Log Title: The Bar
Summary: Violet and Winter rarely disagree. When they do, they do the thing right.
IC Date: 2381-03-23
OOC Date: 2019-03-23
Related Logs: That Tie Though primarily.
violetwinter

 

 

"What happened to 'first, do no harm'?"

It was rare, at least it had been in the last few weeks, for Violet to be in VR. When the call came across her ONI, she was in the midst of a particularly nasty little bit of the program, and so she did not shut down and return to her body when she replied to the message. Instead, she sent a location point at which Winter could jack in to meet her, if they so desired, just a moment before she picked up the phone. "Winter, I'm at my shop, but you can remote in if you like, if not the second chair is up and running."

-

Remoting in is easier, and also means Winter doesn't have to squeeze past a dumpster, so this is the option they choose. They use one of their own chairs at their office to jack into VR and access the address Violet sent via ONI. Winter appears looking much like they do in the physical, only in bare feet. They've got on a pair of black, palazzo pants as well as a white, button-down shirt that looks expensive and well-made, though several sizes too big for Winter. Still, with the cuffs rolled up and two of the top buttons undone, the fit looks intended rather than circumstantial. Their hair has been swept back in styled tousle. "Hello. What're you up to?" they ask as they look around the VR space they've stepped into.

-

Violet glanced up from what looked, in the setup to be something of a dummy terminal, though it was not. Perhaps a part of the look of the space, which appeared to be a rather claustrophobic room no larger than a janitor's closet. A wooden chair surely bolted to the floor was the only other bit of furniture in the room, "Looks like I caught you in the middle of something," was the comment as she caught sight of the shirt Winter was wearing. "Refreshing a few old programs."

-

Winter gives a shake of their head for being in the middle of something. "Just reviewing some client files, thought I'd take a break, stretch my legs." Except, they're in VR so, they amend, "Or, stretch my visualized self-representation of legs." They walk over to the wooden chair, and in such a tight space, it's not much of a walk. They rest their hand on the arm of it. "Are you… expecting company?" Of the sort that will be lashed to a chair in a tiny, claustrophobic space.

-

"Hopefully sooner rather than later." Violet stepped away from the terminal, as she turned to face Winter on the chair, a tactical stun baton pixelating into life in her left hand. A frown, thoughtful, as the weapon switched to the more damaging sort with an arch light along the tip. "Too slow." That would need to be re-calibrated. "And I need to recalibrate for the female central nervous system."

-

Winter has a slow blink as they consider the stun baton that gets a sudden upgrade, fingers tapping against the rough wood of the chair. "Who?"

-

"I'll know when they or their stack shows up on my proverbial doorstep." The baton pixelated out of Violet's hand as she returned to the console, fingers skimming across the input for the keyboard, the walls of the construct giving a bit of a shiver before they solidified again. "So is that what you do when you're bored on a weekend? Review patient files?"

-

"Well, I review patient files because it's part of my work," Winter replies wryly. "But I did a couple other things this weekend we should probably discuss. You look like you've been busy as well."

-

"Just trying to tweak things a bit." Violet turned back from the console to look back over to where Winter was standing, "Winter, are you gendered female?" Which was a legitimate question to ask, as often as people ended up purposefully or accidentally cross-sleeved. Simple because Winter presented as female-sleeved, nominally, did not make that a cut and dry assumption. "I could use another neurological overlay for this program." A hrm, almost a question, "Sure, I've got nothing but time in here. And I'd be interested to hear what you've been doing when you're not eating the food I use to bribe you with."

-

"No," Winter replies with a shake of their head, "I'm non-binary." Their hand moves away from the chair so their arms can cross lightly over their chest. But instead of starting to fill Violet in on any further case updates they ask, "What happened to 'first, do no harm'?"

-

Violet nodded, making no further comment on Winter's gender identity. Instead she returned to the console, "I think that is a phrase which has been erroneously applied for centuries. When it was first prescribed for physicians, it mean, that if the course of treating a patient, that a doctor should consider the risks of harm coming to the patient as a result of their intervention, and that if the harm would out-way the benefit, they would be better advised to do nothing. It was not a charge for all doctors to practice only beneficence or that all doctors should strive to do only good within their practices or without. It does not even appear as part of the Hippocratic Oath, but was an affectation created nearly fifteen centuries afterward."

-

"I suspect 'maybe don't jump immediately to torture' was obvious enough as to not need to be explicitly stated," Winter replies, their tone a touch wry. "Who is this for? You say 'whatever stack shows up', but you must be expecting someone. Or some type of someone. Are you waiting for Carnage or his flunkies to flush out the insider at the Rose?"

-

Violet lifted her hands away from the console, turning to face Winter, "When exactly does someone jump immediately to torture? Before or after they send death threats? Do they have to escalate to sleeve death? What about real death? Because at this point, my bar is a bit low." Violet lifted her shoulders in a shrug, "Granted, my bar was fairly low to begin with. Morality, fr the most part, isn't something I think about." A tilt of her head and then a straightening, "I'm waiting for them to bring whomever they bring me. It's my job to get the information out of them by any means necessary."

-

"Carnage isn't exactly an innocent flower, Violet," Winter points out with an arch of a brow. "He's sent his own share of death threats, I'm sure, and likely far worse. Just because he got a little of what he dishes out doesn't make him or the Rose pearly and clean." But, morality isn't something Violet thinks about. "What do you think about, then? Where is the bar?"

-

"I have absolutely no illusions about what Carnage is or isn't. I have no doubt that he's done and will do the sort of things that would turn even a meth's stomach. But do you know why I work for him? Why I am loyal to him? Because he's absolutely fucking honest about who and what he is. He's a user, an abuser, a manipulator, likely a murderer, and everything in between. And he doesn't try to hide that. He's elbows deep in blood. The only difference between him and me, is that I make an effort to pull down my sleeves." Violet did not respond by crossing ehr own arms, instead leaning her hands back to curl her fingers on either side of her around the edge of the console. "But taking that sort of moral highground is a dangerous cliff to walk on, if you start thinking that just because someone does bad things they deserve to have bad things done to them, and that they don't deserve some form of justice." Bar? "Wherever it needs to be for the job I'm running. If it's being kind to help someone who comes in looking for a doctor, it's there. If it's a person I need to spin up in VR and put the screws to them until their DHF starts to frag, well, that's alright too. If that's not something you can handle, I'm not going to hold it against you."

-

"Hang on, 'if you start thinking that just because someone does bad things they deserve to have bad things happen to them and don't deserve some form of justice', says the person currently devising a torture chamber for a stranger," Winter replies. "There seems to be some cognitive dissonance there. I thought you left C-TAC because you didn't want to…" they fall quiet, head tipping down to stare at their bare toes. "No," they amend softly. "I assumed that's why you left C-TAC. I guess I never really asked." They close their eyes a moment and run a hand through their hair before looking back at Violet, expression calm and collected again. "I'm not going to physically torture someone. Not for information, not because someone tries to order me to do so. That's not… it's not a matter of whether I can handle it. It's a choice. It's where my bar is."

-

Violet listened, taking her time before she replied, "Perhaps I misunderstood your words then. Your comment about neither Carnage nor the Rose being pure and him getting some of what he's probably dished out seemed to me like you were implying that he only got what he deserved, and that as a result, that he doesn't deserve justice or to know why the fuck this happened to him and who was responsible." Violet's own words were as neutral as could be. She was neither angry nor upset by Winter's comment, "I don't plan to physically torture anyone. The body can only take so much. The mind though, as we both know, is a much more resilient thing. So, in this case, our bars are quite a bit different. I'll share what information I can, when I get it. if you don't want to be involved otherwise, I understand completely. And I don't blame you for it. One of the many reasons I would like to think that we are, or were, friends, is precisely because you aren't anything like me."

-

"What I'm saying is, Carnage knows the game he's in, the people he runs with. His being attacked was bold, because he's not one to pull his punches, and if you kill his sleeve, he's just as likely to order your real death as not," Winter replies. "So, sure, he wants to know who attacked him, and sure, he'll use any means he has to find out and get revenge, but that isn't new. It isn't a change in the status quo. It's… business as usual. But, you seem to be taking it very personally. I'm trying to understand why."

-

"Because it isn't business as usual. This Longbow shit is nothing to do with him. Whomever sent whoever the fuck it was into the Rose in Longbow's sleeve had nothing to do with Carnage. They switched the sleeve on him and used the Rose like their own personal stomping ground. Now, getting the TBT, THAT is precisely Carnage. That man would RD his own mother, no doubt, if it meant he could make a dime off of it. But whomever slagged him was just using him to amp up the hype around the TBT. If they wanted to cover it up, they would have RDed him and the fact that he had a copy which, now, everybody knows about, and more importantly, wants, would have died with him. They used him, again. Something I think we talked about the last time you were over. I would have been fine to leave it as a mystery to be solved. But they made it personal. So…as Carnage so eloquently put it, this is me pissing over my territory." Violet shook her head, "If you can't understand that, I don't know what else I can do to explain it to you."

-

"I'm… not sure you're right about that," Winter replies, "about this being a means to hype up the TBT, get people talking about it. I think it might be a genuine attempt to bury it, keep it from getting shared around. I spoke with the GPPI I mentioned several days ago. Royal. He thinks we're more likely dealing with two opposing groups, rather than one, and I trust his instincts."

-

"Everything that whomever this is has done, up to this point, has not done anything to scare people off from that TBT. For every real shattered stack out there, there are probably a dozen fake ones that people are wearing like a badge of honour. That didn't scare anyone away. If they had killed Carnage, no one would have been the wiser that he had a copy of the full-rez version. No one would have known something that it even existed. But they made sure to leak that. They made sure everyone knows that there's more than just the podnet copy out there. You think killing a sleeve and not RDing a stack is going to warn people off? It isn't. The same dumb fucks who treated a shattered stack like a fashion accessory are going to look at that and say, 'Hey, where's the threat? I can always get a new sleeve. he didn't die. It was a goad, not a warning." Violet shrugged, lifting her hands from the console and coming back to her feet, "You clearly know a hell of a lot more about the actual case than I do, but that doesn't change the fact that I am going to find out who was responsible for what happened to Carnage. Whether or not that helps your case, or this GPPI's case, that will be for you to decide, if I find what or whom I'm looking for. We clearly have very different reasons for wanting to get to the bottom of all of this. Which is not a situation to which I am unaccustomed. What I think, is that there are two groups out there. One trying to cover up whatever the fuck is going on, and another one trying to make sure it gets exposed."

-

"See, I'm not sure you're right that Carnage's real death would have sealed everything up so tidily," Winter replies, one foot tapping. "If Carnage had been dead, the police would be crawling all over the Panama Rose without Carnage around to keep them in his pocket. You're right, word has gotten around that he has a better version of the TBT, but I've been looking and I haven't heard any whispers that there's a means to access it. Carnage is sitting on it, isn't he. Waiting for everything to calm down, the police to close their case, his sleeve death to feel less, mmm, acute. So, it's not in circulation. The threat… worked. If Carnage was truly dead, it seems likely the police would have found the TBT as part of their search, it might have ended up getting disseminated out across the Podnet like the rougher copies. Not to mention, we don't know for sure that the TBT was even the primary reason for the attack. Maybe we're looking at smoke and mirrors here, being distracted away from the true intent." Winter paces slowly around the wooden chair as they think. "I agree with you about the two groups. I think the one side has the Longbow clones, orchestrated the Fatale fight and the TBT release. The other group sent out the shattered stacks and put the hit on Carnage. I don't know exactly how the DJ fits into it, or the fake shattered stacks, but I do know the police have the DJ in custody. So, hopefully questioning her will be helpful."

-

"If the intent had been to kill Carnage to stop him from eventually leaking the TBT, they wouldn't have killed him at his home and then made a spectacle of purposefully stringing him up at the Rose and then making sure that the police were alerted and brought to the location before we could get him away. He would have just been one more missing person. Albeit a very significant person, but still just another missing soul in Bay City. And given that Carnage did not tell anyone that he had a copy of the TBT, that little leak did not come from him. So…whomever did this also leaked that tidbit of information. Because as far as I can tell, nobody knew there was a better copy out there until that was leaked. And Carnage isn't stupid enough to leave something that juicy just lying around for someone to find, whether he was alive or dead, so no, I don't think that the police would have found out about it. Hell, they don't have it now. But that doesn't mean that the idea that there IS another copy out there, not just the one Carnage has into people's heads. because he had to have gotten it somehow." Violet shook her head, quirking her lips at mention of the DJ, "You think the people running this con, whatever it is would leave a real loose end running around? My bet is that she doesn't know a damned thing. And if she does, it's either entirely a lie, or nothing that's going to be at all helpful, but will, probably keep the police and the GPPI busy running down red herrings."

-

"I think the police don't have the TBT now because Carnage is alive and able to hide it," Winter returns. "Vanishing Carnage would have been the same as actually killing him. I think they wanted him to be unsettled," because even Winter isn't going to say Carnage is scared, "and want him to know someone in his organization is working against him. So he's more careful and cautious than usual, less willing to take risks. I suspect the DJ doesn't know who hired her, but she can say how much she was paid, what she was told to do and how she was contacted. I think she may be more useful than her employers suspect." Or maybe Winter just watches a lot of police procedural dramas. "I can't prove my theory any more than you can prove yours, so for the time being, might as well agree to disagree and see where the breadcrumbs lead."

-

"Of course he can hide his copy. I'm not at all convinced that it isn't the only copy out there. Because someone found out he had it, and it wasn't from him. So I'm going to see where this rabbit hole leads. And hopefully make it out the other side." Violet finally pushed to turn back to the console, "If I get any new information that I think can help you, I'll make sure to pass it on." She looked across at Winter, "And if you don't see me around the shop, don't let it worry you. if something comes up, I think you'll know."

-

"No, I wonder if we won't see another clean TBT showing up elsewhere, now that Carnage isn't circulating his. That might be the next move of the opposing group." Winter gives a small nod. "Be careful Violet, and I'll keep in contact. I'd like to keep exchanging information on this." They smile faintly for that last, though the expression is perhaps more somber than a smile has any right to be. "I expect we'll talk soon." The image fades as Winter removes themself from the VR space.