Inside the Wanyudo, Aldrich and Valera sat around the meeting table with Z across from it.
"Are the lights always this dim with you technos around?" said Aldrich. The only light in the entire room came from a few white circles in the ceiling, and it was obvious that they had been intentionally dimmed down enough where everything and everyone cast long, droopy shadows.
"Whenever we deep dive into the cyberverse, our senses go out of tune with the material world. Our body temperature rises dangerously, and even one little disturbance might tip us over into melting our brains. That disturbance might be bright, flashing lights. So, we prefer to keep things dark," explained Z.
"Like night creatures. How relatable," said Valera.
"Spooky." The Chrysalis looked at the shadow she cast across a wall. She moved her tail around, making its shadow undulate like a living creature. "But fun."
"Now then," said Z as she leaned forward on the table, clasping her hands together. Her eyes shone a bright purple as she looked at Valera, then at Aldrich. "What are you here for?"
"We need a CID for her," Aldrich nodded towards the Chrysalis. "Same grade as the one you gave me. Enough to easily walk around in tier 1 cities without getting discovered."
"That can be done. Any preferences?" Z watched the Chrysalis. "How do you want me to build up her past? Is she an orphan you adopted? Was she a street rat? Nomad?"
"No, she's…," said Aldrich, fumbling for the exact classification for the Chrysalis.
"He's my father!" the Chrysalis pointed at Aldrich.
"Yeah, sure, I guess that works. She's my daughter. By blood or not, it doesn't matter," said Aldrich. "Have her be tied directly to the backstories you've constructed for us already."
"Alright then." Z peered over to Valera. "And you, I assume, will be the mother?"
"Of course!" said Valera with loud vigor, all too excited to be labeled Aldrich's wife. She coughed into her hand, lowering her voice. "Yes, indeed, that is correct."
"That can be done," said Z. "It will cost you, though. A tier 1 capable fake CID is not easy to make. The first two, I updated for you out of goodwill, but this one, I will ask a price for."
"Seemed easy enough for you to update them," said Aldrich.
"Yes, and that is why almost the entire Underworld comes to me for it. Try this request with anyone else and it will takes weeks at best."
"Then what's your price?"
"I'd like Thanatos's assistance in a heist I've been planning. It will be after his hearing, of course, provided he gets out of it in one piece. If not, a few of your men will do. A few of the stronger ones."
"Any more details than that?"
"I can forward them to your techno. It will be up to you to take the request or not. Otherwise, I would ask for some information from Casimir's blackmail vault or any secret tech he's holed up over the years."
"Go ahead and send that request, then. When will you be done with the CID?" said Aldrich.
"In half an hour. Just in time for us to part ways," said Z. "Gerard seems to have taken more of a liking to you after your Megaloptera hunt."
"As far as I'm aware, not enough yet to cast his vote for me fully," said Aldrich. "My support is tenuous. I still don't know what Crone thinks of me, and Stone's support doesn't seem based on much."
? ???a ??????
"Crone has been quiet about you. Almost unnaturally so. But that tends to be a good sign. She is a woman of few words, and what few words she does speak are to foretell disaster or ill omen. That she says little about you is probably a good thing," said Z. "As for Stone, he always moves with the majority. I would not read too deeply into it."
"They do not know what they are missing by not placing their wholehearted loyalty," muttered Valera.
"Uncertainty can make even the shiniest prizes seem too dull to touch," said Z. "Anyway, what do you want her name to be?"
"Name?" The Chrysalis hopped on over to the table. "My name?"
? ?? ??-?? ???. ??? "Yes," said Aldrich. "I did have an idea, actually. Chrysa."
"...That sounds thoroughly uninspired," said Valera.
'Are you using that name because it is just Chrysalis shortened?' said Valera telepathically.
'No, I promise you there's more thought behind it,' responded Aldrich.
Valera stared at Aldrich, unconvinced.
'Legitimately, there is thought behind it. The bracelet she got from the Death Lord, the flowers on it are chrysanthemums. A name that's shortform for both that and chrysalis seems fitting, doesn't it?'
'...I suppose'. Valera spoke to the Chrysalis. "What do you think of the name?"
"Any name that father gives me is a good name," nodded the Chrysalis.
"See, she likes it," said Aldrich.
"I do not know whether that is 'like' or 'acceptance'," said Valera.
"That's like," said Z. "She is happy with it. And if it's a name you like, then I'm sure she would like it too. She seems to care a great deal about your happiness."
Aldrich raised a brow. "You seem to read children quite well."
"You can say it comes from the experience of a mother," said Z. She stood up, preparing to end the conversation. Aldrich briefly saw a flicker of wistfulness in her eyes, as if she had been staring at something she had lost. "I will have the CID ready for you as soon as possible. Until then, I have a few matters to attend to myself. I will contact you when the order is ready."
Aldrich stood as well, ready to leave.
"Where are you going from here, if I may ask?" said Z.
"Me?" Aldrich took Chrysa's hand. "We're going on an adventure, aren't we?"
"Adventure time!" said Chrysa. "Explore time!"
"Well, good luck with that. If you ever need to get in touch with me after our parting, your techno will know how," said Z.