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EARTH Tale as Old as Time

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Mariko Harper, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Mariko Harper

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    Character Biography:
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    Vauncimonte Research & Development Facility,
    Protogen LLC.


    Paris, France



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    It was early morning and much of the city was still asleep by the time Mariko had arrived at the office. As had been requested of her, she arrived at six o'clock on the dot with a drink tray of gourmet coffees in one hand (none of which were hers), a bag of hot food in the other.

    Her heels clicked softly against the marble floor, the automated lights turning on as she walked through the halls.

    A night of drinking had been a terrible idea. She had a splitting headache, but she had managed to make herself look presentable through an act of pure will.

    Before entitled Mr. Moreau arrived, she stopped by the video conference room to start setting things up for his meeting with the board of directors. She was familiar with the equipment and it only took her a few minutes to bring the system online. A small camera perched in the middle of the desk clicked on, a blue indicator light at the side glowing softly to let her know that it was powered up. Against the far wall, was a holoscreen that flickered on, the connection pending display blinking cheerily.

    "Good, you're already here. I trust you have my notes ready, Ms. Harper?" A low voice purred from the doorway. It was a familiar one -- it belonged to Trevor Moreau.
    Mariko looked up from the computer screen, pushing her glasses further up her nose with the side of her index finger. As per usual, Moreau was wearing an obscenely expensive suit and a sleazy smirk. In a traditional sense of the word, he would have been considered a handsome man by most people's standards; but the way he carried himself and treated those around him was absolutely repugnant to Mariko. He was fairly tall with an athletic build. One that she suspected had been crafted by a knife, instead of hard work. She had never seen the man so much as wear a pair of gym shorts, let alone attempt to intentionally break a sweat. His golden blonde hair was cut on a weekly basis and swept back with a rather obscene amount of product.

    A perfectly manicured hand reached out idly as he stepped into the room. She sighed internally and picked up his coffee, pressing it into his hand with a forced smile. "Good morning, Mr. Moreau."

    "Mercí, mon chéri."
    He said in that same low purr from earlier, lazily curling his delicate fingers around the cup. "And my déjeuner?"

    "Your breakfast, sir? It's on the table."
    She forced another false smile, gesturing to his high-backed chair at the end of the conference table.

    "Oh, but of course." The man laughed airly then moved to take his seat. He stared at the bag expectantly, and then up at his assistant. "Well?" He arched an immaculate eyebrow up at her, curling a hand around his clean-shaven chin.

    Mariko frowned ever so slightly, then she stepped over to the table. "Let me take care of that for you, Mr. Moreau. My apologies." She murmured, taking the bag out of the room.

    Keeping her expression carefully neutral, she took the food to the break room around the corner and tossed the food into the microwave unceremoniously, intentionally overcooking it. Once she had heated it up, she set it down on a silver platter, smirking to herself as she recalled the conversation with @Evan Barnes the night before. It was a shame that he wasn't here yet to see her genius.
     
  2. Evan Barnes

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    Discord:
    Antumbralite
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Evan kept a steady pace down the hallway, listening to the reports from his security team over the radio strapped to his shoulder. Personally, he felt the sweeps to be overkill, but Moreau was paranoid about any possibility of espionage. Apparently, the video conference would be outlining some sensitive information, and the boss wanted everything sealed as tightly as possible. The door to the conference room came into view, and Evan imagined Moreau would already be there. I'll deliver my report in person, then. He adjusted his grip on a drink carrier, containing a single cup of coffee, as well as packets of sugar and cream.

    The double doors slid open as he approached, revealing a large room with a long table at its center. A holoscreen took up the entirety of one wall; it looked as if they were already underway with the equipment tests. Moreau sat at the head of the table, flicking Evan a gaze as he approached. Evan stopped a meter away from where Moreau was seated and gave the man a nod. "Good morning, sir."

    Moreau gave Evan a slight smile, nodding back. "Mr. Barnes. How are we looking?" Moreau eyed the coffee Evan held, raising a questioning eyebrow.

    Evan followed the man's gaze down to the coffee, then snapped his focus back on his boss. "Just something to keep me alert, sir. The sweeps are nearly finished; my team is reporting no issues thus far. It should be concluded at 0630 hours, and we will continue the sweeps throughout the day."

    Moreau nodded again, leaning back in the chair he occupied. "Good news, Mr. Barnes. I trust you will keep me updated. Once the conference begins, you are to send the reports to my terminal. I want you stationed outside the doors," the man said, gesturing to the entrance of the conference room.

    Evan thought having a posted guard was ridiculous, but as was mentioned with Mariko and Marianne the night before, Moreau was a ridiculous person. "Understood, sir." He held up his coffee. "If I may swing by the kitchen?"

    Moreau gave another slight smile. "By all means, Mr. Barnes. You are dismissed."

    Speaking of Mariko, I haven't seen her this morning, Evan thought as he walked the length of the conference room to the attached break room. Rounding the corner, he coincidentally found her inside, placing food on a silver platter. When their eyes met, he let out a low chuckle. Setting the coffee on the counter, he spoke up. "Good morning, mademoiselle. The coffee is for you; I'm not sure how you prefer it, so I grabbed a bit of everything. I didn't think you'd have time for yourself today." His eyes locked on the platter. "I like the touch."
     
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  3. Mariko Harper

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    Mariko looked up at the tall security chief over the brim of her glasses. A hint of a smile on her lips when he looked at the platter. "I was just thinking about you." She said, then realized that it could easily be misconstrued and she gestured to the silver plate. "About how you'd given me the idea that is..." She added with a nervous smile.

    Her eyes looked back to the coffee on the counter and she walked over to him, taking the warm cup from the tray that he had set down. "Thank you, Mr. Barnes. I left your coffee on the table with Mr. Moreau, unfortunately. Would you like me to grab it for you while I'm in there?" She asked, moving to pour some of the sugar he had brought along into the cup.

    While she wanted to linger in the kitchenette to chat, she knew that she needed to get back into the conference room before Moreau lost his temper. She took a quick sip of the coffee he brought her, desperately needing the caffeine.

    She turned to pick up the silver platter with their employer's breakfast.

    "I'm never permitted in these meetings with the board. Perhaps we can finish your rounds together after I've dropped this off?"
     
  4. Evan Barnes

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    Antumbralite
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    Evan held up his palm towards Mariko, shaking his head. "No, that's quite all right. I can get it on my way out. I appreciate it. As for the rounds..." his voice trailed off as he looked over his shoulder towards the conference room. Not that he expected to find Moreau standing behind him, or even within earshot, but he lowered his voice when he finished his sentence. "...Moreau wants me posted outside the room during the conference." His irritation was likely evident.

    He sighed, but gave her a smile. "But until then, I'm all yours." The words were out before he had a chance to reconsider the statement. He blushed for the second time within as many days; a sensation nearly foreign to him. "I'll be outside in the hallway," he said before exiting the room.

    Moreau was busy speaking with someone on his hand terminal, so Evan used the opportunity to grab his coffee from the table and slink out of the room. He took a sip of the drink, savoring the rich taste of the roasted beans. While he waited for Mariko, Evan clicked his radio back on, shifting back into the role of security chief. "Report."
     
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  5. Mariko Harper

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    Of course Moreau would want Evan posted outside the door. He wanted to look important, like what he contributed to the company was actually vital. Never mind the fact that it was the work of the scientists under him that made him profitable, that were the entire driving force behind this institution.

    Sighing to herself, she slipped back into the conference room and set the tray of food down in front of Moreau. Thankfully, he was so distracted with his call that he didn't even notice her. Coffee in hand, she clicked the button that would allow the system to auto-connect when the board tried to dial in; Moreau had never bothered to learn how to use it himself.

    Once that had been taken care of, she ducked back out into the hall and shut the door behind her.

    She leaned against the wall for a moment, head bowed and loose strands of hair fell into her face. Pushing her glasses up into place, she looked up to Evan with a small smile, raising her cup of coffee towards him.

    "We have about half an hour or so..."
    She said lightly.

    Normally, her and Evan would have gone their separate ways, but after talking with him off the clock last night, she felt more a kinship with him. He was just as stuck in this miserable job as she was.
     
  6. Evan Barnes

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    Antumbralite
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    Evan met her gaze. He wished it was more than a half hour, if only to spare him from the boredom of sentry duty. "I'll take it." He pressed the receiver on his radio. "Radio silence boys, unless we have an orange. Reconvene in thirty. Barnes out."

    He motioned for Mariko to walk with him, sipping on his coffee. "Hopefully you got some sleep. Time sort of got away from us." Evan wondered what Moreau would think of their familiarity. It was inevitable, really -- Mariko was his assistant and Evan his bodyguard. They were bound to have some sort of interaction. Still, it would not surprise Evan if Moreau tried to separate them if he noticed the sparks.

    The sparks. What the hell? Get it together.
     
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  7. Mariko Harper

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    "I didn't mind though, it was nice to get out of the apartment for a while." She said, sipping from her own coffee as she started to walk through the halls. "As for sleep... I got.. some." She answered vaguely, refusing to admit that she hadn't really slept at all. Makeup was a god send, to be sure. Well, makeup and caffeine.

    She led him towards the administrative wing of the facility. It wasn't too far from the conference room, and it was also where her office was at. There were a few things that she would need to check before she could properly relax. "I hope I didn't keep you out too late?" She added as she opened the door for him. It was an automatic gesture, one she had done countless times before for Moreau and his entourage.

    The interior of the office was immaculate. Everything was tidily tucked away in proper place, though there were clear indicators that this office belonged to Mariko. A picture of her cat sitting by a window was perched on her desk. A notepad and pen were neatly placed in front of the computer screen. Lining the window were several houseplants that she seemed to tend to religiously.

    "Home sweet home." She wryly, clicking the button on the wall that pulled the blinds up to allow sunlight to filter into the room.
     
  8. Evan Barnes

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    Antumbralite
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    Evan gave Mariko a smile as she gestured him into her office. "Thank you. And, no, it wasn't too late for me," he fibbed. Taking in the interior, he could not help but notice how tidy and clean she kept it. He tended to be fairly organized, himself, so it was an endearing sight. As she opened the blinds, Evan had to squint momentarily at the rising sunlight. He wondered which member of his security team swept her office.

    He took a sip of coffee and sat down in one of the chairs facing her desk. Perhaps it was rude to do so without asking or waiting for her invitation, but he felt a comfort in her presence that removed the formality from their interactions. He pointed to the picture of her cat. "What's its name?" Evan asked, propping up the side of one boot onto his opposite knee.
     
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  9. Mariko Harper

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    Mariko took a seat behind her desk and a quick sip from the coffee that Evan had brought for her. It was a sweet gesture, one that she hadn't been expecting. A small smile came to her lips as she set the cup down next to her keyboard. She wondered if he was lying about staying up too late, as well.

    "What's its name?" The question drew her attention directly back to him, and she looked up at him from the computer that she had just started to boot up.

    Her smile grew ever so slightly.

    "Oh! That's uhm... Canelé. She's kind of my life outside of work." She chuckled and tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear. If she hadn't been at work when he asked the question, she would have startled babbling about how adorable the little fluff was and probably resorted to showing Evan countless pictures and videos on her hand terminal of the cat.

    As it was, he was spared from such exuberance.

    She softly cleared her throat and she shook her head, blushing. "That sounds... absolutely ridiculous saying that out loud."
     
  10. Evan Barnes

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    Antumbralite
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    Evan gave her a reassuring smile. He seemed to be doing a lot of that, just in the past twelve hours. "I don't think it's ridiculous at all. I haven't had any pets of my own since I was a child, but I remember the way it felt. The companionship is very real," he finished, taking another sip of coffee. His gaze lingered out the window. It was a beautiful sunrise.

    He imagined the conference would be starting soon. Evan wished he could stay her with Mariko all day, but he was sure she had her own duties to attend to, even if Moreau was busy elsewhere. "Say, are you busy this weekend, by chance?" It felt like a disembodied statement, as if there was a third person in the room. It was his voice, however. Once again, it escaped him without the permission of his better judgment.

    Evan blushed, inwardly chastising himself. Mariko was not the type to decline with any sort of rudeness, he knew, but he would rather not have that undefined air between them if it was as risk of effecting their work. Nevermind that his relationships with friends, family, lovers... well, he was not the best at upholding his end of them. Spending a long enough time in his line of work had a tendency to harden compassion and empathy.

    Regardless, it was too late now. He steeled himself.
     
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  11. Mariko Harper

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    Mariko had been in the middle of sipping from her coffee when he asked about her plans over the weekend, and she nearly spat the drink out. She barely managed to keep herself from making an embarrassing mess, wiping at the corner of her mouth with her free hand. Her cheeks turned a bright red and she cleared her throat, the professional persona slipping for a brief moment.

    "Oh.. uh... No. No, I'm not." She stammered after she had recollected herself. "Why do you ask?"

    She set the coffee down on the desk, not wanting to run the risk of spilling the contents or spitting something out. Her nerves were jittery and excited, butterflies dancing around in her stomach as she waited for him to clarify what he had meant.

    He probably was just trying to see if they would be working at all during the coming weekend.
     
  12. Evan Barnes

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    Antumbralite
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    Evan tensed up at her reaction, not sure if Mariko was surprised or repulsed. He had already come this far, so he was going to double down, he decided. If it blew up in his face, he had nothing to lose. "Well, I was thinking we could get dinner or something, perhaps. If you'd rather not, I understand."

    She was not screaming at him to leave yet, so that was a good sign. He was still mildly shocked at his willingness to blurt out the question in the first place. He had not even had the intention of asking, but some part of him must have felt right about doing so. His hand terminal started buzzing in his pocket, signalling to him that the conference would start in five minutes.

    Evan finished his coffee with a final, nervous sip.
     
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  13. Mariko Harper

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    It took her several seconds to realize that he had asked her to dinner and she blinked at him, pushing her glasses a little further up on her nose.

    Was he being serious?

    She hadn't know Evan to outright lie in order to get a laugh, and that seemed too cruel a joke for him. Nervously, she clasped her hands together in her lap to keep herself from visibly fidgeting. What did she have to lose by agreeing to it? She had been hoping he'd ask her out for months now. Though she was practically too giddy to give a proper response.

    "I'd love to, Evan."
    She breathed softly, letting out a breath that she didn't realize she had been holding.
     
  14. Evan Barnes

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    A wave of relief washed over Evan at Mariko's answer, but was quickly replaced by a new series of worries. Where should we go? What should I wear? What will Moreau do if he finds out? I didn't really plan this out. "I'm glad to hear it."

    He stretched, standing up from the chair. "Duty calls. If you get bored today, you know where to find me," he chuckled. "I hope you have a good day."
     
  15. Mariko Harper

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    "I'll bring you some more coffee in a little bit. I just need to check my messages. I've been having a hard time getting some messages through lately. How does that sound?" She said, smiling up at him, practically beaming.

    She wasn't even sure she wanted to bring the joy of this moment down by checking to see if she had heard from Jun, her brother, yet. Deep down, she already knew the answer -- that there wouldn't be anything in her inbox.

    A worry twisted in her gut as her thoughts turned in that direction anyway. Had something happened to him? Why wasn't he responding to her? Maybe she should at least make sure that things on the station were alright.
     
  16. Evan Barnes

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    "You don't have to bring me anything," Evan said, walking to the doorway. He stopped, turning back to look at her. "I can fetch my own, unlike some people. See you in a bit." With a final smile, he headed out into the hallway, disposing of his empty coffee container into a nearby receptacle.

    As he made his way back to the conference room, he pulled out his hand terminal, forwarding the security report to Moreau. Evan's team had concluded their sweep a few minutes prior, and it was all-clear, as expected. He keyed his radio. "Barnes here. I'll be with Moreau, so go ahead with your normal posts. Sweeps at the start of every hour." The replies of confirmation filled the air around him all the way to the double doors of the conference room.

    Reaching under his shirt, he removed his pistol from the holster on his back. Checking that the firearm was ready to use at a moment's notice, Evan returned it to its place and stood against the wall, hands folded at his waist. It was only then he allowed as big a smile as he was capable of to form on his lips. Did that really just happen?
     
  17. Mariko Harper

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    Calmly, Mariko rose from her desk and went to shut the door behind Evan after he had left. As soon as the latch clicked into place, she threw both her hands up and leapt up a few inches into the air with a silent squeal of excitement. Her hands clapped together repeatedly as she dropped them down in front of her chest, and she couldn't stop smiling.

    Okay. Breathe. Evan Barnes just asked you out to dinner. Nothing crazy.

    She lowered her hands down to her sides, exhaling slowly in an effort to calm herself back down.

    Her computer chimed pleasantly. Indicating that she had a message. Curiously, she made her way over to the desk and she took her seat, returning to her normally composed-self.

    The message was from an unspecified user.

    With a small frown on her lips, she opened the message, curling her right hand over her mouth as her grey eyes scanned over the contents.

    > SUBJECT: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

    >>>> Interruption in the flow. Where words cannot grow. I wish to thee I could convey, how much I miss canelé.


    Mariko frowned at the words, her brow furrowing with confusion.

    "What the hell?" She muttered under her breath.
     
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  18. Evan Barnes

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    Evan had been standing outside the conference room for a few hours, fighting the urge to nod off. It was more due to boredom than fatigue, but not much sounded better than a nap at that moment.

    Aside from the hourly updates from his security team, the building was eerily quiet. He had only seen a handful of people traverse the hallway, none of which were Mariko. She must have got caught up with something else. Being Moreau's assistant had to be a demanding job.

    Evan yawned, shaking his head to jolt himself awake. He wished he could be conducting the sweeps with the rest of his team; at least he would have something to occupy his attention. He was still dumbfounded by Moreau's decision to have him posted at the door. Protocol dictated it was only a necessary precaution at a security level orange or higher. Currently, it was green. What did Moreau know that he did not?

    His hand terminal chimed. Removing it from his pocket, Evan saw that it was a message from the man, himself.

    >Taking a break in five. Join me inside.

    Evan sighed. He had no idea what this was about. He was too tired to care.
     
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  19. Mariko Harper

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    Mariko quickly forwarded the message to her hand terminal from her computer, but when she went to check the device, it never populated.

    She frowned.

    What?

    Something wasn't right. She grabbed her notebook and quickly started to write the message down, making sure to scribe every detail that she could pick out. Moment's later, the message vanished from her computer screen as well. When she tried to bring the message back up, her computer seemed to freeze. Malware perhaps?

    Her frown deepened.

    Tonguing the inside of her cheek, she tore the paper from her notebook and tucked it away into a pocket on the inside of her jacket. There must have been something wrong with the email server. Perhaps the message had just been an eerie piece of spam, but it seemed entirely too convenient.

    Tucking the pen behind her ear, she rose to her feet and stepped out of her office. Terminal in hand, she walked through the halls towards the conference room. Moreau's meeting would likely be breaking soon. While she walked, she put in a request for a technician to come take a look at her machine. It would be difficult to work if her computer was broken.
     
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  20. Evan Barnes

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    Evan entered the conference room, assessing the area. Everything looked just as it did before he left, except that there was a clear tension in the air. "Please have a seat, Mr. Barnes."

    With a nod, Evan sat in a chair, diagonal from his boss. He eyed Moreau for a quick moment before speaking. "You wanted to see me, sir?"

    "I've been reviewing your security reports," Moreau said with a sigh. "You need to dig deeper."

    Evan blinked. "Deeper, sir? We are conducting standard sweeps -- raising them to threat-level would mean an evacuation on the premises."

    Moreau stared at him, expressionless. "Then do it. I will stay here, however, and finish the conference."

    This was insane. "With all due respect, sir, what are you expecting us to find? What's going on?"

    That got a rise out of Moreau. His smooth brow furrowed. "You are not entitled to that information, Mr. Barnes. Do as you are told."

    Evan bristled. Moreau may be his boss, but security was under his control. It was the singular way that the man did not have the final say. "Mr. Moreau, my contract states that I have operational authority over any and all security measures in the building. Unless you tell me why an evacuation is necessary, I cannot properly do my job, or even have the good sense to approve the request."

    Moreau locked his eyes with Evan. The agitation was evident, and he fully expected a reprimand. Evan banked on the hope that Moreau's fear of him would keep the man at bay. "Fine. Have it your way. If you deem it necessary, please let me know," Moreau finally said, venom in his words.

    "But be aware: I am dealing with extremely sensitive information; information that very powerful people want to get their hands on. You would be wise to heed my advice." Moreau's eyes were narrowed fiercely. Evan would have to be a fool to not realize he painted a target on his back. "You are dismissed."

    Evan stood without a word. Once the conference room doors slid shut behind him, he keyed his radio. "Continue your sweeps. Devereaux, I need to see you in my office."
     
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