Identity Crisis

August 02, 2014:

Jericho has a brief meeting with Cricket and gives her some bad news: She likely isn't who she thinks she is.

Harlem - New York City

A quiet neighborhood with less traffic, featuring a small, clean neighborhood bar where people come to socialize more than to get drunk.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Jericho's little research project for Cricket has resulted in some interesting results. It's all fine. No really. All of it. Which is itself not fine. There are always little inconsistencies and mistakes that are to be expected when doing ID research. Cricket has none. Like, none at all. It's too perfect. Explaining that shouldn't be done over the phone, though, so he's called the young lady up and asked to meet at the Bar he originally met her at. Just because in case he was wrong about her not being a Hydra plant.

*

Cricket arrives at the bar that was arranged as the meeting place a few minutes early. She walks in with that air that one might associate with those New York elite, with confidence and grace. She is missing, however, that hint of arrogance that most of the rich of New York wear like perfume. She sits down at a table and tells the waitress that she'll just have the house white. Her lovely summer dress today is a cooling chiffon in a pale blue that is offset by her red-blonde hair. She places her purse on the table and waits for Mr. Trent to arrive.

*

Unless she's very perceptive, that moment might be easy to miss. Jericho's doing his blending trick right until he takes the seat opposite her. "Miss Schodt. Thank you for coming on such short notice." He murmurs, mostly so the hubbub of the crowd doesn't carry his words to unintended ears.

*

While she may not be aware that she has it or uses it, Cricket is programmed with the best facial recognition software that money can buy, even if that money is used to steal the program from the government. And so, Cricket isn't aware that she shouldn't be noticing Jericho when she does. She smiles at his approach and takes a sip of her wine. "Considering what we talked about last at the hospital, I thought it best to see you when you called. Thank you so much for this, Mr. Trent." Her own voice is subdued, reacting to Jericho's paranoia.

*

"You're welcome. I've been a bit busy, but I did manage to devote a few hours to looking through your records, which are all perfectly in order." Jeri sighs.

"Which is what leads me to believe that your identity is falsified. Understand, Miss Schodt, that there is entropy in any system, especially a bureaucratic one. The fact that everything about your records is perfect is itself a red flag. No one's are. Ever. It just doesn't happen. There's also some evidence that some of the computer databases involved have been manipulated by someone very skilled."

*

Cricket would thank Jericho for the compliment if she was even aware that it was her own cybernetic brain that had done the work before the unfortunate mishap that caused her to be stuck in her Assumed Personality Matrix. She frowns, looking upset and leans back in her chair.

"Too perfect, you say? But … am I maybe that Janine Tesuko woman then? She disappeared from work the day I was supposed to meet with her and she looks just like me. But then, I wouldn't have been able to talk to her on the phone."

*

"Right, and she has a separate set of documents relating to her life that are not at all like yours." He pauses. "You do look remarkably alike though, or so her mugshot tells me.”

Jericho sighs and runs his hands through his hair. "So, someone went to the bother of setting you up a false identity. A lot of bother, and a lot of expense. Sadly…" He hands the notebook back, he's got all of its contents now. "There's no clues in there as to why. Well, yet. I'm still running down the lists in there. Your 'father' kept a lot of notes."

*

He had to! Creating a cybernetic life capable of being convincing enough to be mistaken for a real flesh and blood person, able to get close enough to politicians, moguls, and other important individuals that need to be disposed of? Lots of notes indeed. Cricket swallows and grabs her glass of wine, downing it in one swallow. Well, that's not very lady like. "I know where he has more… "

*

"Oh?" Jericho considers. Could be a setup. But then, oddly, it's not like Cricket has asked for information about him. Maybe he can check the place out beforehand if it's got cameras. "And where might that be?"

*

Cricket says, "At my penthouse." She looks around, almost looking as paranoid as Jericho normally does and then shuffles closer to speak to him in conspiratorial tones. "Half of it is my home. The other half is… it looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Computers and blinking lights and vats of … stuff and dismantled robots. I think my father was a scientist. But… I don't go in there. That's where I woke up. With Father dead on the floor. That is the first thing I remember.""

*

Jericho leans back and folds his arms. As a way of enticing him there for an ambush, that's got to rate close to the bottom. Right above actually saying 'please return with me so I can ambush and kill you.'

"Okay… may I ask why you didn't mention this before? At least knowing your father in robotics might have helped." He sighs. "But no harm done. He has more notes there, you say?"

*

Jericho's body language is only making Cricket more nervous. She looks worried, apologetic. "I didn't mention it before because… when I woke up, I was …. unclothed. I suspect he might have been my… " She starts to blush then, hiding her face in her hands. "My sugar daddy."

*

"Oh… hrm. That's… still kind of unusual. I'm sorry, I can see this makes you unconfortable but can you describe the first thing you remember?" Jeri's actually… really curious now.

*

Cricket keeps looking over her shoulder, looking to see if anyone can overhear her. To say she looks uncomfortable is putting it mildly. Her voice continues being as soft as she can make it and still be heard. "I … I woke up in his … work space. Laboratory thing. On some sort of metal bed. Computers all around me. Naked! With little sticky circles with wires on them all over me. And… him, on the floor. Dead. I didn't know who I was or how I got there. I pulled him out and locked the door and then called the police. They said he had had a heart attack."

*

"Mmmmmmmmm…" Jericho looks thoughtful. "Have you been in for a physical since then, if I may ask? Or any kind of medical examination for your amnesia?"

He's going to guess no, but hey, maybe it's not in the records.

The police report had concluded natural causes, so it doesn't seem like she's covering anything up. "I don't suppose you have pictures of the lab? I'm going to guess you don't want people in there."

*

Shaking her head, Cricket frowns. "No. I couldn't find in any of my records the name of my family doctor and I didn't want to go to a stranger. Well, I guess everyone is a stranger, really, but… "

The looks she gives him next might make him wonder if he just sprouted wings. "Heavens no! I won't even go in there myself! Who knows what he was up to in there? Or what he was doing with *me* in there? Women don't normally wake up naked in labratories!" She covers her mouth, looking around, worried she might have gotten too loud.

*

She has. She's getting looks. Jericho smiles and plays it off. "Yeah, I know." He says loudly. "That was a really odd movie. I'll let you pick it next time." Once everyone returns to their drinks he gives her a look.

*

Cricket gives Jericho a look right back. She reaches for her purse and tosses a bill on the table. "Mr. Trent, I appreciate your help and will see to it that you are paid for your troubles, but I think we are done here."

*

Jeri nods. "As you wish…" He says softly, than pauses. "The robotic parts. Did any of them look like you perchance?" It's a wild guess… but things he's heard, if they're true…

*

Turning on him, Cricket's face is flushed with her anger. "No, they didn't look like me. They looked like something out of Terminator. All metally and shiny and stuff. And they were parts. Arms and legs and half torsos." She closes her eyes, the memory of the room flooding back to her with crystal clarity, as if she was seeing it all over again. "I can't believe you would even suggest that. Good-bye, Mr. Trent."

*

Jericho doesn't try to stop her, mostly because he's not quite that invested. If Cricket wants to deal with this in some other way that's up to her, though he knows now that her options are limited. The number of people who can trace a cover identity this well put together is not a big one and most of them actively work for governments or criminal organizations. So instead he remains at his seat watching Cricket storm out and mulling over just why someone might go to all that trouble to begin with."

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