Log Title: But the Case
Summary: Kagami goes to Winter to let something off his chest. He gets scolded and sent home.
IC Date: 3-12-2381
OOC Date: 3-12-2019
Related Logs: None
winterkagami

 

 

That line of thinking is hardly fair.

***
Tau Psychosurgery

The office, such as it is, is understated from the front. There really is a shingle dangling from the otherwise nondescript storefront, squeezed in between two bigger and brighter shops whose vibrant, flashing signs help contribute to the reason this area is called the Neon District. The shingle, on the other hand, has no glitz or glamour, and certainly no illumination. It reads simply Dr. Tau, Psychosurgeon and on the line beneath Reasonable Fees.

A small chime sounds when the front door is open which leads into a comfortable front room with two chairs and a couch around a generously sized coffee table. There's a bookshelf that holds actual text magazines and books as well as a small box that holds the thin, plastic cards that allows one to pull up digital magazines of a specific edition on their ONI. There's a quiet, pleasant trickling from a small, table-top fountain set on the coffee table. Along the side wall is an aquarium with saltwater fish darting to and fro among vibrant coral. Or so it appears. Closer, a more careful inspection would reveal it to be a holographic display of fish and coral rigged to fill an empty glass aquarium. No feeding or cleaning required, and no sad, little fish bodies to flush down the toilet.

There is a door in the back wall that leads to the room where the actual magic happens. When unoccupied, it's left open during business hours. The room is simple but comfortable, with two recliners (and VR) chairs as well as a tall server with a keyboard and console that hums quietly.
***

The tech called in a request to meet. It seemed urgent but he didn't want VR. He shows up late and pale as a ghost, wearing a black t-shirt under a spring jacket and sweat pants. His hair is sticking up everywhere and he's holding his stomach. He's clearly been crying but he's wiped it away to try to hide the evidence. Since he knows it's his time, he walks into the room where they normally strap into VR and he stands there quietly, waiting.

***

Winter doesn't keep Kagami waiting more than a minute. That would be unprofessional. The door jingles softly and the doctor steps through the waiting area and into the back room. They've got a brown paper bag in one hand from which tasty aromas waft. They stop a bit short when they take note of the young man waiting for them, brows lifting as they look him over. "Oh, my. Kagami, you look ill. Should you be sitting down? Or, lying down? Or, in bed?"

***

Kagami nods his head. "I am supposed to be on bed rest." His voice sounds ragged. "Doctor's orders but I can't sleep which is part of the whole rest thing. I was hoping you could help." He speaks hopefully. He wobbles where he stands but stays standing. His breathing quick and shallow since he had to walk all the way in here from the airbus.

***

"Well, then probably coming across town was less than wise," Winter says gently. "If you had explained things, I would have been happy to come to you." They set their bag down and walk over to Kagami to gently urge him into a reclining chair so he can at least be resting, if not in bed. "Why don't you tell me what's going on?"

***

He is easily led over to the chair. She will feel how he's burning up. He slowly lays in the reclining chair and sounds like he's already out of breath. "So I went to a friend's as he's on the case I'm working on. I waited outside for him and when he got home he was so very drunk. I knew how important keeping his sleeve safe was so I made sure he got to bed safely. I slept on a chair to make sure he didn't drown in vomit in his sleep." He takes a deep breath. "Throughout the night I felt more and more heavy. I'd eaten a meal the day before and it was super hard as I felt full. Then during the night I was so cold. Well, he wakes up in the morning and I end up passed out with a nose bleed." He grumbles. "I wake up in the hospital having been told he came in the ambulance, paid for my care, then left. I had two parasites in my stomach and a brain infection. I went to thank him but he didn't answer me like he normally does. It's not sweet, or flirty, or even quick. It's cold and … detached. I felt perhaps I did something wrong before I passed out so I sent him apologies and he is still curt and I can't help but think I lost my friend and I don't understand why?" He starts crying.

***

Winter listens and fetches over a box of tissues as the tears start, offering them to the young man. They draw a soft breath in and let it out, again. "Your friend is… the PI who goes by the nickname Royal, isn't he." It's, perhaps, less of a question than it should be.

***

He takes the tissues and wipes his eyes slowly. He nods his head at the statement. "I don't know what I did to upset and hurt him." He brings his legs up to his chest and curls up on his side. "But I'd take it back. I miss my friend."

***

"Well, for the time being, I think you need to worry less about your friend and more about yourself. You were told by your doctor to rest, and I think right now that's what you need to do. Stay in bed, eat as you can, sleep as much as you can, take whatever medications were prescribed," Winter says, perching on the edge of the recliner. "Then, once you're better, perhaps you and your friend should talk."

***

He shakes his head. "I just want him to be happy and if I hurt him then I don't deserve to be around him." He grumbles quietly. "I have been staying in bed and taking my medication but what I've done that I can't remember and the case I'm on is making sleep impossible. I try and try and all I can think about is how I am a failure as a friend and stupid."

***

"That line of thinking is hardly fair. To yourself or to your friend," Winter replies. "Things may be going differently than you'd hoped, but that doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. Sometimes, people just need different things for a little while."

***

He brings the tissues to his eyes and tries to stop himself from crying more. "I've hurt him." He pushes himself up with weak arms. "I don't know how but I did and he won't even take my apology so I have been focusing on the case which is causing me to have a headache. I can't figure out the pattern to it or why the corrosion of the stack is happening or how I was tracked and threatened. I don't understand."

***

"How do you know you've hurt him?" Winter asks, head canting a little. "Did you receive one of those broken stacks as well? Hmm. No police or GPPIs did. You're consulting with both, but still were sent a stack. That's interesting. Did you download the TBT… wait, I think you told me you did at our last session. It gave you a migraine…"

***

He stands there breathing heavily. "He's changed how he is with me. Usually, he's nice and flirty and we talk about work. Now he won't message me back and if he does it's one word. He was never that curt with me. I know I've hurt him." He nods his head. "I did download the TBT and I cleaned it and I downloaded it through a bounce proxy so how I was found… I have no idea. I thought it was just a broken stack so I wasn't that worried but I did a diagnostic on it. It was a corrupted stack, corrupted with the same virus that the Fighter Ariana died from. The Aubergine and digital decay virus. Like the Rawlings virus."

***

"You assume you've hurt him, you don't actually know," Winter returns. "Kagami, please do lie back down before you hurt yourself." They consider, giving a small nod. "My understanding is that the police have a sample of the original chemical. They're the only ones who can compare the two and confirm if they're identical. Is that right?"

***

He sits but doesn't lie down. "I do assume so and I want to make it right." He says softly. "The police do have the original chemical and their lab is probably fucking it up by putting it through bio-chemical tests, not bio-digital tests. I have been working on the stack I have and piecing apart the virus trying to rebuild it so I can better understand its purpose and limits. It's hard without the biological element to play with."

***

"Rebuilding a virus you don't entirely understand, that can destroy stacks and DHFs sounds incredibly dangerous," Winter replies with a faint frown. "What sort of biohazard protocols are you using? Where did you find a secure site? As for Royal, my advice would be to stop assuming. Let him have his space and let him reach out to you when he's ready."

***

Kagami frowns. "I don't have anything better to do. I am rebuilding it through simulation in VR. So the pieces I have are the only real pieces. The rest is a VR simulation of the code that could possibly be it. When I run the code I'm not in the VR which is on my own private server which is one of many but this one is linked to nothing. Basically, it's a hard drive that can create VR and in it, code. If the virus works at frying the hard drive of the server on a virtual level I can start examining the limits through one of my other servers." He shakes his head. "Honestly, if it fries my stack accidentally… at least you will have the full build-out of the virus."

***

"VR simulation of code is pretty close to making actual code," Winter opines, lifting a hand and rubbing it across the back of their neck. "And accidental frying of your stack is hardly acceptable collateral damage. Are you working with anyone on this? You haven't been continuing to try to piece all this together while you've been sick, have you?"

***

Kagami takes a deep breath. "I was working with Royal but since he wants nothing to do with me, I'm on my own." He doesn't argue the frying of his stack. "I have been trying to piece this together while sick. I have nothing else to do. I can't sleep and care barely eat so… I work."

***

"If you work, you're not going to recover very quickly," Winter points out, one brow lifting. "If you can't sleep, I can prescribe you sedatives that will help with that. Please, you need to look after yourself before you're in any condition to try and figure this puzzle out. And, this puzzle is too important not to be solved."

***

Kagami slowly looks to her and his eyes show that pitiful sadness. "I need to work. If I solve it…maybe he won't hate me." He mumbles quietly. "I have been looking at it with fevered eyes and when I do get better I will see the patterns." He points out. "A different set of eyes."

***

"Kagami," Winter replies, frowning faintly, "that is not a decision you get to make. Whatever is going on with Royal, whatever reason he has for behaving as he is, whatever his feelings are for you at this moment, is for him to work through. You can't will him into behaving differently, any more than you can strong arm your body into recovering or you can bully a complex code into giving up its secrets by staring at it hard when you're out of your head with fever. You need. To take care. Of yourself. Before you can tackle anything else."

***

"I don't want to will him into being different. I just want him to see I'm sorry!" He stands up quickly and grips the chair. "But you are saying even if I apologize he doesn't have to accept it and you are right. I think I'm going to… stay home for a while." He winces and grips his stomach. "I need to solve the question, Doctor. My body is a tool. My DHF is fine. Therefore my mind is fine." He shakes his head and stumbles towards the door to the office.

***

"I'm saying, I don't know that he's angry at you or was hurt by you. I think it may be that he's trying to work though something about him, and presuming you've wounded him in some manner isn't fair to either of you." Winter follows after Kagami. "You need to solve the question correctly. Not quickly and not haphazardly. You are working on something incredibly dangerous, and doing so when you are ill and compromised is selfish and irresponsible."

***

He turns to face Winter. "Getting sick was selfish and irresponsible. I am tired of hurting and I'm tired of shivering. This needs to end." He growls at her. "I don't care about the danger. People are being threatened and lives are at risk. Another clone with a person in the DHF could kill themselves at any moment and I need to stop more death from happening or I have failed. What good is my brain if I can't help people with it?"

***

"For goodness sake, child, if you are tired of hurting and shivering, then bundle up and get yourself back into bed," Winter replies, placing their hands gently on Kagami's shoulders. "It's not only danger to you. I agree, this virus, whatever it is, could be a threat to many people. Which is why it must be handled with the utmost care and caution. Its threat must be respected. You are trying to save lives, but one careless move could do the opposite. You could inadvertently unleash something deadly on the entire city. Your brain is lovely and I expect will be very much needed to solve this riddle. But right now, it needs rest. And we need you well."

***

He feels the hands on his shoulders and he grumbles. "I was never this stubborn. I think it's a male thing." He tears up and wipes his eyes with his the sleeve of his t-shirt. "I doubt it would be unleashed on the city. I'd be the only casualty if the VR program expanded to the real." He takes a deep breath. "I feel so useless just staring at the ceiling."

***

"Oh?" Winter asks. "And when you were found, and your stack examined to determine the cause of real death. What then?" Winter's hand moves from Kagami's shoulder to his hair. "You're not useless. Not even the littlest bit. Let me take you home. I'll stay and keep you company, if you'd like."

***

Kagami shrugs his shoulders. "Then they see the trace amounts of virus match the virus on the corrupted stack. Simple forensic programming." He grumbles. "You just cross reference the algorithm markers and bob's your uncle." He feels the hand in his hair and he lifts his eyes to Winter. He nods his head slowly and sighs quietly. "I don't have anything to entertain you at my place, unless you like playing Shogi."

***

"Oh, is that all," Winter replies with a faint smile. "I don't know if I like Shogi. I've never played. Perhaps you could teach me?"

***

He nods his head slowly and he grins. "Shogi is the Game of Kings. Basically an older version of chess." He grumbles. "I can teach you as my dad taught me." He points out and turns to walks slowly towards the door.

***

"Well, let's have you showered, eating some soup and tucked into bed, first," Winter replies as they walk out into the Neon District with Kagami to hail a cab. "And then you can tell me all about it."

***