Raise A Glass


asi_icon.gif kay_icon.gif marlowe_icon.gif monica2_icon.gif

Scene Title Raise A Glass
Synopsis Kay Damaris is unable to escape having a good time on her birthday, and is treated to her own Sake and Employee Appreciation Night
Date November 5, 2018

Knock knock.

Outside the Damaris household waits one of their temporary neighbors, bearing a cupcake and a message. The cupcake has a single flickering candle placed in the center of the frosting, presented on a saucer.

On the door being opened, Asi smiles. "Happy birthday." The saucer is offered out with enthusiasm, the kind that prevents a gift from being rejected. It almost seems to be a drive-by delivery, as she starts down the hall afterward, hand lifted much like one does when they're saying goodbye — or moving away and still trying to hold someone's attention.

"Cake, later. Drinks, now." Her smile broadens into a grin, eyes glinting. "I'll be back to pick you up in 15."

That, too, is apparently not up for debate.

This week's site of Sake and Employee Appreciation Weekly™

"I have dragged the birthday girl," Asi announces, ducking her head as she steps into the small drinking establishment through its sliding front door. Whether for show or because any physical cajoling had to occur, she tugs Kaydence in behind her by her arm, the same devious grin on her face that she's been wearing all evening.

"It's not considered kidnapping if you're doing it for someone's benefit, is it?" she asks no one in particular.

A far cry from the serious, polite creature roaming the halls of the Yamagato Building during the day.

Kaydence hasn’t even taken her blazer off when the knock comes at the door. She’s about to ask what the emergency is when she registers the cupcake. Darn office calendar giving her away. Or maybe it was ‘Ella’s work. Her daughter did insist she do something other than work today. But she looked forward to her quiet apartment and a bottle of vodka and the sleepover her daughter would be on.

Instead, there’s a cupcake. And a promise of more to come in fifteen minutes.

Rather than try to fight the inevitable, she hurries to her room to change clothes. Instead of her usual business suit, she puts on a pair of leggings with a slouchy purple sweater that hangs off one shoulder. It’s been in her closet for years and rarely worn. It used to be a favorite. Tonight seems an appropriate night for it.

When she steps into the room where they’re set to meet their cohorts, Kay looks slightly embarrassed, but also a little excited. It’s been a long time since she’s properly celebrated her birthday, and she could use the distraction today of all days.

It gets dark earlier in the winter, but that doesn’t stop the world from turning. In the case of Yamagato Park, the glow of solar-powered neon-colored lights and almost brazen signage illuminates the way to the site of the meetup. It’s a bit of a walk, winding around darkly shadowed alleys between the buildings of this almost downtown Neo Tokyo like area of the park. The signs are increasingly in Japanese here, although bits of English indicate this area is one for the locals and the nightlife.

The izakaya front is but a small door, electronic lanterns outside of it lit up with indications of the business even being there. Though, the establishment upon entry turns out to be bigger on the inside. Marlowe and Monica have secured a more ‘private’ room, behind sliding paper-and-wood doors are a low to the ground, square shaped, lacquered wood veneer kotatsu table and bamboo tatami mats. The kind of room one takes her shoes off to enter in.

“Kay-kay!” The exclamation comes bright and loud from Marlowe upon sight. The woman pops up to her feet, sweeping over to reach for the birthday lady’s wrist and pull her further in. No escape now. “Otanjoubi omedetou, come, come, you can sit here, across from me so I can see your lovely face.” It’s possible Marlowe got the party started a little bit earlier. The small jars and cups of sake along with a few plates of skewered and grilled tapas-style foodstuffs are an indicator.

Somebody didn’t mention that it was her birthday earlier,” levels the woman mock-accusingly. “Why did it take a technopath to ping us, hmmm?”

Given that Monica laughs as Marlowe all but drags Kay to the table instead of getting up to greet her, it’s extremely likely that M’n’M both are a glass or two in already. “Well, nothing like a good ambush to teach people to be more open,” she says with a glance toward Kay and a crooked smile. She already left a gift on her handler’s desk— as she has done every year— but she couldn’t say no to dragging her out with the girls, either.

“Kay. The security team likes to drink here,” she says, as if this should explain why they picked this particular location. “Dinner and a show.” Not to mention drinks. She picks up a bottle to pour a pair of drinks, for Asi and Kay.

No longer being the only force behind driving Kay to have a good time, Asi steps around the kotatsu and wriggles her arms free of her coat, tossing it on the floor behind them. She stretches her arms above her head before settling down into a crouch by the table, perusing the fun that's already been started. When Monica works on getting them their first round, her brow ticks upward in appreciation and she reaches out gingerly. "Ahhh, arigatou, Monica."

She sits back, drink held carefully to not spill it on her tank or dark jeans while she settles in, and then takes a hearty sip. "What do you take? If we're missing something, we'll order it."

Food, drink, … entertainment. Options, options.

“Must’ve slipped my mind.” Kay shrugs, knowing no one believes that. Her birthdays have often passed quietly. Her work ethic doesn’t always leave her time for friends. This isn’t entirely unlike her to go out with colleagues, but there’s usually some sort of work bent to the gathering. Awkward as she might be feeling as she takes her seat and sets her sake in front of her carefully, she’s also full of gratitude. “Good to see you both. It was nice of you to come.” Even if she’s the apparent anomaly in this group.

Brows hike up at the mention of this being a place security likes to drink. That explains a thing or two. “Well.” After the morning she had, with the reminder that she’s very single, a little eye candy won’t go amiss. “My daughter will be thrilled to hear I actually did something other than sit at home and read reports tonight. So on her behalf, thank you for having me.”

Lifting her cup, she takes a small sip and a moment to consider the taste before going for a second. Kay smiles approvingly and seems to begin to relax.

Kay gets a very disbelieving look from Marlowe. Uh huh. It’s followed by a wag of the engineer’s hand, and a note, “Your daughter should’ve come with you! Where is she?” But, the chide is mild. “Or maybe we’re about to engage in some behavior your child wouldn’t approve of.” She covers a laugh with that same wagging hand, and leans back to find an old school boombox that Marlowe acquired from somewhere. Maybe she built it, who knows. Once she presses play, the funky beats of Ladies Night by Kool & the Gang start up and Marlowe bobs her head to the beat.

“Come on now, we’re going to have a great time tonight, and you know why?” teases the engineer with a broad smile as she sings, “Oh yes, it’s Kay-D’s night, and the feeling’s right!” Marlowe bends to sweep up one of the sake cups into her hand and takes a drink even as she’s swaying to the beat on her way to the door. A moment later she slides the paper-thin wall aside and calls out for a pitcher of beer and some more skewers (please).

Someone might also be checking to see who else is out in the establishment. Surveying the landscape, if you will.

“Asi, girl, you gotta relax,” Monica says to the thanks. She waves it off, too. In her experience, there will be a lot of holding each other’s drinks. And plates. And hair.

She lets out a whoop when the music comes on and gets up to her feet. Dancing to a fun song doesn’t require alcohol for Monica, but it doesn’t hurt. And when Marlowe rewrites the lyrics, there’s a bark of laughter before Monica chimes in. “Romantic lady. Single baby. Oooo sophisticated mama!“ When she realizes that Marlowe is checking out the view, she stage whispers to the others, “Eizen must be here.”

Asi winks at Monica's chiding, holding up one hand in front of her face, thumb to her nose. Sorry, sorry. She just isn't a believer in there being too much of a good thing, but it doesn't mean she has to force that belief on others.

She lets out a laugh at the hijacked song lyrics, hiding a broad grin behind a long drink. She won't participate this round, but now she's thinking. Since she's just bothered to sit, she doesn't stand up right away, though she does make sure to nudge her jacket out of any potential dancing path of Monica's, intentional or otherwise. Asi glances down at the coat affectionately, patting a hand over a lump near the breast pocket.

A single note of what could only be described as delight escapes her as Marlowe calls out for another round. Arms crossing and leaning against the low table, she regards the plate of mostly-naked skewers with a look like she'd not mind seeing more of them. "Eizen here?" Her enthusiasm ebbs slightly, shaking her head to herself as she reaches for one of the skewers still bearing some meat. "I don't want to put on my work face tonight, but he's a hard man to get a hold of." Being caretaker of Yamagato Park security meant sometimes planned meetings were postponed. And postponed again. Things happened, after all.

One hand comes up to cover her mouth as Kay starts laughing at the altered song lyrics. Mirth sparkles in her eyes and she waves it off. “Y’all are too much,” she says with precisely zero conviction. She sips at her sake once more and leeeeeeans back to peer out the opened door when Eizen is mentioned. She casts a glance Asi’s way and shakes her head. “We’re off work. I’ll arrange a meeting for you if you need it. The least I can do.” She gestures to the spread on the table. For dragging her out here for all of this.

“Is it always this spirited?” the PR director wants to know. “I’ve been missing out.” Not that people haven’t tried inviting her out before on many occasions. This used to be the sort of thing she enjoyed doing. The enjoyment didn’t change, but allowing it…

Whether or not Eizen is here, goes unrevealed as Marlowe catches that aside and she whirls around with a hasty slide of the door shut. “SHHH, Moni!” shushes the flush-faced woman, lips pursed in something of a pout. Marlowe returns to her seat with a flop and folding of her legs, not at all composed to a lady-like, proper, polite sit. Nobody’s serving ocha here.

“Why can’t you get a meeting with him?” Marlowe asks, having heard Asi’s mention of the hard-to-get-ahold-of. “Couldn’t you just, you know, clear his schedule and put yourself on it?” Her eyes glimmer with an impish light at that. She knows it’s wrong. But she’s also a few drinks in.

Then it’s back to Kay, who receives a couple of fingers wagged in her direction. “And you, you, we’re off work now but I got to send you some pics to put in your PR blast about the GhostNet, ‘kay, Kay? We gotta make it big. To make up for the power grid… thing.” She’d go on, but the extra pitcher of beer and cold glasses arrive first.

"I will never shhh," Monica says, lifting her chin in a playful showing of pride. She shakes her head when talk turns to work and she looks over at Kay. "Can you believe these girls? No work, ladies. No schedules or press releases, only sake." And speaking of, she drinks from hers before coming over to take the beer off the waiter's hands with a quick thanks. "And beer."

When she sets it down on their table, she drops down to sit again, too. "Tonight is about celebration. Good food, good drinks, good friends, and another year spinning around the sun." For a former terrorist-slash-freedom-fighter, all of those things are worth celebrating on a weekly basis. And good looking people in nice suits, too. Kay gets a crooked smile, because of course it's always this spirited. "The history," she says, as she picks up a set of chopsticks, "of Sake and Employee Appreciation Night goes all the way back to twenty-sixteen, when Marlowe and I found ourselves at the same bar watching the same man stride purposefully through Yamagato Park." Her hand sweeps out as if recreating his trajectory. "And we raised a glass to his broad shoulders, his facial hair, and his amazing waistcoat game."

What would Asi have done without Marlowe and Monica to beat her off the path of the workaholic? Had a far less memorable time in the States, for sure. "Marlowe, that's cheating." she chides to the suggestion she should forcibly make room on a certain someone's calendar. Or hell, anyone's calendar. She was a reformed troublemaker, after-all. She that impression to uphold, at least.

Even as they're lectured about what this night is good for, Asi's hand slides into her coat, fishing for the small disk-shaped object creating a lump in the breast pocket. She tugs free the nylon-blanketed wireframe, pausing in her inspection of the prototype drone she's produced to start to grin at Monica's retelling of the history instead.

"And how generously do they appreciate," she inputs with an amused glint to her eye before glancing back down at the object in her hand. Four arms with wings are folded in against it, a reflective aluminum plate that looks like it could pop up revealed in the center of the bottom. "And artistically." Asi adds with a nose-exhaled breath of laughter.

She glances over to Marlowe mock-sly, asking, "So how is the view tonight?"

“Don’t worry, Marlowe. If you get me the information you want share, I’ll find the way to disseminate it.” And that’s as much work as she’ll do for the duration of this outing. Probably. Maybe. Sufficiently deterred from discussing business at Employee Appreciation Night, Kay smiles with a tightness to the corners. Not out of ire, but because it’s almost like smiling doesn’t quite come naturally to her sometimes. Or that genuine smiles are harder to come by than the subdued polite ones she often wears for work.

Amazing waistcoat game, the birthday girl mouths in silent echo of Monica’s description, shoulders shaking once with a ghost of a laugh. She takes a beer and takes a generous swallow. It’s good beer, but it doesn’t need to be savored in quite the same way as the sake deserves to be.

There’s a light in her eyes at Asi’s question. Picking up a skewer, Kay twirls it between her fingers for a moment as she waits to hear what lies beyond their paper walls.

"Hai, hai," Marlowe obeys of Monica's light chiding, snagging a skewer and nipping at the end of it as the cybernetic-armed woman continues in explanation of the inception of Sake and Employee Appreciation Night. "Codename SEAN," she adds in commentary, hushed in volume as if this were a super-secret and not totally obvious codename. "So if we're visiting Sean, you know." The mention of said man with amazing waistcoat game gets a loudly wistful sigh from Marlowe, not in the least bit sorry or shamed for the noise. And then she reaches for her glass of beer.

All the better to hide the silly smile that forms on her lips. The glass does nothing to hide the desire that shines in the woman's eyes, though. "He's not there," confesses Marlowe after a drink. "But Satomi did say he might sneak in briefly, to keep up appearances I guess."

She'd go on lamenting a lack of eyecandy, but when Asi slips a small drone out of a pocket, Marlowe immediately turns her gaze to it and then its extractor. "Oo, what is this you got here? Where were you hiding that thing, Te-tsu-ya-ma?" The name sing-songed out, Marlowe sets her drink down and holds out a hand in asking for a chance to touch and explore the gadget.

Monica’s sigh echoes Marlowe’s, although it is laced with disappointment that Eizen isn’t here. Maybe later.

But her mood lightens when Marlowe notices Asi’s gadget. “Uh oh. We may have lost her for the night. They’re gonna be comparing drones for hours.” The statement comes with an indulgent smile, however, and she looks over at Kay before she adds, “But that just means more sake for us.” And also eye candy. If it ever gets here.

"I pulled it out of thin air, Ma-ru-ro." Asi replies in just as much of a singsong, her grin wicked as she lets the wings snap out. "Kore tte 'Migi'. 'Hidari' mo aru." She flattens her palm, letting the extremely lightweight disk balance on its surface. "Say hello, Migi." she beckons the drone, and the wings all alight with a whirr.

Beaming with a mixture of amusement and pride at her creation, she lets her hand fall away so the drone can head for the ceiling and begin a sweeping 'scouting' effort of the room before returning to her. Asi had meant to keep it to herself for the moment, but Marlowe's interest prompted a demonstration. "Migi-chan is a work in progress. I want it to be light enough to remain wearable, but also " Wait, they weren't talking about work. "be more than just a great selfie light."

When the disk comes back to where it began, she lifts her hand to snatch it (carefully) by its disk body, flipping it over to look at the bottom, using a fingernail to gently pry open part of the aluminum plate to reveal a single LED light hidden inside. "For now, for my use only. I still need to write an app for uploading faces to it more conventionally." Tucking everything back in order carefully, she offers it out toward Marlowe for her inspection finally.

If an accident happened to it at the hands of the tipsy engineer, what would be would be. "The big toy I wanted to play with is still overseas. I'm this close to having it shipped so I can work on it finally. Waiting is such a…" Asi trails off, finding no word in English suitable enough for that feeling she wants to describe.

“Here they go,” Kay murmurs across to Monica with a grin. She may not get all the technical junk, but she still has an appreciation for it, and she finds amusement (not unkind) in the other women’s interest. “That thing’s pretty impressive. My ‘Ella would love to figure out how to make her own. I worry about all the trouble she’d get into, though.” She shakes her head. Teenagers get all the cool toys. “When I was her age, I just wanted my own phone line.” Quietly, she sighs.

“Too bad about Eizen,” she continues with a shrug of her shoulders. But maybe he’ll make an appearance later. The little smirk that plays on her lips momentarily says she would like that. No one will ever catch her gaze lingering for longer than necessary while they’re at work, but she might make an exception here.

Sending a flat side-eye at Asi, Marlowe utters a short usotsuke at the technopath's statement of having pulled the drone out of thin air. But she returns her intrigue and focus to Migi-the-drone. Despite being buzzed herself, she watches intently at the sudden buzz of the drone coming to life, following it around the room. She'd pass the first steps of a drunk driver's test, at least. An appreciative noise escapes the engineer as the sweep of the scouting drone returns to Asi's possession, and leans even closer to look before she's offered the gadget.

Marlowe receives the drone with both palms, careful not to damage it. "Sugoku chiisai, mata kawaii," she coos admiringly. It's almost like she's petting a small softshelled turtle that flies. Kay's note about her girl wanting one gets a grin from the woman. "Have you seen the AH-UN drones? I'll get you a set! It'll be my gift!" That settles that, and no protestations from Kay are likely to reverse the decision.

Abruptly turning back to Asi, Marlowe goes on, "I was thinking, next-gen could be even smaller, like this one! But, I worry about durability and elemental exposure factor. Leroy thinks we could go with some additional shielding, but I told him we didn't need to worry about people trying to shoot them down so much as bird-strike. I also think he wants to guard them against technopathic intrusion…" Her rambling slows as she remembers Asi's ability. Oops. But, then she catches up again and speeds on, "What operating temperature have you tested to? Are you concerned about—" Marlowe nearly spills her drink but catches the glass in time before it winds up on the table. The near-accident isn't concerning as much as it is amusing though, and she winds up setting Migi down in front of Asi. "Aah, you better take it," she says after stifling a short giggle.

Clutching her glass a little more securely, Marlowe takes another drink and scoots a little closer to Monica's side, noting, "You'll catch my drink if I drop it, right?" Right, Monica? Contingency plans are made. "And ok, enough about work. But also, about work, we need to know, like, Kay's list." What list, they might wonder? Marlowe supplies, completely PG-ratedly, "Birthday wishlist." Except by the look in her eyes, and the crooked smile on her features, she might mean it totally R-ratedly.

“Oh my lord,” Monica says, pretty well in time with Kay’s own interjection. But, obviously, she has a lot of respect for this sort of thing. She doesn’t always understand the technical jargon, but she admires it. Things she can’t learn just by looking have always fascinated her.

“AH and UN are solid,” she ends up saying, “they really helped during the gala when I was chasing down those kidnappers.” Kidnappers who she now knows are a lot more complicated than they first appeared. However, that is definitely talk for another day. “Marlowe was pretty solid that night, too,” she says with a nudge to her friend. “Not like now, when she might be classified as a semisolid,” she says with a sideways smile toward the woman next to her.

She doesn’t answer as to whether or not she will catch the drinks, because of course she will.

When the list comes up, Monica barks out a laugh and reaches for the beer, “I need to be more drunk if we’re doing this,” she says, “Kay does, too.” But she definitely would rather get drunk and go there than let Kay off the hook.

By the end of the night, she’ll hear about all their lists, too, probably.

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