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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:20 am 
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Genii
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"You will need a retrieval specialist."

Ladon was still sitting upright, but his gaze had begun to drift off into the middle distance, to focus on the nothing-in-particular he looked at when he was visualizing some complex problem. He'd been told once that some people found it unnerving, which he'd filed under 'mildly interesting, but largely irrelevant.' As long as it didn't impede a person's doing what he wanted him or her to do, he was indifferent to such opinions. And if it did, well, he had other means of dealing with that problem than changing the way he did things. The only real downside to turning his intellect to concentrate on one particular point was it took most of his attention off everything else, including his immediate surroundings.

Nevertheless, it didn't make him totally oblivious, and Navia's voice was always enough to pull him out of even the deepest reverie -- which this was not. Or hadn't been yet.

Shifting back to the 'real world,' he looked at Navia. "You know of such a person? And how to acquire his ... services?"

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:03 am 
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Genii
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How could she admit she did? That she knew, intimately, the darker side of this world Ladon favored. In the past years, since Ladon offered her this position, Navia had pulled herself out of that mire. She had cut ties with most of her shadier contacts, at least the ones she could. And the one she couldn't... was just who Ladon needed.

To introduce the two filled her with a sense of dread. With Ladon, the world was precise. There was a way things progressed, a certain order. She took great comfort in being caretaker of that order, keeping things in just such a manner that Ladon could do what he did best. Once Zev got involved, it would all be beyond her control. He would make sure of that.

And she was afraid she would disappoint him. Just thinking that caused fear to well up inside her, unexpectedly strong and sharp. Clenching her oversized mug, Navia took three steadying breaths and then deliberately set down her charro.

"I do, and I can."

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:35 pm 
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Genii
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Navia fell silent at first and Ladon waited, still and suspended. He had no right to ask what he had. He was a representative, even a personification, of the System. The System controlled the lives of the Genii people, filling it side to side and top to bottom, leaving no room for anything else. Or that was what they all pretended was true. The Chief Scientist wasn’t supposed to acknowledge such a thing as a ‘retrieval specialist’ existed, let alone try to acquire the services of one.

And he had no right to ask Navia. He knew something of her background, of how hard she’d fought to earn her place in the system and the careful balancing act she maintained on his behalf. And he couldn’t thank her for that, because he wasn’t even supposed to be aware it was happening. It was a terrible risk he was asking her to take, and the fact that he was sharing in it paradoxically only made it worse.

"I do, and I can."

Ladon looked down at his hands, finding to his surprise that they were resting on Dahlia’s file. He didn’t remember moving them. Taking a breath, he let it go again and looked back at Navia.

He had no right.

“Do it,” he said.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:24 am 
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Genii
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The decision made, Navia wasted no more time on her misgivings. She would make the best of the situation, it was what she had always done. She rose resolutely from her seat and walked to the edge of Ladon's desk. Picking up his receiver handset, she methodically unscrewed both mouth and ear pieces, checking for unwanted transmitters. She had swept the office that morning, but there had been several hours that the office was unattended. This was too important to risk, a connection like this could cost Ladon his livelihood, and her her life.

Confident the receiver was clear, She walked over to the small wireless set on one of the file cabinets. With a crackling hiss, it to popped to life, filling the room with static. She tuned it to the ever present news program, leaving the volume slightly higher than Ladon would have normally listened to it. Returning to the receiver, she picked up the handset and leaned on the edge of the desk facing Ladon. He would be able to hear everything she said, while the wireless would hopefully interfere with any listening devices.

Then she dialed Zev's exchange.

"Morning. Yes, I am aware of what time it is." A deeper voice on the other end didn't pause to hear her but continued to ramble, and each moment her lips became a thinner and thinner line. "Zev... Zev... It's Business." That brought a moment of peace. Then the questions resumed, a little sharper. She answered each one concisely."Medical records. Anywhere between 18 and 60. 64375." That answer caused a longer pause, and an much quieter follow up. Navia scowled. Despite herself, she glanced at Ladon. "Yes" Again there was a lapse, then a series of statements, all questioning gone. Navia listened intently, then hung up the phone.

Reaching across him, she picked up Ladon's discarded graphite, and in clear but tiny lettering wrote out an address and time on a piece of scrap. Her tone still low, she murmured. "He will consider it, but insists on meeting with YOU."

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:58 pm 
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Genii
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Ladon kept his face very still at Navia's words, while inwardly his mind was racing. Apparently, this was not going to be the usual case of Navia handling the sketchy side of whatever needed doing on his behalf. This time, he was going to have to get his own hands dirty. And that, he suspected, was exactly why the mysterious Zev required a face-to-face. Maybe he wanted the thrill of bringing a Chief down to his level, maybe the more concrete gain of leverage. Whichever it was, and it could be a bit of both, the price had just gotten much, much steeper.

Picking up his bird mug, he wrapped his hands around it and took a long drink, heedless of its recently-brewed heat. Then he set it back down in the precise spot where it always sat and picked up the scrap. Turning it so he could read it, he committed the information to memory. With his other hand, he pulled out a drawer, reached in and pulled out a small igniter, of the sort they used to light the burners in the lab. A few moments later, nothing was left of the scrap but a few specks of charred ash dusted off onto the floor.

The soft peal of the dawn chime rang through the office and he nodded. "We have much to do before then."

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:37 am 
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If she could have had it any other way she would. Should all this, whatever it was, go sideways, Ladon needed deniability. She was willing the scapegoat. Once her background came to light, it would be a believable cover. That would leave Ladon's hands clean. Of course Zev would have to complicate things. This could still be salvaged. If they could keep the meeting very quiet, she could then convince Zev the importance of using her as the contact. Navia has no idea what was going on in his head, but she needed to try and talk sense into him.

She watched as the small flames consumed the evidence, leaving only traces of ash on the floor. On one hand, it was good to see Ladon was taking this as seriously as she was. Neither of them were prone to whimsy in general, but this required more focus and discretion. On the other hand, she made a mental note to get the cleaners in early this week.

"We have much to do before then." He said with a nod.

"When you are done with the files, I will see about getting them returned. I had Kegan input a bogus file request from Dr. Woodard backdated a few days. So returning them will not be difficult. If he indeed has anything to hide, he will not expose the withdrawal, should he even find out about it." She kept her voice pitched low as she moved towards the door.

As one slender hand touched the doorknob, she paused. "About Zev," She said without turning around. "There are only two people in this world I will trust implicitly. He is one of them."

The door shut quietly behind her.

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