Revengers Initiative


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Scene Title Revengers Initiative
Synopsis After running afoul of Asami Tetsuzan, Yi-Min Yeh wastes no time in seeking a meeting with a potential kindred spirit.
Date March 2, 2021

The Linderman Building

Isaac Faulkner's office is an oversized space rendered in polished black marble, darkly gleaming and — despite the recent incursion by Federal agents and subsequent top-to-bottom bug sweep — immaculate. The view through the tinted floor-length windows at the back of the office is as breathtaking as ever, and the midday light coming through those windows makes the tiny veins of gold in the marble gleam softly.

A heavy desk of the same black marble sits in the center of the room, several stacks of papers sitting on it; a comfortable-looking leather rolling chair sits behind it, while a pair of comfortable-looking stationary chairs sit in front of it. In one corner of the room, a grandfather clock ticks quietly; a small potted plant sits in another, and several expensive looking bottles of liquor sit pristinely on a ledge along one wall. These few touches of color and life serve only to highlight the darkness of the decor, the emptiness of the space… and the grandeur of the view.

At the moment, though, Isaac is paying attention to none of these things — he is seated at his desk, poring over one of the stacks of papers; the buzzing of an intercom startles him, making him blink. "Mr. Faulkner, Mrs. Yeh is here to see you," his secretary says.

Isaac blinks, glancing to the clock — sure enough, she's right on time. He grimaces. "Excellent. Send her in," he says. He caps his pen and lays it down on his desk, then pushes his chair back and comes to his feet, straightening his tie and mustering a professional smile.

"Ms. Yeh," Yi-Min feels the need to correct mildly as she follows the secretary's cue. She isn't married yet.

It's quite a minor point of contention, and one that fades from her concern as she steps foot across the threshold and into the wide-open grandeur of Faulkner's lair. She notes the spectrum of decor with appreciation, letting her gaze drink deeply of each successive detail that crosses her field of vision before it settles, at last, upon the face of Isaac Faulkner himself.

Yi-Min and Faulkner are already passingly familiar with one another in reputation and appearance, even if their paths have never had cause to intersect this closely before. And just as Isaac has seen of her before, this is the profile of a woman who presents herself with habitual impeccability. Tiny, many-tined silver stars gleam in her ears, and her lips are a dark-red bloom of lipstick in the low light.

But the look from her black eyes as she comes to stand some distance from his desk, calm and spirit-like, cuts sharper than any of that.

"Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Faulkner. I know you are a busy soul, and I do not intend to waste your time. I have a specific issue on my mind that I wish to talk to you about—."

"…And her name is Asami Tetsuzan."

There is a moment's pause at the mention of the name; whatever is going through Isaac's head doesn't quite show on his face, save for a moment's consideration.

"If you have come to talk about Asami, Ms. Yeh, then you have no cause for concern as far as wasting my time," he says, inclining his head. "Please, be seated. You have my undivided attention."

Yi-Min sits.

There is a matching pause from her, though likely not purposely so, before she speaks up again from out of her new position— a silence that lends itself to the growing sense of coldness in her bearing. It doesn’t appear directed at Faulkner, at least, so much as some shadow flitting through her own internal thoughts like a winged curse. Her eyes narrow in concentration at this non-entity.

"She came to me," she breathes, clearly the beginning of a long-despised accounting. Before she continues on, her lip curls; when she resumes, it is much more slowly. "She came to me, and she assaulted me inside my own shop. Did something to me, some sort of devilry, that I cannot even pretend to understand."

It is a whirlwind of bitterly withheld memory to cover in the breadth of but a few sentences, but she is keen on getting to the details that just might be the most important of all. "And… you. She told me to seek you out. Mentioned you by name, in fact. That you might understand better than anyone, the way that I have been left to feel."

Isaac settles into his seat as Yi-Min does… but as she speaks, Isaac's smile slowly fades, like a mask peeling away. Beneath it there is something less… polished. Grimmer.

"Betrayed. Violated," he offers, his eyes locked on Yi-Min's for a moment.

Then Isaac sighs, breaking eye contact. "She might have been able to convince me, you know; she was a friend, before…" he gestures at the world in general. "But she couldn't be bothered to try."

He shakes his head at that memory before looking back to Yi-Min. "I almost think, Ms. Yeh, that she is possessed; a strange thing to say, perhaps, but… it certainly seems to fit," he sighs, again gesturing as if to indicate the world around them. "Some part of her realizes that she is sick, that what she is doing is horrible… else why would she send you to me? Someone who is adamantly opposed to what she's doing? And yet… it is equally clear that that part is not in control." His mouth tightens into a grim line.

"She must be stopped."

"…Violated. Yes, I would choose this word to use. She was my fencing instructor," Yi-Min adds as her contribution to Faulkner's observation that she was a friend. If her voice weren't so tight, this would have come out sounding almost dry, in a 'can you imagine?' sort of way.

As it is, her frosty, somewhat distant gaze holds steady on Isaac's profile even well after he looks away from her. There is little further movement from her, save the curling of one small hand of hers atop her lap.

"That is not a very strange thing to say. If once, you had asked me if I believed in demons, I would have told you no. Of course not. But now, our world is being turned upside down, and everything is going insane all around me. I… admit I do not know what to do about it. Any of it." Hence why she had come seeking resolution straight from Faulkner's seat of power, one would presume.

The declaration of intent might be the most promising thing Yi-Min has heard from anyone in a long time. There is a piercing gleam of a question in her eyes.

"Do you have a plan for stopping her?"

"A plan?" Isaac echoes, a considering expression crossing his face as he weighs what he has… then his expression shifts to a grimace, as he's forced to admit that what he has falls rather short of that threshold. "No," he admits bitterly. "Nothing so concrete yet."

"I had been relying on Nicole on this matter — she was… determined… to resolve the matter personally. Unfortunately, she seems to have had… a change of heart," Isaac says as delicately as he can. "When last I discussed the matter with her, Nicole seemed more ambivalent on the topic of dealing with Asami, despite my best efforts to persuade her otherwise," he says, his mouth tightening.

"I have recently started pursuing matters personally, but while I have some promising developments, I don't have enough to be certain of success… and it is imperative that when I act, I succeed," he says grimly, looking down at the surface of his desk. "Because if we fail, we will not get a second chance."

Isaac exhales. "On that note. Any information you can offer — any abilities you've seen her use, any incongruent actions she took, anything — will be invaluable to me, Ms. Yeh, in helping me refine what I have into a viable plan. In turn, I'll be happy to share what I know of the whole Asami situation."

It's subtle, but Yi-Min's lips twist into a rather strange expression at the mention of Nicole, and her head bows in what might be some type of knowing smile. "This does not surprise me," she says, nonchalant, quiet. "She has a knack for bowing out right at the moment when you wish to depend on her."

A pity, considering everything Mrs. Miller otherwise had to offer.

Yi-Min breathes out wryly. "Oh, trust me, I will be only too happy to tell you everything I can recall about that unnatural demon of a woman. Let me see. She created fire before my eyes, as well as flew. And, I am fairly certain that I witnessed her— somehow healing the wounds in her own hand after I perforated it with a garden fork. As for 'incongruent actions'… well. The very act of…'unlocking my potential,' as she put it, would no doubt count as the most egregious one I can think of."

On one of her armrests, the very tips of Yi-Min’s fingers have rigidified into a claw.

Isaac had been nodding along right up until the bit about her healing her wounds had come up; that tidbit sees his expression freeze, shifting into something subtly incredulous… and then into an expression of controlled fury that looks… not so different from the look on Yi-Min's face.

"You have my thanks, Ms. Yeh," he says slowly. "You've revealed something important there, that I was not previously aware of."

"Now. If you feel comfortable sharing the details of your… potential, as she calls it… I would be most interested in finding out. Otherwise, if you've any other details, I'd be happy to hear them. Or… I can tell you what I've learned."

"Hm. There was one more thing I can recall her doing, even amidst the chaos of it all." This comes with a mild tilt of Yi-Min's head; it's a thought that requires far greater care to assemble, and she pauses to replay the relevant events inside her own mind. "At some point, she simply stopped everything that was going on. Her self-healing. Everything going on in my skull. All of it. As though taking on all of the effects of her devilry at once, and saying to them, 'stop.'"

She does not punctuate the phrase with a matching gesture from her hand, but its ending is as blunt as though she had.

"And as far as, well. My potential." Shifting a little in her seat, Yi-Min utters this even more carefully. God, how she loathes everything about the terminology being used in this conversation, but it is what it is.

"…Perhaps it would be easier if I showed you."

That confirms the supposition he'd already been toying with. Faulkner nods slowly.

The distaste on Yi-Min's face is evident when she speaks of the potential that had been inflicted on her, and it's not hard to understand why; his own dislike for Asami's unwanted gift has been mitigated, somewhat, as he'd come to understand the finer points of its use, but he still remembers clearly his own initial dislike… and he remembers, too, that some gifts had been far less pleasant than his own.

Still, when she talks of showing him, though, Faulkner hesitates for a moment… but he's gone over this office with a fine-toothed comb. If he can't talk freely here, now, then he's already doomed. "By all means."

Briefly, Yi-Min's eyelids slip closed in assent. But it isn't long before they open again to a far darker expression, one that casts about the environment of Faulkner's office to find something suitable for a demonstration.

Soon, she finds it.

Atop her armrest, Yi-Min's hand turns over on the spot so her palm is facing upwards— a simple gesture, as though one made in adjuration.

An exquisite, gold-nibbed fountain pen rises up out of its lacquered stand on Faulkner's desk, swiveling in midair towards a point high above both their heads as languidly as one well-oiled arm of an orrery. All the while, Yi-Min's gaze burns into the object with slowly-accumulating iciness— until the invisibly mounting pressure seems unbearable to them both.

Then: with a flick of all her fingers closed, the point of the levitating pen stabs through a nearby stack of papers with the force of a thunderbolt— a trajectory tearing straight down until it meets the bedrock of marble sitting rudely beneath, as though some ghost had just used a whole dagger to kill the evil papers.

Hopefully, none of them had been too important.

All the while Yi-Min still hasn't moved at all, save for her hand.

"I am sure that now, you can picture what happened with the garden fork," she says calmly. Too calmly, and all without looking back up at Faulkner. Perhaps she cannot.

Faulkner sighs faintly; another mark on his desk. "Forceful," he observes. "Though I can't say I've not occasionally felt the same about some things," he says, carefully prizing the pen free. He regards it critically for a moment, then returns it to its holder.

"The gifts," Faulkner begins, sarcasm slathered thickly on that last word, "that Asami gives with her attacks… it's difficult to discern the pattern behind them. Some of them are… potentially useful. Others are crippling maladies akin to curses. One of her victims appears to be permanently radioactive now; think of what a curse something like that would be!" He shakes his head. "For that alone, she needs to be stopped… but that is not the only threat she poses. Far from it."

A twitch of tiredness works itself into Yi-Min's posture from the effort she had just spent, and she settles her shoulders back into a restful position, but that does not stop a poisonous look from entering into her eyes at the words 'permanently radioactive.' It is mainly due to how Faulkner leaves off that causes her to refrain from a murmured, scathing comment of her own.

"Go on, then. I am listening."

It does seem high time for Faulkner to divulge at least some of what he knows of all of this.

"On January 15th, at 4:14 pm, Asami Tetsuzan was engaged in a firefight with federal agents who had come to place her under arrest, shooting several of them before escaping. She leapt from the top story of the Linderman Building and, somehow, was able to escape safely and not die. This is the story I was given; it is supported by analysis of the scene and multiple video feeds."

"Tetsuzan's testimony is somewhat different. She says that she was alerted by an outside party beforehand, fled to the roof, leapt off the building… and then, suddenly, she discovered she could fly. She flew to safety and escaped."

Faulkner frowns for a moment as something occurs to him, but doesn't let it derail him. Better to move on.

"But. Within an hour of the time Asami magically developed superpowers… a woman named Justice Quinn magically ceased to exist, as observed by no fewer than three eyewitnesses," Faulkner says gravely, his expression intent as he regards Yi-Min. "Her position at the New York District Attorney's office is vacant, and there are no records of her phone number, not even any online presence for her. It's as if she never existed; only a few, so far, have any recollection of her whatsoever."

Faulkner lets that sit for just a moment. "I have never been a believer in coincidence, Ms. Yeh. When two incidents that defy our understanding of the laws of reality occur within an hour of each other, it's my inclination to posit a connection between the two."

Yi-Min sits silent as she listens to Faulkner's strange account, her gaze gradually lowering from his face and coming to rest somewhere closer to the midpoint of his desktop instead. "So you believe Tetsuzan's escape episode had something to do with the vanishing of this… Justice Quinn?" What a rather unusual name for a woman, in any language, unless it was some sort of alias. In any case, it all seemed just a little too apt for belief— the disappearance of Justice.

"If it is not a coincidence, then the implication would be that either Asami herself eliminated this woman with the ungodly tools at her disposal, or the forces chasing her did. Those are two… extremely different things to ponder, and now I wonder at which possibility is to be feared more."

Which, as a matter of course, all quite naturally leads up to: "What is happening to our world, Isaac Faulkner?" The inquiry leaves Yi-Min with sudden flatness compared to her earlier ones; it is also immediately obvious as being far more general in scope. In the meantime, in her lap, her clasped knuckles have whitened.

It's that question that shakes Isaac Faulkner's poise. For a moment, he hesitates… then he sighs, seeming as though some invisible weight has settled over him, pushing his head and shoulders down. "I don't know, Ms. Yeh," he says quietly, and when he looks up he suddenly seems… older. Haunted, almost. "I don't know. But if I'm being honest, it frightens me."

He lets that sit for a moment… then he lets out a long, slow breath, forcing his spine straight again. "My thoughts on the matter are that it's neither of the above. Asami seems unaware of these incidents; my thought is that it's… the world balancing itself, somehow. All the incidents I know of have occured in the immediate aftermath of someone having their 'potential awakened'," Isaac says, sarcasm strong on those two words. "The vanishing of Ms. Quinn ties in with Asami's own awakening. But… by what calculus, I can't make any sense of. Like her gifts, these changes seem to be all over the place; the only thing they have in common is that they tend to be violently disruptive."

"I'm only aware of three such incidents… but by their very nature, it's difficult to really do any kind of research on them. Only a handful of people ever realize anything is wrong; for the vast majority, it's… simply the way things always were."

Oh, no.

God. No. Yi-Min had been wrong. This third possibility is so much worse than the others. Her eyes go wider in a shock of new tension, even as she appears to quash the impulse to step out of her seat right then and there.

What she does do is send an earnest prayer winging up to heaven in her native tongue, just below the level of audibility. "It would only make sense that the world would try to heal itself of this wound," she notes bitterly once she is finished— in English, once again. "She has revealed herself to be an abomination, and now, she is making others this way as well. Like a virus that is spreading, if what I have heard is any indication at all."

Yi-Min is no doctor, but she does not need to be one to fear just how vicious immune responses can become.

Isaac considers Yi-Min for a moment as she murmurs in her native tongue, considers the hatred he sees in her. No… no, not even hatred. Loathing. Revulsion.

It is not something he himself feels — not all the time, at least — but it is something he can use, most definitely. Yi-Min Yeh's encounter with Asami has left her not with a fever, but with a fervor; she needs only a cause she can believe in… and, as it happens, Isaac has one. "A sickness… yes. That's an apt metaphor," he says, nodding. "You could, were you so inclined, liken Asami to Typhoid Mary. She is not the origin of this sickness — there is another responsible for that — but she is willfully propagating it."

"It is my goal, Ms. Yeh, to stop her, and the one who infected her — to put an end to this menace for good — but I cannot do this alone. From what you've told me… I believe that she is growing stronger with every attack. That these supposed gifts she is imposing upon her victims… she also gains the use of herself. If that's the case… then any one of us going against her would be futile."

"But perhaps together… we can overwhelm her. And from there, contain her, and find a way to reverse this." He looks to Yi-Min. "When the time comes, Ms. Yeh… would you be willing to help me? To try to stop her before she infects anyone else?"

In her turn, Yi-Min is certain she knows the look she sees in Isaac's eye: that of more than one man she has witnessed standing in a position of power, ready to capitalize on opportunity. She knows well the likelihood that if she agrees now, it will be to set foot straight into the heart of somebody else’s fray— some war waged across vast fields she does not comprehend.

That she may never, in fact, come to comprehend.

But, such are the unforeseen depths of Yi-Min's ire that she is finding it quite difficult to care. After all, Asami had plucked her up right out of her comfortable, blissfully prosaic existence and turned this into her war.

Even in the midst of coming to such a realization, Yi-Min steps forward in the conversation with all the more caution, allowing chariness to interlace with the far more transparent energy of her bitterness. "First. Now that I have gone and shared my 'gift', I am equally curious about yours, if I might be so bold as to ask this from you. And… if Tetsuzan is not the originator of the curse, the patient zero, then who is?"

Isaac nods. "Yes, of course. My gift is healing, although it is… limited. A finicky thing." For a moment, something bitter surfaces in his expression. "Such a gift, limited as it may be, would be a godsend for any doctor. Instead, she gave it to me."

Isaac grimaces, shaking his head; he's made use of the gift she gave him in his own way. "As to patient zero… I know little, beyond their existence. They were the one to communicate with Asami and send her to the roof; they've been in touch with others, too. I suspect they may have made an earlier effort… but that one failed."

"I have a name, though. Violette Iris — sometimes also known as Viris. Asami claims to have known her for some time, and trusted her, so I speculate some connection to the hacking community, but beyond that… I've been able to unearth relatively little."


The name leaves Yi-Min with discernible sarcasm. "I cannot tell if you are joking, Mr. Faulkner, or if this joke is in fact one that is cosmic in scale. The vanishing of Justice from the world, due to interference by a… 'Viris? Also, granting somebody in your position the power to… heal."

Come on, now. Really.

"You will forgive me for saying so, but all of this… adds up to what rather feels like some deity having a spectacular laugh at our expense. Anyhow, if you have been unable to unearth anything useful about her, with all of the impressive resources at your disposal, then that bodes rather ill for us all."

Yi-Min lets out a silvery laugh, her eyes burning bright with that same, uninterrupted chill. "This simple florist will be only too glad to help you, Mr. Faulkner. I only request that you keep me fully in the loop— so to speak— with anything new that you may discover. Do this, and I shall happily do the same for you, with…"

A sinister tremor causes several more pens to rattle in their gilded metal holder just then, as though from a peculiarly localized earthquake. Over the top of this, Yi-Min only smiles more coldly.

"Whatever aid I can muster."

Isaac listens to Yi-Min's sarcastic summation with a serious, considering look; it's only a moment after she's done that he lets a faint smile cross his face.

"I had not considered it in that light before, Ms. Yeh, but rest assured — if there is a joke involved in this, it's not on my part. And if this is a joke…"

For a moment, the nightmare image of Asami getting her hands on Nova crosses his mind, and his expression hardens. "…then whatever deity is involved has remarkably poor taste." It's only a moment, though, before he comes back to the present. Faulkner's eyes fall on Yi-Min, and he musters a tight smile. "In any case, Ms. Yeh — should I learn anything new… rest assured. I'll be in touch."

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