The Longest Game Of Telephone, Part I


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Scene Title The Longest Game Of Telephone
Synopsis Asi seeks out Zachery for the knowledge only he knows, to ask him to verify what his eyes can't see.
Date June 22, 2021

Raytech Industries Campus

Asi Tetsuyama hasn't exactly gone out of her way to avoid Zachery, but neither have their paths really crossed since he returned from his walkabout. There's been plenty of life in the way for the both of them, Asi for her own part dealing with a perpetually self-complicating existence that generally doesn't intersect her circle with his, but here comes the Japanese expatriate now through his part of the Raytech labs, not quite on the warpath, but…

Certainly determined in her path to reach him.

"Miller," she greets as she approaches, a stiff nod of her head to acknowledge him out of long-instilled habit. She nears closer than she normally would, indicating she's either lost a certain desire for personal space since they last spoke, or this is something discreet.

"Do you have a moment? It's about what you discovered back in February."

Oh, so it's definitely the latter, then.

Zachery sits on a tall, metal stool at a long row of standing desks, looking the very part of a busy lab-coat-clad scientist indeed. His attention is switched from a terminal in front of him to a microscope so as to change out one slide for another, before grimly peering at the displayed result on the monitor.

He doesn't look at his visitor until he hears his name, and when he does so it's with immediate confusion. Then, surprise raises his eyebrows over one blue eye, one empty eye socket.

"Oh. You're not Yeh." He deadpans, minimising the live microscope feed on his terminal to return to a running game of Minesweeper that was hidden underneath. "Similar walks. Your steps are very— goal oriented." He kicks back from the desk a little, with a lazy gesture forward. "As you can see, I'm extremely busy. Unless!"

He turns abruptly on the stool— so quickly that he has to dig a heel into the floor to turn properly toward Asi again, practically beaming as he offers so generously: "Answer me a riddle one, and you might pass."

She looks nothing less than taken aback by this. A game? Now? Her eyes start to narrow as her brow settles. As politely as she can manage, she begins with one upturned hand, "Counter-offer." Her head tilts just slightly. "I bring you a mystery only you can shed light into, one related to our condition." So very understated, she is. "A riddle all its own, and then we can circle back to mundanity."

The look on her face shows she's not particularly happy about having to skip any pleasantries about it, but she's tense. Desperate, practically.

"I think someone found the corpse of someone like us, but I didn't see what was there inside us like you did, so I can't confirm." she explains carefully.

"Oh, hey," Elliot says, leaning against a wall of questionable stability, "tell the Biology Department I said 'what's up, long time no see.'"

Mundanity. Zachery's grin persists, but annoyance pulls it into something sharper. That's how it's going to be, is it. He's barely clicked his tongue in disapproval, though, and Asi's already moved on.

Then, all at once, she has his attention. He straightens with the next breath he draws, tone of voice changed entirely to match a more reflective knit of his brow. "Found?" He questions, before eager curiosity pulls more words out into the open very uncarefully. "Or made? Are you in possession of the cadaver? What condition is it in? Estimation of time since death?"

Asi has to hold up a hand to counter the nearly forward-lean into the topic, discomfort continuing– but now from a different source entirely. "Therein lies the…" Her eyes unfocus for just a moment as she borrows someone else's fluency to finish her statement. "rub." A blink brings her back to Zachery, and with it comes a little more sureness in herself, her posture. "I don't have physical access to it, but I do have access to someone who can get in front of it again."

Her hand lowers, but not before shaking away a suggestion that hasn't even been made yet. "The situation being what it is, I can't get photos or video of the body. But what I do have…"

The pause she makes isn't for dramatic effect, even if her expression goes unchanging. Something unsettled runs underneath her skin to let anyone know about the bond secretly formed, secretly stretched across timelines. But here she goes anyway.

"I have telepathic access to someone who does have access to the body. I can use that, and use where they are, to … cross-reference with your memory, your notes." Asi looks back and forth between both of Zachery's eyes, such as they are. "Do you still have them?"

Elliot is familiar with the discomfort—aside from this possibly, technically being treason—a connection of this degree feels too personal to talk about openly. But as Asi needs to make this work, he's happy to try to keep her from straying from nervousness into more serious discomfort.

"Since it's totally inadmissible in court because of the fact you're getting the information by telepathic means," he says with a smirk fighting to stay hidden at the corner of his mouth, "I can tell you that I used to commit low-level crimes in the employ of the Biology Department's wife, one Mrs Nicole Biology Department."

"Wh-…" Zachery just stares for a moment, with a faux-startled shake of his head. "No photos, no video. Alright. Why has that been such a common theme in the science of my life." Rhetorical question number one, mumbled under his breath. "Absolutely, I have notes. Who do you think I am, Rufus Weaver?" Rhetorical question number two, much more clearly.

He leans forward and stands, then, using the relative height difference to look down at Asi's face, and to reassess his visitor. "You're acting strange. And you're unwilling to answer questions. Should I be on edge, Tetsuyama?"

Not that he looks worried, per se, his grin resurfacing. Still, he does not break eye contact.

Asi can't hold it at the moment, looking distracted. A grin of her own, involuntary, surfaces with Elliot's elbowing. Thankfully for the question she's been posed out loud, her laugh sounds appropriate– self-reflective. She closes her eyes and lets out a long breath.

"No," she answers emphatically, trying to hold back from another chuckle. "Just me. This is a strange and stressful situation to play telephone for." She shakes her head and sets one hand on the side of the desk Zachery had been sitting at. The different texture distracts her. "Though I suppose it might help to know you've met the person on the other end."

"He, ah," Another flash of a smile precedes her looking away and then back to up to Zachery. She doesn't remember this reference, but perhaps he will. "He tells me to tell you 'hello to the Biology Department'."

Elliot smiles fully when Asi cracks up, but remains silent for the moment. Entering a stressful situation with a more upbeat attitude should help keep them emotionally on track. It's a serious situation, and while he's invested in this, Asi has a lot more riding on it. He'll be serious and respectful when it comes to it.

"Hello to the Biology Department," Zachery repeats, distantly. Focus shifting somewhere else as he steps away in a casual saunter along the desks, running an arm up his sleeve to rub against a band-aid just underneath.

"Telepathic access… oh!" He turns as the realisation hits him, and all at once his shoulders ride up. Maybe it's got something to do with him getting thrown up on one of the times he might associate with Elliot. "Right, right. I think I'm catching on. And you're aware I loathe the idea of people in my head?"

Turning her hand over, Asi reassures him with a grin just short of a sympathetic grimace, "Well, the good news for you in that regard is that since he's the one that makes the connections, and since he's the one there instead of here, you're in luck. No one's getting into your head today."

A beat, before she acknowledges on the edge of a breath that wants to turn into a dry laugh, "Not literally, at least." She blinks away and then back to Zachery. "The metaphorical dig into your memory and notes still very much taking place." She gestures with a circling of her eyes and a slow angling of her head around the space before asking, "Unless you're a touch busy?"

"It'll take a few minutes for Elliot to get into position, if that matters," Asi offers up.

“Speaking of things that are technically not legal,” Elliot says as Asi looks around the room, “You doing acid here was pretty fun for me.”

Sadly the mood here today is much, much drier. Asi's words fail to make Zachery look any less uneasy, and her proposal is met with a deep, heavy sigh.

Until, finally, he says, "I am busy." He glances back over to where he was standing earlier, the computer still patiently waiting for his observation and input. "But not with work. A personal project. Let me finish some things up and…"

Looking back at Asi again, he offers her a dead smile that suits the workplace better than it does his face and decides, "You'll owe me."

The tone of the sigh dares gives her hope, and Elliot can feel it take hold of her gut– tense and anxious. A false deflection gives way to acquiescence, and some of the weight held in her core begins to untense. The rest of her body fails to yield, knowing this is just the beginning– that she needs to remain attentive. Asi dips her head with acknowledgement that she'll owe him something for this exchange.

She knows so very little about Zachery Miller, but she decides whatever he might call to collect on will be no more harmful than what certain other associates might ask of her.

"Should we find some more answers about our state through this," she murmurs gratefully and clearly,

"We'll all owe you."

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