhappy that the Mafia Queen will be accompanying the convoy. At least when he made his agreement with Gideon d’Sarthe, there was a manageable timer on when his job would need to be accomplished. He keeps his shudder at having to touch her on the inside where only Asi can feel it.

“I’m sure I’ll be seeing you then,” he says, retracting his hand as soon as he can get away with it while still keeping up appearances. “But I think I already have a lead for you on soap and shampoo making lessons.”

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