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Vilhardt

The Ventrix Arrangement (Casper)

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@Dolor Aeternum

 It hadn't taken long for Violeta to sign on, once given the proper validation and reviewing of safety protocol. Ilyana had yet to sign, and it was without delay, nor surprise that she was insistent on becoming a thorn in the science departments side. Still, she had all right to request review of Patton's work before finalizing anything. The rendezvous was set to the date, and it was on this afternoon in Casper that Elizabeth had prepared for. She had been working at Ventrix Industries tirelessly since, finishing a catalyst that would work hand in hand with the use of arcane resonance.

 The product, termed for distribution as 'Amp' had been rushed, indefinitely, but was essential to progress at this point. Liz had prepared a few samples to showcase for Ilyana, and tapped her fingers at her desk nervously as she waited for word of Ilyana's arrival. This uneasiness wasn't without merit. Anyone worth their salt in the business world around these parts had heard about T.R.I, about Ms. Sevryn. The information Liz had gathered on her new benefactors was rather off putting, not alarming by any means, but intriguing nonetheless. Patton's primary funding for her research outside of Ventrix Industries had been provided by rather questionable sources, P.M.C's, alchemists, and those of darker practice. Practice which she was all to familiar with herself, and if brought to light, would ruin her reputation.

 Still, the two had more to gain from each other than not, or so Liz hoped. She had written up a non-disclosure agreement and left it with the receptionist, to be signed when Ilyana arrived, and told her to send Sevryn in when she got there. Patton had insisted that they tour the 'entire' lab as she had put it, prepared to put it all on the line and possibly come to an understanding with Ilyana; to be totally upfront and break the ice. Liz sat crossed at her desk, a seat across from her awaiting Ilyana, and another presumably for her bodyguard.

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Travel to and from Casper to manage her latest investment into Ventrix had been tiresome but necessary. She believed Ventrix to be key in expanding her reach and would not stand for remaining idle for any important decision that needed to be made. Her visits to the main facility were sporadic and usually unannounced as she wanted to make sure that everyone remained vigilant and stayed true to what had been agreed on concerning the company’s future. Entering through the lobby she purposefully refrained from participating in any pleasantries, letting those who escorted her throughout the building attempt to pander but failing miserably.

There was a steely focus in her black eyes that intimidated some and disoriented others as all they would receive were curt responses or gesticulations as she signed the agreement after thoroughly reviewing it and then was led rather swiftly toward Elizabeth’s office. Ilyana seemed to be travelling alone, adorned with yet another shimmering black outfit that seemed tailored for a business meeting. It clung to her but was modest in appearance with a skirt length that was just above the knee. Despite how constricting the attire might have seemed, Ilyana seemed to have no problem moving through the halls and into Liz’s office.

Ilyana’s gaze quickly met hers but there was no smile to be offered. Instead, Ilyana started to speak with a leveled tone that attempted to coax Elizabeth right into business.

“I know you have likely been engrossed in your work so I do not intend to waste anyone’s time here. I’ve come here to assess what you have done thus far, tour most of your lab, and then I have a special request that needs to be discussed solely between you and I in private. Let’s get started immediately with the items you promised before shall we?”

Ilyana stared at Liz, standing as she had not been offered a seat nor was she aware of how prepared Liz was in this room. It was clear that she wanted to get the obvious items out of the way immediately and focus on what she had truly come here to discuss but that did not mean that she would not give equal consideration for all of the items on the agenda. What Liz had already tirelessly worked on was just as important as anything else today.

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 "Very well, then let us get to the brass without delay. Once the lab in Hell's Gate is finished and prepared, I assure you, you'll have no need of running around to reach me. Communication modules have already been set in place so that we can retain contact. We simply lack the foundation there to support disclosure. Moving onward.."

Liz continued, straight to the point, her voice a bit worn from the week, but with new curiosity at the thought of a personal request. She lifted a small case from beneath her desk and unhooked the clasps, causing the case to open, revealing a row of liquid vials. They were transparent, the elixer being void of color, aligned with intricate runes to nullify it's effect until released. In it's center was a metallic tube, meeting an exhaust vent at the top, the point opposite of injection. They each bared the Ventrix logo, an obvious addition for advertising.

  "Our first line of product under the new formula is termed as 'Amp'. It's a relatively simple design with a straightforward benefit and an expected draw back. In short, Amp is designed specifically to pinpoint someone's strengths directly, using Bio - Chemical compounds to introduce structured sigils that form on a cellular level. This works in two ways, the first being used as a quality of health booster; making the average person far stronger, swifter, and more intelligent for a while. It's secondary use is to prolong and enhance the current effect of our other products. The main drawback is that it leaves you in a weakened state, unable to function at a normal capacity for some time."

 Liz explained, setting analytics beside the case which showed a slope in sale, ensuring that the product would sell. A brief pause ensued as Patton contemplated exactly how much she could trust Ilyana, and a concise decision was made; determining that Elizabeth had no other choice. Science would reveal the truth eventually, and if Ilyana stood in the way of her research, the director of science would just have to root the problem from it's source; just like she had time after time before.

 Elizabeth reached her hand below her desk, flipping a switch which caused an unexpected reaction. A large wall emerged from behind Ilyana, covering the entryway to the room and the four walls surrounding them lit up with glyphs which hummed steadily with energy. The room rumbled a bit, in a controlled sense, and a moment later the feeling of descent took hold. Patton's office was descending underground, into the entirety of the real Ventrix laboratory. Before Liz could explain, the room halted, the wall behind her forming the Ventrix Technologies symbol and then splitting wide open.

"Feel free to ask questions, or voice any concerns."

Patton voiced. A well lit, all white corridor stretched beyond them and Elizabeth stood, motioning for Ms. Sevryn to accompany her down the long hall. A few labels literally appeared from the corridor walls as they passed, names of the lab types on the other side. 

 'Bio - Chem

Robotics and machining

Arcane Observatory

Oscillation/Resonation chambers'

 A small list of enticing titles, among others. Elizabeth slowed her pace, walking beside Ilyana, prepared to answer any questions she might have. The curiosity had gotten the best of her, and Elizabeth had to ask what Ilyana had insisted they speak in private about. Crossing her hands behind her back, Elizabeth raised her brow in concern as they approached the end of the corridor, revealing a vault that only she had access to. Liz approached the vault, preparing to open it as she beckoned Ilyana to speak on the private issue.

 "You're safe here to speak off of the record Ms. Sevryn. Go ahead."

Liz insisted, beginning the sequence to unlock the chamber which housed her own Arcane Intelligence unit.

 

 

Edited by Vilhardt

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Ilyana listened concerning the status of the Hell’s Gate lab, nodding in acknowledgment and agreement. This network of communication she was beginning to establish with a variety of key individuals needed to be safeguarded but she silently knew she would ensure that the Ventrix presence in her city was heavily monitored. Swirling black eyes scrutinized the vials of colorless liquid before her. She could sense the runic structure as she slid her fingers across each one. Visually they were not all that appealing and the logo alone would not be enough to increase their customer base. Many have strayed away from considering Ventrix as a necessity in their lives. The Redeemer knew she had much to do to change that.

“As long as the length of the boon is enough to get many through their daily tasks then this is acceptable or if the weakened state can be recovered from quickly then that is easily marketable. We need these products to be effective enough to give anyone an advantage in whatever field they are in. This competition will force those who do not adopt the product to reconsider as others excel in their fields.”

Ilyana assumed Patton already knew such things, her words more of a declaration of her stance on one of the ways she wished to market the product than a demand. The unexpected rumbling and sounds of moving objects caused the black fabric of her attire to ripple along her hip briefly, revealing to a keen eye that Ilyana was not wearing just a simplistic outfit. The movement was so brief, however, that it could have easily been mistaken by a shift in the light in this room. As the true lab was shown to her, Ilyana arched a brow and kept silent for a bit as she walked forward. She was mildly impressed but given her expectation of Elizabeth’s abilities the amazement did not last long.

"You're safe here to speak off of the record Ms. Sevryn. Go ahead."

“Before I discuss what I need to, I will need to verify I can trust you Elizabeth.”

She lifted her right hand, palm facing Liz before she continued.

“I will need you to disrobe and prove to me that you are not compromised in any way”

The serious expression along her face made her request even odder but she made sure to continue.

“Once you enter what I assume is your private chamber here, we will both confirm we are not compromised. What I need to ask you requires intimate trust as it could affect the lives of everyone in Terrenus.”

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“I will need you to disrobe and prove to me that you are not compromised in any way."

 The statement caught Liz off guard, causing her to scoff in disgust. However, Ilyana had every right to make this request. Elizabeth's body itself was entertwined with technology which was company affiliated, and while Elizabeth could have insisted that a doctor be present to administer a checkup, she couldn't trust many people to assist her with the routine maintenance she had come to perform. Her uncontested agreement seemed almost.. Eerie. With a harsh sigh, Patton thrust her left hand forward, lodging it into the doorway to the Omnicore housing unit. Syringes jabbed into her wrists, screwing in and taking a few blood samples before slowly pulling the vault apart ejecting.

 The seams screamed from pressure releasing as sigils aligned in synchronicity, causing neutral G.A.S to flood the corridor from within the chamber as the door peeled open. The G.A.S was not harmful, inactive in this state, quickly being ventilated and diverging towards the center point of the dimly lit room. At it's center, a closed well, beneath a series of lenses and amplifying harmonic devices. A cylindrical dome clung overhead, connecting to a wire and pipe system which melded into a single suspended chair. Elizabeth strutted towards the chair, signaling for Ilyana to follow as the vault began to wind back together.

"It is necessary that you understand that I am doing this by request as a business courtesy, more or less, as a show of what Ventrix Technologies can offer the world."

Elizabeth insisted, sliding her lab coat off without delay, revealing a synthetic frame which clung across her body in a tangled, sinew fashion. It held firmly across her form, revealing across her rear a set of large sockets, one on the left side of her neck, and a larger one embedding her spine. Liz climbed onto the seat, pulling herself into the bucket which contoured around her shoulders, locking into a place before cramming another adapter into the slot of her neck. 

 Patton closed her eyes in pain, gritting her teeth before the final piece of equipment took it's place. A six pronged adapter crept into her back, causing her to jolt forward violently, inducing vomiting and an uneasy creaking from the harness. Patton panted, dazed for a moment, looking like an absolute freak as the hydraulic system raised her into the air, above the closed well, and spun her to face Ilyana. The amplification system hummed wildly, and light cycled into the lenses, beginning to form patterns as they began a slow orbit around Elizabeth.

"As you were Ms. Sevryn... We are both ladies after all."

Patton coaxed, the exo-synthetic flesh that adorned her beginning to separate into vibrating strings which eventually seemed to pixelate and vanish, revealing her malnourished body. She hung weakly in place, what was left of her at least, the head, abdomen, and left arm of the young lass. Everything else was a gnarled, mended tissue which closed off the amputated lower region and right arm of Director Patton. The whole process was surprisingly quick, smooth and efficient at.. Whatever sort of madness it was designed for.

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Liz’s scoff was only met with even more determination as Ilyana was unwilling to compromise on her request given the stakes at hand. She had expected Liz to protest or use some sort of excuse to attempt to finagle her way out of it but was surprised by the sudden pivot into agreement. The fact that she was willing to set aside her previous hesitation and comply only managed to earn her favor now as they made their way into this room that Ilyana understood could only be accessed by Elizabeth herself. Ilyana was not oblivious to the concessions that were being offered and found it rare enough to appreciate…at least this time.

"It is necessary that you understand that I am doing this by request as a business courtesy, more or less, as a show of what Ventrix Technologies can offer the world."

Ilyana simply nodded and waited for Elizabeth to continue only to be surprised at the synthetic frame that the woman revealed underneath her lab coat. Such technology was not unheard of but Ilyana had never witnessed it firsthand. The way that tissue intertwined with metal along her frame was wonderful and Ilyana found herself ogling out of sheer curiousity. Some may have given themselves to disgust here but she was thankful for her upbringing in Hell’s Gate and for the technological wonders her city had allowed her to witness. She continued to analyze everything and how it moved or connected with Elizabeth’s frame.

“My my…I didn’t know things would get this intimate. This satisfies me in a way I never thought it would Elizabeth.”

The sight of Elizabeth was jolting for sure but Ilyana in stride decided to reveal something about herself that few could ever discern much less deserved to witness. Obtenebra rippled into view and then receded into Ilyana’s skin, covering solely her breasts and just enough of her hips to maintain some modicum of modesty. She slowly moved around to allow Elizabeth to use whatever methods of scanning she desired to prove she wasn’t compromised though the existence of the amorphous ooze within her was something she felt had to be explained.

“My companion is tied to every portion of my body. He…or…she…or it was a gift from a very dear friend of mine meant to protect me from the dangers around me.”

Obtenebra slowly began to come back and reform into a now loose flowing dress around Ilyana that offered her the chance to move with a bit more agility.

“One of these dangers is the root cause of my personal visit today. While I admit that I also came here to gauge how well our partnership can develop, urgency leads me to act on whatever capital I already have with you. Now that I am sure you are at least not compromised physically, I feel I can trust you with this request. I need your bright mind to engineer a method to identify the Enrele that have been plaguing the cities of our nation. They are a threat that must be managed and I cannot trust the Terran government to tackle it alone.”

Ilyana moved into a position where she could see Elizabeth’s face which had been elevated. The Redeemer felt she needed to address this matter now before she could even begin thinking about what other business matters she needed to discuss with this peculiar woman before her.

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 Ilyana's sense of humor was of another caliber, truly; or perhaps it was the cunning irony at hand which had amused Elizabeth. The lass chuckled softly, her blonde hair loosely falling towards her face and resting against her brow as light sigils grazed a bright alternating palette of colored patterns across her silhouette. The projectors aligned in unison around Patton's forehead, rotating in equally portioned opposite trajectories a few times and leaving her pales exposed. The strange scanning ended, the tools going dark and returning to neutral positions as something snatched Liz's attention.

 There was no cross examination, only a blank stare and heavy breathing as Obtenebra came into view. An odd, emotionless stare, almost as if Liz seemed afraid. Sevryn's words became mute, blocked out by some subconscious memory which replayed in Patton's mind. Ilyana's flattery rang in, followed by her need of assistance in identifying the Enrele and Elizabeth began to wheez, her lungs struggling for air in a few wretched rasps before seizing up and going dry as Ilyana grew close.

 Ms. Sevryn looked her in the eyes, the intricate pits of arcane inscription lackluster, dull, lifeless, void of whatever spellcraft had caused them to take the appearance of eyes before. The pits were black, the gyroscopic rotation having ceased and the inscriptions worn. All breathing had ceased entirely, and some of Liz's stiffened hair thinned, falling onto the floor and revealing a patch of grey scalp. She was in a state of suspended animation, this was Sevryn's chance, she could unhook the body right here and now and destroy E.P. for good, putting an end to the intelligence.

 There was a long silence, leaving confusion afoot. What exactly was happening, or had happened was unclear. The corpses veins ran black, skin growing cold, and still no response. Had Elizabeth died? Was this some sort of trick? There was an uneasy sensation that some... Thing.. Was watching from somewhere, wondering if this was really Ilyana Sevryn, The Redeemer; the same one it had read about in the news.

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Ilyana could only narrow her eyes when she noticed the shift in how Elizabeth was appearing. It wasn’t the consciousness within a shell of metal that perturbed her or the fact that she was left to dwell in silence after revealing Obtenebra. What bothered the Redeemer the most right now was the thought of having to live like this conscience before her. Did she even consider herself female any more? Has she transcended the notions of having to behave like a Terran? She was sure those who could appreciate what was before her from a scientific perspective might have gone further down the line of questioning but Ilyana could only sink into empathy and feel sorry for this ‘Liz’, wondering if she had chosen this upon herself or if this was forced upon her. Then her thoughts shifted to herself as she wondered truly if she had really accepted Obtenebra willingly or if she had been manipulated by the powerful being that had freed her from her bondage. Ilyana looked visibly saddened and deep in contemplation which made enduring the silence easier but did nothing to lift up her spirits then.

Ilyana found herself coming close to Liz’s form, a bold hand not realizing it was moving along the apparatus that she had connected herself too, swirling black eyes piercing through as she was clearly distracted by her own thoughts then though they looked fixated upon the vulnerable creature before her. It was true that Ilyana could have taken this change to usurp even more power for herself within this company. She could have decimated whatever this technological marvel was but such selfish ideas never even surfaced. Elizabeth Patton was needed in this world. She somehow knew this deep down in her core and she had a distinct feeling the intelligent mind could in fact help her and Lady Glasmann ensure their survival upon the looming threat of the Enrele.

Obtenebra rippled along her body as it felt the sense that it was being watched, its usual paranoia snapping Ilyana out of her brief daze and causing her to look around. She could feel the goosebumps along her skin and she did not enjoy the sensation but given she was used to powering through such negative feelings, Ilyana simply took it in stride once again, deciding to start speaking after a good amount of silence had gone by.

“Perhaps I should have waited until you had situated yourself before peppering you with my request. You are still there aren’t you Liz? Please tell me you didn’t just bring me here to have me watch you take a nap.”

There was just a tinge of nervousness present within Ilyana though it manifest itself much more visibly due to Obtenebra’s inability to maintain the guise of clothing Ilyana had wanted it to. The Redeemer was on alert but hopeful that she didn’t come here for some fruitless affair.

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"Yes Ms. Sevryn... I'm still here."

 The comms system in the room echoed, stirring coarse static which faded as Elizabeth continued. The panel below began to stir, unraveling a cage which hoisted a ventilated tube towards Ilyana and the inanimate shell of the scientist, with such a natural transition that it was apparent as an automated function and not a trap; nor any ill mannered device. The harness transitioned away from Ilyana a few feet, aligning with the casing and locking itself in place around Elizabeth. The grate beneath them slowly closed, becoming air tight with the chamber which began to fill with G.A.S., fogging up slowly as Liz continued.

"I'm sorry for the hesitation.... But this is still a bit embarrassing for me.... Especially with your staring."

Liz continued, chuckling sheepishly afterwards. The whole thing was a bit odd really, but as the G.A.S ceased and a liquid solution began to combine with it, the tube began to vibrate; the solution bursting into bubbles and streams of nutrient. Elizabeth was bathing, in a sense, cleansing her body of contamination from the outside world. This step was crucial in both remaining in suspended animation, and being able to operate outside of it in a techno - biotic state. In short, she was invigorating and detoxifying her body, while strengthening her mind which seemed connected to something else entirely.

 Elizabeth cleared her throat, returning to the point.

 "The Enrele? Ms. Sevryn, I dare say that what you're asking is ludicrous. I've read classified documents which address that suggestion as next to impossible, and you think that I might fair a better chance?"

 Patton pondered for a moment. The two of them would get along just fine, more than another might ever understand. Yes, this tickled Elizabeth's fancy finely; and for the first time since she had arrived in this wretched world the director felt that perhaps she had met someone who actually understood her visions of tomorrow. A world that couldn't live without Ventrix Industries, or Ventrix Technologies. A world of impossibility, made possible by the wills of those well beyond their own limits. These were Liz's burning desires, kindled by the fiery audacity of The Redeemer.

"Ilyana Sevryn... You're a chancer.. But you have my full attention, and if this is you're request, as does it. However, I must ask that in return you explain where this thirst for information stems from and how you intend to... Manage them."

Liz offered her hand in the affair, expecting a truthful response. Elizabeth was ready to offer full assistance. If Ilyana saught to control the Enrele, to eradicate them outright, or use the information to try and liberate the minds of the hosts, the thought held no concern in the scientists mind. She was prepared to move forward beside Sevryn, no matter what the future held, fueled by the tilted odds at hand and the very thought of showing the nation what science could achieve. It was this mind state alone which made Elizabeth a far greater asset than any machine, and an immense threat to any obstacle in her path. The only sign that inside that hollow shell, E.P. may still be human after all.

Edited by Vilhardt

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Swirling black eyes watched the emergence of cylindrical container that held the shell of her business partner. Curiousity urged her to come closer to examine the immobile shell but instead she stood where she was and listened to Elizabeth speak. When Liz made mention of her staring, Ilyana didn’t shy away or consider apologizing. She simply nodded to acknowledge the logic behind the statement but continued observing the revivification of the shell before her, logging within her mind the sequential process that she knew Liz had to subject herself to in order to survive and achieve her goals in the physical world around them. This was a vulnerability that could be exploited by others and endangered the very existence of this vibrant mind who was now far more attractive to Ilyana than she had been the first time they had met.

Once Liz brought the focus back on her request, Ilyana arched a brow at the consideration that what she requested was ludicrous. The mention that she has read classified documents did not go ignored, however. This meant she was willing to do things outside of the law and that was an area Ilyana didn’t mind dipping her toes in should the need arise. She knew Elizabeth was not finished so she delayed her response until she heard the demand that came next. The push and pull that normally occurs within negotiations had begun and Ilyana was ready to act. So once the demand came that Ilyana reveal her motivation behind what she had asked of Elizabeth, Ilyana finally let loose.

“I cannot say I believe you have a better chance at succeeding at something that others have failed miserably. What I can say is that just as the Enrele have been amassing an army, it is time that the citizens of this nation come together to protect their homes, their businesses, and anything else they hold dear. All of the assets and influence that I have acquired will mean nothing if it is usurped by this threat that I believe is far worse than the Legion that attacked Last Chance or even the rifts and monsters that appeared throughout the continent.”

Her expression shifted to show she was contemplating something but it wouldn’t take long for her to continue.

“The ability to identify the Enrele will allow us to mitigate their growth and nullify their influence. I would prefer if we could preserve the weak they have hungrily consumed in whatever plans they have but if collateral damage is necessary for the survival of the many then I can accept that as well. Any help that Ventrix Industries or Technologies can be to curb the Enrele threat will help my job as much as yours.”

Ilyana was purposefully vague concerning which motive truly drove her towards this cause. Her response held a mixture of greed, patriotism, and a desire to survive that would make it hard to decipher what motivated her the most. Did it matter any to E.P?

“I will be a bit more transparent with the means I have at my disposal for you as well. I have entered an agreement with Lady Caeceila Glasmann, also of Hell’s Gate, to share intelligence and use our collective influence to do what we can to eventually rid ourselves of the Enrele threat. I am aware of how lofty a goal that might seem but I do not believe that it is outside of the reach of my home or yours.”

She frowned a bit soon after before she finished her explanation with the next few words.

“I am not as learned in science as you or many here in this company which is why I need you to be my complement so we can help each other achieve what the other cannot do alone.”

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 “I am not as learned in science as you or many here in this company which is why I need you to be my complement so we can help each other achieve what the other cannot do alone.

Sevryn continued to fan the flames, befitting a crass retort in response.

"Judging by the lot you keep... I'm inclined to agree."

 "Link Established."

 A subtle monotonous voice chimed in the background. Elizabeth's mechanical eyes moved from behind the glass, showing that she had regained conscious function. She peered at Ilyana with concern, but a certain understanding between them that the Fractured Nation did indeed need to come back together; and now more than ever. Terrenus had become a battleground of politics, ideals, and wills.

 They had suffered repeated acts of terrorism and tragedy within the last decade, causing a shift in the arcanosphere itself. As a shadow of it's former glory, the people could hardly overcome a hostile takeover spurred by the Enrele; let alone their biggest threat. Themselves. Still though, the concern remained on Liz's submerged brow. There was a bigger threat at hand, but Elizabeth held at bay the sole acknowledgement of such things in the moment. The Dead Zone was contained beneath Asheville, at least for now.

 Some say that mimicry is a finer form of flattery, but for Elizabeth, there was an extensive necessity into the research, application, and recreation of technology. A desire to improve, upgrade, outdate, to surpass the creators. Ambitions far more self-destructive than productive, but necessary to improve her own fiendish realities. Still, the devil was in the detail. Patton was familiar with the aforementioned Glasmann, in a certain degree, divulged by economical strides in public business margin, and a personal need of knowledge within some of the same fields of business. 

 "My apologies... Your company is not my business. However, this company is my business, as it is yours."

 E.P. apologized promptly, expressing her concern afterward.

 "Then, I'm a part of this "collective influence" Ms. Sevryn?"

 Liz asked without tone, her chin meekly raising from inside the bio-tank as she stared at Ilyana. Elizabeth dug a bit deeper, testing the waters of her benefactor in an attempt to trace whatever angles she was playing at. E.P. didn't actually trust Ilyana Sevryn, nor any Glasmann, and definitely not the government. Not now, and likely not until the world had changed. Did Sevryn really trust in any of these forces at play?

"I need more information, specimens, and someone to cover up the trail. Preferably a more secure location than this. Something paramilitary, but off of the grid. Lots of security. Maybe even a meeting with this Glasmann. If you can provide this, then I'll do what I can for you." 

 Patton assured, regardless of how Ilyana answered her previous question.

 

 

 

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The crass response was clearly not appreciated as Ilyana’s lips contorted to evince disapproval but she did not offer any sort of retaliatory retort. To respond negatively implied she took personal offense but that wasn’t where the disapproval came from. Elizabeth’s words only served to remind her of the company she actually kept and the sustainability of the two worlds that she conducted business in. She knew that one day the situation would become untenable and she’d be forced to make a decision that she could not spin to avoid any negative feedback. Thankfully, the complexity that was Elizabeth’s existence pulled her from what she feared and into the realization that she was interacting with a consciousness that was not wholly Terran. A social mishap here or there should be expected and given the other women that she had already established a partnership in Hell’s Gate, she would have to establish contingencies should their words prove more curse than boon to this endeavor.

The shift in how Liz addressed Ilyana had been noticed but it wouldn’t have done anything to prevent the blunt nature of her responses regardless of the crass delivery from before.

“I am hopeful that you can be but I will let the results of your efforts determine that. We cannot afford anyone becoming a liability when faced with the coordination of our threat after all.”

The ‘fabric’ of her dress shifted and clung a bit more to her form simply because its host gave it free reign to do as it pleased in this room separated from the prying eyes of everyone except for the oddity that was E.P. An oddity that had earned a tentative trust but not enough to peel back the layered defenses she maintained at all times.

“If you need a location off of our ledgers and obfuscated from the peering eyes of the government then that can be arranged. As for a meeting with Caeceila, I will leave that decision wholly up to her but I will convey your affiliation with me to her. The inevitability of a meeting between you two should be set from there I am sure.”

Ilyana walked around the room in mid-response, eyes looking around without any particular goal in mind other than to take in her surroundings. With her gaze sliding around and not giving any hint to any items she deemed interesting, she began to add to her response.

“I will let you know of any opportunity that arises to acquire specimens but will leave the means by which you do so under your control. I have other events in play that need my attention and figure you are capable enough to acquire what you need.”

Turning slowly to look at Liz directly once again she offered a small smile.

“Is there any other detail or plan you wish to discuss concerning my request? Will this interfere with your current focus here at Ventrix in any way?”

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  As Ilyana peered around the room, a set of mirrors casually lifted from behind the bio-tank, aligned in unison. Slowly, they shifted in rotation around the pod, breaking sight between the two women periodically before growing in velocity steadily, eventually humming by in a systematic fashion which glided smoothly enough to almost see right through.

 The rear of her harness cranked abruptly, locking into place and administering a catalyst which mixed into her nervous system. Liz clenched her teeth in pain, the line of her gums swelling within a split second as a sudden jolt arced into her body afterward. The mirrors lit up, beaming against each other divinic glyphs which converged schematically in convergence with the android. As the glyphs hit the pod, an induced phenomenon occurred, revealing that the pod was filled with bio-fluid which had been enhanced by micro-arcane embellishment. The energy swelled, making lifelike streaks of thick liquid wonder about the tank, which vibrated loudly. 

 The mirrors burnt into E.P., laying framework for the recreation of her body as the fluid began to form around her, and as the chems kicked in, that framework absorbed the light. The thick, sinewy flesh knit together in a knotty weave of limbs which grew in distinction as they twisted into shape. A layer was peeled away, sculpted by the focus of the light, giving the material detail and helping it mend correctly. The weave connected internally, pulling tightly into the bone and winding all of the joints together in an excruciating snap which was well heard outside of the tank. As angular cuts were made and aligned, the plating stiffened, locking firmly into place from shoulder to finger tip; forming the exoskeleton of Patton's right arm. The process continued, forming thin micro-channeling plates which functioned as digital nerve endings that layered the skeleton. 

 The comms system cut on again, allowing E.P. to speak as the machine underwent the lengthy process of laying it's framework from the waist down.

 "I already have procedures operating well over a year in advance. I assure you, aside from the prolonged requirement of your signature, and the setup of our sister company; the company will do well without my presence. Besides, these sorts of affairs draw allot of attention, and this may be a way to remind the world of why V.I was founded."

 Elizabeth had a great deal of questions, many of which were not pertinent to the request at hand, but the fact remained all the same. For the time being, she wouldn't pry. No, she would play a fools hand with Ilyana, offering aid but not at the behest of her own agenda. There was however, still one thing Patton needed to address. She had to safeguard herself from the outright involvement of the government.

The mirrors had served their purpose, slowing and retracting as the light dissipated. The cybernetics sealed themselves tightly together, the tank draining and lifting above the scientist, causing a pressurized cloud to roll outward with a loud industrial hiss. The harness disconnected from the back, and Liz pulled the cord in her neck out as she stepped forward. A bright gleam glossed over her metallic exo-system which covered her entire body, except for her left arm and above her neck, and the material fogged a bit from the mist. E.P flexed her right hand, and then forearm, checking the machining as she casually asked about her final concern.

 "You mentioned the government. How do they play into this? I'd rather avoid stepping on Gaia's toes."

 

 

 

Edited by Vilhardt

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Ilyana watched the entire process, her black swirling eyes not really giving away any sense of shock or awe regarding the methods Elizabeth Patton chose to maintain herself. Still, an astute person might wonder why she did not offer Liz any modicum of privacy not that E.P even cared that she was practically being ogled at this time. It had already become clear to Ilyana that the mere fact she had been allowed in to this room was to see everything she had already. She was sure that few would ever be granted such a personal view of who this Dr. Elizabeth Patton was behind the success and reputation she had already garnered within Ventrix. What that all meant to the Redeemer, however, was not entirely clear.

She decided to stand close enough to make out as much detail as she could without interfering or placing herself in danger. Ilyana knew enough about technology given she was from Hell’s Gate, but she clearly did not consider herself adept with magitech or the advanced technology that ran rampant in her home. She was someone who enjoyed more of the analog pleasures…for better or worse it seemed. This was why Ilyana did not hesitate to raise her hands to feel the warmth of the beams that had been created as she waited for Elizabeth to finish her lengthy procedure. Thankfully the sound of E.P’s voice though the comm system broke through all of the industrial noise that had peppered her while she waited.

“Ahh yes. I will be sure to sign once I thoroughly review the paperwork.”

A half smile fell upon her features then but as the mirrors began retracting and the pressurized cloud now lingered around her form, she watched E.P assess herself, sensing that there was still something else Liz wished to address. That sense proved true as the next question was posed and Ilyana wasted no time in responding.

“As you can see by the data provided from the Symposium, the terrorist attack in Last Chance and even the plague that came upon this city, there are many things that need to be addressed. The government is surely organizing themselves to combat this Enrele threat in both the social and military arenas. The unique thing about this Enrele threat, however, is that we are certain they have managed to infiltrate their ranks. Going by the fact the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks still roam free and the continuing problems of the loci, I along with several others cannot just sit idly by and believe they will eliminate this threat before it costs the lives of millions more.”

Ilyana realized she was likely provided a more tangential response than what Elizabeth actually required so she stopped for a few seconds and provided a more targeted response.

“If you want to avoid stepping on Gaia’s toes, just ensure you do not let her gaze fixate itself upon you or whatever actions you take toward our end goal. Though our paths are likely to converge as we move forward, the less they know about our efforts the better. This whole endeavor will require a coordination and trust that will only be muddied should we let them intrude.”

Ilyana stood before Liz, purposefully moving as close as she could to the renewed body of her new partner.

“If that satisfies your inquiry, I suggest we finalize the Ventrix paperwork before we entertain any other plans. I want to make sure the original reason for our meeting is taken care of before we delve into anything else…agreed?”

Ilyana’s veil of a smile returned as she waited to let Liz decide whether she’d comply.

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 "Agreed."

E.P responded, batting her eye lashes a bit as she retrieved the aforementioned agreement from her files and displayed it across a light screen, a seemingly effortless interaction between the two at this point. Sevryn could sign beside E.P and V.V, officially beginning development of Ventrix Technologies, and securing the publicised distribution of Ventrix Industries' brand and it's products. Elizabeth widened the screen a bit, and positioned it promptly for Ilyana to access. The contract detailed the research, development, and production of various products over at least two years in advance; one of which awaited board approval for current distribution. The terms were beneficial to all parties, including Violeta; though that probably mattered little to Sevryn, especially considering that she was already in the dark about this meeting.

 Elizabeth raised a brow in anticipation that it was her turn to answer some questions. She wasn't a rude host. E.P would extend Ms. Sevryn the same courteous, mutualistic respect that she had received. Providing information, for information.

"Feel free to look it over for as long as you'd like. If there are any concerns, or questions before you sign, then you have the floors attention."

 Elizabeth chuckled dryly a bit at her drab joke, smiling gently as she attempted to coax Sevryn into a reaction. There was a sinister way in which Elizabeth had become so regarded within her few years within the company. A sinister way in which she acquired a sum of shares, the same in how she acquired knowledge. A sinister way in which she was so concise, almost ahead of her time. However, with all things kept in mind... Perhaps the most sinister aspect at hand was the surreality in how a scientist who held so many answers, and asked so many questions, could have gone unnoticed by Daloth for so long. Her natural mystique was not questioned by Ilyana at all, something she noted, wondering more than ever what the entrepreneurs true motives were.

 Elizabeth smiled gently as she stared Ilyana down, waiting for her signature, or anything she could elaborate upon for her partner.

 

 

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