The Real Deal


asi5_icon.gif odessa5_icon.gif

Scene Title The Real Deal
Synopsis Asi comes to Dr. Stoltz to verify the authenticity of something very rare.
Date July 6, 2021

Raytech Industries Campus

Asi Tetsuyama has on various occasion come to the biomedical labs seeking Yi-Min Yeh. On a rare occasion, she seeks Zachery Miller instead. Ourania Stoltz née Pride is someone she doesn't normally visit, usually a stop to redirect her to whatever her true aim is, since the close of their blood-analyzing group project.

It seems that's the case with this particular visit, too… until after finishing her look off elsewhere, Asi's attention swivels back to Ourania after all. Her hands are shoved in the pockets of a leather jacket too warm for the July weather, and is patently one she wears anyway, along with black boots out of place in the sterile environment. She leaves them squarely planted by Ourania's current workstation.

"I need a professional opinion, if you have a moment," is how she skips straight past niceties, terse and short. Her eyes are slightly narrowed, likely in a futile attempt to keep the fluorescent lighting from aggravating a migraine rather than out of tension for this moment.

“For you, I have two,” Ourania responds evenly, without looking up from her workstation. Asi can’t see from the angle she’s standing at, the privacy screen on the terminal obscuring her work, but after two clicks and a hold-and-drag of the mouse, the lights in the lab flip over to a warmer white and dim dramatically.

Only then does Dr. Stoltz turn her head to look up at her visitor with a patient expression. For all the animosity that’s existed between them previously, Asi hasn’t further threatened Amanvir Binepal, so she’s kept her knives tucked away. “How can I help?”

The unnatural squint in Asi's expression eases only to give way to a more natural furrowed tic of her brow. "I need you to tell me…" She pulls one hand from her pocket around something, bracing her fingers around either end of the tube shape as she looks at Ourania with the same seriousness as before. "If this looks like soy sauce to you."

She sets the applicator down in front of the scientist's keyboard, a black and viscous liquid visible inside a container that looks more like an epipen. It's cool to the touch, still retaining hints of its refrigeration.

"Or," Asi submits mildly. "Does this look like the real deal?"

Bemusement hooks back one corner of Ourania’s mouth and knits her brow, the question mark practically leading as a standalone sentence before she even gets to the words. “Soy sau—”

The breath catches in the blonde’s throat before she can exhale it as the propulsion for her voice, drawn in again as a sharp gasp after she manages to pull out of her confusion and recognize what she’s looking at. She picks it up and holds it up in front of her, eyes wide and lips parted. “I’ll have to… put it under a magnifier to be sure.” Blinking twice at Asi with astonishment, she whispers the question burning on her mind: “Where did you get this?” She’s tried to source it for herself so many times.

Asi only slowly shakes her head, her brows lifted. "I got very lucky," is all she'll say. "It wasn't exactly just lying around." She lets out a short breath and her shoulders settle with some relief to see that at least to eyes like Odessa's, it seems real enough. It's a step in the right direction.

She turns away slightly, leaning against the workstation with one hip to scope out whether or not they're properly alone. The urge to use senses that have never truly belonged to her rise as always, but she performs her visual sweep with no signs of her aching longing save from the yearning, invisibly silent swell that crashes against her heart. "There's not more where it came from, either. So… we now pray it's worth every penny."

“I’ll say.” That Asi’s lucky. Apparently the doctor believes they’re alone, or at least alone enough. Still, she gets up from her seat and moves to the door, shutting it and engaging the lock. She takes the pen over to another station where she removes her glasses before pressing her face to a viewfinder, the syringe held beneath it so she can get a better look at the way the contents look. Especially as she gently rolls the pen between her fingers, then tips it back and forth, watching the movement of the liquid inside.

“Who is it for?” She doesn’t lift her head from her work, but it tilts in Asi’s direction slightly anyway. “We’ve already tried every way we know to jumpstart your abilities, and I can say with certainty this won’t do it.” Even if she’s not had the opportunity to study Amphodynamine in the systems of the Sundered, there’s enough evidence from other methods that she feels secure in her assertion.

A moment's consideration is given to Asi's answer, not long enough for an outside party to really note, save for the slight shift in her emotional canvas. She looks aside for a moment before clarifying, "For me."

"When I find me."

She turns to Ourania, studying her for her trustworthiness with this information. The former technopath tells her, "We have a lead. And if it's everything I hope it is, I want to be ready."

If she’s not trustworthy, the horse has already left the stable. Everything that Ourania’s shown up to now has indicated her sincerity to help, however. She lifts her head from the equipment and her study, appraising the other woman and testing the weight of her emotions for their veracity.

“The others, too?” Because that horse that’s gone off to the races is Ourania’s. She’s invested in the recovery of her loved ones, whatever that actually looks like. Nodding simply, she takes it as a given that if Asi thinks she can find herself, then it’s at least enough of a lead. The ampoule is held out to be taken back. “It quacks like a duck.”

Asi's emotional temperament is set on a bed of frayed hope and a more complex combination of feelings than usual. Echoes of betrayal, with forgiveness intertwined, pangs of loss and worry. She feels all of it in brief touches as she thinks ahead. "Yeah. If this all works out."

She dips her head gratefully to take back the dose of amphodynamine and secret it away into her pocket again quickly. "I just want to be ready if this turns into something. Don't want to be left wishing we'd thought better ahead." The huff that leaves her is more bitter than bittersweet. "I'm sure we'll do enough of that as is."

Her head lifts, eyes refocusing on Ourania. "I'm technically out of office. Extended holiday. I don't know when I'll be back. I know there's plenty happening here with doomsday preparations, but…" The corners of her eyes soften with sympathy. "Well, I need to make sure I survive at least that long first."

Ourania nods her head slowly, taking in the implications and Asi’s complex feelings on it all alike. “Look…” This is sounding like a now or never situation, and there’s a whole lot of never on the horizon even if Asi wasn’t dealing with everything that’s been thrown at her over the last year.

It’s been exactly one year, Ourania realizes, since the other woman’s life and the lives of so many of Odessa’s loved ones were completely turned on their heads and torn apart. She frowns faintly, sympathy in expression. “I know things have been kind of fucked up between us, but I want you all to get better, and to find them.”

The blonde shakes her head with a soft sigh, a seriousness to her expression; a desire to be listened to and taken at her word. “If I can support you in any way, please tell me.”

"I won't," Asi answers deadpan, her brow furrowing. There is no animosity behind it, above or below board.

"The difference between a dozen lives and billions can't even be compared," she explains a moment later. "This is something we have to take care of ourselves, and we can't afford to take time away from anyone who is preparing to fight a future that affects us all." Asi lays her hand on the table, looking directly at Ourania. "We're seeking help from those who aren't directly involved with matters related to the sun. But if you want to do anything for me…"

She breaks gaze to look over the lab, an intense saudade coming over her. "Do what I can't right now. Help in ways that…"

"Just help save who we can," Asi asks, her voice tight with regret.

It stings at first like rejection with a weight behind it that she’ll never be able to set aside. It isn’t that, and it isn’t just that, but a breath helps Ourania ride through it, because Asi is right. Even if she’s been considering selfishly walking away from this to instead focus on her life and what she can learn before time runs out.

The best thing she can do is try to save as many people as she can. Save lives, not destroy them. Maybe she can make a legacy out of that. “Thanks for the reminder,” O says softly. “Give them hell, since I can’t.” She smiles thinly, a dark note she suspects they share. “I’ll do everything I can, just like you will.”

Ourania slides her glasses back on as she rises from her seat and reaches out to lay a hand on Asi’s shoulder. She gives it a firm squeeze. “頑張れ、鉄山1.”

When Odessa promises to do all she can, there's a curve of relief to Asi's edges that can only be found in trust. Whatever Asi may think of her in other moments, she finds confidence in both of their tenacity, if nothing else. The hand to her shoulder comes as a surprise, but she nods tightly.

"起死回生を取る," Asi vows. She doesn't promise to do her best.

She promises to give them hell.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License