A Little Moral Flexibility For The Sake Of The World


kaylee3_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title A Little Moral Flexibility For The Sake Of The World
Synopsis Richard check on his little sister and has an important request.
Date December 5, 2019

Kaylee's Apartment - Raytech Housing

Knock knock.

“Hey sis,” Richard calls through the door from where he’s standing out in the hall, “You home?”

Of course he knows she’s home, or he wouldn’t be at her door, but it’s more polite that just overriding the lock or shadowing into her apartment. She might be feeling particularly anti-social for a change and pretend she’s not home, after all!

He’s carrying a bottle with him, a long red wine-bottle with a label that’s gilded. So either he’s got something bad to tell her, or this is a bribe.

Whatever music is playing in the apartment cuts out after the knock. It was his sister's way of drowning out all the voices that hum around her in the complex. Which is also why she looks surprised when she opens the door. “Richard.” Her attention falls to the bottle for the briefest moment and that surprise turns to suspicion, possibly a mild touch of disappointment. “Come in,“ she says, curiously, opening the door further for him.

Of course, as she steps out of the way, he gets a view of her apartment. Especially that wall of photos. Pictures of the Yamagato Kensei display and a few others connected with string. More importantly, there is Willy loafing on the back of the couch, looking at him through squinting eyes. Those ears flicking back in mild annoyance at being disturbed.

“Can I get you anything?” Kaylee offers like a good hostess.

“Good timing, by the way. You just missed Luther and Trenton is picking me up later.” Is pointed out in mild amusement, maybe to get that out on the table. Rumors are rumors and Raytech is lousy with them, especially with Lou around. Between her and Bob, there is no doubt he knows about her two main visitors. .

Her head tips to the bottle before heading into the kitchen, “I hope that isn’t to celebrate my divorce being final.” The look Kaylee angles back at him says she’s mostly teasing. “Or maybe it is, to put me out of my misery?” Her mouth tilted up a little at the corner. She can sip wine carefully, but much like poison… too much is a bad thing.

“I’ve always been good with timing,” Richard replies with a chuckle as he steps inside, glancing over to the wall— oh, look, it runs in the family. Not like he’s got any stones to throw there. “Trying to figure something out?”

The bottle’s waggled briefly before he sets it down on the counter, “Nah, just got in a shipment from overseas and wanted to give you a present. We haven’t seen each other a lot recently, so… how’ve you been?”

He leans a hip against the counter, eyebrows going up, “I mean, especially with the divorce being final.”

Following the look towards the wall, Kaylee nods a little with a look of uncertainty. “Yeah, trying to understand that thing we let loose and how it relates to Adam and dad. I know they don’t want people to remember, but… how do we prevent making the same mistakes if we forget what we already did?” It was a sticking point with the telepath and it clearly bothered her. “Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to do more with work and all; but I managed to track down the name of a post-cog that did readings on it all.” There is a slow shrug and a sheepish smirk. She’s trying at least.

“I thought putting it all up where I could stare at it would help, a bit of a distraction from… everything.” Picking the bottle up from where he’s set it, scrutinizing the label, Kaylee offers, “I have another set of photos if you want them for your collection.”

Setting the bottle down again, Kaylee’s smile falls away, “Still not sure I did the right thing, but….” She still doesn’t look at him, just that bottle, “It’s done. So no more Sumter.” There is a downward twitch of her brow. The name change had been a condition of the divorce.

Clearing her throat, Kaylee looks up and forces that smile back into place, “What really brings you here, Richard?” Clearly trying to steer the conversation away from her own personal pain.

“Oh, no,” Richard holds up a finger, “There is absolutely no business until we’re finished with personal. Last week I just watched Robyn Quinn hold up a finger to her girlfriend and say ‘quiet’ in the middle of a conversation, and I both am unsure if she’s still alive and am unwilling to let my life turn into that.”

“Or I risk doing that to Liz and having my head liquified.”

He points a finger at her, “So. You. Kaylee Ray. My younger, disturbingly moral sister, whose insistence on ethical telepathy makes me doubt our actual relationship.” He steps over, bringing a hand up to tap a finger to her nose, though his gaze is serious, “How are you actually doing?”

Kaylee looks like she’s going to be defiant and fight the inquiry, but then a sigh slips past her lips and she leans against the counter. “Do… do you realize how lonely I was when I didn’t hold onto my morals?” the telepath says after a moment of thought. “Even now, people run away when they find out what I am or won’t talk to me. I need people to trust me, but they won’t if I go listening in on everything and poking into every mind. You don’t make friends by being intrusive.”

Motioning to the door, Kaylee adds with exasperation, “Hell, I haven’t even told Trenton. God knows what he’d think if he found out. The guy before him practically bolted out of the restaurant.” Fingers press against her eyes briefly, rubbing them.

“So to answer your question.” Her voice sounds thick, “I’m a fucking lonely mess and I desperately miss my son everyday I don’t get to see him,” which she rarely does anymore, “I miss all my kids really.” she admits, finally looking her brother in the eyes. There is pain there that she’s managed to hide from everyone else.

“And it’s Thatcher, not Ray.” A hand is held up to stall any comments, so that she can clarify. “I’m not renouncing the Ray half of me. It was my maiden name and the one I am known for.” As a former Ferryman.

“Thatcher, then.” Richard meets her gaze, his own oddly dark eyes sympathetic as he steps in — reaching out a hand to slide over her shoulder, a sigh whispering past his lips, “I’m sorry. I— fuck, I can’t imagine how hard it is, sis.”

He gives his head a tight shake, “I know what you mean by— people running away though, Christ, I can’t turn around without finding that he has already been there, burning any tool I reach for and making everyone look at me like I’m the monster that built the ark.”

“It’s…” he draws in a slow breath, “It’s why we built all this. Remember? Because we at least have each other. We always do. You always do. You have me, and Liz, and Valerie, and the kids, and— hell, even Warren and Elle. We’re always here for you.”

“You don’t gotta pretend everything’s fine with us, because we’re all fucking messes, Kaylee. And maybe we— need to stop pretending with each other.”

There is a twitch of her smile, a sign of appreciation for the words. Maybe even some amusement. “Two peas in a pod, as my Granny would say,” Kaylee says.

The smile fades away and Kaylee’s gaze falls away, “I know everyone is here for me and I’m here for you, always… I just. It’s easier said than done.” At least Kaylee is being honest. “My problems are minor compared to what y’all are dealing with and I don’t want to add to that. I’m.. I’m sorry.”

Turning slightly, the telepath’s focus turns towards the wall, “Last year, fucked me up and I’ve been spending everyday since struggling to understand it all. Like learning that our father had possibly been given his ability by that thing, not understanding why I had a part of it lodged in my mind.” Kaylee sighs, shoulders slumping, “The auroras on top of that.” Eyes close against the sharp twist of pain from remembering.

“I really fucked up my life and I feel like I can’t get my feet back under me,” Kaylee finally admits. “And everyday, I get up, act like everything is fine, and try not to ruin what little isn’t a freaking dumpster fire.”

“Your problems are my problems,” says Richard firmly, brows raising a little, “And whether or not they’re minor is up to opinion— obviously they aren’t minor for you.”

A sigh, shaking his head, “Last year was… a mess, and this year doesn’t look like it’s gonna be much better. Look, if you need to get your feet under you, that’s one step at a time. You gotta figure out what you want before you can walk towards it, though.”

A tilt of his head, “So. What do you want? Honestly, and realistically.”

“That right there is the problem, big brother,” Kaylee says with a little shake of her head, “I don’t really know what I want. Or…” she sighs, “mostly.”

There was one thing that hasn’t changed.

“I still want a safe world for the kids where they can be kids. Which, honestly, kinda feels like we’ve screwed up on and I’m sure Edward would flip in his grave if he knew.” Her smile is a bit rueful and mildly amused. If he had known, they wouldn’t be there now.

“But I also didn’t feel like I was doing my part to give them that freedom being stuck behind a desk,” Kaylee adds with an apologetic smile. “I love this company we built and I still love being a part of it, but I’m not like you when it comes to sitting behind a desk.

The shoulder lifts with Kaylee’s uncertainty, “I guess taking Donovan’s offer is me trying to figure out what I want.”

“It’s a better world than the others we averted,” Richard says with a little shake of his head, “Admittedly, Liz and the others did some repairs on their way through, but… given what we had to work with in this timeline, I don’t think we’ve done too bad.”

He chuckles, then, “Shit, I’m not great behind a desk either. I didn’t blame you then, don’t now, although I could use more trustworthy desk-sitters.”

A brow lifts, “Alright. But the second you figure that out, and if there’s anything I can do to help you get it, you let me know, alright? Don’t keep it to yourself because it’s too minor. It’s not to you, and you matter to me. I love you, little sister, and I want you to be happy too.”

“I love you, too. And you’re right we’ve done good for a really long time,” Kaylee concedes a little. Only a little. “But, it feels like the tide is getting too high.. I’m nervous about their future.” The kids, that is. Leaning forward, Kaylee leans her head against her brother’s shoulder, face hidden behind a curtain of curls, “I’m starting to understand the other you and Edward, even if they went about it wrong.”

Kaylee leans back again, looking up at Richard thoughtfully, “After that ship exploded… after everything, I’m starting to think we need to look at how we’re going to protect our family. That little bunker won’t cut it when the shit hits the fan.”

“Yeah.” Richard breathes out a sigh, wrapping his arms around her briefly in an embrace, “I understand them better than I like myself.” He tilts his head down, brow resting against her head for a moment.

Straightening up, he offers her a faint smile, “I mean, the ship was doomed anyway, but you’re right— what do you have in mind?” A twitch of brows up, a glint of curiosity stirred.

“Something like the ark on a smaller, less creepy scale, and within a smaller budget to keep it under the radar.”

There is no hesitation in those words. Clearly, Kaylee’s been thinking about this for awhile. Lips press into a fine line, waiting for his reaction, but she can’t help it… she defends her suggestion.

“Like I said the bunker won’t cut it if things spiral again, but we can work with what’s there and make it better. Small expansions and make it wholly sustainable.” They would be treading a fine line.

“Secret family base of operations.” A small smile tugs at the corner of her mouth, Kaylee hates that she even has to suggest it, but the emergence of Pure Earth has gotten her thinking. “If the world never goes to hell, well… We’ll simply repurpose it they we normally do.”

“Heh.” Richard’s brows raise a little, and he notes, “It’s taking a bit from Zeke’s playbook, but… what the hell.” He shrugs one shoulder, “If you can find us a terrakinetic we could manage it— we’d need someone able to move large amounts of earth and stone without us needing to move in heavy industry. That sort of building is beyond our budget at the moment, but with the right Evolved assisting…?”

A bark of laughter, “I wonder if we could bribe Huruma’s son enough to take a brief vacation to help.”

His sister relaxes when his reaction turns out to be a positive one. “Has Madagascar shown any interest in anything we have?” Not much of a suggestion, but it is something. “You might be able to negotiate a little back scratching?”

This is followed by a soft chuckle and a searching look. “Truth be told, you’ve got better resources for this kind of thing and people listen when you speak.” There is pride in those words, even if a touch of jealousy colors them ever so slightly.

“Haven’t quite learned that knack, yet; and not sure if I want too,” Kaylee says with a good natured wink.

“It’s possible. I’ll see if I can get one of their reps over to talk,” Richard admits, “They may be interested in Lattice, actually, if we can get anything going. Hm.” A hand comes up, fingers rubbing at his chin, “And maybe so, but you run into a lot of people that I don’t, especially as a cop. So if you happen to arrest a terrakinetic or something.”

He winks, then leans a bit against the counter, smile fading a bit, “As for listening— maybe so, but half the time they think it’s coming from Ezekiel’s lips even though he’s dead.”

“And everytime you prove them wrong,” Kaylee counters, moving to snag a pair of glasses from the cabinet near his head. “What a pair we make.” Misunderstood at almost every turn. When the door shuts, Richard finds himself being studied with narrowed eyes.

“Sure we ain’t blood?” Kaylee asks, jokingly.

“Seriously, though… I’m starting to think you need to worry less about what they think,” Kaylee never thought she’d be saying it, but there she is. “You can’t spend your life like that. We was you and you are him. Means you are going to come up with the same ideas.” He is given a matter of fact look, punctuated by the soft thump of the glasses being set on the counter.

“Difference is he didn’t have his family.” Kaylee points out, referring to not just her, but their other siblings. Not to mention his mother. “He didn’t have people in his life who’d just… as your nephew would say, ‘give them a hug and tell them they don’t have to be bad, cause people think that’s what you are.’”

Kaylee gives him an affectionate smile, “He had some good ideas, so don’t be afraid to use them…Just be better with them, which I know is easier said than done, but nothing good in life is ever easy and this time you have us.”

“They don’t seem to notice,” Richard observes with a shrug of one shoulder, a shadow briefly passing over his mood; an issue that, it seems, he’s having trouble with right now.

A shake of his head, “And true. And exactly, so— “ He points a finger at her, eyebrows going up, “— you also have family. So remember that, since you said it this time, not me.” Ha! Gotcha.

He shrugs, then, “Easier said than done, honestly, most of the ideas we both had— he soaked in gasoline and burned on his way out. He had a house over in Europe, I should go loot it eventually and see if he left anything useful behind.”

Kaylee wrinkles her nose, being caught in that. “Okay fine, you got me.” But then she smiles a bit, “I’ll try to be better about it. Some things are harder to involve y’all in, like my personal life. Which is a huge fucking mess by my own hand.” There is a grimace and a shake of her head. No, she didn’t want to have others in the middle of all that.

“By the way,” Kaylee starts, retrieving a pitcher of tea from the fridge. No doubt sweetened as per traditional for her upbringing. “When were you going to tell me about Lisa?” Kaylee watches for his reaction, as she pours two glasses of it, a brow lifting. There is no accusation there, no anger. Just a question.

Richard’s eyebrows both shoot up at that. “Huh,” he says, “Did you meet her?” That’s not really an answer, Richard.

He rubs a hand over the nape of his neck, admitting, “I was actually about to bring her up today, ironically enough, one of the reasons I was here — I’ve been putting together some puzzle pieces and she’s a big part.”

“Your mom spilled the beans, felt I should know…” Kaylee explains, “And included that she’s just like Edward. And in her world, he is a normal human and as far as she knows I don’t exsister… Anyhow, if you remember, the snake told me that it gave ‘my father…’” Yes she uses air quotes, after setting down the pitcher..”his ability.” She says it all almost too casually. Had their lives really gotten to a point this was completely normal?

Yes. Yes it has.

“And no, “ One of the glasses is offered to her brother, “ I haven’t even thought of looking for her; because, despite my best attempts to find him, he avoided me until the day he died.” A shrug. “So, she’ll find me when her calculations let her.”

Attention dips to Kaylee’s own glass and brows furrow, “Weird question for you… Do you find it odd that here he had that ability, but there he didn’t have any ability and Lisa ended up with pretty much the same one. I mean, probably nothing, but… it just struck me as odd.”

“Funny,” Richard says a bit dryly, “She hasn’t spilled them to me yet. I should really talk to her about that, and find out why…” He reaches over for the glass, drawing in a breath, “So, yes, I do. She also put some things in motion.”

A sip of the tea, lips pursing, “So, she ran into Zachery Miller and sent him to get a job with us. Then she revealed herself to me and told me who she was and about her ability, so I’d know it was a Ray that did it.”

“I’ve since found out that Miller’s working for Monroe, on some sort of WMD I believe. Given his abilities, it’s probably a bioweapon of some sort — and this is probably the reason Lisa sent him to me.”

“Really?” Kaylee looks at him with interest. “Working for Adam?” She remembers the man and how he reacts around her. It was a touch startling to think her mysterious sister sent him to Raytech. Eyes drift to the wall and it’s timeline and it’s light web of strings.

“Keep your friends close, but your enemy’s closer,” Kaylee murmurs over the lip of her glass before sipping. “Too bad you can’t tag him,” she says thoughtfully, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “See where the cockroaches scurry too.”

Almost as soon as the words are spoken, Kaylee wrinkles her nose. “Sorry, that was a bad analogy. But, are we taking a huge risk keeping him close? If Adam is making a biological weapon and it comes out it was one of our scientists….” She knows she doesn’t have to finish that sentence.

“Right now, he’s our only lead,” Richard admits, “My source is within Praxis, so its trustworthiness is… dubious at best, to be honest, so we need to find out exactly what he’s doing for Adam.”

A single brow lifts a little, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips, “So. I know you really don’t like poking around inside peoples’ heads, little sister, I don’t don’t blame you, but I think in this case - we need to apply a little moral flexibility for the sake of the world. We don’t want another virus.”

“Ahhhh… Now we get to the point of the visit,” Kaylee teases, lightly thumping his arm with the back of an unoccupied hand.

At leas she isn’t turning him down right away, her expression distant as she considers what he’s asking of her. “I heard about his confrontation with Remi,” Kaylee finally focuses on her brother again, with a look of concern. Bob and Lou were good for campus gossip. “He sees me he’s going to rabbit, he almost did with Isis.” She worked hard to keep him from jumping out a window.

Taking a deep breath Kaylee lets it out slowly, “Okay, I’ll do it.” A finger comes up to tell him to give her a moment more, “but… we need to get him pliable and hope like hell his mental defenses aren’t that heavy.” Not everyone was an open book like Luther. “Thankfully, I don’t kool aid man my way into people’s brains.” His sister had more finaness then that.

“Touch is best, but I’m not sure we want him to know it was me,” Kaylee adds after a moment. “I can change details, but….” There is some uncertainty, but it’s not stopping her.

“He works for us. Sooner or later he’ll have to meet you,” says Richard with a shake of his head, “And yeah, Remi… if she’d kept what she heard quiet and just came to me, that’d be one thing, but she bungled that whole thing. We might’ve found out about this so much sooner otherwise.”

He takes a sip of the tea, “We’ll figure out a good time for you to… be in the same place. Shaking hands isn’t too unusual. Then we’ll just work with what we’ve found out— and preferably he’ll be none the wiser.”

“He knows who I am and what I am,” Kaylee offers up. “I have a feeling we met when I was working for Adam.” Who knows how many people she’s met over time. “So we’ll just have to move carefully.” Easier said than done with this family.

Moving to lean back against the counter next to Richard, Kaylee looks a little distracted by a random thought. After a moment, she leans over and rests the side of her head against the slope of his shoulder. “Thank you for trusting me with this.”

“Hey…” Richard wraps an arm around he shoulders, tilting his head down to rest against hers briefly, “You’re my sister. Blood or not. There’s nothing I wouldn’t trust you with.”

There’s a pause, and then he leans back a bit, “…aside from your own romantic life. Who is this Trenton guy and why don’t I have a background check from him on my desk? Where’s your phone, it probably has his number— “

He’s mostly kidding.

Shoulders slump and the woman sighs, “He’s just some guy that I’m… seeing … casually.” Dating seemed too formal of a word. “And you’re not getting the number and if Alia touches my phone in an attempt to get it,” Kaylee’s voice raises a bit as if the technopath is listening. “It won’t be pretty.”

In other words, don’t piss off the telepath. This might also explain the lack of a background check on his desk.

“Y’all okay with me skipping Christmas this year?” Kaylee suddenly asks. “I just… I’m not feeling too Christmas-y this year.” Surely he gets it, except of a tree, there isn’t much there in the apartment.

“Uh huh.”

Richard gives her a ‘really?’ sort of look at her threat, as if he did not really expect his sister to believe he couldn’t get the man’s contact information. And everything else about him.

“Mm,” he says then, looking around the apartment, “Okay. So you would rather… sit here and get drunk in your apartment… than join all of us and the kids and your family, after we just had a discussion about your family being here for you, and you agreeing with it?”

The look he gives her is even more pointed than the last one.

“Look,” Kaylee says straightening, “Go easy on him. Okay? He doesn’t know us.” There is a way that she says it. He doesn’t know the Ray family and what that name actually means to the world. “He doesn’t even know I’m a telepath, though he suspects something is different about me.” She should be pissed, but she isn’t. The crooked smile says she knows him well enough to know he’s going to dig.

“And I can’t get drunk, you know this.” Kaylee reminds him, with a judging shake of her head. “I wish I could, being a telepath can be a real party downer. I make a good designated driver though.” There is a wrinkle of her nose.

”I just…” Kaylee sighs, looking like the guilt trips are working. “A family function with all your kids, but without mine is going to be rough. This… this isn’t a good year, Richard. It’s my first year without them, especially Carl.”

“Has he never gone on the internet or picked up a newspaper?” Richard seems rather bemused at the whole concept that she’s just presented, “That just sounds even more suspicious.” Eyebrows raising a little… and then he frowns.

“Fair. Look— “ A motion of his hand, “How about after the kids go to bed you come by? Just us adults. You need family right now, especially because it’s your first year without them.”

“You know what I mean, Richard Ray.” He earns another swat on the arm for that. “There is a lot about us that the internet doesn’t know.” Kaylee chides her brother with a huffed chuckle. “He also spent the war hiding in Canada. And yeah, it’s kinda weird he hasn’t really looking into all of the hype surrounding the Ferry… He might once he learns I’m that Kaylee Thatcher,” she wrinkles her nose at the thought of that can of worms is open.

“But, yeah. I’ll come over later in the evening on Christmas Eve,” Kaylee smiles a bit, “After Warren’s gone, he’s a bit too… literal?… for me right now.” She didn’t want to spend the evening answering questions about her failed marriage or being compared to his.

“Warren doesn’t usually show up,” admits Richard, “He’ll probably either be over in Detroit with Elle or locked in his lab doing god-knows-whatever.”

“But, good— “ He points at her, “I’ll see you there. Or I’ll send someone to come pick you up and carry you to the apartment.”

“And before you threaten telepathy, I will have you know that I have Norton Trask’s phone number.”

“Yeah, well, I got Luther on speed dial… and he doesn’t need an ability to do damage,” Kaylee quips easily, brandishing Luther like a weapon, much like her brother is the negator. Though when she goes to take a sip of her tea a thought occurs to her, pausing before the rim of the glass touches her lips.

“Actually, he’d probably carry me there himself,” She grouses under her breath.

With a sigh, Kaylee concedes the point to her brother, “Fine. I’ll be there without protest.” A sip of tea before she amends, “With little protest.”

“Yes,” Richard smirks, “Yes, he would.”

His brows go up a little, “So. Want to watch a movie or something?”

“I put Die Hard on the building’s movie directory.”

Because of course he did.

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