About The Laukos

Starring: Ray McKenzie, Jonathan Tamir Kendall
Date: July 16, 2014
Notable Locations: Tamir's House

Summary: Ray questions Tamir about his knowledge of the Laukos.

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 12:03:52 AM)

I step out of the car, making sure I don't lock my keys in this time, and walk the couple of steps up to Tamir's house. Yesterday's mission had been rough, so I'm looking forward to this. Except for the conversation I promised Rook I'd have with him.

I knock on the door. I'm less nervous than last time, but still a bit jumpy.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 12:08:20 AM)

I'd stayed really late at work last night, hardly getting any sleep. Tonight, at least, I was a bit more reasonable with my time, but I'm still a little worn down. Still, I'm happy that Ray's coming over, even if it does mean even less sleep. I can catch up on the weekend or something. Maybe. There's still my Clave training to worry about, though.

…okay. I'm just going to have to learn how to live without sleep.

A few seconds after Ray knocks, I'm at the door, holding it open for him with a warm smile. "Hey. Come on in."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 12:16:31 AM)

"Hey" I smile at him. He looks a little tired, but it just makes me want to make him feel better. I step inside, push the door closed with my foot, and give him a little kiss, keeping one of my hands behind my back. It's holding a little gift. This time, I did get flowers, or rather flower singular, and didn't leave it in the car.

"You ok?"

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 12:26:07 AM)

I lean in to return the kiss, drawing back from Ray with a slightly firmer smile as I nod a bit. "Better now. I've just been burning the candle at both ends lately and I haven't had much sleep. What about you? You look a touch worn down yourself."

Not too bad, but maybe not quite at the top of his game. "Did you already eat? I was lazy and just had leftover spaghetti."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 12:34:57 AM)

"Work being tough?" I ask.

"And me… well yesterday was interesting. Some days things are boring. Some days, crazy guys with move-shit-with-your-mind powers try to throw me through walls." I flex my back experimentally. Colin was pretty drained from the ordeal, I take it, so I guess I'm lucky I just have bruises and not fourteen different diseases.

"I grabbed a coffee and a muffin on the way over here. I wasn't expecting you to feed me." I hang up my jacket. It's July, but it's late and not actually that warm out tonight.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 12:40:07 AM)

"Yeah, it's…well, work. You know."

I feel a bit lame, complaining about spending a lot of time sitting behind a desk when he's talking about being thrown into walls. I can't tell him about everything else I do, though, and why I barely ever get any sleep, between the day job, the Clave training, the investigation Aedan has brought to me and, of course, Ray himself.

"Ouch. You want a back rub? I'll be gentle." I offer it with a bit of a grin as I reach out to rub his arm.

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 12:51:47 AM)

"I don't know!" I wink at him, "So you should tell me about it."

I envy him on days like today and yesterday. I wish I had a desk job where my co-workers didn't get their throats slit, a job where I could still manage to do good things. I don't think I'm nearly smart enough to be good at that kind of thing though, and I definitely don't have the right education.

"A back rub sounds amazing, but it should probably wait a little bit, at least. See if we can make it at a few minutes without clothing flying off. Although that's a lot of fun."

Tamir is interesting and funny as well as cute, and I don't want this relationship to just be about sex. For once.

"I brought you something too."

I present my other hand, which has a flower. I didn't know what he likes, so a long stemmed red rose it was. Not creative, but time tested at least.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 1:00:32 AM)

"Just…sitting in front of a desk for hours on end, 'till my wrists cramped up it seemed like," I tell him, shaking my head a bit. The real, exhausting stuff, the stuff that really matters, I can't get into. I really wish I could, though.

Him turning the backrub down is met with a grin and a bit of a shrug. "Okay. We'll wait on that, then. Though you might be surprised just how long I can stand to tease you." Certainly something to try sometime, at the very least.

The flower makes my face soften a bit, honestly touched. "Wow. Nobody's ever given me a flower before." I give him a small smile, before leaning in to brush my lips over his as I take the rose from him. "I'll go find somewhere to keep it."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 1:12:46 AM)

"You should do stretches or something" I advise.

"You don't want to get carpal thing. That would be bad for a programmer." I'm sure he knows that, but it feels like something I should say anyway.

"I'm not sure if that's a promise or a challenge, and I'm not sure if I care between those anyway" I reply when he talks about teasing.

"And really? Nobody's ever give you flowers? I would have thought you'd have all sorts of guys and probably some girls doing stuff like that for you." I really can't think why he wouldn't. Actually, maybe I can a bit, since I've never given flowers to anyone before either. Not romantically anyway. Still, I kiss him back as he takes the flower and follow him into the kitchen as he looks around for a vase.

"So I got a place, sorta. It's shared with a girl, though, I hope that's ok? She's cool about stuff."

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 1:18:51 AM)

"Oh, I do. I'm really careful, since I need my arms. Still, you get into it for too long and it's like you've been running a marathon with your arms." Which sounds stupid and wimpy, I know, but it's true. Even with all the ergonomic stuff I've got, if I forget to take a break and get into something really intensely my forearms will be sore afterward.

I've never had somebody give me flowers before, but I have picked them myself before, and had a vase for them tucked into the back of a cupboard. I'll rinse the dust and bits of newspaper fiber from having packed it up off, before filling it and sticking the rose in it, to set it on the table for now.

"Oh, hey. That's great," I tell him, flashing him a grin when he mentions getting a place. "So long as you're not sleeping with her, I really don't care. If you are sleeping with her, it'd be a little awkward to come over and visit."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 1:25:34 AM)

"Haha. No. No sleeping with girls. I'm gold-star. And I made sure that she'd be ok with things if the hottest guy in NYC came and visited me possibly overnight." I make sure I indicate him before he can pretend ignorance of who I'm referring to.

I finally figure I've danced around the issue for long enough, unfortunately.

"So… I have to talk to you about that thing that I said I'd forget." I sigh, and look at the rose in the vase. It's a nice vase, he has good taste, which surprises me not at all.

"I need to find out how much you know about them. You already know that we've… run into a couple of them, and the first time we did, one of my friends… well."

This is not where I wanted that question to be going.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is that Rook, who you met the other night, talked to your sister about them, as she's probably told you." I know she's talked to him about Rook, because how else would he know we've run into the things?

"I just want to know if there's anything you can tell me that she might not have told Rook. Anything that might be… helpful."

I feel dirty. I don't want him involved in this, but I had an agreement with Rook, and in the end peoples's lives have to come before my own romantic life, even if he is the hottest guy.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 1:34:49 AM)

I go a bit pale when Ray starts talking. I'd wished I could tell him more before, but…I can't. I can't, because he's a Sigil-bearer. He's not even really someone I should be hanging around unless my goal is to recruit him as a mage. And, no, that's really not my goal here. Maybe if things worked out between us, years down the line…

Not now, though.


"Okay. Um. I…I need to sit down and think here for a minute," I tell him, moving over to the table to flop into a chair heavily. I don't even know what to say now. It's not just a matter of keeping things secret, but of keeping him safe, too. The more he knows, the more danger he's in. He's too much of a hero.

"This complicates things a lot."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 1:44:36 AM)

I give him an encouraging and apologetic smile. I didn't want to do this either.

"I know… I know I said I wouldn't ask, and I'm sorry that I have to. It's just that we… I might run into those things again whether I like it or not. So anything you know that might help would be good. I just…anything that might save lives." I finish, stumbling a bit.

"I just don't want to get you all involved with this stuff if I can avoid it." I pull up a chair and turn it so I can sit and face him.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 1:55:38 AM)

He already knows of their existence. I suppose that damage has been done. Giving him information that might help in killing them could be the best thing I could possibly do. At least I can keep him relatively close to me and keep an eye on him.

Sighing a bit, I look down at the table. "The Laukos are…ancient. I don't know where they came from, but they definitely predate the Shockwave by centuries. They might look like werewolves, and maybe that's where the stories came from, but the monster is what they really are. They can hide as people, though. You could be standing next to one and never know."


"Their senses are sharper, like an animal's, and they're faster, stronger, and harder to kill. They can't speak human languages in their true form, but they have one of their own. They're probably about as smart as people on average. They eat massive amounts, mostly meat obviously. They seem to particularly enjoy human kills, though they don't need human flesh to live. They usually live in packs, like wolves, with a single Alpha leading them. Usually it's a strong male, though not always.

"If someone wanted a machine designed to kill humans, he'd be hard pressed to find one better suited for it."

When I go silent, I glance up at Ray a bit guiltily, feeling dirty now for having told him all of that.

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 2:09:39 AM)

"They can do what?" For a second I think he's joking, and I don't appreciate it. Then I look at his face and… he's totally, completely, serious.

"Shit. How can they be…? The ones that I saw didn't seem much more than animals. You're telling me they can…" I hesitate, licking my lips.

"They can transform. Into people?"

Five years ago I would have thought he was crazy, that he was some neo-pagan nutjob that believed in animal spirits, and banshees and skinwalkers and god only knows what else. But I've seen a lot in the past year and a half. It doesn't sound nearly so crazy, not anymore. Still, shapeshifting?

"That's incredible. The ones I saw were… well, they seemed completely feral. Just rage and teeth." I shiver slightly at the memory.

"They didn't speak, not in any way that I could see. They just…" I trail enough, thinking this through.

"If this is true, then we really have a lot less of a handle this all than I thought." I pause, weighing what I'm about to say, how many regulations it would break to tell him exactly what I know. I need to be sure first.

"How do… How do you know all this? How do I know this is the truth?" I wince as I say it. I can tell he believes it. I'm pretty close to believing it, but… controlling electricity is one thing but I've never met anyone who can shapeshift into a wolf-thing. If he's leading me on… bad information might be worse than no information.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 2:24:57 AM)

"Yes." He's upset, obviously. I can understand why. The fact that they can hide among us is what makes them so terrifying. Some monster out in the dark, on the fringes, is scary enough. The monster sitting next to you on the subway, waiting until the urge strikes to just lash out… Well. There are very good reasons as to why it's our duty to kill them wherever we find them.

"I don't know anything about the ones you saw. Frankie said they were clones, or something? Maybe their intellects haven't developed properly, then, not being raised normally. They might not know that they can change form. You might be looking at the equivalent of, well, feral children. Big, bloodthirsty, feral children."

When he asks how I know all of this, I take a deep breath. Damnit. Just when I thought I might have found somebody. I frown a minute, looking at him. "I'm…part of an organization. One of the things we do is try to stop Laukos. Ray, I can't tell you more. I shouldn't have told you as much as I've told you now, even."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 2:42:06 AM)

"Shit" I swear softly. I already have nightmares sometimes about those last few minutes before the lab exploded. The sounds of the Laukos finally breaking through the door.

"Shit." I repeat. If they were no more than feral children, the real things would be… horrifying.

Then Tamir admits to being part of a secret organization. It's almost funny, if it weren't frustrating.

"A secret organization." I repeat.

"What are the chances?" I shift uncomfortably. The chair is putting pressure on the giant bruise on my back.

"So we both have secret lives." I nod slowly. It explains some of the resistance to talking about them. He probably feels as bad as I do breaking the rules.

"But ok. I understand", a wry smile follows. "Thank you for what you've told me. If it helps… there's a good chance you've just save a bunch of lives. We were underestimating what we were up against."

I owe him now, and so I decide that sometimes the regulations need to take a back seat, for the good of everyone.

"I'll tell you what we know, then. The ones we came across looked like they were being bred. Since then, we've seen some that had.."

Croft is going to fire me, and have my head on a platter

"They were infected with a rabies variant. They weren't just feral, they were insane."

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 11:12:15 AM)

"Yeah. Believe me, I wish I could tell you everything. I…really dislike it, but I can't. What I've told you so far is enough that…well. Just, I can't." I haven't told him anything about the Cipher, or me being capable of anything an ordinary human isn't. I've managed to just barely scrape by without committing outright treason, but I know I'm in the wrong. God.

I nod a bit glumly when Ray thanks me. "That's why I told you. I don't want anybody hurt. Since you've already encountered them, you need to be prepared for the worst they could be."

Then he mentions the infection.


Rabies? Laukos with rabies? I rub my hands over my face, thinking for a minute. "I've never heard of a rabid Laukos before. They're bad enough as it is."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 12:49:51 PM)

I give him a little half-smile.

"I wish I could tell you everything too. Maybe one day."

If I live that long, and Croft doesn't throw me in a cell somewhere for this.

"I'll make sure I keep your name out of it, just in case, ok?"

I lean forward and put my hand on his knee. He looks miserable, and I bet he's worried about the consequences of telling me. "You're an anonymous source."

"As for the rabies… we've made sure the proper authorities are aware. It looked like it was made specifically for them, but beyond that we haven't been able to figure out much. Other than it can infect humans." I wasn't actually there, but I've reviewed all the data from my own rescue mission.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 1:12:43 PM)

"Maybe," I agree with a faint smile. Of course, he'd have to marry me and become a mage to be allowed to know everything, so that's not even worth thinking about at this point. I'm not going to start telling him things now. I can't. The Laukos stuff was just for his own protection, since he already encountered them. That's it. That makes it okay, right?

Nodding a bit, I cover Ray's hand with mine. "Thanks. I…need it to be kept a complete secret that I've told you anything." Just clarifying things he already knew was too much, I'm sure.

"So even if the Predator doesn't kill you, the infection will," I murmur with a sigh. "Great plan."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 1:24:48 PM)

"I'll make sure that where the information came from is never mentioned." I assure him this because I will make sure. The only person I've talked to about it is Rook, who's already demonstrated that he understands the value of protecting 'informants'. His word, not mine.

"I think that's the idea, though." I lapse into silence, still trying to wrap my head around the implications of what Tamir's said.

I finally say "Be careful. I don't have to tell you that but… please." If he's part of a secret society that know all of what he's told me already, then there's a good chance that he should be telling me this instead of the other way around. But I don't want to see him hurt. I have some defences. He probably only has some kind of martial arts training.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 1:35:13 PM)

"I'm very careful." I smile a bit at Ray, wishing I could tell him everything, but also relieved that he isn't pushing for more information. That makes things easier, at least. "You should be, too. This…is some really bad stuff."

He's got his defenses and everything. His whole Sigil-bearer militia type thing. But I'm not supposed to know about any of that. At least not the Sigil-bearer part.

Which is a good point in his favor, actually. Sigil-bearers who don't flaunt their status are commendable.

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 1:45:28 PM)

"Good. And I am. Being careful,"

still doesn't guarantee I'm going to make it home at the end of the day

"is a good plan."

I let out a deep sigh.

"Well, that was depressing, but I think we can probably stop talking about it now. I hope." I wait a beat, then continue

"So what had you so wrapped up at work that you were cramping? Anything new and cool and exciting?"

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/16/2009 1:55:15 PM)

"Ooh, subject change. You're good at this. I like you." I grin at him, relaxing a bit now.

"I actually don't know what the hell I've found yet. I don't think I was actually supposed to find it on my own, to be honest. You know what immersive system I'd been telling you about? It's like running Second Life with biofeedback instead of your hands.

"Anyway, there's…a guy in it. Not another user, at least I don't think, because he doesn't know he's using a computer. I can't tell if it's AI or what. Sometimes I think so, sometimes not. I've been doing a lot with that. I was able to figure out where his connection is coming from and it's in the building, but I don't know. It's weird. Cool, but weird."

I pause, frowning a little. "I know there'd been brain-damaged people woken up from comas by having electrodes implanted in their brains. I was thinking it might be that and his confusion is from the damage, but there's no official documentation on it that I've found, so." I'm almost a little worried to just come right out and ask LaChance, since he might cut off my access to Jake, then.

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/16/2009 2:23:43 PM)

"I try. Comes from practice redirecting questions about my job." I smirk.

"So you've found a person or maybe an AI trapped in a simulation, and they don't know if they're a person or not either? And you try to pass off your job as uninteresting?" I chuckle.

"That's crazy, but really neat I had no idea that stuff was so advanced, whether it's an AI or a person with electrodes." Either way…

"But isn't there the stereotype of how bad official documentation is? Maybe they just never got around to it. Or it's supposed to be a secret."

"And the biofeedback thing is cool in its own right too. There's all sorts of neat things I could imagine doing with that." Man, it would be really neat to play with some of that stuff.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/17/2009 4:20:45 PM)

"I'll try to be good and not ask too many questions, then." He doesn't know the truth about me, I don't know the truth about him. We're presumably on the same side. It's all good. I hope.

When Ray teases about my job being uninteresting, I laugh a little, shaking my head. "I didn't know it was going to be quite so…interesting. And quite frankly, I've been working in the field for a few years now and had no idea it was this advanced. Either way, something new and freaky is afoot."

The comment about biofeedback makes me grin and I'll get one of the prototypes I brought home out of my pocket. It's a cellphone, with what looks like a wireless earpiece.

"It's not out yet, but check it out. You put the earpiece on with the electrodes here against your skin, and then, when it's all working right, you can have a truly hands free phone. The applications right now are mostly medical and disability related, but it'll be really sweet when you text message with your brain."

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/17/2009 4:35:38 PM)

"Same here. If there's something I can offer to tell you without any bad things happening to either of us, I will but…" I shrug. I'm not certain how telling him some day-to-day things is going to affect Shockfront's security, but I'm not going to say 'We went to a FEMA office and took down some terrorists who were trying to blow up a dam and then my teammate nearly got killed and then accidentally almost killed me.' Not yet at any rate.

Tamir produces a cellphone and headset, and begins explaining what it is, and I'm about to pick it up and examine it when he says that it works through electrodes. I hesitate, then drop my hand. I've had my powers interact badly with technology before, and although as far as I'm consciously aware they're turned off, I don't want to risk messing up his prototype equipment, just in case I work differently from other people.

"See, you think hands free phone, I think giant-robot power-armour!" I joke.

"But that does sound like it would be amazing, especially for people with paralysis and stuff."

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/17/2009 4:42:20 PM)

"But it's hard to say how it'd go. I understand. You know if you did ever tell me anything I wouldn't tell a soul, though. Trust me, I'm good with secrets." I flash him a grin after I say that, a bit rueful. Okay, maybe not all that great, considering how much I told him just now, but I kept the important, Cipher-related stuff to myself.

He hesitates over touching the phone, before dropping his hand. I shoot him a curious look. "It's safe," I point out.

"Mm. Giant-robot power-armor would be good, too. It'd make the controls a lot easier that way. Then you could have massive mecha battles." I laugh a little, hoping that such a thing isn't anywhere near the horizon right now.

"Yeah! It'll help a lot, I think. Sometimes people suffer injuries that leave them paralyzed and incapable of speaking, but their brains are still functioning and…" I pause, glancing down at the phone. "And they could do a lot with something like this." Like Jake, maybe.

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/17/2009 4:57:26 PM)

"You seem trustworthy" I agree. He also seems to recognize that sometimes things have to be said for the greater good, which undermines his statement a little bit, but also shows that he has the sense to see when secrecy is going to endanger lives.

I grimace. No way around it now, and I don't want to be responsible for screwing him up at work.

"You probably saw and noticed last time I was here, I'm sigil-branded. I can do electric things - I don't want to accidentally mess up your prototype in some weird way. Electronics and I haven't always mixed very well in the past." Well, now he knows, and he did say he didn't have an problems with sigil-bearers. He probably saw and was just too polite to say anything.

"Massive mecha-battles are cool in theory, but would probably be a pretty bad idea in real life" I concede.

"Still, that with a VR rig, and you could have them guilt-free."

"And just think of people with locked-in syndrome. They could have their lives back maybe. That's really good work you're doing, then." I mean good as in humanitarian, noble, nice, not 'high quality', although I'm sure they're high quality too.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/17/2009 5:04:11 PM)

"…ah." I nod slightly, sliding the phone and electrode back into my pocket. "Yeah, I noticed the brand. I wasn't going to say anything until you did, though. I didn't want to pry." Besides, I knew he had one before I ever got his pants off, so it hadn't exactly been a surprise. That made it a bit easier to ignore until now. "That's cool, though. I'll keep my electrodes off of you unless you're sure you can handle them," I joke, offering him a small smile.

"Yeah, if the whole VR thing pans out that well…man. That might be the end of civilization as we know it."

Can you imagine? People being able to whatever they want, no matter how impossible, at any time. They'd all live in cubicles and waste away to nothing.

Ray saying it's good work gets a grin in response. "Thanks. Now, how about that back rub, or was there more stuff you wanted to interrogate me for?" I tease.

Ray McKenzie (Zxaos) (7/17/2009 5:16:10 PM)

"Thanks" I don't like it when people make a big deal out of my brand. It's been trouble in the past, and although it's changed my line of work pretty dramatically, it hasn't changed my personality so… Whatever. He's cool with it, which is good.

"It would probably work just fine, but I don't want you to break your probably crazy-expensive thing on me without permission if decides it really hates me or something. If you have permission, I'll gladly test out your device-controlled-through thought. I'd probably be a pretty good stress-test on it."

"As for VR…" I lean forward and kiss him on the neck. "There are some things that I just don't think they'd ever get right. And I'm done interrogating you. I'm sorry I had to, it's not one of the things on the list of what I want to do to you. But back rub is. I think that's a great idea." I smile back at him. I'm glad that we seem to connect on a personality level too when we're just talking. It makes me feel optimistic about our chances of having a real relationship.

Jonathan Tamir Kendall (Caerie) (7/17/2009 5:20:20 PM)

I'm about to tell him I think he'd be great for a stress-test, but then there's that kiss on the neck right in the spot that makes my upper brain shut down entirely. "Mm, true." Yeah, there are just some things a computer can't possibly hope to match.

Getting to my feet, I slip an arm around his shoulders, giving a gentle tug since I'm not sure just how sore he is yet.

"C'mon. I'll make you forget all about work even existing," I promise with a grin.