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I Was Just In The Neighborhood...
(2013-04-24 - 2013-04-25)
An old hand drops in on a coworker who'd rather be anywhere else.
Alberic Lux Palumpolum is wide, tall, and ever so shiny. Still, certain things are hard to miss when you know what to look for, and when you've been around in nearly every stage of its growth and development... well, you kind of know where to look to find whatever it is you want. Case in point: PSICOM's current offices.

Lt. Col. Jihl Nabaat's office in Palumpolum's PSICOM branch has been invaded. Fortunately, it isn't by someone personally hostile to her. There is a man there, wearing a rumpled, collared shirt, an eyepatch, and dark pants. He's sitting in her chair at her desk. He has his feet kicked up on the corner, and is rifling through its contents in a manner most casual. A dark green coat, threadbare and worn out, is hanging on a coat hook near the door. (If she did not have one before, she has one now.)

Security is aware that he's there, but since the last time an officer came down, nobody has said as much as a word to him. He's apparently 'got the proper credentials,' but these credentials are unspecified at best and possibly fabricated at worst. Jihl is told that there's someone in her office when she comes in the building. If anyone has any idea of his identity, they're close-lipped about it.
Jihl Nabaat "Lt. Colonel Nabaat?" A nervous young officer steps up to the woman in her traditional wear, even as she looks down at him - barely. Blame the heels. She takes a deep breath and asks, "What is it, officer?"

"There's someone waiting for you in your office."

Giving the young man a look that could freeze him in his shoes, Jihl Nabaat disappears out of the front rooms and down the various elevators and along the other hallways until she ends up in front of her own bedroom door. She stares at it for awhile, before she opens it - not with a bang, but with a graceful sort of silence as she stands there and watches a certain Alberic Lux go through what paperwork and such she has in her desk...

Which isn't much.

Alberic Lux It's kind of unfortunate. He was hoping to figure out some more things about what was going on in the world through them, but, alas, it looks like the Lieutenant Colonel runs a tight ship. Or, at least, is a habitual neat freak when it comes to cleaning up old forms and new ones alike. Or, Lux thinks, they've completely transitioned to the paperless office. He looks up for a second, as if puzzled by the thought. "Hmh. Couldn't be." He shakes his head, and goes back to it.

If he's noticed Jihl come in, he hasn't made any indication of it. He hums tunelessly to himself, continually shuffling through things. He places them in neat stacks on the surface of her desk as he does, and neatens the whole thing up almost absent-mindedly.

Yep. Still going.
Jihl Nabaat Jihl stands there for a few moments, a puzzled look on her face. She's seen that face before. It belongs to a name she's heard before too. What was it? Light? Lucky? Ah... hmm. She finally snaps her fingers.

"Lux and light, it's you-- it's it?"

Jihl doesn't get access to everything - mostly because there are a few secrets the Primarch can keep from the head of PSICOM - but she's heard of Alberic Lux before, not to mention his partial attachment to several amounts of major innovations in the past.

Mostly defensive.

She then clears her throat. "Can I have my chair back? Now?" It's not really a question.
Alberic Lux Alberic lets Jihl just stand there while she puzzles out his identity. He's in no hurry to help her along in the puzzle. He looks up when she finally figures it out, smiling a little and raising a hand, fingers splayed, in a sort of half-wave. "It certainly is. I'm glad to see that PSICOM has not forgotten the name of one of their favorite benefactors." He looks down again, and then to the side, thoughtfully. "Or perhaps 'prolific' is the better word," he muses aloud.

Lux continues rifling. He straightens a pile out. He adjusts how the chair sits behind the desk. He looks up and around, surveying the room. Then, he looks back at Jihl.

"I don't know," he asks, staring at her with an almost unnerving intensity. "Can you?" It's not really a question, either.
Jihl Nabaat Jihl rolls her eyes. "It's not forgetting, so much as it is the file you're under is labeled with a very large question mark and only about five people have access to it. You do come to visit us so rarely." She's either deadpan and sarcastic, or actually joking. You pick which one is worse.

She stares at him back. Then, deliberately, she walks behind her desk, and takes the back of the chair, before she pushes it - because it's on wheels - to the other side of the desk.

"You can keep the chair, but you're supposed to be on that side." She says, almost with a long-suffering sigh. She then moves her only other chair to the other side of the desk, before sitting down.

"So what can PSICOM do for you today, Lux?"
Alberic Lux "The will of the fal'Cie is a mystery even to the most devout," Lux replies, spreading his hands in a sort of mystical fashion. "I am merely a favored tool; no more, and no less." He peers up at Jihl when she rounds the desk and just pushes the chair to the other side. He keeps his hands upraised, and lifts his heel til he's been properly relocated. He gingerly lowers it to the floor, as if he's concerned something is hiding under the desk to bite him.

"Mmm." Alberic folds his hands on his lap. "That wasn't what I was getting at, though I'll give you credit for finding a solution that didn't compromise your commanding demeanor." He leans forward a little, letting the chair settle into its normal position and then sitting up straight. "I suppose the question is instead, what can /I/ do for PSICOM, Nabaat?" He deliberately leaves any titles off. She probably doesn't even know his surname, though he knows hers. It probably just credits him as 'Dr. Lux' in anything recent enough to prepend the title, he supposes.

"I have, once again, been asleep for a number of years, as you have surely surmised." Alberic figures she's a smart girl. "What I would like is to be briefed on the current state of Cocoon, the world that is most certainly not Pulse that my lab appears to have materialized on, and on the increased number of the dark matter constructs more commonly called 'Heartless' that I've encountered in the meantime. After that, well..." He shrugs.
Jihl Nabaat Jihl is nothing if not creative when it comes to wartime scenarios, and considering it's Alberic, it's always a 'wartime scenario'. As such, she settles into her chair with a roll of her eyes as he goes partially mystical at her. She is not going to bother to play games with him.

"Why thank you, it's always an honor to get praise for creativity from Dr. Lux, the man with the various defensive plans for our world." She looks at him as he starts asking questions, and slumps slightly into her chair at his questions. Getting reminded that their world is not totally together is always a blow to the woman that has plans for everything.

"I hope you had a nice nap."

Then she vaults into the answers of the questions that he has here. "I do not know where most of the planets known as Cocoon and Pulse are. A few of the cities have popped up, mostly Palumpolum, but the amounts of people living here is much smaller than it used to be. This is a common occurance, we've found, as many worlds have been splintered and cast into this..." She hmms.

"I suppose one would call it a 'multiverse'. Worlds can be restored, it seems, based on what happened in a world called 'Manhatten', but it seems you need a special sort of thing - something called a Keyblade - to assist in that procedure." She shrugs, not knowing what that is.

"The Heartless are seemingly made of dark matter and an energy that no one seems to be able to placed. A lot of it has to do with shilly-shally about light, because when there is light, there is dark, and such other things. We have not put in much research, I do admit."
Alberic Lux Lux just smiles a little and lets her speak. He doesn't ask her to join his games; she's playing by merely talking to him.

"That's because I was working on it before I finished my last Focus," Alberic replies. Which means they've known about Heartless for a bit longer than some might have expected. Then again, how long have the Heartless even been around? "We had managed to replicate several Heartless types, and customize them for our own use, before I last entered stasis. The actual how and why is still unclear, though I /do/ recall coming up with an environment they couldn't phase through before concluding work on my personal project."

"I suspect the cities are lacking in people because they have by and large become Heartless," Alberic continues. "With the human population reduced, the Heartless population increases, which then further increases the danger they are all in. I would prioritize the development of light-based weapons for PSICOM and the Civic Guardians, or whatever it is you are calling them these days," he adds with a dismissive wave of his hand, "to prevent this... plague from spreading."
Jihl Nabaat Jihl gives Lux a long, long look, especially as he admits to be working on things and that there's information he has that she doesn't know about. The bit about replicating Heartless makes the woman purse her lips into an actual frown.

"The Guardian Corps. Run by Cid." She says, jerking her head as she realizes he's been asleep. "My second's been Yaag Rosch for awhile, but I suspect you had access to that sort of information." She twines her fingers together, sighing.

"Prioritize, as in you're not helping out the scientests and makers, or prioritize as in I should be seeing examples of such weaponry in here soon?"
Alberic Lux If there weren't secret projects that one of the commanders of PSICOM didn't know about, it wouldn't /really/ be a Sanctum project.

"Ah. Guardian Corps," he repeats, letting it roll off the tongue. "Hmh." Alberic smiles again. "Of course I do. However, I had been in Palumpolum for twenty minutes before I arrived here, in your chair," he says, patting the arm, "so my information is a little... dated. I will of course need some time to do some reading, and to conclude my longest-running project, before I am properly up to speed."

Lux's smile widens. "Oh, the latter, certainly. I have no desire to see the citizenry of Cocoon, even divorced from Cocoon herself, be devoured by the Heartless. It would run counter to my goals, and to those of the fal'Cie." Perhaps idly, he rests his head in his hand, the tip of his finger running along the edge of the patch over his eye. "Rest assured, they do not choose... incompetents."

"Is there anything else I should know of? Recent dangers to the citizenry? Major Pulse offensives? Current security protocol? The name of your most recent suitor, perhaps?" He leans on his hand, watching her with a subtle glimmer of amusement in his eyes.
Maximilien "Bonjour, monsieur," Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne answers. How long he's been leaning against the interior door, and how he even got into the office, are both great big mysteries. He certainly didn't shadow-teleport, though; Lux would've sensed as much.

Max takes a wide bow, a flower in his hand, his blue-and-silver cape (the one Mercade got him for Christmas, his red one is busy being cleaned and sewed back together) flowing around his white tuxedo as he does so. He's a theatrical S.O.B.; as he straightens, there's a wide smile on his face, and he tucks the rose against his face gently. "Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne, at your service. Whom may I say I am being treated to the pleasure of meeting? It is so rare that I get to meet coworkers professionally."

Normally he meets coworkers in disguise. As other coworkers. Who don't exist.'s not /entirely/ PSICOM's fault, Max is just *good*.

Max walks over to the window, relaxing against it without a care in the world.
Jihl Nabaat "Did you wake up in Palumpolum, still, or did you wake up in another area, if you don't mind my curiosity?" Jihl asks. "I am hearing scattered stories that not all residents ended up in their original home worlds, or towns, depending on what came through the... darkness." She wriggles her fingers to emphasise that.

She listens to him, then nods. "You said you arrived with your lab, though - that is good. We of course have the supplies and things that were located in Palumpolum, and Eden -- I am sure you have at least heard that the Primarch still is on hand." She smiles, but it doesn't quite reach her eyes.

"I am glad to hear that you are continuing your work to assist PSICOM." Beat. "And the Guardian Corps. There has been nothing truly major that has required extra assistance; if anything, most citizens are now more well prepared for problems."

"I have not truly had a suitor in a handful of years, Dr. Lux; you should know that."

THen Max shows up, and Jihl slowly settles her head into her hands.
Alberic Lux "My laboratory and its environs were in a desert near Fluorgis. I say 'were' because two groups of so-called 'adventurers' broke in to loot it, thinking it a ruin. Given its state at the time, I couldn't really blame them." He shrugs a shoulder. "Something destabilized the entropic reactor prototype and shunted the entire area into another dimension just long enough to turn it into metallic slurry. The culprits, though -- the locals say they call themselves VALKYRI and the Shard Seekers, respectively. I've already spoken with the leader of VALKYRI; a pleasant young woman, though perhaps too quick to touch instead of look." He smirks a little.

"So, no. No, normally I return to Eden when I sense my Focus has been completed to the satisfaction of the fal'Cie. I was born there, many, many years ago; it feels..." He searches for a word, and settles on, "...right, to go back. I was otherwise occupied with Project Damocles, though, and crystallized at my workstation. Embarassing." He shakes his head. "It is good to know that the Primarch and Eden still remain, though."

Alberic nods a little, perhaps accepting that things are pretty quiet on the home front. He doesn't believe her for a second when she says she hasn't had a suitor at all, because anyone who hadn't would have probably ignored the question instead of bringing it up.

Besides, Max showed up at that exact moment. It's too... /perfect/.

The good doctor spins in his (read: Jihl's) chair, looking up at Maximilien for a long moment. A cold eye appraise the sharply-dressed man, looking across every inch of him. He nods, once, as if in approval or as if committing it to memory. "Mars, then. Fitting, I think." He smiles again. "/I/ am Alberic Lux. You may call me Doctor, Professor, Alberic, Lux, or Sir, depending on your rank, if any, and personal preference -- I do not know of anyone I would have a professional relationship with who wouldn't use the last, though largely, I suspect, out of fear in these strange days."
Maximilien The look in Max's eye is similarly cold, distant, and professional. The smile on his lips is practiced to the point where even his eyes *seem* like they're warm and cheerful, but most certainly are not; there's nothing forced, visibly, about it.

Which is good, because Max is forcing his smile something fierce.

Something about Lux puts him off, and Max didn't get to be in his twenties in a profession *born* around being recklessly stupid by not trusting his instincts. He's not sure what it is exactly that sets off his alarm about this man, but there is certainly something. Maybe it's the coldness of Lux; maybe it's the introduction; maybe it's just the way he looks. He reminds Max of people he knew long ago, people he never liked and never will like, and would be all too happy to leave consigned to the darkness.

But Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne is also nothing if not capable of hiding his emotions, because you don't get to live as long as he has in his profession and /not/ be good at pretending to feel things you don't.

"A pleasure, monsieur Lux," Max replies cheerfully. "I was just stopping in to see the lady; forgive me for entering unannounced. Something of a habit of mine, non?"
Jihl Nabaat "VALKYRI. Yes. I know of their leader; I know little to nothing about the Shard Sheekers, in comparison." Jihl says, looking at the smirk there for a few seconds. However, she eventually shrugs, a smirk crossing her own lips when Lux admits to getting crystallized at his workstation.

It's not blackmail, but it is still pretty damn funny.

Max and Lux start talking - Jihl silently rolls in her chair to the secondary door in her room, one that leads down a short hallway to the meeting rooms and Yaag's office, evidently intending a quick escape while the men were busy.
Alberic Lux Max, conversely, doesn't off-put Alberic in nearly the same way. He mostly registers as someone who is trying too hard to do something he can't observe properly, which probably means that he's trying to look like he's trying too hard, and also of someone with a particular... scent about him. A sort of aroma that makes him wrinkle his nose in mild distaste.

He doubts it's the cologne.

"I am sure it is," Lux replies amicably. He steeples his fingers, still just looking at Max. He'll definitely have to remember this one. "Though if that was your goal, I recommend you either stop her from sneaking out the side door, or you go with her," he adds, gesturing at where Jihl is creeping without actually looking.

Jihl is probably the least stealthy person in the room.
Maximilien "Non, non. I'll simply be at her apartment, making her real food instead of the take-out garbage she has been subsisting on." Max has his own shortcuts across the city, among them *being able to fly or at least jump and run across buildings*.

The feeling of nose-wrinkling distaste is at least mutual.

Finally, Max just slips out the window and disappears; he'll be making good on that promise when Jihl gets home, and then she can complain all she likes to him about Doctor Alberic Lux.
Jihl Nabaat "So... does that answer your last question?" Jihl Nabaat finally asks Doctor Alberic Lux from her seat in her chair next to the door. She swings around, one leg tucked under her, her elbows on the arm of the chair, her chin propped up in her folded hands.

"And do you have any others?" She finally asks dryly.
Alberic Lux Max goes out a window. Alberic makes a mental note about that. It's a useful thing to know, how someone is coming and going.

"You know," Alberic says, planting his foot on the side of Jihl's desk, "if you wanted to keep that a secret, it would be better to have ignored the question in a dismissive sort of way. One of your predecessors was prone to that, though she was more, mm... violently antagonistic to people asking."

Lux smiles broadly. "I certainly can't think of any. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be going. Time to get settled in." He bends his knee -- and propels himself out the front door.

On Jihl's chair.


* for others
Jihl Nabaat "THAT WAS MY CHAIR, YOU <GOOSEHONK!>" Jihl yells out the door, mostly not chasing him down because it's /Alberic/, and secondly because she's still musing over the statement about her predecessor and his advice. Huh. How about that.
Alberic Lux Needless to say, Alberic does not slow down.

Not for nothin'.

Not for no one.

This scene contained 22 poses. The players who were present were: Maximilien, Jihl Nabaat, Alberic Lux