A Bridge Too Far


aman_icon.gif bf_cassandra_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bridge Too Far
Synopsis How can one penny hold such dangerous secrets?
Date March 29, 2021

It had been torture waiting until Monday to pursue the lead Aman had contacted her about, but she’d needed a day she could claim to be working late without having to shuffle her schedule to accommodate it. She’d made sure to pour her heart into performances at Rossignol all weekend, to appear cheerful to her partner rather than trepidatious.

Not just about what might come from the reading today, but about seeing Amanvir again for the first time in months. The first time all year.

The only piece of furniture that couldn’t be relocated to the bedroom has been pushed back to the wall. The electronics had been removed long ago, leaving just the black upholstered sofa back against the wall under the window. Even before all that, hers looked like a model for showing anyway. The apartment that belonged to Desdemona Desjardins, and now Ourania Pride, has never been a home.

Out on the island/breakfast nook in the kitchen — she’s never had a proper dining table in here. It never seemed important, given her solitary lifestyle — there’s a pitcher of ice water and a six pack of chilled beers as well. There’s enough fizz in the lowball in front of her to betray that it doesn’t contain water. Hers is a vodka and tonic.

Raytech Industries Campus
Pride Residence

March 29, 2021
6:27 PM

A key finds its way into the lock on the front door, one given long ago that's gone unused. "Here we are," comes Aman's announcement to both the woman with him and the woman already here as he swings the door in. Once he's in, he unwinds his scarf from being around his neck so tightly, shivering off the absolutely blistering-cold wind that's come back to assail New York for hopefully the last time before Spring well and truly arrives.

After the door's shut behind him, he glances up and looks over to the kitchen to find Ourania. With a slight upward lift of his head that doubles as greetings as well as acknowledgement, he gestures loosely between both women. "Cassandra, this is my friend, Ourania. Ranya, Cassandra Cain."

He hesitates for a moment before swiveling his head back to Cassandra. "Do you need a minute here before we get set up? Really, this goes at your pace."

There’s an apprehensiveness to Ourania’s own nod of greeting to Aman on his arrival that melts some when she sees the woman he’s brought with him. “Cassandra,” she greets warmly, like an old friend. The long chain that hangs around her neck is rubbed absently between her thumb and first finger. “I appreciate you both coming out. Can I get you something to drink?”

The meeting between Aman and Cassandra had been arranged a bit after the meeting at the bakery. Whatever checks Aman needed to have checked and run through whatever databases he had access to in order to gauge Cassandra’s capability and willingness to assist must not have taken too long, but thankfully, it took long enough for her to steel herself for what might be coming. Her Pandora’s Box still lived in the top of her closet, filled with notes and memories of things she forced herself to forget by psychic surgical extraction and, if this reading goes like the ones that produced those memories, there may be a new addition.

Stepping into the apartment behind Aman, her jacket held loosely over her left arm, her purse over the opposite shoulder, she gives a quick look around the place. “You've done your research.” She looks to Aman with a satisfied nod. “Furniture tends to make moving around a little more interesting. Tripping over things that aren't there and all.” She shakes her head. “I'm ready when you are. Just a chair in the middle of the room. Probably a drink after, too.”

The seer crouches and rummages in her bag for a small pouch, secreting it in both hands while leaving her bag and jacket near the door, out of the way. She even goes so far as to slip off her low-slung leather flats, the sloth-patterned socks a cute counterpoint to the sensible slacks and button down cream blouse she chose. You've got to try to have a little fun even if you're trying to be professional. This is serious. Deadly serious. Smoothing her blouse, Cassandra's attention turns to Ourania, offering the woman a small smile and a nod.

“No, no drink yet. Thank you.” She said that already. She's nervous. Subject change. Cassandra swallows and takes a moment to center herself. “How are you holding up?” She asks as she moves closer, stepping into the main cleared area, looking around to orient herself with the things that couldn't be moved before her attention settles back on the woman. “Is that the necklace, and the penny you want me to take a look at? And, if I may ask a question before we get started….?” She glances to Aman, then back to Ourania. “Where did you get the penny from?”

That's not a question he has an answer for, though. He looks up from setting down the simple armchair he's retrieved and set more or less in the middle of the open space, glancing only for a moment to Ourania. As for the state of the room, he interjects, "I heeded the warning you gave me before, passed it along to O…" There's a hitch of a moment before he completes the name, like he might've settled for a shortening but opted against it. "—urania, and it looks like she set us up to not look like idiots tripping over an end-table during our shared hallucination."

He clears his throat, gesturing with one hand very generally in their host's direction. "As for where the penny came from…" Aman's gaze indicates he's curious as well, even as he leaves the answer to come from her.

She hadn’t needed the warning, but Ourania flashes Aman a grateful look for him saying so all the same. Even if to look at him does make something inside of her wilt. It makes Cassandra’s question something she’d rather focus on, even if it’s not a question she relishes having to answer at all.

“I received this,” the chain is pulled at until the necklace is freed from the neckline of her blouse and left to hang in plain view now, “from an old, old friend. We hadn’t seen each other for years, and when we had… Well, we hadn’t parted on the best of terms. He tells me that this penny is going to have answers he was never able to give me before.”

Ourania exchanges a look with Aman again, apprehensive and almost as if to ask him if she’s getting her lines right. They haven’t rehearsed this, and he knows no more about the circumstances than what he’s just heard now. “I… don’t know that I like what we’re going to see here. I don’t know what we’re going to see. But it’s my best hope for finding out what happened to my sister. A chance at rediscovering pieces of my past that were stolen from me.”

Now Cassandra receives the full weight of Ourania’s gaze and the gravity behind what she’s asking for. “I need what we see here to… to stay in this room. I don’t know what’s on this penny, but I know it’s dangerous. He risked his life to get this to me. Made me hide it away, and now I keep it close. I promise you, whatever we see on this penny… I’m only going to use the information to help people.”

There’s considerable tension built up in the room, judging from the glances between Ourania and Aman. From the way they’re acting, being in this place with the answers tantalizingly within reach seems to be something that neither of them considered as a possibility. Being presented with the ability to see the past, unvarnished, and to answer questions long unanswered? It can be rather overwhelming - something Cassandra’s dealt with many, many times.

“It’s not my place to judge what you do with what you see.” Cassandra says. “Nor is it my place to judge the actions of the past. What I will show you is what happened, nothing more. If my instincts are correct about this object, it may contain something transformative. Shocking, even. It may answer questions that you didn’t think were even questions to be answered.” She gestures to the penny, the necklace, taking a step forward, towards Ourania.

“When I used to do this more, I had a standard line I gave - were I to witness anything massively illegal, I’d report to the authorities. Murders, hubs of major drug distribution. Things like that.” Another step towards Ourania. “I’m here to just show you what happened, and whatever’s on that penny, if it went through so much to get to you, is probably something someone didn’t want others to see. I’ll keep your secrets. The people I would tell are counted on one hand, with fingers left over, and…” She chuckles. “Well, to say we’ve dealt with a lot is putting it simply and succinctly. It isn’t something I’d like to burden them with.”

Unless it’s JFK Zapruder level stuff, she won’t say a word.

“I’ll need to hold the penny. And if I could get a chair, we can get this show on the road.”

As Cassandra approaches, Ourania clutches the penny protectively in her fist. Her fingers tighten at the mention of report to the authorities, but relax some at the implication that it isn’t her style anymore. Her eyes fix on the postcognitive’s. “You can’t tell anyone,” she cautions again. “Not even Elisabeth. She’ll want to— to help. And I’m not ready for that yet. Please trust me to reach out to our friends when I’m ready.”

Our friends. “We’ve been through more than most,” Ourania agrees with another darting glance to Aman.

Finally, she pulls the chain up over her head. The penny slips slowly from her grasp so she can hold the necklace by the chain instead. “You’re familiar with the works of Caspar Abraham.” That isn’t a question. “If you’re still willing to do this, then…” With one hand, Ourania gestures toward the chair Aman has set up in the living space. The other holds out the dangling penny. Its integrity remains uncompromised, set carefully into the pendant without need for modifying its shape. No holes drilled or edges marred. The way her throat constricts, the way her eyes glisten and the desperation in her voice are a shock even to Ourania as she whispers:

“Please help me.”

Aman steps back from the chair he's set up, indicating it's not for him. He keeps his quiet through the terms, the back and forth, arms folding tightly before him. He has his own reservations regarding the severity of what they might find— given the aftermath lead to Odessa Price's life becoming all that it did— and is surprised when Ourania doesn't balk more than she does at Cassandra's warning.

His ears prick when the language she uses becomes inclusive, his head turning slowly. His eyes flit back and forth between both women. It dawns on him what he thought was a situation unique to Ourania might not be.

"Just— just for the moment, let's make it about you. If you had to take down that poster and climb on through that hole in the wall… would you?"

Whatever ground they're about to tread, it suddenly registers every possible radar he has as being way over his head. Way out of his league. The penny wasn't just some weird one-off? There were pennies with horrific pasts pasted to them just floating around?

"You've had your glimpse. You've had time to roll it over in your brain. In the end, that's the decision you're making, so do you know which way you're making it yet?"

What choice are you making, Aman? He sets his jaw, the silent sound of his indecision churning in his emotions. He looks to Ourania.

"Do you want me to go for this?" he asks her.

Ourania turns her head so she can look at Aman directly. There’s sympathy, guilt, or maybe remorse? “I won’t make you stay. But if you’re willing to…” He doesn’t need their former bond to know she’s as apprehensive now as she was every other time they made an attempt at this. Only this time, she seems to know it will work.

Aman manages to outwardly show acknowledgement through a small, stiff nod. He hesitates for only a moment before affirming, "I'm not going anywhere."

Thank you.” Ourania responds with a nod of her own. It does nothing to abate the glistening in her eyes. What happens next is up to Cassandra.

“I will help you. And I will keep your secrets. And when you are ready, please, please reach out to our friends.”

And that is all Cassandra has to say about that.

The ceremony that normally takes place when Cassandra uses her ability used to be ornate, with flowery words, delicate movements, and the like. She always thought of it as putting on a show, giving the people what they expect, but after not using it for a long period, the formalities have been winnowed down to the essentials only. The blindfold, the place to sit, and the object, as well as a few words of warning are the only things that are needed. Everything else is superfluous.

“I am very familiar with Caspar’s works, as well as a few of his deeds. I’ve handled three…” She thinks. “Yes…three of his pennies before, and I’m always looking for more to come across my counter on the off chance they made it out into the world. His ability is uncomfortable to sit through at the best of times.” She glances down at herself, thankful she thought ahead and chose a dark blouse today instead of the white one due to the possibility of what this may be. Cupping both hands, the postcognitive moves them beneath the necklace and lifts, slowly closing her hands around the penny, giving Ourania a chance to change her mind until the very last second. Drawing it to her chest, Cassandra is always surprised at how insignificant the items she reads can be, but the memories held within? Those memories could be crushing.

Settling down in the chair, drawing her legs beneath her, she looks to Aman and Ourania, dreading what is to come, but unwilling to simply stop and walk away. Being the last, best chance for someone is a burden she rarely chooses to bear, but, in certain cases, it’s necessary. Ducking her head, she quickly slips on the blindfold Raytech produced for her, clipping it behind her head before straightening, brushing her long hair back into place nonchalantly. At a glance, they appear to be simple sunglasses, but with the RayTech logo unobtrusively etched on the earpiece, they’re anything but.

“Remember.” Cassandra’s voice is quiet, filling the room as the universe around slips away into darkness and silence. “What you see is the past. It cannot hurt you physically. Fire will not burn, bullets will not pierce, and you can breathe the air.”

What they see, that is. This penny will probably cause Cassandra several massive headaches and a nosebleed, at the very least. She presses her bare thumb against the coin, anticipating the shock of the spice that happens when powers that should not interact together do.

How many times had she done this now, with these pennies?

How many times would it take for her to learn her lesson?

Apparently, more than today.

Another Time


Conversation echoes down the hall, out of view of the concrete-walled prison cell with its large reinforced glass window. Like an animal enclosure at a zoo. Adam Monroe sits on a folding cot in a gray pair of sweats, barefoot. His knees are pulled up to his chest, eyes unfocused and staring at the wall ahead of him.

The conversation drifts closer, echoing in the dark surroundings. Adam looks out the window as lights in the hall come on, revealing a black stripe of paint high on the opposite wall, along with a large, stenciled number 5. Conversation turns to footsteps as a lone man approaches the cell, broad in frame dressed in a tan overcoat with a red carnation tucked into his lapel. Caspar Abraham removes his fedora and offers a mild smile through the glass.

Stepping forward, Caspar presses the call button on the outside of Adam’s cell, activating the microphone to the speaker box inside. Adam slides his legs off the cot, bare feet touching down on the cold concrete floor. He approaches the door, watching Caspar through the glass.

“Good morning mister Monroe,” Caspar exhales in tired tone, as though this meeting was a rote one. “My name is Mr. Abraham, and I've got just a couple of things I need to take care of here today.


From the other side of the cell door, Adam approaches the viewing slat and slowly tilts his head to the side. Blue eyes square on Caspar. “You're new,” he admits with a look up and down of what he can see of the gray-bearded man. “Come t’clip off another trimming, hmm? Going t’try to grow a new one in a little jar?”

Caspar frowns, sweeping off his brown fedora and holding it to his chest. “Now I can't profess to know what sort of barbarism you’ve experienced down here, Mr. Monroe—


“Of course, Adam.” Caspar fishes around in a pocket, producing a shiny new penny from within. He flashes a quick and easy smile, followed by the simple request of, “a penny for your thoughts?”

Adam rolls his eyes so hard he may have done damage to his neck. The blonde man sweeps away from his door and drags his hands down his face, exhaling an exasperated sigh into his palms. “Do come in chap, shoes off though I'd hate for you to track any dirt in.”

After putting his hat back on, Caspar pulls out a magnetic key card and slides it through a reader on the door. The light stays red. He tries again, still red.

“You've got t’tug it to the right a little,” Adam so helpfully asserts. Casper makes a soft ah sound and swipes the card a third time with it angled to the right, and the light turns green with an electronic buzz. Caspar—

The door crashes open as Adam plows through the unlocked entrance. He throws himself at Caspar with hands grasping around his thick neck. Caspar exhales a scream as he flies backwards and down to the floor with Adam straddling him.

“Who was stupid enough to let you down here alone!?” Adam leans in to Caspar, exhaling a ragged growl into the heavier man’s face. “Did you really think I was going to—”

A gunshot goes off, a spray of blood exits the side of Adam’s neck and he gurgles, thrashing to the side and snarling through teeth stained red. Caspar looks up to his right, where Benjamin Ryans stands with a handgun out, leveled at Adam. “Caspar, I told you to wait for us.”


Adam is already up on his feet, the wound at the side of his neck having fully healed. “Benny,” Adam murmurs in a cool and slick way. “Got any other trrrrrr— rrr— rr…” Adam ceases talking, eyes rolling back in his head this time out of involuntary muscle spasm rather than sarcasm. From the hallway behind Ryans an older man slowly approaches, brows furrowed and lips downturned to a frown: Charles Deveaux.


“Mr. Abraham.” Charles moves with a languid stiffness, needing a cane to walk. He visibly looks ill, though struggles to hide it. “I warned you about this one. I would… appreciate it if you'd listen more clearly next time.”

As Ryans helps Caspar up, Charles comes to stand beside him and watches Adam convulsing where he stands. There's an evident look of concentration on Charles’ face. He motions to the door, “Go, Adam.” At that mental command, Adam stumbles and staggers back into his cell like a twitching marionette.

Caspar rubs one hand at his neck, then picks up the penny from the floor. “I'm— sorry, Mr. Deveaux. I got wrapped up in… he seemed so…”

“He gets inside your head,” Ryans explains, a look leveled to Charles. “Without an ability to do that.” Caspar nods to the explanation, bending down to pick up his hat and penny, then looks to Charles.

Charles nods, letting Ryans and Caspar enter Adam’s cell first. Behind them, he pauses to look down at the blood on the floor, then slowly moves in behind them. Adam remains in a catatonic state, spasming and thrashing as he tries to fight Charles’ mental control.

“Caspar,” Charles indicates with a gesture to him, “I'm going to bring to the forefront of Adam’s mind, memories of something called Project Looking Glass. I'm going to need you to collect all of the information that he experiences, and detain it as you do.”

“All of it, sir?”

“Every last word.” Charles closes his eyes, hands braced on the back of his cane. Brows furrow, the corners of his mouth twitch, and Adam’s spasming abruptly stops. Caspar approaches, fishing that penny out of his pocket again. He comes to stand, anxiously, beside Adam and presses the penny into his open palm.

“What am I looking at?” Adam speaks aloud, mumbled and slurred like someone talking in a dream. Caspar closes his eyes, placing a hand on Adam’s forehead. “A window to what, though? Because all I'm seeing is… oh.” Adam’s head lolls to the side. “Arthur, my god, what am I looking at?”

Caspar’s eyes open, rapidly twitching from side to side as though he were seeing or reading something moving incredibly fast in his field of vision. “Never?” Adam’s tone is incredulous. “How is that even possible? Unless…” blonde brows twitch. “If they never escaped Coyote Sands, then… we wouldn't…” Adam’s lips part, slowly. “Arthur. What is th—”

Present Day

Cassandra’s hands pull away from the penny as though it were heated by a blowtorch. Her nerve endings are on fire, synapses firing in a feedback loop of a memory of memory erasure. Blind spots float in her vision, her hands shake, and it takes a moment for her to realize her own advice: none of this is real.

But she feels it, bone deep, the experience of having everything she was stripped away. The terror, worse than death. Because it is not a death of the body, it is a death of the soul. The horror is mitigated by the understanding that she is okay. She can remember who she is, where she is, what crazy thing she was just doing.

But the anger is real. Visceral. Bone deep. The sense of betrayal that causes her stomach to twist. She doesn’t have context for Adam’s anger, and yet it lives in her. A tiny, trembling echo of rage.

Ourania has stood stunned, her hip leaned against her kitchen island as an anchor point to her place in physical space, in spite of the world around her being transformed to another space she knows the intricacies of even now.

Maybe it makes her look too casual, like she isn’t taking it seriously, the way she stands there nursing her drink and watching the scene play out in front of her. In reality, she’s feeling numb. Seeing Caspar’s face reminds her of the last time she did, which was when she witnessed him perform this same trick on her sister.

“They used this to keep them docile,” O breathes out. Had they done the same to her? No… They had done the same to her, undoubtedly. The question is how many times?

With the memory of Level 5 having faded away in the visible sense, she sets her glass down and fetches a black enameled serving bowl down from a cabinet, filling it with just enough water to cover the shallow bottom. That’s set aside next to the sink while she dampens a dark hand towel, wringing it out. She isn’t without her sympathy, no matter how little of it shows in the cool blue of her eyes when Ourania makes her way back to the armchair to present both rag and basin to Cassandra with a knowing look.

It hasn’t happened just yet…

“I need you to go deeper.”

…but it will.

The gunshots were what unnerved Aman, startling him back away from Adam and nearly into the man who shot him. A jerk aside needlessly allows the unfamiliar figures to pass, eyes sharp and brows furrowed at what he sees. What he intuits about the situation—

What he recalls, eventually, about the men he sees here. Ryans was a man in the news this last year— first as a wanted terrorist, then as a lauded hero when he stopped Adam's plans in Detroit. Signs of the infamous Company and further focus slot Charles Deveaux into place— the only Founder who was a man of color. He no longer wonders who Caspar Abraham was.


"The fuck's the Looking Glass?" Aman murmurs to himself. But he fears the answer and what it does to the reality around him. He draws in a breath between teeth. "Jesus Christ, they saw somewhere else where the Company was never f…"

He lifts a hand to rub at his forehead, looking to Ourania. She doesn't seem particularly surprised about this, he notes, watching her bring back some water for round 2. Aman hesitates for a moment before he slips his phone from his pocket, writing out what he's seen in a text to himself. He'd record the sound if he thought anything would come of it.

The images are of a place

The void slowly sublimates the fire and fury washing around them, the images fading, the blessed feeling of nothing starting to soothe shredded nerves. Her heart is beating so fast, the sound of blood pounding so loudly in her ears that she can barely hear the sound of her breathing. Calm down, she thinks to herself, using the breathing exercises she was taught so long ago at a ‘camp’ where she was informed of her place in this new, different world and how things were going to be from here on out. A world that Odessa almost certainly remembers.

“I think…” Cassandra murmurs through gritted teeth. “I may have about two or three more of those before I can’t go any more. But I’ll try to keep going and get what you need. Jus…” She wipes her nose, thankful that it’s not bleeding just yet, but give it time. “I need a minute or two to catch my breath. These things…..these things hurt.” Caspar’s ability was nothing less than a violation of the mind and the soul, his taking memories without permission. If it were simply erasure, it would be like vandalizing a museum bad, but keeping the destroyed memories as a memento? As a prize?

That’s serial killer levels of obsession.

The towel is taken with a nod of thanks, wiped over her face with slow, deliberate motions that do not dislodge the goggles. Whatever Raytech did to affix these, it’s working really well, keeping the tears at bay without too much trouble. The murmured question from Aman about looking glass? Ourania gets a knowing look through the goggles before Cassandra turns to the other man, her voice raising a little. “You may find out more about it today, but if you do learn….don’t explore. Let anything you learn die with you. Do not discuss it, or share what you know with anyone. Looking Glass, quite simply, is a thing that should not be, but was, and hopefully never will be again.”

Dimensional travel. Screws up things almost as much as time travel, if her books are correct.

Settling back in her chair again, Cassandra lifts the necklace with the penny up, almost able to see the seething fire contained within through her goggles. It’s like a snake, ready to strike, and she’s about to let it. God help her.

“Deeper…” She says with a quaver in her voice. “Let’s see how deep this goes. At least get an overview. God help us if he used this penny for more than one of these. The deeper memories are always so hard to pull out.”

A breath. “Here we go.”

And they do.

Another Time

The world blurs at the edges, hazy and disorienting. Up, down, day, night, none of it holds meaning. Stumbling forward, Adam Monroe collapses onto his knees on a concrete floor. His arms are bound to his side in a straight jacket, his forehead impacts the floor hard enough to leave a smear of blood. Adam rolls around onto his side, then looks up toward the door behind him, cackling. There’s blood in his mouth, it isn’t his.


Arthur Petrelli holds the side of his head where blood trickles from his right ear, where the lobe was partially torn off by teeth. The blood has soaked into the collar of his dress shirt. His expression, seen by Adam through the haze of enough tranquilizer to lay out a rhinoceros, is not of anger, but of doubt and remorse.

“Jesus Christ Adam,” Arthur says from the doorway to Adam’s cell, “you need to get a fucking hold of yourself.”

Adam purses his lips and spits a piece of Arthur’s ear onto the floor. His teeth are pink, a thread of saliva dangles from his chin. “You might as well let me sink my teeth into the old neck, Arthur. Let me save you from the slow death you all have coming.”

Arthur’s eyes narrow slowly, lips downturned to a frown. “You realize you’re right, don’t you?” The way Arthur phrases that sends a chill down Adam’s spine. “Your… plan? It would’ve worked, but no one is willing to pay that cost.” He steps through the doorway, closing in on Adam, unafraid. Adam stays seated on the floor, sliding his tongue across his teeth.

“If you would just cooperate,” Arthur tries to reason with Adam. “Find a middle ground. We have a plan, we just—”

“Killed the researchers?” Adam says with a quick raise of his brows. “Little fucking short sighted of you, isn’t it Arthur?”

Arthur’s eyes narrow, tracking from side to side. “What’re you talking about?”

Colin.” Adam raises one brow. “If you hadn’t sent your little cockroach after him because your big boy feelings got hurt, maybe your little side-bet would pay off. But now you have nothing. Except. Me.”

There’s no recognition in Arthur’s eyes. He looks at Adam with a wary, anxious stare. “I didn’t have Colin Price killed.” Adam feels the doubt hidden in Arthur’s voice. That doubt, though, is soon suffocated by an entirely different feeling. Pity.

“What did Charles do to you?” Adam wonders, and though he has the right idea, he has the wrong suspect.

“Think about my offer, Adam.” Arthur says, dabbing at his earlobe with blood-covered fingers on his way back to the cell door. “Take some time,” he looks around the room, “think it over. It doesn’t have to end the way you think it does. We can fight this thing—”

“I want to see my girls.”

Arthur grows silent. He looks down at his feet, away, then back to Adam. “That’s not possible.”


Arthur is silent.


“Think about our offer,” is Arthur’s answer as he steps out of the cell, “or the only person you’ll be seeing is your reflection. For a long, long time.”

The door swings shut—

Present Day

This one didn’t hurt Cassandra as badly. The sense of vertigo and disorientation from the drugs Adam was under passes quickly, does something to numb the sense of a dull ache behind her eyes. This memory wasn’t quite as violent, as traumatic. It’s an exertion, a mighty one, but she’s keeping the pace well. Like a jogger hitting their stride.

This one… This one, Ourania can’t be numb to. Odessa can’t be numb to it. “Must be nice,” she breathes out after her living room has bled back through the vision. There’s no blood or pound of flesh on her carpet. There’s just a cold, hollow pit in her stomach. “To have someone killed and not even remember it.”

Her own memory of Samson Gray telling Caspar to thank Arthur for the telekinetic sees her pressing her lips together in a thin line.

“What side bet?” she asks out loud, frustrated and surprised to realize she’s fighting back tears. “Me? My father’s work? Cindy? If Adam thought—” Ourania goes very pale and turns to the counter she’d been leaning against to pick up her drink and down what’s left of it. She’s left gasping when she’s done, from the brief lack of air and from the burn in her throat. “Everyone who’s had a hand in fucking up my life is dead. I can’t even ask them why.

She clutches at the counter with both hands until her knuckles turn white. “How do we get from this point to…” Ourania shakes her head. The answer to that question lies somewhere other than Adam Monroe’s stolen memories. Lifting her head, she turns to look at Aman again finally. “When I was— where we met, I had one book to start with. Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.” Her gaze dips for a moment, then tracks its way back up to her friend’s face. “The concept is the same if you cross your eyes a little.”

Then she spends a moment studying Cassandra, reaching out with her ability to narrow her focus there. Rather than speak what’s on her mind, she simply lets her jaw set tight, waiting for the postcog to be able to tap into her gift again.

There is no shallow end to wade into here. Amanvir lost any chance of that by waiting until the last second to decide whether or not to jump aboard this express train at all. His eyes slowly go from Ourania to the penny in Cassandra's hand.

Why the fuck did Odessa have a penny with Adam Monroe's memories?

"No," Aman airs with clarity after Ourania wonders what side-bet was at play. Maybe because he has the outside view he sees it this way. "Sounds like whatever your dad was working on was the main plan. Whatever…" He nods in the direction where Arthur Petrelli had been standing. "Sounds like killing him screwed over whatever they were trying to do." Good or bad as it may have been. "Mr. Penny For Your Thoughts did a fucking number on a number of people, didn't he?"

He's gravitated slowly toward Ourania, not reaching out for her, but leaving his presence near. Aman doesn't have solace to offer for what they've seen, or answers. All they can hope is that whatever's left on the penny might offer either.

“It’s not nice. It’s a tragedy. It’s discounting everything. It’s being so afraid of the deeds undertaken that even the thought of it sends you spiralling out of control.” Cassandra’s voice is hollow but with a core of strength that starts somewhere in her spine and stretches all the way through her, supporting her, despite the weight of the memories she’s showing. She feels like she’s floating towards the ceiling, barely tethered to her body by her wrists and ankles, the whole of her rising towards the darkness above - the aftereffects of the tranquilizers that were pumping through Adam’s veins when this memory was made. She lets out a breath and releases the grip she had on the armrests, little divots left by her fingernails in the pristine surface, not realizing she had been gripping so hard, such was the anticipation of what was to come.

She watches Odessa, or is it Ourania, through her blindfold, resting her head on the headrest as she gathers herself for the next push. “I’m not averse to helping…it’s why I’m here, after all.” She says, her voice gaining strength. “I don’t know what they did, or what you did because of what they did but…let’s get through this first, and then we’ll see about tracking down some more answers for you. The thing is? Those answers often give rise to more and more questions, and the realization that people aren’t doing things to be cruel…they’re doing things to benefit them. The cruelty is just an added bonus. A horrible, horrible bonus.”

Then Aman speaks about Caspar, and Cassandra can only nod numbly. “It was Caspar’s job, extracting memories, putting them in these pennies. And he was pretty fucking good at it, too. I’m still dreading the day I find one in the change at my shop. They…” The penny is lifted, turned over, rolled along her knuckles effortlessly, and then captured in her palm after a twist of her wrist. “They have a feel to them. Like jalapenos dipped in battery acid. An initial shock, and then a long burn that doesn’t go away for a while.”

Another breath. “Let’s see if I can get a count of the memories on here, and then we can go deeper…” Cassandra’s power flares and she dips in, trying to see how much she’s going to have to wade through before going to the next one.

Another Time

“Please, stop!” A woman cries out, and through an open doorway a redhead woman can be seen, backed up against a medical refrigerator with a cracked glass door. Tears streaked with eyeliner stream down her cheeks. Her chest rises and falls in steady rhythm, blue eyes wide in terror. There is a sword at her throat. Just behind this redhead there is an old office calendar on the wall with days crossed off.

It’s December 21st.


“I don’t want to kill you, Victoria.” Adam Monroe means those words. There is conviction in his steady hand, in the way the Kensei sword bites gently into her neck, enough to make the threat real but not firm enough to kill her. “I want you to unlock the cabinet and get it for me. That’s all. It’s simple.”


No.” Victoria Pratt is a woman of her convictions, but it isn’t conviction that has her pleading for her life at the end of a sword, it’s desperation. “Adam, please. You can’t do this.” He steps closer, angling the blade along the front of her throat, so he can lean in close to her.

“There’s no other way,” Adam hisses. “When it comes back — and trust me, Victoria, it will come back — there won’t be a thing you or anyone else will be able to do to stop it. It’ll be too late.” Victoria sobs uncontrollably, staring wide-eyed at Adam. “I understand what has to be done now,” he insists, looking past her to the refrigerator and back again. “Now unlock the cabinet…”

“…and give me the Shanti virus.”

“No!” It’s a scream, Ryans’ scream, that breaks the silence of Victoria’s denial. Adam turns to look over his shoulder, seeing Benjamin Ryans’ silhouette looming in the doorway of Victoria’s office.

“Adam, listen to me!” Ryans shouts, gun trained on his old friend. “Don’t make me do this…” But Adam does nothing, he is frozen in a sense of betrayal and a sense of loss, his throat tight with emotion visible in his eyes. Victoria, at Adam’s mercy, looks pleadingly at Ryans.

“Adam, I’m not going to warn you again!” Ben shouts, his voice a deep roar that echoes through the air.

“I’m sorry, Ben.” Adam says with a slow shake of his head. “There’s no other way.”

Ben clicks the hammer back on his revolver. “Adam, I’m not going to tell you again, let Victoria go!”

“What’re you going to do, Ben?” Adam says with a horrible venom in his voice. “Kill me?

“Not permanently, no,” Ryans snaps out, without missing a beat. He knows better to believe he could ever kill the immortal. “But, you and I both know I can stop you long enough to get people to safety.”

Without warning the fist at Benjamin’s side closes and Adam feels the sword in his hand still and pushing would get him nowhere. In fact, it pulls towards his neck as it slowly attempts to twist the edge towards his neck. “And you and I know I’ll do it.” The threat is clear, yet, he isn’t putting all his effort into it, even though it wouldn’t be the first friend he’s attempted to kill to save innocent lives.

“You should have come talk to me. Why didn’t you come talk to me, before…” Before Adam destroyed all those lives. Blue eyes dip down to the blood his friend wears. For all Ben tries to hide his emotions, there is a war going on behind his eyes. “This isn’t you, you’re better than this. There has to be a better way.” There is frustration in Ryans’ voice.

“Hell, old man, you taught me that!” Ben yells at him.

Adam’s teeth clench as he feels that telekinetic pull on the sword. He releases Victoria with his free hand and she scrambles away, pawing at her neck and nearly tripping over herself. She circles past Ryans, running out the door with a clack of her shoes on the tile floor, screaming for help.

Adam’s throat works up and down, the Kensei sword’s blade vibrating up and down as he tries to keep it steady.

“I didn’t tell you because I know you’d try and talk me out of it.” Adam says through his teeth. “Our victory was temporary, Ben. This thing exists because of us. It made us!” His hands shake, but not just from the grip he holds on his sword.

“That thing it said, that this world wasn’t meant for them?” Adam’s voice tightens. “No. That’s not it at all. The Shanti Virus is the only way to be sure. Get rid of us — all of us — forever.”

We weren’t meant for this world.”

Adam’s grip on his sword tightens, he struggles against the steady vibrations in the blade from Ryans’ telekinetic grasp on it. Blue eyes peer over the razor sharp edge to meet his old friend’s. Benjamin Ryans, his closest friend. Someone he considered a brother. The man he consoled through the death of a son.

Don’t do this, Ben.

“Then stand down,” Benjamin snaps back gruffly. There is pain in his voice. He doesn’t want to do this, but he feels backed into a corner, like he’s not being given a choice. “Let’s figure this out, together, like we always have.” With everyone out of the room, Ben kicks a foot out behind him, catching the edge and slamming the door to the office shut.

Now it was just the two of them, two men who had fought and died together on foreign shores. Brothers in all but blood. “Because, I simply cannot believe that genocide is the only answer,” he growls out at the man, the words snapped out with emphasis. “…and until I can talk some sense into you…”

Benjamin’s hand snaps out and his fingers closed into a fist; Adam can feel the shift in his friend’s ability, moments before the sword is ripped from his hands by an unseen force and sent clattering away. Adam doesn’t even get a chance to react before the immortal is suddenly swept off his feet and thrown against the wall by that same force.

“I’m going to save you from yourself, Brother.”

All the air is knocked out of Adam’s lungs as he’s slammed into the wall, the Kensei sword hanging unmoving in the air where the repulsion tore it from his grasp, held in place by Ryans’ ability. “Ben, no!” Adam hisses, fingers curling into fists at his side, pinned to the wall by unseen hands.

This is the only way!” Adam howls, struggling against the telekinetic pin.

Don’t do this!

But he did.

Present Day

A revolting sense of betrayal slams into Cassandra, a gut-twisting feeling of being wronged by your closest and best friend, someone who she thought of as a brother. Except Cassandra never knew Benjamin Ryans like that, and that seething resentment and anger is all Adam’s. It takes a moment for her heart-rate to slow, for the bile in her throat to work its way back down. Her hands tremble, and it takes her a moment to realize she’s clenched her jaw so tight it hurts.

None of it was real, in so far as it’s like watching an old VHS, but it still felt like something. When it fades away, all the empath can feel is pain. “This is why they took everything from him.” She shakes her head in disbelief, so far beyond anger that it’s gone calm and quiet.

“Adam used to tell me the world was sick.” At this point, pretending to be anyone other than Odessa Price seems ultimately ridiculous in the face of all of this. “Or… maybe that’s something I asked him once and it stuck.” Straying toward Aman, the desire to find comfort in his proximity and the lacing of their fingers is sought, but she stops short. His compassion isn’t hers to seek. Her hand falls back toward her side.

“I have made the obscene decision to do something unforgivable for the sake of our survival,” Odessa recites absently, an excerpt of a poem committed to heart some time ago. “It explains the root of evil in the Vanguard. They… twisted his intent. Adam never wanted to kill in the name of supremacy. He—”

Her head dips down, fingers curl in toward her fists, mouth set in a line. “We need more,” she insists. “We can’t stop here.”

But can Cassandra take it? In the face of so much Aman can't begin to properly process, it's her he focuses on. He sees the toll it's taking on her, how the memories don't hurt them, as she'd warned… but that perhaps she was not so lucky.

"Are you sure you can handle this?" he asks with concern. She'd described this as brushing paths with something painful coated in something poisonous, and he feels remiss in not trying to lighten her load, even if it's just to give her a short reprieve. "What's on there— it's important, sure, but if I can give you a break for a minute with this, I can. I will. Just say the word."

Aman hadn't been able to look after he knew Ryans was going to harm Adam again. In the same sense, he can't look at Odessa now.

“I’m…I’m fine.”

Cassandra’s not fine. Not at all. That last one…that last one was like being six years old, all over again, and being told Santa wasn’t real after sitting through your parents’ divorce, and then having that feeling turned up to a considerably higher magnitude. The blows aren’t physical, but mentally? They’re certainly taking a toll. God, she’s going to be sore tomorrow.

Resting her head against the back of the chair, settling in like a blanket that’s been thrown there. Looking up into the darkness where the ceiling would be, she rocks her head back and forth. “I’ll go until I can’t go any more.” Her head tilts towards Odessa. “I’ll get you as many answers as I can. Getting them the first time is the hardest part. I…” Cassandra pushes herself up in the chair. “Once I know what to expect, getting deeper is easier. I don’t know anything about any of this, but it’s important to you. So we’ll keep going.”

She falls back into the old patterns easily, it seems. Helping, at the cost of herself. A minor discomfort that could conceivably bring peace to another’s troubled brow but this? Even with her lack of information about what she’s seeing, even she can tell that this was the start, or a major portion, of a game that’s been played for a very, very long time.

Another Time

“And you don’t remember anything?

Arthur Petrelli stands with his arms crossed over his chest, pacing back and forth through the marble-floored study of the Petrelli Mansion. Pictures of Peter and Nathan as young boys sit on the mantel behind him. Pictures of Arthur when he was younger, and his wife.

“Let him talk.” Comes from Angela Petrelli, standing by one of the tall windows looking out over the nightscape New York skyline. “You’ve been at this for hours, just let him work through it Arthur, for God’s sake.” She reaches up to her neck, cradling a necklace of a half DNA helix as if it were a crucifix.

Adam Monroe is seated, slouched forward in a red upholstered armchair, hands folded between his knees and head bowed. “I told you, I remember going back to the cave in Hokkaido, and then… it was like watching a movie, for a little while.” He looks up to Arthur, shaking his head. “The last thing I remember was her asking me to tell her a story and then…” he brings his hands up to his face, scrubbing slowly.

“So you’re telling me that from, what, the summer of eighty-two until now you’ve been… some sort of pod person?” Arthur exhales an exasperated sigh, running one hand through his hair. “Jesus fucking Christ, Adam. And Joy, you knew who she was all along?”

“It’s complicated.”

Un-fucking-complicate it.” Arthur growls, rounding back on Adam and pointing a finger at him. “Do you have any idea how many people are dead because you kept this shit to yourself? I thought we were a team?!”

Adam bolts up from the chair, taking a step toward Arthur. “It was three hundred years ago! I didn’t think it was bloody relevant!

“Enough!” Angela shouts, turning from the window. “Both of you, Jesus. This isn’t going to change anything. We have to live with the repercussions of what happened yesterday. The whole world will.” Her jaw sets, dark eyes fixed on her husband, then Adam. “There’s no way Adam could have known this could have happened.” She pleads to Arthur. “Not after that long.”


Angela’s expression is troubled, her eyes downcast to the floor. Her expression all but asks, how did I not see it coming? But she says nothing.

“Either way, it’s over.” Arthur says with a sweeping gesture of his hand. “It’s done. And we can move on.”

Adam, feeling bile rising up in the back of his throat says with great worry. “No, Arthur. No, it is absolutely not over.” For a moment, there is fear in Arthur’s eyes. But, more than that, fatigue.

“This is a bandaid on a gunshot wound, Arthur. It found its way back once, it can do it again. And if it doesn’t do that in our lifetimes,” Adam says with a hint of exasperation, “then it will in our children’s. We have to cauterize the wound. Everyone who had contact with it. The whole Company, those kids, everyone.”

“What the fuck do you mean cauterize?” Arthur asks with a look up and down at Adam as if he’s lost his mind.

“It’s inside us, Arthur.” Adam pulls at the skin of his forearm. “In our genes. All of us. Colin found that out and the knowing almost drove him to suicide. So long as even one of us exists, it will always survive. There is no endgame that we outlast or outthink it. On a long enough time table, it will always win.

Arthur stares at Adam, past Adam, practically through him as if he weren’t there. Swallowing down a lump in his throat, Arthur’s gaze wobbles and falls to the floor, then back to Adam. “What’re you suggesting?”

Adam, in his hesitance, lies. “I’m not sure. Yet. But we need to come up with a plan.”

Looking out the window once more, Angela Petrelli says nothing. She merely turns her necklace over in her palms.


Present Day

Cassandra sucks in a sharp breath as the vision fades around them, feeling the guilt, doubt, and anger from the last vision swirling into coherence as this one comes to a close. The sequence of events, the arrow of time, feels so clear now. But there is still so much more on this penny.

Fuck.” The hissed expletive comes when Odessa wipes at her face and her fingers come away wet. “Dad…” Again, there’s no outlet for her to find catharsis through. No family she can clutch tightly to and find understanding in a mutual pain. No adversary she can punch until her knuckles bleed and she decides it’s enough.

The pictures on the mantelpiece. Odessa’s brows knit and her mouth forms a frown in her consternation. She’s trying to piece together the timing from the age of the boys in the photographs. “Peter couldn’t have been more than…” The absent mutter is for herself rather than anyone else. “This must be after whatever measures they took to seal away—” She stops just short of saying the name. Names have power. Uluru has enough power over her already, by her estimations.

“November, then? He came back to himself, then went mad trying to find a way to erase us all so they couldn’t come back.” Odessa scrubs at her face again. “If I could just find my father’s research, maybe I could find more answers. It must exist somewhere.

The wounded blonde stares at the space Arthur Petrelli just occupied in memory. “Did he really have my father killed out of some kind of… petty frustration?” Odessa isn’t so sure anymore. She sniffles wetly tugging a handkerchief out of her pocket and turning away from the others to blow her nose as discreetly as possible.

“He said— Adam said to me when he gave me this,” there’s an apologetic glance thrown Aman’s way, “that my sister might be the last key. And… That we’d need my brain.” Odessa cringes suddenly, the worry etching into the lines of her face. “I thought he meant my intellect, but…”

Another vignette, another series of white people yelling at each other in their prime. At least this time it didn't end with Adam dying horrifically again. He hopes that's made this dive slightly easier on Cassandra.

He's started to try and detach himself from all of this, all while the pieces start to knit together. That thing Kaylee tried to warn him about, the thing she felt had more control of her life than she did.

This step back showed at one point, they— or at least Adam— thought memory of it gave it power. It seemed like it escalated after that, leading to a point where all Evolved … somehow…

Aman turns his head slightly to Odessa, and then forward again. She can feel how he's receding, not living in the moment to moment. He's reacting emotionally only to keep himself from crashing, a boat on a fast-moving river trying to keep from being destroyed by the rocks on either side. He's thinking, now. Wondering what comes next.

"Des," he says softly. "If that memory is next— the one where they find out knowing gives it power— don't look."

Out of all the things she didn't need to see in this, the moment knowledge was revealed that nearly broke her father ranked high.

The cold plunge ends and Cassandra lets out a quiet, choking sigh as she comes to the surface of the memory, her heart racing. She doesn’t go to the next memory just yet, instead looking over towards Odessa. Unnerving, considering she’s blindfolded, but possible since she’s connected to all of them through her vision. Good thing this doesn’t go beyond the walls of the room, otherwise people downstairs would be freaking out.

Just like when she was on that rooftop so long ago.

“We can stop if you want.” Her voice cracks, Cassandra wipes her mouth with her sleeve. “Or we can keep going. Your call.”

Odessa turns to look Aman’s way, seemingly surprised at his concern for her and what she might see. It’s a valid concern, but sometimes she thinks people forget that she isn’t simply detached from her past, having never really lived it.

“My only memory of my father,” she says in a strained voice, “is of his head cracked open with a screwdriver. It’s the only time I ever saw him somewhere other than other people’s memories.” She shouldn’t have been able to witness that moment. It happened hours before she was even born. “I have to take what I can get. Even if it hurts.”

Can anything hurt worse than that?

“I’m not afraid of it, Cass.” Whether she can see it or not, Odessa smiles at her, a sad thing. “I don’t know if it’s possible here, but… If we can find out more about what happened to my father, I’ll take that opportunity in whatever form that comes in.”

Aman doesn't look forward to whatever lies ahead now. But he accepts that both women are prepared for whatever comes next, and his opinion is irrelevant in the face of their decision.

"If you're sure," he murmurs anyway, taking in a breath to steel himself against the next change in scenery.

“Let’s see what we can see, then.” Cassandra settles back, diving into the maelstrom of memory again.

This time, Odessa reaches for Aman’s hand.

Before long, it would become a vice grip.

Another Time

past-adam_icon.gif past-arthur_icon.gif past-broome_icon.gif past-charles_icon.gif past-joy2_icon.gif past-miguel_icon.gif past-nia_icon.gif past-niel_icon.gif young-odessa_icon.gif past-ryans_icon.gif past-valerie_icon.gif


Love me.

A disintegration of willpower is met by the booming of a thousand voices, like a thunderstorm of screams demanding compliance.

Serve me.

The slanted rooftop is slick with rain from a torrential downpour. The sky looks wrong, boxed in by a geometric shape of emerald green light extending out several city blocks. Like a green glass cake lid laid down over a lightless Manhattan.

Save me.

Adam Monroe crawls up the rainslicked rooftop, flat-soled dress shoes scuffing against the aluminum shingles. He grips the Kensei sword in one hand, rainwater dripping off the tip. There is screaming coming from the other side of the roof. As Adam creeps up the roof’s incline, he pauses by a small window looking down into an apartment. It is too dark for him to see inside, but he can see the reflection of his glowing, gold eyes in the glass.

Save me.

Raised voices fill the air, and Adam jerks his head up. He climbs over the crest of the roof, now looking down from the top of the penthouse to the iconic balcony of the Deveaux Building, where some of the most recognizable faces in history have gathered to stave off the end of the world.

Kill them all.

“Don't stop! Don't you dare stop!” Charles Deveaux screams, with a young Daniel Trafford at his side, hand on his shoulder, bathing Charles in incandescent waves of rainbow light. Charles is bleeding from the nose and his ears. The winds are howling like a hurricane, twisting tendrils of tornadoes touch down in the gray silhouette of the Hudson River, turning into water spouts.

Kill them all!

He doesn’t want to.

Kill them all!

But he will.

Hold!” Charles shouts now that most everyone is in position, unaware of a third party creeping across the penthouse roof, looking down at the patio. “God damnit hold!” Charles shouts as a woman nearby—Nia Dawson—begins to crumple. She has her hand held out toward the kneeling figure of Kam Nisatta, who in turn has her head held in the vice-like grip of a young Simon Broome.

Broome's hands nearly slip from Kam—the Entity’s—head as she's spasming and fights his grip.

Kill them all, save me!

Charles!” Arthur Petrelli calls out, squinting against the rain. “Charles, how much longer!?” He cradles an infant to his chest, one swaddled in a rainsoaked blanket. She is crying. She is Odessa Price.

Kill the child! Now!

Kusogaki!1 Filled with rage, Adam Monroe leaps from the rooftop, Kensei sword in hand. His arc takes him directly down to Arthur, and the curving Kensei sword is driven through Arthur’s shoulder. The blade extends out the front of his shoulder joint and narrowly misses the blonde baby in his arms.

Screaming in pain, Arthur drops to one knee, cradling the baby in his remaining good arm. He turns, looking back at Adam. “Koshinuke!2 Adam screams as he twists the sword, and Arthur lets out a howl of pain a moment before Adam is lifted off of his feet and flung back bodily against the greenhouse wall, glass shattering in his back.

Get up. Get up!

Another figure on the roof, dressed in a breezy jacket and floral patterned scarf holds out one hand as a harmonic telekinetic thrum keeps Adam pinned against the wall. She is graceful, confident, and young. She furrows her brows and squints against the rain, and Adam struggles to move, pinned amid the broken glass and splintered wood of the greenhouse.

Yaeko—” Adam hisses at Joy, and she clenches her fist shut and forces his mouth closed. Swiftly, she moves to Arthur’s side at the same time Ishi does.

Ignore her. Ignore your heart! Kill them all!

“Easy, Arthur.” Ishi Nakamura insists as she lays a hand on his wound and a flood of light spills out beneath his skin, knitting the injury shut. “Keep helping Simon.” Attention turned back to Adam, Ishi’s eyes narrow and her lips downturn to a visible frown.

Inanna. Inanna. Inanna. Inanna. Inanna.

Broome, struggling with restraining the Entity’s consciousness, lets out a frustrated howl of agony and collapses to his knees at the same time Kam’s body writhes around in his grasp. Charles clutches his head, screaming loudly through the pain and the hurricane-force winds. “I almost have it! I almost have it!

Help me!

“I've got you, Mr. Deveaux!” Niel shouts as he places a hand on Charles’ shoulder with another surge of rainbow-hued light that refracts around Charles brow, and the telepath seems to have renewed vigor and strength. Niel Trafford looks from Charles to Adam and back again, trembling in fear.

Dawson!” Charles shouts to Nia, her graying black hair soaked by the fierce rain. “Now!”

No—No, no, no, no, n—

Nia Dawson raises her hands, the ground rumbling beneath her feet. Kam struggles, screaming, and then goes limp in Broome’s grasp. As Nia presses with her ability, Simon’s eyes flash open to reveal golden irises. He twitches, struggling, like someone who is paralyzed where they stand.

“Oh— oh my god I can feel its power!” Nia shouts, already beginning to buckle to one knee. “What— what is— Charles! Charles I don't know if I can h-hold—”

“I can see,” Simon utters in a deep voice, “Eye to E — eeeeyeeaaaaaaagh!” Clutching his head, Broome’s eyes gutter out from their golden glow. Charles makes a concerted noise of effort and Simon collapses down onto his knees, then down onto his side and begins convulsing on the ground.

“Just a little more!” Charles shouts, and Arthur turns to look up at Adam, then down and over to where Simon convulses on the ground. “Almost! Almost!

“We—” Whatever Charles was about to say ends when Adam unleashes a primal scream and tears himself free of the telekinetic grasp. His right arm dislocates, pops, twists, and then tears free from his body. As he slips free of the telekinetic bond, he runs one armed at Charles and swings his katana up in a violent arc, cutting across the side of Charles' face and sending him crumpling to the ground.

"¡Hijo de puta!"3 Miguel screams from inside the penthouse where he was checking on the kids. He comes barreling out of the sliding door with both hands glowing with a white-hot atomic fire. Miguel skids to a stop in the rain, blindsiding Adam with a crackling punch that incinerates Adam's jacket and sends him spinning around until he crashes onto the patio floor. His missing arm is already starting to regenerate as he gets up onto one knee, gold eyes leveled on Miguel with white-hot intensity.

As Yaeko and Ishi tend to Charles, Arthur turns his attention to Adam and calls out in a clear voice, "Now!"

From the demolished greenhouse, Benjamin Ryans comes striding out in a black suit, one hand raised and a telekinetic hum rumbling around his body. He grabs Adam with an unseen hand by his sword arm, brows furrowed and anger plastered across his face.

At the same time, there's a vibrant green-blue glow that surrounds Adam's sword as it is wrenched from his hand and Valerie steps out beside Ryans, that same aurora-hued light swirling around one of her hands. Valerie spins the Kensei sword around, and with a thrust of magnetokinetic force drives the sword hilt-deep into Adam's chest. He screams, blood spilling from his mouth, eyes flicking to focus on Charles Deveaux, healed again.

"It's over." Charles commands, his eyes focused on Simon Broome's form, his eyes burning with the light of the sun. "Karin!" Charles shouts into the darkness, "Karin we need Mateo!"

Impaled by his own sword, Adam struggles against Ryans' telekinetic grasp, then looks to see Yaeko staring at him with horror and guilt in her dark eyes. He is torn in two, consumed by the unending rage that floods his mind, but there is something behind that. Something that brings tears to his eyes. It is not pain. It is not fear.

It is horror.

Horror at his actions.

“Arthur I—”

You shut the fuck up!” Valerie screams as she steps forward and plants her boot against the back of the Kensei sword, pushing it deeper into Adam’s chest. He sucks in a gasp at the pain, and Valerie grinds her heel against the sword, jaws clenched. Even when Ryans pulls her away, Valerie is kicking in Adam’s direction, screaming obscenities at him.

“That fucker tried to kill us in the lobby!” Valerie howls, twisting like a feral cat against Ryans’ grip.

Nearby, Karin emerges from the demolished penthouse alongside the young Lynette and Mateo. She guides them out into the rain under an umbrella, looking at Arthur with wide, terrified eyes. The children, in spite of themselves, seem far calmer.


young-lynette_icon.gif young-mateo_icon.gif

“We don’t have much time,” Charles says with an urgency, “Simon can only contain her for so long. I can already feel that thing trying to take him over.” Charles’ eyes flick to Joy. “You’re sure this will work?”

Joy, staring down at Broom with dark eyes, just shakes her head. “No,” she murmurs before blinking her attention up to Charles. “But it worked before.”

Daniel,” Charles calls out, and Niel comes jogging over. “Like we discussed.”

“Okay,” Niel says in barely a whisper, his hands shaking with adrenaline. He looks to Karin, who folds her umbrella and takes a knee beside young Mateo and Lynette with a hand on each of their shoulders.

“Remember when I said you needed to be brave for me?” Karin whispers, then taps each of them on the nose individually. “We need to help that girl. You have the power to do that. Do you want to help her?” Karin’s eyes direct the children’s attention to the unconscious former host of the Entity.

Both Mateo and Lynette nod in a child’s understanding. Karin smiles, a little overwhelmed, and waves Niel over. Niel takes each of their hands, eliciting a glow of rainbow-colored light from his touch, a shimmering force that glows bright around them.

“Okay, Mateo.” Karin looks over at him. “Like we practiced in the dreams.

Little Mateo reaches out with a tiny hand, taking one of Lynette’s in his. As he closes the circuit of their powers, Arthur approaches and takes a knee beside them, placing the crying, swaddled form of Odessa Price between them all. Niel’s expression sags when he sees an infant laid in this dangerous circle.

Electricity begins to arc from tiny Lynette’s hand holding Mateo’s, and Niel winces in discomfort. Mateo in turn closes his eyes, tears welling up in them. He’s scared. Karin reaches out, nearly touching him, but relents at the last moment.

“Come on Mateo… we need you, sweetheart.” Karin whispers, shaking her head. “She needs you.”

“Hurry!” Charles cries out. “We only have one chance at this!” In the same moment, Niel begins to tremble. Blood trickles out of his right nostril, brows furrowing.

“Arthur! Arthur I– I don't think– I cant keep this up!” Niel protests, struggling to stay still even as his body wants to break into convulsing fits. He tenses when he suddenly feels someone’s hand on his shoulder, looking up with radiant eyes to see Joy beside him.

“You’ve got this.” Joy says softly, squeezing Niel’s shoulder. “I need to help Simon. Just keep going.” Joy slowly steps away from Niel, letting her stare linger on his for a moment, before she hustles over to Broome.

“I can try and reinforce his mind.” Joy says, stepping in and laying a hand on Broome’s shoulder, her eyes immediately clouding over with a milky-white blindness. The moment she links her consciousness with Broome’s, Joy tenses up and nearly breaks contact.

She's fighting me!” Joy says in sudden fright. “I can feel– I can feel her in my mind!” She snaps away, staggering back from Simon. “Arthur, it’s now or never, she’s tearing Simon’s mind apart from the inside!”

Above Mateo, Niel, and Lynette a darkness has begun to grow. Darker than the night sky, darker than the color black. A sphere, a deep and lightless sphere that flattens into a disc swirling with electricity around its edges.

“We're almost there! Just a little more!” Arthur yells over the wind and the roar of the open schism of space and time. Joy looks up from her trembling hand to the lightning-ringed portal overhead and feels a primal terror grow in her. A fear as deep as her own genes.

Mateo is crying, sobbing with his head down and face flushed with red. Karin gets as close as she dares, trying to draw his attention away from the screaming infant in front of him. “I know you're scared honey, but I need you to focus for me!”

Sparks of green light begin to rise off of baby Odessa, swirling between the trio of Niel, Lynette, and Mateo, before rising up into the vortex above. “We need El Umbral.

At Karin’s urging, Mateo breaks down sobbing again and the vortex spreads wide. Air is sucked upward toward the growing rift. Adam Monroe stares up at the familiar tear in the sky, shaking his head slowly. He says something, words lost under the wind, but they are a personal revelation. One not of victory or loss, but of hopelessness.

“Now, Charles!” Kaito bellows from the edge of the roof where he holds Ishi close.

With a scream, Charles Deveaux unleashes the full power of his telepathy against Simon Broome. The shockwave of telepathic force shatters Simon’s hold on the consciousness inside of him and for the barest of moments a being made of radiant gold light erupts from Simon’s body and rises up high into the air like a solar flare given life. But soon it feels something, a familiar inexorable pull. That feeling manifests as an expression of dread realization.

This was a trap.

In that moment Arthur looks upon the face of the Entity, the true face of the Entity, before the being of light is sucked up into the sky and vanishes into a singularity that collapses Mateo’s portal into a pinpoint of nothingness accompanied by an earth-shaking blast.

The resulting shockwave from the portal’s collapse shatters the emerald barrier. The world beyond the barrier becomes clearer, lights come on in the city as if from a blackout. The storm outside has ended, clouds have peeled back, and a massive spiral-shaped aurora burns over Manhattan.

Mateo and Lynette collapse back into Karin’s arms while Niel falls backwards, blood covering his mouth and chin. Charles is quick to move to Niel’s side with Nia, and Joy stares up at the aurora with a tremble in her jaw.

Joy peels her eyes away from the light, looking down to Adam. She shares his silence. Then, when no one is looking, she is simply gone.

Karin takes a knee, picking up the infant Odessa from where she had been laid. Her eyes are focused down on the child for a moment, then up to Arthur in uncertainty. No one says a word, and one-by-one their eyes upturn to the aurora overhead.

Present Day

When the vision begins to recede, Aman and Odessa find themselves presented with a horrible sight. Though Cassandra is blindfolded, there is a radiant gold light bleeding through the fabric. Inside Cassandra’s mind, she feels as though struck by a hammer of revelation and understanding. Her consciousness, if even for a moment, expanded beyond the past and she saw…


But in that same moment of revelation came staggering blindness. As her gold eyes fade, Cassandra feels smaller than she ever has in her life, less than herself, and empty in ways she did not believe possible. As if everyone she ever loved, ever cared for, or ever knew was dead and gone. And it was all her fault.

And yet, she feels none of that.

Aman's hand holds just as fast to Odessa's the more the scene escalates, and tightest yet at its end when the effects so visibly, viscerally carry into the present day. He's haunted immediately by what he's seen, what he's heard— how the voice that plagued Adam's mind tinges familiar in a way that's horrifying to him. It sounds like the thing that overlaid itself once throughout Odessa's voice in his presence.

He knows close to jack shit about the Entity and what it can do beyond what he's witnessed here, but he's seen enough here to come to a burning truth:

Golden eyes aren't something you fuck around with.

His hand slips from Odessa's, feet carrying him fast to where Cassandra sits. The penny is grabbed by its chain, pulled out of her grasp without a word. Aman takes a step both between and back from them both, wrapping the chain around his fingers to make sure he doesn't lose grip on it. Well-meaning frustration is beaten down until it exits him in the form of a wellness check rather than a less-useful exasperated shout at both of them. "What the fuck happened just now? Is she all right? Is she going to be all right?"

When their hands fall loose from one another, Odessa has a similar idea. Or… so she thinks.

Suddenly, maybe all of that guilt Adam felt when he looked at her made sense. But it hadn’t really been him that wanted her dead, had it? Amanvir breaks right and Odessa breaks left. Inanna. Eve had mentioned that name before, hadn’t she?

As Aman is snatching up the penny, Odessa is pulling a knife free from the block a few feet away on the kitchen counter. She turns back toward the living space and freezes in place, stunned. Her gaze is fixed on the penny - that object she cannot lose. It’s the only thing that could tear her away from watching Cassandra for any signs of those golden eyes returning.

No,” Odessa whispers, fear in her eyes when she looks up at Aman. “I— I don’t know.” The second is a response to the wellbeing of their seer. There’s an argument on the tip of her tongue she’d been about to mount. I’m all right, aren’t I? isn’t something she can say with any measure of good conscience or faith. It’s been well fucking documented that Odessa Price is anything but all right.

Her hand is trembling. The knife isn’t pointed at anyone, but just having it out, ready, gives her some sense of safety. “That has to be the worst of it,” the empath posits. This she knows is a lie, but Aman doesn’t have access to her ability anymore. He can’t feel the guilt that churns her guts for it.

Whatever happens from here, they’ve both already been exposed.

The knife is lowered a fraction, its tip pointed toward the floor. Her other hand raises in its place, palm out. “Give me that penny.” Odessa’s voice is tense, like the atmosphere in the rest of the room. “Please.

Coming to herself takes a lot longer than before. After all, infinity receding into itself and getting a glimpse of all that lies beyond through glowing, golden eyes, and the emotions contained within, were wrenching at the very least. The penny is taken without issue from between her limp fingers, Cassandra’s head back at an angle, gazing into the upper right quadrant of the darkness surrounding them all.

She sits immobile, chest rising and falling like a marathon runner.

“I saw…” she whispers. “I saw everything. I felt…everything.” A gasp and a shiver. “Gold eyes…before. When I travelled, they were waiting for me in the void…” Cassandra lapses into silence, unable, or unwilling, to speak any more, her lips moving soundlessly, over and over again, repeating the same few words.

“Just a little more. Just a little more. Just a little more.”

So Odessa's got a knife, and Cassandra also wants the penny back. Amanvir's jaw settles, his head giving an involuntary shake before he even begins to compose an answer. Hadn't enough lives been ruined already?

"Look what it did to her!" he shouts, unyielding in his ground.

“That’s nothing compared to what’s going to happen to the entire universe if you don’t let me find out what else is on that penny!” Odessa shouts back. “Just a little more…” Now her voice is quiet again, a breath of disbelieving laughter expelled from her lungs. “Of course. They were trying to make it to our world. Each time through got them closer…”

The next small bubble of laughter carries a note of fear with it, her nerves are frying. “Until Mateo opened the portal and I reached through time to try and bring them all here.” If Cassandra had any lingering doubts about who Ourania really is, those cards are all on the table now. “Let me in, that voice said to me. And I did it. I played right into it.”

Both arms fall to her sides as Odessa starts to cry again. The hopelessness, the failure, the guilt, both hers and the shades not her own mingle together to dig a pit around her where she could easily succumb to her despair and wallow in it. “I have to fix this. I can’t ask Adam what it is I need to do.” Her lips press together in a thin line. The next breath she draws in is a wet one. “He’s not himself anymore and I have to stop what’s coming. You don’t have to help me do that. You’ve— You’ve done more than I have ever deserved.”

Blue eyes close heavily as Odessa sighs. It looks almost the same as when she disengages from her ability, but maybe Aman remembers the difference between that and plain exhaustion. “I just need the penny.”

Aman has to decide, then, how hard he wants to hold onto that penny. How much he really wants to be in the middle of all of this. What does he know, anyway? He only saw signs of an Entity the Company was so scared of they tried to lock away between time and space manifest in Cassandra's eyes so brightly it could be seen through her blindfold.

He looks away at nothing, then down at the thing he's stolen. This was a bad idea. Resoundingly. The whole thing. The whole fucking

Unwinding the chain from his fingers, he lobs the penny back to Cassandra, then runs his hands both through his hair, hooking them behind his neck when done. He begins to pace the room, looking to neither of them. "Fine. Fine. I'm fucking staying in case she needs someone called after this. But—"

Beyond that, he can't say.

A simple numbing sensation starts to sink into Cassandra’s body. Fingers and toes tingling, slowly migrating into her forearms and calves. And no, she really doesn’t want the penny back, but at the toss, she doesn’t even move, the penny smacking her right in the middle of her chest, dangling for a second, then falling to her lap where, unerringly, she takes it up again with a trembling right hand. She wipes her mouth again with her left sleeve, a red streak of blood staining the cotton of her blouse. It’s coming from her nose from the strain and it’s something she doesn’t notice. There’s so much going on that there’s no wonder she missed it. With everything that’s been burning through her, the fact that she’s sitting upright is a success.

“I can’t…go much more.” she gasps, swallowing heavily. “Just…just one more. Make sure I get home once this is over.”

But it’s never really ever over.

Another Time

A scalding sun burns in a cloudless blue sky, paired side by side with a full moon.

Thousands of screaming, crying masses stand at the foot of an enormous stone platform overlooking a vast city of whitewashed stone buildings decorated with trimming in turquoise and carnelian.

There is a broad-shouldered and barrel-chested man with bronzed skin dressed in loose white robes, scale armor of layered leather, and a conical headdress topped with an orb of engraved gold. Silken fabric trails down the back of his neck, precious metals cap the braids of his thick, black beard. There is fresh blood staining the stone he walks on. A headless body lays in front of the crowd.

He says something, loud and commanding, in a language no one in the room speaks. His voice is clarion, tone like a sermon. In his right hand, the bearded man holds aloft a sword of curved bronze with a backwards jag in the blade.

Nearby, a screaming woman of roughly thirty years old is bound with her hands behind her back and ankles tied together. A soldier in armor of woven and layered reeds and wood adorned with bronze fittings stands behind her, pressing his foot to her back to lay her head down on a blood-soaked stone slab. Tears are welled up in her eyes. She is begging for her life.


In the distance, a step pyramid looms on the horizon, directly in line with the sun and moon as they are coming together. The sky begins to darken. “Dinum!” The bearded man calls out, before lopping her head off in a single stroke with the sword. “Lul-diñir! He cries, brandishing the blood-soaked blade. He kicks the head into the crowd, people continue to scream.

The soldier picks up the freshly-beheaded body by its arms and drags it down the stone steps. While the bearded man continues to shout at the crowd, he fails to notice a faint discharge of light between his hand and where he holds the corpse, a colorless light that slides under his skin and illuminates his veins before fading. The soldier staggers, for a moment, pauses, and then continues walking none the wiser.

Cassandra views this from the crowd. She feels the warm tears on her cheeks, the fear in her heart. The sun and moon overlap, and she is terrified, filled with rage, and most horrifyingly…


Present Day

Cassandra’s eyes are once more burning gold behind her blindfold. This time, however, there is no reaction when the vision fades. Instead, Odessa feels those eyes turn toward her. Seeing her through the blindfold, twin rings of burning gold not contained by mere cloth.

“I see you.” Cassandra says to Odessa. But it is not Cassandra.


Odessa feels something, moving behind her eyes, crawling up the back of her neck. Insinuating itself under her skin. Fingers, hands, thousands of them, pawing and grasping and clawing at her from the inside, from the moment she was born and on the day she dies.

Let me in. Odessa hears the thousand-voiced choir of the Entity clearer than ever in her mind. No longer a whisper, no longer a hushed noise. It is easy to understand, the connection so clear.

Because she is linked to Cassandra, sensing her emotions, creating a bridge. Holding the door open again.

“Why this ability?” Odessa had once wondered. Because in this moment, here, now, Odessa had this ability, and it was allowing the Entity in. Because for a being that experiences time without linearity what is present, is prologue.

“No,” Odessa whispers when the next memory is too far past. “Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no.” She doesn’t know the story, the lore of what’s unfolding before their eyes, but she’s learning very quickly. She knows what this is. “Cass! Cass, you have to stop it!”

Even Odessa can’t watch what happens to the girl. She gasps shrilly, squinching her eyes shut and turning her face away. “Oh, god. No.” When she knows it’s been done, she forces herself to open her eyes again. To look, to watch, to learn.

“Oh, god. I feel her pain.” She gasps again, this one ragged and wet as she begins to cry anew. “I can’t stop— I can’t stop it.” Never has Odessa been more grateful to have severed her link with Amanvir. What would this do to him if they were still connected? If he could feel the way her heart is breaking, crumbling in her chest.

It’s with that fear and that anger, that emptiness that comes from an inability to affect change that she looks to the eclipse.

And then it’s gone.

The vision is gone, but the one whose vision it was is not.

I see you.

No.” Odessa’s eyes grow wide with horror, the color drains from her face. She adjusts her grip on the knife, as though it could save her from this. “No. No!” The feeling is familiar — achingly so. She’d surrendered to it not just once before, but twice. “No!” Hands grasp and pull at her, dragging her in all directions, trying to become part of her and tear her apart all at once.

In her terror, she screams.

Falling to her knees, Odessa lifts her head and turns her panicked gaze to Aman. “I mirror emotions.” There’s a sudden and dreadful clarity to her now. She understands why this curse was given to her. It was never the gift she hoped to make it out to be. “Find Richard,” she begs of him.

“Tell him I’m a looking glass.

The moment they're thrown back in time, the moment Adam isn't there served as good an indication as any that something horribly fucked is happening or about to happen. Being on the other end of the room how he is would make it easier for Aman to pick up something to help— let's call it defuse— defuse the situation, but…

Odessa never kept a setup here where there's just extraneous chairs for him to even pick up.

But you know what makes a nice bludgeoning object? That knife block. He can orient himself by where Odessa is standing its general location in reality, and while the sky is still burning overhead, he makes his way back to her. Whatever is happening is clawing its way back into her, too, and he can't even reach out in a way that matters to help her from her terror. He wavers by her side, torn between actions now.

The vision ends, its emotional impact lost on him, and he looks back to Cassandra in time to see what they've wrought this time is worse even than the first. Odessa sinks to her knees, overwhelmed but not enough to not warn him. Aman looks down at her like she's crazy if she thinks he's going anywhere, and he lays a hand on her shoulder.

He visualizes the steps he needs to take. Palm the key, lock the door.

The weight of others' emotions falls off of Odessa's shoulders with the fall of his hand onto it. Her mirror, maybe, loses its vibrant shine it has in this moment, and everything she experiences hits him like a train instead. Aman clings to the thread of the visualization. Turn it off. Turn the key. Shut down.

He lets go of Odessa's shoulder like he's been burned, tears streaming down his face, and sinks into apathy with a shuddering cave of his posture.

The cause and effect is immediate. When the connection between Odessa and Cassandra is severed by Aman’s transaction there is a crackling snap inside both of their minds, like a high tension cable being cut and Cassandra the bridge. The postcognitive wavers, eyes rolling back in her head, and she collapses under the mental weight of that connection being severed. When she hits the floor, the gold of her eyes flickers like a dying light-bulb and returns to its normal brown. The noise that escapes her almost immediately—a back-of-the-throat whine—indicates she is both alive and, remarkably, conscious.

Aman is too overwhelmed by an emotional surge not his own. He feels this sense of familial loss, betrayal, sadness, anger, and frustration. It is strange to him, but also relatable. It feels like forgetting something important, it feels like being unable to articulate something that is dreadfully needed that lives hang in the balance, it feels like frustration in himself at his inability to put one thought in front of the other in any meaningful measure. It feels like lashing out in that rage.

Aman doesn’t realize he’s on the floor for a couple of moments, around the same time he realizes he’s crying. But the emotional duress is fading almost as fast as it came. That last taste came and went in just enough time to scramble him emotionally.

On the floor, Cassandra feels like she missed something. One moment ago she was halfway through a confusingly sword-and-sandal vision from the penny, the next moment she’s on the floor with something missing in between. Missing time. Her head throbs, a dull ache pounds behind her eyes.

It’s surprisingly comfortable, the floor where she lies. Unfortunately, Cassandra’s blindfold dislodged when she slipped backwards and off the chair, leaving a smear of blood and those black tears on the plush carpet. She supposes she should be thankful that whoever designed this place spent the extra cash on good carpet, since the impact could have easily left her with a concussion, missing teeth, or a long bout of unconscious time spent in some out-of-the-way medical ward. She tries to push herself up, getting one arm beneath her upper body to lever herself skyward, despite the weight of the world resting on her shoulders.

The confusing feeling…she’s felt things like that before. Rarely, when she chooses to forget what she saw and stores those memories in her Pandora’s Box, she feels like this. A little confused, sometimes headachy, but every time with a note and an object wrapped up to be put away, like a sample of blood in a refrigerator to be checked again and again for the presence of something awful which, it seems, this gold-eyed trespasser truly is. How could something like that have been experienced and placed on the penny, though? The memories that Caspar stole were memories experienced, and even Adam didn’t live that long or make it to that part of the world…

Did he?

“What…what was that?” She turns to look at Odessa and then to Aman, her face a mask of black tears and red blood against white skin. “Is…was that…” She has no words. She can’t put together a coherent sentence to save her life until she has a chance to process all of this. She rolls on her back, eyes wide, gazing at the ceiling, immobile, arms outstretched like she’s been crucified, because really? She has been with this experience.

By the time Odessa realized what Aman meant to do, it was too late to stop him. There was only a cry of despair and desperation to try and keep him at bay. It didn’t, and the seconds that follow are agonizing. What’s hers has been torn away from her and the grip of the Entity’s power felt like it would rend her in two. And then…


Hell does not break loose. Unholy fury doesn’t engulf the room in flame or… Well, nothing dramatic happens.

Odessa takes a moment to catch her breath, then sets her weapon aside so she can reach for the man collapsed near her. “Amanvir, you beautiful idiot.” She wipes the tears from his face with the pads of her thumbs, overwrought with her own ebbing yet lingering fear for him. “W̷̱͋ḩ̴̹̰͙͔́̔͝͠ȧ̴̧̝͕̦͒̋̓̎t̷̨͔͍̎ ̶͍̣̝̘̯̊͊̉́̒́ẉ̷̡̨͙̪̄̈́̆͘ë̸̺̗́͝ͅr̶͙͝e̵̢̫̟̲̭̿̅̃ ̸̛̳̼͆ỹ̵̚͘ͅo̵̢̦̰̟͇͇͛͋͑͝u̷̯͈͒̈̆ ̴̩̪̀t̷̡͉͚͕͊h̷̟̰̳̰̜̏̾̊ͅį̸̛̞̫̣̋͛́̏͝n̷̡̢̢̼̅͊̽̓̉͝k̴͙̋͘i̷̞̘̦̿͋n̷͈̓́͠ĝ̷͈̜͑?̴̧̠͇̱̝̒ͅ

The gasp comes sharp and immediate, eyes wide. Cassandra hears nothing amiss, and with her ability shut off by Aman, he’d be none the wiser of not for the look on her face. That voice is still a part of her.

Aman's chest heaves as the last powerful echoes of emotion ping-pong inside him. He crushes a hand to his heart, shirt bunching under his palm as he fights to smother out the foreign emotion despite the sympathetic understanding of it. It's not his, though, and he has experience sorting out what belongs to who thanks to having shared a link with Odessa for as long as he did.

Her hand on his cheek jolts him back into the presence, eyes darting to her. It's cautiously, on seeing both she— and apparently Cassandra, too, are more themselves again that he very cautiously fumbles to engage his stolen senses again. To live in the full movement of the moment, rather than the last hollow echo of something that was none of them.

His eyes soften, relaxing in the second he can feel her presence before having to struggle against the weight of everything else that comes with it. Cassandra's daze provides an excellent counterpoint to his own emotions and the sudden loudness of Odessa's, at least. His eyes narrow. His brow furrows.

The memory of helplessness and lashing out is still there, and it bubbles over. "I don't know!" Aman nearly shouts, too many things at once, and Odessa's fear is so near. He lifts a hand to smear away the tears on his other cheek. "I don't know."

His expression falls when it hits him belatedly Odessa heard something. But he took her ability. He had it, he was feeling it. His expression shifts, heading for a mirror of Cassandra's confusion.

Cassandra. Focus, Aman.

"We need to get the fucking penny away. And call for help. Call— call Kaylee, or…" He fumbles, wanting to suggest they call an ambulance, but knowing the suggestion most likely will not be well-received.

Somehow he expected neither of the women present would like there to be a lot of questions asked about what the fuck lead to the seer looking the way she did.

Alive is a relatively tenuous circumstance at this point in time. Laying on the floor, gazing up at the ceiling, Cassandra reaches up and carefully dislodges her blindfold with one hand, her arm falling to the carpeted floor with a thud, the blindfold bouncing off to lay there like an abandoned pair of sunglasses at the beach. The penny rests where it fell to the ground near the knocked-over chair she had previously resided in, looking innocent in its tiny necklace setting, but containing so much.

“I don’t know either.” Cassandra finally says. “I probably never will. And I hope you saw what you needed to see. I don’t think going back in there would be wise for anyone’s sanity. Or healthy, for that matter, but that’s just me being a little selfish.” She’s trying to crack jokes, to be humorous, to lighten the darkness of this place just a little bit because she feels crushed beneath it.

“You need to tell someone this. Someone that’s dealt with that…golden…thing. Whatever it is. I know you needed this kept quiet, but I…I mean, It’s too big to keep to yourself.”

The thing was in her….somehow Cassandra knows this, even though she can’t remember. Was she infected, somehow? Tainted? Could it come back and take over her body now that it has had a taste of the connection she could provide? Are they really seeing what they’re seeing now? Those are questions that may never be answered.

The knot in Cassandra’s stomach twists uncomfortably.

Is the dream over? Or has it just begun?

When Aman suggests getting the penny away, Odessa scrambles first for the knife, then simply to move. She doesn’t make it to her feet — doesn’t even try — but kicks off the support of the kitchen island to get her dragging herself swiftly across the open space to the living room and that precious penny of hers. She snatches it up in her free hand and keeps advancing until she feels she’s given enough distance between herself and Aman.

They can’t have it.

Gathering the whole thing in her fist — pendant, chain, and all — she stuffs the small tangle of metal under her shirt, letting it get trapped against her skin by a cage of underwire. She’s backed herself nearly into a literal corner, but Odessa trusts herself to fight like a wild animal if push comes to shove.

Unfortunately, she knows Aman is capable of shoving her.

The knife is held out in front of her in hope of warding off anyone who might think to try and fight through the haze of what’s just happened to the three of them, but she’s a trembling thing. Scared. Angry. Betrayed. Consumed with a desire to know more. To understand how this happened when it should only have been Adam Monroe’s memories locked away on the tiny disc of copper.

Was it a trap he set for her in the first place? Or did he unwittingly spring it on her, having no idea of what she was capable?

But they need help. Guilt twists inside of her when she looks past the overturned chair and Cassandra’s prone form. “My phone’s on the island,” she tells Aman warily, looking back in his direction and silently willing him to be okay. To forgive her for all of this. Entangling himself.

But if he hadn’t been here…

“Slide it across the floor. I’ll call for dispatch. Won’t have to call anyone after that. They’ll find us.” Richard’s always had a big red flag in the system for any calls Odessa especially has had to make. She used to think that was about him being overprotective and trying to shield her. Now, she wonders if it wasn’t just as much to protect everyone else from her.

Odessa pulls her knees up to her chest as she starts to cry. Maybe the Company had been right to lock her up all those years ago. Maybe this very scenario is exactly what they saw. Is it her destiny to succumb finally to that awful power? “Why didn’t they just kill me?” she asks herself in a strained whisper, without realizing she’s posed that question aloud.

Cassandra's bout of sanity regarding not touching the penny again is somewhat of a relief to Aman, tempered and broken by Odessa's frantic reclaiming of it, complete with knife-brandishing.

He tries to reach out to her through a link that's not there to be pulled on, a disorienting thing made more disorienting by juggling an entire other person's emotions too. It takes her speaking again for him to snap out of sorting through them, and his head swivels to Cassandra on a delay after she says they need to tell someone.

In silence, he agrees, even if he has no idea who— apart from the Rays already named in earlier conversation. Aman lifts a hand to his face, fingers pressing against his eyes as Odessa's panic fades to despair and it presses against him. Reminders it's not his emotions only go so far after being overwhelmed by the last of them from the Entity, so it's more hastily than he'd like that he scoops the phone off the counter and tosses it underhand to Odessa. Maybe the purpose will distract her temporarily from her tears— or so he hopes.

"Cassandra, how you doing over there," he asks to distract himself. "On a scale of one to ten, how are you feeling?"

He's relieved she's conscious and coherent at all, after what's happened.

She hears movement, sees it out of the corner of her eye, turning her head to watch Odessa, her knife, and her phone. Still, Cassandra was asked something directly, and this takes a second to process. Finally, she speaks. “A solid three. Maybe a four. I feel wrung out. Drained. Like I’ve been playing nose tackle for a shitty team. All of those and a few more I don’t want to say in polite company.”

Cassandra makes like she wants to sit up and at the strain, winces. A little more positioning and then, finally, gritting her teeth, she struggles upright to lean against the fallen chair, using one hand to support herself, the other to cling to the very real thing in her hands. It’s almost like one of the deckchairs on a sinking ship, a drowning woman holding tightly to a life preserver made of leather, wood, and various other products that was definitely not meant to be used for such purposes.

She manages to stay in that position after all of that, turning to look over at Odessa and her knife, all the while trying to use those breathing exercises she was taught to calm herself. “It’s just a memory, Aman. Without me…” she says. “It used me like a bridge. Wherever this was…could it have sensed this? Sensed us looking into the past?” Cassandra slumps back.

“What in the hell was that thing?”

"It's what they were afraid of," Aman interjects quietly but with absolute certainty. "And somehow, it made a connection. Used you to— bridge," because that's a good word for it, isn't it? "after you were in Adam's memory when he was … being controlled by it."

But beyond that, he's not sure.

On seeing Cassandra push herself up, he nods to himself and heads for the kitchen again to nab a towel for her face.

Odessa’s eyes shift back and forth between Aman and Cassandra. The latter’s in no shape to try and take her on, but the former is still watched warily. Slowly, she sets the knife aside leaning forward to pick up the phone where it landed on the carpet just beyond her reach.

Wariness gives over to regret. Remorse. She brought them both into this. “I’m sorry,” she says quietly while she scrolls through her speed dial contacts. “I never— I never thought anything like this could be possible. I can’t imagine Adam did either.” Her tongue strikes the back of her teeth like a match. Tch! “Although maybe that could explain all the guilt…” Her eyes flash to Aman again, bringing with it a momentary flutter of annoyance and… envy? She wants back what’s hers.

But that’s a fight for later. For now, she taps the screen, the starred entry for Security, and brings the phone up to her ear. The call connects after only one ring. “Shit,” she breathes out unintentionally, a hell of a greeting. “Lou? This is Ourania Pride.” That worried gaze shifts now to Cassandra and lingers.

“I need medical.”

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