2020-05-19 - Some Explanation Due


The Hellcat may still be a mystery but for Veronica the albino possessed by it is about to become more transparent.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue May 19 21:43:17 2020
Location: Dr. Kelsey's Office

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Around the RESCUE campus the situation has quieted back down to more normal levels. Neena's gotten her anklet replaced with something a bit more prone to working as intended, Karl's been returned to her side and the air's (mostly) no longer smelling like sulfur and strawberries.

But, who could leave it at this? Neena had requested the footage of her little 'rampage' and the sight of her tackling Veronica right out of her chair had been ..memorable. They could have laughed over the scene if not for how badly it could have gone.

With the proverbial dust having settled the albino and her escort end up outside of Roni's office with a knock on the door. Dom's not sure what to expect but something's been weighing on the back of her mind for a while now.

"Roni? We should talk."


Still damp from at least three showers ''after'' the oh so wonderful public outdoor HAZMAT shower, Veronica is sitting at her desk going through reports on the event and the pricetags accumulated. Today was not cheap. They can cover it; RESCUE is not going broke. But this was an expensive day.

Then a knock, and Roni looks up, eyeing the door and then the camera feed in a window on one of her monitors. Ah. Neena. And after assuring herself that Domino does not look or act crazed or wild or out of control, she taps the button that unlocks the door and causes it to slowly open itself all the way out and then pause for a five count before starting to close itself slowly.

"Come on in, Neena. Have a seat, if you like. Did you want to talk privately? Or should we invite Karl to have a seat as well?" That statement alone is bald proof that Roni has not somehow lost all faith in Domnino. She is willing to once more relegate Dom's watcher, minder, and security guard to elsewhere, and without even really being asked or cued otherwise.


Well. It's good to know that she hasn't burned out her welcome yet. Little steps! When the door opens she drifts inside but doesn't take a seat right away.

"Really more of a ..doctor/patient talk" Neena suggests with a look back to Karl who merely sweeps an arm forward in an 'after you' gesture. "Zip me to a chair if you feel the need but the more 'off the record' we can go, the better."


Veronica snorts and shakes her head. "Karl, can you do me a favor? Entertain yourself for a while, please? I'll call when she's ready to go." The guard looks at Roni closely, and then glances at Neena's back, nodding. "Yes, Ma'am. Hey, Kabuki. Just you remember to have her call, OK?" he teases, and then steps out as the door floats closed and seals once more.

Veronica then grabs her tablet and locks up her desktop computer, rolling out and around the desk to come around closer to the other chairs. Even as she does so, she is tapping out a few commands on the tablet, initiating white noise barriers that will keep out snooping and putting her voicemail on automatic so that she won't be interrupted with phone calls.

"Doctor patient it is." Roni promises Neena. "Just remember: I'm not terrible at the psych stuff, but it's not my specialty. I reserve the right to look things up, or ask a psych pro for some guidance after the fact." She will still maintain Neena's privacy; but she may want to check in with someone to see if there's more she can do to help, or help differently in the future.


As before Neena stands her ground and lets the security measures fall into place around them both, though today it's only after she gives Karl an odd look with the 'Kabuki' thing. "Keep it under a hundred, back before nine…" she teases with an eye roll before Karl takes his early break.

-Then- she takes a seat, rolling back into the cushions more like she's gearing up for a nap than a meaningful one on one conversation.

"Whatever you feel needs doing" she suggests around a hand which slowly rubs at her forehead.

Once the room is done going through its privacy transformation and Roni settles in the albino brings herself more upright. For the umpteenth time she has to try to figure out a starting point for what's on her mind.

Silvery-glinting eyes look off to one side. "I didn't want to dump this on Ava, but when you guys found me in that arena…" Tension quickly works its way into her features though the only way she vents any is to slowly lift a single finger then tap it onto the armrest. "It took me somewhere I didn't want to return."

Her demeanor quickly shifts, like an inner switch is flicked. Looking back to Roni, she pointedly asks "How well do you know me?"


Veronica stays close, but not too close; she is out of immediate reach range, giving the other woman her 'space' both physically and metaphorically. She listens, and does not interrupt; that, at least, she knows how to do as a doctor. She has six years of learning how to shut up and listen to the tiniest clues, while treating Ava. She can do it again.

When finally questioned herself, Roni considers the question in depth, before she attempts to formulate an answer. "I think the truth of the answer to that question is up for debate. I think I likely know the real you a bit better than you think I do, but likely far, far less well than I think I do. And that's about the truest measure I can give you."

Roni gives a wry little twist of a smile. "I know you well enough, in my heart, in my head, that I trust you despite everything that has passed between us. That is the strongest declarative answer I can give you, Neena."


Roni's answer brings a gentle nod to the albino and soon enough a matching smile, though one which is short lived. "That's better thought out than expected. You really do keep sticking your neck out for me and ask for nothing in return. ..After our first issue." Ukraine. "I haven't been giving you that level of trust back."

Drawing in a slow breath and looking more toward the floor, she continues. "At the arena, when we weren't dragged into a fight they kept us in individual concrete boxes about five feet in any direction. Bars made up the door and the top where once a day they would hose us down. We were given a watery gruel so we could fight one another. Medical treatment was bare minimum, only what was required to keep us going."

"I want you to understand something, Roni. After Ukraine you threatened to destroy me if I hurt Ava again, and you weren't wrong in doing so. But, if you ever decide to take the nuclear option then that's what the rest of my life will be."

Again she pauses before looking back to Veronica, appearing both troubled and concerned. "I was created at a military black ops site, trained since birth to be an assassin. You don't know much about me because I don't exist. I'm Government property, a pet project to a group of people who wanted a weapon they could use to kill any metahuman they wanted gone. Being in this place has put me on edge since the first time I saw its walls. After the arena…"

Another quick breath as she dips her head, quietly admitting "I'm kind of a wreck."


And despite the very real danger now expressed, Veronica rolls forward and extends her hand, laying it on Neena's as she meets the hellbino's gaze with her own. "I knew enough to know you were a soldier, with combat trauma and experience. But I also sensed that your issues were very different, in some ways, from what I learned through Ava. Instead of pain from loss of identity and togetherness, you seem to largely lack the experience of trusting anyone with your thoughts, your truths, or your emotions."

'They', whomever they are, tore Neena down, but they never built her back up, unlike boot camp and Ranger training with Ava's experiences. And Roni really is insightful enough to get that, even if she hasn't shared the experience herself.

"Not one of us here at RESCUE is perfectly well put-together. We're all one kind of wreck or another, Neena." Veronica offers. She gives that hand a squeeze, holding for a bit, before releasing and rolling back, giving Neena her space once again. "I'm not asking for perfection. And I am offering support. How much you take of that is up to you."


The brief exchange with Doctor Kelsey leaves Neena sitting quite still, not retreating but perhaps uncertain of how to respond to the momentary connection. It doesn't seem to affect her ability to listen, at least.

"No, I'm… I know you aren't asking for perfection, but … You're right," she sighs. "Though I did try once. Married for a few years before he was killed. Been kind of a rough road, all in all."

"Listen. What happened with the trigger..scent..thing didn't get anyone hurt but something like that -could- if it triggered the wrong sort of reaction. We're still trying to figure out this 'hellcat' ordeal but you needed to know more about the other side. Me leaping up into the air duct? -Pretty- sure the demon didn't pick that one up in the badlands" she suggests with a thin smirk.

"I've already told Ava most of this in relation to the mercenary connection. If something were ever to …" No. She needs to try that one over.

"Don't let me hurt anyone here."


Roni listens intently. She doesn't stare, but her istening has the same quality of absolute, unwavering attention and focus. She doesn't interrupt. And she waits Neena out, until she's sure the other woman is done, and then carefully weighs and evaluates what has been said, as well as many possible responses before she herself speaks.

"We have no intention of allowing that to happen. For the others. And for you." THe hard part here is that in order to reassure Neena sufficiently of their preparedness, Roni would have to compromise the security of those preparations. The ankle cuff's upgrade is substantial, and with its locator bolstering visual identification, algorithms have been put in place to watch for actions that are outside normal parameters, querying staff for overrides; lacking that feedback, the ankle brace will instantly deploy countermeasures. And as Neena is well aware, these folks are the bom-diggity when it comes to non-lethal but efficient countermeasures.

"Suffice it to say that today's events have resulted in us making a few adjustments we had not previously wanted to put in place. Ideally, you really shouldn't notice any differences, but they are there." And apparently Doc Kelsey can keep her yap shut when required; she says nothing more about what those preparations are. "What you should know is that we do not blame you for today. And we are taking every step possible to assure that any future countermeasures will do as little harm as possible to you, while still saving you from hurting anyone else."


Neena can't help but look rather grim at what Roni tells her. In a way it's letting herself be put inside of another cage, allowing for the very thing she had been spending most of her life running away from. With one difference.

"I'm trusting all of you with having this level of control. Absolutely no part of me wants this device on my leg, nor wants anyone to have access to anything which could compromise me, remotely or otherwise. But so far you've all done well by me, and ..maybe getting some help is a good idea" she admits in a lower turned voice.

"I don't see that we're going to make this work without trust. So. You save me from the Government and I'll be your open book" she offers with another thin smile. "Let's figure this out so the damn cuff can stay off."


Veronica nods to Neena. "Honestly, I would vastly prefer not to need the cuff, or any other precautions. And I mean that. I loathe this." There is real emotion in Roni's voice; this bothers and upsets her. "But I have to do what I can to protect you, and everyone else. I need to provide the means by which you can be safely entrusted here, to meet people, engage with them, work with them, and engender their trust and mine, while we work to do the same with you."

"In the meantime, I definitely think counseling would be a good idea." Roni admits. "As I said before, I am no specialist in the area. But, you feel some measure of trust in me, in ways you do not with others. Introducing someone new would not help, and might set you back. So, I will just have to do the best I can, for both our sakes."

Veronica will probably be stepping up her own telehealth counseling sessions for a while.


Hearing this only causes Neena to smile further, the expression more genuine than before. "Well look at that, we've already got something in common. I'm used to being kind of a loose cannon but genuinely worrying people I'm working with isn't so good. And, um. Sorry about the whole..nuzzling your face off…" she quietly says while blindly gesturing to her own face. "That was a bit unexpected across the board."

Gently returning to her feet, the albino reaches toward Roni and offers a hand. "This situation is a real pickle, but… Thank you."


Veronica lifts her hand to accept Neena's, as her gaze seeks out the hellbino's pale blue eyes. "You are welcome, Neena. And know that so long as you are anywhere we can reach you, we will do all we can to protect you." It may be that doing so could endanger their relationship with DARPA, and that would hurt the company financially to the tune of quite literally billions of dollars a year. But Roni will do it anyway; she really is a painful idealist.


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