Subject Seven
Roleplaying Log: Subject Seven
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Warren uses his stupid amounts of money to get some actual facts on Domino's origins.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: May 06, 2019
IC Location: Phonecall
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 07 May 2019 03:33
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits: Domino
Associated Plots

It takes a while to make the proper connections. Warren is able to streamline the process by paying off the right people along the way, though while his efforts do eventually get somewhere promising there has been a notable lack of face to face meetings. A call here, a text or email there, most of it took place behind the scenes.

Eventually, it leads to a plain padded envelope sent to the address of his choosing. Inside is a basic burner phone and even more basic instructions.

'Dial 7.'

Only one number is programmed in, likely to another phone which follows the 'use once and destroy' philosophy. Safe to say that whomever mailed Warren the phone, he's probably not someone that Domino had gone to college with.

Just in case this isn't shady enough it sounds like the guy on the other end might be electronically masking his voice somehow. He even greets Warren by something of a codename of his own.

"Mister White? My name is Mister Grey. I understand that you have some questions regarding a mutual acquaintance?"

***

If there's one thing that always opens doors, it's 'enough money,' and Warren Worthington certainly has enough of it — especially since he's not currently paying Domino for anything in particular at this exact moment. The Domino Fund is now being used for something… still Domino-adjacent, but not going directly to her.

Instead it's being used to follow a careful breadcrumb trail, through increasingly reticent individuals who use increasingly clandestine means of conversation. This under-the-table dealing is not usually Warren's specialty — well, this flavor of under-the-table dealing, at least — and in fact he doesn't do most of it himself. He retains a private investigator with whom he has had a long relationship; enough to know that discretion will be used and no eyebrows will be raised about the palm-greasing. This also keeps his own name out of the affair — or at least creates a degree or two of separation.

As the entire thing becomes more and more illicit-feeling, Warren begins to feel this is more and more important.

Ultimately there comes a point where Warren steps personally back into the flow of it, however. There are some things that need to be heard personally in order to give them the proper context. This point is once the envelope and phone arrive, sent to a PO Box address in Princeton, New Jersey. Perhaps it amused Warren to make Princeton his 'throwaway location.' Who cares about Princeton University, after all?

The vagaries of Ivy rivalries aside, Warren does not hesitate to have the envelope retrieved so he can initiate contact. Despite his recklessness on many other occasions, he knows intimately well the concept of discretion, and how to take some precautions when necessary. He begins the call from a hotel room in DC and sets it up to be recorded (convenient that he was already traveling for an unrelated appointment — also convenient that DC is a one-party consent location), and uses his own voice masker. The person on the other end may already have ferreted out who he is, making this pointless, but why let anyone else who happens to listen in?

The sound of the other person on the line, and how they address him, makes him think maybe there should even have been more precautions. "Yes," is his slow reply. "And I am assuming there's a lot to be said about her, given the layers of secrecy."

***

"In a manner of speaking," Mister Grey responds with an even tone. A few seconds pass in silence, perhaps trying to gauge 'Mister White's' response. He could also be trying to sort his own thoughts on the matter. It's hard to tell.

"The truth is that the mere act of having this conversation puts us both in a most questionable situation, necessitating such precautions. I did expect that sooner or later someone would start digging around, human nature being such a fickle and predictable curiosity and all, though from what I have heard you are not the sort of individual I would have counted on to be holding the shovel."

"This will be our only contact, Mister White, so I would suggest that you have your questions in order. Understand that there are some details which I cannot disclose regarding subject seven's origins. That we are having this conversation at all does imply that she is still alive, however. That…is somewhat comforting to hear."

Grey breathes out a gentle sigh and some noise comes through the line as if he's settling down in a cushioned leather chair. A faint clink might well be an ice cube inside of a glass. It's probably something strong. Seems like the right time to break out the top shelf goods.

"What I can tell you is that the Project, which shall go unnamed, had run into something of a dead end. Initial attempts had been …less than desirable… when grown strictly in vitro. In 1992 subject seven was the beginning of a new approach, the first to have been born within a host body. Ah..'Beatrice,' I believe. She had only agreed to assist the Project under the condition that she would be allowed to give the child a name. The Director wasn't too thrilled with the idea but options were limited."

"So, Mister White. What can I tell you about Neena?"

***

"Judging from the responses I've already gotten in pursuit of this," is Warren's dry response to the 'warning,' "I surmised as much. And what sort of individual were you expecting, Mister Grey?"

Warren has a pad of paper and a pen in front of him. He starts to write, slowly, though his eyes aren't on what he is writing so much as they are watchful of his immediate surroundings. 'Not aware that she is alive' is the first thing he notes down. 'Subject seven,' directly afterwards. 'Attachment,' is noted last, in a brief hand.

"So she's a designer child," Warren guesses laconically. Could be any purpose, but in his experience these things always want to create weapons. "From an altered human embryo? Or otherwise? Where is 'Beatrice' now?"

Warren's pen pauses. "What was this 'Project' intending to create, with Neena? These things always want to create powers in people on-demand, or control powers which already exist in metahumans. Which was it?"

***

"Someone..with a bit less desirable intentions," Mister Grey replies without elaborating any further.

"Beatrice did provide her DNA for modification. It was a rather fascinating discovery how much Neena had taken after her mother in light of there being no biological father, but I digress. Where is Beatrice? At this moment your guess would be as good as mine. She's probably still in hiding..dealing with her -cult.-" The last word is spoken with a slight edge. Angry? Annoyed? "That woman has caused more than enough damage already."

What was the Project intending to create? "Ah, now that is an important question, Mister White. I'm certain that a man of your ..pedigree is familiar with the intricacies of metahuman interactions, how like-minded powers on opposing ends of the spectrum may be useful in canceling one another out. Illumination versus eclipse, incendiary versus frigid, velocity versus chrono dilation, etcetera."

"The Project's goal was to create the 'perfect weapon.' One power which could ultimately counter -every- other power in existence. Such anomalies occur incredibly rarely through natural measures, as if Nature herself is trying to retain a sense of balance with all of these crazy abilities. After eight attempts with nothing definitive to show for it I can assure you that such a feat is not easily accomplished. Subject seven had been our most promising, however..flawed."

***

Warren's pen scratches. It underlines 'Attachment' again, slowly, but adds 'Cover?' afterwards. "Curious how you managed to surmise my intentions," he says, his tone light, though his blue eyes are unblinking. He notates 'desirable intentions' beneath both words.

He doesn't interrupt as 'Mister Grey' elucidates further, however. The continued heavy implications that his identity is known bring Warren to frown faintly, but there's nothing for it now. Nothing ventured, nothing gained; a tired old maxim, to be sure, but a maxim precisely because it tends to be true. "Are there not enough cults in the world?" Warren muses. His wings twitch, with memory. "What does this one rally around? I take an interest in damage control, myself."

The suppositions about his pedigree and what knowledge he might accordingly have are not verbally responded. There is only the quiet tracing of Warren's pen. "Ah," he muses. "Well, we all want the perfect weapon. The perfect counter. We all want that one tool which will control the metahuman for us, perfectly — and afterwards, heel like a dog when asked." A pause. "I take it Seven had the inconvenient flaw of a will of her own. I have had some experience with that… as well as her abilities." His voice is dry.

Warren considers a moment. "Where are One through Six, and Eight?" he probes. "Or do you know? You seemed to have lost track of Seven."

***

"What does it rally around? Frankly, Mister White, I do not know nor care. The only reason we became aware of Beatrice's change of heart was because she and her fanatics had managed to steal seven away from us. I'm still not sure just how they managed to succeed. I suspect seven had a direct involvement."

Next comes a dry chuckle, one which is quickly replaced with an audible intake of breath. "You have seen her, then?" Another pause is followed with "Be most wary of who you speak to of this. While the Project may have been mothballed nearly eight years ago there had been a lot of resources poured into it and those whom had played a part have frighteningly long memories and no sense of humor. I only hope this conversation does not put her further at risk."

With this said Grey backtracks slightly, returning to the point of 'free will.' "She did inherit her mother's defiance, that much had been abundantly clear. She took to many of the exercises well, though given their living conditions we've found them usually more receptive to learning so long as it involved some manner of stimuli. No, the biggest setback had been, ironically, her powers."

"Understand that knowing exactly what each subject could do was critical to our training and implementation. To be honest we never did learn the full intricacies of her abilities. Somehow things..simply..'happened,' for lack of a better term, in her presence. I distinctly recall one time when the Director had tried to motivate her with the cat, which somehow resulted in the death of a colleague instead. It was much too unpredictable, it could not be triggered upon command. None of our tests resulted in satisfactory activation."

As for the matter of the others, he has much less to say. "I am unable to disclose the nature of the other subjects."

But, as for losing track of seven, he releases another slow breath. "We did try to track her down, of course. With the training she had received I am not at all surprised that we had lost her forever. Truthfully I had always expected her to find us, instead. I can only guess that the trauma she had endured was sufficient enough to stay her vengeance."

***

"Ah," Warren says, his voice dispassionate. "Well, there you are. Allowing a woman to bear and name the child was the first mistake. We never can slaughter the lambs once they have names, much less when we carry them for nine months." Warren's eyes track back over his notes, where he's written down 'about Neena.' An underline beneath 'Neena.' "You were one of those inclined to convince this 'Director' to allow it," he says abruptly.

Warren doesn't dwell on the half-question. Regardless of the answer or not, he moves on.

Be most wary of who you speak to about this. "I'm wary enough even speaking to you about this," is Warren's arch reply. "I've met a lot of humorless people of the sort you describe. I don't care for their company, nor even for their most tangential attention. Are we dealing with a governmental organization here? God knows they have agonized over the 'metahuman problem' for much longer than merely the past year."

He listens in silence, however, to the descriptions of the training, the testing, the unpredictable powers that rendered 'Seven' unsatisfactory. He holds his silence throughout the man's talk of 'risk,' and of an expected vengeance that never came to any sort of fruition.

"I have done my best to ensure that it does not place her at risk," Warren says first, with a particular emphasis on certain words when he adds, "from any vector. But I have my own risk assessments to run."

There is a long silence, after which he asks second, "And did you mean to sit and wait for that vengeance?'

***

"I think you misunderstand my position in all of this, Mister White. I was not the one who condoned the use of torture and manipulation. I don't believe that trying to program the mind of another is the path to success. As for Beatrice, she had -volunteered- for her part in this. From day one she had agreed to carry the subject to term then disappear. She had been happy to assist with our efforts. Her apparent change of heart was ..anomalous."

With the question of dealing with a governmental organization there's another pause, and another sigh, from Grey. "Yes," is all that he shares on the subject.

"Sit and wait? You ask this as though I am lounging around waiting for the Angel of Death to come to my doorstep? No, Mister White. The Project may have ended and the staff reassigned but we have all heard stories about similar projects and the ramifications of them losing their subjects. Even though my duty had been to keep these subjects alive, I had still been a part of something terrible. Given her anger toward everyone associated with the Project I had believed that she would one day come for us all, but I did not wait for it to find me. In fact, it had been so long ago I truly wondered if she was no longer alive. Though she always did have a fight in her heart."

Another brief pause is followed with "Our time grows short."

***

"I don't think I misunderstand at all," is Warren's quiet reply. "I had two guesses. I am pleased one seems to be more correct than the other."

There is a pause. "Dependent on your honesty today, anyway," Warren says. His voice is conversational, the words mere statements that don't try to reach for the overt force of threat. "Though I have no particular reason to doubt your veracity. The Angel of Death may yet make an appearance, and I'm sure you're well aware of that now."

Warren holds his silence a moment, before his voice turns conclusive. They are at an end for ready answers. "That will be all."

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