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Scene Title Sore
Synopsis They're both a just little sore - a little - after the events of Operation Armagettin. Godfrey especially has some choices to make.
Date January 1, 2020

Not-So-Secret Asi Safehouse, Phoenix Heights

If Asi's sore after all of that, she can't even imagine what Godfrey's feeling.

"You first," she directs him, legs unnecessarily braced on either side of the Mantis. She's used to riding motorcycles, needing to steady the weight of it while someone mounts and dismounts. Asi wrangles the riding helmet off, already helmet-messed hair getting another round of it. She lets out a careful sigh as she looks ahead down the darkened street. The power's out, like it sometimes is at this hour of night. No special exceptions even for New Year's Eve, it would seem.

That's just life in the Safe Zone.

Asi rolls her neck, setting the helmet on the body of the bike she straddles with a sigh. "I need a drink," she finally admits aloud, though it's been a motivator for her actions for well over an hour. She'd refused to spend even unneeded seconds inside Yamagato Park's border, and for once, Godfrey had conceded to come slum it with her and leave behind the ivory towers of the Cresting Wave Apartments.

"And I'm thinking," she goes on, momentarily swept up in the possibly futile effort of trying to normalize the rest of their night. "Maybe we open the bottle of whisky I have been saving for a special occasion." The technopath twists to look back at him, brow arching. "Why not? It's New Year's."

“I imagine I could make an exception out of desperation,” Godfrey offers, sliding off the bike like his body weighs a ton. It's a testament to the level of exhaustion he's feeling, his words sounding flat and tired. There was so much he didn’t know about his new-ish ability, including his limits. Limits he had clearly reached.

Stepping away from the bike, the man pulls down the fabric of the skull mask, wincing as the dried and crusted blood is pulled away from the bullet graze. None of that typical jovial mood was there, even with their success. Dark eyes followed the lines of his temporary shelter. “You weren’t kidding, luv. This place looks like an absolute garbage heap.” Godfrey was trying to muster up his normal… Godfrey-ness, but it comes off flat.

“Better than nothing I suppose,” Godfrey sighs out, accepting of his situation.

After all, being there was all his doing. When the van had stopped to let Asi out, Godfrey spilled out with her much to the surprise of the others. The ladies and Eizen would have to debrief Kimiko without him. He needed time. Once the van had taken off, Godfrey had fished out a pair of phones, dropping them on the ground, and crushed them under his heel. Oops.

Turning back to his hostess, Godfrey didn’t look like a man who could glow like the sun or even the well groomed business liaison of Yamagato; he just looked…. tired. “I could indeed use a drink, though.”

At first, Godfrey's initial quip goes over Asi's head. It's been one of those kinds of nights. But then she looks back toward him again, her expression flattening before she swings her leg off the Mantis, tapping the center console to finish the rental. And away it goes on its own, off to charge somewhere not in a no-parking zone. Asi shifts her helmet into her offhand, pulling her phone free from the pocket of her coat and letting the flashlight shine the way forward into the building.

"You know," she tells him offhandedly. "I could pass a comment about what you look like…"

A soft laugh of a breath escapes her as she leads them in, shoulder into the front door to push it out of their way. The small apartment within is sparsely decorated, doorway opening immediately into a living room. Dining space is limited to a small area of wooden laminate separated from the rest of the kitchen by a cheaply-tiled island, which in turn is separated from the living room space by only a half-wall. "But I'll spare you, just this once. I am sure your pride has taken enough of a hit tonight." Part of it's a joke, harkening to their usual banter, but the look she affords him shows attention— concerned study, even— being given to his current state.

"There's a couch," Asi invites him toward it with a nod of her head. It's too dark to tell specifics in the mere brief flash of light she passes over it, but it does appear to be spacious— an L shape hugging the far corner. "Make yourself comfortable before you collapse. With luck, the light will be back on soon."

Until then, they'll just have to make do.

The door is shut behind them and locked, deadbolt and chain both before Asi begins striding toward the kitchen area. "Do you want to talk while we drink, or just drink?"

“Pride.” Godfrey huffs out the word like the idea of it amuses him, “Yes, well… I guess we all need to be kicked down a few pegs now again. Hmm?” Boot heels drag slightly as he follows her in, getting a look at the place. It was safe at least…. He hoped. “Except, I feel like I’ve been Sparta kicked down. No… I fear this is more than just pride, luv.”

Godfrey’s world had been shaken to its core.

While she heads for the kitchen and the alcohol, Godfrey drops to sit on the L-shaped couch and pulls off the helmet. After a look at the damage afflicted, it is dropped on the floor between his feet. Insteading of fixing his damp and disheveled hair, fingers move to touch the injury to his brow, coming away with a smear of crimson.

“Drink first, I think.” That plan doesn’t last longer than it takes for a single breath. The night’s wear too fresh on his mind. “It was quite the adventure, though.” Godfrey’s tone is distracted, watching as he rubs the blood between his fingers. ”I knew Wesley-Kahn was enthusiastic, but I never pegged her for a berserker.” Lesson learned. Not to mention he was impressed with her sheer disregard for human life. “However, Yamagato has its property back. Kimiko should be pleased. So, all in all, I’d say the mission was a success. ”

Opening his hand, Godfrey reaches within and finds that place within him again. It felt familiar, like an old friend. It welcomed him and his hands started to softly glow, throwing harsh shadows around the apartment. “And then some,” he adds a touch breathless.

Asi pauses in the kitchen area as light starts to emanate from Godfrey. All she can see is the effect rather than him, her back still to him, but she's slower in picking up the alcohol. The bottle is accompanied by a paper towel roll shoved into stacked plastic cups, and then she turns back.

At least it's only his hands glowing this time.

There's not even an end or coffee table by the couch, so Asi offers out the paper towels directly, then sinks into a seat around the bend of the couch, whisky placed between her boots. "Success is relative. Who knows how explosively what happened could fan back on Yamagato. But— the Triad's head has effectively been cut off twice in one month. So… perhaps they opt not to fire back immediately. Perhaps the next Triad leaders opt not to treat with Praxis, with Monroe."

She's too tired from this all to mind her tongue better, reaching down to snap and twist the cap off the bottle and pour them both a few fingers. "Who knows." Asi repeats as she offers up the plastic cup to Godfrey. Now, this close, she can't ignore his radiance anymore, neither directly nor indirectly.

"How long has this been going on?"

When Godfrey catches movement out of the corner of his eye, he lets the light of his hands dims and it slowly spreads to the rest of him. It’s soft, giving off just enough light to see by. Her catching him like this, he looked a bit like a kid who’d been caught with his father’s playboys. After rubbing his palms on the rough fabric of his tactical pants, Godfrey gladly takes the paper towel offered and the following plastic cup of whiskey. The last getting an amused glance, they were truly slumming it now.

What Godfrey doesn’t do is answer her question right away, focusing on earlier comments. “I think, if anything, we’ve proven that Yamagato is not so easily messed with. Hmm?” He swirls the whiskey in the glass, “Or me,” he adds without his typical self-centered airs.

His expression darkens at a thought, as he stares off into nothingness. Only to suddenly down the full contents of that plastic cup. His mind had circled back around to the memory of Garza.

After a small grimace at the burn, Godfrey finally says softly, “I don’t, honestly, know how long I’ve had this rather… glowing personality.” Asi is treated to a pained smile, though he doesn’t look at her. “Before tonight, I didn’t even know.…But it seems…” The words fail him and he trails off, looking down at a point between his feet. He huffs out a sigh. It was harder than he thought to open up. It had been too long and it wasn’t really his thing.

Still, he tries again.

“Seems, luv, someone doesn’t want me to remember what I am. Potentially, someone I trusted.” He didn’t know if Adam was behind all that, but he hoped to find out. Godfrey glances out of the corner of his eye at the woman sitting near him on the couch, maybe to judge her reaction. There is a flash of light in them, much like the shine of cats eyes in the dark.

The man makes a soft noise, almost like a mixture of amusement and frustration all in one, while fingers rub at tired eyes. When the hand drops, he finally looks at her. “During tonight's excitement, I found out my memories are being tampered with.” The light he’s generating brightens with the surge of anger, his free hand curling into a fist. He had been made a fool, with an added dagger to the back. His fist smacks into the top of his thigh. “They made me think I was something less, while keeping my true self hidden from me,” the words growled from between clenched teeth.

Asi sits through his musing, leaning forward with her forearms on her knees, cup held loosely in one hand. When he downs his drink she only watches, each shift in his expression visible given the fascinating aura he puts off. It's not like before— she can watch him without it burning her retina. So she sees the grimace, the smile, the…

She sees him trying.

And her eyes begin to narrow as he shares his realization. She doesn't move from her spot, listening just as pensively as before though her grip on her cup is more rigid. When he looks her way, that's all he can see: patience, a mask thinly veiling tight-jawed concern.

"Someone?" Asi asks tersely. It's easy, all too easy to think this someone might belong to Yamagato. After all, he had shirked returning back to their embrace— but she warns herself not to assume. That, though, is harder. "Who would dare keep someone from themselves?" Her voice runs cold.

It's hard somehow not to lay blame at Kimiko's feet, even silently. She picks up the bottle, gesturing with a tilt of it she'll pour if he needs another round.

“It’s not who you think,” Godfrey comments with a weak smile, taking a guess at her thoughts.

When the bottle is tilted towards him, Godfrey moves the cup closer so she can pour him a new measure. There would be more needed to numb his emotions before the night was done. While she pours the business liaison studies her in the glow he was throwing, realizing that it had been awhile since they had been face to face.

“I… haven’t been absolutely honest with everyone,” Godfrey feels compelled to say, with a small incline of his head. Guilt flits over his features as his gaze drops to the liquid, giving his cup a swirl. “No doubt you have figured out I’m not just some Yamagato business liaison…” Even with his past, the man was rather familiar with combat.

“Have you ever heard of Shedda-Dinu?” Before that night, he might have spoken of Adam’s organization with pride. Now? He felt uncertain, what had he really gotten into. Asi will find him watching her with an air of caution. Godfrey didn’t know where her beliefs lie, after all she did work with that dingbat Eve and her volatile crew. His only hope was her connections to Mazdak.

“It was Shedda leadership who sent me to help make sure you succeeded in your mission in Japan.” There is some pride there, having helped her liberate Evolved from an oppressive regime. Pride is replaced with a grimace, “and the ones that stripped me of my ability and dangled it like a bone to get me to do their bidding.”

Undoubtedly, if they had been separated by a screen, now would be a moment where she would find a way to mask her reaction. At worst, she would mute the video. Here, no such barrier exists. No sufficient distraction lives in this moment to keep her emotions tightly under control, to minimize the microexpressions that shade her face.

And then with a flicker, the light affixed to the ceiling comes on and her ability to guard her expression diminishes even further. The heating system rattles as it kicks on. Asi takes in a carefully measured breath, unable to look at Godfrey now. The bottle rests on her thigh, her posture straightened. She looks down into her cup.

Topping herself off seems the logical choice, even though she's not had a single drop yet.

Asi swallows down feelings of betrayal, drowning them in a long drink. She still can't bring herself to look his way, not until hurt is successfully buried under whatever comes after. "You're right," she says through the afterburn of the alcohol. "It was not who I thought."

Her tone harshens. "I should have…" Then she does look to him, despite the hurt not entirely being gone. She should have known better. Her jaw sets, and the intensity of her gaze dilutes while she thinks, the intent of her next words present long before she manages to say them. There's still a rawness to them for all their measured care.

"Godfrey, did they want to help me or did you want to help me?"

The hurt in her eyes gets a confused look in return, it wasn’t quite clicking until she asks for that minor clarification. Oh. “What? Of course, I wanted to help you, Asi.” He rather insulted she had to ask that. “Though, if 'm to be perfectly honest, it was a little of both.” There is an annoyed huff, but then after another glance her way he sighs heavily.

“Look, after our little talk, I was worried.” Not that she could probably tell at the time. “So I approached them with hopes of gettin’ you the resources you needed to ensure that you got back safely. I mean, who else am I going to drink with at that crazy cowboy place? You still owe me a chance to see you ride that bull, by the way.” He says it so seriously, but at the end gives her that smug smile. However, he was getting off track and gave a wave of his hand.

“Anyway, they decided it was in Shedda’s best to send me,” Godfrey straightens like he’s some damn hero. He’s not. He knows this deep down. “It risked my cover at Yamagato, but I’m glad they did.” As soon as he said that, his brows lower as something occurs to him. “One thing, though, bothered me about all that.” He looks at her, like Asi might have the answer, “I thought it a bit convenient that shortly after m’ meeting with leadership, Kimiko called on me to bring the offer and arm to Monica.”

Maybe it was coincidence or maybe it wasn’t, either way the man was clearly spooked. “Which is why I am here, I don't know who I exactly trust anymore and not knowing how much my memories have been manipulated isn't helping.”

In looking for confirmation that Godfrey's interest in her wasn't purely business, he likely doesn't realize how efficiently he cuts to the heart of it. A ghost of a laugh escapes her as he lays out his priorities, amusement at his self-centeredness neverfailing. Her mouth firms into a line, still too sobered from the other proceedings to actually smile. "Yes, I suppose my untimely arrest or death would be very detrimental for you, wouldn't it."

She shakes her head again, eyes falling. The hurt in her is gone from view, but the rawness hasn't left. When he gets around to sharing his suspicions is when she glances back up at him, meeting his look. Her eyes half-lid at the mention of Kimiko, jaw tightening before she sighs the tension away. "Monica's name was also in the news at the same time. It's … not unfathomable that she would have wanted to reclaim her right at that time she should have felt most vulnerable— most likely to re-receive the safety net Yamagato could provide." Asi glances up even further, focused on nothing in particular but her thoughts as she thinks it over. "Using you as a vehicle for that instead of … Damaris, for example, though," she admits. "That's harder to explain."

Sitting upright, she takes another small drink from her cup before looking back to Godfrey. "I … would doubt her ability was at play. If your Shedda is so clandestine," and Asi believes it is, for how little she knows of them, "she would not have known." It's her turn to have guilt momentarily flit over her features. This isn't information she imagines him to know, and it's information she was once asked explicitly to keep secret, but…


"She has mental access to collective knowledge; anything she puts her mind to. Something known to scores of people is simply called to mind, but secrets known by smaller numbers— let's say hundreds of people— less so. Information known to only a handful is almost impossible for her to glean accurately." Asi lifts her brow just a touch. "So, your secret is likely safe from her."

Whether or not it should be is another matter entirely, and one she does not address.

"Shedda," she takes interest in instead. Even with the apartment lit, the lightening of her eyes is visible upon looking. She's thinking now— searching— with only the cup of alcohol in her hand. "Forgive me my selfishness first. Tell me more of them. Why exactly were they interested in seeing me succeed?"

Godfrey is fascinated with the way her ability played with the color of her eyes. It was quite lovely. With a blink, he realizes he might be staring. His back stiffens. Why was he? The man looks away and busies himself with downing more of that decent whiskey.

Swallowing, he clears his throat and focuses on answering her question. “That is, unfortunately, a harder question to answer than you’d think, luv.” Godfrey grimaces a bit with apology, since it sounded a bit lame. “Garza is smart. He keeps his soldiers in the dark. Only giving enough information for your part in the mission.” he explains, rolling the half emptied drink between his hands. The fidgeting showing his discomfort.

“Shedda’s goal, Adam’s Goal, is to ensure our place in the world.” Using ‘our’ was weird, the man stumbles over an unfamiliar use for the word. So long he had been convinced he was simply human; something less. It was liberating and terrifying all at once. “The evolved are, after all, superior and shouldn’t have to hide in the shadows or fear those without our gifts.” He reaches upward towards one of the windows, a hint of anger in his tone, “Or to be blown out of the bloody sky, when all we’re tryin’ to do is use what we were given to better the world.” The hand drops and Godfery shrugs, his tone turns matter of fact as he says, “The only way that happens is to make sure our kind leads the world.”

Leaning towards her, the cup is held up for another refill. “My mission was to help you, Asi. You were important to Mazdak and by helping you, the bonds between Shedda-Dinu and Mazdak were strengthened. That is all I was given, luv,” he says in apology.

Pieces fall into place rapidly with Godfrey's explanation. Yet another organization Monroe had his teeth in. This one, just as firmly as Praxis, it would seem. Perhaps he felt Mazdak was becoming weighed down with its victories, with its own politics — and Shedda should rise in its place, to do what the terrorist-organization-turned-fledgeling-government couldn't. He needed an organization he didn't merely fund and support, he needed one that furthered his own interests specifically?


Asi draws in a long breath through her nose while she listens, drinking again from her cup and leaving it woefully close to empty. She sets it down on the ground, pouring herself only a touch more. "How wonderful it is, to be chosen against your will for such an honor." she remarks deadpan for all the sarcasm that's surely inherent in her words. Her attention remains focused just off of Godfrey for a moment, the neon blue flare of her eyes still aglow. The light in them dims as she focuses on him instead, concern bringing her mouth to harden. "Which says nothing for what they put you through. An Evolved-supremacist organization… forcefully hiding the abilities of one of their own."

Why, though? "Even for your cover with Yamagato, there would have been little need. They are one of the most progressive employers of the SLC-E. You would not have stood out among their number." It baffles her as much as him, it would seem. "If there was a reason you would have chosen to have your own memories hidden for the sake of Shedda's mission, to have your own ability hidden from you … I am not seeing it, Godfrey."

She gestures to the paper towels, then makes a gesture of dabbing at the side of her forehead— a silent order to clean his injury. "You may be right that they did it to ensure your continued loyalty to them," Asi admits as her hand falls back to her lap. "To make you think you needed something from them."

With a tip of her chin, she remarks, "The joke is on them, if that is the case. You are capable even without it. Now…?"

She sighs, the want to smile present in it. Shaking her head, she teases, "Now who knows how this will go to your head."

That jab gets a soft self-deprecating laugh out of the business liaison. Just for her, he manages to muster up a bright, smug smile; though it doesn’t manage to banish the exhaustion in his eyes. “What will go to my head? The fact that I can now be a bright spot in your life?” He gets it, but he’s still going to tease her. “Now able to brighten your darkest day, with my glowing personality?”

Unable to really keep the act up, he deflates letting the fatigue settle over him like a blanket. With the lights on they didn't need his ability, so he conserves what is left of it.

Godfrey’s cup is set on the floor, after being quickly emptied, and the paper towel retrieved as suggested. As he tugs off a few sheets and folds them. After the first dab and subsequent grimace, he glances at her. “Ever since I learned about the evolved, I’ve wanted to be like them.” It wasn’t an easy admission. “I felt powerless around them and that just would not do. I left m’ nice little criminal empire out west in pursuit of an ability. They told me they had the power to give it to me, but only if I proved m’ worth.”

Dark brows lower into a look of frustration, Godfrey’s voice laced with his frustration. “But I had, absolutely, no intention of walking away once I had it, having it was only part of it. Plus, working for Yamagato has some lovely perks and for far less work.” The paper towel is pressed against his injury, mostly hiding his eyes from the woman.

The injury is dabbed a few times more, before Godfrey seems satisfied. Still a bit crusty, but the oozing had stopped. “So the question becomes, luv, is my ability the only thing they are hiding from me?” The bloodied paper towel is folded neatly in half, as he asks himself quietly, “And where do I go from here?”

Oh no, the puns.

Asi invited this on herself by even broaching the topic, though, a fact she concedes with a fleeting, faint hint of a smile in return for his broad one. His shift to so sensitive a topic immediately after comes as a surprise that registers in a flicker of her eyes, but he's avoiding her gaze anyway.

While he works on wicking away what he can, she gracefully grabs the roll and tears off a sheet for herself, folding it over, then tipping the whiskey against it. A first aid kit wasn't something the technopath had on hand, but they'd just have to make do. When he finishes patting at the graze, she leans forward to press the soaked towel against his brow. She dabs as gently as she can while she considers his questions.

They're not ones with clear answers. But it appears he's trusting her to come up with some anyway.

"We go the same place now, Godfrey," she tells him, smearing away a bit of dried blood before letting the folded square fall back to her lap while she considers him. "Back to the people who ruined our lives, with smiles on our faces and knives in our hearts. Let them think nothing is changed. Let them believe they still have you." Her brow furrows a touch at hearing that Shedda offered to give him an ability, likely through Gemini. She wonders now if that's not where his power came from all along… before his handlers developed some kind of seller's remorse.

"It's beyond certain your ability was not the only thing they have hidden from you. The question is— how much more is there? You said this Garza keeps his 'soldiers' in the dark, which speaks to a bigger goal, speaks to …" Asi's gaze flickers again, darkening back to its usual earthen hue. "Perhaps a desire for Adam to hide his goals from the 'devil' he's afraid of."

"But…" But that's a long and complicated topic, one that possibly invites danger just by discussing it, so she brushes past it with vaguery the best she's able. Besides, this is … more than just business and sorting out how to reuse the knife that had been lodged in his back. Her gaze shifts back toward Godfrey, the usual sharpness in it fading to… something else.

"How does it feel?" Asi asks, studying him from the corner of her eye. "To have what you chased after. To hold power in your being. Is it everything you dreamed?"

The burn of whiskey makes Godfrey flinch, hissing through clenched teeth; but, he doesn’t really move. He watches her, even if it is an odd angle. In fact, he looks confused about the attention and the fact he’s sitting perfectly still now… he might be afraid she’ll realize what she’s doing.

Godfrey watches the paper towel’s journey to her lap, before letting dark eyes trail up to find her lighter ones. The mirroring in his eyes is gone, in fact, if she hadn’t seen him tonight… it would be hard to know that something was different about him.

“Funny thing, it doesn’t feel like I thought it would,” Godfrey didn’t know how to explain it. “It…. it feels….familiar, like I was always this.” He looks at his hands and with some concentration they glow with their soft light, auroras dancing between and around splayed fingers. But then it goes out suddenly, any amazement gone with it.

Fingers curl into fists, before one hand reaches for his cup to drain it before slumping back. With a heavy sigh, Godfrey sinks into the couch cushions, letting his head fall back to stare at the ceiling. “You’re right you know,” he says after a moment of thoughtful deliberation. “I have to go back and act like m’self.” Flinty eyes studies the surface above him like it has the answers. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.

“It’s the only way I can eventually destroy Garza,” Godfrey says, as if nothing would make him happier. Fingers flex on his right hand, as he pictured burning that smug… handsome face to a crisp. “Teach them all not to fuck with me.”

At hearing Godfrey grapple to describe how right his ability felt, the softness in Asi's gaze turns pensive. "I wonder," she murmurs. "If that would not be the case for anyone else not in your shoes as well. If awakening to an ability always feels … right— to those who are not afraid of it." It may just be wishful thinking, though.

When Godfrey settles into the couch and contemplates the ceiling, Asi finishes her cup and pushes herself to the feet, collecting both towel squares to pitch them. They whisper into the bin in the kitchen and she turns back and leans against the half-wall while he gets his thoughts together, elbows resting on the flat top of it.

"Something you must understand is that just because Garza has proved himself untrustworthy does not mean Yamagato should earn your loyalty instead. Were you to come clean to them, or if they should otherwise learn what you have done, I am not entirely certain they, that Nakamura would not kill you for it." Her mouth firms into a hard line, eyes narrowing a touch. "Monroe killed her father. Monroe killed her husband. Kam was…" Head pulling to one side, she resists shaking it entirely, sighing from her nose. Her voice is light and careful with enunciation, not looking at Godfrey directly as she points out, "She would not take kindly to learning yet another Monroe mole existed in her presence. One she trusted."

“Or maybe, it’s just m’ mind realizing what was taken and knowing it is right,” The man offers as an alternative. “I can’t even remember when I…. awakened.

“S’cute,” Godfrey head shifts on the couch to look at Asi again, a small smile tugging his lips to one side, “that you think me such a fool.” He only sounds mildly annoyed by that, more amused than anything. There is something in that look, in his tone. How much of him was an act? “I’d also be a fool, if I thought m’ time in the shining towers of Yamagato would last forevah. S’ a pity it is coming to an end faster than I thought it would.” Then it’s his turn to sigh, his attention returning to the ceiling.

“Ms. Nakamura figured out m’ past, luv,” Godfrey says, letting his eyes close and stretching his feet out, hooking them at the ankle. “Only a matter of time till she figures this out, too.” He sounds completely unconcerned. Though his brows furrow in uncertainty, at his own words. “If she hasn’t figured it out already.” It continues to eat at him. If she did know, what was her game? “Either way, she will not learn it from me. I enjoy breathing and as such would like to continue doing so.”

The next time he looks at Asi it’s with actual concern. His voice even shows it, which is rare for a self-centered man like him. “But you. You’re about as deep into it as I am. Be careful, yeah? I don’t really know much about Mazdak, but the fact that Garza… and potentially Adam… wants to align with them…” He doesn’t continue, but they both know it’s bad news. He sighs through his nose, followed by a huff of amusement, “Just try not to get y’self killed and force me to drink alone.”

While Godfrey pitches his alternative, for a moment, Asi narrows her eyes. Absently, she asides in a self-correction, "I believe the better-used term in English is 'manifested', but I do prefer how it's said in Japanese— awakened." Then her gaze shifts back to him as he makes his next comment, watching him in silence as he teases her and reclines back. A reply of any kind on whether she thinks him a fool, or liable to misplace his trust in the midst of his betrayal, or anything else goes unspoken and unindicated.

But when he shifts back to her with concern, it's her turn for her brow to lift in a small gesture of amusement. "Monroe funds Mazdak, and has for years," she explains deadpan, at a calm, measured pace. "It's one of the causes he bankrolls siphoning funds from Praxis, in which he holds a controlling interest. He is, Nakamura informed me, an influential member of Mazdak's as a result. Monroe has used Praxis to leverage war against Yamagato over the fate of America, increasing their contracts and land ownership to weaken the already-reduced control the fledgling administration has over the country." She pauses for just a moment to reflect, "From Yamagato and Japan's point of view, this all oddly brings things full circle … as the US government engaged in similar strategies over the fate of Japan after the Second World War." She shrugs at this, believing the poetry, if not the irony itself, likely goes underappreciated.

"But Monroe's ultimate goal is as you said, and can be seen in what Mazdak has done in the Middle East— toppling the government in power in the hopes of establishing a nation lead by Evolved, which acts for the betterment of the Evolved." Asi looks back to Godfrey now, tipping her chin in his direction. "And I would venture that Shedda is the secret sword that works to ensure his victory, while Praxis erodes the government's ability to stand on its own, and Mazdak's prior victories serve as the lessons learned to cultivate a new blueprint for an Evolved society."

She allows herself a small smile. "All that on top of what I would venture is its other secret mission— dealing with the Devil." Her smile fades quickly. "But that type of conjecture serves no one." Asi brings her arms before her to fold them tightly, closing off her posture while she still leans back against the wall. "You know what particularly frustrates me, though, Godfrey?" she asks, feigning amusement. "I know all of this, and yet… I still don't grasp Mazdak's interest in me."

"The Yamagato bomber and her clone sisters attempted to kidnap or assassinate me last November, and Kam's influence over Jiba meant they almost succeeded. That at least made sense. But what happened this year, beginning with Mazdak directing my commanding officer to have me investigate their presence in Japan, leading to my presence at Seko's execution…" She pauses, running her tongue over her teeth. "The orchestration of it was delicate. Was it an attempt to destroy my connections and make an island of me to…" It's here her certainty ends. "—prevent me from … digging further?" A faint laugh escapes her. "A path they forced Komura to set me on?" Asi flits a look back to Godfrey. "I'm not certain my name has ever been known to Adam Monroe himself, but the way I have circulated amongst the attention of those closest to him is fascinating, and baffling."

"They called me again, Godfrey. Mazdak." The abrupt segue offered without warning, and without further explanation. "Finally." But even then, her eyes drop to her feet before closing, her brow creasing.

He listens to every word, sitting up and turning where he can really look at her. It was like he was seeing her in a whole new light.

To be fair, it was a lot of information to digest in one sitting.

Godfrey looks down when his foot bumps into the whiskey bottle. Looking between it and the empty cup, he decides… to toss aside the empty cup and pick up the bottle. Might as well just go to the source. Pushing to his feet, Godfrey looks at Asi almost embarrassed by his lack of knowledge in his own organization. It’s enough to make a man drink. In fact, he does, taking a swig straight from the bottle.

What he says next, doesn’t please him at all.

“My dear lady, don’t you see? Why… You’re their scapegoat,” Godfrey says with a humorless laugh. “I don’t know why I didn’t think about this before. We both are, really. Too blinded in my pursuit for power. Now I see why they wanted me at Yamagato. They may now have leverage against Yamagato with my involvement with all of this, not that I really care. Pretty sure Yamagato is doing the same to this country, but in their own way and from the shadows. No. I only care that it’s me they’re staking out.” He offers the bottle to Asi, with a respectful incline of his head, “And you.”

Godfrey studies her for a long moment, a wicked smile slowly spreading over his lips and a little of his old self shines through. “Of course, I can’t let any of what Garza did stand, so I plan to punish him and Adam by proxy. Want to help, luv?” Leaning towards her a little, that smile widening just a little and his voice lowers into something that could be taken as seductive. “More importantly, think BOOM would be interested in ‘blowin’ shit up?’”

Scapegoat, Godfrey says, and Asi's face doesn't change at all in expression despite the way her stomach sinks. She supposes she'd hoped for more for herself, for all her efforts, for all this time. She hears in the back of her mind Nabu's smugness in telling her he only asked people what they were capable of.

She takes the bottle and drinks directly from it without delay.

After swallowing hard, she slants a look back at Godfrey before looking ahead again. "When?" she asks without enthusiasm, bringing here gaze to fall back to the bottle in consideration. "Because I believe my fate's already sealed, Godfrey. If not for the mission Mazdak has tasked me with, then the people I am betraying to see it through."

To drink immediately would be to sulk in that decision, so she leaves it at sighing at the bottle and looking back to Godfrey finally, abandoning selfish thought. She segues back to the more important things, even if her energy is lacking. "Of course Boom would enjoy blowing things up. All the more if it's Adam's toys. What exactly do you have in mind?"

“Why, Shedda-Dinu’s headquarters in New York, of course,” Godfrey says quite brightly, rather proud of himself for thinking of it. He couldn’t think of a better way to start chipping away at the group's foundation. “Nothing like shaking the hornets nest, by throwing the Adam-hungry seer herself and her band of hooligans at it.” He reaches out to tap a finger against her shoulder, “And you, my darling, can be the one to leak the information to them.”

The business liaison gives a shrug of his shoulders, as he admits, “Beyond that I don’t have a plan, yet. I need to figure out how to get Garza alone and unpowered.” Godfrey wasn’t sure how he was even going to go about that. Lips pressed tight, there was still plenty to work out. With hope they have time.

Something she said to him finally pushes its way through Godfrey’s self-centered world and he focuses on her rather suddenly. “Wait. You truly believe your fate is sealed?” He looks confused, eyes narrowing at her. “A rather defeatist attitude for you. Your fate is what you make it, luv. As is mine. We’re both up the bloody creek, respectfully.”

Godfrey offers a hand out to her, “But, you don’t have to face it alone, I mean.. We are after all drinkin’ buddies. Are we not?” A well-groomed brow lifts as he poses the question. “You can call on me for help, when you have need for it.”

The question of when doesn't need an answer when discussing a target so choice. When is up to the people doing said attacking. Asi's gaze flickers in brief surprise at his suggestion. Speaking of betrayals, and all.

"There's a number of ways you could go about negation, but it depends on how obvious you want to be. Perhaps you could invite him to a drink over your success with the arm recovery." She slants a long look at Godfrey, drinking again from the bottle. Given what she knows now, she harbors no illusions that it was coincidence the stolen cybernetic was targeted and then circulated how it was. She suggests mirthlessly, "Mix something into it. Or, there's always stabbing him in the neck with a fast-acting drug."

Then her gaze moves on, the bottle's contents swirled before she offers it back to him. "You've enlightened me to how potentially incredibly fucked I am, though. Mazdak promised that if I could successfully pull off another prison break, complete with data heist, that I would be granted an audience with Naidu. It's almost an impossible ask, even with the help they have promised me. Under the light you've cast it in, I see perhaps it is intentionally impossible." Her eyes narrow. "So, I suppose I should more strongly consider sabotage."

"Only appearing to kill who they want me to kill; secreting them away instead after all." Her voice lightens a touch. "It's only fair someone gets a second chance out of this. Perhaps them living on will foil some plan of Mazdak's, and I can take peace in that, even if I do die."

Only after so much is said does she reflect death is not an option she wants to consider for herself, her peace visibly wavering before she shakes her head. "I did have an agenda of my own already with the heist, one just as complicated to plan as the rest of it." Asi pauses, hesitant in explaining the rest— like saying it aloud endangers the safety of the plan even further. "To kill or imprison a man who attempted to murder one of my…"


She frowns, eyes fixed on a distant point. Her head turns back to Godfrey though her gaze doesn't. "It's complicated, but I suppose they are a… friend of mine." Even if it wasn't her exactly Silas was friends with.

“Well, look at you,” Godfrey manages to look impressed and pleased all at once, his smile full of mischief. ”I liked you before, but this is truly…” He makes a show of giving her a look over, taking a deep breath… “Mmm.” He sighs out. “It looks good on you, luv. Quite the turn on, I must say.” His brows give a little suggestive wag, before taking the bottle.

However, Godfrey doesn’t do much more than turn, with the intention of taking the booze back to the couch with him. It was looking really good right now. The couch that is. “But, let's not be too hasty on the dying, hmm? I mean, I know I gave it the college try tonight, but I also had people I trusted at my back.”

Godfrey drops on the couch, draping a free arm across the back of it with a tired sigh. “Besides, I have complete faith in your ability to pull off a miracle. Of course, you’ll have to tell me all about it when you’ve done it and survived.” Cause in Godfrey’s mind she will. “Unless you want me along to brighten the way.” Ha! Get it?

Asi's response to the suggestion is less sharp than it might be, given the long look she was already fixing him with. Her conniving isn't for your pleasure, Godfrey. She settles, able to at least appreciate that her ambition is admired, and that she has his confidence in more ways than one. The technopath keeps her distance regardless, leaving the couch in its entirety open for him to sprawl on. "No," she replies mildly. "It will be difficult enough to pull off without someone I care about being in the way. Tonight already…" She sighs her way through the admission, irritated she's somehow conned herself into bringing the subject up. "I let myself become sufficiently distracted by my concern. I cannot risk that happening on the day of the heist."

She leans abruptly away from the wall to unzip her coat and start working it off, taking her phone from the pocket and checking the time manually with a click to the side of the device. "Happy New Year, by the way," the technopath asides as she busies herself with heading back to the door, hanging her coat on the wallrack next to it. It's sufficient enough distraction for her from the topic she'd waded into, the discomfort of it either forgotten or suppressed that it looks like it has been.

"My more pragmatic excuse is that if Mazdak intends to leave me up the 'creek', as you put it, then I would prefer not to drag anyone with me." Looking over her shoulder at him, her brow lifts just a touch. "Because I intend to continue forward with them, my hand outstretched. It might be a fatal curiosity that drives me, but…" She turns back entirely, shaking her head at herself. "I suppose I want to see what is on the other side. If there really is something."

Asi bites her tongue for a moment, gaze flitting back to Godfrey cautiously. "Because I suppose I do envy their cause. Not enough to die for it, but enough to wonder." Her shoulders raise with the confession. "Though I imagine you can understand that, with your Shedda."

While Asi is talking, Godfrey gets comfy on the couch again. Tactical gear is shed and dropped on top of the helmet, leaving him in only the dark clothing under it. Though a handgun is left within reach.

Then he catches something she says and he straightens.

“Wha—-” What did she just say? Godfrey is clearly listening, cause he latches onto the one thing she might not want him to. “Did you just say you care about me?” he asks brightly. Of course, Godfrey snags on to that one statement. Teeth flash white, his smile is so bright. And almost like he is anticipating her protest… He grabs a small couch pillow and points it at her. “No taking it back now, either.”

Godfrey tucks the pillow behind his head and does indeed sprawl out on the couch. “You’re not wrong though,” he says after he’s settled; booted feet propped on a couch arm. The soles don’t touch the fabric, he’s not a total heathen. “Beyond the desire for power, I knew the only way we could live our lives is if we were the top dogs and squished those that would suppress us..” Folding hands over his stomach, Godfrey sighs. “I would like to stay the course, but…” They betrayed him and where was he supposed to go with that?

“Either way, should you decide you’d allow someone to have that rather lovely back of yours…” Feet move to hook at the ankle and Godfrey angles a look her way. “You know where to find me, luv. I’m not a stranger to all of this and who better?”

The technopath's brow arches in offense when he makes a show of what she said. Godfrey, please. "Come now, you have said the same at least three times since we walked in the door," Asi balks without any heart to it. The exact words might not have been used, but his investment in her and his opening up said more than any few could. "Admitting reciprocation is the least damning thing I could do." She lets out a faint chuckle as she adds reproachfully, "Surely you didn't think I took on your request because I had nothing better to do?"

For all her undertones of affection, Godfrey with his boots on the couch is the act of a heathen all right. She tsks at him for it in disapproval. If this were a place she called home with any frequency… "No revolution was won without bloodshed, but the scars they leave behind can last generations." she concedes to him, endeavoring to move on from reproach. "I would rather a world where the non-Evolved do not hate us; for an integrated world with equal rights to be possible."

"But what is possible and what is ideal often differ." Asi acknowledges, walking slowly back to the couch. She sits on the other bend of it, curling her hand around the bottle to take it back. Thoughts weigh on her that need lightened by drink. She drums her fingers along its side in a muted trill. What to do with the information he was feeding her?

"Is it safe to assume all of their organization betrayed you, or just the leadership?" she airs absently. "Because there is damage we could do to it through its membership, surely, if we know who else is among their number." Asi glances back at Godfrey inquisitively as she poses the question of names without actually saying it. The topic of back-up is left untouched, rife for conflicting opinions as it is.

The smug smile doesn’t leave Godfrey’s face, even when she admonishes him for blowing a simple statement out of proportion. It only grows, which means she fell into that verbal trap. “I think most of us would like a world like that, luv, but humanity has shown over the years, it is incapable of ‘world peace’.” He even unfolds his hands long enough to air quote that.

That other question, that one was a harder one to answer. Godfrey’s head tips to where he can look at her, the smile gone. “I don’t believe that all of them have done me wrong, that would be silly; but there are some… like Vor. Beautiful and exotic, but crazy and quite the chaosbringer. She’d drive a dagger in m’back just for the sheer pleasure of doing it.” Godfrey shifts his shoulders like he could feel one wedged there. Once word got out, no doubt she’d be on the hunt.

Lips press tight, as Asi’s point crosses his mine again. Would he be technically punishing the whole organization by siccing BOOM on their headquarters. That gets a heavy sigh through his nose, “There are decent people in Shedda that truly just want a better world, others are just lost looking for…somethin’ or maybe a place to belong.” Dr. Miller coming to his mind. Though it doesn’t occur to Godfrey that he might fall into that category. Not him surely.

Brows furrow in thought, a soft ‘huh’ sound escaping Godfrey. “I must wonder however, if Adam even knows what is truly going on out here. In fact, since I’ve been brought back in, I haven’t bloody seen him.” He seems almost insulted by that, “M’ memory only had three people.” A hand lifts so he can count off the names. “Antonio Garza, Jaiden Mortlock, and some telepath Garza introduced as Daniel Espenosa.”

Asi leans back into the couch cushion, bottle cradled against her stomach. Her eyes flare with that inner light from before as her eyes close and she settles in. "Well, Mortlock's confirmation aside…" Silence lapses while she thinks. A faint laugh escapes her. "Are you one of the only not risen-from-the-dead shadows involved in this organization? Mortlock was reported dead from a terrorist attack… and Espenosa is an escaped federal convict conscripted by his government presumed dead or on the run." Her head lolls to the side as she points out quietly, and lightly, "Not that I can particularly judge the latter."

She tilts the bottle back to drink from it, refusing to wallow or even reflect on the similarities there. Her shoulders roll as she settles back more aggressively into the cushion, sighing through her nose after she swallows the oversized gulp, nostrils burning. "Garza…" the technopath sounds out while she searches, her eyes opening only so she can frown at the opposite wall. "An actual ghost," she pronounces, glancing down to Godfrey. "And 'Vor' does not give me enough to work with."

One could argue that all work and no play makes Asi for dull company, but she's drinking, and that has to count for something, right?

"It's possible Monroe doesn't himself know how the progress goes. It would identify Garza as a figure of absolute trust, to carry on his mission without driving it himself. And then I suppose the question is…" And now here's the part where she's buzzed enough to play devil's advocate purely for the sake of a reaction. "Do you really want to topple the leader working toward a goal you agree with purely because you were slighted by them? Even if that means sabotaging the organization's ability to carry out that goal?"

She's asking for a friend, surely.


Godfrey pops up on an elbow and leans where he can fully look at Asi like he couldn’t believe what she just said. “Slighted??? He bloody well stole away my identity, didn’t he? Took away my ability and blocked m’ memories.” He flicks at hand as he repeats the word, “Slighted… S’like saying he only just nicked m’ lunch from the office fridge.”

He shakes his head at her, before flopping back down on the couch with a huff of annoyance. “As to giving the building away… S’only a place. Shedda can find another.” Godfrey tucks an arm under his head, brows furrowed and eyes closing. “Not to mention, toppling the leadership doesn’t always destroy the heart of the organization. As shown by history, one leader falls another rises to take his place. I once took over for Adam when he up and left his gang all sudden like.” But he waves that off, it was in the past after all.

Shoulders give a twitched shrug, as Godfrey adds, “And if Garza is so trusted by Adam… that means nothing, clearly. I trusted Garza and thought highly for him. I was loyal and did all I was asked.” His own words fan the flames of his anger, but instead of raging about it, he goes quiet for a few moments. When he speaks again, he sounds… defeated? “You can see what he’s willing to do with the trust of others. What else is he hiding? Hmm?”

Asi is guiltless as Godfrey instantly shows signs of being riled, mischief pulling back the corner of her mouth into a grin. Seeing the rise out of him is worth the effort of having asked the question at all, though considering the strength of his reply makes her reconsider her own situation and what was done to her. Godfrey may not exactly be a good model to judge her own reaction and plans against, but comparing his selfishness against her reluctant selflessness made for an interesting exercise.

Maybe he's right. But maybe he's not. "It's not some common criminal organization, Godfrey," she feels the need to point out. "There's only so many visionaries in this world. And it requires a leader of that caliber to go as far as Shedda, as Adam wants to go. Look at other—" Her expression twists, dissatisfied with her ability to say what she means to here. "Organizations?" Asi shakes her head, lifting her offhand to wave it dismissively. "Initiatives, intent ambiguous."

She looks back toward Godfrey. "France's empire fell with Napoleon. Nazi Germany was suffered only so long as Hitler's charismatic leadership. Alexander the Great fell, and his generals tore his empire apart." Her brow arches, feeling this point makes itself. "Other leaders rise, but they are never as great as the visionary. Even the Mongol empire fell within two generations after Genghis Khan's death." She tsks, going on, "What happened to you and what happened to me merits justice, for it was unjust. But to be so selfish as to not see what harm it could do is dangerous."

Tipping the bottle back for another sip, Asi hms while she swirls it over her palate. "It could rattle the foundations of one of the sole organizations in this world that want to, supposedly, ultimately see people like us freed from fear and prejudice. It is not perfect, and to us they have not been kind, but what of their ultimate goal?" There's something somber that enters her tone. "We are but a minority in this world, Godfrey, and silencing any voices that advocate for our freedom…"

The thought lingers in the air before she sighs, abruptly willing to go dropping her argument entirely. She had reached as far as she was willing to go in theoretically absolving people like Baruti Naidu or Antonio Garza for what they did to the very people they should be fighting for. Her fingers drum in irritation against the side of the bottle again. "Everything has its cost," is the point she ultimately wanted to make. "So make sure you make it count. And make sure that you would have not done the same if you were in their shoes before passing judgment, so that you do not make the same mistake they have, should you end up in them."

The baleful look she shoots him implies a kind of if that makes any sense at all. She wasn't sure her wax had any real narrative thread to it, certainly not any he wanted to be hearing, but… "You will have to forgive me if I am rambling. It has been a while since I have had company like this. And— in a roundabout way, I suppose I just want you to be sure of your choice." Asi's expression is solemn, on the verge of a frown. "Because in order to effect change, sacrifice must be made. Sometimes that sacrifice means betraying those who have done you no wrong for the sake of harming those that have."

Her head shakes as she goes on easily, "I don't believe you stupid or simple, Godfrey— just slighted. Hurt and angry and willing to make impactful decisions without thinking enough about their consequences."

With a hmph that turns into a touch of a smile, she supposes, "Or— maybe you have, and you are merely more optimistic than I am that Shedda will simply bounce back." The smile fades in light of his loss of energy. "Who knows the depths of what Garza hides. If it matters to you so much to know, then you should focus your efforts on gaining his trust, rather than giving him yours." He should find these things out, and then make his call.

But she doesn't say that. She tips the bottle back again instead.

When Asi finally quiets, Godfrey doesn’t speak up right away. Eyes closed, he is clearly lost in thought over those very well argued points. Or… wait…. There is a deep inhale of breath from his direction and an equally loud exhale of that same breath. In fact, if she really thinks about it… was he???


The exertions of the day had caught up with him and Godfrey had fallen asleep somewhere in the middle of her grand speech, leaving the technopath to wonder how much the man had heard.

Really, Asi should know better by now.

But she mutters at him all the same for tuning out right as she's slipped into another buzzed, passionate epsoual. Maybe the next time this happens, he'll hear her.

Most likely not, though.

In the lapse of words, she leans her head back against the cushion, expecting to find silence now. The sound of Godfrey's breathing is subtle, but enough to stave it off. Asi lets the bottle rest beside her, hand wrapped around the neck of it, and finds herself without the pressing need to take another swig. Somehow, he makes passable company even while asleep.

"お前の選んだ道から守れないよね。1" she murmurs, since he's not listening anyway. "だからちゃんと考えて欲しい。お前が死んだら。。。2"

Her brow furrows at the ceiling, voice softening. "泣きそうかもね。3"

The rattling of the heating system is the only acknowledgement she gets, other than another deep, sleeping sigh from Godfrey. She smiles at it anyway, as if it's its own version of a reply. Her mood lightens, for all the seriousness of this one-sided conversation, but she keeps her tone muted to theoretically not wake him. "とりえあず、お前には完全復讐定義は何なんだろうか?リミットがあるの?4" Her head lolls to the side, adding a certain emphasis to her opinion: "それを決めなきゃいけないんだ。不定義の事は果てしのない事よ。5" Asi frowns thoughtfully then, figuring out just why that's important only as the words come. "終わりなけば、後もない。6"


It's hard to say how much time passes between that and Asi laying a blanket over Godfrey, fully-clothed with his heels perched on the couch arm like a heathen. The light overhead is out.


Her fingers ruffle his helmet-mussed hair. She picks up the bottle to take it to bed with her, and the strain while she bends for it lets her know she's going to be sore in the morning.


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