World's Fair: Mantis


barney_icon.gif cassandra_icon.gif caspian_icon.gif devi_icon.gif

devon_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif kay_icon.gif marlowe_icon.gif remi2_icon.gif richard_icon.gif seren_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

tibby_icon.gif warren_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title World's Fair: Mantis
Synopsis Raytech reveals their newest project: Mantis
Date May 18, 2019

World’s Fair 2019

Fort Jay

Halfway through the World’s Fair, its clear things are amping up - in some cases quite literally. The docket for today is packed with panels, seminars, and demonstrations for every flavor of technological and economic interest. Every advertisement - some holographic, some simple video projections, and even the rare good-old-fashioned poster - all display an image of a promise, of hope: a better future.

Raytech Industries’ corner of the Fair is constructed of recycled materials in a smooth and seamlessly organic display, vibrantly eco-friendly by powering itself with a dazzling array of solar panels that make up its canopy. Acting as a glowing backdrop, a curving tank is home to a small school of robotic fish that drift backwards and forwards, glittering in the sun by day and lit up bright blue by night.

A soothing, clear voice that masterfully dances a fine line between automotone and human cuts over the mixed conversations from the crowd: “Honored guests, this is a reminder: Raytech Industries presentation, ‘The Mantis’, will be starting in Lobby D in ten minutes. Also, Raytech would like to remind you that Spot is your friend. Please refrain from chasing the quadruped robots. Thank you.

"Aurora'd be shitting bricks," Elisabeth murmurs, more to herself than to anyone else. Too many Spot robots running loose in here for the child — it's why the girl is not at this unveiling. She'll get to see other things at the Fair, but not this one. Liz has to laugh at the reminder that Spot is your friend and wonders if that's something Alia or Richard stuck in there because of the child. Some robots being friendly is something the child is still skeptical of — and honestly Elisabeth can't blame her a bit. There are bad robots, we've lived them, and we might again. She's a little torn on the messages.

Reaching out to a passing tray with glasses of something on it, the blonde helps herself to a drink and people-watches for now. She's not here as an official of Raytech, though she's dressed nicely and has her hair caught up in a soft knot in a rather professional-looking outfit of slacks and blouse and even heels. As her first day of work approaches, Elisabeth is taking steps to present herself in that more professional light anyway but in this case it's the possibility of reporters and whatever along with her ties to the CEO of Raytech that has her hiding behind the armor of business apparel and make-up.

Barney is standing at the Raytech Industries display area, fielding questions and talking to people that come over. Highlighting features of the products displayed, answering general questions about Raytech itself. Barney is wearing his flashy bright blue suit. Everyone knows the one now. Because Richard saw fit to use it in Raytech advertisements. He enjoys the crowds though, and the displays, right at home with it all. "Is that a good thing or a bad thing Ms Harrison?" Barney asks of Liz when he over hears the shitting bricks comment. There's concern from the giant ginger at the prospect of the little robot dogs frightening Liz's daughter, and any other children for that matter. He turns a skeptical eye on the four legged bots wandering around nearby.

The crowds are the most difficult part of today.

They aren’t as huge as some of the crowds that Soleil Davignon has been in in the past — she’s a former movie star, after all. But she hasn’t experienced crowds on that level in nearly a decade, and she’s still slowly getting used to the fact that her ability, the one that never goes away, is back. Today is as much of a test of her focus as it is a fun outing to support the people who have supported her all along.

With her is Silas, who has the rather dubious honor of being her anchor. Her grip on his arm tightens briefly as they pass through a particularly thick group of people, her mind digging into his just a little more to help drown out all of the other voices a bit more easily. She has to be able to handle crowds like this, with the type of business the two are opening. She has to push herself, otherwise how will she handle being the co-owner of a theater? Unfortunately, Silas is subject to this little inner monologue of hers.

Outwardly, she isn’t nearly as much of a bundle of nerves. As the pair approach the Raytech display, the woman wears a charming, cheerful smile. As she spots Liz, her smile brightens a bit. “Liz,” she calls out in greeting as she and Silas approach. Barney is given a slightly wary look — hopefully her appearance won’t freak him out again.

Silas is wearing the same suit he'd worn at the Pink Tie Gala — a dark plum jacket and pants with a darker maroon undershirt. The tie is different this time — blood red instead of sakura pink — and this time he's wearing the overcoat, a shade of green so dark it's nearly black. If the colors were brighter they'd clash and look garish, but they're deep enough that they merely look striking, in an understated way. He also has a knife. Just in case.

And Remi's on his arm. He's bearing that with the best grace he can, and to be fair it's not all bad. There are worse things than having someone who looks like a movie star on your arm, after all. The problem is that it's not just his arm that she's on; he can also feel her on the outskirts of his mind, can hear the drifting echoes of her surface thoughts… and, by his understanding, she can hear the same or better of his. It's like having his own personal floodlight shining down on him.


They need to be here anyway — it's a chance to show solidarity with their sponsor, mingle, all that — and now that Remi's ability is back, well, she's right; just as she's thinking, she's gonna have to acclimatize at some point anyway if she hopes to run a business as big as theirs is hopefully gonna get. And if he can help with that… well, he'll just have to suck it up. For as long as he can, anyway.

It's easiest when he doesn't dwell on it; thankfully, this is the World's Fair, and there are plenty of distractions. Raytech's neo-whatever decor, the quadrupedal robot things running around everywhere, and oh, hey, there's Elisabeth! He grins, his own happiness reinforcing Remi's; he can tell that she's feeling a bit wary at blue-suit, but he's not too worried about them. "Heya Elisabeth!" he calls, grinning.

Every time Warren shows up to an event, he frequently does so in an outfit that no one particularly expects.

The World Fair is no different.

He walks up behind Elisabeth wearing an entirely shiny chrome suit. It's exceptionally shiny. Because he took it upon himself to invent a chromium spray that he then sprayed every inch of his suit with. Some of it is cracking off because he isn't the best at materials, but it still looks pretty impressive. "Are we doing the thing here?" he asks, most likely nowhere near where he's supposed to actually be.

Robobo is also wearing a little black suit, sitting on Warren's head.

The heart of the lobby has been furnished with a circular dais - a wide, stout, suitable stage with four compass-orientated steps around its circumference. The structure supports an opaque, white surface lit from within, casting a subdued but expectant glow on… something covered in a thick, shimmering black drapery reflecting a colorful iridescence.

Devi stands with Seren in an adjacent room - both with their faces currently mashed to a little crack in the heavy door. "Hot damn," Devi coos over Seren's head. "Look at the crowd." A pause to consider and the tall woman clears her throat and steps back to pat Seren's shoulder. "What I mean is: look at the crowd - piece o' cake, Little Bird."

For her part Devi is kissed neck to heel in a flexible but durable body suit of Seren's design aesthetic - material that shines and reflects like a mesmeric black pearl is offset by stark, rounded shapes of flattering white at her slim waist, elbows, calves, and sternum. A matching helmet is tucked up under her left arm and her long, black hair has been braided with a streaks of matching, pearly white through its length. Her makeup, as always, is on point and embellished with a futuristic glittery sheen.

"You got this. You know the points, you know the Mantis. You know what this could do for people. This is our baby, baby." Devi grins at her partner and gives Seren's shoulder an encouraging squeeze. "And, if all else fails, just tell that joke about the rabbi and the biker." With that said, the raven-haired femme pulls open the door a little wider and gives Seren a 'supportive' push towards the opening and the waiting stage beyond. When the door shuts behind Seren, Devi is nowhere to be seen.

Baird skitters along behind Seren, the tiny gryphonlike creature proudly strutting with its head lifted proudly. Intelligent yellow eyes glimmer in its eagle face, padding along on claws and paws with equal grace. Its lion's tail is scaled in a shimmery purple-green sheen much like the velvet draped over the object on the stage.

Seren recovers from the shove, looking out over the gathered crowd with barely a moment to get themselves in order before they stride forward. "Good afternoon, everyone," they greet, voice carrying thanks to a mic strapped somewhere to their person. They clasp their hands together before them, the cuff of their suitjacket sitting perfectly over their wrist despite the movement of their arm. They're dressed in a dark heather grey, with a red tie nod to the company they represent. "And thank you for attention."

With a warmth to their smile, they pause on the foot of the dais after most of the steps to grant them some elevation. "While our Raytech Industries display is a powerful representation of everything is capable of, it is currently missing something I'm proud to share, for the very first time, at this World Fair." Hands parting, they turn to look out over the small crowd gathered while Baird politely settles into a sit by their human friend, dutiful in not clawing up any pantlegs today. A sliver of chain-like earring dangles in the light while Seren turns, entirely visible due to their short-shorn hair. "We have been hard at work to innovate on behalf of the Safe Zone — with our robust robot companions, we have tackled at-home issues. Now, I would like to present to you an innovation for folks on the go."

It's not fair to say that Kay Damaris isn't here representing Yamagato Industries. Whether she likes it or not, she is now always representing Yamagato Industries wherever she goes. It's with this in mind that she moves through the crowd with her head held high, dressed in a red suit with a beige camisole underneath. A silver necklace in the shape of a dagger hangs just below the hollow of her throat.

Some women wear crosses.

Like the necklace, aubergine stilettos make a statement. Blonde hair has been left to hang loose to her shoulders, softening up what might otherwise be a severe cutthroat corporate bitch aesthetic. Raytech is a partner, after all. She's not here to cast scorn on whatever it is they're going to show off. There's genuine curiosity. And it gets Kay away from her official duties for a moment or two.

Elisabeth slants a glance toward Barney and admits mildly, "A bad one. She's still pretty uneasy around the Spot bots, Barney. Robots in general have not been… good experiences for her." The little girl still reacts with fight-or-flight panic unless one of her parents is holding her — and even then, she is significantly avoidant. Liz shrugs a little. "Richard and I are working on it, with some help from Alia, though. It'll just take some time." She sounds calm enough about it.

Those who know her well enough might realize that being here in this crowd is a bit stressful for her, though. She appears calm, cool, and collected but the blue eyes are constantly moving, cataloging faces, monitoring exit routes, flitting warily from one person to another. She offers the familiar faces a genuine if somewhat stilted smile, waving toward Silas and his companion as they offer greetings. "Good you guys could make it," she tells them when they're close enough.

Warren's appearance at her elbow actually makes her go still for a moment, her body language tight just for an instant before she smiles over her shoulder at him. "Warren… sneaking up on me is going to get you clobbered one day," Elisabeth murmurs, unwillingly amused at both his outfit and the monkey on his head. "I think they're— " And then they are starting up with Seren's announcement. "There you go. She's beginning. Are you supposed to be up there or something?"

“I think we got here just in time.” Devon Clendaniel’s voice might not carry far through the crowd, but Emily Epstein can hear it just fine. His head is tilted toward hers so he can speak without needing to shout, but his eyes shift focus between the crowd of people and the speaker on stage. The press of people is a little unnerving, but the excitement and intrigue of all the new tech has kept the uneasiness at bay.

Still it doesn’t keep his hand from briefly tightening around Emily’s, just enough to be noticeable. It’s happened a few times throughout the day, but it’s nothing to be alarmed over.

He spots a path that could take them closer, just as the speaker and their… gryphon? Is that a gryphon? Dev looks at Emily, eyebrows pressing upward in surprise. Is she seeing that also? “Let’s try to get a little closer.” Suggestion is followed with action, as he inserts himself into that opening in the crowd, Em in tow.

Emily hadn't been thrilled about heading into the throng for the Raytech reveal in particular, but here they were. She's less anti-CEO-of-the-company than she was previously, but some aversions die hard. “Oh good, we are,” comes from her unenthusiastically regardless. In scanning the crowd to find room, she sees Elisabeth somewhere on the other side, closer to the rest of display set up than they are, just now edging in on the crowd.

She's more focused on the who of who's here rather than the actual presentation, and meets Devon's look with a lifted brow of her own. With a bit tongue, she doesn't gripe as she's pulled along, turning her body to make herself as narrow and small as possible as she stays in Devon's wake. “Just close enough we can see,” she suggests, not wanting to be anywhere they might end up in the background of some press photo.

Better late than never - that’s what Cassandra’s grandmother always said.

One of the quirks of using her ability and really, one of Cassandra’s little foibles, is that she can get lost researching, falling down a rabbit hole of memories and only looking up when there’s nothing interesting left to follow. Richard had given her something to work on and she’d been holed up in her little office, merrily going through the past when she discovered a cup of coffee was in order and, on getting out, realized that the presentation was about to begin.

Pulling on her jacket, Cassandra quickly signed out and rushed downstairs, using her badge to bypass a couple of security guards (and one that had an eye on her just let her past) to arrive near the lobby from one of the side doors, hitting one of the crash bars to exit into the lobby proper and into the city where she finally made her way to the site of the fair. “Holy jeez..” she murmurs to herself at the crowd that made it out for this unveiling, scanning for a face somewhere - anywhere - that looked familiar, blending into the flow of the crowd heading toward the stage to see what is about to be unveiled.

She’d heard rumors, of course - Raytech was full of those, after all - but People knew it was a flying car, or they knew it was a new communications system to help beef up the infrastructure of the safe zone, but it was Cassie’s view that, for all the knowing people were doing, not one of them save for the people working on the project really did know. Duly invited, here she was to see what the fuss was all about.

Remi, for her part, is at least dressed nicely — a nice-fitting pair of pre-distressed skinny jeans, with a billowing white top fitted loosely over a white tank top, the look complete with a pair of ankle-high boots with an impressive heel on the back. She remains close to Silas, her arm on his — she’s doing her best to keep her mind separated from his, but the surface thoughts still stray through. I think the tall redheaded man in the suit knew the other me — he seemed upset when I met him for the first time.

“Good to see you, as always,” she replies to Liz, dipping her head toward the woman. When Seren steps out, Remi’s attention turns toward them — she likes this one, they were nice the first time she met them. Focusing on the words makes the concentration easier, especially as minds gathered become louder and louder all around her.

"Da-ma-riii-su!" The tone that calls out Miss Kaydence Damaris from a distance grows closer with each unmistakeable syllable comes from Marlowe Terrell. Somehow, the other Yamagato engineer-turned-Tech Chief has escaped the confines of her duties at the company booths and slipped her way into their business partner's displays. Rounding around the robo-fish tank, Marlowe practically pops into view, hair pulled into an up-do of crinkled light brown locks spilling around her face like a faux-hawk fountain. Her canary-yellow blazer and heels, paired with a more sensible but comfortable material slate grey shirt and dark slacks, make her a highly visible figure in the crowd.

When she's just in time for the reveal, Marlowe breathes a short sigh of relief as she reaches for Kay's arm. "I thought I was going to miss this!" But, luckily, she has not. The enthusiastic engineer peers towards the hosts and particularly the strange fantastical creature following behind Seren on stage. "Is that one of the robots?" she wonders aloud to her found coworker.

In the back of the room a small woman in dark clothing leans against the wall, eyeing the crowd. Ignoring the sight of Tibby's cousin. The South African woman raises a hand, her too long sleeve used to rub at her cheek.

Whatever is under the tarp, Tibby tilts her head and leans in just a touch. Silently she taps on her phone.

New shinies. At Raytech.. Where are you?

Perils of the whole extradimensional asylum thing, he thinks back to Remi, his mental tone one of commiseration… though at the same time there's a bit of lingering unease behind that thought. But it's a dim spectre, easily banished in the bright and shiny light of Raytech's big presentation; this is a happy occasion, after all.

His gaze settles on the speaker as they start to talk… the speaker and their… pet? What is that, even? he thinks, idly curious. Seems like Remi might have some familiarity with them, though. "You know them?" he murmurs.

The lighted platform beneath Seren and Baird begins to ebb and flow throw shades of soft violet, blue, and white - reminiscent of the reflective aquarium not far off at the Raytech booth setup nearby. Simultaneously the sound of an engine coming to life reverberates, throwing a low echo around the expansive lobby. The sound is surprisingly quiet and deep, more felt than heard, threading low and steady through the atmosphere.

As what's below begins to glow, Seren places their hand on the dark shimmer of the velvet. The timing would be critical here! They try not to focus suddenly on the beautiful disparity in colors of the presentation— the black above, the whites below, the shimmers shared and contrasted in the hues that accompany those bases, tries to ignore the sudden yin-yang imagery called forth and begging exploration in their mind—

The grey in their eyes flashes silver at the edge of the iris while Seren beams and announces, "For the first time anywhere, Raytech Industries is proud to present the Mantis,"

With a flourish, the item in the center of the platform has the drape ripped off of it to reveal… nothing? As soon as the cloth hits the ground, each shimmer of it diminishes its essence, too. It dissolves away before everyone's eyes.

But Seren just keeps smiling, explaining, "an innovation which belongs in action instead of on a pedestal." Turning, they gesture with an open hand at something off the stage.

The sound of the purring engine pitches under a yanked throttle, pinpointing its sound somewhere behind the crowd. People turn and part to reveal long, slim figures - both rider and motorbike. The motorbike lingers long enough for a teasing glance:

Pearlescent, curved panels draw the eye from one end to the other. A nearly indiscernible network of spiderwebs expand across these surfaces, suggesting some manner of tech involved in the very exoskeleton of the motorized beast. The heart of the bike is an electric core of some kind that pulses with a few red indicator lights. Most obvious, though, is the unique arrangement of four wheels under the motorcycle. The curvature of the mesmeric reflective solar panel covers over the front two wheels, alongside the bulbous head lights, do give a distinct impression of an organic praying mantis. The narrower divide between the two front wheels, and similarly between the two back wheels, suggest why one might consider this a motorcycle as opposed to the vastly different, commonplace UTV design.

The machine bucks as rider twists the throttle once more. With a soft tap to a seamless button on the side of her helmet, the faceplate lifts to reveal Devi’s cheshire grin. With that she drives the bike forward and up the steps, each wheel revealing itself to be on an independent suspension that makes the shallow but jagged-stepped incline an easy task.

A projector begins to depict a silent video high on the far wall of the lobby.

“She’s impressive, isn’t she?” Richard’s voice comes from not far behind where Kaydence and Marlowe have just met up to watch the unveiling, arms folded across his suited chest and a crooked smile on his lips - gaze hidden behind dark glasses, but one can almost hear a glint in his eye just in his tone of voice.

“Chances are the production model won’t be as pretty,” he admits, “But they never are. That’s half the fun of prototyping, though, you don’t need to cut corners on all the shiny bits.”

Silas raises an eyebrow at the speaker's showmanship. Okay. Okay, that's rad. The dissolving cloth is also a nice touch; he doesn't have a clue how they handled it, but he can appreciate the craft even so.

Then there's the sound of an engine behind them; Silas turns to see the sleek-looking… motorcycle?… back there. He frowns; something about the rider seems familiar… and as soon as she pops open the visor on her helmet, he recognizes their engineer. "Ha!" he laughs aloud, clapping as Devi drives the motorcycle — Mantis — forward and up the steps to the stage. I want one! he thinks… although he also knows that's going to have to wait awhile before he can afford to shell out the cash Raytech is probably going to want for something like that. Still, it'd definitely be handy if he should need to make a run for it, for… whatever reason. And that is also good showmanship, he thinks, again impressed at the work going into the presentation.

Mise en place. What do you want?

Tibby snorts and rolls her eyes as her eyes land over at the ground. Keeping her spot on the wall for a moment as the reveal begins.

I'm bored. My. Tibby's cousin is here.

Those emerald green eyes surely do ignore the sight of Remi. Whenever she can, especially after what happened after that night of drugs in the strip club. Idly her fingertips of her dominant hand tap on the phone screen, those subdermal anchors visible in the light. Her phone buzzes again:

So tweet about it. You haven't answered my question.

Hangout with me arsehole.

Klaus. The small woman wasn't the most friendly but the German man really had a way about him. Her lip curls but then the display is happening and her attention is taken by the appearance of the Mantis, nice. Gauging the crowd's reaction as well noting her own interest in riding one of those things, for free. She feels her phone buzz again:

Is that what I am paid to do

Well that was a funny comeback. Because… Tibby's expression takes on one of mischief as she hastily types out her reply with a mean grin:

I think… I'm experiencing a malfunction. Halp.

Sliding her phone into her pocket the woman pushes herself off from the wall and makes her way into the crowd, long sleeves over her hands again. Tibby nears where Marlowe, Kay and Richard stand. Her eyes flick between Marlowe to Richard. Ello Governor.

You would, echoes at the fringes of Silas’s consciousness as Remi rolls her eyes — though make no mistake, she’s just as impressed with the bike — and the woman on it. She chuckles, nodding her head in agreement to her companion’s thoughts. “Pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.”

Her attention is caught rather suddenly by the flash of familiar bleach-blonde hair, blue eyes straying from the display of the bike toward Tibby. My cousin again. I’ll be back. Perhaps she shouldn’t, but she can’t help it. She loves Tibby, but this version of her seems squirrely, and now that she has her ability back…might as well poke a little, right?

Her hand slips off of Silas’ arm, effectively severing the mind-link they had been sharing up until this point, and her focus turns instead to the little blonde’s mind; at the same time, she slips into the crowd, on an intercept course between her cousin and Richard. “Hey there,” With a small smile and a wave, she inserts herself between Tibby and the Raytech CEO. “We keep running into each other, don’t we?”

Without a doubt, Zachery has other places he would rather be, but… it seemed strange not to show at all, considering his recent employment. He is also not one for crowds, and even less so when they come with loud noises and machines he doesn't understand anything about. He's made an effort to dress nicely, at least, though the lack of colour in his attire - black suit on black dress shirt - matches his overall demeanor.

He's decidedly not been seen speaking to anyone for a good while, standing with his back against the curving fish tank, arms crossed over his chest with bandaged, splinted fingers tucked just barely out of sight. His one eye sweeps occasionally over the crowd moving past him, attention shifting easily to the stage and those upon it. Even if he doesn't lift his head up properly to look at it, instead, just sort of… giving the impressive display a half-lidded stare.

Mantis, shmantis.

Cutting between people gets more difficult when the entire mass pushes closer to the stage. Everyone is vying for a better look at Seren and Baird and the reveal. So Devon opts for a side edge. It's not the best view but it keeps him and Emily out of easy line of any cameras.

The display of the Mantis is met with a look of adolescent interest. A motorcycle with independent suspension for each wheel, that seems to be able to navigate almost any terrain. Yes please.

Dev looks at Emily. Eyebrows raise up in question. “That's pretty awesome,” he opines. “Would be a lot better than borrowing Pops’ car all the time.”

There’s a lot to take in, between the showmanship and then the actual reveal, and Emily is more than content to be off to the side when it happens. By the time the stair-stepping Mantis comes out, she’s more focused on what had first caught Devon’s attention — what the fuck was that thing by the presenter’s feet? Was what part of the presentation too? Her gaze ping-pongs several times between the objects of interest before Devon turns to her and she looks back at him in return. “Yeah, until it rains,” she points out, ever-critical.

But then she’s turning back to get a better view of it, her head at a slight tilt while she studies the four-wheeled motorcycle. “… But it is pretty awesome.”

Camera phones go up all around the stage. The bike comes to a quick stop and Devi gives Seren and Baird a quick wink. With that she kicks one long leg over and sits with her rump resting on the leather seat. She throws up both hands in the devil’s horn, rock-on fashion - clearly unable to fully contain her excitement.

“The Mantis!” she shouts, the tiny microphone bud amplifying her husky call. “All solar, all wheel drive option, all roads…” She pushes off the seat and runs a loving touch over the bike’s rear wheel well. “Wherever possible, every surface has been adapted to a solar panel design - capturing direct and indirect sunlight for the fastest charge possible. Four wheels means no special licensing/ required.” She glances to her stage partner Seren and gives a bob of her brows inside the helmet, clearly giving credit where it’s due.

“We’ve got two launches planned. To show our devotion to the Safe Zone community, the first roll out will be rentable versions of the Mantis available through GhostNet app subscriptions. We want everyone to have access to affordable, reliable, and most importantly awesome transportation.”

Now that's something Elisabeth hadn't known — rentable ones. Pretty cool idea! Both her eyebrows go up a bit and she shoots Barney a quick smile as she steps out of the Raytech 'booth' confines and into the more crowded area. She drops a quick hand on Silas's arm as she passes the two of them, finagling her way through people toward the stage so she can maybe talk to Devi about a thought … and then she realizes that's not who she needs to talk to.

Changing course, she threads her way toward where she thought she spotted the shades, and her expression is one of those oh crap, I had an idea as she approaches the group from a back angle. Elisabeth is already talking even as she gets 8 feet or so away — being able to target your voice and send it where you want it is a nice perk in crowds. "Richard, if Marcus hasn't already talked to you about this, I want to pitch the bikes to the NYPD team — I didn't even think of it til now, but vehicles being what they are nowadays, it would save the departm—" The blonde's words trail away as she realizes she knows at least one of his companions… and her appearance might be a little startling. "Sorry… interrupting." There's a moment where she stares at Kaydence, and then she tentatively greets the women with a simple, "Hi."


Tibby's reply is clipped and the spectacle of the reveal is blocked by her "cousin". Tibby looks over to Richard Ray and then Marlowe before she decides to not have to deal with this at all.

Tibby's cousin..
Threat Level: Questionable. If she's using her ability..

The small woman moves towards Remi, shouldering past her in order to move through the crowd. Closer. As they touch briefly a flash of a small room, a cell maybe from Tibby's perspective pings in Remi's mind before the contact is broken. Feelings of anger cloud everything beneath the surface but there's a thought that reverberates through the space that the mental thoughts that Remi can catch.


The appearance of Marlowe at her elbow is a welcome one. Kay smiles warmly and briefly rests a hand on the other woman's shoulder in greeting. "Glad you could make it. I thought I might be solo on this one."

At Richard's approach, Kay offers out a hand to shake with the CEO. "Mister Ray. I'm glad to be here for this event." With the pleasantries exchanged, she turns her attention to the stage, and then to the prototype when it's revealed. Her brows hike up and she frowns thoughtfully. "Alright, Ray. Color me impressed. My daughter's going to want one." God help her.

The color drains from Kaydence's face as she recognizes Elisabeth's voice. She stares, mouth dropped open as she takes in the sight of her old friend. Breaking away from the pair, she moves through the crowd so she can approach the other blonde and pull her into a tight hug. She'd heard that rumors of her death had been exaggerated, but seeing her again after all these years is something else entirely.

At the edge of the stage, almost entirely out of view of the crowd, Caspian Dussault stands. Dressed in riding pants and a jacket that's been styled in the color scheme of the mantis, it looks like something futuristic and cool. Something that's been whipped up by someone with quite a bit of tailoring skill - probably Seren. The suit is covered with little molded silicon panels that are stitched into the material, allowing it to absorb the light that happens to fall on his little corner of the stage. Sealed in red, the illuminated piping glows faintly as the power that the miniature solar panels produce is stored in a bank of small batteries hidden in the padding around the waist of the jacket. And as Devi makes her speech and touts the advantages of the Mantis over other, more mundane forms of transport, Caspian listens with a grin, his attention on Devi and her enthusiasm more than the bike, completely forgetting that the leathers he's been stuck into - the prototype riding outfit that comes as an option on the Mantis - is probably going to be pointed out at some point, too.

“Hey. Hey, you!” A harried stage manager, a short man with a tablet, a clipboard, and a badge declaring him to have All Access, thrusts an open-faced helmet into Caspian’s hands. “Your cue is coming up. Be ready.”

“Oh…”. Caspian looks down at the helmet, then on stage. “Okay.”

The things he does for those he's fond of.

As the Mantis mounts the stage, Baird circles around Seren’s leg away from the bike, letting out an excited crow heard only by those closest. It lacks the microphones the other presenters have. It peers up toward the shiny bike, enthusiasm only growing as it wobbles back and forth on its haunches, curled wings ruffling and lifting ever so slightly away from its body like it might take off.

Aware of the movement near their feet, Seren looks down at the creature for just a moment as Devi makes her presentation, just as quickly looking back up on hearing what’s meant to be the nod to them. Their easy grin resumes, the sparkle in their eye not at all faded. The gryphon-like creature at their feet finally settles, looking up at its human with a patient expression while its dark dragon’s tail curls around itself. You’ve got this!

“Delivery to the public will come in two waves. The first, already mentioned, and the second will be a release for private sales. Starting at just under sixteen thousand, you will be able to place a pre-order on your very own Mantis starting today. The future will not only be accessible, it will be affordable.”

Seren bobs their head in a nod, a bit of a telegraph for the next transition as they look back toward Devi. “Some people say it’s no fun to do things unless it’s in threes, and for that reason, the Mantis launch will also be accessorized.” With a wry, earnest grin, they look past the engineer to a certain spot in the crowd. That’s you, Caspian.

“Ms. Damaris,” Richard greets warmly, clasping her hand as it’s offered and tipping his head in an affable nod, “Glad to see you here… and hah.” He can’t help a grin as he looks up to the stage, “I imagine a lot of teenagers will. I know I would’ve wanted one at that age. They stand up pretty well to the state of the city, too, even in the ruins…”

The sound of Liz’s voice brings his head up, and he’s about to introduce the pair when— oh, right. They were cops at the same time. He smiles, turning then to look to Remi as she approaches, “It does seem that we do, and— “ Stopping mid sentence, he arches a single brow at her in mute questioning.

They were more than cops at the same time. The smile Elisabeth offers Kaydence is one for a friend, and she hugs the other woman tightly in return. "C'mon, now," she murmurs in Kay's ear, "can't have the big bad bitch showing tears there, m'girl." The tease is gentle. Her own eyes are wet, after all. She squeezes tightly before she pulls back a bit and offers with genuine regret, "I'm so sorry. I would have gotten word to people if I could have."

Blue eyes flicker back to Kaydence's companion and the group they're all standing in. "It's really good to see you. Did I hear right? Lord, Cole's old enough to ride the damn thing?"

Leave her alone? Not likely.

Remi’s eyes narrow ever so slightly as Tibby slips past her. She could pursue her cousin and confront the smaller woman, but that seems like it might be ill-advised. So instead, with her focus on the smaller woman, the telepath lets her target get about 25 feet away.

Then, she turns and begins to pursue the other woman like a cat stalks its prey. It’s easy to drown the crowds out when she’s got someone to focus so intensely on. It doesn’t anchor her as well as being on Silas’s arm, but it works.

What’s wrong with you, Tibby? You’ve forgotten yourself. The intricacies of what she’s doing is also helpful in keeping the crowds from overwhelming her — she masks her own mental ‘voice’ as Tibby’s when speaking into her cousin’s mind.

Swag to go with it? Oh no. Emily shoots a look back Devon's way, waiting to see how his eyes light up at the sound of gear to go with the new motorcycle thing. She already knows there's likely no talking him out of it. And with the discount he'll probably get for being family and all, it's all but assured he'll get one.

"Better to ask for forgiveness than permission, probably," she asides to Devon, knowing Jared might frown on such a purchase. Might as well lean into it. "Though I really would recommend something with a roof…"

There. Now Emily has done her part to advocate for wisdom, however roundabout.

“That's what the helmet and jacket are for.” Dev has indeed seen the swag, and while he's not into high fashion there's approval in the practicalities. Besides, four-wheeled or not, he's a lot more likely to ride the bus in the rain and not the Mantis. He grins at Emily and bumps her shoulder with his. “It could be fun, road trip to somewhere on an unstoppable vehicle.”

That's his theory anyway.

With a nod over his shoulder, Dev indicates that they could escape the greater press of the crowd. Maybe even further away they'd be able to better see. “Did you see that creature with the presenter? Like a Jim Henson creation.”

At Seren's signal, Devi's gaze slips away to Caspian lurking at the fringes of the stage. her grin has already reached near its limits, but as her dark eyes settle on the man in the Mantis getup it somehow manages to etch itself deeper still. In pearly leathers of black and white she leans out and pulls Caspian up on to the stage. “That’s right,” she calls over the mic, slipping smoothly after Seren’s announcement.

“Take a look at the optional, and obviously customizable, Mantis Exocharge. The body suit provides additional electro-storage capacity to extend low-light and night trips when needed.” She braces her gloves hands to Caspian’s shoulders and gives him a slow spin for everyone’s benefit - her included. When his visage passes hers mid-turn, she indulges a flirty wink. “We will continue to develop the possibility of lightweight armor support for rider safety and consider other custom requests. As long as it looks half as good as this.”

Her husky laugh flitters through the amplified mic, skittering along with the idling purr of the motorbike beside the presenting trio. She makes a soft gesture from Caspian to the bike as she turns more directly to the audience and takes on a conclusive tone. “Now, don’t forget to visit our Raytech booth and sign up for a test ride and check out our other tech throughout the Fair.”

With that Devi makes a grand gesture in the direction of the impressive Raytech display before turning and following Caspian towards the Mantis. She waits until he’s found himself a proper seat before bracing a hand to his shoulder and pulling herself up behind him… standing. Stout heels hooked into the bike’s rear pegs, thighs resting against Caspian’s back, she gives his shoulder a signaling squeeze, wags her brows at Seren, and throws her arms up.

It’s not something Caspian is used to - being brought out on stage in a riding suit. Still, he does the best he can, standing in a neutral position as he’s spun for people to look at the suit and how well it’s put together. For a secondary thought, the suit, it’s amazing what can be done when people’s minds are set to it, and the fact that he has had a part in it has him grinning. It’s only once Devi has spun him around fully that he makes his way over to the bike, settling on the seat, an integrated plate resting against his backside, allowing him to move easily while maintaining electrical contact with the bike.

At Devi’s Squeeze, Caspian nods and leans forward, the faceplate of the helmet closing automatically with a hiss when he takes hold of the handlebars - integration at its finest. With the twist of an obvious switch, he starts the bike with the press of a delightfully chunky on button, electric motors whirring almost noiselessly as the system comes online and, with a nudge of his left foot to put the bike in gear, Caspian starts the mantis in a slow, easy circle on the stage, giving Devi her well deserved moment in the sun. “Ready?” he asks through the built-in intercom as he lines up the front end of the bike, hitting the lights and driving down the stairs of the stage effortlessly and down a passage blocked off with metal barricades through the crowd and away!

Silas glances over at Remi as she leaves, surprised; the image of a bird of prey spotting something and flying from a falconer's arm comes to mind for a split-second. He debates following after her, but… nah. She's going off to catch up with family —

— wait. A cousin from here?

Dammit, he curses to himself. SESA had made very clear what they thought about people posing as themselves from this reality, and now Remi's off chasing family members. He raises a hand to his eyes and rubs at his eyes, before shaking his head. I just hope this doesn't come back and bite her in the ass too much, he grumbles to himself.

Lis's hand on his arm startles him out of his reverie; he offers a quick smile as she passes by, then, exhaling slowly, turns his attention back to the show; Devi and the suit model (is that their electrician?) are just cruising off. Hm. The price point is a little high for now, but… maybe something to look into, once he's got a sustainable revenue stream up and going.

Ya don't know shit. Stop sniffing.

Tibby hurls the thought out to the air around her as she keeps her head bowed. Fucking bitch oi. She grumbles to herself while knowing the telepath would hear it.

There, on the stage.

Tibby stops. Her head rises and her green eyes lock onto Caspian's form. Caspian. It sounds like a hiss. Angry but laced with confusion. That night where she relived memories. Pieces of an old life she had no intention of reliving. Something kept putting her smack dab in the middle of these two. For the first time though she gets to see the man. Eyeing him all the while as she snakes through the crowd. Closer to the stage, almost right up on it thanks to her small size.

Her blonde hair unmistakable. So this was the guy, the one "Tibby" had spent her time with. Hm. Best to get out of here. A quick tapping of her fingers on the phone in her hand.

Remi is going to be a problem.

Turning her back to the stage she starts to make her way towards the exit, ducking through people all the while trying to keep a healthy distance from Remi.

How do you mean

Tibby's fingers dance fast over the sleek, shiny screen of the phone as Klaus' reply buzzes in.

She's here. Sniffin round, shoutin about in my head. Should I stick her

Ooh. Ooooh. Marlowe's attention focuses on the unveiled machine, eyes wide, round, studying what is basically a work of art to an engineer, particularly one with a mechanical bent. Kay might feel her coworker's hand suddenly grab for a steadying elbow. "Would you look at that," she utters, just in time for Richard to comment upon the aesthetics.

And speaking of aesthetics.

Marlowe turns upon the voice of Richard Ray coming up behind, beaming a smile at the RayTech CEO. "I want one in my garage by month's end, Richard Ray," she kids. Or perhaps not. Attention splits then as Kay reacts to the approach of Elisabeth, voice first, then the stare. And then the hug!

Fascinating… but not her place to intrude. Marlowe's smile dims down to a slightly more neutral politeness, but the glimmer of enthusiasm isn't gone from her brown-eyed look back to Richard. Because, when the features and especially procurement method of the Mantis is announced to the crowd, Marlowe definitely sends Richard an anticipatory look. "Surely you have a spare prototype model available for the creators of the GhostNet?"

Amidst the expectations for the brush off answer - this is the game companies play is it not - Marlowe blinks as Tibby pushes along to come up nearby. The bleached blonde is a hard one to miss in the crowd by sheer hair color, made further so by the shift in the other woman's expression. Someone who's not happy in the middle of all this pleasantry stands out. But again, it's not any of Marlowe's business, nor her focus in the moment. And instead she turns back to the display of the body suit and extended options.

The exciting prospects of accessories quite excites Marlowe again.

I can help you with that, you know. The lost memories. Seems like they’re chasing you around. Wouldn’t it be better to know? That way you can reject them by your own choice. It’s still in Tibby’s mental ‘voice’ that Remi speaks in, lost in the crowd but keeping Tibby well within range.

The telepath turns, glancing toward Richard briefly. Let’s have a talk later, Richard.

Then, the woman turns her blue eyes back toward Tibby, keeping her focus on the tiny woman. I’m not your cousin, you know. Your cousin is dead. She isn’t coming back. So what is she in all of this? If you want to have a real talk, no knives, let me know. She leaves it at that — making it seem like she’s done talking in her cousin’s brain, at least, though she’s still focused on the tiny blonde.

Meanwhile, the redhead looks thoughtfully up at the Mantis. That might be a good solution for getting around town that doesn’t involve the awkwardness of busses — and really, what’s a bit more debt to Raytech in the grand scheme of things?

Seren has slipped off of the stage at some point during the end of the presentation, lingering close by the dais but no longer on it. Their earpiece informs them their mic is no longer live, and they grin at the creature crouched on the steps. Something in a low voice unheard by any except it is uttered at it, but Seren's expression is very much the excited did you see?! worn by younger persons the first time they do something deemed notable.

Baird wiggles on its haunches in shared excitement for the moment, its color scheme flaring the shimmering black iridescence the disappeared cloth had borne, shifting quickly after to the pearlescent and red-piped colors of the Mantis itself. Somewhere in the shift, its face has morphed away from possessing a beak to now ending in a short snout, all the better to imitate a catlike grin. Nodding rapidly in excitement, Seren gleefully vocalizes, "Hell yeah we did!"

The creature looks like it's about to leap, but it simply winks out of existence with a thin line of white light, like an old TV turned off. Seren turns, another small flash of light behind them as a markedly different creature appears, far more dragonlike than before. Its newt face nuzzles into Seren's shoulder as it finishes its 'leap' clinging to their torso in a hug, fat tail swaying like a cat's. Its long lavender form glimmers with yellows and blues in stripes and other clusters of color down its back, and Seren looks like they couldn't be happier as they try to 'excuse me' and 'pardon me' their way back into the crowd with their arms comfortably wrapped around their imaginary friend.

"She goes by 'Ella these days," Kay says of her daughter. "And she'll be seventeen this year." Where has the time gone? She reaches over and rests a hand over Marlowe's briefly when the other woman touches her elbow. She's not ignoring her, even if she's gotten drawn into this moment of disbelief.

"You have nothing to apologize for. Not to me," Elisabeth is assured. Kay turns her gaze to the goings-on on the stage. "They've really outdone themselves," she commends. "I might have to see about getting one of those for myself. Maybe I'll let 'Ella ride. Around the block." It's still a motorcycle and Kay is still a protective mom.

Emily responds to the shoulder bump with only a shake of her head. For all her glib commentary earlier, she's still not sold on the idea of it. As for the creature, as they start to edge further back into the chattering crowd, everyone discussing what they saw, she catches a glimpse of the creature Devon had pointed out, and the transformation it undergoes. She swivels her head back to him, blank-faced in her surprise. "Or something," she agrees with him, shaking her head slowly.

Hand in Devon's, she nods in the direction of the CEO, his figure unmistakable to her even at a distance. "Go say hi if you want," Emily encourages with a squeeze of her hand before letting go. She's good.

How many times must one woman die of an accident

Tibby's phone lights up and she smothers a snort before another message flies in.

What does she want

Well… Seeing as the woman who appeared to be Remi just said she wasn't Tibby's cousin and that she was dead but… there she was speaking in her head. Tibby types her reply as she nears the doors.

She wants to be cutesy cousins, oii.

Fuck if I know. As many times as is necessary… how tf is she alive. Beats me. Maybe she's one of those whiteness protection ppl

she says "I've forgotten myself" prob wants to have tea. And dive into my head for all our tasty secrets.

The pale haired woman turns her head, more spectacle. Her mood is dashed, the past wouldn't stay dead. Maybe she should have been assigned elsewhere, another country. Tibby rubs the bridge of her nose as Klaus' reply chimes in:

Stay away from her and behave yourself

Well she's stalking me. She wants to say but…

Motherfucker. If Tibby could stick her tongue out at the strict German man she would. Instead.

😾 fine. Will do

The cat emoji was a inside joke and she wouldn't hear another word otherwise.


Push over. No fun.

Tibby growls as she exits the doors.

The duo ride the four-wheeled motorbike in a singular lap around the dias. From her perch on the back Devi lets out a whoop of excitement before they steer away and cut a path back towards the exit. The Mantis purrs along the way, occasionally giving a throaty growl under Caspian’s touch at the throttle before they disappear from sight.

The projector images breaks into sweeping, pulsing light display for coalescing into a bright spark that weaves across the mainwall, leaving a light trail of script that reads “Mantis: Ride Primal”.

The crowd breaks away into groups of chattering acquaintances, everyone seeming to have some opinion or other about the motorbike. Some break off to the Raytch booth, eager to sign up for a slot at the test drives being scheduled throughout the remaining of the Fair. The Mantis itself is later guided back in by a Raytech team, arranged on display beside the booth, to draw back the curious and invite further Q&A.

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