The Eight Headed Serpent, Part IV


kay_icon.gif kimiko_icon.gif

Scene Title The Eight-Headed Serpent, Part IV
Synopsis With Kam's death and Monica's departure, Kimiko sets about restructuring the "Public Relations" Department.
Date April 29, 2019

Kaydence Lee Damaris hasn’t been out of the loop in years. Which makes these last few months all the more harrowing.

From her perspective, Kam Nisatta abruptly left her position toward the beginning of January, right around the same time the auroras stopped. Kimiko Nakamura swept in on the same day, replacing Kam and handling all North American operations personally from Yamagaro Park. Worse, the entirety of Public Relations was gutted from top to bottom. Monica was taken off of active duty, Kaydece’s security clearance was revoked, and confusingly she was given three months of paid vacation time with the reassurance that she still had her job.

Returning to work meant, hopefully, getting answers. But when one lives and breathes a life of secrecy, sometimes the answers you want, aren’t the answers you get.

Office of the Director of Public Relations

Yamagato Fellowship Building

April 29th

7:00 am

The soft beep and green light confirming Kaydence’s badge still works comes as a relief as she comes out of the secure elevator into the white-walled office that once belonged to Kam Nisatta. The glass cases lining the room, containing historic Japanese relics, remain a testament to Kam’s role as organizer of the Fellowship on top of her other duties. A scarred suit of armor with visible burns across one side is momentarily overlaid by Kay’s reflection as she walks past it, her eyes tracking to the placard that reads Whitebeard’s Armor. It’s new, probably moved up from the gallery below.

Kam’s desk at the back of the room is the only artifact that Kaydence truly cares about, though. The high-backed chair behind its glass-topped surface remains unoccupied, Kam’s nameplate gone from the desk. At first it appears as though there’s no one here to greet her, until she catches sight of someone behind her, standing at another one of the glass display cases, this one holding a tall and weathered scroll depicting a dragon.

“Good morning, Ms. Damaris.”

Kimiko Nakamura has never met Kaydence Damaris face-to-face until this day. She bears the weight of the tragic loss of her husband visibly, though not everyone can see it. Kay can. More visible is her cybernetic hand, bare metal contrasting with the white of her wool coat. Both the arm and her leg on that same side whirr with mechanical efficiency, a more visible scar of the loss she’s endured.

There was a playfulness in practicing her Japanese with Nisatta. That dynamic doesn't exist with Nakamura. Kay bows as she's accustomed to doing, then offers a nod of her head. There's a solidarity among widows. “Ms Nakamura. Good morning.”

The mechanic limbs don't put her off or provide distraction - she's used to working with Monica, after all - but do earn a glance. Before the war, such technology simply didn't exist. It's hard not to be appreciative, even in the face of loss.

But there's the question of what this meeting is about. Is she going to be reinstated or liquidated? She'd be lying to herself if she didn't have a fear that Yamagato might simply make her disappear.

“How can I serve?”

Squinting against the illumination, Kimiko calls out, “Lights, 50%,” and the illumination dims down to something more akin to an evening sunset, casting long shadows in the corners of the room. Seeming more at ease with the lights dimmed, Kimiko walks up to Kaydence and gives her an appraising look, the metallic fingers on her prosthetic hand gently scrape together for a moment as she considers that question.

“Kam Nisatta is dead,” is the first professional interaction Kaydence Lee Damaris has with the CEO of Yamagato Industries. There is no board here, no assistants, no paper trail. This is her job, circling back around after months of vacation time. “She was executed in the Yamagato Building on January 11th, her death was covered up. Kam Nisatta was a double agent.” In spite of those words, no accusation rests in Kimiko’s tone.

If there were accusations, Kaydence likely wouldn’t be standing here. She’d likely be in whatever ditch they put Kam in.

Kay’s gaze darts upward in a glance as the lights dim. Her chin remains high, expression steady and even. At least until that bombshell is dropped. Her lips part into a small O shape, eyes growing wider momentarily. If there was any question about whether Kaydence was in the know, her reaction might lay it to rest.

“I had no idea.” There’s a shame in that admission. But it is likely no secret that she’d been kept in the dark for a long time. By Nisatta. By Monica. That one still stings, but Kay knows everyone has their reasons. Kam Nisatta’s have become clear now.

Slowly, she nods her understanding. She had liked her boss, and thought Kam had liked her in return. Maybe she actually had, but that doesn’t change the outcome. She was a double agent and she had to be put down. Now, the question is, “Where do we go from here?”

“That's unclear at the moment,” Kimiko admits with a furrow of her brows. “Ms. Dawson has tendered her resignation, such as it is, and I am in the middle of the long process of reviewing Kam’s security breaches with our chief of security. We’re changing tactics, because what worked once won't work again. That said,” Kimiko looks down at the floor and sighs deeply, then looks up to Kay. “There will always be a need for public relations.”

There is no happiness in Kimiko’s voice when she admits that, just a resolute sense of what must be, against the exhausting desire for what should be. With a motion of her head toward the desk, Kimiko begins to walk in that direction alongside Kay.

“First and foremost, given what I just told you if you have a desire to reconsider your career with Yamagato Industries, I'll understand. But should you desire to stay with us, I would have you in charge of this entire department. We need to rebuild and we need to rebuild quickly, and I need someone with connections and talent development skills in this role. I need someone I can trust and…” Kimiko looks up to Kay. “In spite of every opportunity to the contrary, you have always remained loyal to your employers.”

Kay releases a deep breath that she didn’t realize she had been holding. She suspected Monica was gone, even if she couldn’t ascertain the circumstances. They had been a team, and it’s an integral part that’s missing from it now. Lingering bitterness about being left in the dark fuels a knowledge that she can train someone else up. Even if it can’t possibly be the same. Dawson is one of a kind.

She smiles. It doesn’t reach her eyes and it’s slightly too tight around the edges. Realistically, Kay assumes the only way she leaves this position is in a bodybag. When they reach the desk, she takes a seat. “In spite of everything that’s happened this past year, I don’t exactly hate my job.” A strong sense of justice went out the window years ago after the death of her husband. Good guys don’t always win. “Yamagato Industries has provided for my family. My daughter’s happy here. If you’re content to have me stay on, then I’m happy to continue my work here.”

“I am as content as I can be,” has layers of meanings coming from Kimiko, and she leaves Kaydence to decipher those on her own time. “The first order of business will be finding yourself a new field operative. Someone from outside of the Yamagato Industries sphere of influence, preferably someone without a connection to Dawson or Nisatta. Preferably an SLC-Expressive, as well, but if you trip over someone like Benjamin Ryans or Noah Bennet, I won't complain.”

Kimiko looks at the desk, Kam’s desk, then settles her attention back on Kaydence. “With that settled, there is one other matter of business that I wanted to bring to your attention. It's… of a more personal nature, and somewhat sensitive.”

From under her flesh and blood arm, Kimiko produces a tablet and calls up the image of a boy younger than Kay’s daughter, then hands the tablet over to Kay. “This child was recovered from the California Dead Zone by the Wolfhound paramilitary group during a raid on a scientific installation run by remnants of the Commonwealth Institute.” The boy looks familiar, but Kay can't quite place why.

“It so happens that he is Matthew Parkman, Jr. Son of the late Secretary of Homeland Security. I don't know how he was caught up in all of that, but given your past history with Mr. Parkman I thought you might want to know he's currently in the city. A contact of mine at SESA let me know that he's being fostered by one of their agents, a…” Kimiko looks at the tablet, then back to Kay. “Robyn Quinn.”

Kay inclines her head. She walked into that one, so she'll accept the vague pronouncement for what it is. She'll lose sleep over it later, for now, it won't cloud her thoughts.

What she sees on the tablet, however, details her thoughts entirely. She takes the tablet and looks at the young boy, obviously affected by his resemblance to his father. They hadn't parted on good terms, but that never stopped her from missing him. What they had.

“Thank you,” she breathes out, looking up and blinking away her surprise, if not the emotion. Kay straightens up and hands the tablet back. “I'll — I'll get to work right away.” An old friend's son can wait. For the moment.

“I’ve forwarded relevant contact information to your devices,” Kimiko says with a look down to her tablet, then back up to Kaydence. “Be sure to have your selection for field operations to me before the end of May. We have time-sensitive activities that will require their attention.” Which doesn’t leave much time for vetting.

Kimiko tucks the tablet back under her arm, then looks up to Kay with her brows furrowed. “I have the utmost faith in you, Ms. Damaris.” It’s exactly what Daniel Linderman would say to her whenever he dropped something unexpected in her lap.

It’s the same way Daniel Linderman would talk to Kay, while he was busy killing her husband behind her back.

Hopefully that isn’t foreshadowing.

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