The Tipping Point


indira_icon.gif richard4_icon.gif

Scene Title The Tipping Point
Synopsis Raytech is visited by the a United Nations observer.
Date May 17, 2021

Unexpected visitors at Raytech are always a cause for alarm. Ever since Eve dreamt of the Horsemen knocking down Raytech’s door and assassinating every member of the company, it’s been a constant battle to stay ahead of security concerns and fluctuate the Redbird Security professionals with the demands of the day. Disruptions in the security workflow, especially now, are more than a thorn in the paw. They’re a knife in the side.

When the elevator to Richard’s office arrives at the ground floor, Sera files out with a glance over her shoulder at Richard, who she had only just retrieved from his office first thing on a Monday morning. Sera raises one hand over her shoulder as she walks to draw Richard’s eye, then gestures ahead toward the dark-haired woman with a freshly printed security pass standing in the lobby checking her phone.

“That’s her,” Sera says quietly before returning to her desk. The sound of footsteps and the noise of the elevator draws the eye of the new guest, and her presence sends a spike of anxiety down into Richard’s stomach. This happening now when he should be focusing on the trip to another dimension feels like the worst possible timing.

But when the United Nations sends an observer to Raytech…

…how can you turn them away?

Raytech Industries NYCSZ Headquarters
Raytech Industries Corporate Campus
Jackson Heights

May 17th
7:03 am

Indira Laghani can’t be any older than Richard. Something in his gut tells him as much. The smile Indira offers when she looks up from her phone feels genuine, though, not some kind of practiced politeness Richard is expecting from most government agents, even if this one is far from home.

“Mr. Ray,” Indira says as she tucks her phone in her purse and briskly walks to meet him, extending a hand in greeting, “Indira Laghani, United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention.”

“Doctor Laghani,” Richard replies with a smile of his own, although it’s perhaps a bit tighter than hers as he reaches out to clasp the offered hand firmly for a moment. But then, an unexpected United Nations observer stopping by would put anyone on edge.

“A pleasure to meet you, although of course I remember you from Albany.” Not that they talked then, but he certainly had some time presenting evidence for both prosecutions and defenses during those trials.

“I wish you’d called ahead, I could have made arrangements,” he allows, “What can I do for you?”

“I’m sorry about the short notice,” Indira says with a shake of her head, “I’ve been training this year’s rotation of observers at Fort Jay and I had an opening to just catch the ferry and come over here today so…” she spreads her hands. “This is an unofficial official visit, I wanted to give you a heads-up on some official requests coming in.”

Indira raises one brow. “Is there an office where we can talk? Some of this is privileged information.”

“Naturally,” Richard concedes with a smile, sweeping one hand towards the hallway and starting to lead the way down it, admitting a bit wryly, “I always do appreciate a heads-up on such things, given how… busy we are around here. If we’re going to need to shuffle resources around, best to know beforehand.”

Not the elevator; instead to one of the first-floor conference rooms, the door opened and held for her as he motions her within. The lights in the room slowly come on as they detect their presence, filling the room with growing illumination rather than an abrupt flicker-on.

Indira slips inside, glancing around the conference room with an appreciative hum. “You’ve really done well for yourself here, Mr. Ray.” There’s no judgment in her tone, just an earnest appreciation. She’s quick to take a seat, however, and get straight to work.

“So, I’m here to let you know that one of your latest hires pinged a government watchlist.” Indira says with a furrow of her brows. “Juliette Fournier-Raith? Now, before we go any further I want you to know there’s no cause for alarm, but Juliette’s history and former association with the Commonwealth Institute is an earmarked concern for US intelligence agencies. From what I gather there’s been a silent watch on her ever since the Albany Trial.”

Suddenly, the focus of this meeting is honed down to a laser point.

“There was a similar flag raised when she applied for a medical position at Fournier-Bianco earlier this year, and when the hospital was notified that should her employment go through it would result in the placement of a UN Observer on campus, they rescinded their offer letter to her. Of course, Ms. Fournier-Raith is not aware of any of this.” Indira says with a small frown. “So, what I’m here to do is be the bearer of potentially awkward news, either to you or to her.”

Indira folds her hands in her lap, sighing softly. “Provided you go through with your hire of Juliette, the UN will be required to place an observer here at Raytech to ensure ethical operations are being maintained. Of course, should you opt not to hire her, this conversation will be where it ends.”

The door is closed behind her for privacy’s sake, and Richard’s turning back and stepping over towards a chair across from her as she starts in on the subject of her visit.

His brow furrows slightly, the smile from earlier replaced with a frown as he eases himself down into the chosen seat, hands coming forward to fold on the table’s surface.

“I’m aware of Mr. Fournier-Raith’s history with the Commonwealth Institute,” he observes, watching her expression carefully through dark glasses, “I’m also aware that she wasn’t even old enough to drive a car when she was extracted from the Institute. Do you also keep observers on the other children who survived that massacre, Doctor Laghani?”

The last a bit pointed. He’s clearly not pleased at the news he’s hearing.

“No,” Indira says with an awkward smile, “not unless there’s more child-surgeons that slipped through my fingers.” Realizing how glib that sounded, she sighs and lays one hand on the table. “Look, I recognize how unfair this may appear. But this was the international court’s decision on how to handle a minor involved in what Juliette was involved in. All of the records and testimony we received from the Institute and its former employees, residents, and victims indicated that Juliette was a willing participant to a host of unethical and… honestly inhumane experiments.”

Indira glances down at the table, then back up to Richard. “Obviously with someone like Doctor Sheridan or Ms. Price, we were able to have a formal trial. The ruling on Juliette at the time was, while she was a minor, her complicity with Institute research and her own testimony delivered in Albany was, frankly, damning. We had multiple personality assessments come through our department that identified her as a possible future risk for slipping back into precisely the kind of work we tried others for.”

Lifting both hands up, Indira doesn’t seem to be done. “That said we didn’t leave her out to dry. Juliette has had numerous opportunities to pursue professional psychiatric help to get a clearance for this kind of work and she has declined each and every olive branch we’ve extended. Additionally, under the terms of her absolvement at the Albany Trials, Juliette was to maintain contact with a court-appointed wellness officer from SESA on a monthly basis until she reaches the age of 25, after which point most of this goes away. But two years ago she stopped making contact, right around the time she quit her job at Elmhurst.”

Suddenly, lines begin to cross. Truth blurs. Something doesn’t add up to Richard, and someone has been untruthful to him.

“I left Elmhurst earlier this year to pursue other career options.” Options which leave her with a hint of tightness at the edge of her voice when she delivered that practiced line.

“After she no-showed her wellness checks, that’s when we started having to put notices like this on her employment attempts at any institution that could put her in a position to harm vulnerable people. But, like I said, as soon as she hits 25, provided she has no actionable incidents, this all goes away.” Indira says with a spread of her hands. “But she has done almost everything in her power to make this as difficult for herself as possible, and as her prospective employer—especially given the other employees you have here at Raytech—I thought you deserved to be fully-aware of the situation.”

“I see.” Richard draws in a slow breath, then exhales it, one hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose— glasses pushed down slightly, showing closed eyes for a moment as he focuses to push away that headache that’s forming.

Damn it, Julie.

Sliding them back into place, he motions a bit with a hand towards her, “Alright. So if we do go forward, what sort of access and accommodations would this— observer require?”

Indira raises one brow, surprised by that question. “Well, our embedded observer would need visibility into any tasks that Julie is given access to. Obviously they would sign all appropriate non-disclosure agreements that your company has and I can assure you they are the most talented and well-vetted group of observers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They will remain impartial and uninvolved in your day-to-day business.”

“Obviously, I imagine their presence may complicate some of the more delicate work you do here,” Indira admits with an incline of her head to the side, “but that’s an unfortunate reality that we’ve found ourselves in. The observer will report directly back to my office at Fort Jay and nothing they observe will reach any other ears unless it is deemed actionable, at which point a formal investigation would need to be initiated which at this stage would involve my office, SESA, and potentially others depending on its nature.”

“Assuming we do hire Ms. Fournier-Raith,” Richard admits, “She’ll be working in one of our more cutting-edge divisions, which means a high degree of confidentiality is required— especially recently, corporate sabotage is a concern.” After all, their last rival company flew attack helicopters and drones into Detroit.

Of course, that wasn’t about corporate politics, but she may not have all those details.

“So long as they’re willing to abide by that, of course… well,” he shrugs slightly, “I’ll need to consult with some people before making a final decision, but if we do decide to hire her on— we’ll just have to make what accommodations are necessary. Although I still feel this is a bit excessive, especially given our own precautions to ensure no unethical work is done here.”

Wryly, he notes with some hyperbole, “Soon I may have so many government agents stationed here I may need to build them all their own building.”

“The civic machine is ever-turning and ever-hungry,” Indira says with a crooked smile. “I apologize for taking as much time out of your day as I have, but please—don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if you have further questions. I left my direct line with your front desk.”

Slowly rising from her seat, Indira offers her hand out again. “I’m sorry we had to reconnect like this, hopefully the next time we meet it’s under decidedly less awkward circumstances.”

“Of course.” Richard rises up from his own seat, reaching out to clasp the offered hand, “Thank you for letting me know, at least, I appreciate that and I understand this wasn’t your decision.”

A shake of his head, “Bureaucracy is never any one person’s fault, I suppose.”

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