2019.02.18 Hypnagogia: Resolution
|Mike arranges meetings so that the technocracy will call off the hunt on Bieta and Bieta can get Kasia back.|
|IC Date||Feb. 18-20, 2019|
|IC Time||17:25 p.m.- 19:25 p.m., 13:00 p.m.- 14:00 p.m. and 23:00 p.m.- 06:00 a.m.|
|Players||Mike ST, Aerie, Bieta, Phil, Richard, Typhanie|
|Location||Log Lodge-Living Area|
Mike, having gotten this idea after going around and around about the whole situation, finally hits on something. Using a co-Mike first to get a building in downtown that will be mostly removed from space, down to a single door left connected, lets him set up a haven of sorts. This done, Mike explains the idea to Bieta. A meet with the one who's directing the hunt. Let him talk to her, about what's going on with her daughter and what the other mages are doing to 'keep her safe' and see if some sort of agreement can be reached.
Once the place is set and secure, Mike uses a 3rd party location to set up a contact with Richard from that card he gave him. The request is polite and straight forward. A requested meet that has no hostility to let Richard meet the one being hunted, the good Doctor Elzbieta, let her explain the situation and see if something can be done to end the hunt. If he's amiable, there's an address given to the space Mike has set up. In a seperate space, a Co-Mike is monitoring Mike and Bieta both, ready and waiting with that Code edit to have them both teleported away to safety, masking the move via 100 router re-route of the data, including 4 satalite pings. It's the NWO. They might still trace that. But.. doing what he can.
Once the Administrator is given the directive, countless men and women in the shadows continue their labors with a new priority concerning the man's safety. To say that Conventions are interested in the source of Mike's transmission are... unsaid. There doesn't appear to be anything happening, but those doing global network forensics rarely announce themselves. Hourly reports concerning this new turn of events are conducted in office pods, with sleeves rolled up to elbows and energy drinks piling up on counters.
Richard's response to the invitation is very clinical in nature. "I am interested. Will see you there. Request noted."
If there is one activity that Aerie enjoys almost above all, it's chauffering Richard around! She likes driving around Prospect, and adores complying with the various traffic regulations, and the other arcane intricacies of responsible motor vehicle stewardship. This is one bot that would /never/ run over a pedestrian or crash into a telephone pole! Unlike those amateur AIs working for Google.
The sleek, black electric town car will coast up to the curb, just outside the location where the confidential meeting is set to take place. She kills the engine, and then smoothly exits the vehicle, before moving over and opening Richard's rear passenger door for him to climb out as well, her every motion graceful and perfectly calibrated.
She favors the Administrator with one of her artificial, reassuring smiles, her eyes concealed for the moment behind ebon sensor shades. She waits for his signal, and then she'll approach the doorway with her usual liquid, near soundless stride.
It will be very efficiently and cautiously, that Aerie will ensure that Richard reaches the third floor of the office building in perfect safety. Then, once they're outside the pre-arranged door, she'll offer its surface a precise, staccato rapping with her metal knuckles.
Mike inside the space, was of course passively linked to cameras outside. Simple cheapo web cams. It'd be enough to give him the idea of who was showing up and.. well.. Aerie wasn't expected, but kind of was expected. At the knock, the door would open silently, the space within had a different feel to it. Those sensitive to such would be able to tell, it's definitely NOT in the regular world.. or anywhere else. A bit of null space forced to act as the office room.
Mike stands up from his seat, a laptop is next to him as well as a tablet. Those, along with his glasses, have faint green trails of data, that probably Aerie, with her cybernetics, could reverse and read to understand. He's monitoring, waiting for that attack, to pull them out.. But? It seems there's nothing hostile there at least. "Thank you for coming. I wanted to introduce you to Bieta.. She's the one that's been being hunted.. and I'm hoping that we can talk about why.. to get a stop to it so we can all go on with our lives?"
Bieta stands up from the table. She is dressed in a white cheongsam with her hair woven into a single long braid down her back. Her eyes widen when Bieta sees Aerie and her gaze shifts to Mike. Bieta moves to stand next to Mike.
The door is opened, and in walks Richard Cromwell.
His eyes move to fix on each entity, one at a time. The first is Mike, who synopsizes the situation. The visitor remains impassive to this. He says nothing until Bieta stands and moves closer to Mike.
"You have nothing to fear, Doctor. She will not harm you," he says in a tone that is hard to place. He is American, but there is no geographical placement for any accent. By his suit off the rack and glasses with horned rims, one might think of him as average. Boring, even. He approoaches the table, quietly pulling out his chair with one hand.
The other hand gestures to the chair across from him. "Won't you join me?"
It's very fortunate for Bieta that Aerie is utterly incapable of holding a grudge - unless instructed to do so. She favors the woman with the same, artificially reassuring smile that her programming suggests is the best way to make humans feel safe and secure. There might be a certain...uncanny valley quality to it. But the intent is as sincere as a machine is capable of.
She steps smoothly aside, just inside of the room - and after a cursory threat assessment - she allocates the majority of her attention to watching Mike. Though is ever attentive to the Administrator.
Her face impassive, Bieta stares at both Aerie and Richard, though her gaze seems to linger a moment on Aerie. Bieta is slow to move towards the proferred chair and her knuckles are white when she pulls the chair out from the table. She seems to have grown a little more pale as she lowers herself into the seat. Bieta continues to stare at Richard.
Richard's own complexion is nothing to brag about. The sunshine of California doesn't seem to have done him any favors, but he looks less tense about this situation than Bieta.
He rests both hands on the tabletop, looking at the woman seated across from him. "Doctor Elzbieta Dymna, my name is Richard Cromwell. I have been looking for you for some time, and you have remained quite elusive up until now."
Aerie stands quietly for the moment - perfectly still and silent, though ever so interested and aware of her surroundings. She won't interrupt. Though, every time that Bieta looks towards her, she'll smile at her once more. That can be a tiny bit unnerving.
"This hunt all started with a woman stalking me. According to Mike, she works for the technocracy," says Bieta. "When she discovered that I did not share the feelings she had for me, she tried to kidnap me. She even brought others to help her get me into her car," says Bieta. "I can guess what she may have told the technocracy in order to make them want to attack me and my daughter at the mall and try to take us." Bieta's eyes flash when she takes a moment to look over at Aerie. Bieta returns her gaze to Richard and says, "What I do not understand is how you fit into all of this?"
Richard looks askance to Mike briefly, when Bieta asks how he fits in all of this, and then he returns his gaze to Bieta.
"Perhaps I can help you understand the events that you describe. Acting on orders from leadership, a woman has been tasked with your recruitment as well as your collection, if the former were to fail. The others, her backup personnel, were following similar orders." His eyes do not flash.
"You may stop referring to the Technocracy as an entity that is not in the room, Doctor. I am the Administrator of the Technocratic Union's presence here in Prospect, California. I am the one who made the orders that you had described. I am the reason for your living unease." He waits two heartbeats before he follows with, "Do you now understand how I fit in all of this?"
Aerie is a silent, robotic sentinel, with her sleekly gloved hands clasped easily just behind her lower back. When the little Polish runaway glances in her direction yet again, Aerie will once more favor her with one of her patented, artificially reassuring smiles. It's an entirely automatic reflex. Humans are very sensitive to smiles.
Bieta glares at Richard. "Recruiting is not what I would call what Linnete was doing that night, breaking into my house at a late hour and looking like she had either been in a car accident or beaten. Other than the declaration of love she made, she seemed to be saying things which did not make much sense to me. I had seen Linnete in the past and she looked beatened then too but she had also been drunk." Bieta shook her head and said, "I tried to give Linnete the benefit of the doubt that evening, I asked her if she had been in an accident...if she wanted first aid and I offered to call an ambulance for her if she thought she needed it. When I turned my back to go get the first aid kit, she told me I was cruel, screamed 'Reality Deviant! at me, then shot me in the back...more than once," says Bieta. Her jaw clenches. "My daughter was upstairs and could hear what was happening. Kasia was terrified and called someone Mike and I knew. Are you telling me, Linnete's behavior was what you intended, Mister...I am sorry, I am afraid I cannot remember your name."
"Cromwell," Richard repeats for the benefit of the woman sitting across from him. His expression remains neutral, hands still clasped on the tabletop.
"How is your daughter doing now, Doctor Dymna? Her name is Katarzyna, Kasia for short? I trust that she has recovered from what you have just described. You did not bring her with you to this meeting." Another glance is spared over to Mike.
"Have you left her in safe hands?"
Bieta is seething. Bieta blinks and says, "You send your...companion...there..." Her eyes briefly shift to Aerie, "after us at the mall, she overturns the car...with my daughter inside...and you want to act like you are concerned for my daughter's well being?"
Richard is not seething. His gaze returns to Bieta, "Your daughter was never the focal point of our operations, Doctor Dymna. I do not believe in collateral damage. Neither does she." She, being the sentinel at the gate. Aerie will no doubt sense that she is addressed by context. "You have not told me of her current status. I would like to know."
Aerie looks to Richard for permission and then she addresses Bieta in her softly modulated, dulcet voice, "There was a statistically insignificant chance of the small human suffering injury. There was a much greater probability of her being kidnapped by the reality deviant who had captured her." There is no apology - this merely a detailed extrapolation. She had been in perfect control of the vehicle's trajectory. More or less.
Bieta looks at Aerie and says, "Kasia was not kidnapped or captured by a reality deviant." Bieta looks back at Richard and says, "Why? So you can have someone take her, while Mike and I are meeting with you? So you can make me to do whatever you want?"
Richard's hands move on the tabletop, one folding over the other. "Because you sound distressed about her, and distress can lead to poor decisions, Doctor. Please, take a breath. Relax. I was invited here to help solve the problem concerning a cache of data that you possess." His brows knit briefly over the rims of his glasses, "Are you aware of the data cache that is in your head? That it concerns my organization? That it has become quite a resource-intensive acquisition?" His hands separate, coming flat on the tabletop.
Aerie tilts her head towards Bieta, seeming gratified to learn that the tiny human is as safe as she had statistically assumed she would be. She won't say anything else, given her complete absence of any human need to explain or convince anyone else of her motives, nor any semblance of shame or anxiety. She simply is.
"I.." Bieta glances over to Mike then back to Richard, "I know that my mother left me something as an inheritance...something that is heavily encrypted...it had to do with her work. I know that she did not work for the technocracy, so I am not sure how it could concern your organization."
"You cannot confirm whether it does or does not concern the Union," supplies Richard. "As you have said yourself, it is heavily encrypted. We are at an impasse, it seems." Hands come together once more as he looks across the table at the woman in her seat. "While we are on the subject of hypotheticals, let me provide you with one. I am the one with absolute control over the Union's prioritization for your case. I am here, you are here. We are discussing a way forward. What would it mean for you if you were granted clearance from us? What would it mean for you? For Kasia?"
Aerie tilts her head a tiny micro-fraction, the curious movement resulting in the displacement of a single, silky straight blue-black tendril.
"Well, it would mean that Kasia and I could continue to live our normal lives undisturbed. I would know that Kasia and I were safe sleeping under our own roof and no one was going to try and kidnap either of us," Bieta says. "I could continue running my veterinary practice and Kasia could return to just being a girl, playing with her friends in the neighborhood."
Richard listens to Bieta's response, keeping still as he watches her. When she is finished, there is a beat of a delay before he inclines his head in a nod. "I see that we are of one mind about this, Doctor. That is precisely how I expect things could be if such a reprieve were granted."
He takes a breath, perhaps the first since he had entered the room.
"You are not identified by any Superstitionist Tradition, Doctor. You have acquaintances, but no real sponsorship. You seem at a loss with what has been entrusted to you, encrypted perhaps for your protection. Your motives appear to be ... mundane. Not at all aligned with the trajectory of your mother."
He leans into the table, elbows resting where his forearms once were. "Do you think that you could commit to this mundane existence? Could you avoid blatant violations of Consensual Reality?"
Aerie seems very curious, given that for the first time, she'll divert her attention from Mike, to focus her gaze upon Bieta.
Bieta blinks and says, "I am sorry, I am not sure what you mean when you say blatant violations of consensual reality."
"I expect a better education from the Superstitionists," says Richard, in an odd demonstration of editorial comment.
Still leaning forward in his seat, Richard says, "My organization, the Technocratic Union, is tasked the safeguarding Consensual Reality. Someone has to make sure that things don't spin wildly out of control on behalf of the Masses. The Masses who are not like your acquaintance Mike, you, or your own mother." His brows knit, "My responsibility is Prospect, California. I must protect the Masses from blatant violations of Consensual Reality in all forms, including Superstitionist 'magick'." The word does not sit well with his elocution. He is using it for Bieta's sake.
"If you could resume your peaceful existence and do your very best to ensure that the cache in your head does not threaten my organization, then it is possible that I could end this hunt right now."
Aerie seems to be entirely onboard with Richard's detailing of the Union's mission statement.
Bieta sighs and leans forward in her seat and says, "Mr. Cromwell, I do not know what you mean by Superstitionists. What I do know is that I am a Christian. I do know some people who do not share the same faith that I do. However, our Bill of Rights says that we have the right to believe in whomever we want...even if it is...as one devout evolutionist puts it...the flying spaghetti bowl monster. This is not Communist China or the U.S.S.R." Bieta pauses for a moment, then says, "I can not think of anything that anyone I know has done to make themselves a threat to anyone. So, you will have to excuse me if I seem a little confused here."
"The Traditions," says Richard, his tone that of lecture. "And the Bill of Rights has no jurisdiction in the Ascension War. Neither does the Constitution, nor even the Geneva Convention. I think it's important that you realize this, as well as the gravity of the situation." He spreads his hands apart, "Let me put it simply: The Technocracy will leave you alone as long as you do not practice dangerous magick and do not cause any trouble for us." He restores his posture, "Does that sound less confusing to you?"
Aerie remains motionless, listening quietly. Though the mention of flying spaghetti bowl monster does conjure a brief threat assessment.
"Well, I do not practice dangerous magick, Mr. Cromwell. I consider myself a responsible person," says Bieta. "I heal animals for a living. I also have a surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning."
Mike listens quietly, although there was this under urge to try to crack the AI. Now? Now he's a lot more equipped for it. But.. that particular project would have to wait for another time. Listening as Richard and Bieta talk, he finally gives a small nod. "Bieta.. I think what he's trying to get across is don't use the stuff you're learning to go mess people up. Don't wreck houses. Don't turn gravity off in downtown Prospect.. so on. Don't do stupid stuff. If you're amiable to it, I believe he's willing to call it off, since you're pretty innocent in the whole fight between the Techno and the Trads.."
"The decision is ultimately yours, Doctor," says Richard. "I do not know how much more clear I need to be about these conditions. Reckless demonstrations of magick will get our attention." He looks over to Mike, "I believe you understand this as well."
Bieta looks over at Mike and says, "Seriously?" Bieta looks back at Richard. She says, "I will not turn the gravity off in downtown Prospect or do stupid stuff...like Mike put it. Now, will you leave me alone so I can get my daughter and my life back?"
Aerie tilts her head just a fractional fashion, observing with an entirely unreadable expression etched upon her artificially perfect features.
"So noted, thank you," says Richard as he rises to his feet.
He looks over to Mike while buttoning his suit jacket, "She has a lot to learn from you, including where and when to exercise insolence. Therefore, I suggest that you take great care in helping her understand what all of this is. I do not want to revisit this, but should she cause any threats to Consenus you may find yourself sharing in the liability."
Mike sighs softly. "To be fair.. she's been on knife's edge for months.. I'm teaching her. I'll keep going. We're not the type to stand out.. Heck, I bet your toy over there didn't know I was a mage when we met at the Mall. right? Either way.. we're not going to make noise.. Bieta isn't like that. So if you accept that, then please let your contact know the hunt is over, so they know it's more than just me saying so?"
"Insolence?!" Bieta says. She is now up out of her seat. Now, she is glaring at both Richard and Mike. "I would not call Mr. Cromwell's companion a toy, Mike." Bieta looks over at Aeria and says, "What is your name?"
"I am being magnanimous. I suggest that you take my offer of sanctuary without parting thoughts," says Richard firmly. "You would not want to meet the rest of her family." He moves to walk away from the table, then turns back to the two present, "You may consider this hunt terminated. I will hold my end of the armistice."
Mike grins wryly. "Yes... it's appreciated.. and we do accept. Thank you for leaving her alone.." Mike would tap something on the tablet with a small nod, then looks to Bieta. "She's an android... not a toy. Still.. the algorythm to replicate the subtle human movements is kind of facinating. But.. no hacking. This is a peace talk.." He smiles to Bieta and shrugs a little. "He's saying it's over.. you can get Kasia back. I'll get word out once they're gone."
Aerie looks down at Bieta when she is somewhat unexpectedly addressed. She favors the human female with another of her reflexive, reassuring smiles - even though the uncanny valley of her artificial features makes it somewhat less encouraging than intended.
However, any subsequent response she might have offered Bieta will be cut short when the Administrator rises from his chair, and announces the meeting at an end. His security is much too highly prioritized for her to allow a distraction so as to practice her conversational etiquette. Instead, she turns away, returning to Richard's side with a liquid grace.
She opens the door for him - scans the corridor for reality terrorists - and then waits for him to step out before she follows, keeping her metal frame strategically positioned around the Administrator in such a way as to shield him from gunshots or other harassment. Soon enough, she'll have Richard conveyed back to the sleek, electric black town car - securely spirited away!
Once the door closes behind Mike, Bieta looks over at him and says, "Excuse me, how do you know that man again?"
Mike grins wryly at Bieta. "Roasters. I facinated him with some of the play on the Ms. Pac-Man machine. We got into some chat about algorythms and he gave me a card if I ever wanted a job outside of doing the freelance I do." Looking at the laptop, he watches for them to be gone, nods and picks his stuff up. "Ready to go home, Bieta?"
"Yes, I am ready to go home. I am just not sure how you ever got him to agree to do something like this," says Bieta.
The next day...
Log Lodge - Living Area(#10336RAM)
The interior of this spacious open concept lodge is built of cedar logs, with rustic features throughout. There are a few things that stand out about this place. Tree trunks run up through the construction of the house like pillars before spreading their slender branches flush up against the roof above. A slender tree trunk hooks back and forth, following the line of the stairway, which leads to the upstairs hallway before its limbs interweave themselves with the others up above.
A stonework facade along one wall contains a large wood burning fire place, which spreads warmth throughout the whole living area when a fire is lit on colder days. On either side of the stonework facade are picture windows which allow for natural illumination along with a wonderful view of the wooded pasture out behind the house.
Bieta comes in from out of the cold and sheds her barn coat. She kicks off her rubber boots and stamps her feet. Rubbing her hands together, Bieta moves off towards the kitchen in her sockfeet. Once there, she washes her hands at the kitchen sink and dries them. Something simmered on a pot on the stovetop and Bieta took up a spoon, lifted the lid off the pot and began to stir a deep beet red colored soup with vegetables and meat mixed into it.
Mike, who was upstairs until he saw Bieta coming in, comes downstairs as well. He smiles as he watches Bieta clean up, then go to stir the food. He walks closer to the kitchen, setting his tablet down. "That smells pretty good Bieta.. What is it?"
Bieta looks up from stirring the pot and replaces the lid. "It is borscht. I thought soup would be good on a day like this. Also, it was easier to make when I had no time to work on meals last night and I had that calving this morning which needed to be done by c-section."
Mike shivers a little, then chuckles. "I'm glad I avoided that.. I can.. deal with blood when I have to? I just prefer not to." He smiles and steps a little closer, going to place a kiss on Bieta's forehead. "Think I can join you for some? I don't know how much you made.."
"Mike, I made enough for both of us. I was not going to eat lunch in front of you and not offer you anything to eat," says Bieta. Bieta closes her eyes as Mike kisses her on the forehead. Bieta turns and hugs Mike saying, "I think I remember the day you met Richard in Roasters. That was some time ago. I am surprised that you kept his card."
Mike smiles and hugs Bieta back as she hugs him. He holds her close for a moment, then chuckles a little, letting her go so that she can keep cooking while he'd move to sit at the counter. "I scan everything, Bieta. Information is power. I'm just kicking myself it took me that long to connect the dots."
Bieta turns around and takes a couple of bowls down out of the cupboard. She opens the silverware drawer and takes out knives, spoonss and forks for Mike and herself. "What will you have to do for them in order to get a meeting like that, Mike?"
Mike shakes his head. "I don't. I passed along a cost analysis from their servers about what it was taking for them to not find you in the hunt. Logically? It made sense to stop if you were shown to be non-threatening. I gave them enough advanced notice so they could verify what I did to the spot was also peaceful. Something to be respectful with. So.. all in all I basically did the best I could to make it as gentle as possible to agree to stop it."
"He almost made it sound like you worked for him last night. I guess he does not know that you are a Virtual Adept because he did not sound like he would be happy if he found out I was being trained by someone who was a member of the traditions. Instead he told you to teach me what I...needed to know," Bieta says.
Mike smiles faintly. "That'd be.. well.. me. Ghosting. Arcane. Although I know the droid has data on me now. But it'll pass. I think he suspected.. and he's mostly talking about the basics. Technocracy. The Union and the Traditions.. like me, a Virtual Adept. He's wanting you to understand the war for ascention that's going on.. and why the fight is so dirty."
Bieta takes out a couple of plates and says, "So, why not tell me why this fight is so dirty and what it has to do with me and Kasia?" Bieta stacks the bowls and silverware on top of the dishes and takes them to the diningroom table. She starts to set the table.
Mike muses, standing to help Bieta set the table. "You were side effects.. Your mom, if she was a VA, was probably spying on them. So that library may have data on the Technos." He nods to her. "Thus, you are a threat to their security. Like he said.. sleeper rules don't really apply. When the Trads found out they were after you, they were trying to help. To get your daughter out of the line of fire. Allowing sleepers to know is.. dangerous. Thus, the hiding."
Bieta walked over to the china cabinet and pulled some napkins out of a drawer. "Mike, if the information in my head was something my mother took from the technocracy, then it would be old by now. I do not understand how it would be of any use to anyone today. I know all I could think about last night were those firemen burning books in Farenheit 451 as graffiti which was considered dangerous and some of the things my mother told me about the KGB in communist Poland before she left...when he started talking about...superstitionists...and dangerous magick. Bieta places a napkin at each place at the table.
Mike shakes his head a little. "It most likely contains algorithms to get into their system. That lets new data be gathered. Heck, it may automatically be updated. We don't know. That's what makes it dangerous to them." He frowns, then nods slightly, going to help with the next part of setting the table for them. "They.. are control. Ultimate control to try to make the world safe for everyone. That's the Consentual reality they were talking about. That's the push back you get when trying to do your magic. The Paradox. The Will you impose to make things happen and reality pushing back. Thus.. any of us could do dangerous things to people and they hunt those who disrupt the 'norm' for the world."
Bieta stops what she is doing for a minute and looks at Mike. "Really? Well, I have seen what their world looks like. It is full of human and drug traffiking...neighborhoods full of people who can not get out, forced to live with gang violence and corruption and greed which keeps people from eating when we have more than enough food for everyone on this planet. I do not think I like their version of reality much. It does not sound like these people make room for innovation...because innovation means change...changes that can change the way people live. The way you have made them sound in the past, they sound more like something out of 1984. I just feel sick." Bieta heads back into the kitchen.
Mike nods slowly. "That.. is exactly it. A world of darkness that has no one seeing anything more than what they have. No one having this idea it can be better." He finishes setting the table, then sighs. "But.. Then there's us. Mages. Trads have their own way of trying to improve the world. Show the sleepers the light. let them all see that it can be so much more. A better land. The VAs? We have come up with Reality 2.0. We're making it so that people can do what they want, as they want, sleeper or not. It'll be better and it'll let everyone move into the new reality.. It's.. a lot of work. But that's why everything is sort of at a draw between the Techno and Trads.. other than when things pop up that are odd. Like with you."
Bieta takes the lid off the pot and puts a ladle into the borscht. Grabbing the pot handles with pot holders she takes it out to the table and puts the pot on a trivet. "My parents were good hard working people. They did not believe in just stealing something from someone else. If she did take something from the technocracy, then she must have had a good reason."
Mike makes sure to set up the spot to put the hot pot for her, then steps back to not be in the way for it being delivered. He smiles at Bieta and would take up her bowl, to dish her up some with a wink and sets it in front of where she sits, then would get his own. Once that's done, he takes up a seat next to her. "I.. don't know. I don't know what was going on. It could even not be techno data at all. Won't know until it's cracked and that particular algorithm.. Well, don't know that either." He chuckles weakly, then patiently waits for Bieta to do her prayer, before he'd eat himself.
Bieta takes a seat and says a prayer for the meal. When she is done, Bieta takes up her spoon. She blows on her soup before sipping it. "How far along is your project for the Virtual Reality equipment?"
Mike muses. "I got about two thirds of it done. I'm going to have to do some more structural work on it. Something I can ask Co-Mike to do now since I'm not going to have to keep the warding up. I want to run it past Adora too. She's the expert on hardware afterall. Then.. I'll get you into my world, hmm?" He grins a little with that.
Bieta looks at Mike and says, "I thought we were in our world right now, Mike. I am not ready to just let someone take this world from us."
Mike chuckles, shaking his head. "Virtual reality. We won't go to Reality 2.0. That's.. yeah. That isn't ready for general users. But maybe when we're in there, we can try to visit your library." He would eat some of the soup carefully, blowing on it to cool it.
Bieta eats a little more soup. "I thought I would sleep better last night but I had nightmares." Bieta shakes her head. "It seems to good to be true that the hunt is really over."
Mike hesitates, frowns, glancing at Bieta, then back to his soup. "I.. I would of sat up with you if you had wanted, Bieta.. To.. help with that." He shrugs a little, then eats some of the soup. "It's good.. and I can understand that feeling. That? That's freedom. That's what they fight, most of the time. But they agreed, this went on too long."
"There is a part of me that wonders why they did not just solve their problem by trying to kill me at that meeting," Bieta says. "I do not know how I should feel when I leave the house now. We did not have to transport an expectant mother here which was good. I still felt ill at ease the whole time I was driving over to the Jacobs' farm and back today."
Mike sighs softly. "Because Bieta.. They believe us when we tell them we're not the bad type of mage. They have more problems than us to deal with. We don't be a pain? They won't bother.. As for the meeting itself? We would of been gone and they would of been locked out of Space at least until he cracked my edit, Bieta.. That space was Null. That's why I set it up as I did and was ready with a trigger hint to make us be gone and lock them out for a time."
"I do not understand all that you just said but I understand that you mean you did something to make sure we would both be safe," Bieta says. She eats more of her soup.
Mike chuckles a little. "I made a box with one door. I held the key to that door. I made it so Co-Mike could teleport us out. If I left? The door would close and vanish. They'd be stuck until they could break out. Long enough we could easily get away. That's.. it in a nut shell."
"Oh. I am sorry. What is every day for others like me, is not every day for me. Well, Catherine probably knows how it feels. Sometimes, I think other mages forget what it was like to be learning about their world for the first time. Maybe, they were raised in a family who made them aware of what they were very young so they were always around it." Bieta shrugs and eats her borscht.
Mike pauses, frowns, then sighs. "I know, Bieta.. I get it. I'm.. I'm sorry. I grew up ignored. So I am use to just having to find and read on my own.. I had some VAs who recruited me.. All online. I never met them.. So.. I didn't have family to help but due to what I do.. what happens with me? I knew something was different.. That was before I knew how to white list." He studies his soup a moment, shakes his head and would resume eating. "You've adapted well.. and I've tried hard to make it easier to understand.."
Bieta says, "Have you been able to find out who has Kasia?"
Mike pauses, then nods a little. "Typhanie. I've verified that you're not hunted anymore, Bieta.. Lowered the wards. You can go out as you want.. and We're going to meet her soon and get Kasia from her soon." He frowns a moment, then sighs. "She's.. the one that's pushed for you to get rid of the library and most likely she's going to be upset you didn't.."
"Well, I am sorry. I do not like it that she did not want to give me Kasia back unless I let her take the library out of my head. Next time someone needs to watch Kasia or protect her, I want that person to be someone I know and trust," says Bieta.
Mike shrugs. "There'll be me. Or Co-Me. Depending on how you look at it. Either way? It is some one that Amethyst trusted...with her life. I think there should of been contact so you could of visited at the least.. But I'm pretty sure that's all going to come out when we go get Kasia back."
"For now, I want her safe at home with us," says Bieta. "Did they say when and where we could meet them?"
Mike gives a time for when the meet is at.
Later that night...
Storm Lodge - Storm Hall(#8080RAJU)
The doors open to reveal a short hallway and a landing big enough for a few people to stand on. The floor is made of roughly hewn slate, fit together to give an illusion of naturalness. The walls of the landing are made of natural cedar, and can be pressed and opened to reveal a storage area for shoes, coats and other items. Roughly five feet into the hallway, the floor dips into a shallow pool of water; shallow enough to reach the ankles. The shallow pool extends another six feet befor another similar landing is reached. The wood panels here open to reveal towels for the wet feet.
Standing at the landing, the rest of the structure is visible. The floors are that same natural stone of the landing and the cedar panels work as the walls. The room itself is large, encompassing most of the house. The ceiling vaulted to reveal a cupula of sorts, presumedly glassed to let in the natural light. The main focus of the room though, is the sunken in circular sitting area. The stone works itself in naturally to form an unbreaking bench, as one descending step. In the middle of it, a large stone fire pit from which a chimney rises to meet the middle of that cupula. Off to one side of this room is a kitchen, with modern appliances. On the far wall, the entire section of the outer wall is presumedly glassed. Each glass panelled door overlaps another to open that section of the wall fully to afford a panoramic view of the garden beyond and woods.
So however things get passed along, word gets back to Typhanie that things have settled and Kasia can PROBABLY go home. Typhanie takes no chances, of course, and sets up the meeting for late at night, having said that Kasia is not HERE, but if all goes well, she can go home. Phil's called ahead of time. She wants him there and he doesn't think that's too awful an idea EITHER. So beer is presented, chilling happens, while the two wait (in probably at least partially awkward silence and or sniping the shit out of each other) for Bieta and Mike to arrive.
Eh, Phil wants to rest up for /this/ one. He does take the opportunity to catch up on some other business, though. "By the way, if I ever get tied up with a thing, jump on the council seat /immediately/ before Dragonball Z gets anywhere near it. Limp-wristed piece of shit."
Mike has already been reaching out to contact others for tracking down who has Kasia. He's told to talk to Phil and that's part of how all of it is set up. Now that the meet has happened with the Technos, he's gotten the data point needed to get him and Bieta there. So, throwing it into that tablet of his, he gives directions to Bieta so she could get them there safely. Why teleport and cause problems with reality, when you can just drive in? At least, when expected. Plus, This lets them drive out with Kasia.
Living in the woods herself, it does not take Bieta too long to drive Mike and herself to the location. She turns down the drive and pulls up slowly in front of the door before shutting off the engine. Bieta glances up in the rearview mirror before looking at Mike and says, "I am ready." She sighs and gets out of the vehicle. Bieta is still dressed in the white Cheongsam with red trim, which she was wearing at the Winter festival, when Mike called her about the meeting. Her hair has been woven in a single braid that falls down her back. Bieta approaches the door and she reaches up to knock on the door.
"Well, yeah. I only didn't take it because you were on it. I don't really WANT it, but of the options? I'm at least competent. Don't worry, Phil. I got your back. Mostly." As people arrive, she meets them at the door and holds it open. She isn't smiling. She's also wearing a pair of baggy sweats and a crop top. Her hair is pulled up in a messy bun and she isn't wearing shoes. She hears the car pull up and checks out the back real quick to make sure the bears aren't like.. huffy or something.. and then meanders to the front as the door is knocked upon and she pulls it open and steps aside to let the two of them in.
Phil is hanging back a couple steps, seeing as this is Typhanie's place and not his. "You must be Bieta, good to meet you," he says-- while looking at Mike. Did Typhanie warn them about him ahead of time or not?
Mike walks in with Bieta and nods a little to Typhanie and Phil. "It's good to see you both. Thank you for letting us come meet you. As has been passed forward, we've resolved the issue with the Technos. They're not hunting Bieta anymore. So we'd like to get Kasia back now, please."
As Bieta enters the residence, she waits until she is over the threshold before she offers a hand to Typhanie, "Good Evening. Dr. Elżbieta Dymna is a name by which I am called." She looks over at the individual standing a few feet behind Typhanie when she hears her name and says, "I am sorry. I do not think we have met." While she waits for Typhanie to shake her hand, Bieta steps out of her black pumps so that she is now standing on the tiles in her stocking feet.
Phil turns, ever so slowly, and stares at Bieta. Some would say 'through her', but those are the Toreador and we don't talk about them. "'Doctor Elzbieta Dymna'," he repeats, openly incredulous, "'is a name by which I am called'? Last person who talked like that was Drake... and /he/ at least thought his kid had been dead for years, so I give him /one/ pass. I would /like/ to give you a pass, on account of possibly being in shock, because the only other thing I can figure is that you're a /goddamn spy robot/. It'd figure, month we've been having."
Typhanie lets people pass in and then closes the door and follows. "How do you KNOW they aren't hunting you? Because what I had that night was a terrified little girl who had to be teleported out of a gun fight because of something in her mother's head. Why it wasn't taken care of IMMEDIATELY, as a mother, I cannot POSSIBLY understand, but hey, what do I know, right?" Nope, not holding back. Typhanie has things to say. She also doesn't shake Bieta's hand. She isn't the sweetest slice of apple pie you'll ever meet. She lets Phil talk, then offers, "I'm Typhanie Thompson. Master mage. Hermetic. I mostly keep to myself except when stuff happens and someone calls me out to do things. Have a seat. Let's chat. I want you to know that Kasia is safe. Totally safe. No place safer, really. She hasn't been told anything magical or weird. She has been told that you were injured and are sick. She does NOT know that you're coming here tonight, possibly to pick her up. I didn't want to get her hopes up in case something else weird happened. And she's been an absolute delight."
Bieta sighs and drops her hand. She looks at Phil and says, "No, I am not a spy robot. I am of Polish decent. I really do seem to have more than one name to those who are not Polish." Bieta follows after Typhanie and does not try to interupt her. She does have to lift the skirt of her dress a little as she walks through the water and Bieta does pause long enough to dry her feet off and refold the towel she uses before she follows Typhanie and takes a seat. "Ross already looked at the possibility of removing it and found that it would kill me if he removed it. Ross concealed it instead. Mike arranged a meeting with someone who could stop the technocracy from hunting me and we met with them last night. Mike has been doing what he could to help me because I do not know much about all of this...I do not know the people he does. Tomasz and I raised Kasia very well. I am glad to hear that she has been acting well behaved."
Typhanie nods. "Did ROSS.. whoever the fuck that is.. consider the fact that Phil and I here could have kept you from dying and or brought you back? It's a quick life time maybe corr thing. Wouldn't be the first person whose brains I put back in their heads." She shrugs a little and glances over at Phil, then back to Bieta. "We went to Disneyland. Twice. She loves it. Take her often. She likes to get dirty and she loves the hot tub. She likes bears. They're her new favorite animal. She's better at math than I thought and she loves the book 'Watch Out Said the Elephant, I'm Going to Sneeze.' The fact that I know that and you don't kind of makes me fucking sick. Because if the Technocracy was a threat to me, I would have made goddamn sure that someone was watching out for my daughter and she was some place safe ALL the time. Not out in public. NEVER. And if MY daughter had been taken away from me, I would have risked death. I would have risked EVERYTHING, and I sure as SHIT wouldn't have waited two months to get things dealt with." Typhanie keeps her voice level. She doesn't yell. BUt she's VERY clearly angry.
Phil squints at Bieta. "English not your first language? Also a good reason." He's half lying there, he doesn't sound at all like he thinks it's a /good/ reason, just enough of a reason that he doesn't feel like pushing the issue further. Not when Typhanie's already gotten right to the point. "So, here's the thing," he adds, once she gets the obligatory You're A Shitty Mom rant out of the way. "When you, who I basically don't know from Eve, when /you/ tell me 'the Technocracy isn't after me any more'? I'm the kind of asshole who insists on checking personally. Because /they/ are the kind of assholes who would lie to you about that with a straight face, or if they're feeling really ambitious, turn you /into/ a fucking spy robot. Two months is a long time to us, it is not a long time to /them/ when they get it in their head that they need to play Reality Police about something."
"I did what Mike told me to do was necessary for me to stay alive...partly because I am Kasia's mother and I plan to be around for her for a very long time. Mike has done a great deal to help me...I did not even know what I was before I met him or about any of this...so I relied on his judgement. Also, I cannot just decide to kill myself. I am sure you have things about your own beliefs...things you must do or not do. As for knowing about what my daughter can do and what she likes, I do know what books are her favorites because I have read them with her. Sometimes, she reads them on her own. She does well in more than just math." Bieta looks at Phil and says, "I believe your suspicion is a valid one. However, I am myself and Mike has a program on his computer which can prove it. He has recordings of all my vitals and brain activity from before and after the interview last night," Bieta says.
Typhanie glances over at Mike and points. "I'll deal with YOU later then, pup," she says, then looks back to Bieta. "For my daughter? I'd die a thousand times and any real mother would." But then she shakes her head. "Not good enough. You get scanned again. And again. And again if we think it's necessary. And if anything looks weird, you and Mikey over there get poofed VERY far away and by the time you make it back here, you won't even remember Kasia's name."
"Especially since I don't know /him/ from Adam either," Phil adds, gesturing toward Mike. "Look, if you're new as you sound, then I can understand the 'taking her out in public' part. It was /fucking stupid/, but you might not have known that at the time. But, yeah. Get comfortable, this is gonna take an hour or two." As he talks, he heads over to a box of what appears to be random junk, rummaging through it and pulling out a thing or three.
Bieta watches Phil as he rummages for the items he needs. She waits.
So a few hours later, but still before dawn, because kids get up FUCKING EARLY.. Typhanie has done played out all the relevant songs that she can think of while Phil plays with his toys and Bieta gets scanned. Finally, a string on her guitar snaps, ziiiiinging off to the side and she sighs and puts it down. "Alright. I'm convinced. Phillip?" He loves to be called Phillip.
Phil deals a full house, one of at least ten or twelve since they started. And gets up to retrieve the broken string. "Call me that again and /I'll/ use this on /you/," he mutters. "Yeah, I think so. If they cared enough to plant something /that/ deep, they probably would've noticed and sent a squad to bust in here before we could finish digging through it." That said, he turns back to Bieta. "Next time somebody tells you to sit around with your thumb up your ass for two months 'cause it's the only way to survive? /Ask someone else/. /Keep/ asking someone else. I'm not gonna tell you to die for her, not when there's a decent chance that you can live for her instead. But GET UP OFF YOUR ASS AND FUCKING DO SOMETHING. That is LITERALLY THE POINT of us, so if you don't, then you're a fucking disgrace, and you should take Kasia and fuck off to Siberia."
"I did try going to others. The majority of them acted like they did not know what they could do or did not want to get involved, Phil," Bieta says, looking rather dour and sounding rather exhausted. "Mike has been the only one willing to teach me much of anything and he has already told me he does not know much more than I do. I have been working with the resources that I could find," says Bieta. Bieta looks at Typhanie and says, "I did not take Kasia out in public by myself when I went to the mall Christmas Eve. I had Mike, Amethyst, Catherine and Mr. Fenix with me. As I understand it, both Amethyst and Mr. Fenix are more than competant. Before that, I had been going out in public with Kasia for at least two years after Tomasz left without anything happening like that. You do not even know me. So, please do not assume that I am a bad mother or that I did nothing to try and get my daughter back. Mike and I did not even know where she was until a day or two ago. We still do not even know where Amethyst is."
Typhanie winks at Phil and rises to her feet, shaking her hands out and she nods to what he says. "Agreed. One hundred percent." Then she just stares at Bieta for a long, long, long moment. "YOu shouldn't have taken her out in public AT ALL because you were being hunted by the Technocracy. Actively." She rolls her eyes a bit and then shakes her head. "Anyway, so I lied. Kasia's here. She's asleep. I'll go wake her up. You have about two minutes to figure out a cover story. She's been told you were injured and then recovering, so that's probably the one you want to stick with. She's accepted it and it made sense why she couldn't be with you. Telling her that she was kidnapped because her mother's an idiot will probably just upset her." And then she wanders toward the back of the house. It's a big house. And she comes back out a couple minutes later with a sleepy Kasia and another little girl with bright red curly hair. She looks just like Typhanie, so Typhanie probably didn't steal that one. "Why's it not daytime and why is Uncle Phil here?" the little girl asks and wanders over toward the kitchen for juice.
Phil waves to Kasia as she passes by, familiar enough by now to not bother her with an answer right away. Drink first. "See, now 'I talked to like half a dozen people' is a much better answer," he adds, returning his attention to Bieta. "And /not/ one that we should've had to pull teeth to get. I get that you and your boy there are pretty new, but that is /not/ an excuse to fuck up your shit and his shit and /all of our shit/. I told you to 'do something', lemme get more specific. /Learn/. Learn to use your powers. Come up with different things you can do with them. Running and hiding is a tool in the toolbox, but it should never ever be your /only/ tool. That's what sleepers do."
When Kasia sees Bieta her face lights up and she stretches out her arms and runs to her mother saying, "Ma ma!" Bieta meets her daughter halfway and kneels down to her level in order to hug her daughter, "Oh, Kasia!" Bieta picks her daughter up off the floor and holds her in her arms. Kasia says,"Typhanie said you got hurt and I had to stay with her until you got better. Are you all better now? Can I go home with you?"
Bieta kisses her daughter and she is shedding tears, "Yes, Kasia. I am much better and we are going home now."
Typhanie grins. She can't help it. Kasia's a good kid and she'll miss her. "I got all your stuff packed up, Kasia. It's outside. Mom's all better. Tell Willow goodbye." Willow's pouring juice and she frowns, looking confused. "Wait, NOW? Well, fudgesicles. We're still TOTALLY going to mini golf next week," the little girl grumps and hurries to give her sisterfriend a hug and a half.
After Bieta puts Kasia down for a moment, Kasia turns around and gives her friend a hug. She looks up at her mother and says, "Can I please go with Willow and her mother to mini golf next week?"
Bieta picks Kasia back up and says, "We will see. Right now, I need to get you home and put you to bed." Beita starts walking with her daughter towards the door. When they reach the shallow pool in the floor, Bieta lowers Kasia again long enough to pick up her folded towel and put it over her opposite shoulder. She then lifts her daughter back into her arms and Kasia rests her head on her mother's other shoulder. Bieta picks up the hem of her skirt and wades through the water to the other side, carrying Kasia. She lowers her to the floor again long enough to dry her feet and refold the towel. Taking her daughter's hand in one of her own, Bieta walks with Kasia towards the front door.
Typhanie gives Willow a little squeeze and they walk the two toward the door. Willow hops over the stream - she's had a LOT of practice and missed a whole bunch. "See you later, Kasia. You have my number, right? Make sure your mom gets it and we'll see you soon, okay? Have a good rest of your day, Bieta."