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Scene Title Vengeance
Synopsis The answer is simple.
Date December 30, 2019

On the rare nights that Yamagato Industries hosts events security is always tightened. But Yamagato Industries does not want to give the appearance of a militarized corporate entity, so its security is dressed down by being dressed up. Special “event security” employees are flown in from Japan, an even split of Expressive and Non-Expressive security professionals hand-trained by Yamagato Industries to also excel at another art far more precise than security and just as important.



“I'd be delighted.” Claudius Kellar doesn't know that the host carrying a tray of champagne flutes is wearing a tuxedo made from a polymer/Kevlar weave designed to be blade and bullet resistant. He assumes the probability of heightened security, of the possibility that the AH/UN model drones buzzing around the high ceilings may be weaponized, if not just for surveillance. He wonders if the photoreactive gas flooding the building has security purposes. He has to imagine so. And yet he takes that champagne flute from the tray without a second thought, even though behind these elegant glass walls, he is prisoner to the austere beauty of discreet corporate security.

As the host walks away, Kellar brings the glass up to his mouth and smiles a wide smile over the glass and across the room, a smile that cuts between high profile event attendees of the corporate world, to the one woman he'd come here to see, because the odds seemed in his favor.

Security and history be damned.

Yamagato Fellowship Center, Gallery

Yamagato Park, NYCSZ

December 30th

7:03 pm

Kimiko Nakamura is dressed to stun tonight. The gown she wears is an ink black, floor length thing that opens on the side up to her hip, glittering with scaled black sequins. It's asymmetrical cut covers one of her arms and leaves the other bare, save for its accenture in gold bangles and rings. Her hair is pulled back and swept to one side, held in place by a diamond-crusted hairpin in the shape of a crescent moon. Her earrings, glittering and black, are but two obsidian teardrops. For all her grandeur, it's Kimiko’s makeup that strikes Claudius the most. It's the flaky gold eyeshadow that is swept toward her temples, it is the vertical strip of gold on her bottom lip. It is the way in which her eyes seem to cut through him as though his bones were sand.

In comparison, Claudius Kellar feels like a trash bag full of Thanksgiving leftovers. His tuxedo is simple and black but fails to hide what age and wine has done to his midsection. His artificial tan feels even more store bought in the presence of people who care for their appearance in a more than superficial manner. When Kimiko Nakamura looks at him he feels ashamed, and perhaps its that unspoken strength of hers that has drawn him here. Probably not.

“Mr. Kellar,” comes from Kimiko in smooth, feigned surprise after she crosses the room to him, “I hadn't expected you to come. Has Lucid Consulting considered it may have backed the wrong horse?” Kellar’s yellow eyes dip away from Kimiko and he smiles as a shield against the truth she wields like a scalpel. It isn't quite as simple as her reductive take, but he allows her that.

“Being honest? Yes.” Claudius knows better than to try and hide something from Kimiko. He may not understand why he has that feeling, but it's there plain as day in the demure smile she offers back. “Let’s cut through the bullshit, because we both know Praxis Heavy has had a rough couple of years.”

“Wouldn't that be your fault?” Kimiko asks with a crook of her smile twisting sardonic. “I mean, as their primary consultant firm?”

Once again, Kellar smiles away the blade of truth even as it cuts. “I consult, I don't lead, Ms. Nakamura. If my clients won't listen to my advice it's— ”

“Not delivered effectively,” Kimiko chimes in, enjoying the opportunity to launch a few barbs at Kellar. His smile falters momentarily to a grimace, hidden behind a tilted flute of champagne.

“You and I both know the worm eating through the core of Praxis, Ms. Nakamura. As their consultant, I've been advising the company to reconsider their options.” Claudius inclines his head in a deferential nod, glancing away for a moment only to look back at the precise moment to make eye contact. “I’m here with an olive branch, not a knife.”

Kimiko smiles, aggressively. “You wouldn't have gotten far otherwise,” she whispers to him as she walks past in a very leading exit toward a less populated corner of the gallery, where street art from former Ferrymen operative Caspian Dussault is still on display. Kellar finishes his champagne and hands off the glass to one of the hosts before following her into the gallery. He remains quiet, following her eyeline through the paintings on concrete and plywood, a car door mounted on chains, a sewer cover, all manner of urban ephemera.

“The Praxis board wants to remove their parasite, but they lack the controlling votes in order to do so,” Kellar admits with a shrug, tucking his hands into his pockets. “They lack the leverage to wrest control of the company from him, but… they're willing to discuss other alternatives.”

Kimiko nods, blinking a sidelong look to Claudius. “What level of survival is the board willing to accept?” She wonders, to which all Claudius can do is spread his hands. “Would you be willing to entertain a proposition?”

Claudius’ lips press tightly together and he paces away a few steps, then circles back. “I’m here to facilitate a discussion. If you offered something that enticed the Board I could bring it back to them, like a little puppy playing fetch, and see what treats I'm given in return.”

Rolling her eyes at Claudius’ verbal antics, Kimiko allows a moment of silence to pass between them. The noise of the other corporate guests to the charity event flood the gallery, a din of conversation. She uses the moment of presumed indignity to consider something more ethereal. Kimiko’s pupils widen, spreading to black saucers, soaking in the possibilities and knowledge laid out before her. It is not the labyrinthine spread of data that was her father’s power, but something more insidious, something tangential to the late Kaito Nakamura’s gift. She reaches out into the infinite, plucking at threads of knowledge and information like a computer running a query on a database.

Then, in that instant, she has her offer.

“The Board doesn't have a choice,” Kimiko says, blinking her stare back over to Kellar, who seems surprised by her answer. “Praxis’ facade is crumbling, too many secrets spilled out like entrails from a wounded dog cut across the belly by a boar’s tusk. The US government is going to bring a hammer down on Praxis Heavy Industries, Claudius. It's going to make what happened at Fort Irwin out in the desert seem like beach fireworks.”

It is a probable outcome Claudius had not foreseen. Because of course he hadn't. He didn't have the data. But now, with Kimiko’s admission, Claudius’ eyes track from side to side in a rapid series of movements not unlike REM sleep. If she were the computer querying a database, Claudius was the analyst interpreting that data and comparing it to extant trends, building a forecast.

“What could possibly be done, then?” Claudius wonders aloud, one gray brow raised. To which Kimiko lays a hand on his arm and squeezes gently. The look in her eyes is at once reassuring as it is terrifying.

“You would be surprised what I am capable of, Mr. Kellar.” There is no amusement in Kimiko’s voice, just an icy certainty that sets Claudius’ shoulders square and his chin up.

But now he's left wondering. “Why?” Claudius says before he even realizes the word tumbles gracelessly out of his mouth. Kimiko looks at her hand on his arm, then up to his yellow eyes before slowly moving her hand away.

“Vengeance, Mr Kellar,” is Kimiko’s stone-cold answer, one that sends a chill down Claudius’ spine in such a way that a smile flutters reflexively to his lips.


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