All The Questions


richard3_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title All The Questions
Synopsis Squeaks has questions. So does Richard.
Date July 1, 2018

CEO's Office - Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

For some it might seem strange to see a kid walking through the halls and corridors. Especially when that kid isn’t being escorted or shadowing a grown-up. But it’s only been a couple of days since Squeaks started doing the odd jobs and small errands — courier stuff — for Raytech. Mostly it seems like it’s been okay. Even though she might still give the grown-ups side-eyes and she continues to tell people that everyone just calls her Squeaks. But she at least hasn’t been causing problems.

She just does her job.

Usually that doesn’t bring her to the bigger offices where the very important people work. It hasn’t brought her to them yet, anyway. Usually she’s running between desks, or taking a field trip to some site and back. But she knows where the big offices are — and how to get to a lot of places inside the building that may surprise some people — so Squeaks’ presence and
knock on the door to Richard Ray’s office is probably not related to official business.

Of course, the teenager isn’t actually on the books yet, and is more or less being paid under the table while they try and figure out the legality of things. That isn’t Richard Ray’s job, though, as personnel is for his sister’s work.

The knock on the door is answered before too long, swinging open to reveal the CEO there in a black suit, a red tie, one brow lifting as he looks down at the girl. “Squeaks,” he greets bemusedly, “What’s up?”


It’s her customary greeting, given as she looks up at Richard when the door opens. For a second, that’s all Squeaks gives him, with eyes darting past to peek into the office, then skipping up to the CEO once again. Nothing else, though by the look on her face she probably had a reason to knock. But just then, it’s like she lost her nerve and rethinking this whole thing. He’s pretty important, after all, and she’s really just a kid…

But then she squares her shoulders and stands up as tall as she can so she looks important too. “You asked about video tapes and golden-eyed demons,” Squeaks points out, just so blunt and direct that maybe she could be in charge of something, too. “When I was at the receptionist desk, you said you’d need a drink first if I brought that stuff.”


Richard regards the teenager for a long moment, his expression one of conflicted contemplation for a few moments before he tilts his head back over his shoulder and moves to one side. “Come on in, kid,” he offers, “If you really want to talk about all that.”

The kid’s arms start to fold over her chest to mask any nervousness while he stares at her, then drop to her sides instead with fingers tapping against her legs. She’s still not sure about most of the grown-ups she knows, even though she’s started to trust some that she’s met just little bit. And since Richard is related to Aunt Kaylee she’s letting herself trust him just enough to curious about things. But she watches, waiting for whatever answers he has.

“Yes.” Squeaks leans to the side enough to look into the office before stepping into it. For all her unsureness with grown-ups, she isn’t shy at all about exploring, even wandering and looking at the things she can see, but her hands are kept to herself. There’s no touching of the things, no matter how neat looking. “I didn’t find more video tapes.” Not yet, anyway, but she also hasn’t been looking for any.

A large double-window along one wall of Richard Ray's office allows natural light to spill in throughout the office and provides an excellent view of the green roof on the lower floor of the building, the flowered garden spreading out between rows of solar panels.

The walls of the office are in slate grey, the carpeting on the floor matching, and the furniture is all in black glass, metal, and leather - but the modern starkness is offset by the tall potted plants that grow along the side of the room opposite the window. The CEO's desk is a broad affair in black glass with a video feed and touch-screen built into the surface of the desk itself, the non-interactive portions of the desk decorated sparsely with a plastic 'in' and 'out' box, a framed picture of Elisabeth Harrison, and an old onyx chess king set beside it like reminders of times long past.

The door’s closed behind her, and Richard walks along over towards the desk. As he walks, a tiny ginger-red kitten peeks out from around the desk, slowly slinking towards the teenaged girl to investigate the newcomer.

“Probably a good thing, all things considered,” he admits in wry tones, dropping into his chair and leaning back, “So what did you want to talk about?”

Most of the office is given a casual look over, but the window gains interest for a few seconds. Squeaks gets as close to the glass as she can without touching it, looking down and up as far as she can. The picture also gains some notice, with a hm sound. “She was on that video,” she asides, to no one in particular.

“Are your gold eyes,” the girl asks while tilting her head to peer at the slinky kitten, “the same gold eyes other people are talking about?” She crouches, fingers stretched toward the little cat while she looks up at Richard. “Like the ones that the hookah lady at the bar is scared of?”

“Yes,” Richard says more softly, his gaze falling on the picture, “She was.”

The kitten, with no fear, slinks right up to the outstretched fingers and rubs his tiny face against them, soft fur whispering to her hand. “The hookah— oh. Eve,” says Richard, his tone dry, “Yes, yes they are. She made some poor decisions.”

Fingers rake back through his hair as he admits, “We don’t really know what this thing is. The one with gold eyes. We know it’s not good, though.”

“Eve,” Squeaks echoes the name with a small nod. She knew that. “She… is strange. She didn’t want to talk very much about the golden eyes. I saw them, and she talked to us when we watched that video, but it only happened just one time.” She curls her fingers to give the kitten a scritch then stands up again. “How do you know it’s not good? What we saw was scary, like because it wasn’t expected and… well things happened. Like the voice and video kept going after the TV was unplugged. But what she said didn’t seem… bad.”

“I’ve seen a lot of things in my time, Squeaks…” Richard shakes his head slowly, “…and let me tell you, every instinct is telling me that thing is bad news. It’s something living in the space between superstrings, and from what I understand— from what little I understand— that shouldn’t even be possible. I don’t know what’s out there, what could be out there. Outside of space and time. Gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

He leans against his desk, “Whatever it is, I hope it stays there.”

"What are superstrings," the kid asks as she turns a circle and then seats herself on a chair facing the desk. She's never heard that word before and she puzzles over it even as she asks the question. Of course, it's followed with another, almost as soon as the first is formed and it's asked in wondering tones. "How can something be between space a time? Do you really think it's living there?"

“They’re…” Richard pauses as he tries to think of how to explain things in early teenager, one hand lifting to scratch at his chin, “Other worlds, where everything is similar but not the same. Like, there might be a world where I’m President of the United States, or you were raised by wealthy people. Usually they don’t matter, because usually there’s no way to get there.”

Usually isn’t always.

“And I don’t know if the word living even applies,” he admits, nose wrinkling, “It’s completely beyond our understanding. Maybe our ability to understand.”

“Like in the comic books, but real?” Though Squeaks looks like she might doubt it, even just a little bit, she’s not really questioning that there are other worlds like their world that are similar and different at the same time. She points a finger toward the picture on the desk. “That’s what everyone’s been talking about, because they said some of the people on the video were here when that video happened.”

That’s a connection she understands.

“Maybe this thing — entity? — is trapped?” Squeaks leans back, toes tapping against each other. “It… she? They? Said they wanted out.” She pauses, thinking about that, about the voice she remembers hearing on that video. Then, as she looks up at Richard, “Did she… they talk to you?”

“I assume it is,” says Richard grimly, “And I assume it’s for a damn good reason. It hasn’t talked to me, but it did talk to Eve, and nothing about it seemed good… and that was when it was free, a very long time ago.”

He looks back to the picture, then, expression softening, “The others in the film, they were… others of themselves. Like in comic books, yeah. Liz, though— and Magnes— “ He reaches out, fingers brushing the glass of the picture-frame, “They were the same one from here. We thought they were dead.”

Still tapping her toes together, Squeaks tilts her head to one side to get another look at the picture. “Eve talked to it when it was free? She said it wanted out. Or in.” Her toes stop tapping and her shoulders pop up into a shrug. “She didn’t make much sense, talking about paintings and… I don’t know. She was acting like… like when someone sees scary things that aren’t there because they put drugs inside themselves. Then she started drawing and we left.” Whatever that might be about, she’s not sure.

“I wonder what else she’s said to people.” The girl’s toes resume tapping, slow and quiet. It’s an absent-minded action. “The entity thing, not Eve. What if she’s trapped there and it’s a bad thing? And she just sounds scary because it’s alternate world stuff like you said? Or mad at whoever locked her up. I don’t like being locked up, I’d sound mad too.”

“It is now, and I assume it has been for a long time,” says Richard with a shake of his head, “Eve’s— Eve has problems, in her head. She needs to get therapy and medication, but she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong, so she won’t.”

He grimaces, leaning back, “I’m not going to take the risk of letting out a possible world-destroying monster, Squeaks.”

There’s a sound, like an agreement, to Richard’s opinion of Eve. “Maybe an intervention,” Squeaks suggests for the hookah-lady. “I think she’s more dangerous right now than the voice. Or voices. I think there were two different ones, but …it could be the same. If it’s stuck between superstrings?” She’s not sure about letting it out or keeping it locked away either, whatever it is. “Is it just Eve and me and my friends who heard it talk? Or do you know other people who’s heard it too?”

“Why…” Richard lifts a single brow, regarding the teenager, “…are you so interested in this thing, Squeaks? You should be worrying about, I don’t know, school and food and things, not otherworldly horrors that Eve poked with a stick.”

She opens her mouth to answer. Then closes it again without forming any words. Obviously, she’s interested because it’s something she doesn’t understand. But Squeaks stops to actually consider the question. “Because… I’m not sure. If it’s dangerous like you think and Eve says, we need to know about it to keep it from being dangerous here, right?” Her answer is slowly formed, and it sounds like that’s maybe not even the whole answer. And that maybe she’s not completely sure.

“I don’t do school,” the girl tries explaining. “I read stuff. Anything really. I learn a lot of things that way. Food… is kind of a problem. Sometimes, but not really.” But with her working for reals, and the others doing what they can, their food problems aren’t so much problems. “This thing happened to me and my… my brothers and sisters. It talked to us. And I want to know whatever I can about it.”

“You should,” says Richard with a shake of his head, “I didn’t, and… I regret it, all these years later.” Of course, he’s probably a bad example of what happens when you don’t go to school. ‘Millionaire Corporate CEO’ isn’t exactly a terrible life.

He crooks a wry smile, then, “You remind me a bit of me, there. I just got told recently that I wouldn’t leave this alone either, because I’m me and ferreting out secrets like a pig hunting truffles is what I do. I’ll tell you what— “ He gestures to her, “If I find out anything that could potentially endanger or affect you kids, I’ll let you know. I promise.”

“I did school before the fighting. I don’t know about going back.” Squeaks looks down at her feet, watching them tap-tap-tap together. “Aunt Gillian has classes at the library…” Not that she’s ever gone to any of them. “Maybe. Right now there’s bigger things than school.”

His offer gets a narrow-eyed look, not unlike the one she’d given him the first time they met. She’s heard lines like that before. “That’s like the nice grown-up way of saying to leave it alone,” she points out. Her tone says she’s wise to that trick, and she probably won’t be leaving her search for answers alone. “But okay.”

“You can ask Gillian, if you want,” says Richard seriously, a single brow lifting a little, “I don’t lie when I’m giving my word. I’m sure you’re going to keep digging, but— “ he shakes his head, “You should be careful. This is something… bigger than any of us.”

Dryly, he notes, “Which doesn’t mean you can’t take some of Gillian’s classes.”

The suspicious look drops, mostly, at the seriousness in his voice and Squeaks sinks backward in her seat. Maybe some grown-ups actually mean what they say, and the gravity of Richard’s words make her feel badly for her saying he might not really tell her things. “Cross your heart promise,” she says quietly, and not looking at him. “Me too, for being careful.”

“Cross my heart,” Richard agrees, inclining his head a bit, “If I hear anything that would endanger or affect you all regarding this… thing… I will let you know.” He scratches against the curve of his jaw, “God willing we’ll never hear another word about it, but I’m not usually that lucky.”

The kid looks satisfied at that, because if she can’t have all the answers at least she can be kept in the loop to some extent. After all, you can’t back out of a cross-your-heart-promise. Squeaks’ shoulders pop up as a tiny bit of a shrug at the CEO’s hope. She’s already accepted, a long time ago, that weird and scary things happen and sometimes it’s just not worth trying to avoid. Usually it catches up sooner or later, somehow. Like those stories about the sewers…

“If I find anything else,” she begins the offer, and follows it with another small, quick lift of her shoulders. “I don’t go into the Underneath so much anymore, not alone after what happened last time. It’s dangerous there.” Very, the girl’s tone implies. “But maybe their voice will talk again through something. Or someone will have answers you don’t?”

“So I’ve heard,” says Richard dryly, eyebrows lifting a little upwards, “About the sewers, that is. Some sort of evolved rats…?” Then his fingers snap sharply, and he points at the girl.

“Joe said that you ran into Samson… where was that, exactly?” A slight lean forward, a focused look in his eye as he watches her.

“I don’t think they’re evolved. They could be, but …I don’t know.” Evolved rats clearly doesn’t make sense to her. Squeaks’ face shows her doubt at the possibility, a strange contrast to her easy acceptance of other-worldly beings and different Earths.

She squints at the finger, then at Richard. Again there’s a shrug, slow and drawn way up almost to her ears. “Somewhere over the river, by the other river. It was a long, long ways away. We had to walk back and it took forever.” Squeaks pauses, head tilting to one side. “Why? Do you know him?”

“Oh, yes…” Richard’s arms fold on the desk’s edge again, his gaze dark as he glances away for a moment and then back to her, “Yes. We know each other, in a manner of speaking. He killed me once, a very long time ago.”

He gives his head a bit of a shake, “He’s killed a lot of people, actually. He’s Sylar’s father. You’re lucky that… he’s being picky these days. He hasn’t been out doing the work he used to do. Who knows, maybe he’s trying to— “ Scorn in his voice, “— change his stripes.”

“But I may need to talk to him,” he admits in distaste, “As much as I’d rather not.”

“He was kind of scary looking,” Squeaks begins thinking out loud. That train derails when it’s explained that the strange homeless-looking man killed Richard one time. She squints her eyes, face pinching as she wonders over that information. Mister Ray is a zombie? Nah, he looks too alive and not all falling apart and losing limbs.

“He saved me and Lance and Brynn though. And said he was probably on wanted posters.” Her feet swing forward and back once, then toes begin tapping again. “He …just seemed kind of like the crazies that sometimes go to the Underneath. Mostly safe as long as you don’t set them off.”

The kid’s toes stop tapping together as she takes a minute to think about Samson. “He’s way, far outside the walls.” She points, after a minute, in the general direction of Manhattan. “I think I remember the way there.”

“He’s old now… maybe the cancer’s slowed him down that much,” Richard muses, “He didn’t kill anyone at the auction either, as far as I could tell…” Talking to himself a bit as he considers the matter, before he looks back to Squeaks.

“You were lucky that he decided none of your powers were worth his interest,” he says, “He can take them, if he kills you. He’s killed so many people over the years he’s— “ A grimace, “— basically unkillable.”

Fingers drum a bit over the desk, “I’ll keep that in mind, if it… if I need to find him.”

It’s clear that it’s not something he wants to do. It may even scare him a little.

“I don’t have powers.” Stated so simply, and implying that probably the others she was with don’t have powers either. “Maybe he just doesn’t care now. He doesn’t care if people know where he is, he’s not hiding.” Squeaks hands lift in a who knows gesture. “I never asked why he saved us from the river, just said thanks.”

Tipping her head back, she looks up at the ceiling. “How come you think you need to find him?”

At that, Richard crooks a bit of a smile. “I’ve known the kids since they were— well, actually kids,” he notes wryly, implying that he’s fully aware of their powers. “And he doesn’t need to hide… what could we do to him?”

A shake of his head, “He has an— ability I may need him to use. The trick is figuring out what to trade for it.”

Letting her head drop forward a little, Squeaks gives Richard a look. There’s a small twist of her mouth, almost a grin, but she’s kind of judging also. “Why do grown-ups answer questions but don’t really tell you anything?”

Instead of waiting for an answer to that question, she shakes her head a little, eyes lifting toward the ceiling. “If you don’t want to go find him, have someone run a message to him?”

“To be fair, that’s how I talk to everyone,” Richard admits, flashing a grin, “Drives my sister up the fucking wall.”

“Maybe. I need to decide if I really need to talk to him first,” he says with a shake of his head, “Thanks for the information, regardless.”

Squeaks waves a hand. “Mostly I figure everyone who’s grown up is only going to answer a small part of anything I ask, if they say anything at all.” She shrugs, because what can she do? “But I wouldn’t know things if I didn’t ask.”

The toes of her shoes tap together again, then the kid pushes herself out of the chair. “Okay, I should probably go.” Not that she has too many places she’s expected to be, but she’s got a lot to wonder about and a supply of questions to refill.

“Alright,” chuckles Richard, “I shouldn’t keep you anyway— never stop asking questions, though. You never know what you might learn.”

Wryly, he adds, “Which is why you should attend some of Gillian’s classes. You never know what you might learn.”

It looks like Squeaks has a response for his last comment. She hesitates, half way turned toward the door and mouth partly opened like she’s thinking of what to say. But after a second, she just shakes her head and looks up at Richard. “Maybe,” she says. She doesn’t sound too sure about the whole school thing, and not the in the typical childish reluctance way about going. She lifts a hand to wave as she turns to let herself out of the office.

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