The Nakamura Code, Part III


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Nakamura Code, Part III
Synopsis With the assistance of several volunteers, Elliot attempts to become smart enough to crack Kaito Nakamura's cipher.
Date June 24, 2021

The paper that Silas Mackenzie discovered in Japan has stayed in remarkably good shape up until now. What was once a neatly folded stack of perforated feeder paper has been separated and arranged in rows across the various surfaces of the room. Where once it was marked only with antique printer ink, it now bears notations and marks in pencil.

It's already been fed into Asi's computer, one unbroken line of characters wrapping across a digital copy of the document. They haven't had any luck running it through key cracking algorithms, which is no surprise for the short time she and Elliot have had to make the attempt. As with most ciphers, modern computer hardware may be powerful, though it lacks the human capacity for inspiration. Human or android, really. Which is why this and other rooms are full of volunteers.

Converted Conference Room
Archipelago of Manhattan
The Flooded Timeline

June 24th, 2021

Controlling this much network traffic is a new experience for Elliot, and his excitement can be felt as a low thrum across the links set between his mind and those of the people who've been kind enough to accept the link. Emotions are the only traffic for most, though home Asi has been given the freedom normally afforded to her between Elliot and Wright. While the potential remains for the group to share any applicable memories, the doors between them remain closed for now.

Wright drums against the edge of the dining room table, not in code but in anticipation of the Daydream1. This is being kept from the home branch of the OEI for now at Richard's request, and as such she's in her apartment in K.C. rather than the operations room in the DOE building.

"How's everybody doing?" Elliot asks the room at large.

"Oh, you know," Asi answers in a mutter that's neither under her breath nor as pleasant as she means for it to land. She's dressed in a black sweater today, all the better for warding off the chill of the storm still churning in the distance responsible for the thrusting of Arctic air in their direction. It's got several holes along the neck and cuffs, but it still serves the purpose of providing its human a constant hug well enough.

She's not comfortable being here. The attempts of the comfortable sweater to counter that feeling has middling success.

The chair Chess has chosen for herself affords her a good view of the door and the rest of the table – anyone who knows her well knows this is second nature to the war vet. Her unease manifests itself in the way she sits, one foot tucked underneath herself to raise her sitting stature by a few inches. Tucked in her palm is her omnipresent worry stone, warm against her cool skin as she charges and uncharges it like some sort of explosive fidget spinner.

“Same,” she echoes Asi’s non-answer, as if the other woman had perfectly articulated her feelings at this moment.

Silas Mackenzie lounges in a chair at the corner of the table; like Asi, he's dressed in dark colors — a long black coat, dark gray sweater, and black jeans — and like Chess, he's got something in his hand he's playing with to try to keep from being too stressed. His isn't a worry stone, though — he's got a fat old silver coin he's rolling back and forth across the backs of his fingers as he watches what plays out.

"I'm fine," Silas says offhandedly, flashing a grin that probably looks a lot more natural than it feels. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but Asi and Chess seems to feel that way, too, and they're going to be doing some of the work today — he'd much rather try to defuse some of the tension in the air than add to it.

“Just another day on the road to Armageddon,” Richard offers faux-cheerfully from the chair he’s sprawled in, one hand lifting to touch two fingers to his brow and away in a casual sort of salute. He’s not going to be participating as part of the network today - fears of interaction with the Conduit kept close to his chest - but he might be able to help with context on whatever it is they uncover.

If they uncover anything.

He’s dressed as he has been since shedding his ‘encounter suit’ - old BDUs and a leather bomber jacket, the same outfit he used to run around in back during his resistance fighter days. It’s comfortable, familiar. A bit more worn but that just gives it character.

“Bleak,” Elliot notes, grim amusement diffusing any real worry through both his tone and his emotional presence in the network. “Love it.”

”Should have supplied snacks,” Wright says, rolling a rubber band under her palm back and forth across the coffee table. “Wait, I have snacks.”

“Snacks probably would have been a good idea,” Elliot agrees. “Does anybody want anything while Wright’s up? She has Funyuns.”

”I forgot about the Funyuns!”

Elliot opens the various doors that line the walls of everybody’s rooms in the network. There’s no immediate change in traffic between the volunteers, though they’ll have felt new options become available to them.

Asi sits more upright on the edge of her bed, scrubbing the palm of her hand down her jeans and looking to Aisu who lifts his head from the ground. Despite him not hearing any of the rest of this at all, she tells him, "The Funyuns aren't for you." She turns in her seat toward her open laptop on her desk, leaning to tap into the remote desktop window and make sure it stays alive.

A world away and in the same room as Elliot, another Asi wrinkles her nose. "What are…?" she mutters under her breath without the expectation of an answer. She shifts her weight and shifts her gaze in Silas' direction, catching his smile and his attempt to look more natural than he feels. For his sake if nothing else, she relaxes her posture and gives him a nod. She feels the available doors increase in number and absorbs the information with a blink and a reticence to touch before it's time.

"More a fan of what's actually in front of me," she admits as gamely as she can. "So maybe we should get down to business…?" Aces steps toward the spread of papers on the conference room table, peering down over the fold of her arms.

“Especially when it comes to snacks,” Chess murmurs, because snacks by proxy is a great idea for someone who lacks no actual sustenance and is trying to avoid calories. The lack of real Funyuns in her reality makes the vicarious snacking seem sad.

She looks over at Elliot, one brow lifting with the question that follows. “We’re just chilling so you can borrow the brain power, right?” Just in case she forgot the assignment.

She is capable of that, as she had managed to do it for the practice run with Nova, though today she seems to have a little more pent-up energy. Glancing at the lounging postures of Silas and Richard, Chess shifts into a more relaxed position herself, and takes a long, deep breath that she holds a moment, then lets out slowly.

Aces' nod is a bit reassuring, at least; Silas's smile gets a bit more genuine for a moment. It's Chess's comment about snacks that draws a response, though. "Snacks'd've been good," Silas agrees, frowning. "Maybe next time."

"Me, I'm a little short on brainpower, though; I'm here for moral support," he says, giving his best roguish grin.

"That, and I'm bringing the papers," he says more seriously, gesturing at the coded paperwork.

“If any of you blow a gasket and start bleeding from the ears or anything, I should be able to help,” Richard observes more seriously, before he chuckles, “Tell her to get me some fritos while she’s up. And some cheese dip, if she’s got it.”

He looks around for a moment, before admitting, “Fuck. I’d kill for some fake cheese right now, actually.”

Aces clears her throat and shoots a glance toward Richard. Wouldn't they all?

“Me too,” Elliot says. “These Funyuns are exactly as not-great as I remember.” He drops Wright as he takes a centering breath and stretches his neck.

He tests his connections to all of the co-hosts in a rapid series of pulls too short to actually draw any meaningful information across the stream. He sets both hands on the table, and scans the papers to put his head in the right space. “We’ll take it slow and easy at first while I suspend what I can to see more of the big picture. When everybody’s ready, drop any streams and start the Daydream.”

One by one he feels more co-hosts offer up their own capacity to him. It’s not the most he’s been offered, though it is the most people underclocking at once, a novel experience.

He streams Asi’s Japanese to look for language clues that wouldn’t be immediately obvious to him. There’s quiet talking between him and the local Asi, who doesn’t need to waste the effort learning her own language, but there are no easy breaks.

Elliot requests and uses more co-host effort, and more still. With everybody straining he still only gets close enough to feel that he’s just on the edge of something. Like there’s a hidden image illusion beginning to form but his eyes can’t find the right depth of focus to unveil it.

“Enough, take a breather,” he says, letting go before everyone becomes too tired to continue. “I don’t think we have enough hosts to do this. But I think we’re close. Just not enough.” He turns to face the two non-hosts in the room, eyes drifting past Richard to Silas.

“Any chance you want to throw us a little extra umph?”

"We really might not have a choice," Asi says for Elliot's benefit only, skimming again through all her resources on codebreaking, pulling the known Japanese-specific ones to the top and staring at them again– their rules, patterns. She reaches into the bag of chips on her desk, takes one for herself, lobs another across the room for Aisu's benefit. She's under no illusions he's not getting such treats from others.

Aces rubs the back of her neck once she feels the full of her faculties released back to her, glancing sidelong over at Silas. "I can promise this only feels a little weird," she tells him. Sorry, Elliot. She won't sell this experience any harder than that.

The potential unsolving of this mystery if he doesn't will have to do.

Silas blinks, then frowns, and is about to say something… but Aces apparently can see where he's going. He hesitates, his eyes drifting back to the printout that they'd ventured to the far side of the world to retrieve.

Whatever he'd been about to say remains unsaid, the words swallowed once again; one hand reaches up to touch the fishhook pendant he's still wearing after all this time. Then, after a long moment, he exhales, looking back to Elliot. "Alright. What does this consist of?" he asks grimly.

Chess stretches, reaching high above her head with one arm; a couple of joints crack from being in one position for so long. She splays her fingers, then picks up the worry stone she’d been playing with before to fiddle with.

“I can look for Nova if you need her, too,” she tells Elliot. “One of her bits is fluent in Japanese, too, if that helps. She was helping me with some studying the other day.” Chess is still in the intermediate conversational stage; reading it is much more complicated.

She offers a smile over to Silas. “It’s not so bad. If I can handle it, you can handle it,” she tells him, glancing over at Elliot to confirm. She wasn’t the most open-armed or open-book people to network with.

Richard is conspicuously silent when the mention that someone else is needed comes up, exhaling a relieved sigh when Silas speaks up. Thanks, Hitchens, he thinks. That’s an entanglement he hopes to avoid if he can.

“As you saw earlier, the process was intensive when I linked Asi, then less intensive when Asi helped me overclock to link Chess,” Elliot reminds Silas. Looking to the two women in the room, he gestures Silas up from his seat. “If I can get your help again Asi and Chess, we can make short work of this. Each of you hold onto our shoulders, and Silas take my hand. That way we have contact all around.”

“I’ll keep you links closed once they’re set until you can get used to it,” he further assures Silas. “If the process is for any reason unpleasant, let go of my hand and the link will fail. Sound good?”

Asi lets her arms go swinging down, then approaches Elliot from the side. Advice for Silas is on the tip of her tongue– to not let just any memory come to mind when forming the link lest it be a traumatic one, but she wonders if perhaps in warning his mind would only wander more easily to the darker places in the past.

She sets her hand on Elliot's shoulder first, then to Silas tells him, "息を." Advice to take a calming breath issued, she places her hand on Silas' shoulder, squeezes it reassuringly, then closes her eyes.

Chess rises and moves to stand across from Asi, putting a hand on each of the men’s shoulders.

“Welcome to the team,” she tells the newest recruit to the Hitchens AV Club. “We’re going to need t-shirts soon, if we want to compete with the 4-Hers. The bake sale’s next Tuesday. Everything’s sea salt themed.”

With everybody arranged, and with the contributions of his co-hosts, Elliot keeps it simple. "Think about smoking a packer cut brisket," he says.

Silas nods tersely to Aces at her advice. Breathe. Important, that. Breathe. Chess on one side, Aces on the other, Elliot standing dead ahead, hand outstretched. Despite his reservations, Silas takes it.

Chess's comment completely derails his ongoing train of existential dread, though, seeing him first goggle at her… then let out a strangled chortle of disbelief. "You lot are crazy. 4-H fights dirty."

Elliot's instruction sees him taking another deep breath, nodding. He closes his eyes, and thinks, trying to ignore his unease.

Smoking a packer cut brisket. The cut. Silas imagines a long, sharp knife, slicing into a hanging carcass, converting it into pieces of meat. He knows how to do this, is pretty well practiced.

Smoking a packer cut brisket. The wood. Have to be careful about the wood. Silas has good sources, cultivated over the course of his time in the Pelago; the few brave enough to try hunting and trapping on terra firma also know he's in the market for good smoking wood. Having a good supply chain is a source of pride.

Smoking a packer cut brisket. The smell. The old smoker on the deck, radiating heat; the smell of smoking meat hovering in the air, a promise of good food soon.

“It’s gotta be food he keeps talking about,” Richard mutters under his breath, his head tilting back to stare at the ceiling as the others begin their melding of the minds. Hey old man, I don’t suppose you’ve got a good recipe for German brats or something? …didn’t think so.

It was always ominous pronouncements of doom or unhappy anecdotes about the Vanguard or Nazi Germany. Never sausage recipes.

Connection to the network is a remarkable sinus opening experience. There’s something that feels somewhat like a pressure change, but it’s hard to tell if that’s something Silas is actually experiencing or just a psychosomatic aftereffect of knowing there is a symbiotic psychic connection rattling around in his skull.

As Silas's 'room' is added to the network, Elliot connects it to those of the other co-hosts. The Asis are likely the only hosts proficient enough to feel the appearance of another door in another wall, even closed as it currently remains. He won't draw attention to the link for Home Asi, unless she changes her decision to keep distance between herself and Silas.

"Let me know if anything feels off," Elliot says to Silas. "I'm keeping the links closed right now but I'll open them when we start the overclock again. Actually, you'll need this." His eyes lose focus for a second as he opens the memory link between Silas and Wright, pulling the educational memory of the process and drawing Silas's attention to it in her mind.

Asi draws in a breath, hesitates.

Asi claps her hand on Silas' shoulder once the process is complete, grinning a little more broadly in reassurance as he takes to the whole of it much better than her first attempt at it. "当たりじゃん," she voices in a thrum of praise. That's the way. She looks back to the others, eyes on Richard for only a moment before she moves on, attempting not to single him out for his not-joining this experience.

"All right," she says to herself, hands clasping together as she looks back to the table. She does her best to center herself. Her brow tics afterward, like in thought.

"All right," Asi whispers to herself afterward, taking direction from the moment and resettling her attention on the screen before her, the tools she's called up to help from her end with this decoding. She ignores the sensation of her other self's flicker of irritation at the mimicry.

“That’s just because of all the manure,” is Chess’ soft rejoinder to Silas, but she quiets as he is put to task to think about making a brisket.

Her stomach growls at the thought of barbecued beef, as if to echo Richard’s lament about talking about food. Chess closes her eyes again, brows drawing together and cheeks flushing with the audible plea from her body. She’s been working hard at salvage for Marlowe, and not eating enough, well aware that food here is in short supply, especially with the storm keeping the fishing vessels from going too far out.

Silas squinches a bit as the connection is forged; he sniffs audibly, looking distracted for a moment.

Feels like a storm coming, he thinks, with a faint sense of unease — anyone who's been on the sea for long knows what a sudden drop in air pressure portends, and the ones who live for any length of time are the ones who get back to port fast. Not even Mad Eve went into the Stormfront lightly, he thinks, with a touch of sorrow.

Elliot's words draw him back to the present, and then he's… remembering something else, from someone else, which is… something. Floating. That's what that reminds me of.

Asi's clap on the shoulder brings him back to the present, though; Silas glances to her and flashes a quick smile, his doubts quickly set aside. "All right," he says, echoing Asi's sentiment with a nod.

It seems that they’re about to start, so Richard leans forward, hands resting between his knees as he looks from face to face. Trying to seem relaxed about the situation, but he’s anxious - he’s seen situations like this go poorly, quickly.

Elliot organizes his thoughts as the others talk to Silas. He focuses on the paper again, reminding himself of the roadblocks he's already faced and making more notations on the paper in pencil.

After a moment he checks to see that everybody is ready. "We're going to go all out right from the beginning this time," he says to the nervous silence in the room. He takes a breath to center himself and reopens the links. "Here we go," he says, then, "Daydream."

As cognition is ceded to him he takes hold, his mind gliding over all the work they've already done. He can see patterns from even further above, can think at a scale he's never experienced before. It's magnificent, rapturous. He disregards his awe and gets to work.

It’s here that Elliot can see that they’ve been working in the wrong direction, digging down away from the buried treasure. It hits him almost instantly that this isn’t about the Japanese language at all, but because it was written by Kaito Nakamura it’s a perfect red herring. It’s about the shape of each character. It’s math, math of line strokes, of directions used in writing those printed characters as if they were by hand. It’s a colossal mathematical computation that helps condense larger numbers and blocks of numbers into smaller glyphs.

A single glyph that explodes outward into enormous numerical value. Calculating and extrapolating just one of the Kanji in the printout turns into an hour-long endeavor, representing hundreds of calculations and it’s…


This whole code is encrypted binary. It could be anything: text, an image, video, audio. Kaito didn’t leave them a message, he left programming.

Asi has been following along the entire adventure in a dreamlike state, pulling up references and documenting progress as they go with a glazed look in her eyes. She lets out a breath she feels like she's been holding for as long as they've realized they were on some kind of track.

The knowledge it's something deceptively simple brings her to actually laugh out loud—

And Asi lets out a choked laugh as though in response, turning her head toward the table—

"God, it's just— not to reduce things, but it's a matter of counting, now. It…" She scratches at the side of her eye and begins to go back over the kanji that she's written down in this process, at the pieces they have derived to have meaning, but haven't yet entirely deciphered into value that accompany the mess of paper and scratchmarks that now surround her laptop on her deskspace. "Give me a few minutes to lay this out," she asks of Elliot, and sets to work while her brain is still buzzing.

Aces sinks deeper into the chair she's claimed for herself while she gave away most of her train of thought and brainpower, finding herself weary for it. She'd wanted this to work, to finally find the answer to the questions opened nearly a year ago for them. A languid blink and she sits upright to begin looking at the characters on the fax paper before them.

"If it's code," she notes aloud quietly, "We can't process it here. Can we."

It's not posed as a question because it isn't one. Her weatherworn computer she has here doesn't have the resources they'd likely need to turn this data into something. She casts a look to a certain spot on the table grudgingly, mentally regarding the slightly open door between her and her other self without actually touching it.

She likes what separation they can still maintain here.

Binary code left by Kaito Nakamura – Chess frowns at that, finding the concept far more disturbing on a personal level than it being an encrypted message on its own. The fingers of one hand wrap around the wrist of the other – and the tattoo there that reads i belong deeply to myself. It’s like her worry stone, a physical reminder to herself that she is more than a number more than a single point in a larger set.

She doesn’t speak, but looks up at the Asi she can see, then over at Elliot for what comes next, if anything.

In the bad times, Silas had drunk himself under the table to try to get to a state like the way he feels now; were he a bit more self-possessed at the moment, he might describe it as being like floating aimlessly on a sunless sea, leviathans sounding in the depths below. Under the present conditions, articulating that is a bit more than he can easily muster; ironically, he's not a fan. But if donating brainpower helps solve this, he'll deal.

And it does seem to be working. Enough, at least, for them to know the shape of what they're working with, and little wonder that they'd had no luck with it. Codes within codes within codes; is this how Kaito Nakamura worked? And Kimiko? he wonders, a scrap of a conversation from a cold apartment drifting through his mind. Fearful symmetry.

Heavy thinking for his current state; Silas sags a bit deeper into the chair. "Gotta be important, though. What do we need to make it work?" he asks slowly. Something new under the sun, someone had said.

Nobody is bleeding from the ears or nose, nobody’s screaming. So far, so good? Richard exhales a sigh of relief, leaning back a bit and straightening up, one hand pushing back through his hair. “What do we got?”

He looks between the faces of the others, eyebrows raised.

"We have got," Elliot tells Richard with a frustrated sigh, scratching his furloughed brow, "Thousands of hours of computational work to complete. I would need more co-hosts to go any faster; I feel like I was the smartest person alive there for a second and I can't even guess how many volunteers we'd need. It would likely take a whole lot of dedicated supercomputer time back home. Not to say that one of those two things isn't possible."

Frowning from afar over Elliot's frustration, Asi pings the network rather than just him in an attempt to pull his attention. "Hey, easy," she encourages in soothing tones. Aisu gets up from where he's sitting and trots to her side, setting his golden head down on her lap to assure her he is in fact taking it easy and to apologize for whatever he wasn't. He's a good boy. She places a hand quickly on his head to pet it. "We've got computer time back home. Possibly even a supercomputer, if I give Marlowe a call. I know she's been– looped on the general situation, so I'm sure she'd be thrilled to go behind her employer's back to give us an edge in unraveling a secret that could help with the world-ending problem." She glances down at the dog on her lap and then back up at her screen, mid-command in writing a program to translate the strokes into values.

"Or," Asi supposes more quietly, "I could see if one of those two wants to take a crack at it. They seem to love their mysteries."

Chess squeezes Elliot’s shoulder, glancing at each of the others, before looking back up at him. “Don’t push yourself past whatever your limit is, yeah? It’s one thing if we were back home and somewhere safe, but here…”

She shakes her head slightly. “We need you here. So let the folks back home take it to the supercomputers if they have to. We don’t want you to fry your circuit board or whatever happens if you add too many people to the tea party, yeah?”

Silas frowns, still mostly caught up in his cocoon of detachment. He's largely isolated from the traffic going through the network…

…right up until someone decides to /ping all.

The sensation is not unfamiliar. Not terribly remarkable, even. Silas has worked on boats for awhile, done long stretches working with the same people; after awhile, it's only natural to start to get a feeling for those peoples' patterns and rhythms, and by extension disturbances to those patterns and rhythms. It's like, for example, looking out at the horizon and suddenly having a prickling that his first mate is standing quietly behind him with news, and that it's probably not great news but that there are options to choose.

It is, in fact, almost exactly like that… which is why, without any higher thought necessary, Silas turns to glance at Aces, brow slightly furrowed in question. "Yeah, don't overdo it; bein' able to phone a friend is well and good, but it doesn't matter how good a phone you got if the switchboard's fried," he says off-handedly, offering a quick glance to Elliot before returning his gaze to Asi.

“I’d hate to think what you could do with my mother in your link,” says Richard a bit wryly, “Since she actually is the smartest person in the world… intellectually, anyway.” The last muttered as he glances across the room, looking at the faces of the others, judging their conditions. Everyone actually does seem fine, which is a relief.

“Code– computational time I’m sure someone on the other end can arrange, even if we have to get someone to requisition it. We just need to be careful who we talk to about it.”

Elliot's frustration makes excellent cover for his impulse to cringe away from Chess's well-meaning touch. He's quick to remind himself that he's already assured himself that she's safe, along with the others in the room he linked in. What discomfort remains is funneled out as a sigh he uses to recenter himself. He nods, grateful for being pulled out of his irritation either way. There was never a guarantee he could help with this at all, and now Asi and Silas have a way to progress. That's not nothing.

Thank you, he signs to Asi, then to the room, "Thanks, sorry. Don't want to go 'blue screen of death.'" He can't tell them that he knows the limits on the theoretical number of network co-hosts, so pretending that he doesn't is easy.

"I don't know Nakamura at all," he says to inject some levity into his mood, "what are the chances that deciphering this on a super computer releases a logic bomb that fries our world's tech infrastructure? Is he the 'eat my posthumous shit' type?" Perhaps a touch bleaker than he'd intended.

After a certain point, Asi's mood soured somewhere. There's a very specific point in time it happened– Silas catches her in the act of furrowing her brow, one lip curling back. The incense she feels is quiet and contained, as much as it can be, and she balls her hands tightly in her lap; slowly leans forward in her seat until she's upright. The ripple she'd felt from the other Asi, the invitation into her perception from more than her intended party riles its way underneath her skin.

She was supposed to stay away.

At least Elliot's question gives her cause to sound annoyed. "Kaito-san wasn't like that," she interjects with edged steel, eyes gleaming seagreen for a moment as she lets her gaze rise sharply to Elliot again. "He was someone who could read circumstances, situations and come to conclusions the way someone who's good at reading a room can. He was a master of prediction– it was what made him Special. He used that gift to reach out to others, to look out for the wellbeing of the world."

"He was only one man, though," she notes with a softening of her voice, and it's grudgingly she releases some of the tension from her posture. "Sometimes all he could do was see, not change things that were coming. Whatever this is, I have to believe it contains answers. Important ones, since he encoded them rather than…" Her annoyance isn't that easy to shed, and she leans forward against the table, elbows upon it. "Leave it in that lockbox for us after entrusting me with the key before the Flood."

"It implies he was worried someone else may have found it before we did, honestly," she notes, then looks up to Silas. "I suppose we're lucky we didn't run into someone else digging for his answers." Her gaze grows distant as she reflects inward, fingertips drumming once on the top of the table. She asks herself again: was there something in her relationship with Kaito that could prove to be a key in deciphering all this?

This time, Chess remains quiet, her brows drawing together at the fan service Asi pays to Kaito. She isn’t about to contradict the other woman, or explain her uneasy feelings that surround the name. She simply steps away to pick up a bottle of water where she’s left it, uncapping it and drinking deeply.

The bottle cap in her hand takes the place of that worry stone she usually plays with, as she rolls it in her palm, letting it charge and dissipate time and time again. None of this is in her area of expertise, and the longer she stays still, in one room, the more antsy she gets.

Silas's expression grows a bit more pensive. Aces looks like she just took a bite of a rotten egg, and she'd looked that way before Elliot asked about Kaito. He, too, starts rolling his coin in his hand, taking a moment to gather his words as he starts to rouse from that listless, daydreaming state he'd been in.

"I never met Nakamura-san," Silas says slowly. "I wish I had. But I can say a few things for certain. He put a lot of effort into hiding this, and in keeping it safe even past the end of the world. And in laying a trail of breadcrumbs for us to find it." He pauses for a moment, shaking his head at just how ludicrous a trick shot Kaito Nakamura had made. Christ. It's like lining up a shot to break and pocketing every ball on the table. In the same pocket. He sent Asi over here, I went across to another universe, we both survived, I got booted back with a sudden thirst to go across the world… "Hell. Even Else was surprised that we found anything, and I don't think surprise is something she really does these days; when I got dropped back here, she was waiting right there to fish me back out, lined up a ride back home. She said it —"

Silas stops there, Else's words suddenly taking on a new context. "Else said it proved there's still new things under the sun," he says slowly. Interesting turn of phrase, that.

“I can back up Asi there. I never really met him myself, but I’ve… known people who knew him, and I know him from his works,” Richard says with a shake of his head, “If he left something behind, it wasn’t out of spite but something he believed would be necessary. His ability was similar to Edward’s, as she said, and… god knows I’ve had enough experience with things left behind by people like that. They should always be made a priority.”

Then he’s looking over to Silas a bit sharply, brow furrowing, “… what was the full context? Do you remember exactly what Else said?”

"That's like asking if anyone remembers what Eve's said," Asi mutters under her breath warily. "There's a lot, sure, and who knows which cryptic bits are more important than the others…"

Elliot closes the links between the co-hosts, gathering up papers and shuffling them together. These are handed to Asi with a look of chagrin, thrilled to have landed another joke to spectacularly bad reviews. “Sorry,” he says quietly.

“I’m going to break the links now,” he says to the room. “That is, unless anybody feels like unwinding by watching a movie or something, in which case I’ll keep you in. Wright’s got access to a bunch of streaming services and people keep telling me our movies are different, so it could be interesting for those native to this branch. She’s in her hotel room right now so no worries about state secrets or anything.”

Asi half-rises in order to accept the papers offered, not looking at Elliot as he hands them over. She organizes them back together neatly and mutters "こちこそ2." in a tone that's less like the peace offering it actually is. She stows the papers away back in the lockbox they came from, taking out the cloth-bedded eight-sided mirror first from the box's bottom so she can place it back on top of the papers afterward to weigh them down. She picks up the velvet pouch on the side of the box to ensure it's fitting at a good angle with the papers, and at a loss for knowing what else to do in this moment, pulls the large hei matau necklace from within it by the eye of its hook to stare down at it in a silent bid for answers to come to them. She frowns thoughtfully, then tucks it back in the pouch, and tucks the pouch back in the box.

She catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror's reflection before she looks away from it, ever taken aback by it. "Let me know if you need anything else here," she voices sincerely, the storm of her temperament abating for now.

Chess huffs a short, breathy not-quite laugh at Richard’s describing Kaito as someone who would leave something not out of spite, but out of necessity; she can’t help but apply that to her entire existence. Of course, this was a slightly different Kaito, in a world where she never existed.

She lifts a shoulder at Elliot’s offer to watch a movie. “Sure, I’m in. I’ll let someone else pick, though, since I’m from the Berenstain timeline, not the Berenstein.”

Silas looks over to Richard. "I asked if she'd enjoyed getting to see Japan again. That was her answer," he says with a shrug. "I remembered it because it seemed… weird. Weird for her, I mean; most things she takes in stride, but when we came back with this…" Silas shrugs again. "She seemed… I dunno. Confused, I guess?"

He shakes his head, looking over to Elliot. "I'll pass on movie hour, I think. Though… maybe try Terminator, if you want to see some reactions from the natives," he says, lips curving up into a momentary grin. "Or Blade Runner. Or Star Wars."

“Interesting.” Richard’s brow furrows in consideration, then he shakes his head and pushes himself up to his feet, “I’m not hopping on that link so– have fun, everyone. Elliot, important note– don’t go through the DoE on this unless we absolutely have to. I don’t trust them, and if Kaito concealed all this that well he had good reason to keep it secret.”

Elliot raises his hands in understanding; not running through the DoE is the reason that Nova wasn’t asked to help with the overclock. With Gates’s troubling theory that he’s been operating out of the Palace this entire time, it might be impossible to hide things from the agent. Elliot trusts him for now and he’s not sure why. If his trust is misplaced, he’ll have to venture back in to locate the man’s Office and start breaking the doors between them.

“I’ll keep you all informed if I hear anything about this on the supercomputer end,” he says. He nods in thanks and parting to Asi and Silas, then turns to Chess.

“Looks like it’s just you,” he says as Wright’s excitement passes through the network, “so you get to pick the movie.”

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