We Are Made of Stardust


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Scene Title We Are Made of Stardust
Synopsis Answers sought always lead to more questions.
Date January 13, 2020

Kimiko Nakamura keeps herself busy.


Often times to the frustration of others.

“«How did this mirror break?»” Ishi Nakamura is a patient woman, situated as she is in the role of wife to one of the most influential men in the world and mother to two energetic children. Some times that patience slips off like a loose mask, and today is one of those times. Kimiko, a girl of but three years old, stands just out of her mother’s reach. Her polished black shoes are clapped together heel to toe and her matte black dress immaculate. But between Ishi and Kimiko are the fragments of broken glass that once belonged to an ornate silver hand mirror.

Kimiko doesn't answer right away, even as Ishi takes a knee and starts collecting the biggest of the pieces off the floor. Dark eyes alighted to her daughter, Ishi’s expression melts away from frustration to one of understanding. “«You're always so curious»,” she says in a soft tone of voice, laying the broken shards of the mirror into the silver frame. “«Have you heard the story of the mirror of Matsuyama?»”

Little Kimiko shakes her head, then looks down to the broken shards of glass with a crinkle of her brows as Ishi cleans up the last of the largest pieces. “«Come»,” Ishi says, standing up and moving over to a short floral-fabric upholstered bench by her dressing table, “«messes can wait».” Kimiko seems incredulous, as much as a three year old can be, but then trundles around the rest of the mess and climbs up into her mother’s lap. Ishi smiles, brushing an errant lock of hair from Kimiko’s face.

“«A long time ago — before you grandmother or her grandmother were born — there lived in a man and his wife far from any city, and they were blessed with a little girl, who was so cherished by her parents.»” Ishi begins, letting Kimiko lean back to be cradled in her arms with her head against Ishi’s shoulder. “«One day, the girl's father was called away on business in Kyoto. Before he went he told his daughter that if she were good and dutiful to her mother he would bring her back a present.»” Ishi begins to rock slowly, threading a lock of Kimiko’s hair behind one ear. “«Then her father left, and both mother and daughter watched from the front steps as he departed…»”

Kimiko looks up to Ishi as she speaks, attentively listening to her mother’s voice. “«After many days away, the girl’s father returned home. He sat down with his family and opened a bamboo basket, watching the eager gaze of his little girl. From inside took out a wonderful doll and a box of cakes and put them into her outstretched hands.»” Ishi smiles, gently tapping Kimiko’s nose. “«Once more he reaches into his basket, and presented his wife with a metal mirror. It shone brightly, while upon its back there was a design of pine trees and storks.»”

Ishi’s dark eyes drift to the broken hand mirror on the floor, her smile tempered by something Kimiko will not understand until she is much older. “«The girl’s mother had never seen a mirror before, and on gazing into it she was under the impression that another woman looked back. The girl’s father laughed and explained, no, this is a mirror. It is like a river or a lake. That woman is you, and he bade her take great care of the mirror.»”

Ishi looks back from the mirror to Kimiko. “«Not long after the girl’s mother became very ill. Just before she died she called to her little daughter, and said: Dear child, when I am dead take every care of your father. You will miss me when I have left you. But take this mirror, and when you feel most lonely look into it and you will always see me. Having said these words she passed away.»” Now Kimiko’s eyes are saucer wide, her little lips parted and tears threaten her cheeks.

“«Over time, the little girl’s father grew sad and gloomy,»” Ishi says, taking some liberties with the story for a girl so young. “«But the little girl kept the mirror, and when she was feeling most sad, she would hide away in her room and peer into the mirror and see not her own face, but that of her mother when she was young. Healthy and happy.»” Little Kimiko looks at the mirror on the floor, then back up to Ishi.

Ishi smiles when she and her daughter’s stares meet. She reaches down, taking one of Kimiko’s small hands in hers, and continues the story. “«One day, years later, when the little girl was all grown up and her father was so sad he could not get out of bed, she came to him with the mirror and held it out to him. Why do you show me this? He asked, angrily. To which the girl said, This is the mirror you gave mother, the one I promised to protect. When I look into it, I see mother happy and healthy.»”

Little Kimiko is transfixed by the story, unblinking and on the verge of tears. “«Her father looked into the mirror and only saw himself, tired and old and sad. But when he looked at his daughter, all grown up, he realized what it was she was seeing. For he did not need the mirror to see his wife’s face smiling back at him… he saw her in his daughter’s eyes.»” As Ishi finishes the story she looks down to Kimiko with a crease of her brows.

“«Do you know why I told you this story?»” She asks, and little Kimiko shakes her head no. Ishi smiles, her patience long since returned and explains, “«You should always be careful with other people’s things, Kimi,//»” Ishi says with a gentle smile.

“«You never know how precious they are.»”

Thirty-Six Years Later

Yamagato Fellowship Center
Yamagato Park, NYC Safe Zone
January 13th
11:17 am

Kimiko Nakamura keeps herself busy.

I'm so sorry!

Often times to the frustration of others.

Elaine Darrow has scheduled a meeting with Kimiko a day prior and the Yamagato CEO blew her off without so much as an email to apologize. The following morning, on realizing her mistake, Kimiko had a new meeting set up in Elaine’s office at the Yamagato Fellowship. It isn't often people hear Kimiko Nakamura apologize to anyone.

“Yesterday was a whirlwind, I had to fly out to Detroit to meet with our staff there and it took so much longer than I planned.” Stepping into Elaine’s office, Kimiko offers the young curator a warm smile. Elaine’s office still doesn't quite feel like it's hers. The decorations on the wall are replicas of pieces from the Yamagato collection, primarily from the Kensei exhibit. The cream-colored carpet stands out against the bare wood finish of the walls, and tall windows overlook the snow-dappled serenity of the park grounds between the Fellowship building and the Yamagato Building proper.

Kimiko comes to standby Elaine’s wood and glass desk, smiling fondly. “What was it you'd wanted to discuss?”

“Ms. Nakamura, I have a concern that I’m not entirely sure how to address.”

Elaine’s had a lot of time to think over this conversation, probably so much that she’s been overthinking, but it’s something she at least feels somewhat prepared to try and explain, to sort through. “I believe we have some sort of item, one of the ones not yet on display, that might be having a reaction to an ability or something.”

She chews on her lip, already finding she doesn’t like the words. So she tries a different approach. “You gave me your father’s address book, the one with my mother’s name in it. You told me to find Richard Ray to explain it. That leads me to believe you know why her name was in there. You knew what Richard would tell me.”

She pauses. “I think this is about the Looking Glass.”

Kimiko’s brows rise as high as they can, then slowly lower. She regards Elaine with a studious look, her pupils widening unnaturally for just a moment before narrowing back down to normal. In that same moment, Kimiko is reaching for the back of a chair opposite of Elaine at her desk, settling down to sit rather than stand. It’s going to be one of those meetings.

“You’re correct,” Kimiko says, implying that she knew the answer all along. “I will admit some ignorance as to what the specific of this scenario are, I do not know what the Looking Glass is beyond the most general of concepts. However, I am distinctly aware that my father came into custody of individuals from… somewhere else. My brother Hiro and I once spoke of the possibilities of branching paths of time, rather than one specific forward-and-backward line. We… we used to like discussing those sorts of things. He was smarter than he let people believe.”

Idly running her nails over the arm of the chair, Kimiko looks down at her lap. “I learned of this not long before I gifted you with that journal,” she says quietly. “I had… unraveled some of my father’s legacy he had left for me. Truths to… to questions I had never thought to ask.” Kimiko lifts dark eyes up to Elaine, and it’s clear she isn’t saying everything that’s on her mind. But, perhaps that’s because she has a lingering question.

“What does this have to do with the museum’s collection?” Kimiko asks, studying Elaine’s response carefully.

Elaine takes a moment to think of the best use of phrasing to properly convey the delicate situation she finds herself in. “I don’t know the details of the Looking Glass myself, but I believe your brother is right in this. It’s relevant, I promise.” She leans forward a bit. “Two days ago, I was giving a tour to my boyfriend when we stopped because we heard a voice. It was my voice, but it wasn’t me. There were some lights, like an electrical short, the voice, and then it was gone.”

She frowns a touch, her fingertips tapping on the desk. “I believe what happened is related to the Looking Glass as I feel as if it’s some kind of reflection of me. I’m not entirely sure I understand it. However it did happen on our grounds and in the collection and I’m not sure if it triggered because of my proximity or if there might be an item involved that could be potentially dangerous. At the very least, I needed to inform you of the burn marks in the room. I have pictures, if you’d like to see.”

She pulls up her phone, tapping a few keys before pulling up the pictures Rhett had taken of both the scorch mark and what appears with it. She slides it across the desk to Kimiko. “I apologize that I don’t have any more information on this, I… just honestly don’t know.”

Kimiko’s expression flattens and her eyes subtly narrow, leaning forward to pick up the phone and thumb through the gallery. When she gets to the humanoid burn mark on the wall, Kimiko’s pupils widen again, then narrow back to normal. “I’m not sure what this is,” she says quietly. Looking up from the phone to Elaine and back down to the screen quickly. “The mirror is something I’ve been hoping you could track down the origin of, actually. It had been stuffed in the back of our archive collection, but there’s no registration for it or indication of where it came from. I’m not sure if it’s something that was purchased in a lot that we didn’t sell off, or if the records were lost. I don’t even know when it was added to our collection, but it came from our warehouse in Japan in the first shipment to America.”

After one last look at the photos, Kimiko hands the phone back across the desk to Elaine. “I realize that tracking down the origin of an object without a trail of custody or so much as a history of the item might be… impossible. If it has any connection to whatever this security breach is,” and Kimiko is calling it what it appears to be, “we need to find out. That could be someone with a phasing ability, or the ability to project their consciousness. Why do you think any of this has anything to do with you, specifically? You called it a reflection.”

“I can take a look at the mirror. It seemed like a logical choice because it’s something I haven’t really gotten the chance to examine yet and I was in close proximity to it when it happened. I still don’t know what triggered it exactly but it seemed wise to make sure no one went in there immediately. A cursory glance told me nothing, but I also haven’t touched it yet.”

Elaine’s expression is one of confusion mixed with a touch of frustration at her own inability to find a real lead. “I say a reflection because it had my voice. I didn’t recognize it at first because it’s a little strange to hear the sound of your own voice, but my boyfriend confirmed it was me. It certainly wasn’t anything I remember saying. It didn’t seem to be speaking directly to me, it was more like hearing one side of a phone conversation. Given what I know of the Looking Glass, if it wasn’t me but it sounded like me, maybe it wasn’t me.”

She shakes her head. “To be honest, if it weren’t for the fact that I wasn’t alone and the fact that these marks were there, I would have chalked it up to some weird figment of my imagination.” That would have been an even worse thing to try and hunt down. “I can’t say I know why it was tied to me or why it happened just then, but it had an electrical energy to it and caused some superficial damage. At the very least, something or someone was in that room that shouldn’t have been.”

Exhaling a slow sigh through her nose, Kimiko offers a nod to Elaine. She sits back inner seat, crossing one leg over the other. “I'll have Eizen set up a security detail for you, in the event that this is a potential threat.” After the bombing in 2018 Kimiko isn't willing to take any chances with that.

“I also can make a recommendation on where to pursue further information.” Kimiko looks down to the floor, then back up to Elaine. “My father once worked with a man named Charles Deveaux, he was a founding member of the Company, but from everything I know he was a good man. Charles passed away the year the explosion in Manhattan happened, as did his daughter Simone. A foundation was set up in her name, a philanthropic organization called the Deveaux Society.” Kimiko threads a lock of hair behind one ear, briefly looking past Elaine and out the window over her shoulder.

“If I'm right,” Kimiko says after a brief pause, gaze snapping back to Elaine, “it's possible the members of the Deveaux Society may have information on the mirror, if it's something that wasn't a historic artifact but rather something else entirely. They have old records from the Company, they might know something we missed.”

“I appreciate the added security, I don’t particularly like the idea of something dangerous lurking around,” Elaine tips her head in a nod. “If you think that the Deveaux Society has information on this mirror then I’m more than happy to ask about it.” Her fingers find a pen on her desk to take down a note as a reminder.

“If it’s something other than a mirror I hope we find out soon. If it’s been in the collection this long and been an unnoticed problem…” She doesn’t like the implications of that. “I appreciate your time, Ms. Nakamura. This all has been a bit… strange and I thank you for your patience in the midst of all of it.”

Kimiko smiles, but it seems tempered by something else. “Think nothing of it,” she says in a softer voice than she usually uses in business. With that, she rises from her seat and looks from Elaine to the windows again, staring out at the cityscape of Yamagato Park.

“Keep me informed of what you find,” Kimiko offers quietly, “I'll call ahead to the Deveaux Society and set up an appointment, they'll be more likely to meet with you if they know I'm involved. Whatever you need to fulfill your role, you have my utmost support.”

As she takes a few steps away from the desk, Kimiko offers one last look back at Elaine. “People like us tend to forget that we're,” she motions between them both, “the same as everyone else. The same as the city, the plants, even the objects in this room. We’re all made up of the same seething particles zipping through the universe.” Her brows rise briefly, then fall. “I feel like if more people realized we’re all made of stardust, there'd be less misunderstanding.”

Elaine smiles back at Kimiko, giving a nod as she gets politely to her feet, moving to the front of her desk as the other woman retreats towards the door. “I’ll be sure to be in touch, Ms. Nakamura. As soon as I know anything, I’ll be sure to let you know.” Her attention remains fixed, however, at the mention of stardust.

She tilts her head to the side, curious, and she listens. It draws a smile from her as she takes in the sentiment. “Maybe one day people will remember.” It’s an odd thing to leave on, but one she can agree on. Less misunderstanding.

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