The Depository Of Horrible Forbidden Knowledge


monica_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Depository Of Horrible Forbidden Knowledge
Synopsis Monica checks in with a friend and her week gets Even More interesting.
Date April 30, 2019

Richard's Apartment

In the old days, Monica would disappear at random and return just as suddenly. Something of that impulse obviously remains because she's been scarce for months. The odd text here, but nothing of any depth, nothing about where she was or when she would come back.

So when she let herself into Richard's apartment, there was no warning. She's just there, sitting on his bed, looking down at her phone— a different phone. Of course, the phone is not the most noticeable difference. Her cybernetic arm is missing, leaving her with a high-tech stump peeking out of the sleeve of her shirt.

There’s that moment’s tension as Richard finds someone there, before he relaxes… kicking off his shoes near the door, he heads towards the bedroom area of the corporate apartment, hands coming up to loosen his tie.

“Monica,” he breathes out, “Fuck, I’ve been worried. I haven’t heard from you since that last meeting, are you— what happened to your arm?”

He stops dead, staring at the missing appendage before looking back up to her.

Monica looks up when he comes in and she lets out a heavy sigh. "I got fired," she says, tossing her phone aside as she looks over at him. There's a pause, because she assumed she would be steady enough to do this, but seeing him is harder than she thought it would be. Her head tilts as she looks elsewhere. "Turns out when you get cyborg-fired, it's a whole circus."

She shakes her hair out and looks back over, her hand coming to rest on her leg. "How've you been? Successful? Did things… work out? Tell me it didn't go worse than mine did."

“Jesus.” Richard brushes away the matter of her mission, apparently considering her more important along those lines, “Are you alright? We can look into a replacement for you…”

Stepping over to the bed, he eases himself down to sit on it, “They did. Eileen’s people tried to stop us, so there were… casualties, but we reached through to the Flood. Liz. Magnes. My mother. A few dozen other refugees from the other side. We got them all here. There was a giant lightning monster, it was a whole thing.”

He’s always had a talent for understatement.

"I'm fine," Monica says— lies. "I mean, I'm not fine. But it's fine." Her eyes close and she shifts to drop her feet onto the floor, as if to make room for him to sit closer. When she looks back to him, her expression is grateful that he moves on to another topic.

"I'd hoped Eileen would sit by," she says with a sigh, "I'm sorry there were casualties. But you got them. And some extras? I call that a good day's work." She leans her shoulder against him in a gentle nudge. "Even considering the monster."

But, something seems to occur to her— it comes in a blink before she glances to the apartment. "I should be calling ahead now, huh? Or not… I don't know, showing up and taking over the bed," she says with a chuckle. The sound comes off a little regretful, but she manages a warm smile all the same. "You guys are obviously going to need your time, coming back from dimension hopping."

“I mean, I don’t know, Liz is open-minded,” Richard replies with a tease, and as her shoulder nudges to his he reaches an arm to wrap around her; pulling her in against his side and leaning down to brush a kiss to her temple before admitting, “Probably, although she’s going to want to see you. She’ll be thrilled, I promise.”

“So what… I mean, what happened with Kam? Our plan seemed like it should’ve gone off without a hitch,” he notes with a frown, “Eizen, Asi, and Kimiko were all in on it, why did you get fired?”

Monica laughs lightly at the tease and leans into him easily. "I want to see her, too. It's only been years." The kiss pulls out a gentler sigh and her eyes drift closed.

It's only the mention of Kam that brings her back around.

"Well." Monica looks over at him, expression more dry. "I'm fired because I didn't follow orders and just kill Kam. Kimiko threw in some stuff about endangering the building as if outright attacking her wouldn't have had the same level of danger. Plus, we locked Eizen in a closet. That part was my idea." She'll eat that piece of responsibility. "When we negated her, she lost it. Screaming and she seemed… like she was in pain. But she said she was keeping it in, the entity. The Dragon, she called it. She started to go full supervillain monologue and Kimiko shot her in the head before we could get any intel." Pushing up to her feet, she starts to walk the length of the room. "She relieved me of my job, my apartment, and my arm. Their arm, I guess. And Jiba, too."

That story’s listened to with a rising hint of alarm, Richard’s brow knitting deeper and deeper for every word. As she rises, he leans back, resting his weight on both hands. “That… shit. None of that is… none of that makes sense, I can understand if Kimiko’s trying to hold the containment protocols, but any idiot can see that they’re already failing. Did she say anything that made sense? Or Kimiko?”

"Kimiko said very little to me that wasn't about me leaving. Kam talked about the Dragon being memetic, which we already knew," she says, with a gesture toward Richard. "She said that Adam is the only one who knows how to take care of it." Her hand comes up to run through her hair and send it tumbling down her back. "And that was it. She was getting into how powerful it was when Kimiko killed her. I think Kam was trying to tell us something, I really do." She turns to look back at him, her hand moving to her hip. "I think I'm gonna go to Japan and dig around about Kensei and the Dragon. Maybe see how many Praxis spies I can find over there while I'm at it."

She drops back down next to him and her hand comes up to her face for a moment. Like she's tired, but she might be able to force it away if she tries hard enough.

"Do you have somewhere I can store my stuff?"

“Fuck.” Richard brings one hand up to rub over his face, his eyes closing, “None of this makes any sense. We’re missing pieces, and… why the fuck can’t Monroe just pick up a goddamn phone?”

As she drops back down to him, he offers her a faint smile, a hand coming up to the small of her back, “Yeah. I can issue you an apartment you can put things in, and— do you want me to have Warren take a look at making you a new arm?”

"Old people don't understand phones," Monica says, taking her turn at the teasing, "you have to send him a message on a carrier pigeon or something. If I find him, I'll tell him to contact you. Maybe through morse code."

Her smile turns softer at his touch and she turns in toward him. "You know, maybe sometime later. Putting the arm on and then having it removed was… really painful. I'm not— exactly looking forward to going through that again any time soon." She shakes her head a little, pushing away memories that are all too fresh. "Plus, your brother is a little worrisome. He once turned Luther's van into a spider robot thing, you know? I'm not sure I want to know what he'd put in my arm."

“We have someone double-check everything he does now,” Richard admits wryly, “And he’s not as… unstable as he used to be.” Not that he’s stable just less unstable. “I understand, though. We’ll be here if, and when, you want to take care of that… I mean, alternately if you pin Adam down and steal some of his blood— “

It’s only half-teasing.

“So. Your plan is going to Japan, poking around, old-school cloak and dagger games, then?” A smile tugs at his lips, “Like old times.”

"In that case… if and when, I'll let you know. I still have all the wetware, I don't know if that would make it easier or harder." Monica smirks a little at his alternative. Adam's blood would be helpful, and there's a look in her eye like she might be taking that more as a suggestion than a tease. "You know how I love cloak and dagger. I still have a hoodie somewhere." Not that she's going full St. Joan, but maybe a step in that direction.

"Rich— does the name Renautas mean anything to you?" Because if there's anyone who can unravel a mystery, she's sitting next to him. "Or do I have more cloak and dagger than I thought?"

“There’s a name that’s been coming up a lot recently…” Richard’s chin dips in a bit of a nod, “Yeah, I know the name. The founder was involved in the Company, so was his son; the Renautus Company was acquired by the Institute awhile back. The two company’s heirs died in the trenches trying to help the Ferry get people out of the Ark— their kids were just rescued from Kravid’s people by Wolfhound, although there’s some complications there.”

One brow lifts, “Why?”

Monica takes the explanation in with a slightly puzzled look. She takes a moment, her head tilting some before she can answer him. "There was a man named Renautas, he pointed me toward Japan. He said I could find who I was hunting— that's Adam— and find myself there," she says, the last words coming like she still can't quite believe they were said. "He knew Nana. She didn't know him. But he was definitely old enough to be one of the founders. He also just sort of was there. But I remembered you saying there was a lot of memory loss going around. I think maybe— Do you think it's possible my grandmother had something to do with them? The founders, the Company."

“Maybe? I’ve never met her,” Richard’s brow knits a little, “Do you have a picture I can look at? I’ve seen a lot more faces than I have names, and…” He frowns, looking across the room and then back, “Old man? White hair, receding hairline… clean shaven, very formal looking? Dignified, really? Is that the man you met?”

"Yeah, hang on," she says, getting up from the bed to cross to her jacket. She digs out her wallet, and then an old, folded up photograph out of that before she comes back over. When she hands it over, it's a picture of Monica, her younger brother, and her grandmother. It was taken some time ago, and it's taken some damage over the years, but the faces are still easy to make out. "Super formal looking. British accent. That was him. He seemed… hurt that Nana was afraid of him."

The photograph is taken, unfolded, and Richard stares at it for a moment.

“…Moni,” he says, looking up with a furrowed brow, “This is Charles Deveaux’s wife.”

"What? No," Monica says with a shake of her head, "That's Nia Dawson, my grandmother who tells funny stories and makes sure you wash your hands before dinner. She's not— I mean, she would have told— She remembers her husband, his name was Carl. She has told me endless stories about them from the time they were young." Silly Richard. Of course, her words are belied by her expression, which is more worried than her tone would imply.

“I’m telling you, unless she has a… oh, you motherfucker, Charles— “ Richard’s expression runs from confusion to disbelief to anger as something occurs to him, his gaze dropping to the photograph, “I can’t… I can’t believe he’d…. “

A slow breath’s taken in, and he brings a hand up, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. “The Company had massive memory redactions and rewriting carried out during the eighties. I… he very well could have had himself written out of her life to get her out of things, Jesus.”

Monica runs a hand over her face, turning to pace away and back again. Her eyes start to well up when she looks back to him, which might be why she turns back away again. It's been a long week already, and it isn't even over yet. "And he let her— She and my mother struggled, Richard," she says, looking toward the ceiling for lack of anywhere else to look. "And when she died? My mom? Where— what the hell?" She gestures widely, as if she might be able to include the man, now long gone. "And he repressed her ability, too. All those years?"

“I don’t know. He… hell, he probably didn’t remember her either,” Richard admits with a slow shake of his head, “The redactions— Christ, we’re still piecing together the truth of those years, we don’t even know what’s truth and lies yet. I only know this— “ The photograph is waved a bit, “— because we recovered a part of the memory archive that had Ben Ryans’ memories in it, and they were there…”

His hand sweeps back up her back, pulling her in towards his side, “Christ. I’m sorry. We’ll do everything we can to find some answers…”

“It explains why she was afraid of Walter,” he grimaces, “Part of her probably recognized him.”

"Should she have been afraid?" Monica focuses on that, pushing past everything she doesn't know what to do with just yet. Maybe another day. She has to wipe at her eyes, because as much as she tries, she can't quite keep it together. "How do I protect her? The Society, that's why they're looking out for her, not because she was separated from her family in the war. Because she's his wife. God, my poor Nana doesn't even know her own life." She doesn't seem to be able to still herself, her pace has picked up and her fingers twitch like they're wanting to do something.

“I think I left the Society too long to their own devices. I should’ve remembered who they were…” Richard’s jaw sets, “I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t like this feeling. It’s long past time to get back into the game.”

He cants his head a little, “I don’t feel like being a pawn, Monica. And I know you never fit as one.”

"I don't like it, either," Monica says, turning back his way and taking in what is meant to be a steadying breath. "It's time we both went back to the old days." Back when none of them were pawns. She shakes out her hand, although it only seems to calm her a little. She's out of practice at keeping her ability in check. She hasn't really needed to in a long time. "I don't like anyone messing with my family. And I don't have much of them left anymore."

“I’ve got more than I ever dreamt of having, and I’m just as protective,” Richard admits, watching her for a moment before saying quietly, “Go east. Find what you can. Send me reports when you can - ask Alia to set up a safe backdoor you can communicate through, if you need it. I’ll set up a new board for when you get back, and I’ll get some answers from Renautus…”

A wry almost-smile, “Want to go spar, or something? You look like you need to get some aggression out, babe.”

"I will. Whatever she can set up, I'll take it. And I'll check in." Monica is notoriously bad at that, but she'll give it her best shot. At least this time, there's intel to send back. Hopefully. "I'll have my boxes over here. She only gave me a few days to move." The sigh that leaves her is tense, because she's just reminded herself of everything else that's been going on lately. She refocuses on him at his suggestion, and she lets out a small chuckle. "Actually, I would. If you think you can keep up."

“Your ability is literally ‘better than me at anything’ so,” Richard grins, moving to push himself up to his feet, “Try and go easy on me, but not too easy. Got a feeling I need to get back in practice too.”

A hand’s offered up, “And don’t you fucking dare leave before you see Liz, or she’ll hunt you down like a dog.”

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