The Telepath Chronicles

Special Delivery

03 Mar 2011 04:11  |  by Jacintha
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IC Date: February 21th, 2011
This scene takes place on the Monday following the log entry A Flare for the Truth, in response to the Night Bytes entry Denial is Not Just a River in Egypt.

It occurs to me, as I stand before my desk and survey the elegant bouquet of orchids that arrived there while I was in the management meeting, that I should be grateful they arrived here at work and not at home. Because, really, if they'd arrived at my home, I doubt I'd be regarding them with anything akin to the veneer of calm I now make a conscious effort to project. And, indeed, until I read the card, I had no cause to feel otherwise. Curious, perhaps. And I was. Now?

Not so much.

Jacintha

“There be none of beauty's daughters with a magic like thee.”

Aidan

The damnable creature.

It's foolish, really, to consider whether or not he's stalking me. After all, since Friday, I've had no doubt the game's afoot. And this is part of the game. A telling part, too, I might add. Unless more flowers show up — in which case I'll be certain he's actually stalking me and not just trying to distract me — he's effectively tossed the ball back into my court.

Mr. Alexander should be pleased, at any rate.

I slip the card into the pocket of my blazer — that doesn't need to be seen by prying eyes — pick the flowers up, and move them to the credenza against the inner wall. I'll grant the Vampire one thing: The flowers are lovely. Still, I can't help but wonder, does he know orchids are my favourite flowers or was it simply a lucky guess because he didn't want to send roses? So laden with meaning flowers are… but hardly anyone pays attention to that, any more.

The thought that he might, however, causes my brows to dip faintly.

As I turn away from the credenza to retreat once more to my desk, I can see Anna, the receptionist that sits in the space between my office and Mr. Alexander's, craning her neck to try to see in. I like Anna, actually. She's extremely efficient, thoroughly discrete, and a strong enough Talent to warrant the trust placed in her from a confidentiality point of view. I redirect my steps away from the desk toward the door, casually glyphing her a better view of the flowers, as well as a not-so-subtle query: Did she read the card?

The glyph she returns is a flash of the card with its neatly slanted writing. Yes. She read it. How else to know where it should be delivered?

~Who's Aidan, if I may ask?~ she sends lightly, now, as I emerge from my office.

~The restaurateur that was our host Friday night,~ I reply, sticking to that truth, rather than the more inconvenient and revealing one of the week before. ~I think he's trying to make nice with the hope of further business between us.~ Again, it's not a lie. It all depends on how you define 'business'. And 'making nice', for that matter.

~Business.~ The word is laden with Anna's amusement. She's not quite so strong a Talent as I, and doesn't usually push. But, we are friends, after a fashion — close colleagues, at any rate. She's not much younger than I, but we didn't grow up together, either. Not in the way Remy and I did.

Speaking of Remy…

~Business.~ I repeat firmly. ~And I'll take it as a kindness if you'll not mention the card. Better yet, bury any thought of it, entirely.~ A dry chuckle. ~Deep as you can.~ The last thing I need is Remy picking up on it.

Not, mind, that he won't likely make the logic leap, in any case. It's not as if I'm the type to go buy myself flowers, after all. Still. I don't need him needling me.

And you know he will.

Anna does acknowledge my request. And chances are good she'll even try to do as I ask. She's good like that. If nothing else, she can use it as leverage to wheedle a concession out of me later, and we both know it.

I'm about to return to my desk, once more, when Mr. Alexander emerges from his own office to join us.

~Ah. Just the two women I was hoping to see,~ he says, a jaunty spring in his step. I notice the smile he gives is particularly broad, and I can't help but feel it's directed more at me than Anna. In less than a heartbeat, he glyphs to both of us the success of his morning: Harrington, the gentleman Remy and I wooed at the Vampire's restaurant on Friday night, has promised him a substantial donation to the Foundation — particularly in return for anything that might aid the demure Miss Wyndham. That success, however, is overlaid with an image of a fashionable Spring fundraiser, sponsored by Harrington's company… but managed by the Foundation.

More specifically, managed by Anna and… me, as Mr. Alexander's personal representative.

~That's wonderful news, sir,~ Anna says, as if he hasn't just doubled each of our workloads with that single overlay of thoughts, emotions, and images.

~It is,~ I agree — not because of the workload, but because the donation will be greatly appreciated. Indeed, as I sift the glyph, I quickly understand that Harrington's commitment is entirely dependent on the success of the fundraiser. He'll match it, pound for pound, and foot the bill to boot. It's an impressive offer.

~You see why I need my best and brightest on this,~ Mr. Alexander's blue eyes meet mine, his gaze as direct as his thoughts. ~He particularly enjoyed Flare. I suggest, Jacintha, that you start there. For the catering.~

And with that one thought I know, he's fully aware of the card that hides in my pocket, and the flowers that sit on my credenza — not to mention the fact that orchids are, indeed, my favourites. And if he underpins that knowledge with the usual warmth of the fatherly attitude he has adopted with me since I was a child, well… I can't say I'm surprised.

Letting my lips pull slightly to one side in wry, good-humoured defeat, I give a simple nod.

~Flare it is, then.~


For the good of the Foundation

12 Feb 2011 09:15  |  by Jacintha
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IC Date: February 9th, 2011 — sometime midday.
This episode takes place the day after 'You, again?'


~You're unusually quiet, today.~

I don't need to look up to know who I'll see standing at the door. His mind is familiar enough. Almost intimately familiar, really.

~Am I?~ I sit back in my chair to see Remy's long, lean form leant languidly against the doorframe. His gloved hands are folded lightly in front of his belt.

~You are.~ A beat. A touch of humour laces both his features and thoughts. ~Hot date, last night?~

I snirk, both audibly and mentally. Still, I can't quite keep the memory of the Vampire's face from flashing across my surface thoughts. And, of course, if anyone is sensitive enough to pick up on even such a fleeting image, it's Remy White. He knows my mind too well… as I know his.

That's what happens after 20-some-odd years of close, telepathic association.

A brow arches on his usually impassive face, the most he'll ever show of open surprise, I'm sure. ~You mean you did have a hot date?~

"No!" I send shortly, saying it aloud completely unintentionally at the same time my thought flies at him. ~No,~ I repeat more evenly this time, running quickly through an inner calming mantra. His amusement leaks all over the place, however. I scowl. ~It's not what you think.~

~Really.~ Remy White has always been good at the sardonic deadpan. Even in his thoughts. I suspect he practices it.

In fact, I do know what he thinks — at least, I do to the level his consciousness touches mine at this moment. And mostly what's in his thoughts is amusement, not innuendo. We've been friends since childhood, and he likes to tease. The deadpan is just his delivery.

~Really.~ I straighten now, pushing up away from my desk and crossing toward the large window overlooking the city. The day is overcast, but it's not raining at this given moment. ~He's no suitor. I believe he is a Vampire.~

~A Vampire.~ It's not scepticism in his tone. He readily accepts the truth that I believe it's a Vampire, at any rate, and thus will allow that the attractive creature actually is a Vampire. Kind of him. But, it means the echo is simply his way of absorbing the unlikely information. He steps into the office, crossing to lean on the desk. ~Have you told Mr. Alexander?~

~Of course not. It's no one's business, but my own.~ 'And that includes you,' the undertone to my thought implies, though I don't voice it outright.

~He'd want to know. You've read the vision reports as thoroughly as I.~

One of the advantages of the training both Remy and I have recieved over the years is a unique ability to recall memories with startling clarity. Not all telepaths can do it, mind, but Remy and I are among those few who can. The physical image of the Vampire I choose to share is the one from when I first met him, before I was certain of his true nature — a roguish Irishman with dark hair, blue eyes and a devil-may-care demeanour. His smile, when we first met, was calculated, I believe, to be charming and inviting. He was on the hunt, after all. His clothes were expensive, designer label, I'm sure, though I couldn't have said which designer. I know enough to choose that which is stylish and looks good on me, but I don't track the famous names or expensive brands. Nevertheless, it's this image I project at Remy: The suave, charming Irishman with the crystal blue eyes and the black and silver shirt. ~That isn't the man from the vision reports.~

~No. But, he could be a valuable resource in finding out just who the man in the vision report is.~ There's an underlying reproach in Remy's sending that translates as: 'You know that.' (There's also a laughing amusement that says, 'You always did have a weakness for the dark-haired roguish types.' I snirk at him again for that, but push his amusement away. Once upon a time, Remy actually was one of the dark-haired roguish types; he still can be, on occasion… when he chooses.)

~White,~ I retort, blocking all thoughts of the younger him from where our minds meet, ~I am not putting my neck~ — the word just has to be stressed, complete with a projection of the sense of 'predator' the creature bleeds all over the place — ~on the line for what could be a wild goose chase. You know how unreliable Chan's visions are.~ 'And you know what Alexander will ask,' sits beneath the surface.

'Get closer to him, Jacintha. Find out what he wants and exploit it.' How often have I been sent on missions like that? Yes. Often enough, I hunt rogues out to destroy the Foundation and all it stands for. But, it's my negotiation skills that have gotten me the position I have — my skill at infiltrating minds and extracting the information I need without being detected and then using it to best advantage. That's why Mr. Alexander keeps me by his side. He's told me that — sent it to me, and there is no lie in a shared send.

But, here's the thing: You can't read a Vampire's mind. I found that out firsthand. Both times I ran into the creature, it was clear. His mind is impenetrable. At least, it is short of a deep probe. And I'm guessing about that.

Remy doesn't reply. He just… stares at me. It's not incredulity. It's that penetrating, impassive stare I've seen him use on blips — implacable with the ghost of pity for the misguided behind his eyes. I know in that instant it doesn't matter if I tell Mr. Alexander or not; Remy will. 'For the good of the Foundation,' he'll say. 'The good of our people.'

And who am I to argue that?

But, he didn't come face to face with the creature. I did. I am not used to being prey and I don't like it. I really don't want to go through it again. Ever.

~It's a moot point, anyhow,~ I offer by way of truce. ~I've already told him to leave me alone, and he conceded. I doubt I'll see him again.~ I can only hope Remy interprets the doubt I feel in that statement as doubt that I'll see the creature again. Truthfully, I'm not nearly so confident of that as I'd like to be… especially given just how difficult it is to conceal falsehood when mindspeaking.

Of course, it's just at that moment a familiar presence approaches from the far office.

~Mr. White. Ms Westlake.~

Kevin Vasit Alexander is a formidable presence. On the outside, he appears the congenial, distinguished gentleman — and he can be. He wears a finely tailored grey suit, but without a tie. In its stead is a high-collared shirt (navy, today) with a small, decorative tack at his throat. His white hair sweeps back from his forehead in a widow's peak. His blue eyes hold a multitude of crinkles around the edges that suggest a remarkable amount of laughter in his life, something I know to be both true and untrue.

He is also one of the most powerful telepathic minds I have ever come across.

Both Remy and I turn to face the door, sending courteous greetings in turn. Mr. Alexander smiles warmly as he enters. I resist the urge to glance at Remy. I'm fairly certain Mr. Alexander's interruption is no coincidence.

~Are you alright, Jacintha?~ he asks, canting his white head faintly to one side. The concern he projects into the thought is as fatherly as the use of my first name is intentional. ~You seem… unsettled.~

I want to say 'I'm fine,' but, since there's no way they'd believe the thought, were I to send it, I know I'd need to say it aloud to say it at all — and that's as damning as a false send. So, I run the calming mantra in my head again and press my lips together, offering what I sense Remy interpret as a self-mocking smile. ~I don't wish to trouble you, sir,~

~Nonsense, child,~ Mr. Alexander's rebuff is warm. Gentle, even. It makes me feel almost sheepish, like a little girl again. ~You could never trouble me.~

~What Jacintha means to say,~ Remy sends lightly, his thoughts open and clear, laden with a subtle disapproval at my evasion, ~Is that she's had a bit of an adventure that's left her at sixes and sevens.~ A beat. He looks at me, head tilted as if to ask, 'Are you going to tell him, now, or shall I?' I resist the urge to scowl, but I know at least a hint of it bleeds through into the emotional spectrum that surrounds me. Remy's not much of an empath, but he's too skilled a telepath to miss it. ~She's met a Vampire, sir. One that's taken something of an interest in her, it seems.~

Silently, I make a mental note to smack Remy the next time his back is turned and his guard is down. I'm not sure who's the greater traitor: Him for tattling, or me for avoiding confession. ~Not any more, he hasn't,~ I reply, albeit somewhat stiffly. Were it any others than these two, I know I could hide my pique. But, they're each too powerful, too highly skilled for me to do more than stalemate them.

Well. Alright. I can stalemate Remy, when I have to. I don't think anyone can stalemate K. V. Alexander.

~I told him to leave me alone, sir,~ I tell Mr. Alexander openly, now. In less than a heartbeat, I glyph an abridged version of the final moments of the exchange I had with the damnable creature:

"The offer's very kind," I tell him, "but, really, I'm not interested." A beat. "You're just not my type."

"You win," he replies, surprising me. He keeps pace with me as we walk, his voice pitched low. He catches my eye again and gives me a charming, nearly beguiling smile. "I hope that you have a pleasant evening."

I'm surprised by his surrender. But, I'll accept it. Drawing myself up to my full height, made just a little taller by my heels, I offer him a gracious nod of my head. "Thank you… You as well. Do enjoy the rest of your evening."

And we part ways.

I can feel both Remy and Mr. Alexander bounce the glyph back at me, rearranging it to pose questions. It's lacking detail, and they both want to fill in the gaps. But, as far as I'm concerned, the truth is there. They don't really need all the minute details to see it, so I offer them gently polite rebuffs that are usually enough to disuade all but the most inconsiderate of Talents. Fortunately, neither feel like being rude.

~I don't know that I'd believe him so readily, Jacintha,~ Mr. Alexander sends gently. ~Vampires are known to be quite persistent. You may run into him again, you know.~

I don't respond to that openly, but I can feel my face tighten in anticipation of his next thought.

~If you do happen across him, again,~ Mr. Alexander says, as I knew he would, ~you might see if you can take advantage of his interest. You never know, after all, to whom he may be connected, and what opportunities that may present.~

I can't help but shoot Remy a look. He returns it with the faintest curl to the corners of his mouth.

Mr. Alexander actually chuckles at our exchange — like a father indulging his unruly children. ~Try to make nice, Jacintha. It's for the good of the Foundation, after all. And our future.~

I inhale a slow breath and release it, conceding defeat… at least for this moment. ~Yes… sir.~

Fine. If I do meet the damnable creature again, I'll be… nice.


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