Episode Fourteen: Crime. Part Two.
Leonardo raised an eyebrow at the screen.
“You found us by using cartography?”
Harm tilted his hand back and forth. “Not exactly. The program maps facial features from portraits, or sculptures, or photographs. Then it searches the entire Federation database, basically every scrap of data that’s been collected since before World War Three, and searches it for matching characteristics.”
Leonardo nodded, mostly following it. Richard looked blankly at the man.
“This program is a map, and it’s what they used to find us,” Leonardo tried to translate, glancing at Harm to see if he was being accurate.
“A map,” Richard said. “But how did you know we were returned?”
Kami interjected. “We didn’t. The program simply matched you out of random chance. If the security footage wasn’t a public archive, and within the search parameters it would have missed you completely.”
Leonardo sat back. “Luck?”
“Fate?” Magpie piped up hopefully. “We are the historical and heritage branch of public relations for the Federation. If you should be found by anyone it should be us…”
Leonardo kept the politely dubious look off his face, and instead turned back to Harm. “Do you think you’ll be able to use this to find Robespierre?”
“Why on in the saint’s names would we want to?” Richard asked in sotto voice. Leonardo ignored him.
“Leonardo has a point. You did say that the aliens, the Komali, want to have you destroyed right?” Harm asked cautiously. Magpie gasped dramatically.
“He was a pivotal part of the French Revolution of 1789! They can’t destroy him!”
Harm and Kami exchanged a look and Leonardo wondered if this was common for Magpie.
“Chikara can do whatever she wants, Mags,” Harm said. “You know that.”
“I reject the factual evidence of your statement and choose to believe that she’ll keep him alive until further purposes.” Magpie tilted their head up proudly.
Aspen cleared her throat pointedly.
“Any-way,” Harm drawled, turning back to the computer, “we can try.”
Leonardo watched over the man’s shoulder as he tapped the screen with long elegant fingers.
“What I’ll do is take any of the portraits and sculptures that still exist of him, compile them in a matrix and search the database using it.”
Magpie nodded their head once. “Do it.”
Aspen gestured at Richard and Leonardo, her metal fingers clicking slightly. “Come on. They’ll be at this for a while. Leo, has Richard shown you the rest of the castle?”
Leonardo shook his head and rose to his feet. Kami looked vaguely startled, looking up at him with wide grey-brown eyes.
“Something wrong?” He asked.
She shook her head. “Nothing. You’re just…surprisingly tall.”
Leonardo smiled slightly. “That’s not the first time I’ve been told that.”
“You’d make an excellent swordsman, with that reach.” Richard said, as they walked out of the room.
Leonardo snorted slightly. “Not likely. I find war the most disgusting enterprise of man.”
Richard looked at him, then at Aspen, then back to Leonardo. He opened his mouth then sighed and rubbed his temple before brushing past then both and walking off.
“He was the last English king to die in battle.” Aspen pointed out gingerly. Leonardo shrugged.
“I care not. You must agree, if your arm was lost in a conflict.”
Aspen hesitated, mouth twisting back and forth. “I dunno. That’s…a hard question don’t you think?”
They turned right and Leonardo slowed to study some of the glass plaques embedded into the wall. Each presented information about the castle.
“How so? Battle, death, pain, madness. I do not understand how any of these can benefit thinking men,” Leonardo said stiffly.
“Well. Didn’t you design war machines, for uh, uh someone?” Aspen pointed out. Leonardo winced. Before he could explain about he intended services for Il Moro or Borgia, Aspen continued. “Also it seems to me a lot of human evolution has been based on conflict. I don’t think that’s good necessarily but it might be important, I guess.”
Leonardo hesitated, considering her words. “I believe that art evolves the human race,” he finally said.
Aspen smiled and shrugged. “Well of course you do. You’re the one of the, almost them most famous artist in earth history.”
Leonardo smiled. “Grazie.”
Aspen found Magpie later in their office. They were bent over an old-fashioned book, mumbling under their breath and with a tablet propped up by lots of coffee cups.
“Hey boss. How’s it going?” Aspen grinned slightly watching Magpie jump, their elaborately done silver hair quivering.
“Aspen! How’s Richard, and Leonardo? Did you show them the kitchens, the-”
Aspen held up her hand. “Richard already knows where everything is, although he has some choice words for some of the inaccuracies.” Apparently the kitchens were too small and the lack of stables and horses were dire. “Leonardo seems more interested in the databases than the building.”
Magpie nodded, relaxing back into their chair. “Makes sense. Richard spent lots of time here, in his youth and adult life. Leonardo seems to have been largely transient. Florence, Milan, Rome, back to Florence, back to Milan, and then France,” they rattled off. “I’ll have Harm teach him the basics.”
Aspen seated herself in the chair. Soon Jerome would be here to relive her. She’d left Richard wandering the halls, seemingly lost in his thoughts. Leonardo had already disappeared into his room, long nose pressed to a tablet.
“So, we’re keeping them. What next?” Aspen prompted.
“They’ll need a doctor, you know to check them out and make sure they don’t have any extinct germs on them. Didn’t they both live during the first plague?”
Magpie blinked. “Good point. It was towards the end of the plague years but if either of them have it…”
“Yeah, the last thing we need is a relapse of the White Plague.”
Magpie winced. “Yes. But they’ll also need recent inoculations. And Richard’s spine.”
“What about it?”
Magpie showed her the tablet. It had a picture of a skeleton with a curved spine on it.
“His scoliosis is usually resolved in childhood. We’ll need to find a XD, someone who can also perform surgery to fix it.”
Aspen raised an eyebrow. “Why do you think he’ll want it fixed? Have you asked him?”
Magpie hesitated. “No, I just figured he’d want it.”
Aspen blinked, surprised. “I thought you’d be the first to be talking his ear off, asking about every detail of his life.”
“I will! I want to but,” here Magpie smiled sheepishly. “I’m a little nervous to. He’s been this pedestal, this goal in my life for so long.”
Aspen laughed. “You’re over complicating it boss. You gotta remember, he’s just a human, like the rest of us. He got into a right pissy mood when Leonardo told him he didn’t like warfare. He’s been wandering around all day, looking like he’s been hit over the head. If anything, I think he could really use someone who knows their stuff to talk to.”
Magpie blinked at her. “There’s surprisingly profound Aspen.”
“Hey! I can be sensitive, even if I was just a grunt,” Aspen threw up her hand, smirking at Magpie.
They laughed. “I guess you can. Alright, we’ll work on it tomorrow. Do you happen to know any XDs who could be trusted with this?”
Aspen shook her head. “You’ll want to fry Harm or Kami about it, not me. I’m surprised you don’t.”
“I never spent much time with any doctors. I dislike the smell of chemicals, paper and old stone are better.”
Aspen left with that concept in her head. Old stones and paper huh?