Unveiling Of Operation Kentarchos


wf_aman_icon.gif wf_colin_icon.gif wf_devon_icon.gif wf_faulkner_icon.gif wf_hailey_icon.gif wf_harley_icon.gif wf_leta_icon.gif wf_nicole_icon.gif wf_marlowe_icon.gif wf_raquelle_icon.gif wf_yi-min_icon.gif wf_zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Unveiling Of Operation Kentarchos
Synopsis A plan for a new automated patrol force factory is revealed to be not all what it seems… but only to those working directly on the project.
Date August 15, 2016

CUNY Staten Island Campus

Outer District

August 15, 2016

It's a point of idle contention, whether or not the Dome overhead impacts the changing of the seasons for everything under its protective veil. With how it interferes with the passage of outside weather, its existence creating its own biosphere, for some it seems obvious that the answer is yes. Others argue that the world itself is different now, for all the changes its seen owing to the ongoing war— among them being extremely limited air travel, and the reshaping of the industrial industry. It goes all the way down to the theory that the bombs and chemicals released had seeped both into the air and into the earth, fundamentally changing both for the years to come.

At any rate, it's only August and the trees in the greenspace on CUNY Staten Island are already browning with the colors of fall.

They can be seen from the wide windows in the executive conference room booked for the next hour and a half for cross-functional team of Department of Evolved Affairs personnel ranging from promising agents, cunning and innovative representatives, all the way down to worker bees who have been included on a need-to-know basis only. Each leather half-backed seat has a folder with relevant information placed before a tented paper namecard to identify each of the members present. In turn, each name has a set of letters next to them: E, N, or Ng. Little things, with great implications; a silent reminder one's status is never forgotten.

Standing at the front of the room, DoEA analyst Amanvir Binepal has his hands set on the back of the chair before him, flanked on either side of the table by fellow analysts. He's eager to get to sharing the details, evidenced by how he swings an arm out and back to work the sleeve of his suit jacket just far enough back to review his watch for the third time in the last few minutes. "I'll give it another minute or two for stragglers to come in, and then after that, the doors seal and we'll get started."

His eyes flit up from the time with a smile, warm and pleasant. His enthusiasm for the topic has been barely contained in the week leading up to this, but even to those who work closest with him, the why has been kept quiet. Now, finally, that was going to change.

The figure at the left corner of Amavir's position is like a knife - beautiful for her curves, but deadly for her edge.

Darlow, Leta (N)

Luckily for those present, the sharpness is generally reserved for the enemy… and a few who have proven too foolish to suffer. Leta smooths a hand down the thick, glossy black braid over her right shoulder as her freehand taps down a comprehensive list of resources - personnel, mechanical, and otherwise. She gives an agreeable nod, smile brightening towards warm and welcoming as she lifts her head and considers those gathered.

Yi-Min Yeh, a simple name with a simpler reputation, has been a silent onlooker for some time. The corner that she darkens seems colder for her presence, all smoothness and onyx-black shantung and sinuous reserve, her hair bound into a small, prim coiffure.

Her lone figure stands conspicuously removed, technically somewhere closer to the core of the room as though to oversee Amanvir and those flanking him, but even farther away from the entrance area that the remaining audience will be swarming into presently.

Instead, she leans very, very lightly with one shoulder at the side of one of those wide windows, simply gazing out over the coldly-lit district with a stare that seems as baleful with the glamor of promise as it is cool and dreamlike.

Far be it from her to steal Analyst Binepal's thunder for this supposed change of his that was coming.

One such straggler donned in a construction crew jumpsuit shuffles her way in without so much as an apology for the possibility of being late, looking much the opposite of those here gathered for purpose. Marlowe dares a glance around in the way deer might approach a beautiful meadow. Find the predators. Find the danger.

Only, she knows she's on a hunting reserve.

The pinpoint gleam of metal on the device implanted at the base of her skull, readily visible beneath the gathered bun of her up-do hair, is enough of a giveaway that she's one of the tagged workers. She gives no greetings, but finds her seat: Terrell, Marlowe (E)

[This is complete bullshit.] A mechano-synthetic voice grumbles amid the clank-clatter of rubber-footed steel feet scuffing across the floor. [Could we do something about the weight limit on the elevators up here? I had to take the fucking stairs.]. The lumbering frame of a centurion comes stamping into the room, nearly twisting the doorknob off as it moves. In its other gyroscope-balanced hand it carries a mostly crushed paper tray with six slightly askew coffee cups.

[Could somebody please just fucking take these from me?] The near seven foot tall machine groans. [If I spill this on all these fucking exposed wires and die, I will come back and fucking haunt you.]

The ghost in this literal machine was once DoEA information analyst Colin Verse. Unfortunately, his current predicament is the result of a resistance attack on a DoEA satellite facility while he was disembodied in the local network. Now relegated to autonomous machines for mobility, Colin has become something of a cantankerous science experiment. The Department of Evolved Affairs had the good sense to remove all of his active weapon components following his inhabitation of this frame.

[You did ask for a half-caf latte, right Minny?] Colin says with an electronic chirp.

Yi-Min did not invite that nickname.

Sweetly, Yi-Min withdraws her gaze from the window and inclines her head the other direction, just enough to angle that seven-foot tall centurion into her sights. And, just as sweetly, she plucks the latte from Colin's outstretched mechanical digits, offering up a cold smile that does not extend anywhere near her eyes.

"I asked for tea, Colin, and my name is 'yee-meen.' But, it is well. I understand mistakes are made. Just as I am sure you shall forgive my next mistake of pouring coffee all over your internal wiring if you do not correct yourself. Hm?"

Run along. Or clank along, says a slim, dismissive hand.

A well-dressed young man sits in a chair near the middle of the table, wearing a carefully selected charcoal blazer. He's been here for awhile; it's a rare day indeed when Agent Isaac Faulkner (Ng) isn't at least a minute or two early for a briefing.

His posture is relaxed but attentive, and his lips are curved into an easy, pleasant smile; if you weren't watching carefully, you could almost miss the casual, well-practiced way his eyes move about the room, noting every arrival, every detail. His smile widens, just the tiniest bit, as it sweeps across the stage.

Click. Click. Click. Click. Every step deliberate and heard as a tall figure enters the room not far behind Colin. Well polished black shoes with a shiny almost prismatic gloss and a couple inches of heel, well pressed and tailored black suit with a paisley dark blue and black vest over a black button down shirt. Raquelle's blue eyes hidden by a pair of mirrored shades as he smoothly sidles up beside and navigates his way past Colin. "Bullshit is precisely why they let bitches as pretty as me in these meetings."

If he winks, nobody can see it as he reaches out with hands clad in fingerless leather gloves to take the drink carrier from the robotic creature, lips curving in a hint of a smirk. Hair has been trending on the longer side these days, but tousled and coiffed to fall stylishly over one eye or the other and cosmetics on point. "Let me get those for you honey."

A figure circles Colin like a vulture dressed in a white lab coat, stopping to lean at a dramatic 90 degree angle to peer up into a darkness between the machine's shoulderblades. "You know Colin, buddy," this word is sing-songed with the sort of anticipatory glee that might accompany the cocking of a gun. "I could lighten you up a little. Drop by sometime, we'll get it done before breakfast, issue solved." Free spare parts are always nice.

Once he stalks his way to the centurion's front, he straightens up, chest puffed out. Dr. Zachery Miller, (E), Innovator, has plans on the brain, and the delight this brings him is written clear across his features.

He reaches up for Colin's face as if to grab it like a child's, but comes up a short before his eyes dart promptly off to the side when the presence of coffee registers. Oh yes! Wonderful. Lifting one of the cups up and away from Raquelle, he briskly moves toward the table, and sits down precisely where he needs to be.

Dome and seasons, whether it has an effect on the weather, what’s going on outside, these are things that don’t concern Hailey Gerken. She breezes into the room, after having taken the elevator. She might have been the one closing it in a panic of button pushing just before he could reach the sliding doors. The basket of fresh baked goods hangs from her arm, her usual morning gift to the office, is set on the table and opened up for anyone to dig in. This morning’s “treat” is something called a sunrise muffin, because she’d heard things through a certain door that she never wanted to hear again. Everyone gets to suffer.

“Good morning everyone~” her voice is sugar sweet, it’s hard to tell if all the dripping saccharine is sincere or just something she does to be liked. With a swirl of her wrist, she takes one of the cups. “Coffee! Raquelle, you shouldn’t have. Yeemean,” she made a point to learn the correct pronunciation of the Asian woman’s name and was always extra sure to enunciate it clearly and loudly every time she said it (just in case the poor woman couldn’t understand) “there’s some tea bags tucked in the basket somewhere. I hope you like Red Diamond, it’s the only thing at the market anymore.”

After grabbing a muffin of her own, she places it and her coffee by her name card (Ng) and flips her skirt under her thighs as she sits. “How are we all today?”

Seated between Isaac and Leta, Devon Clendaniel (Ng) has been a quiet and preoccupied presence since his arrival early on. His name card has been shifted aside just enough so it isn’t directly in front of his place. The folio has been opened and closed enough times to match Aman’s excited energy; however, the young man is reserved in contrast to the head of the table. He’s read over the first page twice, glanced at the following several more.

More arrivals draw a quick look up. Devon’s eyes shift between Colin and Yi-Min, and he flips the folder closed again. He draws his hands from the table and folds his arms over his chest to keep from fidgeting.

Aman had heard the cantankerous science experiment might be joining them, but the Centurion model is the only one without a nametag. Maybe that's for the best, given his whole… situation. The agent's brow arches at the sour display that occurs, a shade of relief entering his expression when Raquelle intervenes. "Yes, thank you Mr. Cambria," he says, straightening and smoothing down the bottom of his suit jacket.

"Colin, if you'd close the door," Aman asks, but it's not a request. Then he looks across the room, still stationed standing behind his tented nametag that displays his name with an (E) next to it.

"Everyone, thank you for coming. I know some of you are probably wondering how it is you fit in here, but I'd like to assure you that all of you have been chosen as a part of this taskforce for a reason. We all have our role to play." He pauses for a moment as the last straggler enters the room before the door's shut, nodding to himself before continuing on. His voice lightens a touch. "As you may or may not know, over the course of the last six months we've seen an increase in terrorist activity in the tri-state region between New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. They've gotten more brazen— the latest report says they took out a supply truck heading along Highway 209 on the NJ-PA border."

Lifting one hand, brows arching, he supplies, "As you can imagine, we're doing something about it." Aman sounds proud as he goes on. "We're currently in the process of clearing out some forest in what was formerly High Point State Park off I-84 for a new Automated Patrol Force factory. What'll be worked on out there is some really amazing stuff— primarily the latest-gen Hunter models. If the facility takes off, it's a prime candidate to prioritize the next generation models which are in development now."

"It'll be up to the joint efforts of our construction team, which Ms. Terrell will be working with, and our enablement team headed by Mrs. Yeh, to see that this facility is completed to the highest of standards." His hand lifts up by his shoulders to forcefully punctuate that statement before it falls again, fingers lacing together before him. He smiles toward Hailey. "Where our PR team here would come in, would be to celebrate the increase in safety to that area and the Outer District itself given that location's proximity to us."

Aman's smile is unerring. "But we won't quite get that far before the Evolved terrorists attack the factory. And rather than treat that eventuality as an 'if', we're leaning into it. We're going to be prepared for this. And we're going to use it to our advantage."

"Our factories normally build themselves, and the terrorists will be anticipating that." It's now that his attention turns to the various agents and analysts sitting in the room. "They won't expect resistance from a human force… much less having a taste of their own medicine thrown back at them. The enablement team was carefully stacked with analysts whose skills go beyond intelligence and number-crunching. While on the surface, you'll be tasked with ensuring the smooth construction of the facility, your time will come to shine when the terrorists believe they'll be able to take you by surprise."

Realizing he's neglected a point until now, he looks toward Zachery. "Ah… and, Dr. Miller, I realize this will be a bit of a stretch assignment for you, but you were specifically requested," he clarifies this as cordially as possible. "I believe the sentiment is that you have a bit of technical panache to offer in this operation, both in its official and unofficial capacity…"

Clearing his throat, Aman looks back toward Raquelle while making a swiping gesture as he clarifies, "Footage of the terrorists attacking, and footage of them turning tail should be used in any promotional material regarding the attack on the factory. Please be sure to clip out any imagery of ability use in countering the attack and replace it with appropriate footage." He should know precisely the kind he's talking about. Something suitably patriotic. "As soon as the attack happens, we'll want to roll with our spin on it; use it to highlight of the DoEA's strength in putting down the terrorists, our preparedness against an attack anytime, anywhere."

His brow pops again as he claps his hands together before him. "Any questions so far?"

The latest comer to the meeting has made her way as silently as possible across the room, coming to stand behind the seat belonging to Dr. Miller. White-gloved hands fold together primly over the back of the seat, her nails only barely brushing over his spine as they settle in their clasp. As if he needs any physical indication that she’s there.

There’s no seat designated for Miller’s favorite assistant. She isn’t a necessary component to this meeting. Her presence is simply de rigueur. By being here now, she’ll require less instruction later about what’s expected of her. How she’ll help him achieve his goals.

The dark-haired woman’s glowing blue eyes settle on the mechanical form belonging to Verse. It certainly isn’t the first time she’s seen him in this state by any stretch, but all the same, she can’t quite hide the sympathy. The pity.

Reaching into her pocket after a time, once Binepal has finished speaking, she leans over her custodian’s seat, hand brushing over his forearm lightly to make sure he’s aware of her intent before she slides something into his palm. Then, she straightens up again and stares off into some middle distance over the heads of those gathered and seated. It isn’t for her to have the luxury to question.

"So we kill them all,"

The sound of Harley James' voice echoes from her seat at the table. Mostly quiet since now, she had no real friends here. Hadn't had any friends since her father was killed and she lost the rest of her family. Her blouse is neat, dark purple. Brown hair pulled back into a bun. Feet crossed at her ankle boots underneath the table.

She just wants to know the location and time, everything else is irrelevant for Harley in this moment and she licks her lips as she looks around the room. What a monstrous group of people. Every single one of them.

Harley lived for it.

"There's no need for that," Zachery says to Harley in a level voice, fingers curling idly over the item slipped into his hand but paying it nor his assistant any mind. "Keep a few breathing. We could have words."

Next, he turns to Aman again, relaxed smirk blossoming out into a grin. "I'll be happy to see what I can do. I'm hoping for a challenge." Without looking, he toes an empty chair next to him away from the table's edge, and passively sweeps an arm toward it.

There's a subtle shift in the assistant's demeanor when Miller suggests he could have words with any prisoners they might obtain from this endeavor. Her eyes close for a moment, just a touch too heavily to mask the fact that she understands exactly what words entails. But it's fleeting. There's no fear or revulsion to follow in the wake of that momentary slip.

Blink and you'll miss it.

When the chair rolls out, his assistant's eyes snap to attention to follow its movement. Her head swivels when she can no longer track it in her periphery. With the seat offered, she settles down smoothly, again folding her gloved hands in her lap. Her chin dips subtly toward her chest and her gaze finds a streak in the wood grain pattern of the conference table ahead of her that seems strong enough to provide a nice focal point while she apparently seems content to let her thoughts wander until she's instructed otherwise.

"Thank you, Nicole."

Her gaze loses focus. She doesn't acknowledge him.

Oh, but ’monstrous’ was such a dreadfully indelicate way of putting the aims of this group. If Yi-Min was capable of hearing Harley's thoughts, she might have offered a rather pleasant correction: they were the executors of a greater good. It was an ordination of high honor, of necessity, no matter how gory the wee footnotes left behind.

To this end, Yi-Min folds her arms in a gesture of minimal, elegant repose as she considers Aman and the roomful of addressees in turn. It seems she is sizing up those who are to fall under her authority, and though the sweep itself hovers for just a moment, her eyebrow is still slightly raised in a mode of implicit judgment when she lifts her voice to address Aman again.

She barely has to. Her voice carries like a soft crisp breeze.

"Yes. I have a question. Do we have an estimation of what the numbers of this attack might be, or from what quarter it is likely to come? Preparation is easier when there are… more details for said preparation."

Since sitting, Marlowe hasn't looked up at all the commotion from the vacant, thousand-yard stare she's been giving the table top. One might even muse she sleeps with her eyes open. She's not asleep at all, though. It may be one of the first times she blinks back to focus when the word Hunter gets tossed into the discussion fray. Her chin lifts slightly at her name, gaze shifting to Aman. Lips purse together, still mum.

Then her attention turns again, studying the gathered as if noticing their presence for the first time since arriving. The unfurling plan and each person's role within it are slowly lost to the revelations of one particularly poignant fact. "闇の罠に入って," utters the construction team's 'representative', her breath catching mid-throat. Her whispered tone sounds sickened compared to the casually violent and blatantly manipulative phrasing being bandied about by the others.

Devon begins to answer Yi-Min’s question, but the words catch for an instant. He shifts in his seat, arms coming from his chest so he can lean forward enough to rest them on the edge of the table. “We can only estimate their forces will be small enough to avoid detection by the Hunters,” he explains carefully. Volunteering information doesn't come easily, but it is why he's here.

And why he's still alive.

“Between three and ten is the best estimate, and it's imperfect. They could stagger, mask their numbers.” The possibilities are both infinite and finite. Dev looks down the table as he speaks, including everyone in what he knows. “From studying past battles, they use guerilla tactics and probably won't engage openly. It's likely that they will also come from the south, either southeast or southwest, as with their previous attacks.”

She knows that everyone living outside the dome is savage and diseased but still, life is life and the concern pasted across Hailey's face speaks volumes all on it's own. "I can bring a news team out for on the spot interviews with our more grateful residents. Maybe? We can have a parade, if I can borrow some of the hunters, they’re good for getting the kids to cheer." There's a pause before she lifts a hand, wiggling her fingers, and looking toward the table, but not. She's thinking and she taps her lips with those wiggling fingers before going on. "Do we have the capability to break into their radio network somehow? I mean, maybe we can convince them not to attack?"

She's an optimist and ever hopeful. After all, everyone should have the opportunity to live in the same safety and comfort that she enjoys. The blessing of the chip is something everyone should have. It makes them all equal.


Raquelle has passed out whatever coffees need to be passed out and has settled into a seat over → there where he can sprawl in a pose that reads ‘I’m too fabulous for this’. A carefully crafted facade of shallowness. That mask of boredom hovering over a poker face forged in the heart of Mount I Wish A Bitch Would. Behind those shades, his lashes flutter and he just takes in everything he is hearing with a curious tilt of his head. He idly taps a glossy dark blue nail against his coffee cup before taking a sip of coffee brewed black enough to match the multiple ink blots on his soul.

Finally he just leans forward to click a pen and start writing down a few notes on a small notepad he withdraws from an inner pocket. His top lip curling in something between a bemused sneer and a resigned smirk. He doesn’t speak though, until the radio comes up and he takes a deep breath. “You want a broadcast to try to interrupt and redirect the people who are already pissed off?” He quirks an eyebrow. “Or…do you want something to layer on the footage of these terrorists attacking poor factory workers who are just trying to do their part for Patriotism, Protecting the People and Robot Love?”

He sucks his teeth as he leans an elbow against the table, idly twirling the pen between his fingers. “Or am I just here to make sure the factory workers all have matching jumpsuits that really accentuate their asses and even tan lines?”

Faulkner remains silent for the most part, occasionally making a note on a small notepad of his own… and the whole time, his eyes continue lazily scanning the chamber.

Aman's comment about replacing any ability usage with more patriotic footage prompts a thoughtful nod, though his internal reaction is such that it actually takes a small effort not to chortle with glee or rub his hands together.

This represents an opportunity, and Isaac is in a fine position to capitalize on it. There's a good chance that, if he can take advantage of this, if he can be in the right position and line up some good shots, that he'll be able to climb to the next rung on the ladder. If he survives, anyway, but he's gotten pretty good at that.

It's not until Marlowe's comment that his attention shifts, his gaze falling on her and lingering for a long moment, that ever-present smile fading a bit as he studies her… but Devon's commentary is too valuable to ignore. The analyst's assessment, uncertain as it may be, provides a valuable baseline for the team to plan around.

The contribution from the PR department prompts another thoughtful expression from him. "I doubt you'll be able to persuade them not to attack," he says to Hailey, in a tone of regret. "These are, after all, people who have decided to take up arms against law and order," he adds, and at this his eyes narrow a bit, his face taking on a rare expression of anger.

It passes quickly, though, fading into a thoughtful expression. "Still. If you can do anything to shake their morale… that might make our job easier," Faulkner says. "Which, in turn, might make it easier for us to find someone for the good Doctor to… have words with," he says, resuming that pleasant smile as he nods to Dr. Miller.

Nodding to Devon's reply, it seems Marlowe's murmur goes unnoted by Aman entirely in the other goings on in the room. He palms a clicker from the table to turn on a projector, showing a map of the factory's planned site as well as attacks by resistance forces in the surrounding area, a snippet of text at the bottom right of the image indicating this compiles data over the last year. Around the state park side, dots radiate out from all angles, but they definitely favor the highway route to the southwest.

"Putting out a particularly convincing radio broadcast…" Aman sounds out appreciatively, gesturing to Hailey with the clicker. "Now that's exactly the sort of thinking we need. Why it's so important to have good early PR involvement…" When Raquelle lifts his voice, though, he seems less certain to know what to do with the clipped precision to the options presented out.

Thankfully, Faulkner saves him from having to be the first one to directly address those suggestions. He echoes the pleasant smile his coworker puts on as he looks back to Raquelle. "Ultimately, I think which tack you take is best left to the experts— you and Ms. Gerken. I'm sure if you need an outside opinion, Mrs. Yeh would be more than happy to provide direction."

Skipping ahead to the next slide, a proposed timeline of events comes up for review. "For now, we proceed as though we expect no trouble. Groundbreaking will begin immediately, and construction will wrap by Thanksgiving. The efficiency of the build will be ensured by automated construction forces overseen and maintained by Ms. Terrell, who will also be in charge of the special construction areas for next-gen prototypes. You and, ah," Aman looks over to the Centurion in the room, wondering how to even address the man-made-machine at this point. "Colin will have a focus on that particular area of the facility. I'm sure if you need additional expertise, Dr. Miller would also be happy to assist."

Bringing his hands together in a clasp before him, he nods over to Yi-Min. "Anything you'd like to say to the team?"

[Close the door Colin, I’ll make you lighter Colin, don’t call me that it isn’t my name Colin. Fucking—] The robot frame housing Colin’s technopathic consciousness suddenly stands up rigid and pivots at the waist (since it lacks actuators in the neck to look left and right without moving its whole body) to look around the room. [Sorry. Thoughts and voice aren’t uh— it’s all— soup.] The machine frame takes a step backwards and jostles into a wall, cursing in a buzz, then just salutes for lack of a better cover.

[You were saying, Doctor Yeh?] Colin splutters as an afterthought.

Doctor Yeh hadn't been saying anything, at least just then. Nevertheless, she casts a net of cold serenity over the group in her easy smile, ignoring Colin's clumsily bumbling in the scenery. She doesn't bother to ease from her previous position of leaning into the windowsill; nor does she unfold her loosely folded arms.

"Thank you, Mr. Binepal. In fact, there is. Before we proceed further, I wish to underscore my awareness of the… variety of histories and attitudes that we have here in this room. Yet here we stand together, united in the face of a noble, crucial goal." As everything should be. "I feel I should not need to reiterate that loyalty and good performance shall be rewarded… while dissent, whatever the kind, shall not be tolerated."

"To this end,"

Though so far Yi-Min hadn't been speaking loudly by any stretch of the imagination, the sudden lull she lets the phrase drop into seems a form of warning in itself— as though the words themselves had been culled right out of existence. When she begins again, she does so a little more slowly and deliberately. "To this end, if there is anything that anyone wishes to share with the class, I encourage them to do so now. Come. Speak up."

This, while nominally extremely pleasant in tone, glitters with the ice of well-conserved malice.

It is also aimed directly at Marlowe.

Yi-Min takes a small sip of coffee.

Zachery nods to Aman, soundlessly tapping a slow rhythm out onto the table's surface from behind the crook of an arm. It shows an eagerness that he's purposely not showing in his body language.

Until, that is, Yi-Min begins to speak of misbehaviour. He visibly struggles to hold back a laugh, stretches his arms upward, and then folds his hands behind his head while mouthing quietly, up at the ceiling, "Delightful."

This is getting boring.

There's a slow turn of her head towards Yi-Min and Harley arches an eyebrow, "Everyone in this room has sacrificed and proven themselves. If you're at this table," The young woman places her hands underneath the table to fold neatly on her lap. "Nobody deserves to be questioned. We have all bled for our country, for this nation."

She drums one set of fingers on her inner thigh. Unlike her comrade she does not smile, pleasant or cold and Harley's brown eyes tick between Marlowe and Yi-Min both.

"Some of us, more than others."

There’s no reaction to Colin’s little malfunction. No look of reproach, surprise, alarm, amusement or pity. There’s no response to Doctor Yeh’s insistence of the nobility of their work. No indication as to whether or not Nicole Nichols is for or against any of it. Though, perhaps the non-reaction is enough to suggest she isn’t exactly enthusiastic about what it’s proposed that they do.

No. Nicole sits perfectly still with her eyes still (un-)fixed on that same spot, breathing evenly and apparently refusing to acknowledge anything going on around her. Maybe if she tunes it out, none of it is real? It is certainly none of it delightful.

Leta's questions having already been voiced and answered permit her the small comfort of leaning back. Elbows on the arms of the chair, she holds one wrist in the opposite hand over her lap. And watches.

She doesn't so much as bat an eye at Dr. Yeh's icy quiet. Instead, she follows the woman's gaze as though it were a sniper's glowing marker all the way to Marlowe. With a languid blink, though, her dark irises are upon Hailey instead. "No one is above the scrutiny that ensures the safety of the many," she interjects in a simple, even cordial, tone. She adjusts her hands and lets her gaze return to an idle assessment of the reactions pinging around the room.

Watching carefully and no doubt carefully watched, Marlowe barely moves, barely breathes as the discussion continues around the room. The PR spin talk and the note about borrowing Hunters steals the rest of her focus, replacing it with more layered horror. The mask of calm she wears is paper thin as her heart pounds in her ears. Fingers curl along the edge of the table where her hands grip, knuckles pale and twitch as she's named again. Has she blinked? Uncertain.

Several beats skip past with Marlowe hyperaware of those in the room yet unaware that Yi-min means to confront her. The slight movement of Dr. Yeh moving to take a sip of coffee catches her attention, and the staredown that occurs is a flash in the pan. There, smoke. Then fire. Then, gone.

Marlowe swallows thickly, eyes averting from one woman to the next in an unlikely search of some sympathetic voice. She finds it in Harley, although it twists at the other woman's remarks. Sacrifice. For our country. The willfulness fails in that moment, and her gaze drops down to her chafed knuckles and dirty, grease pocked fingernails. All ten digits curl further to loose fists, embarrassment slapping deeper color onto her cheeks. She does not speak again.

Hailey's head is quick to snap around to address Raquelle, her tone firm and unyielding to the idea that hers isn't a good one. "Yes to all of it. Out there, we broadcast messages of peace, hope, unity, and the promise of a brighter future under the dome. In here? We reassure all of our good citizens that we're protecting them and their families." She stands and sweeps a hand through the air in front of her, imagining the scene. "A parade for the children, we can throw candy and lace extra ration vouchers in with the confetti. For the factory workers, make sure they know how much they're appreciated… we can talk to the managers about some kind of incentive program to motivate them."

Retaking her seat, she lifts her coffee and takes a sip before she continues. "If we can't stop the terrorists from attacking, maybe we can at least dissuade some of their people and bring them over to our side. Once upon a time we weren't fighting with each other and there weren't homeland terrorists."

Noting the person Yi-Min directs her comment toward isn't something that Aman picks up on, so the tense shift in the air is something he reacts to with a quiet clearing of his throat. The comments that come from those that speak are let be passed with a sudden wariness— he's part responsible for the suggestion of personnel, and all parts responsible for the decision to bring everyone together for this little kick-off meeting— but he holds his breath throughout the potential airing of dissent.

And he absolutely could not look more relieved when Hailey chimes in.

"Those are excellent plans to highlight the Department's strengths and improve morale, Ms. Gerken. Capital ideas, truly." Aman claps his hands together, palms cementing to one another with a renewed smile. "We'll run into the issue of getting budget approved, but I definitely think we can work on the side to figure out which of those things are cost-effective."

Looking back to the projection of the proposed track the project should take, Aman nods to himself. "So for the next fifteen, I want to go over just a quick breakdown of the happy-path timeline of events, and then take a few minutes to share suggested additional safety measures for our on-site crew, including construction. After that, our PR and construction teammates are free to go if they wish— and our enablement crew will stay on to workshop through a couple of assault scenarios prepared by Doctor Yeh, and we'll begin plotting out coverage shifts and maps for the construction site…"

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