(2016-11-26) Library Shenanigans (AKA: Support your local test tube murderkids)
Library Shenanigans (AKA - Support your local test tube murderkids)
Summary: Among other things, Tabitha recruits Button to do some research.
Date: 2016-11-26
Related: Follow-up to Mosquitoes of Death and Devastation and Skating Rink Fracas
NPCs: None
Scene Runner: NA
Players:
nevada..tabitha..button..yuliya..

The holiday was rough— not as rough as it could have been, thanks to the students left here gathering for a good Thanksgiving meal. Afterward, Nevada had retreated, a little bit, called up his grandparents and talked to them on the phone, then cried a little bit and went to sleep. It's still quiet, this morning, and Nevada's taing advantage of the break in order to familiarize himself better with the grounds and facilities. His mind-labyrinth is vast — some might say endless — at the vey least, nobody has yet found an end to it. So, deeply meditative, arms at his sides and palms out before him, he steps through the stacks, taking in the tomes around him, mentally marking them and creating a fresh copy of the library in a newly shifting section of the labyrinth, where he'll always know where to find it. He breathes slowly, large black eyes focused outward to either side of him, and he puts one foot in front of the other as though a member of a solemn procession. If he weren't to quiet his own thoughts, he would fix on the titles which intrigue him; now he clears his mind and lets the books present themselves to his mind without bias or judgement.

Tabitha enjoyed putting the Shut-Ins Thanksgiving together, although she didn't take credit for most of it except for some of the cooking. And to be certain, it made her first Thanksgiving away from the orphanage a bit less weighty. Less fun were events at the skating rink last night, what with the jealous roid raging former cripple turned power sapping insta-hulk hijinks (say that five times fast while drunk). After getting tired of trolling the mysterious Mr. Agent (and it getting too cold to stay out), Tabitha did some web searches on the info from his dropped business card. Sadly, she has not gotten very far in a night's worth of work. It seems her Google Fu is not strong.

She leans back from the library terminal she was using for her searches, shifting her 'gaze' away from a screen full of Taksian Society public relations garble that's enough to set her hairs on end. The whole 'design the perfect human' line reeks of the garbage her own creator would spew from time to time. With a relaxing mind comes more awareness of the rest of the room, and her primary perception focus shifts over to Nevada as the new student seems to be… mentally mapping the room? She stands up and goes over to a nearby railing to watch him from above for a moment before she gives the energy matrix of her aura a /twist/ and 'fold', crafting a portion of it into a blue-white glowy paper airplane which she then sends drifting on its merry way down towards Nevada's head.

Nevada's mind is open, welcoming. It makes for a generous target. Even more generous than the proportions of his physical head. It funnels the psychic projectile straight through into the darkened corridors wherein Nevada is treading his mental labyrinth, and he seems to sense the motion of its flight even from behind him as it comes winging. He turns, muzzle-first, then the rest of his great slouching neck and head, and then his shoulders follow suit, backlit by embers of a fiery glow where books are being born from nothing in the darkness around him. He lifts a hand and catches the airplane against the broad, flat expanse of his nose and brow, between his eyes, palm to his face to keep it from falling. He then takes the paper down and with a delicate touch begins to unfold it again, if it does come unfolded.

Watching the aura-construct plane make its semi-random way down the levels towards Nevada is entertainment enough for Tabitha, who only nudges it a couple times to keep it from going wildly off course. Then when Nevada turns in just the perfect way for it to land in the perfect spot? Well that has her hopping up and down on her toes and giving a gleeful golf clap. And the plane? When she sees him start to see if it unfolds, she reconnects it to her aura to that yes, it does indeed unfold. And on the inside of the construct is a brief message of, 'Hi, Nevada! Nice catch!'.

Nevada has seen this material before, and as he feels it shift from uncertain to unfoldable in his hands, he recognizes the source it's connected to, even though he only sees the paper in his hands and the new library he's fashioning in his mind, not the real one where Tabitha is actually present. Still, a genial smile, black eyes both supremely mellow and somewhat playful. "I try," comes his deep-rumbling, melodic baritone, and he runs the side of one rather large finger with surprising delicacy over a fold of the paper, drawing a soft sibilant noise from the draw of skin against material, thendrawing his thumb in a soft sweep down over the ink, tracing out a series of rhythmic circles, lines, swoops spelling out 'do you feel this?'.

At a table behind Tabitha a tower of books slides over to expose Button's frowning face. "SHHHH! Library here. Trying to make heads and tails out of atomic nanomechanics' future application in molecular sized nanotechnology." The tower of books slides back over into its original spot in the wall of books that's surrounding the tiny girl like a fortress.

Feeling the finger running along the not quite real material catches Tabitha off guard. She wasn't expecting it, because even though her aura acts like a giant sensory input field it's NEVER been this sensitive! The touch translates to her in a wave of complex and contradictory sensations until she can take a moment to get just a bit of focus and figure out that he's finger spelling words. She catches the last half of the question and is in the middle of responding with 'ohblessednameyesIcanfeel/smell/tastethatcouldyougoalittledownandtotheleftmaybe' on the material's surface when the shushing comes from behind. That plus the wave of technobabble breaks her concentration enough that she's not getting the sensory input in high fidelity surround-sense.

But the fact that she wasn't being loud (unless she let out an involuntary moan without noticing, which is entirely possible although unlikely) causes her to go over and shift that same stack of books back over so she can see Button again. She keeps her voice down to just over a whisper, "If you're so sensetive to sound that a tiny golf clap distracts you, I suggest you invest in headphones. Also? Molecular scale nanorobotics is outdated. DNA/RNA coding for cellular extrusion of picoscale biononic organelles is what all the hip recluses are studying these days." She says this with just the sweetest of sugary sweet smiles on her face, then it shifts to serious as she asks, "And on an unrelated note, are you any good at doing deep archive searches on matters of technology and cutting edge biotech?"

Nevada is in his own little world — quite literally — and the biosquabble in the upper decks of the library doesn't seem to register with him in any notable fashion. He's poring over the note left to him sans spaces — as was the custom before the advent of minicule text in the middle ages — and turning up a corner of his maw into a smile as he takes in the information. Down and to the left? His ears flick in mirth at the request, and he's about to indulge the sensate bit of papyrus in its urge to be scritched, but then, instead, he lifts the whole missive closer to his face, bumps it tenderly with his butter-soft velvety muzzle, then shakes his head slightly, drawing peachfuzzed skin against the paper in short-scritching strokes before he sends a great-sworling huff of warm breath flooding over its surface from flared, pink-edged nostrils.

Button slowly brings her eyes back up from the book to give Tabitha a 'do-I-look-stupid-to-you' glare. After a second of that she says,"Yes, yes, yes. That's also highly experimental technology that costs more than the yearly GNP of most first world countries to work on. I don't have those kind of resources so it would be a waste of effort to study it in detail." She lets out an annoyed huff of breath, mainly because she /wishes/ she could work on that kind of ultra-cutting-edge tech.

Behind her veil, Tabitha's expression goes from sugary sweet to somewhat serious and straight to puckish humor at Button's complaint about the experimental nature of the tech which Tabitha spouted off on. She shrugs and says in an offhand manner, "Well, I'd offer to bleed you some tissue samples to study, but they're designed to dissolve when remooooohOhOHved!!!"

Her measured words become a gasping output of random sylables as the warm breath nuzzling translates from the aura-construct in Nevada's hands to an entire smorgasbord of sensations across her body and mind, many of them quite… yeah… she's gonna need a cigarette. Physically she goes slack jawed and wobblly at the knees, only her grip on the table keeping her from melting into a puddle on the floor.

The aura-construct comes close to phasing out as this happens, but after a couple moments it solidifies with 'oh you evil so and so' on it in fairly wobbly 'handwriting'.

Nevada straightens, ears lifted in alertness when the sheet of paper nearly disappears from his hands, and then he laughs, a deep, resonany note that echoes down the corridors of his mind, though he doesn't make any noise in the physical world. "You're welcome," he murmurs, and it's amazing that his deeply rumbling voice can manage to sound quite so cheeky. He eases the paper back shut along the lines on which it had been previously folded, stroking along the folds so as to tighten them up into formation once more, then, with careful aim, he sends the plane soaring back out of his labyrinthine mindscape. The plane itself may feel as though it's going the wrong way, entirely, but as long as it doesn't fight against the direction he'd thrown it, it will once again emerge into reality, and he follows suit, emerging from his memory palace in order to look up at the library stacks and balconies around him.

Button is about to answer Tabitha's question about doing searches on the internet when the other girl goes all melty-kneed and inarticulate. She can't see the reason for it but, taking an intuitive leap she stands up from her chair, and breaking her own request, raises her voice, "Hey! Whoever you are, wait until she's in private to engage in aural coitus, will you?" Then she thumps back into her chair, arms crossed over her chest and looking annoyed enough that one would think she was the one that almost passed out in pleasure while in public. Finally she says, "If I can't find it, its probably not on the net. What do you need?"

Tabitha blinks her way back to coherent thought (ignoring the odd sensation of blinking without eyes), although that process is interrupted by the slight wrongness of the airplane construct's return. Once she can feel it more clearly, she is quick to banish back into the demidimensional mists from whence it came. Her attention is split between two topics just now, so she deals with the one most physically proximate first. Taking the Taksian Group business card from her pocket, she slides it across Button's table to her. "Anything and everything on these people, with an emphasis on their facilities, personnel and operations. They've been doing something lately to create highly unstable supers and it's already cost a lot of lives."

Then she goes over to the railing and looks down at Nevada. Her aura forms an oversize hand on his level which taps him on the shoulder and makes a 'come here' gesture while she calls down, "Oh, Mr. Morrow, please report to the library's top floor at your earliest now for a conference." Her voice is carefully projected to reach Nevada but not to carry across the whole library, and it has that slightly too pleasant lilt where the speaker can't decide if they should shout or laugh.

Nevada will have time to complete his tour of the lower floor of the library, no doubt. Honestly, once he spends enough time in here, the Labyrinth will incorporate its knowledge all by itself. It's what it does. He's only rather eager to get everything set up in case he needs it. But the aura is summoning him, and he can't well deny it after the bit of mischief he'd inflicted. His ears stand up, then flickswat cheerfully as he heads back out of the stacks, grabbing his backpack off of one of the tables before taking to the steps and heading on up to the upper levels. He's not hurrying, but he's not dawdling, either. It's just a lot of stairs, give him a sec.

Button takes the card from Tabitha and turns it over a couple of times before carefully examening the side that actually has printed information on it. A few second slater she's tapping away on her laptop. First, she opens the official page for the Taksian Society, then she opens the HTML code for the page them she starts opening a variety of windows that have nothing but text on them. As the seconds go by the text starts to quickly acumulate and strange things start happening to the Taksian's page. She also starts opening windows in a browser called TOR and accessing a variety of webpages and listservers. As she types she mumbles under her breath to herself, only raising her voice to the audible level to say, "This may take a while…" By the time Nevada makes it up to their level she's so deep into her research that she doesn't even register the minotaur's arrival.

Tabitha isn't expecting Nevada to come a runnin'. It is a library after all, and from her limited time he seems a fairly laidback sort of guy. So she watches Button take the card, bring up the page, and start her web hunting in earnest. It takes about half a minute for what's on the screen to blow well past Tabitha's ability to keep up with what's happening, so when Button says it may take a while, all she can do is nod. "I sort of expected it to." Then she goes back to the terminal she was using earlier and drops into the chair to give her legs time to get some strengt back while Nevada makes his way up.

Hey, here he is, all six foot four of him, broad at the shoulder but not as bulky as the RPGs would have you imagine. He tops the stairs and then heads for Tabitha and Button— the latter seems busy but gets a nod of greeting, no less, easy to ignore in favor of the information she's pursuing, but present. Then, one ear craning upward, the other pivoting aside as if he head something behind him, "You alright?" he asks Tabitha, regarding the way she's flopped into her seat. "Sorry if I, uh… hurt you or anything, I was just," he doesn't even know what he was doing but playing with her, so he just shrugs haplessly instead of explaining, since that sounds patently ridiculous.

Tabitha watches Nevada approach as she collects her wits, pulling back her veil but leaving her hood in place. Her empty eye sockets are covered by a thin strip of sterile gauze. When he asks if she's alright, she adopts a wry expression. "Some might say I'm better than alright, Mr. Morrow." Her breathing is almost back under control and she sits up a bit straighter in her chair. "Oh, that was about as far opposite from hurt as it's possible to get. You might want to ask my girlfriend's permission before trying it again." She says this with a healthy touch of good humor in her voice.

Nevada draws out a chair from ad adjaent station, tipping it onto one leg and tottering it out so that he can straddle it, resting his arms on the chair back as he watches Tabitha. "Or, at least, yours," he notes, tipping his muzzle downward in an earnest look of apology. "So that field… it's part of you?" he wonders. "And you an call me Nevada, if you want."

Tabitha grins as she watches Nevada's method of sitting comfortably. Now that she's had a moment to gather herself once more she also sits more comfortably in her chair by pulling her legs up into lotus position. At her tiny size she could almost manage to look like Elf on a Shelf. She nods to show that she's accepted the apology, then smirks. "Oh, with some fair warning I think it wouldn't be too hard to get mine." She nods at the question about her aura. "Yes. It's many things, including an extension of my senses. And not just the standard ones, either. Whatever can be detected from ambient EM radiation bands I can sense as easily as hearing or touch." And at the last bit, "Oh, I'll call you Nevada most of the time. I only break out the Mr./Ms. business when someone's in the doghouse." She gives him a quick grin to show that he's not in that state any longer.

She and Nevada are sitting on chairs near one of the computer workstations on the library's top floor, chatting about various things. Button is at a table just to the side, but that one is buried brain-deep in the workings of the Deep Web and isn't likely to come up for air in the near future.

Yuliya slinks about, and it seems that the Russian-American girl is looking for mischief, which is how she usually looks. The bell on the collar around her neck softly tinkles as she moves towards the computers. She does have a couple of books tucked under her arm, and it seems that she might be going to study. She notices one semi-familiar face, and so she angles herself towards Tabitha and the group she's with. "Getting your nerd on, Tabby?" she teases softly as she approaches. Nevada gets a friendly, but somewhat cautious look as she moves to join them.

Sitting backward on chairs is a great way to accomodate a tail, too. It curls slightly on the floor, flicks its tufted end against it in interest mirrored by his rising ears when Tabitha self-describes as rather permissive. But he doesn't press, instead fascinated by the description of her powers. He hasn't been exposed to very many others of the powered variety, and it's one of the reasons he wanted to go away to school, so he's going to take advantage. "What else does it do? I've seen you manifest it to view in various guises, use it to manipulate objects," he lists, "And it obviously has some capacity for psychic contact," since it was in his brain-space, after all. His ear pivots to the sound of the bell, but he doesn't turn and look until Yuliya addresses Tabitha.

Button doesn't take her eyes off her screen but as the sound of a bell partially breaks into her concentration she mutters, "Jeezus. First long distance foreplay, moans and all, now bells. Whatever happened with libraries being quiet…"

Tabitha settles into her chair, somehow being both deep yoga relaxed and straight-spined almost military postured. She listens to Nevada's questions and considers her response before answering. "Technically it's a demi-dimensional energy matrix connected to me at a subatomic level. It acts as an energy sink, able to absorb a wide range of energy sources. Kinetic, electrical, thermal, chemical, gamma, atomic, the list goes on. The energy it absorbs is stored in my body and fuels all of my other powers, which is a fair size grocery list with strength, toughness, regeneration and flight being the core."

She looks over as Yuliya's little collar bell gets her attention. She smiles for the new arrival and nods, "Something like that. Just working on a personal project." Button's complaint about the bell gets a raised bald eyebrow ridge. "It's a tiny little jingle bell, not the Notre Dame carillion." She doesn't say more beyond that as she doesn't want to give Button any cause to stop the web trawling she's doing. That and she's a bit too relaxed from recent events.

Yuliya hears the mutter from Button, and she raises a hand up to hold the bell still so that it doesn't make any noise, and blushes softly. "Sorry," she squeaks out, as she sits down. She slouches forward, and places the books she's carrying onto the table, before proping one up to rest her chin on. "I can't help it." Her blue eyes rest on Nevada for a few moments, and she arches a brow. "Hey," she greets softly as she regards the other Prometheus team member. Tabitha's talk of personal projects does seem to catch her attention, and she just stares at the her for a few moments. "Anything I can help with?" she offers.

Nevada listens with keen interest to the way in which Tabitha's field words. "That's amazing. Your regeneration, is it… " he wanted to say 'is it working?' but he does't think that's the right way to put it. "I mean, your eyes and everything," he tries to place it delicately, but he wonders whether they're going to, y'know, grow back. He glances from Button to Tabitha and back, and then to Yuliya as the conversation about the bell wends its way around the group. "Misophonia is common in people of extreme intelligence," he points out. "Even small sounds can be very annoying," he explains, as if trying to defend the student using the computer. "Hey," he echoes back to Yuliya, voice as deep and resonant as one would expect from looking at him, yet… so very gentle. He lifts his ears and browridges all at once to know what the project might be.

Tabitha arches a brow ridge at Nevada's question about her healing. "Yes, it's working now. But it wasn't when my injuries were inflicted. My reserves had been drained by prolonged exposure to space." She doesn't go into detail as to just how long 'prolonged' was, chosing to shift focus to the question of the personal project. She nods over to Button, then pauses when Nevada brings up misophonia. "Huh. So a little jingle bell /could/ be relativly equal to the Notre Dame carillion? That's a new one to me." She considers this new information, then gets back on topic.

"I'm looking into a most likely evil genetics firm. Well, right now Minerva is doing the bulk of the work. Anyway, twice in the last week or so I've been at ground zero at places where people were suddenly and artificially given powers. The first time it was done by some kind of air dropped delivery system at a crowded public event. A lot of people died either because their bodies couldn't handle the alterations or from the general panic. We've got one of the survivors down in medbay. The second was yesterday in Shady Cove. A kid that had been on crutches and such was turned into some kind of power-sapping insta-Hulk. Things got hairy, but I spotted a guy who was watching and recording the whole thing. Wasn't able to get much off of him except for a business card, which Minerva is using to track down whatever she can."

Yuliya peeks towards Nevada when he speaks, and she arches a brow when he uses a complicated word. "Miso-what? Misophilia? Is that an attraction for miso soup?" She might not be one of the smartest people around. "I don't know what that has to do with my bell." She gives a soft snort and a little shrug, before stretching out a little bit. She closes her eyes half-way, before considering what Tabitha is saying.

"That is very pretty twisted," The girl with the dyed hair comments. "It's pretty alarming when you suddenly gain powers, well, that's what I found. I can't imagine what it'd be like to get powers while in a crowd of people." She closes her eyes for a moment, looking thoughtful. "Then again, maybe it can be used for good instead of evil, if it can help someone who is disabled." She opens an eye. "If you want anyone to do some sneaking, I'm your girl."

"Misophonia," Nevada repeats, leaning his chin onto the palm of one hand as he leans forward over the chairback he's straddling. "It's a hatred of sound. Like misogyny is a hatred of women," he tries a different but more common word with the same stem. His melodic baritone has the soothing and rhythmic cadence of a professor who leaves half his students asleep by the end of class. But the miniature lesson is likely as not a defense mechanism, gving him time to absorb what else is going on without letting it get to him or shake him too badly. He nods grimly to Yuliya's assessment of the practice. "I can only imagine. I've always been this way," he murmurs. "What's the name of the firm you suspect?" he asks.

Windows keep getting shuffled around on Button's screen. After her first complaint she just ignores the noise and conversation, sinking back into her work. A few minutes later she stops for a moment to say, "well, they do have a legitimate side to them,. Looks like some of their genetic and stem cell research has legitimate medical applications. But they also have some really good technogeeks working for them. No one has this clean a cyber profile without working really hard for it." Then she sinks back into her hacking.

"Helping the sick is a good and noble endeavour, but not when it turns them into roid raging murderkids." Tabitha pauses as she says this, wondering where the hell her brain pulled that one out of, then deciding to run with it. "And I say this as a vat-grown and raised murderkid, myself." She shifts her attention to Nevada's question, "The Taksian Group. I hadn't heard of them before yesterday." Then she pauses again as Button comes in with her assessment so far. "And when the house is too clean, it's usually to attract attenion away from the junk filled basement. Or the closets." She smirks as she catches herself from running away with the metaphor. "I grew up in an orphanage during my most recent childhood. Clean was a myth. Clutter, chaos, and entropy rule."

Yuliya closes her eyes again, and keeps her chin propped up on the book that she should be studying, and it could be Nevada's voice that is causing it. "I think the attraction towards miso soup sounds more interesting," she purrs softly. She leans a little to oneside, almost getting close to knocking the book over. She's silent for a few moments, as she listens to Tabitha and Button speak. "Instead of fighting them, shouldn't you be helping your fellow murderkids?" At the mention of the group name, she cracks open an eye again and shakes her head. "Never heard of them either, and I met a few bad people through my 'mentor'." That eye then closes again, and she takes a deep breath and gives a soft sigh before stretching out. "Have you checked under the bed? Some people hide shiny things under the bed."

Nevada follows the metaphor of the clean house about as far as Yuliya's contribution to it. "Under the bed?" he wonders, searching for some deeper meaning there, if there is one. He glances back to Button where she's working at the cyber side of things, but they're coming up clean, and he finally sets his chin back onto his palm, his elbow strewn across the back of the chair. "I might be able to find out something about them," he profers, after a moment's hesitation. He doesn't want to step on anyone's toes on this project, but if he's able to help he'd render service gladly. "I'm not properly psychic, as it were… I don't read individual minds. But I can share in communal knowledge— if there are enough people in the region who know about the Taksian group's less savoury activities, I might be able to access them."

Button slaps her table and lets out a loud, "Hah! Gotcha!" She turns her laptop around so that anyone else that wants can see what she has pulled up on her screen as she explains what she found. "So… It took some digging but I found something on one of the Deep Web's equivalents to wiki leaks. It seems to be an internal memo from one of the Taksian Society's research facilities. According to the OP its a facility somewhere in Canada. Anyway, supposedly they're trying to develop a retrovirus that can rewrite the human gene sequence to add superhuman abilities. Apparently the plan is to release it by an as of yet undetermined transmission vector to infect all humans once they've worked out the kinks."

Tabitha takes a moment to pull herself up out of the rampant metaphor avalanche, then shrugs to Yulia. "I'm all for helping. I just also know from experience that not everyone can be helped." She leaves it at that, letting herself get distracted by Nevada's information about his powers. "That… sounds very useful. If we can find somewhere to go and some way to avoid attracting attention, it's a thing we could try." Then Button is excited and showing what she's found. Tabitha shifts her sensory focus to the laptop screen. It takes her a moment to adjust her aura so she can read it properly while Button is explaining her find. "That… is horrfying on so many levels. And so many ways it can go wrong."

Yuliya certainly wasn't expecting a loud noise, and so when Button slaps her hand down, it causes her to startle and lean to oneside, which causes the book she was resting her chin on to topple over, and then her side of her face hits the desk. "Ow," she mutters, as she keeps her head on the desk. She cracks an eye open and regards the screen and what's being displayed. "That doesn't sound good at all. I wonder if they have any plan beyond just transforming things? Do you guys think they going to try and control them or just let them cause chaos and fight those with abilities.?" She raises her head up and gently rubs at her cheek.

A nod is then given in agreement to Tabitha. "Oh, I do understand, and I agree. Not everyone can be helped." Then finally blue eyes shift towards Nevada again. "Yeah, under the bed. People put things under their for storage."

Nevada's ears stand straight up and cant forward in alarm; the hackles at the back of his neck would rise if he didn't keep them nicely shaved down. What do you even say in the face of something like that? It makes a fellow miss the quiet life back in Arizona. But this is the sort of thing about which he's signed on to figure out what to do, so he rocks his head side to side and gives a huff of air from his nostrils, shaking off the chill and regaining his sense of calm. "So these first few incidences have been… what, test runs?" he can only suppose. He meets Yuliya's eyes, and nods. Well, that does stand to reason.

It takes Tabitha a moment before she can yank her brain away from various nightmare scenarios. She gives her head a shake, "If they attempt this… it would make the Gardens Massacre look like nothing more than a domestic disturbance. Billions…" She has to give her head another shake to keep from sliding right back down. She nods to Button, "See what you can dig up about their lab locations, or if there's anything in there about their distribution method. Last week they air dropped a sphere full of what I think were modified insects, or maybe insect-form microdrones." She stands up from her chair and starts to pace.

Yuliya returns her head to the table, and closes her eyes again. She's not going to stress over it, it seems. "Billions dead, paving the way forward for whatever plan they have for the world." She gives a little shrug of her shoulders. "I wonder if we should get job applications from them, just in case they do manage to do it?" It seems that she's joking about that. "But really, we can't do anything without any idea of how big a heist they're planning to pull. Act too soon, you might miss something. Act too late, you might not be able to stop something." She keeps her head down on the table, looking comfortable where she is. "If they were microdrones, could someone look at them to see how they were getting a signal?"

Nevada understands the urge to lighten the mood with jest, and so looks more lenient than horrified at the idea of polishing his CV in case of genocide, giving Yuliya a genial smile of encouragement while the halls of his mind echo with a hastened tread to find the things he knows about miniature drones and biowarfare. And to see whether he can find any new passages since the last time he was down this way. "I don't guess you managed to recover a sample, or else there'd be more certainty as to their nature," he murmurs soporifically as he moves through the maze.

Tabitha snorts at Yulia's comment about job applications. "No thanks, I have terrible references what with trying to kill the last supervillain I worked for." Her expression is wry but her words have a tone of the not really joking. After a moment she stops pacing, "If they were microdrones, they didn't need a signal. They got dropped, flew til they found a target, injected something, and then went poof." Nevada's question about samples gets her attention, "We do have one of the victims of last week's attack here in medbay. I'm sure they've taken samples from her."

She looks thoughtful for a moment, then lets out a long centering breath. "Okay, if we keep going over this without more hard intel we'll just start talking in circles. I think it's time to do a mental cleanse involving movies and maybe snacks for those among you that eat." She looks around at the others, "All in favor?"

Yuliya opens her eyes at Tabitha's comment, and she smiles. "Reforming henchgirls unite," she says with a smile. She slowly pushes herself upright, and glances towards Nevada and then Tabitha. "I don't know how those things work," she admits. "Though it sounds nasty." She then slowly shakes her head at the mention of samples, and she then considers the change of topics. "Snacks sound good. Eat now, plot later sounds good."

Nevada got invited to watch a movie. By someone his age. This is almost exciting enough to make him forget all about the future depopulation of the Earth. He hasn't ever been a villain's henchperson. He hasn't been anybody's henchperson, unless you count him helping his grandmother in the kitchen. But he's been kind of a shut-in, as it were, and so social situations are new. "I like— movies. And snacks," he votes, maybe a little awkwardly, but heartfelt in his words, at least.

***

A few days later Tabitha receives an email from Button:

OK, here's what I was able to find out. It took a lot of digging and a lot of favors burnt but… The Taksian Society is divided into 'clubs'. Its financed by some very rich individuals and any research that takes happens for the Society happens in very small laboratories with some really smart scientists that have as little morals as they have brains. One of the clubs is nearby, possibly exactly because of Coral Springs High. Seems they are using the students as part of their trials, to see how the 'infected' supers stack up against the real thing.

Let me know if you find anything else out. Playing with these bozos sounds like a lot of fun.

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