2020-03-10 - Orange is the new Black


Roni isn't tossing Dom out of RESCUE just yet, but continued admittance will come with a price.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Mar 10 23:19:31 2020
Location: RESCUE Campus

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Theme Song



A little time has passed since the latest RESCUE disaster. The dust may still be settling but for most of the campus life goes on. For instance, the security checkpoints are still very much so on point when a familiar black and white lady with a bright friggin' orange ID comes rolling up to the scanners. Neena jumps through the hoops with another small hit to her pride then waits around for Karl to escort her all the way to Veronica's office with a "C'mon, Tex." Maybe she's just fortunate to already be able to visit Roni at her office but it's not like she could do a whole lot of damage in a place like this, right?

Outside of the door she lets out a long breath then looks back to Karl. "Asking too much for you to chill out here for a few?" She'd rather not have an audience but given the situation she can't really -tell- him to buzz off.

Either way, Roni's about to have a visitor calling, or knocking, or buzzing, or whatever one does around here when wanting to enter her office.


Karl is reasonably cool about it all. Not all of the Overwatch team is that way, but Karl saw what Neena was willing to do to help out. "I would, but I have to step in and check with her. She says we're good, I can step out and wait here." Go figure; the lady in that office owns the company and quite literally signs his paychecks.

Karl leans forward and knocks on the door, and it swings open a moment later with a very soft, nearly inaudible whirr."Good afternoon, Karl. Thank you for the escort. If you don't mind, you can go back to your station. I'll text on the channel when she's ready to go."

Karl smiles and nods. "Sure thing, Dr. Kelsey. You have a good afternoon, Ma'am." Then he turns, letting Roni see him as he eyes Neena. "You be good, Spot. Today might not be the day to push your famous luck." He gives her a wink, and then strolls off casually.

Veronica's voice comes from inside the office. "Come on in, Ta — Damnit. Sorry. Neena."

The office inside is … pretty sparse. Not quite Spartan, but definitely not the posh and sumptuous office one would expect of the co-CEO and CMO of this pretty impressive corporation. No huge wide open spaces, soft sofas, wet bar. There is a 'skylight' of a sort; most of the back wall of the office is a huge green-tinted window from floor to ceiling, clear signs of the louvered solar panel installations of the Spire. The desk is a reasonably modest cherry hardwood with a pretty sizable three-monitor setup aboard. Multiple degrees hang on the left wall. No fancy office chair, though; of course, Roni rolls out from behind the desk to approach the doorway and Neena in the only chair she'll ever need. There are a couple of regular guest chairs facing the desk, and she will guide Neena towards one of those and then sit nearby on the same side of the desk to face her.

"You asked for the meeting, Neena. Do you … want a glass of water? And before you ask, no. I don't have anything stronger." Roni asks.


The exchange and the handling of formalities doesn't..seem to sit so well with the albino but she holds her tongue and stays put while Roni and Karl work everything out. It isn't until her escort goes to step away does she smirk back to the Overwatcher. "I'll take that under advisement."

Then it's just the mercenary and one of the CEOs. With the slip-up of the name Dom holds up a hand to dismiss the issue. "No need to apologize. I'm the one who turned it upside down on you all."

Roni's office may be simple and nicely furnished with some excellent lighting but Neena still hesitates, her eyes wary as she looks around the space and absorbs as much detail as humanly possible before claiming a calming breath and stepping fully inside. "I did" she confirms then gently shakes her head. "Five by five, thanks."

Compared to the crisp and clean office she looks like a bipedal oilslick thanks to McCoy's latest thermal suit offering. Tall boots, arm bracers, hooded jacket, but not a single weapon or hidden device anywhere upon her person. Security is likely to thank for that.

Taking a seat she tries to look casual and collected but there are a few subtle tells in her body language. Tension in the shoulders and jaw, arms loosely folded together. Subtle twitchiness in her motions.

"I know Posse's gotten the word out about me." As the orange ID clearly declares. "You should have a chance to hear the facts from the source. Ukraine wasn't a setup. It was a conflicting double-down."


Veronica faces Neena at her level, which likely helps her stay calm, even, and more open than rigidly defensive. But Neena cannot possibly miss that Roni is uncomfortable. Some of it is likely lingering personal agony, as Neena witnessed on the plane ride back to Germany and then back to the US. And some of it is likely also attributable to the past weekend's disaster. But some of it likely has to do with Neena herself. Hard to imagine it doesn't, right?

Roni nods. "You should know that whatever you told Ava, she has not told anyone the details, beyond what she had to tell Toni and I. We overruled her, when she was going to lock you out entirely." Anyone get the feeling maybe that was more Roni than Toni? It could be a toss-up there.

But Veronica does interrupt - gently so - when Neena gets started. "You're going to have to explain that. I don't even understand the terms." Roni is brilliant. She's a goddamned genius. But she's not a merc, or a soldier, and however much time she may have spent with Ava, it's still not her native tongue.


There's no flicker of emotion within Neena upon hearing the news that she came so close to being locked out altogether. It hadn't been an easy conversation with the chief of security, either. Frankly she would have put money down on it ending with some bruising at the very least.

"Right" she mutters while slowly rubbing at the bridge of her nose. "Contracts. 'Double-down.' Taking two jobs at the same time. When I had the deets—details" she automatically translates "on the job for you I did some digging and found another open contract which..lucky me..happened to involve not only the same region but the same blasted -facility.-"

Lowering her hand, she continues. "The second gig looked as painless as can be, what'd be called a milk run. Step aside, open a box, meet a guy, open another box. Done. No one had suggested it would involve a power-armored sucker punch."

"I finished the contract then got the hell outta Dodge to regroup with Overwatch but Pandora was already getting pretty damn lively. Uh..fecal matter had already struck the oscillating unit," she again attempts to translate.


"Ah, yes. The air circulation device of fecal dispersion. Got it." Veronica offers a bit drolly. Who knew she had a sense of humor? For now, she says nothing more. She has questions. Things she wants to ask. Things she wants to say. But for now, she is keeping those to herself. She wants to hear everything Domino has to say for herself first.


Neena cracks a smirk here. "Yeah. That thingus."

It's perfectly clear that none of this is easy for her, like she's allergic to the truth or at least to the idea of fessing up. She is trying, though! Maybe there's still some hope for her.

"Bottom line, no one was supposed to get hurt. No shots should have been fired, no wars should have been declared, no opposition should have swarmed the facility. Had I of known that any of this might have gone down I wouldn't have taken the jobTHEIR joband quite possibly would have left some primed thermiteincendiary chargeson top of their precious containers. All of that blood is on my hands." She seems to be handling that part fairly well… Prior experience?

"Payment from your organization has already been returned. Including the bonus. The favor I consider forfeit. If anything it's already been cashed in."

"I'm ..prepared to cooperate with any further investigation" she offers in a more weary sounding tone.


Proof that Veronica is more equanimical than Posse is that she sat through all of that and doesn't just shout at Domino or smack her or something when it's over. She just … looks at her. And in a way not too dissimilar to how she's been looking at her since Neena walked in the door.

"Do … " Roni pauses, pursing her lips momentarily. "Is it OK if I ask a question? Maybe … I don't know. A couple of questions? I'm really not sure, here." She sighs. "I'm not trying to torture you or anything. I just … this is all new to me. I want to understand, as best I can." And she is wise enough to recognize that even with all of her efforts, her understanding may still be lesson than perfect.


Domino's momentary expression can be summed up as 'Bwuh?' Veronica, co-CEO of a corporation which Neena had just recently screwed over hardcore and gotten numerous employees seriously injured, is being -asked- if it's -okay- to ask questions?

"..Wow" the albino quietly voices. Wouldn't you know, some of the tension seems to escape her posture.

Back to Roni, she offers "The only way this'd be torture is—ah. Nevermind. Ask away. Consider this mercenary Q and A hour. If all I take out of here is some extra discomfort then I'm getting off real damn light."


Veronica nods, appreciating that Neena is OK with her asking. "So … you went looking for a second mission. A second job, a second paycheck, somewhere in the area of our mission. Why? Were we under-bidding or something? Or boring? I don't get it. What possessed you to do that?"


Neena's mouth opens as if to reply but no sound comes out. Not until she's had a chance to think..to glance off to the side..and to start laughing!

"Goddammit, my bad" she chuckles while resting her forehead into a palm. "Okay, that was probably a little insensitive."

"Right. So. What you do here with RESCUE. What keeps you motivated to keep going forward, what 'pushes your buttons.' You help people. Right? Try to make the world a better place? Really admirable of you. Truly. Mercenaries..are waaaaay more selfish. The holy trinity here is money, freedom, excitement."

"Opening a couple of boxes doesn't lend itself to much freedom or excitement but if I'm already in the right place at the right time then why not get paid twice for effectively doing one job. And with a job description like that? I'd have been throwing that extra cash away if I turned it down. Your rates were plenty good, believe me, but…"

She can't quite bring herself to say it for what it is:



And Veronica takes all of that in. She doesn't even seem to get insulted at the laughter. She does seem a mite startled, but nothing more than that. She listens to everything Domino has to say. She mulls that over some. Pulls it apart like hot taffy.

"Oh." Roni murmurs.

Frankly, if there was going to be a moment when Veronica exploded in rage all over Domino, this would be it. Honestly, Neena did just kinda say 'awww, your idealism is so cute, but how hopelessly stupid can you get?'. And it's not hard to see some edges of outrage in Roni's eyes, past the smart glasses.

But then she sighs and lowers her gaze to her lap. Eyes, and cheeks, glistening with tears. "I'll be honest, Neena." Veronica offers, throatily. She's a bit geflect. "I want to hate you. I really, really do." As always, Veronica is painfully forthright and honest.

"I will carry the burden of the lives lost that day for the rest of my life." Veronica murmurs. "I am a goddamned doctor. I swore an oath to do no harm. I have spent nearly a decade perfecting decidedly non-lethal, safe means to neutralize threats." And Veronica's gaze lifts, more tears falling. "And I used them, that day … and I got dozens of people butchered, because I rendered them helpless, unable to move, and they were shredded by explosions they could not even try to escape."


If later asked about why she laughed back there Neena might have another perspective to offer. Right now she has nothing left to find any sense of amusement in. Here's one of the ladies in charge of a crew which has significant wealth and power, a crew who could have anything that they wanted…

Anything except the lives of those who had been needlessly slain because the albino wanted to further line her pockets.

Lives have been lost. Mental scarring had resulted. In a serious backfire of luck it seems that -everyone- had lost while those in the armored suits had taken the prize.

Her luck isn't supposed to work like this. They -shouldn't- be having this conversation, shouldn't HAVE to have this conversation.

What the hell went so wrong..?

It isn't until Roni starts openly tearing up that Neena's conscience gets utterly broadsided, rendering her entirely still and wholly speechless while she looks to the other woman. It'd be real difficult for her to justify these losses as being casualties of war. It's a war which wouldn't have happened if Dom hadn't allowed it to.

It takes a while for her to find and softly speak the words "You're well within your right to hate me. All of you are."


Veronica sighs, breathing deeply, visibly working her way through the near-crippling well of emotion threatening to swallow her whole. "I will be honest, Neena. I hate with a burning, seething passion what you did, and what resulted from that."

OK. Angry doctor is scary. Like 'oh, please, not the crimes against humanity' level scary.

"But you are not solely to blame for what transpired that day. There's frankly no proof that if you had not taken the job, that someone else would not have done so." Veronica offers. "And you are not the one who started a war. You are not the one who threatened the lives of innocent refugees. You are not the one who fired explosives at your own troops." A pause. "You are not the one who utterly failed one of your closest friends and nearly lost her, from sheer incompetence."

OK. Yowch. That's excruciating to hear.

"There's plenty of blame to go around." Veronica's eyes bore through those glasses into Neena. "So. I am going to be doing everything I can do to find a way to forgive myself for my parts in all of this heinousness." Yep. Even knowing that Neena did this, Veronica is still shouldering the blame for her own actions. If there were any questions about whether she is a Big Damned Hero, this should put paid to those stupid questions. "So … I have to find a way to forgive you, too."


Neena's never encountered a situation like the one named Veronica before. Normally the lines are more abruptly drawn. No thought is given beyond what lies on the surface. Labels are assigned to emotions then directed at convenient targets.

By comparison this is downright refreshing.

She falls back to being a silent listener but almost speaks out when the conversation brushes across the subject of Ava. Roni's feelings here are far from unique though Dom's able to hold back for a little while longer.

"Then let's make sure your efforts aren't wasted" she suggests in that same gentle tone. "Ava doesn't think an apology here cuts it. I don't see that she's wrong but I still think you deserve one. I'm sorry for my part in this. For not having your backs when you trusted me to. All that I can offer is to do better so long as you leave the door open."


It's not hard to see Veronica quite literally chewing on all of that. Weighing Neena, and her words. Pondering various responses. Debating her options. Eventually, she seems to land on something. "Alright, Neena. I agree to give you another chance. You helped out the other day when you did not have to, and you did well. So, if we do this … here are my rules."

Oh. There will be rules. Uh oh.

"One." Veronica intones very seriously. "If you betray Ava, I will have no mercy on you. I will use every iota of my talent, intelligence, power and influence to find a way to make your last moments on this Earth a whole new Hell." She's not kidding.

"Two." Yeah, Roni's not done. "You do not ever take another contract during a time when you are on a mission with RESCUE and Overwatch. You need money, speak up. But while you're on our dime, you are only on our dime. You can take other jobs. You can opt out of a mission. But if you come along, you are with us. Only us. Until it is over." Frankly, given what happened, this doe snot seem terribly unfair.

"Three." Here goes hoping she only has three rules, right? Veronica continues. "You take whatever those Russian bastards paid you, every dime, and you donate it to the families of the Ukrainian soldiers who were murdered."


As it stands Domino's lucky to still be alive. She's even more lucky that Ava's alive -and- willing to give her another chance. Still, she's no fool. When you screw over this many people -and ask for another chance- just about any price is one worth paying if she's serious about having such a chance.

The albino is absolutely expecting to have to pay, not only in a financial sense.

To the first condition she almost speaks up when Karl's warning springs back into mind. It's a pretty freaking big deal when someone who is sworn to saving lives suddenly swears to utterly destroy one. Verbally poking at it is too big of a gamble even for her.

With RESCUE's tech and connections it would be shockingly easy to follow through on such a threat.

The second is perfectly understandable. Simple, straightforward, no-nonsense. Either she's committed to this crew or she's not. No harm, no foul.

The third is, fortunately, another which Neena's expecting to hear. Ava had already said as much but she hadn't made it one of the conditions. She can afford to take the hit.

With all of the cards laid on the table Neena can offer her agreement with stark efficiency.



Veronica peers deep into Neena's eyes, weighing her soul, it would seem. She does not react for a while, as if she's watching for the flinch. The catch. The hint that Neena is anything bout completely and utterly genuine in her acceptance of these rules.

Then, at last, Veronica nods. "Alright then, Neena. I will work on finding my way to forgiving you, just as I am trying to find my way to somehow forgiving myself." She points at the badge. "But you're keeping the orange badge until I find my way to doing that. I would say it's nothing personal. But we'd both know that was a lie. So I'll just ay it's not meant to be an insult. Just practicality."


Look deep enough into those Hell-warped eyes, past their mirror-like Hematite sheen, past the pale blue which she had been born with, past the shell of a biologically engineered mutant assassin, and Veronica can see ..something. Something lurking in what would otherwise be a haunting sea of darkness.


Through everything that's happened the albino's conscience had been awakened. Something had caused her to remember herself. She's had a close encounter with something -real- and it left her unsettled in ways which rarely happen.

She's been here before. Not often… But this isn't a unique encounter.

Slowly breaking her gaze away from Roni, Dom glances down to the badge in question. "Won't think anything of it. Should the situation change you know how to find me."


Veronica chuckles. "So long as you are wearing that? Yes. Yes I do." Then she extends her hand to Neena. And waits.


Neena's expression shifts to one of 'is that so?' while giving the badge another glance. Then comes a gentle shrug and a hand offered in return to shake.


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