Remember, Trust No One


eizen_icon.gif isa_icon.gif kay_icon.gif kimiko_icon.gif marlowe_icon.gif otomo_icon.gif vf_shaw_icon4.gif

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Scene Title Remember, Trust No One
Synopsis Yamagato Industries closes themselves off in the aftermath of the Event, determined to find answers.
Date July 31, 2020

Yamagato Industries has been on a discreet high alert for almost a month now. Outwardly, the company is putting on a face of business as usual, internally security screenings have doubled, the presence of armed security officers is notable on all levels of their operations, and a level of palpable tension has settled across all employees without a clear definition of why these precautions have been made except for “a clear security threat.”

Only those personally aware of what happened to Kimiko Nakamura understand this reaction, and those Kimiko has entrusted with that knowledge. In the days since her return to New York along with Isabelle and Shahid Khan, there has been almost no communication directly from Nakamura.

Marlowe Terrell’s first task upon Kimiko’s return was ensuring production of a new prosthetic arm and leg to replace the ones she lost in her abduction. Secondly, to try and track down the location of her original arm and leg using the embedded tracking hardware. Historic signal data revealed the arm’s movement, disappearing from the Yamagato Building and reappearing in the air over the Atlantic Ocean before disappearing again six seconds later, never to report back another packet of data.

Yamagato Industries has pointedly not shared this information outside of their company, and until an emergency meeting was called by Yamagato’s CEO, it wasn’t clear why.

But the time for clarity is now.

Yamagato Building
Executive Suite

July 31st
6:11 pm

Night in Yamagato Park is a neon-lit palette on a black canvas.

A pair of opaque black glass doors lead into the office of Yamagato Industries CEO. The floor is marble-tiled, with tall columns along the walls, stone planters filled with tall ferns, and antique paintings of Showa-era landscapes along the walls. The left wall from the entrance is vertically angled nearly forty-five degrees, given the shape of the building, and is entirely glass. It affords a dusk panorama of Yamagato Park, with its purple and blue neon lighting contrasting against the midnight blue and starlit black of the sky.

Kimiko Nakamura stands in silence beside the floor-to-ceiling windows in her dimly-lit office of black marble and dark glass. Her reflection is muted, muddied and indistinct. Rain patters against the glass, fog floods the streets below, making the neon glow bloom into impossible plays of light and dark.

Hachiro Otomo makes his way into the office ahead of Marlowe Terrell, cradling a tablet under one arm that is displaying a slowly spinning icon representing Jiba. Eizen greets Otomo as he enters the room with a tense and wordless nod. As Kaydence Damaris enters with Isabelle and Shahid Khan, Eizen moves to the doors and shuts them.

“We need to talk.” Kimiko says without turning away from the window, her reflection faint against the neon-lit, rain-streaked glass.

If it were just herself and the CEO, Kaydence Lee might be inclined toward a quick I suspected that might be the case, but whatever familiarity she’s been cultivating with her boss won’t be shown in front of others.

That Sun Xiaolu hasn’t been called in with her means this isn’t one of those meetings. Maybe later it will be, but not with this assortment of participants, and Sun is chasing leads anyway. Kay murmurs quiet greetings to Eizen and Hachiro as she makes her way into the office, opting to linger with the former after he’s closed the doors in her wake. Everyone else appears to have a partner in this, so as long as they’re the odd ones out, they may as well stick together.

Although… Glancing to her predecessor out of the corner of her eye, she opts to move away, further into the room. Eizen acts for Kimiko, so Kay will stand alone. “Of course, Ms Nakamura.” Her southern-accented voice is smooth, she aims to project calm with her tone and her carriage. “How can we best serve?”

For Yamagato's Tech Director, the alarm bells sounded immediately via the complex suite of security measures installed and networked within their CEO's version of the cybernetic Cestus and Calceus. Following the routine check of all registered cybernetic hardware, the security engineers may have only just exited the director's office before assuming that Marlowe was freaked out.

With very good reason.

She had no idea which of a plethora of causes could have been the actual fate of Kimiko Nakamura's limbs. And life, for that matter.

Once other trackers were accounted for and possible glitches confirmed nonexistent, the work proceeded in secrecy. Much more than freedom has been ringing through the tech director's personal chopshop than usual. Brand new, hot off the factory line limbs were supplied with haste. Whatever new security measures could have been implemented, were. And now Marlowe comes… bearing nothing but the remains of her wits and composure over the course of the past month.

She's not one to blame victims here, but there is a brief, pointed look that daggers in Eizen's direction when he's within range of her visual scope. Because what the hell is happening, Erizawa. "Yes we do," acknowledges Marlowe, relenting in the long stare at the security chief, a huffed sigh and a softened look back to Hachiro and Jiba's pulsing spherical icon. "How are things feeling today, Shacho?" By things, she means the limbs on a superficial but strictly engineer's mental level. Some things like missing limbs could be fixed. Kimiko's mental (and emotional) state, however…

A long exhale that escapes from the lean form of a man seated in a futuristic looking electric wheelchair attempts to carry away only his pain. All kinds of it have plagued Shaw in his slow road to recovery. Over the course of four alternate timelines, he's walked away from death's door several times in his life already, but this has turned from a stroll into an arduous hike. The doctors may not have wanted him up and moving on his own yet, but with enough insistence and compromise, he's made it here, the summit of the mountain of power on Yamagato's campus, surrounded by what he imagines as unspoiled opulence.

Dark eyes blink and swivel to and fro, taking in the executive floor, settling upon the woman standing at the window and the view of the city he's seen in so many variations. This one, lit in bright blues and neon purples to contrast the black marble and shining golds, was so different from the others. But he can remember the pitch dark chill of the deadened cityscape, the glowing green tower dominating the skyline, the acrid scent of grey-orange smoke of war, or sloshing deep waters lapping right up against the upper windows of the highrise. "It's beautiful," he comments on the way in with Kay and Isabelle. Kimiko's words prickle at his own worries then. But, he summons a smile for all the others. "Good evening," he offers in spite of the mood. Or perhaps, because of it.

There's an almost audible clicking sound of teeth crashing together. Isabelle stands near her husband bundled in a sweater, thick black sweatpants and a winter coat. Witnessing the former pyrokinetic adjust to having a normal body temperature might be comical if it weren't for the events that had just transpired recently.

"That is a severe understatement," Isa growls and rubs her hands together and blows into them. She was a woman of action at all times, she didn't wait, she didn't even follow. Not usually, working for Kimiko and her family's company felt like the right path for the scientist to make but working under someone hasn't done much to dull her edge. When she's not at Shahid's side she's in her lab working on solutions, ways to explain what happened.

Plus, Isabelle hates being frozen out and Kimiko's silence has been annoying to say the least.

Her fellow engineer's question of the replacement limbs reminds her that some people had lost more than just their abilities through all of this.

Kimiko takes a long time to compose her thoughts, longer than usual. The last time anyone in this company saw her like this was shortly after her return from Tokyo several months after the bombing that took her husband’s life and two of her limbs. Kimiko draws in a slow and sharp breath as she says, “I’m fine,” as though it was a curse. But it’s said so quietly as to almost be for herself.


“Yamagato medical has compiled the results of their full spectrum medical analysis of those of us who were abducted.” Kimiko says with a tap of two fingers to her desk, bringing up a holographic image of a woman’s body scan — hers — with blurry areas throughout. “We appear to be giving off a high-frequency electromagnetic radiation that is foiling resonance imaging.”

“X-Rays…” Kimiko taps another button on her desk’s glass surface, overlaying the X-Ray image, “…show substantial dense matter in the cranium and thoracic chamber. It’s hard to say what, precisely, it is, but it seems to be a hardening of the soft tissues of the brain and heart. But without exploratory surgeries we can’t know for sure.”

Kimiko swipes the images away and pulls up a picture of human blood cells. “Our blood is over oxygenated by 15%, white blood cell count is astronomically high. The latter so much so that we should be sick and showing signs of fighting off infection. But none of us are.” Kimiko looks at Shaw. “The doctors have said your recovery is close to 20% faster than anticipated for an injury of your severity…”

Looking down to the floor, Kimiko’s brows knit together. “Obviously, genetically, we’ve been changed. Our Suresh-Linkage Complex and the protein receptors that make us Expressive are simply non-existent. We show no signs of other illness or impairment. But something is clearly wrong.”

“Our scientists have no idea what was done to us.” Kimiko explains flatly. “They don’t even know where to begin looking next. They have no leads on who could have perpetrated this crime. No leads on how our security was breached…” Eizen looks away when Kimiko calls out that detail.

“Though we do have some clues.” Kimiko motions to Jiba, whose graphical avatar leaps from the tablet to her desk.

{Ms. Nakamura is correct.} Jiba says, his voice filling the room. {After reviewing all data from the night of your individual disappearances, I detected an increase in atmospheric temperature consistent with one or two additional human bodies. This is consistent across all Yamagato properties that are connected to my network and were sites of abductions.}

“Teleportation.” Kimiko says with a tightness to her throat.

{Or something similar. The temperature raise was sudden and instantaneous, so this would be a point to that theory.} Jiba adds.

Kay studies the scan while it’s displayed, eyes narrowed faintly. She doesn’t have the kind of scientific background to really make much of it, but she did learn a thing or two from the coroner’s office back in the day. She holds her tongue while Kimiko explains what it means, and lays out the security concerns.

“Well, that would make some sense, at least.” There’s a lot they can account for, and Kay darts a glance to Eizen while she considers this, but these are incredible times they live in. There’s only so much safeguarding anyone can do. Sometimes she wonders how anybody manages to sleep at night.

She suspects Kimiko doesn’t.

“Jiba, have you scanned camera footage from the complex for anyone present on campus that may not have entered through the checkpoints?” Unless this was an inside job, Kay suspects their teleporter — if that’s what this was — would have known where to pop in without having knowledge of the layout of the apartments. Now she turns her attention to Eizen, “You’ve been running personnel files?” It’s not a question of his competence. He’s good at what he does, but she’s curious as to the results.

Shaw reaches up a hand, palm up and open, to take one of Isa's into his. A small reminder of shared warmth, hope that in the chill of their ultimate negated states he can still provide some emotional heat. Kimiko's report doesn't really make sense beyond the basics for the man, but understanding that their bodies aren't at all normal is obvious even for him.

"Body snatchers and pod people," he utters, craning his head up to glance at Isa. Does she remember watching that old movie in the shoebox of a Harlem apartment? They… might have not made it to the ending. Then he looks back to the others, because a singular word takes grasp of his ear. Teleportation. Eyes widen in a spike of fear as he whispers a reactionary retort. "The Huntress?"

Marlowe shakes her head slowly in sheer disbelief of the situation and the results of the body scans. It doesn't make any sense, but even if she's no geneticist, her approach tries logic. "What about foreign substances? Something that's been injected into you all that suppresses the production of the SLC gene sequence? Like a symbiote? A virus?" Her fingers twitch with the urge to ball up. Instead, Marlowe's face twists in a disturbed frown. "Could it be the pink-haired girl again? Praxis elements? Shedda Dinu?"

And then there's the one big question mark hanging over. "Does someone really want to start a fight with Yamagato?" Marlowe looks over the gathered group, but there is a special focus on the men and women whose origins hail from Japan, what with their country's history of pre-emptive attack not ending well.

“We aren’t ruling out any suspects,” Eizen says firmly. “Teleportation is one of the few means of egress into this structure that we hadn’t been able to actively protect against, but we’re working on developing countermeasures. Though, it’s a little early to start talking about that now.”

“Medical can’t say for sure if we had any foreign bodies introduced to us. Our genetic sequence appears unaltered, save for the absence of the Suresh Linkage-Complex. But it hasn’t been removed, it’s — according to the doctors — like it was never there. They compared it to our records on people like ability thieves, the Shanti virus, H5N10, and Tyler Case’s ability augmentation to see if there are any similarities. We’ve found none.” Kimiko exhales a sigh and looks to Eizen.

“As Jiba said, two additional bodies. This means whoever was coordinating this was working in pairs. We can speculate on their capabilities, but we don’t know. We’ve done a thorough sweep of personnel and security footage and come up empty handed. Whoever did this was familiar with our security suite and knew private residences wouldn’t have camera access,” Eizen goes on to say. Though he does level a somewhat concerned look to Kimiko, who nods as if giving him some sort of approval.

“We do have one piece of information.” Eizen says, motioning with one hand to Jiba. “Play the audio sequence.”

Jiba’s holographic icon flickers and there’s an audible pop before a very rough piece of lo-fi audio plays over the office’s speakers.

«Was ist mit dem Mädchen?» A woman’s voice speaks in German.

«Sie ist nicht auf der Liste.» A man’s voice replies back.

The audio ends.

Eizen takes in a deep breath and looks to Isa and Shaw. “We were able to recover that audio from your apartment. One of your voice-controlled devices was left powered on through the night. This was in the cache.” Eizen looks down to the floor, then back up to the husband and wife. “We tried running the voices through a pattern-recognition program, but we weren’t able to find any matches. We believe based on where the device is located this conversation happened outside of your daughter Namiko’s room.”

“They had a list.” Kimiko says flatly, looking around the room. “This wasn’t random, it was targeted.”

What about the girl? Kay mouths after the recording. “Not on the list?” She shakes her head slowly. “I suppose that makes sense. If this had been random, it’s likely they’d have taken all three of you, rather than risking your daughter as a loose end.” And the fact that someone broke into this place of all places had suggested to her that there could be nothing random about these abductions.

“Well, whoever they are, they speak German.” In case there might be anyone in the room who hadn’t recognized the language. “I suppose we could check into some of our European rivals.” Two such names spring to mind and she purses her lips, looking to Eizen as if she might be able to ascertain if he’s thinking what she’s thinking.

Shaw's watched enough media to appear alarmed with the sounds of strangers suddenly speaking, further worrying when there's a conclusion that they were targeted. Dark eyes turn to Isa, lingering on her face a moment as things coalesce in his mind. "What should we do?" he asks softly, his volume changing little, but there is a quality to the quiet tone that shifts. Anger. Unsettled, chilling, a gleaming blade in the dark.

Marlowe stares in disbelief on the news of their medical findings. "That's…" She shakes her head, the audio's voices are equally disturbing but it helps little that they don't sound immediately recognizable. "That's mildly good news. Because it means whoever did this is at least," she huffs, reluctant to state the next word, "human." That's really all they have to go on, though? Her brows lift in a quick glance to Eizen and Hachiro. "What about. Were there comparisons to what happened with Leroy?"

“It’s not dissimilar,” Hachiro says reluctantly, folding his hands in front of his mouth and resting his chin on his knuckles. “The genetic resequencing that Leroy experienced completely rewrote his DNA. This is like some sort of… inverse of that process. But just because it looks externally similar, doesn’t mean that it is.”

“We have a team in the genomics lab in Tokyo working around the clock on your samples, looking for anything useful,” Kimiko explains, threading a lock of hair behind one ear in a moment of subtle nervousness. “As far as potential candidates go, the list is too long to pin down. We’ve checked our markers against Mazdak’s gemini technology and found no evidence of prion folding, ruling them out unless they’ve developed new technology we’re unaware of. Coincidentally, this also rules out an Expressive ability thief like the late Arthur Petrelli, as his ability also misfolded prions, which is why his work could be undone by Raytech’s little gene therapy.”

Kimiko begins to pace the room, the soft whirr of her new prosthetics not as smooth as her previous ones. “Our other corporate enemies could all have reason to pull this off, but… this wasn’t strictly a Yamagato hit. It doesn’t make sense. One of the victims, Daphne Milbrook?” Kimiko raises a brow. “She was living in Europe, a friend of my… late brother, though.” Her brows come together anxiously and she offers a look to Kay, then back to the others.

“Damaris,” Kimiko says briskly, “I’d like you to collect whatever intelligence you can on the other abductees and build a comparison diagram for overlapping associations or major events we may have all been a part of prior to this. When you’re done with that, I’d like you to conduct some… informal interviews with them.” Kimiko narrows her eyes, looking from Kay to the massive window behind her desk. She slowly approaches it, considering her muted reflection in the glass.

“Not all at once, and not right away.” Kimiko thinks to clarify. “Take your time, but go around to them, find out if they’ve been experiencing any unusual symptoms or gathered any useful information we might not have. But don’t divulge anything we’ve discovered unless you think it might make a better lead.” For the first time in a long time, Kimiko is leveraging Kaydence’s older, less-utilized skills. Those of a detective.

Turning to Isa and Shaw, Kimiko puts her back to the window. “I’m putting a security detail on you two, 24/7. They won’t get in the way of your day-to-day activities, but if something happens to you they’ll be within shouting distance. Eizen will coordinate.” She instructs with a quick look to her head of security.

“Terrell,” Kimiko says with a look to Marlowe. “Work with Hachiro on developing an imaging system we can use to get a better look at our internal situations. With the electromagnetic interference we’re giving off we’ll need to think on a different spectrum. Find something that can see what’s going on inside of us with the same level of fidelity. You have an unlimited discretionary budget to complete this task.”

Hai,” Hachiro says softly to Kimiko with an incline of his head and a look to Marlowe.

“Further thoughts?” Kimiko asks, being unusually diplomatic about this.

Kay tips her head to one side as she listens to the directive handed down to her. It’s been some time since she’s properly profiled a case. She certainly puts those skills to use when she’s doing her legitimate work, but with very different applications. Tipping her chin down once to signify her understanding, she smiles thinly. “Of course. I’ll exercise discretion.”

But it’s not as simple as interviewing the others. Kay lifts her head, addressing her employer with a calm expression and a firm voice. “That goes for you as well, you understand. If I’m going to paint a complete picture, I’ll need as much data as I can gather.” For once, she’s asking Kimiko to go against her own reticence.

Though the talk involving deeper biological concepts goes over Shaw's head for the most part, he remains as attentive as possible to the discussion. It's all he can do not feel overwhelmed and, in a real and physical sense, exhausted by the events still. Until the Yamagato head turns to him and Isa. To the note about security detail, he makes a slight face on having the added presence of bodyguards. "Okay," he nevertheless agrees, scratching lightly at his short beard and glancing up to his wife. Sorry bae, it's probably going to cramp their style a bit.

Marlowe straightens up as she's given her task, fighting off a short frown of thought. That frown increases more when the budget is named. It is in fact, unusual. Unexpected. She shoots a quick sidelong glance back to Hachiro. "Ryokai," answers the tech director, "We'll assemble a prototype development team with Medical, ASAP." Her confidence, however, sounds lacking still. "But, all this is on an unknown timetable, isn't it? Whoever it is that targeted you, they could also be working on something that's going to… affect all of us. We don't know how long we have." The woman's worried words spur on urgency in her action as she turns half way to the exit.

Kimiko looks down to the floor for a moment, then over to the Wesley-Khans and their shared expressions of uncertainty that has stolen their voices. When Kimiko returns her attention to Marlowe, all she has to offer is a stoic nod of acknowledgement.

“Our lives are balanced on a knife’s edge right now,” Kimiko opines, putting the deserved weight on this situation. “Everyone in this room realizes how precarious this moment of equilibrium could be. Let us use it to the best of our advantages, and hope that we are given more time to plan before we are forced to react yet again.”

Kimiko glances over to Kay and Eizen, then back to the others. “We keep this to ourselves, and we work hard.” Her jaw tenses, fingers on her new prosthetic hand clenching into a fist.

“Remember, trust no one.”

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