Welcome to Inspector Gadget, Inc.


geneva_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

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Scene Title Welcome to Inspector Gadget, Inc.
Synopsis Geneva has a reunion with Richard in his newest iteration as CEO of Raytech Industries. Topics of discussion include electric rats, consumed cats, the Company, and frying things for a higher cause.
Date December 6, 2018

Raytech Branch Office

A wash of natural light spills down from the windows overhead to illuminate the expanse of the Raytech building’s lobby and its white flooring, assisted by softly luminous light strips that line the top and bottom edges of dark grey walls during the evening hours when the sun isn’t up to provide it. The first thing visitors to the building see once they’ve come through doors of bulletproof glass is the front desk, with open space to either side of it and the vertical Raytech logo on the wall behind, backlit for a striking effect in red and white.

Along the walls of the lobby are framed newspaper stories about the company - announcements of the opening of their main factory in Detroit and of this very building in the New York Safe Zone, stories covering the technological breakthroughs and advances by the company’s innovators, and mentions of the company’s infrastructure restoration work in contract with the government. Tall potted plants are placed between the framed pictures, keeping the lobby from feeling overly sterile and unnatural.

It’s easy to tell when you’re getting close to the Raytech facility, because the crumbled buildings and ruined streets become somewhat less crumbled and ruined, and in fact often replaced with construction sites. The trip is therefore noisy and crowded, with orange cones and construction equipment everywhere, but relatively safe as compared to other parts of Jackson Heights.

The occasional construction worker cat-calling in passing may only arguably be a safe price to pay for the safety of having witnesses to any potential muggings or assaults.

The facility itself is several buildings that rise in stark contrast to the rest of the district — brand-new and kept gleaming, solar panels and the hint of greenery visible upon rooftops and a large parking area patrolled by uniformed security guards. The sturdy wall-fence around the facility has two gates, and upon arrival and statement of business one of those guards is available to escort the way through the ‘glass‘ doors of the main building.

The vaulting ceiling of the foyer allows a view of what seem at first glimpse to be butterflies flying abovehead — although if one takes a moment to notice the repeated patterns of movement, or the subtle Raytech log etched upon the wings, they might realize it’s some manner of technology demo. Below, the main desk is manned by a blonde woman in a blue suit, who currently is staring into a donut box and occasionally shifting one around.

The donuts are frosted in various colors. She appears to be currently putting them in spectral order.

As the urban wreckage fades out into taller structures and scenes of reconstruction, all the moreso does the girl who is traveling in that direction look increasingly out of place. Among the debris and criminals littering much of the Safe Zone, Geneva had fit right in in her black leather jacket, low-cut jeans (distressed the actual way, through physical wear and lots of it), glittering spherical earrings, and heavy makeup. Now? Not so much. At least to Gene’s credit, she is both skilled and vain enough in putting together her appearance that her total look is far more ‘artful’ than it is ‘homeless.’

Now, as she approaches the rising edifice of Raytech Corp. — well. It is no surprise that one of the guards notices her and halts her as she strides near the glass doors. The entirety of her response to the guard’s questioning is difficult to hear, but upon hearing the name “Richard Cardinal” dropped, he apparently seems content to at least let her through, if still not completely sure about how much the teen actually belongs there.

Hands in pockets, Gene now nears the front desk where the secretary-woman woman is prodding doughnuts around. “Having fun?” she asks the lady with a smirk as she glances down into the doughnut box, not bothering to disguise her sudden appearance.

“There aren’t any violet donuts,” the secretary replies in deeply concerned tones, frowning down at the box in front of her before slowly raising her gaze to the teenager, squinting suspiciously in her direction, “Did you take them?”

There isn’t so much as the hint that she’s joking about this.

After a moment, she adds, “Oh. And who are you?”

Violet doughnuts? This lady is mental. One of Geneva’s eyebrows slants upwards. “That does sound nice about now,” she comments, with only the barest hint of an incredulous tone. “Maybe the dude out there took ‘em. He seemed like he could really use more doughnuts and less stick up his ass.” The girl turns and points towards the glass door, in the direction of the guard who had questioned her on her way in.

“I’m Gene. Friend of Mr. Cardinal’s. But for real though, like. Is this what you get paid to do?”

“A cardinal? We don’t have any clergy here, I don’t think,” Sera muses, tapping a finger against her jaw thoughtfully, “I mean, I think Doug down in medical got one of those Unitarian minister certificates but that doesn’t mean much. Unless you’re here to get married?”

She seems to perk up at this idea.

Gene takes this in stride as much as she is able, eyebrows still raised through the roof. If this is the type of quality employee companies in New York are hiring post-bomb, then there’s probably hope for her yet. “Uh, I’m definitely not here to get married, sis. And oh. Right, I keep forgetting. It’s Richard Ray now. Can I see him. Please.”

“Oh.” Sera looks disappointed, reaching out to tap a phone. “Hi! Mister Ray? Um, there’s some girl here. A teenager.” There’s a pause, and then her eyes narrow and she leans closer to the phone, hissing out suspiciously, “She might be a donut thief.”

After a moment, she straightens up and flashes a smile as if she hadn’t been accusing her of being a donut thief. “He’ll be right out!”

At no point has the phone or intercom responded yet.

Hey, Gene might be the thief of quite a lot of things, but doughnuts are not (yet) one of them. Outwardly the blonde shows no reaction to any of this; she merely shakes her head and chooses to look elsewhere as she waits, trusting Sera at her word to contact Richard. (As wise as this may or may not be.) “Uh huh.Thanks.”

Stoically, her gaze settles upwards, panning the display of what seems to be butterfly wings adorning the high ceiling. Based on this lady’s erratic behavior, it might be awhile before she actually sees results, so Gene settles in and prepares to wait for the long haul.

”Sera? Who’s here to see me? …Sera? Oh, for fuck’s— “

The voice on the phone intercom is quiet but audible, as the secretary ignores it, picking up a purple-frosted doughnut and nibbling at it obliviously.

A few minutes later, Richard Ray comes down the hall; gone are the BDUs and flight jacket of years gone, replaced by a tailored black business suit with a red shirt beneath it, a black tie cutting down from the neck. The tie’s not tied perfectly. He’s never quite gotten the hang of it.

“Sera, you really need to actually talk to me when you call me,” he says in dry tones, while the secretary cheerfully waves to him with a mouthful of pastry. Hazel eyes - no longer eternally hidden by sunglasses - sweep then to the teenager in the room.

When the intercom goes off, Geneva just stares at it, shifting her gaze between the phone, then the secretary who is patently ignoring it (to eat a doughnut!!!!), then back at the phone. It seems like she’s trying to hold back a laugh, or a snort.

Well, at least the waiting didn’t take long. Thank the god of small things. The girl meets Richard’s gaze as he enters the room, lingering just for one judgmental split-second on the improperly-tied tie, then back up to his eyes. “Hey, Rich,” is her affably comfortable greeting. “Or should I say now— Mr. Ray. Can I talk to you for just a sec? Don’t worry, it shouldn’t take long.”

The past seven years haven’t changed him much— a few more lines around the eyes, a new wardrobe, maybe a subtle hint of white here and there in his hair— but they’ve changed her quite a bit more. Enough that at the familiar greeting, Richard arches one brow at her, giving her a bemused once over.

“Do… I know you,” he asks curiously; there’s a hint of familiarity to her, but he hasn’t placed her yet.

While it’s true that the last time Richard saw her, Geneva would only have been twelve years old, Gene’s outward countenance hasn’t actually otherwise changed too much. Though grown up enough to be a responsible(?) adult now, she is still wearing her rundown, yet vaguely hip and rebellious outfits and still presents as vaguely angry at the world in general. Said girl’s eyes roll in her skull like she can’t believe what she’s hearing.

“C’mon, Rich. It’s… Gene. Exploded a toaster in the kitchen? Almost set Paul on fire once when he switched my toothpaste with mayo?” ‘Exploding a toaster’ would, in fact, be a reference to Gene’s first and extremely fiery manifestation of her Evolved power. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten. Your hair’s going grey but you can’t be that old.”

“Oh, right, you’re— “ Richard snaps his fingers, pointing at her, “One of Brian’s kids. Right. Should’ve known, you’re the only teenagers that ever stop by here.” A smirk twitches up at the corner of his lips, and he cants his head to the hallway he came from before turning to walk, “Grab a security lanyard from the desk and follow me. I’m not sure what happens if you don’t, but my head of security keeps saying ominous things about ‘glue cannons’ so I wouldn’t risk it.”

As directed, Geneva snags one of the appropriate-looking lanyards from the front desk and dons it, being sure to give Sera and her doughnuts a very healthy berth as she does so. Best not to take chances. “Um… glue cannons?” she says questioningly, throwing the foyer a last backwards look as she follows Richard out into the hallway.

It is safe to say that so far, her trip to Raytech had not been what she had expected. If the front-desk introduction to Miss Doughnut Fiend had been any indication.

A small, sleek four-legged robot trots along past them carrying a stack of folders in its ‘claw’ that serves as a head as they walk past, getting not even a glance from the CEO. “I don’t ask questions,” Richard chuckles, “If there really are glue cannons, one day I might be happy for them. Anyway…”

He glances back as he stops at an elevator, hitting the call button, “What can I do for you, Gene?”

By contrast, the robot gets a long, swerving gaze from Geneva as it ambles past them. She doesn’t comment on it directly, but her face has written on it a mild look of ‘what in the hell did I just see.’ “My original thought was to come here and apply for a job. See what you need from special fools like me.” ‘Special fools,’ of course, referring to the Evolved and Raytech’s advertisement for them to join its ranks.

“When did you get to be CEO of Inspector Gadget, Inc?” she asks suddenly, genuine curiosity straying into her voice “I mean, last time I saw you, you were totally a lot edgier. If you know what I mean.”

“I was living half’ve the time on the run, the other half working with a shady government group,” admits Richard as the elevator door opens, stepping inside and expecting her to follow, “Not to mention the whole ‘ex-con’ thing. Trust me, I’m not that comfortable in this monkey suit even now…”

A floor’s hit, and he offers her a rueful smile, “My brother’s inventions are better used making the world a better place than just cluttering up a garage. God knows we owe it enough.”

“I sense a long story there,” Geneva responds with a half-twinge of a smile, stepping into the elevator after Richard. She can’t help but stare piercingly at much of her surroundings as the pair travels through them; a fancy-ass corporation like this one is not a place where a Gene is usually to be found.

“Making the world a better place— yeah, that’s actually the general idea I had.” There is something of a denigrating laugh from her, though there is seriousness in Gene’s tone, too. “Figured I’ve been a bum on the streets for too long. I want to get up and do something. I don’t know if Raytech’s the place where that’ll happen, but hey, gotta check out a door when it opens, right.”

As sharp-eyed as she is, she might notice a subtlety to the building most miss; it’s 100% handicapped accessible, with not so much as a step in the design anywhere. One guesses there might be emergency stairs somewhere, but maybe they come with a ramp.

“It is,” admits Richard wryly, “A very long story. So what is it that you do, aside from blowing up toasters? I imagine it’s probably advanced since you were a kid,” he notes, giving her a curious look.

“Hell yeah. I’ve graduated to blowing up dishwashers.” Indeed, it is hard not to appreciate the abundance of flowing lines and the graceful symmetry of Raytech’s architecture. This makes the place look even more futuristic, in Geneva’s view.

“Nah but for real. If you need someone who can cook— maybe blowtorch— stuff with their bare hands, I’m your girl. I can also shoot things, punch people, type fast, and break into places no problem.” She probably shouldn’t be saying that last one aloud, but hey, she figures if anyone would understand, Cardinal would. “If none of that sounds useful to you, that’s cool too. I got something else I wanted to ask you, too.”

“I can make the arrangements to have your ability tested out, see if we can get you a proper commercial license,” Richard offers with an easy nod of his head, “If you have enough control, I’m sure you can— if not, we can get you the training. After that, well, there’re a lot of practical uses for that sort of power. Industrial, scientific— if you’re looking for work, we can find you something.”

He grins, then, “You could probably make a hell of a paycheck with it, too. What else were you wanting to talk to me about?” The doors slide open, and he leads the way out into the hallway.

‘Hell of a paycheck’ has Geneva’s ears perking up. If the girl had been put off by Sera’s antics down in the lobby, and perhaps a bit put off by (her first introduction to) Raytech by extension, then her interest has definitely been renewed now. “Yeah? How would I go about getting said commercial license? What does that involve?”
At the sliding doors, Gene pauses for just a split moment before following Richard on through. “And…oh, yeah. This might sound weird as fuck, but I wanted to know if you knew anything about… electric rats. Figured if someone in the city would know about them, it’d be the bigshot head of the Corporation of the Future.”

“You’d need to get some formal training, so we’d need to find someone with at least relatively similar abilities and an instruction license— probably could find a pyrokinetic without too much difficulty, heat-based powers aren’t too unusual,” Richard explains, stepping down the hallway towards a doorway and pulling out his own security card to tap against the door’s panel, at which point it unlocks, “Then there’s a practical exam and all that. Basically to ensure you have control over your power sufficient to use it without causing some sort of horrific accident.”

Raytech Branch Office: CEO's Office

A large double-window along one wall of Richard Ray's office allows natural light to spill in throughout the office and provides an excellent view of the green roof on the lower floor of the building, the flowered garden spreading out between rows of solar panels.

The walls of the office are in slate grey, the carpeting on the floor matching, and the furniture is all in black glass, metal, and leather - but the modern starkness is offset by the tall potted plants that grow along the side of the room opposite the window. The CEO's desk is a broad affair in black glass with a video feed and touch-screen built into the surface of the desk itself, the non-interactive portions of the desk decorated sparsely with a plastic 'in' and 'out' box, a framed picture of Elisabeth Harrison, and an old onyx chess king set beside it like reminders of times long past.

The office sprawls out in a large and - surprisingly - mostly open room, a few plants along the walls, one wall that’s nearly all window and overlooks one of the gardened rooftops, solar panel arrays between rows of flowers. A black glass-topped desk with a chair behind it and a few others is the only piece of furniture.

Unless you count the small padded box that a tiny ginger kitten peeks out of with an adorable yawn at their arrial.

“The rats, hm? That’s right, the kids have been looking into that…”

“Yeah. I’d definitely be down for some formal training. I mean, I’ve dicked around a bit at the Lighthouse, but having an actual experienced teacher would be pretty fuckin’ primal.” Geneva would absolutely love to be able to expand the scope and control of her powers, and her demeanor shows this 100%.

As she had been doing all along thus far, Gene begins a cursory scrutiny of the architectural space the office occupies as she advances into it, but this stops the literal instant she spots the little container housing the kitten. “Oh my god. Aren’t you fucking adorable,” she says softly to it, bending down closely and tilting her face at it in a manner someone might use with a human baby. “Is this your pet?” Suddenly this conversation topic supersedes all the others. There is nothing more important. Than this kitten. Right now.

The reddish kitten blinks owlishly up at her from the box, head tilting a little to one side.

“Yeah,” Richard grins at her reaction, stepping over as well to look down, “This is Richelieu. He’s only like, six months old, but he’s growing fast. I keep him in here when I’m working, so he can keep me company.”

“Richelieu? So, you’re both named Rich. I can’t tell if that’s narcissistic or adorable.” Either way, it looks like the cuter Rich has captured Geneva’s full attention now. Patiently, slowly, she extends her hand out towards him, letting him become accustomed to her scent (and disguising the fact that she’s trying not to die of cute from the kitten’s headtilts).

This also serves as an unfortunate reminder for reason number two that Gene had come here. “And yeah. Uh, about the rats… I’m fairly sure that some of them have been eating my cats.” It’s. Kind of a problem.”

“It’s kind of a joke,” Richard admits as he watches the kitten with a fond smile, the feline sniffing warily at Geneva’s hand before stretching out and butting his head into her fingers to rub his cheek against them. “‘Cardinal Richelieu’ was the villain in ‘The Three Musketeers’ if you’ve ever seen any of the movies or read the books…”

His brows twitch a little. “Mnm. I’m afraid I don’t know much— I’ve had other things on my plate, I think SESA’s been dealing with the rats. They’re definitely SLC-positive, and they all seem to be electromorphs. My guess would be some sort of old experiment that’s gotten loose, although— “ He looks upwards, frowning slightly, “— given the givens I wouldn’t put the world past deciding to spontaneously have animals evolve abilities, which is honestly a little terrifying.”

“Honestly? The only version of Three Musketeers I know really well is the chocolate bar. That’s cute though.” Geneva’s intelligence has always been far more worldly than it has been bookish; lack of opportunity in her life aside, that’s something she passively leaves up to nerds like Squeaks. With far more gentleness than anyone could have thought possible from looking at the rugged, rebellious-looking drifter, she scritches lovingly between the kitten’s ears and under his chin once it is clear he has warmed up to her a little.

From one of the pockets of her leather jacket, she briefly uses her free hand to rummage until she brings forth a small, burlap-colored bag with a torn label that reads: ‘Buddy Biscuits.’ Leave it to Gene to carry cat treats around with her at all times.

“SESA. Mm, that makes sense. I’m glad to know someone official is dealing with it, fuck. Old experiment…from the Company, maybe?” This is the possibility Gene chooses to focus on, rather than the one implying spontaneous development of the SLC-E gene. Easier to fixate on a path involving a tangible enemy.

Richelieu is, it seems, a very affectionate and trusting kitten; happily purring away as he rubs himself against her fingers, head tilting back with an adorable squint of eyes at the rubbing under his chin. The treats have him perking up even more, stretching to sniff at the bag.

“Could be,” Richard admits, resting a hip against the side of the desk and folding both arms over his chest, “Company or Institute seem the most likely culprits, honestly. They both did a lot of research into abilities… honestly I don’t know if the Formula worked on animals, but I’m willing to bet that the Company tried to see what would happen.”

Dryly, “They tried a lot of things.”

The girl stifles an adoring laugh as she sees Richelieu stretching out for her bag of treats, and she gladly gives him one, continuing to stroke the little fellow affectionately all the while. Her happiness at being in the kitten’s presence does not fade out completely when Richard tells her of the probability of Company involvement, but her smile, at least, slips off of her face as a cold wash of anger arises in her blue eyes.

“Goddamn the bastards,” Geneva comments quietly. “It probably was them. Don’t care who their lab rats are, do they, or what catastrophe they end up causing.” She shoots a glance towards Richard’s face. “So, this could have all been an old experiment from before they ended. Or… you don’t think some of them are still around doing this shit, do you?” The mere sound of that possibility is grim; as the head of a corporation like Raytech, Richard would know if that possibility held merit far more than she would.

“Heh.” There’s no humor to it, Richard’s head turning to look to the expansive window that looks over the next building, that shows the skyline of Jackson Heights - its crumbling buildings and the construction equipment strewn through them.

“The Company— they weren’t all bad,” he admits, “They started with their heart in the right place, they just— drifted. Some of them reformed, are using their skills on the side of the angels these days. Even some of the Institute. Hell, some of them work here. But…”

He grimaces, “We didn’t get all of the Institute. There’s still a remnant of them out there, Erica Kravid and her people, still working. Wolfhound’s trying to track them down. Me, too.”

“…Some of those fucks work here?” That casts a sudden shadow on the proposition of Geneva seeking employment in Raytech’s ranks among the same ‘fucks’, but the only response she can find is to just shake her head. “You’d better watch them. They might very well say they’ve reformed, but I wouldn’t go near one of the snakes with a 50-foot long, superheated pole. ”

She seems somewhat assuaged by the reassurance that there are indeed people out there who are committed to tracking them down, but it is only a small thing, not entirely comforting. “When you say ‘me, too,’ do you mean this something Raytech is doing, or is it personal?”

“Not everyone who worked for the Company, or even the Institute, were monsters, Geneva— “ Richard shakes his head, “When someone gives you a chance to make the world a better place, when they offer you protection, funding, a purpose? It’s easy to say yes. Most of them never knew the real bad shit they were doing. Not to say there weren’t monsters there…”

He grimaces, “There were plenty of those. And— well, personal, I suppose. I’m not entirely retired from the work.”

But Geneva is adamant. “I’ve heard the ‘not all X’ argument for different things before. Sure, maybe some of them were fine, but enough of them were monsters that the entire place should have been burned down. They’re the reason I ended up in the Lighthouse in the first place, you know.”

They had taken away and killed Annette, after doing god knows what to her. Her caretaker, her sister. The only real family Gene had had left.

She inhales, trying to calm herself. A hint of wryness is allowed to re-enter her face, though the tension has not drained from her overall stance. In a somewhat robotic motion, her hand fishes for another treat in the bag to give to Richelieu. “Let me help you. Yeah, I know, I’m just a kid and all that, but, maybe there’s something I can do.”

“You know, Brian worked for the Company for awhile,” Richard observes, his tone a bit dry, “As did several prominent members of the Ferrymen. The real monsters got theirs— and the ones that got away, well. We’ll find them sooner or later.”

Unless the universe implodes first, but let’s not saddle a teenager with that sort of existential worry.

“If I think of anything,” he agrees, “I’ll let you know. I’d help the other kids out with this whole rats thing, honestly, if I were you - it might lead to something. Also, your ability’s a little more offensive than theirs…”

“Was that actually Brian, or one of the 10,000 Brian-lets?” From what Geneva knows of her adoptive father figure, Brian had his ways of getting around. “Regardless. Fine. You’ll understand if I have my reasons to distrust anyone who was deep into that bunch.” Who can actually say, after all, who’d had knowledge of the deepest atrocities committed by the Company and Institute? Something easy to deny, difficult to disprove.

“I’ll get on the Lighthouse gang about this rat thing for sure. See what I dig up. Is there an agent from SESA who’s working with them, or something?” Otherwise Geneva finds it difficult to imagine that an adult would condone sending a bunch of kids into sewers containing man-eating rats by themselves. “I’m up for starting on some power training ASAP too, if you know of someone off the bat.”

“No actual difference, when it came to Brian, but…” Richard shakes his head, “No, that’s fair. And trust me, I understand.”

The kitten happily nibbles on the treats, purring away in a ball of contented feline.

“I assume they’re working with someone, you’d have to ask,” he admits, “And I don’t know anyone off the top of my head, but I’ll make some official inquiries.”

Geneva is evidently satisfied by this response, because she draws herself up in a motion that signifies that she is ready to leave — well, not completely ready. Richelieu receives one last, thoroughly affectionate petting as well as one last treat from her bag, which is then rolled up and stuck back into her jacket pocket. It’s easy to get the sense that she will be happy to visit again just to see this cat.

“Yeah. That sounds good. Thanks for today’s official meeting… Mr. Ray.” she smirks cheekily, the sound of the new name still strange in her mouth. “Looking forward to learning how to fry things for a better cause.”

A sad little mewl escapes the kitten as he realizes that his new playmate is withdrawing, and Richard looks down to him with an affectionate smile before pushing off from the desk. “Anytime, Geneva,” he replies, flashing her a crooked smile, “I’ll be in touch once I can make the arrangements— keep yourself and the others safe when you’re looking into the rats.”

“You kids are the future, after all.”

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