The Least Shitty Option


chess3_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title The Least Shitty Option
Synopsis Monica extends an offer to Chess and her sisters and hopes it doesn't backfire.
Date December 10, 2018

Cats Cradle

Monica arranged to meet Chess at Cat's Cradle, where she's grabbed a corner table and a couple beers already. As always in this particular bar, there's a light haze of smoke from those enjoying the other things on offer here. Music plays from a band on the stage— far from where Monica chose to sit. It isn't quiet in her corner, but most people seem more interested in the performance than the table. Also, she has her cybernetics covered up, so that helps keep eyes from focusing on her.

It isn't that she necessarily suspects anyone is trying to listen in, but rather she's enjoying the lack of attention.

The door opens and the newcomer glances around. The blond hair, dark glasses, and a baseball cap aren’t a disguise per se, but might help for someone looking for the darker iteration of herself. She sees Monica and heads that way, pulling the sunglasses off to shove in her ever-present courier bag, before sliding onto the seat across from the other woman.

“Hey,” she says. She looks a touch pale, a little tired, but it’s hard to tell with Chess, given the last six months of her life have been literally spent in hiding from those who hunt her. She reaches for the beer and tips it in Monica’s direction in a mock toast, before taking a sip. “What’s up?”

"I have some news for you," Monica says, returning that semi-toast. "I wanted to let you know first, so you can decide if you want the others to know or whatever you want to do with it." She pauses a moment, taking a drink of her beer before setting it down again. "Kimiko Nakamura, she wants to find you and offer you Yamagato's protection. Probably Kim, too. Alix, even. If either of them want to. She doesn't know about them, but she knows about you. Your name and that you and Yamagato have a common enemy."

The bluntness with which Monica gets to the point makes Chess lift her brows, and she sets down her own bottle. A few seconds tick by before she huffs a short laugh and shakes her head. “Funny enough, I said we should just go to Yamagato months ago,” she murmurs, eyes glancing to the door, then around at the nearest bar patrons, before looking back to Monica.

“Praxis is worried they’d be able to copy whatever it is they did to us, to make us,” Chess says quietly. “How do we know they won’t? How do I know it’s not just… running from one enemy into the arms of another?” She smiles, realizing she’s speaking to one of Yamagato’s employees. “I mean, no offense.”

"None taken," Monica says, fingers drumming on her beer, "truth is, I don't know how far you can trust Yamagato. Kimiko is hard as nails these days so it's hard to say that she's offering this out of a sense of charity. But. If you decide to come, there's a handful of people I trust— and me— who would make sure you were safe."

Her head shakes a little and she takes a drink from her beer. A long drink. "I've been doing internal investigations since the bombing. So there really is just a handful. It would be nice for me to have someone else there." Someone she can trust and who knows what's going on. "Not to mention an extra set of eyes."

Chess rests her elbows on the table as she listens, one hand wrapped around the lotus flower tattoo, the words I belong deeply to myself inked on the inner wrist. The word trust makes her smirk just a little — given Monica is one of the few people she trusts, in what’s probably an even smaller circle — if ever expanding, thanks to the proliferation of siblings in recent months.

Not all siblings are trustworthy, of course.

“If it were just me,” Chess says thoughtfully, “I’d probably say yes, half out of curiosity and probably the other half split between stupidity and spite.” Praxis hates Yamagato, after all. “But there’s Alix and Kimberly to take into consideration.” She lifts the beer to take a swallow. “I can’t take their protection and leave them without it, so it’ll be all or none, I guess, you know? So if they’re willing and she’s willing, I guess?” It’s tentative. She makes a face. “It was a lot easier when I had no one but myself to worry about,” she confesses.

"They'll take you all," Monica says. She's pretty confident about that despite the fact that she hasn't mentioned it to anyone at Yamagato. But she knows they wouldn't want Praxis to get to them first, so it's an easy bet. "Talk to them. Let me know what you all decide to do. I'll be with you all in there, so if you have any doubts or anything, you can come to me."

She smirks at those last words. It's a sentiment she understands.

"There's something else I wanted to ask. Richard Ray, he's a friend. He is looking into Praxis, too, from his own angle. I told him I knew you. He was going to set up some kind of facial recognition thing around his building to try to find you for Kimiko, I thought it would be better if he didn't. But he is curious now. He asked to be looped in, but I wanted to talk to you about it. If you're comfortable with it, or how much you're comfortable with. We're bound to start tripping over each other eventually, but we don't have to share any details you want to keep to just us." She might have a playful attitude toward the missions that BOOM goes on, but this she's serious about.

Brows draw together at the name of Richard Ray and the scowl grows a little deeper when Monica mentions facial recognition. Chess rarely leaves the Benchmark without sunglasses and a cap, and she certainly doesn’t dress in a way that gathers much attention, but facial recognition is clearly something she wasn’t worried about for herself.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been near his buildings, but Jesus,” she says with a shake of her head. Elbows planted on the table, she ducks her head through her hands, exhaling and then inhaling again, like a fresh breath might make everything just disappear. Of course, it doesn’t.

“I don’t want him to know about Alix or Kim,” she says. “Does he know why they’re looking for me?”

"Not specifically. He knows it has something to do with Praxis. That's what the whole meeting was about." Monica looks across the table at Chess, her arms folding loosely on the table. "He doesn't have to know about the girls. He doesn't have to know about you specifically, either. Only what you don't mind us sharing. General information. I can't promise he'll never figure it out— he likes to know just… all of the things and he's well connected— but I can tell you that he's one of the good guys."

She reaches for her beer, spinning it against the table. "He'll be an ally against Adam, when it comes to that." Picking up her beer, she drinks and sets it back down again. "Don't worry, he probably won't want to come along to blow things up," she adds with a smirk, "This girls' club has its limit of dudes already."

Chess lifts her beer to drain it, listening as Monica talks, then setting the empty vessel back on the table. Her lips curve up on just one side into a smirk. “I mean, I don’t need any guy’s help in blowing shit up,” she says wryly. She’ll take Luther’s, because he’s gifted in his way in the destruction of things.

“It sounds like he’s in on it already, if he’s meeting with Kimiko. If she’s telling him my name,” she tells Monica, with a shrug of one shoulder. “So I probably don’t really have much of a say in it, but it’s nice of you to ask.” There’s another wry smile at that.

Just in case she’s sounding too cynical, she adds, “I can take all the allies I can get, I guess. Especially if the other side is literally building armies, right?”

"I'll keep you and your sisters downplayed for now. But it is probably good if we share some intel, since we're all gonna be in this. Monroe might be building an army, but we can, too." They aren't so far off from the last time they turned a ragtag group of rebels into an army, anyway. "And I can actually fight this time, so, you know," Monica says, her tone playfully proud, "you know it'll be over quick." After a grin, she finishes off her beer, too, and gestures toward the bar. "Want another? My treat." Which isn't saying much, since she gets the Friends and Family discount here at Eve's bar. But it's the thought that counts, right?

“Well, hopefully not with my DNA,” Chess quips back, because that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? At least why Praxis made her, and why they don’t want anyone else to get their hands on her.

“You’d think they’d make clone soldiers who were bigger or something, don’t you? I mean… Alix and that group, me and Kim… our abilities are useful, but we’re not any more dangerous than any other person with an ability. But I guess maybe back then,” she sounds like she’s 95, “they didn’t know how many SLC-E people were out in the world.”

She nods at the offer for another drink, her expression still thoughtful. “So how do we do this?”

"Just a little bit of your DNA. Unless you're quitting on me." Which is doubtful. Lots to blow up still. Monica gestures to the bartender when she gets their attention. Apparently she's here often enough to have a method of communication with the staff. "Bigger is more obvious. We might be more progressive, but back then," she says with a wry smile, "I could see people thinking that a pretty girl could get more places than a big, intimidating soldier. Although, if you all work out, I wouldn't be surprised if they have plans for all sorts."

The question gets a bit of a sigh, and she pauses while the beers get dropped off. She says a quick thank you, but once they're alone again, her expression turns more serious. "I bring you and Alix and Kim to the Park, Eizen puts together a security detail, you guys probably get a nice apartment. Some phones to use if you find trouble. And a lot of back up if the others find you again. If Praxis comes anywhere near you guys."

The word ‘pretty’ gets a look, and it’s clear Chess doesn’t consider herself that. “Yeah, I guess that makes sense. And if I can blow things up it doesn’t matter if I don’t have biceps the size of my head.”

Chess takes the beer when it’s dropped off, flashing a smile at the bartender so it doesn’t look like she’s just waiting for them to be out of earshot again, before looking back at Monica. “I really miss the armory some days,” she says, her own tone a little wry but not ironic. “And not gonna lie, it feels a little like a gilded cage. Two-edged sword. A whole lot of mixed metaphors. They have my back but they’ll also know where I am.”

She lifts her beer in a little mock cheer. “To the best of all shitty options, I guess?” she quips, a small half smile curving her lips before she takes a swallow.

"I mean. Let's be clear, this offer is in their best interest. They won't lock you down, but they will keep tabs on you. That's the exchange for the safety. At the end of the day, they're a business. If they have you, Praxis doesn't. But. I do think Kimiko is the better option. If I didn't, I wouldn't be mentioning this at all." Monica knows about Yamagato and their offers that seem too good to be true. She is a little less jovial when she picks up her beer this time, her smile too jaded to be genuine.

"To the least shitty option," she says, lifting her beer for a drink, too.

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